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

Friday, June 6, 2014

Adding A New Brood Box to The Bee Hives.

A lot has happened with our bee hives in the past couple of weeks.  If you remember we started with two packages of bees that we ordered and received back in April.  Of those two packages only one has survived.  When we ordered them they told us it would be best to start with two because more than likely one would not survive.  Well that has been the case.  We noticed  a few weeks ago something was wrong with one of the colonies.   I think the queen died or maybe they did not accept her from the very beginning.  By the time we noticed it was to late to help them. The other colony is growing and thriving in an amazing way.  This past week we discovered they had drawn out the comb on almost all of the frames in the brood box, so we did some studying to find out when we needed to add a new brood box on top.  What we found out was that it was time to do that now.  Once your bees fill out all but two frames it's time to add a new box.  If you over crowd your bees they will find a new home.  If the bees can see the roof of their home they are ready to move.

I also shared with you a few weeks ago about catching a swarm of bees.  Well that colony is doing great!  It's amazing how fast they are working and filling up the box with brood.  When we caught the swarm we were not prepared for the bees, we had a box to put them in but we had no bottom board or top cover.  Larry very quickly made some that day just for a temporary fix and we ordered a top and bottom.  It's now time to add a box on top to give them plenty of room to expand and we also need to replace the bottom board and top cover at the same time.  The only problem do you take their bottom board away and replace it?  I didn't even get a picture when Larry popped off the bottom board because it was a bit frighting and chaotic .  He pried it apart, which took much effort since they had glued every crack and crevice with propolis or bee cocking. As soon as he popped that apart the bees boiled out the bottom of the box, they really did not like that at all.  So we very quickly sat the box onto the new bottom board, replaced the top cover and gave them their space to calm down.  No picture needed was my thought at the time.

It took them a good two days to forget what we had done and they didn't want us to even look at them from afar during that time.  Larry got stung a couple of times just for trying to take a peek. They have finally forgotten or forgiven us for ripping the floor out of their house.
Now we'll need to keep an eye on them to see how quickly they fill this box, the next box to add on will be a honey super.  Bring on the honey!!
Have a great weekend!