big rain poor drainage
February 28, 2011, 9:13 am
Filed under: farm, preparedness, the yard, utilities | Tags: , , , ,

Whew, this is some crazy weather. A snow day last monday and a record dump. And today, it’s rain. Sheesh. It was a scary night. Around Turdacres, the one thing we fear the most is the rain. You can’t really live in house that has three sump pumps in the basement, and NOT fear the rain, right?
So, this morning we awoke to a) leaky roof (argh same place we fixed last year) and b) water alarm! One of the sumps–the new one, of course,–overloaded the GFI and kicked itself off. We got it fired up again, but we’re on alert. I went outside to document the flooding. Amazing!

Our little creek–which was kind of dried up a lot of the summer last year–became some kind of white water thing! It even washed over the road. Sheesh.

We had a good flood on the typical places we see water–

the driveway near the rhodies

the middle of the field

not usually so much here

But the huge flood created some new areas of concern..

the driveway creek?

And this one is really unknown. Kind of frightening to see all this water so close to the house.

the pool next to the pool

It says we may get more rain today and we have a tornado watch until 1 pm! This is strange weather. Back to cold temps tonight. 20 days til spring people!!!


arctic explorers–chickens take a walk
February 18, 2011, 5:08 pm
Filed under: bubbles, chickens, edwina, knuckles, liz, spanky | Tags: ,

an icy road but adventure calls

4 set out, liz stays behind

they must stay on the path!

Will they make it? Will they find their goal? What is their goal, anyway?

they find nirvana!

Ah yes, a chance to scratch in the feed room. And,

and a sunny spot for a snooze!

Meanwhile, Liz stayed behind. She doesn’t like cold feet! Here’s what she had to say about it:

Silly chicken. She didn’t like being left alone, but there was no way she was going to freeze her huge toes. So, I ended up carrying her over to enjoy the sun for a few minutes. Spoiled chickens!

when is yellow brown? hoping it’s not nosema
February 14, 2011, 8:21 am
Filed under: bees, farm | Tags: , , , , ,

The bees were out yesterday, and man did they have to go! I checked the hives this morning and here’s how they looked.

bee poop everywhere

It’s supposed to be yellow poop. And when it’s brown it indicates that they have nosema–a fungal infection. Yuck. I looked around online for pictures, but couldn’t find a lot of images that would help me confirm. So, bee friends, what do you think? Yellow or brown? Should I be worried or not?

a closer view

some spots on "Louis"

uh oh bees are at the top in "Stelle"

I put some granulated sugar on a paper in Stelle. The bees were walking around the top so I think they’ll find it ok. When I opened Louis, I was surprised that I really couldn’t see any bees!! There were one or two walking around up top, but I couldn’t see the ball o bees. Oh no, I thought, I’ve lost a hive. But listening in, I could hear them. They’re still somewhere down in the second ┬ástack. So Louis is doing extremely well. I hope!

Sure am getting excited to see how they fare into the spring. We’re going to take Beekeeping 102 (the second season) in March. Looking forward to that, as I’m not really sure what we do if we get them through the winter.

official bird of turd acres–Turdus migratorius
February 7, 2011, 11:05 am
Filed under: farm, pittsburgh | Tags: , , ,

Ha! While you might think that the common american pet chicken is the official bird of turdacres, I think it should probably be Turdus migratorius! We do travel a lot here at the acres, don’t you know.

I’m sitting here all glum about the Steeler’s heartbreaking superbowl loss last night. Not only did they not win, but now there’s nothing to look forward to. Nothing but the long gloomy tedious endless last days of winter.

Anyhow so I’m sitting here, being glum, and all of a sudden a huge flock of Robins (aka Turdus migratorius-fer reals people!) arrives to sit in the crabapple tree eating the last little berries up there. Cute little guys! They stopped by to tell me that in fact, winter will end soon.

Either that, or they came by for the funeral of little buddy who was eaten by a hawk a few weeks ago. But I’m not going to dwell on that! Thinking positive..

PS. I wondered how big Robin flocks tended to be. I googled size of robin flock but didn’t find an answer. Did find the latin name and lots of info on wikipedia, though.

the daily driver breakfast
February 5, 2011, 6:26 pm
Filed under: canada, oatmeal, recipe | Tags: , ,

We eat a lot of oatmeal for breakfast. Over time we’ve developed this way of making it. It incorporates one of Canada’s classic breakfast treats: Red River Cereal. Here’s a picture of it installed in the National Museum of American Indians in DC.

family kitchen display NMAI

Red River!

Along with the Robin Hood flour and the Canada corn starch, it’s got a distinctive look. And now that I can’t easily get it, i recall it fondly. Of course when mom brings down 2 1.35 kg boxes you’d better start eating! Red River is cracked wheat, rye and flax. You can make it as a hot cereal on its own a 4:1 ratio of water to mix. But it’s kind of yicky that way. Cut with oatmeal it’s great. Just gives the oatmeal a bit of interest. I think i’ll make it straight for folks sometime soon–just to retest my old memory of it. BTW mom we’re down one WHOLE box already. We put away 1.35 kg over the last six months or so??! Guess we do like the oatmeal!!

Red River Oatmeal

1 scant cup oatmeal (regular)
1/4 cup red river cereal
2 cups water
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1 banana cut up

Boil in small saucepan over medium heat until water is absorbed and oatmeal is cooked (about 5 mins?)
Serve with brown sugar and milk.

who knew you could love quinoa?
February 4, 2011, 11:16 am
Filed under: beans, quinoa, recipe, salad

Especially not the folks around here. Quinoa is derisively talked about in these circles, usually along the lines of “oh no, not the ancient grain!”
But in spite of their stated dislike, I persist. I mean it has all the amino acids in one perfect little grain!! Come on people, get with the grain.
And last night, I found the ticket.

Quinoa Salad with Feta Chickpeas and Veggies

1 cup quinoa
1 15 oz can chickpeas rinsed and drained
1 green pepper diced
1/3 cup parsley chopped
1 handful broccoli chopped
5 oz feta

1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
splash of sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp dijon mustard
lots of pepper

Ok, so I bought a box of quinoa that had two cups in it (7.5 serving). I made the whole thing. 2 cups quinoa/ 4 cups water. Bring to boil for 5 mins covered. Let sit covered for 15 minutes. Rinse with cold water. (I have about half left for another recipe day in the freezer).
I added the broccoli to the water a tad too soon. Next time I’ll add the smallish salad like pieces to the sit time alone.
Put other ingredients in bowl. Mix up dressing in a jar with lid and shake well. S & P to taste.

You can see where I was going with this recipe. We know they likes chickpeas. Check. We know they like the greek pasta salad. Check. Whoops no kalamata olives on hand. Waaa. But feta, good. Check. Pepper. Good. Check. Nice healthy dinner. Yum. Bodies are happy.

spring is coming- chickens on the lay
February 3, 2011, 12:26 pm
Filed under: bubbles, chickens, knuckles, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

After months of few eggs and molty looking chickens, imagine my surprise when i opened the coop door and saw this:

three in a box

The girls have been much happier too. Here’s knuckles being a clownpants:

hey shorty whatcha doin down there

yeah you. i see you!

She’s so cute that knuckles.

And then there’s Bubbles. She’s been very skittish this molty season. Now she’s back to her friendly inquisitive self.

pretty bubbles