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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Farm Notes: Bread, rice milk, haybox cooking, chickens & a mischievous little donkey

Things are starting to get back to normal now that the holiday madness is fading away, even though I admit we still have a few Christmas decorations to pack up (on today's To Do list, so don't worry). Also on that ever-growing list for the day is holiday thank you cards, cleaning stalls and the chicken coop, and straightening the mess in this house that I am convinced is created every night when we go to bed by the elves under the stairs. But this morning, to ease us all into the list-tackling, The Boy made French toast with homemade bread, fresh eggs, and toasted pecans. I made a batch of fresh apple juice to go with it. Let's just have a moment to bask in this awesomeness.... *ahhhhh*

Other (more) interesting things of note lately around the farm:

  • I've been further tweaking my bread making technique and this past week I think I made the ultimate loaves. At least The Boy says I have, and he's been my professional taste tester since I started this quest two years ago. I didn't question my recipe, but I questioned how much I was moving the dough around between rising sessions. I'm now convinced that extreme less is extreme more... even if that means leaving the loaves in a room temp oven for their last rise and then cooking them in place without preheating. The biggest "NO" thing I've read since I began making bread seems to work. Go figure.
  • This past week I dabbled around with making homemade rice milk as well as cooking a pot of chili, Haybox style. I plan to elaborate on both in later posts since they warrant more explanation, but for the time being I'll just say that they were great successes. If you can't wait for more info, well, that's what Google is for...
  • The chickens have slowed on their laying lately. In full production we were getting 4-5 eggs a day from the five hens, and now we find 2-3. One hen began molting on Christmas day, the day before we got a rare six inches of snow, but the rest haven't shown any signs. Since grass is nearly non-existent this time of year, I'm going to start supplementing their daily feed with soaked alfalfa cubes in addition to the veggie scraps we give them from the kitchen. Still planning on adding a few more chicks this Spring.
  • The always entertaining, frequently mischievous Levi the Little Donkey has given us a new puzzle to solve... how to prevent him from climbing the walls in his stall and possibly hurting himself. He has 3 solid walls but the front has gaps between the boards to help encourage air flow. Yesterday he demonstrated how he can climb his front legs up the front wall so he's head-height with us. Cute, but in doing this, he puts his front hooves through the gaps to hang on. I cringe at thinking how he could slip and get hung up and seriously injured. Looks like we'll be making the front wall solid.

Hope all of you are enjoying a beautiful Sunday morning. What's on your list to accomplish today?

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