Monthly Archives: September 2013

Two Tips for Hard Boiled Eggs

I have soooooo many eggs right now.  Literally thirteen dozen in my fridge.  And more in the coop.  Of course, there will be more in the coop tomorrow and the day after, and the day after.

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Which means I’ll be forced to workout this afternoon so I can take my farm fresh eggs to the Y to sell.  But, it also means I’ll be pulling out all my tricks for using eggs!  We’ll eat them scrambled, as omelets, in quiche, as egg salad, but my family’s favorite is deviled eggs.  Which is great.  Except that hard boiled eggs can be such a pain!

Thankfully, I’ve learned a few things about the science of eggs.  Nearly all of it has been confirmed by the girls at the Y too, so you can be sure these will work!

First, use old eggs.  A fresh egg is “full”, making it difficult to separate the cooked egg from the shell, but an old egg has lost water through evaporation.  This creates an air pocket at one end of the egg.  You can test eggs by setting them in water.  If they lie flat, the eggs are fresh with no air pocket.  If one end floats up at a diagonal this egg is older and will work great for boiling or baking.  If the egg stands perfectly on end, well, you’ve held on to that one too long!!!

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Then place the eggs in a pot and cover them with cold water.  The water level should be at least one inch above the eggs.  Turn the heat on and allow the water to reach a rolling boil, then cover the pot with a lid and turn the heat off.  Set a timer for 12-13 minutes.

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This is important!  When the timer goes off, don’t ignore it!  Its okay to finish changing the baby’s diaper and all, but don’t think that no burning = no foul!  Cool the eggs quickly in cold water.  Once they’ve cooled to the touch lightly crack the entire surface of the egg.  Under cold, running water carefully find the film under the shell and peel the egg.  Try to find that air pocket and start there.

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If you are Martha Stewart or the Pioneer Woman and have a whole kitchen just for your food show, you will have a beautiful, smooth, perfect egg ready for deviling!

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If you are a crazed, homeschooling, foster parenting, goat caring, chicken wrangling, blogging mom who didn’t bother to test the eggs and then left them cooking for 45 minutes, you’ll probably end up with something not quiet that perfect.

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So that’s where my two best tips for hard boiled eggs come in.

First, let you kids peel the eggs so you can proudly show off your creations as something your adorable offspring accomplished.

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And second, cook twice as many as you need and make egg salad with the worst ones.

There ya go.  Two tips for cooking hard boiled eggs, from my home to yours. 😉

Categories: Animals, Science | Tags: , , , | 10 Comments

Preparing for Harvest

Can you feel it?  Smell it?  I’m even beginning to see it.  That unquantifiable element that is fall.  Everyone is pinning pumpkin recipes and buying apple butter at farm stands.  I’m putting off my fall cleaning until, well, maybe spring…  I love living where the seasons change and in one of those inexplicable phenomenons, the upcoming season is usually my favorite.  But who doesn’t love fall?!

Unlike me, the farmers in my family love fall best all year long.  Because fall means harvest.

Preparing for harvest  {}

Brett especially looks forward to harvest all year.  It means long days in the combine –and snacks from Daddy’s magical lunchbox!  He’s so excited about it, in fact, that he begged to help wash the combine like our hired hand, Cory, was doing.  Daddy said he was actually a big help and really did a good job getting the dirt and grime off of the equipment.

Today Daddy will run the combine on the field next to the shed to get the engine hot enough to change oil and hydraulic oil and maybe calibrate the combine to correctly calculate yield.  He’ll set up the monitors, resupply the tool boxes, check the air conditioner, and any other of a thousand odd jobs that are involved in preparing for harvest.

Then tomorrow we begin!

Categories: Technology | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

The Chicken Palace

*Sigh*  Sometimes it really is the little things!  Actually I think my husband would argue that this really was a big thing, but either way,  I’m excited about it just the same.

Chicken fence {}

This… is the new chicken fence!

When we I first ordered our baby chicks I had these quaint visions of happy hens pecking and scratching about the yard.  I would shut the birds up in the coop at night, but during the day I opened their pen and they would run like first graders to recess out of that little door.  Then they would meander about the shed and backyard during the day and put themselves to bed when the sun set.  It all worked very nicely… for a while.

Free range chickens

Our formerly free chickens.

First it was the neighbor’s dog.  Apparently he liked chicken dinner as well as anybody.

Then it was the rye grass newly planted in the field by the house.  I guess it just kept calling them to explore further.

Next it was my garden.  Which was fine as long as they were fertilizing it, but not so much when it came time to plant seeds.

And when they discovered the dirt bath under the bushes and began to fertilize the sidewalk up to the front door, well, then Daddy had just about enough of the “picturesque” birds.

But the final straw was loosing three birds in three days to an unmannerly coyote.

The chickens needed a fence.

Actually, the girls are loving their new space.  Its more than 500 square feet, but I'm pretty sure they're also grateful not to be eaten...

Actually, the girls are loving their new space. Its more than 500 square feet, but I’m pretty sure they’re also grateful not to be eaten…

Which is easier said than done, of course.  It took Daddy nearly a month to complete this project, squeezing it in between his other farm jobs.  But when Daddy does something, he does it right.  We live in tornado alley, and the fence was designed to be as Brett-proof as possible, which means it should hold up to the tornados just fine.

The new chicken fence on the farm {}

Now all we need is a goat pen!

Categories: Animals | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Public Bathing

A little privacy please!

I was outside shooting pics of the dump truck when this photographic opportunity popped up.  And despite the fact that bathing should really be a private matter, I couldn’t resist snapping this girl in the middle of her bath.  Dust bath that is!

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Chickens won’t bathe in your typical bird bath, but coating themselves in a layer of fine dust actually helps them be hygienic.  They roll about until their feathers covered because the layer of dirt suffocates any mites that might be looking for a permanent residence.  When they are finished they’ll run their feathers through their beaks to lock the barbs on the veins together like a zipper.  If you’ve ever found a feather on the ground and pulled it apart you’re doing the opposite.

chickens on the farm

And while chickens, like the Romans, seem perfectly fine with public baths, the look this hen is giving my camera just screamed annoyance.

A little privacy please!

Categories: Animals | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

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