Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Eyes in the Back of my Head

I( don't understand why I am not getting as much done as usual. I make a list, I have a plan and then.......alot of nothing! Now, could it be that two little boys, three chicken , a duck, a mom cat and her three kittens, two puppies, a bichon and a border collie are all trying to make me nuts?  Possibly. I understand we are all excited about the chickens, great but must I stand guard all day? Have you ever told a guy just what you wanted , they nod in approval and then go off and do it their way? That is what happened here. I showed Joey a plan for a portable chicken coop, he said, " no problem" That should have been my first sign things were going to go badly. What I got instead was an open top chicken playpen! So, the boys climb in , the cats jump in and I spend my day chasing things around! Now, all of this would probably be much different if the chickens were bigger and could peck them once.
  But, today is going to be different! The boys spent the night away so I woke up this morning alone in my bed. Feeling a little more rested, I grabbed a cup of coffee and let the chicken out. ( they are kennel trained) Fed and watered them, fed the cats and the dogs are waiting patiently. It is a bit chilly this morning so hubby was nice enough to make cocoa wheats. I am not a breakfast person, but couldn't resist. Teenagers asleep, house quiet I will finish up posting and get some work done!
Yesterday I bought a pattern from Whimsical Warmth and did get that hat finished.
The weathr is supposed to get hot for the next few days so I think I will cook a few things today so we can reheat and eat, instead of me heating the house up more. I hate to turn the air conditioner on.
I had better run and get started before someone else comes home or another animal appears. Maybe instead of the barn we should build an ark!
I am finally going to make myself something using the African flower pattern, here is a great post to learn how to connect all of them
My go to place to look for patterns is Ravelry , give it a try . You will be amazed at the amount of free patterns as well as some of the newest for sale patterns available. 
Off to hook!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Making a Change

Last June we moved into the house and all the space was amazing......then winter arrived and we froze. The furnace does not heat the whole house and the propane bill was almost four times what we paid at the old house. With all that in mind hubby has decided he wants to move...where?  That is yet to be seen, since the place he wants needs some major rehab. He has purchased an old barn and about four acres of land. The barn is amazing, yet needs much work. I can close my eyes and see a big country kitchen and all the bedroom space, a loft for the grandkids to come stay and the thought of not a neighbor in sight. The question is, where to stay until the barn is livable. That to be would mean the roof fixed, wall closed and water and electric run with my number one must have ...a bathroom! Hubby claims to have a plan that he will hopefully share with me. If there werent so many of us I would say get a camper , park it and live there while you work. The rest of the family is not so keen on that idea. There is an artesian well and beautiful views from all four sides. I am ready for a change.....sounds of chicken and the morning rooster wake up call. A goat of two grazing in the pasture and maybe I can grow something!  That part is questionable LOL.

All this said I went outside yesterday to find the boys busy. making a chicken tractor.....WHY...because they bought three chicken and a duck! Jumped the gun, I think, but they are here. The dogs enjoy them , the cats were curious and oh how I hoped whatever got BINGO did not come down the hill for a late night snack.

I woke this morning to find them all fine, thank goodness. I did not want to explain to two little boys about missing chickens.

 JJ and his chicken Batman ( we don't know boy or girl chicken, but he names everything Batman )

Carsen being brave to let Batman sit on his shoulder
Carsen chicken "DORA"

Dad's girlfriend and Mandy checking out the chickens

The BOYS getting Daddy to hold DORA.

Now let me say when I dreamed of chicken I thought big fluffy hens who lay eggs each day....I will need to be patient I guess. They say be careful what you wish for....In this case I totally agree. All this could have been mush worse, where they bought the chicken there were horses for sale. They could have brought one of those home.
Now between packing to move, college courses,crocheting for the shop...I will be watching two boys, four dogs, cat and three kittens, three chicken and a duck! 
Before all this amazing fun arrived I had just finished this cute catepiller set, all it needs is antennaes and it is ready to go.
With chicken on our minds I went to an old favorite for dinner tonight.

 Chicken and Dumplings

  |    |    |  


  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1 whole Chicken, Cut Into Pieces (cut Up Fryer)
  • Salt And Pepper
  • 1/2 cup Finely Diced Carrots
  • 1/2 cup Finely Diced Celery
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 6 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 cup Apple Cider
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • Dumplings:
  • 1-1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup Yellow Cornmeal
  • 1 Tablespoon (heaping) Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1-1/2 cup Half-and-half
  • 2 Tablespoons Minced Fresh Parsley (optional)
  • Salt As Needed

Preparation Instructions

Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt and pepper, then dredge both sides in flour.
Melt butter in a pot over medium-high heat. In two batches, brown chicken on both sides and remove to a clean plate.
In the same pot, add diced onion, carrots, and celery. Stir and cook for 3 to 4 minutes over medium-low heat. Stir in ground thyme and turmeric, then pour in chicken broth and apple cider. Stir to combine, then add browned chicken. Cover pot and simmer for 20 minutes.
While chicken is simmering, make the dough for the dumplings: sift together all dry ingredients, then add half-and-half, stirring gently to combine. Set aside.
Remove chicken from pot and set aside on a plate. Use two forks to remove chicken from the bone. Shred, then add chicken to the pot. Pour heavy cream into the pot and stir to combine.
Drop tablespoons of dumpling dough into the simmering pot. Add minced parsley if using. Cover pot halfway and continue to simmer for 15 minutes. Check seasonings; add salt if needed. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
*Adapted from Gourmet Magazine
Try this and enjoy your day!

Monday, June 18, 2012

So Much Has Happened

So many things have happened since last I posted. Back in May we lost my Favorite Uncle unexpectedly. Now every family has a crier. You know the one who cries through Lassie movies or when Heidi is calling for Grandfather. That is me. So, for the past month or so, just the mention of him or how horrible the upcoming holidays will be without him brings me to tears. He had no kids and me and mine were his family for holidays. He had a special trick for doing his Christmas shopping. First for the past six years, he arrives for Thanksgiving with an orange piece of paper with all the kids names and sizes. He ushers my daughter Kathy into the room to correct sizes, move kids up to the "cash" list and add any new babies to the list. We have had an ongoing tradition that when you turn 18 you are off the list. Last year he made an executive decision to leave my Granddaughter Lizzie on because she had started college and turned 18 a month before Christmas. He could make those changes he was the UNCLE. We were raised that when Gram said Uncle is coming it was a treat. Lots of hugs and kisses and we were always on our best behavior. That is how it was when I was a kid, my kids were small and now my Grandkids. He only needed one name UNCLE.
This photo is from last Christmas and he is there enjoying Becky's new hat. 
Now I do not do well with change so on top of this terrible time, the house we are in was SOLD. Without warning and a" how fast can you move "  That means hubby and Me , Kathy and her son Mike, 2 teens, Grandson Joey and his 2 little guys ( we have them during the week) a border collie, bichon, 2 cockapoo puppies, a cat and 4 kittens. Should be a cinch on such short notice!
We have lived here since last July. Set back , lots of pines and last week something back in the pines attacked the puppy and left him for dead. We called and searched til dark and then in the morning the border collie ran out and found him back by a clearing. Chrissy my Grandaughter ran in thinking he was dead. We sent Joe out and he discovered he was still breathing. Off to the vet in Oxford, they drove. BINGO spent 3 days on IV and meds. He came home unable t walk or hold his head straight. BINGO is Carsens puppy and close companion. Of course I cried. I held hiom, talked massaged and prayed alot. Each morning he looked a little better. Day three he walked, wobbly but walked. Day five he ran down the driveway to see the kittens. He still has some issues with his eye but is on the mend. The vet said it looks like some large animal grabbed him by his head and shook him, dropped him and did it over and over. His injuring were almost all to his left side of his face and neck.

before and after. 
He lost alot of weight in those few days and sice this photo has had a severe clipping. Chrissy tried out her dog grooming talents and now he looks more like a poodle LOL....its only hair and it will grow back!

We were all so excited I went online and found a dog biscuit recipe for one of his favorite things to share with Carsen...peanut butter and jelly!

Peanut Butter Bones

  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 cup mashed potatoes
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup rye flour
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose white flour


Preheat oven to 325°F (165°C).
In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in water. In a large saucepan, mix together the potatoes, milk, molasses, stock, and peanut butter. Heat, stirring frequently until boiling. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Add yeast mixture. Gradually blend in the egg, wheat, rye, and rice flours. Add enough white flour to form a stiff dough.
Transfer to a floured surface and knead until smooth (about 3-5 minutes). Shape the dough into a ball and roll to 1/2-inch (12 mm) thick. Using cookie cutters, cut out biscuits. Place on ungreased baking sheets, spacing them about 1/4-inch (6 mm) apart. Gather up the scraps, roll out again, and cut additional biscuits.
Bake for 45 minutes. Let cool overnight. Makes several dozen bones that freeze well--and have the consistency of pizza crusts, a favorite snack for most spoiled dogs!
Newborn Turkey set
I have not got much new crochet done, with holding the dog, crying and oh yes looking for a place to move. There was one good thing, I did receive a copy of my Uncles will and that silly wonderful man left me his house , car and everything in them. Could I live there? I am not sure, would I cry endlessly? A decision that has to be made. It is also about 1 1/2 hours from where we are now. With 3 kids in school I really hate to move far but ...who knows. As my Aunt Charlotte would say give it to God and he will show you the right way. So I will pray on it!