It dawned on me the other day as I worked away that I should share my favorite washcloth recipe with you. Look no further! The perfect pattern for Easy Hand Crocheted Washcloths is here.
Do you love going to farmer’s markets as much as I do? This season, The Log Home Kitchen decided to become a vendor and made their first debut at the local farmer’s market.
Is clutter getting in your way? Let me show you step-by-step how to run a successful yard sale using proven, time tested tips and tricks. Turn unused items into cold hard cash. Done right, you can reap BIG rewards on all fronts.
Have you ever looked at your garden as a source of creativity for the holiday season? This year I decided to plant some funky looking gourds that turned out to be perfect for decorating this Fall. They’re filled with such character. Come on in and take a peek.
It’s the end of the diva reign. She graced us with her presence. She has now crossed over to diva heaven, gracing those that passed before her.
Ah, the sound of tweet tweets of baby chicks are here and they warm the cockles of my soul. Call me crazy. I do love my chickens. Besides the fact they’re beautiful birds and fun to watch, they serve a nutritional benefit as well. I’m talking about the eggs here, not the meat.
Have you noticed blooms of Spring popping out around you? This time of year, they catch me by surprise. One day there’s just green foliage. The next day, a vibrant splash of color bedazzles the eyes. Taking time out for a walkabout can reveal the brilliance of the season.
Excuse me for exercising bragging rights, but I just can’t help myself. Tom and I have recently welcomed in a new addition to the family. He’s the cuddliest, cutest, make-me-want-to-squeeze-him-to-death kind of absolute delight.
If you’re going to spend time making a special treat, why not have the perfect dish to show it off? I’ve started repurposing my odds and ends plates and candlestick holders that I don’t use anymore. Maybe you have some extras taking up valuable cupboard space. Before you toss them in your next Spring yard sale, think about the beautiful and functional stands you can make.
Super easy and affordable DIY dessert pedestals.
If you don’t have any in your stash, check out your local thrift stores. You’d be amazed at how many mismatched pieces there are at practically giveaway prices. From 50 cents to a few dollars, you can glean some fabulous pieces that suite your style and taste. It’s even worth it to check out antique stores. Sometimes a lone plate may have been sitting for so long that the dealer will give you a fair price.
Do you love to land a great find at a great price? I certainly do. It’s in my blood. Searching for valuable, sought after collectibles that I personally enjoy having is one of my favorite hobbies.
With a few minutes to kill before an appointment while out-of-town recently, I decided to stop in at a second hand store I frequent when in the area. While taking a quick walk-through, my eyes gravitated toward an area in the back, and low and behold…
Five pieces in excellent condition. Five dollars. For all five. I picked up some Franciscan for a song.
This is Franciscan Ware china. Finding the highly sought after pattern called “Desert Rose” in a thrift store is highly unusual. Even more so when the pieces have stamps from the original California factory. So when I saw a stack of wide-rimmed soup bowls sitting on the floor next to worn out tupperware, I almost fainted.
Lately, I’ve been on a vintage bottle kick. As in very old bottles. A few weeks ago I visited an antique shop I frequently check out. The shopkeeper knows me and lets me in on any new merchandise that’s been brought in. As I meandered about, an interesting piece shimmered with light from the corner of my eye. It was an old medicinal bottle of sorts. As I read the raised glass labeling, it pretty much spoke for itself:
THE RELIABLE OLD-TIME PREPARATION FOR HOME USE
PREPARED BY DR PETER FAHRNEY & SONS CO, CHICAGO, ILL. U.S.A.
As in a laxative tonic. This was a very common concoction used in the day. I gently ran my fingertip around the top and bottom edges to look for signs of damage. With not a chip to be found and the original cap intact, I whisked it up to the counter so no one else could lay claim. It was a single purchase for the day that made me click my heels. On the drive home, the perfect use for it popped in my head.
They can be sneaks. They always have something on their mind. They lurk in the shadows with lazer-focused eyes waiting until one’s back is turned. The light goes out. They make their move. Their paws land in the kitchen sink.
In this case, it was my back that was turned. After washing up the remains of Christmas dishes, I hung it up. But then I forgot to take a glass of water with me.
As I returned and flipped the light on… Surprise!
Skittles. In the kitchen sink. Underneath the faucet. Waiting insistently for water. Ugh!
Snapping funny photographs of “the girls” has become one of my favorite pastimes. Any time I can capture a moment when their derierres aren’t stuck up high to the sky while their heads are down can be quite an accomplishment.
Chickens are very curious creatures. Take Lacey here for example.
Lacey is a Plymouth Barred Rock. The only reason why she comes running to me is she thinks I might have a snack for her. And if I don’t, she shows her expression of “Are you kidding me?” by way of her cocked head and blinking of the eyes. It’s fascinating how easy it is to interpret their thoughts. Or maybe I’m just delusional.
Some may call it luck. Being at the right place at the right time. Some may think there’s a special skill involved in landing a great find. I say it’s a little bit of both, especially when my eyes were drawn to this pristine milk glass rolling pin from the roaring 20’s.
There must be some history behind it.
A great find indeed.
It was one of those moments that after I spotted it, I looked around for hidden cameras, or to see if anyone else saw what I saw. I thought no. way.
Instead of waiting for all of the leaves to fall, I decided to get out while a few days are left of sunshine to work in the garden. Things can pile up fast, so getting ahead of the game makes raking and garden cleanup a whole lot easier in the long run. I even had a few helpers.
Oh yes, the girls like to be a part of everything going on in their yard. Especially Mavis.
Mavis Mae tends to get underfoot when I’m out in the yard. She’s the old gal of the bunch, and is hearty as ever. She can out scratch the others, bustling about in the ground with her feet and beak, finding morsels of bugs and worms to feed on.
While Mavis and her merry maids wandered about the garden, I picked the remnants of the gourds. These are the cutest little forms of squash. Some I’ll be able to bake and use in recipes. The rest will be used for Fall decorating.
Most of us have, or have had, a Bundt pan in our culinary repertoire at some point in time. Unless you have an affliction to baking. In any event, as fate would have it, I stumbled upon one of the originals. I mean an original Bundt pan. As in, made in the early 1950’s by Nordic Ware.
Made of heavy cast aluminum, this plum has stoically weathered the years. One can only imagine how many times it’s been in and out of ovens from who knows where, not to mention what’s been baked in it.
Manufactured in Minneapolis, this is one of the first to be produced. Notice the raised stamps and lettering? After all of these years, it remains in excellent condition. There isn’t a dent in it, maintaining it’s original fluted design.
It was tucked down in the corner of an old display crate sitting on the floor at a vendor booth in Stevensville, Montana. A day jaunt with a friend landed us at a charming antique mall that once served as a creamery.
He was 15 years old. Barney slipped away last week to be alone. We don’t expect him to ever come back. It’s said by many that cats do this when their time draws near. They just vanish suddenly without a goodbye. Our hearts are heavy absent his presence.
Barney was an old shoe. There was a deep soulfulness about him that made one believe he had lived many, many lives.
He showed up out of nowhere in the lower field, barely three months old if that. Hubs scooped him out of the bushes when he saw the little guy moving about in the thicket. The kitten was in need of a home, and the rest is history.
Barney had the respect of the other cats that came along over the years. He taught each of them how to play and defend themselves. But age had started taking it’s toll, and he didn’t want to be bothered. He didn’t want to play anymore. He just wanted to be close to home. He just wanted to be close to us. He began following me from room to room when he wasn’t sleeping. He talked more. He would sit and watch me with intensity for long periods of time. As I would look back into his eyes, there was a connection between us that can’t be placed into words.
This photo of him is one of those times. It was last month, while I was sitting outside one evening at the patio table. He jumped up and just stared at me, quietly. We had many moments like this before his disappearance.
We celebrate loving memories of Barney, and the comfort he provided us over those many years. He was a beloved pet and family member. His spirit will forever be in our hearts, and will never be forgotten.
I just wish I could have been there to usher him over the Rainbow Bridge.
Is it as difficult for you to lose a pet as it is for us? We would love to hear your stories. Please take a few minutes to share them with us.
The end of Summer is rapidly approaching. It was time for a last hurrah to make a fresh, fruity something with end-of-season berries.
Since I’ve been baking so many pies, I decided to turn to a rustic fruit danish for a change, using a traditional sweet roll dough.
I’m all about simple, and this was pretty simple to pull together. If you’ve ever baked cinnamon rolls, you can do this! If you haven’t, I’ll guide you with a few pointers to disspell any fears you might be harboring about yeast. The fact is, I was a total yeast-ophobe for years. I was paralyzed when it came to yeast. Feelings of failure errupted before I even attempted to work with it.
At the end of August each year, I’ve been going to a small county fair in western Montana to take in the exhibits of the talented community, and…. to attend the 4-H Poultry Auction. Since the flock has been dwindling, I thought I would head up to see what breeds were being showcased that might catch my eye.
Fifty miles up the road, I decided to take a spontaneous detour as my self-talk convinced me to wait until next Spring to order some chicks of the breed I really wanted. Besides, I only had the day, and I had heard about a flea market of sorts in a quaint little town further to the north.
Okay, I’ll cut to the chase. This is what I unearthed amongst the rows and rows of “stuff.” An old KitchenAid stand mixer manufactured over fifty years ago.
She runs like a Swiss clock. The motor hums along at high speed without missing a beat. At 200 watts of power, she’ll be perfect for whipping up cake batters and brownies.
The bees are buzzing. Tall stems of sunflowers have taken off and they are beautiful. There’s something about sunflowers that makes me happy. It must be the different tones of bright yellow that makes the eyes dance. They’re so cheery!
They make the bees dance, too.
This has been an unusual August in many ways. In many good ways. In the fifteen years we have lived here in the North we have never had consistent showers like we’ve had lately. The temperatures have been cooler than in Summers past, so being a heat-intolerant gal I’ve welcomed them. You could say I’m flourishing. And so is the garden!
With the mix of warm, sunny afternoons and evening rains, everything is green and growing better than ever. I was concerned that I got a late start with getting seedlings in the ground. It looks like everything is going to make it. Almost everything.
Remember the heirloom hollyhocks I was so proud of that were started from seed? I planted them on the top level of a tiered planter thinking they would spike up before the pumpkin plants started to grow and trail off on the ground. Well, see for yourself what happened. The pumpkins won the race. Gulp. Deep knot in stomach. Sick. Lesson learned.
Although, they might still be hanging in there underneath all of the growth from the gourds and mini-pumpkins. Later I’ll jump in and see if I can salvage them.
While walking around inspecting the fruit trees, I had to stop dead in my tracks. As I was circling the red pear tree admiring the large size of the fruit up above, I glanced at eye level and this is what I saw.
Wasps give me the heebee-jeebees, and this was a very active nest. What’s fascinating though is the way they make their nests. I’m not certain what material they use to form these cone-like structures. They’re light as a feather, yet are tough enough to withstand high winds and inclement weather.
Needless to say it has been extinguished and it’s safe to go back out there. For those of you who are “save the everything” types, well, let’s just suffice it to say that there aren’t any listings in the yellow pages for the safe removal of wasps nests. And certainly, we are not skilled and qualified to do so.
In the meantime, the girls have been enjoying some time out of the coop. Mavis always makes a beeline for the richest soil she can find for a good dirt bath, and basks in all of her glory.
With the vegetation doing well and the grass growing faster than we can mow it, the days have been busy keeping up with all of it and will continue to be until fall sets upon us. Then we’ll be readying for the cold months ahead when we go into hybernation mode.
But for now, I get to enjoy the bursts of color, the fruits of our labors, and all the while will have a smile on my face. The sunflowers are a happy reminder of the glory of Summer.
Have a great week everyone, and Happy Monday!
A treasure seeker I am, and you never know what types of antiquities I might run across that make me go “Aha!” I have the perfect use for that!
It didn’t take more than a few seconds to figure out what I would do with this old pail, so I clutched it in my hand to make sure it wouldn’t get away (even though I was the only soul in the store besides the shopkeeper).
It’s so much fun reinventing items from the past to serve a purpose in the present. Take for instance this old lard bucket. How fitting for the kitchen? The utensil holder I’d been using kept tipping every time I grabbed something out of it. There was just too much top weight to keep it steady. It’s always been at the back of my mind to find another vessel to keep all of those spoons and spatulas from toppling over.
Though I didn’t have much luck gleaning any cherries off of our tree this year, I made up for it, and then some, from the apricot tree. It was borderline ready to be picked, and there was no way the birds and the bees were going to beat me to those juicy little delicacies this time.
It was by chance that I went out to the yard last evening and gave one of the branches a gentle shake. Though it seemed early for them to be ready, to my surprise a few fell to the ground. This warranted a thorough inspection.
Usually when they’re getting close to being ripe, the bees have already put their stamp on them by landing on the flesh and giving them a drill or two. They proceed to do this until there are hardly any left untarnished. It can be so frustrating. If you have fruit trees, you definitely know what I’m talking about.
They were certainly ripe for the pickin’.
So this morning I made it a priority to get out early and pick the fruit off the tree before any varmints started buzzing around. They must have some type of built-in radar, because as soon as I had the apricots picked from the lower branches, they started making their presence known. As I climbed higher on the ladder, the army of bees started to grow to the point I couldn’t focus on my reach anymore. They were angry!
I had let the girls out earlier. Since I was going to be working in the yard, I could keep an eye out and protect them from hawks. They seemed to find plenty to do to entertain themselves. Which isn’t difficult. They dart from one thing to the next in a nano second.
These two have to be watched, or they’ll take out the garden. That would be Zsa Zsa and Eva. They were oblivious to anything else going on.
For purposes of self-preservation, I had to call the bounty good. Being the good samaritan that I am, I left the ones high on top to feed those less fortunate. Those bees have been sucking on them ever since. Better the ripened fruit than me.
In total I was able to pick six flats full, which is more than plenty for me to deal with single handedly. In fact, I’m trying to decide what to do with them. I don’t really want to make jam. If I can find someone else to do the canning, I’ll give them the fruit, and they can give me back a few jars. After all, it’s just Hubs and me. There are large families struggling that I know would love to have the fresh fruit.
I’m just grateful to have been able to take good care of the trees while the fruit ripened. And I’m especially grateful I beat the birds and the bees!
How is your garden growing? If you have one, I’d love to hear about it. The trials, the tribulations, you get the idea.
Call me crazy. Maybe even a wee bit on the eccentric side. The bottom line is I love my chickens. There’s a magical whimsy that takes over when I’m in their presence, like being in Alice In Wonderland. The inner child in me wants to go spend the day in their coop and just play. Even if just for a few minutes, being part of the “flock” can be fun. And heartwarming. Each one has a unique personality, complete with sounds and expression.
I suppose that’s why I decided to embark on a major remodel of their abode early this Spring.
Since the recent renovation, I’ve been on the hunt for decorative items to spruce it up a bit. After all, they like to feel right at home just like we do, right? I know. Crazy.
One’s imagination can get carried away with all of this chicken business. Literally. There are so many different things to do that make part of chicken-keeping so fun and entertaining. I was able to land a few cute tin signs on Ebay to hang on the covered exterior wall of the new addition. While I was at it, I pulled a copper hanging lantern that once hung in my kitchen out of the “to sell” pile for the upcoming yard sale. I really didn’t want to part with it, but during the kitchen remodel I had it replaced with more efficient lighting. Thank goodness I went rummaging in my own stash of disgards. This works perfect!
It adds a rustic ambiance to the outdoor run. Though I might have to call in that electrician after all so I can light the place up like a Christmas tree if I want. Hubs might take a stand at this point and rain on my parade. We might have to battle this one out. Not really. He will just smile with a grin and say “Whatever you want, honey.” And he means it. I think.
Those little signs are a good start, too. My quest for vintage signs continues as they provide for an interesting mix of color and sayings that add to the wall.
The girls seem to approve of the new enhancements to their little villa.
I think they need something to hop up on too, like straw bales. Maybe hubs will go to the feed store and pick up a few for the spoiled rotten divas. They’d like that. Uh huh.
The crowning glory would be a copper weather vane on the rooftop. There are so many to choose from online. It would be great to find one at an auction or estate sale. That will just have to go on the list for finishing touches. It’s like putting a cherry on top of an ice cream sundae, or icing on a cake. Which would signal an end to the remodel. Until I conjure up something else that needs to be done. See, I am crazy.
Do you share in the chicken fever? If so, I’d love to hear about it.
Enjoy the weekend!
If you love fresh cut flowers like I do, but don’t have a vase to put them in, you can still feast your eyes and senses with their beauty and fragrance in your own home. You just have to think outside of the box. So many times I’m faced with the dilemma of not having something readily available to serve a particular purpose. Sometimes it can be frustrating, yet there’s the magic of discovery when I start looking around and find exactly what I want, if not better than what I thought I had to have.
Case in point.
Late Spring yielded a bumper crop of delphiniums. With the weather warming up, there’s nowhere for new flowers to shoot off from the plants unless I cut the ones in bloom off. This is a good practice anyway if you want to have a constant profusion of color in your garden.
Now, I have a lot of clear glass and crystal vases that hold petite bouqets. But for these giants, I have nothing to hold them. Or so I thought. As I wandered around the yard trying to find something that would work, there it was on the ground. A fantastic old galvanized watering can in great condition to hold water! I hadn’t seen that thing in several years. Hubs had confiscated it from me to use elsewhere, and left it underneath a pine tree. Lucky for me it showed up again like a shiny penny.
It turned out to be the perfect solution. Had I not had the need to figure out a holding vessel for these beauties, I would have never thought of using an old pail or bucket. But it couldn’t be better, or have more charm.
A simple old watering can. Charm indeed.
So who needs a fancy vase anyway? Barney approves.
The old shoe of fourteen years had to jump up on the picnic table to see what I was up to. He happens to love flowers. And catnip. And his mom.
It can be so much fun, and so rewarding, to find alternative uses for things that are right under our nose. We just have to get a little creative and think in a non-traditional sense. It seems that whenever I do this there’s usually a fabulous outcome I would have never thought of otherwise. That’s called living authentically. Finding that uniqueness in yourself and the world around you.
So get out there and cut some flowers, or pick some up at the local marketplace. Find a container that’s out of the ordinary. It will make you smile.
Happy weekend everyone!
It’s officially the first day of summer. For some, that means lazy days are ahead. Especially if it involves a warm sunny window.
We’ve all heard the saying “the dog days of summer.” Err…cat days of summer?
After several months of gray skies and icicles dangling off of the eves, what pampered feline wouldn’t want to be snoozing in a sundrenched spot? In the kitchen no less. In a basket of beloved paperback cookbooks collected over the years from supermarket checkouts. Do I get mad? Am I going to make her get down?
Chamois has me wrapped around her little itsy bitsy paws. She was the one that I rescued from that Schnauzer, remember? Lucky for her. Well, lucky for us both.
Here it comes, a half mast acknowledgement from the princess herself.
Clunk. Back down.
Wouldn’t it be nice to not have a care in the world? Looking at her is a gentle reminder of how important it is for each of us to step back every now and then, and just take a break from it all.
So go find yourself a place to curl up, a little spot for quiet time, to recharge, or simply dream away the day. Make it special. I have a secluded area I go to where no one can find me, when I just want to get away and bask in solitude (and the sunshine). There’s nothing like being barefoot, sitting in a chaise lounge with a good book, and listening to the silence of nature.
Where is your favorite place to enjoy the lazy days of summer? I hope you have one. If not, you’re working too hard. Or worrying too much. Or something.
Let’s get out and celebrate summer!
There are some things that just take my breath away.
This is a peony flower bloom. Untouched, just as the camera saw it. The spectacle of blooms has had me dreamy-eyed over the past few days. The brilliance of color in these dazzlers is truly breathtaking.
The peony is a perennial flower that only blooms once in the Spring. I suppose that’s why I’m taking it all in while I can, because these are the only flowers of this magnitude to be seen for the rest of the year. Sheer and utter rapture.
It was a gift given to me last year. A perfect sunny spot in front of the living room window begged for a profusion of color, yet I hadn’t come up with anything that I really cared for, or had that “Wow” factor. After planting and tearing out different species over the years, I was about to give up.
According to Greek mythology, Peony is named after Paeon, who was a student of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine and healing. At one point Asclepius became so jealous of Paeon that Zeus had to step in and save Paeon from the wrath of Asclepius. By doing so, Zeus turned Paeon into the peony flower. Lucky for us!
Peonies usually outlive their caretakers. A peony can easily live over 100 years if given the proper location to grow. And once their planted, they don’t want to ever be disrupted.
Flowers have a multitude of healing powers such as aromatherapy and naturopathy. For me, it’s the pure joy and fascination that I am blessed to witness with my own eyes that brings such pleasure. Definitely a mood enhancer, for sure.
Sadly, many times the beauty of blooming flowers goes unnoticed because many are in such a rush, or have mind chatter going 24/7 that precludes them from taking a simple pause to “stop and smell the roses.” I’ve learned the importance of doing just that, stopping. Observing. Savoring the moment. Because life is so fragile, and can be taken away without notice.
Since this is a one-time bloomfest for the year on this particular plant, I decided to cut off the stems to enjoy inside the house. Otherwise, it would be my luck to have a torrential downpour that would take them out in a matter of minutes.
It’s hard to believe that these came out of my garden. I’m still pinching myself!
If you don’t have flowers blooming in your yard, I’ll bet there are some out there just begging to be picked that are being blindly overlooked by a neighbor or friend. And you don’t even need a fancy vase. I save wine carafes and glass jars that make great vases, and that have more character I might add.
So stop and take a look around. It’s Spring! Beauty surrounds us everywhere.
Isn’t this beautiful?
I’m referring to the cake stand, not the cake. Though, the cake is a beaut too. And is even more delicious than it looks even with it’s regal presentation. I’ll share that with everyone a little later.
It’s no secret that I adore Fenton art glass. This particular piece is called a milk glass hobnail footed cake plate, and was produced in the early 1970’s. It has a pie crust rim, which some refer to as ruffled. The Fenton Art Glass Company built a factory in Williamstown, West Virginia in 1906. The first pieces were created in 1907. The rest is history. They produced incredible designs. During the Great Depression and World War II, they made more practical items, such as tableware and bowls.
This catch was made in the 1970’s. I know this because that’s when the company started stamping their logo on the bottom of their pieces. In the 1980’s, they placed a number 8 under the name on the stamp to identify it as having been made in that decade. The same was true for those produced in the 1990’s. So when you’re out looking at these pieces, this might help give you an idea as to when the item was made. As for anything without a stamp, you might have to do some homework in figuring out what time period it was produced. There were different colors, patterns, and methods used over the years. Everything from tableware to vases, perfume bottles, lanterns, candy dishes and decanters were presented in spectacular variations.
To get a good idea as to the multitude of things that came out of the factory, go to the library or your local book store and peruse the collection of books that have been published just on Fenton art glass alone. I have a few in my personal collection that I refer to from time to time to keep myself familiarized with the identifiers and values for many of the pieces. This comes in handy when one catches my eye when treasure hunting.
I fell in love with this cake stand when I saw it. It was in pristine condition. Look at the hobnail detailing underneath the plate. No one would usually notice this unless it was placed on a high table or shelf.
Now for the story as to how I came to having acquired it. I was in western Montana one day checking out antique and thrift shops. There seem to be one or two new ones popping up from time to time, so it’s always fun to see what’s new.
As I glanced down a side street while driving the main highway, I saw a woman standing at the curb with piles of “stuff” stacked on the sidewalk. She was nervously pacing. If nothing else, I thought I would be a good samaritan and see if there was anything I could do for her. It turned out the poor thing was waiting for a truck to come and take away all of her collected treasures to the auction house.
I gasped. Thinking quickly, I asked her if I could take a look at her things, and she kindly gave me permission to go inside to look at what remained in the little storefront. A huge dining table was stacked with all kinds of beautiful dishes. The real gem stood in the middle of it all. The gorgeous Fenton cake stand. I carefully plucked it from the pile and asked her how much she would take for it. I clutched it with a death grip and handed her a twenty. She was happy. I was ecstatic!
This is what makes me love scouting around for treasures. The adrenaline rush. The thrill of victory.
As for that delectable Cream Cheese Pound Cake? You’ve got to try it.
The recipe can be found on my trusted Allrecipes website. Go here to get it. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/cream-cheese-pound-cake-iii/detail.aspx. Be sure to read my review. I used cake flour that made the texture smooth and velvety, and almond extract for flavor that sent it over the top.
Have a great weekend everyone!
Often times my husband will reminisce about his days of childhood. The best stories are the ones he tells about when he would run away from home with his cousin in search of a better life. Kind of like an old Huck Finn storyline. The best part of the tale is when nightfall would come. It got cold. They got scared. And they got hungry.
Sheepishly, the boys would return home, knowing they’d get a spanking, followed by a seat at the dinner table to eat leftovers, of which they ravenously devoured.
His Mamaw would always shake her finger at them and say “Crumb will getcha.” And it did, every time.
So this morning I headed out to clean the girls digs. I try to keep the nesting boxes and floor fresh with clean pine shavings. It’s always a good time to take notice if there are any problems going on, like parasites or runny stools that could signal possible illness. My motto is “A clean chicken is a healthy chicken.” That goes for the coop as well. Besides, the eggs we eat are a byproduct of their environment. Okay, enough said.
While I’m busy inside raking and sweeping, the hens chatter away in the run outside. A few of them like to be nosy about what I’m up to, so they come in under foot until I have to shoo them away. It usually takes two trips to the compost pile where I dump the litter. After the first cart was full, I headed out the gate. Unbeknownst to me, the door was cracked just enough for the most inquisitive one to escape.
That would be Mavis. She strutted around, checking everything out until she settled in to a pile of rich garden soil I had reserved for planting seedlings. Since I knew she wasn’t going anywhere for awhile, I continued to finish up with the coop chores. When it was time to herd her back with the others, she became quick like greased lightening, and there was no way I was going to get her to run back in on her own free will.
Then I remembered. “Crumb will getcha.”
I fetched a piece of day old bread and went in to the run with the others to feed it to them. As they gathered like guppies at my feet, Mavis was beside herself. She wanted in on the action, too. Now chickens aren’t too swift in the brains department. Even though I left the gate wide open, she just ran up and down the side of the fence in a quandary as to how she was going to get back in. Alas, she finally figured it out, and in no time darted from behind me in quest of the holy breadcrumb.
Mavis is the head chickstress, so there was no way she was going to miss out. As soon as her presence was known, the others stood in a quandary, like “Where did she come from?” Eva usually doesn’t sit still for a nano second. I was able to capture the look on her face.
After all of the hoopla was over, the girls started to preen with satisfaction for having had a good snack. Zsa Zsa took to herself in a quiet shaded corner to pluck at her plumage.
Lacey and Coco followed suit. It’s funny how they tend to have predictable habits.
With Mavis back in safe and sound, and all of the girls content, I finished spreading out the last of the pine shavings, filled the feeders, and topped off their water.
And with that, I’ll call it all good and head to the shower.
Thank you, Mamaw. Yes, crumb will getcha every time.
Rarely does anything go to waste around my house. It takes a lot of meal reinventions with leftovers and repurposing before I consider a toss to the trash. One of the great things about having backyard chickens is they will gladly take any and all of the scraps you give them. Borderline-turning rotten fruits and veggies, outdated dairy (oh yes, the girls LOVE yogurt!), and day old bread.
Once in a blue moon if I haven’t used up the eggs within a few weeks, I’ll scramble them up and they’ll eat those too! Yeah, it sounds weird, huh? But they really like them! Just a word of caution, don’t ever, EVER, give them raw eggs. Once they get the taste for them, the chickens get an insatiable hunger for them and you’ll never see another egg again! They’ll start pecking the freshly laid ones, and once they start that habit they will never stop. I had a Rhode Island Red that got her first taste from a cracked egg that landed on the floor in the coop and broke. She gobbled it up so fast, and from then on she thought the rest of the eggs that the girls laid were free game. I had to say “bye bye” to her.
Um, no, she didn’t land in the stew pot. She was humanely turned over to someone who wanted just one laying hen. She’s alive and well and doing just fine.
I recently ended up with too much salad mix that in no way hubs and I were going to finish off. It was one of those big containers from one of those big warehouse stores. So out to the girls it went.
As soon as it landed in the feed pan, the party began.
It’s quite entertaining to observe how they each jockey for position to take a scratch at the lettuce.
Mavis is on first!
Mavis goes for a nose dive, while Lacey sneaks up the rear.
And then there’s Coco. She is the sweet, quiet one that always settles for leftovers. There has never been a time that I’ve seen her try to compete with the others.
I tend to be like her. Avoid confrontation if at all possible. Smart girl.
Coco is a Silver Pencilled Wyandotte, bred for their feathers that are used to make fly fishing ties. It’s a good thing that I don’t fish. And if I did, I certainly wouldn’t pluck at her just to catch one!
They all dart around so fast that it’s hard to get a clear focus on any of them. So that’s what a salad party looks like!
There are some leftover potato skins from last night’s dinner in the fridge. It’s time to go out and say good morning with a treat in hand. It makes them feel special.
Have a wonderful hump day!
There are some days that I get so engrossed in what I’m doing that hours can go by before I snap out of what I refer to as a “meditative coma.” So many things run through my head. Appointments. Phone calls. Chores. Food to prepare. Pictures to be taken. Posts to be written. What should I do first? The mental checklist of to-do’s go on and on as I motion my way through them all.
Until a brush against the leg ends it all. It’s like a referee blowing a screeching whistle and shouting out “game over!”, but in this case, it happens more subtly.
It’s the cat. Chamois. Motor running. Talkative. Soft touch. Paw batting at the knee. “Time’s up!”
As I jolt to reality I look down as she darts to the top of a stool to get my undivided attention.
Now who can resist those deep golden saucer eyes? I think the expression on her face speaks for itself.
So I pull up a stool next to her and we start chatting. I dote on her and tell her how beautiful she is. It doesn’t take much for her to reach the point of satisfaction that all she has left to do is clean her paws. I think that’s the ultimate sign of a feline’s contentment.
I know. Awhhh…...
She’s still on the stool. Staring at me. “Didn’t you get the memo? No more work. Just pay attention to me.”
Okay, okay. You win Chamois!
And with that, I’ll call things good. Happy weekend all!
A remodel was inevitable. Late last summer, a hail storm pounded the you-know-what out of things. All of our fruit and vegetables in the garden were destroyed, tree limbs snapped, and window screens shredded. Luckily no glass was broken. The henhouse took a beating as well.
The girls took cover fast and furious, huddling inside the coop until the storm passed. The west side of their digs was chipped in spots, but was good enough to make it through winter. With all of the moisture we’ve had, the seams were starting to split on the exterior. At the time the coop went up, it was only a matter of time before reinforcements would have to be made.
In my quest for finding a handyman service for the “honey-do” list, the coop was at the top of priorities. It felt kind of funny calling and asking, “Oh, by the way, would you be interested in undertaking a chicken coop remodel?” The first guy that listened intently with a pause said “Sure, no problem! Yeah, we can do that.” Relief overcame me. I was determined to secure the girls nesting quarters before another storm comes along.
Here’s what LePoulailler (that’s French for Hen House) looked like before the work started.
You can see how it was truly coming apart at the seams in this picture. The chain link and shade cover were a temporary fix for additional run space for them. It served it’s purpose.
The guys showed up when they said they would (this is a sign of a good work ethic) and immediately began measuring and making a list of materials. It was no time at all before they returned with a truck load of rough cut lumber and all the screws needed to start the initial phase of rewrapping the exterior. The barn wood was a bargain and went up quickly.
With all of the hammering and other noises going on, the girls got a bit stressed out. They get scared when strangers come around. Within a few days they adjusted to all of the activity quite well. Except they refused to lay any eggs. I told them it was okay.
Once the roof material that had been ordered came in, the guys were able to build the addition for an enclosed run area.
It quickly passed inspection by the girls, and they couldn’t wait to flutter their wings and stretch out in their new playground. There was a lot of talkin’ going on amongst them when I opened the gate for the first time. Zsa Zsa, being the most inquisitive, took the lead and in no time the others followed. They seem to like their new Shangri-La.
I still have more painting and trim work to do, but I have to say this has been excellent progress. Even the inside has been fully insulated. Pictures and mirrors will go up on the walls, along with a cute little vintage chandelier to hang over their perch. I’ve even thought about hanging a strand of little lights on the outside to give the coop a twinkle in the dark.
You’re probably thinking I’m some kind of a crazy, eccentric woman. The fact of the matter is, I love my backyard chickens. There’s something magical that happens in the presence of these characters. It’s a sort of whimsy that becomes spellbinding and draws on inner creativity that has been dormant since childhood. At least that’s the way it is for me. And I have had the pleasure to meet other flock keepers who have had a similar experience and feel the exact same way. So I’m not alone in all of this perceived hysteria.
The day is marching on, and since rain is predicted for tomorrow, I better grab that paint brush. The spoiled rotten divas will delight in my presence, putting on a pageantry of drama that will keep me smiling from ear to ear.
If you share in my enthusiasm for these feathered creatures, I’d love to hear about it!
The poor gal. She was one of the best egg layers in the flock. Her name was Cagney.
I know, I know. “You named her?” you ask. Yeah, well. I have to call every creature I raise or adopt something. She was one I raised as a chick, a little bigger than the size of a walnut. Just coming onto three years of age, she had been pretty consistent in the production department.
There was a nice break in the weather, so I let the girls out to enjoy the sunshine. As with each day, morning and night, I check each one of them to make sure they look healthy and don’t appear to have any problems going on. She had seemed fine that morning, but as the day progressed, she wasn’t darting around with the others in her normal fashion. I thought maybe something had happened to her wing or leg.
I picked her up to inspect her, then turned her over. She looked like she could have been “egg bound.” That’s when a hen can’t pass an egg. I bravely pulled on a pair of latex exam gloves and probed the inside of her cavity to see if I could pull it out. But I couldn’t feel anything. It was so hard inside. I shouted out to my husband to bring me the phone.
Okay, this is where I draw the line with this “country living” thing. The chicken was obviously in pain. Her waddles were starting to turn purple. I immediately called our veterinarian. Yes, you heard me right. I called the vet. I didn’t want the poor thing to suffer. And there was no way in hell I was going to personally take her out of her misery by wringing her neck. No way. Not this city girl. The mere thought makes my stomach roll. Besides, Cagney was technically a pet.
So I crated her up and drove her to the vet, who was graciously waiting for me at the front door. Of course it was the weekend. An emergency call. Appropriate charges will follow. She pulled her out onto the table and could see there was no hope, so she kindly drew up a syringe of the lethal stuff to send her on her way, pain free.
It was such a relief to my soul. I could not have bared to witness one more excruciating minute of her struggle. Peace immediately came to my heart. On the drive home with the empty pet carrier in the back seat, I started to wonder if chickens, or any animal for that matter, go to the same place we humans do. They’re living, breathing beings.
Is there a chicken Heaven? What do you think? I would love for you to share your thoughts.
The collection of cookbooks that I have amassed over the years continues to grow. As do other collections of “things” that hold a great deal of meaning to me. And not necessarily the type of meaning one would embrace from family heirlooms that have been passed on through the generations. So many times, when rummaging through the auction house, estate sales, or thrift stores, I come across true treasures that were once coveted by a person or family I never knew.
It often saddens me to see these collections. Because they belonged to someone. Questions and scenarios rush through my head. What happened? Were there any surviving family members or close friends? Did they have any children? Why on earth have these landed here? Didn’t anyone close to this person want these? Did they have anyone at their side when they crossed over? I go on tilt mode for a brief period time, conjuring up all kinds of scenarios.
The bottom line is they’re discards from someone’s life. Banished to the piles of second-hand goods that get haphazardly rummaged through by strangers. The mere thought makes me cringe. Why? Because I care. I care about the fact that these things were once an integral part of someone else’s life.
The other day I sat down for awhile to look through some cookbooks for a particular recipe. I decided to look at the older “vintage” ones I had collected that would most likely have what I was looking for, albeit with different ingredients and serving portions. My, have things changed over the decades.
It’s such fun to see how recipes were published in “the day.” Like this Betty Crocker cookbook from 1961.
The illustrations were simple, yet they told a story. I could spend hours going through these old gems.
Many times, church groups and ladies auxiliaries would publish pamphlet-style cookbooks for fund raising and charities. They still do in modern times, just differently. Again, they were simple.
And you’ve gotta love those little tin card file holders. There were several cards I plucked from the Pillsbury Recipe Box to remind me of some dishes I don’t want to forget to make.
As I replaced them back in the bookcase, I looked at my own personal collection of cookbooks all lined up on the shelves. It got me thinking. “Where will they end up when I’m gone from this earthly plane?”
I suppose that’s out of my hands, as with the treasures I’m privileged to now own that once belonged to someone else. Then that thought got me thinking again (I do this a lot).
Maybe these old throwaways were meant to land where they did. In some divine way, I was drawn to them, to take care of them. Because if they were to end up in the wrong hands, they could have been completely destroyed. That would be horrible.
Now that I’ve had a chance to look at this subject with a fresh perspective, I’ll think twice before I cringe the next time I see boxes and boxes of antique heirlooms up for grabs. Who knows? They might just be meant to be mine for the taking.
So the next time you’re looking at something that catches your eye at a picking, hold it in your hands a bit. Think about what it might have meant to someone. Maybe it’s supposed to be with you, and you’ll end up loving it for many years to come. Just as they did many years ago.
Have a great weekend everyone!
Any time I’m in the city for appointments, I never miss an opportunity to stop in to at least one of my favorite variety stores. If for nothing else, to make a flying pass through the clearance aisle. Timing can be everything. This week, I caught the tail end of the Valentine’s Day blowout. The signs said 70% off everything that was left over. Yes, 70% off! Since I’m not one to drop a wad of cash on seasonal items before a particular holiday, I try to take advantage of the days after. It’s a great time to build on the arsenal of specialty pans I like to collect. Baking things in cutesy-shaped molds can bring a smile to someone, making them feel honored you took the time to create a little something special. But many of those things can be very expensive.
Yesterday, I scored. I just love it when that happens. Don’t you?
Check out this Nordic Ware cake pan. I thought this was so sweet. I’ll be able to make little heart-shaped cakes dipped in icing. I think an injection of something creamy inside would be a nice surprise for the recipient. Of course that’s about a year away.
So here’s what I love about these pans. They’re made tough. Built to last. Like a Chevy truck. With a little extra TLC, they can be handed down through the generations. And they’re so unique!
I’ve been raising and care-taking a small flock of laying hens over the past three years. They’re not just any hens. They’re special. They’re not your run-of-the-mill egg layers.
So what’s one to do with an ageing hen? That’s the dilemma.
They have names. Zsa Zsa, Eva, Liza, Coco, Myrna, Mavis, Cagney and Lacey. They’re drop-dead gorgeous. There are two French Favorelles, two Golden Laced Wyandottes, a Silver Penciled Wyandotte (her feathers are coveted for fly fishing ties), an Americana Blue Wheaten (she’s a green egg layer), and two Plymouth Barred Rock hens. Oh, I know, I should have never named them. Never, never, ever!
At least once a month, I have to go on what I call “A Day of Discovery” junket. Now, keep in mind that anything close that even resembles a “city” is at least 100 miles away. A small city, anyway. There’s a charming place I go to that’s on the other side of a mountain pass that takes me across the state line into Montana. It’s truly a “through the forest, over the mountains” to get there kind of drive. A breathtaking drive. There’s never a time I don’t witness Mother Nature at her best. American Eagles swoop across the river, fish pop in and out of the water, big-horn sheep graze on the roadside, as well as deer and elk. Depending on the time of year, there are a number of species I see that take my breath away. So I look forward to these little getaway days.
The destination on this particular jaunt was Hamilton. It’s littered with wonderful galleries, boutiques, thrift stores and antique shops. I absolutely love antiques. I’m always on the lookout for things that can be “re-purposed.” The more unique, the better my imagination gets carried away with itself.
I noticed some little white porcelain dishes on a shelf marked 40% off in a consignor’s booth. Hmm….I thought. They were quite interesting. Especially with “Coors USA” stamped on each one of them. As I stood there fondling them (which I tend to do as my wheels are turning, “should I or shouldn’t I buy it?”), the light bulb came on. They would make the most perfect bowls for “a pinch of this, a pinch of that!” So I bought them.
What do you think?
They’re called evaporating dishes. During the years of prohibition, Coors turned his brewery into a cement manufacturing plant, and also a plant that fashioned scientific and chemical products made from porcelain. So these were used in lab research and development. The Coors Porcelain Company, created solely to get the company through prohibition, grew into one of the world’s leading industrial and technical manufacturers, known today as CoorsTek.
Betcha didn’t know that. But then again, maybe you did. In which case you’re probably an expert on history and keep abreast of world affairs. Sigh.
You’ll be seeing these in upcoming recipe photos. They’re perfect to pre-measure seasonings and spices. I like to be organized when I cook. Having everything at the ready is essential.
They really are unique and kind of cute. Do you have any special finds you’d like to tell us about?
The day remains crystal clear in my memory bank.
“And the cat?” the veterinary assistant asked.
Perched on her shoulder was this darling little kitten (they’re all darling, right?). It sprang forward and landed on my shoulder.
You know what they say. We don’t choose them, they choose us.
Well, the rest is history.
Her name is Chamois. She has a motor that won’t quit. She’s the queen of the kingdom.
The kingdom has a Boston Bull Terrier whom she adores. The feeling is not mutual.
There are four other cats. Two male house cats and two female indoor/outdoor cats, depending on the weather. One thinks he’s gonna outsmart Chamois one of these days.
Not a chance.
By the way, she was turned in by her owner because there was a Schnauzer in the household that continued to bite her.
Thank God for Schnauzers.
Do you have any pet rescues to share? I’d love to hear about them.