"Gypsy gold does not chink and glitter. It gleams in the sun and neighs in the dark."

~ Saying of the Gladdagh Gypsies of Galway

Monday, January 14, 2013

Adding to the Flock!

Despite the fact we have a little one on the way, we decided we'll also add to our flock this Spring!
However, this time, these chicks will NOT be raised in my spare bathroom. NO WAY JOSE!
Hubby will be making them a nice, warm enclosure within the chicken coop for them.

We already have 6 Golden Buffs and the ladies are wonderful. Still, in the winter with the cold weather and limited sunlight hours, they are laying 5-6 eggs a day. The are nice and very sociable....almost TOO sociable for me ;)

To add to our flock, we have decided on the following breeds.

The Easter Egg'er
This was one of hubby's choices. He wants to get the different colored eggs. *Note - the birds are also all different colors. And sorry, I mean this in the nicest way possible, but dang are they UG-LY!

The Delaware
I am not really sure how we decided on this breed. Hubby wanted a bird that layed white eggs but after going through the breeds offered by our local hatchery for white egg layers, either the availability didn't coincide with our date, or something about the breed was undesirable to us. So, we hopped back over the brown egg laying breeds and ended up with a white hen!

Either way, I have heard god things about this breed and they are cold and heat hardy which is a must for us!

The Barred Rock
This is a breed we both liked. We had it on our original list in last years order, but for reasons I cannot recall, we scratched it and just went with all Golden Buffs. Again, another breed that is supposed to be docile, a good egg layer and cold/heat hardy!

Because we will NOT be raising these chicks in our spare bathroom this year, we decided to order a total of 8, rather than 6, just in case of a casualty. Of course, this is something we'll do whatever we can to ensure it doesn't happen, however, the chances are still there even IF they were going to be raised in the bathroom.

I have come to realize that chickens can be a dime a dozen to take care of, but when you have a small flock and pretty much count on their daily egg output, one passing can be devastating. Because we choose to raise from birth, versus buying an already laying hen, there is precious time involved while that hen matures to laying age. And, heaven forbid, a predator comes in and wipes out your whole flock...or even half of it, well... I just couldn't imagine.

Speaking of predators, hubby keeps tossing around the idea of adding a roo. I am not ready for that yet. If someone could guarantee me he was friendly, docile and acted just like the hens when I was around, I'd say ok. But I am still learning to love these birds and with my luck, I'd have a rooster that wouldn't let me out my back door without fearing for my life!

For those of you Poultry Peeps out there that have roo's, do any of you have any experience with a Golden Buff, Easter Egg'er, Delaware or Barred Rock roo?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Recipe: Baked Oatmeal

Admittedly, we eat a lot of eggs for breakfast. We have 6 chickens and a 3 person household! You do the math. But, my son seems less than thrilled as of late to be served his daily helping of eggs, no matter what way they are served - fried, scrambled, hard boiled, scrambled with bacon - doesn't matter! So, I have to mix it up sometimes. When I do, I LOVE to make baked oatmeal! It stores in the fridge well and between him and I, makes for a few days worth of breakfast, which, on a hectic weekday morning is perfect!

I LOVE Heidi Swanson's recipe from her book Super Natural Everyday. Below is my version, altered just slightly!

Baked Oatmeal
2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup maple syrup or honey (whichever I have on hand)1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon ( I love cinnamon in my oatmeal!)
Scant 1/2 teaspoon 'real' salt
2 cups whole milk
1 large pastured egg
1.5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (plus more to butter your baking dish!)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups huckleberries, blueberries, or mixed berries (my personal fav. is raspberries!)

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Generously butter the inside of an 8-inch baking dish.

In a bowl, mix together the oats, the sugar, the baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

In another bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, the milk, egg, half of the butter, and the vanilla.

Arrange the bananas in a single layer in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle two-thirds of the berries over the top. Cover the fruit with the oat mixture. Slowly drizzle the milk mixture over the oats. Gently give the baking dish a couple thwacks on the counter top to make sure the milk moves through the oats. Scatter the remaining berries across the top.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the top is nicely golden and the oat mixture has set. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. It is wonderful warm out of the oven! The leftovers I leave in the baking dish, cover with foil, and store in the fridge. Then I just reheat them the next morning :)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Back on my Real Food Rant

Do you know one thing I miss since becoming more conscious about the foods I consume? I miss satisfying a craving just by running to a store and grabbing what I want! And let me tell you, at 8.5 months prego, that can be brutal!!

Right now I would LOVE a Danish! However, there is no Danish anywhere within reasonable driving distance of me that is going to cut it. Some may look good, but in the end, I know they all taste like garbage and chances are, if I eat it, I will feel like garbage too!

This is good and bad, I suppose! Good because I know better now, but bad because when I have a craving for something, usually my only option is to make it myself. And I am pretty sure I can't make a danish the way I would imagine it to be :)

So, who has an easy danish recipe I could whip up really fast? :)

In all seriousness though, if you have changed your diet to cut out fake foods, processed foods, sugars etc etc, what is a quick go-to recipe you tend to use that helps satisfy a craving? I am curious!

And I also have to ask, when you are at a food store, do you find yourself analyzing the cart behind you? (ha!) I know, did I just say that? But, I can't help it -- I like to see what other people are buying - it is interesting to me. And, it is sad when I see a cart full of canned 'fat free' soups, diet this and that, low-fat yogurts, skim milk and a head of lettuce. It tells me this is someone who is trying to be conscious of their health and what they eat, but in reality, all of that (with the exception of the lettuce) is junk! And with the messed up food system we have here in the states, sadly, too many don't understand that. They think it is all good stuff.

Share your thoughts with me on this!

Friday, January 4, 2013

A Clean Slate - Welcome 2013!

Hi There!
I am back.

I think!

I miss blogging. And the other thing is, I have a lot of opinions swirling in my head and voicing them to only my husband gets boring. He's heard it all before so I think he tends to nod and agree anymore, not really hearing what I say :)

2012 was trying for me. Lots of ups and downs.

A special little boy turned 1 -- gosh, now he is almost ready to turn 2!
And I also became prego with my second child -- which contributed a lot to the lack of tending to this blog. I am not a person who glows being prego. In fact, the only glow coming off me is probably from the sweat that develops on my face after I dry heave every other minute of EVERY.SINGLE.DAY! We are in the home stretch now though, and soon we'll be welcoming another little bundle on the farm!

I also took a plunge and have started my own business with Essential Oils. There will be many more post on this to come - trust me!

Many of you were following along with my sweet mare, Gypsy. I am so sad to say she did not pull through and she passed peacefully, near her pasture with her herd on Sunday, September 16. She let me know it was time, and even though it was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make, I know it was the right decision. I miss her so much every single day. There will truly never be another horse like her in my lifetime. And I know her herd misses her too. It sucks. It was a low point of my 2012.

Alas, 2013 is now upon us. And any year ending in a 13 HAS to be a good year, right?
So, I am hoping to dive back into my blog. To talk about life, REAL food, kids, farming and anything else that tickles my fancy.

Tried any new recipes lately? Care to share?