Friday, April 29, 2011


Sometimes you can find a pleasant surprise in the least expected place!!! A double yolker!!! Thank you my dear little hen.

It sure made our pumpkin pancakes delightful!!!


Wishing you happy surprises today as well!!!
Blessings, Sue

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Henry and Pearl

I am fascinated by these two little zebra finches. It never gets tiring, watching these two. They make the sweetest little sounds and their devotion to each other is truly heartwarming. I'm not an expert and don't claim to be, but I do know enough about my pets to keep them healthy and happy.
That being said, Zebra finches are originally from Australia and live on the seeds from the grasses that grow there. They have no "set" breeding season and will only reproduce when they think the environment is just right for rearing their young. This is why I feel really blessed that they have tried at three clutches and successfully reared three healthy, happy babies. Their first two attempts ended sadly... I think they were to young and inexperienced but the last one gave us alot of joy!!! (If you look closely you can see a baby just about to leave the nest in the above picture. )

This is the happy family. in order...Pearl, Henry and the babies. They first begin by getting the nest ready. This is really fun to watch. Henry is so busy taking bits of fiber and wool yarn and paper up to the nest. Then he eats while Pearl arranges things just so. This continues until they are quite satisfied with the way "things" are. Notice that it is so full with fiber that it is spilling out the little door. When she is sitting and the babies are young she can pull the fiber up and almost completly close the door.

They work together like this for about a week or so, back and forth, back and forth and then one day Pearl goes in and you don't see her so often any more. Henry takes her food and cuttle bone and sings proudly on the perch just outside the nest. She will come out to take a bath with him or just hang out, outside the nest. As soon as she does he pops in and keeps the eggs warm until she is ready to go back in.

The devotion and team work is really impressive. "They" say to not let your pair have to many clutches in a row and I can definitely see why. Pearl continues to lay eggs off and on when the next box is out of the cage so it's not really for her health in that way. I think its because they work so hard to prepare for the babies and then afterwards feeding them for so long.

Henry is the main care giver after awhile. Pearl seems to have less of a hard time telling them ENOUGH. When they begin to feed themselves and are drinking water well I removed them from the cage. Even though poor Henry was getting so thin, he continued to take care of them to the end. He even tried to feed them through the cages when I took them out. They get really greedy and aggressive, the babies do. I learned alot from this experience. It was great fun.

It has been several months, I removed the nest box and made sure they had a rest. We got an egg from time to time. And I just let them eat and sing and bathe to their hearts content. The babies were successfully given new homes and so.... We being again.

Henry and Pearl are busy feathering their nest and singing away. Their little nest is soon to be a very busy place. There is always so much to be learned from this world when we take the time to slow down and watch and listen. Its not always in the big stuff and that's refreshing to me.

Blessings, Sue

PS... Its really hard taking pictures of these little guys. They are fast. I als wanted to say that the babies were two little boys and one little girl. People have actually studied these guys and found that the song that the father bird sings is passed down generation after generation with only a slight varieation due to envirnment. I found this to be true as both the "boys" were singeing their daddie tune before long. COOL huh!!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

When life gives you lemons...

Make Lemon Curd.....

My lemon tree is covered with lemons right now, and my hens are laying up a storm. I have been wanting to try my hand at making lemon curd, but thought it was way too hard. I love lemon anything and years ago a friend gave me a jar of Lemon Curd for Christmas. Then I came upon a recipe on a blog I really like called Chickens in the Road. She made it look pretty easy and since I have the canning bug right now I decided "what the heck". First I had Allison pick the lemons and bring in the eggs. Washed them up and zested them. I used some of the zest in the recipe and dried the rest to put in other baked things.

I squeezed the juice...

and measured precisely.. (wink wink)

It calls for really good, basic ingredients. And pretty much anything can be made good or even better with butter..I cut this into little bits.

I inherited this double boiler from my mother in law. I love it. Measure the sugar into the top of your boiler and add the lemon juice. If you don't have one you can use a saucepan with a bowl on top.

Separate 4 of the eggs and add them and the other 4 whole eggs to the lemon juice sugar mixture. Do this before it gets hot or you will cook the eggs. Another way is to temper the eggs by taking some of the hot liquid out and adding it to the eggs first then adding the eggs into the liquid. If you don't do this you will cook the eggs. This is not the goal. You will have to start over. Not good. Add your zest.

I broke a yolk. heheheheh

Stir constantly until your mixture starts to thicken, and add the butter. I had already washed the jars in hot soapy water and put the lids into warm water so I was all ready when this got thick enough. I put the jars I will be using into my Hot water bath canner and heat up the water.

Take one jar at a time out of your canner and fill it up. I left about 1/2 inch head space, wipe the jar and put put the lid on finger tight.Place your jar into the water bath as you fill it. I processed mine for 15 minutes after the water came back up to a full rolling boil.

I got a little more than 2 pints from this recipe. After reading a really good article on the acidity in lemons needed for proper canning I decided to keep both jars in the fridge just in case. My lemons are Meyer and they are lower in acidity then a few of the other lemons that are actually better for canning. ask me if I care though, since one jar is gone already.

I baked a yellow, two layer cake for Easter and filled it with this curd. Oh My Gosh. DELICIOUS.
I am planning on making some more of this. It was easy and very good. I may try to find out about raising the acid level a bit so I can give away a few jars.

I also made some Marmalade from my blood oranges. But that another whole story!!! I'll save it for later.

Blessings, Sue

Monday, April 18, 2011

Beloved Friend

I haven't been able to write about this until now.. Our dear cat, Sassy, is gone. She died about 5 weeks ago after living with us for 16 years. She lived a long and happy life, and I now picture her laying in a window, just for her basking in the sun... in heaven. It took a really long time not to expect to see her lying in her "spots" and I'd even find myself talking to her. but time has passed and I know she is ok and so am I. The saying about God closing a door and opening a window has really rung true in this situation. Right before Sassy died, Allison brought home an abandoned kitten that was found in the Ag. dept at her school.

She was so tiny.. She still had her umbilical cord. We figured she was between one and three days old. We quickly got kitty formula and bottles and set up a box with the heating pad and some stuffed animals.

Allison fed her around the clock, every two hours. The task was given over to me during the school day. Did you know that baby kitties can't go potty on their own and have to be stimulated to do so... Well we do now and so the job was given over sometimes to Lily who thought she was her Mommy. Buster and the other weens thought she was theirs as well and we had to take turns. hahahahaha !!! Thomas, out Siamese, has won out however and is now the BEST daddy you could ever ask for.

We named her Charlie.. and of course she can never take the place of Sassy... She has just filled the BIG whole that Sassy left here. We were concerned for her survival for a long time, but she is a little tuffy and is doing great. She can hold her own with all the mommies/doggies we have around here and that in itself says alot!!!

I wish this was turned the other way around...but isn't she adorable?? She sits with me during the day and follows me everywhere. We had to put a little elastic with a bell on it so she doesn't get into to much mischief. She has yet to find her own spot in the window but it will come. When it does..I'll snap a shot for you.

Blessings, Sue

Monday, April 4, 2011

Mmmmm Strawberry Jam

The other day while in Kaelins buying my fresh produce, I spotted a display of some of the first strawberries of the season. I got a flashback... A kitchen, a long time ago..... stirring a pot that looked similar to this. Standing with my Grandma Klages, my Dads mom this time, stirring away and being told how HOT it was and to keep the spoon in the pot!! I love a good flashback!!! hahahahaah
So into my cart went a couple of the choicest baskets and home we went. Into the pot and stir, stir , stir....... I love strawberry jam. I love jam period. When we were a young married couple Seth would buy me the little assortment pack of Knotts Berry jams and jellies and that was my treat. I just love a piece of toast in the morning, slathered with jam or jelly along with a good cup of coffee.
Now you must ALWAYS skim the foam off the top of the pot before putting the jam into your jars, just so that the finished product will be crystal clear and beautiful. But you must NEVER, EVER, EVER toss it out. This is what I let everyone taste to see how yummy its going to be and whet our appetites. this is what my dear family goes on and on about how wonderful that we have homemade jam. hahahaha
This time I used some of my regular jelly jars and some really cute short chubby ones I found the other day!! They are the size of a regular quart jar but only about 2 inches high.. Kinda like weener doggy jars. Aren't they adorable???? I'm sending you a jar for your lunches, Carlye!! with love of course.
Sorry for the long space in between posts. I had to remember where I put "it" after I got "it" together this last time.!!!! Blessings, Sue