Tuesday, March 31, 2009

simple truths

i believe

if you are kind
you will attract others that are kind

breed happy karma

Sunday, March 29, 2009

sunday in ny

it's easy to define an early sunday morning in ny before the day's events begin

hot coffee with milk in this fine spring weather, a croissant and walk for several blocks while sipping.

city folk wake
folks are about
sidewalks are not yet full up and i am thankful
the coffee is hot hot hot
i walk it as others walk their dogs
my coffee will not lift a leg
and i will be the one sniffing its fine aroma
the croissant is lucky to last a city block
most often i wait
keep the croissant for dipping in coffee
not this time
too hot hot hot
crumbs fleck my front
one hand coffee one hand croissant
two hands coffee
mmmm warm warm hands
should have dressed warmer
a quick shiver runs
i pick up the pace
aha not too much faster
spilling spurting oh sweet coffee
slow down and turn and head around
back for a brush up
back getting ready
back to consider sleep once again
before oh before the days events begin

Friday, March 27, 2009

less and less again

moving mail toward minimalism

i prefer my trees with bark on them

earth day 2oo9

plan your earth day now
participate - play - volunteer - be

austintown earth day

earth day network

planet green - volunteer!

picture this earth day 2009

i have volunteered for the following
- sunday - april 19 2009 -
10am - 3pm

Build Rainwater Collection Tank and Raised Beds

Join us for a workday at Windsor Park Community Garden. We will use simple construction techniques to build an urn-shaped, ferrous cement, 1000-gallon rainwater collection tank decorated with mosaic. We will use the same techniques to construct containers for raised beds. Other garden jobs such as weeding, mulching, digging, and working with compost will be available.

Location: Windsor Park Community Garden
5801 westminster drive austintown texas

come on all you east austiners - let's get dirty!!!

Age Restrictions: Single volunteers must be over 18 years old, volunteers under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times.
Organization: Windsor Park Community Garden

The Windsor Community Garden has been putting roots down in East Austin for a few years now with the help of several community partners. The garden has several active members with lush vegetable beds and several community spaces in the works. The challenge brought to AfH Austin is to help the garden establish itself as a more permanent entity in the community and provide its members more security for their produce.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

motivated upstarts

we got ourselves a bit of rain last night

calendula nearly ready to flower
peas hanging low
radish gone to flower so delicate and sweet

sunny sunflower - the neighbor's favorite
lavender peeking through
blackberry sticks too

strawberry - the squirrels regularly beat me to them
kohlrabi also known as the german tulip - isn't that nice?
baby fronds of the spring carrot planting

chard of brilliant yellow and green
garlic in between
baby eggplants just getting their start
wilted leaves of potato nearly ready for digging
beet in the distance - the last of the batch

cabbages of green and violet in a field of overwinter rye grass

sometimes you meet folk who create in a way you never thought possible

i was blessed last night to enjoy a dinner with a beautiful and lovely close friend. we ate at what i consider the very best restaurant in ausintown. i had a gift card which made this possible. the gift card had been gifted to me by this most lovely friend. i knew upon the moment of opening the gift that i would share the gift with the giver. it took nearly a year for the two of us to find a time where we were able to sit and sit and sit in order to enjoy the wonder of the riches placed before us.

where were we? we were in the house of uchi
if you are fan of sushi - you must visit uchi
save your pennies - it's not cheap - lucky for us we had the gift card
i visit uchi once every other year but when i do, it's heaven
and it's worth the wait

a bit about the folks who make the magic of uchi

Uchi Culinary philosophy

Combining local seasonal ingredients with an infinite spectrum of seafood from around the globe is the basis for Uchi's culinary philosophy. We invite our diners to explore their gastronomic boundaries by pairing traditional Japanese offerings with new and refreshing flavors and textures.

At Uchi, we serve the freshest product we can procure every day. We maintain close relationships with local farmers and we fly in seafood every day from the Tsukiji market in Tokyo. The essence of Japanese cuisine is the ingredients; at Uchi we prepare our dishes using innovative food combinations for the most unique dining experience in Austin.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

tired but not dropping off

been up for hours
what's with the not being able to sleep?
and a yawn

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

the new morning ritual

now that we are upon
- steady warm - dry - little to no rain - often windy - making things even drier days -
the early morning ritual shifts
and goes a little something like this
(sorry, i could not resist)
get the body out of bed
check in with the kitty boys - food, water, hugs and scratches
feel out the weather - is it going to be superhot, hot, hot and windy, flat
possibly turn on ceiling fans
make the morning coffee
head out the doors
water the eastside garden - turn on the irrigation
water the westside melon and squash beds - no irrigation system yet - got to get on that
some days the watering takes longer than others - it's my happy wake up time
check for bugs - yes they are already heavy upon us - drat!
check in on the chicks - food, water, bedding and some sweet talk
check in on the chickenchicas - step inside the coop - give some scratches - collect the early
if it's going to be a hot one i turn on the fans for the ladies and for bunny bunny
check in on bunny bunny - water, water, water, water, food and sweet talkin'
morning eggs, turn up the radio's volume, check food, water and bedding
observe great things like spider webs in the hippychick universe
harvest any veggies i might eat that day
get back inside and prep self for the work day
pack up any goods i might be bringing in for sale or trade
make breakfast, eat breakfast
make lunch, pack lunch
pack my bags
one last check around
turn off the water spigots
wish the creatures a good day
off weeeee goooooo

but what's missing here folks?
yes indeed
the morning run

time to fatty mcfatty back on the running track
we don't need hippychick to be any more hippy than she already is.
and if not a run a nice brisky walkabout
nothing like breathing in the fresh air and feeling sprite
i could start curling chickens?
now there's a thought

Monday, March 23, 2009

more space for everybody!

i was pretty bushed yesterday when i sat down to write. i neglected to mention the big happy news in baby meatie chick and baby layer chick land. but first a bit of an update on the chicks.
  • the 24 dark cornish chicks celebrate first week in the universe today
  • also shipped with the dark cornish was a single odd chick that might prove to be a sultan or a silkie or a cochin. it's got a little poof on it's head, feathered legs and the color is yellow with a single black spot on it's back.
  • the nine baby layers are growing quickly. they have learned how to use their mini roost and share quite a lovely relationship with one another.
the news...
we'll they've all got bigger digs now. i took some time on sunday to build a divider inside the big garage barn coop. so now one coop is two. the layers reside in one half of the coop and the meaties reside in the other half. they are neighbors!

when super neighbor expanded the garagebarn coop he was super smart and installed a second door. so each area has it's own entrance. it's perfect perfect perfect. i cannot wait for him to see the updates i made. i hope he approves. i think so. i'm learning.

each coop measures approx 8' x 7' - much better than the galvanized tubs they all started out in. now they can run and jump and fly if they like. and the layers do like especially the brown leghorns. they love taking flight as often as they are able.

it makes it a bit easier for me, chickenmama too. both interior coops now have larger waterers and larger feeders which means less refilling on my part. they can go several days with the feeders. i make it habit to change the water everyday but they could go several days in the rare case that they had to without fear of going dry.

the temperature inside the garage has been lovely - not too hot nor too cool. i have layed out hay for bedding in each area. it's what they had in the galvanized bins so i thought it best to start there. i may transfer over to leaves at some point but i've got plenty of hay at the ready so until a change is necessary, i'll keep on with hay. i've also kept the heat lamps running. they continue to sleep under the comfort and warmth of the lamps but romp here and there through the day.

each of the babies seems quite happy with the extra space and i'm happy too. i would rather provide more space than they need than less. it's what i hope to continue to do as the days go by.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

making efforts

going to put forth my best efforts to get borders put in around each of the newly tilled beds - five all together. also going to try to lay new weed barrier paths around the newly supersized eastside garden beds. it's sure to take at least the rest of the day i think - i really don't know.

i spent the early morning burying in soaker hoses and irrigation lines in each of the new areas. that went well.
i then decided to tackle the darn crazy buzzing stove. the stove as of late had decided that it wanted the buzzer to go off anytime, at the oddest times and with no way of turning the darn buzzer off. my solution up to now has been to cut the power to the range from my electrical panel.
so i ripped apart the control panel. **which by the way means that you have to take apart nearly the entire top range before even seeing the wires and such - so much fun** i busted out the clock and timer before putting the whole baby back together again. i'm no stove expert but everything i need to work still works and i put back as many screws as i pulled out. i'd call that good.

anyway, i'm off.
much to do
a beautiful day too

and then again sometimes you don't get everything done in the way or when you planned. today is one of those days. i did not get the borders around all of the beds and that's o.k. it would have been a bonus to nail it all but it just was not going to be. i'm not disappointed. hey i like projects. this one will keep me out of trouble longer term.

i did
  • pull up the plastic - fold it up and put it away along with my seasonal rowcovers and burlap insulating garden wraps
  • raked the tilled areas smooth
  • watered the rake areas a bit to keep the dust down
  • build yet another raised bed - this one 9' x 6' x 12"
  • gave the bird baths a good scrubbing down & fresh h20 fill
  • swept up all the walk ways
  • put all my tools away
  • finally brought in the clean clothes off the line outside - they ought to be superfresh as they've been out blowing in the breeze for two days
now - pondering dinner...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

and then there are moments when...

you just have to be social. yup i got myself out of the house and in to austintown for a morning footie match and an afternoon of chatting with a visiting out of town friend. it was nice. i think i thought about the creatures and the work needing attention at home only once or twice which is pretty darn good for me.

austintown is crackin' hot in the center of the southbysouthwest festival
a whole lot of folk are out and about enjoying themselves

i am glad to be back home in the company of mr. t a.k.a. supercat of the hippychick universe. he's letting me know that there some scratches due. it's the least i can do for a good friend.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

no time to waste

spring break continues though i'm using every minute of every day, not wasting a second. how could i? there is much to do in the hippychick universe. upgrades, expansions, clean up, clean up, clean up and the forever raking of the the live oak leaves - jeesh those live oak trees never seem to give up.

today was spring cleaning day
  • cleaned out the chicken chica chicken coop and layed in fresh hay - that was fun with six girly girls wanting to take part!!!
  • cleaned all the floors in the house, swept and damp mopped
  • laundry, laundry, laundry - sheets, towels, winter blankets, rugs - everything out now hanging on the line, or over the hand rail of the front porch or anywhere else i could find to lay it out drying and smelling freshy fresh. i wonder if there is a way to run a second clothes line? pondering...
  • cleaned out and hosed down the meatie coop - still have to sanitize it - an easy job that i'll tackle tomorrow.
  • changed the bedding for the 9 baby layers (3 brown leghorn, 3 silver laced wyandotte, 3 australorp) and the 24 round two meaties (dark cornish). i installed a mini roost for the layers. i have not seen any jump up onto it yet but i don't imagine that it will take long before they figure it out. all the babes are doing well - they had much to say as i cleaned the urban garage barn around them.
  • cleaned the urban garage barn - this was the big big job of the day as it entails taking most everything out, hosing off the dust, sweeping the place out and putting everything back into it's proper place.
  • started a 50 gallon batch of aerated super-d-lively compost tea - a mix of seaweed, molasses flakes, fish meal, cottonseed meal and worm castings
  • soaking a hand full of peas, lentils, radish and adzuki beans overnight before sprouting for yummy eats
  • picked up 2 bags of ditomacious earth and 2 bags of chopped alfalfa for creature upkeep from the local feed store - that keeps me in the goods for a while now - i'm thinking the metal shed may become the feed barn. it's the perfect size and too hot for creatures this time of year.
i'm pretty sure that' s it. tomorrow i'll hit the ground running with the tilling again. i've got bags of leaves that need moving. they've been piled up along the fence line out back for a bit too long. it looks a bit dumpy - cannot have that - hippychick does not like it when her place looks dumpy. i've got veggie trellis to install tomorrow too. it's a low tech trellis solution - ten 6'-0" poles, a hammer and some string. and then the sanitizing of the meatie coop for good health.
oh! how could i forget to mention...
super neighbor added on to the urban garage barn meatie coop. now the entire coop is walk in height which makes cleaning up a billion trillion zillion times easier. thank you super neighbor - you're a saint. truly.

guess who's coming to dinner?

they're here and settling in to their new digs.
these lucky little red worms reside in the multi-tier can-o-worms universe and burrow in the high class pleasure of coconut coir bedding and all the packaging they arrived in - a cardboard box, two brown paper bags and a few sheets of newsprint all soaked and broken into small bits.

their first food feeding consists of carrot tops though it may take a week or two or three before they decide to kick the eating of the bedding habit for the veggie goods.

i've decided to keep the wormie worms in the kitchen. it keeps the babes cool in the hot summer heat which we experience a whole lot of and it makes for easy veggie bit transfer from kitchen sink to wormery.

and so the adventures of the hippychick wormery begins...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

saying goobye to a smart patch of grass

coolio neighborman has lent me his mantis tiller. the front yard is the target. less lawn more flowers and veggie patches. i'm also carving out a cool place for the bee hives.

i've been at it for a good 2+ hours. my arms are numb, my hands are numb and the vibrations are serious man! just now taking a short iced coffee break.

this is not a one day job. though i'm nearing my day one goal, i think i'm less than an hour away. then it's time to clean out the chicken coop. i'll be piling the hay that i pull out of the coop and that which i pulled out of wabbit wabbits condo onto several of the newly tilled areas in order to keep the grass from growing back overnight and to help smother out weed seeds. i should be going right up until sunset but it will prove a good day.

i'm doing my best to use only goods i've already got. fingers crossed it will all work out.

also checked off the list today
  • planted one moro blood orange tree
  • planted in the rio red grapefruit tree
  • planted in my thai lime tree - formerly living in a container
  • dropped in some musky melon seeds and seedlings
  • dropped in some desert king water melon seeds
  • planted in my white eggplant seedlings
  • moved the three compost bins to their new locations in amongst the apple and peach trees
the compost bins are my secret clear a new space for gardening weapon. i keep them in the same spot for 4-5 months. once the goods are ready i empty them and distribute their goods about then i move the bin leaving a freshy new gardening spot free of grass and weeds set and ready to go. slowly but surely i'll have the entire orchard fence line cleared of grass. bit by bit by bit, all goes well.

the picture up top illustrates what's left below the former compost pile once i move the compost bin off it's earlier spot. a bit of perfection really. i highly suggest you try it yourself. as you can see, my compost bins are built using old wood pallets. they do the job and they are freeeeee!

well it's now 7:50pm and i did not get the chicken coop cleaned out. that will be on the top of the list for the morning - after the egg laying of course. i would not want to sent the ladies into a tizzy. nor would i be interested in the payback - for some reason i am beginning to believe that these ladies are smarter than they let on.

i did on the other hand get about 75% of the tilling finished. my arms feel like they might just fall off and my hand strength is lacking.

i placed thick clear plastic over two of the larger areas in hopes of solarizing the soil and knocking out the remaining grass and weed bits.

i got the squash babies in and under a row cover. they are planted in a bed that benefited from a cover crop of winter peas. i tilled in 2/3 of the winter peas and left the other 1/3 alone in order to allow the nitrogen fixing to continue.

why the row cover? i am determined to beat those darn squash vine borers this year. now the question is, how do i get these babies mating? I may have to do it by hand to start.

question - does anyone out there know if the squash vine borer moth tends to fly at a certain time of day? if so, i could plan to leave the row cover open part of the day in order to promote pollination.
  • zucchini
  • yellow straight neck
  • butternut
that is all for the day
plenty plenty
now it's time to enjoy the beauty of the cool evening.

* * * * * * * *
upon further reading i have learned that the pesky squash vine borer flies both day and night!!!


spring greens, beets and broccoli oh my!

pretty spectacular harvest we're having at the hippychick universe this morning
- oh mama -
  • chard
  • beets
  • brocolli
  • spring peas
  • radish
  • radish pods
  • chinese cabbage
  • carrots
and of course
  • eggs from the chickenchicas
i can tell you right now how it's all going down.

the beets and carrots will be slow roasted to bring out their yummy sweetness. the beet greens will saute' with garlic, lemon juice and a bit of balsamic vinegar - ohh yeah

the chinese cabbage will join the broccoli, the radish pods and the sweet peas in stir fry happiness land along with thinly sliced carrots and chardy bits. there might even be a bit extra to share with the chickenychica's and the wabbit wabbit.

the radish will be enjoyed in the company of lettuce greens
or play a trio with a bit of carrot and lemony juice

the radish greens go to the creatures.
everyone enjoys!
ah happiness

it always tastes better when you grow your own!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

pretty picture misty morning garden

quiet precious morning
dew glistening
wet underfoot
soft rich
mist wraps me in she

sadly spraddle leg baby has passed

sad news, baby spraddle leg did not make it through the night. i tried to help in the following ways. who knows maybe efforts for another wee spraddle leg will prove successful.

i -
  • kept spraddle leg warm
  • used a band-aide to re-align his legs
  • hand fed a mix of keifer yogurt and mushy chick feed
  • made sure that spraddle leg was drinking water, hand feeding myself - the water on two occasions was a weak mix of sugar water
  • pulled spraddle leg out of the larger group to avoid getting trampled and place him into a smaller brooder
  • placed two wee chicks in with spraddle for warmth and companionship
  • checked on spraddle several times through the night - and noticed sadly less of an interest in food and water as the hours passed
  • woke this morning and placed the two wee chicks back in the larger brooder - spraddle had passed
i did read that many of the chicks with spraddle leg do not make it. it makes me sad. please let me know if there is anything that i did not do, that i could have done for spraddle leg that i missed. thanks folks.

Monday, March 16, 2009

no kidding! these babies are for real

you can imagine my surprise when i spied these lovelies

pretty darn good

i'm looking forward to the season's first

big day big day
things started out a bit slow
the start pistol fired
and woosh the day took off

  • 7:00am a call from the post office - 25 dark cornish chicks ready and waiting for pick up
  • 7:30 chicks arrive home - transfer to their brooder and begin eating and drinking
  • 7:32 one chick suffers from spraddle leg - i collect a band-aid and get to work
  • 7:45 the wee spraddle babe is back in the brooder after a special feeding of kiefer yogurt and water
  • 8:00 chicken mama checks on all creatures great and small - everyone else doing well
  • 8:30 chickenmama gets herself ready for a hard days work - breakfast - two eggs
  • 9:15 out the door and so the day begins
  • 6:30pm inside for a drinkypoo
the clean up continued
  • leaf pick up - complete
  • east side garden clean up - complete
  • re-run east side garden irrigation hoses - complete
  • mow the lawn - complete
  • distribute three of the four composted piles to the flower and shrub beds - nearly complete- ran a bit short and the fourth pile not yet ready
  • level out the former compost pile area and ready it for the next planting - complete
  • re-fill all of the creature's water bins - complete
  • find those darn eggs - girls are laying all over the place - found 2 of 3
  • tack up chicken wire in the newly expanded garage coop - complete
  • check on the wee chicks - doing ok - spoon feed the spraddle babe a little more yogurt
  • water in all of the compost distributed around the yard - complete
  • talk to a local democrat running for city office - it's texas folks these chats last a good long while
  • clean up the garden cart, garden fork, lawn mower, rake and brooms
  • step inside for a 1/2 iced tea, 1/2 ginger tea pick me up
sit to type - oophff - good job

the yard looks great, most every bed is mulched and the leaves are finally scooped up. next on the list - move the old chicken hutch/nest out of the chickenchica coop, build and install three chicken nests, expand the chickenchica's chicken run, turn the bedding in the meat chicken run, replace the gutters around the chickenchica coop and consider installing - FINALLY- the water tank for rainwater harvesting.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

making the most of a beautiful day

what a day! just beautiful. the morning started out a bit cool hovering in the lower 40˚s making for a brisky waking up. the afternoon warmed to just above 60˚ and hung there for the remainder of the day - perfect for outside tasks and adventures.

today turned out to be the eastside garden expansion day. yes, the very expansion that i have been pondering for months and then some. well i am happy to report that after much sweat, digging, lifting and a pair of crusty muddy knees, the task is complete. four new 6' x 8' x 12"h beds have replaced the four smaller 4' x 6' x 10"h beds. the larger sized beds prove to offer quite a bit more planting space which is truly fantastic - double the space in fact.

it was quite a job. two of the older wood raised beds crumbled to smaller pieces in the process of lifting them up from the ground - a sure sign that upgrade was right on time. the other two held together well as they were made from a thicker wood stock.

i measured out the four beds, marked each area with stakes and twine then cut out the veggie bits that needed relocating. it went pretty well. i did not save every little bitty but i did save most. once the cut out veggies were moved, i assembled the beds. i could have built the beds on the mostly flat and level drive but they would have proved too big and heavy for me to move on my own. it took me a bit of time. i had to level out the ground to get the beds to secure together properly.

once the beds were in, i forked up the soil and planted the relocated veggie bits. i also planted the remainder of my tomato starts, pepper starts and eggplant starts. the spring/summer garden is nearly all in. the only veggies still waiting for a home are the summer and winter squash starts, my lemony cucumber starts and the last of my musky melon starts. these may go into the two surviving older raised beds once i locate a proper place for them. in fact they may prove perfect for the job. i'm also hoping to plant in a bean vine tee pee for fun. and then there are the sweet potatoes and the basil and the okra and... tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow.

the new beds are wanting for a bit of soil but will do quite well for the time being as the soil beneath broke up quite well with the fork. an encouraging number of earth worms were on duty which is also a great sign. the longer term plan is to slowly build up the height of the soil as the tomato, pepper and eggplant starts grow taller. slow and steady as she goes.

my body is feeling the day. there is no doubt that sleep will be sound tonight.

still to do - move all those darn leaves. but there is a plan in store. once the two older beds are in their new place, i'll smother the grass below with a good layer of leaves followed by a layer of compost then another layer of leaves and finally a thick layer of soil. this fluffy mix will prove well not only for the veggies but for wormies and for proper drainage. the mix will breakdown slowly and feed the plants above and the worms below. it's a win win.
cheers until tomorrow folks.

a bit of rain and so happy for it

it's been raining, not hard not soft, on and off for several days and the earth around these parts looks all the better for it.

one views green now popping up in places that have shown variations of brown for the longest time. plants stand tall full up with drink and our friends the weeds - ahaaa - multiply three-fold overnight. not good not bad as the weeds provide special treats for the chickenchica's to munchy munch on.

every drop is a blessing as we have been dry for oh so long, too long. i worry only for one creature so far and that is my nearing four year old apple tree. i noticed a crack in the trunk yesterday. only a slight crack but a crack just the same. my guess is that she celebrated with drinking for want of moisture for so long and over did it just a bit. who could blame her? i'll be sure to treat the crack today in order to keep bad bugs from a quick entry into her yummy insides.

i took advantage of the damp soft ground to put in another round of flowering bushes and flowers out front in preparation for our two new hippychick bee colonies. all will provide food for the creatures - not only for the bees but for butterflies, hummingbirds and many varied types of insects.

the newly planted goodies include
  • lambs ears
  • bettony
  • four types of dry land sage
  • texas fire bush
  • canyon daisy
  • three types of dry land salvias
  • zebra daisy
  • angelica
  • milkweed flower
  • butterfly bush
again it's nice for this light bit of rain as it helps settle the new babes into their new home. i moved a good ten to twelve cardoon plants to a new spot yesterday. they were beginning to stretch beyond the space available in their bed so i thought it best to give them a greater bit of breathing room. this is the first year that i've planted cardoon from seed and i must say the test proved 100% success. they have grown quite well and have beautiful color.

now it's time for this hippychick to get herself outside for clean up. the rain has assisted the trees in the dropping of leaves not of this year. for me that means raking and scooping and the building of a new compost pile or the creation of a new garden bed. i think this round may help to create a little of each. today is the day that i expand the east side garden. it's a tricky business. expand the beds, which means taking the current beds apart, build new beds and fill them without disturbing the veggies and herbs currently planted. we'll see how it all goes.

Friday, March 13, 2009

hippychickenfarmer's heritage breed chickens

the expansion of the super-d-lovely hippychickenfarmer heritage laying flock is well on the way.

we will soon be adding the below listed lady breeds to our family. they, all together, will make for a beautiful family. the information provided aside each breed in found at henderson's chicken breed chart. another breed chart here.

  • speckled sussex - developed in the county of sussex in the early 19th century. layer of creamy to light brown eggs.
  • dominique - developed in new england in early 19th century. not distinguished from the barred rock until apa standards were developed. most modern dominques may be traced to stock developed by a. q. carter after 1900. layer of brown eggs.
  • appenzeller spitzhauben - developed in switzerland centuries ago. layer of white eggs.
  • cuckoo maran - developed in france in the early 20th century. layer of dark chocolate brown eggs.
  • golden lakenvelders - developed in germany in early 19th century. golden lakenvelders are not standard. layer of white to lightly tinted eggs.
  • welsummer - developed in holland in the 20th century. layer of terracotta colored eggs.
  • blue wyandotte - developed in new york state and wisconsin in the late 19th century. layer of light to rich brown eggs.
  • easter eggers - south american breed. layer of blue green and tinted eggs.
already in flock - white leghorn, brown leghorn, red star, black star, silver laced wyandotte, australorp and ameraucauna.

this flock will be special
ladies from around the world

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

hippychick is going carbon freeeeeeee

finally a site about just how carbon offset funds work.

i've visited many but have trusted few. i still remain wary. how is one sure that the printed percentage of the funds collected actually make it to the specified projects? ahhhhh, the trust issue enters the game.

just the same, i encourage you visit the carbonfund.org. there is a great wealth of information available. educate yourself, inform yourself and take a look at your own impact with the carbon offset calculator. i did.

ain't got no assets better to take care of my offsets

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

hippychick's urban homestead goes local

hippychick is now at local harvest
sharing our over and above goodie goods with others
here we gooooo!

the hippychick hand to hand sustainable ad-venture continues...

Monday, March 9, 2009

stubborn as a cutiepants goat

still pondering pooh like about goats...
come on! who could not love a face like this?
i keep visiting the fias co farm goat information page - smart and generous folk there.

everything is possible in the universe
dog - goat - dog - goat - dog - goat - goat - goat
depending upon the size (dwarfycutie) - a goat could prove smaller than a dog? right?

danger will robinson...

this photo is one of molly's own. maxwell house, an itty boy goat baby, minutes after birth. supercutie!!!! ms. molly is cool and a true loving creative and warm soul. cheers to you molly.

more information here - getting your goat.
i'm doing my research, you know what that means.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

i would be false if i did not admit that there exist moments when my heart pines for a someone to share with.

the question is.
how long will this entry survive posting before i push delete?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

hippychickenfarmer talks back

i have recently enjoyed pleasurable conversations with a good number of truly inspiring individuals researching and planning for future explorations in sustainable living. many are actively making steps forward. others live the life of sustainability fully, having lived this way since the beginning of their days.

it proves humbling when asked for advice and/or for my insight on specific baby step sustainable topics. it was not so long ago that i was in city girl mode thinking and dreaming about a little farm, a piece of land, a home, loving creatures, seeds popping through dirt and quiet quiet quiet.

so with great humility, i offer the following bits of hippychick insight and conversation.
i wish to thank ms. morgan for her permission to use the following edited bits from our shared communications.

Topic - Countryside Magazine
Thanks again for the great recommendation on the publication. I just received the Mar/April issue and I read 1/2 of it last night!!!

I love all the information and advice about being a homesteader. But I will say there were letters in there that frightened me. Lots of talk about us heading for another Great Depression and the direness of the world.

I am not naive but I am trying to stay optimistic but I was really getting a doomsday feeling from some of the letters.

And there was the woman's letter about the "reality" of homesteading and how greenhorns (like me) seem to not get it. I kind of felt like she was angry about people trying to see if this life works for them.

Ah well I guess that is what diversity does for us.
ms. m - many of the folk writing in to countryside magazine have been living the life of survival and sustainability for all of their days. they innately understand and respect the relationship man shares with nature and creatures in a way that many of us "cityfolk" do not. and if you honestly look at our culture (american culture that is) you might discover that rural life and rural folk have continually been punished for their choices. they endure life without technology. (and many prefer it so) in other cases they live without the comfort of a quick 911 response or the sureness that an ambulance will come to their assistance if needed. and this does not even touch what farmers go through in order to make a living.

they depend fully upon themselves and their community which is an investment of trust that many of us have not developed beyond our own close ties with family.

i myself, daily, experience trust issues. in turn i am continually surprised and often privately come to tears to learn of the good deeds my neighbors gift me with, the knowledge they offer freely and share and the ways in which they kindly correct my understanding of a task.

you must open yourself fully to learn the ways of the folk as much as you must open yourself to learn the ways of the land and the ways of the creatures.

i suggest you start by visiting the local feed stores. go in and listen listen listen. slowly travel around, scan the shelves, read the labels and take a whole lot of time educating yourself on the physical, mental and monetary cost of the sustainable self-reliant life. you will soon find that it's not always body cheap, faith cheap or money cheap. you will also find that most of the actively sustainable folk spend more money on the upkeep of their land and their creatures than they do on themselves.

these hard working folk are selfless in their giving and relentless in their commitment. and some have a hard time trusting that "the city folk will ever get it". i understand that sentiment. i may not follow it with as much verve as the originating author but i certainly wonder too if "enough" city folk will get it.

our american dream urban culture is a waste culture. true there are a whole lot of folk, myself included, working individually away from that type of lifestyle, but it's still touted and believed by many to stand a mark of status and of wealth when a person is able to simply buy and buy and buy and buy and buy.

sure enough many of the buyers are in a credit crunch wake up call as i write. and sure enough, some hear the call some do not.

do not focus on the doomsday but do plan and practice. focus on the positive. take your baby steps and smile with each one. everyday is a day forward. you will step back and step forward, we all do along way. keep yourself in the right direction, recognize your failures, learn from them and successes will follow big or small as they may be.

Topic - Raising and Butchering meat chickens

So I have a question for you - how did you get over the killing a cute fluffy chicken feeling? I read on your blog that you thought that might be a challenge for you.

Also - the woman mentioned above pointed out that greenhorns needs to be prepared to hunt and butcher with their own hands. Have you started butchering your chickens yourself? Do you think you will work up to that step? Have homesteaders been successful in "farming out" the dirty work?

how did i get over the killing of a cute fluffy chicken feeling? that's a great question.

i began a daily mental preparation for the butchering of the flock upon my first speaking with jm hatchery and ordering my first batch of french freedom range chickens (30 total). i had prior to that moment performed extensive research on the subject, spoke with many experienced folk on the topic and viewed many a helpful web sites that explained the butchering process step by step with photos and all. i figured, if i could not stomach the photos then i could not begin the journey toward raising my own meat chickens. oddly enough i stomached the images and the process when performed humanely just fine.

i had also made a private decision that if in the process of raising my own meat chickens i, myself, could not raise and butcher then i would choose to eat a vegetarian diet until such time that i could take responsibility for my meat habit from beginning to end. it was a personal endeavor. i did not expect others to follow nor do i expect that now. for me, it makes sense and it's part of who i am developing to be with each day that passes.

i have always liked to do things myself. i am stubborn that way as many of my friends and family may tell. laugh it up folks, i know it's true. but in the being of my stubbornness, i am also determined and committed.

so being said, i continued my daily mental "these chickens are meant for dinner" practice. i must say that having my laying chickens/pets did help. truth be told, i treat "the meaties" with an equal respect and care as i do my eggy-layers. after all, it is my food that they are to be. i want to do all that i can to ensure a superior quality food source.

i decided weeks before we were to butcher our first chicken to look into Hopi ritual hunting prayers. i studied several, memorized one and said it over each and every chicken brought to butcher. i also made up a little song that i sing to each chicken. it's a song that only the chickens hear. there are times when i sing the chicken song the night before and there are times when i sing the chicken song moments before butchering.

the making of the song was sporadic, it just happened. i consider it my own little Hopi prayer of thanks and it is sticking. it is now my way. and if you wonder, it is a cheerful song and i think they like it. chickens do enjoy music, then again, who does not.

i have another batch of meat chickens arriving in the later weeks of march and i may begin singing the song to the chickens earlier in their lives.

in regard to the butchering and/or the question of "farming out the process" - i performed the butchering process myself with the great help and deep wisdom of my wonderful (former chicken farmer, now renewed chicken farmer as we venture forward together) neighbor. he has been a blessing to me. he showed me the ropes. i watched carefully and listened while following his first lead. he and i butchered every single chicken together.

i do believe it is a two person job as the company of another brings on great topics of conversation and moments of learning though i could do it on my own depending on the day and the need. i have that much confidence at this current date.
Thanks for your advice!

I am definitely going to start laying out my plan for moving to my own homestead - it was great to read about the readers that are doing it as a gradual process. I feel like I could do this gradually and not be a failure!!!

you are welcome.

note to self - we all fail

place that word aside and focus on your definitions of success. with every failure are tiny bits of success.

if you learn you succeed
if you listen you succeed
if you plan and practice and practice and practice you will succeed
step slowly - step quietly
believe fiercely

my insights are not perfect but they are from my own experience. everyone is different. how large the salt grain is, i do not know. you decide.

Friday, March 6, 2009

things i do before i travel

calendula in full flower
  • fill all multi-day kitty containers
  • fill all chickenchica feeders and waterers to the tippy top
  • clean all creature areas
  • cut greens and harvest garden goodies
  • wash and bag all harvested garden goodies
  • distribute shares of harvested garden goodies to most excellent creatures and peoples of the universe
  • store some goodies long term
  • pack other goodies for the trip - super traveling garden geek am i - keeping my eating local while on the road though - no harm there!
  • laundry
  • put out all trash - usually very little
  • put out all recycle bits - usually quite a lot
  • compost kitchen bits
  • set water timers for all gardens
  • check for water leaks and fix what i can
  • tidy up the kitchen
  • set out extra egg cartons for neighborly collecting
  • contact neighbors and go over daily routine - my neighbors rock rock rock
  • oh yeah, pack a bag
  • set the radio level for the chickenchicas
  • make an extra fluffy bed for the kitty creatures
  • make sure wabbit wabbit has plenty of water and food
  • double check all departure information
  • do an extra round about to make sure all bases are covered
  • turn off and unplug any energy draining appliances
  • give the babies extra hugs and lovin' before heading out the door
  • spend much time wishing i could just stay home
  • til' finally walking out of the door

Thursday, March 5, 2009

hippychick is now on facebook

folks making efforts to live simple.

you might keep bees, raise creatures, harvest the rain, garden for goodies, brew beer, plant trees, put up food, bake bread, make cheese, yogurt, kombucha, pickles, sauerkraut or other fermented yummies, make your own clothing, invent useful objects, fix or make do, live on grid, off grid, get your water from a well, run solar, drive a veggie oil powered car, drive an electric car, peddle your way about... you know who you are

are you groovy?

my oh my a sleepy girl am i

i do this. i wake up at 2 or 3 in the morning - wide awake - and i get up. i walk about the yard. i check in on the creatures. i read until i drop off. 5 am rolls around - my desired wake up time- and i'm zonked! sleepy eyes, sleepy body, sleepy self oh my.

so i stretch and i roll and pull the pillow close. my feet feel warm , my body warm and finally i note i am in the perfect sleeping position. but it is time to get up.

i've got to figure out how to get to the happy sleeping place sooner rather than directly before my waking time. even now as i type, i allow my lids a little rest.

more to come today - many exciting bits to tell.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

tonight's read

cover to cover baby
in one night - no problemo

vermi-composting in the hippychick universe begins march 14 2009
picked up a can-o-worms composter

love it
moved wabbit wabbit to a new spot today. he's quite a little worm farmer himself. his little poos are much prized by worms from what i can tell. he's in a shadier spot now, all the better for he. i piled a couple of garden cart fulls of compostables over his former home as the ground was teaming with worm creatures. the compost will keep them busy for a while.

this spot to become the new expanded chickenchica layer run in the near future. we're growing!!! and there's more to tell but not today. the adventure venture is picking up speed and plans are in the works - fingers crossed i'll be telling all in no time.

compost compost compost compost
you don't need special worms to get started.
bury your veggie waste in the ground and the locals wormies will dive right in.

and we all know - local is good!