Honk! Costumes

I wanted to share our costumes from the Victoria Players Children’s Theater’s upcoming production of Honk! for these reasons:

  1. They are unique
  2. They are awesome
  3. They aren’t like any already on the web
  4. They are the perfect fit for this blog…a blend of craftiness and farm life

So to begin…the VPCT is a new theatre in Baltimore, Ohio, our hometown. My kids were bit by the acting bug last year and have been involved in a number of shows since then. When I learned that the Baltimore Downtown Restoration Committee was going to start a children’s theatre as a way to promote the Victoria Opera House, I wanted to be involved from the beginning. Of course, I tend to get over involved, so I simply let my kids try out for the first show. “High School Musical, Jr.” was a lot of fun and a great success, and my first time doing costuming on my own. For that show we bought or thrifted most everything.

Then auditions for Honk! came around. If you don’t know, Honk! is the musical retelling of the Ugly Duckling story. My three bigs auditioned and were cast (chronologically) as Ida, the mother duck; Turkey, and Greylag, two roles, the first being the headmaster of the school, and Greylag being the leader of the goose squadron; and Henrietta, and Lowbutt, again, two roles, both chickens, one being the school secretary and the other a domesticated house chicken.

We started brainstorming (unofficially) ideas but it wasn’t until we received the scripts that we understood the writer’s intention of the show. We weren’t to dress them as animals, but as the human interpretation of the the animal they were portraying. My mother-in-law Susan, the artist and seamstress, sketched these ideas based on our talks:

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I loved her ideas for Henrietta and Lowbutt. We wanted Henrietta to be a Rhode Island Red and Lowbutt to be a Barred Rock. Here’s the finished products:

The flower design on the Henrietta dress is a Dresden Plate made by her great-grandmother and came in the bag of fabric. I love the feather wings on the dress. Lowbutt is more sophisticated and so her dress is simpler and topped off with a bow. We are adding a big red bow to her hair to be her “comb”. She will be wearing yellow tights.

As for Ida, I didn’t like her original design…I envisioned Ida as a Mallard. Most Ida’s out there were yellow, and I’ve never seen an adult female yellow duck. I did like the shirt dress style though. We found a pattern from a friend and went to JoAnn’s to match the pattern of a Mallard’s feathers to fabric and came up with this:

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Ida

The blue apron was Susan’s from home ec class many years ago, and it represents the blue wing tips of the duck. I love the way the dress turned out. Cute yet motherly. She will be adding orange tights and feathers in her hair.

I’ll add pictures of the Turkey and Greylag later, once those costuses are assmbled. We didn’t recreate anything there, as we are putting Turkey in a graduation robe and Greylag in a bomber jacket.

I hope that you enjoyed this post. Please like and share as we’d love for others to be inspired by these costumes too!

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Altoid Tin Advent Calendar

I have a crafty side that I typically don’t share…I get inspired every few months either from friends or pinterest or the Internet. And I’m usually just copying someone else’s ideas.

But this one I had to share once it was done. I started with an idea but then the result is my own. I also didn’t take many step by step pictures, but it’s pretty simple to figure out and I will try to provide details.

First, you need 24 altoid tins. I saved for almost a year, and was happy to find the 10 pack at Costco.

Next, cut out a template from cardboard by tracing your lid. Then decide if you want to cover with fabric or cardstock. I chose fabric to match my Christmas banner but some fabrics are pretty sheer.

I used modge podge to glue the fabric to the tin. I chose yellow for my star and brown for the base and multicolors for the tree.

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Once I laid it out I printed numbers off and used a 1.25 and 1.75 circle punches to make multilayered numbers. I glued them on with modge podge and covered the top too.

My husband cut out a 15in by 28in piece of quarter inch plywood and I spray painted it and then glued them on with my hot glue gun.

In hindsight I would’ve made it 18 in wide.

I plan on putting in coins, notes or small candies and chocolates. I’m super happy to have this handmade calendar that will last for years!

How to cook a whole chicken

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Isn’t this a beaut? First whole chicken ever cooked by a happy customer!

When we first started raising meat chickens, I assumed everyone my age knew how to cook one. I’ll blame the lack of knowledge on the 90s craze of the boneless, skinless chicken breast. I also admit to being a slow learner…I rejected cooking as a kid, stumbled my way through early adulthood, and only in the past five years or so did I start feeling comfortable in the kitchen. Thankfully I married a man who loves to cook! Part of the fun of raising and selling meat chickens has been teaching our customers how to cook them. Most had never done it. Here’s our easy way to make sure your chicken is delicious.

An important note…we learned the hard way to never cook one the day of processing. The meat needs a chance to chill and relax. Keep it in the fridge for a day or two.

We typically roast the chicken in the oven, but a large crockpot works well too. For the oven, preheat to 400 degrees. Take the chicken out of the bag and put it in an oven safe dish. Next, add seasoning to the skin. My favorite spice blends are from Penzey’s and include the Bicentennial Rub and Ruth Ann’s Muskego Ave seasonings. In a pinch, salt and pepper work just as well. I begin by loosening the skin from the meat with my hand, making sure I rub the spice directly on the meat. Once seasoned, I also like to add a peeled whole onion to the cavity of the bird, which gives it a nice flavor. Put it in the preheated oven and cook for 15 min. Turn the heat down to 350 and continue to cook. We’ll check the bird at 60, 75 and 90 minutes with a meat thermometer, and take it out once it reaches the safe temperature of 165 degrees. This is measured by sticking the thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. The juices should also run clear. Allow the meat to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. We like to have mashed potatoes and a green vegetable as our sides, along with homemade gravy.

Let us know your favorite way to cook in the comments below!

Putting up hay

Don’t let this picture fool you…I have no part in making hay. My allergies are almost too intense for me to even walk in the barn during this process, but I had just returned from a run and Linus and Schroeder were helping Andy and Grandpa John put the hay in the barn. You can tell the little guy was hard at work by the dirt and sweat. When asked, he said he was “Farmin'”. Indeed, he was!

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What we’ve been up to in 2014

The lack of posts is not indicative of lack of activity on the farm. From making hay to birthing livestock to processing poultry, it’s been a busy spring. For those interested in antibiotic-free, pastured meat chickens, we are doing our last round of butchering until fall this Saturday, so be sure to get your order in before then so we can add you to our list. They keep well in the freezer and provide 1-3 meals for your family, depending on size. We like to roast it and eat it with mashed potatoes the first day, then make either chicken noodles, casseroles, or chicken salad the next days. But I digress…back to the new babies…

We had four lambs this spring. Two ewes and two rams. We’ll save one of the rams for breeding and raise one for meat. Lucy will get to show one of the ewe lambs at the fair this fall since this is her first year in 4-H. Here’s some nice pictures of momma after giving birth…lambs stand up pretty soon, with some gentle cleaning and nudging from their mom.

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And soon get busy having their first meal.

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After keeping each mom with her baby(ies) for 24 hours or so, they can all go back in the flock together.

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We even did some milking this spring and Andy loved the taste of it. We stored some up in the freezer in case we’d need to bottle feed at some point.

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We had to buy new bees this spring as we lost all but one hive. Andy’s dad came over to help him as he is going to start keeping bees this year too.

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Piglets! Much to my shock we ended up with pigs on the farm again (thank you craigslist). We bred this sow to the neighbor’s boar and ended up with a litter of 12 (after 2 died). They are super cute, and momma is super protective.

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I do love how she seems to be smiling here.

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We also had kittens on the farm this spring, and their momma is an excellent mouser/ratter. We had one loose in the house and we coaxed her in (she is a stray and must’ve been a house cat before us). She found it within minutes and then we coaxed her back out so she could feed her babies.

 

And one parting shot of the sheep out on pasture. The lambs are so cute to watch as the bounce around.

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Again, we’ll have fresh chicken this weekend and currently have freezer lamb and rabbit, and eggs for sale. We’re also taking orders for Thanksgiving turkeys now, as we’ll only raise the number ordered. Feel free to stop on Sundays for farm visits.

Lamb for sale this fall

Our four spring lambs are due to be processed this fall and we are currently taking orders. They are Tunis sheep (part of Slow Food’s Ark of Taste and a very old breed) and have been grass-fed. The meat is very mild tasting (as denoted in this neat article) and low in fat.

Prices are $165/half and $300/whole plus there is a $60 processing fee per lamb. The buyer is able to chose the cuts they desire. We *might* have individual cuts available but prices will vary.

Feel free to contact us here or via email for more information!

The lion and the lamb

Well, almost…our “lion” is our newest farm kitty, a female we named Jane Grey. She showed up a few days after our old farm kitty went to live at the grandparents house (due to his taste for baby chicks). It doesn’t amaze me anymore how cats come and go from a farm. She was just what we needed- super sweet and loving with the kids. And apparently the lambs.

This little guy is in the infirmary with his momma right now and I guess he needed some company.

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Have you seen any unique animal parings lately?