January 2012 Chickens in the Road Newsletter

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*Feature: The To-Do List

*Kitchen Extra: Treats to be Sweet

*My Favorite Thing Right Now: A Bottle for Clover

*Recent Highlights: Pastures Tours, The Kitchen and I, Coloring Mason Jars, and More

*Sneak Peek: Retreat 2012 Registration NOW OPEN!

*Farm Bell Recipes: Foraging

*Blast from the Past: The Whos Down in Whoville

*Feature: The To-Do List

Several years ago when I still lived at the slanted little house, there was a woman in the area who used to stop by and chat every so often if she saw me out on the porch. She told me a story one day that has always stuck with me. It’s a sweet story, and unexpectedly romantic–so with Valentine’s Day coming up, I want to share it with you.

Her husband was driving her crazy. He was grumpy most of the time, and when he wasn’t grumpy, he was mean. He never made anything easier for her–down to throwing his dirty clothes on the floor for her to pick up. Eventually, she told him she’d had enough and she was thinking about divorcing him. She told him, “You’re not a very nice person.”

He stopped being mean, though often he was still pretty grumpy, and he never did get very good at picking his own clothes up off the floor. One day, she picked up his pants to take them to the wash. She checked his pockets first to make sure nothing had been left in them, and found a folded-up piece of paper. It wasn’t anywhere near to a new piece of folded paper. No, it looked like it had been folded and refolded many times, as if he’d been carrying it around for awhile–only this time, he’d forgotten and left it in his pants.

She opened the paper and inside it said, “Be a nicer person.”

She decided right then that she was not going to divorce him, and years later, they are still married.

Gestures of love, whether to a spouse, a child, or a friend, don’t have to be big–and sometimes it’s something that costs nothing that is the best gift of all.

*Kitchen Extra: Treats to be Sweet

Planning some treats for the sweet ones in your life this Valentine’s Day? Here’s a roundup of a few of my favorite recipes to get you thinking…and drooling…and wondering if you can share!

Pretty in Pink Cookies
Surprise Cookies
Cherry Chocolate Kisses
Easy Truffles
Chocolate Lava Cakes

*My Favorite Thing Right Now: A Bottle for Clover

A little milk bottle from the Clover Dew Dairy.

Reader Judith picked up a half-pint bottle from the “Clover Dew Dairy” in Bluefield, West Virginia. She told me it reminded her of me and Chickens in the Road, and offered to send it to me. I was delighted to have it and I put it on my kitchen windowsill to await flowers in the spring. (Thank you, Judith!)

*Recent Highlights: Pasture Tours, The Kitchen and I, Coloring Mason Jars, and More

Barn: Did you miss any of the pasture tours? We went to the Lower Fields, the Upper Fields, and the Other Fields. And I have a tractor! Hunh. I just haven’t figured out what to do with it yet.‎ Find all my farm animal stories here.

Cooking: The Kitchen and I, we’re still working on coming to terms, but I did manage to whip up A Very Big Cookie. Don’t miss a thing in my kitchen! Get all my recipes.

Country Living: Check out this year’s farm goals in Farming from Scratch, Year Five. I finally feel like a farmer, but at the hardware store, I’m still in a foreign land. (I’m working on it!) And I’ve written a book! You can, too! Find out more about my book, and how you can write your own in How to Write a Memoir. See all my country living stories.

House & Garden: I was busy solving plumbing emergencies most of the past month, but I did manage to pull off an experiment in Coloring Mason Jars. I’m also set to dive into the big project in the studio–find out more in The Studio Fund. Browse all my posts in house & garden.

*Sneak Peak: Retreat 2012 Registration NOW OPEN!

Bigger and better than ever.

CITR Retreat 2012 is set for September 13-17, with the Party on the Farm (at Sassafras Farm!) on September 16. (Check-in at Camp Sheppard will be September 13, with check-out September 17.) Registration opened the first week of January–and we are already nearly two-thirds filled. Registration is limited, and you don’t want to miss out!

Retreat workshops at Camp Sheppard in 2012 will include cheesemaking, preserving, soapmaking, breadbaking, candlemaking, natural skin care, apron making, spinning, felting and fulling, container gardening, painting, goat milking and husbandry (with goats on site!), mushroom log inoculating, and more!

Evenings will be “freestyle” with craft-sharing time and some very special entertainment. West Virginia dulcimer player and maker Jim Good will entertain us with his music on Friday evening (September 14) and Granny Sue, a real live old-fashioned folk storyteller will regale us with her tales on Saturday night (September 15). See you there! For more info and to sign up, check out the Retreat 2012 page.

*Farm Bell Recipes: Foraging

One of my favorite community member contributions this month came from Sheryl-Runningtrails with her adventures in harvesting from the wild. Check out her post about Foraging and have an adventure of your own!

To submit a blog post and enter to win the latest contributor giveaway, go here. The January contributor giveaway winner was katieiacobellis.

January 2012 Farm Bell Recipes blog contributors:

AmandaBecker Style
CindyPOur Life Simplified
grouchymamaBlue Silo Farm
LisaAJBYou Probably Shouldn’t Read this
Robin from RurificationRurification
Shelleythe Intermittent Farm Report
Sheryl – RunningtrailsProvidence Acres Farm

THANK YOU! Please give them a visit!

*Blast from the Past: The Whos Down in Whoville

A mild winter leads me to reminisce!


We’ve only had a few light snows this year, which got me thinking about the year at Stringtown Rising when we were inundated with snow after snow–and power outage after power outage. Check out The Whos Down in Whoville for all my baking experiments with no electricity. Whew, it makes me grateful for a light winter!

The CITR 2012 Calendar is still available!

Keep a goat in cookies! Buy a calendar here!


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What are you fixing for supper tonight? Browse the goodness at Farm Bell Recipes — your cooking community!

*I’m giving away Ball Blue Book Guides to Preserving so don’t forget to watch the blog for The Ball Blue Book Project days.

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