Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Olive Egger Mystery

You may remember earlier this spring when we ended up with a bunch of new chicks.  i was trying to hatch out olive eggers. Olive Egger chickens are not an actual breed, but a cross of two breeds — usually a blue egg layer and a dark brown egg layer. For example, when an Ameraucana hen's egg is fertilized by a Marans rooster, the resulting chick will be an Olive Egger who will lay olive green eggs. i only have one olive egg hen, and i've been trying to breed her with my Black copper Maran rooster, so that the female chicks would then lay dark olive eggs. When i tried this last year, i end up hatching out all roosters.  This year, i tried again, but the olive eggs kept disappearing or breaking.

Then my wild hens began disappearing and returning with chicks. We had to give away a bunch of them. i bet those crazy hens hatched out 60+ chicks. It was so frustrating, because i really didn't need any more chickens, i just wanted to have a couple more olive eggers.  Many of the new chicks look just like my other wild/gamey birds. A few have the same striped look of my Olive egger hen, leading me to believe one of the Olive egg roosters may have fathered them. 

 i was under the impression that the roosters wouldn't carry the olive egg gene to pass on to their chicks, so imagine my surprise when a couple of my spring chicks started laying and i got an OLIVE EGG! It's a really dark olive too.  All three of these eggs came from chicks from that first clutch of 16.  There are two large fluffy gray hens in that batch that looks more like domestic hens than the wild girls. One has started laying the brown eggs that are just a shade or two lighter than my maran eggs, and the other is laying the olive eggs.  The bright white egg came from one of the wild girls, even though they typically lay an off white cream. 

My egg color variety is really fun right now. My marans are currently molting, but when they start laying again they lay the chocolate brown eggs. My original olive egger, Olive lays olive eggs like the one above but much larger and maybe just a hair lighter.

This is my beautiful mystery hen that is laying the olive eggs. i named her Gracie. She is such a gorgeous and unusual looking hen. My wild hen hatched her out, and she wasn't sitting on any green eggs...so i have no idea what Gracie  is a mix of.  Here, i've been trying to hatch out the green/olive eggs to get an olive egger and i get one without even trying. With the amount of wild birds we hatched out, i have to think she's probably not the only one. Although she is the only one with this look.  

In all my efforts to actually hatch out an Olive egger from an olive egg, i only ended with two chicks. As they grew i was pretty excited, because i was certain that both were girls. Then one morning i found one of them dead in the coop.  i believe my Maran rooster who is quite large may have crushed her, as they were fully feathered but still tried to climb under the other birds like they did with their mama. That left me with one Olive egger. This girl.  She is not laying yet, but when she does she should lay dark olive eggs. Even darker than the ones i'm already getting. She is a mix of Olive Egger ( americana/maran) and Black Copper Maran.  So i'm really excited for her to lay, although it probably won't be until the spring.

i've been trying to thin out my flock and give away as many of the new birds as i could, but now i feel like i need to wait until spring to see who may be laying olive eggs. One of the main things i had wanted to do it get the green gene introduced into my flock, so i wasn't dependent on my one olive egger for green eggs. If something happened to her, i would no longer have olive eggs and Olive eggers are difficult to find. However, Gracie has proved that i don't have to hatch them out of olive eggs, the roosters must also carry the gene.  So i really think i've succeeded in that. i can't wait to see what other egg colors we end up with.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Autumn Leaves Festival- Mount Airy, NC

 This weekend we headed down the mountain to go to the Autumn Leaves Festival in Mount Airy, NC.  Mount Airy is only about 45 min. drive, and we really enjoy going to NC now and again. We went to the Autumn leaves festival a few years ago and enjoyed it, so i was really looking forward to going again this year.

A couple of my amazing finds at the festival are pottery by McNeill's Pottery and hand carved wooden utensils by a local couple out of Floyd. :) Yep, we drove all the way to NC and bought something that was made here in Floyd. :) 

We actually use to be able to purchase the utensils at the local gas station, but i haven't seen them in a while. The prices are crazy low. i got the two larger utensils for $1 each, and the smaller ones are 2 for $1.  

The pottery colors match my slate perfectly. i LOVE the big soup bowls and want to start collecting more of this pottery.  They have a shop in Sea Grove. NC and one of these days we are going to have to take a road trip to visit.  i'd love to get 2 more of the soup bowls, another mug and a gray boat. :)  When we stopped at the booth kenan asked if i wanted to get something, and i told him i wanted one of the big soup bowls. The prices were so reasonable he told me to get two, and then picked out the mug for himself.   They have many different styles and color patterns.  i'm so in love with it!

There were all kinds of neat vendors at the fall festival. i forgot to take my camera, and only took the one picture of the kids with my phone.  The Autumn Leaves Festival is held each fall in downtown Mount Airy and showcases the rich musical heritage, such as Old-Time, Blue Grass and Gospel performed by local musicians on the downtown stage. The unique arts & crafts of more than 200 craftsmen line the streets with many demonstrating their talents and skills passed down through the generations.

The festival began as a celebration of the end of the tobacco and apple harvesting season over 45 + years ago. Now, it's a celebration the breathtaking fall season that is upon us. Through the years, hundreds of thousands of visitors (nearly 200,000 people will frequent the streets of Mount Airy over the three day weekend) to enjoy the true flavor of rural America and its distinctive character, rich heritage and scenic beauty.

This is one of our favorite festivals to visit, and we look forward to coming here each fall to find new and unique treasures by local artists.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Crust-less Mini Quiche with freshly ground salt and pepper - Spice mill review

Mini-quiche are my new favorite thing. They are so easy to make and delicious. If you have a silicone cupcake pan, they don't stick AT ALL! So clean up is super easy.  

i intended to take pictures of all the steps in the process, but totally failed to do it, but i had already taken a few pictures of my mini-quiche so i thought i could still put together a post. They truly are so easy you don't need the step by step pictures.  The main ingredients you need for these are eggs, cream or milk, cheese, seasoning, a muffin pan and whatever else you want to add.

Lightly spray your muffin pan with oil. Then in a medium size bowl, use a fork to mix your eggs and cream.  Then stir in the cheese and other ingredients. i used a measuring cup to fill each cavity with the egg mixture, then seasoned it with freshly ground salt and pepper.  
My new salt and pepper grinders are by #Dailykitchen.  They are really nice large glass spice mill shakers with the grinders built into the lid. The stainless steel matches my appliances, and they are so easy to use. My mom is going to be thrilled, it's been almost 4 years since our housefire, and i finally have salt and pepper shakers again.  :) lol.  

Once your cups are filled, bake at 350 for approx. 20 minutes. Check with a toothpick in center to make sure they are done.

Let them cool slightly, then pop them out. they are so good.

Spinach mushroom mini-quiche

4 eggs Large eggs
1/2  shredded mozzarella 
1/2 cup feta
A little olive oil (for cooking the mushrooms) 
1 cup fresh spinach 
1/2 - 1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 medium tomato diced (optional)
1-2 Tbsp, heavy cream or milk
fresh basil shredded (optional)
Freshly ground Salt and Pepper, to taste

heat the oil in a skillet, and add sliced mushrooms and cook until tender 4-5 min. Add fresh spinach and cook until wilted. Remove from heat and set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and cream until combined. Add the cooked mushroom/ spinach mixture, the cheeses, fresh tomato and basil/ Mix well. Use a measureing cup to scoop mixture into lightly oiled silicone muffin pan. Add freshly ground salt and pepper to taste. 
Bake for at 350 for around 20 min. or until tooth pick stuck in center comes out clean. 
Recipe makes 12 mini-quiche.

*i received the Spice Mill salt and pepper shakers in exchange for my honest review. i was not compensated. i felt that incorporating them into a recipe and showing them in use was the best way to test them out for my review. i'm very pleased with these shakers, and really love they way they match my kitchen. i was not compensated for this post.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Let's make Kyla's 19 Birthday unforgettable!

Kyla is an amazing young local teen who is currently waiting for a heart transplant. i met Kyla's mother many years ago through a mutual friend, and have been following Kyla's story ever since she first became sick. What was thought to be pneumonia in an otherwise healthy teen, turned out to be much more. When the pneumonia didn't get better, she underwent many more tests and was eventually diagnosed with heart failure caused by the genetic disease Emery Dreifuss Muscular Dystrophy

 She was just turning 18 and ready to start her life, when her entire world was turned upside down
You can follow  Kyla's Journey on her Facebook page. Kyla's Punk Pill-grimage.
Kyla is a huge fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race,  so when she first became hospitalized, she made a poster asking any and all drag queens to come visit her at Duke University Hospital, where she hopes to receive a new heart.  The story got national attention. :)

Kyla has spent the last year in and out of the hospital. She is officially on the transplant list and has spent the last 4 months hospitalized and undergoing several procedures to keep her alive until a suitable heart can be found.  In eight days, on October 20, Kyla will turn 19 years old.  They are planning a birthday celebration (with plenty of purple!)  at Duke hospital.

Kyla loves mail and welcomes birthday wishes. If you’d like to send her something, her mailing address here at the PCICU is: 

Kyla Rose Robbins
Duke University Hospital 
Unit 4200
2301 Erwin Rd.
Durham, NC 27710

Kyla has purple hair and also loves all things purple.  You can show your support for her by posting a picture of yourself wearing purple on instagram with the hashtag #purpleforkyla

There is also a gofundme set up by a family friend to help with every day expenses, while she is hospitalized. You can read more about her journey and the updates by her mother on the gofundmepage.

Lets flood the hospital with cards and gifts to make Kyla's Birthday unforgettable!! Please share this post and help me spread the word! 

My Fairy Garden Magical Cottage by Play Monster

My Fairy Garden toys by Play Monster are the first of its kind: a toy that’s also a real, live garden! 

We recently received a My Fairy Garden Magical Cottage to review.  i'm not sure who was more excited, Sage or myself. :) This is definitely the coolest toy we've seen in a long time!!

My daughter (10 years old) was able to put it all together by herself by following the direction that came with the kit. i actually wanted to help, and she wouldn't let me. :) 

The set comes with everything you need for your fairy garden. It includes dehydrated soil disks. We put them in a large bowl and added the suggested amount of water, then waited around 20 min. for the disks to absorb the water and soften up. The magic seed mix that is included contains all organic edible plants, so you don't have to worry about your child nibbling on the flowers/plants once they begin to grow. i love that there is a paper that explains how plants grow and use the sun for food. My Fairy Garden is a great STEM product, teaching children about plants and growth!

When the soil was ready,  my daughter used the mini gardening tools to break up the soil disks and fill the fairy garden.  Then she planted the seeds by following the directions, and finished setting up the fairy garden.

Once the seeds were planted my daughter watered them. There are three different fairy garden sets, and each one is interactive. With the cottage garden you can pour water into the mushroom on top and the water rains down onto the soil.  You can also add water to the edge of the upper pot and it rains down on the lower level.

The fairy is attached to a wire (she's removable) so you can make her fly about the garden. My daughter set up all the accessories inside the fairy house, but it came with a little table and chairs and a bunny figure. You can purchase extra fairies and accessory sets, so you can customize your fairy cottage.

My daughter checks her garden every day to water it and see how much the plants have grown.  

My Fairy Garden sets are very affordable, ranging in price from approx. $10.99- $24.99. There are three different kits and eight accessory packs!  My daughter now has all of these on her holiday wish list. :) 

The sets are available on Amazon , Walmart and ToysRus 
You can also connect with Play Monster Toys (formally Patch) on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter .

i received the Fairy Garden free of charge in return for my honest review.  We absolutely love it and highly recommend it!