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Turkey Tracks: Lavender Orpington Hens and a Blue Wheaten Rooster

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November 5, 2016

Lavender Orpington Hens and a Blue Wheaten Rooster

A friend has some lavender Orpington hens just coming into laying age.

Rose Lowell gave her one of the Blue Wheaten Roosters for her flock.

We are all wondering how gorgeous the babies from this mix will be.

Here’s a little video:

Written by louisaenright

November 4, 2016 at 4:12 pm

Turkey Tracks: Rose Cooks For the Weekend

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Turkey Tracks:  April 26, 2015

Rose Cooks For the Weekend

Stephen Pennoyer and Mark White moved the chicken coop to Rose Thomas’s La Dolce Vita Farm Saturday morning.





It took two trips (bless their souls), but the coop is so happy to be on flat ground once again.  (It’s made by Roots and Coops.)

And see the coop wheels all pumped up?  Stephen got some product you spray inside flat wheels that pumps them up AND coats the inside so that the tire STAYS pumped up.

I came over after I went to the dump–and after Stephen and Mark’s second run–to show Rose the ins and outs of the coop.

Rose bakes and cooks for Saturday morning, and her customer line was slowing down when I came:

Here’s her Facebook post for today–Il Forno (The Oven) at Dolce Vita Farm:

Good Morning Everyone! Today I am opening with fresh hot Bacon and Egg cups, Morning Glory muffins, Hot coffee from Green Tree and loads of fresh breads to include: Pain di mais (sourdough cornbread), Semolina, Whole wheat sourdough, Lt Wheat pecan/raisin, and regular cornbread with corn and bacon. There is also ricotta/cheese cakes with almond biscotti crusts and my fab Oatmeal everything cookie. Todays entree is Seafood Chowdha with shrimp, scallops and haddock.

Have a great day everyone!
Dolce Vita Farm and Bakery
488 Beach Road
Lincolnville, Maine

Oh my.  You should see Rose’s beautiful food:



Hot Bacon and Egg cups:







Ricotta cheese cake:



BIG Morning Glory muffins and very interesting corn cakes:





Here’s Rose with puppy Ivy–whose face looks like a Teddy Bear’s:



I got a cup of coffee and we walked about.

My chickens are still staying close to each other, and they still recognize my voice.  They also recognized their old coop:


Pumpkin is VERY happy at Rose’s:


I’ll be getting these at Rose’s now:


She’s going to use the coop first to pen Pumpkin with her three remaining Blue Wheaten hens and “Baby” her best broody hen to see if she can get more of this wonderful breed.

I went home with a bacon/egg cup, a quart of DELICIOUS chowder, and two of the corn cakes.

And I’ll be back next Saturday morning for sure.



Written by louisaenright

April 26, 2015 at 3:57 pm

Turkey Tracks: Mid-March Project Update

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Turkey Tracks:  March 21, 2015

Mid-March Project Update

Ironically, today is the first day of spring.

And it is warmer, but it’s also snowing outside.

Though it’s wet and dreary, my heart has been warmed by Kathleen Nixon’s visit for my birthday.

She was to have come yesterday, but the storm grounded flights, so she arrived bright and cheerful at noon today.  We had a sushi lunch at Mr. Wat’s, a coffee at Zoots, and will have what will be a wonderful dinner at the Hartstone Inn (thanks to Gina Caceci).  Tomorrow we’re going to a special showing of the uncut version of LAWRENCE OF ARABIA at The Strand in Rockland, Maine (where we’ll have some POPCORN).  Afterwards, we’ll have an early dinner at Mirandas in Rockland–a favorite place for both of us.  I have to let her go on Monday, but will take her down to Portland and will do some errands on the way home.

I have been working on the big quilt this past week.  It just needs one more border:


Which is almost done:


This is a VERY BIG quilt…

Here are some close-ups:


AND this one, which shows how much of my focus fabric I’ve been able to use:


It’s interesting and inspired by Kaffe Fasset’s low-contrast style of quilting.  AND by the American Patchwork and Quilting Magazine’s low contrast “quilt along” of last year.

This year their challenge is to work with four patches–and the above quilt actually uses a lot of four patches.  BUT, I am much more intrigued by the four-patches on point that Bonnie Hunter is making for her part in the magazine’s challenge.  So, these patches have become my current leader/ender project.


I have no idea how Bonnie is going to set hers, and I’m hoping she will do a “reveal” on April 3rd, the end of the challenge.  If not, I’ll open my EQ7 quilting design program and get to work.

Here’s a close-up.



I have 20 blocks done now, but truthfully, I could just disappear from the world and sew these fun blocks until I drop.

Remember that I have a whole box of two-inch squares that need using…


Maybe I’ll do a marathon session and sew these into light/dark four patches…

Meanwhile, the chickens are out every day now and hang out at my quilting room windows where they try to talk to me:


Barb Melchiskey challenged our group to complete one UFO for our May challenge meeting.  I have a handful of planned quilt projects all folded up together.  This one is at least nine years old:


And it’s pretty fabric that I still like:


It wants to be a quilt for a male person…

And I have one in mind…

So, I will start it when the big blue quilt is…quilted.

Happy spring everyone!



Turkey Tracks: Wild Turkeys in Spring Video

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Turkey Tracks:  March 9, 2015

Wild Turkeys in Spring Video


I know I’ve put up many videos about the wild turkeys and the chickens.

But, it’s spring, and the turkeys have formed a large flock again–and will start mating.  I am encouraged by how many have survived February 2015.  I can’t imagine what they managed to eat–beyond my bits of sunflower seeds.

The chickens are wild with delight to be allowed out of the coop/cage.  This time of year is ALWAYS a risk for them.  You saw the shots of one getting stuck in the snow pack posted yesterday.  Her feet, by the way, seem to be hurt, but not lethally hurt.  And fox is having babies now and will need to feed those babies.  Life is always already risky, isn’t it…



Written by louisaenright

March 9, 2015 at 3:13 pm

Turkey Tracks: Chicken Stuck in Snow

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Turkey Tracks:  March 8, 2015

Chicken Stuck in Snow

Today dawned to be beautiful.  Warm and sunny.  Warm for Maine that is.

It was warm enough for the chickens to agree to come out of their cage/coop.

We are all feeling the rising sap and energy of SPRING, even though the snow pack out here is still about four feet thick.

I dug out the flap to the chicken coop, propped open the coop roof, and out they came to eat the mealy worm and sunflower seed treats.

Back inside, while eating my breakfast and making plans for a run up to Belfast, I saw that the rooster and a few of the hens were up on the upper porch.

When I got back from Belfast, I checked on the flock.

Here’s what I saw up on the hill:


I called, and she craned her head, but did not move.

Here’s a closer view:


Something had spooked her, and she had flown up into the snow pack and gotten herself stuck.

There was nothing to do but go get her.

She is fully exposed and a “sitting duck” chicken waiting for a predator.

Out came the snow shoes:


I had to fit them to the larger boots I got just before John died.  I figured it out.  Thank heavens I have a good pair.  They were a birthday gift from John in 2004 when we knew we were moving to Maine.


The chickens, as always, milled about, trying to help.


(The turkeys have spread the old chicken bedding out over the banks and paths.)

I got to her, after working my way around the large white pine.  I was able to take advantage of the paths the turkeys and the dogs have made in the snow.  And, yes, sister Susan, I took my cell phone.

I poked her with the long end of the ski pole, and she didn’t move.  Yep.   Her feet were stuck.  I climbed the hill to her and picked her up.  She was limp and scared and probably somewhat dehydrated.

She could not walk when I put her on the turkey/dog path–and by this time the rest of the flock had followed me.

Were her feet just numb, or were they frozen or badly frost bitten.  Hens do have a way of going limp when they are scared.

I have no idea how long she had been stuck.

I carried her under my arm back the way I came and put her through the flap to the coop.  She ducked inside, so she could walk.

But, as I stopped at the edge of the porch to take off the snow shoes (they have wicked grippers on the bottom), I saw that she had followed me and that her feet were turning a dark red…

…so I don’t know how badly she might be hurt.

Time will tell.

She was eating.


Written by louisaenright

March 8, 2015 at 4:33 pm

Turkey Tracks: Inside the Chicken Coop February 2015

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Turkey Tracks:  February 15, 2015

Inside the Chicken Coop:  February 2015

The sun just came out for a few minutes.

The wind gusts have stopped.

Blizzard 2 of 2015 veered 50 or so miles to the east, which made it mostly miss us in the Camden, Maine, area.

We got blowing snow with only about 4 to 5 inches accumulation and high winds.  The storm hit southern Maine and the Bar Harbor area north of us pretty hard though.

I took my chickens a bowl of warm food a bit ago.  Here’s a video of them inside the coop:

You can see that the bedding is really beat up.  I keep adding more, but I have no where to put old bedding at the moment.  Clean up of the cage/coop is going to be a tough job this spring.  The door to the left leads into their cage.  And you can also see that the frost bite on the roosters comb has almost healed.

This coop is getting really beat up.  I’m hoping Stephen Pennoyer will help me repair it this spring…

Or we will come up with a different kind of coop–maybe placed up against the side of the house…



Here’s a pic of all the snow around and on the coop:


And here are the eggs you just saw in the coop.  Aren’t they pretty?


One (or more?) of the hens is occasionally laying a tiny egg.  I have not seen this before now.  I broke one open, and there was a tiny, tiny yellow yolk in the white inside.


Written by louisaenright

February 15, 2015 at 12:55 pm

Turkey Tracks: Chicken Love, Lovey Love

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Turkey Tracks:  February 14, 2015

Chicken Love, Lovey Love

It was -15 on friend Gail’s garden thermomenter this morning.  She’s in Camden, which is lower than where I love.  Just the kind of “valley” place where the temps were predicted to be the lowest.

It was -8 on my thermometer when I went to bed last night.  And -3.5 when I got down to the kitchen around 8.  The girls and I snugged in a big longer.  I didn’t want to open the chicken coop until the temps had come up a bit anyway.  All the turkeys were in the yard paths when I went out to dip some sunflower seeds on the front deck.

The sun was out–which brought the temps up quickly.  When I went to the garage to get more chicken food and down the hill to the mailbox, it was about 15–which felt almost warm.  Ah, the relativity of…low temps.

Now, the sky is snow white.

Snow is coming hard off and on…

I took the chickens some “love” early morning:  a big bowl filled with some old bacon I had that needed frying, all the grease from the fried bacon, some raw hamburger, and some warmed milk.

Nothing says love to chickens in the cold like warm food–something I have learned from Rose Thomas, aka “Chicken Rose” in my family as I am the lucky friend of TWO Rose’s.

Then I came in and made myself, aka Lovey, a hearty breakfast:  a delicious grapefruit half, two fresh eggs, fabulous local bacon, real butter on the GF toast, and homemade blackberry jam from blackberries picked last summer.

I am one happy woman this morning.



Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone!


Written by louisaenright

February 14, 2015 at 2:12 pm

Turkey Tracks: Rose Thomas and La Dolce Vita Farm

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Turkey Tracks:  July 19, 2014

Rose Thomas and La Dolce Vita Farm


Rose Thomas is an amazing baker and an amazing friend.

Rose bakes in a wood-fired oven (and in other ovens too) and her commercial kitchen is almost finished.

Her baking is…delicious…and her other cooking is…inspired.

Take a look at her Facebook page if you can, and you’ll see what I mean.


Rose has been to Italy many, many times over the years and worked in farm/resort kitchens there as well.  One place she goes is to the Tuscan kitchen and farm Spannocchia.

Her La Dolce Vita Farm is a really fun place to be, and I go over about once a week on Wednesdays to pick up milk and yogurt that arrives.  This week, though, I got there on Thursday, and Rose was baking for the Isleboro Island farmer’s market on Friday.


Here’s Rose on this big baking day–the oven is behind her and she’s already loaded about 15 loaves of this bread into the oven’s maw–with more to go.



She uses Tartine bread–from the famous bakery in California–as her ultimate model for her loaves.  She will cut the tops of these loaves with a razor before she puts them in the oven.


Here’s a pic of the inside of the oven, which is, unfortunately, blurry, but it gives you some idea:



Earlier this spring, Rose knew that I was down to three hens with two of them not laying and that I’ve talked about getting Buckeye chickens for some years (they’re hard to find in Maine).  So, she surprised me with some Buckeye chicks that she is raising, and I’ve been visiting them when I go to the farm.


The Buckeyes are the brown chicks, and the Cockoo Marans are the speckled ones.  The latter will lay a big chocolate brown egg, and the Buckeyes will lay a lighter colored brown.  Both of these breeds are big hens and are very cold tolerant of our Maine winter.

The chicks are almost big enough to be released to the freedom of the yard.  They have to be big enough to handle the other hens in the hen house.

And I can’t wait to bring some of both breeds home.  When I do, I’ll return two of my more…territorial…hens to her flock so they won’t beat the new chicks to death.

Rose is also raising four pigs.  They’ve doubled in size over the last week.

Here they are:

And, here’s a picture of the heavenly milk and yogurt I’m getting from MilkHouse–who drops off at Rose’s farm.  Can you see that the cream on the milk bottle reaches all the way to the bottom of the jug handle?  That’s Jersey cows for you…


I am so spoiled up here in Maine…

And I know it.




Turkey Tracks: CSA Bounty

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Turkey Tracks:  July 19, 2014

CSA Bounty


My CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) is Hope’s Edge, in Hope, Maine.

My pickup is on Friday, which was  yesterday.

Friend Giovanna McCarthy picked up for me as I spent the day on Vinalhaven Island (an hour ferry’s ride away) with my book club.

So, I came home to two large sacks in the garage refrigerator that include a gorgeous fennel bulb, lots of greens, peas, spring onions, herbs, broccoli, and on and on.

It was…a haul.

So, I spent this morning processing food.

Jennifer McGruther of THE NOURISHED KITCHEN in a recent blog post noted that when she has a glut of greens, she dries them in the dehydrator and pulverizes them to green dust in her food processor and stores them in jars.  She adds the “green dust” to soups and stews at will.  I really liked that idea.  (Thanks, Jennifer!)

So, my greens are upstairs drying out as we speak.  AHA!  It’s the inaugural summer use of the dehydrator, which runs day and night in August and September.  I took the lid off so you can see.  I’m drying kale and beet greens.



I used the chard leaves and a lot of the CSA produce in a summer soup–whose base is a VERY rich turkey bone broth.  I wrangled my 23-pound Thanksgiving turkey for two whole days this week, which freed up needed freezer space and produced a lot of cooked meat.  (The cooked drumsticks I refroze and will use them to build more bone broth AND some delicious dark meat for a soup/stew.)  The turkey came from Golden Brook Farm, owned by Susan McBride and Chris Richmond.

Here’s the soup.  I ate it for lunch, and it was so delicious.  It has the turkey bone broth, garlic scapes, onions, carrots, the fennel bulb, wintered-over potatoes, a handful of small broccoli crowns from the garden, celery, dried cherry tomatoes from last summer, fresh herbs–and that’s all I can remember.  I stir the chard leaves in at the last minute.  And I used the turkey fat on top of the jars of broth to sauté the veggies.  The only thing from “away” was the celery.


Jennifer McGruther in THE NOURISHED KITCHEN has a terrific recipe (or so it looks) for fermenting chard stems.  So, I tried it, but added, also, the beet green stems to fill out the jar.  She uses a savory pickling mixture and has what looks to be a lovely combination in the book.  I didn’t have all the spices at the seed/whole level, so fell back on a pickling mixture I already had.


In one of the fermented mixtures I’m eating now–that I put up last fall–I put in some whole tatsoi/baby bokchoi leaves with their stems.  They are delicious–the stems are crunchy and lovely, so I have no doubt that these stems I did today will be fun.

Thanks, again, Jennifer.

Turkey Tracks: Mid April Update

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Turkey Tracks:  April 18, 2014

Mid April Update


I’ve had a busy few weeks, and it’s been fun.

First of all, Rosie, my Copper Black Maran has decided to lay her super dark brown eggs again.  Aren’t they pretty?



Rosie is the last CBM I have.  Remember that we lost her rooster to the fox last spring…

CBMs are not great layers, but they are big, happy hens and very social.

It might be time to think about getting some more from Tom Culpepper in Georgia…

Along with the beef broth–which is on the blog post just before this one–I made a shredded veggie lacto-fermented mixture, as mine is all gone now.  I used cabbage, including a red one which will make the mixture such a lovely red in a few days, garlic, carrots, and a bunch of kale.   Here it is in the bowl, all kneaded until it is juicy and ready to load into jars:


I have two kinds of jars I like to use–a regular old wide-mouth Mason jar and a fancier Fido jar with a bailer and rubber sealer.  I thought I’d have enough mixture for a half-gallon jar, but no.  Thus the quart jar:


Here’s a little video of Pumpkin, my rooster, who is amazing with the hens.  You can hear him telling them to “come eat this food,” and if you watch carefully, you’ll see him pick up food and hold it up for them to see that it’s “ok.”



I make a run up to Belfast to the Belfast Coop every ten days or so.  The Coop carries the dog food I use:  raw ground WHOLE chicken–bones, skin, organs, the works.  The girls THRIVE on this food.  You’d never know to look at them that they are 11 and 12 years old.  Here’s what their good looks like:


I have an old pair of boots that I bought for $10 at a kind of shoe-thrift store back in Virginia over 15 years ago.  They are my “chicken boots”–and survive ice and mud in rough weather.  I think I’ve gotten and will continue to get my money’s worth.  I’m still using heavy gloves when I go out for chicken duty morning and evening:


Remember this rug I braided on the fashioned loom?  It’s still going strong…

The wild turkeys have broken up into small bands now.  I have one male who is hanging around with his band–probably because they are still feeding on discarded coop bedding and the odd treats I throw to the chickens.  At night he roosts in one of the pines just beyond the stream.  And he calls to me when I come out to lock up the chickens.

Here’s one video I took of him the other day.  He’s perpetually “puffed up” these days:

And one of him with some of his hens.  His tail is looking a bit ragged.  I heard two males fighting at dusk up on the hill last week–they seemed to be hitting heads/necks/wings.  Hard to tell :


Soon the hens will sit on eggs, and I will not see much of them until next winter–except for the odd crossing across a road here and there.