Archive for the ‘Country Buzz’ Category


The Fever Has Begun

April 1, 2016

If you haven’t had the urge yet to mosey through your local nurseries, the fever should hit you any day now. Where I live, frost is still a possibility so I am looking only at color spots. Here are five beauties that stood out above the other blooms at OSH and Green Acres.



Above and below

Ranunculus: tubers or perennials; all zones; full sun;

1.5 feet tall



Nemesia: perennials and annuals; zones vary by species;

full sun


Gerbera Daisies: annual and perennial; zones 10-11;

6-12 inches tall; full sun; part shade in hottest areas


Dahlia Hypnotica Orange: tuberous-rooted perennials;

all zones; full-part sun; 15-19 inches tall


All of the above are suitable for growing in containers.

Do you have a favorite?




Message in an Egg

August 11, 2015


I had a difficult time peeling off the shell of this hardboiled egg without tearing away chucks of egg white, also called albumen. By the time I finished, the white was thin and lumpy.

Because I had already peeled a lot of eggs that day–easily and perfectly smooth ones–I nearly tossed this one into the sink. There wasn’t much left of it. Then I considered how hard my hen had worked to produce the egg. So I took hold of my knife, sliced down the longest length of the egg and opened it to remove the yolk.

Surprise! The hen had left a message of love with a heart-shaped yolk.

I like to think this had nothing to do with the boiling process or air pockets, but rather a message of appreciation for the scratch I provide, for the fresh water, food scraps, free range pasture, and a safe place to roost at night.

Now, no matter how difficult a hardboiled egg may be to peel or how badly it appears, I always look for a message in my hens’ eggs. After all, it is what’s inside that matters the most.

Check out The Food Lab’s great tips on boiling eggs.



Guess What Today Is!

May 30, 2014

May 30th is Water a Flower Day, an annual reminder that summer heat is fast approaching and our beautiful flowers (and plants and trees) will be thirstier than normal. They’ll love you even more if you mulch the flowerbeds and use moisture control potting soil to retain water and reduce watering.






Have a wonderful weekend!




My Novel Is Finally Published!

March 19, 2014

 Now Available on Kindle

Kindle book image

About Ashley’s Gift

Jenna Hamilton loves being a wife and mother. Everyday Jenna makes routine decisions for her family’s wellbeing. Then, one day an ordinary decision changes their lives forever. The guilt Jenna carries and the events that follow that fateful day will keep you turning the pages. And, like Jenna, possibly discover the healing power of love and self-forgiveness.


Dianne Marie Andre’s novel, Ashley’s Gift:  A Story of Loss and Self-Forgiveness, is a miracle for a world with too few miracles in it. Rich with domestic details from garden to kitchen, the story of Jenna and Robert Hamilton is one that highlights what is most important, what always remains to be found, when we suffer unbearable loss.”

–Anna Tuttle Villegas, author of Baby’s Breath, Swimming Lessons (made into a  Lifetime Original Movie of the Month titled, Another Woman’s Husband), and All We Know of Heaven

• • •

Ashley’s Gift Includes a Group Discussion Guide

• • •

Purchase Now!

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Hatching out a Plan

March 8, 2014

I want to fix up the chicken coop. So, I thought I would give you a tour and tell you the improvements I envision and why. Maybe you can lend some suggestions. If you like, I’ll even share your photos or sketches here, whether it’s an existing chicken coop or one you dream about.


Vision:  Dress up the facade.

Reason:  Not necessary, I know, but I just can’t help dreaming about an attractive hen-house.

Vision:  A small running pen to the right of the coop.

Reason:  When I buy chicks, I keep them inside the coop until they are old enough to go into the existing running pen during the daytime. In the mornings I have to:  1) lock the older hens out of the running pen, 2) shoo the chicks out of the coop into the running pen, 3) secure the hatch between the two quarters so they can’t go back into the coop, 4) open the coop door so the adult chickens have access to the nesting boxes, 5) rotate the different feeders and water jugs, 6) repeat these steps in reverse before sunset.

A second running pen is also a plus for when I need to keep a chicken separate from the flock because it is ill and being attacked by other hens.

Vision:  Enclose the running pen with small-gauged galvanized wire.

Reason:  Keep birds from entering through the existing chicken wire and eating the chicken feed.


Vision:  Okay, this is where I get a little crazy. I would like the interior coop walls and ceiling painted or covered in a smooth veneer wood or some type of smooth finish. There would also be a need for a hatch door and steps to the running pen I wish to add to the right of the coop.

Reason:  Smooth walls make for easier cleaning.

Vision:  Add a small closet between the coop and the new running pen for shovel, broom, rake, shaving bag, and a few other necessities.

Reason:  Sometimes, the hens get into the shaving bag, knock over tools, and of course there’s occasional poop that drops on something I need to handle.

This rounds up my hatching out a plan–a future project. Suggestions are welcome.

Join me on:


Why Everyone Should Own Chickens

March 19, 2012

Since I wrote about the horrific fate of my layers in January, things are looking better in the hen-house. Recently, the six surviving hens started producing again. I wasn’t expecting much from them, in the way of eggs because production usually decreases at two and three years old. But these gals are giving me three to five eggs a day.

To think, I thought about giving the hens away. But there are just too many GOOD reasons to own hens. Dan and Mindy of Soulsby Farm seem to agree. They came up with the list below.

Ten Reasons why you should Own Chickens

By Soulsby Farm – A Very Small Farm

  1. Fresh Eggs daily – Much better than store-bought eggs. The egg white alone is about 33% more and it’s less expensive.
  2. Chickens have great personalities – Our favorite pastime is to sit in the back garden with a couple of cold beers and watch the chickens (they look like miniature robots).
  3. Help out with the compost pile – Chicken poo is too hot (high in nitrogen to place directly around growing plants) but it works wonders on your compost pile.
  4. They are very low maintenance – Easier than a cat or dog to maintain. Just stay on top of their food and water , clean the cage once in a while and collect eggs.
  5. You are One step closer to sustainable living – it feels good to have chickens, like you’re a real farmer
  6. Household leftovers are food for chickens – These birds eat just about anything. When I peel cucumbers or carrots or chop of mushroom stems, I save it for the chickens (along with fruit rinds and skins) everything but potatoes and garlic. Unless you want your eggs to taste like garlic.
  7. Save a chicken from factory life – Have you ever seen the crap-holes commercial chickens live in? Enough said.
  8. Pest prevention – These hens cruise around and eat up a slew of bugs like slugs, snails, leatherjackets and more.
  9. When they get old and stop laying you can eat them – I haven’t done this yet and I’m not sure I can.
  10. Be the best neighbor on the block – I thought my neighbors would complain about the chickens but in fact, it was just   the      opposite. They bring them veggie scraps and their grandchildren rush over to see the chickens upon every visit and…..wait for it…. They all get free eggs.

To read the complete article, click on the link above. While you are there, check out Dan and Mindy’s site.



February 1, 2012 Registered & Protected

Fog is . . .

A cloud that hides the world from our eyes

Beyond the drizzle of a hazy disguise.

But in our minds, outside the mist

We see life’s surroundings and trials,  

Gates unlocked or windows barred,

These things the cloud cannot hide.

So we walk through the veil—

Come harsh or scary,

Mysterious or chancy,

Buoyant or lovely.

Willful to see the world beyond the cloud,

Merely the drizzle of a hazy disguise.

— © 2012 Dianne Marie Andre

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