Odd eggs

03/27/2009 at 6:45 am (uncategorized)

I had fun looking at this site today.

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Racing to the hen house

03/24/2009 at 7:55 pm (uncategorized)

Checking on the chickens used to be a chore. That is until they started laying eggs. Now we both jump at the chance to see who can find the eggs first. Nick usually beats me to it. He loves to check for eggs! We raced to the hen house today, but Nick got there first again.

Cracked one open today and a double yoked one this time.

double-yoke1

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Our first chicken egg!

03/23/2009 at 1:00 pm (uncategorized)

Our hens have started laying eggs. They haven’t quite figured out that they are supposed to lay in the nest boxes yet so we’ve lost quite a few eggs but we have also been able to use a couple of them. Our first egg that was not smashed was quite a jumbo sized egg. In fact, there were three yolks inside!

Our first egg!

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Saturated with the Word

03/23/2009 at 12:45 pm (uncategorized)

I want to be saturated with the Word of God.

You know how sometimes you can have a song stuck in your head for hours or even days. Nick was telling me that happened to him the other day at work while listening to his ipod while vacuuming.

I want the Word of God stuck in my head. Can you imagine? Not being able to think about anything else because some scripture verse won’t stop replaying itself in your mind. I think that would be the greatest thing in the world!

A few weeks ago, I dug out a cd I bought years ago called Power Confessions. The reason why is that I have been having problems with depression and just felt so mentally tired.  I knew I couldn’t go on this way and that I needed to get myself under control. I knew I had a choice to make- dwell on what’s making me depressed or  bring my thoughts under control by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The cd is all about confessing the Word. It tells me who I am in Christ, what I can do in Christ, what the scriptures say about me, what God is to me, and promises of God to me. The pastor says the scripture and gives you time to repeat it.  He calls it his spiritual aerobics program. Each morning I listen to it and find myself strengthened and encouraged by the time I am done. I love it!

Lord, help me to saturate myself with your Word. Let it soak into me.

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Kefir and yogurt cheese

03/23/2009 at 12:19 pm (uncategorized)

I got some kefir grains last week. What is kefir, you ask? It is a creamy cultured milk product that is loaded with vitamins and minerals. Kefir can be made with cows’, goats’, coconut, rice or soy milk. It is similar to yogurt in that it contains friendly probiotic bacteria but it also  contains beneficial yeast. This naturally occurring bacteria and yeast in kefir combine to provide superior health benefits.

Besides the friendly bacteria and yeast, kefir contains minerals and amino acids. The partially digested, complete proteins in kefir are easier to digest making it good for those who usually can’t handle milk products. Kefir is also rich in calcium and magnesium and has an ample supply of phosphorus. Kefir contributes to a healthy immune system.

To make you simply add the gelatin-like particles called “grains” to the milk. I use a clear canning jar so I can check on its progress. I stir it throughout the day with a wooden chopstick, but you don’t have to do anything to it. Never use metal to stir it with or strain it because the grains will react to the metal. The longer you leave it out, the more sour it will taste. You just decide when you want to use it.

When you’re ready you strain it in a plastic colander and take the part that you strained and use that for smoothies, or in place of milk in pancake batter. There are many things to do with kefir. A simple search on google will tell you. The part in the colander will be put back into a clean jar and you will add milk to it and start over again. It might sound hard but it’s really not!

Straining kefir

When I make smoothies with it, I take the strained finished product and add frozen strawberries and a bit of sugar or honey to it and blend it until smooth. I think frozen bananas would be tasty too. We have quite a bit of a sweet tooth, but eventually I hope to not have to add any extra sweetener to it. It reminds me of a strawberry milkshake. We enjoy drinking this every day.

I also ordered a 64 ounce container of plain yogurt from the local buying club. The whole reason I ordered it was to get the whey from it and to do that you make yogurt cheese.  To make the yogurt cheese you put the yogurt in a flour sack towel and knot the ends up and hang to drip. The liquid that drains out is the whey.  I wanted the whey to make homemade mustard and other fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and pickles. I got the idea from my favorite book: Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. I let the yogurt cheese drip for 2 days. But I didn’t hang it the whole time and I think if I had, it would have been done sooner.

Hanging Yogurt cheese to drip

The yogurt cheese smells and looks like cream cheese, but it’s more sour to me than store bought cream cheese. I think it would be excellent in a vegetable dip of some sort. I made some “cream cheese” frosting out of it and it was pretty tart, but I think I will end up using it as a “lemon” glaze for poppy seed cake. The yogurt cheese was good spread on crackers with jelly on top. The jelly seemed to make it taste less sour.

finished yogurt cheese

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Granola

03/02/2009 at 9:52 pm (food)

We enjoy eating granola for breakfast. I make it in small batches in my toaster oven and it lasts a few days. We like this recipe because it’s easy to make.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

For a half batch (the size I make), melt 1/4 cup butter plus one Tablespoon with 1/4 cup honey in saucepan on low, stir so it doesn’t burn. Add 1/4 cup flax seed, 1/3 cup raisins, and a handful of nuts, if you prefer, and stir well to coat all ingredients. I bake it in a glass pan that looks like a miniature 9X13 pan that fits in my toaster oven. I dump 2 cups of oats in that pan and pour the wet ingredients on top of that to save myself from dirtying another pan. Give it a few stirs to mix everything together and bake for 10 minutes. Take it out, stir it together, and bake an additional 5 minutes. Let cool, and stir it occasionally, otherwise, you’ll have that granola stuck in the pan! When it’s cool and dry, I store it in a canning jar.granola

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February Update

03/02/2009 at 9:19 pm (uncategorized)

We lost Myrple. Her feet weren’t getting any better, so we put her out of her misery.

We gave our red hens to a dear friend in Cherryvale. It’s just the four black ones now.

Then, Luna died. Her death was unexpected. We all miss her very much.

But we’re still plugging along. One day at a time. I check on the chickens, give them some freshly plucked grass to eat. A few handfuls of cracked corn, which they love and go crazy for.

Daily loads of laundry are done around here to keep up with the load. I often chuckle when I see cars drive by and watch me hanging up the laundry in the snow or watch me take down “boards” of freeze dried clothing that are as stiff as plywood. I wonder what is going through their minds and if they are laughing too. I hope I’ve given them something to smile at.

One of our big exciting things that happened is getting our garden spot plowed and tilled. We had seen the neighbor’s get theirs done and decided we wanted to have a bigger area than we thought. I’m planning on taking over the square beds and planting some herbs both medicinal and culinary and flowers, all edible if I can.

We had the area tilled up that we used the first year we were here. I’m so excited about all that we’re going to grow and this year we’ll be able to tackle the weeds better since Nick will be able to help. We fixed our gate that leads to the back too, so no more stray dogs getting into the garden. Milo is smart. He knows he’s not allowed in the garden area and walks along the border of it.

The winter blues have been hitting us both hard this year but looks like spring is around the corner. It seems like yesterday we were starting the new year and now it’s already March! Wow! Time flies. This Friday will mark the day that Nick and I married 12 years ago. 12 years! I remember when I would hear about someone being married for 10 years and thought that was a long time! Funny how things change as you get older.

Twelve years ago I married my best friend and I’m still in love with him as the day we met. Well meaning friends and family thought we wouldn’t survive a month let alone a year. And here we are, still going strong. I wonder what they think now?

Life is good.

Until next time…

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