Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The first egg


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The story of a blow dryer and chicken

Well, We certainly have had some misadventures in the chicken raising lifestyle. The first misadventure is that the three littlest chickens got out of their cage and Luna acted on her doggie instincts and killed them. It was a horrible night. Thankfully I was crying too hard to really see what I was cleaning up. So what is my first reaction? Oh no, the chicken books say you have to have at least three chickens and we only have two left." So I hoped on craigslist and found someone selling chickens. 

This is Luna's Wild Beast pose
Well I went to pick up the chickens and low and behold the place was a disaster. The chickens didn't look to great but the animal lover in me couldn't bear to walk away and leave them there, with no food or water, and a very dirty cage. So We caught three for me to take home. Their wings weren't clipped. (foreshadowing)

 I got them home and locked up Luna and first things first this one chicken with a strength that belied her small frame got away from me and flew up and over the chicken pen fence. "Ahhh, I screamed, and went to hunt her down, but she was wiley and I could not find her. So I spent all morning creating a temporary fence around the back part of the house so that I could let Luna out but hopefully protect my rouge chicken from certain death. I was pretty sure when I got home that she would be gone for good anyway. But the story has a good ending!

Colin is a chicken whisper-er!  Yes you read that correctly. He had the great idea of hunting her out with Luna's nose. So we got Luna harnessed up and we got a big bucket (just in case that would come in handy) and I let Luna drag me around where I thought the chicken would be. She started sniffing crazy style and I pulled her back and Colin saw the rouge chicken and clamped a glove over her but she was so strong and crafty he couldn't pick her up. So he sat pinning her to the ground for a bit and then she finally gave up. He scooped her up and we clipped her wings and then locked her in the coop for three days. As if that isn't enough there is more.

So then when I was attending the chickens in the locked coops I noticed something. ( If you are faint of stomach stop reading now.) Well one of the other new chickens butt was covered in S-H-I-T. And then I realized why, her vent was prolapsed. What is a vent? We it is the everything shoot. Poop, pee, eggs, if it comes out of chicken, it comes out of the vent. Well, I was horrified. I googled and googled and came up with a plan. The plan was to dunk the sick chicken in hot water with a bit of peroxide. So I did that. Then Colin did it twice. Then we only fed her yogurt for a few days and then I dunked her again and horrors of all horrors I tried what the interweb said to do, an I pushed her vent back into her. So gross! But she is doing well now. I am so happy for her and so happy I did not loose my lunch. Anyway, I bet your asking what this has to do with a blow dryer? I'll tell you. The last time I dunked her I blow dried her. I thought for sure she would hate it but she was almost purring, making these low cluck clucking sounds.

Well never in my life did I think that I would be blow drying a chicken, I mean, I don't even blow dry my own hair. The lesson of the day is chickens are not easy, not easy at all. And we haven't even gotten any eggs for all our troubles.

Even after all this hassle, I decided I want to get a Turkey next spring. I must really be insane.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hats of to the chef -no not me

Well kind of me. I made a chef. What is a chef you ask? It is a type of sourdough starter. Not a poolish, not a levin, a chef.

This is what it looks like right after I feed it. In a hour or so it will look like some kind of bubbly swamp monster.

But then it turns into this:
Can you say yum? I can't because my mouth is full of bread. Anyhoo, I am kind of disappointed that my bread isn't super sour. Maybe the wild yeast in New Mexico is too tame (come on wild west, whats the deal?). Next time I travel maybe I will make another chef and see how they compare. My only hope for now is that my chef will become more tangy as time goes on.

This is my super lazy chef making practice:
Get a quart sized container, add some flour ( I used half white, half whole wheat) add some water stir and add more of either flour or water until it looks just a bit to thick to make paper mache with place in a sunny window with the top sort-of-on and sort-of-off. Leave it alone for 24 hours. Wow the swamp monster will be there to greet you.

Then add equal parts water and flour and stir vigorously. I repeated this for 5 days. I was following a recipe from a book but we all know how I am with recipes so that stopped at like instruction number 2.

After the five days are up use half to make some bread, feed the "bitch" ( you will have to excuse the language it came from a hilarious book called kitchen confidential- where the bread guy was the best bread guy in NY but too drunk most morning to go the the restaurant to feed his chef, so he would call in a beg some of the other kitchen staff to please please feed the bitch) by adding equal parts flour and water.

Again let it sit out for an hour or however long it takes your bread to rise and then cover tightly and place in the fridge. Use half at least once a week or give that half to the compost and re-feed. One book I read said to remember that a chef is more like a pet than a food so if you go out of town you need to get a chef sitter.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Savory Polenta Scones with Myriad Veggies and Mushroom Goat Cheese

This evening I thought I would make something a bit fancier than normal and I think I went a bit overboard. I made savory polenta scones with summer squash, and sweet potatoes with a mushroom-goat cheese-oregano sauce.

Here's the detailed scoop:

Savory Polenta Scones
1 cup freshly cooked polenta (cooled)
1 cup flour
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup butter

Mix all that together and press into the bottom of a spring-form pan. Bake at 350 until the bottom and edges are golden brown (about 45 min).

While the scones are backing wrap up a sweet potato or two in foil and bake until soft.

While those are in the oven. Chop 1/2 red onion and 3 cloves garlic. Saute until translucent, I used coconut oil for the first time and it was good. Didn't have to stir the onions as much as when I use butter. While the onions are doing their thing slice up a zucchini and a summer squash. Add them to the onions and cook until tender.

In another small sauce pan melt 1 tablespoon butter and let brown. Add to this 5 largely chopped mushrooms and a chopped clove of garlic. Saute mushrooms until brown. Then pour in some cream. ( I have no idea how much- so whatever looks yummy) then add the oregano. Simmer until a bit reduced and then add the goat cheese. Let's say about 5 tablespoons. or a 5th of a large log. It is amazing to me that Colin and I don't way 300 pounds each.

Then peel the potatoes and slice. Cut the polenta into triangles and pile all the other stuff on top.

Yum- but I will won't do this again as it created way to many dishes for only two people. Might be worth it for four or more. If making for four or more up all those ingredients. I like the meals that use only one pan.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The birdbrains are getting big but not smart

Here are our chickens now that they are bigger. 

In the top picture they are laying down on the ground at bedtime instead of going in their coop. I know I am no Norm Abram (this old house) but come on the coop is decent. It's got gorgeous legs.

I also just put on another addition to the coop, so when that is painted I will post those pictures. I think my poor carpentry comes from a few places. 1) I am incredibly impatient. ( I looked for right sized scraps of wood so I wouldn't have to get the saw out) 2) The power tools have 18 volt batteries which make them incredibly heavy for my have-not-been-used-for-anything-more-than-tea in a year arms. But all excuses aside it really just comes down to the fact that I am pretty lazy and it if it is a chicken coop I feel that it doesn't have to be perfect.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

One down, three to go

Here is the first of the counter tops installed. I am so so happy with how they turned out. The herbs and flowers are from Aunt Patty's garden. Going to make some pesto tonight. And the copper cookie tin was given to me by Auntie Roz. It matches all my other canisters, and I think it matches the counters well too.

 In the picture above you can see that we still need to do the kick plates and the small bad of copper that will cover the plywood that the concrete is installed on top of.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Countertop 1 reveal

Here it is!

It didn't turn out quite how I imagined but it is still very pretty. The blue color did not show up so well in the photos. It is more of an aqua.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Concrete countertop 1 in progress

We finally are getting going on getting the countertops poured. Colin worked very hard on the mold for the little counter while I worked on getting the chicken coop built.

Then on Saturday I weighed out all the ingredients and got them all lined up and ready. The liquids went into the fridge. (How are we going to fit the liquid for the big countertops in the fridge?)

Then on Sunday we began! We are using a new technique where you do a thin color coat on the bottom of the mold and then a glass fiber coat on top of that. We used a drywall hopper to spray the color concrete into the mold. That part was incredibly messy so I did not get any pictures. My friend Birgitta came to help and observe as she will be making her countertops later in the year. She graciously took these photos.

See how fury it looks? It was a very weird process.
Results will be posted tomorrow.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Carriage doors!

Here is the before and after of my garage door. I think it turned out pretty good!

So, everything on here is paint except the handles. This update cost me a whole $17. 

I made the hinges with a cardboard stencil.  Now if only that vine would hurry up and grow along the top.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Chickens and Coop

They are always so sleepy.

 Here is the coop I am building them. It still needs a roof and roosting bars and to be painted. I think this turned out pretty good for my first carpentry project. We haven't decided whether we will get them an automatic door or put fencing up as a roof for the already existing pen in the back.

Do you want chickens? Do you think they are worth it for fresh eggs? I think next I am going to get some bees.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Curb Appeal? More like curb repulsion

Here is the outside of our house.

So what's the plan to make this less (what's the word) cold?

I was thinking of turning the garage door into carriage doors.

And hopefully I can train that vine to grow across the top of the garage too. 

The someday I would love to put in a stucco wall across the front with a nice big gate. 

First I need to finish the chicken coop. But maybe tonight I will at least string some twine across the top of the garage for the to grow on. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Peep, peep!

We got chickens. Baby ones. Four Buff Orpingtons and one Barred Rock. I have not yet taken any pictures of them but I will soon. I will also post about building their coop. Fresh eggs here we come.

Do you have ideas for naming the flock? I don't want to name them individually in case I get too attached. But since there are four yellow ones and one black one I was thinking. Los Angeles y Diablito.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lights from ReStore

I mostly love ReStore as a place that came and hauled away all the stuff we ripped out of the kitchen like the cabinets and doors. But I also love ReStore for my new lights.

These are the old lights. The same style one was in the hallway too.

Wait is this outside? No they just look like outdoor lights. Especially with the string tree to the right. The same light was in the hallway too.

Here is the new bedroom light that I got new for only $25 bucks.  Just need to rehang Doug West print. And it will be 1000 times better. Maybe more.

And here is the new hallway light that was also $25. But it was used. Not the best photo sorry.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Some flags to Cheer Colin on

Colin is studying for his PE (Professional Engineering License) and so I thought I would put up some flags to cheer him along. I used my mom's and grandmother's old scarves.