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Monday, September 15, 2014

DIY Chicken Wire Garden Cloche


As fall planting season comes upon us, it once again becomes important to protect small plants from chickens' scratching feet and their nibbling on the tender leaves and stalks. An easy way, of course, is to fence in your entire garden area, but if you just have individual plants here and there you need to protect, these chicken wire cloches are the answer - and so easy to make.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Week in Farm Photos - Sept. 7th - 13th

Photo: I love watching the chickens and horses interact. The horses are so careful around the hens not to step on them.

Animals are cute, funny, beautiful, curious and smart. They are fascinating to watch, especially watching the different species interacting.  I derive so much joy from our farm and all our animals. I love spending time outside gardening or building something, and of course having a pasture full of animals just makes any day better. Despite lots of rain, we had such a pleasant week with our feathered and furry family members. Take a peek!

Friday, September 12, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz and a recipe for Chocolate-Dulce de Leche Tart


I had been lusting over this cookbook (My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz) since it came out back in April, so when I was offered a review copy, I was ecstatic!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sparkling Mixed Berry Sangria with Mint


Labor Day might have come and gone but the temperatures are still saying 'summer' here in Virginia. We love to sit outside in the evenings watching our chickens free range - and what better way to relax than with a thirst-quenching beverage? Traditional sangria uses wine and fruit to create a delicious pairing, so when I was asked to partner with Williams-Sonoma to create a signature sangria recipe for them, I decided to experiment with mixed berries and mint - both of which we grow on our farm. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

25 Sources of Plant Protein for Molting Chickens


During the fall molt season, your chickens will benefit from additional protein in their diet to help them grow in nice new feathers for winter. Since many of you are vegetarians or otherwise don't feel comfortable feeding your chickens meat or fish scraps (although chickens are true omnivores and will eat all kinds of animal protein on their own including toads, lizards, snakes and bugs), I thought I would share a list of plants and herbs that are high in protein and will provide your flock the much-needed nutrient during their molt as a healthy alternative to meat protein.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

A Week in Farm Photos - Aug 31st to Sept. 6th

Photo: Had a great time recording a radio show this morning. We talked about our farm, herbs, my book...oh and CHICKENS!
Link to purchase my book: http://amzn.to/VLZMy5

As Fresh Eggs Daily® becomes more popular and well-known and I am beginning to field more and more offers to write and speak and appear, I am finding the delta between my personal life and 'professional' life narrowing and often times downright colliding! The daily dichotomy just makes me shake my head. I go from cleaning horse stalls while speaking with tv producers in New York, to making travel plans for speaking engagements with my hands sticky from kneading bread dough. I often speak with editors and publishers wearing mud-splattered muck boots, with a pocketful of eggs and straw in my hair.

I often have to stop writing an article to take a puppy play break, or pause from working on my next book to bring the chickens a treat. I've done many podcasts and interviews with the chickens clucking in the background because its feeding time; and have signed on new sponsors with a cacophony of ducks playing in their pool in the background.

Sunup to sundown, I find myself writing and rewriting, snapping photos and editing them, jotting down new ideas, going through photos on my cell phone as I stand filling water buckets, or working on a blog post as I stir a pot on the stove with the other hand. But I do love it (most of the time!) and feel so fortunate that all of these newfound opportunities allow me to share what Fresh Eggs Daily® is all about and promote natural chicken care to an ever-widening audience.

It is true that when you love what you do, you don't work another day in your life. However, I make sure I take time to relax and knit, bake or read for pleasure on a regular basis because these are the things that feed the soul. And of course country living is the absolute best destressor. Enjoy this peek at my week - and thanks for  coming along for the ride.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Herbs for Hens™ YouTube Video Series



Several months ago I completed my Intermediate Herbalist certification at The Herbal Academy of New England and was inspired to continue to share my knowledge of herbs and how I use them in both my home and chicken keeping using a slightly different venue - YouTube Videos. I enlisted the help of fellow herbalist Penny and video editor/producer extraordinaire Brittany, both from Happy Days Farm, to help me put together a series of informational video shorts, each featuring a different herb, edible flower or weed useful in natural chicken keeping. Herbs for Hens™ is the result of our collaboration.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Our Melon and Squash Garden: The Harvest


Earlier in the year, my husband tilled a new garden for squash and melons. The area measures roughly 20x28 and I planted a variety of squash, cucumbers and melons in the nice rich soil that had been fertilized by our horses for more than a decade. Fenced in, our garden was safe from deer and rabbits. Although we practice organic gardening, our bug damage was minimal and we enjoyed quite a nice harvest from our little garden.

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.