Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Uncle Ted

The chicks are here! They got here at 6:30am a day early! It was chaotic but I managed to pick them up and all 19 chicks survived so far. We got 8 sex linked pullets, 2 buff rocks (they were supposed to be brahma's but oh well), and 2 NH reds. The company put some "extras" in the box for warmth which I am eh ok with but the extra's are Barred Rock Roosters. After some discussion Harry and I have decided to go ahead and give the little Roo a try. This means that we have to pick ONE and the rest have to find homes for. Its easy to spot the little Roo's as they are black and all the rest of the chicks are the yellow/gold fluffy chick color. After watching the chickens (all day long) we have already noted some personality differences.

But there is also something else I have noticed. See this great and beautiful picture of this little girl getting herself a nice drink of water? Do you NOTICE anything odd about this picture? Perhaps you notice a chick that is looking at the camera beak first? As if it is going to attack at any moment?

How about this picture, where all the other little chickies are running away from the camera crowding into a corner?
There is that one chicken looking in the attach direction... as if to tempt you to mess with him. Cool and calculating.
He is the chicken that takes the treats and runs away from all the other chickens. He is smart, calculating and downright onery.

Of course it is the little Roo that we are going to keep (marked with a blue marker so we know who he is.) His name....

why its Uncle Ted of course.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Fat and Delicious

Shmoopywood update is that there is still too much snow to get up there. I am aiming for a mid-late april weekend up there. It appears as though this was the problem last year as well but admittedly I have blocked that from my brain. Its like swoodnesia. At this point my heart and body long to be working hard up there. I want to chop wood! (note: i never want to chop wood). I love hearing the critters in the woods and the birds. The stars up there are amazing and I love my neighbors, they are so much fun.

I love how tired I am when I go to sleep and how deep we both sleep. I even love how early morning's I get up because Django wants me to, and he and I set out on the front porch and watch the bunnies and turkeys scurry about on the driveway, completely unaware of our presence.

I love how we completely leave behind our jobs and our "real" life and focus on one thing only and that is the construction of a dream home.

Today we are running to Lowes to get some supplies for coopywood. The chicks arrive in a few days (they will be here by Wednesday) I will probably post a picture then.

Dave was bored last night and attempted more Bread (at my hip's expense)
This was his best bread yet!! I just had to share pictures with you all. Definitely flavorful and moist. We really feel like making our own food from scratch is going to be a very important part of the shmoopywood process. I know this is less about building the house and more about the entire package but I promise, once the summer starts you are probably going to want less about building the house again ;)

Anadama Bread
(says that it yeilds 2 loaves but clearly it could have been 3 more normal size loaves)

7-3/4 to 8 1/ all-purpose flour, divided
2 packages 1/4 ounce active dry yeast
1-1/2 tsp salt
2- 3/4 cups water
3/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1-1/4 cups yellow cornmeal

  1. Combine 4 cups flour, yeast and salt in large bowl. Combine water, molasses and butter in 2-qut saucepan. heat over low heat until mixture is 120-130 degree. (butter does not need to completely melt.
  2. Gradually beat water mixture into flour mixture with electric mixer at low speed. Increase speed to medium; beat 2 minutes. Beat in cornmeal and 2 cups flour at low speed. increase speed to medium;beat 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in enough additional flour, about 1-3/4 cups to make soft dough. Turn out dough onto floured surface; flatten slightly. Kneed dough 8-10 minutes or until smooth and elastic, adding remaining 1/2 cup flour to prevent sticking, if necessary.
  4. Shape dough into a ball; place in large greased bowl. Turn dough over so that the top is greased. Cover with towel' let rise in warm place about 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.
  5. Punch down dough. Knead dough on well-floured surface 1 minute. Cut dough into halves. Cover with towel; let rest 10 minutes.
  6. Grease 2(1-1/2 quart) souffle or casserole dishes or 2 (9x5-inch) loaf pans. For souffle dishes, shape each half of dough into ball; place in prepared pans. For loaf pans, roll out one half of dough into 12x8 inch rectangle with well-floured rolling pin. Starting with one 8 inch side, roll up dough jelly roll style. Pinch seam and ends to seal. Place laof, seam side down, in prepared pan, tucking ends under. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover and let rise in warm place for another 40 minutes or until doubled.
  7. Preheat to 375 degrees. Bake 35-40 minutes or until loaves are browned and sound hollow when tapped. Immediately remove from dishes and cool on wire racks.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Oy With the Chickens Already!

*since I wrote this post yesterday, I have been asked to explain the Harry/Dave references. Simply put: They are indeed the same person. No my husband does not have multiple personalities. Dave is his given name and Harry is what I call him.

You are probably wondering why I am, once again, posting about chickens.

This blog is supposed to be about the house you are building... you know, the one that is off-grid?? That one??

I am sorry about that, really I am. Maybe some day I will have to branch off into another blog to cover the chickens, goats, whatever else we end up with. Really though, this is the great chicken experiment and it is meant to be tested and tried to see if we can hack the lifestyle we want. Also we are full of theories for S-wood but until we start testing this stuff out, well we just wont know will we. Like the corn theory... we are going to attempt to come up with a way to plant corn at Swood THIS SUMMER with its own self watering plan.

So you see, the chickens they are part of it.
SO now I talk about chickens because well S-wood is closed, under siege by many feet of snow and we just can't get up the mountain! SO i dont have anything else and I do so love the whole chicken thing and I am excited.

So anyway back to the whole point which is this: Harry made the little baby chicken brooder. Its bigger than it needs to be me thinks but thats Dave and I guess I should be thankful that it is not the entire laundry room right? It would be funny if I came home from work and he was like "hey shmoops, you have to do laundry in the garage" right? Because that would be very Harry.
But no, its perfect. Its made out of some wire, shavings, heat lamp and a Walmart bin. Dave then made a little screen with some scrap wood and used 2 saw horses and a piece of plywood and he secured the whole thing down with tie downs. (*note* Please remember we have 2 Great Danes which equal about 350 pounds so things need to be secured down and dog proof)

We had it all set up and stuff because the babies will be here in a week and we really needed to figure out the "95 degrees" thing with the heat lamp and such. We had to do a dry run in order to make sure the little chickies would survive!

(you don't see the coors light, you don't see the coors light)

You can see in this picture on the right what the inside of the little baby brooder chickie thing is going to look like. You can also see the freezer we have for our raw dog food. (really, my family should have seen this stuff coming a long time ago when we got the raw fed great dane puppy, it was only a matter of time before I would want chickens - working on Dave for the goats).

So for about $40 we made a brooder and the chickens were like a buck each so we are doing all right so far!

Really, I would pay anything and everything I had to be able to live the lifestyle that I crave.

Stay tuned for next week, I am sure, Dave is going to come up with some sort of critter cam rigging.