Monday, 20 August 2012

Scrumptious Blueberry Muffins

 A couple weeks ago, my mom went to the store, and came back bearing a VERY large quart of local blueberries that were on sale. The next day we got more, and so my baking spree commenced.
This recipe makes about 1 dozen muffins, and is great for freezing. Not to mention, they taste AMAZING.


  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup of butter or margarine (softened)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 and 1/2 cups blueberries
In one bowl, mix the baking powder, the flour, and the salt. In another bowl, cream the sugar with the butter, with an electric mixer. Next, mix in the eggs. Gradually stir in milk, until the mixture looks kind of curdled, as if you were making cheese.
Combine the wet ingredients with the dry, and mix thoroughly. Finally, fold in the blue berries. I usually put in a bit more than called for, but that's your choice.
Spoon out the batter into individual muffin cups, and fill to the top of the cup. Put the oven on at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. I usually cook them for about 25 minutes, and check with a skewer to make sure they're fully cooked.
The next step, is to enjoy! Whenever I make these muffins, I usually make a big batch, to freeze some for later use.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Brooder Room building

Almost ten years we've lived in this house, and the shed is still left for storage. Yes, the thought of it being a chicken coop came to mind a couple of times, but it never really happened. So, now, my father is going to section off a quarter of it (which is LOTS of space) to make a brooder room.
It really looks crappier in this picture than it really is. Yeah, it's a fixer-upper,  but that's fine by me!
I'll keep posting pictures to show what it looks like!
April 1st-
This brooder room- my father calls it 'mine' is going to be used for chicks, rabbits, quail, possibly a house for the cats and whatever other animals we acquire. Today, two and a half walls were put up. Let me tell you- I was a bit scared when my father was jacking up the middle beams. I don't know exactly how old it really is, but it's old. Upon cleaning it out, we found a wooden plow piece. In the cement, which is probably younger than the actual shed (originally a small barn) there are a bunch of names, and the year 1975. On the wall, in the photo above, you can JUST see the corner (on the right side) of the liscense plate hanging off the wall. It's an Ontario plate with the date 1945 on it... That's older than my one Grandmother!
This isn't my side- it's the other. 

Friday, 23 March 2012

Operation Octagon- My First Hatch

 We all have that one thing. That one thing we've wanted for a very long time. For some it's a brand new car, others, a new iPod maybe. Me, I've always wanted a Brinsea incubator. Not the most typical thing for a teenage girl, eh? 
   This member page will act as my public diary. Something amusing for my fellow chicken keepers to read. I'll be recording my journey, as long as I think is necessary. It's not going to be some useless rant, don't worry. I'll be recording a day-by-day diary from when I receive my incubator, to my very first hatch. This will also act as a review for my incubator. 

Yesterday, March 12th, my dream came true.
     After saving up as much money as I could, I was a little disappointed. Not being the legal age to work yet, and with no babysitting jobs in sight, my hopes were down. All of the money I had was from my birthday. All I had was a measly $70, not even enough for the Brinsea Mini eco. My parents said they would give me some money, for babysitting siblings and my birthday, but I figured that wouldn't be happening too soon. Spring was on the way.
      However, yesterday, my parents surprised me. My father and I sat down together and ordered the Brinsea Octagon 20 Eco. I was at first going to get the Mini eco advanced, but my father insisted on the Octagon 20, saying that I would want to have more eggs held at once. I don't know how long it takes a package to get from BC to ON, but let's hope it's not too long! wink.png

Let me hear your guys' Brinsea feedback!

March 20th-
So the incubator came today! Let me tell you, I was really excited, and my anticipation grew every day. We've had it on since about 5:00pm, and will set eggs in it tomorrow. We're giving it some time to make sure the temperature stays steady. 
photoessay 001.JPG

March 21st- DAY ONE
Today I set the eggs! There are 3 EE eggs, four duck eggs and... some odd Barred rock eggs. The only thing I'm worried about is if the BR eggs are fertile- the people we got them from, their chickens free-range full time. I'm not sure what their roo to hen ratio is. 
Basically, this hatch is a test hatch. We want to make sure the incubator works right before putting more 'expensive' breeds in. 
For the first 24 hours, I'm leaving the incubator locked up. I will start to candle probably on the second day. On day one, the nervous system, head and eye begin forming.
photoessay 001.JPG
Yay for eggs!
DAY 2-
Today we decided (more like I did) to candle some of the eggs. Upon candling, we found one with hairline cracks- AHH! It's gone, don't worry. We found the duck eggs are REALLY easy to candle, since they're white. We had a few different looking results. On day two, the chick develops it's heart and ears. The heart begins to beat.
day2 011.JPG
^^^^^There's a few like this that have a distinct red circle. I'm a newbie, so bear with me ;)
day2 008.JPG
^^^This is a duck egg.
DAY 3-
Today the eggs with red spots (correct me if I am wrong, but I think that's the chick) have grown significantly. On day 3, it is said the chick starts developing it's nose, legs and wings. Cool, eh? 
 As you can see, the red spot has grown compared to the yesterday. These are Barred Rock eggs, so they're harder to candle.
The bottom is a duck egg. They take 28 days, so I'm not expecting too much development at once.
I suggest checking out this blog! Without it, I probably wouldn't even had a Brinsea right now ;)

DAY 4-
Oh my cow, what a surprise when I was candling today! I was candling one of my EE's, Stella's eggs, and squealed in delight. I'm not sure what happens on day 4, but the change is amazing. HOWEVER, this next picture is a different egg than the BR one I posted yesterday.  My father tells me "don't count the chicks before they hatch." Good point.
                                                          ^Look how cute it is! :) Baby on board!?
^Probably not the best decision on my part to incubate duck AND chicken eggs at the same time... But the ducks are just for fun, really. If even ONE hatched, I'd be happy!

DAY 5- 
 Well. It doesn't look too promising for the Barred Rock eggs at the moment. Our flashlight isn't strong enough to penetrate the shells well, but quite a few are for sure duds. Only 1/4 duck eggs looks viable. However, Stella, my EE's eggs are looking really good. On day 5, the reproductive organs begin to form, & sex differentiation begins. I tried telling them to all be hens, but I'm not sure they can hear me. 
  ^The picture is hard to see, but we can see the eyeball. It really is a miracle.
^*fingers crossed this little guy hatches!!
DAY 6- Today we focused on categorizing the eggs. #s 20, 19, 16, 12, 1, 2, 3, 6 and duck C are looking good. We are unsure about 18, 17, 10, 9, 11, 4, 5, 13, 14, 15, A, B and D. 7 and 8 are definite duds. on day 6, the beak and egg tooth begin to form. 

 ^Taking pictures of these eggs is extremely hard.
^ Look at the progress in C! *Please please PLEASE hatch!* My father told the people we got the eggs from that I would pee my pants if I found out we got them (I wasn't there). I didn't, but I would if this guy hatched!!

DAY 7- 
Well, the Barred Rocks might be starting to redeem themselves. However, I'm a bit worried about the duck egg. There are plenty of veins, but we couldn't find the embryo. I'm worried we might have disturbed it too much. :(

 ^it's hard to see.
                                               *sniffle* :(

DAY 8- 
Today we decided to give the eggs a break, we don't want to disturb them too much! On day 8, the feathers begin to form. 

DAY 9-
Well, ladies and gentlemen, the judges have made the first cut. 
Oh my gosh, today was fun. When candling the eggs, you can actually see the embryo moving! I call them my babies ;)
GOOD NEWS AS WELL! The duck is back on the rebound! Poor little guy's gonna be all alone in the incubator for a week though, if he makes it that far. A, B and D have been tossed. Come on, C! You can do it! I need a duck! :D On day 9, the embryo begins to resemble a bird, and the mouth opening appears.

                                                    ^*girly squeal*
                                            ^This picture may be blurry, but you can obviously see the embryo.
DAY 10- things are looking pretty good thus far!
 ^it's pretty dark, but now when we candle them we can see the embryos moving around!
^quack quack quack?

DAY 11-
Only ten more days to go! On days 11 and 12, the tail feathers appear and the toes are fully formed. Check this out:
Isn't nature amazing?
It's getting hard to candle the eggs..

I actually had to try pretty hard to time this photo. This little guy likes to swim away as soon as I take the photos!
 It's hilarious!

DAY 12- The eggs are so dark now, you can't barely see anything. I think we may need a better candler..
I decided to not bother taking pictures, you cant really see anything!

DAY 13-
Today was also a day of relaxation for the chicks- we also didn't quite have time. 
On day 13, the scales and claws begin to appear.

DAY 14- I candled the eggs today. It's hard to take pictures, the eggs are so dark!

DAY 15- It's amusing to candle the duck egg, and seeing it swim around! It's a LOT more active than the chickens- either that or he's just more visible. Whatever it is, I think he's having a party!
On day 15, the gut is drawn into abdominal cavity.

DAY 16- Two days 'till lockdown- EEEk! I'm actually really scared. I'm worried about things like the temp is wrong, the humidity is wrong, I don't turn them enough, none will hatch- Blah, blah blah. Almost time to get my brooder ready!! 
On days 16&17, the scales, claws and beak become firm.

DAY 17- One more day 'till lockdown! Check out the ducky-

At this point, there's nothing to see in the chicken eggs! (That's a good thing)

Ladies and gentlemen, we have lift-off- erm, I mean, lockdown!
Lockdown starts at day 18 and goes until hatch. At this point I increase the humidity, and keep the incubator still. I do not turn the eggs. I still have to manually turn the duck eggs, but that doesn't take too long. 3 more days 'till little peeps!

DAY 19- LD DAY 2
Butterflies. Grab me a paper bag- I think I'm going to hyperventilate on Tuesday... anxious, nervous, excited, scared... GOSH, this is more nerve-racking than a math test!

DAY 20-
*thumb twiddle* The chicks should hatch late tomorrow or Wednesday. Is it bad to yell at the eggs, telling them to hurry up?! ;)

DAY 21- Three pips as of 11:03pm! Time to sleep... 

The next day, before I went to sleep, my first chick hatched! It was actually at midnight when the little stinker finally decided to come out. I set my alarm for two hours later, so I could take him out of the bator once he dried off.

This is a little easter egger- actually an egg that came from my own chickens.
Within the next few days, 13/14 fertile eggs hatched. That is outstanding. I would most definitely recommend this incubator, or any Brinsea product to any chicken keeper, whether they are renowned or a novice. 

As of May 25th, I will have hatched ducklings, chicks and quail in my octagon.

A surprise- A Buff Orpington chick! Woop!

One of the EEs

One of the Barred Rock chicks

A Buff Orpington-Barred Rock cross, or as we call it, a Barf!

The Brinsea bunch :)