The snow banks are reaching towards the power lines as I dream about the grass growing again and the new garden plans and the baby chicks we will order in March. It has been a record cold month and the east coast has been pummeled with snow for two and a half months. Oh, February is definitely the time for summer dreaming. Winter is too long and pushes us right to the edges of ourselves, our pantry, our well stocked freezer, and our patience. So, what can I do but reach deep into the freezer and bake a warm gooey strawberry rhubarb crisp!? Dreaming of warmer days so soon to come… Continue reading “Summer in February Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp”
On these cold winter days we find ourselves surrounded. Earthy vegetables are scattered throughout the cool and dry spots of the house in boxes, baskets, and paper bags, the rest jammed in the fridge. Our winter cache is beginning to dwindle to the hardiest of produce: carrots, celeriac, beets, parsnips and potatoes, all of which taste sweeter than standard grocery fair from the magic/science of starches, sugars, and cold weather. Winter is the only time of year I truly enjoy peeling vegetables, for the stunning aromas of these wonders encompass my head like a perfume. The smell of a winter celeriac freshly diced is a gift that makes me weak at the knees.
Today we’re working with a northern standby, the potato. Not as aromatic and seductive as other earthen vegetables at first whiff, yet the warmth and comfort associated with the potato, not to mention its versatility, makes it a true staple of virtually all styles of cooking. I feel like something a little different this time. Let’s make some pancakes.
Our rhythm has saved my life. Rhythm feels good and secure and helps take a lot of stress off my shoulders. It feels like a long time ago, when the kiddo was born, a natural rhythm came about as it does with a newborn, with waking, eating, sleeping, and diapers! Now it has morphed into a toddler or kiddo rhythm, which includes more outside time, chores, snacking, playing with friends, library time, and other adventures. We have set days for shopping, for baking, for going to the farmer’s market in the summer. We all feel so comfortable in the routine we have developed and it is something we hope to continue and expand to other parts of our lives, not just the kiddo’s life. When things are expected and set, then there is less discussion and conflict, maybe even fewer outbursts because ingrained expectations are developing for all of us. There are fewer tantrums (maybe) because we know that after eating breakfast we will do the kitchen cleanup and then get dressed for the day.
It’s happened to everyone. You buy that huge bag of onions from the store or your favorite farmer and see endless possibilities. Caramelized onions. French onion soup. Grilled onions for burgers. But then weeks pass and you’ve barely put a dent in the supply. Some of the onions are starting to sprout, others are getting mushy and dark. Was it a waste to buy in bulk? Never! Read on to see how you can save your onions and store them properly for countless meals.
Strong steps, sturdy steps, big steps in the snow! Strong steps, sturdy steps, big steps in the snow! Whenever the kiddo and I head out into the snow, even around the yard just to check the chickens or the mailbox, I have taken up chanting and singing those silly words.
It is very important to keep your chickens entertained, because, well, bored chickens can become all out blood-thirsty maniacs. I mean it.
For chickens, the best entertainment is pecking any and everything around them, including each other. Chicken on chicken violence really isn’t pretty and needs to be managed to reduce risk of injury. And injuries can lead to death! Emotional attachments aside, if one of our hens died prematurely we’d be losing a fairly significant investment. We had to feed them for about 4-6 months before they started actually laying eggs, and 4-6 months of chicken feed isn’t cheap.
And even if a chicken doesn’t get ruthlessly murdered by its companions, all that pecking can be stressful, and a stressed out chicken isn’t a healthy chicken, and an unhealthy chicken doesn’t lay as well as a healthy chicken. Thus happy chickens = plentiful fried egg breakfasts.
So the solution is obvious, they just need something more interesting to peck than each other. Read on for some of our best ideas.
We have simple dreams, simple wishes and desires for our life together. My family and I want to take time to appreciate the seasons and what is outside the window rather than what is contained within our walls. Anyone can accumulate stuff. We want to try to grow vegetables and raise our own animals. We want to enjoy all that is already offered in nature and around us, as well as the process of creation, and doing things with your own hands.