Egg Anatomy: What's Inside that Eggshell Anyway?


Most of you probably eat eggs regularly. They are nutritious and an inexpensive, versatile protein source. You probably crack the shell and let the insides plop into your fry pan or mixing bowl without a second thought. But did you ever wonder what exactly is inside that eggshell? Or sometimes see red spots or squiggly white strands inside and wonder what they are? Well, wonder no more.

Healthy Treats for Backyard Ducks











Although ducks enjoy many of the same treats as chickens, over the years I have watched to see the foods that seem to be their favorites. Ducks can eat a wide variety of fresh, raw and cooked fruits and vegetables, whole grains and meat/fish, and a varied diet not only makes life more interesting for them, it makes their diet healthier, and allows you to not let anything go to waste.

A Week in Farm Photos July 21st - 27th


Don't you just love summer? Everything is flourishing and pretty - there's certainly no shortage of flowers and green here in the country.  So come enjoy some farm 'eye candy'...

The Real Scoop on Using Sand in your Chicken Coop, Run or Brooder



When something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Latest case in point: using sand in your coop, run or chick brooder.  Recently I've been watching several other bloggers praise the benefits of sand - how easy it is to keep clean, how much the chickens love it, etc. but I quickly discounted it because wild poultry don't choose to live at the beach. They're not seagulls after all!  Just going with common sense and logical thinking, using sand in chicken keeping didn't make any sense to me.

I Did a Bad Bad Thing - Dogs and Duck Itch


This past week has been hot. Really really HOT. But there were still outdoor chores to get done, and of course our dogs want to be where ever we are, which meant they romped outside while my husband was mowing until their tongues were lolling and they were panting.  So when our corgi Winston headed off to the pond behind our house to swim and cool off, I figured that was a good idea right ? Wrong! Ever heard of Duck Itch? Well, neither had I...

What to Expect When You're Expecting (Eggs from your Backyard Chickens)


It seems like only yesterday that you either hatched your chicks or they arrived from the feed store or in a box through the mail. But it's been almost 4 months and they are getting bigger. You start to wonder when you can expect some eggs.  You might wonder what you need to do to prepare for the big day - when you peek into your nesting box and see that first egg from your backyard chickens!

A Week in Farm Photos July 14th - 20th


This past week brought extreme heat to most of the country, and no different for us in Virginia. But thankfully all of our animals made it through just fine with a little TLC and a lot of watermelon and frozen treats!  

Canning 101: Watermelon Rind Pickles


I only started canning about a year ago, but in that time I've made various jams, jellies and marmalades. Out of everything I tried, I think these Watermelon Rind Pickles are my favorite. They are a nice alternative to regular pickles when accompanying burgers on the grill - sweet and tangy with a hint of spice. If you choose a watermelon with a nice thick rind, your pickles will be firm with a bit of crunch.

Ram Zone Guest Post #2: Getting Back to my Roots


Earlier this year I was asked by Ram Trucks to write a series of short articles for their blog RamZone as part of their Year of the Farmer campaign. 

A Week in Farm Photos - July 7th - 13th


My husband's birthday is today. We celebrated a bit early, on Thursday, after one of our magpie ducks laid her very first two eggs for us the previous two days, which I promptly made into a beautiful cake decorated with fresh flowers.  Please enjoy these shots of our week on the farm, capped off by photos of the green duck eggs (yay!) and Mark's birthday cake.  Happy Birthday Mark and thank you so much for tolerating supporting all my endeavors and our foray into backyard farming!

The Fear Factor - Managing Concerns about Backyard Chicken Illness and Disease


When I feel a cold coming on, I immediately start taking Vitamin C and echinacea; during flu season, I drink lots of herbal tea and take elderberry.  As a result, I haven't come down with any serious illness or even gotten much more than a sniffle in years. I even self-treated my annual bout of bronchitis this winter using ground cinnamon, ginger and cloves instead of rushing to the doctor for a prescription like I have in the past.

I eat lots of nutritious fresh foods, get adequate exercise, and keep my immune system healthy, because that's your best defense against getting sick. And when you raise animals (or children), you know that you don't have the luxury of time off or sick days.

Do you Know your Culinary Herbs? Herb Identification Chart and Benefits

Do you know your culinary herbs by sight? How about their health benefits for both you and your chickens?  Here are a few varieties of herbs that I grow in my herb garden and the wonderful goodness of each.


I grow both Lime Basil and Sweet Italian Basil.  Basil has antibacterial properties and enhances mucus membrane health.  All types of basil work as a fly deterrent as well. 

Basil makes delicious pesto when combined with olive oil, Parmesan cheese and pine nuts and is also wonderful when paired with fresh mozzarella cheese and home grown tomatoes with some balsamic vinegar drizzled on top, or assembled between two sliced of Italian bread as a grilled cheese sandwich.

A Week in Farm Photos - June 30th to July 6th

This week brought the first heat of the summer, but also the first fresh corn. We enjoyed fresh eggs all week as usual, along with plenty of herbs from the garden in omelets, frittatas and iced tea. This week also brought us a glut of broody hens, two of whom you'll see below, not at all happy being told 'no more chicks' this year! Enjoy some of this week's best.

Happy Fourth of July


Do your patriotic duty, celebrate your independence and RAISE CHICKENS AND DUCKS! And just remember ♪♫Be kind to your web-footed friends, 'cause that duck could be somebody's mother....♪♫



Happy Fourth of July! 

Mixed Berry Cast Iron Skillet Crisp


Nothing says summer like fresh berries. This quick, easy berry crisp is perfect for your Fourth of July celebration and can be made using any type of berry you wish - blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, even strawberries (a little rhubarb wouldn't hurt either!).  You can use fresh or frozen berries.  I prefer a mix of blackberries, raspberries and blueberries, which is what I used here.

DIY Chardonnay Mango Wine Bottle Fly Catcher


Who doesn't have a problem with flies in the summer? These easy to make fly catchers will help control house and fruit fly populations in and around your barn, coop and back patio or kitchen counter.  And all you need is a bottle of wine and a mango.








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