Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
We appreciate all of the responses for last weeks giveaway of the book Homegrown by Marta Teegen. Using the random number generator on my IPOD I came up with the winner. Drum roll please.....and that winner is Penny of Black Sheep Cottage fame. Penny, please email us your address at email@example.com and we will ship you the book. You will love it. Thanks go out to Marta Teegen the author for providing this book for our giveaway.
As a side note, it is currently snowing here in Utah and many of the fruit trees have lost their blooms which is not good. Hopefully the damage does not end up being as bad as it currently looks.
In other news, I watched the LOST finale last night and I still don't get what that show was about but I feel like I was entertained.
We at backyard farming appreciate everyone who participates on our blog, whether it is reading, commenting, or just passing through. If none of you came to participate, we would not be doing it so thanks to all of you and we wish we could give you all a book.
Friday, May 21, 2010
Don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win the book Homegrown by Marta Teegen.
And here is the recipe we tried from the book
Shaved Fennel Salad with Arugula, Avocado, and Almonds
3 Florence fennel bulbs
1 handful Florence fennel fronds, torn into bite-size pieces
2 large handfuls arugula, torn into bite-size pieces
1 avocado, halved and cut into 1/4" slices
1/3 cut raw sliced almonds, lightly toasted
Extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
Use a mandolin to slice the fennel bulbs as thinly as possible (or use a serrated knife)
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sliced fennel, fennel fronds, arugula, avocado, and almonds. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice and toss. Taste and add more lemon juice or olive oil, if desired. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and toss again. Serve immediately.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Hey there wonderful readers! I have been asked 2 questions, neither of which I know the answer to, I have never had either problem. So, if you know the answer, leave a comment.
One of my laying hens has this white, very moist mess around her whole rear end and her anus is protruding out and has fell out and has sores on it. I cleaned her up in some warm water. Can u tell me what this is?
My chickens have been molting for a few weeks now.Do they usually lose weight during this time. My girls are looking quite scrawny and I can feel the breast bone really sticking out. Someone suggested a mite could be the prolem. Samantha
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Teegan goes over many of the aspects of gardening in raised beds, containers, and in small spaces. I really like her approach to planting the garden, not in neat and tidy rows, but simulating nature. I wrote plenty of notes in the margins so I can refer back to the book when I'm ready to start my garden in our next house.
One thing I thought was really interesting was the combination she uses to make up the soil. She uses composted horse manure, wood shavings, and straw with a touch of bone meal and green sand. I still have to research what green sand is! I like this idea because it seems like it would be a heck of a lot cheaper than Mel's Mix used in square foot gardening.
There is a gallery of plants and produce where she goes over many of the different plants you may be interested in planting. For each plant she lists the best climate and site to plant, growing season, how much to plant, how to grow it, good companion plants, problems you may have, how to harvest it, and even how to eat it.
To top it all off, Teegen is a chef and has included many recipes to use all the good grub you grow in your garden. We tried out the Shaved Fennel Salad with arugula, avocado, and almonds. It was delish!!! The combination of textures and flavors was just perfect.
To win a copy of this book, simply leave a comment. Be sure to check back to see if you won.
Giveaway will close Friday May 21st at midnight.
Thanks for subscribing!
Monday, May 17, 2010
- Read about the Vaquita: The most endangered animal you've never heard of.
- Go do the zoo to see endangered species in person.
- Read this e-book to your kids (you don't even have to login to read it)
- Go to the library and check out books on endangered species
- Check out the top 10 things you can do to help endangered species.
- Have your kids do an art project on their favorite animal or endangered animal.
- Plan a neighborhood clean up.
- Find a documentary or video to watch on endangered species.
- Blog about it.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Now I get called to jury duty. I know, I know, it is my duty as an American Citizen, but did they have to choose this week!?!?
We close on our cute little backyard farm the 25th, the only thing I asked for on Mother's Day was a house. I didn't feel that was asking too much, but I didn't get it. None of the homes have felt right yet.
Michael had grand plans for living out of his car, while I lived 200 miles away in Idaho. I just couldn't handle being that far away from him for that long. So we decided to get an apartment. WAIT....an apartment?!?!? This is not what I anticipated! But I'm hoping that in the end my new backyard farm will be worth the wait.
So we are packing up basically everything and putting it into storage. My house looks looked like it threw up on itself. Pretty graphic, I know, but it is the only way to describe it. We are taking just the very basic necessities with us to the apartment so the dog bed went out to the storage unit and we took our bed off the frame and just have our mattress on the floor. We left for two minutes and look what became the new dog bed...
This is not good people!
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Here are 6 of my 8 chicks a few days after I picked them up from the local feed store.
Aren't they sweet? This was 7 weeks ago and my chicks are really beginning to look like pullets. Every couple days I like to remark to myself, “My, how big those little ladies are getting.” Yesterday though when I opened the coop I found myself saying to one hen in particular, “My how big YOU are getting! What a big red comb you have...” Then a long pause. “What a really big waddle you have! Hmm...”
So the obvious question of the day is, is my she a he? Is one of my hens a rooster? Here is the low down, the skinny, the scoop – and then you make the decision. She/he is somewhere around 7 weeks old, the same breed, an Australorp, as the other pictured and purchased on the same day. The feed store, like most, does not guarantee the sex of the chicks but I wasn't worried because they were supposed to be female chicks. BUT her/his comb is considerably larger than the other pullet pictured, don't you think? And I've noticed white tips coming at the end of the wing feathers. That seems troublesome as well. One thing to consider is that I didn't notice the comb in particular a few days ago so perhaps those combs grow quickly and perhaps the other pullet is just a few days younger. What do you think? Do I have a Rooster on my hands?
And if I DO have a rooster on my hands...what then? I live in a home that I don't even own, on a lot that is a postage stamp as it gets, and she is one of 8 hens. I have heard of roosters that don't call so if that were the case I would keep the guy around. But if it calls, do I sell him? Do I eat him? I certainly can't keep him, right?
Friday, May 14, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
We are a simple family. I have three pairs of Simple shoes. Marisa has two pair and our daughter has two pairs as well. They are comfortable and they are durable. They also look cool in my opinion. I am not trying to get you to buy these shoes. I am just trying to start a discussion about earth friendly companies and if they really exist.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
Our Freedom Rangers are now 5 weeks old and growing very nicely. Our Cornish Cross are 3 weeks old. In one more week we will put them out on pasture to finish them. One of our freedom rangers hurt its leg and we isolated it for a few days. It didn't eat very well so its growth has not kept up with the other Freedom Rangers. We don't dare put it back in with them because they might pick on it so I put it in with the younger and smaller Cornish Cross. You can see how that went in part 5 below
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Researchers from the University of Essex found that as little as five minutes of a "green activity" such as walking, gardening, cycling or farming can boost mood and self esteem.
"We believe that there would be a large potential benefit to individuals, society and to the costs of the health service if all groups of people were to self-medicate more with green exercise," Barton said in a statement about the study, which was published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
Many studies have shown that outdoor exercise can reduce the risk of mental illness and improve a sense of well-being, but Jules Pretty and Jo Barton, who led this study, said that until now no one knew how much time needed to be spent on green exercise for the benefits to show.
Barton and Pretty looked at data from 1,252 people of different ages, genders and mental health status taken from 10 existing studies in Britain.
They analyzed activities such as walking, gardening, cycling, fishing, boating, horse-riding and farming.
They found that the greatest health changes occurred in the young and the mentally ill, although people of all ages and social groups benefited. The largest positive effect on self-esteem came from a five-minute dose of "green exercise."
All natural environments were beneficial, including parks in towns or cities, they said, but green areas with water appeared to have a more positive effect.
Friday, May 7, 2010
by Michael Johnson
On a slow night last week Marisa decided we wanted to watch a movie together. Now most people might pull up there Netflix queue and find the latest action thriller(men) or the latest romantic comedy(ladies). Being the weirdos that we are we were looking through documentaries and found one called The Natural History of Chickens. Needless to say we were extremely excited to watch it.
This movie was not what we expected. Based on the title, I thought we might learn about the historical domestication of chickens. This was a much lighter, warmer movie that told a few stories of some interesting chickens and their owners. Watch this movie and you will find out about a chicken that was brought back from the dead, a spoiled chicken that enjoys Happy Meals, a Silkie that yearns to be a Mom, and also a rooster without a head. Interspersed with the stories are various facts about the modern chicken industry. It doesn't necessarily demonize modern chicken farms but it does leave you wishing that conditions were better for them.
This movie is a feel good, folksy style movie with heart warming stories that contain more than a few people that love their chickens. Some of them might love them too much. Check it out if you have an hour to spare and I think you will be entertained. Check out this clip.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Here is how we got started...
We started with 2 baby chicks that our neighbors gave us. The chicks had been given to their 8 year old son by his uncle, gotta love those uncles! They seem to give our kids and teach our kids everything we don't want. They knew that I had wanted chickens for a while, so after about a week (when the novelty of having chickens wears off of kids), we got the 2 baby chicks. Oh, they were soooooo cute. Along with the deal, we got a little bottomless chicken coop (remember that it is bottomless, it is an important factor later in the story).
Not only did the kids and I love the baby chicks, so did our dog Jada.
Now, remember that part where I told you the chicken coop was bottomless? This is something you will want to remember if you decide to get chickens. Jada, being a playful little dog, well I guess I should say little in maturity yet large in size. Jada believes that anything left in the backyard is a toy, this did not exclude baby chicks. She was able to dig a hold in the grass, scoot the 'bottomless' chicken coop over the hole, the chicks fell in and she was able to get them. My husband and I came home from a night on the town to find a dead baby chick on our back porch. I was devastated!!!
But, I did not give up. There is more to this story.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
by Michael Johnson
I need your help. I have been trying to think of ways to reduce my carbon footprint but lately my wife has been limiting me from reducing it as much as I feel like I could. She is great with a lot of the things we have done. She has supported and even championed our backyard garden and our chicken rearing so we can have a local supply of food. She has helped contribute to our compost pile so our garbage can return nutrients to the land. We reuse items as much as we can and have stopped buying bottled water. We buy local when we can. By no means are we perfect at any of these things but we try.
The reason I need your help is that my wife will not let me get a motorcycle. The only reason I want a motorcycle is to reduce my carbon footprint by using less gas as I commute to work. It's not just any motorcycle that I want either. I want a Ural.
I know what you are all thinking. Why would my wife be against saving the environment? I don't have a great reason. She thinks I have ulterior motives but she is far from wrong. I don't want a Ural because they are in my opinion the baddest, most original bikes on the market. I don't want it because of how cool I would look driving it while my dog sits in the sidecar with her aviator glasses. It has nothing to do with the drool that comes from my mouth as I look at the above picture. I am not interested in the beautiful retro feel, the power train that goes to the 3rd wheel so I can drive it in mud or snow, or the attention it might get me as I cruise down main street.
The only reason I want it is to reduce my carbon footprint, I swear! Please comment and help me convince her to let me help the environment and buy this sweet vehicle. Thank you for your support.
Monday, May 3, 2010
Just be forewarned, once you make these, you won't want to go back to store bought.
(you can use any bread recipe to make buns)
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Other Mother's Day ideas.