Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Latest egg update

We are now getting between 4 and 8 eggs a day. For a while, we were getting around 6, but over the weekend we were getting about 8. I have a feeling that they may be laying weird places, so they're going to be cooped up tomorrow while I'm at work. Hopefully that solves some of the problems. On a positive note, some of the eggs are getting enormous. Here are some of our latest eggs. I am loving the colors! Can't wait to get some Easter eggers next year! :)

Look what the cat dragged in!


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Finished Tattoo in memory of my dad

Had my tattoo finished this weekend. It's a little larger than I was expecting. The artist free handed the stencil. I'm very pleased with how it turned out!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Farewell Blackberry and weekend activities

I've had my Blackberry for close to three years. I've used and abused it and it is now held together by tape.

Lately I've had to reset it multiple times a day. I get no reception at work and my calls constantly cut out.

I've been drooling over the iphone 4S that my friends and family own, but I decided I'd wait for the iphone 5 to be released before I pulled the trigger and made the switch. I couldn't warrant paying $200 for a phone, but I decided that $100 was reasonable. The iphone 5 is an impressive piece of technology, but it's not worth the extra $100 to me. I'll just be happy to not have to carry a separate ipod with me to listen to my music and audiobooks. I've left my ipod at work a few times and haven't been able to listen to my music/audiobooks, but I don't foresee that happening with an iphone.

All of that said, yesterday I ordered the 4S. I love having a keyboard, so we'll see how I do with a touchscreen. Here's hoping for an easy adjustment. The cool thing is that the website said that the 4S wouldn't ship out for 3-5 business days, but I got a notification yesterday saying that it shipped. It should be here Monday!

So farewell, Blackberry. This will be our last weekend together. I suppose that I can take you with me tubing tomorrow, since I'll have Siri arriving on Monday. I have to admit that I'm a little bit tempted to drop you in the water and go off the grid for a few days. 

So as I mentioned, tomorrow I'll be Tubing on the Choptank. Then I'll be heading directly (late) to my arts council retreat. After that, I'll be attending the Denton VFC crab feast. Crazy busy weekend... not to mention that the Alpaca Festival is also happening this weekend, which I'm hoping to find some time to check out. 

Next weekend is more of the same, but it should be a little more relaxed. Black Anchor is doing their annual March of Dimes fundraiser, so I'll be getting the (Carl Sagan) quote around my tattoo - "We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever." Then we'll be attending Harry's goes to the dogs - a wine tasting for the Humane Society.

I have more to post about the house... we are on the home stretch. We rented another dumpster and are finishing the clean-out of my dad's workroom. We should be getting drywall up in there soon. The kitchen is pretty much done, Jay surprised me by putting up slate around the chimney. Our friend Jared had slate leftover from one of his jobs, so he came over last weekend and they worked on that, as well as beginning the workroom clean-out. 

Chicken update

We are getting between five and six eggs a day now. I've stockpiled 3 dozen eggs (either tiny pullet eggs or the awkwardly shaped kind) for our Green Carpet party next month.

This was our farewell to Dresdy (aka Dresden)... he is now living at Cedar Run Farm. We dropped him off when we bought their tasty sampler pack and put down our deposit for the meat for our party

There he goes off to join his new harem. He didn't even give us a backwards glance!

That's Dresden in the back of the flock... he's checking out all of his new buddies

Dresden's new peeps

More eggs... they're getting bigger! 

Some of the girls

I love this photo

Mouse, protector of the girls

She was not pleased that I was bothering her private time in the nesting box

This was one of our freakish eggs. We've had a lot of oblong eggs... not sure if our hen will keep laying them, but I've had a few double-yolkers

Simple sausage gravy with homemade biscuits

This recipe for homemade biscuits with sausage gravy is so simple! You can make the entire meal in about 30-45 minutes if you time it right.

Let's get those biscuits in the oven, which you'll preheat to 450F

For the biscuits:
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp salt (I use kosher in everything, for the record!)
4~6 T COLD butter (the more butter, the better in my opinion - I use 6T)
3/4 cup milk

Combine the dry ingredients - flour, baking powder & salt in a medium sized bowl

Then, using a pastry blender, cut in the butter. Before I got a pastry blender, I used two knives to cut in the butter. You can do the same, but it's not much fun. Do yourself a favor and get the pastry blender!

Combine the butter with the dry ingredients until your mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Small peas is also okay. I always wondered what that would look like before I'd done it, so here's a picture!

Make a well in the center of the ingredients and pour in 3/4 cup of milk


Basically just mix until it's all combined. Over-mixing can cause your biscuits to be tough. So says Alton Brown and he's my hero.

Turn your dough onto a HEAVILY FLOURED surface. It's gonna be sticky. Really sticky.

Roll out dough to about 1/2 inch thick and cut with a 1 1/2 inch biscuit or cookie cutter. You could also use a can in a pinch, but they'll be a bit wider. If you have no roller or cutter, you could also drop them onto the sheet or form the biscuits with your hands. 

I never said that it didn't make a mess. 

Place biscuits on ungreased cookie sheet in preheated 450F oven

While biscuits are cooking, prepare gravy...

You'll need:

~8 oz. sausage
2 cups milk (or half & half if you want it extra fattening, but you can even use skim)
1/4 cup flour
salt & pepper to taste

Brown the sausage. My sausage from Cedar Run Farm was surprisingly lean. In case you also have ridiculously lean sausage, you'll need to add 1-2T worth of fat. You can use shortening, butter, or my favorite, bacon grease (okay, I know it's lard). Remove the cooked sausage and retain 1-2T of drippings (or add fat)

OH! Make sure your biscuits don't burn. They should take about 12-15 minutes, so you might need to pull them out soon.

Now we're going to make a roux. It's quite simple. Add your 1/4 cup of flour to the drippings, making sure you get all of the good stuff in there well combined and beat out all of the lumps until it is combined and smooth

It's ready to go when it looks about like this

Now add the liquid, your 2 cups of milk. I usually add them one cup at a time, but it really makes no matter and I imagine that I'm just prolonging things. Whisk constantly throughout this process to make sure there are no lumps. As the mixture heats, it will thicken. Once it starts to bubble, you're in good shape. Add more or less milk, depending on what kind of consistency you're looking for. It will also thicken as it stands, so be mindful of that.

Yup, that looks perfect!

Add sausage back to pan

Stir in nommy sausage

Top biscuits with deliciousness. You did remember to take them out of the oven, right???