Quick & Simple Marinated Cucumber Slices


This is such a simple and delicious way to enjoy the plethora of cucumber bounty you are likely enjoying that I can't really call it a recipe.  I re-use the marinade for a week or so at a time since I have a container of these in the refrigerator almost all summer.  A little bit sour and a little bit sweet coupled with a light crunch make these slightly addictive.  Ok, very addictive.


cucumber salad

Quick & Simple Marinated Cucumber Slices

For every cucumber you use, mix together 1/4 c white vinegar, 1/4 c granulated sugar, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper.  Stir the concoction together until the sugar dissolves. 

Wash and dry the cukes.  Cut the cukes, peels left on or removed - your preference, fairly thin.  Add to the marinade with thinly sliced onions if you like, and let marinate in a covered container in the refrigerator 2 - 24 hours.  

Any less than 2 hours and the flavors haven't quite melded.  More than 24 hours tends to begin to turn them mushy.

Enjoy!





Disclosure: In an effort to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendations, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and please know that I will only feature products I love.

Weekend

cobble hill farm coop girls

cobble hill farm coop girls

zucchini flower


growing sunflowers


french bulldog with ivdd

Our weekend started off with great news.  On Thursday we took Oliver back to his surgeon to have his staples removed and for a check-up.  Dr. Bishop was thrilled with his progress.  I can't tell you how much relief it was to hear that.  We have nothing to gauge him by since we don't personally know anyone who has been through this with their dog.  Since the surgeon does this surgery numerous times a week and has many dogs to gauge this by, I think that's pretty darn good news.  He was so thrilled that Ollie gets to skip the 2nd check-up and wait for the third one in 5 weeks.

The great news hasn't stopped my worrying though.  The little man wants so badly to do more and we have to watch him every single second he isn't in his crate.  Even when he is, actually, because he gets a bit charged up.  I want to prevent us from going backwards in any little way.

We will continue with strict crating and letting him walk very minimally until his next check-up.  His spirits are better but his frustration is growing, as you can imagine, with the ongoing crating.  His fur continues to be quite funny looking since the person who shaved him didn't go in any particular design and certainly not in a straight line.  What we did discover, however, on his shaved little chest is what looks like a heart.  Do you see it in the photo above?  {p.s. that's food on his nose - the boy is still on steroids and has a massive appetite!}

He is also still drinking a ton {thank you to the steroids} but holding it much better.  However, he still only can hold it for 4-5 hours.  I had been going to bed just after 10 so I could let him out fairly late, and then getting up around 4 to minimize the amount of urine filling his puppy pad and crate.  I felt awful for him because I know it upset him when he went in his crate.  Well now that he's with it a bit more, he has realized he would like to hold it and let me know when he can't hold it any longer.  That is around 3a.m.  That's when we get the "I need to go NOW" barking.  So, we still go to bed late, allowing him to go out right before we go to sleep, and then I run down the stairs around 3 when I get the call.  One more week on these meds......

The signs of summer coming to an end and fall on it's way are showing up more and more.  Although our temp's this week are hot and humid - not typical for this time of year, I can feel the changes and am so excited to welcome the next season.  I had hoped to have a cold frame or two built this year, but that's going to have to be put on the back burner.

Sunday's farmer's market was slower than most but our numbers in the end were still right up there.  With American Pharoah in town to run in the sold out traverse race, I think most locals stayed away.  I don't blame any of you.  We did too, until Sunday's market.  It's also the end of summer for kids going back to school, so I'm sure many of you were getting in a bit of last minute vacations and time with the kids.

The Coop Girls are doing well. They are enjoying the end of summer garden clean-out more than you can imagine.  They are recipients of so many goodies these days that they heckle me when I go near the garden and come out with nothing for them. It just doesn't go over well.

We are still swimming in tomatoes.  Once again I planted way too many.  Every year I tell myself to use some control when it comes to growing them and every single year I get a bit crazy.  At least I controlled myself on the squash this year.

One more month until J officially runs the business full-time.  We are so excited.  Excited to possibly have an evening or Saturday where we don't have to work and excited to start growing the business again.  Excited and hopeful that this may someday become both of our full-time jobs.....

On the menu this week:  Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Mushroom Risotto and Steamed Green Beans; Chicken & Pasta with Spinach Cream Sauce; Grilled BBQ Chicken Quarters with Rice and Tomato Tart; Grilled Burgers with Home fries and Marinated Cucumbers; Grilled Sea Bass with Mango Salsa, Rice & Steamed Broccoli; and Beef Teriyaki with Potstickers and Veggie Stir Fry.

Hoping you had a wonderful weekend!!



Disclosure: In an effort to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendations, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and please know that I will only feature products I love.

And Then There Were 15.....


It was 6 years ago when we decided, on a whim, we needed chickens.  And we needed them now.  No time for raising them from chicks, we wanted a flock of ladies who would start producing eggs in a relatively short period of time.  After much searching we decided to adopt half of our flock from University of Connecticut's Poultry Program and purchase the other half of our flock from a farmer who lived not too far from that campus.  The University of Connecticut had bantams and the farmer had regular barred rocks.

They were our "starter flock", the ones we learned a lot about chicken-keeping from in a very short period of time.  And until yesterday, there were only 2 ladies left from that original group of 12 - Allie and Emma.  Emma passed away yesterday shortly after we got home.  I will tell you that birds can seem ruthless at times.  If one is lame or sick, they all take the opportunity to peck at it.  So while poor Emma was passing the other girls were all over her, pecking and pecking.  We ran toward the coop and I cleared the other girls away from her as J scooped her up.  J held her as the sweet girl took her last breathe.

And now we are down to 15 Coop Girls.

Truth be told, everyday when we go in and out of the coop, we look to see if any of them have passed.  Knowing that we had 2 that were 6 years old and 2 that are 5 years old {Betty & Hattie}, you have to realize that it can happen at any time.

Emma was a sweet bantam Araucana (blue egg layer) who was great at speedily dodging all of the larger girls.  Looking much like a running back who has just received the football, she would weave in and out of them consistently, knowing her size would give them reason to pick on her. 

She was a whiz at stealing worms.  She and I had an agreement.  I would go in the garden, and if I found a worm I would yell her name.  A few seconds later I would nonchalantly walk toward the coop.  She was stationed in the back of all the girls who would line up at the fence.  As soon as I started to kneel down to give my little gift, Emma would bound to the front of the line, weaving in and out, snatch the worm out of my hand, and take off all while choking it down.  It would happen so fast that the girls on either side of her were convinced they had misplaced the worm and would search and search for it on the ground.

She was full of personality and lived a good life.  Goodbye sweet Emma, may you rest in peace.





Disclosure: In an effort to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendations, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and please know that I will only feature products I love.

Weekend

Cucamelons!


the Coop Girls LOVE sunbathing

our Anniversary bouquet

Eggplant

Peppers

Oliver
How is it that the weekend is over already?  How is it that it's already the end of August????  It seems the older I get, the more frequent I ask myself where the time goes.

Our weather was very humid last week but has turned beautiful for this weekend and the upcoming week.  It was a great day for the farmer's market Sunday - sunny with just a slight breeze and temp's in the low to mid 80's.

Oliver is doing well.  We can't wait for the steroid he's on to get out of his system.  He drinks a ton and is starving all the time.  He drinks so much that he's been having a few accidents.  Poor little thing.  It seems that holding it past 4 hours is just too hard for the guy.  He also isn't eating dog food yet.  Since his surgeon went through his throat area to get to his spine, his throat is still a bit sore.  So we're on the soft food like rice and chicken.

He's done with the whole crate thing.  Finished.  Too bad his poor little spine doesn't agree.  He isn't even close to being ok to be out of it.  Fingers crossed he won't need to be crated beyond 5 more weeks.  We put a crate in the living room and a crate in the room off of the kitchen so regardless of where we're working, he can supervise from a crate.  Emerson doesn't care much about babysitting his brother unless it's pill time.  Ollie gets his pills in chicken meatballs or pieces of cooked chicken.  Emerson gets a piece or two of the yummy pill delivery vessel minus the pill.  He knows the sound of the bottles as I'm opening them.  Needless to say, he's gained all of the weight Ollie has lost during this ordeal.

Ollie has also decided he needs payment to get back in his crate after a potty break.  He sits outside the crate and refuses to enter.  Because of the surgery on his spine, we don't want to push him.  So we began to offer him payment.  Treats.  One of their favorite goodies is dried fruit.  I found these freeze-dried fruit at Fresh Market:


I do wish they weren't made in China, because they do taste delicious.  Only one ingredient {the fruit} and they come in 5 different different choices - cantaloupe, asian pear, tangerine, banana and apple.  They are light and crunchy.  We love them and the boys do too.

The Coop Girls are doing well.  They are enjoying the lack of humidity so they can comfortably lay out in the dirt to sunbathe.  It's a favorite past-time.  Egg production is up - even the oldest girls are laying from time-to-time!

I have come to the realization we just won't have time for canning this summer.  Bummer.  I had said it before but secretly hoped we would be able to fit it in.  J had as well.  Nope.  Not going to be able to happen.  Freezing a few things, yes.  Canning, most likely, no.  Maybe in the fall......

In the garden the sunflowers are getting ready to bloom.  Although I had planted well over 25, I am now left with about a dozen {thank you little birds who discovered and then stole my seeds!}.  I can't wait.  I just love looking at them everyday, not to mention the deliciousness of the seeds.

Our wedding Anniversary was Sunday.  18 years!  We celebrated by working at the farmer's market.  :)  We are hoping for a little getaway soon.  I was going to make Chocolate Zucchini cake, but, that just didn't happen.  Maybe sometime this week.

Hoping you had a wonderful weekend!






Disclosure: In an effort to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendations, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and please know that I will only feature products I love.

5 Reasons Why You Need Backyard Chickens - Today!

Raise Chickens

Ok, so the title is a tad bit dramatic.  However, if you don't currently raise chickens, you just don't know what you're missing.  Full of personality, these lovable feathered critters add a ton of enjoyment to your home.  Here are my top 5 reasons to add them:

1.  They Are Easy To Raise
     Sure, they need shelter, food and water, but beyond that, they really are pretty easy.  Once they are pullets, that is.  If you are raising from chicks they take a bit more work until they have feathers and can go out in their coop.  After that, give them shelter to get out of the rain and sun, a steady source of water, and lots of yummy and healthy food and they will be one happy flock.  If you can find time daily to spend with them, they'll be thrilled to tell you all about your day.

2.  They Provide Inexpensive Entertainment
      Watching chickens, I'm convinced, is a past-time we should all partake in.  I think it lowers your blood pressure {this is not medical advice....}to watch the crazy antics they come up with and allows yourself to de-stress.  A coop is a small colony full of all different personalities.  You'll have the passive ones, the aggressive ones {and certainly the passive-aggressive ones}, the high-strung, the lazy, the talkative, the know-it-all and the rebel.  They'll show their personalities quite quickly and you'll enjoy watching the way they interact.

3.  They Provide Compost
     Free for the taking - your garden will love it!  Spread it in your garden each Fall and by Spring you'll till it up and it will be ready to go.  Also, it's a great addition to a compost pile.


4.  They Eat Leftovers & Bugs
     For the most part, they can eat a good majority of leftover food, weeds you pull from the garden and flower beds, insects, etc.  If you are able to let them free-range, they will keep your insect population down.  Ticks, spiders, grubs and more will be discovered and feasted on regularly.  We keep a small bucket in either the refrigerator or freezer and add leftovers to it for a few days.  Veggie ends and peels {not potatoes unless cooked}, extra rice/salad/starch/fruit/etc., old bread products, crushed eggs shells, and more will be loved and adored by your flock.  They will in turn give you #5.

5. Fresh Eggs!
     There is nothing better than going out your backdoor and retrieving farm-fresh eggs.  Particularly comforting is the fact that you know exactly what they ate and how they were treated.  Your yolks will be bright yellow and they will taste delicious.




Additional Posts You May Enjoy:
Cleaning and Storing Your Farm-Fresh Eggs
Why Do My Chickens Lay Soft or Thin-Shelled Eggs?
The Secret To Peeling Farm-Fresh Eggs
Recipe:  Our Favorite Deviled Eggs




Disclosure: In an effort to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendations, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and please know that I will only feature products I love.

As Easy As A Boxed Mix Homemade Brownies


How's that for a long title?  It's true though.  These are SO easy and SO delicious - you will never buy boxed mix brownies again.

Even if it's your guilty pleasure.

These are a tad bit cake-y and a tad bit fudge-y.  I think they are the perfect blend.  But maybe I'm a tad biased.  Not to mention that my husband {you remember him - the one who claims he doesn't like chocolate?} loves them too! They are delicious with nuts or without, with a sprinkling of powdered sugar or even with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.


Especially when they are still warm. 

If you suddenly get a craving one evening for something chocolate, these will surely be your go-to bars.  Whip them up in one bowl, pour them in the pan and they are ready in a half hour total.


Craving satisfied.  Crisis diverted.

I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!



{Easy As A Boxed Mix} Homemade Brownies
Source:  America's Test Kitchen
Makes 1 - 8" pan

8 Tablespoons {1 stick} unsalted butter, cut into chunks
3 ounces Chocolate - unsweetened, bittersweet or semi-sweet {whatever your preference}, chopped
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup nuts, if desired


Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Prepare an 8-inch baking pan with butter or cooking spray.

In a medium bowl that is microwave safe, melt butter and chocolate in microwave, stirring often, 1-3 minutes.  Set mixture aside and let cool slightly.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, vanilla, baking powder and salt.    Whisk in the cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Stir in the flour until no streaks remain.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top.  Sprinkle with nuts if desired.  Bake, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 22-27 minutes.

Let cool on wire rack at least 2 hours before removing.





Disclosure: In an effort to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendations, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and please know that I will only feature products I love.

Weekend









a very sad Emerson
our new shaving mugs!
new packaging on the shaving soap!
My little man Oliver is home at last.  It's been a long ordeal but we are so thankful he is home and looking well.  Thank you so much for all of your words of encouragement and support.  We really appreciate it.  I am truly amazed at how well he is doing after this surgery.  The hardest thing tonight is he seems a bit traumatized from his time at the emergency clinic.  This is challenging.  And stressful.

We really had no idea what to expect after his surgery and after reading the our Oslo blog were terrified that he would need 24 hour care for weeks.  Thankfully, that just isn't so.  We anticipate him being crated with very little walking/movement for the next 4-6 weeks and then another few months before he's feeling himself again.  Poor Emerson has been a mess.  I've been afraid of his pancreatitis acting up from the stress.  We are hoping that won't happen.

Our house has been very quiet without Ollie around so last night Caitlin had enough.  She took her basket of toys and dumped them onto the ground.  All of the noisy toys started chirping and chiming.  She kicked them around a bit then lay right on top of them all.  Right in the middle with a catnip stuffed pillow that says "I Love Cats" leaning against her side, upright, facing me.  I thought that was hilarious.

Saturday we spent the day making product for Sunday's market.  Did you see our new design of shaving mugs and our new packaging on our shaving soap?  We are so excited!!  Our mugs are specially designed by local potter Kylie Spooner to fit our shaving brushes and soap.  {she also makes these designs in coffee mugs for those of you locals who would like to have a beautiful coffee or tea mug}

Our garden is struggling.  The poor thing just gets no attention.  We have an abundance of green beans, tomatoes, squash and potatoes, but everything else is, well, not doing quite as good.  We do have a resident wild bunny who is enjoying munching on weeds and veggies, so at least we're keeping him healthy and happy.  And the Coop girls.  They are recipients of all the weeds we pull which makes them super happy.  Maybe next year we'll have time to devote to it......

J will be building a small ramp for the dogs to walk down off of the deck this week.  They can no longer do stairs because of their propensity for spinal issues.  Right now we are carrying them.  It will make us all a bit happier when they can walk down on their own.  :)

So many things to do, aren't there?
Hoping you had a lovely weekend!





Disclosure: In an effort to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendations, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and please know that I will only feature products I love.