Friday, April 23, 2010

Green in green

Mint took a joyride this week in the Prius. I exited the car feeling as fresh as a toothpaste commercial.

More than a burger or brat

Tonight Mike had some buddies over to our place before heading to a concert. He told me they were going to grill beforehand. Most people understand that to mean hamburgers and hot dogs and maybe even some chicken if you're really going to get crazy. Sides usually include chips and something mayonnaise-based. Not him. He cut and marinated pork for souvlaki and grilled it alongside a special steak for one of the guys. Then he put together a roasted pepper and chick pea salad and also a strawberry salad -- which he made his own dressing for! And, of course, there's no cheap beer here. Only Boulevard could match the status of this menu. Who did I marry? If this architecture gig doesn't work out, he's got plenty of potential for designing great dishes in the kitchen!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The wind beneath their wings

I felt bad that we've been slow to get the chicken run installed so that the ladies could have access to the great outdoors. I made a temporary chicken tractor last weekend, but within five minutes I knew I'd never do it again. At least not that way. I had pounded in four stakes in the lawn and encircled them with chicken wire. Actually, at first I was a bit lazy and thought the chicks would be big enough to be contained by a wire cage that we had left over from a pallet of stone pavers. They were too big, but they sure did try hard and got thisclose to escaping. So I used chicken wire, which is, imagine that, great for keeping in chickens.

One by one, I caught them inside the coop and carried them to this pen. They clucked nervously, especially that first one. Her instincts must have told her this was the end. By the time I had captured and moved 12 hens, I was exhausted and sat there with them to enjoy this moment as they enjoyed their first introduction to grass and sunlight. In the background is their brooder propped up against their new old home.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Slightly better than "Why did the chicken cross the road?"

Why does a chicken coop have only two doors? Because if it had four, it would be a chicken sedan!

Lucky for us, our property came fully equipped with a base model chicken coop. Its structural safety is slightly questionable at 80+/- years old, but it will suffice until we get the ladies some more permanent digs. We had to clean it out, wash down the walls with bleach, replace some missing window panes, install lights and outlets, and mend some giant holes in the floorboards where animals had broken through.

That was about a month ago already. You can tell by how clean and fluffy the bedding is compared to now.

We penned the ladies in a third of the available space to keep them cozy and buy us time while we finished organizing and wiring the coop (which is still left to be done...). They looked highly confounded about their more open surroundings for the first 10 minutes then immediately starting sparring for pecking order. Give them an inch, they'll trample all over each other...

Monday, April 5, 2010

It's getting a little crowded in here

We had about eight trays of plants and seeds in various stages of development on the sunroom counter since about the middle of February. Most I started from seed, but some I bought from a nursery. We designed the sunroom to have this raised counter specifically for raising plants, but I can already tell we're going to need a greenhouse someday...


In the last two weekends, we've finally had some great weather and transplanted some starts outdoors in their beds: onion sets and cauliflower last weekend.

This weekend: out went the peanuts, brussels sprouts and cabbages. I dug up and divided the asparagus, and sowed lettuce, spinach, carrots, kale, beets and radishes. 

Peas were popping up, the only seeds to have survived the last month.

Mike singlehandedly dug a strawberry patch on Saturday. It used to take both of us an entire day to trench just one veggie bed, and now he does three in one day. Guess it'll be no problem when I ask for an expansion...gonna have to happen anyway as I still have lots of food to go in but nowhere to grow it!

We laid out row covers to protect our new crops from these guys...electric fence is under research.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Phil Collins and I mowed the lawn the other day

And that's my way of announcing that there is a second writer adding to the blog now, Andrea's husband, me, michael. We've been transitioning to my recent return from New Orleans where I was working on design, adding to my waistline, and rediscovering my love for music. You should start to see a few more posts now that we're back up and running. And by running, I mean a new strawberry patch, chickens moved to the coop, and some baking and breaking of bread.