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

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Slow Cooker Rosemary Pork Loin

Warm days and busy evenings are in store for us as spring starts to take it's rightful place.  So, time to break out the slow cooker and prepare easy, home cooked meals for those time limited days.  

Slow Cooker Rosemary Pork Loin

  • 4-5lb Boneless Pork Loin
  • 10 Cloves Garlic
  • 7 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary
  • 2 C. Vegetable Broth
  • 1 Large Onion
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

  1. Warm olive oil in a sautee pan.
  2. With a sharp knife, cut slits into pork loin and slip the garlic into the meat.
  3. Generously salt and pepper the pork loin and brown or sear on both sides in pan with oil.
  4. While pork is browning, chop onion and place on bottom of slow cooker along with extra garlic if desired.
  5. Place browned pork into crock pot along with vegetable broth and rosemary sprigs.
  6. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until pork is tender and cooked through.

Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ. Wake up from your sleep, Climb out of your coffins; Christ will show you the light!  So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times! -  Ephesians 5:11-17

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Construction Continues

10 Things I Learned While Building a Chicken Coop:

1. A jig is not just a dance anymore.  (jig - A device for guiding a tool or for holding machine work in place. )

Birds Mouth Cut
2. Birds Mouth is a type of cut used inmaking a roof, not just what a bird uses to eat.

3. Air compressors for an air nailer may not get enough current through a long extension cord and can waste a lot of time trying to figure out what is wrong.

4.  What looks square is not always square.

5. Measure twice, cut once.

6. When none of the power tools work, save time and ALWAYS check the circuit breaker first.

7. Desperation is going on the roof in search of a better extension cord.

8. Trusses are easier to buy then cut yourself, but don't tell an engineer that.

9. Time moves faster then a power drill, circular saw or a miter saw ever can.

10. Rome was not built in a day and neither is our chicken coop.  There is always next weekend....

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Ratatouille's Ratatouille

One of my favorite things to do is entertain and cook for friends. This has become even more enjoyable since my gluten free needs arose and eating anywhere but home can be a challenge and end in pain despite the best efforts.  A good friend of ours that knows my love of cooking, has been asking about ratatouille for quite some time and when he, his wife and their three kids came to visit this weekend I decided to prepare the dish he had built up in his mind for so long.  I had a feeling that he was not interested in the authentic dish, but rather the colorful pretty one that had been featured in Disney's movie Ratatouille that the family had watched and fell in love with. After some searching, I found a beautiful version created by Smitten Kitchen and with a few slight modifications our Ratatouille's ratatouille was prepared and graciously gobbled down by kids and adults alike (well, some kids).  Though it is not authentic, it is delicious and visually appealing and went wonderfully with the smoked chicken, roasted potatoes and wonderful company we shared.

Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it. - Proverbs 15:17

Ratatouille's Ratatouille
as adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1/2 Onion, Finely Chopped
3-4 Garlic Cloves Garlic, Minced

1 ½ cup Tomato Sauce or Puree
Olive Oil
1 Eggplant
1 Zucchini
1 Yellow Squash
1 Red or Orange Bell Pepper
Italian Seasoning Blend (fresh herbs are best of course)
Salt and Pepper
Shredded Parmesan Cheese

  • Spread tomato sauce in the bottom of a round or oval baking dish and add the onion and minced garlic.
  • Using a mandolin, slice the egg plant, zucchini, yellow squash and bell pepper in thin medallions.
  • Toss the vegetables in a large bowl with olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper.
  • Layer the vegetables in a pattern, circling the baking dish. 
  • Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 40min
  • Remove from oven, uncover and sprinkle parmesan cheese.
  • Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Construction Begins

This past weekend began work on our chicken coop.  I have been working on providing a cleaner diet and life for my family for awhile and fresh eggs are the next step on the list.  We are building an 8x12 coop and hope to house 10-12 chickens.  After a year of helping at the neighbors and being paid in fresh eggs, Abby is leading the chicken care and prep work.  Giddy with anticipation of our new feathered friends, Abby has been dancing around the house and spending free time reading all the books on chicken raising she can get her hands on.  The other kids are also excited, but Abby has been blessed with the gift of love for all animals and cannot wait to be able to care for some of God’s creatures in her own yard.

This coming weekend we hope to have walls and a roof and have already ordered the chicks to arrive soon.  Perhaps an omelet or quiche party this summer? 

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all for the glory of God. - 1 Corinthians 10:31

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Gluten Free Chicken Fingers

As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. - Romans 14:1-23

Gluten Free Chicken Fingers

  • 1 Cup Hazelnut Flour (I imagine almond flour would work as well, though I have never tried it.)
  • 1 tsp Granulated Garlic
  • 1 Tb Italian Seasoning
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • 1 Large Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
  • 1 Beaten Egg
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil      


  1. Preheat the olive oil in a skillet. 
  2. Combine hazelnut flour, garlic, seasonings and salt and pepper in a bowl and set aside. 
  3. Cut chicken into desired size pieces.  Gently tenderize chicken pieces to ¼  to ½ inch thick. 
  4. Immerse chicken in egg wash.  Place egg coated chicken into hazelnut mixture and coat thoroughly.  
  5. Gently set chicken into the preheated pan with oil, be sure not to over crowd the pan.  Brown chicken on both sides and then place on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 or until chicken is cooked through.  

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tangy Tomatillo Salsa

I tend to make fresh Pico de Gallo (Or Simple Summer Salsa) on a near weekly basis.  I have gotten bored with the same old combination and tiring chopping and was not going to make it at all tonight.  The bottle of Chi Chi’s salsa looked mighty fine to me.  However, as I was clearing my counters to start cooking, I found I still had three lonely tomatillos waiting to be called to duty.  How could I let these little green balls, swaddled in their husks down by ignoring them for one more meal?  So, Tangy Tomatillo Salsa was born.  Welcome to the world Tangy Tomatillo Salsa, you are loved by all in this house and I am sure many others to come.

Other things I have learned today:
  • Holding a three day old baby can be great therapy.
  • No need to apologize for who you are.  If they don’t like you, saying sorry won’t change that.
  • Emily likes to turn off all the lights in the house and relax in the living room as a family.  Why?  That is yet to be discovered, but it is very nice to have the hum of electricity silenced for a bit.
  • Everybody is busy.  Just too darn busy all the time.  Everybody.  Go make some salsa and relax.

Tangy Tomatillo Salsa

  • 3 Tomatillos (With husk removed and sticky outside rinsed clean)
  • 2 Red Tomatoes
  • ¼ - ½ Red Onion
  • 4 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Green Pepper
  • 1 Handful Chopped Fresh Cilantro
  • Juice from one Lime
  • Salt to taste

Chop all vegetables in one inch or smaller chunks.  Pulse in food processer until desired texture is reached (I like a bit of chunk in mine).  Place in large bowl and stir in cilantro, lime juice and salt.  Serve with blue corn tortilla chips (or your favorite) and enjoy!  

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Shrimp in a Bacon and Tomato Sauce

I did not know what to make for dinner today, so today I played Chopped.  
My basket ingredients were:

Canned Tomatoes

(Yes, I know I went easy on myself.  I did want my family to eat the food after all.)

And the results:

Shrimp in a Bacon and Tomato Sauce

  • 6-7 Slices of Bacon, diced
  • 6 Cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 1 Stalk of Celery, diced
  • 1 Small Shallot, diced
  • 1 Small Onion, diced
  • ½ Cup White Wine
  • 1 28oz Can Crushed or Diced Tomatoes (depending on how chunky you would like the dish)
  • Handful of Fresh Parsley, chopped
  • Handful of Basil, chopped
  • 1 TB Crushed Red Pepper
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • 2lbs of uncooked Shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Brown Rice Pasta for serving

  1. Place diced bacon in a large preheated skillet or Dutch oven on medium heat.  Add garlic, celery, shallot and onion once the bacon grease begins to form.  Continue until bacon is cooked.
  2. Add white wine and cook on low/med for about 2min.
  3. Add tomatoes, crushed peppers and herbs.  Simmer together to let flavors marry.
  4. Place the shrimp in the sauce and continue to simmer until the shrimp is cooked.
  5. Serve with pasta or rice and enjoy!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Chick and Louise a Love Story - The End

Chick passed away today.  As the last few days had become increasingly painful and long for Chick and Louise, prayers of peace and comfort had begun in abundance.  Today the prayers of peace were answered for Chick.  Though there is relief in his new peace, there is sadness in Chick’s absence on this Earth.  Today, Louise lost her best friend and love of sixty-six years and there is an intense amount of loneliness in her heart.  Louise knows that one day they will be united again, but until then she must journey on alone.

On October 30th, 1946 two souls were joined as one under God and before family and friends.  Two lives were melded into one and went on to create a family full of their love.  Today, though the lives have been temporary separated, is not the end of this love story.  The love story of Chick and Louise lives on in their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  In all that they accomplish and all they become.  There is no end to such a love story because there is no end to true love.

“They that love beyond the world cannot be separated by it. Death cannot kill what never dies.” ~ Williams Penn

And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”  - Luke 23:43

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Chick and Louise – A Love Story Part 3

Several months have passed since Chick entered the rehab, aka nursing home.   Louise continues to visit him diligently and dutifully, though Chick’s condition continues to deteriorate and there are more bad days then good. 

Today, Chick was asleep for most of her visit, but that does not detour Louise from gently caressing his forehead and cupping his chin to look into his face.  Her furrowed brow and tight lipped grimace, soften as Chick opens his eyes from time to time.  Louise eagerly tries to talk with Chick but the moments are quickly gone with his silent return to sleep and her face falls once again.  Seldom looking away from his face, Louise continues to wait for an opportunity to communicate with her love.

In the months since Chick has been away, many celebrations and occasions have been made new with the haunted memories of what once was.  Thanksgiving and Christmas came and went without Chick at the table and the couple celebrated sixty-six years of marriage.   In the quiet of the empty house, Louise is often brought back to memories of when the house was full of people and happiness.  When house guests were plenty and the kitchen was always warm.  Today, the kitchen is littered with unopened mail and the sink holds one lone glass and plate from Louise’s breakfast.  

As Louise continues to wait for an opportunity to connect with Chick, the clock ticks on and her visiting time comes to an end.  “He doesn't look so good” she mutters seemingly to herself as she straightens his blankets and fixes his hair, most likely talking to the God she feels doesn't hear her right now.  She often calls out in the night, asking what she has done to deserve this, why does He want her to suffer.  The night is filled with a thick silence.   “I will be back tomorrow, Chick” she says to the still body that was once her restless, active husband.  Chick does not move.  Louise bends over and gives him a kiss good-bye and as she stands to go, her face crumbles and her eyes well with tears.   With each step away, she stops and turns back in hopes that Chick has awaken and all is well again.   The departure is painful and it shows on her face.  “Chick is on his way out,” she remarks and slowly, tearfully and torn she returns to the empty house that was once their home.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. - Psalm 23:4