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April 2014

Little Bantam Hen Wants a Nest

Little Bantam Hen sat on her eggs faithfully.  She only got up for a bit each day to eat and drink.  The other hens are confused, and continue to lay in the same spot.

competing chickens

Little Bantam sits elsewhere, patiently waiting her turn to sit on her own brood.  All of the other hens finally start laying elsewhere.  But…Broody Hen decides she wants a brood too, and she doesn’t want to start from the beginning.  So…she bullies Little Bantam off her brood, and sits them herself.

sigh

Little Bantam takes over a new brood, on the new batch of eggs freshly laid by all the hens.  The other hens refuse, again, to leave their new spot, and Little Bantam sits and waits for her turn to hatch her own children.

Speckles goes broody.

sigh

Again, Little Bantam is bullied, but Little Bantam won’t quit this time.

Daphne? Arthur?  Have you seen Little Bantam?

ducks

George? Little Red?  Lace?  Have you seen Little Bantam?

pretty rooster

Broody Hen?  Have you seen Little Bantam?

broody hen

Good Grief!!  Speckles!  Get out of the way!

hen sitting on hen

Broccoli Cheese Ring Recipe

  • 2 tubes crescent rolls
  • 2 heads of broccoli
  • 1 onion (your choice of type)
  • 2T Dijon mustard (regular works just as well)
  • 6oz Swiss cheese (or more)
  • 1/4c fresh parsley (dried can work)
  • 1T lemon juice

Swiss can be hard to find shredded.  I take a package of deli cheese and chop it up.  The cheese looks like little cubes, but that’s stacked slices.  So, it separates well.

swiss cheese

Chop up the broccoli really well.  If they are too big, you will have a problem with the dough.

broccoli

Now, I have a really cheap knife, but after honing it before every use, it does really well.  You may not need a new knife, just a honer.

http://rcm-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/cm?t=theburfar-20&o=1&p=13&l=ur1&category=kitchen&banner=0J9GCWM56ZWRSPYPWS82&f=ifr

Mix all of the above in a bowl.

mixed

Chop up your parsley.  Now, I do recommend fresh parsley for this.  Regular mustard is fine, white, yellow, or red onion is fine depending on your taste, but please try to use fresh parsley.  If you cannot, that’s life.  You meal will not explode your kitchen as a result of it.

parsley

Add the lemon juice and mustard.  I used regular, and I might actually like it better than the Dijon.

mustard

Mix well.

broccoli and cheese

Try to place all the crescents like I have.  Press the corners together and the points outward.

crescent roll

Fill with as much of the mixture as you can, and gently lay the point over the top. Tuck the points in under the wide parts.

broccoli cheese

Bake at 375 for 20 minutes-voila!  She is done!  Great for guests.

finished

Dry Erase Magic-Changeable Dry Erase Boards

I LOVE office supplies.  Pens, pencils, posties, papers, markers, everything.  Especially lists.  Lots and lots of lists.  So, how many of you are sick of paying ludicrous amounts for the latest dry erase board that goes bad too soon, or was never good in the first place?  Do you ever wish you could just make your own?  And then you’d want to change it, right?  Well, I wish I could say I came up with this, but I didn’t.  But this was too awesome not to share.

Step 1:  Purchase a cheap 8X10 picture frame you don’t mind looking at.

Step 2:  Print out a sheet of paper containing whatever you want the dry erase board to

look like.

Step 3:  Put the paper in the frame WITH the glass on top.

This is simple to do list, but you can get as creative as you want.  It’s easier to remove the marks from the glass than a dry erase board too.  See, if you look below, you will see a really old and worn out blue dry erase marker on top, and Sharpie on the bottom.

Wipe your finger to remove the dry erase marker.

Use alcohol on a tissue to remove the Sharpie.  This works really well with mirrors too, but you don’t have the option of changing the background.

And don’t forget, if it stays on too long, or you just want to, use glass cleaner and clean it all off with one swipe!  Happy creating!!

7 of the World’s Most Interesting Schools

1.  Safe Harbor Academy

This is a Christian school for “troubled” boys.  It only houses 15 boys.  They live on boats and go to school year round.  They’re not allowed to bring personal items, not even a guitar.  Doesn’t that just sound glorious.  It seems to work though as they even made a movie about it and everything.  Located in Jacksonville, FL, each boy gets a donated boat that they fix up and use.  They are each completely responsible for the upkeep of their boat.

safe harbor boats

2.  The Zhongdong cave school, China.

These wonderful people live simply with school conducted in caves.  Naturally, this must be evil, since they are “backwards”, not progressing as the government would like (aka, not working for someone else and paying a bunch of taxes), and was thankfully shut down in 2011 before spreading their “caveman” ideas, such as self-sufficiency, self-reliance, and self-worth.  (Am I ranting here?  Sorry.)

cave school

3.  The underground Abo Elementary School of New Mexico.

This school was built with the intention of being a fallout shelter that just happened to educate people.  Talk about growing up paranoid!  The above link will take you to a good article on it with more pictures.  Below is a listing of the floor plan with “normal” and “emergency” use guidelines.

bandicam 2014-04-13 05-25-09-160

4.  Christ’s Hospital which…wait that’s…yup, that looks almost identical to Hogwarts.

Well that’s just cool.  Boarding tuition is over $15,000 (9400 pounds), plus extra goodies, if needed.  They supplement by renting the hall out for weddings and things.

common room

5.  EduKick Spanish and soccer school (or futbol).

Apparently this is a real school with 3 month, semester, and full year programs to immerse students in Spanish and hard core soccer training.  I guess it’s like the high schools in NY for the performing arts, only the performing feet…sorry.  I’ll stop now.  They associate with Rosa Chacel for non-soccer education like math, etc.

bandicam 2014-04-13 05-42-40-725

6.  The Global School.

At $79,000 per year, this is the most expensive school I recall ever seeing.  The students travel all over the world.  As I write this, they are in Japan.  Their schedules change weekly/daily in order to accomplish whatever they need to at the time.  For example, they may learn biology a great deal by visiting the rain forest.  Obviously, this will make a high tuition.  They have host schools.  Presently, their host school is the Hiroshima International School.  And as I said, I completely understand the high cost due to the travel aspect, BUT, get this, you are still responsible for the transportation of your child from one location to the next, cost and all-craaaazyyyy.

traveling boarding school

7.  The boat schools of Bangladesh.

Another school on boats, but a little more pleasant.  In Bangladesh, it can be difficult to impossible to go to school for many children.  So, they converted a bunch of boats into schools and brought the school to the children.  Sweet.  The boats also appear to be solar powered and provide adults with practical information too, as this video will show.

boat school

How to Grow and Dry Herbs

To skip to the drying part, click here.

Herbs are simple O_O!  Yes, herbs are simple.  I can kill anything, but herbs do their own thing.  Think of them as weeds in a fence.  I live in TN, up on a mountain.  It’s about 5 degrees colder here than just 100 miles east at Knoxville.  That may not sound like much, but it makes us have frosts in May and snow in April.  I have bought all of my original herbal plants from Bonnie.  They have proven to be the best quality and the most prolific.  Here’s what I grow.

  • Basil-

Basil is unable to survive the winters here.  I scatter seeds from the previous plant in a small pot.  As they grow, I thin them out into bigger and bigger pots until I get a flipping bush of basil.  I bring it in when it gets cold.  By that time, it’s already gone to seed.  I just let it live as long as possible for fresh basil, and then use the dried leaves straight off the bush after it’s died.  Alternatively, you can cut and dry it as well.  Basil cannot survive frosts.  Frosts can occur at 36 degrees, so please bring it in if it’s going to be 40 or less.  Our weatherman is often wrong, so I recommend precautions.

  • Parsley-

Parsley does pretty well and should survive to regrow the next spring.  Unfortunately, my ducks decided it makes a pretty good bed and killed it.  My parsley now grows with my other herbs in an abandoned chest freezer.  From top to bottom we have:  lavender, parsley, oregano, and rosemary.

P4041415

  • Rosemary

Now, rosemary is very easy to grow.  I bought my rosemary years ago and it survives the winters beautifully!  I’ve gone out with it snowing and icing and cut fresh, green sprigs for supper.  Crazy.  But this winter was so bad, and with me having to move my other duck-squished herbs to the chest freezer, I decided to go ahead and buy a new plant.  I don’t think my older one survived this winter.

The cool thing about the freezer it is has a lid.  When the temps get crazy low, we put the lid on.  If they’re getting too saturated with rain, we have an old glass door we place over the top.  We even have a screen we can use to deter bugs and weed seeds.

  • Oregano

Oregano did surprisingly well.  It overwintered just fine.  Last year there was very little of it, thanks again to the ducks, so I bought new, as you can tell.  I recommend the Greek variety.  It has more sharpness to it.

  • Mint

Mint here is a natural, prolific plant.  Supposedly it takes over.  It did eat some of my oregano.  Growing mint is pretty pointless here as most people can just go to their back yards for a chew of it, or to make some tea, or whatever.

  • Lavender

I’ve heard lavender will overwinter here.  This is my first year growing it, so I will hopefully remember to update this post in the future with my results

Using and Drying Herbs

Now for the use.  If you’ve only used store bought herbs in a glass thingy, hold on!  When I’m out of my own herbs, I don’t even bother putting the store stuff in anymore, because I can’t even taste it.  Like this morning, I’m so used to freshly ground cinnamon that I think I sprinkled half a bottle on my kugle.  I finally used nutmeg.  It was much better.

Drying herbs is very easy, as I will show you.  When you use dried herbs, be sure you keep them WHOLE as I show you, and only crumble them when you actually add them to the food.  This is why there is such a taste difference.  The herbs have oils, and those oils evaporate over time.  When you cut or crumple the dried herbs, you release these oils and increase the surface area.  This allows for more rapid depletion and less flavor.  Be sure to crumple them though.  Whole herbs are depleted on the outside.  It is what is on the inside, what you release, that gives you the flavor.

  1. Cut several sprigs of each herb and rinse well.

2.   Line the cut ends up, keeping each different herb in its own, separate bunch.

3.   Lay a piece of string.yarn under the cut end.

4.   Bring the yarn around and tie it good and tight.  The herbs shrink when drying.  If you tie it too loose, they will fall out, too tight, and you will break the stems.  Don’t be afraid though.  It has been my experience that it is not very easy to break the stems.

5.   Hang up to dry.  Hang in an everyday room.  This will give it the proper temperature and atmosphere, and fragrance up the place a bit.

I hope this has been helpful.  If you have any questions, feel free to comment below.

What Happened to My Passover

I was laying in my gorgeous new bed clothes enjoying the lushness of a morning off, when I awoke brutally to the sounds of ice pellets hitting the house.  Oh joy.  So, donning my bathrobe, and inserting my bare feet into my nice, also new, boots, I ran outside to bring in the seed trays for this year’s summer crops.  They were covered in pellets, but it was only 36, and they made it just fine, on my dining room table, dripping water all over the, yes-you guessed it-, also new floor.  I had to clean up from last night, something I had no intention of doing until after dark tonight, in order to cover the table with seed trays.

cucumber sprouts

I can honestly say I’ve never seen Fargo look so sad.  Seriously!  Look at his face!  You can see it drawn down.  If he were a cow, he’d cry.

sad bull

I went ahead and got dressed, why not at this point, and went for a walk outside.  Pepper looks like she’ll calve in this snow storm today, and the chickens are completely out of food.  I forgot to pick some up last night.  I know they’re hungry because they wouldn’t leave the coop, and just stared at me, whipping their heads from the feed barrel, back to me, over and over again like an “Attack of the Killer Chickens” movie.  I got out their feeders and poured what pitiful amounts of food were left out of the barrel into the feeder.  I don’t think they’ll get much food outside today.

I came in, informed Arlis to check on Pepper, and immediately started boiling rice and soaking beans so the chickens can eat.  I suppose I could feed them dog food or cat food, but those beans were generations old and some had gone bad.  Now, while chickens don’t care if there are bugs in their beans, I do.

So, why boil the rice?  Isn’t that proven wrong now?  May be.  All I know is I fed my chickens uncooked rice and 2 of them died.  It could be coincidence, but why chance it?

I finished my walk outside and noticed my poor little tulips, so unloved, so abused, their glorious splendor being spat upon by evil bully clouds from above.  It’s ok!  I love you tulips!

snow on tulips

I turned to come inside, hoping I can salvage a nap, shivering, my legs in pain they’re so cold.

snow picture

Spring:

Wherever you go, whatever you do,

I will be right here waiting for you.

Whatever it takes, or how my heart breaks,

I will be right here waiting for you.

Sweet Potato Salad

Here is a recipe with a twist of regular potato salad, only with sweet potatoes.  It is sweet, and best served with the potatoes still warm.  It is quick and easy too.

  • 2 pounds chopped and peeled sweet potatoes
  • 4 chopped green onions
  • 2 T lemon or orange juice
  • 1/2t cumin
  • 1/2 of a yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/3c mayo
  • 1t paprika

Boil the potatoes until they are soft.  Drain very well and add to a bowl.  Throw everything else on top of it and stir well.  You may substitute Vidalia onions for the yellow ones for a milder flavor.  Again, this is far better if served while the potatoes are still warm-enjoy!

sweet potato salad

Duck Egg Cake

I have been told that duck eggs make the best cakes.  That’s no lie!   I have not tried this recipe with chicken eggs, so I can’t vouch for those results.  My duck egg cake is great for cutting calories while enjoying a treat.  There’s far less sugar than modern cakes, and it’s full of great ingredients instead of fillers.  It doesn’t go hard as easily as most other cakes, and it doesn’t fall apart as easily when cut.  I hope you enjoy and send me your pictures!

*NOTE:  I have made this without separating the eggs and just putting in 4 whole eggs.  This makes a much fluffier cake, but it is no where near as filling and therefore not something to eat while dieting.  The separate egg method is great for cakes you wish to cut/sculpt as it is firmer and not as crumbly.

ingredients

  • 1c butter
  • 2c sugar
  • 4 duck eggs, separated
  • 3c flour
  • 1/4t salt
  • 3t baking powder
  • 1c milk
  • 1t vanilla

Grease a rectangular cake pan, and preheat your oven to 350

P4081440

Cream the butter and sugar together.

Add the yolks, one at a time until completely incorporated.  Alternate adding dry ingredients with the milk until everything is fully mixed.  The batter will be thick.  Don’t worry, trust me on this.

Now, beat the egg whites until stiff.

egg whites

Gently fold the batter and egg whites together until completely mingled….mingled?  Yes, mingled.  Let your food mingle.  Throw on some music, serve a few drinks, pass the bowl of keys and….oh, sorry.  Below you see a picture of not-quite-mingled batter.  This batter is thick, and this part is tiring, for me anyway.  Maybe I’m a wuss.

P4081444

Pour into your pan, pulling the batter to the corners.  The middle will grow tall, so you want the corners higher going in.

P4081446

Bake on your lower rack for 45 minutes.  You want the majority of the heat to come from the bottom.  Use the toothpick method to check for doneness.  You may think it will burn.  I’ve never burned one yet, and I am the queen of kitchen screw-ups.  It’s fine, breathe, all will be ok.  You’re in a happy place….you’re…DING!  OK, good, now it’s done.

This is how it should look.  Be sure you use a toothpick or similar method!

cooked cake

Invert and release!  Tah-dah!

cake

I use this a lot without icing as a treat, etc.

10 of the World’s Coolest Houses

Quay House-the smallest house in Great Britain

The Quay house

The “smallest house in Italy”

smallest house in italy

Cob house #1 (If you are the owner of this house, and have a link for me to use, please send it to me)

cob1

Cob house #2 (again, send me your link if you are the owner of this house)

cob2

The Minister’s Tree house of Crossville, TN  (temporarily closed due to the government being their usual stupid selves.  Visit here for more details.)

Huge tree house

The Redwoods Treehouse-New Zealand  (wonder what happens when it rains…?)

cool tree house

Abandoned mine houses at Coober Pedy, Austrailia

cave house

Houses built in caves (if you are the owner of this house, please send me a link)

cave2

Glass houses-These would never work for me.  I would drop a giant rock or something.  I can only imagine the heating bill, and where do you go to the bathroom??!  Anyone?

glass house

And THE COOLEST of all!!!  The plane house.  Yup, that is too cool!  (again, will the owner please stand up and send me a link)

plane

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