Disaster Preparedness!

As everyone continues the long process of recovering from Hurricane Michael, we want you all to know that our family is praying for yours.

As of today we’re still without power, but we’re making the most of it. We are spending our days rebuilding, replanting, clearing, cleaning, and recovering. Our nights are quiet, but spent with family. We have been enjoying grilling and figuring out how to maneuver in the dark.

We’re thankful to be safe and that we have our home. So many people cannot say these words and so we will not complain! We ask that you continue to pray for all the people who have lost so much. If there is something you can do to help the hurricane victims, please do. Whether you can go into that area and provide a skill, make a donation, or maybe you can simply assist someone in your own area.

Any small acts of kindness, goes a long way!

This Hurricane has taught us how important it is to have a plan not only to evacuate, but also for your animals, those inside and out. For us it was a little difficult because not only do we have our usual chickens, 2 dogs, and our cat, Oscar, but we also have 6 puppies as well.

Our goal was to make sure that we were safe and also that all of our animals were too! We want to share with you what works for us and also what we have on the ready at all times.

Outside Plan: This is a basic list for our outdoor animals and items.

1. Bring in all tools, food bins, outside furniture, anything loose to prevent damages

2. Lock up all chickens in their coops and secure

3. Bring out extra feeders and waterers and fill in case of extended absence

4. Secure outside trash bin (we actually forgot to do this)

5. If needed board up windows

6. Harvest what you can

Inside Plan: We have pets so it’s important we have something ready for them. We also use the buddy system. Everyone is assigned a person and they are responsible for them.

1. Pack animals, food (already bagged), water, bowls, and their leashes.

2. Buddy check! Do they have everything?

3. Cell phones and chargers packed

4. Important documents like insurance policies, passports, bank account numbers, etc.

Ready Bags: Having a bag already packed saves time. You simply grab and go because you’re already ready.

1. Two pairs of pants

2. Two shirts

3. One pair of shorts

4. Jacket or sweater

5. Undergarments

6. Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, washcloth, wet wipes, sanitary napkins

7. Medicine(s) including vitamins or supplements

8. Water (we try to keep some in the trunk, but 8 bottles in the bag)

9. Cash (ATM’s may not work)

10. Flashlight

11. Non-perishable foods

12. First aid kit

13. Battery operated radio with extra batteries

14. Extra chargers or a charger station as needed

15. Napkins

16. Map (Cellphones may not work)

This is a basic list assuming that you’re just evacuating and have a safe place to go. You could add more things like a whistle, can opener, fire starter, cast iron pot/pan, plastic silverware, matches, bowls, cups, sleeping bags, blankets, etc. in the event of a severe emergency.

Everyone is different and has their own unique set of circumstances. So please do what works for you! This list can be used as a starting point.

We found a great resource here that will give you more ideas on what you need. If anyone knows of another resource or has something to add, please do!

Above all the main goal is to keep yourself and your family safe. Hopefully this helps!

New Pricing!

As of June 30, 2018, we will be streamlining our direct from farm prices across the board. Some of you may have noticed this change in our pricing structure already. We initially thought that pricing our birds at a flat rate would be a better option, but with the rising cost of organic feed, we are finding the expense is too great. We believe this will be beneficial to everyone going forward. Our new direct pricing is as follows:

Whole Organic Pastured Chickens: $6/lb

Small/Medium Eggs: $4/Dozen

Large Eggs: $5/Dozen

Jumbo Eggs: $6/Dozen

18 Count Eggs: $7

30 Count Mixed Flat: $15

Chicken Livers: $5/lb

Chicken Feet: $7/lb

Chicken Gizzards and Hearts: $5/lb

Due to this pricing structure we can no longer offer our whole chicken through The Market at Dothan. All whole chicken sales will direct only.

Please call, message through our Facebook page, or email your order through our contact page.

Announcements will be made for Harvest Days and our birds can be reserved in advance.

You can continue to place orders for all our other products through our shop page:

Thank you for the support your families have given ours. We appreciate every single order, big or small. We are proud that we are able to keep our standards high and provide clean quality food for everyone and we hope to continue to do so for a long time to come.

Lesson Learned!

I have shared with many of you our family struggles to find healthy food upon moving to this area. I have also shared our story about how Hawkins Homestead Farm came to be, but what I haven’t shared is why I specifically need to eat this way. Over the past 5 years my health has severely declined. As a child I had a heart murmur and suffered from rheumatic fever. Throughout my life, I have had issues with my heart because of this combination. I didn’t always do the best in taking care of my health so now as I age, it has started to catch up to me.

I have acid reflux so I have to watch what I eat. I love spicy foods, but sadly they don’t love me back. In 2011, I developed a blueberry allergy from what I was told were pesticides on the blueberries, but they were supposed to be organic! I have tried over the years since then to eat blueberries or things with blueberries in them, but my body has rejected them all. I also suffer from various other allergies and I live with back pain. If that’s not enough, in the past 2 years, I have been hospitalized twice and had many other ER and cardiologist visits due to issues related to my heart. During one hospitalization, the doctors believe I had a mini stroke or a TIA. There is something going on inside me, that mimics a heart attack, but the doctors can’t pinpoint it. I have had every test imaginable and I’m still going through them. The doctors are trying to figure it all out. It has been extremely difficult at times, but my reliance on God and a supportive group of friends and family has helped me tremendously!

My most recent hospitalization happened this past weekend. For the past 3 weeks, I had been eating a strict vegan diet throughout the week to support a friend. So Monday-Thursday, vegetables. Friday-Sunday, my regular diet. I had been doing this without problem or issue, but for some silly reason this past Saturday was a heavy meat day for me….and not the USUAL meat I eat. We wanted to try bison so we purchased some bison steaks from a local retailer, we also had turkey bacon, store bought grass fed lamb, and beef sticks that day. All things I don’t usually eat. This was also the day I found one of our birds headless….

Needless to say, by the end of the night I ended up in the ER. I was admitted and had to stay in the hospital until a few days ago. I can’t tell you for sure what happened. The doctors don’t even know. I can only relate to you the difference in what I normally do and how I know I should care for my body and what happens when I don’t. I talk all the time about how our health is directly related to what we eat. I should have listened to myself speak! I know my body and I know what’s best for me. I grow and eat organically and true grass fed or pastured because I have to. My health depends on it. I watched my husband stress over me while I was hospitalized. I don’t want to put him or my children through that! Diet equals health! I could have chosen not to share this information, but we all make mistakes and do things we know we shouldn’t. Hopefully this information will be helpful to someone else.

So as soon as I feel up to it, I will be making a trip out to Working Cows Dairy to get what I believe is the best organic dairy products offered locally in our area. Not too long ago we took a trip out to Gaucho Farms and as soon as her lamb comes in, she has our business. I am eating produce from our garden and will make sure that our meats come from local trusted sources. My honey always comes from Horton Farms and if we’re not growing it, I go to Bain Home Gardens to get it. Sometimes we have to learn the hard way in order to get the lesson. I know I still have a long way to go with the doctors and all, but I can at least do my part by trying to eat myself well!

Class Recipes!

If you’re looking for the recipes from our class on how to stretch a whole chicken then you’re in the right spot! Remember you can cut up the chicken into pieces and cook it throughly in the oven or slow cooker to save time. However, the recipes listed below do provide cooking instructions if you choose not to cook them in advance.

We hope you love these recipes as much as we do!

*Feel free to change or add to these recipes what your family likes to eat. As you will see some things are optional. What works for us, may not always work for you and that’s ok.

Chicken Pot Pie

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken breast
  • 1 can of cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can of water
  • Fresh or frozen mixed vegetables (we like to use carrots, corn, peas, and green beans)
  • 2 deep dish pie crusts
  • 2 pie crust tops
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Remove pie tops from package and let rest on counter
  • Split chicken lengthwise and cut into bit sized portions
  • Cook until throughly done
  • In a separate pot add cream of chicken and water
  • Stir in mixed vegetables and chicken
  • Allow this to simmer until vegetables are tender
  • Once done, split mixture between the two pie crusts
  • Roll pie crusts tops over each one and use a fork to seal down the edges
  • Cut off excess dough
  • Cut 4-5 slits in the pie top to allow steam to vent
  • Cook in the oven at 350° until golden brown
  • Allow to cool once done and enjoy

Chicken Tacos

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken breast
  • 2 cans of black beans
  • 2 cups of diced tomatoes or one large can
  • 1 whole green pepper chopped
  • A small to medium onion chopped
  • Water
  • Lettuce
  • Sour cream
  • Cumin (We use this in place of taco seasoning)
  • Chili powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh cilantro (optional)
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Taco/burrito shells

Directions:

  • Season chicken breast with cumin and chili powder in a covered skillet with water on low to medium until meat is cooked throughly and soft enough to be shredded
  • Once done, shred meat
  • Add black beans, diced tomatoes, chopped peppers, and onions to the pot
  • Season with more cumin and chili powder to taste
  • Add water and allow to simmer on low until vegetables are soft
  • Once done add mixture to the shell of your choice
  • Top with lettuce, sour cream, and fresh cilantro

Curry Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken thighs
  • A cup of dried cranberries (We like to use the organic ones that are sweetened with apple juice)
  • 1 red onion diced (optional)
  • 1 whole pink lady apple roughly chopped
  • 1-2 stalks of celery diced
  • 2 Tablespoons (or less-really to taste) of mayonnaise
  • Curry powder to taste
  • Salt and pepper
  • Bread of your choice

Directions:

  • Bake chicken in the oven until cooked all the way through
  • Once done, allow to cool, and remove meat from bones
  • Place meat in a bowl, add all other ingredients, and mix well
  • Use bread to make sandwiches and enjoy

Barbecue Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken legs
  • 2 whole wings
  • Mesquite seasoning
  • Salt and pepper
  • Barbecue sauce of your choice

Directions:

  • Season meat with mesquite seasoning, salt, pepper, and place on preheated grill
  • Cook throughly
  • Once done, brush with barbecue sauce and enjoy

This meal is great paired with some grilled potatoes, asparagus, and a side salad of your choice

Chicken Soup

Ingredients:

  • Chicken back
  • Olive oil
  • 3 -4 celery stalks chopped
  • 2-3 Carrots chopped
  • Garlic
  • A whole medium onion chopped
  • Cold water
  • 1/2 cup of rice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Add olive oil to a large stockpot along with garlic, onions, and celery
  • Cooked until vegetables have softened
  • Add entire chicken back to the pot
  • You will later remove bones which can be saved for broth, or you can pick the meat beforehand
  • Add carrots
  • Cover with cold water and season with salt and pepper to taste
  • Simmer on low until meat is throughly cooked and falls off the bone
  • If meat is cooked beforehand- simmer for 30 minutes in low
  • Add rice and cook until just about done (add more water if needed)

Oscar

Oscar is our 6 month old “baby” cat. I mean that term in every sense of the word. He loves to be loved! You can’t hold or rub him enough. He even tries to express his love to inanimate objects like the desk, couch, or wall. It’s so funny to watch him purr and rub his whole body against these things.

Oscar was the only cat out of a litter of 6 that we kept because of his gentleness. He was hand picked by our 11 year old son. In the above picture, he is in his favorite place to be….the ottoman! He will sit there and meow. It’s his hang out and sleep spot….although he has been known to try to sleep with Coffee on occasion. This doesn’t always work out in his favor, but it did this time.

Oscar loves to eat! He hears the food hit the bowl and comes running. It doesn’t matter what bowl or what food…. he will eat it. He has had a couple of close ones with Coffee over her food because she is simply not about to share. He has had to learn how to defend himself against her and has recently perfected the art of the sneak attack.

The funniest thing about Oscar is that he doesn’t like to stay home for long and will let you know it! He literally goes to the door and meows to be let out. Once the door is opened…out he goes. When he is ready to come back in or gets hungry, he comes in, until the next time. Overall we love Oscar and he is a wonderful addition to our Homestead.

Teddy

Teddy is a Great Pyrenees Lab mix who belongs to our oldest daughter. He was rescued as a puppy from a shelter in 2016. He is almost 2 years old now as shown above. His favorite pastime is trying to figure out ways to escape the fence. Being part Pyrenees, he loves to roam so he has dug holes to get under and even knocked it down (when we were doing maintenance).

Teddy loves to eat! See him above as a puppy munching on fresh broccoli. If you have food, Teddy is your new best friend. He has begging down to a perfect science! One funny and sometimes annoying thing about Teddy is that he has never really mastered the command, COME. Well at least that’s the excuse I’m giving him. It’s like a game because he will literally sit there while you’re prodding him to come, turn his head sideways like “are you talking to me?” and then IGNORE you. You know that he hears you and he may even stop, but then decide he has better things to do and walk the other way.

Outside with the chickens, Teddy is constantly learning that they are just as important as he is. He has taken out a few when his instincts and curiosity took over, but that is to be expected when training.

With the addition of our other animals, Teddy has been very kind. He loves Coffee and even shares his bed with Oscar. Overall he is a fun dog and we love him. Now, if only we could stop him from shedding so much!

Coffee

img_0014
Meet Coffee! She is a lab mix and the newest addition to our Homestead. Coffee likes to spend her days chasing our cat, Oscar or biting our other dog, Teddy’s tail (whom you will meet soon) Isn’t she adorable? (I know you’re thinking YES right?)

Please allow me to give you her back story. A few weeks ago we received a call….not just a regular call, but a FaceTime call from our daughter telling us that they have puppies at Walmart. I was like “uh Walmart sells puppies?” “No mom.” Then she turns the camera around and my heart melted! There were puppies caged in the back of a truck. Their owner wasn’t able to keep them after his dog ran off and came back pregnant. They were all so cute, but what really did it for me was the one word I needed to hear, FREE!

So I began to pick one out over the video call. Meanwhile my husband was in the background, saying “no…no….NO!” At first I was discouraged thinking well maybe I won’t be getting a puppy after all. Then I had the thought of how we needed to replace our dog, Dusty. Dusty was a stray we rescued. We loved him, but he loved to eat chickens so we gave him to a family without any.

Needless to say I had to ask my husband a little more than once while pleading my case. There were some trade offs and we had to make a phone call to our youngest son for approval, but he finally said YES! That yes was conditional though….we couldn’t pick out a puppy over FaceTime, so off we went.

Now originally my Dusty replacement was supposed to be a MANS dog. You know like a German Shepard or a Rottweiler. I mean I had the name picked out and everything! So this whole “free puppy” thing was messing me up! I couldn’t name a lab, Roscoe. It just didn’t seem to fit.

Since we gave Dusty to a new family, I was sure that my replacement would be a male dog. The problem was when I arrived I saw this girl above. You can’t tell it from the picture, but she has these eyes and…..well she lives here now so you get it.

The moral of the story is if your daughter or someone else you know calls you and says FREE puppies and you have a place in your heart and home where that animal can be cared for and loved, then just do it. You won’t regret it!

Bone Broth

With all the craze of bone broth we wanted to add a recipe here that has been used time and time again for broth, stocks, and soups. This one is made from chicken feet.

Now before you turn up your nose and click away, allow me to provide a few facts. Chicken feet is packed with so many nutrients that our bodies need and crave. One of those nutrients is collagen. So many suffer from inflammation and one health benefit of collagen is that it reduces inflammation. In addition chicken feet contain protein, calcium for strong bones, and so many other minerals.

I told a story not too long ago in the Market at Dothan newsletter about my Great Grandmother that I would also like to share with you here. Her name was Mrs. Albirta James and she lived to be 105. We affectionately called her Mama, as did everyone else who came to know her. I have fond memories of her cooking chicken feet, thinking to myself why would she ever do that. The thing was that she was hardly ever sick! She knew what was good for her and made sure she got it.

Mama would cook her chicken feet low and slow, eat the feet, and save the broth. She made all types of dishes with this broth. So if anyone thought they didn’t like chicken feet and ate at Mama’s house, they were wrong! I wish I could tell you that the recipe listed below is hers, but it’s not. I was young and didn’t appreciate chicken feet then, but I do now. It is my sincere hope that this post will move someone else who still has their Grandmother to pick her brain, cherish her knowledge, and write down those recipes!

Chicken Feet Bone Broth:

1-2 chopped onions (medium sized)

Couple of celery stalks chopped

Minced garlic to taste (this can be left out if you’re not a fan. (We like a lot)

2-3 carrots chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

About 2 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar (We use Bragg’s organic)

4 chicken feet declawed and peeled

If you purchase chicken feet from us, they have already been cleaned. Use a pair of scissors to snip the claws and then blanch feet in boiling water for 15-30 seconds to peel skin.

There are a lot of recipes where you can add other herbs like thyme and parsley, depending on what you’re using it for. Around here we love rosemary so we add a few sprigs of that as well.

Add enough cold water to cover everything and cook on low heat in a slow cooker or on the stovetop for 6-8 hours. More water may be added during the cooking process. During the cooking process, there will be fat that floats to the surface. This should be skimmed off. Once done, strain everything and there you have made your very own bone broth. Enjoy!