Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Free Range Chicken Garden Book Review and the answer to did we do it...

I received a copy of "Free Range Chicken Gardens" by Jessi Bloom,
from the publishers at Timber Press and since I am a strong supporter of free
ranging chickens and gardens reading and reviewing this book is my pleasure.

This book is beautiful, accessible and a joy to read.  Not only do they talk about having and implementing a strong design plan but they also give great practical lists of plants
that our chicken friendly and also lists of plants that are poisonous.
The photography is beautiful too.  This would be a great book for anyone who lives in an urban or suburban environment and wants a beautiful and practical chicken set up.  If you are into utility only, this book is probably not for you but if you are a gardener who has been toying with the idea of integrating chickens into your garden plan this is your book!

They are giving away a copy of this book along with a bunch of other chicken goodies
on theire website.  Here is the info:

The contest

$50 gift card for chicken feed or supplies from McMurray Hatchery

One chicken coop plan from The Garden Coop (a $20 value)

1 lb. of organic chicken forage blend and seeds for chicken-friendly plants

All you need to enter is an email address. The contest ends February 17!

Now on to the question everyone keeps asking me...did we or did we not send
our chickens to freezer camp.
Now if you are a vegetarian, veterinarian or only like my beautiful posts
you might want to come back later, but if you want to
be encouraged to truly know where you food comes from then read on.
I has been amazing to me how many people have asked us
if we went through with processing our chicken. 
 Husbands and wives making bets whether or not we would be able to do it. 
Just fyi...the wives took the odds with me going thru with it. 

I have to admit that the morning of d-day, I was thinking inside my head...
I can't do this, as we were gathering up the chickens and putting
them in the dog crate to take them over to our friends and experienced chicken
processors, urban farm.  Then, I had to say to myself, as I have to do many times with
our urban farming, animal husbandry issues..."Caroline, you can do this, your grandma
could do this and you are from that same stock. You just need to reach down into
yourself and face the reality that this is where your food comes from."
Then, I was ready to go.
We said a blessing and thanked God for these animals that are giving
their lives for our food.

It is so much easier to think that chicken comes in little sealed plastic
containers from Whole Foods, but we were ready to take the next step
in being organic and sustainable and not only grow our food but
raise it too.  And on that day between Christmas and New Years we
took that next step by processing 14 meat birds in 2 1/2 hours.

If you are interested in doing this too, I would recommend finding
some chicken processing mentors.  The whole day went so seamlessly
 because we were in the hand of pros who have had years of
experience and wisdom.  If David and I were on our own, it for sure
would not have gone as well--that is a fact!

The sense of accomplishment, knowing that I faced my fears and
in the end the fear of what might happen was greater than what
actually happened... is empowering. 

This will now be part of our growing sustainable lifestyle.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Pictures from the Tour de Coops

Last month for the third year in a row, we participated
in the Phoenix Permiculture Guild's
The Tour de Coops is a self guide tour of twenty
different chicken coops in central Phoenix.

One of the tour goers was Angelina of Angelina Rose Photography
and she sent us these beautiful images of our farm she took that day.

I love to see the world through another artist's eye...

I though I'd share them with you!

I am going to post this weekend the answer to the big question I keep getting asked.
Did the "meaties" every go to freezer camp?  If you want to know, stay tuned...

It is marmalade making day for me--oh how I love fresh citrus.  IT will be for sale this Saturday
at the Mesa Historic Home Tour Market and on Thursday night at JAM Picket Fences event
in Old Town Scottsdale.

Happy Tuesday!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Drum roll please...


After months and months of working on our kitchen,
doing a little bit at a time we are there
...well almost.
We still need to replace the old halogen cans with some sleeker modern recessed lighting
and select and tile the back splash.

We actually did not start out planning to remodel our kitchen. 
But then we fell for this AGA


And next thing you know we are moving walls.  You all know how that goes!
Now we have an almost new kitchen.

So here is our labor of love...
this is the dining nook, which is now smaller since we shifted the opening 30 inches.

 My husband made this table out of an old iron
 base that had been sitting around here for years, he just covered
a sheet of plywood with a 16 gauge sheet of galvanized steel, built a frame
 and voilĂ !

I just love it!

found this cute vintage tole chandelier at where else...Sweet Salvage.

This Lee Jofa fabric is perfect for the pillows and the welted with the curtain fabric.
   I have two more to sew...who knows how long that will take me to do...I am not good at production
once the inspiration leaves, it takes a bit to get it back. 
In the old days I use to have my workroom do this...
 I don't want to spend the money to have someone else make something I can easily do.
But that being said...it might be half done for a while.  

Here are some before and after to give you the "big picture".  
You can really see how shifting the opening has affected the space. 
It is amazing what 30" can do!

The opening before...

and after, on the right we added that little bookcase so we have more room for books.
Notice the brackets on the top of the bookcase...that is right...those are the same
ones I use everywhere.
and here is the other direction you enter into the kitchen.
The extra 30" really help the flow between the different living spaces.

the coffee station--because we LOVE our coffee
a lot

The Hood:  Lineal and our focal point

two little stools tucked away for the kids

My antique canisters from Calais, France are now on display

our glasses, napkins, straws,bottle openers and matches all
hang here in this little cabinet

And our favorite...the stainless farm sink.  Oh my...It is so big you can hide all the dishes
in it.  I can never go back!
Notice the feet on the sink cabinet...yes, you guessed it they are those Home Depot
brackets again.

The kitchen is now open!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

An old screen door and my laundry room...

If you remember my post on Adding Whimsy, I talked about wanting a screen door
for my laundry room.  Well, just before Christmas, at Sweet Salvage's monthly sale,
I found this baby... went home and asked my husband if having the right width or height
on a door was better and he said height.  So I ran back and purchased this black rusted
screen door for my Christmas present and here it is installed!

 BEFORE...notice the counters and the base cabinet....
they have looked like this for years! Yuck!

and AFTER...

just a little honed cararra left over from the kitchen and then a coat of
Martha Stewart paint in Dill on the cabinets, some new hardware and of course...

some feet for the cabinet
 made out of cutting these brackets in half. 
I have used these brackets EVERYWHERE in our house. 
 I should do a post on all the places I have used
these stock Home Depot brackets.

I love all the rusty vintage details on this door.
This rusty latch...

the rusty knob and weathered patina...

but most of all I love how the rusted and broken screen is just the right size
to work as this...

a cat door. 
This keeps the dog out of  Marshmallow's food which is now on the floor
in the laundry room.

This screen is just perfect!  Don't you agree?

I am working on a well stock pantry and a kitchen reveal post!

I have to go and prune 50+ old fashioned roses now...
the work on the farm is never done and I actually love it!

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