Monday, July 30, 2012

A new mix of chickens

As I mentioned in an earlier post, our roosters had been getting quite large and were starting to be aggressive.  Somehow, out of 8 chickens, we ended up with 6 roosters--it was not going to be a pleasant situation for the 2 hens, to say the least.  So, on Friday all 6  roosters met their demise, and they are now in the freezer.  The smallest was 7 1/2 lb. and the largest 9 3/4 lb.--just about big enough for Thanksgiving dinner.  These chickens are Cornish cross and are bred to eat a lot and grow quickly; they are the kind you generally find in the grocery store:  approximately 3 pounds when whole.  We got them from a friend who raises them for commercial companies.

Last Monday we acquired 3 more, a rooster and 2 hens; they somehow escaped the truck that came to get the rest.

Here are the 2 older hens, keeping cool in the tall grass.

We may keep these five for awhile; time will tell.  Certainly, 1 rooster to 4 hens is much better odds for everyone.

If we continue with chickens, I would like to get a different breed.  We had a few Buff Orpingtons a couple of years ago, and I liked them.  They were pretty, and they enjoyed walking around the yard and garden and eating bugs.  These chickens we have now aren't so keen on doing that.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


The Tree Ripe Citrus truck was in town again last week, so I bought another box of peaches.  The peaches are from Georgia, and in all the years I've been buying from the Tree Ripe Citrus people, I have never had even one bad peach.  They are incredibly delicious.  I never buy peaches from the grocery store anymore.

                                                  These are some of what was in the box.

I canned 7 pints from the first batch of peaches I bought and 7 more pints from this batch.  I also froze some.  We seldom  eat jam/jelly, so I didn't bother adding to the small amount I canned last year. 

I really enjoy looking at home-canned foods.  The colors are beautiful and the food is so good--no artificial anything in it.

I would like to get some kind of outdoor set-up for canning in the summer, so the kitchen doesn't get so hot.  My ideal would be a summer kitchen, but I would settle for a fairly protected, out of the wind area with some kind of cover overhead for shade.  Maybe we'll get something worked out for next summer.

I'm linking to


Friday, July 20, 2012

Saving money on electricity

I was reading on another blog about how that family is trying to use less electricity, so I thought I'd list some of the alternative things we do here at Meadowcreek.

---I really enjoy hanging clothes outside to dry in nice weather (they smell so nice and fresh), so I
    haven't used a dryer since 1999; in fact, I haven't owned one since 2004.  In winter, I hang clothes
    on a clothesrack and on lines strung in the basement.

---We have never owned a dishwasher and have no desire to own one.  Washing dishes by hand is
    easy and a perfect time to look out the window to watch the birds at the feeders.

---We do own a microwave, but use it only to reheat leftovers.  I would like to get rid of it eventually.

---We do not have central air, just one window air conditioner that we use when the temps get above
     90 degrees outside, which normally (and thankfully) doesn't happen often in our neck of the

---Most of our floors are hardwood (except for the laundry room and one bathroom), so no vacuum is
    needed.  I love wood floors; they are beautiful and easy to care for.

---We also don't own many electric kitchen "gadgets", more out of choice than out of trying not to use
     electricity.  I've used a hand can opener for as long as I can remember, and it's never been a

Don't get me wrong; I have nothing against using electricity--it is an amazingly useful part of life, and we use it in many ways.  We have absolutely no plans to go "off-grid", but these few things help to save money on our electric bill and really present no hardship to us at all.  If I had to live without an electric water heater, my sewing machine, or any number of other electric "appliances", I am sure I would not enjoy that.  I just use non-electric alternatives when it is enjoyable for me to do so.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Auction finds

I am so excited about what I got at an auction earlier today:  lefse-making equipment!!

I took a how-to-make lefse class last fall; had lots of fun and found that it isn't terribly hard to make.  The only thing is, to do it right, you need a lefse pan.  I already had the lefse rolling pin, but the pans are quite pricey--$89 when I priced them at the time, and being a bit frugal in certain ways, I could not justify spending that kind of money.  So when this whole set came up at the auction, I bid and got it for only $25.  Wow, I'm so happy that now this fall I will actually be able to make some lefse.  It is a tradition in our family to have it at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, and homemade is so much better tasting than what you get in the stores.

After I left the auction, I stopped in at the local Scandinavian shop to check on prices for these items new.  The pan is now selling for $109.95, the pin for $21.95, and the wooden turner for $5.95.  Even though the ones I bought are used, they are in really great shape, so I think I got a very good deal.

I also bid on a tin full of DMC pearl cotton (14 large ones and 38 small ones) and got it for $7.  How exciting is that!

What great colors.  My best friend will tell you that I definitely need more thread of all kinds.


I love auctions.  One of the great things in life is a few hours spent out in the fresh air trying to get some fantastic bargains.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


A few weeks ago, we got 8 chickens from a friend.  They were about 5 weeks old at the time and had been confined.  We kept them in the coop and chicken run for several days until they got used to being here, then DH let them out and has been trying to train them to eat bugs in the garden.  They are pretty slow learners, though, probably due to being in a confined/indoor space for the first part of their lives.

When I walked out to the potato patch today, they followed me (hoping I would feed them, no doubt).  They love potato bugs, but still haven't figured out how to find them.  I put a couple of the bugs on the ground and one of the chickens ate them.  As soon as I walked back toward the coop, they all ran back too.  Previous chickens we've had were much more adventurous than this bunch. 

My feeling is if they don't start eating some of the bugs in the garden, they'll be going in the freezer sooner rather than later.  Right now they probably average about 4 1/2 - 5 pounds each, just right for eating.