Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Chicken coop progress

Well dear reader(s), we're not moving as fast as I thought we would on the hen house, but my husband/builder likes to build things to last.  That's a good thing.   

The coop site

The boards on the ground are recycled plastic/sawdust lumber that won't rot like wood.

It's built away from the fence so we can walk all the way around it and also so that we can put hardware cloth along the ground to keep the coons and possums out.

Just starting to lay out the actual coop (on the left) which is built separately from the run in case we need to move it.  The wire will link them together, as will the roof.

The support posts of the coop are made from a donated 4x6 cedar ceiling beam.
The coop is off the ground so that the nesting boxes will be at a convenient height for us to open the hinged door and reach in from the back to collect eggs.  We'll also be able to slide the floor out and hose it off!

The back wall is in; we'll cut the door in later and add windows for light and ventilation.

Side walls are up.  The next step will be the metal roof, insulation, and coop ceiling.  The roof won't extend all the way over the run, so that the hens can have some direct sunlight in the winter.  

We do plan to let the chickens out in the yard when we're home and can watch them, but our fence doesn't enclose the side yards, so chickens could wander around to the unfenced front yard.   We want our hens to be happy, but we don't want them to wreck our front garden!  

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

these long summer days

begin with early mornings in the garden followed by cereal, seasonal fruit, and English muffin breakfasts, and progress to tall glasses of strong iced tea, while the heat and the cats that sleep for hours on end inspire me to not much more than reading, resting, and ruminating, so it's good that I start a new class tonight: artistic embroidery.  I've been wanting to learn embroidery for a long time.  I learned a few stitches as a child, but it's been years since I've tried my hand at anything more than a few deliberately crude stitches to embellish a collage.    

It's been in the 90s for weeks now.  I can't complain because it hasn't reached 100 yet, but it does slow me down and keep me indoors more than I would like.  As I've gotten older, I've become more sensitive to the heat, so I tend to go out early in the morning and again at dusk.  
There's plenty to do indoors so that's fine, but I'm still spending more time on the computer than I'd like, so I'm going to try using a timer to keep my indulgences in web crawling brief. 
We'll see how that goes.  

Off to do some cooking now.   

Sunday, June 20, 2010

New camera, new pictures

For my birthday this year, Morgan surprised me with a Canon digital SLR camera.   Do I love it?  It's amazing.  I can get so close to things.

That caterpillar devoured half of one of our volunteer tomatoes in what seemed like one day. 

I've been playing with my new camera, keeping plants hydrated, and repairing/painting found birdhouses (gotta' love bulky garbage pick up) and bird feeders.  I hung a couple in the dead tree in our front yard and have just about decided that I want to turn the dead tree into some kind of "art tree."  I think it's going to be full of bird houses and bird feeders, a long-term project.  

The garden is thriving.

I've made two batches of pesto in the last couple of weeks.  I love pesto: pesto on pasta, pesto pizza, pesto on crostini, topped with a homegrown Sweet 100 tomato slice!   Basil and melon are two of my favorite summer crops.   And this is the happiest basil I've had in a few years.  I think the drip water system Morgan installed has made all the difference, and we've actually gotten a decent amount of rain this spring.  Keep your fingers crossed for more of that all summer long!


The volunteer cantaloup.  That's what comes of using compost made from your kitchen scraps!   There are about 7 more on the vine right now.  I just picked this one a couple of days ago.  We may sample it tonight.  

It's about time for me to head outside to work on the chicken coop.  I'll post some pictures of its progress tonight or tomorrow.  So far this has been a fantastic June.  

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

With summer comes basil and with basil comes pesto!

I finally got around to making pesto this afternoon.  It's so delicious, I could eat it every day! We had it with pasta and salad tonight.  You might consider having some soon.

And if you topped it with a few of these, it would be even better:

Oh, and maybe you could have a glass of this hibiscus, ginger-lemon green tea with a sprig of mint.  I'm pretty sure you would like it:

my new favorite summer beverage