Up With the Chickens

Raising children and chickens on a little buffalo farm

The Incredible Anytime Cookie

I was going to call this cookie the Incredible Breakfast Cookie, but I was afraid that would be misleading.  We do  eat this cookie for breakfast (occasionally) at my house, but it’s not exactly an egg white and spinach omelet.  I justify it as a breakfast food on the “lesser of two evils” principal.  The Incredible Anytime Cookie contains whole wheat flour, whole oats, only unrefined sugar, flax seed (optional) and dark chocolate (Which is practically the new broccoli).  With all that, it’s got to be healthier than a Pop Tart or a bowl of cereal.

The Incredible Anytime Cookie is also a better name for this luscious wonder because it really is a treat anytime – breakfast, lunch, dessert, midnight snack, with a cup of coffee, a cold glass of milk, a margarita.  I’m telling you, you can not go wrong with this cookie.

The quality ingredients are the key.  The raw sugar and whole wheat flour make for a nice, earthy (in a good way) texture.  The Ghiradelli chocolate chips are 60% dark and larger than other brands.  They are the best!  Of course, real butter is essential.

2 sticks of butter                                                 1 &1/2 cups whole wheat flour

3/4 C firmly packed brown sugar                   1 tsp baking soda

1/2 C raw or turbinado sugar                          1 tsp cinnamon

2 eggs                                                                    3 Cups Quaker oats (not quick oats)

1tsp real vanilla                                                  one pkg of Ghiradelli dark chocolate chips

You know the drill.  Cream together all the wet (first column) ingredients.  Mix together all the dry ingredients together then add to the butter, sugar, egg, mixture.  Plop large scoops onto a baking sheet, and bake at 350 for approximately 10 minutes.  Everyone has their own taste when it comes to baked goods.  Some like oooey gooey. Others prefer crispy crunchy.  These cookies are good either way. When I double the recipe (which is almost always) I have substituted 1 Cup ground flax seed for two of the cups of oatmeal.  Same great taste and Omega 3s!


What Not to Say

What Not to Say


No long ago I happened across the article What Happens is Vagueness Stays in Vagueness. In the article Clark Whelton laments the decline of the English language.  Among other things, he notes the overuse of the word “like” as a sentence filler and the seeming inability of young people to answer a question in the affirmative, but rather to respond with a vocal inflection that would indicate a question.

Whelton also quotes a Vassar professor’s assertion (way back in 1988) that high school teachers seem to no longer hold their students to any sort of standard when it comes to how students speak in class. Yikes. That struck a nerve. How often have I failed to correct (or even flinch) when a student proclaimed, “I ain’t done my homework!” or “Can I borrow like a pencil?” And there is the ever-vague, “I have this sorta headache.  Can I go like to the nurse?”   I’ve tolerated not only the improper and incorrect, but also the inappropriate.  As in, “That game last night sucked!”

According to Whelton, American speech was infected by Vagueness in the mid-eighties and by 1987 it became difficult to find college interns who could speak, much less write, in an intelligent manner. Yikes.  Another nerve – because that is like totally my generation. I graduated from high school in 1987 and have to admit I am fully infected with the linguistic virus of “vagueness,” as Whelton calls it.  I had no idea how much I say “like” until this article made me aware of my own juvenile speech patterns. And that’s not even the worst of it. In high school I would never ever have used the expression “That sucks!” in front of my mother, but my children say it in front of me, and (I’m not proud of this) I have been guilty of using it around them too.

Sufficiently shamed by Whelton’s expose of the raging infection of Vagueness, I have decided to disinfect my own speech and that of my students and children.  In addition to not allowing “ain’t”, misplaced modifiers or subject verb disagreement, I have also banned the use of vague and vulgar words such as “like,” “kinda.” and “sucked.”

It’s not just that I want my students and children to speak correctly.  I want them to know that certain expressions are off-color and that conversations with adults warrant a certain level of decorum and respect.

So, now when a student asks, “Can I borrow like a pencil?”  My response is, “No, but you may borrow an actual pencil.”  I’m not oblivious to the inward (and occasionally outward) eye rolling, but I think deep down they appreciate being held to a higher standard.  Right?  Well, maybe not now, but someday.  Like many of the unpleasant but necessary corrections we parents and teachers make, this will one day make sense – and so will my students.


Farm Fresh?

Another GoodEgg Tip

We’re getting so many eggs now that I wanted to be able to tell which ones are the freshest. What did we ever do before the days of google?  According to southernfood.about.com , This is how to tell:

  • Fill a deep bowl or pan with enough cold tap water to cover an egg.
  • Place the egg in the water.
  • If the egg lies on its side on the bottom, the air cell within is small and it’s very fresh.
  • If the egg stands up and bobs on the bottom, the air cell is larger and it isn’t quite as fresh.
  • If the egg floats on the surface, it it should be discarded.
  • A very fresh egg out of the shell will have an overall thick white which doesn’t spread much and the yolk will stand up.

Farm on!

Leave a comment »

Crack Dealer

I’m not a salesman. And frankly, I don’t want my children to be salespeople either -because, well – because they are children.  As a rule, I refuse to allow them to participate in any sort of fundraiser – no harassing our friends and family to buy candles, wrapping paper, candy, or worst of all, coupon books that will “more than pay for themselves over the course of the year.”  Yeah right.  My mother is going to use those five free tanning sessions or take advantage of a free fried pie with the purchase of her Happy Meal.  When fundraising is a required part of an activity, we just fork over the money and buy the minimum amount of whatever they are expected to sell. We still have two boxes of See’s candy bars from 2009.

Now a dilemma. I’ve made no secret of the fact that my children have not resorted to shamelessly hocking overpriced merchandise to fund their dance lessons, sports teams, and school field trips. And,I’m not particularly proud of this, butI have often refused to buy other people’s kids’ overpriced merchandise.  But now we’re  getting all these eggs that we’ve got to unload, and the Littles want to sell them.  Awkward.

I could just give them away, but, to be honest, I don’t want to. The Littles work hard each day feeding and watering the hens and gathering the eggs.  Okay, it’s not that hard, but they have been faithful to do it with very little complaining. They aren’t selling crummy wrapping paper from catalog.  They’ve actually worked to produce a product.  They deserve to know the pride of raising their own livestock and reaping the profits.  But how do we market our product without the Littles actually going out and putting our friends on the spot?  I stink at selling stuff. I’ve taught my kids to stink at selling stuff.

Fortunately,  I’ve got a plan.  I am going to use the business model of some of our nation’s most successful salesmen – crack dealers.  Here’s how it works: I offer people their first dozen eggs for free. Who’s gonna turn down free eggs?  I casually drop it into a conversation, “Hey, we’ve got some extra eggs. Could you use some?”

“Sure,” they say.  “Can I pay you for these?”

(Here’s where I hook them without having to make a sales pitch.)  Waving away  the offer of money, I reply,  “Well, the Littles are hoping to get a couple of bucks per carton.  They’re saving money for a new rabbit.  But just go ahead  take these.  If you need more, you can pay me next time –  if you want to.”   And they want to.  After the first dozen farm-fresh eggs, they are hooked.  They come back for more  alright, and they are willing to pay. Farm on!  


Who knew?…

One would think a chicken farmer and mother of four would know how to boil an egg.  But over the years I’ve gotten conflicting advice and varying results – Too rubbery. Too Gooey.  That unappetizing greenish ring around the yoke.  Finally, I just googled it!  Hard boiled or soft boiled, click on the link below to find out how to cook the perfect boiled egg.


1 Comment »