Posted in Chicken Scratch, Things to Crow About, Uncategorized

Bathrooms, Flags, Statues, Rights & Other Nonsense

26972e14efffffd1c7caa4282c2d6f14.jpgI’ve tried to keep my opinions to myself. Scratch that. I’ve been rather vocal with them in real life. Maybe I should say, I’ve tried to keep them off my blog, but then I wondered, why in the hell am I doing that? If I’m crowin’ bout it out here, then I should crow about it on, The Crowin’ Hen. Right?

And I realize a lot of what I am about to say may make a lot of people mad. Some of you are really sensitive about all this. So much so, you are willing to riot, physically fight, and destroy anyone or anything that doesn’t agree with you. And then on the other side, you have a lot of violent, no good people as well. Lost in the abyss of that void are people like me. Just regular, boring people like me trying to live a good and harmless life. Meaning, I’m not tryin’ to pee in your pastures, honey. I’m just tryin’ to get people to stop trashin’ mine.

First off, I’m not a stereotype. I appear to be white, but now days, who the hell knows what all is muckin’ about in my family tree. Ancestors are long gone and dead. They cant really pop back in to explain that one. And no, I wasn’t raised up bein’ told how proud we are for those ancestors ownin’ slaves. In fact, I don’t know of any that did. Not sayin’ they didn’t. Just sayin’ no one in my family wanted to be owned, much less taught us how to own another. No one sat around the dinner table wishin’ back the good old days where we were all livin’ in high cotton. We were too poor or on a budget to have cotton, folks. The only “Back in the Day” stories my Grandma told me were ones of dread and they had to do with the Great Depression. We weren’t taught to hate another because of their Color. We were taught how to grow things, not to waste– especially food, not to lie, never to cheat, and never stick our big fat noses in our neighbors business– although at times, even Grandma failed at that one.

A few of my Aunts tried to teach me about God while my Mother– broken by her own reasons– taught me how to raise my damn self and to be weary her men, who drank and swung a heavy fist. My goal as a kid– survive being a kid. I was poor, and not the good and honest kind. I was poor because my Momma didn’t wanna work and she didn’t care for her kid. I was poor like most folks around me, who were even though they worked, and those folks were of all colors. genders and sizes. If you were on welfare, you were ashamed to be on welfare. It wasn’t a badge of honor. Most like us, no matter how badly they could have used it, would have let their kids starve before going on it. Looking back now, Im not real damn sure how I didn’t starve. And I know I’m not saying starve your kids before getting it. I’m just explaining how things were then verses now. We lived frugally, modestly, and tried to do right by our churches and neighbors. If we had any sort of White Privilege, I never knew it. For the most part, the Police were fine as long as you listened. A jerk was a jerk whether they wore a badge or worked behind a register. And a jerk was gonna be a jerk no matter what Color or gender you were.

No one flew a Confederate Flag in my family when I was growing up. Some cousins had them hanging on their walls, and on T-shirts. We never thought that flag stood for slavery, though, or the South’s racist stand to keep slavery alive. We never looked at General Lee and thought, what a monster. And when someone said, “The South would rise again.”, it didn’t mean we would have slaves back. It meant we would one day be able to live a better life for a better wage. It meant that our people wouldn’t be beaten down in unsafe factories or jobs with little pay while their health and better years flew out the window as if they never existed in the first place. It meant freedom. That flag of ours meant freedom. ALL of us. No matter what Gender, Race or Religion. We’d be free and not beaten down like dogs by life, the economy, the government or anything. And it was a wake up call. A horrific, wake up call. That our ancestors stood against an unstoppable force – the Government– in an attempt to stop it. That meant life was turned upside down. Families were separated, died, starved, were murdered, raped or God knows what else. It meant brother stood against brother all because some politicians said so. And the lives lost never justified what little was gained. Do you know what we believed when it came to the Civil War? Why we think it was a ruse? From the blue collar position, the truth was loud and clear. If it was all about setting the black man free, then why did he struggle for so long after? And his life wasn’t rosey up North either. That’s the damnedest thing. No. the war was about politicians and what they wanted. Slavery was just the false reason to start the fight.

You see, when hard times set fire to a community, its a wildfire that doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t give a damn who your ancestors were or what color your skin is. Doesn’t give two shakes where you come from or how bad you had it. Doesn’t care how hard you’re tryin’ or how close you are to giving up or making it. It will burn through a Black Man’s home just as ruthlessly as it does a white man. When black babies go hungry, their bellies growl just as awful as a white child. But we don’t define kids as black and white in my community – where real mountain and country people roam. Hunger is hunger, and we do our best to prevent it regardless of one’s last name or color. I judge people by their deeds. How they treat me, my children and each other. If your a crap-head, then I don’t care if you are white, black or purple. You don’t get to come around me and my life and be a crap=head. Take your nonsense elsewhere.

Now, I know as sure as you, that there are some people out there that are filled with Hate. They may scream about Black people, but rest assured, they are screaming about me too. They just hate. Period. They hate Color, Religion, and they hate by Gender. They hate names, social standing, anything really. You know what we do with people like that where I am from?

We don’t give them our attention. We don’t give them our time. We don’t give them anything. Do you know what happens to someone who stands out there all by themselves screaming hate? Eventually they shut the hell up and go home because no one is there to scream to or about. No one is there to fight and argue. No. One. Is. There.

And here is something else I know. Hateful people come in all colors, shapes and sizes. You don’t get a pass because of your color. You don’t get a pass because your ancestors might be slaves. You don’t get a pass because you are white complaining against other white people. Hate is Hate no matter how you or anyone else tries to justify it. Its wrong. And sure enough, everyone hates something or someone. But that’s okay….we don’t need anyone’s approval to be who we need to be. To be who we are.

And let me tell you something else, when you scream about General Lee and call him names and that he is racist, you are showing your lack of education. Lee inherited slaves that he set free. He didn’t believe in slavery and he was one of few that would train a black man on an equal level as a white man. He also was quoted in saying how they were equal. Lee fought because he was a Virginian and Virginia has a deep sense of pride in it’s land and people. Back then, at least. To kill a neighbor or turn your back on your birth- state was like raising a hand to strike down God. And we won’t even go into how the South wasn’t even fighting to keep Slaves. I don’t care what your opinions are about the Civil War. I just care that many of you are so heartless, that you could care less if there was another one.

I believe in less Government. Live and let live. You do as you must and I’ll do, here on my land, what I must. As long as we harm no one and obey Laws. As long as we respect everyone’s right to live as they so desire to live. I don’t care what people do in their personal life. They can love a woman, a man, or themselves, for all I care, as long as everyone is consenting and backs off those who are under-aged and not consenting.

I don’t care if you hate our flag, just respect what it means to me and others. If it means hate to someone, you will know it sure enough. They’ll be out there screaming about it but as I said before, don’t give them an audience or any attention. They’ll go home sure enough. We choose what power their words have. We choose whether we react, whether they harm us, or whether we even give a damn. They can spew crap all day long, but it is our choice on whether we take it to heart.

And while I don’t care if someone is Gay or not, this whole Bathroom thing is insane as well. Why cant we just put one stall, Family restrooms everywhere? Then no one needs to feel invaded or denied their Rights. See, that’s the thing as well, you can’t push something on someone else if they are not comfortable with it. So create a situation where everyone can be happy. Im not sure why no one can agree to that? Instead, we seem focused on making everyone okay with what we want– and that’s never gonna happen. And why do we need other people to be okay with…US? Be You and Ill be ME. Happiness is not found in other peoples approval.

Last, but not least, who the hell cares anymore what Melania Trump’s shoes are? I’m sick and tired of our headlines always tearing down a woman– what she can wear, what she shouldn’t, she looks fat, ugly, old. Stop tryin’ to dictate what we look like and stop tearing my Sisters down because we dont fit into the “Stepford” box you;re trying to bury us in. I don’t care what shoes that woman was wearing. I care about the fact that North Korea just fired a weapon over Japan. I care about lifting each other up and taking care of those in my community who are in need. Im concerned with the cost and condition of our food. Im concerned about wages– about families where both adults work but still cant get by. I care about being segregated not by race but by how rich or poor we are. There’s the real threat. I care about people segregating themselves because you think you are the victim but really you’ve become the monster you’ve been screaming about. I care about whether or not I will have a retirement or if they will take my home because of the endless piles of doctor bills and taxes holding me under water. I care about our crooked government, of all crooked governments and the people stuffing Politicians pockets and paying off Media in order to distract and divide us. I care that they are not held accountable for false News or distorting facts to suit their own agenda and message. And the thousands of self-serving, selfish, lazy, no good con-artists in between that are taking advantage of an already horrible situation.

If all those people rioting took on the corruption of Washington, homelessness, human trafficking (Your present day form of slavery that doesn’t discriminate against color, lifestyle or gender), education, the economy and health, can you just imagine what we could accomplish? But in stead we argue over dead men, flags, bathrooms and shoes. And guess what happens after that? After all the statues are knocked down, after all of the schools are renamed, after bathrooms are open to one and all, after Melania Trump puts on sneakers, there will still be corruption, homelessness, education, economy and health problems, and human trafficking.   And I bet not one fist or curse word would be raised over any of that. Sad. Just sad.

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Posted in Back in the Day, Canning & Preserving, Food Facts, From Scratch, Hen Cackle, Historical, The Scoop from the Coop, Things to Crow About, Uncategorized

Water Bath or Pressure Canner? And a Vintage Water Bath Chart.

1304176654-hey-who-s-the-designer-here-before-after-design-talk-oyxnog-clipartAre you like me? Ready to pull hair and scream over this whole: Water Bath or Pressure Canner debate? I feel you. I really, really feel you. And I can even understand why newbies to Canning are so freaked out. It’s not like the “Canning Police” and the “FDA” attempt to ease our mind any. They have more Do’s and Don’t’s than Grandma and her switched did.

 


And for those of us who were raised on our previous Ancestors, and how they did things, that’s a real struggle. I’d like to see the “Canning Police” or the “FDA” tell my Grandma or one of my Great Aunt’s how to Can. I’d love for them to say….


  • “You aren’t allowed to Can Potatoes”
  • “You aren’t allowed to Can Tomatoes in a Water Bath and if you Can, which better be in a PC (Pressure Canner), then that better have added Acid in it.”
  • “No Onions allowed!”
  • “Stick to a recipe to a T. If it calls for four cloves of Garlic, you better stick to 4 cloves. If not, you will kill the whole family.”

And last but not least….

  • “Best not EVER use a Water Bath to Can meat!!!!!”

My Grandma would have beat down the entire government. Canning police? Wouldn’t be a switch left on the tree.


Still, today, in nearly every Canning Group out there, the Nazi’s still shake a finger and the FDA is still beating fear into the Masses. And while I WILL NOT tell you what you can or can’t do, I did stumble onto this cool little vintage chart of rules for Water Bath Canners that probably swam around in every kitchen back in Grandma’s day. And I will offer one bit of advice. Not a demand,. Not a threat, just advice….

If you are Canning, do what you feel most comfortable with. I’ve used a Water Bath for everything before I finally bought a Pressure Canner a year ago. I don’t add acid to my Maters. I Can potatoes religiously. And the only difference I can offer you is this one:


PC’s Can in a shorter amount of time. Example: Canning Green Beans in a Water Bath Canner can take up to 4-41/2 hours. In a PC, 25 minutes.


Yep, that’s it. If you are on unfamiliar ground where Canning goes, a PC may make you feel safer but for those of us who were taught by Grandma and those before her, we also feel just fine the Water Bath way. So when it comes to Canning, so what the hell you want. Ask for advice by finding a great support group but a great support group doesn’t bleed and spew nothing but fear. If a Jar is bad, you will smell it. Sometimes you will see it but in case your glasses are fogged that day, the smell will tell you. That’s always worked for me.

And if a recipe calls for 4 cloves of Garlic, don’t think the entire family will die if you add 10. For the love of God, folks, stop trying to duct tape everyone into the same box. winks


 

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Posted in All about them Chickens, Food Facts, The Scoop from the Coop, Uncategorized

The 411 on Raising & Cooking Meat Birds

Head of 2 big white chickenThere are a ton of Meat Bird articles out there on the web. How to butcher, raise and so on. This one has a few tidbits I never saw in those. Hopefully, they will help you– the things that others may have missed or I learned the hard way. winks


It’s been quite a while since I last posted. I apologize for that. It was a busy time for my Salon, small Farm and then, of course, I had to have some serious surgery, which could have all been avoided if I wasn’t misdiagnosed several years ago. (Long, long story). I don’t want to talk about that, though. I want to talk about some of the major things I had going on in the “Farm” department. And when I say “Farm”, ya’ll know I only have an acre or so, that’s backed up to National Forest, but that’s enough to raise chickens, turkeys, rabbits and even some hogs.


This past year, we decided to try our hand at Meat Birds. The Cornish breed. The kind that raise up and get nice and plump within’ 8-10 weeks. I know there are a million articles on these suckers out there but I think I have a few things to add that those articles missed or didn’t realize like we did. Here’s hoping something here helps you….

We had been considering these birds for some time and  after stumbling into Tractor Supply and finding them marked down to a buck one day, we went ahead and took the plunge. I decided to roll with them instead of the other meat variety like, Red Rangers, for quite a few reasons. I wanted them raised up fast for the freezer. Rangers, and others, take longer. The cost of Feed and what you would be getting didn’t pan out to me compared to the Cornish Crosses. For example, A Ranger might free range, but it still lives anywhere from 4-6 months. It wouldn’t be as easy to pluck, perhaps not as plump (I found by research) and not as tender. Everyone has to weight the pro’s and con’s and decide for themselves, though.

But at a buck, who could pass that up? Thanks, Tractor Supply! That day, we brought home 17 Cornish Crosses and then after finding them a few more times, we ended up with about 40. After getting a taste of it, that led us down the road of ordering 100 more from a Meat Bird Hatchery. One experience was completely different from the other– which I will explain.


The first 40 were actually divided up because the first batch had about 2 weeks or so on the second half we bought. This actually taught us a huge lesson – one we wouldn’t realize until our 100 arrived. Again, more on that a few paragraphs down.

Two weeks may seem like nothing when you’re raising regular chickens but 2 weeks between these birds defines a bold line between toddler and teenager. That is a drastic statement, I know, but that’s what it seems like between the size difference. This is why we didn’t mix one batch with the other. We didn’t want the two week ones snuffing out the younger birds’ chance at food.

A food is what they want and need most of all. They want food and water. They need heat, as well, like other birds, and get ready to do some cleaning because they go to the bathroom ALOT.

Feeding time is like dealing with a bunch of raptors. You need more than one bowl or feeder. Usually the first feeder gets them detracted long enough so you have a chance to fill the others before they just completely swarm and overwhelm you.

 

Feeding goes like this…

For the first 2 weeks (some say 10 days, others, a month) you will give them food 12 hours with and 12 hours without. Water all the time. We did 2 weeks. They say this lessens the chance of heart attacks, etc. While you want to feed the birds enough, you don’t want to overfeed. While I didn’t have any die of heart attacks, some family members did. You start off with a Starter Feed, either non-medicated or medicated. That’s up to you. I chose, with these, to actually use a medicated with the first and second batch. With my egg-birds, I never used that but with these, I did because I wanted them to get a healthy start and since they weren’t going to live long, I didn’t have the same concerns – them becoming immune to meds, etc— that I had with my lifers– the egg ladies. I didn’t use medicated with my 100, and I think that led into some problems– which, again, I’ll explain in a bit. I kept them on the Starter Feed for two-three weeks.

After that, we fed a Grower Feed, early in the morning and in the evening. Some family members also fed during the day. But again, a few of theirs fell over from heart attacks.

My first two batches were BIG birds when it came time to butcher. My husband, who usually eats about four thighs from the store, was more than satisfied with just one thigh and a slice of breast from our home-grown. That’s one of the differences that I noticed, that you may not find in another article. What we raised ourselves, took less to feed us than what we bought. Not only in weight, but as far as when we felt full. We also felt full without feeling uncomfortably bloated and miserable. Now, I can’t argue the science of that. I can only tell you how we feel. We went from eating about two whole birds from the store, to one home raised one.


Size wise, the first and second batch of birds ranged from 6-10 pounds. We bought a chicken plucker – a Yardbird, to be exact– so when time came to butcher, it took us about 3 minutes per bird. That’s carrying the bird to the “Cull section”, carrying it to me to “Scald”, me taking it to the Plucker – which took all of 15-20 seconds– and then handing it to my husband to clean out and toss in a cooler of ice. To be honest, it took us longer to wrap the birds for the freezer than it did to do the rest.

Our experience with the first two batches were absolutely great! That set us off in a whole nother direction. We ended up ordering 100 more. At first, we kept the babies in totes or swimming pools with heat lamps until they were too big. We took dog kennels with roof tarps and kept them inside those. We hung a heat lamp in case they still needed it. These birds do not handle heat and cold the way other birds do. They do not feather out as quick and they do not have all the layers of feathers that regular birds have. They were designed this way to make butchering a bit more easy. These birds are also more fragile than others. I had some break their wing over nothing and I mean, bone- right- through- the- skin—broke! I had a couple with hernias out their bottoms– the other chickens pecked them nearly to death, so I had to Cull them. And, they ended up getting worms – which could have been a freak thing or the fact that my husband messed up and didn’t get medicated Starter. This affected the growth of many birds as well as the competition for food. The lesson learned there, next Spring, we are going to divide them up into groups of 20. Seriously, no matter how many Feeders we had, the big ones still ate faster and over-ate compared to the littler ones that just couldn’t get a foothold. With all the problems, we still ended up with some good sized birds. There weren’t as many 10 pounders as we had in the first two batches but the others did reach 6 pounds or for some great sized meals. And I am still only cooking one Roaster at a time.


Cleaning the pin of the 100 was also a chore. If we got busy with work, or the kid’s after school activities, we played hell catching up. Because of this reason, I’ve got a better system designed and in mind for next Spring. We are definitely doing it again next Spring and not only that, I have more family members who are wanting to do it now, too. That’s something else to consider, the more you order, the cheaper the bird. We ended up, with shipping, paying about 1.50 or so per bird. Without shipping, they were around 1.24 a piece.


Other differences between what I raised and store bought?

Call me crazy, but not only is the taste cleaner, but the texture is different– for the better– and it cooks, way faster. Yes, cooks faster. I’m not sure why that is? Maybe because they don’t have all that stuff stores or commercial farms inject into them?

The skin is different. It doesn’t have all those fat clumps of gel-like fat clustered up underneath it. The skin seems a bit thicker to me, in general, but this is wonderful when it comes to roasting. It turns out crispier– if that’s your intention– and seals in the juices of the meat more.

And this little tidbit is not just in my head– yesterday I made chicken and dumplings. I pulled an entire roaster from the Freezer and stuck it in a pot full of water. I boiled until it was all falling off the bone. The ONLY thing I added to the water was a bit of celery salt. When I tasted the broth, it was absolutely amazing. I didn’t have to add any chicken bouillon !!! NONE !!!! I repeat, NONE! When I cooked a store-bought chicken this way, I would always have to add a ton of stuff including chicken bouillon. The broth was never flavorful enough on it’s own. I couldn’t believe the difference between what I had raised and what I had purchased before.


So I am absolutely sold. I have a different system in mind for next year…. we will separate our birds into groups of 20 and I am most certainly, worming and giving medicated food early on. I also have an idea in mind of how to keep their areas clean for the days we can’t get out there to do it. I’m still plotting that one, though.

But for those who are considering meat birds, I highly recommend it. And buy or make a chicken plucker. While their feathers are not hard to deal with, it does make the whole process easier and faster.

And coming soon, Meat Turkeys. At some point, I will be writing about the different breeds I have tried since last year, how those cooked up and if they were easy to pluck and so on. I’ll also give my evaluation on the taste difference between the quick growing two meat varieties–Broad-Breasted– and the Heritage Breeds. I’ll also be posting recipes and pictures of my delicious Meat Birds soon, too. So look for that!

Until then, I hope you found this useful. Any questions, just shout.


 

Feeding chart I found at this link:

Feeding program for meat chickens

The following table provides an estimate of peak rates of feed consumption and weight gain. The data were obtained from White Cornish Crosses under conventional management (without additional forage).

Age (weeks)

Type of feed

Feed consumption (weekly per bird)

Live body weight

kg

lb.

kg

lb.

1

Chicken starter

0.13

0.29

0.15

0.33

2

Chicken starter

0.28

0.62

0.36

0.79

3

 Chicken starter

0.47

1.02

0.65

1.43

4

Chicken grower

0.67

1.48

1.03

2.26

5

Chicken grower

0.85

1.87

1.46

3.21

6

Chicken grower

1.07

2.36

1.91

4.21

7

Chicken finisher

1.18

2.60

2.36

5.20

8

Chicken finisher

1.30

2.86

2.79

6.14

9

Chicken finisher

1.41

3.11

3.20

7.03

Total

7.36

16.20

Based on data from Nutrient Requirements of Poultry. 9th Ed. USA National Academy of Sciences. 1994. Note that free-ranging organically fed birds will have both lower rates of feed consumption and slower rates of growth


Please Note: I am not affiliated with Tractor Supply, Yardbird, or any other I have mentioned. That’s just where I shop for my Farm needs, along at the Augusta Coop.

Posted in Country Treasures & Landmarks, Uncategorized

Country Treasures & Landmarks: Deerfield, Virginia

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Tucked away in the arms of mothering mountains, there lies a sleepy, little town that hardly a soul may think to venture to. Not because it’s not worth a trip, but because most people now days seek out Water Parks, Zoos, or Beaches with Five-Star Hotels. And when I say sleepy, I don’t mean life no longer lives there. The town I am speaking of is, Deerfield, Virginia, and I know first hand that life does indeed live and breathe in this tiny, untouched town where the world finally slows down.

 

My husband was born and raised there and much of his family, still own homes and land in a place where the progress of our age seems to be more of a stranger than a common visitor.

 

They have the bare essentials: a tiny little store they jokingly call, The Deerfield Mall, a Post Office, a Fire Department, and once upon a time, it’s very own Historic School House, which is now a Community Building and Library.

 

My husband was actually the last to go to that School, which combined it’s classes and grades to very few teachers and might have seemed more like something out of Little House on the Prairie, or ,The Waltons, to those of us now. (That’s how small it was.)

 

Deerfield is made up of folks who are mostly Natives — those who come from long families that were born and raised there, and Hunting Camps — those who visit from time to time during Hunting Season. Population is roughly, 336.

 

There is a cellphone tower — finally— but no cellphones will work out there as there has been nothing else done to it. No Brand has reached out to claim it and the local telephone company, MGW, usually makes people more mad than anything else these days– lacking better and more affordable calling packages to make having a phone easier on the wallet. Pretty much, living in Deerfield, makes everything long distance.

 

They have great internet, since the owner of MGW’s son owns, LINGO, but there seems to always be an issue with folks needing help with Routers not working or lines and the hefty bill of having to have someone come out and fix it.

 

Sadly, Deerfield is becoming one of those places damaged by Taxes and a World that would soon run it over rather than just leave it alone. Sometime after 9/11 when the economy went belly up, Tax Assessors went out and marked the worth of everything far too high. It’s enough to make a person choke. That means, properties don’t sell like they should. Instead of being priced at their actual worth, they are listed for prices that would better reflect a newly built home with granite counter tops, skylights and all the trappings of a newer age. While many homes are nice there — and Id love to still have one– they need updated and some, repaired- certainly not up there with the the price tag that makes them untouchable to locals who would like to, well, re-locate, or stay where they were raised or are familiar with.

 

Don’t get me wrong, there are quite a bit of eye-catching homes stretched far and wide, here or there, in Deerfield. But that brings me to another problem… people from bigger cities and net-worth building million dollar homes in an area of modest people. Perhaps this is the reason Assessment skyrocketed? I’m not an expert, just broken-hearted because I’d give anything to go back where life slows down a bit in a world that seems to be spiraling out of control. Unfortunately, even the Modest Homes have a price way out of reach.

 

Deerfield is a stretch of long roads bordered by mountains on both sides. Land is the key-word here because there is so much of it. Just a trip to the grocery-store or nearest town, Staunton, Virginia, where there are places like Walmart, Food Lion, Krogers, etc, can take you up to 45 minutes one way.

 

The people are still friendly there. Most have never known a stranger, and for those who haven’t a clue as to what that means, it means, they will never treat you like one even if you are.

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The Deerfield Mall has just enough of what a person may need if passing through or in a pinch. Pop, Beer, Smokes, Snacks. A small kitchen in the back will get ya something quick.

 

For gas, folks will have to hit, The Mountain View Store, or as folks also like to call it ,The Forks of the Road, because that’s what the road does up there. One fork takes you to Deerfield and the other, to Highland County.

 

To dine, you can hit the Buckhorn Inn, which is on the way to Deerfield. Check out that post here: The Buckhorn Inn House Dressing

 

And then there is White’s Wayside, famous for it’s Depression Bread since 1929. A picture from then and now….

 

 

While both, The Buckhorn Inn and White’s Wayside, are actually in Churchville, Virginia, it’s as I said, on the way to the hidden gem of Deerfield.

 

The charm of Deerfield is, the privacy and the small, Mayberry feel. While there isn’t an Andy Griffith or Barney roaming the roads, there is a sense of comfort when the world takes a rest. People out there still raise their own food, butcher it in their own buildings, hunt and make things from scratch. Many heat with wood and live frugally with the times. They plant gardens and they keep chickens — and have done so before it became a “thing” on Social Media or Backyard Chicken sites.

 

Their kin is buried out there and while many families have lost their homesteads to greedy relatives selling it off, many can still ride past, point and say, “That’s where my Great Grandpappy shot his first deer or gave my Great Grandma her first kiss.”

 

The tiny burial ground where my husbands people were placed is so old that the hidden cluster of graves are sinking into the ground. What gravestones there are, are so old, the names have completely worn off of rock depressingly eroded. The land this hidden cemetery sits on used to be in his family until relatives sliced it up and sold it off. My husband dreamed of buying it back one day but so far, that has never happened. It weighs against our spirits that one day, no one will know a graveyard is still there or, they will just plow the whole thing over.

 

Money is the seed to preservation and while many of us work instead of plopping on our butts in front of a TV all day, we will never have enough money to preserve anything, especially in lost and overlooked treasures like Deerfield.

 

A place that will also be plowed over, soon enough, as The Pipeline, fights to shove it’s way through there despite the natural springs, history and near extinct, Native Trout.

While I love certain things about progress, Cell Phones– which makes getting a flat tire and not being stranded a real possibility, or the Internet, which makes Blogging, Researching, and keeping up with the world as easy as breathing, some things are just depressing.

 

The only thing that eases my mind just a little bit is that there are still places like Deerfield, Virginia, out there. Places tucked away deep within’ the Appalachian that time may turn it’s back on causing the majority of everyone else to turn a blind eye to, but those of us who are lucky enough to know about them, will never forget. Some of us try to carve out a life there, hoping the world wont change so much that our kids and grandkids will have a chance to stay if they have a mind too. Some of us will be forever haunted by what we had to leave and at some point, will always find ourselves going back….even if just a little while.

 

Posted in Chicken Scratch, Homemade Cleaners & Detergents, The Hen House, The Scoop from the Coop

Homemade Laundry Detergent: My Final Results & Recipe

In case you missed the first post, The Scoop on Homemade Laundry Detergent & Stain Remover, this is my follow up to that. My, What-Work-For-Me-Recipe. Now, don’t disregard the post I just linked you to because there’s a lot of good information in there…The Recipes I started out with, how they ended up and the breakdown of ingredients.

IMG_7323Basically, my issues with the regular recipes that are floating around out there was this…the Dry didn’t dissolve in the Washer unless I used warm to Hot Water. Even then, sometimes it still didn’t dissolve. The Liquid was good for normal clothes as long as I dissolved the Borax on the stove with the soap. The Cleaning was okay, but my whites did seem to go dingy after awhile or clothes not as clean as they should be or I need them. I live with a rough crowd, here, lol. If you don’t understand what I’m talking about, again, just click the link above for the full story.

Now, all that bein’ said, I came up with this Recipe that I have used to months and months and months and I absolutely have no problems with it at all. This is a Liquid soap, too and if you do it the way I explain, there is no letting it sit for 24 hours before use.


 

IMG_7324Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle of 21.6 FL OZ of Blue Dawn
  • 2 cup of Borax
  • 1 cup of Washing Soda
  • 5 Gallon Bucket
  • Hot Water

 

 


Directions

The tap Water in my house is super hot and dissolves anything. So, I didn’t have to heat up water or dissolve the Borax in any way. IF YOU DO, just add the Borax to about 4 or 5 cups of water and heat till it dissolves. Fill a 5 gallon bucket half way with hot tap water, gently pour the rest of the ingredients. After adding the dissolved Borax, fill the remaining bucket up with water. Use 1/3-1/2 cup or as needed. I use a whole cup because my husband is a MASON and we are always getting dirty workin’ outside with the farm animals. If you’re kids play sports or you need a recipe for homemade OXY for STAIN removal, please see the link above: The Scoop on Homemade Laundry Detergent & Stain Remover. I will forever stand by that recipe, at the bottom of the post. Just make it as you need it and don’t add it to this recipe because the Hydrogen Peroxide looses it’s power after a few hours of just sitting. Make it fresh and as you go. It’s not that hard to do so it won’t take you forever.




 

Now, while did I go with this recipe? I use Blue Dawn for everything. In fact, sometimes I add more than the bottle above to my Detergent. Ill buy the great big bottle and use half. But again, that’s because I don’t like my clothes dingy and my husband is a Mason, etc., My recipe adds bubbles, too, or Suds and I LIKE SUDS. I swear I miss the old Washers that used a ton of water. I hate these new HE things. And all the Detergents out there, even name brands, would do so much better with more SUDS. If you are against SUDS, play with the amount you use in each WASH or cut back on the DAWN.

I add the 2 cups of Borax above, too, because I don’t want my whites dingy. And I don’t add any kind of scent to my detergent because all those softeners weaken the cleaning power—in my opinion. I add my Softener to the Wash, to each Wash, in the softener compartment.

I can use this detergent with Cold Water, Warm or Hot. I don’t have a problem with it dissolving.


 

 

Posted in The Hammered Hen, The Hen House, The Hungry Hen, The Scoop from the Coop, Things to Crow About

Bitterless Coffee & Sweet Tea

There’s a trick Grandma used to do that no one seems to know anymore. A way she made her coffee that made it taste unlike anything we’ve tasted since. Well, unless you know the trick, which, now days, quite a few are catching on thanks to Pinterest and Social Media.

A pinch of salt– add a pinch of salt, or, about 1/4th teaspoon for those who need exact measurements, to the coffee after you put it in the filter. If you are using the a reusable K-pod, for those with Keurigs, then do the exact same thing, only a smaller amount.

A pinch of salt will kick the bitter right out of your cups.

For those who can’t drink coffee because it causes heartburn, add a pinch or so of baking soda. Use this, instead of salt, which will actually combat the bitterness AND help illuminate the heartburn!

And if you want something that tastes expensively delicious but without the price tag or brand name, and that doesn’t have that nasty chemical aftertaste a lot of flavored coffees have, add cinnamon and or nutmeg to the coffee — not the cup, but let it brew with the coffee itself. Play with the amount– a couple of sprinkles or just a dash. Add one or both. You can even add a splash of extract like Vanilla.

I’ve made my coffee like this for years– with baking sofa, cinnamon and sometimes nutmeg. People always ask where I bought my coffee and those who can’t stand flavors, loved mine. They’re shocked with I tell them the Brand– one of the most common but cheapest on the grocery store shelf. Not to mention, shocked at the flavor.

I’m a cream in the cup kind of girl but for those times when I run out, a cup of coffee made this smooth, I can drink it black, no problem.

For tea, do the same thing. What happens is, the Baking Soda and or Salt attacks the Tannins in the tea, which is what can make Tea a bit bitter. Of course, the Tannins in the Tea is what Herbalists swoon over. They are what makes the healthy properties in Tea and what makes those properties combat so many ugly unwanteds. To read more about Tannins, check out:

The Healing Properties of Black & Green Tea

So give it a try next time you brew up a batch and let us know if you have any tricks you’ve been adding to yours! 😜

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Posted in Chicken Scratch, Hen Cackle, Things to Crow About

Beware: Everyone’s Gonna Be Like They’ve Been Smokin’ Crack

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This is my own brand of a Public Service Announcement.

It’s Friday the 13th AND a Full Moon…. Farmer’s Almanac is even callin’ it a WOLF MOON??? On any normal moon, we know what it’s like in these Hills when so and so goes out Howling at it. Don’t act like you don’t know who you are.

Ya’ll, If I was you, or me, I wouldn’t even come out my hen house tonight. Just sayin’. It’s gonna be like everybody out there is smokin’ Crack. It’s gonna be like Crackheads gone wild out there.  Imagine your most batsh*t craziest relative turned up five thousand notches. Wound up way too tight, then again and again, then flung on out there to spin like there’s no tomorrow.

Yeah. I’d just lock the doors and pull down the blinds. Keep the TV low so if anybody comes a knockin’, they won’t know you’re in there. You hear any loud noises, just put a pillow over yo’ ears. Don’t look. The worst things in life cant be unseen.

And definitely don’t go nowhere like Walmart. You cant even imagine what the hell will be roaming the isles up in there.

Nah, just stay in.

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