Blackberry Mountain
A few things...

Well, I was wrong when I told you that I had some White Button mushrooms ready to be eaten.  Those little mushrooms photographed in last week's blog turned out to be large Portabella mushrooms.   We realized they were colored differently than they should be and then discovered it was because I had gotten the two types mixed up.  Regardless of the mistake we still got our first crop of mushrooms throughout the week.  Both types grew and continue to grow, enough for us to pick a couple each day.  We both really like mushrooms so this week we had mushroom omelets, mushroom pizza, and tonight, I made spaghetti loaded with mushrooms and a salad topped with them.  Needless to say...they are delicious!

Last Sunday a winter storm hit the area (as well as a large part of the country) and we got about 8 inches of snow and ice by the time it was over.  I was out of work most of the week, and the local schools  were canceled all week...the south is not ready for this type of winter weather.  We still have a lot of snow on the ground and an older church member told me there is an old wives tale that says if snow stays around for a while it is waiting on more to come.  This could be an interesting winter!  I do enjoy the snow and it is always nice to spend extra time at home with Jeremy and the animals.  We stayed inside mostly because it was so cold, but we ventured out one day to play on the land (photos on the main page and farm section).  I saw our neighbors sledding down the slope on our road and so I tried out snow tubing down Mozelle worked great and I plan on trying again if we get more snow this year.

I finally took down the Christmas decorations today.  I keep them up as long as possible because I like them and find no reason to rush to rid the house of them just because a specific date has passed.  While cleaning today I figured I might as well, plus the tree needed to go outside before it fell apart all over the place.  Luckily, Cedar trees just happen to be one of Rose's favorite foods.  I took the Christmas tree out and put it straight into the goat pen and nearly got trampled trying to get in and out.

I just wanted to drop in and share a few things from the past week that made me smile...mushrooms, snow, and Christmas tree eating goats. 

That is all for now...

Here are a few photos of the mushrooms from this week.  I'm experimenting with lighting so they look different.

The first photo shows a few days ago when you could see the White Button mushrooms really starting to grow on their side of the box.

The second photo shows three of the white button late last night.  Jeremy keeps asking if he can eat one.  I'm thinking we can try out mushroom omelets for Sunday lunch today.

I will post a photo when you can see it better but we do have a few small Portabella starting to grow. 

There was a point this summer when we were bringing in about eight eggs a day.  With nearly 5 dozen eggs a week we could cook eggs for a meal on several occasions, I was able to do lots of baking, we fed the dogs some every now and then (they love them), and gave a dozen to friends and family when there were enough.  All those eggs spoiled me and now its wintertime and the temperature has been very low which means that the chickens are using a lot of their energy to stay warm.  On top of that we’ve had a fat rat eating our feed so we’ve been changing our feeding times and the chickens have been working harder while free ranging—all that being said, they stopped laying.  A few began molting, a phase in which they lose feathers and grow a new coat and rest from laying before starting a new cycle, but the rest stopped—just in time for holiday cooking, too.  So as soon as I began to take the eggs for granted—I was forced to go without.  I tried to find someone else with chickens so that I could have farm fresh eggs for cooking but others were in similar situations.  I did finally give in and purchase eggs from the grocery store but I realized that as the seasons shift things are not so readily available.  There are cycles that we choose to ignore as we mass produce our chickens and eggs and vegetables even.  You can’t really get a tomato around here in the winter but we get people to ship them to us so that we don’t have to go without.  We have the stores full of the things that aren’t available elsewhere and so we don’t have to scavenge like the chickens do when we take their feed.  If we did, we might realize God has blessed us with an abundance of plants and animals. 

                As the days passed we got two eggs every day or so from two loyal birds.  We learned to check a tree stump for eggs daily because one bird prefers that spot to the coup.  On New Years morning, after a month long lesson on patience, I checked the coup and stump and found four eggs and a couple more later that day.  I got a little giddy when I saw the eggs.  For our New Years dinner we ate them cooked over a fire with some farm fresh bacon and sausage our parents brought us.  YUM!  Jeremy is a great breakfast cook and a better fire starter so he put the two together in our fire place using a couple cast iron pans making our eggs well worth the wait.  The chickens taught me a couple lessons this time:  I am learning more about the cycles of nature and how to understand and respect them and that if we work for it we will be provided for but more often than not patience is required.