Friday, March 12, 2010

A natural history of our chickens

An oddity enjoyed by my eldest who loves all things tiny

A young Rhode Island Red

First fried egg

First egg!

Brian built a hatch in the back so we don't have to enter to collect eggs.

The girls went missing. Found in a coil of chicken wire.

I intended these photos to be sequential, but they are not. Just learning how this all works. So here is a scrambled natural history of our chickens. Posting name is inspired by this documentary The Natural History of the Chicken. Although a documentary that I like better for inspiring one to eat a happy chicken is Food Inc.

Stay tuned for a picture of our finished coop. A few books and websites have been pretty instrumental in gathering all the information we needed. Backyard Chickens and My Pet Chicken are great places to find out everything you ever wanted to know about raising chickens, from how to boil an egg (this can be tricky with fresh eggs) to how to convert a VW van into a coop. I also stumbled across Grow It! some years ago and it has been a huge influence in all of these farming ideas that I aspire to. It's out of print, but you can still find some around.

Having the chickens has been such a great experience for Eason. I'm amazed at all of the questions it's generated, and his enthusiasm for participating in any and all of the chicken chores. One day Eason was floored to find out that roosters don't lay eggs, and he feeds them all on his own (while we are out there) each day. Eliot is getting very into them too, but his main interest is in chasing and possibly riding them if he could figure out how.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A wee bit of time for myself

Before I had kids I loved to take yoga and at times did it pretty regularly. Now that I have the boys it just feels so tough to work in a regular class. I "discovered" this yoga site called yogatoday. It's great. They offer one free class a week or for 10.00 you can stream all the yoga classes you can bend for in a month. It's so much easier to realize you have an hour that you might be able to go into a room, close the door and do some yoga rather than get dressed, out the door and hope that there is a class being offered somewhere. I managed to get one in this evening, so it was on my mind. Sorry, no photos of me doing yoga!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Our Braeburns

We recently adopted 62 Braeburn Apple Trees. We requested Braeburns in honor of our second child's middle name (for those of you that don't know, upon finding out I was pregnant Eason insisted we name the baby apple and kept it up for the entire pregnancy. We decided to honor his choice, but alter it a bit to fit our eight letter middle name requirement). An apple ranch near us, Sierra Glen, decided to try a co-op option and we were lucky enough to get in on it. We are responsible for the trimming, thinning and harvesting of the apples. They take care of the watering, pest management (although they are organic, so that's minimal) and selling the apples. In return for our work we receive lots of apples and a cut in any profits that the apples may procure.

The apples are sold at a few specialty markets in the Bay Area, one being The Monterey Market and the other Berkeley Bowl. I was pleasantly surprised to see both grocers referred to in a book about Alice Waters (Alice Waters & Chez Panisse: The Romantic, Impractical, Often Eccentric, Ultimately Brilliant Making of a Food Revolution) and David Masumoto's book (Epitaph for a Peach, Four Seasons on my Family Farm) . Both excellent books about farming and the local/organic food movement. Check out the Sierra Glen website, it's a great place to be able to spend a sunny afternoon.