Nature verses the local grocery...

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

National Chicken Trails: Free The Prisoners...

Found this informative article - great news to millions of caged chickens in our nation who never get any semblance of appreciation for putting breakfast on our tables.  Now, though not a complete chase the birds out to play, this movement truly builds a solid beginning for more humane chicken-care for more than a few, very hard working hens among us.

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/02/the-state-of-the-chicken/253596/?google_editors_picks=true

Check out the chicken sites online; the 'keeping of city chickens' is a solidly growing movement across our nation.  You will be amazed at the cities that are bending to the pressure from an increasing number of people who want fresh eggs to supplement their grocery store filled fridges - not to mention the learning and enjoyment garnered from chicken-keeping.

Chickens rock!

As always...Nature prevails.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Trails of Greener Grasses

Is the grass really greener on the other side of the fence?  Sometimes, I wonder...

Have you ever noticed the cows and horses as you drive along the road, leaning hard over the fence to eat the green grass on the outside edge of the fence - most times when that same green grass covers their expansive pastures...inside their fences?

Through my younger years, I thought the reasons might include foul-tasting sub-irrigation in the pastures or inappropriate crops, etc.  But, with aging, it occurred to me that we mammals on planet earth have numerous similarities, one being that the grass sometimes does seem to taste a bit better...on the far side of the fence. Looking inside my heart, I realized I too, overlook my many blessings.

-Family that travel 2 hours to visit me when I can't go the whole distance
-Friends that meet me to not only share their lives but to delve into my journey and it's travails and high spots of the week
-Children that smile and share hugs and warmth of heart and mind
-A little house that consistently cocoons me from storms and wind and the eyes of the world
-A little red car that still purrs down the road -even with 360,000 long and weary miles under her cute little hood
-A spouse whose halo continually and Lovingly absorbs and understands my north wind personality that sometimes, forgets to respect sunshine, seasons, and the differences within human nature
-Possessions that allow for abundant crafting and clothing and filling of my unending myriad of daily hungers, needs and desires
-Living in a country that - though far from perfect, still allows my free travel within its boundaries, provides mostly good roads on which to move about, still provides a fairly safe environment within which I can walk my neighborhood at night with minimum fear, and within which there are any number and types of public parks and conservation areas to enjoy Nature's unlimited wonder and soul-filling beauty. The list, given adequate thought and intent, is more fit for a book-series than a small blog post.

We don't often bump into this notion of blessings until life gives us a slap and we are then forced into the moment.  Maybe your partner, family member or friend is hospitalized or facing a deadly or life-altering disease.  Maybe your job or spouse leave you alone. Maybe the water heater died; maybe you're having one of those moany-groany days when life seems skewed and foggy, your aches and pains kept you awake last night and -of all the possible things that could happen to you, the mail is late!

No matter the cause, standing still enough to face our blessings, feeds us in a manner nothing else can.  It costs nothing - yet fills our emotional bank account to overflowing. It energizes our heart and mind as no caffeinated drink ever hoped.  Blessings fill us with gratitude, warm our hearts and soul, work the smile muscles instead of the frown ones, lower our blood pressure and pulse rate, connect with endorphins and just plain make us satisfied...at least for a little while.

My thoughtful and profound friend mentioned today that..."Moments are forever!"  That said, spend a few moments today to tally your inventory; spend those moments embracing the positives in your world.

-Watch a bird sing its song on a fencepost - and be grateful for your vision and hearing
-Listen to the wind in the trees - and be grateful for your home
-Watch the evening news - and be grateful your address doesn't include Afghanistan
-Walk the perimeter of your property - and be grateful that walk isn't occurring under a cold and lonely bridge
-Call your child, your friend, your neighbor...and be grateful you are still alive.
 -Look up at the stars later this evening, consider the awesome wonder that is our universe

Nature prevails..all over and around our lives.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Recipe Trails; Muffin Magic

This is not a recipe site; but life sometimes makes exceptions...for good food!

Try this so-called muffin recipe and you decide whether you're eating muffin...or cake. Please let us know your verdict.  Original recipe taken from www.melskitchencafe.com.



Yield: 2 dozen muffins

1 2/3 C flour (I use 1 C. whole wheat and 2/3 white)
1 C sugar (I use 2/3 C brown sugar)
1 TBSP pumpkin Pie Spice (I use 2)
1 TSP baking soda
¼ TSP salt (if you’re watching your salt, skip this)
¼ TSP baking powder
1 C canned pumpkin
½ C butter or margarine
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 Granny Smith Apple, peeled and finely grated/chopped

1 TSP Pumpkin Pie Spice
3 TBLSPS sugar

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture.
Combine pumpkin, butter, and eggs in another bowl and add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. 
Fold in chopped apple and spoon into greased muffin pans, filling two-thirds full.  Combine 3 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice; sprinkle evenly over muffins.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from pans immediately and cool on wire racks.

Original author’s tip: if you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, use the following; ½ tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp ginger, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, 1/8 tsp ground cloves.

NOTE: The recipe in the above photos has an added glaze made with a mixed fruit juice, powdered sugar and vanilla.

Nature prevails!  In every yummy ingredient in this recipe!