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Piper is two weeks old!

On July 25th, we had one peachick to hatch out of three shippped peafowl eggs. That was my second try at incubating peafowl eggs (the first time was a complete disappointment), and I’m so happy that we actually had one to make it. We named her Piper (actually, we’re not sure that she is indeed a she, but until we know different that’s what we’re going with). According to the really knowledgeable peafowl people on BYC, Piper is a loud pied.

Well, Piper is now two weeks old (and a few days), and my oh my, can she fly. We’ve brooded guinea keets plenty of times. They usually start flying very young, too, but Piper has even them beat. It’s amazing how different her personality is from other young birds we’ve raised (like chicks, keets, poults, etc). We can’t wait to see what she’s going to look like when she’s grown.

Piper at 2 weeks old.
Piper on one of her adventures.
Piper at a few days old.



Remy watching Piper hatch.
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Lemon Cheese Cake

Contrary to its name, there is no cheese in this old-fashioned Southern recipe. I’ve heard that the name comes from the fact that this cake resembles a big wheel of cheese. From what I know of her, my great grandmother was a wonderful cook and made the best homemade cakes (and one of those was lemon cheese cake). She passed on well before I came along, and although many of her recipes were passed down to my grandmother (and then on to me), lemon cheese cake was not of them. A few years ago, a cousin’s request for this easy, but delicious cake led me on a little search for a recipe that would taste similar and this is the result.

This isn’t necessarily the prettiest cake, mostly because the frosting is a little thinner than most. However, it’s delicious, especially if your like me and prefer sweets with a little tartness.

The Ingredients:
The Cake:
1 1/2 sticks of butter, softened
2 1/4 c sugar
3 1/2 c cake flour
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt*
1 c milk
1 tsp vanilla
6 egg whites, beaten to stiff peaks
*I use kosher salt.

The Frosting:
9 egg yolks
1 1/2 c sugar
3 sticks of butter
Juice of 4-5 lemons
Zest from 2 of those lemons

1) Preheat oven to 375F.

2) In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt, then set it aside. You can also sift the flour combination, too, if you want.

3) In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together, then mix in the vanilla.

4) Add the flour mixture and milk alternately, mixing well after each addition.

The batter after the egg whites have been folded in.

5) Add the egg whites and fold them in.

6) Bake in three prepared 8 inch cake pans for about 30-35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

The Frosting:

The frosting right after coming off the stove.

1) Mix all of the ingredients together and cook in a double boiler until the mixture thickens (takes about 25 minutes or slightly longer). Make sure to stir constantly. Allow the frosting to cool before frosting the cake (it will thicken even more after cooling off).

2) Once the cake and frosting have cooled, spread the frosting in between the layers and on the outside of the cake. Since the frosting is thin, you’ll most likely still be able to see the cake through it, especially on the sides.

Enjoy!

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Pictures of the geese

It feels like it’s rained here everyday for almost a week. I’m so glad we don’t live in town in the flood zone anymore. In the 1990s, my hometown flooded every four years. Anytime it would rain for a few days in a row, it seemed like everybody in the town would keep a check on the river. There would literally be a line of cars going across the bridge, turning around, and then coming back. The levees were completely rebuilt several years ago, so our town isn’t as apt to flood as it used to be. Well, anyways, Sunday afternoon the rain finally stopped and the sun came out.

When I went outside to clean out the ducks’ pools, I took my camera along and got some pictures. I even got some new ones of Aubrieanne, the gosling we hatched out this year. She turned ten weeks old on Sunday, and I can’t believe how big she’s got.


Hugo & his girls (they’re hatchery Toulouse geese).
Aubrieanne is at the very back close to the roses (Aubrie is a Pilgrim goose).

  

Aubrieanne at the front.

 

The geese & Lindbergh, the rooster.
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Blueberry Muffins

I made these muffins this morning for breakfast. They are so yummy, especially right out of the oven and slathered with melting butter. I did add strawberries to a few of them for some mixed berry muffins, and I think we all liked those the best.

The Ingredients:
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt (We switched to kosher salt years ago, so that’s what I use for all of our baked goods.)
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 c granulated sugar
1/3 c vegetable oil
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 milk
1 c fresh or frozen blueberries (You can use any type of fruit that you want, but we wanted berries in ours.)

The streusel topping:
1/3 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c butter, softened
1 tsp ground cinnamon

1) Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Grease (or spray it with cooking spray) the muffin pan or line it with cupcake liners. Tip: If you use the liners, give them each a little spritz of cooking spray and the muffins won’t stick as badly to the paper.

2) In a small bowl, stir together the flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon. Set it aside.


Creaming the oil, sugar, & egg.

3) Cream together the vegetable oil, granulated sugar, and the egg.

4) Mix in the vanilla extract.
5) Add the dry ingredients and the milk, and beat until combined. The batter should be sort of thick. If it’s a little too dry, though, add in a small amount of extra milk. I added slightly more than a 1/4 cup of milk in addition to the previous 1/3 cup already in it.

Adding the blueberries.

6) Fold in the blueberries. Then, fill the muffin cups almost to the top.

The streusel topping.

7) Now for the streusel topping. Combine the flour, brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon with a fork. It should resemble little crumbs. Sprinkle a spoonful on top of each muffin before baking.

Just before going into the oven.

8) Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. I put mine in before we went out to feed the animals this morning. It’s been raining for the past three days here, so it took me longer than usual to feed up. Some of my muffins ended up getting a little too done.

Just out of the oven.
Enjoy.
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Going to the doctor

I had to go to the eye doctor yesterday for an exam. Our adult geese (Hugo and the girls, as I call them) were not happy about it because they had to wait until I came back to be let out for the day. Not that I was happy about it, either. My allergies have been bothering me the last few days, so I wasn’t feeling too well. I’m nearsighted, but thankfully, my vision isn’t getting any worse. For the ninth year in a row, my prescription is exactly the same. But I have to say, I really do hate those dilation drops. I guess they tend to be worse on some blue-eyed people, and I’m one of those.

I do have congenital cataracts and Heterochromia iridum. The cataracts have never bothered me and, luckily, have never required surgery. The other just means that my eyes have a brown section in them. It was always a little embarrassing when I was growing up because it was more noticeable then, and strangers never failed to mention it. Now, it’s not so bad.
I picked up some really cute nail polish while I was out. The color is called folly, but it wasn’t a folly to buy it : ) It’s a bright pink color that I just love.
The geese were so sweet when I got home. I let them out for a little while when I got back so that they could ramble some. They were all good little sweethearts and were waiting patiently at their pen for me to lock them up for the night.