Thursday, October 24, 2013

Chicken Treat Idea

With more and more chickens taking up residence at The Compound, we've had to find creative ways to give them treats.  Why have them if you won't give them treats!  Our chickens absolutely love treat time!  One of the recent go to favorites has been cooked rice.  It's easy to make, easy to store and goes a long way for your budget.

We throw in some shredded carrot, peas/split peas, and then freeze it in blocks.  On the hot days they really enjoy picking at the block, and the carrot and peas make it a bit of a game.   Chickens get bored easily, and when they're bored they'll pick on each other just for fun.  So give them something to do.  They take turns working almost all day on a block of veggies and rice.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Repurposed - Potting Table

This potting table was put together by Patrick, this past week.  The materials came from a scrap pile of materials he had picked up from a company that gives away free skids and packing material. Throw in some other materials from work, etc. and out came his idea for a potting table.

I had shared a picture of a table for sale on Craigslist for $85.00, with him.  It's nothing more than skids put together.  Functional and a good way to repurpose materials but from our point of view, not worth $85.00. 

Patrick's already getting orders for other tables we need around the place!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Waterfront Property

We got up this past Saturday, even before the rooster crows and reviewed the days plans for The Compound.  Always so many ambitious ideas!  It's been bothering me for some time that the garden looks like a jungle you'd find in the Amazon, the only way through is with a machete.

Our local big box hardware store had a walk behind wheeled trimmer on their clearance rack for over a month now.  We've walked by it several times, without much thought.  It was marked down about 35% and I had the Moose put on his negotiating cap and ask for more discount.  We figured it was there for sometime, and what was there to lose?  He worked his magic and got another $50 off!  Now the trimmer was nearly 50% off, my kind of bargain.

We had plans to get started on the garden, sections at a time.  However, as with most things, that never happened.  In less than 15 minutes after our arrival the guys had the trimmer unboxed, oiled, gassed and fired up!  What began as a "lets try it out on that section by the canal and see how it works", became, lets clean up the entire edge along the canal...

What was this:

Became this:

Now it actually looks like waterfront property.  Well worth the effort, and moving forward will be much easier to maintain.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

26 years ago...

It was 26 years ago today I married the man of my dreams!  I have been truly blessed. 

Now I'm off to make one of his most favorite things in the world, roll-out sugar cookies!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

There are Good People Left in the World

I'd have to say, I've had my doubts over the years of whether or not there were any good people left in this world.  Just drive down the road and get cut off.  Visit a Walmart where any common sense and manners do not exist.    I'm sure you get my meaning. 

But God has decided over the past year or so, to bring really great people into our lives.  We have a wonderful group of people working with us at The Compound.  It's great knowing you have like-minded people in your corner.

I haven't however given as much credit to those out in the blogosphere world that don't live nearby, but are never far away.  We have a new follower;  Pioneer Preppy.  Thanks for tagging along.  We truly appreciate the time each of you take to visit this blog, and leave comments that inspire and energize us to continue down our path.

I would like to post a special note to Oklahoma Transient.  She took it upon herself to offer some heirloom Sweet Chocolate Pepper seeds and then, at her time and expense, mail them out.  I got my bag of seeds last week.  We look forward to trying them out. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Pig Roast at The Compound

I was party time at The Compound this past Saturday.  Well, party as much as a bunch of us “old timers” can party.  We had a few normal chores to take care of, but the day was devoted to kicking back.

R&B purchased a pig roaster, so we gave that a whirl this weekend, and between Ron and James (Chef and Sous Chef) the roasted pig was tasty!  We followed that up with black beans and rice, corn fritters, mango bread and mojitos to keep the Cuban theme going.

Here are a few videos;


The La Caja China Roasting Box(#2) was impressive, and even had the instructions on the side of the box, so you never leave home without them. 

One thing this group does well, is prepare and eat food!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Sharpening Garden Tools

O.K., call me a greenhorn when it comes to gardening.  I can live with that title.  I don’t, however believe I’m the only one!  Most of us have lived a charmed life in or near the big city.  Food just naturally appeared in the local market, all cut up frozen or canned, just waiting for me to plunk down our hard earned money to feed the family.

Later we started reading articles on GMO’s, the economy etc. and decided we’d rather grow our own.  We don’t always succeed, and most probably don’t at the beginning.  Let’s not forget, our grandparents gardened, canned and raised their own food as part of their existence.  It was a normal or a natural set of events in life.  Not so for my generation.

I’ve seen gardening done before, watched it on TV but never really grew anything on my own.  Frankly, I’ve lived in the city, with limited space, and even less of a desire until the past few years. 

It is not easy, and if you skip even a week of weeding, they’ve taken over!  We’ve seen our share of ups and downs at The Compound, but each time we learn something new.  

There are many lessons to learn.  One of them includes how to care for the tools needed for gardening.

I came upon a pair of my sheers, laying out on the ground in the elements.  They were a new pair about a year ago, now they look like their 10 years old.  Surface rust is not a pretty thing, and needs to be taken care of in order to extend the life of all our tools.

I did what anyone would do, I searched the internet.  First of all, who would I ask that would know?  Better yet, I’m tired of embarrassing myself asking these types of questions and getting the “how do you not know” look.  So internet hunting I went.

Here are some of the links I found most useful.   It will be one of my priorities at The Compound in the coming weeks.  Sharpen what can be sharpened, clean what can be cleaned, and shellac what can be shellacked.  Sounds like fun doesn’t it?!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Natural rearing versus incubator/hand rearing

We've finally integrated ALL of our chickens (except for the three older roosters), into the main coop.  That includes the two chicks that were reared naturally by Miss Connie.

This means they all have access to free ranging, but they almost always stay near the coop and run area.  All of them except for these two;

The two that were naturally raised.  They spent the better part of the day hanging out with the group of us, working on the container.  The others stayed close to coop, or in the coop itself.  These two were duly rewarded for their companionship with some rice and bread crusts. 

They by far seem the most well adjusted.  I don't understand why, they've had very little handling or interaction with us, except for the normal feeding and watering.  It will be very interesting to see how they progress.

It does say something for natural rearing. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Retrofitting a Walk in Cooler - Container Update

The Moose and I headed to The Compound yesterday to find progress done on the container.  The group, continued the work on the inside, added an additional arch, and finished securing the side uprights with bolts.  Adding the bolts took some time, as the holes had to be drilled, then drilled bigger, and then bigger yet to accommodate the size bolts we wanted to use.

Thanks to the Group!  I prefer to use the term group, rather than team.  I'm am so over the word team!  How over used and over rated.  There's no I in team and no We either!  I've rarely been part of a "team" that actually got anything accomplished.
The Boys reworking a cooler panel. 
If you couldn't tell, their twins!
Now on to this past Saturday.  Work on the container continued, this time however we were ready to begin the install of a walk in cooler.  Yep, you read that right!  As with all of our projects, they are works in progress, and this was added to our list of must haves a couple of months ago.   The Moose found a used walk in box, and we are working to retrofit the cooler into the back of the container.  It will be run off of a generator, and once installed we'll be able to use the solar panel/battery system as well.

Front set of panels in, including the door frame.
This opens up so many options for us, especially for hanging meat from hogs, deer and gators. The walk in box, needs to be cleaned up a bit, and cut to fit in the space we have.  A normal box of this size approx. 8' x 6' would run between $6 and $7K.  We picked up this not so beautiful one, including the refrigeration for $400.00.  Then what's even more amazing, one of our group's family members installs and repairs refrigeration units for a living, and can help us get it installed too! 
The side, back and ceiling panels still need to be installed, and we'll be tiling the floor.  It will be one of the snazziest tiled floors around as it will have travertine tile (leftovers from our home project).  It along with the interior will be painted.   One step at a time...

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Help Get LoLa on TV

Dear Followers,

I am requesting your help, as I think the opportunity for us in the blogosphere, that believe in the humane treatment of farm animals (specifically chickens in this case), have an opportunity to help "LoLa" appear in a free Super Bowl Ad.

You can see the video in the link below, and then click on the yellow "vote" button.  They've made it to the second round!  Please re-blog if you can and help this go viral.  It's a great opportunity to spread the message.