Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Frostbite on chicken's combs ~ Rooster black comb

Well, I have posted about this a bit before and had lots of hits on it.  This unfortunately is the same rooster... he must be prone to weirdness (as they girls say)  Here is the earlier post from this summer.
Rooster Black Swollen Comb ~ Click HERE

We reached -40C without the windchill in effect the other day and this was the result when our heaters couldn't keep up in the barn.  The heat lamps were just above the water and still could barely keep the water open.  IT WAS COLD!  The heat from the chickens bodies kept them warm, but someday we will build a good barn of our own!
Just after  -40C, frostbite
 This is "Brownie" who turned out to be a Leghorn Rooster.  Isn't he handsome?  He now sports a frostbite black line in his comb and some spots on his wattle.  We'll see how much falls off.

UPDATE ~ 3 WEEKS later ~
Below is a photo of the same rooster and the top of his comb has shriveled and it has started to fall off at the front.  It will all fall off soon we think, but he is not otherwise affected.

3 weeks later, blackened and falling off

"Tweety Bird" Japanese Rooster also sporting a little  frostbite tips
 This was just a cute picture of "Crystal" our White Silkie hen and "Mr. Bean" our dark/black Brahma rooster.

 On the left is one of the leghorn hens with a large comb as well... it didn't get frostbite.
 Here is "Licorice" who we hatched out from an egg from our neighbors.  She is super friendly and sweet.  She loves her eggs and we can't wait for spring to see if she will hatch some out.
 Licorice and Tweety (a Japanese Buff Rooster)
 Here Licorice demonstrates how they tuck eggs underneath themselves.  They will gently steal them from your hands as well....
 Where did it go?  ha ha
Good night!

Butchering old laying hens

Disclaimer:  This post WILL in fact picture a dead chicken.  It is meant to show you "how to" skin an old laying hen and make some good soup!  I had a few requests for this, so here it is!

 Start with an old chicken ~ these ones were ISA Brown Laying Hens after about 1.5 years of laying.  There were 15 hens and laying about 4-5 eggs a day.  It didn't make much sense to keep feeding them expensive feed when their really good laying days were behind them.  They were also pretty cold with only 14 hens in the pen.
 If you have dogs, they will be eager for what they know it coming ~ it may be best to just ~
 lock up the dogs!
 This is our crude little chicken neck holder.  2 Nails to hold the head and we just use a hatchet to separate the head from the body.
 The blue 5 gallon pail was used to put the chicken in as it bled out.  You don't want blood in your meat. What my hubby ended up doing was just holding the chicken and letting it bleed out into the pail.  No flapping about.  While letting them twitch and flap about may be entertaining to some, it can damage your meat.  We weren't too concerned about damaging this old bird meat, but holding them kept the blood from getting everywhere, so we had a cleaner bird to work with.
 We just placed some heavy cardboard on top of some old barrels outside.  SHARPEN your knife.  I used a fish filleting knife.
Wearing your hubby's best work clothes is an added bonus and you just may feel redneck fashionable too!
 When it's cold out, it's nice to work on a warm chicken.
Push some breast feathers aside and make a slice into the skin.
 It can be pulled aside and the membranes cut to reveal all the breast meat.
 Move down to the legs.  We like to separate the legs first and leave the breasts for last.

 Just move slowly so you don't pierce the meat or the "guts" and there's no smell and mess :)
Push the legs back and they will kinda "crack" and then they are easy to cut off at the hip joint.
 Breast meat is easy, just slice down along the bone and don't jab the guts.  When we were finished we had a carcass with no mess to throw away and 2 legs and 2 breasts to make soup with.
14 chicken parts to make some good soup.  
I did fry up some of the breasts that night and they were a little chewy, but good healthy eating.
It took us 2 hours to set up, butcher and clean up for 15 chickens.  We didn't eat one of the hens.

It's nice not to waste too much but we didn't want to be bothered with gutting, etc for such old birds.  If we were starving, well, that would be different.

Hopes this helps a little.  It's pretty basic when you're not actually gutting a chicken.  Doing this in the fall, or a nice -1C January day is nice because there are no flies :)
UPDATE:   We have since tried the salt water brine recipe for an old rooster.  The skin was tough, but I soaked the rooster in a salt water brine for 2 days in the fridge.  Cooked it in a crock pot and it fell off the bone and was the best chicken we had eaten!  Girls are now asking for it more.  I did add some soy sauce and brown sugar to my brine, and there are MANY recipes on line for it.  Best would be to make up some brine, put your chicken in a heavy duty ziploc bag, pour in brine, then put the chicken in a container or your empty fridge crisper drawer.  YUMM

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A happy treat in the mail box!

A little sweet something came in the mail today ~ from Angie and the New Life.  She is my sis in law and she has a creative brain, as I think I've mentioned on here before.

Awhile ago a thing went around on Facebook that the first 5 people to comment on your status would get something homemade from you.  I did very poorly at mine, though it is never far from my mind.  She did much better!   I just can never settle on something to make until it is too late!  I am planning something for Valentine's for mine.

This little house came to my home!

 Isn't it darling?  My first thought was to put something in it... but what?  Then I spotted these cuties waiting for their home...

For now this is their home, but I'm thinking I may place a small Bible and our little devotional inside this.  How much fun would that be to open up the little house each morning to grab your Bible?

Thanks Angie!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Just little life tid bits

There are some things in our household that happen most often when Daddy is away.  
When he is out of the house.
When he won't see the mess...
it is better for everyone this way ~ anyone know what I mean?  Hee hee
Glitter glue is most definitely on that list!

 I don't know why I included that... she said something about her hair being like a boy, so she made this "uncle Troy" face.
Sometimes when Daddy is away, it is even nicer that my folks live a hop-skip-jump away.
to play Skippo
 are you watching the hand?????
 and make buggy eyes.  Notice the cookie.  Especially notice the little hand reaching out to move Papa's water glass from falling off the edge of the table.  It has been known to do that.  It is now a game... see how far Papa can get it to hang over before a child notices and saves it!
 Then you grab Nana and read her the silliest books from the Bookmobile.  This one was about "DOGS".  The favorite page was this of course "All dogs poop.  All dogs pee."  Then you move the lever and yes, there is a steady yellow stream when the dogs leg lifts on the tree.  Oh the joys!
 Trying to get a sweat on with Dance Dance Revolution.  It is too icy outside for other activities, so they are trying to get into shape for snowboarding by dancing.  Yes, oh my, dancing!
Dancing with Mayonnaise ????  Well, long story.  Kate bought some mayo to make some pretzel dip.  Forgot it in the van.  It froze.  She thought she may be able to shake it up like butter or whipcream and make it all good in the end.  She put forth a very valiant effort, but alas, it was deemed "gross" by Mei and it is in the garbage.  $4 down the drain... but it was worth the $4 watching them trying to coordinate arm movements with the dancing.  Highly amusing.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Homemade Whole Grain Bread

It has been brought to my attention that I haven't posted my bread recipe... that will never do!

I have posted a Cinnamon Buns recipe so check it out.  You can also search my Right Side Labels under "Baking" etc for other recipes.

Click Here For Cinnamon Buns Recipe

So here are a few favorite bread recipes that I use all the time.  The joys of bread making is experimenting in adding different grains, etc.  It takes time and patience to learn perhaps, but start off with small batches and just go for it!

Basic Bread   by Maureen Buckley

3 Cups milk (scalded with the shortening)
3 cups warm water
1/2 cup shortening (lard)
9 tbsp sugar (about 3/4 cup)
2 tbsp salt
3 tbsp instant yeast

Scald milk and shortening (about 5 mins in microwave).
Put in your mixer or into a large mixing bowl with the water.
Mix in sugar and salt.
Add 3 cups flour.
Mix yeast with 2 cups of flour and add.
Stir in enough flour to make a soft dough (not sticky, smooth, elastic like)  If you are using a mixer, it starts to pull away from the edges and is not sticky.
Turn out of pan and knead in additional flour.
Grease/oil a large bowl and plop your dough into it, turn it around so the top is covered with oil too.
Cover with wax paper from an old cereal box, etc. and a large tea towel.
Let rise in a warm location or in the oven with the light on.
Rise until doubled.  PUNCH down  and let rise again.
Make 6 loaves, grease pans, plop into the pans and let rise.  Preheat your oven 350F and then bake them for 30-35 minutes.
Turn pans upside down and knock out the loaves onto a rack.  YUM!

Try substituting wheat germ, ground flax, whole wheat, etc.

The above recipe also makes good cinnamon buns, garlic bread, pizza dough.
I made a full recipe and got 2 large pizzas, 1 9x13 pan of cinnamon buns and 1 loaf of bread.
A half recipe is nice.

JO's Whole Grain Bread

6 cups warm water
4 tbsp honey
1 cup ground flax
3 tsp salt
1 egg
1/3 cup olive oil
2 1/2 cups rye flour
3 tbsp instant yeast
1/2 cup wheat germ
whole wheat flour
white flour  ( i have another white bread recipe that uses 6 cups of water and about 16 cups of flour)

Mix in order given in a Bosch machine, etc or half the recipe in smaller mixers.
The trick with RYE flour is that you don't add so much flour that the dough is smooth like it normally should be.  You end up with a brick then!  Let it remain somewhat sticky!  Grease your hands good and as long as you can handle it and put it in greased (i use lard for this recipe in my pans) pans, you are good to go.  Press a little oats on top of it.
Let it rise until you like the size of it in the pan and bake it.  350F 30-35 minutes.

Try using Applesauce or yogurt in your breads as well.

A note about yeast:  These recipes have instant yeast, but for traditional, you need to proof your yeast in a little of the warm liquid used and some sugar.  No problem.  Just substitute, I'm not sure if the amounts are exactly the same?

70 Mile Community Christmas Dinner 2011

Since moving to BC, we have attended a small gathering of local folk at the 70 Mile House Community Dinner in December.  Then we decided to do a "little something", sorta like a mini Christmas concert, seeing as we weren't attending a school or church to be involved.
This year had warm and wonderful weather and saw a nice crowd again.  We met up with some friends....

 We sang a few carols with the children "leading" us.
 Then we did our little performance of "The 12 Days of Christmas"... Cariboo Style!  Pardon the photos, the camera wasn't working properly, and this is what we have!

On the 1st day of Christmas, my true love gave to me ....
A Porcupine in a Pear Tree
On the 2nd day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
2 Caribou (we held up a sign saying "To Cariboo"
On the 3rd day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
3 Grouse a drumming
(Feathers and sticks for drum sticks)
On the 4th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
4 moose a snortin'
(Gregg was  a good snortin' moose... he even wore antlers)
On the 5th Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
5 Stanley Cups!!!!

Gregg is holding up a tiny trophy for the Stanley Cup...
Lots of cheers from the men 
 On the 6th Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
6 Squirrels Curling
(this was Ruth with curlers in her hair and a bathrobe on)
On the 7th Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
7 Sled dogs sledding
(we had 7 teddy dogs in a sled being pulled my a string to the other side)
On the 8th Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
8 Mounties Munching!
 Tim Hortons... Lots of laughs with this one!
On the 9th Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
9 loons calling
 This got so many more laughs than we thought... the girls just pretended to yak yak yak on play phones and acting "loonie"
On the 10th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
10 horses leaping!
(last year we also had some teddy horses flying through the air, so we repeated it this year)

On the 11th Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
11 Wolves a 'howlin'

 Most laughs were when one wolf picked up a horse in it's mouth and carried it away!
On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
12 cubs a dancing!
 Friends of our did a Louise Armstrong "Is that you Santa Clause?" and it was very well done and enjoyed!
 Then they serve a lovely turkey and ham dinner complete with salad before hand,  mashed potatoes, yams, gravy, veggies, stuffing and then deserts that everyone brought!  YUM!
Then there is visiting, and hanging out with your Daddy love too.

So until next year... that's all folks!