Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Solstice~

Nature does not seem to care that today is the darkest day of the year... 
well not this morning anyway... by late afternoon it will be dark.
It is glowing and beautiful here, the sun is knitting it's way across the top of our mountain, barely peeking over, and shining magically through the misty tree tops.

I took a walk alone this morning, something I rarely do alone... and had to take photos so I could share what I saw with you.

After tonight the days will start to be longer. A renewal. And a great metaphor for where I am right now...
I have been stuck. Becoming unstuck is sometimes painful, but necessary. Yay for transitions... and Yay for ruts. It's all about the journey, after all... and I plan to savor each step of it.

"It may be when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work, and that when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey."  Wendell Berry

Yay for being stuck,... and Yay for our painful transitions... 
It's all about the journey, after all... and I want to savor each step of it.

around the orchard...

 down the lane...

to the front of the house, where my chicken babies are living right now... they come running towards me, I tell myself it's because they love me, but really they just want snacks.

around the house...

to the pond...
reflection in the water, off the slippery, slimy deck...

behind the pond to the tree line at the base of the mountain...

and inside my favorite giant cedar tree...

 where I thought about taking a nap, but its damp and mossy in there!
Great place to put a hammock... hmmm...

Have a magical solstice, love to all.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Loving Life

Things have been quiet on the blog, but not in life.
We lost a dear friend to Melanoma last week, which just... well, it just sucks.
Life lesson is that life is short. and beautiful. even when it hurts.
That's all I have to say.

I leave you with some photos of life these past few weeks...

Making things sparkle with Jackie Sparkles...

Semi-frozen pond... pretty but. brrrrr (ugh).

Twig star...

Latest Hats~ Zoe's Thorpe hat and Ann's Earflap Hat from handspun~

Maureen is molting. She looks horrific and it's cold. Silly chicken.

Measuring the tree height. Tall man ruler.

Hauling to the tree shaker... where they shake out the critters and dead stuff.

MOM! Stop taking my picture!

Mamma likes the barn siding on the tree farm. 
Take note for OUR barn/studio renovation coming this spring.

Tree on car!

The tree is still in the barn, in it's stand, still bound, 
waiting for us to dig a hole so it can come inside... perhaps today?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy Chickens~

I love my chickens.
It may even be the beginning of a sickness.
Always had bird-ick-itis... but I am enjoying them as much as I do my cats. (gasp! I know, right?!)
I have even been considering making them some accessories and outfits, but have managed to keep that obsession at bay... for now (grin).

Today we adopt 14 new hens and a second rooster. No pics of them yet, they have not arrived, but here are some portraits of my ladies and dude, taken by Eve & Ann. (will take pics of the new angels once they adapt).
 (click images to see larger versions)

One of my favorite photos.  See the white bunny? That is Alton, he has a tunnel-home he dug in the barn where he sleeps at night.  He spends his days hanging out in the clover patch or with the chickens.
I love this shot because it shows how our animals all co-exist peacefully (not typical, I know).
Stella considers them her pack and protects them. 
Alton and her play chase frequently, but she never tries to catch him, she only gives him licks. 
See how Salatin is checking the bunny out to make sure he is not danger? They are probably talking about the dog.

This is Salatin, the current reigning dude.

One of the pretty Rhode Island ladies posing for Eve on the deck.


Any day I am home I let them loose from their "area"... 
They then entertain the cats and myself on the deck.  We call it Chicken TV.
Here is one of the Rhode Islands when they were younger, playing "Chicken of the World".

Bambi, the broody mamma, when she was sitting on Pippin's egg. Here she is all puffed up in warning. I love the chirpy sound they make when they are broody. Feisty!

Here comes Pippin! It takes about 24 hours for a chick to work it's way out. 
It's important they do it themselves... makes them stronger.

 Hello beautiful! Welcome to the world.
Pippin is now about 3+ months old, and so far is looking like a GIRL! and looks to be pure Rhode Island, so Bambi was her adopted mother, not her biological mother. Love that.
Bambi sat on three eggs, so not all of them were necessarily laid by her. 
Bambi is a Buff Orphington, the rooster is a Rhode Island Red.

 Mamma and Pippin hanging out in the nesting boxes.

Ladies all in a row, laying their magical eggs.

An egg photo... the greenish blue eggs are laid by our Ameracauna hens.

 One of our Ameracauna ladies.. they are so pretty, and comical. 
They remind me of Muppets. Plus they lay the green eggs!

Fluffy Ameracauna butt.

This is Agatha, our granny hen. She came to us from a friend, and I don't think she lays anymore, but she is harmless and healthy and occasionally gives Salatin some happy-time, so she is welcome to stay as long as she needs...

Meet Maureen. I named her after myself because she is chubby and the first to come running for snacks. She looks mad here, probably because there were no snacks.

Posing ladies on the deck.

 Freed ladies scratching in the flower beds for bugs and worms.

Is that enough Chicken info for today?
xo Reenie

Monday, November 28, 2011

Turkey Soup!

Yesterday I used the turkey remains to make a big batch of soup. With homemade egg noodles!
It turned out so delicious I wanted to share.

Here is a rough recipe... since everyone has different ingredients and different sized turkeys... plus I don't cook in measurements, I go more with my instincts, like my art!

Pick all remaining meat from the turkey bones and set aside.
Add the carcass to a large pot and cover with water. Our turkey was 21 lb. so I used a pretty large stock pot. I added two large onions (roughly chopped) and about 6 carrots (big pieces are easier to fish out later), as well as salt, pepper and some garlic powder.
Bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer and let it go for and hour or two, depending on how big your turkey is. I simmered it for almost two hours (probably more, I didn't time).

Remove the solids (I used a colander) and return the broth to the pot.
In a cast iron pan, sauté two onions in a blop or two of olive oil. If it seems too dry add some of the broth to keep it from burning. When the onions are clear, add 6-8 minced garlic cloves and seasonings (I used dried parsley, oregano and black pepper). Once all hot and mixed together well, add to the broth. Sautéing the onions and garlic give them a different flavor than boiling them in the soup.... more savory I think.

Slice carrots and add to the broth and bring to a boil to soften. Use your instincts as to how many carrots, depending on how much broth you have. I think I used 10-12 skinny carrots.

When carrots are soft, it's time to make your noodles!

I used this recipe, and it took four batches for my soup.  Since I did not have any tiny cookie cutters (on the list to buy), I used the top of a glass bottle to cut mine out. But I really like the idea of making stars or hearts so I am definitely getting some cutters....

Add noodles to the broth, making sure it is at a rolling boil. If they are thin and smaller they only take about 10 minutes to cook.  Once the noodles were in for a while I added the remaining shredded turkey meat (since it was already cooked it only needed heated, adding too soon makes it chewy and overcooked) and chard ribbons (chard cut into long pieces). The chard only takes a a few minutes to cook, so add them last.

SO good! Plus plenty to share with the friends and neighbors.

Add a crunchy salad and some homemake bread and enjoy!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful (by Paul)

Today we forgot celery for the stuffing. Big problem right? 
It's a tradition to have Reenie's grandma's stuffing recipe and it "needs" celery! 
I know you're probably wondering how this relates to being thankful and I'm glad you asked. :) 

Here's how...
   Ann was riding with me to the store (because we forgot celery) and the local radio station has already started playing Christmas carols.  She said, "Wow I can't believe summer's over already".  Of course I did the old Dad thing and said, "The older you get the faster time goes".  I started thinking about that on the drive and listened to her singing Christmas songs with the radio and I let myself slow down and be thankful (because today is the day to do that)...
...and I also thought of the eulogy in the link below and Steve Jobs last words. I don't know if you're a Steve Jobs fan or not or believe in what he did or if you're an Apple fan or not and I really don't care...for once let all of that go. In all fairness you have to admit the man was amazing.  We all have our faults. 

   My point is, I don't necessarily consider Thanksgiving my favorite holiday...I am more enthralled by New Year's and celebrating new beginnings, reflecting on lessons learned and looking forward to a fresh start....but today (this is also due to a very sick friend battling hard against cancer) Thanksgiving struck much deeper.... 

I want to be thankful and happy with where I am and what I have.  
I want to be thankful we forgot the celery and I had that time to spend with my beautiful, healthy daughter. 
I want to be thankful that I had a place to go to buy celery and that there was a store stocked with organic celery.  
I want to always remember to be thankful and look at everything with the last words that Steve Jobs have to read it (you have to read the eulogy to get his last words).   You'll get it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mason Jar Bird Feeder~


Today we spent some time poking around our local farmstore, one of my favorite places!

We came across some chicken feeders that fit on a mason jar!!!
So I bought one and we rigged a bird feeder for our deck.

The base is a repurposed cement succulent planter...
(I cannot seem to keep succulents alive...shhh)

The feeder fit inside perfectly... 

We attached a 2 quart mason jar...

...and gave it a pie tin hat!

It is on the deck, filled with sunflower seeds, waiting for the birdies to arrive...
Still in test mode, if the pie tin keeps the rain out of the base, I will epoxy it to the base of the jar.
LOVE the way it looks on the deck!

So far, no birds, and the sun is going down... 
Tomorrow we will try to get pics of it with the birds.