Beloved Wife Saves The Day On The Farm!

You have to know my wife to fully understand the total contradictions in her personality.  This is an extremely kind and generous woman who is the mortar that keeps are home together.  She has the wonderful ability to multi task throughout her day and continuously  orchestrate the needs and demands of our family; all the while placing her needs at the bottom of the list.  I consider myself to be a very fortunate man to have this wonderful individual in my life.   But………..as I previously said…………….there are some contradictions…………………………………..  A few posts back was one of those examples when Marty, our cat, decided to eat a honeybee that unfortunately got into our house.  Click here if you missed that posts.  But…….this week…….well…..just keep reading.

As I was saying………………though incredibly strong most times, this is an individual who feels totally justified to wake me from a deep sleep in order to let me know that I must annihilate a “creepy-crawly” bug that is in our kitchen sink.  And…… as for the occasional small brown snake who is basking in the sun far away from our cottage…………….My wife’s solution is to run back into the cottage, lock all the doors and windows in our weekend retreat, and let the entire community on our quiet lake know by her scream that she has, once again, located another ferocious flesh eating 12 inch brown snake.   Though I have unsuccessfully tried to reassure my Wife that a small brown snake has no real interest in “attacking” her, especially after…………… she has locked the front door…….I seldom meet with success.

So……..last Friday afternoon, my wife was busy doing what she does in order to keep our home running smoothly.  All of a sudden, she hears a screech from the deck where Swiffer is basking in the sun.  (According to my wife….”It wasn’t a screech…..you had to have heard this…..It was like something you have never heard before”.)

She runs through the house to find Swiffer being “attacked” by, what she thinks, is a squirrel.  She immediately acquires the punting ability of an NFL athlete and launches the “squirrel” off the deck.  The “squirrel” quickly circles back around, quickly climbs back up the four stairs and attacks again for round #2.  My wife, in her 4 foot 11 inch frame, goes into Ninja mode, picks up a garden hoe and immediately moves into some martial arts moves that Miyagi from The Karate Kid would have been most proud of………..She manages to, once again, win another round and scoops up Swiffer and runs with the chicken towards the end zone and safely deposit her into the chicken coop.  All the while……..that damn “squirrel” is fast on her trail.  After successfully locking up the chicken, she once again goes into “Daniel-san” mode and launches  another assault on the “squirrel”.  This time…………..the “squirrel”…….backs off.

Then……….my wife sees an opening in the other team’s defensive line, fakes a right turn and runs back to the deck…..into the house…….and…………..locks all the doors and windows.

She immediately calls me at work and lets me know about the “squirrel”.  I unsuccessfully try to calm her down and inform her that the behavior of the “squirrel” is not characteristic of this generally timid rodent.  After a brief description of the assailant, I determine that it may……..possibly………….be a …………..weasel and send her a picture of one for recognition.  She calls back in an instant and informs me that ………“Ohhhhh Myyyyyyyyyyyy God……….. IT IS A WEASEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Arriving home later that afternoon, I did see the weasel in the backyard and…………….. I am not proud to say,……… I do not possess the Karate-Kid skills of my Beloved Wife.  Maybe I just need the proper gear like the pink bath robe and fuzzy kitty slippers in order to become the successful weasel Ninja that she has become.

In the mean time…………..Swiffer remains in “lock-up” and has no interest in coming down from the coop, though she is physically unharmed.  Beloved Wife……………well….she had a couple of glasses of Chardonnay that night and has begun to move out from the “red-zone” by watching our Blue Jays defeat the Yankees in a four game series.  And…..as for me………I think I’ll dust off The Karate Kid dvd, maybe try on those fuzzy kitty slippers and hope that Miyagi can teach this City Boy a few of his moves.

………….”Wax on, right hand. Wax off, left hand. Wax on, wax off. Breathe in through nose, out the mouth. Wax on, wax off. Don’t forget to breathe, very important. “

Beloved Wife's Kung-Fu Grip!

Beloved Wife’s Kung-Fu Grip!

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A Sure Sign That Autumn Is On The Way

Man Oh Man!……..It’s been too darn warm for me.  I know……I know……….you’re gonna’ remind me about last Winter and that I should embrace this incredibly hot and humid weather because it’s gonna’ get cold again in the next few months.  But,………..I’m OK with the cold.  In fact I prefer it to hot.  I’d rather be wearing a warm flannel shirt and blue jeans than shorts and a T-shirt.  I’d also take an evening with the dry heat from my wood stove rather than the cooler air conditioned environment that I feel “trapped” in at the moment.   And…..I think the honey bees are thinking the same.

The last few nights, those bees have been finding it way too hot to snuggle up and cluster in the hive.  Instead,  there have been a lot of bees just hanging out on the “porch” trying to cool down.

Bearding Up

Bearding Up

But, ……..Autumn is on the way and the promise of flannel shirts, comforting bowls of hearty soups, and crisp juicy apples are just around the corner.  This, my friends, is the season that I look forward to the most.  And…..how do I know it’s coming?????? Well……..my Autumn Joy (Hylotelephium telephium ) is just starting to open up and my bees are having a blast!007 - Copy024 - Copy - Copy

One Swelled Headed Chicken and Me!

 

043   044  “Well Swif………..we finally made it to the big leagues.  Remember  back in late winter when I wrote the articleGround Your Flighty Flock’ and you volunteered to have your flight feathers trimmed for the occasion.  Well……..You and I are now the July/August FEATURE in Chickens Magazine. I’m pretty darn proud and I can tell that you are really stoked by the way you’re struttin’ around the backyard. I told you that  the “trim” would be worth it. 

What’s that??????????………..Hold all your calls?????? You want to schedule a pedicure at two after a light lunch with a couple of friends????????????   And…. you want more cracked corn before bedtime????????? Read the contract Swif.  Read the contract!  Now……get your butt back to work.  The egg count has been a little light these days in the hen-house”.

Chickens Magazine is a great read and I urge you to pick up the latest issue if you haven’t already.  It is chock-full or useful information for the backyard chicken enthusiast. You can find Chickens at your local checkout or via subscription.

http://www.hobbyfarms.com/chickens-magazine/

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A Quarter MILLION Views and Counting!

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Wow!  250,000 + views since I started this blog a few years back.  I am happy to see that I am working towards the goal that I had hoped for in this blog’s beginning.

A few years back, I wanted to chronicle some of the “stuff” that I do in my spare time.  At first, I wanted this to be a “record” for my kids, but then I thought that other folks may also find it useful.  It turns out that there are some folks our there in “Cyber World” who think that some of this “stuff” is of interest.  It always makes me happy to receive a comment from someone who has informed me that my post helped them discover a new interest/hobby. It is great to share information, techniques and insight into many of the “things” which we choose to do in order to satisfy the cravings of our creative side.

So….with that said, I want to say thanks and share the top 5 posts that “Cyber World” continues to click on City Boy Hens.

Best Regards,

CB

1)  How To Make Salami

2)  How To Make A Beehive

3)  How To Make Italian Sausage

4) How To Make Drunken Cherries In Vodka

5)  Making A Dust Bath For Your Chickens

 

How To Make Christmas Fruit Cake

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It has definitely been a while since I have hit “publish”.  To my blogging friends, I say “hello again”.  To those that are “new followers”, I say “welcome”.  The blog has definitely been on the “back-burner” for the last 7 months and I have not given it the attention that I set out with a few years back.

Anyways, last weekend I decided to make Christmas fruit cake for the second year, but this Christmas I wanted to make some smaller cakes as gifts for family and friends who enjoy this yuletide treat.  So I tripled the recipe in the link below and adjusted the bake time for the smaller cakes.

If you like Christmas cake, I urge you to give this one a try.  It’s really easy and tastes just like those childhood memories.

Click here

Warm regards,

CB

Crescia: The Easter Bread From Le Marche, Italy

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My Family came to Canada in 1913 from the town of Pesaro in the Province of Le Marche, Italy. Over the years, traditions were lost or no longer practiced as my ancestors blended more into the Canadian fabric. But, Crescia has always survive the test of time and it has now been alive and well for 4 generations in our Canadian family. I’m sure it’s not the same as the one my great-grandmother (Bisnonna Laura) made, but I hope it’s a close second.

Crescia is a vastly different bread, depending on the region of its origins. It can be as thin as focaccia or as high as the crescia that originated in Pesaro. The later is the one that my Family has made for generations, though it was denser and did not rise as high as the one that I make. But, it is similar in its signature ingredients of eggs, black pepper and cheese.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Easter breads are so laden with eggs. As you backyard chicken owners know, heritage breed hens take a break from laying eggs during the Winter and resume their production in the Spring which happens to coincide with Easter. As well, eggs, cheese, meat and olive oil were historically omitted from the diet in Italy during the period of Lent so everyone must have been “chompin’ at the bit” to return to these foods after those 40 extremely bland days!

As I write this post, the scent of baking crescia fills the air! It reminds me of my ancestors who came to this great country over 100 years ago. Times were a lot harden then, but they were also flavoured with great traditions which always revolved around food. Unfortunately, a lot of those great traditions have been lost or misplaced in our progression to a busier life.

I’m not sure if we have made a good trade. Perhaps, it’s worth “stepping back” now and then and carrying on some of those great traditions that remind us of our roots and the journey that has brought us to this today!

I hope I “did you proud” Bisnonna Laura!

If you would like to make crescia, please CLICK HERE for my family’s recipe.

Happy Easter / Buona Pasqua to all!

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Merry Christmas

019Well…..it’s definitely turned into a Merry Christmas at City Boy Hens.  We had our electricity restored late last night after almost 72 hours without power. I am soooooo grateful for the wood stove.  It helped keep Old Man Winter at bay as the outdoor temperatures stayed well below freezing (more on that in a future post).

Anyways…..the power outage prevented me from sending out a Seasonal greeting to all of you until now.  So….here goes….I wish you all a Happy Christmas and a 2014 that is filled with tons of fun!  Thanks for “following” my blog.  I’ve enjoyed the time that I have spent on it in the last 11 months.

So…with that said……the “long Winter’s nap” is looking pretty good right about now!  I hope you enjoy your Christmas Day!038 - Copy

From The Farm Blog Hop

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I am quite aware that today is Friday and I already posted yesterday about making Panettone. Although I DO enjoy kickin’ back a few spiked egg noggs at this time of year, I can assure you that I have not partaken of this festive elixir on this frigid Friday morning. Soooooooooooo……why a second post within 24 hours?
Well, I am pleased to announce that the folks From the Farm Blog Hop have picked me to be a guest host for this week’s hop. From what I’ve heard, I’m not only the first guy to be given this honor, but also the first Canadian. I’ll take that as a big chicken feather in this City Boy’s toque, eh!
I hope you’ll take a look at the hop, add a post or two, or just  cruise around to see some of the great things that some fellow bloggers are makin’ or doin’.

Keep scrolling to join this week’s party!
Congratulations! Please feel free to grab our button and display it proudly on your blog!
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Photo provided by Chicken Scratch Poultry http://chickenscratchpoultry.com/
From The Farm Blog Hop

Now, on to this week’s party:
1. Link up to three of your best gardening or homesteading tips, farm-themed posts, recipes, homemaking and simple/frugal living tips, decorating ideas, DIY projects, craft ideas, thrifty makeovers or repurposed items, healthy, sustainable living tips and giveaways.
2. Link back to my blog, or put the link party button anywhere on your blog or post to share the love.
3. Make sure to check out some of the other links before leaving.

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From The Farm Blog Hop
We can’t wait to see what you share with us!

Note: Linking up to this party will automatically sign you up for an invite to next week’s party via email. To unsubscribe, please reply to any email you receive and you will be removed. Linking up also allows us permission to publish one of your photos on our blogs, Facebook, and/or Pinterest pages.

Want To Learn How To Make Italian Sausage?

Hot & Sweet sausage.

Hot & Sweet sausage.

Italian sausage season started last weekend at City Boy Hens.  For the last 3 years, my good friend Mike and myself have been making these meaty treats and they taste GREAT!   Whether they are cooked on the BBQ, added to Beloved Wife’s pasta sauce or poached in my chicken and sausage cacciatore they ALWAYS add up to a home run!  But, best of all, they are made with quality ingredients and work out to about half of the price of a store-bought sausage.  For this CITY BOY ,that was enough reason to learn how to make these babies and to chronicle the steps for you to follow.  If I can make it, you can make it as well.  So…..why not give it a try and learn how to make Italian sausage?  Before you know it, you too will be beaming with pride as your family and friends sit down together and share a great meal made with your homemade Italian sausage.  Now…..you’re  just one click away from taking that tasty plunge.  Ready??????  CLICK HERE!

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The BEST Sign That Your Hen is DONE Molting!

018I’ve been bragging about my chickens for over a year to pretty well anyone who will listen.  It has definitely become my favorite obsession!  The talk always turns to egg production and I start spelling off about how great these 3 sex-link hens are at pumping out eggs almost every day.   Well…low and behold, …..doesn’t Honda, our starting pitcher, stop laying eggs!

At first, I  thought it was a temporary slump.  Every Major League pitcher gets in a rut from time to time and maybe Honda just needed a bit of a rest from producing those large brown eggs each day.  But,…..as the days turned into  weeks, my concern continued to grow and the number of eggs in the egg carton continued to dwindle.  In  a momentary lapse of judgment, I even consider rationing my 83-year-old neighbor from the 3 farm fresh City Boy eggs that she receives each week.  Okay…listen……..before you start sending those off-color comments, I’ll have you know that I dismissed this panicked thought and Philomena continued to get her eggs.  Let’s just file that one under   “concerned ‘father’ not thinking too clear”.

Anyways, as the days turned into  weeks and my anxiety continued to grow, it was finally determined that Honda was in the process of molting.   Well…..7 long weeks later I am happy to report that my starting pitcher is back in business!  This morning I went out to the coop and there, nestled in some wood shavings, was THE BIGGEST FREAKIN’ EGG I HAVE EVER SEEN at City Boy Hens! 003 This egg is ginormous!  It weighs in at just under a quarter of a pound and is over 3 1/2  inches long.   Though I am not a Mother and I  did not give birth to our two children, I feel I may have enough common sense rattling around in my head to know that this must  have hurt like hell!

“Ok Honda……..listen…….you don’t need to be making up for lost time.  I understand  you feel that you may have let City Boy Hens down in the last 7 weeks, but rest assured, you couldn’t have helped it!  You ARE suppose to molt and take some time off in the process.  Don’t you be worrying that Philomena never got her 3 fresh eggs each week.  Rosie and Swiffer had you covered.  But, more importantly, don’t you be worrying that Swiffer is trying to move up in the rotation and dreaming of becoming the starting pitcher at City Boy Hens.  Sure, she hasn’t missed a day of laying in the last 5 weeks, but between you and me, she doesn’t have what it takes.  Besides,……look at the way that crazy hen is always acting…….laying those eggs in the garden, sometimes doing the “egg-song” at 5:30 am……..she’s crazy I tell you!  But more importantly, take a look at those Ping-Pong size eggs that she offers up to City Boy most days. They’re nothing compared to those beauties that you’ve made before.  Now,………. go hit the showers and take a nice long rest in a relaxing dust bath.  You’ve deserved it!

Oh….and Honda…….welcome back to the Majors………….  It tastes GREAT to have you back!044