26 Mar

The best teachers are outside the classroom…

Hello friends,

Thanks for stopping by, one last final puff from winter blew in last night and I am hoping it is our “onion snow”. My daily trip to the barn is my time alone with God and although it is something I physically struggle to do, I find it sets a tone for my day. There is nothing better than walking into a barn and hearing the greetings, a mew and purr from Buddy the barn cat, my horse lady’s impatient whinny that says, “You are Late”! The guinea hens crazy babble, the chickens clucking and lastly the gobble of the turkeys. I have stories about this crew that are some of what I am talking about today.

One such story comes to mind is when we got our first set of chickens, my husband went along with this idea, skeptical but supportive. It was a plan to foster responsibility in our son, the first year we all learned about them, lost a few, got lots of eggs and began a journey that has brought me to here. We have added things over the years since that days and found that raising our own animals, loving them and eating them is really not as traumatic as it sounds.

One story that comes to mind of of our turkeys, they are second hand turkeys, Clarence and Tillie, named for my husbands grandparents and the previous owners of this farm. Last year we collected Tillie’s eggs and incubated them along with a few chicken eggs. A lesson that we won’t soon forget, only 2 eggs hatched, Peep and Garcia entered the world under a lamp in a box in my kitchen. No one would have ever paired a Silkie and a blue slate Turkey to be companions but it worked.

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Peep was born first, a silver silkie, then we waited….

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Maglie Calcio poco prezzo
 

He listened at the turkey egg and I am sure knew what was going on,

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Finally it happened, out popped our turkey, now if you have never hatched turkeys it is very different from chickens, it actually was staring at us and we were riveted watching….I had read they imprint on a human, we would wait and see,

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There she is…we did not realize she was a girl until recently, turkeys mature a little differently in my opinion. Anyway we named “him” Garcia and kept it even when we realized she was indeed a girl.

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Here she is now, isn’t she stunning…let’s talk about what we learn.

Patience…there is nothing like hearing peeping from inside of an egg. You know there is a life there but cannot see it. Rushing things ends disastrously, too soon hurts the baby, too late creates another problem altogether. Wait, eventually nature takes it’s course and the event happens in it’s own time. You cannot buy this lesson in any manual, you can only experience it. The talks that you have with your child during the wait are priceless.

Hope…we hoped for a boy, we hoped for a girl, toward the end we just hoped he or she would live. We held our hope until she was out of the woods and was able to walk and began to eat.

Faith…what is faith, believing without seeing? In a way yes, same as it is with God, we are told he is there, we can’t hear him but we trust that he hears us. What better lesson is there than to teach your child from the time the egg is produced there is life inside if it is fertile. Have faith and you will see the fruit  We surely did.

Diligence…from the time we collected the eggs and placed them in the incubator, careful watch was needed, the eggs had to be turned and checked, this was Garrett’s job. If he forgot, he ultimately paid the consequences.

The animals taught us dependence and independence. if we took time to care, feed and protect them, they would provide things for us. As they grew and got older they were more self sufficient and we were less demanded on, but the connection was still there.

Nowadays Garcia follows me like a dog, she wants to be petted and stroked and for that reason she will never be food. She was an experiemnt and serves as a symbol to me that hope and faith are very important things to have. At a time when my body was failing me, I looked for the small things I could find on the journey through my day to give me things to look at and bring as a message to you. She was one of them.

I look around me and the body of this earth and all that live in it inspire me. I love nature and animals and find my peace there.

I didn’t forget about Peep, here he is, Garrett says he is the weirdest chicken in the flock. Well he lived in a box under a light in our kitchen and was carried around like a baby, lived most of his life with a turkey as his roomate and best friend. I validate his confusion, nuff said! IMG_4638

Until next time, stay inspired and keep looking up,

Marla

 

 

 

 

13 Mar

Suppertime! Ding, ding, ding my stock just went up!

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On these cool days I still have the irresistable urge to bake as much as I can so with supper on the horizon I began to plan. The last time we got chickens I was thinking ahead when I had them cut in half by my big, strong man. Oh days of foresight and clarity I love you!

So on Wednesday I pulled a half a hen from the freezer and roasted her in the oven until the house smelled wonderful. I allowed her to cool and pulled the meat from the bones which I set aside to turn into stock. The meat I sorted into 2 piles with leg and wing meat mixed with white meat, I had 2 meals planned.  I try to stretch my dollar and not allow meat to be a feature in our house. Gone are the days of planning sides for a grilled carcass on a plate. Meat now falls into the cheese category, use sparingly then heap up on veggies!

Rooting in the freezer revealed a bunch of broccoli I still have and some cooked rice that I had frozen. (This is a great time saver, cook rice ahead!)
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So with one half I created what you see above….

Creamy Chicken Casserole
Author: 
Recipe type: Casserole
 
Chicken and Broccoli over rice with Herbed Cream Sauce
Ingredients
  • 2 cups of cooked pastured chicken, torn into pieces(Rolling Pastures)
  • 3 cups of cooked organic rice (Lundberg)
  • 3 cups of steamed organic broccoli cut into small pieces (Wholesome Living Acres)
  • ½ pound of Sunset Acres Colby cheese, shredded
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 1½ cups raw whole milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp thyme, dried and crushed
  • 1 tsp parsley, dried and crushed
  • ½ tsp ground mustard
  • dash of cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Gather ingredients and layer in 9 x 13 casserole dish.
  2. Rice first, then the broccoli, top with chicken, sprinkle half of the cheese on the top.
  3. To make sauce:
  4. Melt butter on low in sauce pan, add flour and whisk to a paste (this is a roux)
  5. Slowly increase heat to medium, add ½ cup milk and whisk to smooth. When this thickens add another ½ cup milk, then do one more time until all milk is added and sauce is creamy and smooth. Raising the heat will help it thicken but don't let it burn!
  6. Add in spices and salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Pour over the layers in the dish and top with the rest of the cheese. Bake at 350 for 20 to 30 minutes.

 

There was not much leftover, the guys devoured it! The tiny bit left was reheated for lunch, was just as good the second time around!

One of the gifts I was blessed with was the ability to look at what I have on hand and create with it. Tonight is a Spicy Corn Chowder with Chicken!

I make it a point to use all of the bird out of respect for her life, she didn’t have to die to feed us but I respect the process too much to go buy breasts that are flash frozen and individually packed, we are a spoiled bunch aren’t we?

I just ordered 25 meat birds to raise this summer and butcher for the freezer. I make it a point to order a roasting hen, not a Frankenchicken. After studying the breeds I am very disturbed at the rapid growth of Cornish Cross, while they do produce the best full meaty breast they also live on their bellies due to legs that cannot support them. No thanks, I like my chickens running after moths, picking and scratching the dirt and sitting up on the fence not in the dirt flopping around with a freakishly big body.

If God wanted us to have this he’s have a made a chicken look that way so lets be careful as consumers that we are not supporting unnatural methods.

If you try this recipe be playful, add your favorite herbs to the sauce, switch up the veggies, add cauliflower, carrots, spinach….let your inner chef create!

Happy Eating!

Marla