Monday, March 17, 2014

The Rooster

Oh we had a Mr. Chicken visit us a few months ago, our neighbor came over to tell us that a rooster was on the run down the street thinking that it would be ours since we're the 'chicken people' wasn't ours, all our girls were accounted for.  Hubby jumped in the car, chased down the rooster and tossed it in the trunk and drove it home.  This poor pitiful rooster was in bad shape, very skittish, flaky skin, just looked like he had a tough life.  He stayed here for a couple of days before he went to live at our local feed store. It was the first time the ladies had seen a rooster, they were twitter-pated!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Rosy Ruffles My Newest Hen Addition

It's been a while since I posted! Um, yes a little over a year and so much has changed and so much stays the same.  I moved, started another urban farm six miles from my old urban farm which is now happily rented out to a family with a green thumb :)

So I started over with more land, this time with a city lot that was used for 50 years by a hoarder.  As in every time I put the shovel in the ground I become an archeologist, unearthing treasures as in lots of broken glass, pots, cement, random bricks, knives and bones(!?)  Seriously!

I have just recently adopted a new hen from her old owners who were stealth chicken keepers in Newport Beach and got busted.  Here's my newest little girl :
Rosy Ruffles lays pale tannish pink eggs and has a ruffled comb, hence her name

Friday, December 7, 2012

Homestead Survival: Black Soldier Fly Composter / Automatic Chicken Fe...

I want to make one of these....

Homestead Survival: Black Soldier Fly Composter / Automatic Chicken Fe...: The Small-Scale Poultry Flock: An All-...

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Worm Composting

I am officially the caretaker / owner of two new worm farms! I took a class at Dragonfly on worm composting a few weeks ago, enjoy the pics.  In about 8 months, I'll have my first batches of compost!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Making Homemade Extracts

Never tried this before, but I did it and so can you, it was really easy!

I made the following extracts:
Vanilla (still brewing to full strength)

Instructions for Mint Extract:

Gather, wash and dry mint leaves-1 cup of leaves
Pour vodka over the mint in a sterilized / clean jar-1 cup of vodka
Shake and let sit for 2 weeks
Strain the mint leaves out, discard
Pour into a pretty jar.  I ordered mine from Mountain Rose Herb Company, click on the picture to check out  their company.
Amber Glass Bottles

Instructions for Citrus Extract (I made 1 lemon and 1 orange)
Gather a few oranges, lemons, or other citrus (depending on the variety you're making)
Zest / Peel the skin only off of a few fruits.  You want to be careful not to get the white part because it will make your extract very bitter.
Pour vodka over the peel in a sterilized / clean jar-1 cup of vodka
Shake and let sit.  Unlike the mint you don't have to strain it out in any hurry, you can leave it for a month or two.  I left mine for a month and then strained it into the pretty bottle.   Some recipes you just leave the peel in there forever and add vodka as you want to make more extract.  I would rather start with a clean batch each time.

FYI, I did a taste test on the Orange Extract since I still had some of my Watkins Orange Extract in the pantry and I could NOT tell any difference in flavor so no more bottles of 5.99 for an ounce of extract! I made 8-16 ounces of each extract and even factoring in buying the bottles, vanilla and vodka I still made these for a fraction of the cost. (Plus someone left a bottle of vodka at my house after a party so I didn't even have to buy the vodka! I just used what I had.)

Vanilla Extract

Hands down I use Vanilla Extract the most out of any extract, with Orange Extract being a close second so even though this vanilla extract did cost me $ to make I can make much more quantity than I can buy for the price.

For the vanilla extract you pour vodka over several split vanilla pods and then let it develop over a period of about 6 months.  You can use it at anytime but it gets stronger the longer it ages, so this one I'm still waiting to use. I have it sitting in my baking pantry in a large mason jar and I still have about 4 more months before I think I'll try using it, I want to make sure it is good and strong.

I purchased a vial of vanilla pods from Mountain Rose Herb Company for $7.00 and I only used half of them to make 16 ounces of extract.  Click on picture to go to their website and order.

Other helpful hints:

While googling the heck out of extract making I thought it was a pretty cool idea that some people had to use mini liquor bottles to try and make their vanilla extract with different rums, etc.  I suppose that would flavor differently and the little bottles look cool and you don't have to invest in a large bottle of any one liquor, so that seemed like a good idea.

Almond Extract
I wanted to make almond extract but based on my research, if you poured vodka over the type of almonds we eat, it would never develop a true almond extract flavor.  The type of almonds used in extract making are Marcona almonds and they are not allowed to be sold to the general public as they are considered poisonous.  Interesting, huh! So I'll still be buying almond extract as my husband uses it quite often to make his Italian cookies.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Painting Stripes on My Wall-Pinterest Fail!

So I've been inspired on good ol' pinterest to paint stripes on a wall.  I have a tiny very simple wall in the entrance to my master bedroom that I thought would be perfect to try my paint stripe technique on.  Small enough that I could do the job easily and it was such a boring wall that it needed something.
I've seen all over the pinterest boards how folks were painting a matte base and then painting the same color of paint in a gloss.  They must have not used the exact same color because that's what I did and I can only see the stripes when the light hits just right and even then it's questionable.'s how I did it

I had to figure out how to tape the wall so I measured the wall and figured out I could do 12 inch stripes with a 9 inch opening...

 Gathered my measurements and materials:

Here's my drawing of how the stripes would work with the measurements

I made notes of where the tape would go, that came in very handy because the tape isn't evenly spaced.  You need to tape off in a way that where your paint goes is the right size so you need to take that into consideration.

Once you've got your tape up, the painting was easy, but can you even tell I painted?  Yeah, me neither.  It was about an hour total plus the extra quart of paint and the tape, so about a $20 project fail :)  I've definitely had worse DIY fails.  At least this one is so unnoticeable I don't have to fix it and what I learned is that painting stripes is not bad, just takes a bit of patience.  I think now I'll do stripes again someday but in contrasting colors instead of the exact same colors.

Thursday, November 22, 2012