Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Why Food Prices are not dropping.

This is a really great article from MSN. Check it out. Click on the title below.
Why food prices aren't dropping.
Lov
Liv

No-Knead Bread

Recipe: No-Knead Bread

Published: November 8, 2006
Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery

Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Added an addition to the Chicken Condo





It had to be done. With this Homeowners Association thing, they've been stuck in the Garage. I did have a broad spectrum light on but it wasn't enough. It wasn't getting in the inside enough. Not enough room for them to be happy. And the feeding were officially too small now. So we added a back addition today. It only took 7 hours. YIKES!! But looking at them, you can tell that they are happy now. More light gets in. More room to run. I feel better. Plus with winter, they wouldn't have been outside much. Today was windy and cold. We let them out and still they kept trying to get back in while we were working.
Lov
Liv

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I'm Trained!


This last week, I spend all my evenings and my whole Saturday training to be a first responder in the case of a disaster. I am now apart of the CERT team. CERT is Community Emergency Response Team. It's exciting and scary all at once. Most of the stuff we learned was good for even just our homes. Like turning off the gas and electricity, fire extinguisher instructions, fire safety, sheltering in place, and first aid. Other things like Triaging, setting up a treatment area, and disaster psychology will lend more to an actually disaster. But in either case, I feel this class would benefit every family. So yea, I am recommending you all go out and get trained! There should be a class in almost every major county so give your county a call.
Lov
Liv

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Our dog, Pacman, died today.


He was a good, good dog. He followed me where ever I went and always was so good to the kids. As we were driving to the Library today, we had the windows down because it was such a nice day. He always loved to sit in the passenger seat. And for some unknown reason he decided to jump out the window. Maybe he thought he saw something he wanted? As soon as he jumped, he was ran over my another car.
We are greatly devistated and he will be sorely missed.
There will not be posts for a few weeks as our family takes time to morn.

Rest in Peace Pacman.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Are Acorns really Edible?

Well, I am determined to find out. It seems that it is a dietary item for American Indians and in different dishes around the world. The problem is that it contains Tannin which is quite bitter tasting. So to fix that we have to leach out the Tanins. I have been letting them sit in water, sometimes I cook the water too to speed up the process, and when it becomes brown, I then drain and refill again. This brown stuff is the tanin. Once it become clear then I can roast them. I have been doing this since Thursday. Granted, not the whole time. I have been quite busy. But I try to drain it when I can. I will let you know how they turn out.


As for the Butterflies, we are now up to 5 who have hatched and been on their way. And we have yet to actually see one come out of their chrysalis.
Lov
Lov

Oh my gosh, I think I hear a rooster crowing!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Two More Butterfies





Just an hour after we released the first one, another hatched. It was late afternoon when it became fully functional. When the second one was taken outside to be released, we noticed that a third had hatched. The third one is still in the butterfly house. I guess that since it hatched so late in the day, it hasn't tried to open it's wings yet. In fact it is still at the top of the butterfly house snoozing. We haven't actually seen one come out of it's Chrysalis yet. But with about 15-20 of them, I am sure that we will.
When we released the second one, it did linger and I was able to get more pictures. It was heavenly.
On the sad side of things though, one of our chickens died unexpectedly. It was one of the two older ones. Her sister had been laying for 3 weeks now and she hadn't. I wonder if it had anything to do with that.
Lov
Liv

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Our First Butterfly!


Yes, our first chrysalis has become a butterfly! It was beautiful, sweet, and short. As soon as I gently pulled her out, she flew through the open patio door. I am sure that I will plant parsley again and maybe even some milkweed too. That was soooo worth it.
Lov
Liv

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Parsley is making a comback!


Notice that I didn't say paisley. ;) LOL Despite being eaten to stubs, my parsley has grown back. I am so excited! Maybe I will get to harvest the herb this year! The sun also made a comeback after being gone for 2 whole weeks. In fact there wasn't even a cloud in the sky. Yesterday's high was 74 degrees making it feel more like October rather than September. Which has me wondering if the season will be shortened this year. I do hope not but I also wouldn't mind if it stayed this way until November either.
Lov
Liv

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Rain, Rain, Go away, FINALLY!


It rained 10 inches just yesterday alone! And we are about 2 FEET above our average for the year! It has rained almost the whole time since Sept 2 and then a whole 10 more inches yesterday! I am not kidding. Many people were flooded out of their homes. We, however, were lucky. We live on a hill of sorts and the sump pump worked like mad for the past two days. It was still mostly cloudy today but it stopped raining at least. Then, out of the blue, a double rainbow appeared. It was beautiful! It also happened as the sun was starting to set so as I ran in to get the camera, it faded. So I wasn't able to get a good picture of it. But as the rainbow faded, the sun set came alive and I was able to get a picture of that. It felt like things were going to be OK. I can't really say that for Houston though.
Lov
Liv

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fall Veggies Coming along!


Some things are just now sprouting because the weather has turned cool but this one lettuce is doing awesome. I have a 100% sprout rate on it. The other things are more of a wait and see kind of a thing. More updates to come.
Lov
Liv

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Where did my Parsley go?




I planted (from seed) parsley in a pot on my back deck so it would be close to the kitchen. It was growing nicely and soon I would be able to use it. As suddenly as it came, it was gone. But it's OK, I don't really need parsley anyway. And it's really not that bad since it went to some beautiful creatures. OK, granted, now they aren't so lovely now but they will be when they come out of their Chrysalis. These little boogers will be Black Swallow Tail Butterflies. I have debated putting them in the garage to hibernate for the winter. We had a huge cold front come in exactly a week ago and the weather went from the high 90's to the 60's-70's. I went from sweating to death last week to needing a sweatshirt on my morning walk. So I don't know if it will come back up again. I do know that this is the coldest weather I have ever seen around here for September. Oh! I do hope that means we will have a horribly cold winter! OK, before you think that I am crazy and I am sure that I will regret saying it when it does happen. But I need some of these other bugs killed. It has been a horrible bug season this year! Don't get me started on the squash bug! But the butterflies are a keeper. They are so cool and educational.
Lov
Liv

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Homemade Grape Jelly


It's my first time and it's a simple recipe so I thought I would give it a try. I didn't realize I would unintentionally make so much of it! We are a family of 9 so there is no problem using it, thank goodness. The recipe uses grape juice, which is good because we yielded only 7 bunches a grapes this year. Which is technically really good for 2nd year grapes. This Site gave me great directions and they're the ones that I went by, mostly. The mostly part has me praying that it will set. Literally praying! It says it could take up to a week on the package of pectin, so that is good to know. As of now my fingers are crossed.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Nesting box for the Tractor.



I had nesting boxes for the coop but not the tractor outside. I really had no clue what I was going to use. I wanted something weather resistant but practical and inexpensive. Then while I was looking at tractor designs I saw something that would be a perfect nesting box. A Rubbermaid container with a lid! We cut a hole on the side, inserted some straw and a golf ball. Why a golf ball? They make great, cheap, nesting eggs. We made this last night and put it, with the golf ball, inside the tractor this morning with the chickens. Voila!

Monday, August 25, 2008

*First Egg*


First Egg! First Egg! We got our first EGG!!!!
It's the brown egg. I used a white store bought eggs for comparison!
Lov
Liv

Monday, August 18, 2008

Fall Garden Seeds Finally planted.

What a slacker I am! Tee Hee. I finally got those fall seeds planted. I finally looked at the calender and compared it with how many days are left until the first frost in my area then added the total days until harvest. Basically, for my area, the first frost will be about the 25th of October. The days until harvest for the lettuce and spinach I bought are between 45-56 days so that means.....Start it now!!!
I don't know why I put it off for so long. I mean it took an hour tops, no big deal. I'll most likely be moving them out in about 2-3 weeks. I've had crap start to take over in my front gardens since I last weeded. (frustrated) So after the next big rain which is eminent, I will be pulling those like crazy to make room for all of these plants. Then hopefully that will leave less room for all the weeds.

You see, my front garden, in the most part, is new this year. All of them are 1-2 year shrubs and perennials, which are minute comparatively so the weeds feel the free reign. In a couple of years, I will stop having this problem. In fact the weeds were completely encompassing last years, so I have actually made great strides in just one year.

So have you planted your fall garden yet?
Lov
Liv

Edited to add that I tried to upload a picture but that feature seems to be down. I will add it later.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Know your City Ordinances!

Our city's finest made a trip to our house this evening. (rolleyes) We finally got the chickens safe but it made it obvious that we had them to our neighbors. So they called the police on us.

After my husband calmed down a bit from shock of the police at the door, we showed him the chickens. And guess what, we did nothing wrong and are in compliance. He's a farm boy who understood and said that anyone else complains they will just let them know that we are in compliance.

Suburban Neighbors...Sigh, got to love them and let it go.
Lov
Liv

The Decision has been Made.


You know, to our Hawk problem. My dear husband made this chicken tractor. We still need to permanently add the shade and we still plan on adding wheels to help move it around. Other than that, it's done. It lets the chickens out into the open air and on grass, movable, it keeps them out of the veggies and the dog away from the AND keeps the hawks from having a meal. The chickens still go into the coop at night to be locked away and safe.

I really did look into getting geese but I couldn't really find any that I could get until next year. And at that, they would only be goslings. AND not to mention that I could possible drive the neighbors nuts. I mean, I already have the chickens, geese would most likely be the last straw.

So this will keep them safe and outside for now. As free ranging as we can get.
Lov
Liv

Why should I or anyone else do all of this?



Why have I gotten into gardening, keeping bees and chickens? Well, it is partly because I am a country girl living in the burbs but mostly it is a self sustainability issue. I store food too. I actually have 2 55 gallon barrels of wheat in my basement. I also cover them with a pretty tablecloth to blend them in with the rest of the decor. Also bucket and bucket of so much more. So why? Because not only has the government encourage it but so has my church. And it really does make sense.

Individual Checklist
Provident Living Food Storage

If something should happen to us financially, we will be OK. If something should happen around us, we will be OK.

I also have 4 55gal barrels of water in my basement as well. This came in quite handy the day that our town shut of it's water supply for a couple of days. People here were freaked and bought out the entire supply at all the local stores. We on the other had were set and didn't have to pay $1 a gallon to flush our toilets. I choose to keep things in the basement as well because I live in the Midwest, Tornado Ally! So where you store your supply depends largely on your area.

Personally, I don't just think that these aspects are helpful but in this day and age, essential! So next time you go shopping, pick up an extra can or two and put it away. Begin today!
Lov
Liv

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

So here is where I am at.

OK, so the chickens can not longer be outside because the hawks would pick them off, one by one. So now they are in the coop in the garage all the time. I do have a broad spectrum light over them so that does help.

But I had the small ones on the bottom and the big ones on the top and with them being cooped up 24/7, this was not going to work. They all needed more room to run. So my big plan to integrate them began and ended unsuccessfully yesterday. The littlest ones happen to be the roos and they have been plucked pretty clean around the wings and neck. One was soaking wet, cold, red from the plucking, and overall, in pretty bad shape. I warmed him with my rice bag and only a couple hours later, he was running with the other chicks. He is doing well today, thank goodness.
Overall assessment, bad. So the little chicks are in a Rubbermaid container again.

Just a bit of advice. If you get chickens, make sure that you buy them all the same age so you don't ever have this integrating problem. And if later you want more chicks, stick them under a broody hen who will adopt them as her own and will do all the protecting for you.

I have been looking over all my options for my hawk problem and these are it.
1. keep them cooped up all the time. (just doesn't seem humane to me)
2. Build a movable run. Something with wire on the sides and top to keep them safe during the day until they go back into the coop at night.
3. Geese. I guess geese keep away hawks. I have read this in two different locations but still, it makes me wonder if it will really work.

Unfortunately geese are better behaved towards family if raised with them from a goslings and all goslings are sold out for the year. Pretty much. Yea, I know, they can be LOUD. But I have researched and found that Buff Geese are the friendliest, quietest, and sweetest of the types of geese. Oh and goose poop, at least unlike big dogs, it is a good fertilizer. They also do lay eggs like chickens that can be eaten and they are great weed eaters. For some reason they love the weeds and not the other plants. That of course has me baffled, but everything I have read, states it.

I feel like the lady that ate a horse, to catch the cow, to catch the goat, to catch the dog, to catch the cat, to catch the bird, to catch the spider, That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside me, to catch the fly, I don't know why I swallowed the fly. Perhaps I'll die!
Lov
Liv

Monday, August 11, 2008

Frustrating Day!

First on the Beekeeping front, I go down to city hall to fill out the paperwork to get approved to keep bees in the little city that I am in and guess what? There is no paperwork. The police department was wrong. The town wants me to write a letter to the mayor and the city council to ask them for permission to keep bees in the city limit. Oh gotta love living in a little suburb! So now I am home and will soon start a letter with my intents and wishes, illustrated with photos.

And when I came home and was taking the pictures, what did I find? A chicken in our yard with it's head and breasts eaten. EEW!! Something came into the yard and ate it. Yuck!!! It was sometime from 2-5pm, in broad daylight! There goes the free ranging idea.

After posting the picture of the half eaten chicken on my chicken board with all the details of the attack, it sounds like a Hawk ate my chicken. There is just no way a free ranging in my yard with a hawk. Now back to square one! oiy!
Lov
Liv

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Finally Finished the Coop




I still needed to add a pull down door on top for the nesting boxes. I wanted a door right into the back of the boxes so that I could just reach in and grab the eggs. Plus we needed to add more roosting bars. Hey it was 3 am the first time we finished so the extras had to wait, till yesterday that is. It was alot of work but it's done. And those 2 red beauties are Red Stars. I bought them from a semi-local lady who needed to cut down on her flock. They are six months old and will be laying really soon.
Lov
Liv

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Chick Kick

Yea, I know, I talk alot about them lately. But you know what is soooo cute about chicks? When they think they found something good. They pick it up in the beak and run like mad, nowhere in particular, so that they are alone with their priced possession. BUT, the other chicks saw the first one run, so that means they have something good and must therefor be chased and wrestled for it. The funny part is that it usually isn't something all that great, like a piece of yarn. And the even funnier part is that they never realize it isn't all that great. They just keep chasing and chasing one another as one drops it and another picks it up. It's fascinating to watch really. Hey! I finally get football now and why men waste their afternoon watching it. LOL!!
Lov
Liv

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sad News

But the inevitable. I lost 3 little little chicks today, including the kid's favorite Blondie. The terrible part was all three were girls when all 4 of the roosters, that I cannot keep, are just fine. Sigh. That is why I bought extras. So if you do plan on getting chicks to free roam in your backyard, make sure that you get at least 3-4 extra. We did find the body of one in the back yard of the next door neighbor. Their big black dogs got to it. It wasn't Blondie though so that leaves uncertainess for the kids. So the little ones are still too little to be out of the coop. We did find the hole they went through and will have to make some sort of patch for it.
Lov
Liv

Rest in Peace, Blondie!

Am I as smart as a chicken?

Well, not all the time. We are in a heat advisory and what do I do? I go out and about sweating through 3 layers of clothing. Well if I go back in time and I burn my bra with the feminists, that could elliminate 1 layer but sadly, things have headed south since having children and I would need a time machine for that too. LOL.
Anyway, dripping in 3 layers of clothing, I stand outside watching my chickens stay in the shade. So much so that they run from shadded area to shadded area, never hanging around in the HOT BURNING SUNSHINE. I Love the Midwest in August (Dripping with Sarcasm). Ok, it could be worse, it could be the southwest. :D

The Garden is doing pretty well. Except for all the water that I have to spend watering it. Time to make my rain barrels.

Which also reminds me, have you started your fall garden seeds yet. Better get to it. Me too!
Lov
Liv

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Never leave a dog alone with your chickens.

No matter how much you trust him. Last Monday, I had to leave the Dog alone in the backyard with the chickens because I was going to be gone all day. I thought, "well, he never messes with them when I am around and the chickens are getting big enough." Nope. Bad IDEA! I came home to count 6 chickens, instead of 8. I looked and looked and finally found one cowering inside my fenced grapes a little ruffed up but fine. Then I found the last one trying desperately to hide in a corner. And the dog had scratched the skin off of her back. It was horrible. I couldn't think of how a chicken could live with out the skin on her back. I wrapped her into a towel, and then researched. Someone told me that their chicken lived with a hunk of meat taken out of it's back from an attack and eventually even grew back feathers. So I gave her a saline back rinse and covered her in triple antibiotic ointment. I then put her in a Rubbermaid container with a heat lamp and her own food and water. I actually fed her scrambled egg yokes and prayed. She ate and drank just fine that late evening. Then a few days ago, I noticed that she was cleaning herself and making light chicken noises. Then today, I found her perched on the top of the Rubbermaid container. She had a huge limp but I thought some sunshine would do her good. I took her out to the other girls outside.
Man, what a difference sunshine and friends make. Her limp was 90% better. She used her wing feathers to cover up her back so it was hardly noticeable. And she kept up with her fellow ladies all day long. AND they didn't peck at her at all. When it came time to come in for the evening, she went straight into the coop with the rest of them and hopped herself right up to the perched and settled. Here I thought for sure she would die and it seems she is making a full recovery. I couldn't be more giddy!

However, the dog is never allowed to be alone with them again. I am even going to pick up a chain soon for those times that we have to leave them both outside again.
So my advice, never trust the most trustable dog alone with chickens.
Lov
Liv

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Herding Chickens

Well, let's just say, that it is a whole lot better than herding cats! The girls were just itching to be uncooped after church so I opened their door and out they went, practically flew! They were just a hoppin' and dancing when they got out. Nothing like wide open spaces. Well, it is a small suburban lot but to them, it's wide open. They gobbled up grass and bugs alike and were as content as content could be. But as the sun set, they were still on the other side of the house in the back yard so I thought it was best to herd them in. If you go slow enough, they just love to stick together, so that is what I did. Mine also like to stick next to the house because it gives them security. So I walked slowly behind them as they walked the whole perimiter to of the back of the house till them reached the open garage door. They ran right in and straight to their open coop. Yep, chickens are so much easier to herd than cats.

Lov
Liv

Friday, July 25, 2008

Have you ever seen a swarm of Dragonflies?

Neither had I until today. But there they were, about a hundred of them. I tried to picture them but alas, a camera is no match to the human eye. My final attempt was to video them on my digital camera. If you watch closely, they fly quickly by. It was a scene to behold.
Lov Liv

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Peppers, Watermelon, and Chicks.




The pepper are looking awesome. I don't think I have enough to feed my whole family for the year and I can't even imagine how much I would have to plant to do that. I guess we will see.

The netting on the watermelon is a sling to help hold it up that way it won't snap off from it's own weight.

The chicks will be a week old tomorrow and the wing feathers are growing in well. I have not lost a single one and I am very happy with this shipment. I have heard so many stories of losing one or all during their winter/spring shipments. I think I will stick to summer shipments from here out if I can help it.

However my grapes have the black little aphid looking things. I sprayed with insecticidal soap but I don't think it made enough of a dent on them. I will have to see if I can make my own because this 3-4 dollars a spray bottle is not going to cut it.
Lov
Liv

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Keeping Bees

My father kept bees once when I was a kid. That was before the horse got to the hive in the winter and killed them off. But I have been around bees before, just not as the beekeeper. Yet, I cannot see the downside of not keeping them. I have been in my garden at least once a day and except for early spring, I have not heard the familiar buzz of the honey bee making it's rounds. It's sad really but the suburbs have done their darnedest to remove all that is good in nature. I have seen many a blossom fade out without the helping hand of the wonderful honey bee in my garden and I have had enough. I want my own bees! I have to wait until next early spring before I can get my own by mail. But in the meantime I have researched what it will take to lawfully keep bees around here and so far it is looking like a large task. First, I have to fill out a petition at the city hall. I plan on doing that tomorrow. Then the clerk gives that over to the police department who sends an officer to check out my yard and my plans. That officer then takes his recommendation to the city board who votes on whether I can keep bees or not. I guess the only good thing that I have going for my is the recent release of "The Bee Movie". I know, juvenile, but really, I think that will be the only research that the city council will do concerning the matter. I plan on building a Top Bar Hive, more on that later, and keep them in the corner of my back yard that borders the big field of the high school. I also plan on building a 6 ft Fence around it so as to raise their flight plan above anyone in the yard. In the meantime, I keep researching and learning all I can about them, like this wonderful article by a 14 year old girl that helps her family keep bees in the city. The Bees and Me.

But one nice thing in putting the word out that I want to keep bees in that I have ran into a lady at church who's family can no longer take care of the bees that they have. She has suggested that I could do that for them and I jumped at the offer! Why not! They have all the books and all the equipment. So I will set out soon to check out their situation and then get the bees ready for the fall and subsequently the winter. I will still have access to some wonderful local honey despite how the city rules.
Lov
Liv

Friday, July 18, 2008

Thursday, July 17, 2008

They're here! They're here! The new chickies are here!


I ordered 7 and 11 came! Ideal Hatchery did note that if I had a small order that they would probably add some Roosters for warmth. So it looks like the 4 black ones are the roosters. I will ask around to see if anyone knows what they are. All the others, including the blond one, are my Americauna Pullets (females). That Blond one is just sooo beautiful! All the others are just precious too! I'm so happy with my healthy, happy order. I also went with Ideal because I didn't have to order a minimum amount but a minimum dollar amount. I am so happy and pleased. By the way, the green gel is Grobel Plus B gel to help the new chicks get off to a good start.
Lov
Liv

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Front Lawn


The huge canvas of vastly underused space. What do most of suburbanites do with the fertile potential? We plant a lawn, of course.

Well with the help of a friend of mine, Hello Brandy! I cut my lawn in half up front. Right now I have a plethora of perennials starting to grow in my flower beds but this week I will be starting seeds inside and then in 6 weeks, moving them out into my flower beds. The seeds that I am referring to are Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage, and Lettuce of various kinds. I have been inspired from a website called Urban homesteading over in my links on the right. I have huge potential for my fall vegetables, especially while my perennials are so small.
Lov
Liv

Monday, July 14, 2008

Black Krim


Now what store could these possibly be bought in! And everybody knows that home grown tomatoes taste better. I tried to look up the reasons why and there were just too many to name, from the kind, to when they are picked, so on and so forth. Anyway this beauty is a Black Krim. It is an heirloom tomato. Ok, what exactly does that mean? Well it means, that I can take the seed of a black krim and grown another black krim. The hybrid seeds at the local stuff mart will produce what you want but thier "children" most likely won't.

Tomatoes are loaded with lycopene, a potent antioxidant shown in various studies to reduce the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer, particularly of the prostate. Tomatoes are also thought to have natural blood-thinning properties, making them beneficial for preventing diabetes and stroke, and they're rich in bone-building Vitamin K. All these benefits are more pronounced in fruits allowed to fully ripen on the vine.

Yum, Yum homegrown tomatoes!

Close ups of my Square Ft Garden






I was asked for some close ups of my gardens so here they are. The big green ball is a pumpkin and those are grapes growing on the trellis under my deck. The last one is of my chicks eating some bugs. I hope you all like them.
Lov
Liv

My chicks new coop.



I had an interesting time making sure chicks work in the burbs. I do live in a covenant area at the time of building BUT that was suppose to fall onto the homeowners when the building was done. The building has been done for a year now and still no homeowners and I don't think we will have one either. I have this feeling that most of people around here don't care for one either. Why, might you ask? Because according to the covenants, A LOT of people would be in violation and quite a few homes will need to be repainted to boot. :P My next door neighbor, doesn't like to mow his lawn to keep into city ordinances let alone covenants and he loves to park his trailers on the side lawn, big no no! AND he is a cop! LOL

So per city ordinances, I can have chickens as long as their coop is 50 ft from any neighboring building. With disturbance ordinance, I obviously cannot keep roosters. No problem for me. But where would be this allusive 50 ft other than my Garage! So I built a garage coop. Plus as far as neighbors are concerned, out of sight, out of mind. I will free range the chickens during the day (when most are at work around here) in the backyard. I am thinking of installing a doggy door to the garage or maybe just leaving the door open during the day. I haven't decided yet. I have a shop light over the coop now plugged into a timer. The lights are the broad spectum light that simulate daylight. This is especially helpful in the winter. Since the coop is also in the garage, I didn't worry about weather proofing it but more on ventilation. It cost me about $50 bucks for the whole thing. Most of the wood was either free or leftovers, including the pegboard that I used for the top. It still has some more work to be done. I need to install a pull down door and build nesting boxes. Nesting boxes won't really be needed until about Halloween so I am not in so much of a hurry for that.

Currently I have 8 Black Star Pullets in there but 2 are a friends that I am keeping until she gets her coop built. Since they are Black Stars, I have decided to name them Aretha, Gladys, Oprah, Halle, Whitney, Beyonce, Diana, and Pecka. Pecka, I know is not a black star, it's the name of the town we were driving through when the children wanted to name her. Oh well.

And in just a couple of days I will be shipped 7 Americauna chicks that I ordered. I'm so excited. If you don't know what kind they are, they are the ones that lay the Blue and Green eggs. So when it is all said and done, I should have about a dozen eggs a day! I wonder if I can use eggs as bribes to shut the neighbors up? :D
Lov
Liv

Square Foot Gardening




This has by far been the easiest and best way I found for doing gardening. I used cinder blocks instead of wood and planted marigolds in the little holes all around the border. Here I have 6 square gardens. I had to weed once and not really since them. I also use the grass clippings from my mowing as a mulch on top. In the middle two are peach trees. Eventually they will take over the whole square but for now I have peppers all around them. I have the heirloom tomatoes in the back and the cucumbers in the front. I used something called the Florida weave to stake up the tomatoes in the back. It has more space saving properties than the cages. So far everything is doing well and tasting really good!
Lov
Liv

Sunday, July 13, 2008

So what is not crazy about our current economy?

Recalled beef, spinach, and tomatoes. Gas Prices by the way did I say GAS PRICES?! Corn and wheat prices... It is becoming so insane not to start taking matters into our own hands. I am talking about being self sufficient. No, I am no expert but I do see the signs. And you know what, I am not going to sit on my butt doing nothing about it when I need to take care of my family. I am going to start and I have started but my biggest hang up, I LIVE IN SUBURBIA! Oh yea, that covenant loving, grass lenth, what color your house can be, Nazi land. So this is going to be my journey on what I can accomplish in my own home and in my own yard to take care of me and my loved ones even in the Suburbs. Want to come along?
Lov
Liv