Sunday, October 18, 2009

Suburban Farming, pickle test, Where to put the chicken coop, 100 year old biscuits, barter sub culture.,

Where to put the chicken coop when suburban farming? We put it in the the space next to the house, on the side that never gets used. I think every yard has one. Take a look at our high tech fencing. The house and the the back yard fence make up three sides of the pen . We needed only put up some chicken wire and a gate. I made the gate in about 15 minutes. And I am no carpenter! In the photos you will see hay on the ground. A lot of folks say NOT to put hay or straw in the pen because of mites and such. But in suburban farming we don't have the luxury of being able to move the coop around. And with the amount of rain we get here, If I don't put it in the girls wind up with sickly feet from standing in the mud. So, its a lesser of two evils thing. I just dust more often. The two new pullets are still not laying and the older hens are molting so for almost a month our egg production has been nearly nothing.
Fortunately I have a few neighbors who are living the lifestyle as well. All underground and well hidden of course. (no one driving through this little north Seattle community would ever know how much food production and self sufficiency is really going on here.) So, A gift of a small jar of jam brings in a dozen blue eggs! Yep, there is a lot of barter going on in this neighborhood. A typical conversation goes like this, "I've got too many tomatoes".... "really? my collards are about to achieve sentience.. wanna trade?" Each person seems to have a special 'recipe' that only they do, so lots of trading goes on in the canning department. And the freebies are great too. Every so often there is a knock at the door and a neighbor (or husband or wife or kid of one ) will be standing there with zucchini bread or dried,candied apples, or a bag of plums or a bottle of homemade wine. Once a community goes 'suburban farm' everything gubment programs like 'neighborhood watch' and 'know your neighbors' and 'community gardens' struggle to create.... just simply happens on its own. I don't know why. My degree is in liberal arts.... Maybe if I had a degree in sociology I would know. Just because I don't know why it works doesn't mean I can't observe for myself that it DOES work.
Off that topic and on to pickles. You may recall a few blog entries back the recipe I posted for my pickles? Well yesterday was the date to open the 'test' jar. We have success folks, spicy, not mushy, very tasty pickles. Jimmy thinks they need to be crisper but I explained to him that unless we chemical up like the commercial guys, We will never have the Vlasic crunch going on. I also explained that as they cure they will will get even tighter.
We have made the transition to the winter garden. Our salads are now spinach,onion and grated carrot. Our cooked greens are now collards,broccoli,brussels sprouts, cabbage and spinach. While I miss fresh tomatoes and cucumbers and green beans and snow peas, I'm enjoying the flavors of fall.
Ida Bailey Allen has helped make this all happen. Jimmy has never been a biscuit fan. A few weeks ago I decided to try Ida's 100 year old biscuit recipe. I can truly say they are the best biscuits EVER. After downing a few even jimmy is a convert. Over the next few blogs I will be passing on some of Ida's recipes that we have tried and had great success with. So, check back often for yummy ideas for dinner that are classic and easy.

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