A Week in Farm Photos - August 24th - 30th

August 30, 2014

Photo: The sun is shining, the chickens are clucking, the ducks are quacking.

It's hard to believe that Labor Day is here. We've had such a nice temperate summer in Virginia this year, it's the first year in more than a decade of living here that I am sad to see summer end! But I love autumn and warm, cozy sweaters, comfort food, hot cider and all that comes with the shorter days and cooler temperatures, so bring it on! Enjoy a peek at our week.

Classic Homemade Basil Pesto

August 27, 2014

Each year, I make sure to harvest the last of the basil in our herb garden before the first frost. My favorite way to use all that basil is in homemade pesto.  And if you have home-grown garlic as well, all the better!

Molt Busting Mealworm Granola Bites

August 25, 2014

The shorter days of generally fall trigger a molt, which is  basically the loss of old, dirty or broken feathers and the regrowth of new feathers in chickens and ducks.  The timing of the molt ensures that your hens have nice new, fluffable feathers for the winter that will help keep your chickens warm. The first adult molt occurs around 18 months old and then happen annually after that. 

A Week in Farm Photos - August 17th to 23rd

August 23, 2014

Every week is a good week when you live in the country. It's even better when the weather stays in the high-80s and it rains just enough that you don't have to water the garden.  We're still harvesting a boatload of squash and cucumbers from the garden, so the chickens and ducks are feasting on the excess. Take a peek at our week!

BOOK REVIEW: Living Wreaths by Natalie Bernhisel Robinson

August 22, 2014

As the days start to grow shorter, hours of daylight wane, and we look forward to fall, I naturally am itching to change out the wreath on the front door. So the timing could not have been better for the book Living Wreaths by Natalie Bernhisel Robinson to appear on my doorstep. 

Freezing Herbs for a Winter Treat for your Chickens

August 20, 2014

I grow an abundance of herbs and edible flowers each spring and summer to use in my cooking and also to share with the chickens fresh from the garden. Throughout the summer I also dry the excess using my homemade Tiered Herb Drying Rack and then add the dried herbs to our chicken feed in the winter for extra nutrition when they can't munch on fresh grasses and herbs. I also freeze some herbs for a nice 'green' surprise for the hens when snow is on the ground. It couldn't be quicker or easier.

Blackberry Rosemary Herbal Simple Syrup

August 18, 2014

Fresh rosemary paired with blackberries really gives this simple syrup a nice, complex taste. I love to whip up a batch of the syrup, then add it to a glass of ice and club soda for an all natural flavored 'soda' in the summer. 

A Week in Farm Photos - August 10th - 16th

August 16, 2014

This week was bittersweet. We lost one of our Saxony ducks to advanced liver failure which was quite a shock. Then our Lavender Orpington rooster, Emilio, really tore up Truffle, our Chocolate Orpington so he's now going to be finding a new home (email me if you're in the Hampton Roads, Virginia area and interested!) and she's being cared for in the hospital ward. We don't tolerate bullying or drama in our chicken yard any more than I do online. 

But the week ended on an upnote as I finished up a 6-part series I am writing for HGTVGardens and got my outline worked out for Book #2. I also finalized a deal with an exciting new sponsor. I'll be helping them develop a brand new product line for spring which I'm really eager to get started on! Enjoy this week's photos.

Easy Cardamom Ginger Zucchini Bread with Streusel Topping

August 13, 2014

'Tis the season of an overabundance of zucchini in every backyard garden. This zucchini quick bread is one of our family favorites because it uses fresh eggs, homegrown zucchini and one of my favorite spices - cardamom. It also comes together very quickly and is easy to make at a moment's notice.

DIY Wood and Wire New England Clam Hod Egg Basket

August 11, 2014

When you raise backyard chickens, you can never have too many egg baskets. Since both my husband and I are New Englanders born and bred, I have long admired the traditional Maine clam "hods" which were used to gather and rinse shellfish and have also recently gained popularity as garden baskets for collecting and rinsing produce. Pure Yankee ingenuity, the wire and wooden clam hods are functional as well as artistic. Generally holding a half bushel, they can be used as picnic baskets, knitting baskets or even a place to store kindling wood for the fireplace. And of course, would make a wonderful egg basket.

A Week in Farm Photos - August 3rd to 9th

August 9, 2014

Photo: Enuf said. #fresheggsrock

Another cool, wet week here in Virginia which was great for the garden. We've been harvesting cucumbers and zucchini like crazy! I don't mind the rain since I've been passing the summer writing a few articles for several magazines and working on my second book. My first book will be back on the shelves next month, already in its 3rd printing (yay!) with the addition of a brand new index. 

I'm also excited that I'll be presenting my first talk on Beginning Chicken Care next month, so I'm preparing for that. I will also be doing some filming for two national television shows in September. So stick around for what is shaping up to be a very exciting year around here! Who would have ever thought that my 'hobby' would turn into a full-fledged career? I honestly couldn't be happier with how things have turned out. Here are the girls and guy who are my daily inspiration. Our chickens.

COOKBOOK REVIEW: Extra Virgin by Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar

August 8, 2014

One of the fun things about being an author and blogger is that I get sent lots of book to review - and I mean lots. On all different topics. I can't possibly read them all, nor do I want my blog to turn into book review central, so I am extremely choosy about which books I ultimately do decide to review. Extra Virgin: Recipes & Love from our Tuscan Kitchen  was a no-brainer. 

Good Bugs vs. Bad Bugs: The Struggle between Good and Evil in the Garden

August 6, 2014

The combination of warm sunny days, cool nights and plenty of rain has conspired to help our melon and squash garden flourish. There are cheerful yellow blossoms everywhere and even the beginnings of some tiny fruit. Bees are buzzing around - which makes me so happy considering the plight of the honeybees and how beneficial they are in pollinating all of the beautiful blossoms.

Of course bad bugs have taken up residence as well, but hopefully the toads and bats along with some good bugs are controlling their numbers. As with much in life, it's a constant struggle between good and evil, even inside the confines of garden fencing.  Come take a look!

Basic Backyard Chicken Keeping Etiquette

August 4, 2014

Raising backyard chickens is a wonderful and joyous undertaking. From the adorable cuteness of baby chicks, to anxiously awaiting their first egg, you will quickly become enamored with everything chicken from the very start. But beware, not everyone will share your joy - and some basic etiquette must be followed if you expect to continue to be well-liked by family, friends and neighbors.

A Week in Farm Photos - July 27th to August 2nd

August 2, 2014

Photo: We all know that duck eggs are best for baking, but they make every dish shine. What is your favorite recipe to use your duck eggs in?

What a week! This has been THE best summer here in Virginia hands down in all the years we've lived here. Sunny days with low humidity, cool nights and plenty of rain. Our gardens are thriving and our ducks are so very happy! The chickens...well they could do without the rain, but I'm sure they're glad we're not experiencing the normal summertime heat and humidity. So all in all, life is good here on the farm. Enjoy a peek at our week.

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