Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from our coop to yours! 

I sat with the chickens for about 15 minutes this morning.  Buffy gave me the gift of jumping up into my lap.  She sat there for about 5 minutes.  Thank you Buffy, I needed that.

The sun is shining into the coop window and casting a beautiful light. Riley seems to like to sit up on the perch in it. 


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Treats

Chickens will eat just about anything we eat.  I haven't tossed table scraps in the garbage for a long time now.  Natural composters.  Sometimes I buy things especially for them.  $0.82 for a small package of collard greens doesn't faze me.  They love a treat of warm rice, cream of wheat, pasta or oatmeal on a chilly morning.  

 In today's treat pan for the chickens were the greens and and apple.  Red and green.  How fitting.  It sends them into a feeding frenzy and is cures any boredom they may be experiencing.  I keep a couple old baking pans on the counter and fill them up during the day with trimmings from veggies and fruits and old bread.  It makes for happy chickens and healthy eggs.

Here is a list of treats for chickens...
Green beans
Cereal (low sugar)
Cream of Wheat
Rice (cooked)
Summer Squash
Yogurt (plain)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

That's a wrap!

Today we wrapped the run in plastic in hopes of creating a bit of a warm solarium for the chickens and to give them protection from the winter wind.  This will also keep the snow from drifting in and mucking up the sand in the run.  Seems pretty cozy already.  All they need now is a hot tub!  Pampered chickens for sure!

The girls were a bit freaked out at first and wanted nothing to do with being in the run but soon they found that it wasn't that scary.  They then discovered that some green goodies got trapped between the plastic and the hardware cloth and had to gobble up all they could.

We also added a homemade water heater to keep their water from freezing in really cold weather.  It was super easy to make.  My 12 year old son made it in less than 15 minutes.  We haven't had to plug it in yet because the temperature inside the coop has not gone lower than 31 degrees and we haven't had to deal with frozen water. It's simply made from an old cookie tin (Thank you fellow Freecylcer) and a lamp assembly bought at the hardware store for about $7.  Add a 40 watt bulb and you've got enough heat to keep the water from freezing.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hello Sunshine!

We finally had some sunshine today after what seemed like a very long dreary spell.  Everyone around here enjoyed the day.  Even though the temperature was a crisp 37 degrees the sun still warmed our backs and our tails...

Riley wonders what that bright orb is that's shining into the coop.
Even the cats couldn't resist a nap in the sun...

When I die I want to come back as a cat.

I love the way the light streams into the dining room this time of year...

And of course I couldn't resist a walk through the prairie and the woods in the sunshine.

How do you spend your sunny days?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A lesson from the chickens.

Our weather forecast for today is this..
Today: Periods of rain and snow, becoming all snow after 3pm. Temperature falling to around 33 by 3pm. North-northwest wind between 22 and 24 mph, with gusts as high as 33 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. Total daytime snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Sounds great doesn't it?  The radar is very pretty right now with every color of the rainbow represented.  So far it's been mostly a cold, wind driven, heavy rain.  Half and inch of snow is a mere dusting and with all the rain its not going to stick to anything. It's too early in the season.  I personally would rather that this was all snow.  I like winter, that's just me.

My view from the patio.  See the puddle?

I have to take the long way around this puddle to get to the girls.
 I'm learning that no matter what the weather conditions, chickens remain happy creatures and continue to go about their business.  Talking, scratching, pecking, eating and of course laying eggs.  We could all learn a lesson from them.  I'm going to go about my business and make some hot comfort food and bake some bread and maybe get a fire going in the fireplace.

All the girls out in the run enjoying the day. Not a care in the world.

Even this little guy found shelter from the rain inside the garage.
What do you do when the weather seems to turn on you?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tour De Coop

I follow other blogs and the one that I enjoy the most is Tilly's Nest.  She has been asking followers to link up with tours of our coop.  What better way than with a video!  

I certainly can't take all the credit here.  Scott built all of this with plans he drew up in his head.  He's so talented.  Thank you honey.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The smallest egg!

This little small brown egg in the middle is the smallest egg so far.  Even smaller than the first egg. 
I can't help but call this an egg fart.  It's so cute!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

What's going on?

I'm confused.  We have 9 chickens.  Six that lay brown eggs and three that lay green eggs.  Today and this past Wednesday our chickens gave us a total of 9 eggs, which is great.  Now here is where I get confused.  Each day we had 7 brown eggs and 2 green eggs.  What could be happening?  Do we have and Easter Egger who should be laying green eggs now giving us brown eggs?  Do we have a brown layer giving us 2 in one day?  I've read that chickens have 2 ovaries but one is usually dormant and that only one will be in operation. Maybe we have a chicken who is using both ovaries? An egg takes 21-25 hours to develop.  

Today's loot.

Here is how it happens
The first thing that forms is the yellow, or yolk, of the egg. This is formed within the reproductive organ of the bird or ovary. The yellow breaks out of the ovary and enters the upper end of the reproductive tract. Here, the white of the egg is added. It then travels down to the lower part of the tube where the membranes and the shell are applied around the yellow and the white.  It takes about 20 hours for the egg shell to form. If the hen lays brown eggs, the brown pigments are added to the shell in the last hours of shell formation.  The color is dependent on the breed.

I still find this so fascinating!
What do you think?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


See what happens when I place a pumpkin in the chicken run.

First no one really cares about it...

Then they get curious....

Then they get a taste.....

 Georgia gets her beak way inside searching for the tasty seeds.....

In action.....

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


All of our chickens are now laying.  So that means we are getting 6-8 eggs a day!  Now is the time to use up eggs and/or give/sell some to family and friends.  There is no school today and I have a budding baker on my hands who wants to bake something besides cookies. She decided on brownies.  I found this recipe on Tasty Kitchen, a new obsession of mine, and they look amazing and call for 4 eggs (and a lot of butter!).  We better get crackin!


Jumbo Fudge Brownies with Perfect Chocolate Frosting


  • 19 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • ¾ cups Dark Cocoa Powder
  • 4  Eggs
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 1-½ cup Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1-½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 2-⅔ cups Powdered Sugar
  • ½ cups Dark Baking Cocoa
  • 1-½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ cups Milk

Preparation Instructions

To make brownies, preheat oven to 350ºF and grease a 9×13 inch baking pan. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter.

Cool slightly and stir in cocoa powder until combined.

In a separate mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until combined.

Sift the flour, salt, and baking powder into the egg mixture and stir gradually to combine. Pour in the vanilla and the cooled chocolate mixture and stir until combined.

Spread into a greased pan and bake for 25-28 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely.

To make the frosting, in a clean mixing bowl combine butter, powdered sugar, cocoa, and vanilla and cream until smooth.

Add milk a little at a time until desired spreading consistency is reached.

Spread over cooled brownies, cut and enjoy.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


This whopper of an egg is nearly 3 inches long and weighs 3 ounces!  I'm betting that there are 2 yolks inside there.  I'll wait til breakfast to find out.............

Meanwhile here is a brief explanation of how this happens...

Double-yolk eggs occur when ovulation occurs too rapidly, or when one yolk becomes joined with another yolk. These eggs may be the result of a young hen's productive cycle not yet being synchronized.  Some hybrid breeds of hens also produce double yolk eggs by default.  Although heredity causes some hens to have a higher propensity to lay double-yolked eggs.  Usually a double-yolked egg will be longer and thinner than an ordinary single-yolk egg.

Sure enough!  Our first double yolker.  I wonder who laid it?  I can certainly relate to her because I'm also a mother of twins. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

3 Pepper Zucchini Quiche

If you know me at all then you know I LOVE to cook and bake.  Now is the time of the year that you will find me in the kitchen more than usual.  We have a bumper crop of everything from the garden.   Now that we have a good supply of eggs, that will only increase in the next few weeks, I'll have even more opportunities to be here.

My Dad turned me on to quiche when I was about 14.  His were in the form of a frozen crust and the quiche mix came frozen in a paper milk carton. Thaw, pour, bake, and serve.  They were ok but I always think I can do better. Which made me a self-taught cook.  I've made many quiches over the years and not one has been the same.  I always think of my Dad when making them and wish he could taste my creations. Especially cookies. Tonight it was a 3 Pepper Zucchini Quiche.

I started with a crust I found on Tasty Kitchen/The Pioneer Woman. It makes 3 crusts. Prepare one crust in a pie dish and freeze the other two balls of dough.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a pan saute together for about 10-12 minutes:
1 TBSP olive oil
1/2 an onion thinly sliced
1 cup total of diced peppers (any color combo, I used red, yellow and purple)
1 cup of shredded zucchini

Then add 5 pieces of pre-cooked crumbled bacon and turn the heat off.

In a bowl whisk together:
5 eggs
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup of sour cream
1/4 tsp of garlic powder
Fresh ground pepper
 A generous pinch of dried parsley

Place the veggie/bacon mixture in the bottom of the prepared pie crust and sprinkle 1 cup of shredded cheese (whatever you may have on hand - I used a combo of feta, mozzarella, and cheddar) on top of that and then pour on the egg mixture.  Place the pie dish on a pan and loosely cover the top of the quiche with foil and bake for an hour (or a bit longer til the eggs are set) at 400 degrees.  Let it cool about 10 minutes before cutting.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Homegrown vs. Store Bought

Can you spot the homegrown egg?
Which would you rather eat? 

After this batch of zucchini bread I'm officially done buying store bought eggs.

Sunday, September 11, 2011