Thursday, February 24, 2011

The chickens are coming! The chickens are coming! The chickens are coming!

I have wanted chickens for AGES.  Several of my neighbors raise them and the eggs are to die for.

Plus, chickens are funny.  Really - just find  yourself a couple of chickens and sit and watch them for a while.

I found a really good and inexpensive coop design on Mother Earth News.  It uses a dog crate, which I have, and welded mesh fencing and hog rings, which I don't have.  I am looking forward to going to Tractor Supply to get them.

This isn't a big "structure" and it will be fairly easy to drag around the yard so the chickens and grass can do that mutually beneficial thang that they do so well.  Plus, it's "critter proof" so that foxes, etc. can't get into it.  No way to keep the snakes out, though.

I have been browsing chicken catalogs and websites for ages, trying to decide what kind of chickens I want.  Top of my list are Ameracaunas, which lay the blue tinted eggs.  They are so pretty!  We barely go through a dozen eggs here at our house, so theoretically, I don't need a whole lot of chickens.  A good layer will give you nearly an egg a day.

But the breeds!  There are SO MANY interesting breeds!  "SO MANY" being the operative words here....  I finally decided to order based on interesting looks, and not on production capacity.  Add in the fact that I am sure to lose some to inexperience and snakes (and maybe the dogs), and some will wind up being roosters, I have hedged my bets and ordered seven chicks.

These are some sketches of some of the breeds I selected.  I tell you, I canNOT WAIT to see these funny guys walking around my yard, and listen to their gentle, inquisitive clucking.

Except for the roosters.  I can wait for those.  Generally, they are aggressive and noisy.  If some of my fluffy little chickies grow up to be roosters, they are destined for the soup pot, so I can look forward to a new skill:  butchering chickens.

So, now I wait.  I wait until March 23rd, when I will get a call from the post office that they have a noisy box full of holes for me to come pick up.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Garden planning

It's been in the back of my mind, but so far I've done nothing.  Two years of abysmal failure is not a good motivator.

But I've been exchanging emails with Farmer Sandra who DOES know how to garden, and supplies me with the yummiest stuff.  We've been planning a "joint chicken order" (more on that later), and she's gotten me excited now.  She even sent me pictures.

She says, "FYI, This year I will also have some started seeds that will be transplant size that will be available for sale for any back yard gardens as well. Let me know if you're interested...tomatoes, broccoli, cabbabe, cauliflower, peppers..that sorta thing.

All my seed is from organic sources so that's all good too.  I've been using these kewl lil seed plugs...they expand in size when watered and allow for ease of germination.  I then pop the whole thing into a 3" jiffy pot, harden them off and plant them directly into the garden when the time is right...very easy.  Also, tweezers are the way to go on planting the seeds."
So, now I am excited!  Now I don't have to be a "drive by stalker" at the nursery wondering when their delivery truck comes, and then lurk at the back of the place when the truck DOES come, to get the varieties I want, and the healthiest-looking plants.  I will have organic, heirloom seedlings to start in my freshly tilled soil.
So - motivation has set in.  I think I will go scavenge some horse manure.

Friday, February 4, 2011


Cabin fever.  The Shining.  Not too far off the mark.

Luckily, I have a great bunch of neighbors. 

Yesterday, I left the house and walked around the corner.  Found Dottie nearly diving for safety behind her mailbox as the neighbor tried in vain to get his truck up his ice encrusted driveway.  Repeatedly.  Leave the car on the street, fool.

Pass by Kristen's.  She sprints out the door as her husband and two small sons stand on the porch saying "Wait!  Come back!  We still need you!"

"Hurry!" Kristen hisses.  "Go, go, go, go!"  Down the road we slip and slide, destination Denise's house.

Sanctuary.  Warm fire, other women, thankful to be in each other's company rather than texting all day, "Can I duct tape my kids in their rooms?"  "Is it too early for vodka?"  "Does anyone know if they will ever come take our trash away?"  "Whose power is still on?"  "Low on dog food - help!"

Besides the fire and the women, there is the World's Largest Crockpot full of delicious chili, several bottles of champagne, and gourmet jello shots.

Yes, gourmet jello shots.  If Carolyn were your neighbor, you'd know what I was talking about.

These lovely little nuggets are a layer each of chambourd and vodka lemonade.  Yummmmm......

Lunch was delicious, the company and conversation just what a bunch of snow-bound mommies need on a cold winter's day.  Thanks, Denise!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ice Station Zebra

Greetings from Ice Station Zebra.

I am a scientist engaged in the study of global warming (ha!) and it's affect on moderen suburban families.

In this experiment, we will cut a small cluster of families off from civilization by encrusting their roads in ice and creating a hostile environment.  We will monitor the behavior of the trapped subjects.

The suburban offspring began the experiment by spending a lot of time out of doors, attempting to slide down glaciers.  While there were varying degrees of success with this behavior, due to the perpetual cycle of returning to the house for warmth and sustenance, and always forgetting to close the doors, their habitats now look like this:

This phenomenon has caused the suburban housewife to consume alcohol.

Seriously though.  What a mess!  Our roads have been frozen for three days, and it will not get above freezing today either, and then more snow is expected for Friday.  At this rate, with the "snow days" piling up, the kids will be in school doing makeup days until the Fourth of July.

I am about to run out of milk and am contemplating walking to the nearest convenience store just for the novelty of it.  Note to self, call first to make sure they DO have milk.  Rumor has it the grocery stores are running low.  Other than the milk (and I do have powdered), I am glad I have a well-stocked pantry.

The only friends the kids see are those within walking distance, and it is a cold, cold, walk!  Ray goes out daily to break the ice on the pool.  Aidan, obviously, hasn't been able to train at all, so I nag him to spend time on the stationary bike - it's about the only way I can get him away from the TV.

One of the neighborhood mommies kindly invited the rest of the neighborhood mommies over to a chili lunch today.  I am certain there will be wine involved, and so I may not be home until the spring thaw.