Saturday, May 23, 2009


Hypothosis- do fresh eggs from spoiled, free-range chickens taste better and can it be cost effective, while living in a suburban environment and using easily available support products.

Facts gathered- 1. Taste is subjective. The color of the yolk is definitely deeper and brighter and generally, the participants thought the eggs tasted a bit better. We do not possess the equipment to test for actual vitamin and food values so there is no attempt to prove that the eggs are actually "better" in that area.
2- Cost- Cage and pen materials $250, Dr. visit $400, cost of chicks $21, Costs of hay and bedding material $50, feeding equipment $100, food $240 ($10 mo.) Total - $1061.
We used PVC pipe, wire, chicken wire, bird cloth, steel posts and a manufactured shade tent. We recycled some equipment and lawn furniture for the roosts and nest boxes. The birds mostly ate wild bird seed mix and free range grass/bugs/down fruit/most of my garden. Medical expenses could be avoided by simply eating the sick chicken, but it was part of the learning experience to try to heal the poor thing.

Actual egg production- I didn't count every egg, so the number is an estimate based on the average number of eggs layed during their laying life in the experiment. There are periods of time when chickens do not lay- youth, brooding, moulting. One started laying at 5 months old, one at 9 mo. one at 7 mo. One layed no eggs while broody for 3 months, one layed no eggs while moulting 3 mo., one was an inconsistent layer.
Bieging- 60 eggs Q- 320 C- 200 Total- 580 eggs.
Apprx $1.83 per egg.

The experiment ended last night with about 3 pounds of prepared meat and a large bag of feathers.

Conclusion- chickens are very fun pets, lay tasty eggs that cost a fortune, make a mess everywhere, and get up very early. I prefer them to dogs or cats, but do not want to continue the experiment any further.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Just say "No!"

Say it loud. Say it often. No more borrowing, no more taxes, no more outrageous spending, no more water wasting, no more gas guzzling, no more electricity surplus, no more trash dumping, no more, just no.
Well, this is getting serious, so I need to lighten it up.

Eduard and I are trying to figure out how much water our trees really need. And how many trees we really need. We no longer have enough water for non-performing test trees. So we are planning to remove the two avocado trees. One produces a not high quality fruit every other year, and the other has produced 6 since we moved here 8 years ago. Even after the chain saw discussion it just won't take me seriously. So this summer, we will cut them both into firewood size and let them season for the winter fuel. And there is the candelabra apple. Last year it had about 6 apples and the last one, in November was acceptable. But overall the tree is a loser. I would rather have the water for the other high quality producing trees. So that is three identified trees to the axe.
And then there are the chickens. Well, we will be doing some traveling soon and need to find a different arrangement for the chickens. So, Eduard and I are, uh, it is rather difficult to say, but we are in fact carnivorous people, so, umm, we are going to eat them. There I have confessed. It was the plan all the time and I need to keep to my commitment. Chickens for two years, then stew. So, that is the case and it will happen soon. Say no to chickens, for awhile anyway.
And then there is the wooly room. Just say no to more wool. Well, this is where I draw the line. There must be more wool, always more wool. I can't live completely austerely. I need some comfort items. I will have wool. And I will spin and make yarn and knit and weave and crochet until the entire house is insulated.
Sometimes, I just need to say "Yes."
The election is always a long hard day. I worked from 5am to 11pm and I am still really tired. So I am going to say yes to a morning nap, a hot shower, and a piece of chocolate. Yes, yes, oh yes. I will save "no" for later.