Sunday, January 23, 2011

Growing our own chicken feed!

The weather has been so beautiful this weekend, that it was time to start planting seeds!!!  Knowing us, we probably planted a little late (or early depending on how you look at it), so we'll see what pops up in a week.  We decided to take two courses of action: human food and chicken food. I planted the human food seeds starting indoors... focusing on lettuces, radishes, beets, and spinach.   Eric on the other hand concentrated on planting the chicken food directly into the ground.  This was a major event.  Not only did he prepare the soil, but had to fence the bed off.  You know that chickens love to dig!  In the past, they have killed very established plants.  I had to say goodbye to our artichoke plant this year.  Anyway, the bed consists of an omega-3 chicken blend, red oats, buckwheat, flax, and cow peas.   And yes, these are cover crops too.  We're rockin' multi-purpose planting.  See the diagram for the pattern the "chicken bed" was planted in.  The bed is 8 ft x 4ft.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Runaway Chicken!!

Meet Cinderella.. the chicken.  If she were to put an ad in the personal section, it would read something like this...

"Cute, friendly.  Loves worms and pill bugs.  Very adventurous. 
Loves to roam the streets of Oakland around 4pm." 

Without fail... everyday for the past week, our darling Cinderella jumps over our backyard fence into the neighbors yard, walks up their driveway, and starts cruising the streets.  Luckily for us, our wonderful neighbors help corral her back to our house.  But as our fence gets higher and higher, this free spirited chicken continues to plot her escape route.  Nothing can cage her in!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Knifty Knitter Fingerless Gloves

My new addiction... fingerless gloves.  I found this great pattern from rostitchery and now... I can't stop making them.  I originally was interested in these gloves for my morning walks.  I usually take a cup of coffee with me.  My finger gloves tended to get dirty from coffee spills (especially on the finger part) so I was always washing them.  Hence, fingerless gloves...  they worked perfectly.  A little coffee on the fingers can't hurt, it actually warms you up (and much easier to wash than gloves)!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Harvesting Quinoa

This past summer, we grew Quinoa... with the idea of harvesting and eating it through the winter.  Well, being new to gardening... (especially grains), through trial and error, this process has taken quiet while!
Step One:  Harvesting:  I collected the Quinoa stems in September and stored them in a paper bag.  I thought that the seeds would fall out once the plant had completely dried.  WRONG!  Some did, some didn't.  Now it's January, and I finally have time to take matters into my own hands... winnowing!!!
Step Two: Winnowing:  Looking at my collection of stems, I thought, "I bet I can get through this by winnowing with my hands...  I will probably get only a half a cup and take about an hour."  WRONG again!  As I winnowed by hand the first two stems (rubbing bunches of the dried florets together) , I easily had 1/2 a cup.  Plus, not only seeds fell into the bowl, but the casings as well.  Spending time picking the casings out was getting to be a time drain!! So, my wonderful husband made me a winnower out of wire mesh and voila... I had an efficient and effective winnower!
Step Three:  Washing  Quinoa needs to be soaked in water to rinse out the saponin.  I soaked and rinsed the seeds about 5 times until the water ran clear with no bubbles!
Step Four: Drying  Finally I put the clean quinoa on baking sheets to air dry!