Thursday, March 13, 2014

Honey Wheat Poppyseed Bagels

Yesterday on our way to work, my husband and I stopped to grab a couple of breakfast sandwiches from McD's. I know I know, its not healthy, but we were hungry and in a hurry so it got the job done. While eating his steak breakfast bagel (who eats steak for breakfast?? oh yeah, my husband), he professed his love for bagels. I never buy bagels at the store 'cuz I'm a toast kinda girl, but I thought, why haven't I made bagels yet? They seems simple enough, and as everyone knows, homemade is always best. I whipped up this recipe, and I ain't lookin' back. Homemade bagels are DA BOMB. These bagels are slightly sweetened from the honey, but you could totally leave the honey out of the recipe and use these as sandwich buns. In fact, that's a dandy idea for dinner tomorrow!

Honey Wheat Poppyseed Bagels

1 tsp. Fast Rise Yeast
1 1/2 C. Warm Water
1 tsp. Salt
1/4 C. Honey
2 1/2 C. All Purpose Flour
1 C. Whole Wheat Flour
2 tsp. Poppyseed
1 Egg
1 Tbsp. Water

In a large bowl, combine yeast, salt, honey, and water. Let sit for five minutes to allow the yeast to bloom, and become frothy. Begin adding flour, one cup at a time, stirring until the dough becomes too difficult to easily stir. Add more flour as necessary, and begin kneading. The flour is approximate, you may require a little more, or a little less. The dough is done once its smooth, elastic, and not sticky to the touch. Place dough in a greased bowl, and cover with saran wrap. Let rise for one hour, or until doubled in size. Once doubled, sprinkle dough with a little flour, and punch down. Re-cover with saran wrap, and let rise for another twenty minutes.

Put a half full pot of water on the stove to boil. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Divide dough into eight pieces. Roll dough into balls, and poke hole through each ball with your finger, gently stretching until the hole in the center is around a half inch. Gently drop bagels into boiling water, and boil two minutes on each side. Remove bagels from boiling water with a slotted spoon, and place onto a greased cookie sheet. Whisk egg, and water. Lightly brush each bagel with egg mixture. Bake for thirty minutes. Cool on a wire rack, and enjoy with some cream cheese, and jam! :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Fear the Chicken

I am Daisy, the giant Barred Rock. Fear me, tiny human!

Wait, is my microphone on?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Almost Spring

While Saturday wasn't exactly picture perfect weather - it was chilly, and rainy - Sunday was perfect! Yesterday was a warm, sunny, almost spring day. Spring is only TEN DAYS away, afterall. We spent the entire day outside, doing chores, and watching the animals enjoy the weather.

First of all, let me say that if you ever decide to get ducklings, do it when its warm enough to put them outside soon after you bring them home. The mess they make while indoors is insane. Holy moly. I was changing their bedding out every other day, and it was STILL a wet, poopy mess at all times inside their brooder. They were soaking through their wooden brooder box, and that moisture got onto the floor, which in turn jacked up a spot in our new flooring. I tried brooding them in the bath tub, and within twenty minutes, they had poop flung four feet up the shower walls. Frankly I don't know how they accomplished such a feat - they're still pretty small! I was impressed, but out of options on where to brood them indoors.

I did a little research on Back Yard Chickens to find out when I could move them outside. Most people insisted on waiting for temps in the 80's during the day, and 60's at night before putting ducklings outside, and to not even think about it until they're twelve weeks old.... No freakin' way could I wait that long. I couldn't accept that, so I kept digging, and found a few people that said they put theirs outside with a heat lamp even when it was only 20 degrees at night. That was all I needed to move their stinky, but cute little butts outside!

Last weekend my husband and I blocked off a small portion of our 10'x20' chicken coop with chicken wire for the little girls to live in while the big girls get used to the idea of having new birds in their territory. Adding small chickens in with big chickens is a recipe for disaster. Chickens take their pecking order VERY seriously, and it can result in death for the little ones. We put the ducklings in the 'nursery' coop, with their food, water, and a heat lamp. And ya know what? They did great! In all seriousness, they're happier outside than they were in their brooder. They're cleaner from having more room to run around instead of walking back and forth through poop in their small brooder. In the last four days since I've put them outside, their feather growth rate has doubled. They've started QUACKING at four weeks old - is that normal? Either way, its ADORABLE.

Inside our house, our seven week old chicks were still in their brooder. I knew once we moved the eleven chicks out to the nursery coop with the ducklings, space would be a little cramped. It would be a while before I could move the chicks, and ducklings into the big coop, and I didn't want to keep them cooped up that whole time. So we threw together a little 10'x10' yard for the little ones to play in, eat bugs, and soak up some sunshine. They can fly, just not over the fence yet.

And they did lots of playing, eating, and roosting on feet. Winnifred is an Easter Egger, with the puffiest cheeks of all the girls. Easter Eggers are known for their puffy cheeks - its kind of a big deal for her.
Grizelda is the only non buff and black EE that we have right now. She has green eyes, blue and white feathers, with a few random smudges of brown. That's the fun of ordering Easter Eggers - you never know what you're gonna get!

A sample picture from Grizelda's glamour shots.

When I ordered my first batch of chicks in January, I had never heard of Cochins. They looked fluffy, and friendly though, so I added two Blue Cochins to my order. I can't say enough good things about them. They are so sweet, and so, so SO soft. They are literally little balls of snuggly fluff.

See, I told you they were doing great as outside ducklings!

Clockwise from left: Blanche (Leghorn), Esme (OE), Hazel (EE), Morning Glory (Blue Cochin), and Grizelda (EE).

In my defense, the water was clean :)

Our Black Copper Marans, Nutmeg, and one of the Olive Eggers, Andora the black eyed devil chick (no really, she's a bully!)

After giving the chicks some recess time in the yard, we started on wood for next winter. My husband cut, and chopped, and I carried it up to the barn. There's security knowing that no matter what kind of crazy, power outage inducing weather we have next winter, we'll always have heat from our wood stove.

We finished off the day by spending time with the goat girls. I took a bunch of pictures of them running, and jumping. In classic fashion, they were all blurry. I'm still getting the hang of this camera. And here's the thing about playful goats: they ain't got time for pictures.

Unless they think you have gingersnaps, then they're all up in your face.

And even if you claim that you don't have gingersnaps, they'll climb right up your legs to check your pockets.... just to be sure.

And just when I thought we could retire back to the house and get some rest, and relaxation in, I'm greeted with this. Mr. Attitude: 'And where have you been??'