Chicken Coop renovations

Today we finally put a litter board on the chicken door. That'll keep the litter in the coop from coming out of the door when it's open (all day long), so we don't have to push it back in every night when we close the door. Yay. :-)


We had Thanksgiving up at our place again this year, with S's parents & grandmother and my parents. I always love to read about what everyone else has on their table, so here's what we had. (I neglected to take pictures of dessert...):

S. made antipasto

I made Smitten Kitchen's cheese straws (I halved the amount of pepper in the recipe)

My parents made some bread, and S's grandmother brought some rolls

I made some cranberry sauce

We mixed some sweet potatoes and roasted acorn squash together
(with brown sugar, maple syrup, butter, and about a tablespoon of amaretto...)

S. made mashed potatoes

I made some of Heidi's brussels sprouts
(I'm not really a fan...
but this recipe made them the best I've ever had them.)

S. steamed some of our frozen green beans

S's grandmother made the stuffing/dressing

S. roasted the turkey

For dessert, we had glasses of Asti (thanks mom & dad) with frozen wineberries in the champagne flutes, rum cake (made by S's grandmother), apple pie (brought by S's parents), soy bean pie---tastes like pumpkin pie, I swear (made by my parents), and custard (yay! it used up 8 eggs!). We made the custard and I even forgot to take pictures of that. Oh well. :-) It was all delicious and plenty of fun.

About those eggs...

So our egg total continues to grow and grow and grow. We're trying to sell them, but so far no takers (there's a dozen dozen in the fridge right now...) . As the autumn months proceed, we have noticed a slightly decreased volume (a few more days of 5 eggs total, rather than 6), but not by much. There is still plenty of grass and green stuff for the hens to range and feed on, so we haven't noticed a change in flavor really, either. As it gets colder (avg. has been in the upper 50's this week), and the bugs and green plants get scarcer, we may see a change.

We did switch feed a few weeks ago. Now we're using Layena, which is 100% plant-derived (not sure what Dumor was, I didn't see a specification on the package). It has marigold in it, which has definitely made the egg yolks even yellower/oranger than they were before! It's a tiny bit more expensive (our store just started carrying it about a month or so ago), but we had heard nothing but good things about it, and the hens seem to like it better. Next week we're going to start mixing some scratch grains into the food mix in addition to giving them some separately. As it gets colder, the extra fats and oils are good to help them all keep warm.

Lookin' Good

S. put the medicine cabinet up the other day....doesn't it look nice?
They're looking for bugs, too...

Random photo: hen in autumn

Hunting for bugs under the leaves

A Tasty Snack

So after carving a pumpkin, you'll have lots of seeds left over. That's my favorite part :-) I love to eat toasted, seasoned pumpkin seeds.

The pumpkin in question was fairly large, so I knew the seeds might be tough and fibrous. After doing a little research, we decided to take the advice of Elise from Simply Recipes, and boil the seeds first to soften them a bit. We rinsed and soaked the seeds in water for about 10 min this is after hand-picking all of that slimy, stringy stuff out.)

Then we boiled the pumpkin seeds in salt water for 10 minutes (that's 10 minutes of rolling boil.)

We spread the pumpkin seeds out in a baking dish and coated them with olive oil, using some salt and garlic powder for flavoring (season yours however you like, but I do recommend at least some salt....although you could always add that later). Then we just tossed them around a little bit with a spatula to make sure that they were coated with the oil.

Then we just put them in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20-30 minutes (until brown.) Just remember to move them around the baking dish occasionally to get them to brown more evenly (you can just use that same spatula again, for that.)

Once they're browned, they're done--and ready for snacking. We really did find that the boiling helped with the seeds being fibrous--a relative also suggested that next time we soak them overnight in salt water to help with that, too.
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