Archives for February 2012

Red Barn in the Snow

An unexpected snowfall on a farm-hunting toodle last week provided some beautiful scenery, even if it wasn't great weather for the task at hand.

Farm Inventory

The last post I did on Combs prompted me to do a “chicken inventory” of sorts. It’s no wonder I get confused with all of the different breeds that I have. You’ll see how similar some of them are to each other. It’s fun to have a variety though and provides a rainbow of egg colors in the cartons.

Cheenah is still hanging in there, although frankly the long-term prognosis is not good. She has no use of one leg at all and can't walk. Today she spent the day out in the wheelbarrow enjoying the sun where she was protected and safe.

The snow drops are blooming in the woods behind the farm.

My Buff Brahma is a tiny, sweet chicken.

Ash is my Black Australorp. She was the crazy chicken that went broody last year and laid on infertile eggs for months before finally abandoning the nest. She was one dedicated wanna-be mom.

My one Silver Laced Wyandotte. This was the first breed of chicken I ever owned, and I had 25 of them! They're decent layers, but aren't friendly as compared to some other breeds.

This is Roo, my Partridge Penedesenca. She was a strange chick, and I was convinced she was a rooster, hence the name Roo. I thought she had splayed leg and almost put her down when I transitioned them out into the coop from the basement brooder as a chick. She could barely walk. She still walks with a funny, marching step. She's a very timid chicken but lays beautiful, very dark brown eggs.

I have several Welsummr hens. They are a little bit shy, but lay wonderful dark brown eggs and love to free range in the woods behind my house.

My Golden Campine is a smaller-sized hen that is also on the shy side. She lays large white eggs, and her single comb has gotten so large that it now falls to one side.

The #1 egg laying chicken for commercial egg farms, these are a good breed to have, if a little ordinary. They're friendly, don't mind confinement in caged areas if need be, and are reliable, cold-hardy egg layers.

A Rhode Island Red hen. These were the egg-laying breed used until the Red Star breed was developed that replied them. They are a nice, all-around chicken to have and are very cold-hardy and great layers.

My one White Leghorn lays large white eggs. She's a smaller-sized hen with a large red comb. I've read that petroleum jelly on the combs in the winter helps prevent frostbite, but this winter that hasn't been too much of a concern.

My Delaware could possibly be my least favorite chicken, but that is just my personal opinion. Most people swear by this breed. Whenever I find a chicken eating an egg, it's usually her, or she's at least at the head of the line in the group doing it. They are a average sized chicken that is a very reliable layer.

My White Plymouth Rock is a nice dual-purpose chicken that is a good layer of large brown eggs.

My Partridge Cochin is a sweet feathery chicken with feathered legs and lays brown eggs. All Cochin's are terrific mothers.

I cant tell if Paula Deen is a bad example of a Blue Cochin or a bad example of a White Cochin, because she isn't completely white and tends more to grey, but she's a friendly, sweet chicken, although I think she has angry eyes.

My pure White Cochin is a lovely chicken. All Cochin's look to me like they are wearing victorian dresses with bustles in them.

I have only one Silver Cuckoo Maran. She is a nice hen that lays glorious deep brown eggs. She is considered a "chocolate" egg layer, which is what they call the really dark brown eggs.

A Barred Rock hen on the left and a Dominique hen on the right. The only discernible difference is the combs; the Barred Rock has a single comb and the Dominique has a rose comb.

I have two Dominique hens. They are large docile birds that lay brown eggs. With their rose combs, they are cold tolerant and hardy.

Romeo, my Dominique rooster.

A Barred Rock hen has a single comb.

Rocky, my Barred Rock rooster.

My Golden Laced Wyandotte is a beautiful chicken with a small rose comb that lays brown eggs.

I have two Patridge Chantecler hens and they are lovely large birds that are extremely cold hardy with very small combs.

I have two Blue Andalusian hens. They are a Spanish breed that is very shy but still curious. Both of mine are not very good examples of the breed, as they should be a much darker color. They lay beautiful small white eggs.

I have several Buff Orpington hens. They are a sweet, gentle bird that is a reliable, cold-hardy layer of light brown eggs.

And this is what the roosters do all day long. No hen is safe.

Was it good for you, babe?

And just so the goats don’t feel completely left out:

Gracie's smiling at me because it's such a beautiful day.

Melina looks like one of those Elephant Walrus lying here on the old coop porch. She has got to go on a diet.

Princess Kate

It was a good day for a nap in the sun.

Kiki naps on a big wooden spool.

Yellow Barn

I loved the distinctive yellow color of this barn up in Litchfield County, Connecticut last week. It was a very unusual shape too, but I couldn't get a good overall shot of the barn without doing some serious trespassing/stalking. Perhaps another time.

Pin It


A Barn Door barely hanging on around Litchfield, Connecticut today.


I don’t know why I hadn’t noticed it until the other day, but while I had thought I had two Barred Rock roosters, I actually have a Barred Rock and a Dominique. They look identical except for their combs. Barred Rock’s have a large single comb, and Dominiques have a Rose Comb. They are both heritage breed chickens, but the Dominique is much more uncommon compared to the Barred Rock.

Rocky, my Barred Rock rooster with a large single comb.

Maia decided we should name this guy Romeo.

My Dominique rooster with a rose comb.

But combs on chickens are a fascinating thing, and can vary greatly. In some breeds, as in the Barred Rock and the Dominique, the only way to tell them apart is by their combs. I find it very difficult to tell the difference between my Patridge Penedesenca (with a single ‘King’s Comb’) and my Welsummers, with their small single combs.

My Patridge Penendesenca with a King's Comb that droops elegantly to one side is so lovely.

My White Orpington has a very small single comb.

My Dominique hen with a small rose comb.

My Black Australorp with small single comb.

It can really be hard to figure out what these breeds are sometimes, but I’m pretty confident that this girl is a Silver Cuckoo Maran with a single comb to one side.

Does anybody have any hairspray? My comb is a mess.

I bought a stalk of brussel sprouts in the bargain bin at the grocery the other day. Melina was completely hogging it.

I wormed all the goats today, so they were all a little pissed at me.

Melina and Princess Kate were enjoying the beautiful weather today.

Grace and Kiki on the play ramp.


Rocky is scratching an itch on his back with his beak, but I caught it at just the right moment and it's a big swirl of feathers.

Wolf or Coyote?

A wolf or a coyote? I think it's a wolf. He was trotting along in a field in Jackson looking for some lunch.


This is actually the inside of what I believe was an old goat house on a piece of land I looked at last year that was for sale. There were large pieces of roof missing. I love the different angles, the vines, and the light and shadows.

Apricot-Almond Shortbread Bars

I hosted a party this past Monday night for the camp that my children all attend, so while I was working at breakneck speed making a table and cleaning my disastrous house, I also had to cook. It’s more of a finger food event, and some guests had volunteered to bring some things, so I made my Warm Black Bean & Chipotle Dip and then three different types of dessert bars; these Apricot-Almond Shortbread Bars are my absolute favorites. The almond paste in the topping gives it the most amazing flavor when combined with the apricots. I changed the recipe a bit from the original. I increased the quantities as I wanted to make a 13 x 9 x 2 pan, and I added some chopped dried apricots that I soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes. Also, the original recipe just called for 3 tablespoons of Grand Marnier in the filling, but I use a combination of Grand Marnier, Amaretto and almond extract.

Apricot-Almond Shortbread Bars

Makes 32 bars

Original recipe from Bon Appetit, December, 2005.  Altered by Crafty Farm Girl, February, 2012.


  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1-1/2 cups apricot preserves
  • 2 tablespoons orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier)
  • 1 tablespoon Amaretto liqueur
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1-1/2  cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 7 oz. almond paste, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, divided
  • Preparation

    Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter a 13 x 9 x 2-inch metal baking pan; line bottom and sides of pan with parchment paper, extending over sides. Butter parchment. Bring 1 cup water to boil in a small saucepan and stir in the chopped dried apricots. Turn off heat and let apricots sit for about 10 minutes. Drain. Mix dried apricots, preserves and orange liqueur in small bowl; set aside.

    Using electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in large bowl until well blended. Beat in almond extract. Add flour and salt; beat just until blended. Transfer 1 cup of dough to another small bowl; add crumbled almond paste and mix with fingertips until small clumps form. Mix in 1/4 cup sliced almonds; set aside for topping.

    Press remaining dough evenly onto bottom of prepared pan. Spread preserves mixture evenly over. Using fingertips, coarsely crumble topping over preserves, then sprinkle 1/4 cup almonds over. Press topping lightly into preserves.

    Bake shortbread until top and crust edges are golden brown, about 1 hour. Cool completely in pan on rack. Using parchment paper as aid, lift shortbread from pan. Cut shortbread into 4 equal strips, then cut each strip crosswise into 8 small bar cookies.

    DO AHEAD Can be prepared ahead. Store in single layer in airtight container at room temperature up to 4 days or freeze up to 2 weeks.

    Print This Recipe Print This Recipe

Pin It

September in Wyoming

While fall seems to last about 4 days in Wyoming, going from beautiful summer days almost directly to snow, while it lasts it is gorgeous.