Monday, December 17, 2012

Eggs-iting News

"To get eggs there must be some cackling."  Dutch Proverb

There was cackling in our chicken coop today!

Two of our girls laid eggs... our first eggs ever!

How exciting!  Our first two eggs.
Our chickens are 5 months old and I hadn't expected them to begin laying until they were older because of the season and the shortened daylight, so it was a very happy surprise.  I don't know which of the seven did the laying, but I'm hoping they will lead the others along by example and  we'll have fresh eggs every day.  Won't that be wonderful?

More "egg-siting" news...  My post The Rooster Crows has been highlighted by Dolly of Hibiscus House' Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop.  Thank you Dolly. *mwah*  I'm so honored to be among the features.  Wander over and have a look, there's some wonderful bloggers featured and linked up and of course, you can browse through Dolly's Hibiscus House.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

My Favorite Things

Are you as busy as I am this time of year?

We deserve a little break.  Please join me for some tea and glimpse of some of my favorite things at this time of year, some I've found on Pinterest and some from my desk.

To get you in the mood you might want to turn on this music sung by a sweet little girl in a white dress with a blue satin sash.

Sing along if you like...

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things!

Warm Woolen Mittens, doodle by Tori Beveridge

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things!

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eye lashes
Silver white winters that melt into spring
These are a few of my favorite things!

Girl in White Dress ACEO ink and watercolor pencils by Tori Beveridge

Snowflakes that stay on my nose - Otis, photographed by Tori Beveridge

Silver White Winters.. last winter photographed by Tori Beveridge

When the dog bites, when the bee stings
When I'm feeling sad, 
I simply remember 
my favorite things

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Rooster Crows

No offense to Muhammed Ali, he was a great boxer, but he didn't know roosters.  As a matter of fact, anyone who believes that roosters only crow in the morning to announce the rising sun, doesn't know roosters.

A rooster will crow night or day, at any time.

Rooster Doodle by Tori Beveridge

The other night our rooster, Ringo, was crowing at 10:30 pm.  Our windows and doors were open letting in the balmy, for us in central Illinois in December, 70 degree temperatures waft in.

"Err er errrrrrrrrr", he crowed from inside his tightly locked coop.  He had never done this before.  "Maybe there's something wrong," my husband said.  "I'd better go check."  There was nothing wrong.  All the hens and Ringo were fine.  Maybe he was simply announcing to the world that he appreciated the mild weather too.

Ringo at three weeks.

I am not sure how the myth of roosters crowing to announce the sun rise started, but I will validate that they do crow then.. and a couple of hours before... and a couple of hours after...

Perhaps this story from Greek Mythology started it.  The ancient Greek word for rooster is aclectryon.

Alectryon was a young man who was ordered by Ares, the god of war, to stand guard outside his door while Ares romanced the goddess Aphrodite, the goddess of love.  Alectryon fell asleep on the job.  The sun god, Helios, sneaked past Alectryon while he slept, and walked in on Ares and Aphrodite.  Ares was so outraged and angry with Alectyron, that he turned him into a rooster which would never forget to announce the sun's arrival in the morning.

Regardless of his noise, I am glad that we have a rooster.  He's a very protective rooster and watches over his flock closely, which is important because we back onto a forest and have foxes, coyotes, hawks, opossums, skunks etc. as regular visitors. 

Ringo, four and a half months old, taken a week and a half ago.  He's grown since then.
He is a kind rooster and not overly aggressive.  I know some people have problems with roosters and their aggression, so I am thankful for this.  Ringo did try to peck/bite Mr B. a couple of times.  The first time, Mr. B. had been kneeeling down.  All it took was for Mr. B. to stand up, and Ringo took off... vrrrooooom... yes, the largest male rules the roost.

About a week later, Ringo pecked at Mr. B. again.  Mr. B. picked him up and held him securely at his side and gently pushed his head and beak down with a couple of fingers, and held it down for a few seconds, then released it.  Ringo lifted his head.  Mr. B. repeated it, once again pushing his head and beak down.  This time when Mr. B. released Ringo's head, Ringo kept it down, a sign of submission.

My comment, which had Mr. B. laughing out loud. "There is a pecking order and you're the biggest pecker."

Ringo is very photogenic, as I am sure most roosters are, with their vivid colors and long feathers.   I loved the photo above so much, that I had to use it as a reference for this painting.

Barred Plymouth Rock Rooster by Tori Beveridge
  I couldn't wait to see what it would look like matted and framed.

Barred Plymouth Rock Rooster, matted and framed.. I think I will play with different mat colors and frames.

... because it will be going on our wall, possibly in the kitchen where all things roosterly, chickeny, and barnyard seem to end up.

If you would like to see a larger version of the painting, you can see it in my gallery.
Prints and other products are available, so you too can have Ringo in your home.

You may have guessed by now.. the rooster crowing is also heralding the dawning of a new chapter in my blog.  I didn't mean to leave it abandoned and collecting cobwebs for so long.  My apologies.   I needed to work out what direction I wanted to take this blog.  It took some time, but I have the compass pointed in the right direction now.  I hope you'll join me on my journey.

This post has been submitted to


and to
 Liv Lane's Little Bliss List

and to
  Deborah Jean's Dandelion House's Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop

and to
Homestead Revival's Homestead Blog Hop

and to
The Chicken Chick

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Bulldog and The Peanut Butter

On Sunday, Mr B. was patting Otis (our english bulldog) and felt a lump under his left jaw.  We're talking huge.. gumball sized.  By Monday morning it had grown to jumbo egg size... Poor Otis.  It must have bothered him but he was still romping about, eating and hanging off Pamunky's neck and collar as usual. (Pamunky is our very furry chow/rott mix)  Needless to say we had Otis at the vet that afternoon.

Otis LOVES his vet.  Dr Sherri, (yes Otis is on a first name basis with her), took his temperature and attempted to aspirate the lump with a giant needle.  Otis let her do it all without complaint.   Dr. Sherri couldn't withdraw anything from the gland.  She says often something gets compacted up in there.   When inspecting inside Otis' mouth, she pulled out a big clump of dog fur and held it up, looking at it as if to say, "what the...?"  Mr. B. shook his head and said "He hangs off Munky."  "Of course he does.  Poor Munky."  replied Dr. Sherri.

You have to know that bulldogs are much like chipmunks.. they can hide things in their mouths.  Otis picks things up off the ground he shouldn't eat constantly and when told to drop it, stops chewing, pretends to drop it and then waits until you look away.  He starts chewing again.  This will happen a few times, then we go in physically holding his mouth open and searching that huge mouth with all it's folds.  Can't find anything... hmmm maybe he did drop it.. look away.. he starts chewing. This repeats until the item is finally found glued to the roof of his mouth or under the corner of his tongue where you checked the last time you checked.  Mr. B. had pulled some fur out of Otis' mouth when they left the house.. I guess Otis was keeping this clump of Munky fur to chew later.

The diagnosis was an inflamed, compacted salivary gland, which sure sounds better than lymphoma, although if it doesn't clear up we'll have to biopsy it.  Three shots later Otis was on his way home with two bottles of pills that he has to take twice a day.  Otis doesn't mind though, because Dr. Sherri said to give them to him in peanut butter.

Otis loves Dr. Sherri.  Otis loves peanut butter.  Otis loves Dr. Sherri.

The lump shrank to jawbreaker size by Tuesday morning and has been shrinking ever since.  So it seems the medication is working, or maybe it's the peanut butter.  Otis thinks it's the peanut butter.  He thinks he should get peanut butter everyday from now on.  Peanut butter everyday keeps the vet away, he says.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Bliss of A Cooler Day and Other Things

My Little Bliss List (Remembering the things that made me happy this week, because it's so easy to forget them.)

It rained!  We had a wonderful day of rain on Wednesday, and we needed it.  It washed away the humidity and has brought twenty degree cooler temperatures.. it only got up to 84 today!  I never thought that I would say that was cool, but it is.

Today brought blue skies and big white fluffy clouds and cool breezes. I had the windows and doors open from early morning to about two in the afternoon, letting the breeze blow through and freshening everything after being closed up tight for air conditioning.  It was wonderful.

A Perfect August Sky

I'm happy that it has been so hot though, because our chicks were able to move outside, last weekend, at three weeks of age.   They were ready for it and because chicks like it warm, they are comfortable outside, in their mulberry tree shaded spot.  They come running to meet me when ever I go out to check on them.  Sometimes I go with a treat for them and I think they were wondering where it was when I snapped this.  Can you guess which one is the rooster?

Where's The Treats?

I've had a wonderful time with art this past week.  I am participating in Jenny and Aaron of Every Day is A Holiday's Art Journaling Class.  The first class was this week and I thoroughly enjoyed the class and making my art journal pages.

She Wore A Hat Art Journal Pages

If you want to know more about the classes (there's still time to join in the fun) and how I made my pages, hop on over to my art blog for the whole story.

Now, maybe you would like to get a cup of tea and a cookie or two and get comfortable for this last little blissful thing that I will leave you with.  I was looking at a little video on YouTube and I looked to the side and spotted this wonderful treasure.... The Secret Garden, 1949 (full length version ) starring Margaret O'Brien.  I've seen this version and probably every other version of this story, because it's one of my favorite books.  The movie is an hour and a half long, but you have the luxury of hitting the pause button if you need to.  Enjoy!

What made you happy this week?  Share your bliss.

I'm linking up with Liv Lane's Little Bliss List.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Almost Wordless Wednesday - What I've Been Up To

Our new chicks are getting their own special area to the west, behind the house, complete with mulberry tress, which I'm sure they'll enjoy come next spring.  I'll have a good view of it from the kitchen window.

The chickens area is an area that was completely overgrown with brush and blackberries.  Guess what we've been doing for the last week...

Before and After Brush Clearing of Chicken Pasture Area
Armed with machetes, an axe, rakes, pruning shears, a pruning saw, Mr. B. and I have it mostly cleared.  There are still a few stumps left, but their numbers are dwindling every day.

Otis had to check out the newly cleared area.

It's fenced on three sides.  We'll add the front fence and gate, after we've finished building their run, or as I call it their "safe house".  The run will enclose the coop and be their safe area and protection from predators at night, and for when we aren't at home during the day.  I really want them to free range, so I don't expect them to spend a great deal of time in it.

The coop is built, but not in position yet.  We'll move it when all the stumps are out.

Our Chicken Coop
Who knew that eight little chicks could cause so much work!

The chicks are growing like crazy and because it's been so hot, they've been coming outside with us since they were a week and a half old.  They enjoy scratching around and catching bugs while we work.

The chicks first day out.  They grew so fast and now they're twice the size they were here, just a week ago!
We use our smallest dog crate as their home base, using cardboard to shelter them if it gets breezy or the sun is too hot.  They stay in it most of the time, making short little runs out and back occasionally.  As you can see we don't have grass left because of the heat.  There's even less green this week.

When we take a break from working, we sit down with them and they run over for a little handful of oats.

Chick Picnic.  The pretty little star of this photo is one of our Speckled Sussex chicks, Henny Penny.  Ringo , our Plymouth Rock rooster is sitting on Mr. B.'s hand.
Lacey, our one Silver Lace Wyandotte chick
I'll keep you posted with our progress on the run and of course I'll have more pics of the reason for all the work.

Linking to The Barn Hop

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Another Little Bliss List

My Little Bliss List (Remembering the things that made me happy this week, because it's so easy to forget them.)

It's been a very blissful week.

1 - It was my Mom's birthday this week and we had a lovely visit on the phone.  The next best thing to being there.

2 - I discovered this wonderful site, Tagxedo  which will take the words used on your blog or website and turn them into a word cloud.  You have your choice of fonts and shapes and colors.  I simply loved this teapot, made with words from this blog and had to share.  I had so much fun making it.

Tagxedo Teapot  - Click to see it larger
3 - Our chicks arrived at our post office, from My Pet Chicken on Tuesday morning.  All were healthy and happy after their journey through the postal system, which brought immediate joy and relief.

How fast they're growing!  I can't believe how much they change from day to day.  They have brought endless smiles and chuckles with their antics this week.

I really adore the "chipmunk' markings of the two Speckled Sussex girls, Henny Penny and Bonnie.

Chipmunk Markings, Photo by Tori Beveridge
The chicks are definitely not shy anymore and will jump up on our hands and arms.  The black and white girl is Pearl, a Barred Plymouth Rock and the red girl is Lady, one of our two Rhode Island Reds.

Pearl and Lady, Photo by Tori Beveridge

We think the chick below is our rooster.  The markings are different than on the other two Barred Plymouth Rocks.  He, I'm already calling him he, loves to be up high and was the first to be able to hop up onto the little roost we made.  We've named him Ringo because of the white ring around his head.. sure hope he's the rooster.  If any of you chicken experts have any thoughts on whether he may or may not be a rooster, I'd love to hear them.

Ringo, Photo by Tori Beveridge

Mr. B.'s favorites are the two Rhode Island Reds, followed by Ringo.  His very favorite chick is this one, Lady.

Lady, Photo by Tori Beveridge

4 - The weather has continued to be hot and dry here.  We had a power outage this week, (common here in the summer heat) which gave me the opportunity to sit and read for a couple of hours before the power came back on.

Ohh.. must give credit to the "hand model", Mr. B. himself.

What made you happy this week?  Share your bliss.

I'm linking up with Liv Lane's Little Bliss List 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Baby Chicks & July Notecard Party

Two occasions coinciding.. A Haven for Vee's July Note Card Party and the arrival of our chicks!  One of the photos of the chicks should work for a note card.  The others have appeared on my blog previously.

Yes, the chicks arrived yesterday.  They weathered the long, stressful ride through the postal system without any adverse effects and are settled into their brooder.  Mr B. made the brooder from a Rubbermaid storage container and it's perfect for them.

Mr B. making the brooder
Mr B. making the brooder

There's eight of them total:  two Rhode Island Reds, two Speckled Sussex, two Barred Plymouth Rocks, one Silver Laced Wyandotte, and one Plymouth Rock Rooster.  The Plymouth Rocks are by far the leaders of the flock, all of the others follows their lead.

Having a look around
Having a look around.

Mr. B. making friends.
Mr. B. making friends.
I think the picture below will make a nice notecard.

Not shy
Not shy once they realized he had ground up oats in his hand.

Now for the rest of my note cards.   I decide to go with an animal theme this month.

Otis' "you talkin' to me" face
Otis' "you talkin' to me" face, Photo by Tori Beveridge

Good Morning photo by Tori Beveridge
Good Morning photo by Tori Beveridge

What!?  You've never seen a cat in a frying pan before?  Photo by Tori Beveridge
What!?  You've never seen a cat in a frying pan before?  Photo by Tori Beveridge
Visit A Haven For Vee's Note Card Party to see all the lovely photographs chosen by others to be Note Cards, and maybe join in the fun yourself!

A Haven for Vee

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tasty Tuesday - Cheesy Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breast

From the moment I first saw and pinned this recipe, I knew it would be one of the first I of the recipes on my Pinterest Delicious Board that I tried.

The Cheesy Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breast recipe is originally from Artsy Fartsy Mama.  She includes step by step instructions and photos.  It's really easy to put together and looks like you really fussed over it.  Your friends and family will be impressed.

Cheesy Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breast
Cheesy Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breast
I made it following her instructions, with the following exceptions:   I used garlic powder instead of salt and four slices of steak seasoned, thick sliced bacon instead of six slices of bacon and omitted the seasoning salt.

It was delicious!  The combination of the cream cheese and the bacon was just a little too rich for Mr B's and my tastes though.  Next time we're going to leave out the cream cheese and instead add a little barbecue sauce to the grated cheddar cheese, along with some finely chopped onion, then wrap in the bacon.. yum!  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tasty Tuesday - Saltine Toffee

We were in the mood for something sweet today.  Mr B. likes chocolate.  I like toffee.  Solution?  This delicious and easy candy, made using ordinary saltine (soda) crackers.

Saltine Toffee

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Line a cookie sheet with tin foil, shiny side up.  Fill the sheet with a single layer of saltine crackers.  About 40 should do it.

In a saucepan melt 1 cup of butter.
Add I cup of brown sugar.
Bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes.
Pour over your crackers and spread to completely cover them.

Pop in the oven and bake for 6 minutes.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle with 2 cups of semi sweet chocolate chips.  Wait for about two minutes until they begin to melt and then spread the melted chocolate over the top with a spatula.  You'll probably want to rush the waiting for them to melt part, you can't.. just wait..they'll melt.

Sprinkle with finely chopped pecans.

Let cool completely then break into pieces.