Thursday, May 24, 2012

New addition to our family

Please say hi to Thanksgiving and Turkey! yes, I know this might be a bit too harsh to name my two new babies that, but that is what they are so far. And I never told the kids that that's what I call them. Officially we are calling them girls just like all the chickens (even though we are not sure what gender they are ;-)



They are 5 weeks old turkey babies and generally they are very tame and love to come close to people. They don't like my silver wedding ring too much but my white oversized watch doesn't bother them a bit - go figure ;-) You should see the hissing and pecking that goes on when my silver ring comes close to them. This is Turkey charging at my ring...


How are they getting along with the chickens you ask? Not so much... So far anyway. When we brought them in, chickens acted like chickens, that is scared to death trying to get as far as possible from the two new birds. They were tripping over each other just to try to escape. Look at this, this is Thanksgiving trying to make friends with our black girl. The chicken looked like she was pretending not to notice - if I ignore her, maybe she will disappear ;-) At this point the chickens are glued to the wall because there was no place to escape.


You have to give it to Turkey! Look at her letting the girls know who is the boss! BOO!


But yesterday the chickens got comfortable to the point when they became a bit aggressive and we had to separate them. 


 Now I have to learn what a turkey needs in order to thrive and hopefully be happy in our chicken house. I will check back in couple of weeks on how they are doing - or if we still even have them. 






Saturday, May 19, 2012

Peonies are in season!

Peonies are now in season!!! I love the texture of their blooms and the smell is just phenomenal! 


I created this bouquet to bring a smile on someone's face today. Even though flowers will not fix a problem, they can show that you care. I hope this is what will happen in this case!



Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Paint a little bird house!

I love to teach the kids to care about animals and our environment. One day we went to Michael's to get some art supplies and T spotted unfinished wooden bird house! Since we already have one in our backyard, that was given to us as a gift by some special kids, T had a plan in mind!


One rainy day, we grabbed our art supplies and painted away!


We used acrylic paint so it doesn't wash off outside. B looks just like a real artist holding her palette!


Since we were a bit too late this year to hang it up for the birdies, we will enjoy it on the porch as a decoration. I love the colors!!!



Look who came back

This nest has been next to our bedroom window for years now and mommy American Robin keeps coming back! And it seems like this year they are expanding their house ;-) She has been sitting on her eggs for days now and yesterday was the first day we saw babies sticking out their necks looking for food.

The kids are very excited to watch her coming back with juicy  worms and caterpillars. Another great lesson in nature!


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Potato pancakes

This has been one of my favorite meals when I was a kid growing up in Czech Republic. This is my grandma's recipe:

You will need:
4 large potatoes, peeled and grated (fine)
1 large egg
1 cup of all purpose flour
2 bigger garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons of marjoram
1 tsp of salt
oil for the frying pan

Mix all of the above ingredients together (no oil). Add more flour if needed until you reach this consistency. If I put a bit too much flour, I add a little bit of milk.


Heat up some oil and transfer some of the mixture onto the pan in whatever shape or size that you like. My grandma used to make giant pancakes that spread over the whole pan. I like the smaller size better, the kids can eat it easier and the size doesn't look so ovewhelming. 


When the pancakes look golden brown (such as those on the picture below) remove them and serve them warm with sour cream and pickles on the side. Sometimes my husband asks to eat venison sausage with it.


Bon App├ętit! 

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Rosemary

This year I was so excited to buy my first rosemary for my herb garden! Here, I placed it towards the back of my herb garden into a beautiful blue pot, which gives it more of a mediterranean look. It is right on the edge of our fish pond and it is framed on one side by yellow ornamental grass called Carex Trifida and on the other side by a hosta.


Rosemary tends to grow taller so you should place it towards the back of the garden, especially if you have it in the pot. Also keep in mind, if you live in a place with cold winters, that you will have to bring it inside. I put it in the pot right away but I know people who just dig it up at the end of the season and transplant it into the pot then. However I know that any plant can only take so much change so I would recommend putting it into the container right away! 

Rosemary is easy to grow, you just need good air circulation, good drainage, and sun.

I love using rosemary in my Italian dishes, such as grilled chicken breast or lamb. 

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Healthy breakfast smoothie

I am always looking for some healthy breakfast tips, so my kids can get in the good stuff at the beginning of the day. This time, it was my kids who came up with the ingredients for this yummy smoothie!

And the ingredients are:

Banana
Pineapple chunks 
Apple juice
Frozen blueberries



Sounds easy, doesn't it? The kids always like to make these smoothies by themselves.


We use Magic Bullet, which is a kitchen appliance I cannot live without! You can use regular blender as well. Put banana in first, then pineapple chunks, and mix. Then add just a small amount of apple juice and mix for a very short time (2 seconds).


It's time to pour it in!


Kids decided to mix some frozen blueberries in and eat it out of a bowl with spoon. I drank it out of a cup. It is also yummy with fresh raspberries or strawberries!



Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Lily of the Valley

This flower with tiny bell-shaped blooms, pointy green leaves, and amazingly strong smell is one of the first signs of spring. I used to walk miles to get it, now it grows in my backyard and I can't wait to pick a small bouquet that will fill our house with it's distinctive aroma! 
The plant does so well in shady location and it functions as a great ground cover. Watch out, it spreads very easily, which could be a great thing but also it could be difficult to contain or get rid of it if you needed to. 


Did you know that the flower has a Christian legend behind it? It is also known as "Our Lady's Tears" and it is said that it sprang from weeping of the Virgin Mary during the Crucifixion of Jesus. 

For me, it brings me back to when I was a little girl, spending weekends in a small cottage in a middle of a Czech forest. I can imagine the smell of the morning air after a spring night rain. Putting on my rain boots and walking next to my grandpa up the hill, old leaves crunching under our feet. When we reached the top, we could choose any direction and we were sure there would be tons of lily of the valleys everywhere. Somehow it became a small competition among the people vacationing in the same spot as we did... Who will get out there first and brings the biggest bouquet!? Everyone wanted a piece of spring in their living rooms. 


 Now, I live thousands miles away from this magical place, yet, the beautiful smell of a small bouquet of the lily of the valleys, sitting on top of my table, brings me right back to those days of simple childhood joy. 


Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Meet our girls!

Here they are! Our nine girls, the best we have ever had! 


We have 4 black Australorp chickens and 5 brown Isa chickens. They are so tame, letting us hold them, pat them, and one of them even follows us like a dog around the yard.


The kids love them too. They chase them, pat them and I often find them inside their coup playing school, house, and petting ZOO. And the girls are such great sports! What else could you wish for!


Oh yes, how about some eggs? Aren't these beautiful? Both of the breeds are such good egg layers! We get at least 7 eggs a day!