Sunday, March 1, 2015

New Baby Chicks

In early February(the 6th, to be exact) we started incubating a new batch of chicks for the spring. This new group is a group of eggs that come from a special line of French Black Copper Marans, and a motley mixture of our current layers that are Ameraucauna, Cinnamon Queen, Rhode Island Red, Olive Eggers(Easter Egger/Maran mix), and Buff Orphintons with a French Black Copper Maran Rooster. Hopefully these new chicks will be laying in late summer to replace some of our older hens that are becoming less productive.

We are working toward specializing in a couple of breeds that we prefer to have as a dual purpose breed that is appropriate for both high production egg laying and still be big enough to use as a meat bird. So far my favorites are Easter Eggers, Olive Eggers, Marans, and possibly a couple of egg layers that are blue in color. There is nothing better than opening a carton of eggs and seeing a rainbow of just can't help but smile, really.

Back to the chicks...They began hatching on the evening of the 26th and as of this morning 20 of 24 have hatched out successfully. More than likely the last four will not be hatching, but I just have to give them a couple of extra days just in case. I hate the idea of not giving a late bloomer a chance at life. 

 Last night I spent quite a bit of time with two of them that were having a hard time getting out of their eggs on their own. I carefully helped them break just the shell around the edge that they started to unzip making sure that I did not tear the membrane on the inside of the shell. I added water to dampen the membrane to keep it soft so that they could work their way through a little more easily. They were both very week and although they were able to finally break free from their shells, they did not look like they would make it until morning. 

This morning I was excited beyond words to see that both, even though they were weak, were still alive and hanging in there. Now they are running around with the rest of the pack and trying not to get pushed around. One of the two has a toe that was crooked, but I have put it in a splint to help it grow right. I find it amazing how observant these little guys soon as I put these last two chicks in with the group, they immediately started picking on the one with the curved toe...which although is sad, they saw a difference and reacted to it.

Happy March First Everybody! Hoping the new life of these chicks encourages some great Spring weather.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Snow Cream

Today we had snow cream...I tried this a couple of years ago when we last had a decent amount of snow fall. I have to say, I really didn't like it too much. It came out soft, mushy, and didn't have much flavor to speak of. Today we tried again with a different recipe and it came out really good. It had a fluffy creamy texture, and had the look of damp sand. It clumped together when it was scooped with the ice cream scoop, but was still a bit crumbly. We made chocolate, and vanilla, but everyone agreed that the vanilla was just better, of course we ended up with lots
more chocolate than vanilla. The secret to this snow ice cream...condensed milk. It was a little difficult to stir in and get evenly distributed, but it was really worth the extra effort.

Snow Cream
Snow...A couple of big bowls full to make sure you have enough.

vanilla extract...I didn't measure I just poured a little bit in.

1 can of condensed milk

Start out with a large bowl half full of fresh clean snow.
Pour about 1/2 the can of condensed milk and vanilla extract in and start mixing. I say mixing, but it will be more of a chopping, scraping, folding, smashing process. The snow quickly freezes the condensed milk and makes it a little difficult to work into the snow, but keep at it until the color is evenly spread throughout. If it gets too mushy add more snow and keep mixing in until you get a texture you like. Scoop and serve.

The chocolate one that I made was a little different because we unfortunately only had one can of condensed milk. I took some half and half and cooked it with a box of chocolate pudding. Cooled it down and added it to some snow. It didn't have enough chocolate flavor or sweetness for ice cream. I did like the texture though. I think next time I will add the pudding mix to the condensed milk. It was a fun and yummy experiment for this cold day...Now hopefully Spring is in the air and we can get to the business of warmer weather.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Recipe:Skillet Apples

I thought that this would be a great opportunity to officially welcome in fall and the beginning of October. Skillet apples are a warm and wonderful treat that is very adaptable to either a dinner side dish, breakfast topping, or a dessert or dessert topping. My kids love them and they seem to be their go to side when we go to the restaurants that serve them, so recently, because of an abundance of apples, I attempted them and was very happy with the results...The sweet sauce paired well with the slight tart flavor of the apples. They were tender, with a little bit of crunch still left in the center, and coated with the oh so good, gooey goodness of the cinnamon sauce that they are cooked in. It is a really simple process that doesn't take long...that is if you don't include the time of peeling, coring, and chopping the apples.

Here's what you need: 

8-10 Apples, peeled and chopped
1 stick of butter
1 cup of brown sugar
Cinnamon to taste
2 tsp ground nutmeg


 In a large skillet add the butter and begin to let it melt. Add the apples and let them cook for a couple of minutes. Add the cinnamon, brown sugar, and nutmeg. Continue to cook the mixture until the sugar is completely melted and the sauce thickens. Cook until the apples are as tender as you would like them. Be sure to stir the apples the whole time to make sure that they don't burn. Let them cool and serve them as they are, on pancakes, waffles, biscuits, ice cream, pound cake or anything else that cinnamon butter smothered apples sound good on.