...sometimes even a single feather is enough to fly. (Robert Maclean)


waning moon on a December morn

Oh how I love when the moon is still visible in the morning!
A little magic leftover from the night before...

Here she is setting at about 7:30am behind some aspens in our back yard. 

Something about trees in general seems joyous to me, and these aspens are no exception. 
It's as if they greet the sky with exaltation, no matter what the weather or time of year. 

I hope to be more like the trees...

happy socks

Happy socks and happy toes a happy woman doth make.

Here are some cheery socks Bootsy just finished to brighten up these cold months...   

She has knit so many things for others, finally, after a little cajoling,
she is keeping something for herself for a change! 

For any knitters out there:  the pattern is from Getting Started Knitting Socks by Ann Budd
The pattern is simply called '7 stitches per inch.'


Our raw milk is precious (especially this time of year), but when we have a little extra to spare we can't resist giving it to the girls.  It's not easy capturing a good picture of the girls drinking milk, because they go 'chicken-wild' the moment we set it out for them...  It's hysterical watching them dip their beaks in, then tip their heads back and chug it down their gullets in a big glug-glug-glug.  In the process, it drips down their wattles and spills all over their front.  It's not exactly a chicken milk moustache, more like a chicken milk goatee!   When too much milk has pooled in the curves of their wattles, they give a good shake, spraying little milk droplets all over their friends.  A good time is had by all. 

We are fortunate enough to have been early members of a raw milk CSA in our area:   Meadowsweet Farm has been providing the most nutritious, creamy, delicious milk for several years now despite ongoing battles with Ag & Markets.  For more information on why raw milk from grass-fed animals is good for you, visit:  A Campaign for Real Milk and Raw Milk Facts.  We especially love Meadowsweet because they are a true small family farm.  Not a 'family farm' with 2,000 cows in cramped facilities... au contraire mes amis:  when we toured Meadowsweet's (very clean) barn, they have fewer than a dozen sweet-faced, eyelash batting jersey cows (all with names), and the whole family participates in their care.


Bootsy's tricks to a tender & moist frittata

We had heaps of eggs from our girls, so Boo decided to make a frittata for breakfast today. 
She works so quickly in the kitchen that it's hard to get photos of her process.  
After beating 8 eggs (medium size, cuz that's what the ladies are layin'),
she added her own random amounts of:
 caramelized onion, cheddar, and a pinch of salt & pepper. 

Cooked, (covered), on medium low,
as she insists the trick is to not overcook them. 

Then she transferred the pan to the toaster oven (who cares if the door doesn't quite shut?),
where they are closer to the heat & the top gets nice and browned. 
 Plate and garnish with whatever herb you're in the mood for:

So simple & soooooooo good! 

And I am astonished that even with hardly any grass to eat this time of year,
but with lots of love, space to roam, and a good source of organic feed --
 our hens are laying eggs with yolks as yellow as a school bus! 

moon suet cakes + fly me to the moon

So, you want to feed your birds through the winter...
 You want to keep the chickadees and nuthatches and woodpeckers 
and all of the other loyal feathered friends
who stick around for the cold months
happy and well-fed?

You could go buy pre-made suet blocks OR
you could render your own
'suet moon cakes,'
just like my little lady did for a fun project.

What you need to make suet moon cakes:
      - large pan (we used cast iron)
      - suet (you can probably get it from local farmers who raise livestock... we got ours from Mary
        Rose of  Northland Sheep Dairy at the Ithaca Farmer's Market
      - birdseed blend (or your own mix of sunflower seeds / hearts, millet, cracked corn, etc.... feel
         free to add mealworms or dried crickets if you want to increase protein). 
      - twist ties or twine 
      - optional: netted bag such as from a bag of oranges, lemons, or onions. 
    1) render down the suet fat by heating it in your pan.  (Unfortunately it is not the most pleasant smell,
        but the good news is that it doesn't linger long.)
    2) skim off / remove the clumps that don't render down.  fyi: your dogs will adore these little 
    3) gently stir in your birdseed mixture.
    4) let cool / harden completely.
    5) heat your pan very gently so that the suet moon cake will soften at the edges and base.  Take a   
     spatula and place it as delicately as possible on a cookie sheet.  Let it harden again.

To Hang Your Suet Moon Cake:
* you can either drill a hole through it and run twine or twist ties through to hang it from a branch (We recommend not drilling too closely to the edge, go in maybe 2") Do NOT simply try to poke a chopstick or screwdriver through... your whole cake will most likely crack!   (we stuffed our cracked moons into our existing suet cages, as in pic #1 with the chickadee who came within 30 seconds of the suet's arrival...!)   OR
* you can stretch a netted bag over your moon cake and then weave twist ties or twine through the top of it to hang it from a branch, etc.

Now when the birds come, it will look like they've flown to the moon...

And after all of this moon talk,
 I have one of my favorite moon tunes in my head. 
Here's Diana Krall's casual, live rendition of
'Fly Me to the Moon' with some wicked bass from John Clayton. 

green eggs!

At long last, our Americauna (aka 'Easter Egger') has laid her first egg! 
It was hard to capture the subtlety of the light green tint with the camera,
so I placed her egg on a white fabric so you can see the contrast.  

Now I understand what Dr. Seuss was talking about after all,
and soon we shall have our own green eggs and ham. 
"Say! I like green eggs and ham!  I do!  I like them, Sam-I-am!"