Thursday, August 21, 2014

Giveaway Time!! - Free Box Of Day Old Chicks

Free Giveaway
We would like to take this time to thank all of our great customers and friends by offering a free giveaway.  We'll be offering one free box of day old chicks to one lucky person.  In the box will be 16 straight run chicks of at least two different breeds possibly more.  We will announce the lucky winner on September 3rd. 

Steps to sign up for the giveaway 

1. Become a follower of the blog.  On the right side of the blog is a join this site button to become a follower.
2. Like our Face Book page. 
3. Leave a comment on the blog telling us your favorite chicken breed and why you would like to win a free box of baby chicks.

Good Luck!!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Farm Happenings - Training Up The Next Generation

Spring of this year my youngest daughter Heather came on board here at the chicken farm as a part time employee.  She is great with the birds, hard working and eager to learn the ins and outs of breeding poultry.  I feel It's important to pass down my knowledge with the younger generation or what I've worked so hard to accomplish will be lost with me.  I would give anything right now to be able to speak with my great grandmother about her poultry business.  She raised hundreds of chickens and turkeys to offer to her community as meat birds.  Although I don't raise meat birds I'm sure she would have had some chicken knowledge to offer me that would help in some aspect of breeding poultry.  That's what I hope to do for my daughter, although she might decide chicken farming is not for her and that's ok but if she does continue on and run this farm some day, I want to share with her every little bit of information that will help her produce the best poultry possible and keep the farm running like a well oiled machine.  It's taken my husband and I about five years to get this farm operating as smooth as it does.  We still have room for growth and change and with another helping hand on board I'm looking forward to what the future holds for this little farm.

Larry and I are planning a vacation but with that comes much worry about getting away and turning it over to Heather.  Although we can always be reached by phone, it just makes us a little nervous. So this week the perfect opportunity came up for me to test Heather on the ins and outs of the water system.
I noticed that the stock tank was half empty early in the day which is a very good indication that there is a clog and water running over in the barn somewhere.  So I sent Heather on a mission to investigate and find the problem. The problem is normally feathers, straw or an egg caught in the PVC pipe, so we get a sewer snake, run it up in the pipe and clean it out.  The stock tank is emptied and cleaned out daily, we also run high pressure water through the pipes to clean those out but even with those precautions in place we still have an occasional clog.
Well Heather heads off to locate the problem and in a little while I hear her yelling for help that she had found the problem.  I yelled back, "get the sewer snake and take care of it" just like any good mom would do.  She yelled back, "the problem is a snake."  So I head to the barn to see what I can do.  Heather along with the Black Copper Marans hens are crammed in a corner, she's pointing at the snake and the hens are screaming as if to say, "get it mom!"  It was a very large black snake stuck in the water pipe.  I must tell you at this point that I'm not afraid or grossed out by snakes, they don't bother me at all.  I know your going to think I'm crazy but I reached right down and grabbed the end of that snake and pulled it right out of that pipe with Heather and the hens screaming behind me. The water issue was solved, I'm not sure if Heather learned anything from this situation, I asked what she would have done if this happened while we were gone, she said "I'd left the snake in the pipe."

If you have a lot of chickens it's just normal your going to have mice and if you have mice you have snakes.  I've never so far had a problem with them eating the chicks, I'm sure they are hunting the mice.  We gather the eggs so often that I don't think they have an opportunity to eat them.

I know everyone is saying why didn't you kill it.  I don't like to kill snakes, they eat the mice and I don't have a problem with them.  It's not poisonous and it's a beautiful creature.  I know that's how Eve probably felt also when she ate the fruit from the forbidden tree in the garden. She was memorized by the beauty of the serpent.  I set that pretty snake free and I know I'll see it again because this is not the first time I've removed it from my barn.
I'm not sure if Heather learned a lot from this situation other than her mother is crazy but I know she'll never forget the day mom wrangled the big black snake.
Have a great day and don't kill snakes!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing

Our summer weather so far this year has been very mild with rain every couple of weeks which has been very good for our garden.  The romaine lettuce has been amazing this year!   Since we've had so much lettuce this summer I'm getting a little tired of the regular garden salad.  So I decided to change it up and make some Caesar dressing.  I realized right from the start I had no curtons for the salad and what's a Caesar salad without curtons?  So I made my own.  I buttered and sprinkled with garlic powder one side of five slices of bread and baked in the over at 400 degrees for about 5 minutes.  I then sliced them into one inch cubes, placed them in a bowl and tossed them with fresh dried thyme, oregano, and basil.  Very quick and easy curtons.

To begin your Caesar dressing.  It calls for 1 raw egg, if you aren't comfortable using a raw egg you can coddle an egg.  To coddle your egg, bring 1 quart of water to a simmer on the stove.  Place your egg while still in the shell in the simmering water for 1 minute, then remove the egg and place in a chilled bowl of water.

Dressing Ingredients:

1/2 cup Olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 Marans egg (if you don't have a Marans egg, any old egg will do I guess)
 salt to taste
pepper to taste
Worcestershire sauce, just a dash or two

This dressing is very fast and easy to make.  In a mixing bowl combine egg and garlic, slowly drizzle in the 1/2 cup of oil while mixing on medium speed.  Then add in your lemon, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce.  Once you have all of those combined add your Parmesan cheese.  Save back just enough Parmesan cheese to add to the top of your salad.


Friday, July 11, 2014

Blueberry Tart

Blueberry season has come and gone here on the farm but I still want to share this delicious easy recipe with you.  When we lived in Alaska many, many years ago, my mom and dad would take us to pick wild blueberries, I must say they were the best blueberries I've ever had in my life.  My mother got this recipe form a dear friend named Sue Krazelak while we lived there.   Every time I make this it brings back good memories of picking berries on the tundra, trying to make enough noise so that the bears knew that we're in their territory.  The berries grew very low and thick on the ground and it was like walking on old bed springs.  The berries were very tiny and oh so tart but had a flavor like nothing I ever tasted since then.  Nothing like what we grow here.  That said I'll have to make do with my big, fat not so flavorful berries.  I'm forever ruined since I've tasted the real deal.

1 cup flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoons cinnamon 
3 cups blueberries
2 Tablespoons powdered sugar

The first part we're going to make is the crust for the tart.  Mix 1 cup flour, 2 Tablespoons sugar, salt and butter and vinegar, you might need to do this by hand it is very thick and sticky.  Next press the dough into a tart pan if you have one.  I don't have one so I just use a pie plate. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes.  Heat oven to 400 degrees.

While your crust is refrigerating, combine your 1/2 cup of sugar (if you have really tart berries you might want more sugar) 2 tablespoons of flour, and the cinnamon.  Stir in the 3 cups of blueberries. Spread filling over the crust and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes.  Sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar and enjoy.   

Friday, July 4, 2014

Independence Day

I had a post in mind for today, but it did not really seem appropriate to post such an "everyday" kind of post when today is such an important day in our nation's history. 

Today our nation turns 238 years old.  The right to celebrate 238 years of freedom has not come without a huge price.  Men and women have been on the front lines of battle defending our rights many times.  Even during times of peace service men and women sacrifice by being away from their families, ready to defend us at a moments notice.

  I am proud to be a citizen of the United States of America!  I know that hard work and sacrifice are some of what has brought us to where we are today.  However I do not believe for a moment that we, as mere humans are capable of doing anything without a God allowing us to do so.  So today I am most grateful to God.  He has allowed us to be a great nation.  He has allowed us freedom that some in our world will never know.  Because of these freedoms God's word can be proclaimed freely, and I am most thankful for that!

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
2 Corinthians 3:17

May God bless America with many more Birthdays!


Friday, June 27, 2014

Stir Fried Kale And Radishes

I love being able to just walk out to my garden and stand there and decide what's for dinner.  I count it a blessing and I'm very thankful for a mother who taught me how to plant, harvest and preserve the bounty that a garden provides.
This year for the first time ever I planted kale.  I wasn't even sure I liked kale but decided to give it a try and have since discovered we love it!
Every year I always plant enough radishes to feed a small army, well there is only so many things you can do with radishes.  I bet you didn't know they are pretty darn good stir fried.

 Stir frying vegetables is very quick and easy and is actually nutritionally better for you than cooking them for long periods of time by boiling or sauteing.

To begin I drizzled about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in my skillet.  Chopped up 2 green onions, if you don't have green onion any onion will do.  Saute for about 2 minuets.

Wash your kale and radishes.  Chop your kale into bite sized pieces.  Cut the radishes in half. Place the kale and radishes in your skillet with the onion and olive oil.  Stir fry for about 5 minuets, the kale will shrink down to about half the size.  Salt and pepper to taste.
Grilled radishes are also great.  Cut in half, brush with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and grill for about 5 minutes.
Have a great weekend!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Swimming + Sewing + New Chicks = Summer!

Hey friends this is Melissa.  Over the last several weeks things have been very busy on our farm and the Chicken Scratch Poultry Farm.  Thus leading to a quiet blog.  Angie is working like crazy trying to get chicks hatched and shipped out.  On my families grain farm the guys are in full planting and wheat harvesting mode.  That means the girls and I are left to our own, we make trips to see Daddy when we take him lunch or he arrives home right at bedtime.  My sister and niece have also been in Southern Illinois for about a month and a half while her husband is out to sea.  We have been having lots of fun!  Our time has been spent sewing, drinking coffee, and doing a little swimming.  It is soo fun to have her here and while I know she misses her husband terribly, it is nice that we get to have her around while he is away. 

Lunch delivery! 

That's one straight row!

Swimming with my girls!

In the midst of a fun and busy summer a couple of our hens decided that it was time for them to fill a nest with eggs and sit on them.  When I say a couple of hens I mean two, and not only did they both sit on a nest.. it was the same nest.  I had to giggle each time I went to the barn and saw them snuggled up together on it.  I had been counting down to when I thought the chicks would hatch, and that would not have been until next week.  After arriving home from running errands a couple days ago, I went to the barn to check the chicken's water.  It was quite a surprise to see one of the hens with 3 fluffy chicks scurrying around her feet.  The other hen was still sitting on the nest.  Of course I could not resist taking a peek under her to see if we had more chicks hatching.  She was snuggling an already hatched chick and a couple on their way.  The hens ended up with 6 chicks between the two of them. 
Such cute little things!

Our Mama Hens Henny Penny and Olive.

White Lightening is doing his part in the chick raising.  He is on high alert guarding the barn!

Both of the hens are doing a good job of mothering the little fluffs.  I love to hear them communicate with the chicks.  They are ferociously protective, myself and the girls have all been hen pecked.  I was unsure about what to do about having two hens in with the chicks.  At first it seemed that they might not both be cut out for being mothers, so I debated putting the Americana hen out.  I gave it a little more time and she seemed to settle down and start mothering the chicks.  Below is a video of the Mamas and chicks.  If you listen you can hear them "talking" to one another.  So neat!  Stay tuned for more pictures and updates as they grow. 


Have you ever had two hens share chicks?  If you have leave a comment and tell me what to expect!

God Bless