Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Chicken Herdmanship - Culling Old Hens

It is easy for me to cull and rid my flock of roosters - hens, not so much.  All of my chickens were bred and raised here.  I love my mix breed flock of banty birds.  Every spring I cull my flock of roosters.  This year I gave away 7.  I was happy to hear 2 of them will be going the the Rosholt Fair.  Yay for them.  

I never, cull my hens - I like them too much.  Even when they are old - I mean old - 6-8 years, lay only 1 egg a week if any.   I have given away a few to friends or children who have asked to have one for a pet.  One was even named Dicky Bird...cute! 

However, I had to make some decisions yesterday about some old hens.  They all had leg issues.  Some were too old and slow to "get away" from the young horny roosters...sorry, but true.   Others faced toe loss due to frost bite.   These issues caused leg problems.  They just didn't have the quality of life every creature should be allowed.  

With a heavy heart, I caught my petite little friends and put them in a cage.  I made sure they had a "good" last day, crops full kinda day.  I thanked them for the years they gave me eggs, kissed my tiny "Twinkle Toes" good bye and asked Al to "help" me.  I don't like to kill stuff.  It is the circle of life.  I gave them a good life here with lots of treats and love.  They in turn gave me eggs and some super cute chicks over the years.  

If you don't have or never had animals, this might be hard for you to read.  I'm even crying reading it - and it's my story.  Culling is a part of herdsmanship - one that is not a favorite of any "farmer."   

The other side of that is - new life.  I do have 4 cages full of over 30 chicks.  Some of these will become my new favorites.  I already see a few cute ones I hope are hens.  

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.  

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Ground Beef Chinese Dumplings

In case I haven't said this lately...I'm in LOVE with Asian food.  I have a Pho addiction.  Every time I order Pho, I always get dumplings as an appetizer.  I wanted to try to make some of my own.  After some research on pinterest, I came up with this recipe:

1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 Cup shredded carrots
2 T. minced onion
2 Large cloves minced garlic
splash of soy sauce - 1/2 tsp.
1 T. Teriyaki Sauce - I used honey flavor
2 T corn starch

Mix all of this together until well blended.  You could make this with any ground protein or even vegetarian.  If I had it, I would have added shredded cabbage and grated ginger too.  

Put a rounded teaspoon of mixture into a wonton wrapper.  Seal the edges with water and pinch together.  In a pan heat up 2 T. vegetable oil over low heat.  Pan fry the dumplings until lightly pan was too hot...slow and low is always best.

Once brown, add 1/4 cup water, a spash of soy sauce and 1 tablespoon seasame oil - for flavor.  Cover and steam on low for 7-10 minutes, I didn't time this, make sure they are cooked through yet not too mushy.

I also made some without steaming them.  I did all the same steps except, I pan fried in butter.

I  made them for breakfast.  

These are so yummy and easy to make.  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did.

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.

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Monday, June 27, 2016

I Did It - 5K Challenge

This is for one of my "50 things to do before I'm 50."  I need to change that to - "50 things to do AT 50" as I am only half way there.  

27.  Run/Walk a 5K:

Justine, Anna and I signed up to do a 5K.  This one was a trail run/walk 2K, 5K and 10K in Sturgeon Bay, Door County, Wisconsin.  

About 6 weeks before, I started the From Couch to 5K app on my phone.  That app and the training was one of the keys to my success in completing this challenge.  

This event gave out some very nice prizes.  I don't have a picture of it, but once you crossed the finish line, you were handed a potted shrub too.  Now I can wear one of those shirts and actually have done the race.  Also, since we were in Door County, cherry capital - we were treated to a local creamery's ice cream topped with cherries and granola!  Trust me, I was thinking of that while I was on the  I'm so motivated by food...

While we were waiting for the race to start, there was a lady wearing a t-shirt that said..."if you are reading this, you didn't train for this race either" on the back.  Funny as that was, I didn't want to finish after her.  I did actually train - the best I could.  She did pass me right away, but fizzled out around 1.5 mile mark.  I passed her up.  I'm not going to lie, I was the "biggest" person signed up for the me, when you grow up chubby, you make mental notes of these types of things.  There were other "big" ladies, but they did the 2K.  I'm so happy I challenged myself to do the 5K.  

My goal was, just not to be LAST.  I was anticipating finishing in about 90 minutes with my trotting and walking.  I found an older lady who was doing the same as me, trotting, walking - mostly fast walking.  I just kept up with her.  At about the mile mark, I said to her..."this is my first race, all I'm trying to do is keep up with you."  Her husband was right behind me.  They were in their late 60's, they were from Chicago.  They told me I was doing good, really encouraged me.  She was wearing something that told her how fast we were going and how far we were.  

Somewhere between mile 2 and 3,  I said..."I don't mean to be a baby....but, how much longer...."  "Oh, just around the corner, we are almost finished..."  Ya right!  It wasn't, but she really helped me.  Honestly, I might have sat down if it wasn't for them.  As they crossed the finish line, they waited for me and gave me the "high fives" - bless you will never know how much your encouragement helped me!  Justine and Anna were so surprised to see me...when they they didn't think I would finish that fast.  It wasn't fast - but, I'm so proud of myself!  

Here we are at the end of the race.  

It was actually a very fun challenge.  The girls and I stayed over night and after the race went swimming in Lake Michigan - it was cold!  We actually want to make this a mother, daughter tradition....those who know me well, know I treat exercise like a 4 letter word....but, if it means my spending precious time with my girls...I'll do it!

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.  

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Early Summer Garden 2016

As I pass a well manicured garden - I will admit, I get garden envy.  I always imagine I will have a weed free, neatly manicured, magazine perfect garden...I never do.  It's not that I don't give it the "good ole' college try."  

Weeds are hard to keep up with!  Especially, if you try to do things more organically.  We add manure and compost to our garden each year and that is full of weed seeds.   

Al has taken an interest in gardening, yay!  Last year he planted some things in my raised beds.  After a lack luster yield, he decided to dig out the beds and add some "new" dirt.  We actually bought a trailer load from a specialty dirt place.  It has coconut shells and other good things in it.  

Here are a few pictures.  I didn't take a wide angle view of the back garden, as I have been busy doing estate sales and it is weedy.  When I finish this post, it's outside I go, to work on it.  Maybe, by mid-July, I will post a picture of it, maybe...

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.  

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

InstaMeet Club

The "It's all about Nature InstaMeet" was so much fun.  We only had 3 of us, but we made plans for another.  I was thinking it could be like an InstaMeet Club that meets monthly.  Next month, we plan to meet at Stoney Acres Farm, (I've posted about them here: ).  There are plenty of subjects to take pictures of while we wait for our pizza.  

We shared our photo tips, favorite apps and gadgets.  I said I would "feature" some of their photos:

We took our group selfie - next time, hopefully there will be more and shared our #tag for the event.

Here are my photos:

Making new friends, sharing creative ideas and networking is the goal of these InstaMeets.  Everyone is invited - message me if you want to know more about it.  

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.

Friday, June 17, 2016

It's all About Nature - InstaMeet

A new follower of mine on Instagram

messaged me and asked about an InstaMeet.  She apparently Googled InstaMeet in the Wausau area and my name came up. 

What is an InstaMeet?  It is a fun opportunity to network with other Instagramers.  You select a venue, create an invite, think of a #tag, share on your social media sites and come prepared to share your tips and ideas.  

I noticed this new follower liked to take nature pictures, so I came up with this:  "Its all about nature" InstaMeet.   We have a beautiful state park in Marathon County,  the Eau Claire Dells.  

We would love to meet new friends, followers and network with others in our area.  Everyone is invited.  We will meet, this Sunday, June 19 at 3 pm near the large covered picnic area.  Look for the InstaMeet sign. 

My hope is to have more than just us 2 there....(smile).  

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.  

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Country Garden Flowers

Can you tell I like purple and pink?  Lupine flowers are so pretty, they are one of my favorites.  Do you see the bumble bee on the chives?  

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.  

Friday, June 10, 2016

Our First Honey

Our first frame of raw, unfiltered honey.   Those bees have been busy.  The apple blossoms make this honey the sweetest I've ever tasted.  One of our 4-H dads, Robert, brought out another  hive.  I'm so excited to have these busy little helpers!

Our new hive below

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.