Saturday, August 29, 2009

Lessons from the Quail

My husband and I have started to raise Quail. Ok, my husband and his father were talking about how raising quail and pheseants and then he sheepishly asked my "permission" to start a new hobby. Seeing how giddy it made him, we now have an incubator in our laundry room.

Watching the birds hatch was amazing. Our kids loved the opportunity to watch the tiny baby birds being born. They were surprised and just how long it took for the babies to peck their way through the fragile shell and wanted to help some of them who were struggling.

I had to explain to my kids that a Mama Bird cannot help the chick out of the egg by cracking the shell because it will kill the chick. The strength that is developed by cracking out of the shell is required in order to live and grow up into an adult. The mother hen will often peck at the shell to let the chick know that she’s there, and chirp and encourage the chick – but doing any of the work will actually weaken the chick.

It got me thinking about each of us in our lives. We all have challenges that we wish someone would crack for us and make easier. However, it is by going through these challenges that we become stronger and ready to face the life ahead of us.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What would you pay for a memory?

A 21 year old young man sells his beloved car to help his father's business. 26 years later, and a very successful businessman he decides to track down his original car.  Now, I know men have an emotional attachment to their cars, but I don't understand being willing to pay $250,000 to track down a car. Apparently, a replica wasn't even good enough - he had to have his exact car.

So, is this nostalgic or crazy?  I'm sure to this man the money was nothing compared to a special memory he had to his car. However - it's still a car.  An inanimate object. In today's economy and generation, doesn't this seem a little excessive.

What could you do with $250,000?
  • Obtain a Bachelor's degree and MBA at Harvard
  • 6 people can get nursing degrees
  • Provide food and shelter to homeless children
  • Provide free basic school supplies to Elementary schools
  • Provide occupational, speech or behavioral therapy to autistic children whose claims are denied by insurance companies
And the list goes on and on. 

I recognize the value of memories - but how much is too much?  I would love to have back some books that I've lent over the years and not gotten back, ones with notes from when I studied them in school.  There's a case somewhere with a bunch of collectable coins in them that I started collecting when I was about 10.

When I was growing up we would often go to the little A&W and get their taquitos.  It was a great memory for me of time with my family and of a fun treat.  A few years ago I found a little A&W shop and just had to pull in and get some taquitos.  They were no where near as good as I remember, and now the memory was a little bit tarnished.

What is something that you have lost that you would pay to retrieve? And when do you realize that some things are better left as a fond memory?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Chocolate Rabbit Zucchini Chili

No, this is not your typical homemade chili with a leftover chocolate Easter bunny tossed in for extra flavor. This is a good, old-fashioned chili with home raised rabbit meat. We have been raising rabbits in our little suburban farm. Rabbit is a very tender white meat that can be used in place of chicken in any recipe.

For this chili, if you don’t want to use rabbit, feel free to replace it with ground turkey, chicken, ground beef or leave out any meat for a vegetarian version.

1lb bag of black beans
3T olive oil
2lbs rabbit (or meat of choice)
1 large onion, diced
2 zucchinis, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
6T cocoa powder
2T chili powder
1T ground cumin
1t Oregano
½t Salt
½t Pepper
3 (28oz) cans diced tomatoes with liquid


1) Place bag of beans in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, drain and rinse. Place back into pan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for about an hour until beans are tender.
2) While beans are simmering, slow boil meat so it’s slightly cooked and you can debone the rabbit (or chicken).
3) Heat oil in large skillet, add diced onions, zucchini and garlic. Cook over medium heat until onions are clear.
4) Drain beans and rinse, place in crock pot. Debone meat, shred/dice and place over beans.
5) Add seasonings, cocoa powder and 1 can of tomatoes. Stir and simmer about 2 minutes.
6) Dump contents of skillet into crock pot, add other two cans of tomatoes. Mix everything together.
7) Cook on high for 1 hour. Simmer on low for 6-8 hours.

This produces a lot, so you will need a good sized crock pot! You can also simmer on the stove for about 2 hours if you’d prefer.

I took this to work one day and was surprised that the entire thing was gone! I hope you enjoy it as much as they all did.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

When Life Gives You...


When you plant more than one zucchini plant, you need to be prepared to have more zucchini than you can eat. So, what can you do when you have so much zucchini that you can't even give it all away?

Today I'm going to try to find out how many different ways I can utilize zucchini, and I will be posting successful recipes in the coming week.

Here are some of my ideas for utilizing that abundance of zucchini.
  • Shred up the zucchini as if you were going to put it into a bread recipe. Then pre-measure it into 2 or 3 cup servings and place in quart-sized ziploc bags and freeze to bake with all winter long.
  • Play ding-dong ditch with zuchinni for a variety of neighbors. If you'd like, put a bow on them. Now it's not your worry anymore!
  • Scour the internet for unusual zucchini recipes
  • Bake lots of zucchini bread. Make mini loaves or mini muffins, then freeze those. Great for snacks when school starts for the kids!

What are some of your most creative uses for zucchini??

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tales from the Coop

One of my favorite things about our little farm life is spending some time each day with our chickens and then collecting the eggs. Originally, this was a chore for the kids, but I quickly told them to keep away from the coop - I wanted this chore! (That's the benefit of being mommy, you are in charge of delegating the chores.)

Our second batch of chicks are now laying hens and so with our 14 hens of laying age we're getting a good batch of eggs a day. It's fun to see the different sizes, colors and the great variety that comes from fresh eggs from my chickens.

On Monday I was absolutely shocked to see the size of one egg. I compared it to birthing a 14 pound baby! So, I took some pictures to show just how big this egg got.
Thanks to watching movies on forensics and CSI, I knew that I had to put something in the picture to give context to the size. Hence, the quarter. The egg immediately to the right of the quarter egg is an average size Large egg.

Another picture for context.

The MEGA egg is at the top, the average egg on the bottom. It's about twice the size.

So, I just HAD to crack the egg and count how many yolks would be inside. (When hens first start laying, their eggs often have multiple yolks).

So, upon opening up the egg, I not only see just ONE, tiny yolk.

But also an ENTIRE egg INSIDE the egg.

The shells of an egg are soft and pliable until they are laid, but the inside egg was hard and goey. It was thick, and I couldn't crack it. Yes, I tried.

I have NO idea how this would happen, but I found it just absolutely interesting.

I love the experiences of farm life!