December 15th

Saturday, December 15th, 2018

Not an exciting image for most of you today, but we were excited.

We poached eggs for the first time today, and they were perfect!

I’m not one for a runny yolk, but Paul loves them, so the poaching process was perfect.

Everything we were reading said fresh eggs work the best, so we used eggs we had collected less than an hour prior.

Pretty neat!

December 2nd

Sunday, December 2nd, 2018

I’ve always had and loved animals, but I’ve never had an animal that’s provided me food.

Let me tell you, it’s a whole new experience.

I love these chickens for who they are, and all of their weird quirks and personalities, but I’m always so proud of them when I open up the coop and there are eggs in the nesting boxes. Especially since they’re all new layers – it’s so cool to watch an animal that God created do what it’s created to do. Other than give them a clean, stress free place to do their thing, I can’t change what they do or why they do it.

Not only am I proud of them, but they’re proud of themselves and each other.

While that may sound strange, it’s true. If one of our chickens lay an egg, she squawks and struts and lets everyone know she laid a good one. In turn, they all join her in head bobs and happy clucking.

The coop is quite the community, and I love being a part of it. The girls have started to recognize the sounds of the house, so for example they’ll hear the garage door open, and they’ll all start calling to us and they’ll come meet us at the door. If something scares them and Paul or I are outside, they come running and gather at our feet.

While all of the mentioned above is true, me gushing over my girls wasn’t the main objective of my photo today. I recently have had a couple people ask how clean the eggs are when we collect them, and if we wash them. The answer is no, we don’t wash them. The first reason why is simply because we don’t have to – I had just collected the egg pictured and brought it inside; it’s completely clean to begin with. The second reason why is because washing eggs can actually drive bacteria into the egg itself. An egg shell is porous, and is actually laid with a thin layer over the entire egg called a bloom. The bloom protects the egg from bacteria, and by washing the egg, you wash away the bloom.

Quite honestly, we rarely get dirty eggs; I think we had two last month. In that case, if we get a dirty egg it goes in the garbage.

Bottom line: They take good care of their eggs! 🙂

October 27th

Saturday, October 27th, 2018

WE GOT CHICKENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I may have teared up more than once today, and I’m not ashamed.

Paul and I have been talking about getting chickens for awhile now, but money for a decent, MN-weather-worthy coop just wasn’t in the budget.

Until last Saturday.

Last week I opened up the NextDoor app to create a post about our pumpkin patch, and there it was. A beautiful little kids play house – for FREE. With thumbs of fury, I messaged the gentleman and told him my husband travels for work, so we wouldn’t be able to come get it until Saturday, but if he was willing to hold it for us, we’d be there right away Saturday morning to pick it up.

I honestly thought he’d tell me “first come, first served, if it’s still here Saturday you can have it,” but instead he told me he’d hold it, it was mine for the taking! We borrowed our neighbor’s trailer, and brought it home Saturday morning.

Paul worked most of this week, so yesterday we worked like mad to modify it into a coop. Nesting boxes, a roost, poop tray (yep, that’s a thing), a feeder and waterer. We already had a kennel that we had used as a run for our ducks a couple summers ago, so that was easy to set up quick and attach to the coop. Then this morning we contacted a person selling 5 month old Rhode Island Red hens on Craigslist, and we drove out to Hutchinson and picked them up. We initially thought we’d get four, but my smarty pants husband sneakily brought extra cash just in case (he knows me so well!), and sure enough, when the flock of 18 happily ran up and greeted us at our truck when we pulled up, I fell in love with them, and we ended up bringing home six.

The first one I reached for let me pick her up, and nestled into the crook of my arm. I was a goner.

So we loaded them up, brought them home, and when we let them out in the run, they were so curious with their new home! We left them in today (and will overnight) so they understand where their new home was, but we’re hoping to let them out tomorrow!

I’m now a chicken lady, and it’s the best thing.

August 1st

Wednesday, August 1st, 2018

I did a thing today, and I’m really proud.

I made soap!

I love photography as a creative outlet, but I’ve always missed the physical draw of ceramics. Elbow deep in clay, rolling out slabs or using your weight to throw a bowl on the wheel. Feeling the clay grow and change in your hands is so satisfying. Slow and steady with hand building, fast and furious with throwing. Then there’s the waiting process; watching it as it dries, making sure no cracks form. Once it’s dry (sometimes days later), bringing the piece back to the wheel to create a foot before firing.

Then there’s the firing. Pulling pieces out that look the same, but sound and feel so different. Personality lives in the marks of the clay, but still remains a blank canvas for glazing (if you hadn’t under glazed it).

Glazing, then a second firing.

Then you get to love on it. Use it. Be proud of it.

Sometimes it takes a week or even longer to enjoy your finished piece. Multiple stages that slow you down, and help you to savor the process.

Photography feeds into our need for instant gratification, and while I love it, it leaves me lacking sometimes. Shooting with film helps feed that need for me, but I just don’t do that as much as I’d like to.

So when I walked into Modern Roots in Stillwater a couple weekends ago, I could’ve been there for hours. The look, feel, and smell of all of their handmade soaps was enchanting. They have a location in Buffalo, and I had heard great things, but never had the chance to stop in. I think I picked up, handled, and smelled each kind of soap there. Textures, colors, composition of how they fit together – it was a physical form of photography for me.

I quickly discovered it’s a danger level ten store for me.

You all may think I’m completely crazy for falling in love with soaps, but the care and craft of these soaps where inspiring.

Obviously, because when I got home I checked out about 6 books about soap making from the library and went to Amazon and Etsy for materials.

And today, I made my first batch.

Today, it was a simple lavender soap. Just an addition of dried lavender, no added pigments or exfoliants. Next week, when the rest of my materials arrive, I’ll be trying out a peppermint one, vanilla one, and – wait for it – a coffee one!


Also, on a photography note, I wanted to share the setup I used to shoot my soaps this evening. Super simple; I used one of my favorite dresses for the lace, and from there it was all window light in my living room.