Sunday, January 31, 2010

Egg Videos From YouTube

    Usually, the hens move away from me when I come towards them with the camera, but today this Wyandotte kept moving towards me as if to ask me to take a photo of her lovely feathers. I wonder if she was the smart one who figured out there were treats in the pen and came back inside.

   On the way back to the house I noticed that the moss has taken a real hold on the roof. I hadn't noticed because this is the back of the house and believe it or not this is the side of the house that gets sun all day (when it's out.) I knew there was some moss up there, but there is a lot more up there than last year.

   Yesterday, I spent some time searching around on YouTube for videos about eggs and came up with way, way too many to link to on this blog, but there are five I just couldn't resist posting. I also searched using Alton Brown eggs and came up with a lot of his videos. I like watching Alton and how he cooks. I found a bunch of good videos about how to poach eggs, make flan, make an omelet, etc., that I will watch another day.

   The first video is about how to peel a hard boiled egg and may just work if I give it a try. I use a straight pin to poke a hole in the large end of the egg before I put it in the water to keep it from cracking. I have always wondered about toast soldiers so I want to try this video about how to boil a perfect soft egg and use the egg cups I found at an antique store. My Dad made the very best scrambled eggs and I missed how he cooked them. I think he used this method and folded them too and made perfect scrambled eggs, but maybe without the cream? I first heard about Nigella in a book I read, so when I saw this video I had to watch it. I love mexican food and may try a version of this video on Mexican Scrambled Eggs. And this hard boiled egg looked so good I had to post this link to the perfect hard boiled egg.

   I love potato salad and always think of it when hard boiled eggs are mentioned. When the chickens finally start laying again one of the first things I want to make is a big bowl of potato salad. I need a good potato salad recipe. The one I remember had pickles, celery, mustard, mayonnaise, potatoes, eggs and ? I will have to search up a recipe. 

   Everyone must have their favorite way to prepare eggs, their favorite pan, whether they use oil or butter, bacon grease, etc. I use my small iron skillet, a little olive oil and then a little butter to check the temperature. If the butter bubbles the skillet is hot enough. Then I put the eggs in the pan and flip them once when the whites cook. I love poached eggs and after watching the poached egg videos I'm going to give them another try. I use white vinegar and they turn out OK, but I think I have the water too hot because part of the white leaves and floats around the pan.

[3 eggs today]

January 30, 2009
This quilt stuff is depressing me.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

View From My Kitchen

   A blog I read here (Gardens, Chickens, and Folk Music) tagged her readers to post a photo of the view from their kitchen. I have posted a photo of the window over my sink in a post last year. (My Kitchen window last year.) Not too much has changed in that view.

   But I can also look up and from the kitchen I can look out the windows at the top of the A frame end wall and usually I can enjoy blue sky and green trees, but this afternoon it is overcast and a bit dreary looking. When we first moved here I tried washing these windows, but after having to deal with all the dead birds that would crash into the glass I decided dirty windows were OK and aside from trying to get the cobwebs under control once in a while I let the windows take care of themselves. Clean windows around here are a wildlife hazard for birds. I don't want a deer to run into my slider either. 

   If I look across the kitchen and out the slider by the table there is a view across the driveway of trees and a row of bushes. These hens  planted themselves in a sunny protected spot under the bushes to catch the warmth of the sun. I took this photo when I was outside today, but if I had been in the kitchen I could have seen them through that slider.

Dark Brahma, Dark Brahma, Orpington, Buff Brahma, Wyandotte and there are chickens under the branches. I can see a chicken's head.

   There are actually two other windows and another slider I can see through from the kitchen. There is the slider next to the wood stove. the window over the window seat and the window by the front door. Oh... I just remembered that there is glass in the top of the door so I can see into the entry from the kitchen.  I can keep track of most everything from there. I can even see the gate from the kitchen window if I look along the side of the motor home and down the driveway.

   My brother and Sandy built this house and I remember my brother saying that since he was going to be living surrounded by trees he wanted to be able to see them when he was inside. So, this is pretty much a house of windows. But even so, the house is sited on the property in such a way that the sun mainly shines in the back windows. I only get very late afternoon sun through the kitchen window and never direct sun through the A windows. This all works out very, very well in the summer when we are getting temps in the hundreds, but I do miss the sunshine in the winter.

   I spent some time outside raking leaves and shoveling mud. It is amazing to me how the soggy leaves can dry out so fast with only a few days of not so warm sun.  Raking all the leaves is going to take some time especially since rain is due again tomorrow afternoon and Saturday.

   All the time I was outside raking leaves a woodpecker was up above me in that oak tree with the moss on it (I posted a photo yesterday) hammering away non stop. I wonder if he is making a hole in the tree for a nest. I think it is too late to store acorns? I couldn't get a look at the woodpecker to identify him. This is an informative site about acorn woodpeckers here.

   I walked around the property and picked up more downed pine branches and put them in the chicken pen. Smells nice.

PS: I found this site that explains a lot about why and when chickens do and don't lay eggs.
(A Pacific Northwest Extension Publication, Oregon State University, Washington State, University of Idaho)

(January 28, 2009)
This quilt business is sad.
It is all tucked away in a drawer.

[1 egg today]


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Sun Is Back!

    There is blue sky with a few white clouds along with some snow on the ground left in shady spots under trees, behind the house and outbuildings. I love how the moss grows even greener and fuller during the cold weather and snow conditions. I went looking for the mushrooms that Kristine said were growing all over before the snow fell, but I couldn't find any. Maybe they will pop up again this week. I'm going to be out by this tree tomorrow raking leaves. The weather forecast is for two more days of sun in the low 50's.

     I have been using a glass pot that has a pour spout to heat water, but this morning I came out to find a teakettle. Surprise! It has a plastic handle and spout so it will have to live on the cook top. It's cute! And it works! I missed waiting for a whistle announcing that the water was hot and that I should get myself out to the kitchen.  Maybe that kettle was a gift we stored and didn't use? Who put it there? Tom?

     Tonight I cooked chicken in the chicken fryer on the cook top with the lid on, with just a little oil and salt to taste. In the old days I used to dip the chicken in egg, buttermilk and then seasoned flour, and sometimes even double dip the pieces or then roll them in crushed corn flakes or potato chips.
     But now I do the minimum partly to stave off migraines and partly because I'm watching calories. Sometimes I splurge, but not very often. I'm always amazed to see how the chicken cooks golden and juicy with the lid on the fryer. I always used to cook chicken using a screen to catch the grease splatter. But this works out much better.

     This chicken fryer is old? and very well seasoned. All I could find about the foundry is this. The markings are the same as on the fryer except for the number. Click on the picture. Crescent Fd'y Co., Ozark, St. Louis, Mo. (In capitals)

     I found this chicken fryer at a yard sale about 8 years ago when all the household goods of a home were being sold. I had never used a fryer before or even knew that chicken was supposed to be cooked, or could be cooked covered. I guess I just kept cooking things the way I was taught when young. I'm not that adventurous when it comes to trying out new recipes or cooking techniques. I learned to cook mostly in home economics classes in high school. I wonder if they still teach cooking and sewing in school?

     The chickens and Morgan spent the day out in the woods. I put the hens chicken feed out in the pen so they could have their breakfast in the piney pen under the morning sun tomorrow. I've noticed that they don't eat as much when the feed is inside the coop. I put out some of the chicken scratch that Tom brought home yesterday. That should make the hens happy!

(January 27, 2009
I never finished this quilt.
I was and still am afraid of cutting the fabric.
Silly me...

[2 eggs today]


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Chickens And Morgan Out In Wet Leaves and Snow

There is a rock covered driveway under all the rotting leaves.
Two Buff Brahmas and a Dark Brahma hopefully finding something good to eat. I wouldn't know what they are finding because when I look I don't see anything. I haven't seen any ants, bugs, worms, etc., in a very long time. I did find a spider in the bathtub last week, but I can't blame the chickens for not eating the spider since the hens don't patrol the house. But even so, I rarely find spiders or bugs in the house. Sometimes I think the chickens have eaten up all the little critters on the three acres. Chickens are great at pest control!
   Kristine and I heard and felt a big thump yesterday and agree that it was probably a tree that went down somewhere close, but not on our property. I haven't walked around and looked, but the sound and feel seemed farther away.
   I never saw the sun today, but it did stop raining for most of the day, so I let Morgan and the chickens out to play. I almost expect the leaves covering the ground to dissolve and disappear because they are so wet and smooshy. The dirt up here doesn't turn into deep muddy messes because the ground sucks up the water just about as fast as it falls or melts. And we are on a slight slant so extra water has a tendency to run away.
   Treats: The chickens got carrot peelings and cooked egg for treats today. I think I will make them scrambled eggs for tomorrows treat. Morgan is happy with a handful of her dog food for a treat when she comes in to dry off in front of the wood stove.
   This snow weather is making me such a sloth. Well, I'm blaming it on the snow. I am such a bum. I have all these project to do and I don't do them. Instead I play around on the computer, haul wood for the wood stove, read, walk around outside, and sleep. I just want to curl up and sleep. I think sunshine would do a lot to revive me. Sun! I need the sun to shine.
   Soooo, just as I'm going to publish this post, Blam! The power goes off! Like Kristine says, I'm really getting tired of this.  A tree must have gone down, because it is not windy and there is not much snow to speak of. Poor linemen who have to go out in the crummy weather and find and fix the outage. Thank you! I'm posting now before the power goes again.

(January 25, 2009)
I miss hot chocolate, maybe I'll give it a try tonight.

[1 egg today]


Chickens In The Pen And Stew On The Wood Stove

   It is raining and sometimes raining hard, but the snow is still hanging on although there are some bare patches here and there. The snow mostly melted away in the chicken pen and I think that has something to do with all the pine I laid down in there. Maybe air can circulate under the pine and that's why the snow melted? The hens were happy this morning to get some cooked egg and some lettuce for treats.  We are supposed to get a few hours of a break in the rain and some sun tomorrow, so I hope I can let the chickens and Morgan out to run around and have some fun in the woods.
     I love my wood stove and thought I would take a few more photos of some wood stove stew. I am always learning every time I cook something on it and tonight I learned that if I cook my stew in the chicken fryer it turns out better than in the dutch oven. It must have something to do with how tight the lid fits. These are the steps I took to make the stew tonight:

1st- I cooked (not browned) chopped up onions in the chicken fryer with the lid on, 2nd- then I added cut up beef to the onions and cooked them together until the meat was not red, 3rd- I added cut up celery and carrots, mixed it all up and added water just to cover. Put the lid back on and let it cook slowly on the wood stove on a trivet. I kept checking and added more water when needed, season to taste. This time the stew cooked with very little liquid left. I would have added potatoes to the stew, but I didn't have any, so I made rice on the cook top and put it on the upper shelf of the wood stove to keep warm. I steamed veggies on the wood stove then moved them up to keep warm too.
   My camera didn't capture the rice at all, but it was really in the green pot. There is something so neat about being able to cook on the wood stove. I cooked hamburgers on it last night in my iron skillet and they really do taste better. They even look better. Next time I'm going to try cooking the hamburger patties in the chicken fryer with the lid on and see how they turn out. When I cook chicken in the chicken fryer with the lid on the chicken turns out beautifully golden and delicious. I promised Kristine fried chicken this week.
   I did a bad thing tonight. I smelled a burned smell and found out that I had melted the lid on my tea kettle. First the whistle melted a while back because the kettle was put on the wood stove. Too hot. And now because there was no whistle and I didn't hear the timer I set... I killed my tea kettle. I want a new kettle that I can put on the wood stove and that has a loud whistle. I want to go shopping.

[3 eggs today]
Nice present from the chickens on a cold day.

Peek at the Past
(January 26, 2009)


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Tracks In The Snow

click on photos to enlarge

   The chickens didn't make very many tracks in the snow since there wasn't much snow in the pen, but they ran out to greet me when I brought them warm water. They must be feeling spry because it is a bit warmer. The rain didn't melt off as much snow as I hoped, but Tom didn't have any problems getting out to the road our neighbor plowed and then to the grocery store.
   Morgan made lots of tracks in the snow looking for snow squirrels. Kristine has to make tracks on the road tomorrow morning at the crack of dawn to get to class. Tomorrow, I'm wishing for the rain that didn't really happen today so Morgan and the chickens can get out and run around. Me too! I love the crashing sounds the snow makes as it slides off the roof and hits the porch. 
Today Kristine and I watched some DVD's of the Mentalist. I would like to watch the show online on CBS, but they only have clips. They have full episodes of NCIS, but not the Mentalist. I don't follow that many shows online, just: Castle, NCIS, and Bones. I gave up watching TV and don't miss all the brain numbing shows and goofy news excitement. 
Peek at the Past (January 24, 2009) Lovey still needs attention.

[2 very, very cold eggs]


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Chicken Treats In The Snow

click on photos to enlarge

   I wouldn't want to walk around barefoot in the snow, but these little girls don't seem to mind. I tossed a bag of lettuce out in the pen for the chickens while I changed their water and gave them more feed.

   There is really not that much snow in the pen. A lot of the snow gets hung up in the trees or on the leaves that are caught in the anchor fencing over the top of the pen. Raccoons and bears can walk around up there but so far they haven't gotten past the wire. The leaves make a snow and sun screen.  I'll take them down when we get some sun and snow is history.  I shoot the leaves off with the hose.                                                                                                                            It snowed again last night, but as the photo shows there really isn't that much snow. There has been so much rain in between the snow storms that melted away the fallen snow that this is all that is left. Just enough snow to mess things up and make it so we couldn't get out because the main road is not plowed.

   We should be able to get out tomorrow because we are supposed to have rain not more snow. But, who knows?

   Morgan has decided she loves being out in the snow and sometimes won't come when we call her. I guess she is having too much fun running and playing looking for snow critters.

   Kristine made me watch an anime called Gintama (Silver Balls) episodes 151 and 152. Pretty funny! This is not really my kind of humor, but I can see why she laughs so much when she watches. I wonder if they have chicken anime?

   I had a great idea! Well, I thought it was. Kristine is not so sure...
I think it is such a waste to never look at past posts. Besides I like to see what I was up to last year.  Soooo, my plan is to put a link to the same day last year on each post... somewhere.  How about... Peek at the past? Gee. I was still drinking tea last year. Had to give that up.

[1 egg today]
Peek at the Past
(January 23, 2009)


Friday, January 22, 2010

Snow Day

click to enlarge photo I'm going to post this as fast as I can. Three times today the power has gone off in the middle of posting. Snow is still falling, but sun tomorrow? Roads not plowed. Kristine stuck at home. 

   I gave the chickens warm water this morning. I'll give them some more water, more feed and treats.

PS: I warmed up some more water and warmed up some carrot peeling on the wood stove for treats.  Gave the hens some more grain and lay for the second time today. I'll check for eggs later. Chickens are doing OK.

PSS: I went out just before dark and collected two eggs! Very, very cold eggs. And I took a photo of the chickens on the roosts and in the nest boxes. This was the best of the lot.

[2 eggs today]

PSSS: Still snowing. This morning the forecast was for sun tomorrow. Now it says more snow. Hard to know what's going to happen.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wet Cold Day

click on photos to enlarge Poor Morgan was outside all day with the chickens in the snowy slush and some rain. She didn't want to come inside and we were having a break in the weather so I let her and the chickens out to run around which turned into an all day outing. She laid in front of the wood stove to dry out.  Here she is just relaxed.
It is snowing again tonight which means we may wake up to lots of snow or it may rain the snow we have away.
   I made chicken soup on the wood stove because I was worried the power might go out and it did. But, then it came back on. Don't know for how long, so I'm going to post as soon as I can.
   I'll toss in this photo of the driveway and gate just for fun and to show how goofy the snow build up has been. Snow is here. Snow is gone.
   Here are some pretty pictures of Tahoe in the snow.

[no eggs today]
Too cold and wet and dark


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Snow and Rain

click on photo to enlarge
  The chickens are staying inside the coop. An Australorp  ran out in the pen clucking away when she heard me walking in the snow bringing warm water, but then she turned around and ran right back inside. I can see a hen looking at me through the glass. Boo!   The weather is  pretty bad farther up the mountain where there is more snow, snowy fog and windy storm are making driving very dangerous. I'm staying away from the tv news about all the falling trees. We are getting lots of storm, rain and a some snow so far.
   Today I was going to take some photos of all the mushrooms that have sprung up, but the snow covered them up and I didn't look for them. Hard to know what is going to happen with the snow forecasts. We are due another big storm so we will probably get hit with snow. I hope Kristine and the other drivers will be safe on the roads and I hope the trees stay upright.
   The snow was being melted by a new rain storm when I went out with the warm water. I stopped and took a photo of my neat little drainage ditch that is diverting runoff water from the chicken coop and pen. It works!
   I miss reading blogs and posting. I know I wanted rain, but I didn't know we were due an El Nino.

[2 eggs today]
3 eggs yesterday


PS: I don't know why the top paragraph is black?

Monday, January 18, 2010


The power keeps going on and off.
Lots of storms moving through California all week.
I'll post if I can.
1 egg today so far.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Pine In The Chicken Pen

click photo to enlarge

   It took four big armfuls of pine branches to put a layer of pine over the chicken pen and the pen is now looking a lot nicer and the chickens seem to like being off the wet ground. It is raining now, I put the feed inside, and some of the hens are standing outside in the rain. I hope I don't have frozen chickens tomorrow. I think I will block the exit tonight after the hens go to bed so they will have to stay inside the coop tomorrow. Silly chickens.

  What large thighs! The Orpington in the bottom photo looks so cute with her fluffy pantaloons.

   First time I got a rash from pine I carried yesterday. I have read about people getting reactions. Or Kristine said maybe it is poison oak from the pine or Morgan. I think it was from the pine because the rash is going away already.
   This is a lovely boring rainy day. I like days when nothing happens. I've had too many exciting days and even the best of them are wearing on a person after awhile.
   Rainy day chicken puzzle
I'm not doing too well with this puzzle. I think I will go back to reading.

[2 eggs today]
Rainy day eggs even!


Friday, January 15, 2010

Cabbage In The Chicken Pen

click on photos to enlarge

  Here we have a Light Brahma, two Australorps, a Wyandotte and a Buff Orpington. I just read yesterday that Orpingtons and Australorps are pretty much the same chicken breed except the Australorps were Orpingtons that were imported to Australia, bred there for awhile, but weren't recognized as Orpingtons when they were exported. Breed clubs can be so silly.

   The chickens must have really liked the cabbage I hung in their pen last night because when I went out to take a photo there wasn't much of it left. All the chickens ran out of the pen when I opened the door except for one poor dark Brahma. I think she was so upset the rest of the chickens left that she forgot where the exit was.

   The chicken pen is wet but not full of soggy mud, which is a nice change. It is not any muddier in the pen than outside. I have been thinking about getting some horse bedding because I have run out of wood chips. I just saw that rain is forecast and then snow. Wow! I thought we were done with the snow for the year. Maybe I will just put down a layer of pine until we are finished with the rain and snow.

   Kristine had a day off today and wasn't feeing too well so we stayed home. No movie. That's OK. I'm re-reading one of the David Eddings series, The Elenium. I'm on book two, The Ruby Knight. I think the first series, The Belgariad, was the most fun, but I like Sparhawk and the other characters in the Elenium. When it comes to me liking a book, it really needs to have characters I'd like to hang out with. I always wanted to be a knight in shinning armor. There must have been a lady knight or two that snuck in amongst the boys somewhere during the age of chivalry.

[1 egg today]
I went out in the dark
and brought the chicken feed inside the coop.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Fallen Branches

click on photos to enlarge

  Today I was prepared to take photos since I remembered to bring my camera and I was glad I did when the first thing I saw was some fallen branches. It had been rainy and windy and branches falling are the result. Glad they didn't fall when I was working here the other day.
   After I cleaned up the area a bit, I noticed that the old dog house that we use as a cover for the water faucets was falling apart. I have been putting off dealing with it and just kept pushing it back together.  I found my hammer and some nails and went to work nailing the poor little thing back together. I remember a weather man saying once that the real problem with pipes freezing came from the wind which lowered the temperature even more. So. The easy answer was to plunk the dog house over the faucets. They haven't frozen yet.

   Morgan took off after something today and was racing up and down the fence that backs up to an area of woods, so I think maybe the fox came by for a visit. Or a coyote? Morgan saw something that got her upset. Good girl! She scared it away whatever it was. I got my walking stick with the metal tip and went out to the fence but I couldn't see anything.
   Later I walked out and took a look at part of a wooden fence that is starting to fall down in places. It is all that is left of the fence my brother built for the horse he got for his daughter. If I take the fence apart I will have enough lumber to build an addition on to the chicken coop. Or? Maybe even build a new coop.  Well, I could do a great remodel job! In the meantime I have lots of leaves to move.
   Kristine is threatening to take me to the movies tomorrow. Something about a frog movie? Maybe I can get her to take us for a visit to the quilt store?

[3 eggs today]
I hung a cabbage in the chicken pen.
Hope the chickens have fun.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Light Brahma With New Feathers

click on photo to enlarge

   I let Morgan and the chickens outside to run around after it stopped raining this afternoon. The sun even made a few brief appearances. The chickens were so happy to get out of the coop and scratch around in the wet leaves. I'm always hoping that they are finding good things to eat.

   I took a lot of photos of the chickens that didn't turn out, but I liked this photo of a Light Brahma that shows off her pretty new feathers after she had such an ugly time molting.

   Kristine and I watched the new Star Trek movie and I liked it! I didn't think I would care for it at all, but I really like the characters development and involvement with each other. The story wasn't much, but that was Ok with me. I don't like to watch a lot of fighting. There was some, but not too much. Well, come to think of it, there was a lot of fighting, but I managed to survive without putting my hands over my eyes.

   When I was a kid, I used to spend a lot of time in the movie theater hiding behind the seat in front of me when the action got too much for me to watch. Once in the 1940's when I was 6 or 7 I ran out of a theatre because I was frightened. I remember it was an Abbott and Costello movie and the gorilla scared me so bad I ran all the way home. Then when I got home I was afraid to go in the kitchen because there was a bunch of bananas on top of the refrigerator and I thought the gorilla might come after them. I used to hate the way poor Lou got slapped around by Abbott.

   I feel so bad for the people in Haiti who are suffering through the earthquake. We experienced a 7.1+ where we were located in the mountains, so I know what the shaking feels like and the devastation it can cause. If you shake a stick around, the top of the stick weaves around more than the bottom and something like that happened to the houses in the mountains. It took us 10 years to put our lives back together. I have no idea how that little country is going to cope.

   Aid to the people? We never saw the money that was donated. The help we received was from people we knew who gave us a place to stay until we could buy the motor home. We didn't have any money and we ended up with two mortgage payments when the one on the house was bad enough. Our mistake was in having earthquake insurance. No one would help us because we had earthquake insurance. The trouble was... the insurance company wouldn't help us either. We had to get a lawyer and go that route. The insurance inspector told us to pour cement in the crack in the foundation. Ha! They ended up paying out to get the foundation fixed, but first the lawyer stole the money. Like I said I could write a book. All the crooks in the world are going to show up in Haiti to take advantage and make money off the earthquake. Like I said. I feel very bad for the people. I'm going to have to make some posts about life in the motor home. I liked living in the motor home. What I hated was dealing with lawyers and the insurance company trying to get our house livable again.

   I love rainy days when I can go to bed early and read.
And that's what I'm going to do.

[0 eggs today]
3 eggs must have been too much for them yesterday


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Chickens By The Wood Stove

Click on photo to enlarge.

   The chickens had to stay in their coop today because it was raining all day and I didn't want to let Morgan out to watch the chickens because she would have become a muddy mess. I took this photo last week on a clear but cold day. The hens have discovered that they can come up on the porch and spend some time warming up next to the window close to the wood stove. Some of the chickens will even sit down next to the window and take a snooze. This restful scene lasts until Morgan makes an appearance and the hens run around. Though there are times I have spotted Morgan sleeping on the deck surrounded by chickens. Sometimes I wish I wore my camera on a cord around my neck so I didn't miss photo opportunities.

   Today I took the day off and just played around on the computer and thought about a lot of stuff I want to do when It stops raining in a day or two. Tom went down to be with his Mom. I didn't cook dinner because Tom was gone, Kristine had a teriyaki noodle bowl and I made myself chicken salad from left overs. Kristine said the noodle bowl was very good and she plans to pick up some more of them. It says it is an all natural Asian cuisine, no preservatives and no msg. Sounds good. Gee, and only 200 calories. Oh, well, no noodle bowl for me. I'm still on the no processed food kick. It is working and so far the migraines have pretty much gone away.

   I watched this TED talk here again (by Eizabeth Gilbert) today and found it just as meaningful if not more so than the first time I watched it months ago. There are some great TED talks, but I have never seen a speaker get a standing ovation before. I think we all have genius and this is a great way to relate to our creativity.

[3 eggs today]


Monday, January 11, 2010

Propane Tanks Covered

Click on photos to enlarge.
   Yesterday I carried a lot of lumber over to the side of the motor home and piled it up near the propane tanks. My plan was to use the lumber to make a shield to protect the tanks from the sun. Also to protect my eyes from the unsightly tanks. Instead of buying something I looked around and found the scrap wood and decided to try and come up with something. Today I searched around and found the drill bit, electric drill, and screws. Things are never where I think I left them. I couldn't find the screws or the drill bit, but the electric drill was findable. I did have to go back for a pliers because I dropped a board on some screws that were only half way in and bent them and needed the pliers to wind them back out. Fun! I used three inch screws to hold the bottom two rows and two inch screws on the rest of the boards. There is room to walk between the boards and the motor home so I can get in there to move the tanks around or to attach the hose to a new tank.
   This poor motor home doesn't go anywhere. It made it up here from the Santa Cruz mountains and has been sitting here ever since. We use it as a place for guests to stay if they want. After the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake we were red tagged out of our house so this was home for over two and a half years. I must have been tired from moving all the wood around because all my photos came out blurry. This was the best of the lot. Good Morgan! I told her to stay.
   Today my experiment with the new editor is to type all the text in one large paragraph before I import any photos. I'm having a terrible time getting the photos to go where I want them. The photos either wanted to both go to the top, side or one at the top and one under the text. I either need more practice or more text. I'm going to add a paragraph break. Good thing I check to see if the photos enlarge after I post because the top photo downloaded on my computer. How weird is that! I removed it and uploaded it again and now it will enlarge when I click on it. I baked some more biscuits tonight! The wood stove wasn't as hot as last night so it took an extra 20 minutes because I kept peeking and letting the hot air out of the dutch oven.

[no eggs today]
The Australorp gave up being a broody hen!


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Wood Stove Biscuits And Raking Leaves

Click on photo to enlarge.

The chickens came to help me rake! Well, no they didn't, they came to check out what I was doing and stayed to see what pickings I uncovered that they could eat. Kinda interesting how they got lined up in a row like that. I hope they found some good things to eat.

Then Morgan came over to check out what the chickens were doing which ticked off the chickens and they left Morgan all alone. Sometimes I wonder if Morgan thinks the chickens don't appreciate her and all she does for them. I guess not. Morgan doesn't seem at all bothered at being ditched. She is more interested in spotting squirrels.

I'm having trouble figuring out where to move the photos in relation to the text because what you see in the editor as far as spacing goes is not what you see when the post is published. I found that four lines of text justified next to the top photo will post as seen.

Kristine has been asking me about biscuits, so I finally broke down and decided I would make another attempt at biscuit making on the wood stove in a dutch oven. First thing I made sure to do was have a trivit for the dutch oven to sit on on on the wood stove and I put the dutch oven (with the steamer inside and a lid) on the trivit on the wood stove to heat up while I mixed up a batch of scratch biscuits. The trivit will keep the bottom of the dutch oven from getting too hot and burning the biscuits. I didn't have any shortening and substituted butter which worked out well. The biscuits tasted nice and buttery.

I had to look up a measurement conversion table on the internet because since the pan was so small I decided to halve the recipe. It took twice as long to cook the biscuits as in an oven at 450 degrees. I set the timer and checked every 10 minutes, but only peeked once after 20 minutes and then let it cook for another 10 minutes.

I was happy to find that the bottom of the biscuits cooked as flaky as the top. I used a long fire place match stick to test and see if the middle was cooked.

Kristine wanted to eat her biscuits with the homemade cranberry sauce made with our Placer County mandarin oranges.

I suppose using this editor will get easier as I work at it, but the old editor was pretty brainless and quick compared to messing around with this not knowing where the photos are going to show up or the text. I guess I will eventually learn how many lines of text I can type next to a photo and exactly where and how far apart they should be. It was a lot easier just centering the photos and typing above or below them. I think Blogger needs to work a lot more on the WYSIWYG.

[1 egg today]
I locked the broody hen out in the pen today
with the feed and water.


Raking In The Rain

Click on the photos to enlarge.

Today the chickens and Morgan were out looking around for interesting things while I was out raking leaves off paths. I was also busy shoveling dirt along the bottom of part of the wire fence to cover the opening that the chickens made when they scratched all the dirt away and uncovered the bottom wire. I have tree trunks laid along part of the fence to help keep critters out.

I also started a new path,
but I'll wait to finish it until after I have raked all the leaves
away from the house and cleared the paths
 I already have that are covered.

I raked this path not long ago
so it has a light covering of leaves. The area around the house is rather deep in leaves and I'll have to push the snow shovel along and scoop and push what I can out of the way before I start raking. So far, that has turned out to be the fastest and easiest method I've come up with to move the leaves. Well, there is the blower, but it is so noisy, takes a lot of electricity, and I don't get the benefit of much exercise walking around with ear muffs and goggles, blowing leaves all over the place.

It rained a little while I was raking which was rather fun since I was nice and dry under the trees. If there had been any lightning I would have quit and gone inside, but there wasn't, so I got to enjoy the rain falling around me and the trees. Morgan and the hens didn't care about the rain and kept on about their business.

I ran across an (click here) article about food rationing in Britain that had a very interesting video. I remember my mother dressing like that and the hair styles. That video brought back a lot of memories. I remember my Dad wearing hats and rolling cigarettes. I was born in 1941 and have memories of finding and playing with ration books and stamps around 1945. I think I must have got in trouble because I remember my Mom finding me and a lot of talking about buying things. We would go to the country to visit my Mom's family on the farm and that is where I first saw a chicken house full of just hatched fluffy yellow chicks. I thought the chicks were so cute, and there were so many of them! I wanted some chickens of my very own. And now I do!

[1 egg today]
I think it was from the broody Australorp.


Friday, January 08, 2010

More Adventures With The New Blogger Editor

Click on the photos to see an enlarged view. 

Here is a photo of an Orpington hen settled down for the night. I disturbed her looking for eggs and with the flash. She is not happy. Her bunk partner got up and left before I could take the photo.

This post is also a test of how I can use Blogger's new editor to word wrap text around photos. Not quite sure how I managed this top photo, but it is working so far. I tried justifying this paragraph. I don't know if it is harder to read text justified or not. The text looks pretty on the page when it is justified.

When the 1st photo uploaded into the photo upload box, I double clicked on it and it showed up in the upper left hand corner of the editor. I didn't pay any attention to where my cursor was, so next photo I will put the cursor at the lower right and see if the photo zooms down there.

(edit: When I double clicked on the second photo it did show up under the top photo in the editor somewhat near the cursor, but it showed up centered. Evidently the default is for the photo to show up centered? I am finding that the photos show up in the editor centered and then I have the choice to choose a position for them or drag the photo where I want.

This Light Brahma is coming to me because she thinks I have some food treats for her and her buddies.

There seems to be a lot of space left under the bottom of the photos. I can't get text to move over and fill the space. Would be neat if Blogger plans to add a photo caption feature that would fit under the photo and left the space there on purpose. Maybe?

I don't like the fact that there is no spell checker in the new editor. I guess if I make lots of spelling mistakes I will have to go back to the old editor.

Should I keep the new editor? I tried it out last year and went back to the old editor. Using the old editor is much more comfortable, but this editor is kinda fun and I like learning new things. I wish blogger had more word publishing tools available for bloggers that would make blogging more fun. Next I would like to play around with a different page format. I'll have to go back and take a look at the options available. I know I don't want to get a page that has text read all across the screen. They are very hard to read and no fun.

I guess I will keep using this new editor for a while and see how we get along. Word wrapping and the larger editor window are a plus for me. Also being able to upload a lot of photos instead of only five at a time is a big plus. I used to work in publishing and having all that space around the photos used to bug me. But, now there is extra space under the photos. But not as bad as all the white space at the sides of the photos.

The third photo is of rosemary and sage plants that have gone wild in the abandoned green house garden. There is some myrtle growing in there, but besides these two herbs and the myrtle there are only lots of weeds and leaves. Oh, dear... I really do need to do something with the green house and garden area. They are on my list of stuff to do. First rake leaves then the green house. Or paint? Or?

(edit: I had to go back after I posted and choose the small size for the photos because they just didn't fit or look good with the wrapped text at a larger size.)

[1 egg today]
Thank you!


Thursday, January 07, 2010

Nite, Nite, Sleep Tight!

This post is an experiment in trying to use the new Blogger editor. I thought I was going to be able to have the text flow around the photo, but no no. So, kinda ignore the playing around I am going to be doing trying out the bells and whistles of this editor. It is supposed to work much better with Safari than the old editor.

Ok, first thing I did with the photo was to drag it from the top and place it under the text. After I post I'll check and see if it still has it's link to Picasa and will enlarge when I click on the photo.

I double clicked on the photo in the editor and the Box showed up again so I could choose what size and where I want to place the photo. Just for kicks I clicked on e-large. I do like being able to drag the edge of the editor and make the editor screen size. Ok, now I'll try out the number and bullet lists.

Edit: I went back and changed the size of the photo to large. X-large was too big! And yes, the photo enlarged after I messed around with it dragging it around.

  1. Well, first, I can't make the number or bullet lists center.
  2. I would like to figure out how to wrap text around photos.
  3. I suppose if I had a recipe blog I would use lists.

I took this photo tonight when I checked for eggs and locked up the coop.
Left to Right
  • Wyandotte
  • Hen-Roo Australorp
  • Light Brahma
  • Australorp (hen, see the small comb)
  • Wyandotte
  • Wyandotte
  • Wyandotte

Poor Hen-Roo! I don't think she is interested in being a hen anymore since she acts like a rooster, looks like a rooster and even sounds like a sick rooster. But she is so cute!

There is an insert jump break, but I'm not going to try that out mainly because I don't want a jump break.

I think I will save trying to figure out how to wrap text around the photo for another day. I'll do some more searching and reading here. I know I don't want to mess around with html.

[1 egg today]
At least the girls are making my breakfast.


Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Sore Throat Killers

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Over the years I have found several things that helped me with a sore throat and sometimes with the cold that came along with the pain in the neck. When I was a child I remembered my Dad making what he called a hot toddy (whisky, honey, lemon juice) for me when I had a bad cold and sore throat. I remember sleeping a lot and probably the whisky made me not care so much about the sore throat. The toddy sure tasted good, felt soothing on my throat, and the lemon juice probably helped some with vitamin C? I have tried the hot toddy remedy as an adult and found that it didn't help very much at all. Maybe if I had three or four of them?

I was a kid in the 40's and 50's and don't remember going to the doctors or being given store bought medicines. I remember that sipping warm wine helped my throat feel better for a while. And I think I remember eating garlic as some kind of cure. We managed to survive all the childhood diseases (no polio or small pox thank you very much) and I only went to the doctors to have my tonsils out.

In the 1970's when I was working near a Mexican restaurant that made their own salsa, I found out that eating hot salsa when I had a sore throat made my throat numb and many times seemed to kill off the cold and sore throat or at least made it more bearable. Hot salsa (homemade works the best) for a long time has became my go to treatment when a cold or sore throat struck. And the hot salsa helped me feel better with a chest cold too.

I eat the salsa with lots of salty tortilla chips with the idea in mind that the salt will make me thirsty and I will drink more. Well, that's my excuse for eating lots of chips. Sometimes I will crave soda and so of course I give in and treat myself to colas and ginger ale. Come to think of it, I eat a lot of my favorite foods when I am sick.

Then Kristine came up with some discoveries of her own: "The vinegar works because it changes the PH balance in your throat. Most viruses and bacteria can't adapt to the sudden change fast enough to survive. A teaspoon or two of Braggs vinegar with Mother in hot water with honey taken three times a day will help enormously with a sore throat. If you can't get that type of vinegar, then dill pickle juice will do the job. Don't heat it up, just pour it straight out of the jar. I tend to use the brand name Claussens kosher dill pickles." ~ Kristine.

I suppose everyone has a favorite feel good home remedy. Everyone is different, but I know that if I hit the very, very, very beginning of a sore throat with one/some of these "cures" I have a chance of winning the battle. Whether or not they really help or not at least I feel better thinking that I'm doing something constructive. I drink a lot of cranberry juice, tea, orange juice, etc.

I do remember getting a sore throat back once when I forgot to throw away my toothbrush. The germs must hide out in the toothbrush ready to strike again.

And then there is my ultimate feel good treatment: Homemade chicken soup! Made with a whole chicken, garlic, onion, celery, carrot, and rice. Just the smell of it cooking makes me feel better (and I bet the steam from the soup humidifies the air?) Chicken soup rules!

I think I took my kids to the doctor too much, but I was so afraid they had strep throat and they did most of the time they were sick. I must have had it as a kid too, but we just had to suffer through it and managed to survive. The girls took lots of antibiotics to get rid of the strep. I wish all we needed was salsa, vinegar, a hot toddy, garlic or pickle juice to make us better.

Disclaimer: This stuff works for us sometimes or just makes me feel better. I'm not saying that anyone else should try it! Best to see a doctor if you are sick!

[1 egg today]
That's my breakfast!


Monday, January 04, 2010

Winter Sun

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Here is a photo to prove that the snow is gone and best of all there is actually some winter sunshine trying to warm up the leaves and chickens. The hens head off to this favorite spot to spend some time warming up and then they go to the shady places under the trees.

Kristine and Tom went to town and saw the new Sherlock Holmes movie. Kristine said it wasn't bad and that she really liked that they hadn't made Watson stupid. Kristine saying the movie wasn't bad must mean it was OK, which probably means the movie was pretty good. I guess? I stayed home and slept in because I'm fighting off a cold and winning so far. I drank dill pickle juice which helped kill off the bugs in my throat. Kristine says that apple cider vinegar with the mother (bacteria) still in it works too.

Kristine wasn't able to get any mandarins today and will pick some up tomorrow so I can make some more cranberry sauce. I was brave tonight and cooked (steamed) some year old vacuum packed frozen salmon. Tom is still doing OK so I guess it was alright. Kristine and I had chicken. I had chicken because I like it and Kristine had chicken because salmon keeps her awake and she only eats it in the morning. Salmon keeps me awake too.

I messed around with my iron cookware this afternoon trying to re-season it a bit because I put some of them on the wood stove after they got wet and I wanted them dry so they didn't rust when I put them away. Well, I forgot them on the stove until I smelled smoke. Yikes! I burned the seasoning off. Well, some of it. All I had to do to the skillet was oil it, but the dutch oven and the chicken fryer wouldn't wipe clean. When I wiped them with oil the paper towel would come away black. So, I put them back on the wood stove for a bit and took them off before they got to the smoking stage and wiped them down and this time the paper towel came away clean. I know I'm supposed to put them in the oven to season, but my oven is not working.

I've been having fun re-reading the Pern books by Anne McCaffrey. It's been way over ten years since I read them and visiting that world was fun. I wish I had a fire lizard. But, chickens are a good second choice. At least they can fly even if they can't go between.

[0 eggs today]
The hens are on strike again.