2/26/10

Chickie Love, Part II


I love going to our local feed store this time of year.... it makes me almost giddy with excitement. For me, nothing says spring is on it's way quite like seeing all the shiny new gardening tools on display, the wonderful seed packets full of promise... and hearing the peeping sounds of day-old chicks coming from the front of the store.
Here is where I start to lose my mind... I know what my better judgement says, but my heart seems to scream speak a little louder than the voice of reason. So, I'm sure you can imagine what happened next...









Yes, I know... but when does anyone really have too many chickens?

At least that's what I keep telling myself...

And Hubby....


Meet the newest little jewels in my poultry family- 6 of them...
One-day-old Rhode Island Red pullets. (Pullet is a fancy term for a young hen.)
No rooster needed- just add water and plenty of feed for these girls and one day they will lay the biggest, tastiest brown eggs around.... oh, nothing against the little eggs that come from my fuzzy-bottomed Silkies, but it does take 2 of them to make one good sized egg.

See?

I really do listen when the voice of reason speaks!! *giggle*

*Sigh*....

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a long time may remember the story of why I'm so crazy about chickens.... if not, go here.


Happy Friday everybody, from me 'n the peeps!

2/23/10

Lookin' for spring


After a gorgeous weekend with sunny skies and temperatures in the 60's, it's back to the 30's (and below) with another chance of snow tonight.
It's definitely been a long winter.
Even the animals are on the lookout for spring.


"Do you see anything?"



"No... maybe it went that way..."



"Wait- I think I see something!"



"Harrrumph... false alarm."
(Walks away in disgust.)



"Don't even think about looking for spring in here!"



Smokey thinks he might have caught of whiff of spring...
(notice his "snow socks"...)



No, Smokey- that's just your doggie breath.
Hope some of you are starting to see Spring at your place!

2/18/10

Dutch oven BBQ

Ever since I got a cast iron dutch oven with my birthday money last year, I've been amazed at all the wonderful recipes I keep finding to use it with. And I haven't used hardly any of my other kitchen cookware since the day I got it either- even my slow cooker can't hold a candle to the way it cooks meat into a tender delight. I haven't figured out exactly why it cooks so well, but I have a hunch it could be the weight of the heavy cast iron lid that seals it off and keeps the moisture inside. Or, maybe not, but I know for a fact Hubby has never bragged on the roasts I've cooked in the past like he has lately. And the best part, especially for someone like me who has to budget our groceries down to the penny every week, is that you can actually buy the cheaper cuts of meat and have them turn out just as tender and flavorful as the expensive (and smaller) cuts.

A couple of weeks ago I was in the grocery store checking out the marked-down items in the meat department, and I came across a rather large bone-in pork roast for a great price. I immediately thought of how much Hubby loves pork barbeque sandwiches and wondered how it would cook up in the dutch oven. So, I picked up the roast and a bottle of my favorite sauce and headed home. That weekend I made it for the first time, and it was delicious! So much so, I had a special request from Hubby for it again this week. If you have a dutch oven, you'll definitely want to try this- your pork roast will turn out so tender you won't believe it!

I started out by mixing up just a small amount of my favorite sauce (about 4 ounces) with some water....


Enough water to partially cover the roast. (This was a large roast, so it took about 2 1/2 to 3 cups of liquid.)


Into the oven for about 3-4 hours at 300 degrees, then the last hour or so I turned up the heat to 350 to melt away any remaining fat still on the roast. (I didn't trim any fat before putting it in the dutch oven- the cooking process does that for you.)


Total cooking time for this roast (which was almost 4 lbs.) was about 4 1/2 hours- you can allow less time for a smaller roast. (You definitely don't want to overcook it!)
As you can tell from this picture, it literally forks apart!

 

I added the rest of the sauce and mixed it into the meat with my hands while also pulling the meat apart into smaller pieces and...
Ta-da!


Add that with some baked beans and sweet corn from last years' garden, and all that's left to do now is eat.


Happy cooking, everybody!

2/15/10

And the winner is...

You people amaze me... I could have never imagined the wonderful and creative (not to mention hilarious) names that you, my wonderful blog friends, would send my way. I mean, really... Boris and Natasha? Baabs and Woolfgang? Donny and Marie? LOVE IT!! And that was only a few- all of them were great!
However, it did make for a terrible dilemma... how in the world was I going to choose? I thought about using Random.org, but since some of you had multiple suggestions, I wasn't sure how that would work. So, I whined and cried all weekend to Hubby about what I was going to do until finally he said, "put all of the names in the egg basket and draw one out!"

I'm so glad I married such a smart man... *sigh*....

Hubby did the honors....



And the winner is...


Congratulations, April!
Email your address to me and your prize will be on it's way as soon as I monogram the tote bag for you.

And now- meet Pepper and Polly!




I don't know what the weather is like in your neck of the woods today, but this is what we woke up to this morning.


I know what Edie's thinking...
The same thing I'm thinking.

Stupid groundhog!

Happy (snowy) Monday, everybody!

2/9/10

Unhappy campers and a giveaway

There have been some digruntled rumblings coming from the chicken coop... it seems the Silkies are unhappy with the sheep hogging all the blog posts lately. I must confess, it has been a while since I posted a picture with a fuzzy bottom in it, so I guess I'd better get with the program and make things right.

Beau from the front.....



Aaaaand, Beau from the rear.



Sadie and Clementine flaunt their fluffy side.



A white fuzzy bottom! *Squeeeal*



Belle, you have such a lovely profile....



Now that I've given equal time to the Silkies, I just have to throw this picture in- here are Lucy's twins... growing fast and in need of some names.


Hmmm... how about we have a contest? A "name the twins" contest!

Leave me a comment on this post with your best sheepie boy and girl names, and the winner will get this adorable lamb bookmark and little handmade tote bag with your initial monogrammed on it by me.


I will pick a winner this weekend and announce the winner on Monday, so hurry up and get your thinking caps on! (By the way- this contest is open to everyone, even if you've never commented before- just be sure and leave an email address for me to contact you!)

2/1/10

Snowy Weekend

After snowing all night Friday and all day Saturday, 'twas a beautiful Sunday morning...



Breakfast was served under a canopy of white.


Rowdy wasn't sure what to make of the first snowfall of his young life.


"I wonder what this one tastes like..."


The view looking up the driveway.....

And the view looking down the driveway.
Yes, it really is as steep as it looks, and there are two very deep ditches on both sides.
(Now you know why a few inches of snow in East Tennessee and everything closes- no one can get down their driveway.)


Smokey wears his snow beard well.

Hubby keeps the carport clean for me. ♥ squeal

Home sweet home, all covered in white.

Happy Monday, everybody... hope you're staying warm wherever you are!