Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Eggactly what I wanted!

I made a new table cloth this week. If my sister is reading this, she might recognize the fabric.
Originally I was going to make a quilt, but the fabric started to fray... I serged the edges and lined with lace. It was exactly what I was looking for in a new table cloth!
Found a brown egg this morning too! Now we have 3 hens laying.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Poor Chelsea

2 months old
Last night we lost one of our hens. And she was our favorite. Chelsea was the sweetest and tamest bird we've ever owned. Always glad to see us, first to approach us, and very very gentle.

I blame myself for waiting too long to trim their wings. Chelsea kept escaping the coop. Unfortunately, our dog played a bit too rough.

Thus the bittersweet experience of raising farm animals. Now we're down to 4 hens. We still have 2 egg layers, and waiting for the rest, but something's missing without Chelsea. I'm at work, so they're staying in their coop today until I can clip their wings on Monday. Better safe than sorry!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Reason for the Season

We walked around the neighborhood tonight, looking at lights and enjoying the almost 70-degree weather. Sure doesn't feel like Winter is here, nor does it feel like Christmas is 3 days away!

In fact, after walking our block, we jumped in the car with the windows down, got a Hawaiian shaved ice, and walked again through downtown. It's evenings like this that stick in our memories, those spontaneous moments spent with family...

This year, as I do every year, I reflected over the holidays. As we pulled into our driveway, we were talking about the true meaning of Christmas -- stuff like nobody knows WHAT DAY Jesus was really born, WHY we have decorated Christmas trees, Santa Clause, elves, pagan origination's of so many things...

But regardless of all these things, I do see good will happening towards one another. The full pantry at the women's shelter where I work, phone calls from strangers wanting to give, the donated gifts locked away till Christmas morning....

A lady called me last weekend on the hotline. She asked if it were possible her daughter could give a gift to a child in our shelter. She wanted her daughter to give away a toy that she wanted for herself, to experience that selfless moment when she stopped thinking about herself.

Many, many a year I've threatened my kids with promises of soup kitchens on Christmas day. Instead of emptying our bank accounts to buy more STUFF, I wanted us to roll up our sleeves...

I knew exactly why that lady called.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Luke 2:8-11

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Scoot Over, My Turn!

Meet Penelope. Found her in the nest this morning laying an egg. So now we have two hens a layin (say that with the sing-song voice, six geese a layin!) As our other hen Cleopatra layed an egg this morning too!

Remember, yesterday we nearly lost her. In fact, I'm still holding my breath. It's a miracle! Seriously. I won't go into details on her injury. It's pretty bad, and I'm afraid to look again at her neck. I know... I'm being a chicken. :(

Now if only we can get the ground to dry outside! It's been raining like crazy. My daughter (who was still in bed) actually heard me scream this morning while I was tending the coop. I nearly did a back flip slipping and sliding in my nightgown, and ridiculous flip flops. Fortunately, I caught myself in mid air, but I pictured myself sprawled in mud and poop, yelling, I've fallen and I can't get up!

Pamela, wasn't so lucky. She later slipped and fell, having to change clothes. Yesterday, she almost did the splits. It's nasty outside. What a crazy week it's been! Now, we're hoping this guy follows through and shows up this Friday. He offered to adopt our rooster, Jesse!! Yay!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Dozen Smiles and a Heavy Heart

So far, we've collected our dozen and then some. 14 total.
Fresh and warm.
The fresh yoke is at the top. We scrambled 2 store bought, and 1 fresh egg to do a comparison on yoke color. The darker the yoke, the more nutritious.
Cleopatra is our productive hen. Other than skipping a day or two, she's layed every single day, and two yesterday. We're thinking how is that possible? Maybe we have another hen laying? Every time we sneak outside, it's her that's in the nest. Hmmm...

Either way, we have heavy hearts and I'm thankful I got this picture. It will be a miracle if Cleopatra survives the night. We've been having an unfortunate struggle with our rooster and dog. Both beast and fowl have been fighting, and the taunting from the rooster has caused our dog to go beserk. Somehow or another two of our hens got out of their pen and we found Cleopatra with a bloody neck. Feathers everywhere. I ever so tenderly placed her back into the pen. With an unsure smile we watched as she pecked at some corn, and took a small drink of water.

We've been having an unsuccessful time giving away our rooster, Jesse. Not sure what else to do, other than drag out the stew pot...

We're going to let nature take it's course for Cleopatra. Thus the hard lessons of caring for animals. Their lives are so short, so sweet, and ever so fragile.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Main Street Bethlehem

This past weekend we drove out to Burnet to see the annual celebration of putting the "Christ" back into Christmas. This is a gift from the First Baptist church of Burnet, that's been going on since 1993. Pictured below is how the "living history" city of Bethlehem is layed out. You could tell the church put a lot of time, money, and thought into the architecture.

It was a cold evening, with heavy mist as we headed out. Forecasts for thick fog, kept us moving fast as we drove the 45-something miles to Burnet. With long dark stretches of road, we kept our eyes peeled for deer crossing.

The fires were a welcoming sight as we approached Bethlehem. We stood in the fast growing line outside the city walls as we waited our turn. I took a few photo's, but ended up tucking my camera away. I'm sooo ready to buy a new one. Can't figure out my shutter and night pictures are the worst. Anyway, here's a few.

Click picture and you can see the nativity.

Hmmmm Camels! I'll be seeing plenty of those soon enough!
After exiting Bethlehem, we were greeted with warm smiles, hot cocoa, and lots of cookies! All free from the very generous Baptist church.
While leaving the festivities, we noticed street vendors selling their wares along downtown main street. I was sooo tempted to ask Alan to stop and buy that homemade pecan brittle. They were the size of a frying pan! We headed for the river, and walked along the lights, until the mist fell. Time to head home before the fog sets in!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

World War II Cake

Today, we experimented with a cake recipe taken from the back of an American Girl mystery book.


A super-easy World War Two recipe that uses no butter or eggs and very little sugar and chocolate. The "wacky" mixing method helps the eggless cake to rise and turn out light and tender!

You can only imagine how easy it would be to stock up on these ingredients. No refrigeration needed!


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8" square baking pan with cooking spray.

Measure into the pan: 1- 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, 3/4 teaspoon salt. Use whisk to blend dry ingredients together.

Use a spoon to make 1 large crater and 2 small craters in the dry mix. Pour 5 tablespoons vegetable oil into the large crater. Pour 1 tablespoon vinegar into small crater. Pour 1 teaspoon vanilla extract into the last crater. Pour 1 cup water into the pan.
Using wooden spoon, gently mix everything together until you see only a few streaks of flour in the mixture.
Bake cake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick poked into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.

Cool the cake completely, and then dust it with powdered sugar. Serve plain or with a spoonful of ice cream or whipped topping.

** Our personal opinion about the cake was positive. I tasted a hint of baking soda, but was impressed with the moistness and richness of the cake - minus the eggs and butter! This cake is a sure winner for staples. Even better, very little ingredients involved, and easy (fun) for children to make. Give it a try. History is fun!

Eggstremely Eggstatic!

Yay!! My hens are now laying!

This is our first egg! See how small it is? It fits snugly into a teaspoon. As the hens mature, so will their eggs. This egg is a wonderful white. Since we have several varieties of hens, we expect white, brown, and even blue eggs.

It is very motivating to see all our hard work pay off!