Tuesday, April 24, 2007

yesterday we purchased a 20" flat panel monitor. yay for my eyes, and hurray for another craigslist find. this thing is huge!

two dinner parties. one outdoor open air back deck freestyle dinner for 15+, one indoor semi-set table due to rain for 7. three days apart, meaning lots of preparations and cleaning.

one city chickens 101 class, and also an article and audio slideshow. do i really want to do this? it's a semi-big investment for a henhouse. i think yes.

rays of sun do not always lift the mood

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

My heart goes out to Virginia Tech, and to all the friends and family members in mourning.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

For the past two days I have been fixating on raising hens in our backyard. The City of Madison lets residents have up to 4 hens (no roosters) as long as they are at least 25 feet from neighbor's living quarters. Paul & Jason seem to think that it's a silly idea, but I'm really for it. I have absolutely no prior experience raising hens, but from what I've read online it doesn't seem too hard. I would have to be devoted to feeding/watering, checking for eggs, and checking the hens each day, but I think I can handle that. Also, I'd need to build a henhouse and a fence. I think it would be a neat project.

I even have a vegan friend who said that he would consume our eggs and help with caring for the hens while we were on vacation. They would be super happy hens because we have a large space in the backyard for them to move around in, and there would be lots of bugs for them to eat in addition to the feed I'll give them. AND, we'll have some lovely chicken meat in the end.

-we have the space
-we can compost their waste and we already have two compost bins
-if i get tired of taking care of them i can just eat them (ie. just have hens in the warmer months of the year), also i will learn how to kill, defeather, and prepare the birds for eating
-i could potentially convert the roofed sandbox structure that exists in our backyard into the henhouse
-they might be entertaining?
-i could potentially barter fresh eggs for other goods

-building a henhouse and the co$t
-they are generally quiet but cluck a bit as they lay their eggs (possibly bothering neighbors?)
-i must be dedicated to feeding/watering/cleaning etc and find people to do this for me when I am away from home
-you cannot butcher hens within the city of madison. i would have to 1)sneakily butcher them inside city limits 2)find somewhere outside of city limits to butcher 3)pay someone to butcher my hens (this seems to be common)
-winter hen-keeping might be annoying
-extra costs are associated with the winter with a heater water bowl and light
-we live across from a 30 acre wooded park and racoons might get the hens

Yes! I just saw on the Mad City Chickens website that there is a City Chickens 101 Class next Saturday. And Paul said he would join me. I think I'll get a pretty clear idea about what is involved then.

Does anyone have any ideas? Any experience with raising hens? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
It's starting to look and feel like spring.


Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter everyone!

Last night Paul & I went to a friend's house and they cooked up a huge feast of an easter dinner. There were 11 of us total at the dinner party and we didn't even finish half of the ham...it was huge. Here was the delicious menu:

-Willow Creek Farm Purebred Berkshire Pork (Free-range, organic feed) Ham with a wonderful honey/brown sugar/molasses glaze. Optional toppings are applesauce and a spicy hot mustard sauce.
-Mashed yams with orange flavoring
-Lemon-steamed broccoli with butter and white wine
-Cherry tomatoes baked with local Bleu Mont blue cheese & fresh sage
-Fresh beets, onions, and apples baked with lemon juice and cinnamon
-A winter salad with currents and many vegetables I had never heard of (sooo good!)
-Lots of red wine

Dinner was absolutely fantastic. And for dessert L. had prepared a perfect angel cake with handmade sorbet and raspberry topping. Yum! I want to learn how to make homemade angelfood cake.

Today Paul & I had talked about going hiking, but that plan was dropped because our tires are really bad and our car has been acting funny (I think the tires are out of alignment too because the car shakes as the tires revolve). We need to take it in to get new tires before we drive out of the city again. So instead we're just hanging out at home and Jason, Paul & I made a lovely breakfast of blueberry pancakes, scrambled eggs, and potatoes. I have been fed so well in the last 24 hours. AND I baked banana bread yesterday afternoon so I can snack on that today.

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