Wednesday, July 20, 2016

And Then There Were 9 More

My little hen that hatched the one chick before ended up losing that chick and then she abandoned the nest and I cleaned it out. Then she started setting again on the eggs her and the others laid in that nest again. Because she had only hatched on the last time, I was not real worried when she set again and I was busy (and sick) and just kind of let her go and collected eggs out of the other nest.
Today I got a surprise when I went out. I thought I heard peeping and I was thinking well one more chick...and then looked in the nest when she got off and there were NINE chicks!
Unfortunately, she is in a community pen with several other chickens who killed her last chick so I had to get them out of there. I got my brooder, cleaned it out and then went looking for the brooder lights. I found two but only one worked. Unfortunately, you need a bulb that produces heat and the new bulbs don't really do that. I found one 60 watt one but it did not produce enough heat to get the brooder up to the 98 degrees that I needed (I would have settled for 95 if I could have gotten it but it wouldn't go past 85--not hot enough for the first couple weeks).  So I Phil and I went to town and picked up a new light and bulb.

I had already realized by then that the big fish tank I had in the spare room would make a better (bigger) brooder. It didn't take long to put it all together when I got home and go get the chicks. The hen still has 4 eggs so I will have to watch in case she gets them to hatch.

Anyway, here are the new babies. They were very happy with the food and water as there was none in the nest box.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Peach Pie

I had to go to town today to get my prescriptions filled and when I got home I just couldn't stand the thought of peeling a million peaches for jam. Something about 7 cups of sugar for jam which we really don't eat, just didn't motivate me today. Maybe I will do some tomorrow but I still have all those peaches and had to make a small dent in them anyway so I made a peach pie....well, a peach/cherry pie because I still have all those dried cherries my sister-in-law gave me (as a matter a fact, they gave me another quart bag after the first ones) and they need to be used too.
I didn't use a recipe. Nothing wrong with using a recipe but after years of cooking, I think I can put together a simple pie without one. It's a lost art, I know but really pies are pretty easy. I peeled, and peeled, and peeled my peaches until I had a pie tin full, then I put them in a bowl, added a cup of sugar, a handful or so of the dried cherries, some cinnamon, a little less nutmeg, and a little flour. Readied the bottom crust and put it in the pan, poking holes in it here and there, put in the peaches/cherries, dabbed some butter on top and then put the top crust on.

I cooked it for 40 minutes and the crust was not real brown but since I tend to get it too brown usually, I thought this was good enough and took it out. Will let you know how good it is tonight after dinner (in the comments) but I imagine this is going to be pretty tasty.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Canning Peaches!

So the peaches on my one tree finally got ripe and it was time to pick them. Phil and I picked the ones we could reach and then we used the can (although we use the bottom of a Poweraid bottle) on a stick trick to try to get the ones we couldn't reach. It worked but not well so there was still a lot of peaches left even after we had a big basket and grocery bag full.
That problem was solved yesterday when some storms came through.

Yeah, half the tree just bent right over. Too many peaches, then water weight on the leaves and it was way too heavy. It did not break the tree but I will have to cut it back pretty good this year because those branches aren't going back up even though I have picked the peaches now.

Yes, three more bags of peaches.

It sounds so simple to can peaches when you read it on a website. Just pop them in boiling water, then cold water and the skins will just peel right off.......LIES! Ha, yeah, that only worked for the larger, riper peaches, the smaller, harder peaches (which was 75% of them) have skin that just doesn't come off and you spend forever peeling them. Then the website said just look for the line already on the peach and cut on it and most of the peaches will just break in half....LIES! I had one that broke in half.....some had oddly shaped pits, some had pits that weren't entirely in the center...most would not come away from the pits at ALL! In the end, once the big peaches were done and I was stuck with the smaller ones, I just sat down and peeled them with a paring knife and cut off all the good peach parts I could.  I used Fruit Fresh to keep the peaches from turning brown while I peeled (forever! a whole large bowl for ONE quart!).
I made a sugar syrup of 1 cup sugar to one quart of water and put the peeled peach pieces in the jars, added the syrup, made sure to remove the air bubbles but running a knife through it, cleaned the rims and then water bath canned for 20 minutes.

Yup, a whole 8 quarts for 5 hours (5 HOURS!) worth of work. Tomorrow I will have to do some more (I am thinking about peach jam ) because there are still 2 1/2 bags of small peaches left.