I Want Leftovers!

Ok ok ok... Yes, I gloated that I didn't have to make Thanksgiving dinner this year, and I am still happy I didn't do it. But, I do miss leftovers. I want a turkey sandwich and mashed tater soup. Oh well...

It's probably a good thing I didn't end up with all the work of cleaning up either because on Friday morning, my sister called me and told me she hurt her back and needed me to come help her with the kiddos and her house. Tiny Gardener to the rescue! So I did her dishes, cleaned up a little, made food, and entertained my nephew (my niece generally doesn't want anything to do with me.)  Haha, my sister said, some kids have blankies and binkies and dog-dogs. My niece has mommy. Hahaha! Even as cute as my little niece is, I can see how she easily drives her momma up a wall, all while having the most adorable little smile! I really do need to get some new pics of these munchkins....

So after taking care of my sister as best I could, I came home yesterday to a house full of boxes as Hubby went to Ikea to get our new living room furniture. So then we spent all night putting furniture together and cleaning and folding boxes.

Then today... Oh today... Really, it wasn't any big deal until we were getting ready to leave the house to go watch the Brownies kick some Pittsburgh butt, and Chelsea Belle was SO excited to go see her boyfriend (Rocky, who really only has eyes for his frisbee) that she fell over the ledge of the foyer and onto the basement stairs. I FREAKED OUT!!! So hubby went on, and I stayed home to keep my eyes on the little lady.  I think she will be ok, she is limping, but does not flinch or yelp at all when I bend her legs and check her spine. She is old, so I am sure she will be sore for a couple of days... Poor little babe... For now she is sleeping on a blankie in front of the stove.


Taking Bets

Our Christmas tree has been up for 12 hours... We have pulled Punkin out of it twice... How many times more do you think that will have to happen? I say between 60 and 70... Hubby says about 180....
Punkin and last year's tree...


A Great Weekend!

I thought after my last post, and the depression and soul searching it brought, I needed to post something happy! Hubby and I have had a great weekend, and it only gets better!

Yesterday, we went to volunteer with his Rotary Club to hand out Thanksgiving dinners to families in need, then we stocked up on fruit and veggies at The West Side Market. Then, he went to work for a couple of hours while I made a total God-forsaken mess in the kitchen cinnamon rolls and bread starter. Then, we had a date night... Out for dinner because our kitchen is still a total freakin mess and then we went and saw the new movie Lincoln (which was totally awesome by the way!)

Today, I will be cleaning the house and then going out for lunch with some girlfriends and then to see the final Twilight movie. Don't judge.... Ok judge, but I am going to see it anyways!


Is Ignorance Bliss?

So, this morning whilst watching the news and hearing about Hostess's baker strike and now announced shut down and liquidation, I stumbled upon this article about turkey abuse at Butterball Farms in North Carolina. Included in the article is This Video that is an undercover, Food Inc type video of the turkey abuse. Now, for those that are aware, animal abuse is fairly common in the industrial food system, so this really is nothing new, but disturbing all the same...

It is a good thing to be aware of everything you eat and the effort (or anti effort?) that goes into making it... But sometimes I wish I didn't know any better...


Give Target Workers Their Holiday!

I found it! The Target petition that is circulating to protest Target opening on Thanksgiving day instead of Friday morning! Please sign it and share this on your blog to give Thanksgiving back to the workers!



Ch Ch Ch Changes

Yes, as you can see, I have changed my blog background.... To Winter... And guess what? I am putting up my Christmas Tree this weekend too...

Don't worry CR, I am still celebrating Thanksgiving, but not at my house!

Oh, and I taught Hubby how to make scrambled eggs tonight! He did so well! He wanted to know if I would make him eggs for dinner, and I said no, but I will teach you. He said no at first, then I reminded him that next semester I will not be around at dinner time 4 days out of the week, and he crumbled and said OK, he would learn. I am so proud!

Chicken Coop Redo 2012

So, the other day I promised you a post about redoing the chicken coop... The building stayed the same, but we moved things around to make it more spacious and easier to access. We also covered the run, so that the girls have a dry, wind-free place to hang out. First off, a shot of how the coop used to be...

The set up worked very well for a long time, but we were trying to figure out how to incorporate a flower pot stand for the water, as we want to figure out a way to keep the water from freezing... We came up with keeping a lightbulb turned on in an overturned flower pot (project details to come, as that part isn't finished yet.)

Anyways, here is the new set up.....
The nesting boxes are right next each other, and we placed some plywood over the top to keep the poo from falling into the boxes... It really is no fun washing your eggs to get the poo off... Gross in fact... The feeder hangs from a chain and there is plenty of room for the water. Although I forgot to take a picture of that, I can ensure you it is mighty fine looking.

The girls are a little confused though, because yesterday they laid eggs literally in the middle of the coop, rather than in the nesting boxes. I am sure this will work itself out, but i just tells me that they feel safe and secure in their house. I guess that is the silver lining!

Oh! And we got a new timer for the heat lamp. Last year we had a digital model, and honestly it was a huge pain in the arse! This year we got a simple, easy to set, non-digital one, and it works great. The girls will have lamp heat and light from 4 am - 7 am. I don't know what you philosophies are on supplemental lighting, but I am all for it. I like my eggs! And it gives the girls some nice warmth in which to clean their feathers without losing too much body heat.
And of course the run is now covered and dry :)
We also weatherized the coop window, but I don't seem to have a picture of that, and since it is cold and snowing, you will just have to take my word for it that is looks great :)



First off, we got our garlic planted! Yay! A couple a weeks late, but at least it got done. Thanks to that lovely storm we all had, it was way to wet to be able to get out there and make it happen. I tilled up the dirt, added in some new good stuff from the Big Orange Store (pickins were slim, so I had to get miracle grow) and then plugged the cloves in the ground. Then it was covered with straw, covered with chicken wire, and poles were put on top to keep the whole lot from blowing away. And to keep the chickens from digging in there.

Winterizing is never a fun day, but at least I get to spend it with Hubby! We emptied the rain barrels, cleaned up the driveway and garage, cleaned the chicken coop, put the tarp over the run, pulled out the rest of the garden, pulled out the anti-groundhog fencing, and then we had to put all that extra stuff away.  I think it is safe to say that we will most likely NOT be able to park in our garage this winter. My car never gets that luxury, but since Hubby has a new car, I am sure we will work on the garage again to be able to get it in there. We also brought in all of the coolers and various plastic containers previously used for chicken transport.

There also was a chicken coop redo, but I will post about that tomorrow... I need something to talk about these days, I don't want to cram it all in one post!
Arial view, empty garden

4 x 12 bed, completely filled with garlic - German Extra Hardy and Chesnock Red

We left the peppers in for the chickens to peck at. Maybe the Bastard Groundhog will come back before hibernation and finish the job for me...

Tarp covered chicken run... Last year, I didn't do this until after it snowed... Big mistake. This year, the girls will stay dry and warm. And a shot of Hubby and Chelsea Belle
Little One, making herself at home :) I love these little chickens!

And Chelsea... We took her for a run this morning, and she has been totally tuckered out all day. She has been sleeping all day!


You Know it is Time to Lose Weight....

...When you bend down and rip your favorite jeans... Oy Vay... It is time to start running again... Good thing we have those super healthy and good for us eggs! If only I didn't like to make them with so much delicious butter....


A Homegrown Dinner

Really, I should have taken a picture... This dinner was so darn good! We had our first steak from our newest installment of beef, courtesy of my annual Christmas present from the Row Family Farmers (aka my awesome sister and her farming hubby) and it really was amazing.

I cooked up a nice big sirloin steak (which not only fed us tonight, but will also feed us breakfast and dinner tomorrow) in my biggest skillet with a healthy coating of Tiny Gardener's House Seasoning.  Oh My GAWD! So I let the steak rest and decided that I needed a fancy dinner... I deglazed the pan with red wine (a fancy term for pouring in some booze and scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan) and added some Worcestershire sauce and 3 drops of liquid smoke and let it reduce until it was shiny and thick... HOLY COW!

As for sides, we had roasted pumpkin (from the farm) and potatoes (from the West Side Market) with garlic and rosemary (backyard garden) as well as some green beans with butter (from the farm.) 

All in all, a darn fine successful dinner, right from our own backyard... For the most part at least..

Tiny Gardener's House Seasoning
2 parts course salt
2 parts course black pepper
2 parts granulated garlic (or garlic powder, however you want to look at it)
1 part paprika (get smoked or spicy if you like, but I just had plain this time around)

I like to make a big batch of this stuff and keep it in a recycled spice shaker that holds about 2 cups.


Kitting is Hard

So tonight, I go my very first set of knitting needles (regular, double pointed, and those ones that make round stuff) and some yarn. I watched several videos on YouTube, and successfully cast on my first row, then knitted some very ugly rows.

I don't really know what happened, but I ended up with some very large loops hanging off the end of the rows, and some how I had some extra loops on my needles... I know this will come better with practice, but OY it is hard!

I am determined to learn, and Hubby has already requested a hat...

I wish I had a mentor!


Americauna Egg!

Blondie Girl has laid her first egg! I am so excited! That means, finally, that we have 3 out of 4 hens laying eggs. Thank you gawd! I was starting to get nervous that we had 2 defective chickens, and would still be left with just 2 laying hens just like our last batch of Girls. Anyone recall Blanche's Eggs Without a Shell??? Yes, I sure do... Then she started eating the eggs the other hens would lay...

Anyways, here is the GORGEOUS turquoise colored egg that Blondie gave us... It looks small in Hubby's hand, but I can assure you it was quite normal sized. I feel kind of bad for the poor girl, laying a normal sized egg her first time... Ouch!