STUFF + THINGS

STUFF + THINGS || creamandhoney.ca

W A T C H || The Keepers. Warning: it's very disturbing, but also addictive and filled with mystery and guessing games. It's on Netflix so binge away friends.

L I S T E N || The Joe Rogan Experience #919 podcast with Neil deGrasse Tyson. Dark matter, quantum physics and space movie talk– it's got all the good stuff. Did you know we have left a crazy amount of space garbage in the atmosphere? Humans have only been exploring space since 1957 and we have left a beehive of millions of pieces of space junk orbiting around our planet at 18,000 miles and hour! So they can't catch any of it and it would mean the end of everything if you hit it. It's still blowing my freaking mind! More about space junk here. Also a video of it so you can get an idea of the sheer amount space garbage or you can watch in real time hovering around us here at stuffin.space, a very cool program developed by James Yoder.

R E A D  || About boredom and creativity. I promise it's not boring and it's important for our brains no matter how much we resist it. I vow to be bored more often and here are some ways to prepare myself. 

M A K E || Cold tea for hot days. I've been making up a lot of these lately. Simply steep loose leaf tea (or bags) in a pitcher of cold water in the fridge overnight. Pour over some ice and add a bit of honey simple syrup if desired for a refreshing beverage on a hot day. (photo above: orange-berry cold tea).        To make honey simple syrup: 1 part honey + 1 part hot water. Stir in a pan over the stove or if you're feeling lazy, boil water in a kettle, pour over honey and stir until dissolved. Keep in airtight container in fridge for up to three weeks.

J O U R N A L || The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path To Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron. Just started this book and I AM IN LOVE. If you've ever read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert you will enjoy this book since she was very inspired by it. Set up in a weekly project format, you get to work on opening and indulging your creativity and mind in various ways. 

 

TUSCAN BEANS + TOAST

Tuscan Beans + Toast || A 30 minute meal that is easy + delicious for any time of day!  || creamandhoney.ca
Tuscan Beans + Toast || A 30 minute meal that is easy + delicious for any time of day!  || creamandhoney.ca

Let's sit and have a chat. First we'll make something comforting (beans and toast) but with a more grown up feel by using Tuscan inspired ingredients. Tuscany is a very adult place in my mind. It's dreamy and romantic with beautiful food, wine and rolling hills scoring the countryside. Purchasing property and divorce are two very adult things and Diane Lane does both in Under The Tuscan Sun. These beans are easy to make, very satiating but feel a tad more distinguished than your average frank and beans. But if you're feeling a more classic style but certainly not average, Joy the Baker makes some mean frank and beans.  So, now that we have our meal (and a glass of red wine), let's talk. 

Bra Thoughts: underwire, bralettes, or bare breasts? That is the question.

Bottom line: do whatever makes you feel most comfortable in your body. But for the most part, gone are the days of women strapping on heavily padded braziers that made breasts look like cantaloupes (and felt almost as firm). I have memories of boys touching my breasts overtop my bra and I could barely feel a thing. They were still excited to be caressing spheres of thick fabric no matter how much or little actual breast was underneath. In my teens and early twenties, fashion was more focused around being overtly sexy while sexiness now has a subtly to it. It was all low rise jeans, tight spaghetti string tank tops with gel and air padded bras. Remember those?! Or the low cut tank tops that had built-in underwire, which in hindsight was so you could skip the bra but not for my friends and I! We would wear push up bras underneath giving us lift times a gagillion. Our tits looked like they were grown directly from our neck. It was great. By great I mean it was just what we wanted. This was also the time when girls would pull their thongs above their jeans. This one was too much even for us. Just a hair below stripper is where we drew the line. We were teenage girls with dignity, okay?!?! Drinking vodka by the mouthful, chain smoking cigarettes, and starting Ja Rule dance parties everywhere we went. This was also the era of the furiously popular lower back tattoo. That was a given when I referenced Ja Rule, right? Thank f*#king Christ I never got one. And if you got one, I consider you a survivor and I'm here for you. Or maybe you're totally still rocking that tribal design or butterfly. You go girl. 

My theory on underwire bras and they're diminishing popularity.  

  1. Underwire is uncomfortable. Period.                             
  2. Women are becoming more accepting of their bodies. Well, we are at least trying right!? Maybe we aren't totally there but I do think it's changing. More and more women are speaking out about body image and self love. We can stop pretending our breasts are perfect globes perched atop our clavicle bone. Who knew?! Well, we did. And so did men. So why were we all pretending otherwise?                                                                                                                        
  3. Bralettes are very cute and comfortable. Lacey, sporty, strappy, sexy– they have it all.
  4. Underwire bras feels like lying to me. Lying to myself and to others about my body. Every women has experienced moments of self-consciousness after removing her bra wondering if the person in front of her realizes her breasts are half the size or a different shape than they appeared to be. Isn't it kind of mean to ourselves? Are we telling our breasts they're not good enough or not beautiful just the way they are. Forcing them into a boob dungeon disguised as underwear, like they've been bad or done something wrong for being who they are?! No no. Not anymore! Now I nestle a bralette around them like a cozy boob pocket or I let them sit freely. At first it was an adjustment. I noticed how much smaller they looked and how my clothes looked different on my body. But once I got used to it, I loved it! There was no turning back. I felt sexier and more true to myself, and I swear my breasts look better than ever. They weren't getting enough self love before and now I've finally let them be them and they are happier. If an underwire makes you feel more comfortable, all the power to that decision. I know women with larger breasts who genuinely feel better because they get more support and I understand that. Either way, let's all try and love our breasts just the way they are and in whatever type of bra or no bra that entails. Also, can we all get a Froobs shirt? Yes? Okay.
Tuscan Beans + Toast || A 30 minute meal that is easy + delicious for any time of day!  || creamandhoney.ca
Tuscan Beans + Toast || A 30 minute meal that is easy + delicious for any time of day!  || creamandhoney.ca
Tuscan Beans + Toast || A 30 minute meal that is easy + delicious for any time of day!  || creamandhoney.ca
Tuscan Beans + Toast || A 30 minute meal that is easy + delicious for any time of day!  || creamandhoney.ca

Let's also take a reflective moment to remember our dead homie fashion trends from the early 2000's: (spoiler: it's bad guys. Real bad.) 

  • Lace up crotch pants. Because buttons and zippers were too practical. And you never know when you might lose the string from your lace up cleavage shirt. Fingers crossed you're not wearing them on the same day! 
  • Jeans with no back pockets. No pockets!? But how will I carry anything? Don't worry, sometimes these jeans came with a teeny tiny pocket on the front, about the size of a Werthers Original.
  • Cargo pants. This time was about having no pockets or twenty-five pockets. We were all or nothing. Very hardcore. You could carry like two hundred Werthers Originals in cargo pants. (They were good candies and not just for old people, okay?!)
  • Halter tops. Perceived as the cutest and sexiest shirt of all time in the year 2000. In my teens I had so many halter tops that an entire drawer was devoted to them. The key to this shirt was wearing a halter style bra that left you with a headache and a deep indent on your neck skin when you took it off at night. Pair one with some pocket-free jeans, tuck your lip gloss into your bra and you're ready for science class or a party!
  • Low rise jeans. My mum and my aunt used to call us “trucker butt". They were right. You couldn't leave your house without seeing at least two butt cracks a day during that time. 
  • Butterfly clips. Wear one to spice up your high ponytail or pull back your hair in seven small segments to show off your unique style.
  • Bootcut jeans. A few years ago, my friend went on a few dates with a guy. She said she really liked him– he was kind, good looking and funny. “He sounds great!" I exclaimed. “There's one problem" she said.  “He wears bootcut jeans... I can't. I just can't." And I respect that.
  • Baggy wide leg raver pants. The photo in that link looks exactly like an outfit I wore in grade nine. I actually owned those exact pants, had the same colourful plastic jewelry and wore my hair in that style.
  • A shrug “sweater". Not quite a sweater, not quite a cardigan. Helloooo sexy-granny. 
  • Yellow Livestrong bracelets. You weren't a good person unless you were wearing one to ten of these. 
  • Denim mini skirts. All skirts were the shortest of the short and on a hot day you could slip on some old navy flip flops, and two tank tops layered on top of each other to show your awesome colour coordination. 
  • Trucker hats. To match your trucker butts. Who or what is Von Dutch anyways? I still don't know to this day.

Because of all these terrible pants were considered normal or cool, when skinny jeans and form-fitting pant legs began revealing themselves as the new and ONLY pants to wear, I think I had a mini heart attack. Real thoughts I had:

  • But why does anyone want to wear pants that make their legs look like .... legs?!".
  • My body will look distorted if people see my true leg shape?!"
  • Is this style really going to last though?! Maybe it'll just be a year or two and then flares with rhinestone pockets will be back and everything will be okay!

I'm very happy we now wear pants that fit our legs. I am also happy to say I don't see bootcut, low rise or lace up crotch pants in my future, but you never know... but I probably wouldn't hate if flares came back in a big way. 

Tuscan Beans + Toast || A 30 minute meal that is easy + delicious for any time of day!  || creamandhoney.ca
Tuscan Beans + Toast || A 30 minute meal that is easy + delicious for any time of day!  || creamandhoney.ca
Tuscan Beans + Toast || A 30 minute meal that is easy + delicious for any time of day!  || creamandhoney.ca

Wishing you and your breasts a free flying week!

xx


TUSCAN BEANS + TOAST

the magic

inspiration:               franks and beans + Tuscan daydreams 

the feels:                   comforting, soft and savoury

eat with:                    pesto on top, arugula salad, braised/sauteed                                      kale, sausage, ground lamb instead of bacon,                                      sliced avocado, fresh mozzarella, red wine,                                        amber ale

might like if you're into:   British comfort food, tending herb gardens,                                         rolling Tuscan hillsides, white bean + kale                                         soup12 ways to cook cannellini beans                                     

the science

serves 2 - 3 || time: 30 minutes

ingredients: 

  • 1 can cannellini beans (white kidney), drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup tomato passata (strained and pureed tomatoes)
  • 4 strips pancetta or bacon, diced (optional, but if you are not using you will need to add more salt for flavour)
  • 1/2 large spanish onion, diced
  • 2 dried arbol chiles, finely chopped (or 1 tsp chile flakes)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh parsley and basil finely chopped, 2 tablespoons of each
  • two garlic cloves
  • 4 slices bread
  • grated hard Italian cheese, (pecorino or parmesan) to top
  • eggs, (for poaching or frying if desired) – one per toast slice
  • salt + pepper to taste

method: 

  1. Cook chopped bacon in a large saucepan until fat is rendered or about 5 minutes. 
  2. Move bacon to separate bowl and set aside. Remove bacon fat from pan except for one teaspoon. Add olive oil and onions to pan and cook over medium heat until translucent, usually 5 - 8 minutes. Add dried chile for the last couple minutes of cooking.
  3. Add tomato passata and simmer for 5 minutes. Add beans and cooked bacon to pan and simmer for another 5 minutes. Taste and add salt if desired. I find it depends on the the saltiness of the bacon. You may need to add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt if it tastes a bit bland. Try adding a little at a time.)
  4. Toast bread and poach/fry eggs (if desired). Cut fresh garlic cloves in half and rub directly on to warm toasted bread.
  5. Place toasted bread on plates, layer on beans and one egg on each (if using). Top with grated cheese and chopped herbs. Serve with side arugula salad. 

 

HOW TO RAISE BACKYARD CHICKENS

I spent the day and night at my friend's home in the country where the nights are pitch black and so silent it hurts my ears when I first turn out the lights. I forget how attuned to city noise I am. I love being amongst so much green and nature– it's rejuvenating. The air is always the first thing I notice, taking in every breath like it's my last. It's fresh and clear and has one hundred minuscule smells of nature within one inhale. The simple things really are the best, aren't they? We frolicked in the grass and mud, picked flowers, drank mugs of coffee, went to the farm store where we followed a baby goat around, and played with Ashley's twenty-nine animals (twenty chickens, three ducks, three cats, one pig, one dog, and one guinea pig). It was the best day I had in a long time. Here's a video I made of her and the chickens along with a Q & A on raising backyard chickens below. 

Road Island Red

Road Island Red

Mixed Breed

Mixed Breed

Silky Stew the rooster

Silky Stew the rooster

Furfy the araucana

Furfy the araucana

speckled hen

speckled hen

One eyed Spector the rooster

One eyed Spector the rooster

Furfy is the sweetest.

Furfy is the sweetest.

And she loves cuddles.

And she loves cuddles.

How To Raise Backyard Chickens || video + Q & A || creamandhoney.ca
Tulip the pig

Tulip the pig

Silky Stew

Silky Stew

Backyard Chicken Farm Q & A with Ashley Sharpe:


How long ago did you start raising chickens?

A: Six years ago. As soon as I had the space I went out and bought chickens. 

So it was something you were planning on doing?

A: Oh, it was something I was planning on doing since I was little. 

Was there something that inspired you to want chickens?

A: Because getting your own eggs is the best and it’s just a fun experience. Hatching, breeding, mixing the breeds, having a chick open up and watch it change colour because they’re all born one way and then change into another colour. The desire to have something that’s mine and being connected to food is a big part of it. As a kid I always felt like there was something missing when I would go to a farm or petting zoo and thought, I really want to know the back end of this. Like, what would it be like if I had to get up and raise these chickens every day? I knew I was missing something and really wanted to know what that was like. I even asked my parents when I was young if we could get chickens but they said we didn’t have the space. 

Is there a specific amount of space you need to raise chickens?

A: Every chicken needs at least one cubic foot of space (in Ontario), but the happiest chickens are free run. 

Who taught you how to raise chickens?

A: Ummm the internet hahaha. I’d love to say that my grandmother passed down this heritage information but maybe I’ll get to be that grandmother. Actually we have some friends with a farm and they told us a little bit. There’s two different ways to raise chickens; you can raise them like us–  letting them die out their days, happy on the farm. Our friends raise theirs more like a big farm way- it’s very nice, it’s very ethical and very sustainable. But they kill there chickens after a year because they stop producing as many eggs. A chicken will lay an average of 255 eggs a year and after that it decreases. So people cull the chickens and make dog food or soup broth etc from the dead chickens. Everyone’s allowed to have 99 chickens if you have an acre of property. You can own 99 or you can own 300, but you can’t own anything in between and sell eggs or they come shut you down if you’re trying to sell roadside or to businesses. And if you are selling legally then at that point you have to send your eggs in to get washed and graded at a factory and you don’t get back your own eggs, you get back everyone else’s eggs because they’re all in the factory together. So you get back what you gave; if you gave 400 eggs, you get back 400 eggs. But they’re not necessarily your own. That’s the best part about small flock farming is you get your own eggs and you could give or sell them to your friends or family.

So the blue eggs from araucana birds, I never see those in stores being sold. Why not?

A: Because no one raises that breed. You can’t just buy those birds at a farm supply store, those are a heritage breed so you can buy them on kijiji through other small farms. 

Hens + Roosters

A: If you’re hatching your own eggs, it can become a problem because you’ll get half roosters and half hens and most people only want hens. It’s okay for us because we eat the roosters. But most people don’t want them because they’re costly to bring up, it takes seven months and the meat is gamey. We give all roosters to our neighbours and they will make a really nice Romanian rooster soup and have us over for dinner. It’s a nice light broth with the meat separate.

What is an ideal rooster to hen ratio to have? 

A: One rooster to ten hens.

You have three roosters to twenty chickens– Chuck, Spector and Silky Stew. That's not too many roosters?

A: Well Silky Stew is small and doesn’t really do much or mate as well like the others so he kind of doesn’t count, but I don’t tell him that. 

Chuck is the main rooster, he's an araucana and so handsome. He’s the head of the roost, he will call all the chickens in at the end of the night, he accounts for all the chickens and will get aggressive if anyone touches his chickens. And he pecked Spector’s eye out. Spector was a gentle rooster and gentle roosters are hard to come by so I really wanted to keep him. But it was a big deal for Chuck to let him in so he pecked his eye out because there’s a pecking order, that’s a real term for a reason. So now Spector doesn’t crow anymore. And the females are as aggressive as the males in pecking order. So when you introduce a new hen, you can’t just bring it in. They will all kill it. You have to buy a minimum of three and introduce them all together. You put them in a cage inside the coop, then at night, (this is the trick), once everyone’s asleep, you open up the cage and put them in-between the other chickens and they already have the scent of the coop on them and then when they wake up the other chickens look around like, “Have you always been here? Oh I guess so”. But if you don’t do that, they kill them and eat their intestines. It’s not a nice death, it’s the worst death ever. They all gang up on one and kill it and eat it. We only had that one chicken death and then we learned. 

Breeds– are there better breeds in regards to temperament or laying eggs?

A: Yes. Road Island Reds are the standard chicken at the farm stores. They produce the most eggs but they won’t sit on a egg long enough to hatch. They are not a smart chicken and don’t have good instincts. They’re aggressive birds and will peck you. Speckled hens can also be aggressive. Mixed Cockerel are also good layers. Araucanas lay a nice egg with a good hard shell. The eggs are pretty and blue and they’re a hardy bird so good for Canada. I recommend them for any backyard chicken farms. They’re nice birds as well. Silkies and Frizzles are the worst for laying, maybe only 6 to 20 eggs a year. But they will sit on eggs. They're not good in the winter, they don’t like it and are unhappy about the cold.  

Brown and white eggs– is there a difference?

A: Brown chickens lay brown eggs and white chickens lay white. And if you scrub a brown egg it will turn white. Neither one is healthier than the other. 

What is your favourite part about raising chickens?

A: I like being a mad scientist with chickens. Finding new breeds, becoming obsessed with that breed, finally getting one, taking it home and breeding them with the roosters to see what happens. 

What are the main components you need to start raising chickens?

  1. You must be home every morning and night to let them out of the coop, feed them and then put them back in at the end of the day.
  2. Invest in a good coop to keep off predators.
  3. You must be able to kill a chicken because there will come a time when you must kill one to put it out of it’s suffering. That’s the worst part. Some of my worst memories are of killing chickens. 

Has killing chickens become any easier? Like if you have to do it?

A: No. No. Every morning I pray I won’t have to. If I know there was a hen that was sick or something, I worry about it in the morning and hope she’s better. But something interesting about chickens is that they know when they’re going to die if it’s from old age. They’ll go and sit in the snow and let themselves get hypothermia. I’ve tried to save them before not knowing what they were doing and they become very aggressive and refuse to eat or drink because now you’re just prolonging their life so the best thing is to just let them go sit in the snow. Because then they’ll just die that night and I guess it’s kind of a nice death for them. It just makes them sleepy and then they die. 

What are some of the chickens' names that you've had?

A: Only some of them get names, just depends who stands out. Chuck (main rooster), Furfy (araucana), Silky Stew (small rooster with weak crow), Percy, Spector (speckled rooster), Grey Owl, Blue, Margarite, Agnes. 

Agnes was our really old chicken. We bought her and they told us she was brand new but she was about seven years old, I could tell because she had grey feathers under her eyes and never laid eggs but I loved her so we kept her. She ate a lot of food and perked right up when we got her because she had been kept in a cage for so long. But yeah, she ate A LOT and probably cost me $200 in organic feed and never gave me one single egg. Hahaha. But I loved her and she died in the sun. It was very beautiful. 

What do you feed your chickens?

A: Homestead Organics Chicken Feed. We also feed them food scraps. You can feed them any organic matter except hot peppers. 

What about meat birds vs eggs birds?

A: Meat birds is all about timing because you have to get them slaughtered at a specific time or slaughter yourself, which I don't like doing. It’s a commitment for those seven weeks so we haven't been doing it lately. If you want to  buy meat birds they are called White Rock Mixed Sex Link.

How many eggs do you get every week?

A: We keep a light on in the coop which makes them keep laying to make they're bodies think it’s summer all year round, but usually it slows down in cold weather. Right now we are getting a ton. They’re really happy when it’s warm out and when there are a lot of worms so currently we get between four and six dozen a week. But sometimes they go through a malt and don’t lay anything for up to 30 days. 

Your yolks are significantly more orange than yolks from regular grocery store eggs. Why is that?

A: From bugs and worms and what they eat. There are more minerals and nutrients from eating worms, dirt and vegetables. Store bought eggs will just eat a grain feed. I think it’s mostly the worms and bugs though because in the winter the yolks become paler.

How often do you get double yolks and why do they happen?

A: I personally think it’s a twin but I don't actually know, I’ve always been curious. I get them in the full moon. We just had a full moon and I got my first double yolk of the year. It took me a long time to understand but once I started charting it, I noticed I only get them at the full moon. They're part of some sort of rhythm, that's for sure. I wonder if more twins are born at the full moon. 

speckled hen + araucana mix

speckled hen + araucana mix