Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Humanity of Chickens

As the snow and ice fell and the sun set on a cold winter’s day, Bob took the trek to say good night to and close the chicken coop up for the evening.  We do this to keep them safe from night time predators looking for a treat.  All was well and all settled in for a long winters nap.

After a quick breakfast the next morning, Abby put on her snow clothes and traveled across the yard to the coop, equipped with warm water for the chicken’s breakfast.  When she got to the coop she did her morning head count and found not the expected eight hens, but rather only seven.  One girl had never made it home the night before.

Remembering that four of the sister hens had been playing under the deck while the snow fell the previous day, Abby quickly ran to see if the missing hen had stowed away there for the night and more importantly, had she survived.   Our little short feathered brown chick had indeed survived the cold, the predators and sleeping alone for the first time in her chicken life.  We gave her warm water, warm bowl of oatmeal and let her try to work her way out and home.  Yet she stayed put.

As we checked over and over to see if she had decided to move out of her perceived safety under our deck, I caught a glimpse of something that warmed my chicken loving heart.  I peered over toward the coop and saw one of her sister hens slowly navigating her way across the ice covered snow path from the coop to the deck.  She took time, tried not to slip and made her way to where her sister hen was sitting in fear.  She then sat next to her sister that had been missed all night.  She waited until her missing sister was ready and then they walked back to the coop together to join the rest of the family. The coop is now full of eight happy and healthy sister hens again.

Let brotherly love continue. -  Hebrews 13:1

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Young Adults and Missing Tomato Plants

Our chickens are now young adults.  Fully feathered, taking their rolls in the flock and learning the boundaries set out for them.  While they truly enjoy following me onto the deck and hanging out there, I do not enjoy cleaning the mess they leave and so a baby gate has been installed to keep them out and off.  Our chickens have redefined free range and taken over much of the 3 acres we own.  We are for the most part happy with this and enjoy watching the "chicken TV" each evening, but when they do things like eat my entire tomato plant, it loses the charm it once had.

Despite the chicken's best efforts, most of our tomato plants are thriving along with our basil, parsley and lettuce plants.  The peppers are not far behind, but a bit spicy for the chickens I believe.  They seem to have left those alone.

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. - Philippians 4:13

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Teenage Chickens

Today we took a trip to Agway to gather some chick supplies.  Bedding, food, grit (did you know they need to eat this rocky stuff to help digest food from outside?), a larger feeder and water container among other things like chicken scratch and dichotomous earth.   While at Agway we took a peek at the chicks waiting for a home and were amazed at how tiny they are compared to our now pullet sized chicks. Our brood of eight lovely ladies are now true gawky teenagers compared to the cute balls of fuzz they once were.  They have grown so quickly and are starting to grow their combs as well as feathers on most of their bodies.  The roost and dust themselves, but still love to play and compete with each other.  

 In other Foreman farm news, the tomatoes and peppers have been transplanted the the herbs are starting to resemble what they will be as adult herbs.  The lettuce and rosemary are yet to be planted.  Good thing we like to eat.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Moving On Out

This weekend the coop was completed enough for the chicks (now pullets) to move on out.  The weather is consistently warm enough and the coop is sealed from predators and all just in time as the chicks were desperately running out of space in the box in our basement.  They seem to enjoy the space to spread out a bit and love to chase the dust in the warm sunlight from the windows.  Bob and Abby fashioned a mini roost for them to start with and they jumped right on as if they had been using it since birth.  My children grow fast, but I am pretty sure at only 4 weeks old these chicks are now teenagers, with a little less attitude.

Savannah, the chick above, has started to take on a dominance role already.  We continue to hope they are all hens and she is just the alpha hen and not a rooster in the making.  Since we are not breeding and only looking for the eggs a rooster is not needed and would most likely be a noisy brute.

Just had to share this photo again as it is so darn cute.  This was only a few days before they moved out, but there is clear growth in that short time.

Next steps on our chicken palace: nesting boxes, dropping board (as lovely as it sounds), the run and the big girl roosts.

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value then they? - Matthew 6:26

The Walls Will Rise
Construction Continues
Construction Begins

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Lamb and Chicken Meatballs

Below is the recipe that I prepared to go with the Gluten Free Tabbouleh from yesterday.  I personally cannot eat much meat and only had one, but the house critics consumed and enjoyed the rest, including our pickiest critic, so it was decided we would share.

Lamb and Chicken Meatballs

1 Lb Ground Lamb
1 Lb Ground Chicken
¼ cup Finely Crumbled Feta Cheese
3 Cloves of Garlic, minced
3-4 Sprigs of Fresh Rosemary, chopped
3-4 Sprigs of Fresh Dill, chopped
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Warm the olive oil in a skillet.  Combine all ingredients and mix together thoroughly.  Shape meat mixture into balls and brown in olive oil coated pan on all sides.  Remove from oil and place in 9x13 baking dish.  Bake the meatballs at 400 degrees for 25-40 minutes or until cooked through.  Serve with tzatziki sauce and enjoy!

Tzatziki Sauce:
Blend together: 16oz Greek Yogurt, 1 Seedless Cucumber, 4 Cloves of Garlic, Lemon Juice from 1/2 Lemon, Handful of Fresh Dill, Handful of Fresh Mint, 1 TB Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper to Taste.  Best served chilled.

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” - Hebrews 13:5

Monday, April 22, 2013

Tabbouleh– Gluten Free

I have entered a bit of a recipe rut lately and am often stuck as to what to make for dinner.  This morning I handed my husband, Bob, several of my many cooking magazines and told him, "Pick something, anything and I will make that tonight."  He thoughtfully and diligently flipped through the glossy pages and finally landed on a Greek Mini Meatloaf.  While I actually didn't follow the recipe at all (as I tend to not do lately), I did use that for a theme and made Lamb, Chicken and Feta Meatballs with tzatziki sauce, gluten free tabbouleh, rice pilaf and gluten free quinoa flat bread.  It was scrumptious, the kids and Bob loved it and well worth all the work.  Below is the recipe for the tabbouleh and I will add the meatballs shortly.  Enjoy!

Tabbouleh (Gluten Free)

2 Bunches of Italian Parsley
4 Cloves Garlic
3 Tomatoes
1 Seedless or Seeded Cucumber
2 Green Onions
Several Leaves Fresh Mint
1 Cup Cooked Quinoa
¼ Cup Olive Oil
Juice from 1 Lemon
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Finely chop parsley, garlic, tomatoes, cucumber, mint and green onions.  Combine with quinoa, olive oil and lemon.  Add salt and pepper to taste and combine thoroughly.  Enjoy with your favorite gluten free pita or wrap or just as is.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Walls Will Rise

Yesterday was cool, yet warm enough to continue construction.   The previous night's torrential rains created a very muddy work environment, but nothing we could not slosh through.  At the beginning of today's work we had nothing but a floor, 7 trusses and a lot of lumber but ended with 4 secure walls and most of a roof.  What an amazing feeling to have our minds and hands build and create a structure.  We are not builders by trade or nature, but we worked together and made it happen.  Now, all the details are yet to chickens really need windows and a full roof?   I have never heard a chicken complain about the outside of the coop not being the proper color, have you?

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. - Ecclesiastes 4:9