Thursday, July 28, 2011

Chicks update: 3 weeks old

Right by mom

Our little chicks are three weeks old this week.  Hard to believe that July has gone by so fast.  They aren't the cute fluff balls that they used to be, although they are still cute.  They are getting more of their tale feathers in and have tripled in size.  They still spend most of their day following their mom's around the coop yard, excited to see what bugs mom can uncover from the ground.  They have been getting more independent though and occasionally we will see one on the other side of the coop yard fence (which they are still small enough to fit through) exploring by themselves.  Still haven't been able to tell which are roosters and which are hens, they all look the same to me!

Exploring in the pumpkin patch
Little chick!  (Not so little anymore!)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lemon slice coasters

When I saw these on The Purl Bee I had to make them.  So cute.  And I have a set of lemon and lime slice salt and pepper shakers that didn't know they had missing coaster cousins.

Too perfect. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

All You Need Is Love card

Wow, we know a couple celebrating their silver anniversary this week!  That's pretty amazing.   We'll be celebrating three years next month and that seems like a long time to me, let alone 25 years.  This occasion to me meant a simple but elegant card.

Cricut Machine or access to one such as in a scrapbooking store
Cartridge - Love Struck 2010
Card stock paper in white
A small sheet of vellum paper in silver
Alphabet stamps
Red ink
Craft glue


Cut one of the following:

4 1/2" heart2 from Love Struck 2010 in white cardstock

Using white cardstock cut out one piece that measures 11 1/2" x 5".  Fold this at 5 1/2"  This will create the base of the card with a small overlap.  I used my stamps to then write their names on the overlap with a heart stamp in between.  Glue your white heart to the front.  Then cut the vellum at 5" x 4 1/2" and glue it to the inside.  Again, I used my stamps to write my message.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tomato Egg Sandwich

Best way to enjoy our first slicer this summer?  Tomato egg sandwich with a Brandywine from the garden, an egg from our chickens and homemade bread.  Yum.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mystery Tomato

We have a mystery tomato plant in our garden!  We planted three variates of tomatoes this year: Brandywine, Lemon Drop Cherry, and Amish Paste Roma.  However, what was suppose to be a roma come out quite different.  In the picture above you can see the romas to the left and the cherries to the very right.  In the middle is our mystery tomato.

They are small, around 2 inches, and they are completely round unlike the romas that are pointy.  They even have different leaves then the rest of our tomatoes:

Its leaves have purple spots on them and it is the only tomato plant we have the appears to be struggling even though it is producing lots of fruit.  I'm completely puzzled by our mystery tomato plant.  We ordered our seeds from Seed Savers Exchange so I called and ask them if they could be of any help - did we make some strange hybrid plant, is this just an Amish Paste that got deformed from the hail storm we had, or did a random seed find its way into our Amish Paste seed packet?  They seemed as intrigued as me and have asked me to send pictures our of mystery tomato plant so they can try and identify it.  Anyone else have a guess while I wait to see what they say?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Peaches, blackberries and relish, oh my!

Did I say lazy weekend?  I spoke too soon.  We stopped at a roadside market just south of where we live and picked up 1/2 bushel of South Carolina peaches and three pints of blackberries.  I pretty much ate blackberries all day.  They were to die for.  The peaches were excellent too.  We even got to keep the basket they sold them in which will be a nice garden basket for collecting our crop from the day along with eggs.  We then spent most of Sunday peeling peaches and canning.  I've never had much luck peeling peaches without them ending up a big mushy mess but I think this time I figured out a trick.  Instead of just boiling the peach for 30 seconds then dunking it in cold water, I made a small cross in the skin with a knife before boiling it.  Seemed to help.  Anyone else have any good tips for peeling peaches?

We ended up with eight quarts of peaches in light syrup (one of my favorite things to eat on yogurt for breakfast in the winter) and six half pints of blackberry jam.  We also had an abundance of cucumbers and hot peppers from the garden so Lewie made a batch of hot cucumber relish.  He kinda used a few recipes and went along with what we had so it ended up having shredded cucumber, hot peppers, onions, celery, mustard seed, celery seed, canning salt and apple cider vinegar.  Have yet to try it, but the smell was wonderful and looks so pretty in the jars.  I'm sure it will be good on a brat or sausage. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Happy birthday chicks!

Our chicks turned 1 week old today.  All five are doing well and growing daily!  They are really starting to get some color in their feathers already.  We've had to teach them how to get back in the coop at night, but other then that they seem pretty self sufficient.  They spend most of their day following their moms around the coop yard scratching for food and exploring.  One even had a grub the other day which was about the size of it's head but it was pretty excited about it!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Garden fresh salsa

What's better then a lazy weekend?  A lazy weekend with homemade salsa.

We made a nice salsa with ingredients from our garden: cherry tomatoes, mystery tomatoes (more on this later), roma tomatoes, a hot pepper, a green pepper and cilantro.  The only thing in our salsa not from our garden was garlic and salt.  Just threw them in the food processor and yum it was tasty.

One of the joys of summer!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The great egg experiment: Day 21

We have chicks!  After 21 days of patently waiting we heard our first peep-peeps from the nesting box the day before the 4th of July.  I was nervous because last week I found an egg that had been kicked out of its nest with a chick in it that I couldn't seem to save.  It was sad and disheartening and I didn't want to go through it again so, approaching the 21 day mark for me was a bit nerve racking!  But mother (nature) knows best and our two broody hens sat on our eight eggs for 21 days almost 24 hours a day.  I had my doubts but they stuck to it and hatched five chicks!  Two of the eggs were unfertilized and we lost the one chick last week so we were successful with hatching two Wheatens and three Easter Eggers.  They are little balls of fluff now and follow their moms around learning how to scratch, eat and drink.  It's amazing to see things like this work since most of the chicken industry has moved to using incubators as a way of hatching chicks.  Also, most keep chicks in a separate area with a heat lamp but our hen mom's seem to be up for the job and brood on them all night to keep them warm.  Here are a few pictures of our new farm friends:

Chicks all a flutter with their moms

An Easter Egger chick meeting our chick (due next month!)

An Easter Egger chick

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Garden progress: June

It's really amazing how fast our garden grew in June.  So far we have had two large cucumbers, an eggplant, handfuls of lemondrop cherry tomatoes, three roma Amish Paste tomatoes, and one green/yellow sweet pepper.  We continue to watch everything grow daily.  We have a few watermelons that are about the size of a pea and tons of Brandywines that seem like any day will turn red.  It's so rewarding to eat a salad or meal that came mostly from our garden.  Last week we had greens with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers and an eggplant melt with pesto made with basil from my herb garden.  It was wonderful.  Pretty soon we should have green beans and hot peppers.  We also planted more carrots and lettuce.