Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Remi's Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

The pile of zucchinis on my kitchen counter is verging on ridiculous.  Almost every day, I'm bringing in yet another zucchini from the garden (as well as cucumbers -- hooray for pickles!).

Not that I'm complaining or anything...

If you've got a zucchini plant in your garden, I'm willing to bet you're in a similar situation. I've been grating them, freezing them, baking them, cooking them --  but there's still the seemingly unending pile of them. (I like how Barbara Kingsolver describes the pile:  "the pyramid of excess vegetable biomass that was taking over our lives.") 

What's a gardener to do with such a surplus? Foist them upon others, of course! As is the joke, a plastic grocery bag full of zucchini isn't always a welcome gift. Some people even shun this garden offering. But I know a sure way around this: give your zucchini away in loaf form.

The recipe I use for zucchini bread comes from my sweet friend and canning buddy, Remi. She gave me the recipe years ago and I'm not sure where she got the recipe or if it's something she came up with herself, but I'll just say that it's so good and so easy to make. Best of all, it makes two loaves -- one to give away and one to keep for yourself!

Remi's Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. baking soda
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups grated, unpeeled zucchini
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon orange or lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 9x5 loaf pans (Remi put a note on the recipe that she often does three mini loaves and 1 9x5 loaf with this recipe).

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking soda.

In a large bowl (I used my KitchenAid), beat the eggs until light and fluffy. Add sugar and continue beating until well blended.

Stir in oil, vanilla, zucchini, pecans (if using), chocolate chips, and zest.

Stir in the dry ingredients.

Pour the batter into the greased pans. (I love my new baking mold on the left --  I got from Ikea. Works so well, the bread pops right out!).

Bake for 50 minutes or until tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Remove loaves from pan and cool. Let them cool completely before slicing.

Wrap the bread in some plastic wrap (or do something cuter if you're crafty and gifted at packaging things up -- that is certainly not a talent of mine) and give a loaf to a neighbor, teacher, friend, or anyone else you think deserves a loaf of the moist deliciousness that is this zucchini bread. It's a nice way to make the pile of zucchini on your counter a little smaller.

{This post is linked up to Your Green Resource, Homestead Barn Hop, and  Little House Friday.}

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Abbey's Award-Winning Chocolate Zucchini Cake

I wonder who first thought to add zucchini to chocolate cake. I mean, who thought that chocolate and vegetables could mix?  Well, whoever it was, it was a smart move because the two mix up wonderfully, especially in this recipe.

My friend Abbey sent me this cake recipe after seeing all the zucchini recipes I'd been pinning on Pinterest.  Abbey is a marvelous cook and baker -- everything I've eaten that she has made is so delicious. She does all sorts of fun and interesting things with food (she just made her first wedding cake this past weekend). Once, she inspired me to make a fruit bouquet for my sister-in-law's bridal shower after she brought one to a dinner at my house. In fact, Abbey is the person who introduced me to Nutella (how crazy is it that I didn't have Nutella until I was an adult?!). A friend, indeed.

Her recipe for chocolate zucchini cake is A-MAZ-ING.  No wonder Abbey won first prize with it at the county fair years ago. I always struggle a little with cake because mine always turn out a little on the dry side. Not this cake. Every bite of this cake was perfectly moist. I also love it because it's sweet but not too sweet.

I'd better start freezing some grated zucchini because this recipe is going to be my go-to recipe for chocolate cake. I can totally see myself making it year-round -- for birthdays, for special occasions, whenever I have an excuse to have chocolate cake. It's that good.

To make this cake you'll need:

1 cup oil (I used canola)
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup milk
2 3/4 cups flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 cups grated, unpeeled zucchini

3 Tbsp. milk
2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 - 3 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish.

Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.

In a separate bowl (I used my KitchenAid), mix the oil, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and milk.

Add the dry ingredient mixture to the wet ingredients.

Add the grated zucchini.

Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Move the cake to a wire rack to cool. While the cake is cooling, start making the frosting. Don't wait too long to do this -- you want to pour the frosting on the still-warm cake so that it soaks in some of the frosting. Oh, baby, this cake is goooood. 

In a medium saucepan, boil the milk, cocoa powder, and butter until it's incorporated and thickened a bit.

Pour the boiled mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer (or you could pour it into another bowl and use a hand-held mixer). Add the vanilla and powdered sugar. Mix everything together well.

Pour the warm frosting on top of the cake.  Let the frosting and cake cool and set before cutting.

Once it has cooled, cut a big piece out for yourself. Bask in the moist, chocolaty goodness of it. Then share it with someone, announce on Facebook to your neighbors that you have cake to give away (that's what I did), because you're going to want to eat the whole thing.

And to think that adding something from your vegetable garden makes chocolate cake even better...

{This post is linked up to Homestead Barn Hop, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Little House Fridayand Your Green Resource.}

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Summer Zucchini Bites

After sort of...well...hoarding zucchini recipes for about a month or so, I finally got my first zucchini from my garden a couple weeks ago. I didn't know what to do with it because I had so many options. Then I came across a recipe for zucchini bites and decided that they were a good way to start using my zucchini crop.

I found this recipe on a blog called The Way to His Heart and the author of that blog got the recipe from The Naptime Chef .  I realize that it's not so original on my part to be re-posting a recipe that was re-posted from another blog, but these little bites are so good and so easy to make that I had to share. They're a great addition to any meal -- you can serve them as appetizers, as a side dish, or as good finger food for kids. This was the first zucchini-laced recipe I've given to my kids and they both liked it. Even my husband who professes to not like zucchini (I say professes because he has liked everything I've made with them so far) liked them. Plus, they're meat-free, so they make a great addition to a Meatless Monday menu.

To make these zucchini bites, you'll need:

2 large eggs
2 cups grated, unpeeled zucchini
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup grated cheese (the recipe I followed called for cheddar, but I used colby jack)
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
pinch of freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Butter a muffin pan (I say skip the cooking spray and use butter for this one - the butter gives them a nice flavor and it makes the exterior brown and crunchy).  You can either use a regular, 12-cup muffin pan like I did or you could use a 24-cup mini muffin pan.

I would like to state for the record that if you're going to be making a bunch of recipes that require grated zucchini (or grated anything, for that matter) that you should consider using a food processor. It makes the whole process take just a couple minutes. Way better than that old box grater.

Lightly beat the eggs with a whisk. (I just have to mention that these eggs came from my ladies in the backyard. Hooray!)

Add the zucchini, onions, cheese, parsley, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper to the beaten eggs. Mix with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. The mixture will be sticky and loose.

Using your hands (or a measuring cup if you don't want to get your hands messy), fill each muffin cup to the top. Not all of mine were to the brim of each cup -- it seemed a little bit of a stretch to fill all 12 cups of my muffin tin. Maybe my eggs were on the smallish size, who knows.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until tops of the bites are browned and set (the center of each shouldn't wiggle when the pan is shaken). 

Let the zucchini bites cool in the pan for about 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to let them cool completely. The egg, cheese, and zucchini combination is great -- this recipe has inspired me to try adding grated zucchini to omelettes and fritattas.

Such a simple recipe yet such a tasty end product!

Note: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. 

{This post is linked up to Homestead Barn Hop, Little House Friday, Your Green Resource, and Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Announcing Zucchini Week!

Last week was Shark Week (I've since vowed to never go in the ocean again). Though I highly doubt it will garner the same sort of popularity, I've decided to dub this week Zucchini Week on my little blog. Sure, zucchinis are not as exciting or interesting as a man-eating fish, but I'd say they're more versatile and much more useful -- and definitely less scary.


This is my first year growing zucchinis in my garden. It's kind of an odd thing since I've had my own garden for about seven years. Zucchinis are the foolproof gardening staple, but I've never grown them. I think it's because they take up a bit of room in the garden, especially if you're doing the square foot gardening method. I guess I always figured I'd rather use the garden space for green beans or tomatoes. But this year I had some extra space and decided to give them a try.

As is the vegetable's reputation, my zucchini plant has gone crazy! It grew so fast and the pile of zucchinis on my countertop just keeps getting bigger and bigger. I realize now that I should have been growing zucchinis every season -- they're this sort of gardening self-esteem boost. Even if nothing else worked in my garden, at least I'd have zucchinis!

Ever since I planted them, I've been collecting all sorts of zucchini recipes. There are a ton of them out there! Every day this week I'm going to share a recipe that I've tried out lately. I hope you like them. And I would love it if you shared some of your own zucchini recipes, either by leaving a link to your own zucchini blog posts in the comment section of each post or by emailing them to me {parsimoniousprincess(at)gmail(dot)com}.

Hooray for the vegetable that keeps on giving and giving!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Lessons Learned from My First Yard Sale, Part 2

(If you haven't read Part 1 of this series, you can find it HERE.)

The next morning came. I was up around 6:30, feeling oddly nervous. Was this going to be a huge waste of time? Would anyone buy anything, let alone even come? The signs were affixed to telephone poles around the neighborhood. I hurried and started moving things out into the front yard, wishing I had at least another table for all the stuff.  Right around 8:00 AM, the cars started coming. It was go time!

Things got off to a fairly steady start. The books and DVDs were the first to get bought up. One thing that helped was that I priced the books so that people would get a better deal if they bought more. Paperback books were 25 cents each but five paperbacks went for a dollar; hardcovers were 75 cents each but you could get two for a dollar. Lesson #5: Quantity discounts work really well. More stuff gets sold and people like getting a deal.  The books went quickly and I wasn't really out that much by giving a discounted rate (I was out a quarter by selling 5 paperback books for a dollar). The quantity discount thing was sort of a last minute idea (can you tell by the sign I made really quickly?) -- I wish I would have applied it to the other items there, like the clothes and toys.

As people came and looked through everything, things got disshelved. As I reorganized things between lulls in yard sale traffic, I realized I could have organized the clothes much better. I had lots of cute baby and little boy clothes, but I ended up not selling nearly as much as I thought I would. I should have had a better system for keeping the clothes separated by sizes. Lesson #6: Clothes can turn into a heap quickly. Find a good way to organize them. I currently do not have any creative ideas for this and I am open to all suggestions.

Back when I was in the gathering stage, I was collecting things to sell and I'd have these moments where I'd think, "If I don't want this, why would anyone else?"  I felt slightly guilty charging people for stuff I considered clutter. But I got over that pretty quickly the next day.

Lesson #7: The saying "One man's trash is another man's treasure" is true. This isn't to say I'm in favor of peddling garbage to people -- I just mean that something you don't like may be appealing to someone else. That bright blue and yellow argyle baby sweater vest I got at a baby shower years ago wasn't my cup of tea, but someone else liked it enough to buy it for their baby. I even had an older man pay a quarter for an old CD single I bought in high school that I found in a box in my garage. Who knew?

Lesson #8: Getting the neighborhood involved is the way to go. I knew I wanted to do a yard sale, but I asked the neighbors if they wanted in on it before planning anything. It's much more of a draw if you can put on your ads and posters that there are multiple families involved. We each did our yard sales in our own yards (to keep things orderly, separate, and less confusing) and it worked out really well. We had people stop at ours (since we were on the corner), shop, sometimes buy stuff, and then move on to the other houses. Plus, it creates a fun sense of community.

Lesson #9: A designated sign waver on the corner works quite well to bring people by, especially if said sign waver is in costume.

The day before, we were driving through town and saw a dude dressed as the Green Lantern holding a sign for a BBQ restaurant. Max's face lit up and he said, "I could do that for the yard sale!" So that evening he used some of the extra poster paper and wrote "yard sale" on it (you can get a better view of it in the picture at the top of the post).  The next morning, he donned his pirate clothes and headed outside with his sign. (He's going through a bit of a pirate phase right now. The picture above was taken mid-"arrrrrrgh.")  He even tried a few tricks and flipped the sign around. Sure, enough, many of the people who stopped by commented on how cute our little sign waver was.  I say it totally helped!

Which leads, finally, to Lesson #10: Just have fun with it. Get the kids involved. Turn on some music. Don't stress about it too much. Chat with people- you get so many different types at yard sales. Spend time with some neighbors. Chances are, you're not going to reclaim the money you spent on all the items or even make a profit. Just go with the flow (this, coming from the woman who almost never "goes with the flow". But I did with the yard sale!). Be flexible. Don't let it stress you out. A yard sale is not worth stressing over, in my humble opinion.

In all, all the stuff in our yard -- which was some of my things and some of my parents' stuff -- sold for around $160-$170. We made money and I have less cluttered house. In all, it was a good way to spend a Saturday summer morning.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Lessons Learned from My First Yard Sale, Part 1

I didn't come from a home that did yard sales. Mom and Dad never really bothered with them; they just took unwanted items to the D.I. (our local thrift store). As a kid, I always wanted them to have a yard sale -- the idea of it brought out this entrepreneurial side of me and I thought it would be exciting to see people buy our old stuff. I could do a lemonade stand at the same time! Maybe even baked goods! I'd be rich! I was like one of those characters in cartoons who starts daydreaming dollar signs.

My enthusiasm for yard sales diminished as I got older. I volunteered at a couple church fundraiser yard sales as a teenager, but that was it. Once I took a few things to a friend's yard sale, hoping to sell some of the terrible re-gifted stuff from our wedding (who gives newlyweds a circa-1992 glass tic-tac-toe set, I ask you? And don't even get me started on the dish set that literally had a layer of dust on the box. They wrapped it with the dust on the box!), but hardly anyone came and I had to cart all the stuff home again (or to the good ol' D.I.).

Whenever I'd mention doing a yard sale after that, my husband would talk me out of it, saying it was a waste of time, that it wasn't worth the hassle, etc. Then, a couple months ago while we were cleaning out our garage, I made the call: we were going to have a yard sale! Surely someone would want or use some of this stuff! I talked to a few of my neighbors and after some coordination and planning, we set the date for our neighborhood yard sale.

There was a lot of stuff in the garage and I knew there was plenty more in the house, so I got to work decluttering and gathering things we didn't like, use, or wear very often.

The gathering phase was pretty messy at times, especially in the boys' room. I wouldn't say I hoard clothes, but I do get a little overly sentimental about them. Not anymore! I pulled out all the boys' clothes I have stored in containers under the bed, crib, and in the closet. See that pile at the door, next to the teddy bear? All of it was headed to the yard sale.

It felt good to make some space in the boys' clothes storage. I did keep the high quality clothes, the cutest clothes, and the truly sentimental items (like what we brought each of our boys home from the hospital in), but I got rid of the things I didn't love. I also went through my room, the kitchen, the bookshelves, and the closets. No space was left unturned! In all honesty, the gathering phase was kind of fun.

Lesson #1: That quote from William Morris ("Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.") is sheer genius! I can't even begin to say how positively freeing it is to get rid of stuff you feel like you should keep, even if you don't want to. How often do you think "I should keep this because it was a gift", "I might read that book again", or "I should keep this because it might come in handy someday" ?  No joke: less of that stuff makes me feel like I've got more space in my brain. I can't explain why, but I'll take it.

Once everything was gathered, it was time to price it all. I really didn't know what to sell anything for. I was nervous that if I did it too high, people would just leave and I'd make no money. If I charged too little, the yard sale wouldn't be worth the time and effort. What's a girl to do? Consult the Internet, of course. So I did a little research, checked some websites (this link and this link were two of the more helpful links about yard sale pricing), and started sticking those little yellow price tabs on everything.

Lesson #2: Don't spend too much time agonizing over the pricing like I did. Consult a few websites, maybe visit a thrift store for price comparisons, and then go with your gut. How much would you be willing to pay for that item? This was a good guideline for me in the end. I had people ask me to go lower on a few items at the yard sale-- sometimes I did, sometimes I didn't. Because I went with my gut and priced what I thought was best, I knew what I felt comfortable with charging/accepting and went with it.

After the gathering and the pricing, it was time to start advertising. I put a couple free advertisements on a local classified ad website. After that, I picked up some posters at Walmart, pulled the big, strong-smelling Sharpie from the junk drawer, and handed it all over to my husband.

Lesson #3: I have yet another reason to love being married to an artist. He whipped these babies out in no time. It would have taken me FOREVER to just get the words written in a straight line. All I did was tell him what to include. What I learned from him: keep your signage simple, include just enough information, and use big, bold letters and arrows. 

A couple days before the yard sale, as I was getting everything ready, I realized that I needed to get some change. As with the pricing, I wasn't sure how much change I'd need to get from the bank, so I consulted Google (here's the link that helped me most). I got a roll of quarters, 25 $1 bills, four $5 bills, and two $10 bills. It seemed like a lot to me, but most of the links I checked said that it was wise to have $40-80 in change.

Lesson #4: Extra change = One less thing to worry about. I'd suggest getting more than you think you'll need. I mean, there's enough to keep track of on the day of the yard sale. Bargaining with people intent on getting a steal, answering questions, straightening up after each rush of shoppers, doing math in my head, and keeping track of my baby was enough to keep me busy. It was nice to not worry about having enough change when a lady gave me a $20 bill for a $2 Thomas the Tank Engine DVD.

I collected. I priced. I'd commissioned the artist for the signs (ha ha). I visited the bank. I was ready for the sale. Ready but nervous. Would my efforts pay off? The next day also had its lessons for this yard sale novice.

To be continued...

You can find Part 2 HERE

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Why and How I Keep a Garden Journal

This is the first season I've kept a garden journal. This season my garden is doing better than it ever has. Is this a coincidence or a byproduct of taking conscious, careful notes? I can't be completely sure, but I do know that keeping a garden journal has made this growing season more productive and organized on my end, as well as even more enjoyable. This year my focus is only on my food production (I haven't really included anything about flowerbeds or trees -- we'll save that for next year) and keeping a journal has really helped me stay focused on our goals.

In years past, I've done half-hearted attempts at garden journaling. I'd get a three-ring binder, draw up some plans for my garden boxes, stick the plastic tabs that came with my transplants in the binder, and that was about as far as I got. Then early this year, the instructor at my beekeeping class stressed the importance of taking notes and keeping a beekeeping journal. I figured it was as good a time as any to get serious about garden journaling.

One thing that kept me consistent: this cool journal I found I on Etsy.

It's made from an old gardening book from the 1940s. Interspersed between the blank pages are pages from the old book. There are few things I love more than old books. So it follows that writing about gardening (another love of mine) in this notebook makes me pretty happy. I actually look forward to writing in it! 

So here's how I've gone about setting up and keeping my garden journal this season:

On the very first page, I've written a sort of inventory: what seeds I've purchased, and information about our chickens and bees. On the other side of this page I listed the existing food plants (like our berry plants) in our yard.

The next page has a map of my garden, showing what is growing where. It's nothing fancy and certainly not to scale or anything, but it has been a real help in helping me keep track of what is growing where. I've got all my garden boxes on here, as well as the containers on my patio, the laundry baskets I'm growing potatoes in (more on that in another post), the green bean teepee in the yard, and the berry bushes along the fences. I'm especially glad I did this with my tomatoes since they all pretty much look the same (to me) before they start sending out fruit. (Turn red, green tomatoes! Turn red!)

On the other side of that page, I've made a list of goals for the season: things I want to plant, where it's going to go, ideas for around the yard, and things I want to look into, research, and read about (that I may or may not do this season). I like this because it helps me keep all the ideas in my head straight (this is as organized as my Type B brain gets) and it's ever-so-satisfying to put a little check mark next to the things I've done.

The rest of the pages are my garden journal, the day-to-day things I've done and observed in the yard. It started out fairly concise, with simply the dates things were planted and how they were progressing...

...but it evolved into something a little more...well...journal-like. Sure, I still mention what's sprouting in the garden or what the weather's been like (dry dry dry), but there's a lot of wordiness in there, too. In the pages, there's anxiety at the prospect of installing thousands of bees into hives, the surprise that the laundry basket potatoes are actually working, giddiness over my mini-greenhouses, annoyance at my failed seed tape, a mention of the birth of my twin nephews, the discovery that Betsy was a rooster, my mom's advice about praying for my garden, fantasizing over the prospect of more tomatoes than I know what to do with, and even quotes from my oldest boy ("No eggs today, Mom. I think it's the chickens' day off.").

The day-to-day journaling has already been helpful because I know when things were planted, how they're progressing, what has worked, and what to do differently next time. The inventory helps me keep track of exactly what I'm growing (and which plants I should save seeds from), where everything is, how long it took for the chickens to start laying, and how quickly my honeybees are working. It also helps me keep things in perspective -- one failed carrot crop isn't reason to give up on homegrown carrots altogether and another planting will work out better.  Plus, it's a record, a sort of personal and family history.

Really, I should have started this garden journaling thing sooner.

Note: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have disclosed.

{This post is linked up to Your Green Resource, Homestead Barn Hop, Little House Fridayand Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways

Monday, August 6, 2012

Backyard Flock Update + A Giveaway!

It happened a little over a week ago: we got our first egg from our chickens!

It wasn't my brightest moment. I first saw it when I was taking some ice out to the chickens (when it gets really hot and the ladies start to pant a little, I dump a bunch of ice into the chicken tractor. They walk all over it, peck at it, lay on it, and, consequently, cool off.). I lifted the door to put the ice in and I saw an egg, right there on the grass. My first (brilliant) reaction: "Why is there an egg in here?"  A second later it all clicked in my head. I picked the miniature egg up and marveled at it for a while.  Once I was done, I went into the house and announced it to the family -- Max was extra excited. We oohed and awed over it together and then cooked what little there was in the small egg. The three of us crowded around the plate and each took a taste of bits of scrambled egg. It was awesome in every sense of the word.

Since then, our Black Sex-link, Foxy, has laid us an egg every day.  She hasn't quite figured out that she should do it in the nesting box, but she'll come around -- especially since our Rhode Island Red, Princess Leia, just started laying almost a week ago (she lays it in the nesting box every time so far). One of my favorite things is when I send Max out to check for eggs and when he retrieves them he almost always says thank you to one of the hens.

In other backyard chicken news, we've added another member to our flock. Since our Easter Egger turned out to be a rooster (and not the true Ameraucana I thought it was), we were down to only two chickens. Anxious to get another pullet before the fall, I looked at some online classifieds and found an advertisement for a heritage breed Ameracauna. I was interested since I wanted to get the colored eggs (the ones my rooster was supposed lay for me), so I drove out to the seller's home to check it out. The bird looked healthy (though, if I'm being honest, a little scraggly) so I decided to take her. We put her in her own little pen since it's recommended to keep new birds separated from the rest of flock for a few weeks. (Ideally, I would have gotten another chick and raised it, but it's hard to buy just one chick. The minimum for many places, online and locally, is three.) We've had her for almost two weeks and everything seems fine so far.

Since our rooster was the chicken I named, I got to name his replacement. Our new pullet is all black and resembles a raven, so the dorky English major in me couldn't resist naming her Lenore. She's about four months old, not that  much younger than the other two, but she looks quite a bit smaller. When she starts laying, she'll lay blue eggs. I'm hoping we'll start getting some eggs from her sometime in September.

Now, for the giveaway...

As I mentioned earlier in this post, one of our hens isn't laying in the nesting box. It isn't a huge deal, but they are a little trickier to retrieve and they get a little dirty when she lays them on the grass. After doing some reading, I decided to get a couple wooden eggs and put them in the nesting box (I ordered them before the other hen started laying, so maybe they're unnecessary now). Supposedly, the hen is supposed to see the wooden eggs in the nesting box and figure out that she needs to lay there.

Anyway, I got my shipment a few days ago, except that it came in a medium-sized box and was pretty heavy. It didn't make much sense. I opened it up and found three 2-lb. bags of chicken treats instead of the wooden eggs. I called up the company I ordered from to find out what was going on. They were really helpful and found out that there had been a mix-up at one of the shipping facilities. The nice customer service lady told me I could keep the bags of treats and that the wooden eggs would be on their way shortly.

I was pretty happy about this, as you can imagine. Who doesn't love free stuff (especially when each bag runs at about $12 a pop)? Not only were they free, but the treats are full of healthy stuff I knew the ladies in the backyard would like. Each bag of treats contains an all-natural, organic mix of pumpkin seeds, buckwheat groats, quinoa, cracked corn, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, alfalfa leaf, coconut, and marigold petals.

So, do you want one of the three bags I received? I figured I'd pass on part this happy (for me) accident to one of you lovely readers. To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment telling me what your chickens' favorite treat is. You have to live in the United States to enter (sorry, international friends. I just can't afford the shipping!). For an extra entry, become a follower of my blog; another entry for mentioning this giveaway on your blog, Pinterest, Facebook, or Twitter (if you do any of these extra steps, be sure to leave a comment for each).

The giveaway ends Thursday, August 9, at midnight MST. I'll announce the winner on Friday.

Good luck and I hope you win!

Note: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have disclosed.

{This post is linked up to Little House Friday and Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways.}
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