Growth is a double edged sword. Unchecked, growth can be cancerous and destructive. It is this type of ceaseless expansion that has put our society into the precarious environmental and financial positions in which we currently find ourselves. On the other hand, growth can be regenerative and life-giving. Following a forest fire or a bitter winter, the first green shoots to emerge from the earth bear witness to the earth's ability to restore life in the wake of disaster.

My goal for this blog is pretty simple and open-ended: I want to document and share with family and friends my efforts to incorporate an ever increasing degree of self sufficiency, voluntary simplicity, and environmentally-conscious design into my life as a would be urban homesteader.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Hatch day update

Today is the official hatch day for the eggs that Tater Tot's class were incubating. Renee called this morning to let me know that when she dropped Tater off, 5 of the chicks had hatched, and 2-3 more looked like they were in the process. So this Friday, we'll be getting another shipment of up to 8 more chicks. It's a good thing that the earlier batch were moved out to Cluckhaus 2 yesterday. It's an A-frame tractor style coop that should serve as a good transition home for the new chooks. Once I get the roof shingled this afternoon, I'll post some pictures.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

New Arrivals

Tater and Erik smile for the camera, while Alex tries to put a voodoo hex on the chicks.

Right about 1 year ago, we got a delivery of 10 chicks from the kindergarten class at my children's school. 5 of those (4 hens and Brown Spot, a rooster with permanent laryngitis) are currently hiding from the soggy weather in the chicken coop out back. Well, a friend of the kindergarten teacher decided to hatch chicks for her class, and about a week ago they moved over to the 'Burbstead. The kids were all very excited to get more chickens. I had to explain to them that we weren't going to be keeping all, if any, of them. Our current flock lays more then enough eggs for our family. Besides that, at least a couple of them are going to be roosters who will no doubt be noisier than Erik's beloved Brown Spot. We'll have to wait and see how many boys and girls we get before we make any plans. We also have to wait for...Tater Tot's class eggs.

Tater is in kindergarten at the same school that Alex and Erik go to, and the teacher is once again hatching a dozen eggs. The estimated hatch day is April 30. So in about 2 weeks, we'll have a whole bunch more chicks. Hmmm, I smell a mid-Summer butcher day coming...

The latest 'Burbstead additions warming up under the lamp

Monday, April 2, 2012

A hot Spring: Going topless in the Garden

It's April 2nd, and the high today is going to be 90 degrees. Something is not right here. The warm weather has afforded me the chance to work outside with my garden girl, aka Tater Tot. She is always happy to work in the dirt with me. Here she is helping to transplant Kale seedlings a week or so ago.

Anyway, after much wrangling and patching and taping, the plastic finally had to come off of the hoop house. I was hoping to use it as a staging ground for all of the various and sundry seedlings that are currently taking up space on the kitchen counter. Oh well. Everything that is in the garden seems to be doing well so far. I need to fill in some blank spots along the snap pea trellis. THings planted so far include: Silvery Fir Tree and Purple Russian tomatoes, Curly Blue Scotch Kale, Early Flat Dutch Cabbage, Amish Snap Peas, French Breakfast Radishes, and Olympia Spinach. Notice that with the exception of the tomatoes, all of those are cool season crops. We'll see how they handle this unusual weather. I put the tomatoes out in the middle of March, and I haven't had to cover them once. Gak! I suppose the silver lining here is my other tomato and pepper seedlings shouldn't have a hard time getting a good start.