Sunday, September 8, 2013


Liver.  If you eat meat, it's a fact of life.  It's only a fact of my life indirectly.  But let's talk sense here, whether you like it or not.  If you eat a burger or a steak, there's a liver out there somewhere waiting to be appreciated.  Our dogs would NOT eat liver.  They didn't like the smell of it, would not tolerate the experience of it in any way.  Liver...NOT!!

BUT....we feed our goggies a whole prey diet.  They are dogs (wolves) by nature, and their diet should be mainly meat, prey, including organ meats.  So...................

In the past there was nothing we could do to convince them to eat liver or any other organ meats.  But since we got that side of really sweet pastured, grass fed beef from the wonderful gentleman farmer at Locust Grove Farms the liver, heart, bones, you name it, are AMBROSIA!  Bless their hungry hearts.

They went from this:

To this:

And then to this...ah yes, the sleep of the well fed, conscience clear, very, very, very good goggie.

I suspect the fact that these goggies have their nutritional needs met (as well as emotional needs), but are VIBRANTLY healthy from their diet and lifestyle is what makes them sleep soundly (when they are not on guard).  Good Goggies!  Thank goodness for liver!  (I never thought I would live to see the day -- but that was another post, wasn't it?)

Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Reprieve

Big Steve and I enjoyed sleeping a little late this morning, at least for us.  Actually 9 am is excruciatingly late for us, and that's exactly when Elsa and Pearl decided enough is enough and licked our faces till we laughed our hearts out and got up and got going.  It's so nice to start the day with doggie kisses.

We lazily went through our morning routines and then headed out to Argyle for an order of beef.  I can't say enough good things about Locust Grove Farms out in Argyle.  I have been buying meat from them for decades now.  The cows are pastured, grass eating beasts.  The gentleman owner who butchers them, Bill, is just that....a gentleman.  Many of you know how I feel about eating meat.  But it's the inhumanely, commercially raised meat that I have a problem with.  The animals at Locust Grove Farm are healthy, well cared for and happy....cows, pigs, chickens.  Bill is a truly kind and gentle man.  I have a good feeling about eating meat in this way.  When he calls you about your order (which doesn't happen instantly, he is very fussy about the beef he sells and picks out just the right beast for your wants and needs) he will tell you about the cow...details that only a concerned cattleman would know or care about.

They smoke their own bacon, ham, etc., make their own jerky, pies, candies, dressings and marinades, you name it.  It's a real treat to visit that smokehouse - I encourage you to take the drive if you have nothing to do on the weekend or in conjunction with an apple picking day - I almost guarantee you will come home with a car full of goodness.  Or a freezer full -- like this (don't be jealous, but there are THREE prime rib roasts in there):

I always feel so incredibly blessed when I fill up the freezer with this good beef.  We'll eat well all winter.  What a blessing!!!

At any rate, on the way out and on the way back, Big Steve and I had an opportunity to really talk.  I guess we have decided to wait till Spring to list the house.  Whew!  It's not that I don't want to move, I really do.  It's just that it was too soon.  And if we sold the house and the coop with it and left the chickens, I wouldn't have a really good feeling about rookie urban homesteaders (chicken parents) overwintering my babies.  I'm not sure we would leave the hens, but if someone wanted an established situation, we thought we might.

So the pressure is off.  We'll do more to prepare the house for the next family than we originally intended to do.  But we love this place.  We can't control what the next owner does or doesn't do, but we have to do it correctly, our way, on our terms.

Friday, August 30, 2013

All Good Things Must Come To An End

It is with a somewhat sorry, but seriously excited heart that I write this post.  We have decided to sell The Haney Place and find a place outside of the city with a little more land and a lot more potential.  Don't get me wrong, urban homesteading has been a very good thing.  A colleague did me a real favor at work yesterday.  She didn't have to, and I wouldn't have even known otherwise, but she did it, and I truly appreciated it.  So my hens sent her a dozen eggs.  You can't buy that kind of neighborliness, it's just a gift.  Even so, it's just time.  This blog has struggled for a while because I have struggled because hey, there is just so much to say about "living in the city, fed the chickens, dogs, cats, cleaned up poop, spread poop in garden" that we could do.  We adore the hens, dogs and cats, but we need to spread our wings.  We would love the opportunity to raise a cow, a horse, a goat or two, make our own soap (not just the laundry detergent we make here but real soap from goat's milk (like you have too much and you can't waste that precious goat's milk and you already made enough cheese, so we'll make soap).

So my first order of business is washing and dressing windows.  Which touches my heart...I spent more than a little bit of time researching, purchasing, searching for vintage and making dressings for the windows here.  I took a survey just now -- there are a total of 23 windows in The Haney Place (not counting doors).  And I have lovingly dressed many of them....I would love to share the historical research I did, the period curtains I searched, considered, purchased.  This Haney Place is market priced, but does anyone really consider the life and love of a home...some of my childhood/facebook friends can recall the criss-cross curtain discussion.  I never did find a criss-cross curtain or a pattern, but I still did dress the windows with love.  A few photos:

It's night and I'm tired.  I know my photographic skills are limited.  That second picture is a gorgeous antique lace that we found at a thrift store.  It has been so happy here - Specifically in the "Amish Room".  We've named every room here.  Oh yes, it's going to be hard to say good-bye to this place.

Tomorrow we'll travel to Argyle for a side of beef.  I know, we're moving.  We'll move the beef with us, when the time comes.  After all, these goggies need their meaty bones!  After that, I'll come home and polish all these hardwood floors and post more pictures.

Yes, it's going to be hard to leave this Haney Place.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Lessons Learned from Hens (Not Roosters!)

When you shop in stores for decorative kitchen items, there are roosters galore.  I'm not debating the usefulness of roosters, although we here are not looking for anything but edible eggs from our hens, so we have no use for roosters here at the Haney Place.  We are in no way rooster detractors, but roosters just don't have a place here at this time.

Where is the appreciation for the hens?  Those dear henny-penny girls who show up day after day to feed the masses?  Those unsung heroines of protein and vitamin A.  Those quiet and gentle creatures who tolerate blistering heat, freezing cold, soggy wet feet and feed (lately here in Upstate NY) or our solid clay soil which makes it impossible to find even one worm/day.  What about them?

I was contemplating my henny penny sisters tonight, and why I need to learn from them.  I closed up their pen tonight, and encouraged them into the coop to go to bed.  They knew what I was doing.  I only got gentle "thank you" coo's from them.  They had no resentment.  I understand that my hens are blind after dark, so I'm sure they appreciate the guidance.

I want to be  more like my hens.  I want to be blind to darkness, and appreciative of the leadership of my Lord God in the darkness.  This world is getting darker every day. I try to tell myself that what is going on around me every day has been foretold, and God has everything under control.  I believe this, I take it to heart, and it encourages me every day.  And yet, tonight, caring for my hens, I see that I have a long way to go toward trust and understanding in the darkness.

Tonight I am thanking Heaven for my hens!  God works in mysterious ways, that is for sure, and yet, His creation isn't that mysterious. 

Even so, there are always WOLVES outside!!!  It's just our dear Pearly girl in this instance, but even so, she is capable of harm without supervision.  So we always supervise her, just as our Father supervises those that might harm us.  I think my Father in Heaven loves me with a much more perfect love than I have for my hens, as deep as my love is.  It is difficult to comprehend that level of love.  But I truly do believe it is so.  I'm going to wrap myself in that love tonight.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Oh My! This Could Be an Episode of "There, I Fixed It"!

Now Big Steve is in love with his vehicle.  We have two vehicles, but the one he is in love with is a 1982 Dodge Ram Van.  It has an engine that makes itself known, for starters.  We took it to a nice fellow named Buddy recently, and the two guys acted like it was Christmas Morning and their first date with a girl all rolled into one.  No disrespect, it's a guy thing, men say we women folk are mysterious, oy....but I digress.

Here's the van (I appreciate it, but I'm not necessarily in love with it:

So anyway, for anyone who hasn't yet heard the joyous news, we here at the Haney Place will be hosting a wedding for my daughter Kimberly in July.  This has put us in PUSH mode for remodeling projects and sprucing up.  We're working like crazy people.  (Ever seen Steel Magnolias?)

At any rate, Big Steve has been hard at work remodeling this place for several years now.  But NOW, with goodness knows how many guests due to swarm on us shortly, we're working on several SHORT TERM projects, like temporary flooring for the kitchen we haven't gotten to yet.  And here is where the van comes in.

Tonight we took the van out to purchase 'temporary' flooring for two separate rooms.  And I noted on the console, what looked to be a roll of white duct tape.  Thusly:

As you can see, it is attached with a piece of itself to the console.  I asked Big Steve "is this white duct tape" - and he immediately responded "Yes" and then without a moment's pause or a blink of his eye he added "It's my cup holder".........

My mind stopped at that point.  Is this genius?  Insanity?  Redneck living at it's finest?

So just now, while the supper's cooking on the stove, I took the very symbol of redneck living, the party cup, and tried it out.

Eureeka!  It works!!!  Call it what you want - but it does work.  I can't argue.  I'm especially glad I don't ride in that van very often, but even so, it has Stiva's zest for life written all over it!!!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day Musings And A Recipe 'Cause I Know That's Why You Come Here

There was a local media flack about who should get presents for mother's day.  Wow.....a lot of strong opinions.  The older I get, the weaker my opinions get, I find.  If you don't have children, some say, your husband shouldn't give you gifts for mother's day and get all in a huff.  Frankly, if your husband loves you and wants to give you a gift for any reason, that's already a blessing and I say amen to that!  What is the definition of a mother?  For me it was somewhat complicated.  Not early on, of course.  I always had an awesome maternal unit at home to care for me and raise me and feed me and show me the way to go.  A Godly mother (and father) who taught me to pray (not words reiterated over and over again) but to really pray - to hold conversation with a loving God.  We took a lot of awesome family vacations, and I always remember my father on his knees, humbly asking God for travelling mercies and blessings on his family.  So I really have a lot to be thankful for in all respects.  At some point, I may just look up that birth mother of mine, just to let her know that I'm fine, and that I thank her for her sacrifice and goodness to let me grow up with fine people like my mom and dad.  I truly do appreciate it.

When I got older the realization that these wonderful people adopted me and took me in as an orphan really hit home.  And let's be honest....I was a rambunctious child and teenager. I gave them causes to pray!!!  But pray they did and they got me through.

I don't care in what sense you're a mother today.  If you're a mother in any sense, you're important, and it's your day.  In my case, since I was just over being sick (lost two days of work this week), I had one adult child home today and SOMEONE (won't tell who) made some wonderful fresh blueberry pancakes and bacon with real Vermont maple syrup.  Wow...decadence....

We went to the Blue Ribbon Restaurant in Schenectady.  It used to be the Blue Ribbon Diner.  It was awesome 30 years ago, it's even more awesome now!!!!!  I had Coquilles St. Jacques....not sure what anyone else had.  I was too busy nomming and smiling.  I think I heard about stuff like stuffed sole, moussaka, etc.  They were all nomming and smiling around my table.  :-)  And UNLIKE most local restaurants, they actually had a page of MOTHER'S DAY SPECIALS in addition to their regular menu.  Not a separate overprice special day menu, actual SPECIALS!!!  So for under $20, you could get the aforementioned dinners, along with soup, salad, sides, warm rolls w/butter.  And the desserts were to die for!!!  I know a lot of "diners" present their desserts are something special.  But then you get your mouth full of that sticky diner "whip" greasy and hard to digest.  Not so here.  The Bavarian Cheesecake was a full (overly full) slice of really creamy cheesecake between two layers of the moistest, lightest chocolate sponge cake you ever experienced lately (and I've TRIED to do this at home) with chocolate whipped cream atop.  Not that chocolate whip where it kind of lubes your mouth with not-food lubricant.  This is real whipped cream friends.  And chocolate, to boot.  I am now a Blue Ribbon Restaurant devotee, and I have only been there once in 30 years!!!

To make my day weirdly wonderful, you may know how I avoid Wal-Mart at all costs.  Well, this morning, Big Steve and I went there really early, (for kitty litter, you know) and one of the managers came over and gave me this: 

Just a lovely coral carnation.  I must admit, it softened me a bit.  After all, we don't judge a church by the denomination any more than we judge a person by their workplace.  This local manager was a kindly man, trying to do good (even his employees acknowledged that he was a good man).  So kudos to you, Rensselaer NY WalMart manager for softening my bitter feelings toward your employer.
And lastly, if you want to make that awesome crispy bacon for your loved ones, but just can't bring  yourself to do it because of the mess:
Take however much bacon you want to make (and a little bit more because you know you will all eat it!!!).  Lay it out flat on an aluminum foil lined cookie sheet.  Put it into the oven cold and dark until 20 minutes before  your breakfast should be served.  At exactly 20  minutes before the rest of our breakfast should be served (pancakes, eggs, whatever) turn that oven on to 400 degrees.  I guarantee you crispy perfect oven cooked bacon - no clean up whatsoever!!!  It's a holiday miracle!!!  This is what mothers live for, after all.....

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

On Chickens and Eggs and Spring and Such!

Well, things seem to have calmed down in the henhouse to some extent.  But I will say that the "old girls" are giving the "new girls" a run for their money.  For the most part, they are living amicably and not upsetting our neighbors very much.  Now remember, we are urban homesteaders and our house is right up close to our neighbors on either side.  So when I heard those hens yelling their heads off at 5:45 am Monday morning, it was not at all awesome!

But again, for the most part they are getting along.  I heard the screaming this morning (much after 5:45, thank goodness) and ran out to find the two older girls pecking and harassing one of the new girls trying to settle in to lay an egg.  Well bless her heart if she didn't lay the daintiest egg I ever saw.  Not surprising for such a youngster, but very much appreciated!  And darned if she didn't come out of the henhouse to loudly proclaim her achievement!!!  Big Steve witnessed and recounted it - just wish I had my camera for that dear moment!!!

Can you see the dear tiny thing there, amongst the other more grown up hen eggs?  Well, it's not as tiny as it looks.  To give some perspective, this is how our older girls' eggs stack up in an extra large egg carton:

That's right, they're even too big for an "extra large" carton.  So that dear "tiny" egg in our estimation is probably a grade medium at least.

Chickens are so easy and cheap to keep (once your dear husband builds you a sweet coop).  And they're real characters!  They have very docile personalities (at least our Red Star hens do) and they're friendly and amusing and great for comic relief.  And bottom line - they provide a ton of really healthy, organic protein and all kinds of other nutrients to pay for their feed.  I don't know why everyone doesn't keep a small backyard flock of chickens!!!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

I Promised You Drama - I'm Giving You Drama!!!

LOLOL!!!  I knew there would be all kinds of girl drama when we brought home a few new hens.  Watch the "reality show" action while my home girls represent!!!

What a GORGEOUS gift of a weekend!!!!  And it came at the end of a challenging week, and somehow God put the 34th Psalm into my head before the week was over.  It's awesome.  Well now somehow, He is GOD, after all, and he does what he wants with me.  And apparently, He wants to strengthen and encourage me!!!  Thank you!!!

See what I mean right here:

At any rate, we are so thankful for these new hens.  I shouldn't tell this, because as a Christian, if I tell you and you congratulate me, I have lost any Heavenly reward.  Which is ok.  Because I consider this an investment.  But the extra hens are going to help and lay eggs for the Capital City Rescue Mission in Albany, NY.  These  people are SO AWESOME!!!  And they are transforming downtown Albany.  They are taking folks who are at their lowest, and bringing them right up to be soldiers for the LORD in downtown Albany!  I can't say enough about what they are doing.  If you're local, please see how you can help them.  And if you're not, you can always do a few $$$ if  you have them to spare.  And thank you!!!  Nose around their website and see how awesomely the Lord is working there!!

The Mission

OK, so lastly, here is the DRAMATIC video I promised.  I pray they will all be securely on the perch in about 90 minutes.  If not - there will be one heckuva post in the morning, lol!!!