Featured

It All Started When…

I tried fresh eggs from a friends backyard chickens. Not only were the eggs a beautiful array of colors, they were absolutely delicious too! The yolks were a vibrant yellowish orange color. It was then that I did some research on the nutritional value of farm fresh eggs versus store bought eggs that I was blown away. I vowed from that day on my family would only eat farm fresh eggs. What took me by surprise was the emotional and educational benefits of raising backyard chickens. We truly love our birds. My 3 children named all 32 hens and 4 roosters. This blog is about our chicken raising journey – the good, the bad and the ugly.

Featured

Moving to the Country…

Looking back on deciding whether or not to buy our farmhouse brings me to tears of laughter. My son Tyler was 7, my daughter Natalie was 5 and my younger son Ryan was 3. We were on our way home from swim lessons and the kids were excitedly discussing a house we were possibly going to buy.  The property had a pretty barn with two horse stalls in it. They were talking about living on a farm.

Ryan all excited said “we should get a cow so we could squeeze his penis to get milk”

Natalie correcting her little brother says “Ryan….the milk comes from the gutters not the penis”

Tyler correcting his little sister says “Natalie….its utters not gutters!”

After a slight pause, Ryan asks in a very curious way – then where is the penis??

Soon that pretty white barn would be ours. I had every intention of turning it into a really cool game room or fitness center. Little did I know it would become home to many different kinds of welcomed and unwelcomed animals.

In Loving Memory of Silkie and her Babies 💜💜💜💜

I wrote this post back in September of 2015, but never posted it. Our beloved Silkie was tragically taken from us by a hawk strike in September of that same year.  For weeks her babies stood under the tree where she was taken and waited for her to return. For the remainder of their lives these three chick siblings stuck together until they too were tragically taken by a hawk strike.

Tending to our new chicks made me think of Silkie and her babies. They were the most adorable little chicken family. Silkies babies were so lucky to have the natural warmth of their mothers body and silky soft feathers to cozy under. These 50 new chicks only have the warmth of the heat lamp and each other.  These  day old chicks do not have a Momma Chick to teach them all the things that Silkie so lovingly taught her babies.

Now for the original post…

Our little mother hen had done her job well. In June of 2015, Silkie faithfully sat on three eggs for 21 days. On the 21st day all three chicks successfully hatched.

It was an absolute joy to watch Silkie raise her chicks. Since Silkie arrived at our little farm she was the very last in pecking order, mainly due to her size. After becoming a mother this once picked on little Silkie was now a force to be reckoned with. You might say her Momma Bear came out! Once pecked on herself, Silkie would protect her chicks at all costs. This tiny Silkie would even chase the cats away from her chicks.

Below are some photos of Silkie and her babies.💜💜💜💜

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Keeping them warm most of the day
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Teaching them to peck for food in the maternity ward
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Teaching them to peck for food in the pasture
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Teaching them to take a dirt bath
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Teaching them to roost
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The Family – Silkie and Rocky teaching them to eat corn on the cob (see how tiny Silkie was in comparison to Rocky)

Thank you Worst Cooks in America!!!

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Thank you Worst Cooks in America for inspiring my kids. After watching the show all three of them begged me for an egg poacher and aprons. I caved on the egg poacher, but I think they deserve the aprons now. They made me Eggs Benedict with homemade hollandaise sauce with our hens eggs. Delicious!!!

Promoting Health, Happiness and Community

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The image above is a flyer my daughter put in all of our neighbors mailboxes. Below is the wording. I am so proud of her. Throughout the summer months we have enjoyed growing our own fruits and vegetables and bartering our eggs for vegetables and scones. We have become even more connected to our neighbors, if that is possible. I must say we really have an awesome neighborhood.💕

Dear Neighbors,

My mom and I have come up with a fun way to stay heathy and to connect more with nature. This is optional so don’t feel like you have to do it if you don’t want to. Now let me get to the point everyone may choose to grow a food if you already do that’s great you can just use that fruit or vegetable for trading. ”Trading?” Your probably thinking, well yeah trading everyone who participates will trade there cash crop with other families as if each family was one of the 13 original colonies. When: Every Sunday afternoon in the Summer. Where: The Hough’s front yard. What to bring: Your crop and an empty bag or basket. If your crop is not successful just bring your SMILES. If you would like to grow your own food and trade it fill out the bottom and if you don’t want to please fill it out any way. One last thing, a great place to buy vegetable and fruit plants, fruit tree and flowers is Copia it is also a great place to visit I love it and I know you will too! Please put all filled out forms in the 140 Highfield Road mailbox. THANKS!
Sincerely, Natalie

Circle your answer

Yes, my family will be participating
No, my family will not be participating

My family will be growing____________________,____________________ and____________________.

Happy Mother’s Day!

As I made dinner the other night I was admiring the gorgeous heart my daughter was coloring. It was not until the next morning that I read her beautiful words – I Love You World and Everything You Hold.

Her words are the best Mother’s Day gift a Mother could ever receive. My hopes and dreams for all my children is that they continue to see the world this way.

Please scroll down to view the world through my daughter’s eyes.

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Flowering Peony
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Curly Cucumber Plant
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Barn through flowering Appletree
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Bumblebee pollinating Flowers
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Luscious Lettuce
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Bursting Blueberries

Pasture-raised Eggs

Pasture-raised eggs are far superior to commercial eggs both visually and nutritionally. Before I started raising backyard chickens I thought eggs came in two colors, white and brown. Like most people, the only time I saw blue, green or pink eggs was at Easter time when we dyed them.

The nutritional value of an egg can be traced back to the hen and the quality of her life. The quality of the hens life depends on the farmer. Does the farmer raise caged hens or free ranging hens?

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Free-ranging hens – the good life
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Caged-hens living indoors with artificial light – the not so good life

If you were a hen, where would you rather live? Hands down, everyone’s answer should be free-ranging in the pasture, the operative word being free.  No-one would chose to live their entire life indoors in close quarters unable to move freely.

Looking at this image sparked a profound question out of my then 6 year old. Why are they in jail, Mommy? One of the many difficult questions about the real world that I have had to answer as a parent.

Now you may be thinking how does a happy hen equate to nutritionally superior eggs. Pasture-raised hens get plenty of sunshine and eat various yummy bugs and all types of grasses. Happy hens peck around in the grass all day eating delicious worms, mosquitoes, ticks and various other insects in the grass. The nutrients from the insects and grasses are far superior to any type of feed given to caged hens. In my opinion, pasture-raised eggs are a true super food.

Mother Earth News conducted a study in 2007 with results in favor of pasture-raised hens. Mother Earth News found that eggs from pasture-raised hens as compared to commercial hens contain:

1/3 less cholesterol

1/4 less saturated fat

2/3 more vitamin A

2 times more omega 3 fatty acids

3 times more vitamin E

7 times more beta carotene

Additionally, Mother Earth News latest test showed that pasture-raised hens eggs contain 4 to 6 times more Vitamin D as compared to commercial eggs.

So what are you waiting for? Try a pasture-raised egg, you will never go back, especially one that was laid for you that morning. I encourage everyone to have a few chickens, at least enough to feed your family. They are wonderful pets and will teach you and your children to be more connected to your food and the environment. They are also quite entertaining!

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If you are not ready to take that leap, try a pasture-raised egg from your local farmer. If you can not find a farmer near you, try one from Vital Farms, they supply pastured-eggs to hundreds of grocery stores. Click on Vital Farms, their story is quite remarkable.

So where is your next omelette coming from?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Perfect Hot Cocoa

 

How are you enjoying your hot cocoa?

With homemade whipped cream and a friendly marshmallow?
With homemade whipped cream and a friendly marshmallow?
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With homemade whipped cream and cinnamon?

Winter arrived with a bang last night. I hope you are warm and toasty enjoying your version of a perfect cup of hot cocoa. Homemade whipped cream is always the finishing touch for my family. So grab a cup of farm fresh heavy cream and whip it together with a teaspoon of vanilla and powdered sugar to taste.

Enjoy your beautiful winter wonderland before it melts…

With a friendly marshmallow