Changing Seasons

After an unusually cold southern winter this year, it seems spring has arrived within the last two weeks!  Not only have the temperatures remained in the 60’s (and even up to 78 one day!), we Have experienced some seriously scary weather in the midst of it all;  tornados, hail, severe thunderstorms, oh my!  It’s hard to imagine we had snow on the ground just three weeks ago!
But there are other signs of spring appearing all over our farm, the signs we really enjoy.  Our sweet little hens are laying an abundance of their delicious and colorful eggs every day, giving us enough to enjoy for ourselves and share with the neighbors and some of the widow ladies from church.
Of course those eggs are the basis of Audley’s favorite meal as well……
bacon, egg and Irish cheddar sandwich w/ fried potatoes
But the most exciting signs of spring are out in my gardens!  In just a matter of days, my fruit trees are beginning to show the promise of a luscious crop this summer.  I just love the juicy sweetness of a fresh peach or plum on a warm summer day!

All three of my plum trees are just swelling with buds.  I am so renewed looking at them, thinking of all the newness and life …. and all of that yummy jam I can make!

We moved two of our peach trees to what we hope is a better location for production.  I was afraid they wouldn’t do well, but as I was out earlier this week I noticed blooms galore.
Trying not to “count our chickens before they hatch”, I am so excited about making peach salsa, jam, and of course a peach pie (or two).  Now the real work begins as we have to watch the weather and keep these precious buds from freezing.

 

After the severe drought and extreme temperatures we were faced with last summer, I have been surprised at all of my herbs that survived.  I just love to cut these fresh flavors as I need them in the kitchen.
There is something so wholesome about growing some of your own food.
Tarragon
Have you ever made tarragon vinegar?  It’s super easy, and then you can turn it into your favorite vinaigrette.
Chives
Chives make the perfect topper for German potato salad.
Parsley
And who doesn’t use parsley when they cook?
Oregano
You mut have oregano if you are making spaghetti!
Swiss Chard

And new to my garden this year is Swiss chard.  Lately I see it used in many settings, so I thought it would be a great addition to our own garden.

The weather forcasters are predicting an abundance of lovely weather the next week, with a little rain to green everything up.  I am looking forward to all of the changes around the farm in the coming weeks!

Keeping Chickens

Sixty years ago it wasn’t an uncommon sight to see your neighbors raising chickens.  As families moved into suburbs and the city, raising your own poultry became obsolete as it was super convenient to run to the grocery store and grab a dozens eggs, all clean & neatly packaged.  It seems that chickens are making a comeback in our society.  I don’t know if it is a fad, or a desire to get back to pure foods, but it’s happening!  


It’s common knowledge that Martha Stewart keeps a lovely flock of chickens on her farm in Bedford. As a matter of fact, she has dedicated several shows and blog posts to keeping chickens and life on her farm. Her coops (as well as the farm) are just beautiful and efficient.  


marthastewart.com






Martha is not the only celebrity with chickens. Would you ever imagine that Felicity Huffman of “Desperate Housewives” and her hubby raise chickens? 


Did you love Dr. Carter on ER the way I did? Here is what he is doing now…. “Noah Wyle: We’ve got goats, chickens, horses, dogs, cats, two emus and five pot-bellied pigs. We just keep collecting these animals. I think when you are named Noah, you are destined for a certain way of life.” (taken from TV.com)


And Paula Deen?  Yes, she is raising chickens as well.

 




Two years ago this week, we began our own adventure of raising chickens.  Everyone is shocked when they realize it was this city girl, not her husband who wanted these.  I thought it would be great fun to raise a few hens for fresh eggs and sheer novelty.  Who would have ever guessed that we would now have a little farm, complete with goats, sheep, pot-bellied pigs, and calves (which were my husband’s idea!)!  

 

 I do adore my beautiful birds.  We have Rhode Island Reds, Astralorps, Araucanas (which lay the colored eggs), and a few exotics that are just too cute for words!

 

One of our astralorps
my very first RI Red hen
our silkie roo with his little one
Lily is a black cochin bantam …. feather-footed and small
Mr. Darcy is a black-tailed Japanese bantam …….

The pretty little bantam above lost his mate to a raccoon earlier in the summer.  So yesterday, he had friends arrive that are just his size.

3 hens and a roo to join Mr. Darcy


I really enjoy taking a walk out to the coop and gathering eggs everyday.  I feel so “Laura Ingalls”.  And the color?  I love the various shades we get from brown to pale green.  You can’t find that at a grocery store!





Since our little birds free-range and are given no hormones, I know my family (and our friends) are getting the best possible egg whether it be deviled, boiled, fried or in a cake when they sit down at Our Southern Table.


the family favorite way to eat an egg
And don’t think I’ve lost all of my frilly, city-girl ways…….





……because this is what you get when the resident farmer sends me to the co-op!  
 
They come in pink, too!


What do you think, would you ever consider keeping chickens?