Thinking of My Grandma and a Poem She Loved

My Grandmother had this poem framed and lived by it.

Some days I need to remind myself of this wonderful poem, as it is something I believe we should all read daily.  When I start to get impatient with someone offering technical support from 1/2 way around the world or a checker in a very busy store, I need to remember these folks have lives, loves and worries just like I do.

At Days End – Author Unknown

Is anybody happier
because you passed their way?
Does anyone remember
that you spoke to them today?

The day is almost over,
and its toiling time is through,
Is there anyone that will utter
now a kind word of you?

Can you say tonight in parting,
with the day that’s slipping fast,
that you helped a single person
of the many that you passed?

Is a single heart rejoicing
over what you did or said?
Does the man whose hopes were fading
now with courage look ahead?

Did you win the day or lose it?
Was it well or sorely spent?
Did you leave a trail of kindness,
or a scar of discontent?

As you close your eyes in slumber,
do you think that God will say,
“you have earned one more tomorrow
by the good you did today?”

Thanks Grandma Ruth I mess you and was luck to have you in my life.

Making Date Pudding for Thanksgiving – Memories of My Pop

When I was a little girl my dad and I made this pudding for the holidays.  It holds such wonderful memories for me.
Daddy making this one for you.  All my love.

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Mix all together and steam covered in a loaf pan for 1 hour or in cups for 1/2 hour

3 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 pound chopped dates
1/2 pound chopped nuts


Mix all together and steam covered in a loaf pan for 1 hour or in cups for 1/2 hour


Serve with Cream sauce

Cream Sauce
Mix then heat to a boil
1/4 t salt
1 3/4 C milk
3/4 C. Sugar

1 rounded tablespoon flour
a little water
2 beaten egg yolks
Strain if not smooth

Remove from fire – cool
1 teaspoon vanilla
beat in 2 egg whitesIMG_6442

Decided to Make My Own Soap and Was Surprised when My Psoriasis Got Better

Over the years, as I have said, I have tried to get back to the basics with the grooming products I use because I am so sensitive to smells.  So this year I decided to make my own soap instead of using the Lemon Verbena soap I was buying from Whole foods.  I looked on-line and found many many different recipes and they all called for a lot of scent.  So I went to a soap calculator and altered a few recipes I saw, adding Shea Butter and less scent.

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This is the recipe I came up with.  It has been a wonderful bath bar.  My husband surprised me when said he was going to use it as his shampoo because it made his hair feel soft.  I thought he was just being nice as that is the way he is, but his hair really does feel good.

Water 13.68 oz
Lye 5.10 oz
Coconut oil 32 oz
Shea Butter 4 oz
Orange oil .25 oz

I will make a batch this week and post how to on making this soap.

This is the link to the soap calculator
It is easier than I imagined.

It has been a true surprise and joy that my psoriasis has cleared up. I don’t know if it is related but it is the only change I made in my life.


Sprouting Seeds for the Chickens and for Salads

I decided to try sprouting seeds for both the chickens and others and for myself.  For the chickens I am sprouting corn (from my garden), wheat and barley.  I also got a mixed groups of seeds to sprout for my own salads.


Johnny’s seeds came with instructions for sprouting.  I think I went overboard with the number of seeds I added to the ball jars.  Rereading the instructions it says 1 Tablespoon.   IMG_6354

So add your tablespoon of seed to a ball jar and fill the jar 1/2 full with luke warm water and let it soak overnight.  I put cheesecloth over the jar opening and screwed on with the ring part of the lid.  That lets it breath and allows you to add and pour off water.  IMG_6359

In the morning drain off the water.  Rinse the seeds with lukewarm water and let drain.

Put in a dark location that is about 70 degrees with the jars on their sides.  At least twice a day rinse with lukewarm water and drain. IMG_6374 Continue rinsing until seeds have been harvesting.  After they seeds sprout and are about 1 1/2 long and have tiny leaves put them in the light to green up.   These are going back into the cupboard for another day or so.

Gave some to the Hens today.  IMG_6382 IMG_6384

They just loved the sprouts.  I may need to get a grow light to grow these in the winter  But they taste great.

The Chickens Winter Playroom (Aviary)

As we near winter in Maine, we had to think about what to do to keep our chickens warm, dry and happy during the very long cold winters.  So my husband, Brian, built a little enclosed area next to the room they roost in.


The Dutch door on the right goes to the play room the door on the left goes into where they roost.


They are not yet using the playroom much yet as they prefer to be outdoors but my friend Betty the Brave always follows me where I go.   You can see the little door cut in between the roosting area and the winter playroom.   The roost is well insulated and so far the play room is not.  But I have noticed now on much colder windy days they stay in the playroom instead of outdoors.  I am sure when the snow piles up they will stay inside more.  What you can not see in these pictures is that we have two chairs outside the pen so we don’t miss our Chicken TV.

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We have a heater under the water container to hopefully keep the water defrosted.  But I imagine we will be carting buckets of warm water out to the shed on days when it is 20 to -20.  I may need a new pair of warm boots.


Simple Safe Deodorant Recipe

Originally when I tried cutting scents out of my life, I only switched to an unscented deodorant.  I would have to buy it many months before I would use it so that the smells absorbed in the market could dissipate.

Then I switched to a health food type of deodorant.  But recently I realized they still had many  ingredients that I did not want to use in them.  I got a simple recipe from my sister in law.  Thanks Jane

2-1/2 Tbsp beeswax beads or beswax
4 Tbsp coconut oil
2 Tbsp Shea butter
7 tsp clay (bentonite or other)
15 drops essential oil (Sweet Orange, Lemon I like a very light scent)
I used small ball jar and an old deodorant container (clean of course)


Melt the beeswax and coconut oil on very low heat stirring constantly. Once melted, add in the Shea butter and whisk a few times, then remove from the heat and continue stirring. After the Shea butter is melted and you have a liquid, sprinkle in the clay and continue to whisk until everything is combined. Drop in the essential oil, whisking still. Place the pan into a cold water bath until it just begins to set up. Spoon the mixture into container and place it in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.

Each time I have removed a strongly scented or potentially toxic product from my life I am so happy.  And they really don’t take that long to make once you have the ingredients.  For this one the only thing I needed to purchase was the Bentonite Clay which I bought from Amazon and it came in two days.  i use orange oil in soaps and put it in this Deodorant as orange oil as it inhibits microbial growth.

I finished this just now, Its not very pretty but that’s not what I need.  I will let you know how it works in a few days.

Update on the deodorant.  Yesterday I used it straight from the fridge and the deodorant slid on wonderfully.  But this morning I used it at room temperature and it is about 74 and my arm pit is of course warmer.  And when I went to put it on I got way to much as it melted on contact

So I removed the deodorant from the deodorant container and put it with the extra in the ball jar.  I warmed it back up until liquid then added another tablespoon of both Shea Butter and Beeswax beads.  Both of these melt at higher temperature then the coconut oil so hopefully the deodorant will go on better from a tube.    I also added another Tablespoon of the Bentonite clay.  I did not add any more scent as for me it was still a bit strong.

This may not firm it up enough to use from a deodorant container.  If it does not work I will just use a pea size ball spread on my underarm with my fingers.

The good news is per my husband Brian it worked well.  More updates to come.   Recipe above altered to reflect changes.


Next I am in search for a hair conditioner recipe.

Mom’s Spicy Pumpkin Bread

I decided today was a good day to make this as I wanted the smell of something wonderful baking.  It stores well in the freezer and will be good until Thanksgiving.

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This was one of my mothers favorite holiday pumpkin recipes. My Sister eats it as dessert with whipped cream on top.  Some of my friends think it is a spice bread not a pumpkin bread but it is clearly pumpkin.  I love it because it is very spiced.

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Before you make this make sure you start with a very large bowl.
I use my Mom’s large dutch oven.
Makes 5 loaves in large throwaway pans 3-4 in regular bread pans..

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

3 sticks melted butter or Oleo (margarine)

Sift Together
5 1/4 cups sifted flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 teaspoon mace
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger

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Combine In very big container
3 cups pumpkins (Fresh or Canned)  See my notes on preparing fresh pumpkin
6 eggs or egg beaters
1 cup water
4 1/2 cups sugar

Add Oleo, Sifted Ingredients and 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla


Add Ins (optional)  I like mine plain
Chopped Dates 16 oz for 2 loaves
Chopped Walnuts 1 cup per loaf

Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes at 350°  A bit longer is using normal bread pans


Our Chickens Favorite Treats

My chickens love the treats we give them but we don’t give them too many so they will eat the food intended for egg layers.  But since we started giving them treats they now run when they hear the back door open or my husbands truck pull in the driveway.

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We give our girls any vegetable trimmings if I am not throwing them in a soup pot.  The seem to like a bit of sweet peppers, cooked potatoes and cooked onions, carrots, green beans, pole beans, snow peas, tomatoes, and broccoli.

And our chickens adore corn.  This year the corn we planted for our own consumption was a heritage corn and it turned out to be so tough we could not chew it so we have been drying it and feeding it on occasion a cob at at time to our chickens.  Looks like we may be planting two types of corn next year one for us and one for the chickens.

Some of our chickens corn and our black and red beans drying in bags.

Some of our chickens corn and our black and red beans drying in bags.

We also grew kale this year and I think this is one of their favorites.  The kale is so hearty we can cut the plants to the quick and they come right back.   They are still growing and it is almost November.  We will definitely be planting kale again next years if only for the hens.

This is my first year with chickens and I did not really realize that they are truly omnivores. And since they live in self imposed confinement in their safe fenced home I have started supplementing thier diets with meal worms.  You would think it was candy or a drug with how they try to find every last bit of the worms.  I bought a box online dried so I can give them to them whenever I want with out worms living in my house.

I tried cooking some beets for my husband and myself and well they did not go over big.  So we saved them for the hens and gave them a little bit of the beets at a time.

Our chickens ate a bit of summer squash but then decided they did not like it but they do love pumpkins.  I have been giving them some of the seeds and the strings.  When I cook pumpkin for pies and bread and I put it through a ricer so I give the girls the cooked pumpkin that the ricer removes.  I actually went to the store an bought a non pie pumpkin for my hens as I wanted to make sure I had enough for them.

Our Brave Girl.

Our Brave Girl.

I also have been crushing up the egg shells they produce and feeding them to the hens as well.  The rooster does not seem to be interested in the egg shells.  Makes me happy as he is not laying eggs.

I just purchased some wheat and barley seeds to try sprouting.  I will also be sprouting some of the corn we saved.  By Sprouting it indoors we can give them some fresh greens during the long cold winter.  I will let you know how it goes.

Wow – First day that all of our hens laid an egg

Yesterday was the first day that all 5 of our hens laid an egg the same day.  Again today we had 5 eggs.  Tonight we are having quiche for dinner

I took eggs to my sister in law yesterday.  I am not sure how we are going to possibly use a potential 35 eggs a week.  I am in search for wonderful egg dishes.  I may have to put up an Eggs For Sale sign in the front yard.  This is a wonderful dilemma.  I am so grateful for my wonderful chickens.


Today's Five Eggs

Today’s Five Eggs

The Chicks are Growing Up

The chickens had been in their coop outside for maybe two months when the first of our girls laid her first egg. I think she was about 17 weeks old and the egg had a very thin shell. It felt like an eternity before that day came. Really not bad time for a Rhode Island Red Hen to lay her first egg. Seems like we added a hen laying every two weeks after. Our last hen “Brave Girl” just laid her first egg yesterday and it had no shell. I hope she has better luck with her next egg. She is now 6 months and one week old. For the past week we have been getting 4 eggs a day. I have been wracking my brain for recipes using eggs. We may have to start giving them away or start selling them.

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“Brave Girl” is the lowest in the pecking order in the group of hens. I did not know this was a real thing. But, she waits to eat the treats we give them until the others are done. Or if she does try the others run her off But since they were small chicks, in our house, we had one that was always brave and unafraid of us. She would come over to us and had so little fear that we started calling her our Brave Girl.   We were able to tell who was laying because the girls developed their combs and waddles about the time they started laying.  We don’t have specific names for the other hens because we can not tell them apart. The look like they were cut from the same cookie cutter. I imagine soon we wont visually be able to identify “Brave Girl” by her looks only by her bravery.

We put a light that comes on in the early morning so they are still laying eggs in October. The way I understand it hens stop laying if there is less than 14 hours of daylight. We will not extend the light to much more so they can take a break when it is very cold.

I really enjoy our eggs with their bright orange yolks.