Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Our Happy Hens are providing enough gorgeous eggs for us to share! We're selling them for: $3/beautiful dozen

We got our own egg cartons from
After much research, I found their site to be the most reasonable.
You must wait for the FREE shipping offers!

Come and get 'em... YUM!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Green Eggs & Ham...

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love the color green in almost any shade. So it should come as no surprise that the first few green eggs our girls have laid have been favorites of mine.

The kids think they are pretty neat-O! I'm thinking of having a green eggs & ham breakfast with the kids and some of our green eggs. We can snuggle up and read the book, Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss, and then make our own... A touch of green food coloring added to the egg whites would jazz up the inside! If you ever get the hankerin' to throw your own Green Eggs and Ham breakfast bash, let me know and I'd be happy to set aside a dozen or so green eggs for you and yours!

The most eggs our girls have laid in one day....ELEVEN (including 2 gorgeous greens)!!!

I can't get enough of all the beautful shades of brown and green along with the various shapes and sizes. Just like snowflakes, there are never two eggs exactly alike!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Our 1st Fifteen...

I planned to post a picture of our first dozen, but the girls surpassed a dozen in one day bringing it to a total of 15 (December 14th). I didn't have the heart to exclude 13,14 & 15, so here they are...

I accidentally dropped 15 on the counter, breaking it. Here's the beauty within 15...notice how dark the yolk is and how firm the white. This is one of the remarkable differences between a farm fresh egg and a factory farm egg. Once I get my hands on a factory farm egg, I'll do a side by side comparison for you! I ate this one for lunch that day and it was delicious!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Take Two!

We were pleasantly surprised today to find another egg and a half!

I say half because one of the eggs didn't have a shell. It was just the inner membrane, egg white (albumin) & yolk. This often occurs in young laying hens at the onset of their laying cycle and is no cause for concern. If shell-less eggs continued to appear after the hens have been laying for awhile, it could be an indication that there is a calcium deficiency. We free-choice oyster shell, which is one of the best calcium supplements for hens. They will regulate what they need on their own, so no need to mix it in their feed. For now, we're chalking this one up to inexperience!

Connor loves to hold the eggs his "chickies" give him. I have to remind him to be gentle because he gets very excited. He is proud of this egg...just like his Mama! How ironic is it that he happens to be wearing a shirt that says Crusher?!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

It's Arrived!

Our very first egg was nestled in a perfectly formed straw nest this evening when we got home!

The falling snow and the drift outside our back door weren't enough to deter me from practically sprinting to the coop to check for the egg that had to appear any day now. I approached the ladies from the front door and greeted them as always before shutting the door for the evening. They were talkative and curious as usual. I then went around back to check the egg door and talk some more. I've been asking the girls daily who planned to lay the first egg for me...

My eyes must have been as wide as the eyes of a 4 year-old on Christmas morning when I saw what one of the ladies had left for me. I swear there was a halo of light surrounding this egg. Scooping it up, I thanked the girls, closed the door and ran for the house. Thankfully, the clutz in me managed to avoid falling face first in the snow, crushing the egg...whew! I flung the door open and yelled...WHOOO HOOO, we got our 1st egg! While everyone was excited, I'm certain no one was as exhilarated as I...

I couldn't figure out exactly who laid it because the egg had been left to fend for itself. Judging by the color, I'm pretty positive it belongs to one of our Barred Plymouths or maybe an Australorp. This egg is small as is to be expected from all first eggs, but I'll take it! It's really amazing how clean eggs come out. All I had to do was run it under some water and voila...perfection!

Needless to say, it's been an exciting evening on Wiedenhoeft Mountain. I have banned anyone from cracking this egg, at least for now. Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Egg In The Hole (or Star) !!!

I've seen others make this yet I'm always surprised how many people have never heard of it! It's everything eggs and toast should be...simply delicious!

What you'll need:

Farm Fresh Eggs
A Cookie/Biscuit Cutter

First, pull out your farm fresh eggs. These are the eggs I've been purchasing from the grocery for $4/dozen since I saw that horrific video I showed you in my very first Happy Hen post while waiting for my happy hens to start making eggs for me!

Aren't they lovely?

Use your cookie cutter to cut out the centers of your bread slices...

Warm up your fry pan and drop a hunk of real butter in that baby...

Slap your beautiful bread creation down over that butter...

Crack your egg down in that hole.... I always find myself wanting to shout, "Egg in the hole!" Kinda' like "Fire in the hole!" I'd like to think I'm not the only one.

Add some salt & pepper. Let it sizzle & fry until it's ready to flip...if you've ever cooked an egg, you'll know when. If you haven't cooked an egg, try that first.

FLIP and enjoy the view while the underside is becoming just as scrumptious and golden delicious as the first!

Serve along side some bacon, sausage, fresh fruit, hashbrowns...or whatever you'd like. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

What's Up? Chicken Butt!

One of my favorite things about my chickens are their backsides! Not only because this is where the eggs will eventually be coming from (tick, tock, tick...), but also because the soft feathering/fluff on a chicken bum is so darn cute. I got some shots of my girls while they were out free ranging today so y'all can enjoy the view from the backside of a hen too! It's seems that the Speckled Sussex, Barred Plymouth Rocks, and Ameraucanas were the least camera-shy!

Star, a Speckled Sussex.

The following two shots include Ameraucanas and Barred Plymouths. It's hard to identify them by name from their butts alone.

I love this one. The girl on the right has heart-shaped fluff!

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Waiting Game

As y'all may have noticed, I've added a new Eggs Collected feature on the left. Right now, we're still at ZERO; I'm hoping that will change within the next few weeks.

I got my first chickens in June (5-Silkies): 1 died, 1 was murdered by a cat, and the other 3 turned out to be roosters. I returned the two that I was sure were roos to the breeder in August and got 3 more Silkies that she was certain (or at least pretty certain) were's to hoping! Since then, we've realized that Brooke (my last remaining original Silkie that was sure to be laying an egg any day now) is, in fact, a roo. His cock-a-doodle-doo's, long hackle feathers, and stiff tail feathers have given him away...every morning like clockwork! We've decided to keep him considering he's about as fierce as, oh, a butterfly. My 2 older, hopefully-female, Silkies are 2-3 months from laying and the 10 new arrivals won't start laying until Spring. I've begun to wonder if I'll ever get a Silkie egg; it will certainly be something to celebrate when it does happen!

Waiting for my 19 big girls to start laying has reminded me of the wait I had to endure to see my children enter this world. I imagine myself taking pictures of that first egg as if it is a member of our family. Seriously, I may even hire a photographer and invite the entire extended family over for a photo with the darn thing. Since they were all born in early July, I'm praying that they'll start producing somewhere around the 1st or 2nd week of December. However, since chickens begin laying at around 20-28 weeks depending on the breed, it could be as late as January/February... OR worse, they could decide to wait until Spring since production goes down in the Winter. Tick-tock my little flock...Mama wants some eggs.

Stay tuned for the arrival of the 1st egg... maybe I'll have it gold-plated?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Silkie Swap Sale & Meet Up @ The Rubin Ranch!

Elana Rubin of The Rubin Ranch is hosting a Silkie Swap Sale & Meet Up on Sunday, November 21st for Silkie lovers! Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend this event, but I wanted to share the info just in case there was anyone out there who is able to go! If you plan to attend, be sure to RSVP to Elana @ I've also posted info on the Wisconsin Silkie Breeders Club. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My Pet Chicken Facebook Adoption!

Wow, it's been awhile since I've posted! I've been busy, busy, busy and tired!

Today I have some quick, exciting news to share...My Pet Chicken often posts emergency adoptions on their Facebook page for chicks that were ordered by someone who has cancelled their order. Today, there was an adoption post for 10 assorted, sexed, female Silkie chicks. The original order was $150+ dollars; however, since I won the adoption for these ladies, I'll pay only $70 (including the shipping). I've been contemplating adding to my Silkie flock and this sealed the deal for me. Knowing I'll be getting females made it even easier. I've told Travis that he's already taken care of both my birthday and Christmas presents for this year (thanks dear)!

If you ever want to start a flock, checking for these last-minute adoption deals from MPC is a great way to save. Usually they discount these orders by 50%. Find them on Facebook here. Just be sure you've got a brooder set up and ready to go! Check out my Brooder Basics post for great tips on getting started!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hannibal Pecker Update!

Thankfully, after removing our Silkies from the main coop, we haven't had any new chicken fatalities. I'm also very happy to report that the Ameraucana bums are feathering beautifully and no one seems to be picking on them since the homicide the other night. Here's to hoping we won't ever have to experience that again!

I'm going tonight to pick up our new Silkie Shack! It's a used coop that a man made out of a Little Tikes Log Cabin. We plan to make some simple updates, pressure wash it, and build a small run for the Silkies so they have a place all their own...out of our garage!

I'll be posting pics of both coops very soon...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cannibalism: The Hannibal Lecter of Chickens

After 3 nights of having our Silkies in the new coop with the rest of the flock without any integration problems, I decided to allow them to spend the daylight hours together as well. Sadly, we came home yesterday to find one of the Silkies dead. She was killed by some of the others...they pecked her to death and proceded to eat her until we got there to stop their feeding frenzy.

While I knew that this happens in the world of chickens, it was horrifying for me. And, I feel it could have been prevented. When I began to blog about our experience, I never imagined I'd have to discuss anything like this. I have tried very hard to do everything right, so our hens would always be happy & healthy. I'm hoping that by sharing our experience, others that start their own backyard flock can avoid making the same mistake that we did.

We have taken very seriously the responsibility of raising our own backyard laying flock. I have read and researched. We have provided ample living & run space, the right feed & forage, excellent care, and plenty of love to our girls yet we are currently having to deal with the unfortunate experience of cannibalism in our flock. There are many treatment & prevention measures that one can take to hopefully avoid such a problem.

We have done most of them.

I say most, because we did one thing that I believe is the most likely cause of the chicken homicide. We introduced new chickens to the flock and upset the pecking order at least one too many times.

Twelve of our girls were raised together from chick to present. Even though we had mixed breeds, there didn't seem to be a problem. A few weeks ago we introduced 3 Silver-Laced Wyandottes that were about the same age as the rest. At first, a couple of our original girls were letting the new Wyandottes know who was boss, but things settled down and everyone was happy again. Shortly after, we added the 4 Ameraucanas. The newer Wyandottes and a few of our original girls began to pick and peck at the Ameraucanas emerging tail feathers. No big deal... until they started drawing blood. In order to combat the pecking & any possible infection, we sprayed the Ameraucanas with Bactine and smeared a thick coat of antibiotic ointment and Vaseline on their sore bums. This seemed to have worked. After about a week of monitoring the behavior and bums, everyone seemed to be getting along. We then decided to introduce the Silkies. BIG MISTAKE. A mistake that cost my Silkie her life.

All of these introductions continued to upset the pecking order and wreak havoc in the coop. Once the problem has gone from pecking and feather picking to blood and broken flesh to homicide, you've got a big problem. If one chicken starts, others follow. After it starts, I've heard & read that it's hard to stop it. This is where we are now.

We've removed the Silkies and placed them back in the safety of our pen in the garage. Because of their small size, we plan to have a separate coop for them soon so we never have to attempt to put them with the others again. We are going to keep a very close eye on the coop to be sure the Hannibal Peckers don't start picking on the Ameraucanas again. If they continue, we'll be faced with the difficult decision to cull the culprits. While I'm not thrilled about that idea, it's certainly not humane to allow the cannibals of this flock to feast on their coop-mates. If the problem persists, the guilty peckers will most likely become chicken stock. It's a sad reality of chicken ownership. One I had hoped I'd never have to encounter.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Harvest Fair...FREE Family Fun!

Since Autumn began yesterday, I thought Harvest Fair at the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds would be the perfect family fun activity to spotlight... Not to mention the fact that it opens TODAY!

While I love the warm months of Summer and the fresh days
of Spring, there is just something about the Fall activities, smells, eats, and cool, but not too cool, weather that I love. It just kinda' makes me feel all warm & fuzzy inside and out. As a matter of fact, I'm considering petitioning Mother Nature for a longer Fall and MUCH shorter Winter! So far, she has failed to return my calls.

Harvest Fair has alot to offer
...starting with the FREE admission! Free is for me folks. Too bad all the eats and activities aren't free as well. Activities include, but are not limited to: caramel apples, cookie decorating, hay rides, scarecrow making, Elegant Farmer apple pie (baked in a bag), pumpkin bowling, camel & pony rides, inflatable attractions for the kids, a kiddie train, Farmer's Market, Harvest Bazaar, petting zoo, pumpkin patch, and more....whew!

are some notable performers/bands playing this year, including: Jack Ingram, Cherry Pie, The Toys, and Skid Row to name a few. Nothing like going back in time with a great hair band or two!

If you're
ready for an early scare, Haunt Fest is having a "soft opening" during Harvest Fair on 9/24 & 9/25 from 7pm-11pm at a discounted rate of $12.

on your favorite fall sweater and head down to Harvest Fair this weekend for some warm & fuzzy fall fun! If you do go, come on back and post your favorite activities in the comment section...I'd love to hear all about it!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Chicken Eats!

Anytime you plan to raise an animal of any kind, it's always a good idea to know what you need to feed them! I knew I was going to start my chicks on a complete chick starter/grower (I used medicated, but there are non-medicated feeds as well). Once they are close to laying age, I plan to switch to a 18% layer crumble (non-medicated, of course).

As my ladies began to grow, I wondered what other kinds of things I could feed them. The complete feeds must get boring, right?! I started talking to customers that have chickens and researching online. I wanted to give them some variety and forage to avoid boredom which can lead to problems like pecking & cannibalism in a flock.

It turns out, chickens will eat just about anything! Here's a list of some of the things we've given them (in no particular order)...And, let me tell you, they are happy hens when I come out in the morning with their treats! They gather at one end of the coop waiting for me to get there.

Alfalfa Hay
Tomatoes (I heard from one producer that tomatoes can affect egg quality if fed too often)
Lettuce/Greens (any kind)
Black Oil Sunflower
Leftover cooked Garlic & Herb Rice (they gobbled that up like crazy!)

I've also learned that they fancy oatmeal, yogurt, cottage cheese, cooked eggs and many other things we have yet to try! I've also been working on creating my own version of Purina's Flock Block. My first recipe worked, but it needed a bit more binding agent so that it would stay together better after baking. Once I get it perfected, I'll share the recipe with you folks.

There are a few things you should avoid feeding, including: dry/undercooked beans, raw/green potato peels, candy, chocolate, sugar, raw eggs, avocado skin & pit, citrus, and foods high in salt. The beans, potatoes, avocado & high-levels of salt can be toxic. Feeding raw eggs could encourage them to eat the eggs they lay before you have a chance to collect them and, well, candy/chocolate/sugar aren't necessarily good for us or other animals, so let's assume we don't want our chickens getting it either!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Silkies~The Rubin Ranch

Our backyard flock started with our Silkies. I love their whimsical look. They have a small, heart-shaped body, five toes (different than the typical 4 for other breeds), black skin, silky hair-like plumage, and a very fashionable poof of that silky plumage atop their cute little heads!

Silkies are considered an ornamental breed. They only lay approximately 3 fun-size eggs per week, so this is not a bird you'd want to get for exceptional egg production. We got them for fun and the kids really like them. Silkies are sweet natured; some even call them the "lap dog of chickens." They are very dainty in comparison to my other breeds. Since moving the others ladies out to the chicken condo, I've noticed that our Silkies don't make quite the dusty mess of our garage that the others did and they manage to keep their food/water fairly clean. They even seem to be dropping most of their little meadow muffins in two corners of the pen! Since getting 3 new little Silkies, I decided to keep them in until they get a little bigger. Brooke, our older Silkie, is living up to the mothering reputation of Silkies by tending to the new little ones.

I've learned throughout this process that finding the right breeder/hatchery is important.
Lucky for us, we found a great breeder when it came to looking for our Silkies. Elana Rubin @ The Rubin Ranch in Mequon, WI knows her stuff and has been spectacular. If you're ever looking to add Silkies to your flock, please, give Elana a call. I have her site linked under the Happy Hen Links section as well.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Got Salmonella?

Compare the chickens pictured here with those in the video below...

Which hen would you prefer your eggs come from?

Regardless of whether or not the recent salmonella that has caused MILLIONS of eggs to be recalled came from contaminated feed, rodent feces, or the deplorable conditions that many of these hens are subject to during their egg laying years in battery cages on factory farms... it is my hope that this has been a HUGE wake-up call to the American public.

Local farm fresh eggs at the grocery store have been selling out Many of the local producers that buy their feed at the farm cooperative where I work have expressed a dramatic increase in egg sales since the salmonella outbreak. Many of whom have added more hens to their flock to attempt to keep up with the demand.

Just in case you haven't been convinced that you need to start asking about where your eggs are coming from (not to mention your other food), here's a video depicting yet another factory farm exhibiting complete lack of concern for the health of the hens and the public who buy their eggs. I'm not sure about you, but just the thought of one of the eggs that I feed my children coming from a factory farm where dead hens are left to decompose right beside my egg has been enough to convince me to pay $3-$4/dozen to local suppliers until my happy hens are producing their salmonella-free eggs!

After all the salmonella recall news blows over and the grocery stores start selling carton after carton of 99 cent eggs again, just remember, you get what you pay for ... 99 cents gets you a dozen eggs that may have been collected next to the corpse of a rotting hen OR $3-$4 gets you a dozen eggs collected from a hen being treated humanely in a place where she has a space much greater than a standard-size sheet of notebook paper to roam!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Backyard Poultry Magazine

While talking with a customer this morning about our chickens (she has about 70), she told me about Backyard Poultry Magazine! As you'll see from their website, they are "Dedicated to More and Better Small-Flock Poultry." After hearing all this magazine had to offer and that it originates in Medford, Wisconsin, I ordered my own subscription (6 issues/year). They also have an online library with several helpful articles. I pulled the following information about the magazines contents from their website:

In addition to feature articles, each issue contains informative articles in the following departments:
Breed Selection
Health and Nutrition
Rare and Historic Breeds
News and Views
Other topics of interest to promote more and better raising of small-scale poultry.

I'll be sure to review the magazine further once I get my hot, little backyard chicken-raising hands on my first few issues!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Egg Shades

Once my ladies start producing eggs, I'll be selling egg shades for only $5.00/pair. It's really quite a steal; you can protect your eyes from the harmful rays of the sun for the day AND have a great meal packed with nutrients at the end of it all. What could be better? Just leave a comment below if you'd like to pre-order. These babies are going to sell fast!

Now that I've gotten that out of my system, I thought I'd share my enthusiasm about the many shades of eggs our happy hens will be popping out in just a few short months!

The Barred Plymouth Rocks, Speckled Sussex & Australorps will be producing eggs in various shades of brown...

The Welsummers will produce rich, dark brown eggs with speckles...

The Easter Eggers will be popping out eggs in beautiful shades of green, aqua, blue & maybe even pink!

The Wheaten Ameracaunas that we're adding to our brood this Sunday will brighten our lives with blue eggs.

And, last but not least... our little, fluffy Silkies will give us fun-size cream eggs like the one pictured in the lower right well of the egg carton.

Each day that passes, I find myself getting more and more excited about finding that first egg! This week, we are finishing the chicken condominium, trading our 2 Silkie roos for pullets, and picking up our 4-Wheaten Ameracaunas that I have longed for since the start of this project. I'll be posting step-by-step pictures of the coop build as soon as it's finished. I know you're all on the edge of your seats; I do appreciate your patience!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Wisconsin State Fair!

I really love, and I mean LOVE, the fairs this time of year! The Wisconsin State Fair is one of the BEST. The agriculture, animals, activities, music, shopping, rides, drinks, and the food, food, FOOD! This is just one of those can't-go-wrong family fun days!

The Wisconsin State Fair website has loads of information to help you plan the perfect day: Daily Schedules, Deals & Admissions Info, Concert Info, Activity Info, Competitive Event Info, and MAPS...Food Maps (it's no secret that this is MY favorite map), maps on how to get down there, Park Maps, Stage Maps, Bike name it, there's a map for it! Map is kind of a funny word, don't you think?

I'll be following my map to the cream puff line. These totally puffy, creamy, dreamy, sweet blobs of perfection are not to be missed. Another one of my must-haves is the Italian Sausage Sandwich smothered in all the peppers & onions a girl could want. The fair is certainly no place for calorie counting. You must just go, have fun, eat and leave the guilt at home!

Be sure to swing through the show barns to see all the animals too. The kids love it and I always enjoy seeing the fruits of the child labor & love that goes into raising such beautiful animals. The poultry barns have been my favorite this year. I keep finding new chicken breeds I'd like to add to my hen house! For some added fun, sing the verses of Old MacDonald as you pass by each different animal. Don't worry about the looks, you'll never see those people again anyway. I never got my Mom's needs/desires to sing in public, totally embarassing me as a kid...until now!

If you've got the time, post some of your State Fair must-do's in the comment section. I'd love to hear them...And, have a blast at the fair this year!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A SWEET Follower from California...

I was pleasantly surprised tonight when I noticed that I had a new follower AND she happens to NOT be a friend or family member! Don't get me wrong my dear friends and family, but there's just something really neat about having a total stranger interested in reading my chatter.

There was even a bonus to this sweet discovery. Mary Abbott of California also has a blog and it's right up my sugartooth's alley. The first few recipes I've seen have made me want to preheat the oven and start baking right this very minute. My tooth is mad at my body for being too tired to actually follow through at this point, but I can assure it and all of you that it won't be long!

Check out Mary's blog, SweetsSuccessBaking here. Is it just me or does the delightful pink background of her blog remind you of cotton candy?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Becky's Newest Happy Hens

On July 6th I received an unexpected call at around 10:30am from the post office letting me know the 15 chicks I ordered from MyPetChicken had arrived! They were supposed to arrive the week before, but the Easter Eggers that I ordered weren't available so they held the order until they could ship them all at the same time. Lucky for me, I have a very flexible job and I was able to drive into town to pick them up right away.

When I arrived at the post office, I wanted to open the box while I was there to see if any were D.O.A. (Dead On Arrival). MyPetChicken guarantees them for the first 48 hours. A refund is issued for any chicks that don't survive during that time period. Unfortunately, one little lady didn't make the trip. One of the postal workers said, "Maybe she's just sleeping." The poor little thing was stiff as a board and almost as flat as a pancake, so I told her I was pretty certain that wasn't the case. Sad, but it's bound to happen. The first few days are touch and go. I always have a little knot in my stomach when I go to check on them in the morning for fear that one may not have made it through the night.

When I got the girls home, I quickly cleaned up the brooder and got everything ready for them. Broody, Marilyn and Brookie (my Silkies) weren't as excited about their 14 new roomies as I was, but they didn't seem homicidal either, so that was a plus! The new chicks were loving the new space...running about, drinking, eating, resting, and exploring.

Out of the 15 chicks, I had lost 2-Easter Eggers and a Welsummer by day three. The two that died after they arrived were showing signs rather quickly that they may not make it, so I was prepared for the loss. The rest of my girls are doing well. They've been growing like weeds and developing unique personalities. Stand-by for updated photos!

I was amazed at how easy it was to identify each different breed by the markings at such an early stage. Here's a breakdown of the different quantities/breeds I ordered:
5-Easter Eggers
3-Barred Plymouth Rocks
2-Speckled Sussex

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Blueberry Peach Crisp!

This recipe is divine. The key here is to use FRESH blueberries & FRESH peaches...This is the perfect time of year to do just that!

Travis always teases me because I am a recipe changer. I can hear him now, "Can't you ever just follow a recipe?!?!?!" I find several recipes ...tweak them, combine them, take the best of one and leave out the worst of the other until I am satisfied with the result. So, maybe I should title this one The HodgePodge Fresh Blueberry & Fresh Peach Crisp! Serve it warm with some vanilla ice cream on top. You're going to thank me for this.

As you're sure to notice, my photography skills are a bit amateur...the picture really doesn't do this crisp justice. I think I need to hire Deborah Tynan to do my food photographs for me! You may also notice that I was unable to snap a shot of this dream before someone (I'll blame this entirely on my husband) started digging in!

2/3 c. All-purpose Flour
2/3 c. Rolled Oats (I use Quaker 1-minute oats)
3/4 c. Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Salt
6-7 Tbsp. Butter (room temperature)

Put it all in a bowl, mix it, mash it....with your hands...until it's all crumbly. Set aside.

Ingredients2 Pints FRESH Blueberries
5 FRESH Peaches (Blanched, Peeled & Sliced)
3/4 c. Granulated Sugar
4 Tbsp. All-purpose Flour
1-1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 375F. In a large bowl, combine blueberries, peaches, sugar, flour & vanilla. Pour into a 2-1/2 qt. baking dish-lightly greased (with real butter). Evenly spread topping over fruit. Bake 40 minutes...until the topping is light brown and the juices are thick & bubbling through around the edges.

Oh, this is heaven.

Friday, July 16, 2010


I must apologize for my 3 week sabbatical. With all the rain around here this year, we've had an extended "spring" season at work which has required long hours for Travis and little extra time for me. However, after practically inhaling two scrumdiddlyumptious ears of sweet corn this evening, I felt compelled to tell you all about it!

I wait patiently all year for the sweet, crisp, delicious bicolors that are grown locally. Sure, you can get frozen corn on the cob year round or buy the semi-fresh early stuff that comes in from Florida, but once you've had the local stuff...nothing else will do!

You can roast it, grill it, boil it...even eat it raw! The popping noise that it makes as you make your way back and forth like an old-school typewriter is like a party in your mouth. No mushy, rubbery sweet corn here!

Working at a farm cooperative has its benefits. I meet so many local producers and many of them stop by with fresh, sweet treats like the corn I enjoyed this evening. One of the producers that we service, Ingersoll Farms, has some of the best in town. They have roadside stands all over; just look for the gigantic wood cutouts of smiling sweet corn pointing the way!

If you haven't already, go out and get you some...And, don't forget the butter!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Night Skies & Fireflies

The above scene, Catching Fireflies by Tim Ladwig, captures two of the things I love most about living in the country this time of year. Night skies & fireflies...

Our backyard rests against a 30+ acre field and just across the street is another large field. Each year the crop rotates from corn to soybeans; this year, we get to watch the corn grow. Fireflies dance through the fields, attracting one another with their flashy glow. I remember as a child running, mason jar in hand, trying to catch just one so I could see that mysterious glow up close!

The glow of the fireflies wouldn't be nearly as spectacular if it weren't for the backdrop of the stars scattered across that clear, dark-blue night sky. I've lived in the city. The city lights can be a vision too, but I haven't found a cityscape that compares to the country sky. Being able to lay in the grass and view God's lights really puts things into perspective for me.

Take some time to rest your head on the grass and enjoy the breath-taking country view at night. If you're a city dweller and the city lights are blocking your view, take a ride out to my neck of the woods...We've got plenty of grass to share.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Let's Get Fresh

With consumers becoming more aware and concerned with the freshness and production methods of their foods, Farmers' Markets are growing in popularity. Many cities and towns now host weekly Farmer's Markets which benefit producers, consumers, the environment, and the local economy!

  • Producers are able to sell direct to consumers on a regular basis, eliminating the middle-man and increasing profits. Talking directly with the consumer helps them understand the needs and desires of the community.
  • Consumers are able to buy fresh, sometimes organically grown, food which aids in providing a healthier diet and better nutrition for themselves and their families. The ability to speak directly with the producers allows the consumer easy access to information about how their fruits, vegetables, honey, and meat are grown and produced.
  • Environmental benefits include the reduction of food miles, vehicle pollution, fossil fuel use, and packaging.
  • Economically, Farmers' Markets can help bring new life to cities and towns. They encourage consumers to buy locally and can help draw consumers to local retailers near the market.
Local Harvest has a stellar search tool to help YOU find a Farmers' Market near you. Just click Farmers' Markets in the What are you looking for? box, enter your Zip, click Search, and you are on your way to finding the most fresh grub in town.

Going to the local Farmers' Market is a great way to get your weekend started. Rather than laying around in your PJs and bunny slippers until half the day has gone to pot, why not gather the munchkins, jump in the family grocery getter, and hightail it to your local Farmers' Market for some FRESH fun?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Becky's Breakfast Pie!

Here's a recipe that's sure to be a Sunday morning hit! I get requests in our house for it all the time. I'll be sure to add a picture the next time I make one...

1-Pillsbury Pie Crust (Make your own if you'd like. Me? Not a chance.)
6-Farm Fresh Eggs
1-Small to Medium Onion (chopped & sweated)
1 c.-Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 c.-Sour Cream
3 Tbsp.-Flour
6- Slices of Ham or Bacon Chopped
(Fry the ham a bit or crisp the bacon)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Top with Shredded Parmesan Cheese & a Touch of Dried Sweet Basil

Spray pie pan with cooking spray. Bring pie crust to room temperature and lay in pie pan. Crimp the rim, brush with egg wash and put in the refrigerator.

In a medium mixing bowl: beat eggs, sour cream, salt, pepper, & flour together. Stir in shredded cheddar, bacon or ham, and onions (cool the onions first or they'll start to cook the egg). Poor mixture into prepared pie pan. Lightly top with parmesan cheese and sprinkle with sweet basil. Bake @ 400 degrees for approximately 30-35 minutes.

Serve with a side of fresh fruit and enjoy!

*Make a delicious vegetarian pie by adding fresh chopped spinach and/or mushrooms instead of the meat. The possibilities are endless...get creative and have fun!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Strawberry Heaven

Yesterday was the perfect day for picking fresh strawberries! The sky was overcast and it wasn't so hot that we'd all feel like a bucket of fried KFC by the end of our trip. The rows between the berries aren't large enough to accommodate strollers or wagons, so we figured it was best to leave Oliver, 10 months, with Grandma. Mary, our 15 1/2 year-old daughter, stayed home too. She didn't think picking strawberries was thrilling enough to rip herself from the comfort of her cozy bed.

We arrived at Jelli's Market in Helenville mid-day. On the way in, guests are greeted by a parking attendant dressed like a strawberry (very cute; however, I'm sure this tween boy was mortified if/when his friends came through)! The crowd was small which made the trip even more pleasant.
Before getting in the picking line, Connor wanted to stop and say "Hi" to the chickens. They were so attentive and interested in what he had to say!
And.....We stopped for a quick picture at the Jelli's photo spot. I thought about asking strawberry boy to take a picture with Travis in it too, but I didn't want to pull him away from his traffic directing duties.
Then we headed on over to the starting line where this pretty young lady showed us the way to strawberry heaven.
We made our way down the long row with flats in hand to our starting point which was marked with a little yellow flag.
Connor and Travis took one side and I took the other. I loved the popping sound the berries made when pulling them from their stems. It was as if they were held on by a tiny suction cup! At first, Connor was helping pick the strawberries...

Until he realized how much fun it was to eat them! I offered to pay for an extra pound at the end, but the attendant said, "Aw, that's okay, we encourage eating." Well, had I known that...

Before leaving we made sure to swing by the curious calves to say "Moo." Connor enjoyed his conversation with them too. Strawberry picking was an annual tradition in Travis' family and I'm happy to say, it will now be a tradition that continues on in ours. If you've never gone, you must...period.