Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

I like how Fugly turned out. Hubby picked the side that 1/2 the stripes are red, the other still green. Mesha had the idea for how the eyes should be done, Juju the mouth.

As with my other squash, this was picked to early, but it turned out fine for this application.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

How I spent my days off

I love my pressure canner.

Our kitchen is small. On either side of the stove (with 3 working burners) I have about a foot of counter space - most of which is taken up by our coffee pot and grinder to the right and a jar of utensils on the left. Hubby was laughing at me cause while batches were in the canner and after I washed up the dishes used I was leaned against the counter knitting. (No Megan, your gloves are still not done.)

I was thrilled to have some food safe buckets - I do not have a stockpot so I had to heat up things in batches in my largest saucepan.

At the end of the day we had 6 quarts of chicken stock, 3 quarts tomato sauce, 3 quarts garlic basil pasta sauce, 12 pints roasted tomatillo enchilada sauce, & 9 pints yellow tomato salsa.

The salsas are extra mild - the girls insist that mild in Colorado is much hotter than mild in Minnesota, and they are probably right. Although it was mostly by accident - I had chopped up our Long Jim Chilis and our green peppers as they ripened, and forgot to label the freezer bags, so they got mixed together.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

Saturday, October 22, 2011

This weeks project

After the ramp got put in last month it was soon realized that the sidewalk was not wide enough to accommodate hubby's chair. I, in my usual fashion, ignored this until the ruts in the grass were getting deep.

Laying flagstone is like putting together a puzzle of which you don't have the picture. We had these laying around - most we had dug up when we put in the chicken yard, although some were shamelessly stolen from the lower yard path that is not used much. It took me 5 days total (during which the ramp was unusable) - I only worked on my days off (meaning unusable for nearly 2 weeks) save for yesterday when I placed the last 4 stones and sanded the top. It is not a professional job and will need to be tweeked with packed soil to keep leveled, but it works.

Friday, October 21, 2011

boy vs girl

On the left is one of our female quail. She is the only one I can pick out of a lineup because of her beak. On the right is (I think) the top male quail - he fluffs himself up the most when I walk up to the hutch. The quail are not named - mostly cause I can't really tell them apart.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sick Day

Today I spent in bed, succumbing to some bacteria or virus.

I just want to say I am so thankful I am not doing this alone. Hubby and the girls did the morning chores and I got to sleep.

Friday, October 14, 2011

To do list Fail

Today I had plans:
1. attach old quail hutch to chicken coop as nest boxes
2. wash and hang out laundry
3. finish leveling flagstone to widen front walk.
4. crockpot dinner

Instead I found myself running errands with the girls - including a hour long stop at Claire's. The price of having daughters with allowance burning a hole in their pocket.

I also slept in - something I rarely get to do as on my usual days off their are children to get off to school.

Dinner was fishsticks and sweet potato fries. Yea Costco!

Why do I feel so tired when nothing got done?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Outside roost

Before work today I decided to clean the coop. The ducks, in their enthusiasm, had splashed water all over the straw and the floor was wet. Unfortunately time ran out before I could finish. Since the hens have yet to figure out the dog door I planned for them to spend the night outside so I could finish the coop in the morning.

This wooden ladder was part of the haul the haul that got us the new quail hutch. When I came home, however TweedleDum was missing - I found her inside the bare coop alone. She is apparently outside the pecking order that has Pippa on top and the new younger hens (as expected) on the bottom.

I watched TweedleDum unsuccessfully try to get out the door while I was inside the coop. She has the general idea that pecking at the door moves it, but hasn't put it together yet. I finally shoved her out to sleep with the rest of the flock.

Harley and Quinn still refuse to sleep in their new crate - although they create quite a ruckus when one of the hens decide to go in there.

Monday, October 10, 2011

"New" Candle

I am one of those people with containers of "stuff I might use someday" especially craft type stuff. One of these shoe boxes is filled with tea light tins, various sized wicks and old candle wax. The wax is usually scented and I plan someday to make new tealight or jelly jar candles with it. Today however I noticed the designated bathroom candle had reached it's end - with still a 1/2 inch a wax below the wick.

Hmmm. I quickly filled a tin can from the recycle bin with some of the said old wax (this one a spicy autumn scent) and placed it into a pan of water on the stove. It tipped over. I patted the wax dry and tried again - with a little less water.

The metal anchor of the old wick was removed and a new wired wick was pressed into the still soft bottom. Add melted wax and we have a new candle that fits easily into the old holder!

I can't decide if this project is brilliant or just kinda weird.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Quail appetizer

We caught the quail. And decided that this was the perfect time to try one. It was quickly cleaned & dressed in the kitchen sink. I rubbed a generous amount of bacon grease on the carcass, sprinkled it with pepper and baked it while I got pizza. It was done when I got back, so while dinner baked we tried it.

Mesha thought it was the best thing ever. After Hubby, Juju and I had enough of the little bird, she finished it off, bringing me a small pile of bones. She had been hesitant to try it (although intrigued by the tiny drumstick) but has now decided that she would like to eat another one tomorrow.

Juju is still not sure about eating cute animals.

PS I had to carry the hens to their entry and push them through the flap. I have done this both in and out and they have not yet figured out that the translucent piece of plastic will move out of their way. The ducks and in their usual spot next to the window and protested loudly when I triggered the motion sensor. (Inside their kennel is dark) I already know the poultry don't really like change. Any bets on how long before any of them figure it out?

Good Day

Today was near perfect. Mom & Potter are visiting so the six of us had breakfast at the new local cafe - thereby acquiring a smorgasbord of leftovers for the hens (chili relenos to strawberry smothered pancakes)

Once home again Hubby, Potter & I readied one of the newly acquired hutches for the quail. The one I had built for them was just too small and the wood floor was difficult to keep clean. There had been a rabbit in the "new" hutch previously and the nest box was chewed up and there were holes in the back and bottom. Hubby replaced the boards I removed and cut off the back legs, allowing us to set the hutch on the raised area next to the fence. Straw in the nest box, a small sand box (for dust baths) some branches and it was ready.

That, of course, was the easy part.

Moving the quail was a challenge, and they protested loudly. We have 3 females and 6 males - 5 more males than needed. During the across yard transfer, one male flew off, but the remaining 8 birds are in their new home - and seem much less jumpy with the extra room.

Next on my agenda was a new chicken door for the hen house. I am lazy by nature, and the idea of letting them out in the morning and in at night was too labor intensive for me. We had acquired a decorative metal door with a dog door that was just leaning against the shed for the last 6+ months and that seemed just the ticket. I figured the light coming in would entice the hens out in the morning and I would put on the light inside to entice them back in at night. So now their entry is taller and narrower, but still plenty big. Worst case scenario (foxes and coyotes feeling lucky) I could rig piece of mason board to slide in for a solid barrier.

Next up - ducks. They hate the motion light above them and I have been meaning to build a crate for them to bed in at night or for rainy weather. But this lovely dog kennel was a mere $16 at the local thrift store. Score!

We removed the door, tossed in some straw, add a wood ramp and Voila! Honeymoon Cottage!

I do need to cover the ventilation on the top - to block both the backyard lights and rain (snow) but they seem pretty happy.

Then I notice it is 5 pm. I had planned to make soup in the crockpot, but with these projects and other distractions I had completely spaced it. Once again I am happy to be in city - a short jaunt to the local pizza joint and we have dinner.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


What? Need I say more?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

I love you day?

Yesterday I came home to detritus spread out over the yard.

Well, NEW detritus.

In the back driveway, by the as yet unfinished (and mostly ignored) deep bed was a stilted rabbit (?) hutch.   By the gate a dozen old foot long railroad ties and parts of trees.  In the lower yard, under the clothes line, a wire critter cage.  Also on the back walk was another, rather disreputable looking, hutch.  On it was a sign, obviously penned by my youngest child, saying TO MOM.  In it was 2 young hens.

Hubby was on the deck, rolling back and forth on his back wheels looking very pleased with himself.  Except for the new hens he had gathered this all for free, with the idea of meat rabbits, or better quail hutches, or both.

But he knew I wanted a couple more hens.  "Happy I Love You Day!" he said.

Sonja - a Blue Andalusian
Heather - a Brown Leghorn
 I had been really bummed that we had ended up with 2 roosters this spring.  Hubby took the girls to to a poultry swap in Denver and bought these two girls from a 10yr old girl.  They are 14 weeks old, about a month younger than our other hens.  We waited until dark to put them on the roost in the hen house.  The girls named Heather - as that had been the name of our other leghorn.  Sonja Blue is the namesake of the other.

Today was rough on them - it was rather like a couple of 10yr olds showing up at a party of 16yr olds.  They stayed mostly in the house - with occasional foray into the upper parts of the fencing.  We will need to install some high roosts outside I think.

Hubby knows how to make this girl happy.