This weekend, of course, was Father’s Day weekend. We spent the first half celebrating with my brother and his wife over their son’s high school graduation (go Chris!). The celebration included lobster rolls, buckets of beer (I’m not kidding – buckets), a warm sunny day, and reclining seats on the ride home so I could sleep. (Note to self – next time eat a little more, drink a little less.)
And then that brought us to Sunday. In our neck of the woods we usually have a local rib fest on Father’s Day weekend. It’s a wonderful event, well run, and lots of fun. We’ve gone for many years, but when you take 8 people to a rib fest (you have to pay to get in) and then you have to pay about $25 for each half rack of ribs (and let’s not forget the drinks, sides, and ice cream that all goes with that) we found ourselves often taking out a small mortgage just to attend.
The ribs were good, the festival was entertaining, but my pocketbook cried every time we went. Continue reading
This weekend I spent some time going through my mother’s collection of cookbooks. She had quite a few of those church and garden club ones, you know the cookbooks that are sold as fundraisers of which you are obligated to buy? I don’t mind getting those community cookbooks at all, in fact they often end up having the best “handed-down” recipes ever. So nothing (and I mean nothing) was going to be moved to the discard pile until every single recipe in every single book was looked at.
And low and behold, I found this gem of a recipe from, of all people, my Aunt Diane.
In reading how and where it was served, I thought it would be perfect as a Memorial Day appetizer. Looks straight forward right? It is – provided you know where to find all the ingredients in the store. I had no idea where to find jalapeno relish (it’s near the hot pepper jellies which is near the mustard/olives condiments) and I honestly had to google Chili sauce because I had never used it before and didn’t even know what it looked like (FYI you can find it near the ketchup.) In any event, once I had the ingredients, it was spit spot and done. Continue reading
At a yard sale this weekend I found a treasure trove of old handwritten recipes. Oh sure, there were many recipes cut out from magazines (Robert Conrad’s potato casserole anyone?) but it was the ones written on those 1950’s – 1970 recipe cards (you know the ones with the little flower decorations in the upper left corner) that got my attention.
I have a few of my mother’s handwritten cards and I consider them to be among my most treasured possessions. (Soon, I’ll be making those chocolate, peanut butter, rice Krispy cookies that I talked about at my mom’s funeral.)
It’s a lost art. Who writes down recipes anymore? It’s more like, if someone requests a recipe we send them the link to where they can find it, time just seems to fly a little faster these days. And even if we had the time to write down a recipe, who has the time to make it other than for a special occasion? Pizza hut to the rescue.
Well I have time (in between everything else I have to do.)
Think about it. When I grew up food was how you showed your creativity. While my mother did work (after the kids had gotten older) most women didn’t, they stayed at home and took care of the flock. Preparing food was how they nourished their families, while the recipes nourished their creativity. When received from a friend, most recipe cards began with “from the kitchen of..” Sharing recipes was the social network of its time.
My kids, who are the sons and daughters of this storyteller definitely know the potential of a good story (or two) when they see it. Helping me sort through the recipes on Saturday night and placing them into two binders, every single one of my kids knew what was coming.
What will we start with first? They asked me. Continue reading
This morning I was having an online conversation with a friend. At the end of our conversation (where several positive things were decided) I signed off by telling him that he was a “Good Egg.”
He returned with this:
Thanks Wendy. “Good Egg” has long been a high compliment in my book. Did you use it before you started the chicken raising?
To which I replied:
Nope, only after I realized how much work, time, and effort goes into creating something that is given away to nourish others did I ever truly realize that the term “good egg” is a true compliment of the highest order.
Well, it’s the truth.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.
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This past Christmas, a very good friend of mine (hi Gina)gave me a most incredible gift for Christmas. Be careful of the bag, she told me. It’s fragile.
I’m not one to open gifts early and so I waited and on Christmas morning, I discovered that she had given me some of the most incredible, artful, and beautiful eggs I had ever seen.
The first egg is called a Victorian Lace Egg made by Beth Ann Magnuson at The Feathered Nest (http://www.bishophill.com/featherednest.php) To create this egg, she employed a high tech, high speed drill. The tool makes it possible to cut eggshells into intricate designs reminiscent of exquisite antique Victorian lace. Patterns are drawn and cut by hand. Each shell is a unique natural wonder, each is a are delicate work of art.
And I’d have to agree. Who knew that such beauty could arise from a simple egg? Continue reading
The scientist in me (microbiologist) is cringing slightly at this post. There’s no double blind study, no accurate measurements, no blah, blah, blah. But then the real person who also lives inside me is saying – sometimes you just have to accept things for what they are.
One of the comments on yesterday’s post suggested that I show the difference between a store-bought egg and a free-range egg cracked and in a pan. The white of the free range egg is thicker and more firm, she wrote. Those of use who have chickens already know this, but I know that those who do not have chickens may not really *get* this point.
I thought it was a good idea, so that is exactly what I did this morning. I took one of the remaining 11 eggs and one of our eggs that was roughly the same size and I cracked them one at a time into a pan.
Disclaimer – I hadn’t realized out pan was so warped. Guess it’s time to buy a new pan. Continue reading
As many of you know, I am a storyteller (and if you doubt me, ask to see my tattoo sometime.)
Sometimes stories end the way you want them to end, sometimes they don’t, but they still must be told.
Last week on my Facebook page I shared a photo of a cooked store-bought egg compared to a free range egg. “This is yet another reason for having your own chickens.” I wrote.
Someone asked me if the photo was real in portraying the difference between the two eggs (the store bought egg had a light yellow yolk, the free range a golden orange one. ) I had assumed it was but sometimes assumptions can steer you away from the truth.
I decided to do a comparison at home and to show everyone my results. Continue reading
When you raise hens for eggs and not for meat, sometimes you have to get a little creative with how you serve those calcium covered delicacies. Don’t get me wrong, even the youngest in our flock can tuck into a platter of scrambled eggs with bacon on Sundays but sometimes those lovely weekend eggs can very quickly turn into weekday “not-again” eggs.
Trust me, if it’s made with eggs, my kids have probably had it. I’ve tried a few recipes in the past, sausage and cheese burger pies come to mind, as do quiches of every type but often it’s just too much of a good thing.
The other night for dinner I decided to try another egg experiment. I had seen a recipe on individual egg cups and thought I bet I could do something like that.
This is what I did: Continue reading
Monday night I gave a workshop on backyard poultry owning for our local town’s Adult Education program.
This is the second time I’ve given this workshop and many who attended are also signed up for the advanced class next week on “now that you have a flock, what’s next?”
Monday’s class covered the basics. How to get chicks, what’s the difference between a straight run and sex-linked birds (a very important thing to know), and what to feed your birds as chicks and then as egg-laying hens.
We talked a lot about eggs.
First of all, when the eggs are laid, they are covered with a thin film of oil that acts as a barrier protecting them from bacteria and water loss (the water content of an egg is high, if the water evaporates from inside, you’re going to have a bad egg.) If you don’t wash the egg, it can sit on your counter for a few days un-refridgerated and still be good. Think about it, in colonial times, they didn’t have refrigerators, most often the eggs sat in the kitchen until they were ready to be used.
Once you wash that oil coating off, however, the egg must then be refrigerated. In the refrigerator it can last up to a few months, but a washed egg on the table will only last a few days.
There are a few questions that I always get asked, one of which is how do you clean the eggs? Continue reading
Time for a littlest one update.
So many of you have asked about Alkaia that I thought I’d give you a bit of an update. This little one, the one we saved from being trapped inside her egg, remains the tiniest of the flock. She is so darn cute. She doesn’t run so much as hop all over the place and, like a toddler, if she hits uneven ground she tumbles over, picks herself up and continues on her way. Like a miniature the Bumble from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, she seems to bounce.
Here is a close-up of Alkaia. She is just beginning to get her pin wing feathers, you can see them starting to pop out. Mostly though, she is still covered with her baby down which makes her cute but with the temps going down into the 50’s the other night (just days after the day temps were in the 100’s go figure) she would will not be ready to go out to the henhouse for some time.
Compare her feathers and size to those of her sibling in this picture. The brown chick is well on her (possibly his – do you see that butt-bling?) way to being fully feathered. In about 2.5 weeks, she’ll be ready to go out to the henhouse to join our adult flock. By the way, the criteria for joining the adult flock is not only possessing a set of full-feathers but also being large enough so that you don’t fit through the fencing (which Alkaia does all the time).
But then there is little Alkaia. Here she is with one of her lighter colored siblings. Not only is she far behind in feather production but she’s also holding in stature at roughly 1/3 the size of the others. A standout definitely and one on which we need to keep a constant eye when we let her outside to play.