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 ...fast. 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 Maps...you 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?