Monday, March 25, 2013

Lulu's Couch Stairs

Lulu seems to have trouble sleeping like a chicken.  Last year, when my cousin Tina was staying with us, Lulu started falling off her roost in the kitchen during the night.  I don't know if she was trying to move around and would lose her balance, but I would sometimes hear a noise and get up and find her laying on the floor.

We started letting her sleep on her table in the living room.  The problem with that was that when Lulu was ready to get up in the morning, she would jump onto the couch and start squawking until I got up to get her down.  The couch was too high for her to jump/fly down and the coffee table was also in the way. 

Since I like to sleep in during the winter, it would frustrate me to get woken up to take Lulu off the couch so she could go to sleep behind my bed until noon. 

Now tell me what chicken can't sleep on a roost and sleeps in until noon?  Only Lulu!

Well I decided to come up with a plan so Lulu could get on and off the couch by herself.  I found some low boxes that usually hold grapes or strawberries  and I decided to build her a stairway.

I stacked the boxes and covered them with some old towels so Lulu doesn't skid on the cardboard.

I started by using peanuts to bribe Lulu to climb the stairs.  She got the idea and started using the boxes regularly.  Here is Lulu on the first step going up.


I caught Lulu in the act, flying up to the next step.  It takes her quite awhile to get up or down as she seems to need to encourage herself that she can do it.

Here is Lulu ready to hop onto the couch.  You can see her table beside her.  She doesn't seem to have any trouble hop/flying from the couch onto the table.

Finally made it!

"Whew!", sighs Lulu, "that was hard work!"

So now Lulu gets herself off the couch in the morning and grabs a few bites of food before heading into my room to sleep behind the bed.  She is very quiet because I don't hear her until I wake up and call her name.  Then she chirps a couple times before going back to sleep.  What a life!  ;)



Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sourdough Sharing - Cake

This month for Sourdough Sharing, I have two sourdough cakes to offer. 

The first one is a Carrot Cake that I previously blogged here.  It is Barry's favorite carrot cake as he hates dry cakes and this one is very nice and moist.  It is very tasty with the nuts, raisins and pineapple added.

The other cake is a Sourdough Fiesta Cake that I found in my Sourdough Cookery cookbook by Rita Davenport.  I was pleased to be able to use my own dehydrated beans and raisins from my garden as well as our own apples in this cake.

1/4 c butter, softened
1 c sugar
1 egg
1/2 c milk
2 c mashed cooked pinto beans
1 tsp vanilla
1 c sourdough
1 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp allspice
2 c diced apples
1/2 c chopped nuts
1 c raisins

To make the beans, I soaked 2 cups of pinto beans overnight.  I then drained them and cooked them in fresh water til they were tender.  I then redrained them and mashed 2 cups of beans.  I had 2 cups of beans left over that I will use when I make refried beans later this week.  I now know that you only have to soak half of what the recipe needs as the beans double in size.

Beat together butter, sugar and egg.  Add milk, vanilla and beans.  Mix in the sourdough.

Combine dry ingredients and add to mixture.  Stir in nuts, raisins and apples.

Pour into a greased bundt pan and bake at 375°F for 45 minutes.  

Cool in pan for 5 minutes.  

Remove from pan and glaze when cool.

Glaze Ingredients
1 c icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp milk

Blend all ingredients and drizzle onto cake.  

I found the cake to be nice and moist.  Usually when you bake with apples, the standard spices seem to be cinnamon and nutmeg.  Using cloves and allspice gives it a different and pleasing taste.  The pinto beans are not noticeable but add hidden protein to the cake.  Enjoy!


Try one of these or take a look at the blogs below for other sourdough cakes.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Spinach Time

Last year I let my spinach go to seed so I could save some to plant this year.  Since I was often away or busy, the spinach got away from me and much of it reseeded itself when I wasn't looking.  I was still able to save a fair amount of seed (enough to share at Seedy Saturday).

Here is my huge patch of spinach that is ready super-early.

We have been eating steamed spinach sprinkled with vinegar and also spinach salad with bacon, mushrooms and boiled eggs.  I plan on using some for soup as well.

Someone else likes fresh spinach as well.
Lulu stays close to the edge of the patch as she enjoys her feed of spinach.  We don't mind sharing with her since there is so much of it.

She also likes that some of the leaves from last fall are near the spinach.  She likes to scratch and look for bugs while feasting on the spinach.

"Oh boy," exclaimed Lulu.  "I sure like all this green stuff!  Yum, yum, yum."

So Lulu is enjoying our nice weather - eating, scratching, dustbathing and sunning herself most of the day.  ;)


Monday, March 11, 2013

Painting Update

Well, I'm over half done my painting and am very pleased with the results!  The kitchen was done in dark panelling, so I needed to do two coats of primer and two coats of paint to cover it.  I am painting the kitchen a peachy colour.  I am also painting the window and door casings white, as right now they are a dark brown.

I am finding it more difficult to paint this time, as to see the edge, I need to wear my glasses and they are progressive lenses.  I find I have to hold my neck at weird angles, and as a result of that, I get quite a stiff neck.  Oh the joys of getting older!

It has rained a fair bit this last while, so all the snow is gone in the yard.  But Lulu doesn't like to go out in the rainy, windy weather so she amuses herself indoors.  She spends much of her time in the nesting box thinking she needs to lay an egg but nothing comes of it. 

One day, I decided to give her a warm bath and blow dry to see if that helped.  Fortunately it did because as soon as she was dry, she hopped into her nesting box and laid a shell-less egg.  Lulu does not seem to be able to produce shelled eggs any more, even though I give her a calcium supplement 3 or 4 times a week.  I suppose if I have to regularly bath and blow dry her butt so she doesn't get eggbound, that is what I'll do.  Oh the trials of being a chicken mom!  ;)

Barry is home for a week, so we'll be out in the yard finishing the pruning and such.  It will be a nice break from the painting which I'll finish after he leaves for work again.  And then, by the time that is finished, it will probably be full-time in the yard and garden.  :)