AboutI write and illustrate children's books, among other things.
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But not too tightly, there may be smells. Best to just high five. However, I made more yogurt this weekend, mainly for the chickens, though I’ll probably eat some too. It’s pretty easy. You heat some milk up to 180 degrees, then let it cool to 110. A double boiler helps with this. Meanwhile, you boil the jars you’re going to put it in to sterilize them.
Once the milk is the right temperature, you put it in the jars and mix in a spoonful of existing yogurt. Cap it, and then you need to keep it at 110 degrees (or so, I leave room for variation both in temps and results). I do this with my slow cooker.
While the milk is heating, I put the slow cooker on low, and it heats right up. Then I turn it off, and maybe only need to turn it on again briefly after about 4 hours. It’s pretty easy. I use glass peanut butter jars because we have them from eating peanut butter.
Anyway, chickens! It’s been hot, so I set up a solar powered fan for one of the vents in the coop.
The fan is too big, so it didn’t do much. But as a “proof of concept” it worked. So now to look for a smaller fan, or perhaps make the vent bigger.
I also tried my hand at making a waterer with a five gallon bucket and a big plant pot base.
You drill a hole near the top of the bucket for the water to come out.
Then you put water in, put the pot tray on top, and flip it. It makes a vaccuum, and water comes out as needed.
It worked inside. When I put it in the coop, water ran out everywhere and they freaked and jumped on each other searching for high ground. I suspect that the ground isn’t very level, and that helps the seal. I’ll keep using their other waterer for now, and see how it goes. They still don’t go through that very quickly, so a big waterer isn’t quite as pressing.
Last night when I went to refill their food, Boss Chicken decided she was going to just bust out of the gate as soon as I opened it. Once again, in a moment of Boss Chicken duress, I found myself yelling, “Hey, Boss Chicken!” Then I grabbed her and put her back in the run. If the Rocky movies have taught me anything, it’s that “chasin’ chickens is the best exercise we got,” and I wasn’t in the mood for a work out.
Also as of last night, they all go into the coop for bed. Suzy Creamcheese and one of the Mandrell sisters were the hold outs, but they finally decided to forgo their alone time on the outdoor perch. I peeked in the coop, and they were all on the indoor perch, so they’re starting to get the hang of this whole “being chickens” thing.
When we moved to our new house, we thought about getting chickens, because we have tons of space and chickens seem cool. The first year, we were still settling in, so we decided to wait until we had more time. This year, we thought we couldn’t manage the costs of chicken ownership, so sadly we thought we’d wait again. Then, thanks to the warm winter, the ticks in our area are out of control. Sitting in a chair on the lawn yesterday I pulled two off my pants within a few minutes of each other. Try not to itch all day when this happens. (That will not work.) We had been looking into ways to keep them under control in the yard, but didn’t want to use poison, because of children and pets and wild creatures we like having around. So I looked up natural tick control. You know what works best? Guinea fowl! But we don’t have the room for them. So I looked up chickens, and it turns out they are pretty good at it too. So we got some damn chickens. Here they are:
Checking in on these guys makes getting up at 5 almost tolerable. They’re a nice pick me up. (My getting up at 5 is unrelated to chicken ownership.)
(If you’re interested, there are 3 Buff Orpingtons (which I will call either Biff Hendersons or Fran Tarkentons, depending on mood) and 3 Barred Plymouth Rocks (they are the darker ones, but will be flecked with white when older). One of those seems to be the boss.)
Hippie road pizza
Made by actual hippies
Grilling by the road
Granola is made
Granola is not so great
Stove is on notice
Made my own yogurt
My hippie transformation
May now be complete