Friday, April 27, 2012

Ranch Macaroni Salad

Hubby and I have decided to perform a little experiment. You see, we have sort of gained a "few" pounds over the last year and we really want them to be gone. I thought when we started eating only whole foods, that we would start to slim down but that has not been the case for us. Even though we are eating MUCH healthier, we are still gaining weight. So to stem the tide so to speak, we are flip flopping lunch and dinner. Our lunches will be the larger meal of the day with our dinners being something light. Yesterday was our first day. Ummm, it went...ok. I fixed sloppy joes, broccoli and mixed fruit for lunch. Then for dinner I came up with a new recipe. I knew I wanted to make a light, summery salad but my lettuces haven't produced enough for the 4 of us yet. I searched the internet for some ideas and came up with the following on my own:


1 lb. Elbow Macaroni (or whatever small pasta you like, whole wheat preferably)
1/2 Small onion, diced
1 Red Pepper, diced
6 Hard Boiled Eggs (can be less, if you prefer)
6 Oz Bacon, diced
1/4 C.(more or less) Ranch Dressing (I use homemade)

Boil pasta until al dente. Drain, rinse with cold water, drain again. While pasta is cooking, fry up the veggies and bacon until bacon is crisp. Drain on paper towels. Dice up however many eggs you would like to use. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together. Use the smallest amount of dressing until you get the coverage you want. I do not like my macaroni salad really goopy so I barely used 1/4 c. We still had 2-3 servings left over so this makes alot.

Okay, I know this esn't exactly "light" as in low calorie but it was darn sure good! We rounded out the meal with cuties (mandarin oranges). Of course, we had to have dessert! I had made some brownies so we each had one.
I guess things went ok, but we all got the munchies about 8:30pm. I will have to play around with this senario a bit more if we are going to be successful. I think things will be much easier once the garden produce comes in and I can pluck a quick and easy meal from there. I am open to ANY suggestions you may have about this!!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pictures From My Garden

Just a few things I photo'd today...

My first pole bean blossom...

Yellow squash blossom...

Tomato blossoms (Amelia)...
My very first attempt at strawberries. This is the third berry. The first 2 were partially consumed by little birdies. I try to keep this one hidden...
My poor sunflowers :( The winds over the last few days have really messed with them. I strung a line to help them keep upright but some of them are struggling.
Last but not least, what I am most excited about! These tomato plants are called Black Pearl. They give cherry sized tomatoes that are a purplish black color. The taste of these is out of this world. You actually can put them in the fridge and the taste changes. Such wonderful yumminess!
I have a BUNCH of these planted. Again, my overzealouness to grow things won out over the knowledge of my limited space!

I still have so much to get planted into the ground! Guess I know what I'll be doing for the next couple of days!

Stick To Your Ribs Tomato Soup

I know that soup season is pretty much over, but sometimes ya just need some soup! Yesterday was one of those days. It wasn't so much cold, temps were in the 60's, but the wind was AWFUL! I don't know what the gusts registered at but it blew some clothes right off the clothesline. This wind has been reeking havoc with my garden all this week so comfort food was necessary and this fits the bill. I had this at a dinner party years ago. I wasn't too happy to see this in my bowl because I have never been a fan of tomato soup but this was so good that I had seconds!

1 Small Onion, Chopped kind of finely
2 Tbsp. Butter
28-Oz Petite Diced Tomatoes
1 Lg. Can Tomato Soup
1 1/2 C. Milk
1 Tsp. Sugar
1 Tsp. Basil
1 Tsp. Paprika
1/2 Tsp. Garlic Powder
1-8 Oz Block Cream Cheese, cubed

In a large pot, saute onion in butter until soft. Stir in all ingredients except cream cheese. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer and add cream cheese. Stir occasionally until cheese melts. Sometimes I use a whisk to help break up the cheese so it melts faster. When I am feeling particularly Martha Stewart-ish, I puree small batches of the soup in the blender until creamy. A handheld blender would be perfect for this. This soup is so good with some homemade french bread! The kids and I polished off an entire loaf with this soup yesterday!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Product Review: Coomb's Family Farms Organic Maple Syrup

For years, I would put those little bottles shaped like log cabins, full of who-knows-what syrup into my grocery cart and think nothing of it. I saw the price of real maple syrup and thought only weird foodies would pay so much money when the "fake" stuff was so cheap...Then I became one of those weird foodies. It seems that the need to eat "clean" is addictive. I am ALWAYS on the lookout for hidden chemicals, unpronouncable ingredients and non edible ingredients that are added to food. I was never one who needed organic things because I thought that was just a way to make the cost of my food go up. However, the more I learn about food, the more I realize that organic, even though it costs a lot, is the best option if you can afford it. I have stumbled upon a product that, in my opinion, is worthy of showcasing.
Coombs Family Farms Organic 100% Maple Syrup. THAT is a mouthful! A delicious one at that! I had been buying store brand 100% Maple Syrup at the grocery store and paying about $8 for 7 oz. The taste was fine but it was a little watery. I happened to get an email from Amazon about this syrup being on sale so I decided to try some. The price was about $22 for 32 oz. Pretty good compared to what I was paying before. The first time I tried it, I knew it was a keeper. This syrup is very thick. Not watery like the store brand. More importantly, the taste is fantastic. I saw on Amazon that the price is even lower now, especially with Subscribe and Save (this is where you sign up for automatic delivery of products). I paid $17.31 (free shipping, too!) for 32 oz. of ORGANIC 100% Maple Syrup!! YUM! I just ordered it at this price yesterday, so you can do the same if you are so inclined.

Monday, April 23, 2012

It's Going to WHAT tonight?

Would someone please forward me the number for the complaint department for Mother Nature??? I have some serious problems with the state of my weather these days. Guess what we are expecting tonight? A FREEZE!!!! In middle Georgia!! In mid APRIL!!!! Who ever did this scheduling dropped the ball and needs to be FIRED!!!! So tonight, in MID APRIL mind you, I have to go out and cover all my plants. I have 7 4x8 raised beds and an area that is about 15' x 10' to cover. Exactly how I will do that has not yet been determined. Any ideas???? I have blossoms on my tomatoes and squash plants already. My green beans are almost ready to flower...AAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH!

I guess I shouldn't complain too much. At least I don't live in NY or PA where they are getting pelted with SNOW! I am just so eager to get this garden producing so I can stop buying grocery store food. The thought of it freezing my plants to death scares me! The thought of having to rely on the grocery store PARALYZES me! I want to grow my own food, be responsible for the health and well being of my family. The weather NEEDS to cooperate! please....

If you haven't heard about this yet, there is a movie being circulated right now called Farmageddon. You can check out a trailer for it on YouTube. I would give the link here but I can't remember which blog I saw it on. Check it out. I watched the trailer and it looks to be alright. It has to do with the power hungry FDA and the fight with local and/or organic farmers that provide good, healthy food to people who don't buy in to the lie that the government has your best interests at heart. Yes, folks, raw milk is contraband in many parts of the US. Un-freaking-believable!!! Just let some government official come onto MY property and try and take my raw milk away from me! Okay, I need to GET some raw milk first. Actually, I need a cow first. THEN I'll have my raw milk and I'll show them! I'll drink it right in front of them! Well, maybe not me. I don't like the taste of milk. But my kids will drink it! Yeah, I'll just shut up now!

I just finished reading the 3 Hunger games books. Wow! I hadn't intended to read them but my son wanted the first one for Easter so I bought it for him. He raved about it. He read it in, like, 2 days. He's a BIG reader. Yay, one good trait he got from me! When he was done, he kept putting the book where I would find it; on my computer, on my nightstand, where I sit on the couch. So I figured I would just read the doggone thing and make him happy. I couldn't put it down! My cousin came and visited for Easter and she was reading the last book while she was here. She also had the 2nd one with her so she left both of them here for us to read. Normally, I let little man finish a book before I start it but he wasn't finished with the 2nd one by the time I finished the first so, whenever, he wasn't reading it, I was sneaking it to my room to read. I finished it and the 3rd book in a week. Like I said, I couldn't put it down! If you get a chance to read them, please do. My kids have already seen the movie but it is going to show here in our little theater in the next couple of weeks so we will all go see it. Even hubby said he would go. Guess he wants to see what I was so fascinated with when I was completely ignoring everything around me but THE BOOK.

Now, to figure out a strategy for my plants....

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Chuck Roast

Since we had a steer butchered last month, we have been very well stocked with beef. Before we did this, I hardly ever bought beef from the store. Mainly, because it is gross but also because of the price. Beef is EXPENSIVE!(only when you buy from the grocery store) We always made do with the venison hubby harvested from our property for our meat needs but now I have 2 freezers overflowing with wonderful grass fed beef just waiting for me to cook it. I pulled a chuck roast out the other day to thaw. The next afternoon I browned it, with a little olive oil and salt/pepper, in a cast iron dutch oven. Just got some color on both sides. I took the meat out and set is aside and tossed in a couple of onions that I peeled and cut into fourths. I peeled about 8 carrots and cut them up into 3 inch chuncks and tossed them in with the onions. I didn't leave them in long enough to cook them, just brown them a bit. Then I put the meat back in the dutch oven and arranged the veggies around the sides. Then I poured about a cup of beef broth in the pan, just enough to come halfway up the sides of the roast. I sprinkled on some fresh rosemary from my mom in laws  garden and some more salt and pepper. I put the cover on and stuck it in a 275 degree oven. It was a 5 lb. roast so it took about 4 1/2 hours to cook all the way. You know it is done when you stick a fork in it and the meat just falls apart. Let me tell you, that roast was nothing but pure heaven!!!! The taste of the meat was so wonderful and the texture was awesome. If you can get your hands on a good chuck roast, please make this. Your family will think you are the most amazing person on the face of the earth! I forgot to take a picture before we divided the meat onto our plates, but I did manage to take a pic of my plate. The picture cannot do it justice! It could also be that I am a lousy photographer!
The carrots and onions were sooooo good! Please make this, you will NOT be disappointed! If you don't recognize the recipe, it is from Pioneer Woman's 1st cookbook. If you do not have this cookbook, what are you waiting for????

Friday, April 20, 2012

My Mini Green

We have been very fortunate in the fact that we have the ability to get the right piece of equipment for whatever job needs to be done on the farm. Whether it is borrowing something from our neighbor or purchasing it for ourselves we can continue to do whatever work we need to do. Our latest purchase kind of happened by accident. We had a Gator that was acting up and John Deere couldn't fix it. We tried selling it but who wants to buy something that even the dealer is having trouble fixing? So we had a choice to make. Either keep making payments on it and hope it sells or trade it in for something we needed. We hated to purchase anything because we have been able to make do with our current equipment but continuing to pay for something that we couldn't use just seemed stupid. So we narrowed our needs down to 2 things, a grapple bucket and a lawn mower. Before we even got the chance to debate, our neighbor bought the grapple bucket and said we could share it. Doncha love when that happens??!!! So lawn mower it was. Now, I have been mowing with a Sears Craftsman mower for quite awhile now. We only needed a mower for around the house as the pastures and other areas were mowed by the tractor. However, the Sears was almost as old as the twins and every year we had to replace parts of it because it was just falling apart. I was determined to use the dang thing until the wheels fell off but hubby thought that maybe, by replacing it with a mower that mowed evenly and could actually make a right turn (my Sears had issues with right turns!)that I could accomplish more mowing in a shorter amount of time. With the Sears, mowing took all day. The poor little thing only had a 42 inch cut so I had to make pass after pass after pass...We have A LOT of grass to mow! So hubby was on a mission to get the best trade he could. Boy did he ever!!! This is what we ended up with:

This baby is AWESOME!!! Please excuse the dirt and grass, she got used yesterday.  Let me tell you that getting used to the steering is, ummm, a little weird. I am used to a steering wheel. If I want to go left, I simply turn the wheel in the direction I want to go. If I want to go right, well okay I had to get a new mower to go right but you get the picture. This one uses levers. Push them both forward and you go forward. Pull them back, you go in reverse. To go left, you push the right lever forward while holding the left one steady and vice versa for right. Let me just state for the record that backing up is a talent that I do not seem to possess at this time! Seems easy enough in theory but let's just say my execution left a little to be desired. I purposely avoided the long straightaways of our yard until I had figured the steering out because I couldn't mow in a straight line to save my life at first. Good thing we live in the country and there was no one to see me wobbling all over the yard. Or yanking the wood back off the column at the driveway...Ooops~
Anyway, I got it figured out and, instead of taking all day to mow, I finished in about 4 hours. That included time for me to walk ALL THE WAY across the yard to the barn to get a gas can because SOMEONE ran out of gas. Figures, I do it at the farthest point from where the spare gas is kept. I guess Mini Green thought I needed a little extra exercise! So now my yard is all purdy lookin' and I am looking for more grass to mow...just to perfect my technique:)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Way Our Dogs Love Us

I was doing my bible reading this morning and an idea popped into my head. What if God wants us to love and trust Him like our dogs love and trust us? Stick with me here, I do have a purpose. Our dogs rely solely on us for everything they need to survive and thrive. We feed them, give them water, take them for walks, play with them and love them. Whatever they need, they are totally dependent on us to provide it for them. They never seem to question that arrangement. It is what it is. I think maybe God wants us to have that kind of relationship with Him. To be totally dependent on Him for everything in our lives. How many of us can say that we are? Truly are? I did something last week that sort of challenged this idea of total dependence...and I am not exactly proud of it, either. I took my truck into the dealer to get some work done before I made the trip to Florida for the wedding. Nothing too bad, just my check engine light had been on and I wanted to see what was up. While it was being worked on, I took the twins to the mall and got some wedding clothes for us. We had just finished eating lunch when hubby called and told me to talk to this certain salesman about a new truck. I told him he was nuts and that I didn't need a new truck. Well, hubby likes to spoil me a bit so he had the salesman pick me up at the a new truck! It was nice. Real nice. But I drive a Suburban (have for many years) and this was a Tahoe. I didn't really want to get anything smaller than what I have because we don't exactly travel light when we go anywhere! I told the salesman no. Following God on that one. Hubby and I have talked many times about the fact that the next time we needed a vehicle, we would buy used and pay cash. Then I did the dumbest thing I could have ever done. I asked to see the Suburban that hubby had told me about (before the Tahoe) just to see what it was like. It was perfect. And beautiful. And everything I could have ever wanted in a truck. It had every single option that Chevy offers except 4WD. It even had a sunroof. I have never had a truck with all these options. I don't know what came over me but I had to have this truck. I allowed Satan to just jump right in there and take over. I talked to hubby and he said if I wanted the truck then we would get it. WHAT???? It isn't used!!! We sure as heck can't pay cash for it!!!! But I wanted it. In that moment I forgot about relying on God for my every need. My kids weren't helping either. They saw the 2 entertainment systems and electric running boards and they were almost on their knees begging me to get this truck. The salesman didn't have to do anything. He just sit back and let me slide further into Satan's clutches. I regained a little sense...for a minute. I said a little prayer asking God that if He didn't want me to have this truck, then let the final figures not be where hubby wanted them. They weren't. But I didn't listen. I was ready to walk and the salesman told me to call my husband and see what he thought. Hubby said that when he was figuring the final price, he didn't take into account tax, tag and title so the final figures were ok to him. I got the truck. And ever since then, I have had this nagging feeling that I failed yet another one of God's tests. I have done so well these last 10 years, denying myself those things that spoil me. Being completely broke helped in that arena a lot because it is hard to buy yourself anything when there is no money to purchase it to begin with. God has slowly allowed us to get back on track with our finances over the last few years and this is how I act? It's like I haven't learned a thing! I am so dissapointed in myself. I didn't rely on God and the guilt is eating me up inside. I can't give the truck back. I sure as heck can't sell it because I owe too much. So I am stuck. I really do love the truck. I am just having a hard time enjoying it because I feel like I shouldn't have it. If only I had trusted God like my dogs trust me. Maybe He would have given me another truck, just as nice but much cheaper, if I had just listened and obeyed. I am no different from the Israelites in the bible. God gave them everything and asked for obedience in return and they just couldn't do it with any consistency. Thousands of years later and I am making the same exact mistakes they did! What is up with that????? I must do better. I am going to find my dogs and take more lessons from them because they have it all figured out!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Back to Normal...

It's funny how much work it takes to get "back in the groove" after being away for only a few days! I have been home since Sunday evening and I STILL haven't gotten fully back into my routine. I'm close, though. The garden seems to have grown a foot while I was gone, along with the weeds. So I have been plucking them out every chance I get. I still have seedlings to get planted in their permanent places. Only I don't have enough permanent places for them yet! I started WAY TOO MANY seeds...again. Apparently, I ALWAYS do this. I can't help it. I love to plant things and sometimes I just don't think ahead as to where they need to be placed. I asked hubby if he would mind if I took over a little bit MORE of the front yard for some of my (dozens) seedlings. He just laughed and said I over seeded again. He will be scraping the grass up and dumping some dirt for me soon :) I didn't get a picture because I rarely take my phone outside (because I tend to DROP it!) while I am watering the garden but I did find a little bud on my zucchini plant. Ok, I planted a dozen zucchini plants not just one...I told you, it's a sickness!! I can't wait for the fruits (and veggies) of my labor to start coming in. The more I read about food found in the grocery store, the more I want to RUN to my garden and plead with my plants to grow, grow, GROW! I was reading an article in Prevention magazine about GMO laden foods. It really is scary to think that companies like Monsanto and Dupont are in charge of the health of my family as they provide most of the GMO seeds that are being grown. If you buy something in the store that is processed, chances are it contains GMO's. (Genetically Modified Organisms). If you buy produce from the store, most likely it came from GMO seeds or has been sprayed with enough pesticides to destroy a small country! I find it fascinating (not in a good way) that so many countries, including ALL in the European Union, have either banned or severely limited the use of GMO's but the US is increasing their use. I am afraid that with that increase, we will NEVER wipe out diseases like cancer because I fully believe that most cancers are caused by things in our environment. Scarier than science fiction, right???
Anyway, I've gotten WAAAAY off track so I will end this post here before I send anybody screaming for the hills (me incuded!)

Monday, April 16, 2012

I'm Baaaack!

I am home now and I couldn't be happier! I love my extended family tremendously and I wouldn't have passed up seeing them for ANYTHING but I really hate being away from the farm. I know, I am pathetic. What made it worse was that hubby had to stay home because of work. I REALLY hate going anywhere without him. Yes, I truly am THAT pathetic!! I did have a great time seeing everyone, though.
AJ and Jennifer

My cousin, that got married, was absolutely beautiful. It was so sweet during their first dance that her husband was singing to her. They looked very much in love. Yes, I teared up just a bit :)  Funny how weddings do that to you...And commercials. Yes, I tear up during some commercials too. I really don't know why I am such a mush but I am. I have a hard time getting through some hymns at church without shedding a little tear. Guess I am just one of those "sensitive" types. ANYHOW.....
I got to spend some much needed time with my aunts, uncles, cousins and boyfriends and girlfriends of said cousins. Most importantly, I got to see my grandpa. He's a piece of work. In a good way! He's in his 80's but you would never guess it by being around him. He's pretty awesome. My grandma died a few years ago and it has taken it's toll on him but I am so proud of the way he has carried on. Like I said, he's awesome! I got to meet the fiance of my sweet cousin, Stephanie. They are getting married next April. I can't wait. I love this girl! And her Jason seems to be a good guy. He treats her well and gets along great with the family.
Stephanie and Jason

I also got meet the girlfriend of my cousin, Derek. Her name is Erin and she is such a sweetie. I think we will all be upset if the two of them don't get married!

That's my grandpa peeking out from behind them. We all had a great time and I wouldn't have missed a moment of it. But now I am back to my world. Back to my garden, my farm, my animals, my husband, my life. Back to where I belong. I grew up near the city and always thought that I identified with things in the city. I loved the hussle and bussle, the fast pace of everything. Then I moved to the country and I know, now, that I could never go back. The city may have lots of conveniences like good restaurants and shops on every corner. But none of that feeds my soul like the country does. Out here, I am in my own little world where progress is measured by how many tomatoes I get off my vines, not by how much money my husband makes. Here, no one judges me by the dirt under my nails or by my farmer tan. Here, I can be the real me. The me God intended me to be. I hope that it never changes....
I had to post one last picture though. These are my babies. Yes, I know they technically aren't babies but they will always be MY babies. This was taken while we were getting ready for the wedding.
I can't even put into words how much I love these guys!!!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Back To The Routine

I hope everyone had a joyous Easter. I know we sure did. Sorry for the little break in posting but I had some family come up so I was kept pretty busy. Busy and full! My goodness did we eat! My cousin brought steaks for Saturday's cookout. I have no idea what cut of meat it was but it was an inch and a quarter of beefy deliciousness!!  Sunday we brought out the old standby, Honey Baked Ham. Geez I love Honey Baked Ham.  Many happy family memories for me have to do with Honey Baked Ham. My daughter made a sweet little bunny cake for us.

I used to make this cake with the older kids when they were little. It has kind of become a tradition.

Things around the farm have been perking up quite nicely. I haven't lost any of the plants I planted so I am hopeful for a good harvest. While I was out watering one of the gardens, I found this little guy munching on my carrot leaves:
We named him Sheldon. Get it, Shell-Don??? Baby boy is so witty with the words! We took Sheldon down to the pond and turned him loose FAR away from my garden. Believe me, Sheldon is much cuter than what my cats dragged into the yard. Let's just say it was furry, in the rodent family and in 3 different pieces. YUCK!!!! The dog tried eating it and when I yelled at her she tried rolling on top of it!!!! BLECH!!!

We have been busy looking at floor plans and dreaming of our new house. The planning stages are so fun to me because that's where the dreaming happens. There are so many options available and the price is in the right far!

I will be going to Florida this weekend to see my cousin get married. I am so happy for her. She has been with her boyfriend for a very long time and I am glad they are finally "making it legal". They are a sweet couple. Hubby can't go because of work but the twins and I will be taking my mom. It is her niece that is getting married so a lot of her family will be there that she hasn't seen in a couple of years. I know she is sooooo looking forward to it. She spent her entire life being only a few miles away from most of her family and, when she and dad moved to Georgia, it was a bit rough on her for awhile. This weekend will be good for her. I promise I will get on a better posting schedule when I get back from FL.
I will leave you with some words of wisdom from my 12 yr old son. He told me the other day that he heard on tv that we need to watch out for older drivers because they are slowly losing their minds. I'll try and keep that in mind while driving around Florida :)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Homestead Happenings

Even though, winter is my favorite time of year, Spring has to be a close second! I love getting outside and playing in the dirt. Planting seeds and watching them grow. Harvesting the "fruit of my labor". Things have really greened up around here the last couple of weeks. The grass has been mowed twice and really needs it again. My seeds have grown into beautiful, tiny plants that have been begging to be put into raised beds. I am really trying to comply with all that. Hubby built me some really nice beds and my twins painted them up so pretty. We have 3 placed on the old tennis court and I already filled them without making much of a dent in my plant supply.
This one just has green beans. Only green beans. I had so many that I had to put some in another bed. I think I may have started a few too many. I love green beans, though. I have 36 green bean plants. PLUS I have another maybe 24 bush beans....I will be a green bean processing fool in a few months!

This is my next project. This area is right outside my front door (which is actually the back door on this messed up house!) There is a small circular concrete area then inside the lopsided curve was a bunch of mismatched plants. And weeds. And other yucky stuff. I have always hated this area because it is the first thing people see when they visit and it was never done in a way that made any sense. Sooooo hubby cleared it all out for me last night while I was a choir practice. He's so good to me! Now, the twins and I will sort through the dirt and clean it up. I am thinking of putting one of the raised beds there and growing some of the green beans and tomatoes there. I also think I will plant some of the sunflowers behind the bed to make a little happy place for me :)
What's happening on your homestead?

Being shared at

German Oat Cake

My mom used to make this cake when I was a kid but I never liked it much. I don't know why because, now, I could eat the entire pan myself. Thank goodness I have little helpers, here, that keep me from eating it all by myself. This cake is pretty easy and it has a similar taste to German Chocolate Cake, which is my VERY FAVORITE cake in the universe!


1 1/4 C. Boiling Water
1 C. Quick Cooking Oats
1 Stick Butter
1 C. Brown Sugar
1 C. Granulated Sugar
2 Eggs, well beaten
1 Tsp. Salt
1 Tsp. Cinnamon
1 Tsp. Baking Soda
1 Tsp. Vanilla
1 C. Flour

Pour boiling water over the oats and let them sit for 20 minutes.
Cream the butter and sugars together. Mix in the oats. Add the eggs, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, vanilla and flour. Pour into a 13x9 pan and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes

While cake is baking, make the topping.

1 C. Brown Sugar
1/2 C. Heavy Cream
1 C. Shredded Coconut
1 C. Chopped Nuts (walnuts, pecans, whatever you like)
4 Tbsp. Butter, softened
 Mix all ingredients together and pour over warm cake. Place under the broiler for 3 minutes. Watch carefully for burning. Enjoy!

Being shared at

The Blind Chicken


When we decided to get hens again, after the gradual loss of my previous flock, I researched lots of different breeds. I settled on 3 that looked to be hardy and fun to raise. We ordered Buff Orpingtons, Ameracaunas and Cherry Eggers. We ordered 5 of each breed and anxiously awaited their arrival. I was so excited driving to the post office after I got the call that they had a "chirping" box waiting for me! I got them home and put them in a warm box with their food and water and just watched them explore their surroundings. They were 3 days old at this time. A few days later, I went to check on them one morning and found 2 cherry eggers soaking wet and struggling to breathe. One made it but, sadly, the other died a few minutes later. I didn't really think too much about it as I knew to expect some of them to die in the beginning. About a month later, I was checking on them and noticed that one of the cherry eggers was having problems holding her head up. She would raise it up and it would just flop back down on the ground. Hard.  After trying to help her and holding her, I realized that she needed to be put out of her misery. Soooooo, another cherry egger gone. Fast forward several months to the other day and I was out early letting the chickens out of their coop when I noticed one of my 3 remaining cherry eggers was having trouble getting down from the roosting bar. She is always the last one out of the coop in the morning but, this morning, she just seemed to be a bit "off". I went into the coop and picked her up and carried her outside with me. I held her for a couple of minutes and then put her down with the other girls. She seemed fine and went about eating her breakfast. Later in the day, I noticed something odd about her eyes. Each of the other hens had bright gold circles around the black center part of their eyes. This little girl had very hazy eyes that looked almost like they were closed. Both eyes are hazed over.
 It doesn't seem to bother her as she finds her food and water. More importantly, it doesn't seem to bother the other hens. Chickens are notorious for being exceptionally mean to any other chicken that is "different". They will peck to death a weak or hurt chicken. Thankfully, they don't seem to notice anything strange about her. I was really observing her, just to make sure she was okay and I noticed how she compensated for not being able to see where she was going. She must have been able to see at some point in time, or she isn't totally blind, because she knows the perimeter of the yard her coop is in. She follows the fence line and listens to the other chickens making noise and makes her way to them. Sometimes she bumps into them and then she adjusts her direction. I will admit that I am quite fascinated by her. Hubby asked me if I wanted to put her in a fattening pen and then...well, you know...I told him ABSOLUTELY NOT! I do not make a living off my hens. They are there to provide us with eggs, poop and cheap yard labor. So far, she has been able to do all that so my girl has a home until she goes to the big chicken coop in the sky. It really is a good thing that I don't raise livestock for a living because I could NEVER cull a weak animal simply for blindness or any other deficiency that doesn't cause any suffering. Moral of this story is stay away from Cherry Egger chickens. They are just NOT very hardy. Cute, but not hardy! Of the 3 chickens that had problems, all 3 were cherry eggers. I am also not completely sure that the 3 remaining are laying eggs. I have 14 chickens and get 10-12 eggs a day so I don't know who is not giving me their fair share. They ALL go into the chicken coop throughout the day and lay in the boxes, someone just forgets to give me eggs!

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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Project #1 Complete...Almost!

We have been SUPER busy around here lately. It seems that as soon as we get one thing done, 10 more things need to be done. It doesn't help that hubby has entered his busy season at work so he can't always help me with projects. He did help me with a few Saturday, though. This particular project has been on my mind for quite a few months and now it is done enough to use.

I now have a clothesline to hang my wash on!!!! Hubby still needs to take off the stabilizing boards but I can now use it! I am more excited about that than just about anything else we have going on around here. I know, I'm weird.

I never knew how aggravating it could be to put up a clothesline, though. First of all, the ground was so hard that even using the auger on my BIG tractor couldn't penetrate through. So we started soaking the ground with a hose and wouldn't you know, the next day it rained. That helped tremendously. Then hubby wasn't happy that the poles weren't in EXACT alignment so we had to redo the middle hole a couple of times. I kept telling him that this line would only be here for a year or two, until we built our new house and then it would be moved. I wasn't looking for perfection but I guess he was! Anyway, we got it as close to perfect as it is going to get. I was so happy to get to use it finally. The only bad thing is that by the time I got to do a load and hang it, it was too late to do anymore! Imagine that, looking forward to laundry :)

Coming soon-project # 2....