cold feet


I just got back from taking old cornmeal muffins to the chickens.  I did what every other New Englander would do when it’s March 24, sunny, and 39 degrees.   I threw on a jacket….and sandals.

Parker the Dog couldn’t get any closer to the hens because of his Hidden Dog Fence.  He was very much longing for an old cornmeal muffin.

I have sent various children to the coop for the last three days and they all skipped back to the house cheerfully saying, “No eggs!”  “None?”  “No, they ate them!”  “Did you check the barrel?  They’ve been laying in the barrel lately.”  “Yep, there weren’t any!”

Just to be sure, I also went in the coop.  I found seven in the barrel and 3 each under two brooding hens.


I put them into the same bag I had brought the muffins.  By this time I was calling myself Stupid because my toes were turning pink and icy and I had sandy textured snow in my berki’s.  There was a bit more darn snow than I had anticipated.

I kept my eyes on the warm dry dock as I slipped toward it, planning to warm my feet.  Upon arrival, I kicked off my sandals to get rid of the snow and dry off.  One of them slid right across the dock and….into the pond.  Thank goodness for cork bottoms.  While Parker stood on the bank and leaned across the water with his nose stretched out toward my shoe doing nothing, I also leaned over the edge of the dock stretched out my arm to retrieve it.  “Stupid” I called myself.  I tapped my shoes on the wood to get as much snow and water off before slipping them back on to walk back to the house, keeping in as many of the bare patches as I could.  This must be why the children are always skipping into the house after they go to the coop.


I washed my dishes and 13 eggs.

And put socks on.



We are leaving to take Grace to college on Friday morning.  Jacob will be coming home this weekend while we are gone, to pick up Ethan and take him back to college with him. So we are savoring the last week at home before a very busy weekend.

I’m sitting cross legged on the couch, still in my pajamas.  The kids are playing a game and Parker the dog is stretched out next to me, snoring.  Gentleman Gray is grooming himself on the end table.

We had rain in the night.  The outdoors is fresh and clean and the sun is shining bright.  I ate a piece of pie out on the porch and watched the morning birds fly about.  I saw a hummingbird chase around a titmouse and a bee sipping nectar from a flower in my garden.

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I recently made a pound cake and it turned out so good I thought I would share the recipe.  Click HERE for a yummy Vanilla Bean-Brownie Ripple Pound Cake from Southern Living.  And it used up five eggs so it was a winner in every way.  (I’m always looking for recipes that use up the eggs from our flock of 14 hens).

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I quartered some baby potatoes and fried them with an onion and some peppers.  When they were done, I made a spot for four eggs and cooked them with the lid on until they were just soft in the middle but not gooey in any way (I hate runny eggs).  It was a delicious breakfast and so easy.

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I was gazing at the monarch caterpillars when I saw Gentleman Gray trot by the window with a frog in his mouth, legs every which way.

Cats are funny.

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Ethan spent over an hour yesterday morning learning a new song on the guitar.

It was like he couldn’t stop, he was so focused.

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Why yes, she WAS singing “Do you Want to Build a Snowman?”


Caleb got his summer reading assignment done.

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Grace and Tessa worked on a puzzle.

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Watching a movie with the kids (Lego Batman).

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The two swallowtail caterpillars finally stopped eating and began the chrysalis stage.  Instead of dangling like the monarchs do, they hang themselves under a stick using a loop of silk.


And then, like magic, they turn into something that looks just like a stick.


I recently got this at Goodwill.  “Five little maidens out on the green, Happier maidens never were seen.”




I have about 10,000 peaches to take care of thanks to our one and only tree being LOADED this year!  (I made a pie yesterday).


Grace and I finally got her college preparations done yesterday.  AND manicures and pedicures.



“The less we are attached to life, the more alive we can become.  The less we have preferences about life, the more deeply we can experience and participate in life.  This is not to say that I don’t prefer raisin toast to blueberry muffins.  It is to say that I don’t prefer raisin toast so much that I am unwilling to get out of bed unless I can have raisin toast, or that the absence of raisin toast ruins the whole day.  Embracing life may be more about tasting than it is about either raisin toast or blueberry muffins.  More about trusting one’s ability to take joy in the newness of the day and what it may bring.  More about adventure than having your own way.”

~Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D. in Kitchen Table Wisdom


madame moth


One evening this week I went into my room and found a large brown moth playing a rather dangerous game of tag with the ceiling fan spinning over my bed.  I quickly turned the fan off but the moth continued to fly around like something crazy so I turned off all but one of the lights in the room.  The moth gravitated toward it and settled down on a closet door.  I was able to get a photo and then attempted to trap it under a large glass in order to take it outside where it belonged.  However, Madame Moth had other ideas and escaped the glass with fluttering wings… my shoulder.  I did a quick, sly shuffle, while squealing, toward the door but alas, it vanished off my shoulder and disappeared.  For the remainder of the night I found myself absentmindedly brushing at my hair and clothes.  I hadn’t seen the moth fly away and felt as if it were still on me somewhere.

The next morning……….


I found it on the light pink curtains in the bathroom.  The curtain rod was one of those spring loaded kinds that can be adjusted between the window frame so I took another photo and then pulled the entire curtain down and took it and the moth outside….where it belonged.  We have a large wrap around porch and I put the curtains on the quiet side, away from doors and activity of people and pets, on a small table.  The poor moth was so still and silent that I wondered if it was even alive.  I checked on it throughout the day and it never moved.  I felt badly that I hadn’t been able to get it outside the night before when it was so obviously full of life.

The next morning…….


It was gone, all but a single leg and 11 chartreuse colored eggs.  I think it left it’s leg behind because even I had a hard time removing it from the curtain, it was hooked into the fabric rather tightly.


The eggs look amazingly like green grapes.

eggs (a short chicken tale)

Welcome month of March, month of early springtime flowers, happy birthdays, and eggs!



As you may or may not remember, our family owns a flock of 14 hens.

But lately, NO EGGS.

The hens are eating them.  I don’t know if a hen lays an egg and then cheerfully eats it, or if she leaves her egg behind and then the next hen wanting to lay HER own egg eats the one she finds “in the way” so to speak, to make way for her own egg laying endeavors.  No matter, it is happening.  It is annoying.


We are in the market for one of those nesting boxes which are slanted on the bottom so the freshly laid egg rolls away out of sight and out of the hen’s reach.  In the meantime, I am positively haunting the coop in order to snatch away eggs just as soon as they appear.


In this fashion, I have so far collected 5 of them just this morning.


Three of which I promptly cooked and ate for breakfast.  Outside.  So I could watch.


“Yes, I am watching you.”




Poor Rich had a rough start to his day.  He has been getting up early to work out with Ethan, who has to stay in shape for his college wrestling team.  This morning when they stepped out the door to leave for the track, they were confronted by a huge mess on the porch.

I knew something was the matter a few hours later when Rich was back home and stomping around the house getting showered and dressed for work.  So, the first chance I got I asked him if something was wrong.

“Oh, a few things irritated me this morning.  First of all, someone, instead of taking the trash out to the bin, hung it on the porch railing instead.  A raccoon must have gotten into it because it was ALL over the place and not only that but it was nothing but raw eggs.  I had to scrub and hose the porch and steps off.  And then, there were no towels in the bathroom but that wasn’t that big of a deal because I’m used to there being no towels in the bathroom, but when I got out of the shower I slipped on the floor.  Also, the big things of shampoo that I bought before camp are gone so I had to go out to get my bag and use my travel shampoo.”

“Wait.  Raccoons don’t like eggs?”  I asked innocently.

“Oh, they liked them.  They had a great time with them.  They were all over the porch.”

I was highly amused, and he was too, at that point.  But he was not happy in the midst of these surprising experiences.

I confess, it was I who hung the garbage on the railing.  And I was the one who filled the bag with raw eggs, too.  One of my hens needs to be “dispatched” because she has been laying nothing but a daily stinky egg.  I never know which egg I crack will be stinky so I am determined to stay at the coop and check each and every hen’s egg.  When I find out who is laying these unusable eggs, I’m going to have to get rid of her.  It wouldn’t be so bad if I could visually identify which egg it was (out of 14 per day) but unfortunately there are a lot of eggs that look identical, thus all the light brown eggs are under constant suspicion.  As I told Grace, it has become an obsession with me.  Sarah Joy saw me industriously smelling a raw egg, which I had broken in a cup, and said, “What are you DOING?  That’s discusting!”  We can’t have this, we can’t.  The mystery must be solved so I can enjoy my hens and eggs again.

((stay tuned.))

So yeah, it was pouring rain yesterday as I reached out the door to hang the trash on the railing.  I meant to tell someone to take it to the bins, but I completely forgot.



Ethan was distraught.  He was hungry.  He’s been working out so much and I am of the opinion that he needs to eat more… yesterday I was in the kitchen for a few hours, making pancakes and eggs,  and then a delicious homemade coffee cake.  Soon not only Ethan was happy, but we all were, and sugar was falling like snow.


Seth was too close to me in the kitchen and I couldn’t resist.

We ate coffeecake while playing a game.


Seth had come upstairs all upset because Caleb had “broken his nose with a hard pillow.”  I felt it very carefully.  “It’s not broken.” I said. “Lean against my leg and I’ll give you a back scratch.”

It was a contented moment, to play a game with Grace, eat coffee cake, comfort a small son, and look over to the couch now and then where Ethan (who finally had a full tummy thanks to me) was sound asleep under a striped crocheted afghan.


Gratitude unlocks
the fullness of life.

It turns what we have
into enough……



Grace spent some time on a school paper which needs to be done by the end of this month.  When she was finished for the day, she stacked up all of her things and proclaimed, “I have so many books that give me joy!”


Happiness is an afternoon power walk with a cheerful, talkative daughter & admiring a giant picturesque pine tree by the side of the road.


This morning I went outside to check on the gardens and smell the flowers.  It’s going to be a wicked hot and humid day (for us new englanders) so we will spend the day inside.


I found Gentleman Gray in one of his wild moods, attacking my morning glory vine which I have been patiently training up the porch railings.  I took his picture right before he fell off the porch, with a little help from a friend.


banana cream pie


Yesterday after a spaghetti dinner, I asked my husband if he would take me to Agway because we were out of chicken feed.  He agreed, and it was a lovely drive together.  When we arrived home, he drove the truck close to the coop and unloaded four bags of feed.  I got out with him and gathered eggs, there were so many that my pockets were full of them.  In fact, one fell out of my pocket as I stepped back in the truck and Parker the Dog ate it.  Rich drove us back up to the house and that was that.

Well, this morning I received a text from him.  On the way to work he had to make a sudden stop, and when he did, out the corner of his eye he saw something fly from the passenger seat and smash into the dash.  And what do you suppose it was?  Yep, I had lost another egg out of my pockets and left it behind in the seat to become a missile.  It broke and everything.  ha ha  (sorry honey!)




Another fantastic way to use up an overflow of eggs is homemade pudding.

Vanilla Pudding

In a heavy medium saucepan combine 3/4 cup sugar and 3 T. cornstarch or flour.  Stir in 3 cups of milk.  Cook and stir over medium heat till bubbly.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes more.  Remove from heat.  Gradually stir 1 cup of milk mixture into 4 beaten egg yolks or 2 beaten eggs.

Add egg mixture to milk mixture in saucepan.  If using egg yolks, bring to a gentle boil; if using whole eggs, cook till nearly bubbly but do not boil.  Reduce heat.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes more.  Remove from heat  Stir in 1 T butter and 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla.  Pour pudding through a fine sieve to remove any clumps.  Then pour into a cooked pie shell or a bowl; cover with plastic wrap, pressing wrap to touch the top and prevent a “skin”.  Chill.

Chocolate Pudding

Prepare as above except add 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder along with the sugar.  Use 2 T. cornstarch or 1/4 cup flour, 2 2/3 cups milk, and 4 eggs yolks (not whole eggs)

RECIPE SOURCE:  Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook (mine is falling apart, it’s well used)

NOTE:  The part about the sieve is not in the original recipe.  But, although I am sure no one in my family would even notice a tiny clump or two, I cannot stand little tiny clumps of cooked egg and so far have not perfectly mastered the technique of cooked custard.  So I use the sieve just in case.  Also, I know I mentioned that I would be sharing recipes that used five or more eggs.   But I figured that you will want to double the recipes because homemade pudding is so nutritious and delicious.

Another NOTE:  Rich’s favorite is a pie made of vanilla pudding over a sliced banana!  I’m also going to try pouring cooled but not too solid yet pudding into a popsicle maker.


David got home while I was finishing up this blog post and he showed me two Barnes and Noble gift cards that he won today at school.  The first one was given because he was the student who had read the most books this school year.  Then, he won another when his name was taken out of a raffle box.  He also told me that he looked swag today.  I said, “I do not know what that even means.” And he said, “It means I looked cool.”  This was his outfit:  jeans, a blue t-shirt, a black jacket with the sleeves rolled up, a bracelet worn on his wrist, neon green socks, and black hyperdunk sneakers.

This is the first I’ve ever heard of him even caring to look swag.


Happy Friday!

hamburger dinner quiche


Good morning friends!  I am feeling quite productive this morning.  After getting the kids off to school I got into my car and drove poor poor Gentleman Gray to the vet.  When he returns back home he will no longer be Gentleman Gray, he will be Gentle”man” Gray.  LOL  He yowled all the way to the vet but did seem soothed when he heard my voice saying, “It’s okay, kitty kitty kitty”…so I did that, a lot.

After leaving him, I went to the grocery store.  It was 8:00 in the morning and the place was quiet and nice actually.  I’m finally beginning to slow down, now that I am adjusting to life with no children during the day.  So I slowly pushed my cart all over the store and slowly made decisions about what to purchase.  It was great.  I bought a cart full and then left, bought a medium coffee from McDonalds and ate a banana on the way home.

I brought in the groceries and put things away.  Then, I made a quiche and some sausages for lunch whenever the two big boys downstairs decide to get up for the day (Jacob and Michael).

I scrubbed out the bathroom garbage can with bleach and soap water, and used Stainless Steel cleaning spray on my appliances and the trash can in the dining room.  I walked down to the coop to let out the hens and give them treats, gathered two eggs and gave one to Parker (he gets one a day), said hello to Samantha cat who stretched up on my leg for some petting, clawing me in the process.  It is already approaching 60 degrees which is wonderful for this part of the country, a fine beginning to a New England spring.

Since it’s been about a week since the last egg recipe, I thought I would share another that I made last night for the first time.  It was well received by everyone in the family ages 10 and up.  (Seth and Sarah did not like it as much).  I found the recipe at the taste of home website and adjusted it according to my desires…..

This recipe uses 8 eggs.  



H a m b u r g e r   D i n n e r   Q u i c h e

1 pound ground beef
1 unbaked pastry shell (9 inches)
8 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt (omit for lower sodium diet)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, divided


In a large skillet, cook the beef over medium heat until no longer pink. Meanwhile, line unpricked pastry shell with a double thickness of heavy-duty foil. Bake at 450° for 5 minutes. Remove foil; bake for 5 minutes more. Set aside.
Drain beef; place in a large bowl. Add the eggs, sour cream, milk, onion, cornstarch, salt, pepper and 1 cup cheese. Pour into crust. Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
If necessary, cover the edges of crust with foil to prevent overbrowning. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Let stand 5-10 minutes before cutting. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Serve with salsa and sour cream.



“this is good!”

“smells just like hamburger helper!”

PS, The quiche I made this morning was egg and cheese using another 8 eggs.

PSS, you are loved.  don’t forget.

cream cheese sheet cake


eggs contain the highest quality protein you can buy
egg yolks are one of the few foods that are a naturally good source of Vitamin D


I thought I would start a category here on the blog of recipes which use five or more eggs.  This will make a good resource for anyone out there who has a flock of chickens and is trying to use up eggs.   I’ve been keeping hens for years now and last spring I went a little overboard with ordering new chicks.  We have a flock of 20+ hens which each industriously lay one egg a day.  These fresh, beautiful eggs are like little treasures  and I love to use them up in the kitchen.  (I’m wanna be just like Bubba in Forrest Gump, only I’ll be spouting off egg facts and recipes instead of shrimp…..”goals”….)  🙂


I made this cake last night for the first time and it was delicious.  I like sheet cakes as they are thinner than a typical cake, and more like a soft bar cookie easy to eat “out of hand”.

This is a good recipe to use if you are going to a potluck, as it makes 30 servings.

Cream Cheese Sheet Cake

1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons butter, softened
2 packages (3 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
2- 1/4 cup sugar
6 eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
2-1/4 cups cake flour

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in vanilla.  Add flour; stir until well blended.

Pour into a greased 15 in by 10 in by 1 inch baking pan.  Bake at 325 for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

For frosting, in a small sauce pan, combine sugar and milk; bring to a boil over medium heat.  Cover and cook for 3 minutes (do not stir).  Stir in butter and chocolate chips until melted.  Remove from the heat; cool slightly.  Stir, then frost the top of the cake.