My Favorite Quinoa Recipe

For those unfamiliar with quinoa (keen-wah) it is an ancient grain a little bigger than a mustard seed.  The plant looks like amaranth, another ancient grain. The seeds or grain must be harvested by hand. It has been getting a lot of press about the health benefits it has lately. For how much I like grains I thought I should give this one a try too.

I have had some very well prepared quinoa in burgers and salads in restaurants and at a potluck or two. How hard can it be? I work with a wide variety grains daily and have for years.

My research about this grain said it is best soaked and well rinsed or it can be bitter tasting. I heeded the warning, even though I don’t mind some bitter flavor. The recipes I had, I followed to a “T”.

The breakfast quinoa with dried cranberries and walnuts I thought would be great! I love oatmeal prepared like that.

Bitter and not good.

The quinoa bulgur salad. Yum I thought, I like salads with bulgur and barley why not quinoa?!

Bitter and not good.

Add it to a veggie bean burger I thought.

Bitter and ruined the rest of the burger.

I even tried different kinds of quinoa. After all this I was about to give up and then I came up with the perfect recipe!

Chicken Feed.

I put it in with the chicken feed. The meat will not taste bitter, nor the eggs. I will not feel as though I have wasted what is said to be such a wonderful grain! Problem solved!

And with that I don’t plan to try my hand at this grain again for a long while.

Continue Reading

Wilma and Her New Roommate

My husband and dad were able to get the last wall up in the coop. It’s all insulated and ready for birds. Tonight we moved the temporary run outside over. They now have a new batch of fresh orchard grass and alfalfa to snack on. By moving the temporary pen the first round of wire can be put into place  for the permanent run.

Wildflowerfarm.orgWith the move of the pen the chickens needed to be moved to the other side of the coop. That was a very easy job. I open the door in the morning, they all run outside to greet the day and I close the door behind them. I then opened the chicken the door on the other side and in they went. Couldn’t be easier.

Up until now Wilma was penned in the corner of the “new” side and Sir Thomas Thanksgiving was in his kennel healing and hating every minute. With the addition of the rest of the flock to the “new” side both birds needed to be moved out as they are not ready to rejoin the rest yet. The turkey hates the kennel, no roost and he can’t fly in there. Wilma could use some more room to  stretch her legs too. So together they are sharing the “old” side. Neither of which can go outside because of the rest of the flock but this gives them much more space and they get their fresh alfalfa delivered.

Wildflowerfarm.orgI also put together a surprise for Wilma! She has been “nesting” in he food dish no matter what I do so I put together a nesting box for her. A milk crate with a little hay to lay in and a good layer of hay on top in case Thomas decides to sit up there, she won’t get pooped on. Hey, it happens, those birds go any where and every where and on anything! Gross!

You may also notice that Wilma looks much different in the picture above than she has in the rest of her. The one above is really her and Thomas. I just didn’t want to post a picture of her all mangled for those who are a bit squeamish.

Get the full story of Wilma here:
The Story of One Winged Wilma and the Guinea
An Update on Wilma
Wilma and the Dog

Continue Reading

Lucifer- The Last Guinea

Out of the mere 6 guinea hens we started with this spring we are down to one and I’m ready to ring his scrawny little neck! I have heard that raising guineas with chickens makes them easier to train; for things like going into the coop at night and such. I have also read the females can be territorial but the males can be down-right nasty. When ordering most birds you can have them sexed; guineas you only get a straight run option (meaning you get whatever hatched).

I have had chickens loose feathers before, usually due to a rowdy rooster trying to mate with a hen. But this group seemed to have a bigger problem than the usual rooster. After watching the chickens while I was on a “steak out” trying to kill the fox, I found the problem. It was the one remaining guinea.

The one we have left I have named Lucifer because he is the meanest bird in the flock! The roosters are a rowdier bunch than normal but they peck and run for the most part. Lucifer locks on to his target and doesn’t quit until his feet are planted on the back of the bird and he has a mouth full of feathers.

He is so mean that even Thomas Thanksgiving (the last of the Turkeys) has no tail feathers and had to be removed from the group because he was starting to bleed due to the relentless pecking. See more about blood and birds in The Story of One Winged Wilma and the Guinea.

Now that I have found the problem, the situation will be remedied. I am going to set Lucifer free.

From this there are a few possible outcomes:

1. He will get eaten by the dogs or the fox.

2. He will scare the dogs enough that they will forever leave the chickens alone and he will eat the fox.

3. He will survive and wander about the place until he freezes to death or chokes on a mouse. (I don’t think they eat mice but I wouldn’t put it past this one.)

This may sound harsh especially when I try to give each animal the highest quality of life we can provide, but I have limits too and he has reached the end of the line! With a bird this mean around the laying hens will not lay and that is a problem all it’s own. Not to mention how is anyone going to “Shake a Tail Feather” when they don’t have any left?!

We plan to try again next year with the guineas and rework the system a bit. They really are pretty birds. We had the pearl breed, they have little poke-a-dots on each feather and when they are not trying to kill one another are quite fun to watch.

It’s time to enjoy the get outdoors you mean bird!

Continue Reading

Wilma and the Dog

As if Wilma hasn’t been through enough already, well, she got it again.

Wilma was moved from her kennel to a corner in the coop. It isn’t super well lit but she does get a little day light. I have been letting her out to munch the grass and get some fresh air while I do chores in the morning. She needs the sun too; I would think she would get depressed with out it. So there I am, hauling my 5 gallon bucket of water from the hose by the stock tank over to the coop, filling water and feed. I toss some scratch grain into the run and Wilma is gone.

I found her under the coop. The little pile of cracked corn did not bait her out and trying to scoot her out with a broom didn’t work either.

“Well crap!” The fox is back and I can’t get this darn chicken back to safety.

I talked with the cows for a while in hopes she would wander out. She didn’t. I gave up and went back to the house. I had plenty of other things to do than coax a chicken back to the nest.

I went out at 11:30 and she was out. I chased her around the coop before she darted underneath again. Again, I went back to the house to work on whatever I was doing.

12:30 I went back out and saw fresh feathers, the boards that are around the run (they look really tacky but the are temporary) were laying down and the hole in the wire was bent open again.

“And that’s the end of Wilma”

Just to be sure I laid back down on the ground to check under the coop and there she was! The fox got someone else and she was still there! This time I went to the barn and got Mike’s fishing net to catch her as she strolled out from under the coop.

This did not work either.

The poor dogs were itching to get outside all day and by 5 I had had enough. I opened the door and out they ran. The little boy and I went to the coop to see if maybe the ruckus of the dogs would scare her out one end.

It was a while later Mike, little boy and I were sitting in the grass that our lab came walking up all happy with Wilma in his mouth! I was furious! After everything she had been through he decided to giver her a chomp too! That was the last straw for me that day! I was in a bad mood until bed time.

In the light of morning, the chomping may have been a blessing in disguise. The sharp bone that was sticking out of her shoulder from the first attack was now gone. Something I didn’t have the confidence to try to remove. The wound this time around was much cleaner and not nearly as deep.

She is still in confinement and gets her peroxide twice a day. There are no maggots this time around and it appears that her skin will be able to heal over the socket. In the long run, this will be a much better heal for her.

She is one tough bird.


Continue Reading

Making “Friends” With the Cows

wildflowerfarm.orgWell, it’s been pretty slow going with the cows.

Last week was Fair Week. Our county fair is the best in the state and better than the ND State Fair. I know, I have been to both. I work at the fair here and this means the only thing that gets done at home is the animals are fed. Nothing else gets done. Dirty laundry piles up on the floor, clean laundry is tossed on the dining room table for later folding and sorting. Nothing gets cleaned or picked up. Those living there are on “fend for yourself” mode; meaning no meals are cooked unless you make it yourself, need laundry? better do that yourself too. As we discussed at the fair, the house is in “Fair Condition” during the week of the fair. All that being said my visits with the cows were very short last week.

This week I have been able to spend more time with them. I walk to pasture with them, and give them a little oats and/or cracked corn as a treat for them. When they are eating the grains it gives me a chance to scratch their heads and get close to them with them getting spooked.

Today I was able to scratch Lucy’s and Louise’s neck, which may not seem like much but I would call it progress.

I have to say, I really have no clue how to go about making friends with a cow; right now I’m treating them like and unbroken horse. Once They are used to being handled by me I think the halter breaking will be a challenge but not too bad. We will see when the time comes, I could be very wrong. The goal is halter broke before the snow comes.

Continue Reading