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Down Home Blog Hop~Number 9


Down Home Blog Hop







Welcome to another week of our Down Home Blog Hop. What a week we have had here at Tilly's Nest!  As many of you know, we live on Cape Cod.  We are a small man-made island that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean about an hour from Boston, Massachusetts.  The Cape is traditionally a windy place, but with the combination of Sandy and trees still in the process of dropping their leaves, it made a bad situation even worse.  Over the past two days, we were pelted with rain and wind gusts over 80 miles per hour.  The power did not last long.  In no time we were sitting around playing board games, reading and spending quality family time while the winds whistled and the trees swayed dangerously to and fro.

The chickens were locked in their coop and allowed to come out as they usually do during the day.  Hurricane Irene had not fazed them last year.  Before Irene, I covered and secured thick plastic sheeting to their outside run.  The day before, I filled up the coop's waterer and feeder to the top.  As the wind whipped, I could see the chickens happily flitting back and forth; unfazed by the storm.  Even Fifi and Dolly are still broody and despite the weather, the girls continued to lay their eggs.

Finally around 7 pm or so Monday night, the winds began to die down.  Last night, as I tried to sleep, I could hear the rumbling of large utility trucks in the distance.  Help had arrived.  Soon enough, life would be returning to normal and we would begin the extensive clean-up.

The kids have been off from school for two days and late yesterday afternoon the power returned.  I made beef stew for dinner in the crock-pot.  Life is returning to normal for us humans.  Amazingly, out of everyone, I think the chickens coped the best with the storm.  Their simple life is sometimes a good reminder of what we all need to keep focus of in this crazy world where we live-family, faith, safety, shelter, food, water and the company of those we love.

Now it's your turn! Everyone is invited to join in on the fun. Please share chickens, bees, gardening, crafting, homesteading, knitting/sewing, decorating, beekeeping and everything in between!  Click the blue "add" below to link-up any post from your blog. It's easy, just enter your post's name, a direct link to the post and a contact email. Click next and select one of the photos from your blog. It's that easy! Don't forget to link back to this blog hop in your post. I can't wait to get caught up with you, friends!


Grilled Ham, Egg,& Cheese Sandwich


Yesterday I was in rush.  As I was transferring eggs from the basket to the carton, I dropped one on the kitchen counter.  It was lunch time and I had a gently cracked egg.  I had not eaten yet, so I decided to make one of my favorite sandwiches.  Somehow, when egg, cheese and ham are involved, it always tastes good!

Ingredients:
A slice of Rustic Bread
1 egg
1 slice of ham
1 slice of white cheddar cheese
cooking spray

Preparation:
Toast the bread.

 In a pan, begin frying the egg in cooking spray.  Add a slice of ham and warm it through on the side of the pan not occupied by the egg.

 Flip the egg, and top it with a the cheddar cheese, so it can melt.

Cut the bread in half, place the ham, egg and cheese in between the two slices of bread.

Photo Credit:  Tilly's Nest

Winner: The Layered Garden




Thank you so much to everyone who entered the giveaway of The Layered Garden from Timber Press.  One lucky winner was drawn at random to win their very own copy from Tilly's Nest.

Also, don't forget, from now until November 8, 2012 you can visit Timber Press and enter to win your very own copies of The Layered Garden, The Unexpected Houseplant, Keshiki Bonsai, Super-Charged,and The Roots of My Obsession as well as a tote bag and print from Brooke Weeber, the artist of the featured illustrations. For your chance to win this incredible prize package, click here to visit Timber Press and submit your email for entry.

Congratulations 
Jodie
You are our winner!

Please email me at: melissa@tillysnest.com by 10/31/12-noon EST to claim your book.  

Photo Credits:  TimberPress

Welcoming Back the Eggs


Tilly and the girls are finally through their molt.  For a few months, we sat on the sidelines, waiting for the feathers to return and the eggs to become abundant.  This past weekend, it happened.  Seven eggs were laid in one day.  We had not seen that in months.

The chickens love fall.  They love the cooler weather.  They love roosting in the sunshine and taking a nap.  They love snuggling on the roosts at night.  They love going boneless and practicing yoga positions while dust bathing.  They enjoy scratching in the leaves, discovering tiny insects and tasty morsels along the way.

Yesterday, I did not do much more than try to recover from a tummy bug.  I decided after it warmed up a bit that I would love to sit in the Adirondack chair with a warm comfy blanket and spend time with the girls.  They did not seem to mind that I was observing their every move.   Chickens are such happy little things.  They are little hiccups of happiness, that brighten my day and somehow make negative things just melt away.

Photo Credit:  Tilly's Nest

Down Home Blog Hop~Number 8 & A Mum Chain




Down Home Blog Hop





A crown fit for a princess
I love making Daisy chains in the summertime. I have fond memories of making them as a child and now I've taught my children how to make them. We enjoy fashioning them into necklaces, bracelets, anklets and crowns. Mum chains are a great way to take a break from raking leaves on a fall day or to help celebrate an outing of pumpkin or apple picking. Did you know that Mums (short for Chrysanthemum), are in the same family as the Daisy? Their stems are incredibly similar to Daisies, which helps to explain why they work so well. There are a few ways to make Mum chains. I would like to share how I learned to make them as a little girl.

The perfect Mums for making chains
Begin by selecting Mums with longer, thicker stems. Cut a few Mums from the plant keeping their stems approximately 4 inches long. Remove all extra leaves.
Slits like this one will help to form the flower chain and attach the flowers to one another.
With your fingernail, about 2 inches down from the flower on the stem, very carefully make a small slit in the middle of the stem with your fingernail. Do not cut into the lower 1 inch of the stem. If the stems are tough, sometimes an X-ACTO knife works well. Never allow any children to use an X-ACTO knife and keep it safely out of reach when not in use.


Next, repeat the above slit step on the next flower and then gently thread the second flower through the first flower's slit. Repeat this process until you are about 1 flower length away from the desired length of your chain.
Continue connecting flowers together to make your chain.
Open wide! Very carefully insert the top of the first flower into the final flower's slit.
To connect the chain, make the slit in the last flower a bit larger than the previous slits avoiding the last 1 inch of the stem. This hole will need to be large enough to accommodate the very first flower's bloom that you will push through this final slit.

When making your chains, try using assorted colored Mums and any other blooms with thicker stems similar to Daisies. The possibilities and creations are endless.

Now it's your turn! Everyone is invited to join in on the fun. Click the blue "add" below to link-up any post from your blog. It's easy, just enter your post's name, a direct link to the post and a contact email. Click next and select one of the photos from your blog. It's that easy! Don't forget to link back to this blog hop in your post. I can't wait to see you again. I'm also looking forward to meeting new friends each week. So link up your posts on chickens, bees, activities, sewing, homesteading, crafting, and anything else family friendly.



Photo Credits: Tilly's Nest

Giveaway: The Layered Garden



Tilly's Nest is proud to partner with Timber Press in their newest promotion Garden Outside the Garden!  This past week, I received a copy of The Layered Garden by David Culp to review. I was excited to dig into this book as I love to layer my own gardens to provide year round interest.  I was also incredibly excited to see that he was in Pennsylvania, working in a garden in a zone close to mine on Cape Cod.

I devoured this book.  The details to attention are marvelous as well as the photos and guides on how you can create a garden like his on your very own property.  I loved reading how Mr.Culp began in gardening.  I adored his pearls of wisdom found scattered in the sidebars.  I enjoyed seeing the garden in all times of the year and I could not help but smile at his bantam chickens scavenging in the gardens!  This is a book that I will be spending plenty of time with as the snow falls outside my home this winter and I begin to think about getting out into my own yard.

From now until November 8, 2012 you can visit Timber Press and enter to win your very own copies of The Layered Garden, The Unexpected Houseplant, Keshiki Bonsai, Super-Charged, and The Roots of My Obsession as well as a tote bag and print from Brooke Weeber, the artist of the featured illustrations. For your chance to win this incredible prize package, click here to visit Timber Press and submit your email for entry.

But wait, there is more!  One lucky winner from will receive their very own copy of The Layered Garden to add to their personal library from Tilly's Nest.

Here is how to enter:
1. Join our website, options are on the right hand side of this page. (1 entry)
2. Visit Timber Press on Facebook and let them know Tilly sent you. (1 entry)
3. Be sure to leave a comment on this post and let me know if you did 1 or 2 or both!

Good Luck!

The Tilly's Nest Giveaway for a copy of The Layered Garden ends on Saturday, October 27th, noon EST. One entry per person.  Item ships to US mailing addresses only.


Disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy of The Layered Garden from Timber Press, but the opinions that I have expressed in this post are all my own.


This post is linked up to the Clever Chicks Blog Hop.

A Chicken Runs for President



I would love to introduce to you my favorite candidate running for office this November. 

Lucy lives with her fellow flock, a dog named Marky and a Chicken Mom named Lauren.  She has wonderful credentials and plans to do a much better job than any of the other candidates out there.  Lucy knows the issues and her platform is clear.

Lucy is running on the Scratch ticket.

She is a Barred Plymouth Rock; American Born, with family roots traced all the way back to the Plymouth Plantation. 

Sporting a brain the size of a peanut, Lucy feels she has what it takes to take charge.

“I’m smart enough to run a Chicken Tractor, so I’m smart enough to run this country,” says Lucy.

She advocates for those with special needs like herself and her feathered sister, Fern.

Lucy endorses a sunset curfew. She also believes everyone should have access to warm sunshine and a daily dustbath.

“….And if elected,” quotes Lucy, “I will fight for every chicken’s right to ravage the vegetable garden.”



Lauren’s book, Once Upon a FlockLife with my Soulful Chickens, will be published in March, 2013. In the meantime, head on over to Lauren’s blog, Scratch and Peck, to read more about Lucy.  A good place to start is here

If you would like your very own bumper stick to endorse Lucy for President, please send a self-addressed envelope to Lauren Scheuer-2 Fowler St.-Upton, MA 01568.  I might suggest, asking about the availability before requesting a bumper sticker as supplies are limited.

Photo Credit/Sketches: Lauren Scheuer

The Beauty of Chickens









These are some of my all time favorite photos from over the years.  
They bring back so many beautiful memories.



This post is linked up to the Farm Girl Friday Blog Hop.

Photo Credit: Tilly's Nest

Down Home Blog Hop~Number 7



Down Home Blog Hop




Happy week number seven and welcome to the blog hop.  This week seems to have flown by so very quickly.  I thought that I would share with you a very simple and easy chili recipe that is a real crowd pleaser with my family.  It can simmer for as little as 20 minutes or as long as you like.


Chili in a Hurry

Ingredients:
1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion- diced
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
3 cloves garlic-minced
2 16 oz. cans white kidney beans
1 16 oz. can red kidney beans
1 16 oz. can tomato sauce
1 16 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup beef stock
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil
shredded cheddar cheese for topping

Preparation:
Brown the beef, onions and garlic together in a bit of olive oil with salt and pepper, cumin and the chili powder.
If necessary pour off the fat, then add the remainder of the ingredients and simmer on low heat for approximately 30 minutes.
Serve topped with shredded cheddar cheese.

Now it's your turn to share something new that is happening at your place. I look forward to reading each and every one of your links.  Last week I loved reading about all of your chickens.  I drooled over recipes for goodies, noodles, soups, pumpkin, breads, cherries and good old comfort food.  I enjoyed reading about  your adventures. I even learned about feeding fermented food to backyard chickens.

It's your blog. It's your adventure.  Thank you for sharing and linking up this week.

For those of you new to the hop, click the blue "add" below to link-up any post from your blog. It's easy, just enter your post's name, a direct link to the post and a contact email. Click next and select one of the photos from your blog. It's that easy! Don't forget to link back to this blog hop in your post. Please, family friendly. 


Winner: 50 Vintage Style Egg Cartons


Hello all!  Thank you so much for entering to win 50 vintage egg carton labels from our sponsor, eggcartons.com.  I hear that so many of you took advantage of the free shipping coupon (still going on now). I also am so happy that you found their blog as well.  Didn't you just LOVE how Hen-dy created her coop out of a Little Tikes playhouse?

Well I for one can't find out who our lucky winner is going to be.  Therefore, without further delay, one winner was randomly selected to receive 50 of these beauties for their eggs!

Congratulations 
ChristinaCRamos
You are our winner!


Please email me at: melissa@tillysnest.com as soon as possible to claim your prize. 
You have until 10/19/12 noon EST.

Photo Credit:  eggcartons.com

A History Lesson

My parents got divorced when I was sixteen years old.  My mother moved us across the country from the east coast to the west coast.  I had little time to prepare.  I was given 3 days notice to pack the things nearest and dearest to my heart into two 3 feet cubed boxes.  We were moving to California, to live with a man who my mother had only been dating for a few months.  He got a job transfer, I was getting a new life.  Things were not good.

I had been popular in my old school.  I had known everyone since Kindergarten. I was a good student near the top of my class.  I was even in Advance Placement classes.  In California, I knew not a soul.  I felt alone.  I was placed into comparable classes in California, but somehow, it was like being in a foreign country.

My English teacher was a large robust woman with reddish hair.  She was stout and intimidating.  She had her class pets.  I was not one of them.  We worked on reading, writing college essays and practiced learning large vocabulary words for the SATs.  One day, as she called each and every one of us up to retrieve our graded essays, she could not help but praise her favorite students out loud.  It was my turn.  She paused, looked at the paper, and then looked at me.  It felt like the entire room went silent.  In front of the entire class she told me that I was a "terrible writer" and she could not see why I was even placed in her class.  I felt my cheeks flush.  I was mortified.  I felt embarrassed.  I had always been told at my old school that I was a good writer.  I went back to my seat.  I held back the tears.

From that day forward, I stopped writing creatively.  Like a task, I completed my college essay and chose a career with very little writing, medicine.  I dreaded English classes in college, although no one ever complained about my writing and for the most part my grades were very good.  Medicine was perfect.  Rarely were complete sentences written and there were abbreviations for practically everything.  And so it went for 20 years.

A few years ago, I took the plunge and feel in love with 6 little day old chicks.  They awakened my spirit.  I was passionate about them.  I wanted to share with the world how wonderful they were.  I felt like writing again.  I decided the best way was to create an online diary, a blog.  I began to write.  I was fearless.  The words and stories flowed from my fingers onto the pages.  I didn't care who read my writing.  I was writing for me and my family.

The wounds of that teacher's sharp tongue have been healed by a giddy, waddling, perky little flock of chickens with nothing but good things and happy little voices to greet me each and every morning.  The chickens helped me to realize that I can't believe so strongly in what just one person thinks. I am unafraid to be vulnerable. I try to be supportive to those around me.  I always think before I speak about how my words will affect others.   I learn from those chickens everyday.  I can't help but wonder, how my life, on so many levels, would be different without my flock.


This post is linked up to Homestead Barn Hop and the Clever Chick's Blog Hop.

Create a Raven Nest Candy Dish


This is my latest creation for HGTV.  I was inspired by nature and the kids just love taking chocolate candy eye balls from under the raven's watch.  This nest was created from found items in the woods and a trip to the dollar store.  Click here to make a raven's nest of your own for around $20.  Just in time for Halloween.


Photo Credit:  Tilly's Nest

This post is linked up to Deborah Jean's Farm Girl Friday Blog Hop and Time Travel Thursday.

Down Home Blog Hop~Number 6


Down Home Blog Hop





Good Morning Friends! Welcome to week six of the Down Home Blog Hop! I was so excited to visit and read each and every one of your blogs.  The blog hop was just perfect this past week. For the most part, all it did was rain, rain and rain.  We have had quite a dismal week.  We spent lots of after school and weekend time inside, playing board games, reading, watching movies and just relaxing a bit.  On Saturday, we did have a bit of sunshine and were able to visit the local pumpkin patch.  I love going to the same pumpkin patch each year.  It has become a family tradition.  Each year, the kids anxiously await and watch for the opening day sign to be posted outside the farm.  I have pictures of us visiting for the last 5 years.  I love to look at these pictures, as the kids themselves seem to  have grown so quickly; like pumpkin vines in fact!







Now it's your turn! Everyone is invited to join in on the fun. Click the blue "add" below to link-up any post from your blog. It's easy, just enter your post's name, a direct link to the post and a contact email. Click next and select one of the photos from your blog. It's that easy! Don't forget to link back to this blog hop in your post.  I can't wait to see you again. I'm also looking forward to meeting new friends each week.  So link up your posts on chickens, bees, activities, sewing, homesteading, crafting, and anything else family friendly.


Creating a Chicken Keeper's Library

People are always asking me, "What are your must have chicken books?"   Today, I have shared three different libraries that you can build at your leisure consisting of my favorites.  My three must have books are in the Basic Chicken Keeper Library.  These are the essential books that I would recommend for every chicken keeper's bookshelf. If you decide to purchase any of these books, please click on the photos below. A portion of your purchases helps to support Tilly's Nest. Enjoy and happy reading!


Basic Chicken Keeper Library
3 books



Comprehensive Chicken Keeper Library
6 books



Ultimate Chicken Keeper Library
8 books

                   

Giveaway: 50 Vintage Style Egg Cartons


Almost a year ago, eggcartons.com became my very first sponsor.  I must say that this company has wonderful egg cartons.  They have so many beautiful non-traditional styles made from many different materials, options and colors.  My favorite cartons are their vintage style ones.  Somehow, when I present people with one of these cartons filled with eggs, they always ask me if I want the carton back.  This always makes me smile, because I know how much they love the eggs inside but hearing this makes me realize that the packaging is equally as special.



The other part of this company that I love is that their employees are also chicken keepers.  The best stories are when people who don't keep chickens all of a sudden decide to take the plunge and start a flock of their own.  This happened a few months ago to one of their employees.  In the office, the co-workers decided to hatch some fertilized eggs (scroll down to the July 2. 2012 entry).  With much success, they had an amazing hatch rate of 12 out of 13!  Little did one employee know that she was about to fall in love.  Without ever having kept chickens, she took home four.  She had only a brooder; no coop, no place for her chickens but where there was a will there was a way.  Amazingly, she was able to up-cycle herself a coop and with that, her flock found a new home. For the story how she made a coop for $20, click here.

And to think it all started with egg cartons.

THE GIVEAWAY- 2 possible entries
50 Vintage Style Egg Cartons

1. Become a follower of this blog-Your options are in the column on the right. (1 entry)
2. Become a follower of eggcartons.com on their blog or on Facebook. Be sure to leave a comment there that I sent you.  (1 entry)
3. Leave a comment on this post below.  Please let me know in your comment if you did #1, #2 or both.  Remember to leave a way in your comment for me to contact you, like your email address.


For those of you visiting today, here is a special treat!  
Enjoy free shipping until the end of the month on your order!
some exclusions apply, details available on their Facebook page.


One entry per person. One winner will be randomly selected from the comments left on this post. Only comments left on this post are eligible.    Items ship to US address only.
Giveaway ends on October 14,2012-midnight EST.


DISCLOSURE:  I have received samples of these egg cartons in the past.  The opinions in this post are all my own.

This post is linked up to The Clever Chicks Blog Hop.

Photo Credit:  Eggcartons.com

Jack-O-Lantern~ A Tutorial


If you know me, you know that I just love pumpkins and gourds and so many wonderful things that come with fall. I love to bring the outdoors in and then I was inspired.  I always love to carve pumpkins with the family and get creative.  This is my own twist on the traditional Jack-O-Lantern.


Supply List
A small lantern~found this one at HomeGoods
tealight
A few assorted succulents
Moss
A large gourd/Cinderella pumpkin at least 18 inches across
A plastic 8 inch pot
Soil for succulents
A sharp knife
Ink pen

Assembly


Diagram 1
Invert the plastic pot over the center of the top of the pumpkin (diagram 1) and trace around the circumference with the inkpen.  Cut around the inkpen marking and remove the lid of the pumpkin (diagram 2).  Set the lid aside and scrape out the guts and set empty pumpkin aside.
Diagram 2
Diagram 3
Check to see that the plastic pot fits inside the pumpkin (diagram 3).  It should be snug but removable.  You may need to trim off a bit of the top of the plastic pot.  If this is the case.  Once cut, discard the top of the pot and tape around the bottom's cut top with some duct tape to help give it some more support. Remove the plastic pot from the pumpkin.

Diagram 5
Plant the succulents around the edges of the plastic pot (diagram 5).  Be sure to check to make sure there is room for your lantern as you plant the succulents hugging the edge.  Add the planted pot to the pumpkin and fill in all the gaps and exposed soil with moss.  Top with the lantern.



Finally, you can leave out the lantern completely if you like.  This is another centerpiece that I created in the same fashion filling the 8 inch plastic pot up entirely with succulents instead!



These arrangements should last 5 days inside at room temperature. Shhhh...you can use crafting pumpkins from the craft store and make a drainage hole in the bottom.  They last much longer!  If you are using cold hard succulents, this centerpiece will last longer outdoors.  Place your completed arrangement on a plate.  I love displaying them on cake stands.  Be sure to never leave a burning candle unattended.  If you loved these, you will just love the Coastal Fall centerpiece that I created for HGTV Garden.




I would also like to thank The Succulent Perch for jump starting these ideas and always inspiring me to add more succulents to my life.

This post is linked up to Deborah Jean's Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop , Strut Your Stuff Saturday , Homestead Revival's Barn Hop and The Clever Chick Blog Hop.


Photo Credit:  Tilly's Nest