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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Taking a Risk with Turquoise

I “like” a lot of local shops on Facebook, and I LOVE that many post pictures of their inventory.  A couple of weeks ago, I saw two chairs for sale at the Furniture Zone in Boone, and posted the picture on Squaw Creek’s Facebook wall.  After getting positive feedback from some of you, I tricked my hubby into going to town with me to look at them.
While there, it’s safe to say that he did NOT want to bring the chairs home with us.  But a quick text to my mom revealed that she was just a couple blocks away, so she came over, and pretty soon, we were loading the chairs in the back of the van.

I like turquoise, I really do.  But usually, I like it on a pillow.  Or a throw blanket.  Turquoise upholstered chairs?  Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be buying turquoise chairs…
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But they’re here, and you know what?  I love them!!!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Scoop on Turkey Poop



the scoop on turkey poop
Our turkeys are not caged; they are free to run around the barns.  That means that we need to use litter, or bedding, that is super absorbent, yet comfortable for the turkeys.

Our bedding is a combination of wood shavings and oat hulls.  We use wood shavings in the brooder house, where the baby turkeys (poults) live until they’re a few weeks old.

inside of turkey barn

Some of the wood shavings are a waste product from nearby lumber mill but most come from Misty Meadows in Wisconsin.  Misty Meadows specializes in wood shavings for dairy and poultry.

unloading wood shavings for turkey barn

(Unloading fresh wood shavings)

turkey farm bedding

In the finishers, the main part of the bedding is made up of oat hulls from Grain Millers, Inc. in St. Ansgar, IA.  After we move the poults to the finishers, we also move the wood shavings. The brooder bedding is spread on top of the oat hulls.

hauling manure on turkey farm

(Moving wood shavings from brooder to finishers)

The oat hulls stay nice and loose, enabling the turkeys to kick it around and nest in it if they want.  It also helps keep their feet and legs in good condition.  Otherwise, if there is wet, poopy bedding, their foot pads can develop sores.  So good quality bedding is very important for the birds.

turkey beddign oathulls

(Adam playing in the oat hulls.  See how fluffy they are?)

When the flock finally goes to market, Bart uses a couple of different machines to “skim” the bedding.  He uses manure forks on his skid loader to pile up the manure cake, and then uses a specialized litter separator to filter manure from the reusable bedding.   He lifts up sections of the bedding, shakes it, and the clean bedding falls back to the barn floor to be reused, while the manure is loaded into a semi.

hauling turkey manure

But that’s not the end of the turkey litter’s lifecycle.  Turkey manure is full of nutrients (just like other livestock manure) and it would be a shame to throw that away!  The litter is taken to a compost facility where it is processed into beautiful, sustainable fertilizer for fields.

This graphic is an excellent visual showing how the turkey manure cycle works!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Dreaming of Nate Berkus and an Addition

I had a dream about the Nate Berkus Show last night.
Funniest part?  I’ve never actually seen it.
(Don’t worry – when I woke up this morning, I set my DVR to record every episode from now till eternity.)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Help Your Child Become a Better Reader This Summer

better readerI’m putting on my teacher hat today.  This is something that I think about every year at this time, and since I’m no longer teaching, I can’t spend the last day of school lecturing my students about the importance of reading over the summer, so you get to enjoy my lecture instead.

Did you know that some kids “lose” as much as 2-3 months of reading ability over the summer months?  For example, if they ended 4th grade reading at a 4.6 (4th grade, 6th month) they may start 5th grade at 4.3 (4th grade, 3rd month.)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Buffalo Turkey Breast

I’m seriously excited to share this recipe with you all today.  We definitely could have used it when we were on our Lent budget!  Turkey lunch meat can be relatively pricey, so that’s one thing we had to quit buying.  But Jenn makes her own!  Wish I had known how easy this is!

Recipe from the Biggest Loser Family Cookbook
Posted by Jenn
Buffalo Turkey for lunch meat 022
Ingredients:
Olive oil spray
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds trimmed, boneless, skinless turkey breast roast  (The smallest I could find was 3 x this size, so I ended up tripling the ingredients.)
1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1-2 Tbsp. buffalo wing sauce (thick, all-natural sauce; not thin like Tabasco – I used Frank’s Hot Sauce)
1/4 cup water
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Preheat the oven to 350°.  Lightly mist an 8” x 8” glass baking dish or nonstick baking pan with the olive oil spray.
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In a small bowl, combine the garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  Place the roast on a cutting board.  With a fork, pierce each side (top and bottom) deeply about 25 times. 
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Drizzle on the oil and rub to coat evenly on both sides.
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Sprinkle with the garlic powder mixture and rub it in to evenly coat both sides.
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With the smooth side of the breast down, drizzle with half of the wing sauce, rubbing to coat.  Place the turkey smooth side up, in the prepared pan.
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Rub the buffalo sauce over the smooth side of the breast. 
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Pour water into the pan, taking care not to pour it over the turkey.
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Roast for 35-40 minutes (or longer for larger turkey breasts), or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest portion registers 160° F. and the juices run clear. 
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Tent the roast loosely with foil and let stand for 10 minutes (the temperature should increase to 170°F.) 
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Place the turkey on a clean cutting board and carve against the grain into thin slices.  Serve immediately or refrigerate in an airtight plastic container for up to 3 days.
I use a meat slicer to get thin slices for sandwiches.  I then fill quart-size ziplocs with 8 oz. portions and stick in the freezer.  Then I can pull out one ziploc to use for lunches at a time.
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My family and I really enjoy this “lunch meat”.  It tastes great right away, warm too, and my children do not find it to be too spicy.  Enjoy!!


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Jenn is a full-time mom who loves to cook and experiment with new ingredients. She is dedicated to providing her three children (6, 4, and 7 months) and husband with nutritious, delicious meals, while sticking to a budget. Keeping turkey in her weekly menu rotation makes it easy to accomplish those goals. Turkey is so versatile, it's easy incorporate it into many dishes. When she's not in the kitchen, she's coordinating the crafts for our local MOPS group, attending a monthly book club, sewing, and busy homeschooling (during the summer).

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

How to Arrange a Vignette


Last week, I posted a few of my favorite vignettes from around the house, and today I wanted to share some tips for arranging your accessories (along with a few more pictures.)  There are many “right” ways to create a vignette and there are a few guidelines to keep in mind that help it look great.
1.  Start with something large.
2.  Vary the heights of the objects.
3.  Work in odd numbers.

These are just guidelines, not rules.  In the end, I go with whatever “looks” right.  But if you’re not sure, the guidelines can give you a place to start. 
Now, here are the rules guidelines in action.  (All photos feature vignettes in my home.)

1. Start with something large, like a lamp, mirror, or artwork.

pottery barn style living room
The inspiration for this vignette was the 82 Queen print.  The seagrass basket is from Charleston as is the starfish.  One of the books is Gone With the Wind, which of course, reminds us of the south.  Together, these items form a beautiful vignette that reminds us of our honeymoon.
Charleston inspired

2. Vary the heights of the objects.

croquet and wagon
Use books under objects to create the different heights, if needed.  I love to grab old, beautiful books at thrift stores or garage sales, ESPECIALLY if they have meaning.
above the cabinetsantique drawer shelvesimg_1556rev-1_thumb

3. Group objects in odd numbers.

I’m not sure why this works, but it seems to be more pleasing to the eye.  (Shimmery Fall Decorations)shimmery fall acessories
Three deer, in front of and overlapping each other.  If you could see the whole vignette, you’d see three evergreen trees, too.
breyer deer
Three ultrasound pictures, arranged in a triangle…on an antique screen door bulletin board.
antique screen door bulletin board
The “odd number” guideline is pretty flexible…. In some of my vignettes, I counted and I had an even number. But to me, some things go together and count as 1. Like this – the little bowl that is holding up one of the toilet paper pumpkins doesn’t count…it has really become a part of the pumpkin itself.burlap toilet paper pumpkins
Same here – book doesn’t count.  It’s the THREE (toilet paper) pumpkins that count.
toilet paper pumpkins

Following these guidelines will help keep your home décor accessories from looking like clutter, because the arrangement will be much more pleasing to look at.

If this post was helpful, or there is a particular vignette that you love, please pin it!

Shared at Funky Junk Interiors 
Shared at Metamorphosis Monday  
June Before and After Party at Thrifty Decor Chick 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Make Things Beautiful

Making things beautiful makes me happy.
Truly.

And my “beautiful” strength is arranging vignettes.

A vignette is an arrangement of décor accessories
and when I’m looking for a little pick-me-up, I start rearranging.

So today, for your viewing pleasure (and mine) I’m sharing several vignettes from around my home over the past few years.
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Which is your favorite?  Pin it or share it on facebook!
(By the way – I got a new piece of furniture for my house that I’m LOVING!  I don’t have a blog-worthy photo yet, but I have a cell phone pic on Facebook.  Be sure to check it out!!! www.facebook.com/onthebanksofsquawcreek )

Shared at: Tuts and Tips not to Miss 
Shared at Funky Junk Interiors  
Shared at Metamorphosis Monday  
June Before and After Party at Thrifty Decor Chick  
The Little Things party at Thrifty Decor Chick
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