Life on Regal-Hill: Oct. 21, 2009

A few weeks ago we had 17 hens and two roosters given to us. They weren’t all the same age as the eggs vary in size from small to extra large. It seems the former owners were moving and couldn’t take the chickens with them. Since we have been getting fresh brown eggs for some time from different sources now, I didn’t want to have to go back to buying eggs at the store, so I was glad we had a chance to get these chickens.
The chickens had been used to being free range before we got them but since we hadn’t had time or got the fencing yet, they were put in the location beside the barn where we have babysat chickens for other people while they went to Florida in the winter. At this location George doesn’t need to go outside to carry water in the winter so it is a better place to keep hens since we no longer need the space for young calves.
The chickens seem to have adjusted to their new surroundings quite well. The roosters don’t do a lot of crowing either so they don’t wake us up in the early morning hours. However, there is one hen that I will call Henny Penny that likes to get out. I think she gets out by flying high enough to get over the fence where the chickens are located. She usually doesn’t go outdoors; she just goes wandering into the barn and to the other end of the barn to where Allegra’s horse, Thunder, stays when he is in his stall.
One day when fresh hay was put in his hay feeder prior to putting Thunder in his stall, an egg and Henny Penny were found in there. Apparently she likes to lay her egg in there as most every day now an egg is found in the hay feeder while Thunder is still outdoors.
Why she likes to go off by herself to lay her egg I don’t know but sure is interesting to think she would do that instead of laying her egg in one of the nests with all the other hens. Apparently she is a hen that thinks for herself, or doesn’t like crowds. Now that we know what she does, one knows to look in the hay feeder every day. Presently we average about seven eggs a day, plenty for two households.
Plums are a fruit used separately or combined in delicious recipes for anyone to enjoy. Try these and see if you don’t agree.

Plum Streusel Kuchen
This recipe is actually called platz in German, meaning “flat.”
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons shortening
1 egg
1 cup heavy whipping cream
6 fresh plums, halved and sliced
Topping:
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cold butter
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and baking powder; cut in shortening until mixture resembles fine crumbs. In another bowl, beat the egg and cream; add to crumb mixture, tossing gently with a fork until mixture forms a ball.
Press dough into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Arrange plums over crust.
For topping, in a bowl, combine the flour and sugar; cut in the butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add the whipping cream, mixing gently with a fork until moist crumbs form. Sprinkle over plums. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until lightly browned.
Yield: 12-15 servings
2007 Taste of Home Annual Recipes

Apple Plum Streusel Dessert
This is another German delicacy.
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1-1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
6-7 medium unpeeled plums, thinly sliced
5-6 medium unpeeled Golden Delicious apples, thinly sliced
Streusel Topping:
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup cold butter
1/4 cup chopped pecans
Glaze:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, shortening and sugar. Beat in eggs and extracts until blended. Beat mixture on high speed for 3 minutes. Combine the flour and baking powder; gradually add to creamed mixture. Spread batter into a greased 15-in. x 10-in x 1-in. baking pan. Arrange plum and apple slices over batter.
For streusel, combine the flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs; stir in pecans. Sprinkle over fruit. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.
For glaze, whisk confectioners’ sugar and milk until smooth. Drizzle over streusel.
Yield: 16-20 servings
2005 Taste of Home Recipes