Friday, February 17, 2012

Gardening - already??

Here it is mid-Febrary and our garden operations are getting into full swing!

At last count, if (big IF) everything comes up that we plan on we should have over FIFTY different types of things planted... something like 6 different tomato types (a cherry or two and mostly sauce varieties), squash, going crazy on green beans, peppers (both salad and hot)...

We spent the better part of a weekend putting together some new cold frames and planter boxes, and the girls seemed to approve... why they are sooooo fascinated with the grass inside - it was the same darn grass they had been walking on just a minute prior...

[girls with new planter]
















Since it's so rare that we buy eggs from the store anymore, when I made some fried eggs last time I thought I'd do one of each... still don't think there's a difference?

[eggs side by side]

















We've (okay, me) toyed with the idea of getting some more chickens, this time broilers that we could raise in 7-8 weeks and have in the freezer (or on the grill!!) shortly thereafter... well my bro Quentin, who was going to be my teacher for butchering, decides to up and leave for Colorado... but at least I got an A-Frame chicken tractor out of him so if we go that route (or need to quarantine a hen) we have that option...

[a frame from Q]



Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Not just Love....

.... but Chicken Love!!

Looksy what t'wife got me for Valentine's Day!! AND it has pics of our own girls on there!! What a gal!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

One Chicken Down, and Urban Farming and Homesteaders...

I knew this day would happen, either by circumstance or the chopping block, but it still pains me...

Lost one of our Rhode Island Reds as of last Monday morning... she had been acting aloof and such since shortly after the new year, and Nic spotted a white splotchy area on her butt from what we assume was diarrhea... Last Thursday we cleaned her up and put electrolyte stuff in their drinking water... But she was lethargic all weekend and we ended up giving her an actual bath... brought her in the house and put her in a box with a towel in it, and believe it or not the girl just sat there while Nic used a blow dryer on her... She didn't seem at all concerned about any of it (prolly exhausted), nor did she eat or drink anything when offered...




After all this I put her out in a nesting box and checked on the girls the following morning before leaving for work... She didn't make it through the night....





Anyways, onwards and upwards....

Last December I was asked by my bro Quentin if I'd be interested in participating in a new group or club he was planning on putting together, along the lines of "Urban Farmers and Homesteaders".... well, a few days after I said You Bet! he tells me he's moving to Colorado.... that weasel bastard.... ;)

So I got his contact list of about 5 people, put word out to the brew club and got interest from 10-15 people... our initial planning meeting is this Thursday so we'll see how it goes...

I'm thinking of a "walking, talking Mother Earth News" where we all participate in learning new things, hosting work parties, etc. There's a lot to learn so this should keep all of us pretty busy!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Merry and Happy Happy !!!!


Hope everyone has a Joyous and safe holiday season!!

Nic and Matt

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Still learning....

I learned a valuable tidbit this week:

I'm an idiot....

But before I get into that, I FINALLY figured out how to get videos off of my phone so am going to try and share one of my faves:

Nic Chasin' Chickens Chasin' Chickens:

video


I knew that with the coming cold weather that some special attention would need to be paid to the chickens... Nic has been freaking out about the girls getting cold but I keep reminding her that they wear a down coat 24/7, so they are fine - at least for the low temperatures we can expect. If it gets to below 10 degrees, then I'll worry about it...

But we've had something of an early cold spell, and while home sick with a tummy ache on Tuesday I happened to glance out and see the water feeder for the girls was mostly frozen, and the girls were not at all happy...

So I went out there, turned the girls loose, broke up the ice... went inside and brought out some water and filled their garden area water dish and also a pan I have for giving them scraps... they went right for it... Sorry girls...

So my plan had been to use an aquarium heater I happen to have (not for fish - for brewing purposes of course), and just keep the water warm that way.

Brilliant plan! So I rig the thing up (we have electricity to the coop), dropped the heater in there and loosely put the top part of the waterer on there in hopes of keeping the heater in place and hopefully the girls out of the top of the thing...

What Einstein (me) didn't remember is that it's the lid being locked down that allows water to refill the trough around the base... we got home last night from Taco Nite and I went to check on things and gather eggs... thing was bone dry!!!!

I realized my mistake right away, and since the temperature was up around 38 or so I wasn't worried about things freezing last night, I pulled the heater and locked down the lid....

Again, the girls went right for it...

Only two eggs and I doubt I'll see much more tonight as the girls recover from the drought...

I think this weekend I will design an alternate waterer that has a hole in the top to get the heater through.... I'd think I can dig up some plastic buckets for the task... seems a lot easier than trying to drill a hole into the galvanized steel of the current waterer...

Other news....

Thanksgiving was nice and quiet this year... Just me and Nic for dinner so instead of a turkey, I grilled some Cornish Game Hens on the Weber, baked some potato rolls, and we enjoyed the other usual goodies for a Thanksgiving feast...

Ironically, I did smoke a turkey that day as well, but it was for the Civil War party we were hosting the following Saturday... Turned out great (the turkey that is), but alas my BEAVERS went down to the duckies, again, in short order... I'd say something like "maybe next year" but seriously doubt the Beavs can compete anytime in the near future...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Broody girl...

As it turns out keeping these chickens gets to be pretty routine after everybody gets to laying... we let them out in the backyard all day on weekends and try to do the same here and there during the week... before the daylight savings switch we had time to let them out for a bit after work, now I try and get them out as I'm getting ready for work in the morning...

FACT: you can get a chicken to do just about anything if you have the right treats in your hand...

We WERE up to 5 eggs a day from our 6 chickens, but one of the Goldens decided to go broody almost 3 weeks ago... there are some tricks you can do to try and get them back in business, but they seem a bit harsh and frankly, with the 4 eggs we get now, that's plenty. We've already given away 3-4 dozen so it isn't like we're hurting...

When I'm letting the girls out if I remember I also pick up Broody girl out of the nesting box and set her on the ground.... sometimes I give her a gentle tap on the butt to get up and move around... this should all be over by the end of the week me thinks, otherwise I might consider harsher measures or stew pot.... Thanksgiving Chicken??

With me blathering on about chickens I apparently talked our friends Tom and Teri to take the plunge... they have a neighbor that had a large (accidental) hatch of 18 Japanese Bantams and now they have 4 of them... they are doing more of a hands off approach to raising them (i.e. not endlessly spoiling them like we do) so curious to see how this goes...

Playing around with one of the pics of the girls....

Other stuff... Nic volunteered with the Eugene International Film Festival... the brew club had the AHA Learn To Brew Day thing at Oakshire again this year... I skipped brewing and just went to hang out for a bit...


The Brew Club had our annual Chili Cookoff, which of course means I had my annual failure of winning the chili cookoff... I did make a really good turkey chili that I thought was my best batch I ever entered, but alas, once again I didn't even make the top 3...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

It's my birthday and I'll cry if I want to....

.... no crying here - it was a great time!

Well "Old Matt", my official unofficial brew club name, is now bonafide, certified, petrified old... turned the big FIVE OH last weekend....

We had close to 50 folks show up for some beer and eats and other festivities... some great gifts, and the brew club chipped in for me to get my own 3 tap jockey box - woot woot!! Rumor has it that they are desperately trying to dig up on old pink Coleman cooler for the building of this thing... Sweet!

Many thanks to Jeff for the smoked Tri Tip, Tom for the smoked turkey breast, and Janie The Goddess for making me a 13 layer birthday cake... Yes, THIRTEEN layers... that baby was really something!!






















Pam made me a one-of-a-kind, ain't nobody else got one custom CBS apron... it totally ROCKS!!





















I was expecting cases and cases of Geritol and Mylanta and Preparation H - but my friends really came through!!

Remember waaaaaay back in the beginning of this chicken thing when I said my bro Jeff likes to call having chickens like having "Chicken TV". Well it's true - here's the proof:






I managed to get a picture of Jeremiah's son being entertained...










I think I've *finally* learned how to get a decent picture of the chickens - put my camera on 'continous' mode so it takes 9 pictures in about 2 seconds...
















Nic snapped a nice one of two curious girls:

















Fast forward a week - This Saturday morning I decided to declare myself a chef and experimented with creating a new (to us) dish and go for something resembling a 'presentation'... same ingredients I always make breakfast out of, but just assembled in an orderly way: