Friday, January 31, 2014

The Egg Eater Has Been Dealt With

A former coworker Shaun suggested I take a picture of the egg eater, the chicken destined to become chicken and noodles with a plate of noodles before her execution. Yesterday afternoon when we had a small break from the snow I took care of her.  This is not something I wanted to do to a good layer but was forced to do.
Monday night we will be having chicken and home made noodles for supper.  My daughter Renee pointed out that the chicken will be providing us with the entire meal.  I make my noodles in huge batches and freeze them so the chance that one of her eggs is in the noodles is pretty good. 
Here are a couple of picture before and after with some dried noodles that I cooked up for the pictures.  The other chickens got to enjoy the noodles after the photos. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

More Snow in the Forecast

Looks like we will be getting more snow in the next 3 days, just what we need.  I guess there are some positives:  snow melts and fills my well, the farmers need it on their fields, I can tell if any animals have been around the yard or by the coops by looking for foot prints.  My negatives are:  I have to shovel it, we've had our share this year, the chickens won't go out in the run until I shovel them a path and I am just plain tired of it. 
Last year we were spoiled and had less than 4" for the whole winter so I guess we are making up for it this year. 
I think the worst part of this winter has been the horrible cold temps.  We haven't experienced this type of temps in over 30 years.  When it does get below zero we seem to have the horrible wind with it and that just makes it worse.  I stay nice and warm in the house but I would like to spend more time outside.  Right now all I do is go out to collect eggs several times a day so they don't freeze and to feed the chickens and turkeys.  A couple of times I did walk around the yard to pick up twigs and branches from the white pine tree.  We have a huge pile of branches we've lost from that tree this years because of the ice and wind. 
Well no matter how much I complain about it there is nothing I can do to change it.  My daughter Renee said yesterday at this point you just have to laugh when you hear snow in the forecast and I guess she is correct.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Chicken and Noodles Soon Compliments of the Egg Eater

The egg eater has sealed her own fate.  She has put the noose around her own neck.  This is not something I want to do but she has left me no other choice.  I just came in from gathering eggs and there she was in a nest eating a huge brown egg,  She didn't try and hide the fact she was doing it and keep eating it as I approached her.  I picked her up and tucked her under my arm and proceeded to gather the eggs.  After I was done I put her in with the turkeys until we can get her dressed.  I sure hope she is the only one that has been eating the eggs and with her in another location I will be able to tell for sure.
Last week I clipped her beak like someone told me and that didn't help.  I have been finding one or two eggs a day that have been ate and I can't have that.  Breaking an egg eater is nearly impossible.  So it looks like we will be having a nice pot of chicken and noodles soon thanks to the old girl.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Ron's New Workshop

Ron has always wanted a separate space other than the garage for his workshop.  So when we created the storage space for all the items we sell on line we purchased a 10' X 12" already made storage building.  After we finished my storeroom Ron went to work on his shop.  He has had it about 95% complete for a while now but still has some tweaking he wants to do.  He has it set up very nice, he has a TV, DVD player and radio for entertainment and the TV is hooked up to cable.  He has a couple nice space heaters for when it is cold and a couple of fans for when it gets warm.  He likes to go out and fool around and not worry about cleaning up if he doesn't feel like it which is a lot of the time.  It is his shop and he can keep it anyway he wants to.  Below are some pictures I took of him out working and watching TV.

Ron's workshop.

Ron at his work bench.

His entertainment corner; TV, DVD player and radio.  In between the wall studs he made some nice shelves to store things. You can see some of his CDs and DVDs along with some of his tools on some of the shelves.                                                

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Beautiful Sunny Sunday

Wow what a difference just a few days make.  It is a beautiful day, sunny and 41 degrees out.  I didn't put on a jacket when I went out to tend to the chickens.  They are all out enjoying this nice day.  When we were shopping yesterday I picked up 2 heads of cabbage at Aldi for $1.29 each and Ron hung one of them in the run for the girls to eat.  I try and do this every couple of weeks, it gives them something to do and some good greens to eat.  It took them about 2 hours and it was gone but they had fun picking at it while it lasted.  I told them to enjoy this day because tomorrow the high will be 1 degrees, no not a typo, it will be one degrees for the high tomorrow.  Mother nature has a way of building our hopes up and then knocking us down real fast.
On this nice day I have a small hen turkey that we butchered last month baking.  I also have a nice pan of dressing in with it.  At Thanksgiving I made a huge amount of dressing and then portioned it out in containers and froze it for times like this.  We've used some already and have 2 more containers in the freezer.  After I use that up I need to make some more of the dried dressing mix that I made last year, that stuff was simply delicious and so easy to make. 

The chickens out enjoying the sunny day.

My turkeys.

The 3 males, brown one which you can only see part of and the 2 black ones.  The white one is 1 of 4 females.

Several of the chickens in the coop, the brown and white one is my favorite and she lays green eggs.

More of the girls decided they wanted their picture taken too.

Front yard, can you tell where the septic tank is?  Your correct it is the big bare circle up at the front of the house.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Easy Pantry Meal

Most Friday nights we have breakfast for supper and last night was no exception.  I fried up a jar of bacon, then browned a pint of potatoes in the bacon grease.  I also added a cut up onion that was from my garden last year.  After this was all done I added 6 fresh eggs that I had beat and some cheddar cheese.  Cooked until done and a wonderful hearty meal.
I try to have eggs for supper at least once a week.  I have also made for supper omelets, fried egg sandwiches, bacon and eggs, quiche and just plain scrambled eggs.  With the abundance of eggs from my girls it is a great way to use some of them up and they are delicious and good for you.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Horrible Case of Cabin Fever and Old Age

The American Heritage Dictionary describes "Cabin Fever": Boredom, restlessness, or irritability that results from a lack of environmental stimulation, as from a prolonged stay in a remote, sparsely populated region or a confined indoor area.
Yep that is exactly how I feel.  I looked at the projected 10 day forecast and it doesn't look promising.  Just going out to tend to the chickens is an enjoyable part of my day right now.  I talk to them, scold them and encourage them to get out of the coop into the horribly cold weather.  I'm beginning to think they have "Coop Fever".  I have found out who the egg eater is but need to wait until it gets a little warmer to do something about it.  Someone suggested I trim her beak and I am going to try that when I go out later today.  If that works her death sentence will be commuted.  I sure hope it works because it is just to darn cold to have to butcher her.  

I also don't feel the best right now.  I went to the doctor the first of the week because I have a horrible pain on the right side of my neck.  He said it was probably a pulled muscle and prescribe a muscle relaxer.  The problem with it is it makes me tired so I only try to take a half of one during the day.  It hasn't gotten a whole lot better yet.
I have a wisdom tooth that I chipped and can't get into the dentist until next Tuesday.  They won't do anything that day, you have to have a consult with the dentist first. :(
I had a panic attack that woke me up last night so I got up and took my blood pressure like the doctor wants me to do.  I sat on the "throne" while I did it.  My BP was OK but my heart rate was 109 so I sat there for a while and I either fell asleep or passed out and woke up and took it again and it was 92.  My legs at this point had fallen asleep and when I got up I could not stand and twisted my left foot and fell against the wall.  I am positive I broke a small bone or two on the side of my foot but I refuse to go to the doctor.  It is swollen and hurts like heck but I know that the only thing they do is have you wear one of those wooden shoes and I know I wouldn't keep it on so there is no need wasting my money.
I am just an accident waiting to happen; I forgot that on Monday I was introduced to a patch of ice out by the chicken coop but am feeling much better from that fall.  Getting old is not fun sometimes.  Oh well it could be worse.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Needs vs Wants

I've thought about writing this post for some time and just decided to go ahead and do it.
What has happened to our society where wants come before needs.  Yes we need a place to live, food to eat and clothes to wear.
I see and hear of young and old alike living way beyond their needs.  Before I go any farther yes I have things that I could live without BUT I did not purchase these items when I had commitments that needed paid or done. 
I have always taken care of my needs the best I could and if their was a want it came AFTER the needs.  I see way too many who take care of their wants before they take care of their needs.  Where as a society have we gone wrong?  We need to live within our means, take care our bills before we take care of our wants.  Pay for things with cash instead of plastic unless it is an absolute emergency don't use plastic.  If you must use plastic pay it off as soon as possible.
We need to learn to work for the things we get, no one owes you anything.  I worked with a gentleman once who said the employer "owed it to him".  Guess what that person no longer has a job with that company and has been unemployed for almost 2 years.  His attitude finally caught up with him and he was let go.  I don't wish that on anyone but remember no one owes you anything, you need to work for everything you get.
I am in my sixties and have finally came to a point in my life where I can afford "wants" but I limit them still.  I purchase almost all my clothes secondhand, I buy at least 95% of everything I purchase when I find it on sale.  I grow what I can and then preserve it and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Do I expect everyone to agree with me, no.  This is my blog and I just needed to vent.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Up and Bored So Gave the Blog a Facelift

Went to bed at 9:30 last night and awake at 1:30, 4 hours of sleep.  I am bored so decided to give the blog a facelift.  I like the new look and I hope you do to.  The eggs for the background are just perfect for me.  I also changed the fonts and font colors and might have to go back and tweak some of the colors.  For now everything will look as it is today.  

Friday, January 17, 2014

My Etsy Store's One Year Anniversay

My Etsy store's one year anniversary was on 1/6/14.  I think I did very good in my first year and hope to do better this year.  I sold over 1,500 items with the majority being Amish/Mennonite clothes and second is linens.  Right now I have very few linens and this is a bad time of the year for auctions and estate sales.  I hope to pick up more soon and have been watching the auction calendar very closely for auctions.  I hope to go to Northern Indiana on an Amish shopping trip the end of February or sooner if sales start picking up of those items.  I need to find more broadfall pants for a couple of dedicated customers.  Pants are hard to find as most men wear them until they are unsaleable.  Ron only has one day left of last years vacation so we would go up on a Sunday afternoon and spent the night and get an early start shopping and get back home on Monday night.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Egg Muffin Freezer Day

Yesterday I made up 2 dozen egg muffins for the freezer so that my husband and grandson can have a quick healthy breakfast item.  First I fried up the eggs, fresh from my wonderful girls. Then I put them in the fridge to get cold. 

 After the eggs were cold I assembled all the items need to make the egg muffins.  Half of the muffins had ham and the other half did not.

I then made up all the sandwiches and put them back in the muffins bags and put them in the freezer.

After they were frozen I made up the vacuum seal bags and proceeded to vacuum seal each muffin.

After all were completed I put them in the freezer and when the guys want one from breakfast all they have to do is take one out, cut open the bag and put it in the microwave to heat up.  A good healthy breakfast at very little cost.
Next time I will try making some with bacon since that is the grandson's favorite meat.  You could also use sausage patties.  

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Asian Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

With the cold weather soup is so good and so easy to make.  With no recipe in mind I decided to create one myself so I went to the pantry and pulled out 2 quarts of chicken broth, 1 pint of shredded chicken, wild rice and a bag of Asian vegetables out of the freezer.
I opened the broth and chicken and added to the soup pot and brought to a boil, turned down the heat and added the rice.  Simmered this for about 30 minutes and then added the frozen vegetables and simmered for 10 minutes.  Done and ready to eat, it was very good.
If I had some soy sauce this would have been great in this or even some chow mein noodles    sprinkled on top when served would have been good.  If you don't care for wild rice white rice would also work.  
The ingredients.

My bowl of soup.
The pot of soup.

Monday, January 13, 2014

What A Different Week

Last Monday at this time we were -18 with wind chills in the -35 range.  It is just a little after 9 AM and it is 38 degrees out, partly sunny and beautiful.  Just came in from gathering eggs and feeding everyone and did not need to put a jacket on.  Last week when I went out I would put on a jacket, 2 scarves, a face hoodie, 2 hats and gloves and was still cold.
We got a huge head of cabbage for the hens yesterday and hung it in the run so they would have something to do and also a treat.  All that is left right now is the core of the cabbage.  I need to do that more often as it is so good for them and helps pass the time so maybe they won't eat their their eggs.
I and they need to enjoy today because the weather is changing and by the end of the week the high will be only 20 degrees.  Oh well it is winter and I live in Central Ill and this is to be expected.
This is me and what I had to wear just to go out and gather eggs last week.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Thrifty Amish and Mennonite Closet's Facebook Page

Hop over to my new stores Facebook page and "Like" it so you can follow along with some of what is going on.  Thanks so much.

You can also send me a "Friend Request" to Paula Osborn and follow me on Facebook.

A Tour of My Chickens and Turkeys for a Former Coworker

Yesterday morning one of the guys I used to work with came over with 2 of his kids to see my setup for the chickens and turkeys.  He has just published his first children's book and was thinking about getting some inspiration for another book and wanted to visit.  Shaun, Sophie and Christopher were my captive audience as I showed them around and tried to share everything I know about raising chickens and turkeys.  I'm sure at some point I was boring them but I was so eager to share my knowledge.  The only thing I miss about not working is having interaction with people on a daily basis.  My husband IS NOT a talker and neither is the grandson who lives with us, so when someone comes over I so enjoy it and NEVER shut up.  They were here for almost 2 hours and after talking outside we came in and the kids enjoyed some hot cocoa.
Sophie who is 11 was interested in seeing all my canning stuff so I was more than glad to show her my canning closet.  I also shared with her the stuff I dehydrated.  We talked about other things and then it was time they left so they could finish their Saturday chores.
Go to the link above and take a look at Shaun's first book. 


The weekend before Christmas on a not so horribly freezing day Ron and I butchered 4 small toms to put in the freezer.  When dressed out they were all about 8 lbs and just the perfect size for the 3 of us.  Now we are down to 7 turkeys, 3 toms and 4 hens.  I though we had 2 toms and 5 hens but the other day I discovered that what I thought was a hen is a tom.  If we had know that when we butchered the others we would have done one more.
This group will be used for breeding and then late this summer after I get plenty of poults they will get butchered and start the cycle over.  All three toms are different breeds and the hens are 2 different breeds.  Don't ask me what they are because I have no idea except for one Tom who is a Bourbon Red.
So for my first year butchering turkeys we ended up butchering 6, not bad for a first timer.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Unwanted Visitor

A couple of weeks ago Ron spotted a coyote in the back field, we've seen coyotes out back before. This morning when going to collect eggs I noticed large tracks all around the coops and yard. I followed them to see where they went and where they came from. I followed them through the field and had to stop tracking them when they disappeared behind the neighbors wood pile and down into the gully and woods. The tracks were all over the front yard, side yard and back yard so he was exploring the entire area. Our runs and coops are very secured so nothing happened to the chickens or turkeys. We have a trap that we can set out but first need to find out if it is legal to do so. I don't want or need any coyote hanging around this close to our house. He has plenty of fields and woods to roam without roaming my yard.

Friday, January 10, 2014

My Trip to the New Amish Bulk Food Store in Cuba Illinois

There used to be a Bulk Food Store outside Cuba Illinois but the people who owned the store moved back to their home town of Arthur Ill and the store closed.  There was a couple interested in opening a store but wanted to build one closer to the main road to bring in more traffic, the other store was down a gravel road 2 1/2 miles.   Six months after the other store closed the new one opened.  My husband and I took a trip down to check out the new store today and to pick up some needed items.  A Bulk Food Store is the perfect place to shop if you are looking to buy in bulk and one ran by the Amish is perfect because they carry a huge variety of spices that you can't find at your local grocery store.  They also carry a huge variety of item for cooking from scratch that are hard or impossible to find anywhere except on line.  I also find their prices are lower than most chain stores and I LOVE to support my local community whenever I can.
The store was less than 1/4 mile off the main road (paved) and very easy to find.  It sits right next door to the Amish hand crafted furniture store where we had custom made tables made for our living room a couple years ago.  On the other side of the store is where the people live who own the Bulk Food Store.  He has a very nice well kept piece of farm property where he raises over 150 hens and sells the eggs in his store.  He was telling us that most days he can't keep up with the demand for fresh eggs.
In the spring he hopes to offer fresh baked goods like the other store did.  He said there was an Amish lady nearby who was interested in baking items for the store.  He also sells homemade candy just like the other store and it is made by his sister who also made the candy for the old store.   At the other store the owners baked the items and that store was ran by wife.  This store is ran by the son of the man where we used to get our fresh milk.  He is young so I'm guessing that his wife is home with the young children.
If you have an Amish community nearby I highly recommend checking out the Bulk Food Store and the other stores owned by the Amish.  We have to drive about 45 minutes to this one but try and go every couple of months and stock up.  The Cuba Amish community is very small and have about 6 different types of businesses open to the public and we enjoy checking them all out and purchasing items from them when we can.  All Amish owned places are closed on Sunday.
The Amish community in Cuba are very friendly and talkative.  There are some communities that are not but almost every Amish community we have visited are very friendly and some more talkative than others.
Address for this store is 20177 N Depler Spring Road, Cuba, Il (off Illinois Rt 95).  They are open M-F 8-5 and Sat. 8-3.   Store owner is Andy Kaufman.

I had the owners permission to take the pictures as long as I did not take any of him.

Bulk Food Store in Cuba Illinois.

The new store.

Candy and snacks.

Spices and misc cooking items.
Flour, sugar, flavorings.
Beans, rice, pasta.
Oatmeal, cereal, canning items.
Left side; paper items and cleaning items.  Right side, dog food, veggies and fruit.
Refrigeration unit.


For a couple of weeks now I realized I have an egg eater.  The last couple of days it has gotten worse and I need to catch the culprit(s) and will have an unscheduled butchering.  Egg eaters hard very hard to break once it gets started.  If I had access to a camera to hook up in there I would so I could catch the culprit.  For now I guess I will be going out every hour to check for eggs. 

Keurig Coffee Machine

Last week Ron and I used the Christmas gift card from his work to purchase the Keurig Platinum K75 Brewing System.   It is a luxury item and that is the only way we would have got it.  I've WANTED one for a while but did not necessary need it.   It is perfect for the couple cups of coffee I drink each day and Ron and Ian drink hot chocolate.   After I use up the 60 K cups that came with it I will use can coffee with the K cup filter that came with it.  Gina took us to Costco so we could get it there because it was so much cheaper and she has a Costco card and we don't.   Ron also used some of the money to get a nice space heater for his new workshop.  Thanks Alter Trading for the Christmas gifts.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Did She "Toot"

I think one of the chickens passed some gas and this came out.  Pretty small and it did not have a yolk.  I mixed it in with 2 other eggs for my breakfast omelet one day.

A green egg, the small white egg and a brown egg.

A green egg, the small white egg and a brown egg.

Monday, January 6, 2014

My Horrrible Experience

We experienced the worst weather in Central Illinois than we have had in 25 years in the last 48 hours. We've had snow, horrible winds and way below zero temps.  I've went out several times today to check on the turkeys and chickens and on my second trip out I noticed the chickens couldn't get to their water because it was drifted over 18" in spots so I went in the run with the shovel (the run is only 4' high so I am stooped over the whole time). Shoveled them a path and backed my way out, about 20' and couldn't get out. The latch had fell and I was locked in the run at -9, wind chill -25. Lucky Ian was home today so I called him to come out and save me. I was properly dressed but even at that my fingers were frozen. When I came in the house I cried for over 5 minutes while trying to get them warm. I forgot to tell you I am claustrophobic!  I can tell you for sure that this will never happen again.

Whizbang Chicken Plucker

Just ordered the majority of the parts to make The Kimball Whizbang Chicken Plucker. I will be able to use it on the chickens and turkeys this year and will cut the work of dressing them down to just a few minutes. Can hardly wait to get the stuff so Ron and I can start making it. This is our winter project and I love doing projects.
The parts will ship out of New York today so we can start working on it real soon.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Baking with Hannah

During the Christmas Holiday my 17 year old grand daughter Hannah came over and spent a couple of days.  She wanted to bake when she was here so the first day we made 2 loaves of cinnamon raisin bread, 2 loaves of cinnamon bread, 1 ham and cheese braid and 1 turkey and cheese braid using the left over meat from Christmas day.  Everything was absolutely delicious.  The next day we baked a batch of Cool Whip cookies.  I sent her home with the cookies, 1 cinnamon bread and 1 cinnamon raisin bread.  We had a lot of fun baking and look forward to her wanting to come and bake again with this old lady. 

Back, Turkey and Cheese Braid; Front, Ham and Cheese Braid.

Ham and Cheese Braid.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread.

Cinnamon Bread.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Feeling Horrible About This Blog

Looking back at the lack of posts for 2013 makes me feel horrible.  I can use the excuses I've been busy, don't know what to write about, or the real truth is I am just to lazy and need some inspiration.  I plan on posting at least 3 times a week this year and hope I can keep up with my promise.  So those of you who are still reading the blog please stick with me and I promise I will do a better job this year.  Thanks

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Free 2014 Small Farms Winter Webinar Series

Last year I shared with you the schedule with permission from U of I Extension the summer Webinar and am sharing the winter one with you.  You don't have to live in Illinois to register and enjoy these.  Please feel free to share with your friends as they are always very helpful and very educational.   

Announcing the 2014 Small Farms Winter Webinar Series which will air each Thursday afternoon online starting January 9  (1:00 pm – 2:30 pm Central time) with the following dates and topics:
Jan 9     Managing Layers on Pastures
Jan 16   An Overview of the Philosophy & History of Organic Agriculture
Jan 23   Pumpkins and Gourdes
Jan 30   Approaches to Small Scale Farm Composting
Feb 6    Organic Pest management:  Insects
Feb 13  Organic Pest Management:  Disease
Feb 20  Organic Pest Management:  Weeds
Feb 27  Asparagus Production
Mar 6    Small Orchard:  Insects Management
Mar 13  Small Orchard:  Orchard Management
Mar 20  Small Orchard:  Disease Management
Mar 27  Growing for Ethnic Markets
To Register online, go to:
For more information, contact: 
Miki (Michaleen) White
Program Coordinator,
Small Farms & Local Foods
Unit 10, Knox County
University of Illinois Extension
Phone:  309-342-5108