Monday, June 29, 2009

crazy coop caper 2oo9

here we go around the chickenychica coop

i am working inside the idea of upcycling again. this is the concept of taking items used for one purpose and giving them new life, new value, new use as part of another purpose. what am i upcycling? i am upcycling wood pallets.

in this round of crazy coop caper upgrades, i am using the wood pallets as shelter structures - specifically as the base to the new larger run on the west side of the coop and as the - not on the invite list - creature barrier on the east side of the coop (pictured above).

i wait until i can score a good number of pallets that are not only in decent condition but of the same size so that linking them together proves a fairly easy chore.

i use good quality 2x4 boards to link the pallets top and bottom. then i cover the outer side of the pallets with chicken wire. the above structure is built as needed. i finished the roof support structure yesterday. my plan is to continue the tin roof directly down the new overhang. for now i have takked up a large tarp to provide shade for the creatures and my working self.

once the roof is in, i will install a quality gutter/rainwater collection system around the entire coop perimeter that performs two to three - water saving - direct water using - tasks.
  • collect rainwater - a most valuable resource around here
  • direct partial run off to the fruit and nut trees located just west of the coop
  • direct partial run off to the outback garden located just north of the coop
it's a perfect system in my mind - let's see if i can pull it off as planned - if i do, the research and development plan for the orchard's water needs is solved and done. best now to get the roof in and finish the run expansion before venturing forward on that front. almost there though which is very exciting.

i have been building around the original chickenchica coop run throughout this process. in the next few days, i am hoping to
  • roof in the new run
  • finish two final doors on the coop expansion
  • shift my ladies over to the new coop while i work on the upgrades to the original coop
then once the upgrades to the original coop are complete
  • move the ladies back their original coop
  • move the eight metal shed w/palette run chickenchicas into the expanded coop
  • use the metal shed w/pallet run as the brooder for the newest babes
  • open the garage/barn coop back up to full size (currently working as two separate spaces
  • and start the summer cleaning cycle - coop by coop
sounds like a lot but i think i can do it - takes a while since it's only my two hands working but the feeling i get when viewing the finished result and the happy chickenchicas is worth the hard working - sweaty - too freakin' hot outside efforts. eih, it is the life of an urban - farmer in training. i enjoy it.

are you wondering what will i do with all the 'cleanin' out the chicken coop stuffs'? yes? no? well here it is. i am experimenting with sheet mulching. this is a process of laying naturally beneficial mulching materials directly on soil in layers. the process in short is about composting and enriching soil directly in place.

i am experimenting with a varied sort of layering ideas. i have got
  • chickeny coop material layered with finished compost
  • chickeny coop material layered with grass clippings
  • chickeny coop material layered with dried leaves
  • chickeny coop material layered with finished pine needles
  • chickeny coop material layered with finished compost & alfalfa hay
i am watching to see which breaks down
  • fastest
  • most completely
at current, they are all moving a bit slowly for want of moisture. the hot we've been having makes it tough on everything and i cannot seem to justify watering the test area for interests sake. so for the time being, it's working in environmental conditions with no assistance from myself. probably as it should be.

and after this? the list is long but here is the short most important - human creature home improvement - list.
  • replace the fence
  • paint the house
  • continue to improve systems for rainwater collection
and may i say - if i can get this above bit complete, then my little farm system might just - dare i say - sustain itself - wouldn't it be lovely

Sunday, June 28, 2009

sir beau peep & lucky 13 now rule the roost

got up early this morning in an effort to beat the heat. today is/was butchering day for the cornish rooroos - all but one that is. the one of which i am naming lucky 13 is going off to a family here in town later today.

the other twelve are now dressed, cleaned wrapped and aging in the fridge. they were a bit smaller in size than i thought they might be at this age but i believe the heat has led all the creatures to refrain from overeating. i don't blame them. they are, on the bright side, a great size for the bbq-ing or grilling and actually they are a perfect size to feed two folks quite well.

it's a whole lot quieter around the hippychick universe now that there are only two roosters heading up the homestead - lucky 13 and sir beau peep, my fancy salmon faverolle rooroo. the two seem a bit stunned to have the girls all to themselves. i am sure in time, they will find the ratio of hen to rooroo quite pleasing.

on another note - i am almost finished with the coop expansion - two doors and a roof and we are good to load the shed girls, the two new blues and beau peep in. time to get out there and get it done.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

working with whey - sprouted bread & eggy salada

early morning sprouted bread making
we are trying something new

soon to be cooked inside these two lovely loafs
  • organic whole wheat flour
  • organic white flour
  • ground golden flax meal
  • sprouted mung beans, lentils, alfalfa, peanut and radish
  • 1 pint of whey collected from cheese making
  • a bit of yeast, salt and brown sugar
this is the first time i've ever baked with whey
i am curious for flavor
now it's just a matter of patience

they are rising beautifully - the dough feels soft - the smell is warm and sweet
fingers crossed

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
drum roll please...

this loaf, and i am not kidding, is the bestest loaf i've ever made, truly
i'm a huge fan for sprouted and of oatmeal breads as they always seem to have a softness to them that other loafs do not. this loaf did not contain oatmeal, just sprouts - a whole lot of them - about 3 cups worth - 1 1/2 cups per loaf. having never baked with whey, i had no idea what to expect in the flavor department. wow oh wow folks - there is a very very mild sour-doughish bit that hangs nicely on the tongue. i am sold - whey is the way.

here's how i made this round of breads
ingredients -
  • organic whole wheat flour - 3 cups+
  • organic white flour - 3 cups+
  • organic brown sugar - 1/4 cup
  • organic flax seed meal - 1/2 cup
  • yeast - i use a slightly cupped palm full
  • warm to the touch water - 1/2 cup - used to activate yeast
  • fresh rinsed sprouts - 3 cups - i sprout my own
  • whey - 1 pint - whey is the partner to curds
  • flour for kneading & to coat baking pans
process -
  • dry mix 1/2 cup 50wheat/50white flour with brown sugar, flax seed meal and yeast
  • add 1/2 warm water to dry mix - incorporate all ingredients
  • let this mix sit for a good twenty minutes
  • after twenty - check to see if yeast is active - if not either give it more time or start with fresh yeast - i suggest giving a bit more time first - in truth i let my slurry sit for a good hour - i find my bread more flavorful when i do
  • once you know your yeast is active - turn your slurry into a large bowl or mixer - i use my kitchen aide mixer
  • turn your mixer on to low/medium speed and add the pint of whey to the mix
  • slowly add 3 cups of remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time
  • slow the mixer down to low and add the sprouts one handful at a time until all are incorporated into the dough
  • once your sprouts are incorporated, turn your mixer on to low/medium speed
  • add remainder of flour 1/2 cup at a time
  • you may wish/need to add more flour to get a good consistency on your dough - i allow my dough to be just a bit wet as i personally prefer a lighter moister loaf - careful though - if your dough is too wet, it will not rise up but rather oooooooze - not good
  • mix the dough for a good 7-8 minutes
  • turn out dough to a floured spot - knead in enough flour to keep it from sticking to your hands
  • cut the dough in two, form two loafs, place in two floured large size bread pans
  • allow to rise until doubled
  • once doubled, bake in a 4oo˚ for 25-35 minutes or until the bottom of the loaf taps a hollow sound (you may have to bake longer at higher altitudes)
  • remove from oven, turn out from loaf pans
  • allow the loafs to rest/cool for 45 minutes
  • done!
i made myself a bit of egg salad today too for a home raised, homegrown, home baked sandwich

egg salad - no mayo please
  • boil six medium to large size eggs for 3-5 minutes (boil longer @ higher altitudes)
  • drain, cool and peel eggs
  • chop eggs - chunky or tiny, however you like
  • chop a few pickles
  • mix up 2 tablespoon mustard, a dash of salt, a good few shakes of pepper ( i like a lot), 1 tablespoon of prepared horseradish, parsley, dill and a small glug of olive oil
  • add the wet mix and the pickles to the eggs - give a good stir
  • either let it sit for a bit to allow flavors to mix or eat right off on your freshly baked bread
  • feel free to add your own home grown veggies to the sandwich - greens, maters, cukes, peppers, chard, whatever you like!
note - i add smoked hungarian paprika to my egg salad too but some folks don't dig it so use your own flavor preferences when making your own.

cheers ya'll!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

the natural history of the chicken in six parts

- ok so this is supercool - the natural history of the chicken -
i was turned on to it via city farmer news - a good group of folk a wee bit north of texas

got a few minutes?
give it a looksee
grandma and grandpa are happy
all is well in the universe

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

two - gallon iced jug day

for wabbit wabbit that is.

wooooheeee it is hot. nearly 8pm and the thermo-reader is topping 101˚f - not nice and everybody is feeling it. some of us deal better than others. bunnies have a real hard time with heat and do best with a little extra care.

wabbit wabbit is much loved in the hippychick universe. he's the happy bachelor around these parts. he lives right next to the laying chickenchicas so he's got plenty of opportunity for chatter when he wants it. then again there is probably a whole lot of chatter he could do without but he's a good sport in the tolerance department. he's always first to hear the latest gossip - that must be a plus.

well in this hot too hot weather he needs my help and i provide. one frozen water filled gallon jug in the morning and one frozen water filled gallon jug late afternoon. i swear the boy smiles when he sees me coming. he scratches at the jug, licks the jug then settles his body right in next to it and rests. i have even upped the benefit by placing a small fan a few feet away. the boy has his very own air conditioning set up. not bad not bad - truth be told - i would not ask him to make it through the days any other way. i have thought about placing him in the garage but i am sure the frozen jugs and fresh air prove better.

we may get to a three jug day if it gets any hotter. in that case i am ready. i've got just that many in the deep freeze waiting. anything for a bunny smile. he smiles i swear! i'll do my best to capture the smile someday on film.

so there you have it, another good use for your recycled vinegar and milk jugs - making wabbit wabbits happy!

the slow drip

now that it's hot hot hot - i begin thinking about meals that keep you cool cool cool.

one of my ole' stand by summer meals includes a good herbed or honey sweetened cheese with whole grain crackers, sliced veggies, an iced chilled glass of tea and melon slices to finish.

not too heavy - fills ya up - makes great use of fresh out of the garden veggies and requires not the use of an oven.

so i pulled out several pints of the recent homemade yogurt - wrapped it up in multiple layers of cheese cloth (which in fact appears to be more a guaze than a cloth these days) tied the top. i then set the bundled future cheese out suspended over a dripping pot. soon enough, another batch of yogurt cheese at the ready for nummy nummy eating.

for now she's
- dripping dripping dripping the whey away

note - you can easily use store bought yogurt. i have done so myself - check it out here!

also - i save the whey and use it for baking bread, pancakes, bisquits and sometimes i just drink it - it's good for you. don't drink it if you don't like tart - it will turn ya. the chickenychicas would probably love it too!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

so goes hippychicks victory chickens

all sold - not most sold - all sold
- never would have expected it -

onward and upward as the new chicks arrive
next up
hippychick's victory chickens - rare and heritage breeds include
  • speckled sussex - developed in the county of sussex in the early 19th century. layer of creamy to light brown eggs - 5 babies ( 1 already claimed)
  • 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. - 3 babies (2 already claimed)
  • golden laced wyandotte - developed in new york state and wisconsin in the late 19th century. layer of light to rich brown eggs.- 2 babies
  • barred plymouth rock - developed in america in the middle of the 19th century and was first exhibited as a breed in 1869. layer of brown eggs - 3 babies
and a few who are not rare or heritage in breed but great birds to add to your flock
  • black sex link - is the result of crossing two purebred standard breeds; the rhode island red rooster and the barred rock hen. - 5 babies
hey there i need a logo! i have ideas but i would love to work with another artist. any great artists out there? contact me - throw me a look see at some of your work - let's talk
i love this idea

whirring wooing wonderment

so the day passes and my thoughts whirrr around the idea of dear hazel. she is but a feeling, an image, an amazing wonderment of my universe. we have not met body to body though i have spoken with her often though.

i have wooed her as she sleeps as i sleep as we sleep. has she heard, i know not. i see her, i cannot take my eyes, my heart, my thoughts off of her. my life now happens around the idea of dear hazel.

what shall i teach her? what can i show her? oh how wonderful the idea to share with her. a walk - possibly talking or possibly quiet so that we might hear all around us, hear inside us or just to rest our minds and be for a while together. oh the idea of dear hazel, dear hazel, oh dear.

as the grinch's heart grew and grew, mine too grews further.

Monday, June 22, 2009

beyond any defined notion of happiness - little z

7lbs 7oz - 19 inches

hazel olivia habeck has entered the universe!

rockin' baby
joy beyond joy

aunt hippychick is in the house!
ain't nothin' finer



crusty cutie muggiepie

damn, if she really is a red head, i am sunk
she is amazing
- welcome welcome honeypea -

there's soon to be a z monster in the universe!

there will be a new little creature as part of our family's life today - miss hazel olivia a.k.a. little z or the z monster. she'll be born from the great love shared between my beer brewing, scientist, one heck of a good cook and a magnet for gathering good folk together brother and sister in law (hate that in law stuff) my sister cara who is a most generous volunteer reader for those with vision challenges, a hardworking gentle but tough booty nurse, a great laugher, a most excellent listener and a woman who opens her house and her heart to many friends.

her more than in love parents (who still after years of marriage sit on each other's laps and can never fit in enough hand holding time) met while hiking the appalachian trail so i would imagine that little z might have a bit of the wander gene in her making. she might love the outdoors, dig doggies, love iced cream, beg for s'mores, test a bit of daddy's very good for you brew before the proper age, watch art films with mama, tolerate her two aunts and one uncle and adore adore adore her spoiling grandparents who believe that nothing on this earth shines brighter than her two eyes and brilliant smile.

i myself experienced a rush of emotion yesterday. out of the blue i was overfilled with love and excitement and joy and astonishment and tears of happiness. my one and only brother is to be the father of this dear little girl - it's amazing. all grandparents are in attendance. my sister in law's sister is in attendance. this little sweet thing is surrounded by love that is for sure.

this is a new bit of emotion i never expected and it is more than beautiful. i cannot imagine how chris and cara are feeling - stay strong love peas! i know you will - you've waited a long time for this little girl to be a part of your life. i loooooooooooove you sooooooo much. xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

ok now
you travel safe little z - we are already smiling - look for the goofballs in the room too bright - that will be us. love you wee un - more than any thought possible.

i love you!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

victory chickens a future go & a bit about the empty bowl project

who knew my little plan to raise and sell rare and heritage breed chicken pullets would go so well? surely not i, that's for sure. well it's going and going well enough that i have decided to keep at it and give hippychick's gardens - victory chickens a future go!

just a week ago i was feeling the start of a panic coming on. i had 25 pullets at a ready age for healthy sale and 15 chicks on the way. hmmmm, what have i gotten myself into i thought? then out of the blue, interested folk started emailing and calling, excellent folk, considerate, thoughtful, true chicken loving folk. all of the chicken adopting folk i have had the pleasure of meeting are already keepers of a flock - no new chickenmamas and chickenpapas in training yet but that's just fine. i know for sure the baby girls have gone to knowledgable folk - i prefer to think of it as extended family.

i have asked each of the folk for family pictures and to keep me up to date with their names. i'm thinking i might like to do something nice for each customer as their girls begin to lay. i am waiting for the brilliat idea as to what that might be to come - not there yet. maybe a special card - maybe a special chickenychica treat - ohhhhhhh an idea just popped into my head - and the idea is....

maybe an organic special mix of grains that will provide good protein, vitamin and mineral rich tastyness that can be cooked up and enjoyed by the girls and thier fellow flockmates. yes! that's it. aha aha - happiness.

so there it is - hippychick's victory chickens - rare and heritage breed chicken pullets (7 week and older) is going to have a future. it feels good to help others preserve these special chickenychicas. it's good.

back to the coop expansion
it's looking most excellent!
pictures soon!

* a quick side - there was a question as to the origin of the bowl pictured in this post
to find out more, go back to the top and click on the chicken bowl picture or simply click on the highlighted text above
- it's an adventure!

here's a bit about the empty bowl project

there may be an empty bowl project near you
empty bowl search engine
listed by state
- a positive solution oriented idea -
- creative efforts toward solving hunger-

Saturday, June 20, 2009

first hippy-peach harvest

they might be tiny but these are my first peaches grown on the trees i planted just after moving in. actually truth be told, these are the first ripe peaches i beat the squirrels to this year.
there were others but i was tooooooooooo slow.

should make a nice mid morning snack
- peaches with a bit of sliced mint -
for sure!

Friday, June 19, 2009

lookin' on the bright side

spidermite 1 - hippychick 0

so sometimes you lose. i am pulling out half of my tomatoes today. the spidermites have just taken over and there is no beating them. i would have to spray everyday and frankly that much soap daily would probably kill the tomato plant too so out come some of the maters and in with more sweeeeeeeeeet taters!

so as some of my favorite optimists say...
always look on bright side of life

more cheese gromit!

hippychick is making cheese and yogurt!
excellent results
more chatter follows later
- happy busy morning -

milk for cheese
heated just below boiling point
now cooling

milk has been inoculated
curds and whey
waiting for the clean break

overnight inoculation in a controled environment
coolers rock!

from right to left
yogurt - whey - whey - curds and whey

so tell me, where might i find ms. muffet?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

no golden goose for me

i will happily stick with the beans

christmas limas
freshly from their dried out coats

smooth and sweet in soup

pretty to gaze upon

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

take this! that should get ya.

freaking spider mites are driving me crazy - invading my mater patch - granted the perfect heat/humidity mix for their sex lives does not help much.

let's see
if i were to choose the all in the world is peace and love point of view
i might say rather

i am hosting a spider mite wildlife habitat in my mater patch - oh they are soooo happy there - they are eating and flaunting. it's free love man, coooooool

well guess what
it ain't free love no more

dr. bronner's used as insecticidial soap tonight
take that freaky spider mites
this generation is out of here!

granted, there will be future generations to reason with down the line
i've got more dr. bronner's
love the dr. bronner's man
it is cooooooool
and if the dr. bronner's does not do the job i'll move to a flour water spray. i don't need toxic chemicals to fight the mighty mites - i prefer to keep it organic.


*spider mite damaged tomato photo credit to infonet

putting heat to work for me

upon today's travel home i pondered
how could i put this heat to work for me? if you can't beat them join them right?
and the first thought that came to mind was bread! bread rises in no time when it's warm out - so i surmised that this would indeed be a perfect day to make bread. i had recently, as early as this morning, been thinking about breaking down in the bread universe which would have lead to a stop to the fancypants grocer to pick up fancypants bread rolls. nope nope nope - i'm not going to do that - that's $4.oo that i could easily save or spend elsewhere on more useful items.
note i have begun to think about money in terms of "dozens of eggs". my question goes something like this - is this $12.oo item actually worth three dozen organically raised eggs from my own home flock?
i then ponder the possibility of my bartering three dozen eggs for that same item. if, in my mind, i say "no way!" would i barter three dozen of my organically raised eggs then i decide not to make the purchase. is this a sign that i am now traveling the proper path to farmdom or is this the way i should have been thinking long ago. either way it's where i am at now. better later than never ah?

this current pondering makes the occasional starbucks coffee a tough purchase to justify. in fact sometimes i close my eyes, order the coffee and pretend it's ok when i know inside that it's not. especially when i am not on the road, especially when i know that i already make my own coffee at home for a fraction of the cost. i think...
"self, it's time to plan better" maybe you ought to keep a small storage of iced coffee at the office so that when the urge hits for a little extra go, i am able to indulge without guilt.
and so i will - bring my own iced coffee storage to the university work place.

back to the bread. i love a good bread roll. on most bread baking days i bake in loaf form. then, and it is always the same, i eat too much bread - just one more slice - ah just one more slice - naw naw that is not going to happen this time. for some unknown reason i have greater portion control when it comes to bread rolls. one roll and i'm a happy camper. i guess to my brain, eating a bread roll is like eating my own personal bread loaf - the synapses trigger a variation that i cannot explain. either way, it works, so today i choose to work in the roll version.

i decided to keep it simple - half wheat- half white with an egg washed toasted sesame seed top. they look yummy don't they? and the heat part - well it took just about 30 minutes for the rise, possibly less. i must admit that i was a slight bit pre-occupied with the prepping of a few more quarts of homegrown mater sauce.

i am feeling very domestic today. there are fresh cleaned clothes on the line, bread in the oven and sauce sealing away in the hot water bath. this is a good day.

so you might be wondering what the future for the bread rolls looks like? it looks like this.
fresh sliced maters and cucumbers
feta and/or fresh mozz and/or fresh farmers cheese
homegrown homemade pesto


fresh basil leaves
fresh slice maters
drizzle of olive oil
sprinkle of black peper


ab&j - love the almond butter and jelly option


fresh rolls are always great with butter
and there you have it!
if you can't beat the heat, use it.
meals are always better when they are homemade and homegrown.

stay tuned for the first use of the solar oven. a bit of time may soon be showing it's face so that i can give the solar oven a proper first go.

the sauce report - 2 full quarts put up and ready for storage - total so far this season - 9 quarts. not bad!

Monday, June 15, 2009

hotty daze round' the hippychick place

the texas summer heat has hit and it ain't going away any time soon. this is the long hot run. it is in this current now that we discover who will stand and who will fall.

in the garden
  • we learn if we have cared too much or too little for a wee plant.
  • did we build them up strong and ready to face the harsh environment or did we coddle too closely contributing not to survival but great suffering?
  • are we prepared for the onslaught of baddy bad bugs?
  • are we truly organic farmers or do we crumble at the sight of an infestation?
  • did the planting schedule play out like clockwork or did heat hit before a fruit set and/or harvest had a chance?
  • we discover our own gardener metal for enduring the heat.
  • we discover, there is never enough cool water available on the really hot ones.
and if you raise creatures - then you've got to think on their needs for surviving this heat too.
  • have you got them in shade or can you provide a shaded area for an afternoon reprieve from the hot sun?
  • your creatures need proper ventilation and air movement - can you provide a fan to cool them down and/or to send the hot air up and away from the babes?
  • water water water water water - fresh and clean - d.a.i.l.y. - no excuses
  • i provide my bunny with a filled and frozen gallon sized water jug each day to keep him cool - sometimes he rests next to it - sometimes he rests on it - his own personal a.c.
  • i will often spray down an area inside the chicken runs for cool burrowing and dust bathing areas - also fun for chickeny scratching adventures
with heat comes flies - darn flies - lucky for us they are not the biting kind - not yet anyway
  • i keep several of the baited - you can fly in but you cannot fly out traps around
  • i keep several of the sticky tapes around too
in the bigger picture of general animal health, i keep an eye on the creatures.
  • i make effort to notice, aside from being hot, how do the folks look
  • anybody looking worse for the wear? out of sorts? not acting like they might usually?
  • it is important to keep in mind that heat exhaustion does not just effect us peoples. providing shade and fresh water prove helpful to all, peoples and creatures.

for peeps of the human sort
  • i try to work in the mornings and later evenings though this does not always pan out.
  • i find as long as i can move in and out of shade that i do ok. then again some days are better than others depending on how the humidity colors the heat index.
  • water water water water - did i say water? drink water - don't be a hero.
  • if you overheat - get to a cooler place and take a break - again - don't be a hero.
  • shorts, short sleeves, sunscreen and buggy spray for my sun sensitive mosquito magnet self
  • all of the above calls for a quick shower at the end of a long work day - just to wash off the muck - ei ei ei
  • some folk use umbrellas to block the heat of the sun - i myself do not have an extra arm for that
  • i did purchase one of those super large fans that i set up for myself when i'm working - the movement of the air is so very helpful - i highly recommend this option to folk.
so we go surviving the hotty daze round' the hippychick place. on my way out now to finally get started on the new chickeny run - the big expanded - spoil the chickens rotten run - yihaa!

- the run is another - upcycling - wood pallate - adventure -

here is a ditty about hot weather care for poultry from backyard poultry magazine

Saturday, June 13, 2009

catching up - well not entirely

it's been a good few days since i have sat down and really hammered out the goings on of the hippychick universe. why? well frankly, it has been busy round' here.
  • i'm teaching a summer course
  • i've been taking a technology in classroom course
  • there are the daily at home goings
  • many outside of it all gatherings to attend
  • this weekend is full full full - not a single day at home home home
i have a talent for keeping myself busy. there is always something new to learn and/or explore, the garden most often benefits from a bit of attentions, the creatures inside and out require daily care and conversation, i am doing my best to be more social and visit out with friends more which has kept me from giving the house a needed good scrubbing and dusting.

despite it all, the good news is that things are quite nice.
i may be tired but i'm feeling happy. i am yearning for a full day at home i admit. the full day allows a good bit of tasking time and a good flow toward getting the work done.

truth is, there is never enough time so make the best of it.

i have started the morning making tomato sauce. the maters on the shelf were piling up faster than i could eat them which is never a bad problem to have. though this morning after picking another ten or so maters, i decided it might be best to put up a few quarts of sauce in order to assure they go their best use. so that's what's brewing at the moment. i'll be setting up the water bath in a short bit for canning and sealing.

- 5 quarts of sauce today -
tre' yumme'
i've also got good number of fresh beans that i would like to prep for the freezer. that job may need to hold off until later this evening. the day is packed and i'm already behind.

in less than an hour, i will be joining friends for a seed and plant swap before heading into austintown for theatre gig with the rude mechanicals - a very inventive exploratory theatre company - good folk for sure. after that back home and maybe then to the task of the beans.
i never did make it to the seed and plant swap - sorry friends
shortly after the initial posting of this entry, i noticed odd charges to my bank account. the remainder of the morning hours went toward the reporting of fraud
and the disputing of charges.
lucky for me the bank proved truly helpful
-not fun-
hey you jerky fraud people, stop the badness or i promise you that your bad karma bank account will knock you out!

big on the up and coming list
well it is soon to be butchering time. the dark cornish will be ready in a week. they are a much smaller bird than the red freedom rangers but that is a-ok with me. as many of you know, i am more than pleased with the dark cornish chickens. i just adore their characteristics and athletic traits. i know they are the bird many major chefs prefer. we will see.

you might also have noticed that we now have six chickenychicas laying. soon there will be eight more joining the egg donation club. the daily egg business is going quite well so far - fingers crossed business keeps up.

also on the list is the coop expansion. i have collected a good number of wood pallets. i'm not sure exactly how i'm going to use them, i suspect i'll use them for the run area rather than the interior structure. we will just wait and see how that all plays out.

it is time i get back to the sauce. it is looking good. time to set it all in jars, topping them up and setting the lot into the water bath.

here's to happy days and optimistic adventures!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

waking hippychick's gardens

veggies and flowers
companions pleasing bees

me yeller mater fellers

new beds doing more than fine

early morning mater universe

Monday, June 8, 2009

super-d-lovely-eggs now available - pullets too!

hooray! the chickenchicas at hippychick's gardens are providing beautiful fresh eggs daily.

what's inside? I am glad you asked. It's only the best for my organically fed chickenchicas. i feed the ladies coyote creek organic feed. they also enjoy greens, tomatoes and the occasional melon from the garden, along with any goodies they can scratch up with their own two chickeny feets.

cheers for local organic fed chicken egg sellers!

-- $3.50 pullet dozen (white, brown, bluegreen)

-- $4.00 large dozen (brown)

-- $4.25 extra large dozen (white, brown) -- these babies are big!

i sell by the half dozen too! just cut the price by half.

interested? *come on by or give me a holler to arrange a possible delivery or mutual meeting place. * you can email me @

and if you wish to raise your own
hippychick's victory chickens
nine week old organically fed pullets
available breeds include
* cuckoo maran * golden lakenvelders * welsummer * blue wyandotte *

* easter eggers *

$15 pullet
claim your babies now

  • limited numbers available
  • the price per pullet will go up as they further mature
also available -
dark cornish juvenile hens and roosters - i raise the dark cornish as a meat and egg laying breed. they are a great bird, smaller in size, energetic and are known to be fantastic parents.

$15 single bird
claim your pairs now

gettin' hot gettin' dry - babies need a drink

it's that time
  • the heat is hitting hard
  • there is no rain in site
  • the ground is dry dry dry
  • and the garden droops even before the noon hour - looking like heat stroke to me
time to pull out the back up - time for the early morning or later evening garden sprinkler spa therapy. this is not something i like to do regularly but when the green growing babies need a big slow drink i give in. i do keep in mind the following habits not to practice as they both lead to water waste which not a single one us can afford these days.

  • windy days don't work - it all dries up before it can penetrate the ground
  • middle of the day won't work - ditto double ditto waste waste waste
another quick way to hit a few plants in these hot days is to always re-use the dirty - going to be dumped before i refresh - chicken water. in fact, i always use the older chicken water for the garden plants and trees - waste not want not right? truth is i cannot see why you would not use the water for a second purpose - it's good stuff. if you're not re-using your waste water you might want to consider starting. keep in mind that if you use toxic and/or damaging bits in the water, it's best to send it down the drain but if you are like me, you are making choices about the soaps and cleaners you use.

i stick by my dr. bronner's. it is bio-degradable. it does not contain salt which is bad for plants and dries out the soil. most of all it gets the job done. and if you wanted to add one more plus there are some great naturally scented variations of the stuff. do us all a favor and find a way to re-use your water. once you make it part of your daily practice - you might wonder what ever kept you from doing so.

back to the sprinklers -

the tricky part is watering around the bees. i have to position the sprinkler just right. i don't want it to spray directly into the front or back openings. nor do i want for it to land to heavily around their primary flight paths. in the case of the bee, the early morning and/or later evening watering time slots are best as those are the times when the bees prove less active.

back to saving water - things you might consider for conservation
  • rain barrels or a large size rainwater harvesting system
  • you can also use garbage cans, large buckets and pails, any old thing that might collect a bit and save a bit of rainwater for later use - when rain hits my area, you'll find me running outside to place each and every one of my galvanized tubs under a spout or a good drippy rain collecting spot.
  • composting toilet - i'll be looking into these once i pay off bills a bit further
  • a large bowl or bin that fits in your sink to collect used washing liquid - i keep a cheap plastic rectangular bin for the job myself
  • timers for your hoses - in case you forget and/or for ease and control - it's no good leaving the sprinklers on alllll day - in fact that's bad, very bad
  • fix your dripping pipes and faucets - you'll save more water than you can imagine with this one smooth move
  • water only the plants that really need it - i have sprinklers where i can control their range of motion. i target the areas i want to hit and let the others fend for themselves.
  • watch the weather - there is no need to water if rain is coming
  • set up your garden with slow drip irrigation and/or soaker hoses. i use soaker hoses and keep them buried just under the soil and mulch layer.
i am sure there are even more ways to save but these are a start. plan now and you'll be ready for the big heat. one thing i wish for you all - is that you do not have to endure the heat we here do.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

bitten down

another week gone by - ev-er-y-day to the brim
up adam early - off to big town - brain open learning - filler'up!
evening traffic - not so bad - how did that car pass inspection?

grass on the side of the road
brown and burnt from drying heat
middle passage - gully greening - hey don't get smart - you'll be next

notice driving arms notice driving hands notice skin is dry as well
a little bit brown - bumpy bitten down - damn mosquitoes win again

ponder puzzled
often wondered
how is it that we can travel to the craters of the moon but we cannot figure why mosquitoes bite who and who?

she is she is she

hippychick revealed - someone wanted to know

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

life in one minute

never worried about amusing myself. played with trucks dirt insects no dolls. preferred to converse with squirrels. interested in science and electric eels growing up. chocolate milk was the best part of lunch. studied light farmer now nature still number one.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

hippychick's victory chickens

hippychick's victory chickens heritage and rare breed pullets available june 13th.

these young girls are nearing nine weeks of age. they have been happily raised on coyote creek organic feed. if you are interested in raising your own chickens then give us a call. prices will vary with breed.

here are the breeds available -

* 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.

also available - dark cornish juvenile hens and roosters

- i raise the dark cornish as a meat and egg laying breed. they are a great bird, smaller in size, energetic and are known to be fantastic parents.

Monday, June 1, 2009

sustainable chickenychicas


the chickenchicas are proving to be quite fantastic business ladies. with their help, i have just sold all the eggs they can lay this week and next. that's pretty darn good.

and there may be another eggy connection on the horizon - fingers crossed. if we keep this up, the girls will move toward supporting their own organic chow chow needs. yes we are quite aware that the egg business may not always flow so well but no harm in celebrating the now.

cheers for wee local organic egg sellers!

now if mr. supercat might get his tail and booty out of my face i might be able get a bit more down. ahem - excuse me - oh yes you are a cat - there is no mercy. o.k., best i guess to give attentions pronto and catch up with the blogging later.

- - - time passes - - - pet the cat - - - pet the cat - - -

ok - supercat is now plenty loved up and content to be hanging out at my side rather than between me and the computer key pad - smartypantcat! i don't know what kind of time window I am being granted so i better keep typing.

so next consideration - how many of the young heritage breed pullets will i keep? - how many will i sell? hmmmmm - i guess we'll have to see how things shape up. there is no rush to decide. we are doing fine now and i imagine we'll do fine later - this is not about big business - this is about growing quality foods for a happy sustainable life.

we keep some - we share some - we sell some - we barter. if i can keep that going then the goal is attained - it is really just that simple.