chickens (46)

Handmade/Homemade: The Half-Acre Homestead

When I start working on a book, it’s like setting out on an ocean voyage without a map. I get a theme, an idea, some kind of coherence on a subject, then start.

When I built my first house in Mill Valley in the early ’60s, my friend Bob Whiteley and I laid out the foundation lines in chalk on the ground. “What do we do now, Bob,” I asked.

Bob said “This,” and took pick and shovel and started digging the foundation trench.

It’s been my M.O. all my life. When I don’t know what to do, I start. Things (usually) sort themselves out in the process. (I know, I know, I’ve said all this before…)

This book is about the tools and techniques Lesley and I have evolved in building a home and growing food (and creating a bunch of things) on a small piece of land over a 40+-year period.

I started by writing it in chapters: The House / The Kitchen / Kitchen Tools / The Garden / Garden Tools / Chickens / Food / Foraging / Fishing / The Shop / Shop Tools / Roadkill / Critters … What we’ve learned; what’s worked, what hasn’t…
Read More …

Post a comment (7 comments)

Two Great Home/Garden Catalogs

Two great catalogs just arrived. https://www.lehmans.com and https://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com The former: do-it-yrslf tools for home, kitchen, garden; the latter for chicks by mail — which we’ve been doing for over 30 years.We’ve got about 25 baby chicks coming in March. It’s great: we get a call from the post office: “We’ve got a box for you that’s chirping!” We pick them up and put them under an infrared light until they feather out. This year mostly Rhode Island Reds and Auracanas.

Post a comment (1 comment)

Egg industry sprinting to keep up with cage-free demand

Article by Cogan Schneier

“…As of September 2015, about 4.5 percent of the eggs produced in the U.S. were from traditional non-organic, cage-free facilities, with another 4.2 percent from organic, cage-free facilities.

But there’s every indication that demand will continue to escalate, especially as a ballot initiative expected in Massachusetts this November looks to make it the third state in the country — joining California and Michigan — to pass a cage-free standard. More than 130,000 residents signed a petition to get the measure on the ballot. The state held a hearing in February where opponents argued it would raise prices and take away consumer demand.…

Albertsons Companies, the nation’s second largest grocery chain with more than 2,200 locations, announced Tuesday that “it will be working with its suppliers toward a goal of sourcing only cage-free eggs for its store operations by 2025, based on available supply.” The company, which operates such well-known brands as Safeway, Shaw’s, Acme and Vons, joins a rapidly growing list of major food retailers and restaurants requiring their suppliers to provide only eggs from hens raised in cage-free environments.

Last week it was the grocery chain Ahold USA making the pledge, and the week before that it was BJ’s Wholesale Club. Costco, Trader Joe’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Taco Bell, McDonald’s, and Mondelez all have recently informed egg suppliers of their cage-free demands.…”

https://www.politico.com/story/2016/03/egg-industry-fears-being-overrun-by-cage-free-demand-220249

Post a comment

Chicken Coop & Chicken Run - $1425 - SF Bay Area

Looks pretty good.

Cape Cod Coop & Run4′ x 6′ x 6′ (Coop)
Reclaimed Redwood Siding
3­ – 8 Chickens
Painted Metal Roof 
3) Nesting Boxes
1) Roost
2) Windows
1) Clean out Entry Door
1) Chicken Entry Door with Retractable Ladder
Coop & Run Color painted
Total foot print 6’W x 14’L x 6’H (Run & Coop)
4′ feet of it underneath the sides of the coop.
1/2″ Hardware Cloth. Roof and sides.

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/grq/5396666779.html

Post a comment (1 comment)

Jungle Fowl of Kauai

They’re on about every square foot of the island. Supposedly the great hurricane of 1992, which practically leveled the island, demolished most of the chicken enclosures and they’re now everywhere. Pretty soon you get so accustomed to the crowing that it’s no bother.

Most of them are the breed known as Red Jungle Fowl.

It wouldn’t be difficult — heh-heh —to have barbecued or stewed chicken at any time (pellet gun or snare).

Post a comment (9 comments)

Home Sweet Ocean

I pulled into Nazareth, was feelin about half past dead…

This song recurs to me now and then when I’m on the road. In Puerto Jiminez on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica, a kind of dusty border town, the song came to me. And here this morning in Kapaa, on the northern shore of Kauai, I’ve got only a half hour from the airport and I love the  place. It’s got the big touristy hotels, but there’s a healthy local gringo culture here, haven’t been here long enough to suss out local Hawai’ian culture, been here less than 48 hours now, gotta check out of hotel soon, so will post some of yesterday’s discoveries before the maid kicks me out:

My Daewoo beater, duct-taped sunroof, $25/day (30 w.tax), perfect, not being the new Avis/Budget/Alamo brand new tourist rental.

Found a place to lay my head, got into ocean, perfect temp., not too cold/warm, oh my! 3 times in water yesterday, each time with fins, once with air mat, which I’m finding difficult to control, squirrelly; a little body surfing;  the sand is rough and granular, fluffy, soft, nice to roll around when you come back in. Last night swam in rain. No one else at least here, doing anything like this. I’m like a starving man sitting down to a banquet, the Pacific so inviting and comfortable, unlike the 50 degree NorCal ocean.

Small Town Coffee

Annie Caporufscio set up shop in this converted Ford airport shuttle van with her partner Jeremy Hartshorn; Annie had run the shop for 9 years in rented space, but got tired of the landlords rising the rent and “…didn’t want to be bullied in the lease.” Great barista crema, the muffins make a good breakfast. Local hangout, good vibes…

Kauai Beach House Hostel

$40 shared sleeping room, $80 for a solo room (of which there are 3). Looks doable to me, especially in the land of 2-$300 hotel rooms. On beach, clean, wi-fi, young travelers, kitchen, shared baths, cool place.

Shared room.













Paul Iwai’s Rooster Farm

How many roosters, I asked. 200?

More, Paul said. Are they beautiful! Had great visit with Paul, from a Japanese family, on family land, born here, I know chickens, and we talked shop. Oh my again! Look at these beauties; beautifully tended. You should hear the noise!

I asked Paul where I could buy a knife and he gave me two. We ate macadamia nuts from his trees, he gave me grapefruit, tangerines, I’m sending him 3 books. Kindred spirits abound here.

 That’s part of what happened yesterday, gotta pack up and head north now. 

Post a comment (8 comments)