Make It Monday

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Rhubarb Dessert Topped With Ice Cream

The other day I was digging through my freezer looking for some hamburger to use for supper. I ran across some bags of rhubarb that I had frozen last year. I decided I should probably make something from it as it will not be long and there will be a whole new crop of rhubarb to freeze.

I took one of the bags that I had marked “3 cups” and decided to turn it into a crisp. I think I found the recipe on Facebook last year and I have no idea who the original creator of this recipe is!  If it is yours, please let me know so I can give you credit.

Rhubarb Dessert

2-3 cups chopped rhubarb (can be fresh or frozen)
1 3/4 cups white sugar
3 Tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon corn starch
2/3 cup boiling water

Spray bottom of 8×8 or 9×9 inch pan
Put fruit on bottom of pan
Mix: 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, butter, flavorings, flour & milk
Put over fruit
Mix rest of sugar and cornstarch
Sprinkle on top
Pour boiling water over all
Bake at 375° for 45 minutes

Let cool before serving and top with ice cream if desired.

My husband has always said that rhubarb is a fruit that really wants to be an apple. He really never cared for anything with rhubarb until he tried this dessert last year. He is now a believer that you can make something good from it!

A few weeks back he even went so far as to put the corn tunnels over the rhubarb patch. He decided it should be saved from our group of marauding chickens. I have girls who cannot resist digging through that patch when the plants just start peeking through the dirt in the spring. I am not sure what they are looking for as the bugs aren’t even out yet!

The plants are growing nicely under their cage and I am looking forward to another nice crop to freeze for next year. It is always good to have things on hand to make a sweet treat. Let me know if you give this recipe a try and how you like it!

One of the secrets to a happy life
is continuous small treats.
Anonymous

 

 

 

Wrong Side Of the Fence

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Today was finally the day…we finally got around to getting the chicken coop ready for the winter. That pretty much involves cleaning out the nesting boxes, removing the roost, cleaning up the floor and putting down plenty of new wonderful smelling pine shavings.

Needless to say, the girls did not seem to appreciate the effort. My best guess is they just got so used to the coop gradually getting dirtier that they did not notice that a clean up was overdue.

For some reason the cleaning seemed to confuse the girls. When it was time to go in for the night; one of them ended up on the wrong side of the fence. Instead of retracing her steps to get back to the right side, she just kept running back and forth in front of the chicken run. I am not sure if she thought a door would magically appear or what.

It took a bit of urging and herding to get her where she needed to be. It was rather funny to see her run as fast as she could to get in the coop when she finally figured out where she was. It is really too bad that chickens don’t have faces that show much expression…..perhaps that is why they can be so vocal?

I am kind of thinking that I am a bit (okay…maybe a lot) like those chickens. I resist change…even if it is for my own good.  When I am not where I am supposed to be it sometimes takes a lot of urging to convince me I need to turn around and head the other way.

The only difference…. my face probably shows my dismay and alarm as I am being urged the right direction. I know I tend to question out loud if I am not comfortable with the situation.

I am fortunate that I have friends and family who make sure I know where I am supposed to be, at pretty much any given time. It is a blessing to have those people in my life. They keep me from running back and forth looking for that magical door.

May this weekend find you with people close by that keep you on the right side of the fence. May you and I be blessed and be a blessing to others as we live life. And may we all be willing to follow the gentle urging needed to keep us going in the right direction.

May we all, end up exactly where we are supposed to be.

“Are you where you are supposed to be?”
Jenn J.

 

Someday Just Might Be Today

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There is an old song by CCR (Credence Clearwater Revival) titled “Someday Never Comes”.  It might be true for the lyrics in that song but I have found that Someday is Today!

I am going to back up a bit….well a long bit. When we first moved here about 15 years ago we had sheep in our back yard. Yes, you read that right…sheep. It was hard packed dirt and when you slept with the windows open at night the sheep were right by the window.

We decided we should probably have a back yard, so the sheep got penned in somewhere else and my husband chewed up that hard earth and we planted grass seed. That first crop of grass was promptly eaten by a small flock of chickens.

We went back to the farm store and purchased some more grass seed. The seed was planted and it did not take long and those same chickens had once again cleared it off as it came up.

At that point my husband decided we would seed it one more time and if they ate it again he was done….no grass….no backyard.  I petitioned for a fence to keep the girls out.

We put up a fence quickly, as we figured, someday we would do it right. Someday we would make it nice and straight and put a gate in that actually swung easily and wasn’t just wired to the fence.

This time the grass grew as it was protected by our temporary fence. The years kind of slid past, as they tend to do, and temporary was starting to look kind of permanent.

This past spring my husband purchased a very nice garden gate at a farm consignment auction with the intention that someday we would put that in when we redid that piece of backyard fence.

The somedays seemed to go past and this week my husband decided that someday had arrived! Yesterday the gate was put in with cement around the poles to make it sturdy. Today we redid the piece of fence that attaches to the garden gate and goes to the chicken coop.

To say I am excited about it is a bit of an understatement. I am excited to have a fence that is straight and stands firm. I am excited to have a gate that will latch and swings easily in both directions. (It is amazing what using the correct hardware will do for a garden gate!)

I love the look of the old gate and the old fence. The fence was some that used to go around the front yard when we bought this place many years ago. I have a feeling that piece of fence could tell a lot of stories about the children it kept in and the critters it kept out. (Probably chickens!)

There is probably a lesson in here somewhere. It probably has to do with being patient and how that is a virtue or something like that. I must confess I did not feel virtuous. I just kind of got used to the wobbly fence and less than stellar gate set up.

There is probably a lesson in that somewhere too!  It probably is a lesson that we should not get so complacent when things are not as they should be. Maybe we should work a bit harder to make them right. This is true with fences as well as things like relationships and other things needing to be straightened out.

Whatever the lesson. I am just happy that someday did come to our farm! May your someday show up soon and may it leave you as excited as my someday did for me.

One day,
you’re 17 and you’re planning for someday.
And then quietly,
without you ever really noticing,
someday is today.
And then someday is yesterday.
And this is your life.

John Green

 

Signs….Not Always Accurate

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I do not typically make e-bay purchases, but when my husband called my attention to this sign and it was a buy it now deal……I found I could not resist.

This sign is pretty laughable when I think of my chickens. The girls are pretty tame and generally mind their own business during the day.  (My husband pointed out that this sign is accurate if you happen to be a bug or a worm….)

I have seen them chase small birds that were picking at the same seeds or bugs they were after. It is great fun to watch them chase the small moths that like to hide in the summer grass.

I have never yet seen them attack anything that was bigger than them. After thinking on that I may be wrong. I did see them, one time, go after a friend’s toenails.

She and her husband arrived one evening before I locked the girls in for the night.  My friend had sandals on; and had her toe nails painted red. We soon discovered that those girls love red toe nail polish and they were very persistent as they followed her where ever she went.

I often wonder what those chickens would do if I painted their toe nails red…..chase themselves around? I wonder this because I have another chicken loving friend who actually does this!

My biggest problem with my sign is knowing where to put it. My husband thinks it should be put on the chicken coop. I think it needs a more prominent place…somewhere that keeps people wondering about the girls!!( In case you were not aware of it….I have a sense of humor that may or may not be a bit off-center.)

My husband also wonders how long I will keep having chickens. I really don’t know how to answer that question. I enjoy having the girls around. I laugh about their different personalities and I love the fresh eggs.  I also wonder what my grandkids would call me if I no longer had chickens?

I have a feeling there will be chickens around here for a long time….and I am thinking that is a fine idea! We don’t have a dog…who else am I going to talk to as I work outside this summer? Yup, the girls may be around a long time.

 

Chickens are like potato chips
You can’t have just one…..
Unknown

 

 

 

 

It’s All About Perspective

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Sunshine!!! We finally saw the sun beaming brightly for most of yesterday. I told my husband I thought it had been 3 weeks since the sun has beaten out the clouds. Those cloudy, gray, rainy days were probably a blessing for my photo-sensitive eyes those weeks…but it was so good to feel the sun.

My husband hauled a lawn chair off the porch and parked it by an old open front shed yesterday afternoon. My girls (also known as chickens for those who aren’t regular readers) are very partial to this shed as it has a dirt floor and provides safety from hawks and eagles who are always looking for a chicken dinner.

We talk every so often about taking the old shed down as our kids think it is an eyesore. We have a different perspective than our children….we see a building (that is probably using that term loosely) that still has function.

That old open front shed provides shelter for the girls, a place for them to dust bath all year long, and is a great place to store my feed as it is not too far from the coop. I think in it’s former life that shed might have been the original chicken coop for people who owned this place years ago. Maybe the girls feel at home for that reason?

So much of life is about perspective. Right now, I tire easily and being dizzy and a lack of balance has become a fact of my life. Going to therapy has become my social life, though I did make it into the grocery store this week!

I know it is a long road to recovery from West Nile but I am choosing to look back and see how far I have come, rather than look at all those therapy appointments that it will take to make a full recovery. I know people always say, don’t look back, but sometimes it is good to do that; just to see the progress made.

I am choosing the perspective of “look how far I’ve come” to keep me heading towards where I want to end up! Like our weather beaten open front shed….there are things I can accomplish right now…in the shape I am in.

Let’s choose, in the coming week, to see the blessing in the rainy gray days, to see the value in an old shed and to be grateful for how far we’ve come and the ability and opportunity to go further.

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up.
The most certain way to succeed
is always to try just one more time.
Thomas A. Edison

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/thomas_a_edison_149049

 

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13 ESV

 

 

Weathering the Storm

 

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Yesterday was the first time in a long time that my girls have not been let outside. The weatherman had been warning us of a coming blizzard that was set to start during the night on Sunday.

They couldn’t quite nail down how much snow they thought we would get, but they were very sure that what we got; would be blown around by very gusty winds. They were definitely right on the gusty winds.

To be honest…I still have no idea how much snow we actually had. It is kind of hard to tell when it is coming down horizontally and doesn’t seem to land anywhere. The horizon had a foggy look because of the blowing snow.IMG_5058

I took my pictures through the windows because it just wasn’t that pleasant to be standing outside being pelted by snowflakes. These were not the nice soft snowflakes that bring back memories of Christmas snows.  These flakes were kind of vicious and more than a little mean.

The flakes were driven by the wind and left bare, burnished places on the yard. They polished the little patches of ice and slowly mounded in hard packed drifts in grassy areas and against fence lines.

School classes were cancelled, businesses shut the doors early and interstates and highways were closed due to low visibility and accidents. Sometime during the night, last night, the winds quit and we woke to a much quieter scene and knew we had weathered the blizzard.

There wasn’t too much scooping to be done….thankfully. And it wasn’t that cold to be out there doing that job. This morning I grabbed the scoop and headed for the chicken coop. I figured the girls were going to be pretty happy to be let out….and I was right!

I did have to scoop them out so they could make it through the little door. For some reason the snow seemed to land in their chicken run and cover that little door. I was glad for all the bare patches left by the wind. There was no need to scoop trails everywhere for easier walking.

I am grateful that we did not get the 12 inches of snow that some people did. I do have to confess, that there is a wonderful beauty in the snowdrifts that are located around the outbuildings. That gusty wind was like a sculptor (a noisy sculptor)…..carving the drifts into strange, beautiful forms.

I am also grateful that every day is one day closer to Spring! That thought makes the cold and snow easier to take. It makes it easier to see the beauty in the snowdrifts and to enjoy the howling of the wind as it swirls around the corners of our home.

As I shoveled the snow onto the stalks of my perennials this morning I had to smile. I knew that this “white stuff” was going to eventually water those dead looking stalks and come Spring; help bring them back to life.

It is a wonderful thing to be able to experience the seasons of nature. They put me in mind of how closely those season parallel the seasons of life we go through. It is good to know that after the blizzard; the warmth will return, the grass will once again be green and the flowers will bloom.

Under the snowdrifts the blossoms are sleeping,
Dreaming their dreams of sunshine and June,
Down in the hush of their quiet they’re keeping
Trills from the throstle’s wild summer-sung tune.

Harriet Elizabeth Prescott Spofford

 

 

 

Drumstick

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Every so often you end up with a chicken who can be defined by the word ….. moxie.  I don’t typically name my girls but I may have to name this one. A couple weeks ago (the night of July 4th to be exact) this Rhode Island Red came close to being a late evening snack for a raccoon.

We had spent the day with family at Lake Okoboji and by the time we got home, after the fireworks display, the evening had cooled off nicely. We opened the windows to let some of the cool air in and headed for bed.

We woke, from a deep sleep, to the sound of a chicken squawking in terror. My husband grabbed a flashlight and saw the glowing eyes of a raccoon, who had decided our chicken was extremely edible. He (my husband….not the raccoon) grabbed the gun and headed outdoors.

It didn’t take long and I heard a lot more squawking. My husband came back in the house and told me that, that chicken was one lucky bird. He had found her and put her in the coop with the rest of the girls.  He also told me he wasn’t sure what shape she was in, as it was dark and he could see, by the flashlight, there were lots of feathers in the back yard.

When morning came and I went to let the girls out of their coop, I could see red feathers strewn across the yard. I reluctantly opened the door of the coop, dreading what I would see. I was sure I was going to find a dead or half-dead, bloody chicken.

When I did open the door, the flock of hens blew past me like nothing had happened during the night. I peered in the coop and the only girls still in it were the broody ones that will not leave the nesting boxes.

I started hunting my chicken down, as I was curious to see where all those feathers had actually come from.  I discovered that she had been plucked on her back and on one of her legs. Amazingly, there wasn’t any broken skin!

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My husband has actually started calling this girl, “Drumstick” and I have to agree she kind of looks like a walking drumstick!

I cannot believe she escaped from a raccoon with only losing feathers! I also cannot believe that it has not seemed to slow her down at all. She doesn’t seem in the least traumatized by the whole event. She is living life, like any normal chicken and has her feathers have even started growing back in.

The only difference in her behavior is that she no longer hides outside at night anymore. She now makes it a point to be one of the first girls in the coop when evening comes. Somewhere in her little brain she has figured out that following the rules equals safety.

I have a feeling that we, as people, are often like Drumstick.  We like to live on the edge….go where it isn’t safe….and hope for the best. We tend to think that bad stuff will only happen to someone else and we will be okay.  Every so often, that bubble is shattered and if we are fortunate, we will make it safely back in the coop.

I am thinking Drumstick, might end up being an awesome object lesson for my grandkids (and for me!). A lesson that there are rules for a reason. A lesson that when bad things happen to you….don’t let it take over your life. Drumstick is a good reminder that one should live, really live, as long as you are alive.

All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.
– Henry Ellis

 

 

A Little Tour

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Today the blogging well seems to have run a little dry so you are going to get a short tour of the farm.  The blogging well might be slightly on the dry side but our farmyard definitely is not.  We are enjoying some amazing, unseasonably warm weather around here. I am not going to complain about the temperatures…..but there is a downside.

The downside of these early warm temperatures is that all the snow melts….rapidly. When snow melts that quick and the ground is still frozen, our yard turns into a pond fed by a small creek that winds it’s way  from the field to the west, to our farm yard.

This all sounds delightful and probably would be if we were in the mountains and we were talking about bubbling brooks and clear mountain streams. What this means for us is that our yard becomes a pond which then turns into a mud pit.

Our car is no longer parked in the garage but up the driveway a ways so that we will not have to go “mudding” every time we need to go somewhere. There is an upside to this beautiful weather….there is usually an upside to most situations if you look hard enough.

I find that we can go outside with lighter weight coats on. Gloves are no longer needed to keep your fingers from freezing.  And it is now enjoyable to take a walk down the road as the wind is not howling with a sound like that of a roaring freight train.

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My husband pointed out to me that we had an eagle in the bottom field the other day. I headed out, camera in hand to try get a picture of him.  The expectation was high that I would be successful in getting this accomplished.  As I came around the corner of the barn I could see him sitting in the bottom field.  He was quite far away but I managed to get a picture of him before he decided I was too scary for him to stay put. If you look closely at the picture at the top of this post you will see him flying away, heading towards the river.

As I slid my way through the mud (and of course wearing my chicken wellies)  I found much to appreciate.  From the trees that are patiently waiting for their summer clothes, to the girls enjoying themselves with some treat they found in my wheelbarrow…..the farm was a delight.

 

Even with the mud, this farm not only makes a living for my husband and me…..it also feeds my heart and soul. It has so many facets to it’s personality. Each season brings a certain beauty that makes me stand in awe.

There are times it is so still that you wonder what will happen when that quietness has passed. There are times when the soil comes to life with the green of corn, beans, and hay fields. The air is fragrant with the life of growing things.

This piece of land is a feast for the senses in every season. There is a connection to this ground even when it has turned to mud. It is much like life. There is promise and there is hope. There is a knowing that God is faithful and Spring is on it’s way. It is a reminder that life is rich and is the accumulation of so many wonderful little things.

 

 

“Farming is a profession of hope”
Brian Brett

 

 

 

It’s a Blogiversary

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I cannot really believe it!  I have been blogging for a whole year. My kids had been after me for a long time to try this thing called blogging. Last year when my daughter-in-law, Becca, set this up for me I would have found it hard to imagine that one year later I would have written 163 posts. It has been so much fun.

My husband still shakes his head about this whole blogging endeavor. He’ll ask, “Making any money blogging?” (accompanied by a smirk and a laugh.) I tell him “Nope.”  Then he asks, “So is it kind of like having  pen pals?”  Then I smirk and laugh and tell him “Yep!” I also never dreamed I would meet so many absolutely wonderful people.

Tonight I just reread that first post from January 31, 2016.  I still have some of those same question that I asked back then…..Will anyone really want to read what I have written?  Will people really care what I think?  And the amazing answer is Yes!!!! That fact still boggles my mind.

People will ask me what the main focus of my blog is. I am still not sure how to answer that one and typically grin and tell them it is very random. I tell them it is just a blog of life in general; that covers topics from farming, chickens, gardening, crafting, faith, family and pretty much anything else life throws my way.  Hopefully it is a blog filled with love, humor, hope and encouragement and a few life lessons tossed in.

Back to the people I have met along the way on this blogging journey.  There are so many of you that I would love to meet in person. You are beautiful, honest, down-to-earth, funny, joy filled and life loving, gracious people. You share your lives honestly….the joys and the struggles.  You share the things that make you laugh and cry. You use your life experiences to make others laugh, lift them up and find hope. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking time to like, comment and offer friendship and encouragement to this Chicken Grandma.

I am so looking forward to this coming year of blogging.  I am looking forward to meeting more of you and getting to know what makes up your life. I am hoping to love more, encourage more and bring hope.

Let me know what you want to see over at the Chicken Grandma and I will see what I can do! Like I said it is pretty random over here. Life over here is rather like that box of chocolates that Forrest Gump talked about. You never quite know what you are going to get on any given day.

May your day be filled with hope. May you feel grace from those around you and may you be a blessing in return.

      This is the day that the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

Read more: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/bible-verses-about-hope-20-uplifting-scripture-quotes/#ixzz4XUvN5XL0