Saturday, January 28, 2012

Friday Finds

This week someone featured my item in their treasury.

http://www.etsy.com/treasury/NzMyNDY1OXwxOTY3MTMwMzQ2/choose-a-path-less-travelled





Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wandering Wednesday – Rainforest of Puerto Rico

The rainforest of Puerto Rico is warm and humid. It smells fresh and clean like the garden after it rains. There are a lot of recognizable houseplants in ginormous sizes. It’s interesting seeing them in their natural habitats.
A prime example is this fern. That is a bus behind the lower right corner.
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I loved the snails
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I hope you’ve enjoyed the rainforest today. This will be my last full post for a while. I am going on vacation. Woooo! I may send some pics along if I can. Need to add to the coffers for future Wandering Wednesdays :D

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mom’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mom swears her recipe came off the back of a chocolate chip bag, but I have never seen the same one on any bag and I have never tasted one so perfect to me.

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Ingredients:

2/3 C Shortening

2/3 C Butter ( I use unsalted. Sometimes if we use salted it ends up a little salty)

1 C Light Brown Sugar                                3 C Flour (I use KAF Unbleached White)

1 C White Sugar                                        1 tsp Baking Soda

2 Eggs                                                      1 tsp salt

2 tsp Vanilla                                               Bag of chips of choice + some nuts like a cup

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Preheat oven to 375

1) Cream butter, shortening, and sugars together until smooth.

2) Add eggs and vanilla mix in.

3) Mix dry ingredients together and then incorporate into the wet mix.

4) Add chips and optional nuts. Should look like the first picture :) Wet but moldable.

5) Use a Tablespoon to scoop out a full tablespoon (mine are often a little over) and form a loose ball and place on cookie sheet. Repeat until sheet is full. 

6) Bake approximately 12 minutes.

***Very important*** Bake just until it has the slightly golden edges and little brownish bumps. See the bumps in the picture above? You’ll double think yourself and say they don’t look done. But they are. They really are! There shouldn’t be any wet spots. Just look for the bumps. It’s sooo important. If you overcook them they won’t be soft. They will be hard. They’ll still taste good, but they won’t have the same mouthy feel.

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I really love these cookies. They are my childhood in every bite. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. It has taken me quite a bit of pondering to share it, but mom keeps saying she got it off the chip bag. Did your mom make the same ones? I wonder sometimes.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Winter has arrived…..

Finally ! I love snow it makes winter so bright! It snowed all day Saturday and we ended up with about 8” or so. The Husband took our 4 wheel drive car to work and I stayed home and baked while the snow fell. I made my mom’s chocolate chip cookies and maple walnut bread and will share them in a future post. Probably tomorrow. I should get a picture of those cookies before they all disappear.

The chickens definitely do not like snow and they told me all kinds of stories when I went to visit them. We had taken the lattice down from the side of the run when Athena died and I didn’t realize how much weather it kept out. We are going to have to do something before it snows again. I do have some heavy plastic, but we tried that one year and it just blew off no matter how many nails or staples or bales of hay we used to hold it. I have a large collection of old windows I collected when making the new house. Maybe I will try something with them.

Anywho, I took a ride Sunday and took some pictures. I enjoy the quiet solitude we have here in the winter. It seems everything is at rest.

Menemsha

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Below is my favorite soft serve window. They have chocolate peanut butter dip! Yep, it’s like your ice cream cone is dipped in a peanut butter cup! Yum. Not today though.

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Tashmoo

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I seem to have ended up with a fishermen’s snow day theme. In Menemsha there is a lobster boat for sale by the road. On the sign it says “Surprise your wife. Buy her a lobster boat for Christmas!” Nobody took his idea to heart by the fact that the boat is still there. Can’t say he didn’t try though :)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Finds- 1/20/2012

This week my Friday Finds was inspired by pretty eggs. Especially the lovely, but alas elusive for me, blue eggs.

Wooden eggs- heritage breed chicken eggs- eco friendly- Waldorf toy

Garland - Bunting - Robin's Egg Blue - Crochet - Home Decor - Party Decor - Nursery Accent

Stitch Markers - Robin's Eggs - Set of 5

Robin Jug

I hope you’ve enjoyed this weeks finds. To see more you can check out the treasury.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Inspection

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We received a pink slip on the door yesterday. The girls have been counted in the state farm animal census. Their little 4’X6’ house also passed “barn” inspection.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wandering Wednesday – St. Maarten

I can’t believe it but I am running out of tropical places. Some pictures seem to have disappeared from the computer, such as the Panama Canal, Cozumel, and Ecuador. What about Aruba can’t find her either. hmmmmm. I will have to look in other places. Otherwise, it’s a good thing I have a tropical trip planned for the end of the month :D

Anywho, think warm tropical breezes. Birds singing and the sound of the warm sea lapping on the beach. Sand between your toes. Aaahhhhh.

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P1000612 I hope you’ve enjoyed St. Maarten.  Please join us next week to see what else we can find :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Camelot of Baking….

Sunday I picked up my sister and we drove 2.5 hrs to Norwich, Vermont, where it was a balmy 2 degrees, for a four hour winter soup and bread class at …….King Arthur Flour. The temperature gauge in the car did hit –3 passing Whaleback Mountain going up Rte. 89.There was also snow on the ground. Plowable snow! I haven’t seen any snow this winter. I love snow.
I digress.
We were at King Arthur!
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and they fed us snacks of fresh baguettes, raisin bread, and beverages.
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Our teacher for the day was Bonny and she had a wonderful assistant Cindy who I didn’t get a picture of, but she was always there with what you needed. This is Bonny teaching us to fluff the flour before measuring. First we made a heart of winter loaf.
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While those were rising we made two soups which I was so busy prepping and paying attention, I didn’t take any pictures. I did take pictures of the finished product at the end. We then prepped the bread for the oven…egg whites, seeds….P1030292 score.
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We then made cornmeal biscuits of which mine were not very successful. We deduced that perhaps I didn’t use enough cream. hmm…. Anywho, I will try again at home and see what develops. Finally, after all the preparing and learning and such we got to enjoy the rewards of hard work..
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My very own Heart of Winter Loaf
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We had a great time and learned so much. There were so many tips and scientific information as to why certain things go before other things and how ingredients interact. Bonny and Cindy were really personable and you could tell they really liked what they do. We will definitely be back and when we do, I’ll be sure to share it.
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I've linked this post up with the Country Homemaker Hop

Monday, January 16, 2012

So Many Birds!

Like Tilly’s Nest, Scratch and Peck, Terry Golson aka the Hencam Lady, and many many others. I too went to the Northeastern Poultry Congress on Saturday. It was big fun. I arrived around noon and started in the sale room. ( I know I promised not to buy anything.) It was kind of a weird set up to me. The birds were in cages lined up on the floor with handwritten tags of a name, entrant number, or phone number of the bird owner, a price and sometimes what type of bird it was. The seller wasn’t usually there, you had to find them. It might have been the time I showed up, but it still seemed odd to me.Give me a swap where the people are set up with a booth or a tailgate or something and are there with the birds so you don’t have to hunt them down. I held out and didn’t buy anything.

Then, I moved into the big room and was bombarded with sound. The roosters! Oh the roosters! I am not complaining. After a bit, I was used to it. They were at the peak of their manliness and were showing it off. I just have all girls, it was a new noise to adjust to. The area was huge. Huge. There were ginormous cochins and little teeny tiny banties.  Here are some new friends I met.

P1030178     This pair is apparently a type of bantam chicken. They looked like pigeons to me, but what do I know. The man next to me said they were the poultry version of Phyllis Diller :D

I spent some time in the Langshan area. They were all friendly when I came up to the cage to say hi. There was a particularly talkative black hen that I had a long chat with. Her owner just happened to be behind me and witnessed our conversation. He let me know she was for sale, but part of a trio. I have to report that I was tempted for a milisecond. It would never work though, especially bringing in a boy with alpha hen Betty. So I thanked him and politely declined. >sigh< 

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Unfortunately, some cage neighbors just couldn’t get along. I love his dirty look.

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So pretty and she knows it. Posed all pretty for me after a spin so I could see all angles.

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Auracana “hi!”

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“Devil Chicken”

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After perusing the poultry, I entered in the raffle. They had all kinds of useful and decorator items that were chicken related. I entered for some practical items such as food, egg cartons, and there was a neat nest box. Unfortunately, I didn’t win a thing. Oh well, maybe next time. Next to the raffle were vendor tables with everything you could every need for  your bird. Feed, feeders, a man who sold chicken tractors, and an artist that made pottery shaped like farm animals. Eggcartons.com was there with a plethora of stuff. Anything you could every need or not need was there. There was also a photographer there so you could have your picture taken with your bird. Or just your bird’s picture taken.

P1030252-1Before taking my place at the Backyard Chickens table, I attended a class by Mr. Don Nelson, APA ABA judge and breeder of Rhode Island Reds from Rhode Island. He was very personable, friendly and open to questions. It was  about judging and what judges are looking for. The class started off with trios and what judges are looking for in a trio. A trio is two girls and a roo of the same breed. He had two trios as samples and showed how the judges go through the thought process of choosing the better group. He also had tips on how to choose the birds from your flock for your trio. It was very interesting.

He then went into the points process and the “display” calculations. Which was also incredibly interesting and complicated about the whole points per place and depending on how many birds in the category and so on.

I learned a lot and the only thing I would say was missing was the whole judging process for a single bird and how it would vary from a trio and what they are looking for. Overall, I really enjoyed it and learned quite a bit in a short time from a professional judge and breeder.

The rest of the day was spent at the BYC table acting as good will ambassador answering questions, chatting about chickens, and introducing people to the website. I met some very nice ladies from BYC and had a nice time. I didn’t knowingly meet any bloggers, I did spot Tilly’s Nest several times, but every time she was surrounded by people. Ok we will call it engaged in conversation. Or, you know, hanging out with a large white crested black polish roo on her shoulder :D

I will definitely be returning next year. 

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