Think Twice Before Getting Chickens

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Hey Hey and Penny

Yes, you read that title correctly.  I have had chickens in many places for many years and when my husband and I moved back to ‘the country’ I knew I had to have ‘my girls’ again.  For me it comes natural to have hens on my property, but not and I repeat, NOT, as pets.  They have a purpose.  They lay eggs for breakfast, when they stop laying, they are dinner.  Even the ones with names.

I have found to many people this is disturbing.  All I can say is this.  Chickens are livestock, period.  Yes, they have personalities and yes we even named some of our ‘favorites’.  BUT, they are still livestock, they provide us with food.  There will be a day when my favorite, Hey-Hey, the white hen picutred (yes we named her after the rooster from Moana), will no longer provide us with fresh eggs for breakfast and she will find herself on the chopping block.   This is my first point of think twice before having chickens.

Another other points is cost.  They are not cheap.  You must provide good shelter, ‘litter’ for the floor of their roost which does need taken care of, food, lots of food.  This includes good quality egg layer pellets/crumbles, scratch (seeds and stuff for them to scratch for), oyster shell for strong eggs and treats.  If you free-range some of this eases a bit in the spring, summer and fall, but then you also have to take into account, predators.  You will eventually loose a chicken or more to predators.   I spoil my girls on their food, for two reasons:  Health of the chickens and good eating (eggs and chicken).

Another think to consider is chores.  Chickens are an everyday chore, there  are no vacations and no excuses.  We are blessed with a wonderful neighbor who is our “chicken sitter” when we go out of town, but for the most part you are looking at care multiple times a day.  Food, water must not run out.  The coop and run MUST be kept clean to avoid pests, smell and disease.  The water must remain clean for the same reason and in the winter to prevent freezing.  Chickens are the ADHD animal of the livestock world and will need things to keep them preoccupied.  I throw in scratch seed and straw to keep them entertained or bundles of fresh greens (NOT SPINACH) to entertain them.  Sometimes they get spoiled with a fresh surprise of live crickets from the pet store.  If they are not entertained, they will go to picking on each other, never pretty to find one of your girls ‘hen-pecked’ to death, literally.   There is smell involved in chickens, if you have a backyard coop, keep that in mind, the poop has to go somewhere.  Chicken manure should always be composted before adding to gardens (great fertilizer), but still the poop, and there is lots of poop, must go somewhere and be cleaned often.

Chickens love to explore, again, they are the ADHD animal of the homestead.  They don’t understand boundaries or telling them ‘NO’.  Fence where they can be and make it tall, yes chickens can fly if their wings are not trimmed.  They will also eat, or attempt to eat, anything and everything.  If you don’t want your tulips eaten, fence them off or keep the girls in a large pen.

You do not need a rooster to have eggs.  You only need a rooster if you want babies.  Personally, we don’t have a rooster because we do not want to be woken up before sunrise every day and we also don’t want that one change of opening a fertilized egg.  I’ve done that before, it’s not pretty.

I love having our hens.  They are entertaining and it is wonderful to have the abundance of eggs.  We have 13 hens are we average 10 – 13 eggs a day.  Our friends like them too.  Just think twice before starting your flock, you are devoting your life to a way of life, not a cute feathery novelty and they deserve your attention and care.

Until next time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

 

One Skillet Dinner: Rice, Beans and Pork

Dinner doesn’t have to be a major production.  I am a true believer in keeping it simple and using what is on hand.  Recipes that have a ton of ingredients that you will only use once, are wasteful and frustrating.

I keep my pantry stocked with basics that I can go to in a pinch, beans, rice and canned meat & stock (I pressure can my own) are always on my shelves.  I keep diced onions in the freezer for a quick go to as well.

Here is a simple one skillet meal that really sticks to your ribs and is so easy to prepare.  Nothing fancy, even the name is as simple as it gets:

Rice, Beans and Pork

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups of rice (not cooked)
  • 1 cup of pork (or chicken) broth
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 four/eight ounce jar of mushrooms (depending how much you like mushrooms, or not at all if you don’t)
  • one small onion diced
  • 1 tablespoon of lard or butter
  • 2 cups of shredded pork or chicken (or canned, I use my own canned pork)
  • 1 can of red kidney beans
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/4 tsp of parsley
  • 1/4 tsp of thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Hot sauce (Optional)

Directions:

  1. In a deep skillet, melt your lard/butter.
  2. add in your onion and garlic and cook until limp.
  3. Add in your mushrooms with juice.
  4. Add in your Rice, stir in with the base until well mixed.
  5. Add in your Broth and meat.
  6. Add in your beans.
  7. Add in water and cover the skillet and let cook until MOST of the water is soaked up by the rice.  (use a medium heat)
  8. Add in your parsley, thyme, salt and pepper.
  9. Continue to cook while “folding” ingredients until the rice is tender. Be very careful not to scorch your rice!
  10. Dish up and serve, adding hot sauce to your liking.

This dish also is great as leftovers for a quick lunch or meal on the run.

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Enjoy and Until next time!

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

 

 

Cheeseburger Casserole

A simple recipe that kids and adults will love.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic diced
  • 4 ounces diced roasted pablano peppers or green chilies
  • 2 tablespoons of steak sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • Ground Pepper
  • Hand full grated pepper jack cheese
  • Hand full grated chedder cheese
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup biscuit mix

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Spray deep dish pie dish with no stick spray
  3. In a skillet, brown onions and garlic with hamburger.
  4. Add to meat mix the steak sauce, salt, pepper and roasted peppers.
  5. Drain off grease.
  6. Put meat mix in deep dish pie dish.
  7. Put cheeses on the browned meat, keep a little cheese to the side.
  8. In a small bowl, whip the milk and eggs until well mixed.
  9. Add in biscuit mix and fold until no lumps.
  10. Pour on top of the meat and cheese.
  11. Bake for 20 minutes.
  12. Pull out and sprinkle remaining grated cheese on crust.
  13. Finish baking for 5 minutes.
  14. Serve.

Enjoy!

Until next time,

Mrs. Kay L Rice

Knitted Triangle Shawl

A simple knitted shawl is always nice to have around to keep the shoulder’s warm.  This pattern is on a level of EASY.

Measures:  72 inches at the widest point and 24 inches at the longest point.

Yarn Used:  Red Heart Super Saver Ombre (I used the Baja Blue for the color)

Needles:  Circular knitting Needle US 8, 40 inches long.  Stitch markers.

Hooks:  for the trim Crochet Hook J (Optional)

Abbreviations:

k = knit; k2tog = knit 2 stitches together; tog = together; yo= yarn over; [] = work directions in brackets until the number of times specified; dc = double crochet (trim); sc=single crochet (trim)

NOTES:  This Shawl is worked back and forth in rows.  Utilizing a circular needle allows for the width as it grows.

Row 1: (Right Side):  k1, yo, k1, yo, place marker, k1, place marker, yo, k1, yo,k1 = 9 stitches.

Row 2: knit

Row 3: k1, yo, knit to marker, yo, slip marker, k1, slip marker, yo, knit to last stitch yo, k1.  = 13 stitches

Row 4: knit

Repeat rows 3-4 three more times = 25 stitches on the last row worked.

Row 11:  k1, yo, knit to marker, yo, slip marker, k1, slip marker, yo, knit to last stitch, yo, k1 = 29 stitches.

Row 12: k1, purl to last stitch, k1.

Repeat rows 11-12 two more times = 37 stitches on last row.

Row 17 (Right Side):  k1, yo, k1,[yo, k2tog] to marker, yo, slip marker, k1, slip marker, [yo, k2tog] to last stitch, yo, k1, yo, k1 = 41 stitches.

Row 18:  Repeat row 12.

Repeat rows 11-18 until there are 269 stitches are on the last row worked.

Next row (Wrong side):  Knit.

Next Row:  k1,yo,knit to last stitch, yo, k1 = 271 stitches.

Bind off on the last wrong side row.

For the trim:

Start on a corner: Attach using the loop method with your yarn.  Chain 3 (This is your first double chain. 3 more DC, chain one, 4 double chains in the same stitch on the corner. Skip 2 stitches and SC in the third stitch.

Skip 2 stitches, 4 DC in the next stitch skip 2 stitches, single chain in the next stitch.

Continue this shell pattern until the next corner.

On the next corner stitch:  DC 4 in the same stitch, chain one, DC 4 in same stitch skip two stitches, 4 DC in the next stitch skip 2 stitches, single chain in the next stitch.

Continue this shell pattern until the next corner.

On the next corner stitch:  DC 4 in the same stitch, chain one, DC 4 in same stitch skip two stitches, 4 DC in the next stitch skip 2 stitches, single chain in the next stitch.

Using a single chain attach to your original corner starting shell top.

To block, pin piece on board evenly and flat to remove “curl”.  Spray with a little water and leave to dry.

Then Wear and Enjoy!

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Until Next Time,

Kay L. Rice

 

 

Alphabet Soup Mix in a Jar

Meal-Prepping and filling your pantry doesn’t have to be a daunting task.  Utilizing dehydrated veggies and herbs works great to have a quick grab and prepared home cooked meal.  These also have a great shelf life to have on hand during emergency and disaster situations.

Today I am sharing a fun kid friendly recipe.  Alphabet Soup.  And it tastes so much better than store bought condensed.

First to prepare your jars.

  • 1 half pint canning jar with a tight lid.
  • 1 cup alphabet pasta
  • 2 tablespoons dried vegetable flakes
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granuals or powder
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper

Directions for jars.

  1. Make sure your jar and lids are clean and dry!
  2. Layer 1/2 cup of pasta, then 1 tablespoon of dehydrated veggies, then the boullion and Pepper.
  3. Layer the second tablespoon of veggies then the second half cup of pasta.
  4. The layering just makes it “pretty”.
  5. Tightly screw on your lid and label.
  6. Alphabet Soup Mix
  7. Add 4 cups water + 1/2 cup of tomato pasta sauce.

When you are ready to use.

  1. Place water, pasta sauce and contents of jar in a large sauce pan.
  2. Bring to a boil on high heat.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered, or until pasta and veggies are tender.

Easy peasy!

Place in a cool place to store that isn’t prone to high humidity, your pantry.
Until next time!

Kay L Rice

Rabbit Stew

Rabbit is a wonderful lean meat.  Whether domestic or wild rabbit makes a wonderful meal.  This is a very basic stew recipe which uses a whole rabbit and lots of mushrooms.  I use my Dutch oven for this stew.

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole rabbit. (Cleaned and cut up into pieces)
  • 3 cups of mushrooms your choice (my favorites are baby Bella’s, oyster, morales) cut up in large pieces.
  • 2 small turnips, peeled and diced
  • 1 parsnip peeled and diced
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup cooking Sherry
  • 2 small onions diced
  • 8 cloves garlic sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh or dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon parsley flakes
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon of ground black pepper

Directions

  1. In your Dutch oven, melt your butter.
  2. While Butter is melting, dust your rabbit pieces (yes leave the bones in the meat) with flour.
  3. Brown your rabbit in the butter.  Just brown the outsides.
  4. In a separate skillet, sauteed your onions, garlic and mushrooms in olive oil.
  5. Add in your sauteed ingredients over your rabbit pieces.
  6. Add in your parsnip and turnips.
  7. Sprinkle in your herbs and pepper.
  8. Add in your chicken broth.
  9. Move your stove eye heat to medium.
  10. Add in slowly while stirring your cooking Sherry (white cooking wine works nice too, just don’t mix the two).
  11. Simmer for 1 hour.
  12. Turn down to low.
  13. Using some of the broth (take out about a half a cup) stir in a spoon or two of flour to make a rich gravy and stir back into your stew.
  14. Turn on low until ready to sit down to enjoy.
  15. Yes the bones stay in the entire time.
  16. Serve and enjoy with some sourdough biscuits.


Enjoy!

Until next time,

Mrs. Kay Rice

Christmas Cards

Bear with me with me on this little blog post.

I miss getting Christmas Cards.  Oh, I get plenty on social media, you know, the generic ones with snow and a dancing snowman.  What I miss is real, paper, delivered by the postman, Christmas Cards.  I miss birthday cards, letters and stuff in the mail other than bills and ‘junk’ mail.  I miss Carolers coming to the house and singing.  I miss singing traditional songs at Christmas.  In fact, here lately I cringe at some of the Christmas songs I hear on the radio.

carolers

I miss the celebration, the deliberation and the honesty behind all of the things now deemed old-fashioned or out-dated.  Perhaps I’m out-dated, don’t care, I am am who I am.   I admit I have fallen into the techno mentality myself, I’m working on a computer as I write this right now.  But what really hit me was when I sent a text to my husband, who was downstairs, last night as I was upstairs in my office.  REALLY???? NO!  At that moment I wanted to throw my cell phone out the window.   Honestly, I almost cried.  Why?  Because I consider myself very blessed to have a very close, honest and loving relationship with my husband, and the last thing I want is to put technology between us.

I woke up early this morning, with a lot on my heart and mind.  I spent extra time in prayer over a morning cup of coffee and I am almost finished with my Christmas Cards.  I sat this morning putting in a letter in each one to be sent to family and friends who I rarely hear from anymore, but still, it’s a Christmas Card and it will be delivered through the postal service and I hope it brings a smile.

Take the time to sit down and play a game WITH a person AT a table and enjoy each other’s company.  Take the time to write a letter and send a smile to someone.  Most of all, unplug.

Until Next Time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

A Basic Sunburst Granny Square

I’m starting a new section here since I’ve had so much recent interest.  Tonight I’m going to share with you a pattern for a Sunburst Granny Square.  Granny Squares are great because they finish quickly and can be stitched together like a quilt to make blankets, baby blankets, scarfs, bags, ponchos, lots of cool things.

Ready? Here we go!

Your crochet hook size depends on the yarn and size you want for the square. I think a 4mm works best. I used a bit larger hook for the one in the picture so you could see the stitches best.  As for yarn I like Red Heart or Big Twist economy.

Stitches

Half double crochet (hdc): yarn over, insert hook in next stitch, yarn over and pull loop through stitch (3 loops on hook). Yarn over and pull through all 3 loops on hook.

Double Crochet (dc): yarn over, insert hook in next stitch, yarn over and pull loop through stitch (3 loops on hook). Yarn over and pull through two loops on hook (2 loops on hook). Yarn over and pull through 2 remaining loops on hook.

Puff Stitch (ps): *Yarn over, insert hook in indicated stitch and draw yarn through stitch* 3 times (7 loops on hook). Yarn over and pull through all loops on hook. Chain 1 to lock.

Cluster Stitch (cs): *Yarn over, insert hook in next stitch and pull up a loop, yarn over and pull through 2 loops* 4 times (5 loops on hook).  Yarn over and pull through all loops on hook.

Treble Stitch (trbl): Yarn over hook twice, insert hook in next stitch.  Yarn over hook and draw yarn through stitch (4 loops on hook).  Pull yarn through 2 loops (3 loops remaining on hook). Yarn over and draw through 2 loops (2 loops remaining).  Yarn over and pull through last 2 loops on hook.

Round 1:

Chain 5 join with a slip stitch.  Gives you a ‘magic circle’.  Chain 3 to count as your first double crochet.  Work 15 more double crochet stitches around the ring. Join with a slip stitch.  You can fasten off to change colors here if you want, I didn’t in my sample.

Round 2:

Attach the next color with a slip stitch to any dc, chain 1, puff stitch in the same stitch and in each dc. Join with a slip stitch to the first puff stitch. 16 puff stitches in all.  Fasten off.

Round 3:

Attach the next color with a slip stitch in the chain 1 space of any puff stitch, chain 2, (cluster stitch, chain 2) in the same space and in each chain 1 spaces around. Join with a slip stitch in the beginning cluster stitch. 16 cluster stitches in all.  Fasten.

Round 4:

Use the same color for round four on all your squares if making a blanket.  Attach your color with a slip stitch in any chain 2 space.  Chain 4 to count as the first treble stitch and then 2 more treble stitches. Chain 1 now on the same stitch create 3 more treble stitches. This creates a corner. We are changing the circle into a square.  In your next 2 chain space crochet 3 treble stitches, chain 1.  Do this 2 more times. Create a corner ( 2 sets of treble in the same stitch) repeat until you have 4 corners.

Round 5: 

Repeat Round 4. Fasten off.

Now you can stitch your granny squares together.

Here is another one with a smaller size hook and thicker yarn. A huge difference in the outcome.


Until next time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

The Secret to Happiness

There is one simple step that I have found that leads to happiness.  Acknowledge that happiness does not rely on a person, place, thing or even a circumstance.  It depends on your choice.  Yup, its that simple.  It all depends on how you look at everything, how you react to situations and people.

It seems more and more the ‘world’ pushes that happiness can only be gained by being tied to things, people, position and money.  Prestige and placement in life are preached to our children so heavily at a young age that it’s no wonder we are seeing so much depression and and stress in our youngins.  The constant flood of being plugged in is always screaming at us what the world says we have to be, have to do, have to go.  It’s time to turn it off.  School is important but college is not a necessity.  There is nothing wrong with having a career based on skill and talents, working with your hands or with the land.  Technology has its uses, but more often than not, it seems to have more misuses.

Here are some basic rules for embracing the now, for finding happiness.

  • Live well beneath your means.
  • Don’t give away what you can’t give at home.
  • Return everything you borrow.
  • Serve with your talents and your heart, not out of obligation or guilt.
  • Stop blaming other people for your bad choices.
  • Pray Daily (sometimes every second if need be).
  • Have daily walks and talk with God.
  • Admit it when you make a mistake.
  • Give unworn clothes to charity.
  • Give outsized clothes to charity.
  • Do something nice for a total stranger (and don’t post it on social media).
  • Listen more; talk less.
  • Find a reason to be outside.
  • Strive for excellence, but not perfection.
  • Be on time.
  • Don’t make excuses.
  • Organize your day in the morning.
  • Don’t argue or insist on being right or having the last word.
  • Be kind to unkind people.
  • Let someone ahead of you in line.
  • Take time to be alone with God.
  • Always incorporate good manners.
  • Don’t lie.
  • Be humble.
  • Realize and accept that life is not fair, but it is all in God’s plan.
  • Enjoy your time for rest and sleep.
  • Know when to keep your mouth shut.
  • Practice not criticizing others.
  • Turn the TV/Computer/phone off.
  • Learn from the past.
  • Live every day to its fullest.
  • Always give a kind word.
  • Make due with what you have.
  • Focus on the good, not the bad.

Happiness is how you view your life.  I like to tell people that every day is a good day as long as I wake up and my feet hit the floor and my face doesn’t.  I figure that leaves the rest of the day wide open for great things to happen.

Until Next Time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

 

Russian Tea

There are certain times of year that I crave a special hot drink my Momma would make for me.  Those times are; Autumn, Winter and when I have a head cold.

With November being here, that memory and desire came back.  Now, I have no idea why this is called Russian Tea.  There is no Vodka in it, not any alcohol at all, but it sure can warm you up head to toe and completely inside!  It also feels great on a sore throat and stuffy head and nose.

This is my Momma Kathy’s recipe.

Russian Tea

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups sugar (I use half sugar and half stevia)
  • 3/4 cup of Instant Nestea no sugar no lemon
  • 18 ounces Tang Powdered Orange Drink (You know, the breakfast drink that went to the moon…. I just aged myself, I know.)
  • 8 ounces powdered lemonade. (1 lg package of Wylers lemonade)
  • 1 tsp of ground cloves
  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. In a large bowl thoroughly mix all the ingredients together.  (Be careful, it will make you sneeze)
  2. Put mix in Mason Jars or glass storage containers that can be sealed tightly. It will fill a quart jar and about a pint jar.
  3. Put caps on tightly.
  4. Store in a dry place.

To Serve:

  • Heat water until boiling.
  • Put 3 tablespoons of mix in your favorite 12 ounce coffee mug.
  • Add hot water and stir.
  • Enjoy!

Until next time,

Mrs. Kay L Rice