Friday, November 15, 2013

Precious birds...and mini tractor pulls!

Well, its that time of year!  Thanksgiving!  So that means its time for me to bring out my Thanksgiving decorations!  YAY!  One of my good friends in Utah made me this last year!  We call it an owl-urkey because its supposed to be a turkey, but it kind of looks more like an owl!
And I have these awesome Lego turkeys that we got for free with some things we bought from Lego a few years ago!  Awesome!!!
There you have it!  Those are all my Thanksgiving decorations!  haha!  I kind of like, though, how little I decorate!   I have some Lego Christmas houses that I'm planning on building on Thanksgiving this year, so those will go out in December! And those should be my only Christmas decorations, I think.  I'm not sure if we will have a tree or if I will make a paper tree or maybe we just won't do anything.  I haven't decided yet! :) I really really want a Lego nativity scene though, I think that would be really fun!  I'll have to see if I can find plans to build one.

Well, we figured out how my little chickens are getting out of the fenced area.
Silly chickens....but how can you say no to this sweet little face?
Also!!! 4 of my hens are laying eggs now!  We got our first bantam egg a few days ago!  Its soooo precious and small!
Here are all eggs from my hens...Bantam on the left, red sex link in the middle, and one of our brown leghorns on the right! Yay!
We've already gotten quite a few eggs this week!  The consistency is kind of weird though.  We get an egg from a chicken every other day!  So, one day we'll get one red sex link egg and then the next day we'll get all 3!  Its kind of funny how they alternate!  But, I'll take it!  Love eggs and they are so good!  I don't think I'll have to buy eggs ever again!  YAY!!!  We've already got 9 this week, so it'll be crazy when they all start laying!

We went with some friends a couple of weekends ago to a farm toy show over in Dyersville, IA. Dyersville is where they filmed the movie "Field of Dreams"!!  The old house is still there and the ball field is very well cared for!  It looks just like in the movie!  Very cool!  Anyway, we saw some pretty cool stuff there, tons and tons of toys!  We also saw some pretty cool tractor pull stuff! These are some pictures that I took in that area!  I think its put on by the national mini tractor association or something like that.  But, they do some mini tractor pulls!  Here are a few of them up close...
Here is the cute little sled they use for those pulls, they are real heavy weights and they use a tape measure to measure the distance that the mini tractor pulls it!  Cute!
Here's a picture of people fixing and tweaking their machines...its a huge deal!
Right next door to there was a kids tractor pull!  Isn't it cute? One of our friends' kids did it and he got first place!!!  Only out of two 5 year old kids, but its still really exciting!!!  Its pretty cool to watch that kind of stuff!!
Something we thought was funny, in general.  We went to a real tractor pull a few months ago with my brother in law and there weren't many John Deere tractors in it...there was a lot of red tractors. :) Very interesting!  It was still really, really cool!
Well, better get ready for work!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Yummy food stuff and a Chili taste test!

Okay, its been a pretty crazy last week or two!  I started my new job last week and I am really enjoying it so far!  I think working in the bakery will be something I'll really enjoy but we will see how things progress!  I'm very optimistic though! :)  Plus, it will be fun to see how the inner workings of a real bakery work.  Yesterday I got to make stuffing bread.  They just throw older and smushed bread through the bread slicer so that it is in slivers, but that bread slicer is a crazy machine to operate!  It was pretty cool though!  Speaking of baking and stuff, I've been making all sorts of delicious things lately....

For example, I found this recipe for Double Apple Cinnamon Muffins.  I've been looking through pinterest land for some good muffin recipes and found that one, and I also had a couple of apples that I probably wasn't going to eat.  So, voila!!  Here they are!  I made them into jumbo muffins instead of standard muffin size.  They are soooo good!  Moist and delicious! :)

I've also been wondering what all the hullabaloo is about with Greek yogurt, so I got a container a few weeks ago and decided to try it.  
It seems like the section for Greek yogurt is overtaking the area for regular Yoplait yogurt!  Crazy! My thoughts?  Well, first of all, its a dollar for one container (too much).  Second, I do kind of like how much protein is in it and that there is a gram of fiber.  But, and third, I didn't like the texture. I think people like it because it is thicker than regular yogurt, but for me? Not so much.  I didn't even finish the container because of the texture.  And the "fruit on the bottom"?  To me it seemed just like a little raspberry jam put on the bottom...that didn't really do it for me either.

I've also been making a TON of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies...
I got a recipe for them from a friend and forgot that we didn't have any pumpkin, so we got two small cans of pumpkin puree.  Come to find out we had two BIG cans of pumpkin puree in the food closet.  The recipe calls for 1 cup of pumpkin and there is about 3 cups in one big can, so I pretty much have to triple the recipe.  I doubled this recipe and it made just a hair less than 9 dozen cookies.  They are almost gone (because they are soooooo delicious!), so I'll have to use the other cup here soon before it goes bad.  Oh more cookies! ;)  heeeheee....But its full of veggies, right? Pumpkin is a squash which is a vegetable...Right?!?!?!?  Yum! I usually don't like pumpkin cookies either, but these are waaaay good!

Also, I've been super into scones lately.  Not the ones you fry in the deep fryer for Navajo tacos, but the English kind.  I figured I would give this recipe a try, it is Simple Sweet Scones.
This recipe calls for a stick of butter, so they aren't necessarily healthy.  But they are so good! The first several times I made them I cut them into little circles like biscuits, but today I decided to cut them into wedges.  Hubby likes them too, so I've made them several times already.  No complaints here!  When I did the biscuit circles the recipe made about 14-15 scones, but today we did 8. And we always have them with some raspberry jam.  YUM!  The texture of these is kind of interesting because its kind of biscuity but its also kind of not.  They are pretty moist and buttery (obviously...).  They are really good! (did I already say that?) ;)  I really want to try some cinnamon scones that I found in Pinterestland too...but we'll have to wait for when I have some free time again.

The sweet little chickens have been laying pretty steadily this last week.  We have gotten one egg a day since the 1st, so today we got our 9th little egg.  But!  Oh wait...there was another one today! Yay!  So now we have gotten 10 total!
The brown one on the left is the same size as they were last time, they haven't really started getting super jumbo yet.  Both of the red sex links are laying eggs like that and alternate days because of the lack of daylight outside.  If we wanted as many eggs as we could get, we would probably put a light out there so that they would lay very regularly.  Something about the amount of light they get regulates their egg laying, its kind of weird.  The one on the right is a regular store bought egg and that sweet little white egg in the middle is from one of our brown leghorns that we got today!  (I only know that it is a leghorn egg because the leghorns are the only ones that will lay white eggs.) I'm so proud of them! :) Because we have so many of our own eggs now, we decided to weigh and see the difference between store eggs and ours to adjust for baking and all that.  The store eggs were 47 grams (without shell) and our eggs were about 42-44 grams.  I think that with the large eggs we don't need to adjust for baking but with the bantam eggs we definitely will need to.  Also, since we ate a bunch of eggs for breakfast this morning we decided to eat ours.  Yum!  Something interesting we noticed was the color of the yolks.  See below:
(Hubby was in charge of cracking the eggs and getting them ready...he got a little excited with the quantity!  But...we do love eggs!)  I think it is really interesting how dark our egg yolks are compared to the store bought.  Maybe its all the delicious grass and bugs and wormies they get, or maybe that is what you get with happy hens?...I don't know, but they are very good!!!

And last, but certainly not least...we got some delicious baking potatoes straight from Idaho that some of our friends gave us.  Yum!  So we decided to eat them with chili.  Because hubby and I don't hardly ever eat chili, we were wondering which kinds were best.  So, we both did some research, made a list of chilis that we wanted to try and we did a small chili taste test!  Yum!!  So here are the kinds that we did and some information about them.  I'll give the full name of the chili that we tried, the price that we paid for it, and a little bit of nutrition information.  All the cans provided 2 servings per can.
#1.  Campbell's Chunky Chili, Beef and Bean Roadhouse.  $2.59
Calories 240; Fat 8 g; Cholesterol 25 mg; Fiber 6 g; and Sodium 870 mg.
#2.  Hormel Chili with Beans.  $1.59
Calories 260; Fat 7 g; Cholesterol 30 mg; Fiber 7 g; and Sodium 900 mg.
#3.  HyVee Chili with Beans (store brand).  $1.49
Calories 280; Fat 11 g; Cholesterol 30 mg; Fiber 7 g; and Sodium 1300 mg.
#4.  Wolf Brand Chili, Mild, No Beans.  $1.34
Calories 340; Fat 24 g; Cholesterol 30 mg; Fiber 5 g; and Sodium 950 mg.
Unfortunately, we didn't have much criteria for the test, mostly taste and kind of texture.  A couple of things I would like to note before I give you our winner.  The first one, Campbells Chunky chili had extra chunks of veggies and stuff in it that hubby doesn't care for, but that didn't sway his decision.  I kind of liked the extra chunks that were there and it seemed really smooth.  The HyVee chili (#3) was a bit too salty or there was too much of something, not sure what (now that I Look at it again, there is 1300 mg of sodium, so that makes sense).  Also, the Wolf Brand chili (#4)....look at that texture!!  It looks soooo bad!  And when I opened it it smelled a bit like wet cat food or dog food.  Not very good.  Also, it has 80 to 100 more calories than the others!  And holy fat! 24g?! And not as much fiber either!  Wow!!!  But we proceeded with the test as planned regardless of initial thoughts.  And our winner?  That would be Hormel Chili with Beans (#2)!!!!  We both decided that we liked that one the most!  And number two was Campbells Chunky chili (#1).  The last two is where hubby and I disagreed, I put HyVee chili above Wolf Brand, and hubby put them the other way around.  So, we ate a little bit in the taste test then mixed them all together for the potatoes and ate them for a couple of dinners later that week!  It was kinda fun! :)

P.S. I really don't like daylight savings time.  Its 6:30 and so dark outside.  Feels like it should be so much later.  So annoying!
P.P.S.  What is the deal with microfiber cloths?  Why does everyone like them so much?  I do have a few and I kind of don't like to use them, but maybe I'm not using them for what I should be...They do hold a lot of water, which is kind of cool!  So, here's a question that anyone that reads this can answer if you like!  Why you like microfiber cloths so much?  Please tell me!  :) Have a good evening!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Happy Hatch Day Indeed: 5 months!!

Well...the little babies are not so little any more.  They are 5 months old today! (yesterday?)  I can't believe it...where has all the time gone?  I remember when they were just little teeny tiny chicks playing on a towel with a cardboard ring around to keep them inside.  Ohh...those were the days! :) Now, we can barely keep them contained with a 6 foot tall fence around the coop!  Yes, that is right.  They are finding ways out of the run.  I had an interview on Wednesday and when I got back 5 of the little girls were free ranging in the yard.  Naughty little girls.  (P.S. I did get the job, its for a local grocery store!  Not quite the job I was intending to get, but it'll help get me through school for the next couple of years!  And give me a good excuse to get out of the house and meet people!)

Today, however, is an extremely exciting hatch day...not like the others.  Because, this morning, when I went through my regular routine of looking through the nesting boxes to see if they had left me any presents, I actually found something!  I tried to take a picture of it where it was left, but it was just too dark in the coop to do that.  Yes!  You've got that right!  We got our first egg this morning!!! What an exciting day!  
I love the speckles, which is probably just moisture or something that is dried, but I really like it! And I love how dark brown it is!!  It would probably be darker brown if I rinsed it off, but I didn't. 
Here it is next to a tape measure...its about 2 inches...
Aww...its so cute!  And here it is next to a regular large egg from the grocery store.
I don't think it is a bantam egg, its a little too big for that.  I'm pretty sure its from one of the red sex links, but I can't be sure. I know there isn't really a difference at all in the actual egg, but I'm really excited to have brown eggs again!  I don't know what there is about them, but I just like them!!!  Not enough to spend the extra money specifically to buy brown eggs, but I'm still pretty excited!  We only have 2 girls that will lay large white eggs (the 2 brown leghorns) and the rest will lay brown eggs. 

Since it is their hatch day, I should probably not post pictures of only the egg.  So here they are this morning!  Here is a group picture!! :)
The two buff brahmas, little red in the back, billie the blue next to her, and a golden laced cochin...
The two brown leghorns, the two red sex links, Basil, Parker, a golden laced cochin and Ella!
Here's little red, I can't believe she is still so tiny...I'm really wishing I would have kept the other little red hen...
Basil, standing up tall and strong...and the other 2 golden girls...
Parker...he's so pretty! ...I mean, he's a good looking rooster!
Here is of the blue cochins...I can tell her apart from Ella now because Billie is a lighter gray/blue than Ella, she has a smaller comb, and her feet are blue (not yellow! Weird!).  Ella has a slightly bigger comb, is a little bit smaller than Billie and has yellow feet.  All of our chickens have yellow feet, which is why its so weird that she has blue.
Ain't she cute!  They are so darn feisty and have some attitude, but I just can't resist them!!  
Whenever I go out to see the chickens they all run to me and are so excited to see me! (I know its just for food and not my wonderful motherly presence, but it still makes me feel like they love me!) So, this morning I took a little video of it....I wish I would have kept it on a little bit longer so you could hear the hen noises, I love the hen noises they make! :) 

OH!  And I saw my first living, moving possum the other night!  It was so weird how it moved through the grass and it was pretty ugly!  Need to do some research on the little critters.  I'm not too worried though, because I keep my chickens contained at night so nothing can get to them.  
I better get dressed... :)  Have a good one!