Thursday, April 29, 2010

chicken report {no. 8}

Let's see.... Things have been relatively calm around the coop these days. The sick chicken, the one that was being pecked apart by the others, was nursed back to health, and her re-integration with the others was smooth as could be. Our strategy was simple: she inadvertently got out of her cage and basically begged to go back in the coop, so we opened the door and voila! We then went away for the weekend to avoid our tendency to over-mother the situation. When we came home, everyone seemed to be getting along just fine. Phew! The rooster.... Well, he's still an issue that we have mindfully procrastinated. You may recall, he's been known to attack all of us from time to time. Trouble is, I'm still in love with the big lummox even though he can be a real jerky-head. My husband and daughter have no fear, and they just tend to the coop chores with a tennis racket in-hand. I basically wait till he's sleeping to go in there. But, my husband will be going away for a few days, and I have to be able to tend to them. All I can say is that I'm still not ready to eat him or anything. I'm more likely to don my ski pants again (even in 80 degree heat), pick up the tennis racket and pray that the jerky-head leaves me alone.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Town Meeting: This Land is Our Land

Last night we attended town meeting to vote on new zoning guidelines, which are designed to protect and preserve the agricultural farmland and forest areas of our rural town. My neighbors were part of this zoning board, and they worked tirelessly to create guidelines that would be fair for all. It’s noble work. I am deeply grateful that they are willing to volunteer their time to this cause. Farming is such a big part of this community, that the thought of over-development with traditional subdivisions would break my heart. So I was pleased when it passed town meeting virtually without opposition. It seems that, in addition to preserving the open space that creates distances between us, it also managed to bring our community closer together.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

No-Knead Bread Making 101

I've made a lot of bread in my time. My husband studied the art of making sourdough starter to the point where I couldn't stand to hear another word. He was even considering taking his starter to bed with us to keep it warm. (OK, that’s an exaggeration, but he did tell me that’s what they used to do in the old days.) To be honest, I’ve always been a little disappointed with our homemade bread. Many a loaf has come out so dense and heavy that you’d rather play football with it than eat it. But I have finally found the most brilliant, fool-proof, scrumptious deliumptious recipe. I spotted it in Martha Stewart Living last month and just knew it was going to be a winner. This whole-wheat recipe is from My Bread by Jim Lahey and Rick Flaste. It does not require any kneading, but you must (and I mean must) cook it in a Dutch oven for the most perfectly crunchy crust and a light and airy inside. I’m talking easy, heavenly success—not to mention a load of savings compared to fresh bakery bread. You must try it--trust me!

PS: For an inexpensive and very reliable Dutch oven check out Lodge, which is what I use (shown above), and I'm so in love with it I just might take it to bed to keep us warm.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

break time

Taking a little time to stop and smell the pansies. Hope you all have a great week.

Friday, April 16, 2010

johnny-jump-up and into my terrarium

Even though Johnny-jump-ups posses a boy's name, I always think of them as girls. The tiny wild ones that grow in my yard remind me of young ballerinas, dancing delicately in the breeze. I decided to put some of these little girls in my terrarium. I tucked this patch, which was tethered to some moss, into a galvanized chicken waterer. Now they have center stage.

Terrarium available at Farmhouse Wares.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mother's Day Sale

Mother's Day is May 9th!
Give her something that inspires her inner farm girl.


(valid while supplies last. not valid on previous purchases.)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Zinc Place Card Giveaway

My friend Hannah over at Sherbet Blossom is giving away a set of our Zinc Place Cards, so be sure to stop by her blog today. The place cards would look pretty great at a Mother's Day Brunch. Hannah has many fun ways that can increase your odds, so skedaddle.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

a budding young artist

My daughter was playing with my camera the other day. Here's a little taste of my budding young artist's work. Very expressive and colorful--just like her.

Monday, April 12, 2010

What's New

We've been getting lots of new things in the shop. One of my faves is this Casina Turquoise Pitcher. Its generous size makes it perfect for packing it with fresh flowers from the farmer's market. Be sure to stop by and see what's new at the shop.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Dream Vacation in a Faraway Farmhouse

I stumbled upon Maidenland today. This 18th century farmhouse is set in the countryside of Bodmin, Cornwall. It's available for rent. I could seriously see myself dining alfresco by the gardens and lounging by its heated pool. What's that? The beach is just five minutes away? Oh, I'll just ride my bike with a basket full of bread, cheese and a good book. See you all in Cornwall.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I love dirt

My husband extended our veggie garden this year. It was a win win situation, as he wanted to feed pieces of sod to the chickens, and I wanted to plant more veggies. Somehow, that garden always gets taken over by cut flowers, but this year I plan to cultivate more things that we can actually eat and can. Now the garden is bigger and nicely edged. Also, my neighbor dropped a pile of manure the size of Rhode Island onto the garden last year and now that it has wintered over the soil is like gold. That's some good dirt. I can't wait to dig in.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Special Offer with June Cleaver?

Would you like to save 15% off your next Farmhouse Wares order? Then pop on over to A Year in The Life of June Cleaver. There's a special coupon code waiting for you.

You'll be happy you did too because Jessie, the creater of the June Cleaver project, has so many fun things going on at her blog.

Jessie says she started the June Cleaver project because "I felt like my life just consisted of me running around from one thing to the next with no benefit to anyone—not to my family or to myself. I wanted to get off the crazy ride I felt like I was on and live a more simple and happy life. I thought about prior generations and what history tells us were “easier” and “simpler” times. I kept coming back to the 1950’s and envisioning June Cleaver from television’s Leave It To Beaver. So, here I am! I am on a mission to do the following: try and live a more value-driven life as a more “hands-on” mom; have more organization in my home and life; lead a more simple life; get back to basics in many ways; be a happy homemaker; and be a better mom, wife and person. (and all with a sense of humor, too!!!)"

Now who can't relate to that? Check out A Year in the Life of June Cleaver and get your coupon code for 15% off your next Farmhouse Wares order.

Monday, April 5, 2010

A goat story

Isn't he cute? His name is Calvin. He's a real charmer, and he's a little mischievous too. He's staying on my dad's farm because he was getting into too much trouble with all the girls at his place. We stayed with my parents this past weekend to celebrate Easter. My husband and I awoke yesterday to some pretty loud crying from Calvin. At first, we thought he must be missing his girls, but my husband quickly identified the cry as something more alarming. Sure enough, when I looked out the window, Calvin appeared to be stuck between the fencing. My dad was still sleeping, so I threw on some shoes and went to Calvin's rescue. His horn, which had previously been removed and was just a twisted stump, was actually wrapped around a piece of wire from the fencing and his face was pushed up against the barn. He sure was in a pickle. I had to push and pull to free the wire from under is horn. He yelped the entire time. It only took me a minute to free him. Afterwards, Calvin stayed close by me, making little crying sounds and smelling my hand. My dad said he must really like me because he usually runs away from everyone. I was secretly pleased to know I had won Calvin's heart. After all, he had won mine the moment I saw his adorable face.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

chicken report {no.7}

Girls can be mean to each other, but in the chicken world, they’re downright vicious. The drama that plays out in our hen house rivals that of any high school. I mentioned briefly the other day that we have a sick chicken. A week ago or so, I noticed she was missing a few feathers and her comb looked shriveled and pale compared to the others. Every time I went to visit them, she was alone, sitting on the roost while the others played outside, or lying in a patch of shade away from the group. I didn’t make much of it. Bringing them food scraps one day, she sprang to her feet to enjoy the heaps of lettuce and onions along with the others. One by one the hens pecked at her, barring her from the treats. She’d scoot off but try to make another attempt. They pecked and pecked until she finally went inside and sat on the roost again. I watched throughout the day. She was excluded from the food and water and from any of the reindeer games. The next morning my husband found her with blood on her breast along with a gaping wound. They were still pecking at her when he walked in. These girls weren't messing around, and we knew we had to get her out of there.

We promptly made a shelter from an old dog cage. When we first put her in I could tell she was devastated as she looked over at the others with absolute panic. She wanted to be with them even though they were abusing her. Sadly, it’s what she knows. It’s what she’s comfortable with. We put a tarp around her cage, so she couldn’t see them, and she finally settled down. Quickly, she grasped how good life was for her in her new home, mainly because she had endless, uninterrupted access to the food and water. A few days passed, but she never laid an egg.

Then the rains came and we had to scurry to fix her shelter. Standing out in the cold rain, trying to make a proper home for this sick bird, I couldn’t help but ask myself if we were making too much of this. The farmers around here would just put her down; after all, she wasn’t even producing eggs anymore. But my husband and I have not really taken to this rough and tumble approach.

Though I had my doubts, and the endless rain put more stress on the situation, I am very proud to report that she laid her first egg two days ago and another yesterday. Her comb looks pinker too. Now we’re on to the next challenge: having her hold her own when we put her back in the hen house. This should be interesting. I hope those mean girls prove me wrong and show a little compassion. Am I asking too much from animals with brains the size of a peanut?