Sunday, January 17, 2010



This is Rudy the rooster.  We got him as an egg last year from a breeder in W.V.  He's a Blue Orpington.  Orpington's are more commonly buff colored but I really liked the blue.   Problem was you can't just buy Blue Orpington's so we found a breeder and bought some hatching eggs last year.  Rudy was one of the ones that hatched.  He's very gentle, crows just enough to make me smile and is very protective of "his girls".


This is Bonnie.  She's a buff Orpington.   She came to us as a day old chick from McMurray's hatchery the year before.   Bonnie thinks she's my friend and whenever I go outside for whatever reason she follows me around like a dog.   I go to the road for mail and Bonnie comes along.  If I've been gone, shopping or whatever, she comes running when I get home and meets me at the car, then walks me to the house.  If I have gardening to do she stays with me scratching and pecking at whatever, but always close at hand. 

Lily and Sky

Lily and Sky were both hatched out last spring  with Rudy.  One is a blue Orpington and the other is a lilac Orpington.  I can't tell which is which.    Either way I love their coloring.  One of them has been laying all winter and is sitting on an egg now which she refuses to get off of.   Maybe tomorrow.  We'll see.  We also have one Jersey Giant hen but I don't have a good picture of her.   She came from McMurray's the year before with Bonnie.

I am going to start collecting the eggs and when I get 4 or 5 I'm going to incubate them.   There's only one laying now and it's either Lily or Sky so I want to hatch a few now before all the girls start laying again so I know I'll get the blue or lavendar.   

Saturday, January 9, 2010

On bean soup and being frugal

Mixed beans soaking to make soup

There is a part of me that loves that the economy has made us look at our spending and reassess  how we are spending and to try and be more self sufficient.  I have always hated spending on things I knew I could get cheaper if I bought in a less trendy fashion.  I love looking for a bargain when I do need something and am just about at my most happiest when I have figured out a way to make what I have work without going to the store at all.   I love that doing this is somewhat trendy now instead of being afraid to let my more spendthrifty friends see that side of me.   What was almost an embarrassing quirk about myself is now acceptable.   I hope to pass these values on to my now 9 yr. old child.   What to value and give our life's energy to and what's a true waste of our life's energy.  Easier said then done with children sometimes.

This week we went shopping.  Some things needed to be new and were costly and to not spend money on them would end up costing us more in the long run.  Other things were determined to be unnecessary and still others were things we wanted but we were able to find a less costly way to get them.

I have for years gone to Goodwill to buy old comforters for my dogs beds.  I used them in their crates or doghouses.   I still use mats for smaller crates but all the larger ones and the dog houses get the old spreads and comforters I've collected over time at various Goodwill shops.   My dogs, especially my puppies eventually de-stuff them and new ones are needed.   This week my 9 yr. old and I stopped at a Goodwill to check for comforters and spreads (they are getting harder to find now) and while we were there she started looking at clothes.   We have for years gone to Goodwill to drop things off but never to buy clothing for her.  We ended up getting her a bunch of new- to- her, clothes, a much needed lamp for her room and a few books.

I found a vinyl swivel rocker for the kennel for both the dogs and myself and a glider with a gliding ottoman that I put in the living room.  I had always wanted one but could not make myself spend $300 -$500 for one.  I got this one for under $30.  We both joked about how we would be fighting about who would get to sit in it.
Our new glider chair and ottoman

My favorite "saying pillow"

 She commented on the way out how much she liked this going to Goodwill thing.   I wrestled with the guilt for about a minute.  The wanting for her to have the best of everything.   But letting her learn the value of money is the best thing for her. 

Later I had to stop at the grocery store.   I was looking for italian sausage for flavoring for my marina sauce and saw meat for $10 a lb.  $10 a lb!  Yikes.   And in a way I was glad it was so high.  With those prices many people truly can't afford it.   And that means less cattle for meat will be raised.  And less cattle means less havoc on the environment on a multitude of levels.   And that's a good thing.   And so is bean soup.  I still will add a bit of meat for flavoring but that pot will last a good while, was by far friendlier to the environment as well as to my wallet and makes me glad I am happy where I'm at.  Bloom where your planted and remember - inner piece comes not from getting what you want but from being happy with what you already have.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

More cheesemaking

I made mozzerella cheese this weekend.   The dinner plate above was full when I got done but I made two pizza's right away.  The plate full of cheese took 4 gallons of milk to make.  The pigs love the left over whey or you can make ricotta cheese with the whey if you want.   You can also use it in bread recipes.  I sometimes use it for ricotta but mostly give it to the animals.  My dogs adore it but it can give them loose stools so they only get it in summer when they are out more.

We've been using tons of mozzerella since I learned to make it.  We make lasagna, eggplant parmesan substituting 1/2 the parm for mozz.   I use it in penne pasta and marinara by mixing it in with the pasta and sauce.   I also make lots of garlic bread with mozzerella.  We dip it in sauce sometimes and other times just eat it just as cheese garlic bread.   Tonight I made pizza yet again.   I love onions and peppers on mine but my 9 yr. old likes black olives so that's what I made.   I told her she'll be the only kid around we have to have pizza again?.

I also made lots of extra pizza dough.  Each of those balls of dough make two 12" pizza crusts.   You can freeze it so it makes a quick easy dinner.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year and more this & that

This is Elvis.   His real name is Dill but the other day my 9 yr old came in and said "he looks like a goaty version of Elvis with that bunch of curls on his head and it stuck.   He's an American Alpine and he's here visiting the girls and will be going home in a few weeks.  None to soon I tell you.  He's into everything and could give goats everywhere a bad name with his antics!  He escapes every chance he gets, stinks to the high heavens and is tormenting the girls.   I wonder if  his absence will make us think better of him? 

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