Archive for May, 2011

Mediterranean Burgers with Artichoke-Basil Aioli

May 26, 2011

Memorial Day is the unofficial kickoff to summer in Minnesota. That means a lot of us are heading to “the lake,” opening up cabins and putting in docks. What do I do with the chickens while we’re away?

This year I’m seriously considering taking the chickens with us to the cabin. Yes, the cats, the chickens, all of us, etc. Well, let’s just say I’m considering it but haven’t done it yet. read more »

Creamy Nettle-Chive Soup

May 22, 2011

In between the frequent raindrops this week, I’ve been planting, weeding and generally trying to spruce up the backyard. The chickens love it. They think I’m out there to play and give them treats as I till the soil turning up bugs, worms and other goodies. It’s cute, but they are a bit of a nuisance crowding round my shovel and nibbling newly planted bushes, trees and flowers.

There are plenty of weeds I wouldn’t mind them munching but not surprisingly the girls don’t agree with me. Instead, they head first for the tender young plants. One plant the chickens and most animals ignore are the nettles growing on the edge of the woods. Known as stinging nettles, this plant lives up to its name by instantly causing a stinging sensation on your skin when touched.

What is surprising is that while this jagged leaf plant may be uncomfortable to touch, it’s a spring delicacy when cooked and served. It loses it’s stinging ability when boiled or even soaked in water. read more »

Chickens as Pets

May 16, 2011

I recently did a book signing at the Bibelot Shop where they asked me to bring along one of my chickens. As Coco sat docilely letting people hold her and feed her, everyone was amazed at how friendly she was.

As I chatted with the  customers, I was reminded that people who don’t have chickens often have a hard time comprehending the notion of chickens as pets. They understand chickens for eggs, fertilizer and bug control, but a quizzical look crosses their faces when you mention their appeal as pets. read more »

Strawberry-Rhubarb Baked Custard French Toast

May 07, 2011

Special Mother’s Day wishes to all the mother hens and chicks out there. I couldn’t resist posting this sweet video of a mother hen and her baby chicks.

The chicks in the video are not mine.  Someone did ask me this week, however, if I felt bad that my hens will never be mothers. It’s something I hadn’t actually thought about, but upon reflection I really don’t feel too bad. Frankly, I think my girls are happy being carefree and  worrying only about themselves. In fact, I suspect that many mothers wish they could have that – at least for one day.  I rather think the hen in this video is at that point by the end of the clip!

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Dandelion Greens – A Recipe

May 03, 2011

I recently came home from a photo shoot with a huge bunch of dandelion greens. Yes, I know, I have plenty of dandelion greens popping up in my yard–don’t remind me–but these were so nice I hated to turn them down.

I had planned to give them to the chicks, but as I chopped a big bowlful I decided these greens were much too nice to give all of them to the girls. So I set about creating a recipe to feature these spring treats using leftover Easter ham and some Yukon gold potatoes. read more »