Archive | July 2013

Healthy Chickens……

Are my girls healthy?? Are yours??  Good question……..

and the answer?????  I hope so, I think so, they look good to me, they’re acting good, so they’re good.  I hope.  Hummmm.

No, they didn't use it, they did drink from it though

No, they didn’t use the pool, they did drink from it though

Well, I’m assuming for the time being they are, they’re eating, they’re sleeping, they’re laying eggs, their hatching chicks, the roosters are roostering..is that a word??? well, it is now! and their poop looks normal.  Yeah, their poop.  If you’ve been reading the backyard chicken blogs and Facebook pages like I have, you know its important to keep an eye on what their poop looks like.  If you haven’t been reading much, here’s a couple blogs I read most that you might want to read, Tilly’s Nest  & The Natural Poultry Farming Guide and then whatever I find of interest I pinterest it on my Backyard Chickens Pinterest Board.  Here’s a couple articles you can check out and get some of the scoop on poop:  The Chicken-Chics Scoop on Poop, the Digestive Tract Examined and Tilly’s Nest: Buzz off: Preventing Fly Strike.  I learned more than I wanted to learn, but good stuff to know.

With it being so hot this summer here on the East Coast in Southern New Jersey, its easy to get flies when you have chicken poop around.  So, I know there’s the pennies in the baggie ‘o water trick, that folks say works, but I haven’t tried, but what we did do, we added an osculating fan.  Worked like a charm!  Plus, it does double duty, not only does it keep the flies out, it cools the girls and that’s what its all about.  Keeping the girls cool and comfy.

Speaking of comfy, now that we have 2 farm kittens, they came with little pests of their own, they have/had fleas.  Well, don’t want my girls to get fleas, we’ve not had any problems since we’ve had our flock and don’t want any now.  But since the kitties are hanging out with the flock, which we want them to do, we have to get rid of and PREVENT any future fleas.  Well, today they kittens went to get spayed and while there they treated them for fleas, yes, I know, its a poison, I don’t like it any more than you do, but, I need them dead NOW!  Okay, that aside, on to natural stuff, I’m researching, kittens and cats are ‘allergic’ to citrus, citrus is good for fleas, so no go there, but herbs, herbs are good for a multitude of things including a fresh smelling hen house! Here’s one article that I’ve found by googling: Natural ways to get rid of cat fleas.

I’m all for a fresh smelling hen house, aren’t you??  Anyway, our hen house is dry, which is good, you don’t want a damp hen house, thats bad.  I have an herb garden…..well, I do have some herbs.

If you been following my blog you would know that last years gardening was a bust do to health issues, this year….. not much better.  We did some traveling during the month of June (yes, I’m going to post the photos, you’ll love them) but, May & June are good gardening months for me, not this year….once again….but theres always next year and this year isn’t over yet, better late then never, they say, so do I!  Anyway, if you check out the photos on my I Can’t Believe I’m Doing This blog you’ll get the idea of what I’m trying to say.   I’ll update here so you can compare, and right now, it needs work, I’m a tad behind….again.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is:  I HAVE HERBS! Herbs are good nesting material and the chickens are suppose to like them and they smell good and they keep away pests.  I was planning on planting mint all around the hen house anyway, because earlier we had a little problem with a couple rats and rats and mice and other things don’t like mint.  In case your wondering, we FINALLY caught the rats in live traps with hotdogs, thats after everything else didn’t work and we’re not putting poison out.  And yes, they are now in rat heaven.

Here are some articles to get you started if your not already:  These too are on my  Backyard Chickens Pinterest Board, and there might be more there, Fresh Eggs Daily – Nesting Box Herbs – Chicken Aromatherapy, The Chicken Chicks – Herbal Pest Control: Spruce the Coop Herbal Fusion, Frugally Sustainable – Herbs for Chicken Health: How to Make an Herbal Feed Supplement for Backyard Chickens and Grit – Nesting Box Herbs – Chicken Aromatherapy.  So,  I went herb cutting in my yard and made a aromatherapy mix for my girls.  As you can see from the photos of my container herb garden, I really don’t have allot to sustain my kitchen and my coop (these photos we’re taken a while back and I do have more herbs than what you see here).  Yes, I’m going shopping.  I will be putting in way more herbs, possibly pulling out some of the other flowers and make my yard more ‘useable/eatable’ and lucky for me, one of our neighbors is farming the field in back of our house and guess what they farm??? Yup, herbs!  So tonight I went a peppermint cutting with their permission of course and cut more herbs here in our yard and the hen house smells real purdy!

So, are your girls healthy?? How does your hen house smell?? Do you have flies?? Any other pests?? What are you doing to control things??  Come on, share, we all need ideas, the more ideas the better.  What works for one, doesn’t always work for others, so the more we share, the more options we have.

Proverbs 27: 23-27 (New International Version)
23 Be sure you know the condition of your flocks,
give careful attention to your herds;
24 for riches do not endure forever,
and a crown is not secure for all generations.
25 When the hay is removed and new growth appears
and the grass from the hills is gathered in,
26 the lambs will provide you with clothing,
and the goats with the price of a field.
27 You will have plenty of goats’ milk to feed your family
and to nourish your female servants.

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Hot Parmesan-Artichoke Dip

Hot Parmesan Artichoke Dip

Hot Parmesan-Artichoke Dip

1 can/jar  (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained, chopped
1 cup  KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 cup  KRAFT Real Mayo Mayonnaise
1 clove  garlic, minced
2 Tbsp.  chopped tomatoes
1 green onion, sliced

HEAT oven to 350ºF.

MIX first 4 ingredients.

SPOON into shallow ovenproof dish or 9-inch pie plate.

BAKE 20 to 25 min. or until hot and bubbly. Sprinkle with tomatoes and onions.  (I didn’t have the green onion on hand this time, so I omitted it)

Always better with farm fresh tomatoes, add a little fresh basil to give it a great summertime flavor.  Also, sprinkle extra parmesan cheese on top if you’d like.  It’s better to double this recipe, it goes quick.

Peach Crumble Tart with Coconut Almond Crust

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Peach Crumble Tart with Coconut Almond CrustPeach Crumble Tart with Coconut Almond CrustPeach Crumble Tart with Coconut Almond CrustPeach Crumble Tart with Coconut Almond CrustPeach Crumble Tart with Coconut Almond Crust - Slice

Here I go again, this recipe is adapted from the Fragrant Vanilla Cake: Cardamom Scented Peach Crumble Tart with Coconut Almond Crust. I didn’t have Cardamom in the house, nor did I know what Cardamom was, I do now I googled it. So, from what I can gather, not to big of a loss not adding the Cardamom, its basically a scent thing, so we just smelled peaches, which is okay with me.

On the Fragrant Vanilla Cakes directions they used an 8″ tart pan, I didn’t have one I have an 11″ so I used that.  No problem, the crust fit perfectly, I even had/have some left over after doing the topping, so don’t know where I went wrong.  I did have a problem with the dates, I used 24 per the recipe, and I soaked them, but that still wasn’t enough to make the crumbs stick together, so I soaked another 12 and that worked.

This is a very simple RAW recipe, I made it to take with us to our friends house. They do try to eat well, and since I TRY to watch what I eat, its better if I take something with me. This was a hit. I will make it again and again, and I WILL change out the fruit seasonally. Peaches & Blueberries will probably be my next one.

Here’s the original recipe with my changes in parentheses.  In the directions it says to put 3/4 pecans with coconut in the processors for the crumble topping, the pecans are not listed in the ingredients.  I did have pecans on hand so I did use them.

Cardamom Scented Peach Crumble Tart with Coconut Almond Crust
Makes one 8 inch tart (I made an 11″ with leftover crumbles)

Crust:
2 cups finely shredded dried coconut
1 cup raw almonds
1 1/2 cup buckwheat groats, sprouted and dehydrated (or additional coconut) (I used raw buckwheat groats, I don’d do the sprouting thing)
1/2 tsp sea salt
24 soft medjool dates, pitted (if not soft, soak them until they are and drain them) (I had to add 12 more)

Topping:
1 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup raw almonds

Filling:
4 cups organic peaches, sliced
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
a pinch sea salt
1 tsp cardamom (I omitted the cardamom, I didn’t have any on hand)
1/4 cup raw coconut nectar or raw agave nectar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp lemon juice

For the crust, combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until fine crumbs and starting to hold together when squeezed.  Press 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom of a 8 inch removable bottom tart pan, and set aside in the fridge.  Combine the remaining crust mixture with 3/4 cup chopped pecans, 1/2 cup flaked coconut and toss well.  Set aside in the fridge (this will be the topping).
Place the peaches in a bowl.  Remove 2/3 cup of the them and place in the food processor with the cardamom, chia seeds, sea salt, coconut nectar and vanilla, and lemon juice and process until smooth.  Dump back into the bowl with the peaches and toss well.  Pour the mixture into the tart crust and spread to the sides then scatter the reserved topping over it. Let the pie sit in the fridge for 1 hour to allow flavor to develop and filling to set and then serve!

Give it a try and let me know how you like it. If you made it with the Cardamom or left it out. If you made it with peaches or something else.
Have fun and Healthy Eating!

A Day in Cape May

Cape May LighthouseEgrets at Cape May Wildlife RefugeCape May LighthouseCape May LighthouseCape May LighthouseSwan at the Cape May Wildlife Refuge
Cape May LighthouseAmerican Oyster CatchersCape May Lighthouse & WWII BunkerCape May Lighthouse & WWII BunkerDolphin in Cape May

A Day in Capemay, a set on Flickr.

Cape May is one of my most favorite places to visit in New Jersey on a day trip.  As always theres good photography here.  If your ever in the area, check it out.

The Baby Chicks are Here!

Finally!  The wait is over!  They we’re due to hatch on the 25th and they started hatching on the 24th!  I had been reading allot of blogs lately where their chicks were hatching a day early everyone blaming the heat.  So, I figured mine might just follow along and they did.  4 hatched on the 24th and 1 on the 25th.  Goldie was sitting on 8 eggs, 5 out of 8 not bad and it looks like their all girls!! Yeah!   I do the wing check and it for me works.  Here’s the You Tube video for you to watch if your interested:  Sexing Baby Chicks.

The last few days before they started to hatch, on 2 seperate days, we had hens manage to get into the broody box, while Goldie was out for her daily dusting, and lay eggs, so we had 10 total.  We had planned to relocate the 2 newest eggs once the 8 chicks hatched, because my friend Pam’s hen went broody and they have no rooster.

Anyway, one egg went missing, and Goldie left the nest with her chicks before we thought she would.  Hens generally know if their eggs are going to hatch or not.  So that left us with 4 eggs, I would have candled them but they we’re all so dirty, that we disposed of them.  I gave Pam 6 fresh eggs to start her broody on, at the same time our hen Dottie went broody and is sitting on 10.  I didn’t get to hand pick these eggs, and really haven’t had a chance to even look at them so right now can’t guess for you if I think they’re hens or roos, but Pam’s look to me like they should all be hens.  Remember my last blog with the attachment (How To Choose Fertilized Chicken Eggs and it tells how to choose eggs which will produce females or cockerels.  Interesting.  Well, I book marked it on Pinterest on my Backyard Chickens Board for safe keeping.  When Goldie went broody I pulled it back up and tried to hand pick my eggs for her to incubate.)  I’m agreeing at this point with that article.   Dottie’s eggs should hatch on August 14th, I can’t wait!  I just LOVE baby chicks!

Fiesta Beans, Corn, Quinoa & Rice

Fiesta Beans, Corn, Quinoa & Rice

Fiesta Beans, Corn, Quinoa & Rice

Ingredients:

2 cups dry – Basmati, Quinoa & Wild Rice Blend (I was lucky enough to find a store brand mixed already, but if you can’t find it, just cook equal amounts Basmati Rice, Quinoa & Wild Rice).  Prepared according to package, or 2 cups dry mix to 4 cups water, bring to boil, then cook covered on low heat until done approx. 20 min.

1 can Bush’s Fiesta Grillin’ Beans
1 can whole kernel corn, drained

Add the corn and grillin’ beans to the cooked rice, add catsup and brown sugar to taste (a couple tablespoons each if you need a measurement), heat and serve.

SUGGESTION:  You can add  browed ground beef or grilled cubed chicken breast to make a meal.  Also, next time I make this, I might sauté some red pepper in the pan before cooking the rice & quinoa for added color & flavor.  Come up with your own ideas, let me know how you like it.