Wednesday, October 31, 2012

NaNoWriMo...This Round

We interrupt this modern homesteading blog National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). It's thirty days of literary abandon starting November 1st. No inner critics. No going at it alone. No more saying "One day, I'm going to write a novel." Today is that day. Join us.

Check it out at A Suburban NaNoWriMo...This Round

Wait on the Lord

The last day of October. Seasons come, and seasons go. Tempest and calm. Through it all, the Lord is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble, the provider of all our needs.
I have been learning something lately about what it means to “wait on the Lord.”  It is not a passive state as one might think, but rather a very active one.  It’s not so much like waiting for a bus as it is like waiting on tables.  In the Bible verses where it appears it can mean “to look for, hope, expect” or “to bind together.”  Here are some things I’ve experienced recently about waiting on the Lord:  READ MORE

It is Halloween!

Happy Halloween! It is finally here.I hope for those of you who celebrate this day, I hope you are safe and you get all the goodies you want. Today is my favorite day of the year! Come see some of my decorating.


Quick and Easy Candle Lantern

So you say you aren't crafty?  But you love the look that crafts bring to your home.  Read on and I will share with you a simple way to make an inexpensive canning jar lantern. 


Throughout October, here at Farm Chic Chit Chat, we've treated our readers to a month of pumpkin stories, crafts, photographs and recipes.

But that's not all!

We also wrote about the history of the ancient art canning  and shared our tricks for using canning jars and lids for everything from delicious canning recipes, to decorations for table and hearth, to storing sewing supplies, memories and sundries.

But that's not all!

We shared about planting garlic, growing micro greens and establishing lawns; recipes for muffins and quiche and goat butter. We told love stories and ghost stories and stories about fancy chicken coops and farm-style playgrounds.

We are brimming over with helpful tips, beautiful photographs and giveaways , with 227 posts to date!

And we are just getting started!

If you are new to Farm Chic Chit Chat, you may have missed our Apple Pie Bake Off. Check it out -- especially if you need a scrumptious, time-tested recipe for your Thanksgiving table.

The calender page is about to flip to the frosty month of November. And we invite you to join us as we share from our hearts and homes about Giving Thanks, and Thanksgiving Traditions.

Why not begin our month of thanks-giving a day early?

The Farm Chicks are thankful for our dear readers.

Hey, that means YOU! 

  ~Becky, a FCCC contributor
  Thoughts from a Daughter of the King 
   Step Into Our Garden.

Take A Look Through My Eyes

There are different kinds of people in this world; dog-people, cat-people, chicken-folk, and so on ... I considered myself a "dog-person" until I met my first pet chicken. Then, I was sure I was a "chicken-loving-dog person". And, then, there were goats.

I hope you enjoy THIS "Look Through My Eyes."

Sonja Twombly of
Lally Broch Farm

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A sweet treat for Halloween- pumpkin dip

Happy Halloween! One of my favorite things about having kids at the moment is all the fun we get to have with Halloween. Amidst all the costume sewing, craft making, and Halloween parties, it's a great time for yummy pumpkin treats. I recently made a sweet and delicious pumpkin dip as a party snack. Happy haunting! read here for the recipe and more.

Ghost stories!

It's the night before Halloween......are you looking for some farm ghost stories?  I found some-check it out!

Stock Photo

Click here to read a few spoooooky stories!

Our New Nubian Buck

We just finished the Heirloom Pumpkin series over at Iron Oak Farm. I welcome you to visit the daily varieties posted throughout the month of October.

While I've been chatting about pumpkins, there's been a lot of activity happening in the barn, including a new addition to the Iron Oak Farm family. Our new buck Gideon! He's a beautiful, sweet Nubian that I'd love you all to meet. Click here to read my post Meet Gideon. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Homemade Vanilla Extract

It's very easy to make homemade vanilla extract - this picture shows a large finished batch.  This can then be transferred into attractive smaller jars to make thoughtful gifts for your baking friends.  To find out where to get the ingredients and how easy it is to make, read more here.

Witch Hazel

 All Hallow’s Eve is only a couple days away, the wind is howling around the house, and there's a full moon tonight.  Is it any wonder that my thoughts occasionally drift toward witches?  And not just any witch, but one with a first name: Witch Hazel!

Read more about Witch Hazel HERE --- 

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Making Apple Butter

Once you have the hang of making applesauce, the next best thing is apple butter. Nothing tastes like the old-fashioned way, in a copper kettle. But if you don't have a copper kettle, there are alternatives. This year, I made apple butter in my Nesco 18 quart roaster.

Wanna see what I did? It turned out pretty good--according to the hubby. So hop on over to Everything Home and take a peek.

Happy Autumn,

Pumpkin Muffins for All

It's hard for me to believe that I've only been a "chicken mom" for 5 months now.  It seems like they have been a part of our lives for much longer and they certainly have found their way into my heart quickly with their unique personalities and comical behavior.  Maybe that's why I'm a little nutty about tweaking traditional recipes for their tastes and needs.  Admittedly, it's not exactly normal for me to prepare something for us to eat and think of what substitutions could be made so it would suit the chickens diet.

Never the less, while making pumpkin cream cheese muffins for my husband (the pumpkin lover of the household), it wasn't all that difficult for me to modify the ingredients and end up with a tasty treat for the flock.  Both versions mixed together very quickly, baked up in no time to golden brown and got the seal of approval of the family.  I used convenience items but I will include some links for those who are a bit more hands on than I was feeling that day and would like to truly get a more "from scratch" type of recipe.  Here we go!

Can you tell the difference?
in both photos: Human version on right, Chicken version on left

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Nature Decor: Turn gourds into a flock of birds

We decided to do more than just jack-o-lanterns at Brighton Park this channeling our inner Martha Stewart and turning gourds into a flock of birds drinking from a saucer of cool blue pebbles. Nature decor is creative, eco-friendly, and most can be used through Halloween into Thanksgiving making it economical.  For the how-to, CLICK HERE.

Leaf Art

It is said that it's good to turn over a new leaf.

How about turning a leaf into something new, instead? 

With a free photo-editing program the possibilities are as expansive as your imagination.  Click here >>>and Step Into our Garden 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Neat Little Treat!

Thought I would share about these neat little treats that I pickup at my feed store. I have several bird feeders in my yard, and I work hard to attract bluebirds. These are actually called Bluebird Nuggets, but I discovered very quickly that my chickens LOVE them. They get so excited when they see this bag coming! The bag is only about $3.00, and it makes a great 'something special' that isn't too pricey. The major ingredients are Suet, Roasted Peanuts, and Raisins, and Crushed Dried Mealworms.

Canning Jar Flower Vases

Fresh Eggs Daily
Don't throw out your old or chipped canning jars. They make beautiful flower vases.  All you need is a little bit of spray paint... [read more here]

Friday, October 26, 2012

A playground, farm style!!

Children like to go to the playground. Most neighborhoods have a park with a slide and a few swings, but you have never seen a playground look like this! See what one farm has done to creatively use items from the farm to make a magical play area that kids LOVE! Let's play!

Canning Beans

I love buying dried beans in huge bags because it saves a lot of money. Unfortunately for me, I've never had any luck cooking them.

Read how I solved that here.

Aunt Cathy's Chili Sauce

Photo from

Re-usable Canning Lids

When you do a lot of canning, constantly buying lids can get expensive. I've tried re-using the metal, Ball or Kerr flats and the results have always been unpredictable. Then, I heard about Tattler re-usable lids. These lids are made of plastic and are supposed to withstand the rigor of about 100 uses. To me, that's amazing. In fact, it's so amazing, I wasn't willing to plunk down the extra cash to try them.

Then, one day my friend Holly called me up and wanted to tell me about them. She did try them and she was thrilled. She was so thrilled, I asked her to review them. If you'd like to hear what she had to say, you can read more here.

Happy Canning,

In the Kitchen

Sometimes it is nice to sit back and think about your life's influences. Read here to learn what motivated me into baking and cooking.

Clementine Marmalade

I mentioned earlier this week that there are a few canning recipes that I try to always keep on hand in the pantry.  I shared the recipe for caramelized onion and red wine jam in the hopes that you would try it and share it with your family and friends.

Now that I have shared a savory canning recipe, I feel the need to share a more traditional recipe.  It's time for me to add making a batch of clementine marmalade to your to do list.  One taste and you will understand why the pantry at 1840 Farm almost always contains at least one jar filled with this beautiful orange marmalade.

Once you have made clementine marmalade, you can put it to good use in my recipe for a sunshine grilled cheese breakfast sandwich.  Taking a bite of the toasted bread and the warm marmalade and goat cheese spread is a wonderful way to start the day!

It's Canning Week and you can celebrate by reading the Farm Chick Chit Chat collection of canning posts.  You'll find delicious recipes, craft ideas, and innovative ways to put those canning jars to good use.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

❆ Snowmen in a Jar ❇

If you're the type of person who goes around singing "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow" all winter, now you can preserve your snowmen until the spring thaw.  And even if you don't like snow, you can't help but love these snowmen in a jar for winter decorating.  Go to Maple Grove for tips and suggestions on canning snowmen.

How to Make and Can Applesauce

For years I tried to can my applesauce; each time experiencing frustration at finding mold in the tops of my jars, or jars unsealed. Then an older woman told me a "trade secret" that works. Today, I'd like to share that with you so that you, too, can successfully can your applesauce.

Interested? Hop over to Everything Home with Carol to find out that secret.


Yes, I Can , Can; So Can You!

Mother Hubbard traveled far and wide to feed her poor little dog after she found her cupboard was bare.  Poor Mother Hubbard probably didn't have access to inexpensive canning jars.  My cupboard is full of them. >>>>Click here to find out the Easiest way to can.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Canning - Everything you need to know to get started.

Maybe you want to make cute little jams to give as gifts for the holidays. Maybe you had a great harvest and want to prolong the shelf life of your food. Either way, you want to get started canning. It is a lot easier than you think!  Check out what you need to get started over at Sunshine Sisters' Farms. 

Buying Chickens

Buying chickens is an interesting experience. It can be good or bad, obviously. I thought I'd give you all some tips on what to look for!

  Buying Any Breed
  • You just happened to see a Lemon Cuckoo Double Barred Lavendar Oreo Frizzle hen and rooster for sale at auction. This is you:

Yes, you have found the Holy Grail of chickendom. BUT HANG ON! You really should read more [[HERE]] -->

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Jars of Memories

Boxes and boxes of canning jars.  When my husband helped his family clean out his grandmother’s old farmhouse, that’s what we found in the basement. These jars were the older type with the metal bale—the ones that took jar rubbers.  The many years of re-filling had caused most of the bales to no longer fasten tightly, the glass on the edges of jars and lids was nicked, and in many cases jars and lids didn’t match up.

Eventually, a big box of old canning jars came to live at my house, along with various other items like a bottle-capper (and a nearly full box of bottle caps), several odd sizes and lengths of stove pipe, some gardening tools and a big tin of buttons.

Read more here to find out how we've used these old jars preserve generations of memories.

You might also like to read the history of the canning jar here , or discover more ways to use canning jars (including the traditional ways!), by clicking on "Canning" in the side bar.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Caramelized Onion and Red Wine Jam

There are certain canning recipes that I always try to keep on hand in the pantry.  Caramelized Onion and Red Wine Jam is near the top of the list.  This is my favorite kind of recipe:  simple to make and delicious to eat.  What could be better than that?

I hope that you will give it a try and let me know if you agree.  In the meantime, I'll be enjoying caramelized onion and red wine jam on crackers with my favorite Bayley Hazen Blue Cheese.  I only wish that I could share a little with you.  One taste and you would understand why it's a pantry staple here at 1840 Farm.

Visit 1840 Farm for the recipe for Caramelized Onion and Red Wine Jam and my favorite Red, Wine, and Blue Grilled Cheese Sandwich.

It's Canning Week and you can celebrate by reading the Farm Chick Chit Chat collection of canning posts.  You'll find delicious recipes, craft ideas, and innovative ways to put those canning jars to good use.

Mummy Jars

As you may have heard by now it is Canning Week at FCCC. One small problem, I don't can! I am terrible at anything food related, except baking. So what is a girl to do? Go with what you know! A craft involving canning jars, or any jar for that matter.

These cute "mummy jars" are so easy to make and will add an element of whimsy to your Halloween decorations. So grab your jars and lets get started!

Have Fun,


10 Clever things to do with Chicken Wire

Image by Funkytime

Chicken wire or if you are politically correct- Poultry Netting, has such a rustic vibe. It’s country without being red and white gingham. When you incorporate it into your home design it can really bring a level of texture and depth.

Check out all the clever things you can do with chicken wire at the Sunshine Sister's Website. 

Pumpkin Cake in a Jar

We canned fruits and vegetables, relishes and sauces, and now we've really done it.  We canned cake!! This was truly as easy as baking a cake, and it tastes delicious. Imagine canning cakes to have on your shelf to open when a last-minute guest arrives. Or picture tying ribbons around the lids and giving these jar cakes as appreciation or thank you gifts.  Read more and get the recipe at Maple Grove.

Sewing Jar

 Have left over canning jars? Here is what I did with my small jars.

Use a small canning jar to create a "Sewing Jar." These are perfect to have on hand when you need to make quick sewing repairs. Plus they add country charm to any sewing room of shelf.  Visit me to see just how simple they are to make!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Canning Soup

What do you do when you pick more green beans than you need for a meal but not enough to fill the canner? Or, if you have tomatoes running amuck on the kitchen counter but you've already done enough tomato everything.

If you have a bunch of vegies, but not a canner full of any one thing, then can soup! That is what we do every year. It's fun, easy, and makes for a wonderful lunch in the middle of a winter, homeschooling day.

If you want to read and see more, visit Everything Home with Carol.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Past Meets the Present- History of The Common Canning Jar

I thought that it would be appropriate to visit the history of the common everyday canning jar as we embark on a week of celebrating the things we put into them.  Also, after canning multiple bushels of tomatoes, I was eager to write about anything that goes into a canning jar EXCEPT tomatoes!   Do you collect these beautiful blue and green accents from our past?  What do you use your antique canning jars for?  Read on to see the history I uncovered and what I do with my vintage jar collection.

Making Herbal Vinegar

Our growing season is drawing to a close, so it’s a good time to preserve some of the summertime flavor by making herbal vinegar. It’s simple to make and can add a wonderful shot of freshness to wintertime salad dressings, marinades, gravies, and sauces.   Continue reading here.

Herbs that make good vinegar include basil, bay, dill, fennel, garlic, lemon balm, marjoram, mint, rosemary, sage, savory, tarragon, and thyme. Flowers can also be used to make vinegar; and varieties to try include carnation, clover, elder flowers, lavender, nasturtium, primrose, rose, rosemary flowers, thyme flowers, and sweet violets.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

All That Mint!

We enjoy having lots of fresh mint during the summer months for cooking and adding to brewed iced tea and other refreshing summer drinks.  But what do you do with all that mint in the garden at the end of summer?  Before the first frost hits, harvest all your mint and herbs and preserve them to enjoy those subtle flavors all winter. For tips on how to freeze mints and herbs and recipes for mint jelly [CLICK HERE].

Easy Caramel Apples

Today, I'm sharing a favorite fall memory from my Southern Illinois roots and my easy recipe for this autumn treat.  The trick to making the most delicious caramel apples ever is four simple ingredients: apples, caramel, heavy cream and vanilla. Whip up a batch of this fall treat staple today and see how fast they disappear...<<<READ MORE

Katie/Brighton Park

Friday, October 19, 2012

Homespun Pumpkin-Face Wreath

Our homemade wreath (2nd from a series of 12) celebrates the season with a happy Pumpkin face to greet visitors of all ages to our door. We cordially invite you to Step into Our Garden to read the story and find instructions to make your own inexpensive door greeter. >>>>Click here and you will be magically transported to our door.

Voices from the past

This time of year, people think of headstones as Halloween decoration and "scary." But cemeteries are amazing places full of wonderful people who have lived interesting lives. It seem around Halloween the living tend to take notice of cemeteries with "haunted" walks or on sad occasions, bad behavior. But cemeteries are not just for Halloween, ghost, or vandals, they are beautiful and full of educational opportunities! Learn how to listen to the voices of the past....
Have Fun,

Pumpkin Bars with Dark Chocolate Chips

It's fall and that means that pumpkins seem to be everywhere you look.  They're decorating our farmhouse and being served up to the heritage hens in the chicken coop.  Pumpkin is also finding its way on to our dinner plates and in to our favorite seasonal dessert recipes.

If you're looking for a way to welcome fall to your home, these pumpkin bars with dark chocolate chips are hard to beat.  They are simple to prepare and guaranteed to delight your friends and family.  Visit 1840 Farm for the recipe.

Looking for more ways to celebrate fall with beautiful pumpkins?  View the Farm Chick Chit Chat collection of pumpkin related posts.  You'll find beautiful ways to decorate your home for fall along with delicious, seasonal recipes featuring pumpkins.

Swiss Chard Fritatta with Bacon, Potatoes and Cheese

The Swiss chard is looking beautiful in the fall garden here at Better Hens and Gardens, and this homey fritatta makes delicious use of it. Another thing that I like about this recipe – other than the oil, bacon, and spices; everything needed to make it is produced right here!  [Read here for the recipe....]  

Chickens 101 Class

We are so excited to kick off the 2012-2013 season at the BOHO Farm!  We have been scrubbing, building, digging, planting and are ready to share with you our evolving urban farmstead with the hope that it might inspire others to join in! Education is something that is near and dear to us, so what a better way to start off than with a Chickens 101 class.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Jack-O-Lantern Pizzas

This recipe has been in my file for a long time.  Back when my daughters were small, I found this in a magazine, and it became a Halloween tradition.  It was a fun "make-it-for-dinner" project for us, and the girls learned how to safely use the broiler, the oven and a paring knife. We changed a couple of things over the years, to suit our tastes--you may do the same.

Preheat the broiler, split English muffins and place on broiler pan.  Brush the top of each with a little olive oil.

Broil the muffins just until they are lightly browned.  Remove from oven and reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees.

Spread a spoonful of pizza sauce on each toasted muffin. We usually make our own sauce, but for a quick dinner, purchased canned sauce works just fine.  Add any extra toppings that you may like: chopped mushrooms or sausage, for example.

Cut out jack-o-lantern faces from cheese slices.  We used Provolone, because mozzarella was too hard for small hands to easily cut into faces.  If the slices are square, "round" them first.  Be creative in your carving!  Save the pieces for snacking!

Place the cheese faces on the pizza sauce, and bake for about 5 minutes, until the cheese melts. Enjoy!

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