15. May 2015 · Comments Off on Mindfulness · Categories: Chickens, Midwestern Life · Tags: , , ,

Regular readers here may have noticed a change this past six plus months . . . as in this blog didn’t exist.  

I needed to experience a moment of mindfulness in my life and closing up shop for a while was a large part of that.

I learned a few things this past six plus months.

One. You all are on the internet too much.  And by you, I mean me.  When I started this blog my son was six months old and I was looking for a quick social fix, a small creative outlet and a motivation for healthy living.

I made several great friends (I’m looking at you Cinnamon, Aly and Ann) and connected with pantloads of others (brownie points to anyone who knows what kids book “pantloads” comes from.)  But most of those other connections were trite and meaningless.  I’m looking at you Twitter.  Random people follow other random people just for follow backs and randomly comment on random tweets and it all means a pantsload of nothing.  Sorry if you like Twitter and I’ve just offended you.  No, wait, I’m not.  But I am kinda sorry I’m not sorry so that counts for something right?  I also learned Facebook is a giant time and energy suck but I know you all love your Facebook so I’ll refrain from commenting on that further for now.

I do miss my creative outlet and have, to this day, found myself approaching life from a blog mindset.  I’d like to share that thought.  That would be an interesting pic to share.  My chicken died and I’m sad and need to tell someone.  Yes, one of the chickens died.  Technically two of the chickens died but I’m only sad about the one.  But I’ve digressed.  I’ve also learned that I get way more done when I’m just doing and not blogging.  What a revelation, no?  Yes.  A revelation.

I no longer need a motivation for healthy living.  I can do that all by myself and honestly, the healthy living community often runs in cycles of regurgitating the same crap over and over while giving you a guilt complex over not having run enough miles that week.  Plus I just don’t think we need to tell the world every time we do a burpee or eat kale chips.  And by we, I mean you because I don’t do burpees or eat kale chips.  Just do your burpee.  Eat your kale chips.  And get some satisfaction from the doing not the telling.

Two.  I needed to get back to church.  I realize religion is one of those sticky topics like politics we are supposed to avoid at the dinner table, but it’s my neglected food satire blog and I can say what I like here.  I’ve realized denomination means nothing and faith means everything.  I listen to sermons, have joined a women’s bible study and am in general working diligently to be the very best child of God I can be.  It’s not just great for me, but for my kids and my husband as well.  It’s a win win win situation and I encourage you to seek your own connections if you feel there is something crucial missing from your life.

Three.  I like to sew.  Like, really like to sew.  It’s actually one of the reasons I dusted off the blog (well, that and a jackfruit purchase at the market the other day.)  I’ve been linking up some paper piecing work I’ve done to a blog I follow and have been emailing my husband pictures to put on his photobucket account so I could link up.  Crazy.  I can just post a picture here and link them up on my own without wasting any of his time or even much of my own if I keep the chatting to a minimum.  So you’ll be seeing some sewing here.

Four.  Well, there’s lots more but I’ll stop because no one needs to know my thoughts on Victoria’s Secret’s bras or flannel shirts right now.

So . . . . what’s the plan here?  I don’t have one specifically other than I asked my husband to turn off comments here.  Yup.  A blog you can’t comment on.  I am aware this is contrary to every rule of social media but as I kind of think social media is crap these days I’m doing it anyway.  I actually think we are both going to love it.  I can still experience mindfulness since once I’ve hit the post button my obligation ends.  No checking my email to see if anyone has commented.  No firing up the laptop to comment back to the comment because it’s rude not to.  No more thought on the subject.  I can get off my mind whatever I have to say or show and it’s gone with no more thought necessary.  And you?  Well. let’s be honest here . . . commenting is a chore.  You either have to pull out the laptop or deal with tiny @ signs on your tiny cell phone key pad and it’s just a royal pain in the butt.  And for what?  Because we are supposed to?  I have a newsflash for you . . . my blog isn’t earth shattering enough to require commentary or debate.  I’m not looking for companies to send me freebies or to launch a business or to make this a career.  It’s just a little fun here and there.  Plus internet trolls and spam stink like skunks and no one likes skunk smell.

In short, there are no obligations for either of us.  I can post as often or as little or as never again as I like.  You can read as you like or not like.  It’s quite simple and freeing.

And just because I can’t leave you without a picture . . .

Parmesan RW

No, that is not the chicken who died . . . although there is some debate over whether we should eat him or sell him.  Of the five babies we hatched last year, one had a cross beak and passed away and one was killed by the neighbors dog.  Of the three left, we ended up with two girls and a boy.  Oddly enough the above chicken is in fact Parmesan, who I named in case he turned out to be a boy and we had to eat him.  He turned out to be a boy.  We still haven’t eaten him.

Alright, I’m gonna go now because I’d rather be sewing.

– Joanna

Happy Father’s Day!

Around here that means an excuse for chicken art.  Oh who am I kidding, every day is an excuse for chicken art.

It’s no secret that my husband loves his chickens.  It may be a secret that I pinned a crap ton of chicken art projects for kids on one of my secret Pinterest boards.  Secret in case my husband would happen to see them.  Not that he would because he didn’t actually follow me on Pinterest till he left his account up on my laptop and I made him follow me.

But I’ve segued.


Wait, no, it’s supposed to be about Fathers today.

Whatever.  Here’s what the kids and I put together for dada for his day (please ignore the slightly creepy eyes.)

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Here’s the haps if you want to make your own someday and really, who wouldn’t?

The boy watercolored a pretty pretty background for the art which I was almost sad to cover up.  It’s cool, no?

Art FD

Yes, it’s cool.

Then I traced one of each of the kids hand onto a folder piece of construction paper and cut it out, making two “wings” (one of which the toddler pushed into some wet paint so it’s watercolored as well.  I like it.  It’s artsy.)

Cut out two egg shapes.

Glued the wings behind the eggs to make the chickens.

Glued the chickens onto the watercolor art.

Cut out legs and beaks and glued them on too.

A marker dipped in brown paint and a pencil dipped in white made the eyes.

Then I pressed the kids thumbs into paint then onto the paper to make little eggs.

While we’re discussing Father’s Day can I just throw out something that really annoys me about these holidays?  It’s all the PC folk who wish men who want to be fathers Happy Father’s Day and single moms Happy Father’s Day.  I’d like to be an astronaut but nobody wishes me Happy Astronauts Day on Astronaut Day.  And single moms . . . you have Mother’s Day.  We all get how hard you work and nobody is saying you don’t, but you already have a day.  Mother’s Day.

Rant over.

Happy Father’s Day to you all!  Unless you aren’t a father.  Then just Happy Sunday.

– Joanna

Question of the Day:  What are you having for dinner tonight?


The Husband integrated the babes with the rest of the flock.  Despite a little bullying by Mistress Billington (the bully-ee becomes the bully-er) and the hens knocking over the chicks food and water dishes repeatedly, it’s gone well.

I’m still working on my baby chick photography skills (they won’t stop moving and say cheese no matter how much I plead) but so far here’s what I’ve got.

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– Joanna

Question of the Day:  There’s been a lot of chicken talk around these parts lately.  In the interest of variety how ’bout we mix it up?  You pick.  What would you like to see next week?  Here are your options:

1) Family trip to the Aquarium

2) Marshmallow Peeps in cookies

3) A quick tip for under-ripe Avocados

4) Garlic Festival

5) Gluten Free Coconut Granola Banana Bread

6) Glazed Sour Cream Puffs

05. May 2014 · 13 comments · Categories: Chickens

Of the twelve fertilized eggs we bought, there are four breeds of hens that laid them.  I’m going to ask The Husband to step in here and fill them in for you with a little commentary on each.

This is the Husband. Yep, I’ll be writing in Red. So our new Craigslist friends that sold us the fertilized hatching eggs have the following four breeds of hens.  See below where Joanna challenges you to mix-n-match.  For the record, I’d like to point out I’m an (unpaid, amateur) official, professional chicken farmer and I have no idea what the hell breed the bright yellow chick will grow into, but have a pretty good guess what the other guys are.  So here you go:

1. Gold Laced Wyandotte

2. Andalusian

3. Easter Egger

4. Rhode Island Red

5. A few cross-breeds

Fun new blog game . . . match the baby chicks with their adult chicken types!  They can look very different as chicks than adults.

The Rooster was called a Brahma, that much I do know.  So the chicks will be some mutt variation of the above four (ish) and the Brahma rooster.  By the way, the Brahma was totally cool with furry legs.  Husband, do you have a picture of him??  Please share if you do.

Please enjoy a couple pictures of Chicken Dada.



So here are our five chicks.

Skunky, who you’ve already met.

Meet Skunky

Meet Skunky

Spot.  I named it because of the spot on the end of its beak.  Original, I know.  It was a spur of the moment thing, but once you’ve named a chicken, you’ve named a chicken.  There’s no takebacks.

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Chick Number Three.  I’m thinking we’ll call it Parmesan.  Parmesan, as in Chicken Parmesan.  Just getting prepared in case it turns out to be a “he”.

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Chick Number Four.

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Chick Number Five.

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Stop back in Wednesday for pictures of baby chicks frolicking in the garden.

– Joanna

Question of the Day:  It’s the match that chick game.  Which chick is which chicken?

It’s official.  The final chick tally is five.  We have five baby chicks.

The Husband pulled out the leftover eggs.

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Seven unhatched eggs in all.

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We sealed the eggs in a ziplock bagggie and gently busted them open.  Our best guess is they were unfertilized.  The Husband checked with the farm we purchased the eggs from (Hi Shady Coop Farm!) and they probably have a few more hens than the rooster can “pay attention to”.  We spent five bucks on the dozen so all in all we ended up spending one dollar per baby chick.  Pretty sweet deal.

Well, one dollar plus whatever The Husband spent on baby chick feed and baby chick water dishes.

This has actually turned out well since our coop is built for a maximum of five more chickens.

Some may of course still be roosters but in the months before we know at least they won’t be overcrowded in there.

More baby chick pictures to come!

– Joanna

Question of the Day:  Let’s try this again.  Out of five chicks, how many do you think we will hens and how many roosters?

Meet Skunky.

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Not to be confused with a skunk.

Skunky we like.

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Skunks we do not like.

Clearly Curly had her adopted babies.  Or at least some of them.  Sunday night we saw five baby chicks!  The Husband says some of the other eggs could still hatch.  And honestly, there could have been more babes hidden under Curly.  She wasn’t exactly overjoyed to introduce them to us.  So we wait.

Some of us more patiently than others.

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That’s right, The Husband is beyond excited for his new babies!

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But you don’t want to see pictures of him (sorry Honey.)

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Or his fabulous chicken boots.

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You want to see pictures of the chicks!  Or at least the one chick we managed to get decent photographs of before Curly told us off.

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So once again, let’s meet Skunky.

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Yes, I used that picture twice in the same post.  It’s just so dang cute.

But the rest are pretty dang cute too so I’m gonna throw ’em at ya all at once.

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There you have her ladies and gentleman farmers, our first baby chick, Skunky!

– Joanna

Question of the Day:  Can you believe that fluffy thing came out of a tiny little egg?  Crazy.  Anyway, the question of the day is HOW MANY BABY CHICKS DO YOU WANT???  I want a billion.  


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– Joanna

Question of the Day:  Ummmmm is this not the absolute cutest thing you’ve ever seen????

22. April 2014 · 5 comments · Categories: Chickens · Tags:

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I love it when a funny blog post title comes together.

A-Team references are pretty stellar too.


Ha again!

Wait, no.  That’s a CSI: Crime Scene Investigation reference, not a bird reference.

There have been several posts about our chickens.  You’ve seen their coop being built, toured it when it was done, seen how we grow food for themmet a few and some of you have even named them.  I’m here today to officially present them to you.  A debutante ball, a chicken cotillion if you will.  Yes, I said cotillion not cacciatore.  We aren’t going to eat them.  At least not till they stop laying eggs then The Husband says we have to so they can fulfill their chicken destinies.  He says we can’t rob them of their birthright.  Formally, I am against the eating of pets because that’s what they’ve become.  So if you’re with me and you come over for dinner please count the chickens in the coop before digging in.

Each chicken had their headshot taken (and some their tailshot).

So without further au jus, let’s present the lovely ladies.

Wait, wait, wait.  Au jus.  That’s beef.

Whatever.  Here they are:


Buffy – Buffy is the BEST! The absolute BEST!  She’s my favorite chicken.  Why you ask?  She lays the biggest eggs.  I’ll do an egg comparison post one of these days so you can see what I mean but you can always pick out the Buffy eggs from the bunch.  My love of Buffy has gotten to the point that when I make myself breakfast (dunky eggs are the way to go) I only want Buffy eggs.  The Husband is not allowed to eat the Buffy eggs.  He’s not allowed to give the Buffy eggs to the neighbors.  He’s not allowed to scramble the Buffy eggs or use them for baking.  Buffy eggs are for me and me alone to cook sunny side up and dunk my toast in. Did I mention I love Buffy?  Yeah, well, I do.  Buffy is the BEST!

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CURLY – Curly is the second best.  Curly is the only chicken I named so I’m partial to her.  Plus she’s gonna be a mama soon so we have that whole kid thing in common.  The Husband talks all about Curly here and you can read why I named her that!  Also, she lays the prettiest eggs.  Curly eggs are my second choice for breakfast.

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MISTRESS BILLINGTON – My pal Ann of Cooking Dangerously won the right to name Mistress Billington so I’m partial to this chicken as well.  I think she is the prettiest chicken by far.  She’s pretty smart too considering both her and Buffy regularly manage to bust through The Husband’s electric fence he erected to keep them in the garden area when they feed.  Unfortunately The Husband thinks she’s been getting picked on by the other chickens lately and he’s pretty sure she’s been laying rogue eggs in the coop instead of in the nest box.  Poor chicken.  Kids can be mean, just let it roll off your chicken back Mistress Billington.  And if they peck at you, you peck back girl.  

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FAITH – Meh.  I’ve always been kinda meh about Faith.  She was named for one of the vampire slayers from the awesome TV show Buffy The Vampire Slayer and we all know Buffy kicked more vampire ass than Faith did.  So I’m kinda meh about Faith.

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GENERAL BURNSIDE – General Burnside is a boy.  I swear.  I know technically he’s a she but dang, she looks like a he.  The Husband included a picture of her namesake and doppelganger in this post so cluck, I mean click, on over there to see what I mean. General Burnside clearly has identity issues.

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CHICK WOOLERY –  Ahhhhh, Chick Woolery.  Chick Woolery comes to say Hi almost every time I check for eggs.  She sees me coming over, hears the egg door being opened and climbs the ladder to see what the haps is.  She’s a very curious chicken.  She was named in our chicken naming contest as well.  Doc won the privilege but I failed to post about it.  In my defense Doc wanted a video of his chicken before deciding on a name and by the time The Husband sent it to him my short blogger attention span had moved on to other things.  So a big thanks to Doc for picking such a great name!  Also thanks to Doc for fixing me up so I could walk in the last trimester of my pregnancy.  Doc is a good friend of The Husband and a local chiropractor.  When Mike mentioned to him I was having severe pregnancy induced pain radiating down my leg making it excruciating to even walk down the hallway, he claimed he could help.  And help he did!  I don’t know if I properly thanked him (perhaps a dozen Chick Woolery eggs would do the trick) but I could not have managed without his assistance.  I was on the fence about whether I would go back after Charwee was born as I’ve had no pain since the birth, but Doc also claims he can fix my knees hurting when I jog.  And I’d really like that so I’ll be headed back soon.

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CLUCK NORRIS –  It’s Cluck Norris people.  Cluck Norris is badass.  She has to be with a name like that!  Big thanks to the Father-in-Law for naming her.  By the way this is an older picture so she has a waddle now.

Those are our ladies.

– Joanna

Question of the Day:  Who is your favorite chicken??

Apparently giving birth to my second child has made me sympathetic to mothers and potential mothers everywhere.  All kinds of mothers and potential mothers.  Even chicken ones.

Let’s set the scene.

First off you should be aware that most chickens in a small flock lay eggs in the same nesting box.  So while we have three nesting boxes, all seven of our chickens lay their eggs in the same box.  Typically they lay their eggs and then leave.  Every now and then (happened twice to us in the past year) a chicken becomes “broody” and gets it into her head that she wants to be a mommy and decides to sit on the eggs.  Since we don’t have a rooster, in our case they are unfertilized eggs.

No amount of patient sitting is going to hatch those puppies.  Er, chicks.  If they hatched they would obviously be chicks.  But how cute would little puppies be hatching out of eggs amiright?  

If you don’t convince the chicken she does not in fact want to be a mommy, she will continue to sit barely moving, only get up for a few minutes every day or two to eat and drink a little.  Eggs typically hatch in 21 days, but if a mama keeps sitting and sitting and sitting on dud eggs, she can lose feathers, lose a ton of weight, and really do some damage to herself.  She lays no more eggs during this time.  Or so all of this is what The Husband tells me.  (If you want to know more about this stuff, just ask and I’m sure he’ll be thrilled to tell you about it… the hatching process, how to break a broody hen if you don’t want her to be  a Mom, etc.)

Here’s Curly.  I found her like this one evening.  Sitting on unfertilized eggs.

Curly Nest

Following is the resulting text message conversation between me and The Husband that happened over the next few days. For the record, the “Curly Removal Tool” is a soft broom we gently used to shoo her out of the nest a few times, testing to see if she was serious about wanting to be a Mama.

Eggs 0

Eggs 1 R

Eggs 2 R

Eggs 3 R

Eggs 4 R

Eggs 5 R

Eggs 6 R

Eggs 7 R

Eggs 8 R

Eggs 9 R

Eggs 10 R


Wanna know what happened next?  This.

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And this.

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Oh and this.

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The Husband bought Curly a dozen fertilized eggs and built her a private nest box.  Curly is going to be a mommy everybody!!!  The Husband is currently crafting the maternity ward sign as I blog.

– Joanna

Question of the Day:  Shall we start the guesses as to how many will be girls and how many will be boys??  



See that beauty right up there?  Yep, I took thirty seconds to create a new and more fitting logo to announce my pinch hitting here on Midwestern Bite.  I know… I know… you’re impressed by my graphic design skills.  I amaze myself as well. Bye bye overplayed Man Cave logo!

I’m stepping in today to talk about chicken feed.  Specifically, we’re going to walk through growing your own supplemental backyard livestock food via a very simple Barley Fodder System.

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 Why go through the (extremely minimal) effort?

1. Fodder is nutritious and healthy.  Chickens are natural foragers.  As true omnivores, they evolved eating plenty of protein (bugs and such) in addition to green plants. Just like us humans, they’re not designed to thrive on a grain based diet.  So when weather and other conditions permit I let the ladies free range inside our 100’x50′ fenced grassy garden area, pecking around to their hearts’ content.  The barley fodder I grow for them gives them something fresh and green for the times they have to stay secured in the (freaking awesome) coop and run I built… or when their lawn is covered in six inches of snow.

2. Fodder is cheap.  Chicken feed is expensive.  Chickens eat a lot of it.  Providing something nutritious like barley fodder helps stretch their primary feed and keeps a few more pennies in this guy’s pocket.  I’ll do some math later that really drives this point home.

3. Fodder is freakin’ fun!  Yeah, maybe not in the traditional way.  But hear me out.  What kind of a Gentleman Farmer doesn’t grow a crop for his livestock? Pssshhh, not this kind. Once in the morning on my way to work, and once more before bed, I don my large (freaking awesome) Homestead hat and tell the wife I’m “Off to do the Farm Chores!” of watering my tiny tubs of barley.  Yes, I do that every time.  Yes, that little routine annoys her every time.  See… fun!

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How easy is it?  I say stupidly easy, but you be the judge.  The below steps might seem a tad complicated, but reading it is a lot more complicated than doing it.  Growing fodder is a two-minute-per-day job.  Sixty seconds sometime in the AM.  Then sixty seconds sometime in the PM.

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