Friday, July 1, 2016

Week 5 Chicky Baby

Week 5
Chicky Baby!

This Week's Shares Contain:

Cherry Tomatoes
New Potatoes
Green Beans

On the home farm the hogs are growing fat in the
woods, with a lot of little piglets scurrying in and out of the electric fence! Our second batch of pastured broilers arrived as adorable chicks, and our new egg layer flock are now outside on grass pasture! With close to 800 chickens on the farm to tend, no wonder the Lord has my mind focusing on the lessons in this blog. There is SO much going on!

Our broiler chickens spend the first few weeks of

their short lives in our brooder. Then they are moved
These little chicks arrived Thursday
and have found a new home in the brooder.
to the movable pens that are pulled daily up and down the field near the house. They get fresh water and feed daily that is augmented by bugs, grass, and worms.

But for now, they're huddled under heat lamps staying warm and getting used to being on the farm.

I have to confess that the main idea for this post is a repost from last fall. I was reading back through my posts and said, "Val, you can see this truth lived out before you again." I have a new reminder scratching around outside as two of our rogue egg layers had made a nest under our porch and hatched 3 chicks. They stick pretty close to the edge of the porch right now as the chicks are only a few days old. But soon they'll venture to the orchard and beyond and the chicks will take refuge under the hen's wings when danger threatens.

Several years ago we let our heritage breeds of
chickens hatch their eggs...our whole pen of chickens thought they were Mommas too! EVERYONE stopped laying, and EVERYONE mothered the new chicks. It was really interesting to watch. One hen could swell up and shelter a dozen chicks under her wings! 

During one of my devotional times this week I read Psalm 57:1. "Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be over past" 

My mind went back to those fun days of watching the hens mother the chicks as they scratched here and
there about the farmyard. Many times we couldn't see the "danger" the chicks sensed as they dashed for the nearest fluffy breast of a hen. But that didn't matter...the fact that the security was there mattered. Many times in my life, others don't sense the urgency of a situation as I do. Like one of those chicks learning about life in the farmyard, I seek shelter in the presence of God. All that matters is that I know where my security is! He is MY GOD...He has offered me the protection of His presence, and I often find shelter there. 

It wasn't always like this for me. God ALWAYS has loved me and offered His protection, but I have had to learn to trust. God has never failed to protect...I have failed to trust. Time and again He's been there, and I praise Him for it!

Often I would pray that God would remove the "chicken hawk" from my life. (Figuratively speaking) But instead He wanted me to learn to live victoriously in the midst of the learn to run to Him for safety. He wanted me to learn to cry out to Him, "Make me like You in the midst of my problems!" I can only do this knowing I am safely sheltered by God.  If God doesn't "shoot down" the "chicken hawk", I should feel perfectly safe and secure under my Savior's wings even while the enemy is hovering over me. That's the kind of trust God wants me to learn!

Daniel, an Old Testament example, lived confidently in the very presence of the enemy in captivity. He spent a long and perhaps dreary night in the lion's den. When he emerged "no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God". Daniel 6:1-24 Oh, that this may be said of us! May God help us to seek His presence that we can rest safely in perfect confidence under the shelter of His wings! 

There may be a voice whispering in your mind right now (I've heard it myself before!) ...If you only knew what I was facing...this trial never seems to end!...I DO know some of what your are facing, for the Word says trials, temptations, hardships, and heartaches are "common to man". We are born into it. And there are times when God in His all-knowing providence knows it's not best for us to be removed from it. He wants to teach us to live victoriously in the midst of the heartache. He knows that great eternal benefits are being accomplished by our being kept in the midst of the calamities...kept in them, as well as from them. We can bring more honor to Him than should He remove all trials and pitfalls from our path.

So, come learn the lesson with me. Let us strive to be less impatient and less discouraged while we seek to be "kept" in whatever trials God may call upon us to live through daily. Let us cultivate, by the teaching of the Spirit, and the sure, unchangeable Word of God that determined trust which will enable us to say, "In the shadow of thy wings I will make my refuge until these calamities be overpast." 

   I've been having fun creating new or inspired vegetable dishes in the farm kitchen. Now that some of our favorite vegetables are regularly rolling in on
the trucks I "sneak" a few for the family. I'm asking myself what is a new way to serve this family favorite. Like the squash I pulled out of a truck tonight...jalapenos came to mind. Our family loves squash and onions sauteed in butter.  So tonight I cut up my zucchini and crookneck squash and a large onion. I sauteed the onion in the butter adding the equivalent of 2 sliced jalapenos to the  butter for the large mixture for this heat loving family. (We can sliced jalapenos, so don't think your missing anything at the market if you haven't seen them yet. It'll be a few weeks still till they are ripe.)  Then as the onions went limp I added the sliced squash and stirred it as it cooked. I've covered it to finish cooking with just the heat of the cast iron skillet while the family packs your shares out on the porch.
                Another idea to use your squash is to stir fry it with your favorite meat, onions and garlic. (In this picture I've used boneless chicken thighs.) 

1. Cut up your meat in bite sized pieces. Put them into a small bowl with a crushed garlic clove, olive oil, and either Worcestershire or Soy Sauce. The amounts vary according to the amount of meat you have. Don't be shy, just cover the meat. 

2. Slice your squash in 1/4" slices. I like to make sure they fit into my mouth without an embarrassing struggle! :) 

3. Take the outer skin off an onion, and cut off the ends. Cut the onion in half lengthwise. Next, cut a half into wedges, set aside and continue with the remaining half.

4. Pour a bit of olive or grapeseed oil (vegetable oil will also do, but is not as healthy of a choice) into a wok or frying pan. Heat the oil.

5. With a fork or slotted spoon, add the meat to the oil. Stir. The meat will be finished cooking when the color has disappeared. Take the cooked meat  and put it back into the marinade bowl.

6. Next add the onion and garlic to the now empty frying pan and stir. When the onions are limp, add the cut up zucchini and crookneck squash. (You can use one or the other, but we like a mixture.) Stir till the squash is fork-tender. Add the meat along with any marinade that is leftover. Continue stirring until the squash is fork-tender.

7. Serve over rice or Chinese noodles. 

P.S. This also makes a great pizza topping! (When doing this I don't use soy sauce, but Italian salad dressing along with Italian Seasoning.) 

I pray these ideas help you to start thinking "outside the box" in using your share or garden's bounty.

 What is your favorite way to use the summer's bounty of squash? We'd all like to know, so share it in the comments section below! You may be like me and need all the help you can get to be inspired to use your vegetables after a long day. Let's help each other!

Have a blessed week!

Abundant Blessings As You Seek His Face,
The Farmer's Wife,
Val Colvin

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