Monday, September 1, 2014

DIY Stump Slice Chalkboard Sign for your Chicken Coop

Several years ago we lost some rather large trees to a storm, so I've been coming up with creative DIY projects and asking my husband to cut me stumps for the run for our chickens to stand on in the winter and more stumps to make the chickens an awesome dust bath spa area. Last fall I used a fallen limb to make a chicken swing. But my latest DIY project required only a thin slice cut from the fallen tree. Check this awesome Chalkboard Sign I made!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Week in Farm Photos - August 24th - 30th

Photo: The sun is shining, the chickens are clucking, the ducks are quacking.

It's hard to believe that Labor Day is here. We've had such a nice temperate summer in Virginia this year, it's the first year in more than a decade of living here that I am sad to see summer end! But I love autumn and warm, cozy sweaters, comfort food, hot cider and all that comes with the shorter days and cooler temperatures, so bring it on! Enjoy a peek at our week.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Classic Homemade Basil Pesto

Each year, I make sure to harvest the last of the basil in our herb garden before the first frost. My favorite way to use all that basil is in homemade pesto.  And if you have home grown garlic as well, all the better!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Molt Busting Mealworm Granola Bites

The shorter days of generally fall trigger a molt, which is  basically the loss of old, dirty or broken feathers and the regrowth of new feathers in chickens and ducks.  The timing of the molt ensures that your hens have nice new, fluffable feathers for the winter that will help keep your chickens warm. The first adult molt occurs around 18 months old and then will be annual after that. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Week in Farm Photos - August 17th to 23rd

Every week is a good week when you live in the country. It's even better when the weather stays in the high-80s and it rains just enough that you don't have to water the garden.  We're still harvesting a boatload of squash and cucumbers from the garden, so the chickens and ducks are feasting on the excess. Take a peek at our week!

Friday, August 22, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Living Wreaths by Natalie Bernhisel Robinson

As the days start to grow shorter, hours of daylight wane, and we look forward to fall, I naturally am itching to change out the wreath on the front door. So the timing could not have been better for the book Living Wreaths by Natalie Bernhisel Robinson to appear on my doorstep. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Freezing Herbs for a Winter Treat for your Chickens

I grow an abundance of herbs and edible flowers each spring and summer to use in my cooking and also to share with the chickens fresh from the garden. Throughout the summer I also dry the excess using my homemade Tiered Herb Drying Rack and then add the dried herbs to our chicken feed in the winter for extra nutrition when they can't munch on fresh grasses and herbs. I also freeze some herbs for a nice 'green' surprise for the hens when snow is on the ground. It couldn't be quicker or easier.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Blackberry Rosemary Herbal Simple Syrup

Fresh rosemary paired with blackberries really gives this simple syrup a nice, complex taste. I love to whip up a batch of the syrup, then add it to a glass of ice and club soda for an all natural flavored 'soda' in the summer. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Week in Farm Photos - August 10th - 16th

This week was bittersweet. We lost one of our Saxony ducks to advanced liver failure which was quite a shock. Then our Lavender Orpington rooster, Emilio, really tore up Truffle, our Chocolate Orpington so he's now going to be finding a new home (email me if you're in the Hampton Roads, Virginia area and interested!) and she's being cared for in the hospital ward. We don't tolerate bullying or drama in our chicken yard any more than I do online. 

But the week ended on an upnote as I finished up a 6-part series I am writing for HGTVGardens and got my outline worked out for Book #2. I also finalized a deal with an exciting new sponsor. I'll be helping them develop a brand new product line for spring which I'm really eager to get started on! Enjoy this week's photos.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Ball® Canning International Can It Forward Day + Giveaway

Saturday, August 16th will mark the 4th annual International Can-It-Forward Day sponsored by Ball® Canning. I am honored to have been asked to be an Official Ball® Ambassador and help them promote this fun-filled day for both new canners and experienced alike! I am also excited to be partnering with them to offer you the chance to win an awesome prize package which includes the Limited Edition green canning jars! 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Easy Cardamom Ginger Zucchini Bread with Streusel Topping

'Tis the season of an overabundance of zucchini in every backyard garden. This zucchini quick bread is one of our family favorites because it uses fresh eggs, homegrown zucchini and one of my favorite spices - cardamom. It also comes together very quickly and is easy to make at a moment's notice.

Monday, August 11, 2014

DIY Wood and Wire New England Clam Hod Egg Basket

When you raise backyard chickens, you can never have too many egg baskets. Since both my husband and I are New Englanders born and bred, I have long admired the traditional Maine clam "hods" which were used to gather and rinse shellfish and have also recently gained popularity as garden baskets for collecting and rinsing produce. Pure Yankee ingenuity, the wire and wooden clam hods are functional as well as artistic. Generally holding a half bushel, they can be used as picnic baskets, knitting baskets or even a place to store kindling wood for the fireplace. And of course, would make a wonderful egg basket.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

A Week in Farm Photos - August 3rd to 9th

Photo: Enuf said. #fresheggsrock

Another cool, wet week here in Virginia which was great for the garden. We've been harvesting cucumbers and zucchini like crazy! I don't mind the rain since I've been passing the summer writing a few articles for several magazines and working on my second book. My first book will be back on the shelves next month, already in its 3rd printing (yay!) with the addition of a brand new index. 

I'm also excited that I'll be presenting my first talk on Beginning Chicken Care next month, so I'm preparing for that. I will also be doing some filming for two national television shows in September. So stick around for what is shaping up to be a very exciting year around here! Who would have ever thought that my 'hobby' would turn into a full-fledged career? I honestly couldn't be happier with how things have turned out. Here are the girls and guy who are my daily inspiration. Our chickens.

Friday, August 8, 2014

COOKBOOK REVIEW: Extra Virgin by Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar

One of the fun things about being an author and blogger is that I get sent lots of book to review - and I mean lots. On all different topics. I can't possibly read them all, nor do I want my blog to turn into book review central, so I am extremely choosy about which books I ultimately do decide to review. Extra Virgin: Recipes & Love from our Tuscan Kitchen  was a no-brainer.