Monday, December 7, 2009

Moroccan Cardamom Rice Recipe
One of the most elegant and easy ways to introduce cardamom to your culinary repertoire is cardamom rice. Cardamom rice is often served in Morocco as a fragrant palate for rich lamb tagines and spicy kebabs.
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Cardamom Ice Cream Recipe
In India, the end of meal often means khulfi, a frozen dessert much like ice cream often flavored with cardamom, an exotic spice that will perfume an entire room with hints of lemon, mint, and eucalyptus.
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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How to Create Your Own Signature Curry Powder Blend
Curry dishes exude the luxurious and exotic aromas of an Indian spice market - sweet, warm, spicy and savory. Making your own curry powder blend allows you to add your own flair to meals.
Wine Glass Shapes and Their Purposes
The shape of a wine glass serves more than just a decorative purpose. Many wine glasses are made for a particular type of wine and enhance the entire drinking experience.
Traditional Black Country Foods
Black Country foods are basic and filling, but also rich and delicious. The recipes have been passed on from generation to generation for hundreds of years.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Our First Egg!!!!

Last Saturday, it finally happened. As I was in the chicken tractor feeding the chickens, I spotted something in the "Dog Palace"- something smooth and light. We had our first egg. I had no idea who laid it but it didn't matter. It was followed the next day by two new eggs. Another pullet decided to join the party.

Now we have about four layers and I'm guessing that once the girls go into their palatial coop and check out the cool new nestboxes, there'll be a whole lot of layin' going on...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Summer Doldrums

July in Georgia is hot, hot, hot and this close to the coast, it's humid too. And buggy. The chickens are in desperate need of being separated. The laying coop is still a week or so away from completion. The Dark Cornish boys (collectively called "Stew") have figured out how to get it on and they're harassing the pullets. I'm sure they girls will love having their own space without being whistled at...and mounted!

I'll post up pics of the new coop when it's done. It will have far more space than the tractor and the girls can go into the coop whenever they're hot or it's raining. Of course, they'll be locked up there all night long to keep them safe from raccoons.

As for the Stews, they're headed off to freezer camp at the end of the month. I'll keep one male back and one of them turned out to be a girly girl, so I'll keep her too. As I learn more about genetics and breeding, I hope to start raising my own meat here on our little homestead.

As for the veggie garden, it's mostly in pots this year. Next year, we will build our raised beds. We'll have some veggies soon but it won't sustain us. But we move along one step at a time.

Now if I can just get that chicken coop done!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Shelf Reliance Giveaway

For everyone who is interested in maintaining an emergency pantry, check out Shelf Reliance and check out their new contest:

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Chicken Manure Compost

If there's one thing other than eggs and meat that chickens are useful for, it has to be poop. Good thing that gardens love it!

Using Chicken Manure as Compost

Animal manures have been a valuable addition to planting soils for hundreds of years. Manure provides substantial amounts of nutrients for plants including nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Chicken manure contains more nitrogen than almost any other type which aids in strong leaf and stem growth. However, adding fresh chicken manure to gardens can burn the leaves and the roots of plants. Aging chicken manure, like aging fine wine, mellows out the nitrogen content and balances the main nutrients to nourish the soil more effectively.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009


We've taken the next step on the path to more self-sufficiency. We have chickens!! It has been quite an eye-opening adventure so far and has had its highs and lows.

We ordered baby chicks from Murray McMurray Hatchery in February and they arrived Mar 3. When chicks are born, they absorb the yolk from the egg which sustains them for the next three days or so. In the wild, this gives the mother hen time to hatch all of her babies before having to go and find food for everyone. It also allows day old chicks to be shipped by the post office around the country.

I always knew I would order from McMurray. I had been drooling over their catalogue for almost two years, making and re-making lists of breeds I was interested in. They claim to be the oldest hatchery in the country and have been doing this for something like 80 years. The kids and I made a final list then called McMurray to order. Although we were only looking to get about 15 laying hens, McMurray has a 25 bird minimum (to keep them warm in shipping). We ended up ordering 17 layers and 8 meat birds. I thought I could give the meaties away to friends that own a chicken operation. I had decided by then that I didn't want to butcher my own as it takes a long time per bird.

My heart broke when the babies arrived. Out of a shipment of 26 (they sent an extra), most were dead any dying. I carefully took the weak ones out of the box and dipped their beaks in water but they had no energy. I spent the next two days as nursemaid to the sick ones- feeding them with a dropper, giving them vitamins and honey. I watched as they died one by one. We ended up with 6 out of that batch.

I called McMurray and they said that the babies probably got chilled in shipping. They are guaranteed for 48 hours so they sent me a new batch the next week. These babies spent an extra day in shipping and we ended up with only 7 from this batch. I talked with the hatchery again and told them that I did not want to be responsible for the death of any more chicks. They were eventually able to assure me that this was two isolated bad experiences and the next would be better. They re-sent the order the following week. This time, they arrived in Savannah the day after they were shipped from Iowa. I went to the main sorting station to pick them up. When I brought them home, they were all trying to jump out of the box and were making a racket. We only lost one tiny baby from that batch. We now have 36 chickens (!!) in the brooder in my exercise room. Soon they will go outside to their permanent homes. Here are some pics of the babies when they were smaller.