Monday, October 15, 2012

Happy Hen's....From Farm to Table

I love a good farmers market plump full with super fresh fruit, vegetables and homemade jams. I also love the smell of dirt in a backyard garden that's bursting with produce just begging to be picked and created into something fabulous. Oh, I have passion for home grown fresh food and getting back to our 'roots' and eating and living healthier!  So it was a 'no brainer' when my oldest son (my farmer) came to me with overflowing excitement, and said we should raise some chickens. It was as if the heavens opened and the choir of angels sang all while warm light surrounded me.....YES! we SHOULD raise chickens! But wait.....this fantastic idea was not going to sit well with my cute lil' husband, a farmer....he is NOT....a swanky businessman.....he IS.....with the suits and ties and shoes that are so shined up sometimes I actually think I can see myself in them or up my skirt depending on positioning. Well, not sure how it happened (he definitely has a soft spot for our boys) but our lil' swanky businessman caved...and the chicken farming began! Thanks to my son's intense research and to my sweet friend Sherry and her husband's helpful advice and tips we were on our way!

So why chickens?! Oh the quality of eggs alone is amazing! I eat a lot of eggs and can tell a farm fresh egg when I see one and taste one. Visually the yolk is a beautiful deep orange and they have a wonderfully rich taste that will leave your taste buds begging for another bite!  Farm fresh eggs typically have more beta carotene, twice as many good for you Omega 3's, more vitamin E, less cholesterol and less saturated fat than store bought eggs!  These amazing benefits are obtained through an organic feed diet and of course allowing your hens to forage AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE! We love to sit and watch the chickens peck the ground searching for the golden ticket while we drink some sweet tea or some wine;). They will forage for fresh grass and bugs. One of our gals (our Easter Egger) actually entertains us when she chases an insect that is in flight. It's really quite comical watching the vision of a chicken flapping and skipping around in a panicked focused kind of 'chicken little' fashion.

Cole, the 'chicken whisperer',
with his 2 week old chicks. 
The Girls...Lucy the Rhode Island Red,
Thelma the Australorp and Louise the Easter Egger.
8 weeks old and loving to hunt.

Now, I have always bought "organic" eggs from my local store, but after researching....which I'm quite good at, and so is my farm boy;), I realized that even some of the organic manufacturers are using cleansers to clean their eggs before shipping them to the store. Now, I'm all about being clean and pretty, but knowing that egg shells are porous and small (or large) amounts of the cleansers will be absorbed into the egg, well frankly that bothers is a list of some of the cleansers that I found that are used to clean the eggs. None of them I would want to put into my body.....we have enough bad things that end up inside us that we can't control, so I'm happy to at least try and control this.

*hydrogen peroxide
*sodium carbonate


Now during our little journey, we have actually realized that our girls are just fun to have and take care of. They have their own personalities that makes us love them even more! Yes chickens have personalities, I never would have believed it either, but it's true. Weird, but true. I would recommend and encourage everyone to find a way to obtain fresh eggs or raise some hens, if you are up for the responsibility, and it is one. Personally we like to talk to them, feed them and watch them forage around....they even just come up and sit on my son's lap. They have accepted our very sweet Sheltie, Micah, who just absolutely loves them too. He herds them around gently and when he gets bored with that game he takes a little rest in the shade and it never fails, the girls come clucking and foraging around him.  They have become our pets, our gals, our girls and our layers. It has been an awesome project for the kids to get them as little chicks, feed them and watch them grow...not to mention the responsibility lessons that come with the whole chicken project;).

Micah getting the gals rounded up.

Love & Eggs are best when they are fresh.
Russian Proverb

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The "Stuck At Home" Workout

I don't know about you, but when I happen to miss my morning visit to the gym I feel, well downright guilty. Silly, but true. As soon as I find some spare time, I squeeze in one or both of these workouts. There really isn't much too them, but you'll be panting and dripping sweat. I love to work my lower body, so this workout is great for that. Now enough chit chat, lets get to this.

15 Minute Full Body Circuit

exercise                            reps
                                                          Push-ups                        10
                                                          Squats                            10
                                                          Sit-ups                            10
                                                           ~rest 1 min.~
                                                   ~Repeat circuit a total of 10 times~

20 Minute Lower Body Workout

                                                        exercise                                     reps

                                                       Jump Squats                               50
                                                       Alternating Curtsy Squats         50
                                                       Alternating Lunges                     50
                                                       Squats                                          50
                                                       Wall Sit                hold for 90 seconds
                                                         ~rest 2-4 mins.~
                                                    ~Repeat circuit a total of 2 times~

So turn up the music and try one or both of these workouts the next time you miss the gym! Adjust reps to fit your personal level of fitness.