Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year 2012

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Happy New Year!

Kristine took us out for a delicious New Year's Dinner!
We each ordered a different meal.
Cafe Vista - Meadow Vista
We had reservations for 5:00
and were the first customers to be served.
We really don't like to be driving
the mountain roads late at night.
5:00 was a good time for us.
First we had some wonderful bread from,
The Baker And The Cakemaker,
an artisan bakery in Auburn.
soooo good!
I ordered curried butternut squash soup.
Very good...
I would have been happy
with just soup and the bread...
Kristine and Tom had mixed green salads with gorgonzola,  candied walnuts, apples, and cranberries.

--- Then Dinner Arrived! ---
Tom had prime rib with garlic and rosemary,
au jus, horseradish creme fraiche,
and a twice baked potato and roasted vegetables. 
Kristine had grilled halibut with a shallot white wine sauce served with zucchini, fresh tomatoes
and spinach on a bed of garlic mashed potatoes. 
I had chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese and basil
topped with a white wine  mushroom sauce,
served with garlic mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables.

We each shared a little bit of our dinner
with each other...
and everything was absolutely scrumptious!

Kristine and I had blueberry bread pudding for desert.
Tom had chocolate mousse.

There are no photos of desert
because they were soooo good that we ate them up
before I could even think about taking pictures.

Thank you, Kristine, for a lovely dinner!

We got home before
the fireworks and gunshots started.
Well, there was some gunfire before we left,
but it has been quiet since we got back.

We expect to hear a lot of gunfire
and fireworks at 12:00.

A Happy New Year 2012 To All!

Friday, December 30, 2011

A Little Rain Is A Good Thing

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More would be better!

It rained!

Car parking spot --- raked!
The porch got wet...
Except under the eaves.
And when I raked up leaves there was dry dirt underneath.
I think we need a decent rainstorm.

The moss on the trees wakes up when it gets wet.

The moss was green before, but now it turns a bright green.

And the moss gets fluffy!

I did some searches to find out what kind of moss it is and if it's edible.
There was way too much information
and I think I would need a microscope to identify the moss.

I haven't seen deer or the chickens eat the moss so it probably it isn't edible.

Chickens out in the drizzle.
I put the chickens 2nd breakfast inside the shed
just in case it actually started raining.

I did work on the gate.
I think I will need to straighten the gate post.
The added board may have pulled it over a bit.

After I messed with the gate and did some raking,
I came in the house, put more wood in the stove, had some tea and toast,
sat down on the daybed,
and the next thing I knew it was dusk.
Nice nap!

Kristine brought home a cup of tomato bisque (for me!)
from the restaurant where we are going to have dinner tomorrow.
(mmm... their soup is so good!

No eggs.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cleaning Gutters And Raking Leaves

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Tomorrow I need to fix the gate...
It does drag.

I got sidetracked cleaning gutters and raking more of the driveway.

I like to use the tall ladder.
Yep, the gutter is full of leaves.
Clean rusty gutter.
Tomorrow, after I fix the gate, I need to use the hose
to wash out the downspouts.

I didn't take any photos of how messed up the deck was with wet leaves.
Poor deck needs replacing.
I didn't take any pictures of that either.

I bagged up three sacks full of leaves and dumped them in the chicken pen.
The driveway is almost cleared of leaves!
I raked all the way up to the shed.
Not too much farther to go and then I can start on raking around the house.

I save raking the paths for last.
They are a treat.

And I have a plan for the paths this year.
A fitness path!
I'm thinking up different stations.

I want to build a balance walk,
a toe raise,
stretching post,
a pull up bar,
some ???
and a tire run.

I won't be running the tire run, but stepping through it would be good.

I'll be sure to have a sit down and rest station at the finish of the "trail"
where I plan to leave a snack and thermos of tea
before I start down the path.

I like the reward system. 

Little and Big (Buff Brahmas,) Tiny (Australorp) and Curly the Cochin.
The Brahmas and Curly have picked up a friend.

This little Australorp looks a bit bedraggled and missing tail feathers.
I'm calling her Tiny until she grows in all her feathers.
After that I will be hard pressed to tell her apart from her sister.

Either she is being picked on or she is still molting.


she is the newest member of the bottom of the pecking order party.

No eggs.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Gate Repair And Stew Making

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Today was fix the gate day.
I spent time rounding up nails, a measure, the hammer, wire and boards.
Amazing how much time it takes to get everything assembled to start work.
The board under the gate has rotted away.
The wooden fence pretty much needs to be replaced
so I'm just going to do patch up work and cover up the hole.
No major repair work.

I added another board to cover the hole.
I used thin wire to attach the board to the gate.
I looked for heavy wire and forgot about the barbed wire roll.
I also added a board to the post by the lock to close a gap.

Kristine just came home and reported that the gate
was hard to open because it dragged on the ground.
tomorrow I will cut some barbed wire and use it
to tighten up the board and snug it closer to the bottom of the gate.

I'm trying to cut down on the chances of a predator
sneaking in for a chicken dinner.
I don't want things to be too easy for them.

I then remembered I needed to make our dinner.
Something that will cook while I work outside.
(I collected more kindling and did a bit more leaf raking.) 

Quick and easy beef stew soup.
Well, that's what I call it...
If I thickened the broth with corn starch or flour it would be stew.
But, I like the broth, so, it's stew soup.

Today the meat was frozen, so I did things the quick way.
I usually brown the meat when I remember to let it defrost.
But not today.

I put the cast iron pan on the stove on low heat.
And added the chunk of frozen stew meat.
I put garlic cloves, fresh rosemary and sage from the garden 
on top of the frozen meat with salt and pepper.
A bay leaf.
I poured in a few cups of water.
Then I got all the cut up vegetables, onion, carrots, celery, potatoes, peppers,
and put them in the pot on top of the frozen stew meat.
More water and salt.
A vegetable bullion cube.
Put on the lid.
Put the pot on the wood stove and let it cook slowly for about six hours.

mmm... meat is very tender.
Tastes good.

I would have put the string beans in the pot too
but there wasn't enough room.
I pretty much add whatever is in the fridge.

I do thicken the broth sometimes.
Then we can have proper stew.

The chickens luck out when I make stew because they get the carrot peels.

These chickens are buddies.

Curly the Cochin and two Buff Brahmas, Little and Big.

These three hens are fairly low in the pecking order
and stick together most of the time.

Little is the brave one of the group.
When I walked over to where they were eating a mix of oyster shell and corn,
Curly and Big moved away,
but Little just stayed put and kept on eating.

Little is brave or very hungry...?

No eggs.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

One Of Our Chickens May Have A Ring

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Spent most of the day finishing raking driveway leaves, raking paths,
and filling bags with leaves for the chicken pen.

I'm trying the deep litter method this winter.

The chickens get up and have their
1st breakfast in their pen.

Then I let them out for the day and they run to the shed.
They know that's where their feed is stored,

2nd breakfast time...

The chickens are having their second breakfast.
After they finish, they come on the porch and they get cabbage
for their 3rd breakfast.

Then they free range all day eating what they can find until evening,
when they come back to the shed and fill up again before bedtime.

There might be a hen that can become invisible.
I'm always coming up one short when I count them
and have to recount several times.

I think they might be Hobbit chickens?

Feed sacks ready to be filled with leaves.
Sacks full, but still way too many leaves left to be raked.
Yea! The drive way is clear!
Well, this end of the driveway is clear.
I still have lots more driveway and places to rake.
Raking paths is my fun time raking.
Lots more paths to rake.
Raking paths is great exercise!
I took a break from driveway raking to play with the paths.

I really do enjoy raking up leaves.

I kind of feel the same way about ironing... there is something very satisfying about starting out with something that is a mess and ending up with something that looks nice and neat.

Although I do admit that I like raking way better than ironing. I love being outside enjoying the fresh air, sun and hearing the birds (chickens too.)

Sitting at an ironing board moving a hot iron around is not that much fun. Sitting is ok... in the 50's I ironed everything... sheets, underwear, if you could iron it, I ironed it... I'm a great ironer. But no sitting... all ironing was while standing.

I saw a very big black crow yesterday in a tree right over my head, who was making the loudest call I ever heard. It almost sounded like a dog up in the tree... well, that loud, cawing/calling not barking, but very loud.  I wonder if he was upset because I was moving his leaves around? 

No eggs.

Monday, December 26, 2011

2011 Christmas Photos Of Our Chickens

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I thought I would post a photo of each breed of chicken we have this year.
There used to be four of each breed
(except for the Cochin... we've only had one Cochin.)

Golden Lace Wyandotte
The Wyandottes are lovely, hardy and a bit skittish.

Light Brahma

The Light Brahmas are bigger than the Orpingtons so they are #1.
Buff Orpington 
The Buff Orpingtons are beautiful big hens and like to be boss.


The Australorps have a beautiful green sheen to their black feathers
and are great layers.
Buff Brahma
The Buff Brahmas and Curly like to pal around together.

Curly the Cochin looks very much like a Buff Orpington
except she has feathers on her feet and her feathers are a little fluffy.

Here is the gang on the porch chowing down on chopped cabbage.
Well, most of the gang...
three of the hens have found something better to do.
Laying eggs?
I can dream.

They all look so much better now that they are almost finished molting
and most of them have all their new feathers.

I cut the cabbage up and scatter it around so the less dominate hens
have a chance of getting their share

Our chickens are around five years old.
Maybe six?
Maybe more?
Evidently we are not any good at chicken record keeping.

No eggs today.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

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Update 2:
Hooray! Kristine feels better.
She actually woke up hungry.
So, I made pancakes.
She wanted pancakes.

This is a cute video - made me laugh.

I slept most of the day or read.
No eggs.
I added some more quotes.
I don't think I will post again until after Christmas.
Be happy!

Merry Christmas!

25 - One must be poor to know the luxury of giving.
~ George Eliot

24 - The greatest gift you can give
is the purity of your attention.
~ Richard Moss

23 - You must give some time to your fellow men.
Even if it's a little thing,
do something for others -
something for which you get no pay
but the privilege of doing it.
~ Albert Schweitzer

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Winter Solstice!

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Winter Solstice Chicken In A Pot
It's a store chicken.
Our chickens are fine and enjoying the sunshine.

Rice keeping warm on the top shelf.
Morgan's bowls below.

The barrel and wash tub
are full of paper kindling.

Want to see a Winter  Solstice Sun Tunnel? Click here.
Astronomy Picture Of The Day

Want to see a Winter/Summer Solstice Photo. Click here.
Taken with a pinhole camera.

No eggs.

Oh boy, I have something to post about.

December 22 is the Winter Solstice!
Shortest day of the year!

To find an interesting YouTube video I typed
Winter Solstice in the search box
and then just for fun I typed in chicken.

Since this is a somewhat chicken oriented blog
I sometimes add chicken stuff to searches.

You never know... there might be something interesting? Nope...  So, I typed in Winter Solstice egg
... and who knew? ... not me, that's for sure, but
you are supposed to be able to balance an egg on its pointy end on the Winter Solstice.

Balance an egg on its pointy end?

Yes and No

No: no because of what Snopes says here
Yes: because of this video.

Seems that you can balance an egg on its pointy end whenever you want.
The solstice doesn't have anything to do with the balance act.

The question now is... do I want to balance an egg on its pointy end?
Not tonight.

I'm going to take Morgan out and then go to bed.

The neighbor's burning rubbish has burned away.
No smoke outside tonight.
I really didn't like waking up last night
thinking the house was on fire.

Maybe there will be an egg in the morning?

Merry Christmas!


December Quotes
My Favorite Quotations On Giving


22 - I love the Christmas-tide, and yet, I notice this,
each year I live;
I always like the gift I get,
But how I love the gift I give!
~ Carolyn Wells

21 - Friendship is a precious gift.
To give at Christmas time.
A cherished gift, a treasured gift that lasts through all time.
~ unknown

Scroll down to posts below for more quotes.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Favorite Christmas Movies

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I added some more quotations.

We are holding our own and slowly getting better.
I tried twice to write a new post today
and messed it up both times.

Thought I would post the movie list again.
Before Christmas, I would like to watch Holiday Inn, The Nutcracker, The Thin Man and Moonstruck.
Maybe tomorrow?
I haven't done any sewing, but I did watch RED.

RED has a lot of what for me makes an enjoyable movie:
Interesting stuff happens.
The bad guys lose.
The boy gets the girl.
There is a happy ending.

I don't like movies that have sad endings or that jerk me around emotionally.
I watch movies for pleasure.
Life provides my feelings enough stimulation.

People are burning piles of leaves, trees, and?
making lots of smoke and last night
I woke up and thought the house was on fire.
That was scary!

Here are my favorite Christmas movies:
Warning: some of these links may not work.
  1. 1. An Affair To Remember YouTube - An Affair To Remember Trailer
  2. White Christmas YouTube - White Christmas Theatrical Trailer
  3. Miracle On 34th Street YouTube - Miracle on 34th Street (1947) Theatrical Trailer
  4. It's A Wonderful Life YouTube - It's a Wonderful Life Part 1
  5. (2)Scrooge YouTube - Scrooge the Musical (1970) Part 1 --  Scrooge 1951 YouTube - Scrooge (Alastair Sim) #1
  6. Die Hard YouTube - Die Hard (1988) Part 1
  7. A Christmas Story YouTube - A CHRISTMAS STORY trailer
  8. The Bishop's Wife YouTube - - 1 - The Bishop's Wife (1947)
  9. A Charlie Brown Christmas Trailer YouTube - A Charlie Brown Christmas Full Movie Trailer
  11. (3) Desk Set YouTube - Desk Set 1957 Part 1 Gig Young, Joan Blondell, Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy
  12. (1) A Childs's Christmas in Wales YouTube - A Child's Christmases in Wales - In HD - Part 1 of 6 - From JK_Pro On PS3
  13. The Bells Of St. Mary's YouTube - Trailer The Bells of St Mary's -1945- (Re issue trailer)
  14. Meet Me In St Louis ? YouTube - Meet Me in St. Louis - (Re-issue Trailer)
  15. March Of The Wooden Soldiers YouTube - March of the Wooden Soldiers (1)
  16. Babes In Toyland YouTube - Laurel & Hardy - Babes In Toyland Theatrical Trailer (1934)
  17. The Nutcracker ---  YouTube - Rudolf Nureyev. The Nutcracker. 1/10  --- YouTube - Baryshnikov Nutcracker 1
  18. Bachelor Mother YouTube - BACHELOR MOTHER [1939 TRAILER]
  19. We're No Angels - 1955 - Bogart - We're No Angels - YouTube - We're No ANGELS 1989 (Part 1)
  20. The Thin Man YouTube - The Thin Man Trailer (Powell, Loy)
  21. Meet John Doe YouTube - "Meet John Doe" Part 1
  22. Love Finds Andy Hardy YouTube - Love Finds Andy Hardy Part 1
  23. Theft of the Royal Ruby YouTube - The Theft of the Royal Ruby {1/4} YouTube - The Blue Carbuncle
  24. Tom and Jerry - The Night Before Christmas YouTube - Tom and Jerry - The Night before Christmas [HQ]
  25. Home Alone YouTube - Home Alone Trailer
  26. The Shop Around The Corner YouTube - The Shop Around The Corner (1940) - 1/10
  27. Remember The Night YouTube - Remember the Night (1940) Pt.1
  28. Holiday Inn (1942) YouTube - Holiday Inn 1942 part 1
  29. Moonstruck YouTube - Moonstruck - The Movie [01/11]
  30. Muppet Christmas Carol YouTube - A Muppet Christmas Carol Part 1
  31. Holiday YouTube - Holiday - The Movie 1/13
  32. RED (Retired Extremely Dangerous) YouTube - Trailer - 2010
This is my list from last year,
but I thought that since I'm not feeling that well it would have to do for a post...
it was this or nothing.

0 eggs today!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful,
very, very happy Christmas!


December Quotes
My Favorite Quotations On Giving


22 - I love the Christmas-tide, and yet, I notice this,
each year I live;
I always like the gift I get,
But how I love the gift I give!
~ Carolyn Wells

21 - Friendship is a precious gift.
To give at Christmas time.
A cherished gift, a treasured gift that lasts through all time.
~ unknown

20 - The only gift is a portion of thyself.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

19 - No one has ever become poor by giving.
~ Anne Frank

18 - The heart of the giver makes the gift dear and precious.
~ Martin Luther

17 - People are very fond of giving away what they most need themselves.
It is what I call the depth of generosity.
~ Oscar Wilde

16 - A compliment is a gift, not to be thrown away carelessly,
unless you want to hurt the giver.
~Eleanor Hamilton