Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sourdough Crackers - Sharing Recipes

This month's sourdough sharing is crackers.  Now I've always wanted to make homemade crackers and this seemed like a good chance to try my hand at it.  And using sourdough was a neat bonus.  There are so many ways to make a recipe your own - herbs, cheese, seeds and more.

Unfortunately, I've had a tough month with my dear, sweet house chicken, Lulu getting sick and me having to put her to sleep.  She was very special to me and I miss her so much.

I did want to link to all the recipes showcased this month so I have a starting point when I get around to making my own crackers.

Enjoy the following links and recipes.

Monday, August 19, 2013

In Memory of Lulu

I have received many heartfelt words and remembrances of Lulu from friends and relatives after I wrote of her passing.  I thank you all for your kindness.

Today I am passing on one such message I recently received.  I received this letter and poems from my friend of many years, Marjorie Bradley from Shellbrook, Saskatchewan.  Lulu and I visited Marj several years ago.  It was a nice fall day so we were able to sit and visit outside and Lulu scratched and fertilized some of the flower beds and plantings in the front yard while we enjoyed the sunny warmth of the day and our friendship.

Marj's letter touched on so many Lulu memories that made me smile.  I am linking the references in the letter to past posts so you can remember with us.  Marj also concluded her letter with an original poem that I'm sure you will agree captures Lulu perfectly. 

Thanks Marj for your permission to share these wonderful thoughts and memories.

Dear Joan,


Missed opportunities.  When you wrote of Lulu's death, I went to my files where I vaguely recalled having started a poem - or Dr. Seuss style story about Lulu.  I see now and remember that it started with your blog about Lulu's tail feathers as well as the flock's moulting.  I never sat down with the discipline to be quiet until the muse came. 

This afternoon, I've been going through my favorite Lulu posts - her affair with the corn flakes guy - her dust bath at your parents' home - her game of hide-and-seek amongst the garlic, the cedar and the rhubarb - her egg laying ritual - her beer breaks with Joan and Barry - her travels to all those larger-than-life roadside monuments.

I thank you for sharing Lulu with the world - and feel privileged that she came to visit in Oct. 2011!  I've told all my best friends about Lulu's antics - yesterday it was my ladies book club at the care home.  They were all intrigued.

I was delighted that you caught the photo at Cochrane with the Beggs' "Legacy" sculpture.  I really think that they would enjoy receiving a photo of Lulu joining their bronze flock!  What a legacy that chicky left in her wake!

Despite the fact that I grew up on a farm with an everchanging flock of chickens, I've learned more about the creatures because of you and Lulu - the changes in the comb, the whole egg laying - or not egg laying drama - and I daresay that you learned not just factual stuff because of Lulu - but of course, all the companionship and affection and challenge of the heart - that you're missing so - right now.

On vacation, before I heard of Lulu's end of life, I'd purchased a book at a museum titled "I am Full Moon", it's a memoir by Lily Hoy Price, who grew up in Quesnel.  I marked the passage from her story Chickens to share with you - and at the time, Lulu - it underlines what you both know. . .

"From a nearby shed, I scooped a tin of wheat kernels from a gunny sack.  The wheat felt cool and slippery under my fingers. 'Come little chickens, come, cluck, cluck, cluck,' I beckoned.  I threw a wide arc of kernels in the air and laughed to see them chickens dance towards the feed.  They pecked at the granules, rummages for insects, cocked their red-comb heads and fluffed iridescent feathers.  I noticed their different personality traits.  Some followed, others led.  Some stood alone.  Others socialized.  Some sought shade from the sun, others burrowed in the ground to keep cool.

"As I played with my feathered friends I was oblivious to the heat.  I completely forgot about the muggy stench of the chicken house.  Rose came running down the path from the store towards the house.  'Hey, don't forget to gather the eggs!' "

Peck!  Peck!  Cr-a-a-a-ck!

She hatched right out of her egg one day
With a spirit that shouted, "Hip, hip, hooray!"
Her feathers fluffed and she learned to peck,
At weeds, at seeds, at an insect speck.
Her peers looked down their beaks at her;
Stat!  Joan planned a Lulu transfer.
Lulu went out in the yard to hide,
She left her nesting box stowed inside.
Then, "An egg is coming!" she sang out loud,
"I'll lay it there, away from the crowd."
Lulu hopped up steps on her gimpy leg,
Turned around, settled in, and laid her egg.
Once more, Lu-hen cackled, loud and true,
"I've laid an egg, that's just what I do!"
Worms and beetles she'd seek in the garden,
Right beside Joan; begging her pardon.
When afternoon yard work stopped, Lulu kept track,
'Cause Lulu knew "Beer?" meant "It's time for a snack!"
Chez pantry, magnificent M'sieu de Corn Flake:
She was his Duck, he was her Drake.
Lu' once claimed the end table, wanting -a snack?
Was put down, but Lulu just hopped right back.
When Barry got vexed, Lu's beak was put out;
She took to her roost for a long, drawn-out pout.
And then, a road trip - off to see Barry,
Remember the dog that was way way too scary?!
They stopped at each town to see all the big things,
But the best was at Cochrane: bronze chickens with wings!

Lulu, dear Lulu!  Your antics we'll miss,
Thanks dearest Chickie, your life spelled out bliss!

Honouring her life with laughter and stories,

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Lend Me A Bird

I found this somewhere on the internet a number of years ago.  I can't remember the source but it may have been Backyard Chickens. 

It touched me then and it touches me deeper now.  My dear sweet, Lulu, you had so many lessons for us to learn.  You were a wonderful teacher.  God Bless You

Lend Me A Bird

"I will lend to you for a while a bird" God said, for you
  to love her while she lives and mourn for her when she's dead.
  Maybe for twelve or fourteen years or maybe two or three,
  but will you til I call her back, take care of her for me?
  She'll bring her charms to gladden you and should her stay be brief,
  you'll always have her memories as solace for your grief.
  I cannot promise that she'll stay since all from earth return,
  but there are lessons taught below, I want this bird to learn.
  I've looked the whole world over in search of teachers true,
  and from the folds that crowd life's land I have chosen you.
  Now will you give her all your love; not think the labor vain;
  nor hate me when I come to take my lovely bird again?
  I fancied that I heard them say, "Dear Lord, thy will be done,
  for all the joys this bird will bring, the risk of grief we'll run."
  Will you shelter her with tenderness? Will you love her while you may?
  And for the happiness you will know, forever grateful stay?
  But should I call her back much sooner than you've planned;
  please brave the bitter grief that comes and try to understand.
  If by your love you've managed my wishes to achieve,
  in memory of her you've loved; be thankful; do not grieve
  Cherish every moment of your feathered charge. She filled your home with song of joy
  for time she was alive. Let not her passing take from you those memories to enjoy
  "I will lend to you a Bird" God said and teach you all you have to do
  And when I call her back to heaven, you will know she loved you too
  -Author Unknown-

adapted from Edgar Albert Guest's  
A Child of Mine