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The Fowl Miracle.

Remember our devoted pair of Egyptian Geese, Ra and Cleo? (If you don’t, visit the original post about them here)

Ra and his lovely lady, Cleo, joined the farm a couple of years ago and I’m not going to lie, I had visions of cute little Egyptian goslings running around. 

Ra, being the  devoted and dashing rogue that he is, tried his best to make that happen.

He romanced Cleo. He whispered sweet nothings in her ear. He even showered her with bouquet after bouquet of flowers. . . . Okay, so maybe, he didn’t go that far, but I’m sure he did do the Egyptian Goose equivalent to that. 

But I digress. 

Cleo, being the blushing bride of Ra, naturally led him on a merry chase and played hard to get. But it was no luck. 

Month after month, year after year, Cleo didn’t lay eggs. And as we all know, you can’t have super adorable, bouncing baby birds without eggs!

So, I wrote them off, and decided that Ra and Cleo, no matter how sprightly they acted, were a lot older than I’d been told.

Then, a miracle of the fowl-ish sort. Eggs!!!! Cleo laid eggs this year!! And a few weeks later, yep, you guessed it! Those much longed for Egyptian Geese babies. 

20160226_154037Which leaves me with an important lesson. .  . Egyptian Geese are really good parents. Loving. Nurturing. And very, very territorial. Do not even think about picking up one of the babies. Nope. You’ll find yourself facing Kung Fu Goose. 

And photographing them? Well, the ‘rents aren’t too crazy about that either – perfect example: that dirty look Cleo is shooting me in the above photo. 

P.S.

I’m actually a little late posting this, so those babies are in reality a little bigger than that now. 

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Visiting St. Nick.

It’s that time of year! To tell the jolly old St. Nick your Christmas wishlist. Something the two farm poodles are all about. 

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Or usually, that is. 

Sophie was more than ready to share her daydreams of treats, chewies, and squeaky toys with the jolly fellow, but Bryony was having nothing to do with it. 

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The friendly dog that runs up to complete strangers for a little petting, wanted to have nothing to do with the whole experience. My only guess is that Bryony’s most recent car rides have ended at the vet, and she was wondering if this one would, too. More about that another day. 

 

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How To Dry Herbs In The Oven.

My little herb garden has done really well this year. Especially the chocolate mint. . . . that stuff is practically trying to take over the whole bed. 

In fact, I’ve been using it as the background for a lot of product photos lately. . . . 

Herb Garden as background

I love using fresh herbs in soap making and DIY beauty treatments (like the rosemary ACV hair rinse here) and of course cooking, but sometimes you have to turn to dried herbs. And while, we haven’t had any really cold weather, yet, and the herb garden is still going strong for now, those frigid temps are on the way. But before it gets here, I wanted to dry some of the herbs.

Now, there are a few different ways to dry herbs. . . . there’s drying by bundling the herbs and letting them air dry over several days, oven drying them, and even microwaving. If you live in humid areas (like I do – even in the Fall, it’s still humid). then air drying is going to take a lot longer. So, for me, that means oven drying the herbs. 

How to

First, some tips that I have quickly learned:

Pick the herbs in the morning when the essential oils and flavors are stronger. 

If they need it, rinse them immediately. 

For smaller leafed herbs, wait until after they’re dry to pick them off the stems. It’s much easier and quicker.

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Preheat the oven to a very low temperature setting (under 200F degrees).

Spread the herbs out on a cookie sheet, making sure they’re not touching each other as it’ll take longer to dry if they are.

Place in the oven, leaving the door cracked. Leaving the door cracked ensures that they dry instead of bake. 

After about 20 to 30 minutes, check the herbs. When they’re through drying, the leaves will crumble in your fingers. If they need longer to dry, leave them and recheck them every 10 minutes. 

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I dried my basil and chocolate mint with the oven at 180F degrees, and it took about 30 – 50 minutes in all for each batch. 

Store whole or ground in a jar. 

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