Friday, September 10, 2010

Mel’s Banana Nut Bread (revisited)


Seeing these on my counter always means one thing: banana nut bread must be made.


Remember these? They did not disappoint! Just look at those sunshiny yolks… Girls, you make mama proud. 


Around here, I mill my own flour. I can’t recommend it to you more highly.


This is my recipe for banana nut bread. I did change it up some this time - I can’t seem to help myself. I almost always change a recipe in some way, usually because I have different ingredients on hand. This time I had an extra banana, so I threw in 4 bananas. And I had an extra egg, so in went 3 eggs. I also love changing up the flours. This time I used 1 cup of whole wheat flour and 1 cup of spelt flour. I must say, it turned out soooo good! Even better than the original version. Spelt is one of my favorite flours. It seems to make baked goods more tender, light, and moist. Who would argue with those results?


Mmmm…. it smells good.


And it tastes good, too!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010



As I expected, the girls were a little leery of the nest boxes at first.


But, without other options, what’s a girl to do?


Sara Lynn and I have been on egg patrol for the past few days.


Our hen house is separated into two spaces. One space is for the girls and the other space is for their supplies.

We have this handy-dandy door for making our egg checks. It’s not fancy, but it works. And our shoes stay clean.

And Mama stays happy.

There’s also a full-sized door for those times when we need to get in there and clean things out.


Both spaces in the hen house have a skylight... I think I could live here. Really, I do.


A nice popcorn tree provides shade during the heat of the day. In a few weeks, that tree will be gorgeous all aflame with the brilliant colors of autumn. Our entire property is studded with these trees… I can hardly wait! This is my absolute favorite time of year.


Did I mention that the girls figured things out?


I think I’ll do some baking today.

Monday, September 6, 2010

There’s good news and bad news


The good news is that our hens are laying…

The bad news?

I found 26 eggs under the hen house this weekend.


It’s my fault, really. I should have anticipated this could happen.


After all, they love to hide beneath anything they can crawl under.


So, back into confinement they go until they figure out that their nest boxes are for nesting…

And we’ll need to enclose the space beneath the hen house so they can’t get to their preferred laying environment.


Goodness, that’s a small space they’ve been squeezing into!

I hope they figure things out pretty quickly. I miss our afternoon visits already.


And in case you’re wondering, Emilie is doing great these days. That’s really good news around here!

Just look at those oh-so-kissable cheeks… they don’t get much rest around me.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Our girls (the ones who lay eggs)


Our girls are almost 6 months old now… which means we’ll have fresh organic eggs very soon.


While they do have a run, we’ve chosen to let them free-range during the day, although we do supplement with organic grains and kitchen scraps.

It’s been a crazy dry and hot summer.


We’ve found that they do not wander very far from the hen house. This is a view from inside our front door. I love it when they come to visit.

They typically go no further than 100 yards away from their ‘home’. And, thankfully, we haven’t had any losses.

We started out with 18 hens, and then we bartered or sold 9 of them. We simply didn’t have it in us to put them in the freezer as we had originally intended. They had become beloved pets before we even realized that it had happened. I know. This could be a problem if it becomes a habit around here. We’re working on it. It’s still our first year on the homestead after all. We’ll do better next time. I’m thinking meat and dairy goats will be the next addition to the homestead. Hopefully, it will happen this fall.


This is by far girls’ favorite spot. It has a comfortable fence for roosting and my (now scraggly) herb garden for scratching and dusting.


It’s such a joy to be able to watch these girls scratch around the homestead. They’re amazing creatures. Really, they are.


And have I mentioned the eggs? We’re really looking forward to those eggs!

Here’s a wonderful source if you’re interested in having a few girls in your very own backyard:

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Learning a new skill: knitting


Broadly defined, homesteading is a lifestyle of simple, agrarian self-sufficiency. While knitting isn’t particularly agrarian (unless you indeed have sheep to sheer), it definitely qualifies as a simple skill which leans toward self-sufficiency. And, it’s just plain fun… not to mention relaxing.

Knitting has been at the top of my ‘list’ for a long time now. I tried once before to pick up knitting but wasn’t entirely successful. I kept dropping stitches and accidentally increasing. Online tutorials just didn’t cut it for me. Not being one who gives up easily (and one who has no knitters among friends and family), I purchased this DVD and gave it another go… with sweet success! I just needed a few pointers, the patience of a skilled instructor, and the pause and rewind buttons on my DVD player. I was knitting within a few hours. It’s the best $20 bucks I’ve spent in a long time.