Friday, January 27, 2012

Super Bowl Sunday is upon us! 02/05/2012

Super Bowl Sunday!

If you're like me..... 

You don't give a hoo haa. :)  But! Its a totally great excuse to have a party and  make ridiculously cute football and helmet shaped cookies and muffins, pizza dip and chips, Super Charged Power smoothies, and other fun and sometimes healthy snacks!

I've got great plans.. oh yes.... be on the look out for some super cute SUPER BOWL SUNDAY ideas! Coming soon... to Yellow Spot Sun.. I promise.. before SUPER BOWL SUNDAY! 

Now go and enjoy the rest of this wonderful day! You deserve it!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Jewelry Biz

The Jewelry Biz

So it may interest you to know that I once had an online jewelry store. Not interesting huh? Well then perhaps instead of me going on about the freedom of owning your own business, or the stability that naturally follows, or the sense of accomplishment and pride that seem to be side effects of entrepreneurship... Maybe we can talk about the meat and potatoes of the whole bit instead? :)  The jewelry itself! Yay for Sparkles!

p.s. I'm a huge fan of being self sufficient.. So you may see a lot of my  "empowering you" propaganda. So go you!  yeah! :)

Rubies, diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, topaz, garnet oh my!

Ok, so first thing first... What the heck are you gonna make? That was my first "I should have thought this through more carefully" moment  when I opened my digital doors to the planet...
I had everything I needed to make.. well, anything! I had a desk full of jewelry making stuff.. Some power tools, some toxic liquids, blow torches, pliers and other such.. stuff.

I was ready. I had even graduated from making beaded whoo-sits and whats-its to soldered and melted and welded do-dads and diddly-tinks..

OK, so that doesn't sound like much.. But it was. It was truly a full time job plus some to have that darn site..

Hats off to all you Etsy-ers and Ebay crafters!

It was tons of work just to make the site..
I wasn't about to pay for someone to create a webpage for me.. I was in the biz to make money... not spend it. :/

So I wrote every line of code.. ugh.
(save for paypal and cart codes..)

< greatest webpage ever > bla bla bla < / just get it done! >


I think I'll make this a black and white print and frame it.

Now I guess its a good time to mention that  having an online jewelry biz isn't as easy as it sounds.. You can't just make some stuff, make a page, and watch the dollars roll in...

Oh no... A little acronym so named SEO will haunt you until you have mastered the art of marketing..

SEO- Search Engine Optimization

Basically these 3 little letters mean the difference between being number 82,364,852,531 on the results page of google or yahoo or the like.. and being number one on that list...

I don't know about you, but when I search for something via a search engine, I do not generally click to the 975th page to find something that could be found on page one.....

And from what I understand SEO has alot to do with links.. You gotta link to everyone and everything under the sun to acquire some magic number of links in order to rocket up to position 1... Its a silly practice.. but whatever.

So anyhow,

Now I have my site, I have my jewelry... I just don't have the time.. Tee hee! After all that! I just didn't have time to run my own business.. 

Well, a jewelry business...

I was too busy running the business of the garden and chickens and house..

Its kinda sad now.. I've got  just a box left of all the unsold jewelry sitting in the workshop.

Most of whats left are earrings.. And I don't have pierced ears anymore.. So I sell or trade what I can with neighbors or give them as gifts. It is definitely an experience I would go and do again.

Owning and operating a small business by yourself is hard work. But it teaches you so much! This jewelry biz was my metaphorical lemonade stand..

At  any rate, I'm not supposed to be a  jeweler or a dot com-er.. I think my calling is just to be creative and inspire..

On that note;
I think everyone should have the personal goal to inspire others.. Why else would you have friends? I think alot of people forget that you get to choose your friends.. You can add and drop them in real life too.. not just on Facebook...

Have a wonderful day! And please forgive my ramblings :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cleaning the Craft Room

Cleaning the "Craft Room"

After having the in-laws come to town and stay for a week, I realized that my "craft room" needed to be cleaned out. I know that sounds like a totally silly way to start out a blog about canning foods but just stay with me on this for a minute.. 

I was frantic trying to get the house "mom ready" I had given myself a week off before hand to clean the house from top to bottom.. including the chicken coop, greenhouse, laundry shed, and garden... phew.. it was alot of work just saying all that.. So along comes the Wednesday before the Friday of The Arrival. Work calls. Now I told work that I was taking time off for family affairs... the whole week... but I work for some.. people.. :) 

Anyhow, I get stuck with what turned out to be 58 hours worth of work that was due back by Friday morning. Now Wednesday to Friday isn't very long.. Especially when you're totally freaking out about inlaws and lint in the dryer catch and dust on the moulding, and streaks on the windows and washed towels and clean linens and bathroom toiletries and a fully stocked kitchen, and well... you get the point... 

And then there was the "craft room" This room has been used as a catch all for stuff. I don't have any other word for it except "stuff". I have paintings from high school, old pictures, really old clothes, holiday crud, fish tank things and whats-a-madoos, I've got hee-whoos and do-dads galore! I even found my mum from freshman year in there...  Don't laugh, I've got pictures to prove it :)

And those paintings...

But on to the good stuff!
I found my pressure cooker! Yay! It had been long put away after The Canning of the Bell Peppers was over. So I soaked a good amount of the dried black eyed peas that have been waiting to be canned for a while now.. :/ got out some jars and went to work!

I'm a fan of the Kerr brand jars only because they leave enough smooth surface on the jars for a label.. The ball jars work just as well, but when you sell these jars (filled with yummy organic goodness) the label better sit pretty. Its your first impression you know :)
So anyhow, I made a couple jars of pinto beans and reminisced about the days of old when my Mormon closet was full.. (I hope that's not a slur.. its just what I know a closet full of "just in case" food to be called)  We did a pretty good job of feeding ourselves through the "winter"  from our garden. I didn't have a winter garden this year so canning was a huge part of our lives earlier in 2011.

So there it is.. The top shelf of whats left of the closet.. I can't wait til spring!!

I'm so excited, Ive decided to make a garden page that follows the garden through its year.. I think this could be a great way to not only keep track of when, where, and how many of what gets planted, picked, or composted but its also a great way for me to share my experiences and help others get started in being totally self sufficient... :) You'll see, its easy.. I may even make up a "plan." sort of like a Gardening for Dummies- The Plan Edition... stay tuned...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Where the Magic Happens

Where the magic happens..

Today I was thinking about how I am going to modify my chicken coop. The interior is much too dark and just too stuffy for me personally. I was also lamenting the fact that I was going to have to mow the lawn soon if I didn't get a chicken tractor up and running pronto. So renovation blue prints aside, I got to work..

  It doesn't look like much, but to me, its a pardon from mowing the lawn! I found some old fence pieces that I wired together and strapped some chicken wire to the ends... et voila!  A chicken tractor. All I have to do is slide this thing anywhere I want and put some chickens inside it to mow down the clover. Its my green way of mowing. er... not mowing ;)

In action
Mowing the lawn

Don't worry, they had shade, water and food at all times.. :)

Have a wonderful day you amazing person, you!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Chicken Snacks and Treats

Cherries and Cherry Tomatoes

Chicken Snacks and Treats

  Today I felt so badly for my little flock of chickens.. It is soooo rainy and yucky that I have had to pen the girls into their covered outside run. This sounds alright enough.. except that the run is only about 6ft by 4ft... And with 2 territorial mother hen type hens, one jumbo sized food processing chicken hybrid, and 3 little feathered "everything else" disposal units... this can be stressful..

Solution!  Food.

I went and gathered a bit or parsley, kale, swiss chard, cantaloupe, lettuce and a handful of cherry tomatoes from the green house and chopped them into chicken friendly bits.  I also cooked up an eggplant that just wasn't as pretty as the others.. and scrambled an egg.  And topped the whole thing off with some cooked and moooshed sweet potatoes.

I know, I know, that's a lot of food! But.. these are chickens... :)

I often get asked the question.. "Isn't feeding an egg to a chicken like cannibalism?" 
Yes and no...

Yes if:
The egg has been fertilized and an embryo has started to form. This doesn't happen overnight. I can remember that it takes 21 days for a chick to hatch...  but I also know that it takes at least 6 days before the chick in that egg starts to look like anything other than a ball of DNA. I don't wait 6 days to refrigerate my eggs. and refrigerating a fertilized egg right away will kill anything inside it. So basically, its not likely that you'll cook up one of these babies.. (sorry bad pun) anytime soon.. :) 

No if:
This is an unfertilized egg. (No rooster) The goo that you find inside of an egg was meant for a baby chick to eat. It is essentially the same as if the hen that laid that egg packed a lunch for her chick but when no chick was created, I got to eat the lunch instead.  cool huh?


The treat ball

The treat ball was a great idea... I just don't think the girls think so.. They would rather peck and scratch at all the other goodies that have been scattered about their yard. Ah well. I get it. Why work for your food when its readily available and so close you can lay down and eat at the same time.. (seriously, Honey eats this way.. "The-Jumbo-Food-Processing-Chicken-Hybrid Honey")

Chicken Soccer Ball
Ah yes, The chicken soccer ball. Fill this baby up with peas and watch them go! Well,.. fill this baby up, show the chickens that its nothing to be afraid of, chase them around the yard trying to to show them where the treats come out, and finally plop down and let the pile of peas fall out while the girls run over to help clean the mess. :)  Smart chickens.. or Lazy.. 

Chicken egg shells.. Crush 'em up and throw some out there! I like to have a little bowl filled with shells. I am trying to finish off this 25lb bag of oyster shell that I bought. ugh. So I mix a little oyster with the egg shell and give it back to the girls. I think they like the chicken shells better. weird huh?

Oh! I got a bag of meal worms to give as snacks to the girls.. LOVED THEM! The bag was red so now every time I go out with something red on or in my hands, the girls are jumping.. literally jumping to get at whatever it is. So now, among other things, I am going to be a meal worm farmer. :/
From what I hear, its as easy as putting food scraps into a 3-tier shelf thing once a day... I will investigate more on this!

Most everything I have tried with the girls gets eaten.. However, the eggplant took forever for them to go through... For the most part, I think the rule is if you would eat it, so would they.. :) Of course there are exceptions..  

1. Raw potatoes and potato sprouts. Raw potatoes are hard for chickens to digetst while the green parts of potatoes and the sprouts are toxic.

2. Rotten food. duh.

3. Raw peanuts and dried beans. (Dried beans are safe if they're cooked first.) Raw meat too...

4. Chocolate.

5. Some garden plant leaves such as eggplant, peppers, tomatoes and potatoes

6. Nicotine is poisonous.

7. Avocados. These can be fatal for your chickens.

8. Some types of flower seeds such as sweet peas, morning glories and angel's trumpet.

Have a wonderful day, you beautiful person, you!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Lucky Black Eye Pea Recipe

Lucky Black Eyed Peas

Oh wow! This was such an amazing dish! I'm not even going to go into how all of the wonderful flavors from the pork fused seamlessly with the various home grown veggies to create a dish that was truly "comfort food."  I could, but I'm too excited to give you this recipe!!

Lucky Black Eyed Pea Recipe


1.5 lbs       black eye peas (cowpea)
4 cups        organic chicken broth
1                ham hock 
bacon,       cooked and chopped  (how ever much is in one of those packages... sorry.. trash day.. :(
1& 1/2 tsp bacon grease (optional, but I couldn't help it.. Yumm!)
1 cup         chopped onion
3/4 cup      chopped celery
3 cloves garlic minced or dry equivalent
water          enough to make sure the beans are slightly covered

The following are optional.. just ideas and suggestions. These were not included in the original recipe:
salt (remember, pork is salty)
bay leaf
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

First, you need beans that have been soaked.. BEP's can just about triple in size when soaked so just be aware. To soak there are 2 methods that I am aware of.:

1.) Put dry beans in large pot and cover with water at least 3 inches above the beans. Allow to soak overnight.

2.) Quick soak by putting dry beans in a large pot, filling (about 3 inches above the beans) with water, covering, and bringing it to a rolling boil. Allow to boil for 2-3 minutes (some say more, some say less..) and turn off the heat. Let beans soak for 1 hour and drain.

Now that you have your beans ready to go, its time for the hard part. 
Step one:
Put all that stuff into your crock pot.

Notice how the broth slightly covers the beans while cooking.
Step Two:
Set on high for 3 and a half  hours, cover.

Step Three: 
GO ENJOY THE NEW YEAR!  Yay! and in 3 and a half hours (or probably 6 on low) you'll have yourself some good new fashioned Black Eyed Peas!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Lucky Beans and Yarn

 Dried Black Eyed Peas in pod

I just learned of "an age old tradition" today... Something about Black eyed peas (cow-peas) bring good luck all year long if eaten on new years day. And now, all of a sudden, everywhere I look, people are talking about lucky beans. I hear about them on the radio, on forums/websites, chatting with neighbors, that sort of thing, you know?


In all my years of.. well, years... I have never heard of this lucky bean phenomena! So I got to thinking, Have I missed out on 28 years of good luck and fortune!?  I almost went as far as to find out how many beans i would have had to eat for said luck to be bestowed upon me.. But instead, I devised a plan! A plan to have a "Sorry I missed your day Day" complete with Black eyed peas and ham hocks! Brilliant.

So out to the garden I went and came back with boxes of dried black eyed peas to shell ( or shuck.. which is it?) First thing first.. Dried beans means before I can do anything with them, I have to rehydrate them. So, I am off to pour my beans into a big pot, cover them with filtered water, and let  them soak... and soak.. and soak.. 

I'll see you tomorrow with the recipe! I don't have one yet so, I'm thinking I'll take a bunch of recipes and combine the best parts of each and see what happens! 

And Yarn...

I made a scarf for a friend! hooray! I got this great pattern from Red Heart Free Patterns . I chose a grape color of  Red Heart's soft yarn collection... Its sooo soft and the color is so vibrant! And I lost the wrap for the white yarn.. but it was a soft yarn too in a creamy eggshell color. (Hello chicken friends! I know, chickens lay a rainbow of colors.) This was my first ever scarf and I think it turned out beautifully! I just had to share it!

Have a wonderful day!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Homemade Chicken and Dumplin's

Bubbly warm goodness still in the pot!
Nothing screams comfort food like Hot Chicken and Dumplings! There's been so much crazy weather lately that I got to feeling a little under the weather. I got this great idea from my Dear Hubby who asked for soup for his sore throat. This recipe for chicken and dumplings is not your "traditional" C&D. I was expecting a pretty creamy white sauce with tons of black pepper to "flavor"... This recipe calls for apple juice and waaay less pepper.. More my style.. a little sweet ;)

So heres what you do:... oh wait.. you probably need a grocery list first huh?..

1 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, chopped (add more...can never have too much garlic!)
1/4 cup apple juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
29 oz chicken broth (thats 2 of those 14 1/2 oz cans apparently)
10 3/4 oz  mushroom soup (1 can i think)
chicken ( i just use 1 breast and shred it but the recipe calls for 4 pounds. of skinned pieces)
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup water
2 tbs cornstarch

 2 cups baking mix
2/3 cup milk

Ok.. now heres what you do:

Heat a dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium high heat and add your chopped onion and garlic. Saute 5 minutes
Stir in Apple juice and the next 4 ingredients. Bring to a boil. (this is a good place to add any extra ingredients too... like carrots or celery...)

(to save time I cook my chicken seperately and shred it, then add it to the mixture... but the recipe says to do the following:)

Add chicken pieces. bring to boil. cover. reduce heat and simmer for 35 minutes until chix are tender.
Remove chix from cooking liquid. place in bowl and chill 15 minutes
remove chicken from bones and cut into bite sized pieces. add to pan. stir in peas.
(anothing thing i dont do is take the chicken out and chill it.. why do you think you are supposed to? does it make the chicken taste better?........ I add most all my ingredients  in and let it boil for 15 minutes or so.. whenever it starts to smell done....  its done)

combine water and corn starch and stir into mixture. stir well..

Combine baking mix and milk. drop the dough into the chicken mixture to form about 16 dumplings. bring to simmer. cook 20 minutes. stir occasionally.  caver and cook for 10 minutes or until  the dumplings are done.
(you can also use those biscuits that come in the cans.. pop one can open and tear the biscuits in half, throw them in the pot and cook. I dont see the point in boiling or simmering for another 30 minutes after your soup has boiled and simmered for 40 minutes.. it makes for mushy veggies...the dumplings dont need to cook all that long.. maybe 10 minues or so.. )

Makes about 8 - 1 1/2 cup servings and 2 dumplings..

This recipe can be tweaked here and there.. if you follow my guidlines you can cut your cooking time for this in half... well i havent timed it... but sheesh! thats alot of simmering and waiting and ... blablabla...

Actually now that I have gone back and read that.. it looks like 2 different recipes mushed together.. Sorry! I just had alot of notes.. besides, it saves you the trouble of trial and error. :) Happy cooking!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Little History

The Omy Farms label.
So I thought I might start a blog. And  this here page you just landed on is my attempt at just that. Let me introduce myself, I am known as "the food god" by many or sometimes "the bringer of smells" but for our purposes you can call me Radio Bird Mom.  (RBM)

So here is where I, Radio Bird Mom, intend to keep a running journal of all the daily goings on here, at Omy Farms. My plans are to have tabs for the different animals, recipes, crafts, etc..

So I suppose it is now time to introduce you to the farm!!

This is MeMu. So named because thats what her meows sound like... Sometimes I think she sounds more like the chickens than the chickens do... At any rate, She is the princess and the recipient of all the various smells that RBM picks up. Other than having her butt scratched while eating, "smell the outside world time" is one of the most anticipated times of the MeMu day!

Gertrude and Penelope on the right. Gerty and Penny for short!

Honey taking a dirt bath... Sooo funny!
 These are our new "Americauna" chickies.. They
were sold to me as Ameraucanas but its becoming 
clear that they are just easter eggers.. But what fun! 
Its like a suprise every day to see how they have 
grown and changed!

And the fish.. I had to include the fish because they are a working part of the farm too! We use fish waste as plant food for the garden!

Well, Thats about it for introductions. I'm anxious to see how this goes.. we shall see! Have a great day! Ill be back!