Thursday, January 19, 2012

Catching Up

Well, I'm better-ish.  There's been plenty going on, despite the fact that I was sick.  Here's what's been happening:
  • The injured Guinea Hen, Violet, who was bitten by the dog,  is back outside.  She "enjoyed" our hospitality for 2 days, and then began to pathetically chirp each time she heard the roosters crow outside, or the ganders yell.  It was plain she was missing everyone, so she went out.  The first day she was out I caught her in the roost at night and had her sleep inside, so she could stay warm.  The next night, I was not so lucky and she put up a hell of a fight.  Taking that as a cue that she was on the mend, I left her out.  She seems to be ok.
  • The boys (Perni and Peter) are still missing their tails, but seem no real worse for wear.  It hasn't slowed them down any, so that's good.
  • My daughter's 4th grade class will be doing a hatching egg project at the beginning of March.  I've always wanted to do a project like that in a classroom, so I'm thrilled that I'm going to be heading it up.  I will be providing the incubator and the candler, and giving a presentation.  I'll also be bringing in a couple of chickens from our farm to show.  My mother is providing the eggs from some websites she found--36 in all.  That's a lot of chickens!  I'm very excited.  I love to teach and I love chickens, so hey, it's a match made in heaven.  I'll keep you posted on it!
  • The first batch of meat chickens has been ordered to arrive Mid-March.  15 in total, which isn't too bad, considering I don't have a plucker and they're going to take a while to process.  This is the first batch of 3 we'll do this year.  When the sessions are all done, we should have some lovely, healthy food to put by.
  • Speaking of chickens, I placed an order for the beginning of May to fill that little coop I told you about.  They'll be chickens like this:

Hee hee hee!!  They make me laugh, those crazy-haired ones.  You know, purely decorative and petlike.  Not much in the egg laying department.  That sort of thing.  Perfect for a pampered little coop. Yeay!
  • After I made the goal of playing the fiddle more often, I went back to it to start up again.  But then the bridge snapped while I was tightening the strings.  It must have been crooked, and I didn't notice.  I ordered a new bridge and it arrived yesterday.  I'm pleased to say it seems to fit better than the bridge that came with the dang violin in the first place.  I have no more excuses not to practice.  I will have to get back on this horse.
  • I made cheese for the first time.  Actually, let me re-word that a little.  I made ricotta cheese for the first time.  I hesitate to call this any type of milestone, because it was ludicrously easy.  It turned out really well, though, and it was easy to do.  I will definitely be repeating it in the future.
  • Speaking of cooking, I bought a cheap crockpot the other day.  Pork shoulder was on sale, and that's apparently what pulled pork is made out of.  No, I did not know that.  However, I did know that my beloved husband has got a pulled pork addiction, thanks to Subway in the city.  I figured if Subway could do it, I could do it better.  But to do it, I needed a crockpot, which I bought.  I've not owned one before.  It was nice, because though I didn't feel well that day, my family could still eat.  And it was GOOOD!!!!  Good with three O's, good.  Maybe even four O's good.  So the crockpot and I will make friends.  I think it will be very helpful to me in the future.
  • You know what I needed for the pulled pork, since I'm on that topic?  Barbeque sauce.  Do you know what's IN barbeque sauce?  I didn't, because I never buy it.  But I needed some this time and that stuff is all high fructose corn syrup.  I couldn't believe it.  I would even venture to say that it's just flavored high fructose corn syrup, and that's it.  Holy cow.  Well, that's something I'm not buying ever again, not even for pulled pork.  I'm going to find me a good bbq sauce recipe and do it up.  Ick.  That's just too gross.  Add that to the list of things that will be made here from now on.  Wow.
  • The soap is all soaped, and all I can say is, I can cook, but I can't color.  Every batch of soap suds beautifully (for new soap), it all mixed wonderfully, and it all turned out a hideous shade of brown.  I can't pinpoint whether it is the recipe I used, or the coloring.  I used Brambleberry Labcolors for Cold Process, and they didn't work.  The yellow turned out brown, the brown turned out grey-ish and icky, and the pink turned out icky brown pink.  Very disappointing, and such a waste of money.  I followed directions, so I can't think of what went wrong.  Sigh.  I would take pictures, but you don't need to see ugly soap.  I have another recipe I can try, and I have pigments.  I'm going to re-try my daughter's strawberry soap with the new recipe and the pink pigment and see if that works better.  If it does, I'm re-doing all of them.  Luckily, they were all small batches.  If it doesn't go any better, be prepared for pictures of ugly soap.  None of this ugly stuff will go to waste, though.  Even though I won't give my family ugly soap to use (I have my pride, you know), I will take the soap, drill holes in it, and hang it from the orchard trees and any other tree the deer really like.  If the ugliness doesn't keep them away, the smell will!
  • And finally, though I was pretty sick, I hate laying around, so when I could function, I got into my sewing room to work on it.  It wasn't too bad to do, as I could sit on the floor the whole time.  I am decluttering, which is really hard for me in this particular area.  I will write more about that as I go, but for now, let's just say it's a work in progress.
And I think that's it.  Hope you all have a great day.  I can tell by the noise outside it's feeding time, so catch you later!
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  1. Chris and I like the "Gringo Jack" brand BBQ sauce on our pulled pork - no perservatives, no HFCS, and it's made organically in Vermont. We got it at Hannaford.

  2. I have made this BBQ sauce before, and it was quite good: When I make it again, the only modification I will make is to cut back on the red wine vinegar a bit, as it is a touch overpowering. It has kept very well in the fridge for over 8 months!

    I hope you continue to feel better :)


  3. Oh you are going to fall in love with your crockpot over and over again...when you know you are going to have a long day plucking chickens...You can prep everything the night before, plop it in the crockpot in the morning and not have to worry about dinner that night.
    A couple of my family faves are
    You can substitute the ribs for a chuck roast or even chunks of beef so you don't even have to worry about the bones.
    and if you are doing pulled pork, homemade baked beans...the sauce is so yummy you will not even need bbq sauce ;)

    Glad you are feeling better.

    Blessings Kelsie

  4. Sounds like everything is looking up! The egg project sounds like a real winner and I have to say crock pots are too. My husband says they'll make even shoe leather tender.

    About the chicken plucker. We don't have one either, but I heard from a friend that she didn't care for them. Having used them in the past, she said they bruise the meat up pretty badly. Dan and I used a scalding water dunk for our Buff Orpington cockerels and the feathers were a breeze to pluck! Of course this bread is loose feathered anyway, but I think we'll forgo the plucker plans. I suspect time saved in plucking would be lost in cleanup anyway. :)


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