Well, quite has been developing during these past 5 weeks. I have been in and out of town, but things keep growing and the flock keeps laying so here’s an update!

First, the garden. It has been growing like crazy!

There have been cucumbers, jalapenos, and the tomatoes are just starting to come along.

The first box shows the replant – peas out beans in! The second photo is my zucchini. It is finally producing some nice squash.

This is the first tomato of the season. It is a red zebra. I love them!  There will be another tomorrow.

In the coop we the chick sisters have started laying. Those are the sisters of the duck posse. Madge and Gertrude are laying lovely little eggs. One is very dark and the other is light – almost white.

I was making zucchini bread yesterday, (that will be a future post) and when I cracked my third egg, I discovered this!

Although the egg was bigger than the others, the yolk was small – because there were two!  A double yolker is always a wonderful surprise. So, although there are fewer eggs this time of year, because of the heat, we are still getting quality even if not the quantity.

 

You’d think that in summer I would have more free time but so far that has not been the case. I have been incredibly busy but here are a few updates…

First – my garden… It is growing really well. I am out of town currently and certainly hope it is getting watered sufficiently but I will find out on Wednesday. Before I left the peas were starting to bloom and the tomatoes had unopened blossoms so it’s getting exciting on the deck!

Isn’t this door pretty?  I saw it in a Mexican restaurant in LA, and I liked it so much that I took a photo.  Maybe someday I can have some arched doorways….

As always, if I’m in LA I try to get to the beach.  I love the beach – it washes away my cares. This is the protected beach in Ventura and the kids loved seeing the boats go in and out while we were there.

Finally….

What is a trip without food?  This photo is from an easy dinner I cooked at my daughter’s house. It was pretty and delicious, but so quick and easy. Sometimes it is hard to remember that quick and easy can be just fine.

Well, that’s it for now. When I return home I hope to have a chicken and garden update.

First of all, this is the difference between an egg from my full-grown chickens and one from a silkie.    

Currently, we are getting about 8 eggs a day. That is a lot for 2 people – one of whom doesn’t eat eggs. That’s right unless I disguise eggs (think cookies, cakes, etc…)  DH won’t eat them.

So, what do you make when you have soooooo many eggs all the time?  How about an angel food cake?  Yes – they take 12 egg whites! It seems crazy to waste a dozen eggs on a cake, unless you’re like us and your egg cup runneth over!

Although DH sells a couple dozen eggs a week at work (halleluiah – what a relief) we still have so many. I love angel food cake. It was always my birthday cake when I was growing up. My mom used the box mix which is fine, but from scratch is amazing!

With 4 of the yolks, I made lemon curd sauce. It turned out great and poured over the yummy treat it was a perfect Mother’s Day treat!

The cake –

Mix 3/4 cup all-purpose flour with 3 tablespoons of cornstarch. Run through a sieve two times. Stir in 3/4 cup sugar and a pinch of salt. Set aside.

Separate 12 eggs. Careful not to get any yolk in the eggs. Put 1 teaspoon of vanilla and one teaspoon of cream of tartar into the egg whites and beat until soft peaks. Beat in 3/4 cup of sugar a bit at a time until the egg white peaks are stiff. Gently, fold in flour mixture. Put into a UNGREASED tube pan and bake at 325 for 35 – 40 minutes. Turn the cake upside down on a bottle to cool.

The sauce –

Mix  1/2 cup sugar, pinch of salt, 4 tablespoons cornstarch. Whisk in a cup of water and 3 tablespoons lemon juice. Bring to a boil. After the mixture becomes thick. Whisk 4 egg yolks. Pour 1/3 the lemon mixture into the yolks to temper them. Pour the mixture back into the pan and bring back to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in 2 tablespoons butter. Let cool.

Pour over cake…

One thing I missed when I lived in California were lilacs. Lilacs are pretty in their white and purple abundance. They smell amazing. To me they are one of the most special flowers in the world.

Today, I took a photo of a beautiful white lilac bush….

I have been wanting hot cross buns for a long time. They are a wonderful Easter treat. I made this Pioneer Woman recipe:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/hot-cross-buns

If you don’t know about Pioneer Woman, you should. She’s an amazing blogger and now has a show on the Food Network.

Anyway, I used cranberries instead of raisins. I think they came out perfectly… and YUMMY!

Well, the baby ducks are growing like crazy.  As a matter of fact, when I walked into the barn this morning I found this…

That is not ideal.  So, today the combining began. In the divided run are the silkies, Bubbles and her chick sisters and the new baby ducks. Reasonably, I was worried that the baby ducks might get picked on. Nope, Splish – the white baby duck- went after everyone. And who was most upset and scared? Bubbles, who is at least 4 times their size was terrified! Oh well, after a few minutes they all settled down. It is a pretty big space.

Bubbles in the new pool!

Yesterday, being April 2, I got busy in the “garden.” One thing I have realized over the years is that with all the traveling I do, any grand garden plans I have usually don’t work out. So, last year a friend was cleaning out her garage and sold me her earth boxes.

4 things helped that help me realize these gardening containers are the way to go are that the box size keeps me from getting overly ambitious, they are located right on the deck so no one (me, dh, the house sitter) will forget to water them, the hose reaches easily to the deck, and they are safer from all the predators we have (deer, dogs, raccoons, etc…).

I planted one box of lettuce (black seeded simpson) and one box of peas.

In the box of peas I put sticks and tied them to the deck railing for the peas to climb on. I love using things that are direct from nature. I don’t need them to last more than the season so I am not looking for longevity and they are free and there are seemingly an endless supply.

I have two more empty earth boxes in the barn and I am saving those for tomatoes and zucchini.

Yesterday afternoon was beautiful. It was sunny and cool enough for sitting in the pleasant sun. So, I dedicated a couple of hours to letting the girls roam free. I only do this under supervised conditions nowadays as last fall I lost 2 of my girls while they were free ranging. They have a large run (10×20) so I don’t feel too guilty, but of course I wish they could free range all the time. Lately, I have seen other blog posts about the insecurities of free ranging and their points have hit home with me. I want to keep my girls happy, but I also want them to be safe.

I even had bubbles and the baby chicks out….

The babies are in a fun contraption called a “Peck and Play.” It’s an enclosed play yard for animals that are at risk. I think bubbles is big enough that she would have been fine out and about, but the chicks might have been harder to keep track of so I contained them. The peck and play is not foolproof when it comes to predators though so I still keep a close eye on them.

All in all, we had a lovely afternoon…

Silo enjoyed hanging out with us too.

 

So this happened today…

Bubbles was lonely. She is happy and ok if I keep her with her sister chicks, but their size difference is getting out of control. Everyone I discussed it with insisted that ducks shouldn’t be solo… Once they are grown and can be incorporated into the flock everything will be fine but there will be a big space of time when that won’t be. So, I went and got her a friend. What? A friend you say?  You think I have a counting problem? It’s true but I have to defend myself. The store won’t sell only one duck. So I had to get two… really…)

The problem with this store is that they don’t really know what they’re doing. I was a little sad because the babies had no water. They told me they had just arrived at the store 45 minutes earlier but ducks with no water?  That’s not ok…

Anyway… No names yet. I did some research and I think one is a white crested and the other is a Campbell Khaki but only time will tell… But they are cute and the brown one is very enthusiastic.

So now… my flock is up to 15.  ENOUGH!  (for now 🙂 )

 

Over spring break I made a birthday cake for my son and his wife. Their birthdays are just 6 days apart in April and so I thought it would be fun to have a mini pre-party. I asked my grandchildren to help decorate the cake. That was a bit messy but… oh well….

I learned an important piece of baking information during this round of cake. My son asked for chocolate ganache frosting and that was no problem. BUT, I bought the richest, darkest chocolate I could find. Of course, nothing is too good for my family. (insert eye roll here, but I was trying to make it extra special). Well, guess what?  Although that is good, it’s not sweet enough for frosting and just turns out to be heavy and dark. There wasn’t enough sugar!  Lesson learned…

July 2017
M T W T F S S
« Jun    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31