Monday, June 9, 2014

Notes From the Country - Country Roads, Comfort Food, and, of course, Aprons

 There were some new faces on our road this past week. This is the time of year calves are weaned and on their own and being curious, baby hawks have found their wings (and their voices - which they use to screech with all day long), baby skunks are exploring their surroundings with their parents (outside our front door), foxes are out in force "grocery shopping" for their young (at my chicken house), and horses and alpacas seem to think the grass is always greener in someone else's
pasture (or the front yard)

This is one of neighbor's horses on the outside of her fence. She was on the road munching on the grass by the ditch one evening when we went for a walk.

When you live in the country things like this periodically happen. Over the years we've helped round up various horses, cows, dogs, even a cat during really windy weather, and we've had neighbors show up at our door with our dog ("Missing a Corgi?) or a phone call saying they've seen our alpacas wandering up the road. It happens.

No matter the time they've been out, they're always excited to get back home and their pasture mates are always excited to have them back. This was the pre-excitement face saying, "Hurry up and get her back in here"

Do you realize just how many feathers there are on a chicken? Ok, I haven't actually counted, but let me tell you there are so, so many. I wouldn't have showed you this picture if my chicken had actually succumbed to the fox. Fortunately,  years of living here have honed my hearing instincts to recognize those routine animal noises and those out of the ordinary. A chicken squawking wildly after the sun sets is not in the realm of ordinary. I've learned to run very fast when I hear sounds like this and so when I heard this sound last week I was out of my bedroom, down the stairs, and out the back door in record time.

As I ran outside I saw white feathers blanketing green grass, my chicken down by the pasture fence, and a fox right beside.  The fox actually hesitated as if to decide how much of a threat I was. As I started yelling - not in a pretty way - he took off and I was left with an injured chicken in shock. (Mouth hanging open, not moving, panicked look in her eye - ok I made up that last part) After much spritzing of antibiotic/antibacterial spray to the open wound, and holding, petting, and comforting with soothing words (It calms them!), she is healing and has forgotten the whole episode. 

And all these feathers were just from under her wing! Moving along,

I have been craving green drinks lately. Fresh, fresh, fresh. I love how these fruits and vegetables...

 turn into this (with the help of a good juicer). Fresh, organic, healthy fruits and vegetables for us, and the leftovers for the chickens! There are so many recipes out there for green drinks, but honestly I just add some of this and some of that, a little veg and a little sweet fruit and it ends up really delicious!

 I usually reserve this type of food for the winter months, but there was a cool day recently, and I had ground beef and potatoes, and discovered my new favorite food blog so Shepherds Pie it was!

The potato crust was blended with roasted garlic, uh huh, and the filling had all kinds of goodness in it. The recipe actually called for Guinness beer, which I did not happen to have (I only have Guinness in the house on St Patrick's Day), however, a good bottle of red wine? Well, yes!
 This was the best Shepherds Pie! So full of flavor with a great consistency, topped with the garlic mashed potatoes, and cheese. I am definitely going to make this one again. Here's the link. Jonathan is so funny and comes up with deliciously different takes on recipes. And his photos are gorgeous.  I've made a few of his other recipes. Blt sliders. Again I changed his recipe a bit. I made a fresh herb mayo because I didn't have avocado, but orange marmalade to top it off? Amazing! And grilled chicken Caesar salad. (Not just grilled chicken but grilled lettuce and homemade grilled croutons!) So refreshing and unique. 

Finishing up my new apron shorties. Simple, easy, when you just want a bit of coverage, for endless uses! This is the Up Cycled Shortie. Coffee bean bag in this case.

The Whimsy Shortie. Collecting eggs? Gardening? Or just having a bit of fun in the kitchen.

Coming to my shop - well - sometime soon!

ps. Will have options for guys and girls!

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