Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Chicks Have Arrived

We've talked about it forever. How nice it would be to have chickens. Free eggs every day, little creatures for the kids to chase after, a wake up call at the crack of dawn... so when we moved into our new house, with a ready made chicken coop out back I knew it was only a matter of time. A few weeks ago I drove past the IFA and the sign read "Chicks are here" and the thought that followed was NOOOOOO.....I am so not ready for chicks....I don't have a brooder for them, and know nothing about raising chickens. My husband was like "really, how hard could it be" so a few days later we became the proud owners of 10 baby chickies.
4 Rhode Island Reds, 3 White Leghorns and 3 Buff Orpingtons.
Aren't they CUTE!!!
And as it turns out taking care of them isn't really all that far.

Here's what I used to make their first brooder:
-Cardboard box 22" x 19" x 19"
-Pine shavings for bedding
-Paper towels to put over the bedding the first 2 days so they can tell their food apart
from the shavings
-Heat lamp about 19" above the ground to keep the temp at 95 for the first week
-2 round feeders
- 1 poultry waterer
I love how these chicks have 10 minute cycles. They nap for 10 minutes, then eat for 10 minutes, play for 10 minutes and then begin it all over again. I love how they cuddle up to each other when they sleep. I love how they tip their heads back when they take a drink. I love their little chirping sounds. They really are cute & fun.

Another thing about them is they can EAT!! They went through their 5 lb bag of starter crumbles in a week. I had no idea they would eat that much. But it shows because after about a week and a half they seemed to double in size. It got to the point that I was changing their water every 10 minutes it seemed, because they were kicking their bedding into it.  It was obvious they had outgrown that box and so I set to work creating another home. We call it the chickie condo. Made from 3 of those size boxes taped together, with doorways cut out in between.
My husband has a rule that we don't name them, unless we name them after chicken entrees, like Cacciatore, Teriyaki, or Scampi. My personal favorite is Alfredo :) However I think I just might have to become a vegetarian now.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Spice of Life

In my household we LOVE to Eat! Indian, Vietnamese and Thai are some of our favorites but lately our budget is not allowing frequent trips to our favorite Pho restaurant, so we have decided to make a more concentrated effort at learning how to prepare our favorite dishes at home. Maybe when I've perfected them I'll post some recipes.....I'm not quite at that stage yet.

One thing that has been supremely helpful and needed is a customized and readily accessible spice rack. I wish I had before pictures of what our spices looked like. But let me just tell you, it was a MESS! We had all different sizes of spice jars, unlabeled plastic baggies full of spices (smell and take your best guess). Just opening the spice cupboard gave me a headache.
We solved the problem with a basket (16"x8"), 36 clear spice jars (Bed, Bath & Beyond) and color coded labels. Plus storage containers so we can keep spices in bulk. Now we are in spice heaven!
I love opening the spice cupboard to admire the neatness and order of it.
I recommend NEVER buying spices in those little containers you find at your local grocery store. We have a few still that we are trying to use up. I suggest buying your spices in bulk at Winco, Maceys etc... We also find great deals on hard to find spices at local ethnic markets. You can buy huge bags of spices at a fraction of the cost.

I also love that this basket of spices fits in a drawer right next to my stove, making it so easy to pull out when I'm cooking.