Saturday, September 13, 2014

Moving On.

I have been a busy bee today. 

I baked a Pina Colada Cake. . . 



And I've come very close to pulling my hair out. In fact, I may still be in danger of that.

Not because of the cake, that is. Cake could never make me pull out my hair. 

You see, I've been working on something that I've been meaning to do for a while but kept putting off. . . . moving this blog over to Wordpress and my own domain (thecountrychickblog.com).
 
All afternoon long. And still going.

I may end up bald before this over, before I will persevere. Hopefully. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

August in Photos.

I have to admit, I'm a little bit of an obsessive photographer.

I take pictures of almost everything, which if you know me in real life, can be a little annoying. And if I'm admitting that much, then really it's probably more like a lot annoying ;)

If you look through the 1000s of pictures in my Google photos and on numerous flash drives, it's pandemonium galore.

Pictures of chickens are intermixed with food, my dogs, loved ones, buildings, craft projects, books, sunsets, clothes, soap, cats, the garden, selfies (it is 2014, after all, the year of the selfie), etc. Basically anything that grabs my attention (just call me the Shutterbug Magpie). But, hey, never say I'm not full of variety.


And that is the spice of life, right? ;)

Moving on to the actual point of this post. Because there is a point to it, I promise.

After looking through some of the pictures taken in August, I decided, 'What the hey, why not share some of them with y'all each month?' Fabulous idea, right? Even if I do say so myself.

So, here we go.


I don't know about where you live, but this summer has been all about spider webs and their inhabitants for us. They're everywhere outside. And while I don't particularly enjoy the feeling of walking merrily along and running into one face first (that's a dance around trying to brush them off moment if I've ever seen one), even I can appreciate the beauty and intricacies of the webs and their makers.


One of the two kitties that someone dropped off several weeks ago. I found this little guy clinging pitifully to the side of the embankment meowing loudly. Not a happy camper, to say the least. Neither one of them. But they've put on a little weight and are fitting in well now. Psst. . . . the little guy above (named Austin) is Bry's favorite of the two. Those two enjoy cuddling together.


Jim Bob, who was just starting to regrow new feathers from molting last month and looked rather pitiful instead of his normal full-feathered, brawny, brash self. I'm almost positive he was saying in this shot, "Nothing but head shots, woman!" 

But am I gonna listen to a turkey? Nooooo. Especially one that likes to sneak up behind me. Uh-uh, nothing doing. 


Wow, doesn't he look embarrassed? Sorry, Jim Bob!

Moving on to photos of a more calming, peaceful variety than seriously embarrassed turkeys that are probably for sure going to try to get in a peck to the back of my legs (and a little higher) tomorrow. 

How about flowers? They're always lovely to look at. 



Or what about something a little greener and monstrous? Remember The Monster Papaya from a couple of weeks ago that had taken on a life of its own?


Yep, that's how small the fruits were on August 1st. They were monstrously bigger by the time of the aforementioned post, and now they're seriously Hulk-like ginormous. 

And I haven't come any closer to solving my main problem. . . I still don't like papayas ;)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Summery Mango Upside Down Cake

It's almost the end of the unofficial last day of Summer!

Summer's last hurrah before it's Fall's turn to shine, and what fruit could be more fitting to end Summer on than mangoes?


And what about pineapple?

Nothing, I tell you, which is what makes this dessert a perfect ending to any Summer cookout, including ours.

Ingredients:

1 1/3 c cake flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 stick of butter, softened
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c Greek yogurt
2/3 c granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 c fresh pineapple, diced

Upside Down Topping:
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 c packed brown sugar
2 ripe Mangoes

1) Start by cutting the ends off of the pineapple. Then begin peeling the pineapple by slicing down the outside lengthwise.

After that, if there are still little brown eyes left on the pineapple (and there will be), then you can either remove those one by one with a small paring knife or cut them out in a diagonal, like this.

Then, cut the pineapple in half and then quarters. Now, you can easily use a small knife to remove the fibrous core. Then, chop each pineapple quarter into very small pieces.

2) Then the mangoes.

Now, I'm just going to go ahead and admit that I can count the number of times I've cooked with mangoes on three fingers (and that's including this recipe), so I am by far no expert, not even an amateur, at peeling and slicing a mango.

In fact, if there was a contest to see who could do it the fastest. . . . well, I wouldn't even be dead last. So, if you're like me and all thumbs when it comes to this specific fruit, my best advice is to Google it. I did, and do you know what? My slices still ended up being a little wonky. But there were a few that were usable. And the rest, well, let's just say, they may not have been pretty, but they were delicious.

3) Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees.  Then, in a large mixing bowl, cream together one stick of softened butter and the granulated sugar. Add the egg and blend together.


Add the Greek yogurt and vanilla extract, mixing well.

4) Combine the cake flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.


Add to the butter and Greek yogurt mixture in thirds, mixing well after each addition.

5) Fold in about a cup of the finely diced fresh pineapple.

6) Place two tablespoons of butter in an iron skillet and melt in the preheated over. Remove once it's completely melted and sprinkle a 1/4 cup of brown sugar in the bottom of the skillet.


7) Line the bottom of the skillet with the mango slices.


Once that's done, top with the cake batter using a spatula to spread it evenly. 

8) Bake in the preheated oven for about 35 - 40 minutes or until an inserted tester  comes out clean.


9) Remove the cake from the oven (being careful as skillet will be very hot) and let it cool for about 15 minutes before unmolding.


Run a small knife around the edge of the cake to help loosen it from the pan. Place a serving platter on top of skillet and invert.


A little vanilla bean ice cream and enjoy!

Friday, August 29, 2014

You know you live in the country when. . . .

Any watermelon left outside unattended, for even a minute, becomes fair game to a pack of chickens ready for a mid-afternoon snack.


Yeah, that literally took them like two minutes to accomplish while I was unloading the car. And after seeing the dent they'd made in it, I threw my hands up and said, "Go ahead and enjoy." And believe me, they certainly did. Silly birds *shakes head* ;)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Monster Papaya.

You read that right, and it is definitely a monster of a papaya tree.


I bought this cute little plant (barely a foot tall in height at the time) off the clearance shelf back in May. Three bucks - uh-uh, no way I was gonna pass that up! If you've read this blog long, then you know I'm all about a good clearance sale.

So, I brought it home (along with a few other clearance plants. . . . okay, more like ten. Ish.) and planted it at the very edge of our hillside close to the waterfowl breeding pens thinking, 'Well, putting it here, maybe it'll help a little with the erosion.' Because erosion has been the buzzword this year on our farm.

Living on a hill is good for some things (like, say, if you're worried about flooding), but it's not good if you have what seems like, literally, a 1000 springs on your scant six acres of property. Those two things do not always mix well. In fact, they can be downright nightmarish.

But enough about my nightmares and back to The Monster Papaya. Which just sounds nightmarish. It's actually not.

My tiny, lil old papaya plant has taken on a life of its own and is now almost as tall as I am (and this girl is about 5'11"). And I swear to you, every time I look at it, it's bigger. Really, it is.


But I suspect, it's not down to some radiation inspired Hulk-like growth or anything else of that nature. Or let's hope not. No, it's probably the rich fertilizer from the waterfowl that has lead to such a huge growth spurt.

And do you know what, it's just loaded with little papayas.

Now, before I sign off, I have a little confession to make. . . . I don't even really like papayas. :/

Huh, maybe that's the nightmarish part this post. All those papayas. What am I gonna do? :/ Hmm.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Happy 86th!!!

Guess who celebrated their 86th birthday yesterday?

Grandma did!



Of course, we had to have a little celebration. With cake. You can never forget cake! And ice cream. If you have birthday cake, you gotta have ice cream, am I right?


Bryony even got in a festive mood, and you gotta know I'm going to post the obligatory dog-in-a-hat photo. Or tiara, in this case.

Bryony does love her Grandma. And the feeling is mutual. In fact, I overheard G-ma talking to Bry the other day and telling her, "Who's Grandmama's pretty baby? You are!" They've even started taking naps together every afternoon ;) But enough about that, and back to the real message of this post. . . . 

Happy Birthday Grandma!!!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

In Remembrance.

In remembrance of my Grandpa, Wayne, who died Thursday night after being hospitalized for nearly a week (You can read the post on our Facebook page about what happened here).

He loved golf and his family, and always had candy (in my case, since it was my favorite, bubblegum) on hand to give out.


You will be missed.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

New Look.

If you've visited lately, you may have noticed something a little new.

Over the years, this blog has gone through many makeovers:



And those few above are just the ones that Wayback Machine has archived. What can I say? I change my mind. A lot. Word of warning, don't go shopping with me. We're talking Indecisive City. But I digress.

They all had their pros and cons, but my favorite was the chicken wire design from The Cutest Blog On The Block. As cute as it was (and so perfectly themed for my blog that I literally let out a verbal, "Ooooh," when I found it), it took a while to load. Or at least it did on my country internet connection.

Which is slow to say the least. Not quite as bad as dial up standards, but not far from it. By the way, in case you're wondering, that's one of the few cons of living in the country. . . stone age internet. Anyone that is considering a move to bucolic surroundings, be warned.

But back to the blog. This new look. . . I like it! And I think (after a few tweaks), it's going to be hanging around for a while. Plus, it has the one thing that I've always included almost from the very beginning: pictures of the animals. They provide most of the material for this blog, so, naturally they need to be one of the first things you see.

For any new followers, here's a little lowdown on who the animals at the top of the page are: (Clockwise, left to right) Mose the donkey (along with a couple of goats), Chickens (a Cream Legbar hen and three of the Naked Necks), Marigold (our resident indecisive goat - she and I have a lot in common), and our farm poodle, Bryony. [Click on the links to be taken to posts featuring those animals]

Something else new - The Country Chick button.

The Country Chick

Monday, August 4, 2014

You know you live in the country when. . .

Not only do your two-legged human neighbors visit, but your feathered fowl neighbors do too.



These guys have been over here so much lately that I'm starting to think we've adopted them. Our neighbors wanted to know a few days ago if the birds were bothering us (and to send them home if they were).


The answer was, of course. . . Nope. We're pretty chicken-friendly people, after all. And you know what? This is what I love about living in the country. The friendliness, the slower pace, and yep, the visits from our neighborly chickens.




Sunday, August 3, 2014

Maiden Hill Farm Summer Giveaway Winner.

And we have a winner!



Congratulations Nicole! I will be contacting you about your prizes in just a bit.

A big thank you to everyone who entered and remember to stay tuned for more giveaways in the future.

And if you didn't win, but would still like to purchase one of the many items available in our shop, visit Maiden Hill Farm on Etsy here (use code 10OFFMHF to receive 10% off your order).