I am writing this much after the fact. A week after the fact to be precise. I was so excited last Friday because it was the scheduled day for baby chicks!!! M&E had approached me about a month before saying they were getting 35 baby chicks and if I wanted babies it would be best for us all to get them at the same time. That is, if we were going to house them all together for their start. Then their plans changed as they had a funeral to attend to and so they had to put off getting theirs for a few days. I didn’t want to wait! So, I decided I could manage my few on my own.
I found a plastic tote, lined it with foam contact paper (so they wouldn’t slip) and stuck in the lids from jars for water and food. I safely secured a red heat lamp above it. I was ready to head to town to pick up my charges.
But first, I have a couple more chores to do at home. I converted a 5 gallon bucket into a nipple waterer for the coop. I had been wanting to do this. The old waterer broke when we had all the freezing weather. Then the setup I was using was so messy and nasty I couldn’t stand it. This is going to be so much nicer for keeping the coop dry and the waterer clean.
I also gave Grammy’s boots a new pair of shoelaces. These boots are over 40 years old…and they still are comfortable and keep my feet dry and sturdy when hiking around the property. I’ll save the old shoelaces and add them to my tote in the truck for emergencies! I also took my walk before heading to town and went almost 2 miles~!
Of course if I go to town it means I have to do my grocery shopping and visit a few folks. With gas prices what they are I try to make my miles work for me. It is 25 miles just to get to town. First stop is to get some juices and easy foods for my friend who has been sick with the bug going around. He has not felt well for a couple days now and so I will get juice, sierra mist, crackers and some chicken soup for him.
After a little visit with my friend I went to Cartwright’s meat market. Every friday they have these great little bacon wrapped sirloin steaks for $3.79 each. Limit of 6. I had them wrap me up 3 separate packages with 2 steaks each in them. Not much else is really grabbing my eye so then I’m off to the Farmer’s Market. I needed some oranges and onions and a couple lemons. I’m almost out of my lemon/ginger/honey elixir that I keep in the fridge. Fresh greens, some mushrooms and a loaf of seeded whole wheat sourdough from Ashland Bakery. Now off to the grange.
I was grinning ear to ear upon arriving in the parking lot. I was so excited to be getting my first chicks. I checked in with the counter and told them I was going to gather a few supplies before I picked out my girls. I got some chick food, electrolytes and probiotics to add to the water, a small feeder and waterer and an extra light set-up, just in case. And of course, a thermometer. Now the fun part, choosing my girls. I was set up to get 2 Silver Laced Wyandottes and 2 Speckled Sussex. Of course, I had got the week wrong and the Sussex aren’t going to be here until next week (which is today). I got the 2 SLW and decided I needed one more to help them stay warm (right….one more is going to make a difference…it’s my rationale and I’m sticking to it). I picked out a pretty little Welsummer. They have pretty big brown eggs and I only have one Welsummer, so now I’ll have a pair! I like pairs. 🙂 I paid for all my supplies and chicks with egg money.
Off we go to home.
I got everything unloaded and the chicks settled into their little plastic home. Such cute little fluffy butts! They make the cutest little chirpy noises and they peck and stretch their legs and wings and lie down and look dead! Yes…they will lie on their sides all stretched out and if I wouldn’t have seen her breathing, I would have thought she was dead. But not dead…just sleeping. Which is what I needed to do! It has been a busy day and I have enjoyed all of it!!!
Saturday morning was a bright sunny day. My girls had survived the night. The temperature has stayed right around 93 degrees. They are eating and drinking and chirping and doing chicken stuff! They are so adorable. As are my full grown girls. I decided to go out for a walk and visit with the other animals on this gorgeous sunny Saturday. Spring is coming! The cows are a bit amourous…pretty frisky actually. In fact…this could be x-rated. Part of farm living. The smells, sounds and sights. If ya can’t handle it, you best not move to the country. Animals copulate. Yup! Sex. Right out in the open. They don’t care who is around and what is going on. Just leave them alone and they will do their thing. Even tho these cows are only little Dexter’s and weight much less than a full size cow…I am not going to get in the way of their efforts to poplulate the pasture! No one else is either. The sheep don’t pay any attention nor do the chickens. Over the course of an hour Mr. Cow was very loving to Mrs. Cow! Cow courtship is cute.
I have soups to make. I had bought mushrooms with the intention of making the mushroom soup I had before, but I also wanted to make a chicken soup. I used this recipe http://theshiksa.com/2010/11/03/mushroom-barley-soup/ for my base. This soup is really yummy. I didn’t have shitake mushrooms, so I used baby portebellas. To conserve my energy and fuel for cooking I started both soups with the same base. This is how it went down.
The mushroom soup got started in my dutch oven on the stove. I put 1 quart of chicken broth, 1 quart of water and 2 teaspoons chicken broth granules in the pot with 2 bay leaves and 1 cup of barley and let boil on low with the lid off.
In my slow cooker I placed 1 cup of wild rice, 1 quart of chicken stock and 1 quart of water and 2 teaspoons chicken stock granules and turned on low and simmered for 2 hours.
I cut the portebella’s into slices and placed them in 3 cups of water and boiled for minute and then let them soak as described in the recipe.
The base for both soups:
1 cup celery diced
4 cups carrot diced
6 cloves garlic chopped
1 1/2 cups onion chopped
I cooked all the veggies how “The Shiksa” describes in the mushroom soup recipe in my cast iron skillet. I drained the portebella’s and chopped them fine and added them just like described for the shitakes. Then all the mushroom water got added. I poured 2/3 of the veggie mixture and almost all of the liquid into the dutch oven. The other 1/3 of the mixture went into the slow cooker.
I then cooked the crimini mushrooms as described and added them to the mushroom soup mixture with a little salt and pepper to taste. I had to add a total of 2 1/2 cups of water to this as it cooked over a period of 2 hours.
Into the crock pot went 2 cups chopped cooked chicken, 1 tablespoon tomatoe paste, 1 can diced tomatoes and a package of spinach. A large pinch (teaspoon) of basil and 1/2 teas salt and pepper. I let this cook on low overnight.
Both soups turned out wonderful. While they were cooking I make some more of my honey/lemon/ginger elixir for the cold season. I decided to try some of the suggestions I”ve seen, and one jar got a heaping teaspoon of cinnamon added to it. The other jar received 3 cloves of garlic sliced into the mix. I will try both. I somehow managed to also get a pan of brownies baked while all this was going on. By the time I was all done with the dishes and the stove and oven were all turned off I could tell I was getting sick! A big spoonful of honey elixir, some airbornne, and a big jug of water and off to bed I went.
I was grateful I had got all these things cooked up. As it turns out, I spent the next 4 days in bed and the soup and elixir were perfect! My appetite was not at all affected by my virus. I was so grateful to have healthy foods ready to eat, because I did not have the energy to prepare them. It was a heat and eat week, all the while watching and listening to and enjoying my new baby chicks.
The speckled Sussex are in! Time for a trip to town. This time I don’t want to come home and get sick! Just a nice trip to town to get my chicks and stock up on a few items that got used up over the week. Hoping you enjoyed the soups!