Friday, November 30, 2012

Homemade Bath Soak

Wintertime is when I really enjoy a nice soak in a warm tub; often to help relax tired muscles.  I also enjoy adding some bath crystals, but don't like the price or ingredients I find in the commercial versions.  Click here for a simple homemade recipe that's just as comforting and can be scented to your liking. 

Making New Candles from Old Candles

Do you have any old, broken, or wick-less candles around?  Use these old candles to dip new ones.  Or if you're looking for a quick, easy gift, make these old candles into small tea light or jar candles. 

For more details, follow along with our adventures in candle making here.

Eggs and Oatmeal

Winter is knocking and the mornings around here have turned cold. We are lucky enough to live in warm homes, but what about our farm friends?!?!? I recently found a way to help my hens start their day with a little more warmth! Read more .....

The (mis)Adventures of a
"born Again" Farm Girl

Banana Blueberry Cake

I try my best to cook and bake with the seasons in mind.  I don't expect fresh tomatoes in January or to have the best apples available in May.  I know better.

Yet there are some ingredients that have no season for me.  Bananas and blueberries are two that I love.  Bananas can't be grown in New England, but they can be purchased at the local market throughout the year.  Blueberries flourish on our farm during August and September and thanks to a chest freezer out in the barn, I can use them all year long.

I love to combine them together in this simple and delicious cake that we enjoy for breakfast here at 1840 Farm.  In fact, there is a banana blueberry cake baking in the oven right now.  The delicious smell of bananas is perfuming the air throughout the farmhouse.  I can't wait until breakfast tomorrow morning when we can enjoy a warm slice of cake with a hot cup of coffee after I have finished my morning farm chores.

Visit 1840 Farm for the recipe.
Looking for more great baking recipes?
View the Farm Chick Chit Chat collection of baking posts

Three Chicks and Canned Cake

Our canning season comes to a sweet end with these recipes for cake and creamy pie using canning jars.  The Three Chicks gather together to try some dessert recipes while visiting and sharing life in our community. Read on for the recipes we tested>>>>> Timber Creek Farm

Maple Glazed Bacon Donuts

 These Maple Glazed Bacon Donuts will sure to be a hit at breakfast time or even that afternoon tea time snack. They are easy to make and fills your house with a delicious aroma.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

An early Christmas for me!!!

Anyone who knows me, know I have a weakness for 'critters.'
I have ALWAYS wanted a bunny, and have never had one. The other day I had a wonderful surprise in the form of a small white cotton ball like bunny, who I have since named 'Sugar.' He is so sweet! He is a dwarf, Lionhead with pink eyes! Yes, I am in love! He has come to work with me everyday since, and is well on his way to adding to the ranks of my extremely spoiled critters! Who couldn't resist that cute little head, and a nose that twitches 100 mph?

Also, check out the blog for a favorite recipe of mine- posted in honor of Sugar! Creamy Carrot Soup!
Watch for more bunny pics at my blog

Fabric Freshener

 I am always looking for a way to make things myself and save money so it was no surprise when I ran into a recipe to make my own fabric freshener, I wrote it down and tucked it away to use later. I ran into it this morning while rummaging through my desk so I figured I'd give it a try, considering how easy it is to make. 
Click Here  to check out the rest of the recipe and visit us on Facebook!

Nothing Wasted

 I learned how to use 100 percent of a 20 lb turkey.

  1. Cooked neck, giblets to pets
  2. Dinner for 10
  3. Sent leftovers home with 3 families
  4. Made bone broth with carcass
  5. Leftover meal for 2
  6. Lunches for 2 days
  7. Bones cooked to crushing stage and divided into bags for chickens throughout the month.
  8. Creamed turkey soup.
  9. Leftover soup
  10. 1 quart stock to be used in stew
  11. 2 trays broth ice cubes 
  12. 2 cups turkey bits in lunch bags for dog's food.
If you would like to find out how I did it, including my recipe for Creamed Turkey Soup & Dumplings, click HERE

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Gift Giving Dilemma

Christmas time is coming quick and buying gifts is on everyone's mind. As I am writing lists for all of the presents I have to buy I started to wonder how much is too much? Check out my gift giving dilemma over at Sunshine Sisters Farms. 

Crafting a yarn

I love to knit. One of the best benefits of having a mom who owns alpacas is having access to some of the softest, warmest fiber available. When I see those gorgeous blankets of fleece come off on shearing day, I cannot wait to get my hands on the yarn it is destined to become. This year, I decided it would be interesting to try and take my love of the fiber and yarn one step further by learning to spin it myself. Read about ithere.

Keep These Holidays Homemade

However you celebrate the holidays, they are often a busy time.  Each year we strive to keep our holidays simple and homemade.  While it is easy to get caught up in the commercial aspect of the holidays, with a little planning, there are many ways you can keep homemade items a priority this year.  Read more here and take time to visit all the wonderful stores from the people who share here at Farm Chick Chit Chat.

Christmas Chicken Wreath

Now that our family has chickens, of course I had to incorporate them into my Christmas decorating! Simple wreath with felt and feathers from molt!

Visit Trim Pine Farms

Come along with us as we visit Trim Pine Farms, a beautiful Christmas tree farm with a great sense of tradition and whimsy! Click on my latest post Oh Christmas Tree to read about all the fun!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Seed Picks for 2013

Sean brought home the new FEDCO SEEDS CATALOG a few days ago to create a very happy and excited wife. I love looking forward, planning and lists. I love LISTS. Immediately, we sat down and started reading through the pages to decide which kinds of seeds we would purchase for this year's gardens. With over 150 pages to look through, it was difficult to narrow our choices. Once we stepped back to evaluate the landscape a little, picking which varieties we would grow this season became easier. Since we plan to save our own seeds to grow future gardens, picking the right seeds was more important than ever. How would we decide? READ ON HERE to see what we picked...
Sonja Twombly of
Lally Broch Farm

And the Winners are....(Tie One On Day Apron Giveaway)

November 21, 2012 - National Tie One On Day

And the winners are....

1840 Farm Apron - Jenn
Blue Chambray Apron - Kelly T
Sunflower Apron - Cyndi Davis
Red Paisley Apron Set - DaAnna Haase

CONGRATULATIONS to all the winners! Please email me at with your mailing address so we can send your apron.

And thank you to everyone who entered. You can purchase the aprons shown below from the links provided.

Here at Farm Chick Chit Chat, we're celebrating National TIE ONE ON DAY™ on Wednesday, November 21st.  It's a day created by EllynAnne Geisel to put the 'give' into Thanksgiving.  She encourages everyone to wrap a loaf of bread or other homemade baked item in an apron, tuck in a note and then deliver the bundle to someone in need or who you want to thank.  

To read more about the day and also for some printable note templates to tuck into your parcel, click HERE.

We Farm Chicks took it one step further and giving away four beautiful aprons to lucky readers.  

One winner has been chosen to win each of these beautiful handmade aprons:

Congratulations to DEANNA HAASE you have won the
Red Paisley Damask Towel Apron and Matching Oven Mitt 
donated by Main Street Store

Congratulations to CYNDI DAVIS you have won the
Sunflower Full Apron with Adjustable Velcro Tabbed Waist Strap
donated by Timber Creek Farm

Congratulations to KELLY T you have won the
Light Blue Chambray Folk Apron 
donated by Dear Edna

Congratulations to JENN you have won the
Farmhouse Apron of your choice handmade from Re-purposed Men's Shirts

Thank you to our generous sponsors and a huge thanks to everyone who entered!  We hope you all participated in National Tie One On Day and delivered a homemade item to someone in your life. If you don't have an apron, a dishcloth, tea towel or napkin will do.

-The Farm Chicks-

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Tradition: Soup, Salad, Family and Lights!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We did! But now it is over and it is time to kick off our Christmas season. Come on over and enjoy our family tradition.  Happy Holidays!

Bloomin' Okras!

Since steak doesn't grow on trees...try Okra in your garden next year!  It's not too early to start thinking about new things to try in your 2013 garden.  Read more about my trial run with Purple Okra.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Cleaning the Hen House

Keeping backyard chickens does not have to be complicated or difficult.  If you're able to let your chickens out in a run or to free-range, it's even easier.  An important part of having chickens is to provide them with a shelter that is safe, draft-free and clean in order to keep them healthy and productive. READ HOW.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Best Mashed Potatoes

Ahh, I was so busy with Thanksgiving preparations, that I didn't take moments to capture pictures of the fixins.  Our table was laden with stuffed mushrooms, cheddar cheese gougeres, turkey, of course, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans almondine, corn off the cob, creamed onions, cranberry salad, pistachio salad, homemade dinner rolls fresh out of the oven, sugared walnuts, pumpkin pies, and pumpkin swirl cheesecake.  We are so blessed to have such plenty!

One of the highlights of the day was when we gave our little grandchildren a hayride around Maple Grove.  But you know what I was most grateful for this Thanksgiving?  That I could share it with my Dad.  At 93 years old, he mashed the potatoes for us, as usual.  This was always his job on Thanksgiving Day, and he makes the best mashed potatoes.  He says the secret is to mash in the softened butter thoroughly and then add milk, keeping a low flame under the pot the whole time to keep them hot and smooth.  He's absolutely right (as always)!  We had a blessed Thanksgiving! I hope you and yours did too!

Tale of a rooster

As a child I always loved this rooster that sat on my Grandma's coffee table.  I had not seen him for years until I walked into an office at work the other day.  I asked the office occupant about the rooster and made the comment that my Grandma had one just like that and I always loved it.  He explained to me the back story of the rooster and I thought I would share.  

The story of the rooster begins in Barcelos, which is located in north-west Portugal.  Often pilgrims would pass through Barcelos as part of their pilgrimage to the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, and they would rest at various inns along the way.  While in Barcelos one pilgrim stopped to rest at an inn, and the inn keeper complained that his silver had been stolen.  Since the pilgrim was in the area at the time, he was blamed for the theft and was stated to be hanged on the town plaza.  

Knowing that he was innocent the pilgrim pleaded to speak with the local judge in order to appeal his case, and begrudgingly the judge agreed to see him.  When the guards took the pilgrim to the judge's home he was in the middle of a large dinner, and the main course of the meal was a large roasted rooster that sat in the center of the table.  The judge ignored the pilgrim's plea of innocence, saying there was no proof that he did not commit the theft.  

Still certain of his innocence and his belief in a fair and loving God, the pilgrim fell to his knees and started praying.  At that point he noticed the rooster sitting in the center of the table, and he prayed that God would prove his innocence by making the rooster come back to life and crow in protest to the hanging.  

Unconvinced, the judge ordered the guards to take the pilgrim away and the hanging was still scheduled to go ahead as planned.  

Just before the hanging was to take place, witnesses claim to have seen the rooster stand up from the table and start crowing, just as the pilgrim prayed it would.  Realizing what the crowing meant, the judge quickly released the pilgrim from the gallows immediately.  The pilgrim was freed and continued on his way to the Santiago de Compostelo thanks to being saved by the wonderful crowing rooster!

The symbol of the rooster now acts as a reminder of the miracle and moral of this story, and is said to bring good luck!

Creatively Setting a Beautiful Table

My favorite part of preparing a holiday feast is setting the table. I just relish rummaging through my china closet looking for the perfect bowl to serve a cherished recipe, or through the linen dresser for the most striking accents.

Yesterday, for Thanksgiving, I wanted a "fallish" looking candle display. And this is what I came up with:

I simply added a mixture of black beans and popcorn to a crystal liqueur glass and topped with a tea light. Easy Peasy. But to add depth, I placed a row of these down the center of the table.

You can use this technique any time of the year by altering the contents of the glass. For Christmas, I like to use a larger wine glass and fill it with cranberries and water. The tea light floats in the water.

When I use this idea for a buffet table, where I will not be filling every empty space with dishes of food, I like to weave strings of beads and greenery through the row of glasses.

I hope your Thanksgiving was filled with the presence of loved ones and that the coming Christmas season brings you the joy and peace that the birth of the Savior is meant to bestow.

For more ideas regarding all things "home," please come visit me at Everything Home with Carol.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Fail Safe Thanksgiving Day Dinner – Sunshine Sisters Style

If you sat at the Thanksgiving Dinner table this year and thought next year is going to be my year. I am going to host Thanksgiving Dinner! Head over to Sunshine Sisters' Farms and let us help you out... 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pumpkin Pie

Thanksgiving Greetings!! What better way to celebrate than to share a Pumpkin Pie recipe that's been handed down from my mother? You will find this recipe fast and easy. Enjoy!

Wreath of Berries

Happy Thanksgiving!
I made this inexpensive wreath in less than an hour, using things we had on hand. If you would like to learn how to make an easy grass and berry wreath, click on the link below. At the end of my post, you will find links to several other homemade wreath tutorials. ~Becky @ Step Into Our Garden  

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Stuffing Stuffed Acorn Squash

Ever had one of those insatiable hankerin's for some good fall food?  I suffered a spell such as this tonight and, after looking at what I had laying around the kitchen, I decided to try my hand at 'throwing together' a stuffed squash recipe.  For someone who must ALWAYS follow a recipe EXACTLY as written, this was stretching my comfort zone for sure.  Alas, I survived intact and these VERY tasty Acorn Squash filled with stuffing-type filling resulted. 

Stuffing Stuffed Acorn Squash

Yes, I have satisfied the hankerin'!!  Until next time.....
Come visit Fresh From Home for this recipe and other backyard homestead antics and adventures!

Gathering Greens

This time of year, I like to look to nature to inspire my holiday decorating. Read my post, Gathering Greens to view the beautiful conifer and holly branches that I've been scurrying away before the snow flies.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Caveman Tortillas

I like to cook from scratch. The food tastes better. You don't have to worry about all of the additives and preservatives that can be found in a lot of ready made food.

I have to admit that when I started making tortillas, I was a little intimidated. But after trying several recipes, I created one that is pretty fool proof. I call it Caveman Tortillas - it's so easy a caveman can do it!

Check it out over at Sunshine Sisters Farms' blog.

Mole Amarillo con Pollo con Ejotes y Chayotes (o Papas)

Chicken in Oaxacan Yellow Mole with Green Beans and Chayotes (or Potatoes) is all time favorite. This "Mexican" stew is rib sticking and warms the souls. Read Here how you can prepare this delicious meal.

Planning and Hosting a Ladies Tea

When I inherited my grandmother's collection of beautiful china tea cups,  I knew I wanted to share them with the women in my family. Instead of asking if "anyone wants any of Grandma's tea cups," I decided I would host a Ladies Tea so that we could enjoy them together before dividing them among us. I sent out the invitations and then got to work planning and getting ready for our Tea. To be the special event that it is, a Ladies Tea does take some time and effort. However, the preparations are as much fun as the Tea itself, making it is as special as the Ladies who are invited.  Join me for an inside look from start to finish of the preparations, including making a tea cup centerpiece, preparing special foods, and of course the Tea itself.  You'll virtually be there! READ MORE.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Showing Poultry - It's ShowTime at the VPBA!

It's Showtime!
We're getting ready today to head out to the Virginia Poultry Breeder's Association 2012 Fall Poultry Show first thing in the morning! The kids will be showing two chickens each and all three are participating in Showmanship again! Their APA ABA Youth Poultry Club friends are mostly all showing tomorrow so it will be like an all day Chicken Play Date! It doesn't get much better for them! Snacks, Picnic, 800 or so Chickens, and hanging out with friends!

Who did they decide to show?   What should you bring to the show?  It's our last post in the series about preparing for your show!  Join us to pack up and get ready to go!  After this post, the work is done and it's all about the fun and results! 

Homemade Pizza Dough

Sunday is Football Day! What goes better with football than pizza? Read how you can make Homemade Pizza Dough.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Pumpkin Wreath Tutorial

Nothing says "Welcome to our home!" like  a well~dressed front door.  In just a few hours' time you can assemble a Harvest Pumpkin Wreath like this one to greet your Thanksgiving guests.  Check out the tutorial here from Black Fox Homestead.

Follow the Black Fox Homestead Blog and Facebook Page for more home decorating, gardening tips, recipes and simple country living.

Thanksgiving crafts

Thanksgiving is almost here. Now is the time to get those last minute crafts in so that you can use them to decorated! These cute ideas can add a splash of fun around your home this holiday. Whether you make a cute paint chip turkey or a twine cornucopia to fill with treats, your family and guests will appreciate the home made touch!

Have Fun!

Homestead Bloggers - Old-Fashioned Mingles with Modern

My farm-style kitchen boldly reveals my appreciation of that which is old (or old-fashioned) and that which is modern and convenient. I have no problem mixing the old with the new.  In fact, I love that.  The comfortable way I feel about mixing old and new in my kitchen carries over to my homestead blogging too.  Think about it.  Those of us who like to practice hobby farming or homesteading and then blog about it . . . well, we're obviously mixing the old with the modern there too.  We're an odd breed, us homestead bloggers.  To read more about it and find out how you can take some steps toward becoming a blogger too, CLICK HERE.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Permanent Chicken Link-Up

If you've ever written a post about chickens, I invite you to join my Permanent Chicken link up Today.  There is so much wonderful information out there, and this link up will provide a permanent place on my blog to come and read posts about chickens.  Each Friday for the next few months I will post a new topic to link up (next week is posts about goats).  So come link up and see what others are saying about one of our favorite backyard animals!

From Gretchen at the Backyard Farming Connection

Turkeys and Ducks, Living together happily ever after

Last weekend we decided that the Turkeys had outgrown their coop and pen and would be needing more space as soon as possible.  The problem was, we did not have time to spend building them a turkey palace right away.  The solution turned up right in the neighborhood.  Read the rest of the story >>>>

How to Clean Chicken Feet

When I asked about posting how to clean chicken feet here, some of us gals thought I was gonna talk about chicken pedicures. Ha! Well, maybe we do need a little tutorial on that when it comes to county fair time. But today, I want to introduce you to the secret ingredient to the best chicken stock you ever did taste. If you haven't been putting chicken feet in your stock pot, you have not only missed out on incredible flavor, but a lot of health benefits as well. (Sorry, the health benefits are for another day and another post.)

So if making healthy chicken stock is your thing, and you butcher your own birds, hop on over to Everything Home with Carol to learn the right way to get all those germs out from under those toenails. :)

Click here to read more.

Gravity Fed Chicken Feeder

 One of my favorite times of day is "Chore Time" where feeding, watering, and general cleaning take place. I love visiting with the animals and I feel so accomplished when I am finished. Sometimes carrying heavy buckets of grain, especially when the temperatures dip into the teens (or below) encroach on my joy. The animals NEED to be fed, but perhaps in the cold months, their is a better way to accomplish this task. One that takes less time and muscles and does not involve my fingers turning blue nor threatening to fall off. With that goal in mind, Sean and I designed a new, "repurposed" gravity fed chicken feeding station. It still wants a good coat of paint and perhaps a pretty motif stencilled on as decoration, but it has proved to be a rather useful invention- even in its currently homely state.

Come for a visit to Lally Broch Farm to see how it turned out.

Sonja ♥

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Be ready! Mobile 72 hour Emergency kits

Image from Emergency Essentials

We garden, we farm, we can, we have food storage,we raise livestock. We are self-sufficient! However, are you and your family prepared for times when despite our efforts, we need to leave our homes? You can be! All it takes is some planning.

Thanksgiving Dress-Up

I rarely show pictures of my family members on my blog, but last Thanksgiving was so much fun, I just had to share this idea--because you might want to do it too!  We were hosting Thanksgiving dinner for our family at Maple Grove, and we passed the word around that it would be fun to dress up as Pilgrims and Native Americans.  (I ought to interject here that our family looks for ways to impose a fun theme on any and every occasion.  We just don't like life to be dull, so this is pretty much typical of the way we are.)  READ ALL ABOUT IT.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Chick Photoshoot

It's a hard thing to not show off that new car, your children, or the amazing Christmas tree you just decorated. I've also noticed that for most people, it's REALLY hard to not show off pictures of your chicks, horses, goats, etc. So, today, I'm showing off some of chicks I photographed yesterday (and because you're all so wonderful, I'm showing one photo on FarmChickChitChat that I did not post on my own blog).
(This little guinea did not at all enjoy the this is 1 out of 2 total pictures taken)

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