Archive for January, 2011
Like many of you I spend hours upon hours this time of year drooling over the newest seed catalogs and planning the garden’s future. There’s a big difference for us at MoonCat Farms this time around though, we’re also deciding what kind of crops to grow for our chickens!
Since becoming the chicken mama to my feathered friends, I’ve been trying to learn as much as I can about what I can feed them – especially at this time of year. The ground is bare and there aren’t many tasty bugs to be had so I need to supplement their fare. Trying to give them fresh produce is costing a fortune! They’ve been eating some very interesting concoctions that I’ve been creating in the kitchen as well.
For the most part, I’ve gathered that if it is natural and healthy for us ~ it should be pretty much the same for them. They have been enjoying A LOT of fresh spinach, cooked peas and beans, various fruits, a bit of fish or other proteins on occasion, homemade suet cake treats, etc. This is of course on top of their chicken mash, scratch and pellets.
When the garden was still in full swing we discovered that tomatoes and watermelon are their top choices. They’d line up like little inmates at the fence and beg for tomatoes. Squash and peas were OK once they’re cooked by the chicken mama, most greens were welcomed as well. Strawberries and blackberries were another favorite treat along with cucumbers.
Besides the normal fruits and veggies that we’re growing for ourselves, I’m trying to figure out what we can add for the chickens. I will be doing a lot of canning, freezing and drying of our own foodstuffs and things such as comfrey, spinach and other greens for the birds. I would like to get any suggestions that some more experienced chicken keepers might have as to what else would be good for getting us through the winter a bit cheaper..
My friend Susan pointed out that I needed to post a few pictures of Mr. MoonCat and I in our Renaissance Faire garb. I’d been writing about all of the new outfits that we would like to make with our LA Loot and she requested some photos. So here are some from the last few years; I hate having my picture taken, so there aren’t an abundance of me 🙂 Hubby on the other hand is a ham, so I will have even more of him in the near future.
Growing up on a working ranch meant we didn’t really have a lot of frivolous decor in the house. Things needed to be useful, practical, and most of all, easy to clean. The hardest working “decorations” were the rugs. They took a major beating. Especially the rugs near the back door where we came in from the barn. We usually had one of the very colorful, very durable old rag rugs placed there. They were workhorses! They kept the majority of the mud and other things from going further into the house. I still have a couple of those old beauties that I try to keep anyone from stepping on because they’re getting some age on them.
|Old Rag Rug section|
She is one of the most destructive little dogs I’ve ever had! She eats my shoes (notice I said mine, NOT Mr. MoonCat’s), books and whatever she can get her little pointy teeth on. I have to be sure to get to any packages from UPS or FedEx before she does as she REALLY likes to open boxes and mail for me. Please note that she has more toys and chewy things than a puppy or child could ever want to gnaw on – she just prefers things that belong to moi!
So back to the rug issue. Little Miss Peepers has given me the excuse I’ve needed to replace the rugs in the living and dining rooms (it’s actually more like a great room all combined). I’ve decided I want to go with somewhat more modern rugs than the plain older rugs we’ve been using. One of the other concerns besides the dirt trapping is keeping the wet doggy paw prints from being left on the hardwood floors. Here are two examples of what I am looking at:
This one is an indoor/outdoor rug that is handwoven. It’s hoseable, scrubbable, bleachable and designed for high-traffic, muddy areas. I like that the design and colors combine to add a little punch.
Both rugs are water resistant and could be hung out over the fence or big clothesline to dry when washed – not in the machine, but by being hosed down 🙂 I am a lazy housekeeper as I’d much rather be in the garden or out at the ranch with Dad and the horses. Ease of cleaning and practicality are VERY high on my requirements for things around here.
So what do you think, any suggestions? I admit I’m leaning more towards the leaves at the moment, but I always let the Mister put in his 1/2 cent – since I get 1 1/2 hee hee..
**I am a CSN Preferred Blogger and will receive an item for review in exchange for this post. My opinions and words are 100% honest and MY OWN and are not influenced in any way.
I haven’t posted a recipe in just about forever. So I thought I’d share a super-yummy one that I made last week for the hubby and Dad. It got rave reviews and I apologize for no photos, they ate it rather quickly!
This is based loosely upon a recipe I found in a book I’m reviewing this week over at One Book Shy.
The book is a cozy mystery by Anne Canadeo called “A Stitch Before Dying“.
It’s a part of her Black Sheep Knitting Mystery series. Since many of you are avid knitters and readers, you may be familiar with it ~ if not, check it out. (I’m not getting anything by telling you about this, I just enjoyed the book.) Like I’m hoping you’ll enjoy this:
- 6 cups thinly sliced apples (I used Fuji, Macintosh, and Delicious varieties)
- 2 TBsp lemon juice
- 1 TBsp orange juice
- 2 TBsp lemon zest
- 1 TBsp orange zest
- 2/3 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, cut into tiny pieces – keep cold
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup uncooked oatmeal
- 1/4 cup granola
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 3 TBsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a mixing bowl toss the sliced apples with the lemon & orange juices and zests. Add 3 TBsp white sugar, 5 TBsp brown sugar, 2 TBsp flour, 2 TBsp cinnamon and 1 tsp nutmeg. If the mixture is still too juicy, add a bit more flour. Set this bowl aside.
Lightly butter the inside of a 9×12 baking dish or pan. Be sure it’s deep enough to hold the mixture or you can go with a slightly larger size. Pour the apples into the pan.
In a large mixing bowl put the chopped up butter, the rest of the flour and both sugars, plus the oatmeal, granola, walnuts. Add 1 TBsp cinnamon and 1 tsp nutmeg.
I then used my clean, damp hands to knead this mixture until it was completely combined and had started to form into crumbles. (Since my beloved sister-in-law Cindy gifted me with a stand mixer for Christmas – I can now use that with the paddle attachment instead of my hands!) Sprinkle over the top of the apples and then bake for about 30 minutes. The crumbs should crisp up and the apple mixture will start to bubble.
It is wonderful served warm with vanilla ice cream or whip cream. YUMMMMMMM – I’m making myself hungry 🙂
*You can substitute other fruits for the apples – I’m thinking raspberries or peaches – or maybe combined!! yummmm again..
Let me know if you try this and tell me what you think!
I haven’t updated everyone on the girls (and Big Red) in a while so I thought I’d share a few photos from one of the VERY few days of no rain lately.
|The hen’s eye view|
|Big Red fascinated by a bit of straw|
|The death of a straw bale|
So, are you ready for a surprise? We weren’t! Look….
|Aren’t they pretty?|
We really didn’t expect the girls to start laying until March or April at the earliest. I think they’re confused as they aren’t supposed to lay during the very short days of winter. Given that they’re also only 5 months old, we were amazed to find these beauties in the coop! My babies are growing up so fast…
A while back I said I’d post some photos from our Disneyland trip. So I finally pulled them off of my little camera and have a few to share with you. We spent a week (Sun – Fri) down in Southern California/Anaheim with brother Chris and sister-in-law (you remember my dear friend/sister/co-conspirator, the “Mad Scientist – Cindy”?), their son Rowan and Cindy’s mom Sandy.
We had a blast and it was soooo much fun watching Rowan’s face and seeing him experience Disneyland for the first time. It was also Sandy’s first trip so it was an extra special treat all the way around. We all have a timeshare membership and the Anaheim condo is right around the corner from the gates to the park so we spent a lot of time there. It’s great because they have a full kitchen and washer/dryer so you don’t have to buy the $12 burgers at the park all the time. We ate pretty good… Of course, I justify it because we also walked miles and miles..
I am doing a separate post to show you the spoils for our day trip to the seedy side of Los Angeles. You won’t believe what we found…..But you have to wait until tomorrow 🙂
On Friday, Mr. MoonCat and I headed to Las Vegas for the weekend where we met up with his parents. Mr. MoonCat got sick so we didn’t do much while we there but that’s OK, we were together! On to the pictures………….
I hope all of you have started this New Year in a happy and bright place. 2010 is a year that I am extremely glad to have behind us. We are being hopeful and having faith that 2011 will be a much better and happier year, for everyone!
There will be lots of changes and good things to come to this rather recently neglected blog in the coming months. I hope you’ll all stick around to see what we have in store. Again, Happy New Year from All of the MoonCat Farms Critters, great and small!