Monday, February 27, 2017

And then there were five....

We learned a tough lesson a little over a week ago on our little homestead.  And, unfortunately, we lost one of our girls - Corky St. Clair - in the process.

Corky is the darkest hen on the top right - she was also my favorite :(

Our chickens have it pretty good, if I do say so myself.  Jason has put so much work into giving them a spacious, safe run for them to graze in.  We learned back in the fall when we had to separate a couple of them that our Rhode Island Reds (Corky St. Clair and Libby Mae) and ISA Browns (Pancake and Bacon) could squeeze themselves through the slats of our fence.  Securing it so they couldn't escape got put on the to-do list, but since they only seemed to do it when they were separated from each other or in distress, it slowly got pushed down the list.  They didn't try to get away.  Even though they could "escape" at any point, they never did.

Fast forward to February 17th.  

I got home and within 10 minutes of walking in the door, Oliver started barking and ran to our back patio doors.  I looked out and saw a neighborhood dog that loves to torment our chickens.  The dog can't get to our girls, but he/she will run up and down the chicken run "chasing" after the chickens.  I went outside and yelled at it to go home.  It slowly made its way out of the backyard and went home.  
A couple hours later, I went out to give the girls their daily treats and collect the eggs.  I walked into the run and only four of our six girls greeted me.  Not totally unusual, I just figured the other two were in the coop or out in the run.  But, when I walked in the coop they weren't in there, and then walked out of the coop and they still hadn't shown up for treats, I knew something was wrong.

I left their run and started walking the perimeter of it.  As I got closer to the pine tree area, I saw 
a huge pile of feathers just outside their fence.  I didn't/couldn't get any farther to investigate.  I knew what had happened and could not bring myself to look at how bad the damage was.  I called Jason at work to tell him what happened.....or what I'm assuming happened.  I'm guessing that the neighbor dog was terrorizing our girls and, out of sheer panic and distress, two of our girls (Corky and Pancake) got through the fence trying to get away.  The dog then snatched one (at the time I thought we'd lost two) and, well, you can guess what happened at that point :(  I'm assuming this all happened just before Oliver alerted me to the dog being in our backyard.

I sat on our deck watching the kids play outside, making sure that they didn't go near the scene of the crime.  I took a picture of the last four remaining chickens and was in the process of posting the story on my Instagram account when something caught my eye in the far back of our yard.  As it got closer, I realized it was a chicken walking towards me.  At first, honestly, I was like "WTF is going on!?  Am I imagining chickens??"  But then, I just assumed that the dog had gotten into someone else's chicken coop and this chicken was running for it's life.  I got up and started walking towards it.  As I got closer, I realized it was Pancake!  She was coming straight towards the door to their chicken run.  I opened the door and she happily marched right in.  She was completely unscathed.  She must have run away and hid from the dog.

The next day, Jason spent most of the day installing chicken wire all along their run to keep this horrible thing from happening again.  Lesson learned.

As Jason was working on the fence, I was doing other things outside and we joked about if they realized what we were doing.  Do they?  Do they realize that they lost one of their sisters (I'm sure they do) and that we did this to protect the rest of them?  Did they see her get attacked?  Are they traumatized?  We figure they're just pissed at us because now they can't stick their heads through the fence to eat the grass on the other side :)

Poor Oliver can't stick his head through the fence to sniff them anymore either.  He sure does love those damn chickens!

Our girls are now safe(r) and sound in their run.  I haven't seen that dog since (thankfully), but unfortunately I can't be on watch 24/7.  A couple days after the attack a couple other dogs came in our yard.  The dogs didn't see the chickens, but the chickens saw the dogs and all five girls ran and hid in their coop.  I guess they can have a little bit of common sense sometimes after all :)

~ Sara :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Slow Cooked Beef Roast

After being together for over 10 years, I finally did it.  I finally perfected a roast!  Jason took one bite of this roast and instantly claimed that it is, by far, "the best roast you've ever made".  Score!

I'm not sure what it was - the seasoning, the tomato sauce....whatever it was, it worked and Jason and both of the kids gobbled it up.  Redmond even took leftovers to school the next day for lunch!

And, since this is a crock pot meal it couldn't be easier.  Load up the crock pot in the morning and you've got dinner waiting for you in a few hours.

Slow Cooked Beef Roast


For the roast:
3-3.5lb chuck roast
2 tbsp canola oil
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp rosemary, divided
1 tsp parsley, divided
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Kosher salt, divided
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

For the veggies:
1 lb baby carrots
1 large onion, cut into chunks
1 1/2 lb potatoes, cut into large pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 cups no salt added tomato sauce


1.  Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  On a large plate, combine the flour through the black pepper for the roast and mix well.  Coat the roast on all sides with the flour mixture and, once the oil is hot, brown the each side of the roast.  You'll know that the roast is ready to be flipped when it easily gives away from the pan.  Once every side is browned, place the roast in your crock pot.

2.  In a large bowl, combine all of the veggie ingredients except the tomato juice.  Once mixed well, add the veggie/seasoning mixture to the crock pot.  Pour the tomato juice over the veggies and roast.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Serve, eat up, and enjoy!

~ Sara :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Stuffed Zucchini

This is a great 'carnitarian' meal.  When I make Jason's, I add in Italian sausage.  For me, I usually just double up the amount of veggies, but you could also add in vegetarian/vegan "sausage" too. It's healthy and filling.  Loaded with veggies and topped with cheese to give it up the delicious factor.

You can use diced sausage links or ground sausage.  Or, like I already mentioned, omit the meat all together and add more veggies!

Stuffed Zucchini
Serves 2


1 1/4 lb zucchini, cut lengthwise and seeds removed
1 tbsp olive oil
2 Italian sausage links diced, 1/2 lb ground Italian sausage, or 2 veggie sausage links diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1/2 large onion, diced
1 roma tomato, seeded and diced
4 oz mushrooms, diced
8 oz no salt added tomato sauce
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella


1.  Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Carefully drop the zucchini halves into the water and boil for 1 minute.  Remove and drain well.  Preheat oven to 350.

2.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Saute the sausage until cooked, drain any fat and wipe the skillet dry.  Return the skillet to the heat and add in the olive oil, pepper, onion, and mushrooms.  Saute until the veggies are tender; add the tomatoes and sausage and season with salt and pepper.  Remove from the heat.

3.  Coat the bottom of an 8x8 baking dish with 2 tablespoons of the tomato sauce and arrange the zucchini halves skin down.  Fill the zucchini with the sausage & veggie filling.  Pour the remaining sauce over the top and sprinkle with the mozzarella.

4.  Bake the zucchini for 20-30 minutes, until bubbly and the cheese has melted.  Remove, allow to cool for 5 minutes and enjoy!

~ Sara :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Vegetable Eggrolls

Chinese/Japanese food are one of my favorites.  Unfortunately, we don't have a decent place in our town, or anywhere close so if I have a craving, I've got to get busy in the kitchen!  Eggrolls have always been a favorite of mine.  Thankfully, I'm able to make these at home.  They're simple to make, freeze excellently, and much healthier than the deep fried (but delicious!) ones that restaurants serve.

You can easily double this recipe to make a larger batch.  Simply freeze uncooked eggrolls individually then, once frozen, place all of them into a large freezer bag.

Vegetable Eggrolls
Makes 12 Eggrolls


12 Eggroll wrappers
1/2 head of Napa Cabbage (approximately 3 cups), shredded
1 large carrot, julienned/shredded/diced
1 celery stalk, sliced thin
1 cup bean sprouts
4 scallions, sliced thin
1/2-1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 large garlic clove, grated or minced
3 tbsp Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
Olive oil


1.  Combine all of the ingredients, except the eggroll wrappers and olive oil, into a large bowl and combine well.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes; up to 3 hours.

2.  Once the filling has time to meld together, remove it from the fridge and begin assembling the eggrolls.  Place an eggroll wrapper on a flat surface with a corner pointing towards you.  Dip your fingertip into water and run your wet finger around the edge of the wrapper - this will help keep the eggroll "glued" together.  Place about 2 tablespoons of filling (make sure you drain any excess liquid) 1/3 of the way up from the bottom.  Bring up the bottom corner, tucking in the filling, and roll twice.  Fold in the sides and roll the rest of the way.  

3.  Place the eggrolls on a baking sheet (you can freeze them to use later at this point).  Brush the top of each eggroll with olive oil and bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes, until they begin to turn golden brown.

4. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce(s) and enjoy!