My mother recently gave us a turkey she had in her freezer. They had gotten it for free at Thanksgiving last year and thought we would be more likely to be feeding a crowd sooner than they would.
I cooked it yesterday and we took it to our Community Group for dinner last night. Other people brought sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, dressing, rolls, cranberry sauce, and we had Thanksgiving in May. It was a huge success! The weather was even unseasonably cool.
We all decided we should have Thanksgiving dinner more frequently. As a teacher, I am even more thankful in May at the close of the year.
The school where I teach has several classes that are hatching chicks this spring. This includes the 4th grade class where I eat lunch every day. The students have been counting the days and eagerly awaiting the arrival of the first chick.
This happened yesterday.
They were all very excited to share this news with me and I must confess I was just as excited to see the new chick. We’ve hatched many chicks but it is still amazing to see them just out of their shell.
The students were served chicken sandwiches for lunch. They were very careful to keep their food away from the chick so as not to upset it.
I found that very thoughtful.
I got a message from a friend last night who had taken some of our duck eggs to hatch. This also happened yesterday.
I collect recipes to help with my stress-relief baking. I tear them out of magazines, cut them out of newspapers and picked them up at grocery stores, back when they handed out recipe cards. I even have some that I picked up at the State Fair of Texas including my famous sweet potato biscuit recipe and the kids’ favorite skillet burritos.
I’ve tried to type them all into a data base so I have digital copies, but my memories of these recipes are attached to where I got them. If they are all in the same format in a digital file, I will never recognize them. I look for the recipe I need based on where I originally found the recipe.
Not a particularly effective way for anyone else to find my recipes, but I know where they all are.
For example, I wanted to make forgotten cookies recently. This recipe came from my mother. Shortly after Beekeeper Brian and I got married, she gave me a notebook with note cards of all our family recipes. It has the forgotten cookie recipe in it along with my Aunt Nita’s mashed potato roll recipe, my Grandmother Hixson’s chocolate and butterscotch pie recipes, and my Mother’s Blueberry Delight. (Notice the lack of vegetable recipes mentioned. =) The notebook is falling apart and so I must gently take it off the shelf and gently put it back.
I suppose I could replace it – but I won’t. Eventually there may be no need for paper recipes at all but that won’t be until after I’m gone. I will always use my various scraps of magazines and newspapers, and especially my notebook with my mother’s hand written recipe cards.
Baking is my stress relief and the past year has had plenty of stress to relieve. I particularly enjoy making biscuits and scones – really any breakfast food.
With only Beekeeper Brian and myself at home, I have had to find ways to bake and not weigh 300 pounds. So each Sunday, I take breakfast to the praise team at church. We meet at 7:00 to practice and stay through the service until almost noon so the gesture is much appreciated and there are seldom leftovers.
Both biscuits and scones require the use of a pastry blender. I’ve seen a picture on Facebook of one asking if anyone knew what it was. I was somewhat offended at the suggestion that only old people use pastry blenders.
I have actually been through several pastry blenders in the past few years. I tried one that had a slightly different design and broke two of them before I gave up and went back to the original crescent shape. It has held up to my stress relieving routine but sometimes looks a little worse for the wear.
One of our chickens still spends part of her day in the duck pen. I’ve stopped worrying about it. If she can get back and forth on her own, I see no need to slide around the duck pen chasing her and risk falling.
She has started laying eggs in the duck’s nest box.
She may think I will put it with the duck eggs which are saved for baking and mixing in with scrambled eggs. However, I have learned to distinguish chicken eggs from duck eggs by their shell. The duck eggs look creamier while the chicken eggs are bright white.
When I got home from work one day this week, there were chickens in the duck pen. When I went out to check on them, the door to the pen was securely closed.
Hmmmm How did they get in there?
They didn’t seem too disturbed and I had to zoom in with a piano student so I left everyone where they were.
When I finished teaching, I looked out and Lucy, one of the ducks, was out in the chicken pen. Perhaps they were trading places?
But then a rooster started to harass Lucy, so I had to go wrangle her back into the safety of the duck pen. I also convinced the chickens to go back to their spot,
Yesterday the chickens were back in the duck pen. I gave up and stayed inside to get the kitchen cleaned up. I looked out and one of the birds was flying over the duck fence back to the chicken yard. At least I know how they are getting back and forth.
As long as none of the birds go visit the dogs, I guess all is well.
I think I have finally convinced the chickens to stop laying their eggs between the two fences.
However, one of them has found a new place – in the neighbor’s yard.
I texted my neighbor to tell her there was an egg behind their unused chicken coop. I told her either she has ghost chickens that are laying eggs, or it was a thank you gift to Rosie (the neighbor’s dog) for not eating the chicken when she wandered next door.
In either case, it has only happened once. The chickens are now laying their eggs in the coop – for now…
This week has been quite pleasant here in Texas. Last week was not. We had the second snow storm of the season followed by ice. An event that had not happened in many decades.
We were warned and people took great pains to protect their chickens. I was not one of those people.
I do care about my chickens but wasn’t willing to enclose the coop, put a heater in it or bring the flock inside. I told them it would be cold and encouraged them to huddle up when the coop had icicles.
During the coldest days, I went out several times to make sure they had food and water. It was cold enough that their water froze solid so I would pour hot water over it to thaw enough for them to drink. A few hours later, it would be frozen again.
I tried to cover some of the duck pen when it started sleeting. I used a big blue tarp which apparently was terrifying to the ducks. They would not go near that corner of the pen. I finally went back out in the sleet and took it down. The ducks were much happier. As soon as the duck pond started to thaw, the got in and swam around the chunks of ice. Silly ducks!
I learned that the hoe I use for weeding works great for removing ice when I cleared a path across the back porch. I was determined not to fall on my multiple trips to the chicken yard.
I am happy to report that I did not fall a single time.
And we did not lose any chickens or ducks.
I’m hoping that means we passed the test and do not have to repeat that experience ever again.
I’ll take the Texas summers over these crazy winter storms any day.
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