I have a whole bunch of firsts here now that we live on a real working farm.  A few months ago we used an egg incubator and hatched 15 eggs.  I cannot tell you how excited we were that morning we woke up to find tiny cracks in all but one of the eggs.

new chicks 1

new chicks 2

Over the course of a few hours 14 baby chicks popped out of their eggs and made me love them (they forced me, they must have).  I spoiled these tiny chicks in the worst way.  I kept them in my laundry room for a few weeks before moving them out to the barn into what I call the teenage chicken house.

For those weeks I walked around the house holding a chick most of the time.  They became so accustomed to being held they would escape from their brooder box and come looking for me.  Penelope (the indoor pig) did not enjoy having baby chicks wandering around the house at all.  She would run up and down the hall barking like a dog trying to scare them back into the laundry room!

For those of you who don’t know, chicks grow shockingly fast.  On that final day in the house I walked into the laundry room to check on my babies to find them all on top of my washer screaming because they couldn’t get down.  The amount of poop they left on my washer was just gross.

As it turns out Penelope the pig was right…those chicks had to get out of the house.  Once I moved them out to the barn they really started growing fast!  It was only a few more weeks before they were too big to keep in the teenage house.  I finally let them out to roam with the older chickens but I really did worry about them.  For the first few days I checked on them every 30 minutes or so.

Yes, of course I’m ridiculous.  I can’t help myself.

At first the little chickens didn’t have the courage to even stick their heads out of the main hen house.  As days passed they would dart out and run right back.  It took about a week but they eventually did feel safe enough to roam the barnyard with the older chickens.  They were so happy!

I try so hard to keep my animals safe and well looked after.  I probably have the cleanest farm you will ever see.  I literally clean my animal pens 3 times per day.  My point being, I am out there….A LOT.  Imagine my shock to look out the window and see a fluff of feathers about 5 minutes after I came back in from cleaning the pens.  I knew what that meant but didn’t want to believe it.  I ran outside barely getting my shoes on my feet!

I was too late.  My heart sank.  A neighbors dogs had come onto our property and killed  most of our chickens.  Everywhere I looked there were dead chickens.  Most of the chickens I had hatched in the house were gone.  We have 3 left from the 14 we hatched.  From the 40 chickens we had total we only have 18 left.

Two of the hens were so badly injured we had to end their lives ourselves just to stop their suffering.  Mrs. Homemakers son came and helped with that.  Thank goodness. I cried for two days.  I had failed to keep them safe, even with all of my watching and fussing over them.  I had failed.

We called the police and have hopefully resolved the wild dog issue but for so many here on this farm the damage was done.

Mrs. Homeowner came up the very next day with 4 baby chicks and a whole bunch of eggs to hatch.  I was so thankful.  In about 2 weeks we should have brand new hatchlings.   But….in a twist of things….life on a farm finds its own way…

One of our original chickens who has survived repeated dog attacks (same horrible dogs) became broody and has not moved from her nest in days.  I collected a few more eggs and tucked them under her fluffy little butt.  One of our larger hens really badly wants to lay her daily eggs in that nest.  I have had to drag that big hen off of my tiny bantam broody mama several times.

Big Mean Hen

Big Mean Hen

Today she finally got her way, she kicked broody mama off of her nest and layed her egg there.  Poor broody mama stood outside and cried.  I didn’t know chickens could do that.  I went back in to get that big mean hen off that nest only to find broody mama happily tucked back into her nest sitting on an extra egg.  She’s setting on 6 eggs only 1 of which is actually hers.

Little Broody Mama

Little Broody Mama

I was so sad with all the loss here,  but now we have so many reasons to be excited.  We have eggs hatching inside the house and broody mama working hard to hatch a clutch of eggs all by herself.  I can’t wait to see those chicks hatch.  To see broody mama being an actual mama!

In a few weeks Grace the goat will be going off to be bred.  There will be all sorts of new life here.  I am just thrilled.  Country life is for me.  It’s hard to imagine being happier.

I can’t wait to share all this with you!

Let’s bake cake….while we wait for all these babies!!!!

austrian cake 1

 

Austrian Pound Cake ~ Adapted from Kaffeehaus by Rick Rodgers (2002)

1 1/4 cups of butter ( 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons) at cool room temperature

1 1/4 cups sugar separated

5 large eggs separated

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup cornstarch

pinch of salt

1 cup mini dark chocolate chips

Place the rack in the center of the oven and pre-heat to 350 degrees.

Brush melted butter on the inside of the gugelhupf mold and coat with flour, tapping out all the excess.  (My pan is non stick but I sprayed it with pam anyway)  Use an 8″ pan.  Not larger.

Beat the butter in a standing mixer at high-speed until smooth, about a minute.

Add 3/4 cup of the sugar and beat, scrape down the bowl as needed.

Beat until the butter is very light in color about 4 minutes.

Add the vanilla. One at a time add the egg yolks, beating well after each addition.

In another bowl beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks.

Gradually beat in the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar.

Beat the egg whites until the form stiff shiny peaks. Fold the egg white mixture into the butter mixture.

Sift the dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch and salt) together.

In two additions, fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture.

Fold in the chocolate chips being gentle, to avoid deflating the egg whites.

Spoon the batter into your prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake until a toothpick comes out clean (about 50 minutes) In my convection oven the cake was done in 45 minutes.

Cool the cake on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Invert and un-mold onto the rack and cool completely.

I simply dusted the top with a bit of powdered sugar. You can drizzle with a glaze if you prefer but it’s just perfect like this. Not too sweet with a lovely texture. Make a cup of coffee, put your feet up and enjoy!

austrain cake 2

         

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10 Responses to Austrian Butter Cake…..and yet another tale from the farm

  1. Patty says:

    I love your blog and reading about all of your animals. I actually planted a garden this year and started to can and preserve vegetables and fruit. I am hoping when we move I will have a bigger garden. I would love to have chickens but I am afraid of what happened to you would happen to ours and because I actually HATE eggs and never eat them. Please post more pictures when they hatch and as much as I love dogs I hope they never come back.

  2. Karen in OH says:

    Tamatha, hope all those soon-to-be baby chicks do well this time around. It seems everything likes going after chickens, and the end result is so sad. The family up around the bend built a really nice hen house that looks like a chapel and totally enclosed surrounding area with wire fencing (the kind with small holes) even over the top of the whole thing. Then the chickens appeared, happily clucking around the enclosed yard. It was fun to watch them and hear their soft clucks. That lasted all of about four days, and they were gone. There are lots of foxes and raccoons around here, and have a feeling one or the other managed to break through the fencing. Haven’t seen anyone around to ask what happened, but those dexterous raccoons can do amazing things with their paws as I’ve witnessed with my fenced in garden! So hopefully everybody’s second-time-around chickens will be better off! And the Austrian Butter Cake sounds scrumptious!

  3. norma says:

    With every goodbye you learn. I know it is hard. It is hard for me to say goodbye after 15 or 18 yrs to our dogs and cats. It is like I mourn for the animal and the loss of the years also. a few yrs ago we lost 5 18 yr old pets. I was heartbroken. I can only imagine how you feel.

    I am seriously try to do some baking. Would you give some tips on pie crust. All I have to do is set aside a day, some flour and ingredients and practice. I just haven’t done that. Anyway that is one of the things on my bucket list.

    Thanks,

  4. Charlotte Moore says:

    That really stinks to go to the trouble to get them big then a mean dog comes and kills them. That is awful.

    The cake looks delish. I don’t have a pan like that.

    How are the kiddos adjusting?

  5. Alyssa says:

    Ummmm…there is a picture missing again! I got to talk to my girl but I crave that gorgeous face!!! My mouth is watering, that cake looks amazing as usual!

  6. Jo says:

    After having your chickens attacked, I hope the dogs and their owners (the true culprits) have been dealt with. I’m so glad you’re back!

    I had a new Cochin chick hatch this morning under one of my hens who then proceeded to try and kill the chick. I saved it and tucked it between my boobs until the incubator heated up. I’ve got to set up the brooder and then I’ll raise it myself.

  7. Teresa W says:

    You are so right about how fast chicks can grow! I had five babies at my house this Spring. I own chickens with my good friend and the big ones reside in the coop and run at her house. I raised the young ones in a brooder here until they were about 8 weeks old and ready for the teenage section of the run. They were so fun! The breed we have, Indian River, have a tendency to be little Houdini’s! They can get out of a gate no matter how quickly we go in,
    Enjoy the new life on the farm. That little Banty will have no clue those new babies are not all hers. That is what is so cool about broody hens. I love getting a second post from you this week. Now I know you are feeling better!

  8. Debra says:

    i enjoyed reading this and what a yummy recipe. thank you It made me cry and I love dogs but some are not trained by their owners and know no better. So very sorry for your loss(es)

  9. I am not positive where you are getting your info, but
    good topic. I needs to spend a while finding out more or understanding more.
    Thanks for wonderful information I was searching for this information for my mission.

  10. Yolanda says:

    When you tell a story it’s like I’m there!! And when you bake it’s like I should be there! YUM YUM!!!

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