Saturday, October 29, 2011

Chicken lighting

It's time for a new lighting strategy for our chickens. Penny was cackling loudly this morning at 6am - I think she just laid an egg.

I have a light in the coop, which I turn on each morning at 4:30am (the time I leave for work). This extends their 'daylight' to about 14 hours. Unfortunately I don't think our neighbors will appreciate a chicken making noises while it's still dark outside.

Everything I've read says to add lighting in the morning instead of the evening, but this seems to be primarily so that the hens won't be suddenly in the dark at night and unable to find their roost. With 2 chickens, I think I will be able to set them up on the roost myself and then turn off the light for them. If this will keep down the noise and make us better neighbors, it'll be well worth it. I'm going to transition them from morning lighting to evening lighting - dusk to 9pm.

Do you use artificial light for your chickens?
This week I finished my attempt at 2 cold frames / mini-greenhouses. We'll see if I can put them to good use. I picked up 20 free windows on craiglist, put them together with deck screws, and added a 49 cent hinge set from Marc's!

Those 3 black trays have freshly planted lettuce in the them. Is there any chance I can grow a crop of lettuce since it's already the end of October in northeast Ohio? I don't know, but I'm going to try. Maybe if I put a blanket over the greenhouse on the really cold nights?

Jonathan showing off the other completed cold frame with a strawberry plant pot and basil inside:

I took a few pictures of the chickens while I was at it. Fresh leaves were added to the run and the old wet ones were taken to the compost pile today:

Thanks for visiting!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Making Applesauce

There are probably as many ways to make applesauce as there are varieties of apples - but here's how I did it this week.

 The apples: Cortlands from Hillcrest Orchard in Walnut Creek. They are similar to McIntosh but sweeter.

 The equipment: In the tradition of Lindsay's grandparents, Ann and Merle Brown, I used a cone-shaped ricer. We bought this at the Berlin Antique Mall but you can also buy them new, like this one on Amazon.

First I washed the apples, then I used a corer/slicer, and then I put them in a big stockpot.

 After cooking the apples until soft, it was time to use the ricer!

 The finished product went in freezer bags and into the freezer.

Friday, October 21, 2011


Thanks for checking out my blog!

I've decided to do this for two main reasons - as a personal journal of the projects I undertake, and to hopefully make connections with others who love real organic food and are interested in making and growing more of their own.

There is always something new to learn and I would love to hear your comments and suggestions!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Our Hens

Lindsay wrote this post for her paper-crafting blog and has kindly let me re-post to start off the new blog:

John and I decided to add a couple more chickens to our flock, and found a lady who wanted to downsize hers!  Perfect!  Well, maybe not.  We got two younger Buff Orpington chickens that lay and are very domesticated.  They didn't stand a chance against Gretchen and Sassy!  We tried to integrate the new girls slowly but the other two just wouldn't have it.  So, we parted ways with them.  I know it sounds cruel, but   a nice woman answered our ad to take them and they are enjoying the wide open space on her farm.  We now have two gorgeous, happy chickens who have been busy giving us the most delicious eggs!

Along with their arrival, my so handy hubby got busy revamping their coop!  Love what he did with such little supplies!  All that is left to do is give it a coat of paint, yellow with white trim!  Can't wait!  Here is the new coop along with our two new birds...

Meet Sugar.  My favorite, I might add.  She is super friendly and doesn't mind being picked up.  She also loves to chat with you when you are near.

Meet Penny.  She is very young and hyper, loves to dig and is really busy!

Here is the coop that John rebuilt.  You can check out the original design here.  We had to make do with the size constraints given by our city laws, but found there is plenty of space for these two.  Don't mind the leafy mess!  Time to clean!

Some pics of the inside, which include, a dirt mix of ash, sand and dirt for cleaning themselves (keeps the bugs off).  A roost for sleeping, a nesting box for laying eggs along with feed and water.
Of course I had to leave you with a couple more pics of the girls.  
Thank you so much for humoring me!  I just love having chickens and sharing about them with others!  Some people may think it strange, but I have found caring for and watching these two to be so relaxing and gratifying.  Not to mention, delicious!  There is nothing like a fresh egg or two to make it extra worth while.