2nd Annual Kitchen Garden and Coop Tour

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Does your town have a chicken coop tour?  I love that they are becoming all the rage.  People are embracing the idea of backyard chickendry as the norm rather than something their eccentric neighbor does.  My friend Doug  just emailed us this article on how the crazy nutty folks in Davis, CA do their coop tour.

This Sunday, July 29th from 9am-2pm Homegrown New Mexico and Edible Santa Fe are presenting this year’s event showcasing seven gardens and coops.  It’s not too late to check out these exceptional properties and get some inspiration.  You can just show up and buy tickets on the spot.  All proceeds go to keeping Homegrown New Mexico’s classes free!   Last year we were out of town and missed it, darn it (stamping feet) but this year we will be there.

What?  What’s that you asked?  Why aren’t we on the tour? Well, we live outside of Santa Fe city limits.  We’d be the firefly ship on the outerboundries.  We are helping out as the camera crew though so we hope to see your smiling faces along the tour!

Does your town have a coop tour?  I’d love to hear about it!!  If you do have one link it in the comments or email us.

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Fresh Poultry

We are deep into our chicken season and it seems like there is a chicken at every turn.  This year we decided to raise and process 200 chickens.  Hmmm, what to do with almost 200 chickens?!  That is the question.  For now we are going with the ‘if we build it they will come’ attitude.

Mike:  Yep, cause’ that has worked so well for us before!

Molly:  Alright, we are out at the Farmers Market in Eldorado on Fridays through June and a new totally awesome market on your way out to Las Campanas at the wine store. 

We started this a few years ago to see what it was like to raise our own food.

Molly:  Having raised chickens for eggs for over a decade I wanted to challenge myself.  When I researched how chickens are raised for food my eyes were opened to the great wide world of the industrial poultry business.  I just could not see being a chicken farmer using these industrial techniques where the conditions seem awful and disease was a huge issue.  Right away I read everything I could get my hands on small scale chicken farming.  This education sent me to the conclusion that I would raise my own chicken using these guidelines:

  • Chickens raised in the outdoors
  • No pesticides
  • No meat by-products
  • No antibiotics or drugs
  • No growth enhancers
  • No hormones
Cornish XCross about 5 weeks old

Cornish XCross about 5 weeks old

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The Great Compost Shuffle

Around here if it rots it goes into the compost pile.  That includes chicken parts when we’re processing the meat chickens.  Hold on! All the gardening books insist that you can’t compost meat.  Well, you can.  Everything rots and given enough time and the proper conditions it turns into nice black humus.  Nature is very efficient and you can really see it in action in a compost pile.  We let our chicken compost go for two years so that the microbes have a nice long time to do their work.  In the end, aside from an occasional bone, we end up with great compost.

There is a caveat though.  Chicken guts don’t smell the best for the first couple of weeks as they are rotting.  In fact (big surprise) rotting chicken guts are really smelly!  We do our best to minimize the smell mixing lots of straw and other high carbon materials in to help combine with the nitrogen rich chicken parts.  After the first couple weeks the smell dies down but as we’ve increased our batches of chickens from 25 to 50 though it’s gotten pretty stinky around the compost piles.

Old compost piles » » »

Mini-farm Update


Lilacs from our garden

Lilacs from our garden

This spring has been absolutely magnificent!  Typically spring in New Mexico has weeks upon weeks of winds that gust up to 60mph along with warm days and really cold nights that can get down below freezing.  This year I could count on one hand the totally windy days and the temperatures have not been all Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde like.  Our 15 year old lilac bushes that are still only two feet high bloomed for the first time.  Our peach, apple and plum trees were able to bloom without a freeze or the winds taking the blossoms out.  We’ve got our fingers crossed that we’ll be getting fruit this year.  It’s a great start.  Mike and I have gotten a jump on cleaning out our gardens and he’s been working to expand them like a crazy guy.  If you missed his post last week on the garden go check it out here. » » »

Chicken Season- GO!

After last years disasterous chicken farming season I was almost ready to give up.  With the bees gone I’m not feeling like a very successful mini-farmer.  So as an unsuccessful mini-farmer I’m going to follow my typical impulse and try, try again; I’ve decided to raise 200 chickens this year.  I ordered them to arrive in batches of 50 last week.  They will  be coming every 3-6 weeks over the next 6 months.

1 week old Cornish XRock chicks

1 week old Cornish XRock chicks

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Chicken Incidents

A few weeks ago we got excited about building a niche site as a supplementary source of income.  In the process of researching internet marketing we got exposed to the idea of affiliate marketing. Essentially we bring customers to a site or product and if they end up making a purchase then we get a commission.  Seemed like a good idea.  Molly researched a few different products and we wrote to them to get samples.  One thing we don’t want to do is steer people to crappy products.  We’re so glad we did that because a bunch of them were not worth mentioning and didn’t make the cut.  One that did though was the Chicken DIY Guide.  Yup that’s it right there to your right.   » » »

The Blind Chicken- A New Home

If you are just joining us please click on this post to get caught up.

Here’s what we know:

  • She’s figured out how to email us and does so pretty often.
  • She loves her new home.
  • She’s changed her name from the ‘Blind Chicken’ to the shorter but chicer sounding- ‘BC’.  (guess it’s a California thing) » » »

The Blind Chicken in San Diego

If you are just starting with us might we suggest you catch up by reading a little background on the Blind Chicken…go here and here.

The kids left to spend Christmas with their other parents so we’re packing the Blind Chicken up into the car  to take her to her new home in San Diego.

Molly:  My mother-in-law, Cat,  so graciously offered to take the Blind Chicken after visiting us this fall.  When Cat saw that the Blind Chicken was not doing well with all the other chickens in the coop she took pity and offered to take her in.  After years of being top chicken her status had dropped so low her grandbabies  were pecking on her. 

Mike:  We separated her into her own area for her safety but after a lifetime of being with other chickens it seemed a miserable existence.  My dad and step-mom have a very laid back older chicken named Daisy.  It seemed like a good fit. » » »

Coop de Steve

Have you ever thought of having a chicken coop?  Maybe just the coop and not the chickens?  I understand- it keeps it romantic (no poop), clean (again, no poop) and coops are just cool objects.  A little architectural folly for the common man.  I love to see what people come up with to house their chickens.  There is such a variety out there.

Nogg chicken coop

A made to order coop from Nogg

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Turkey

We eat turkey but we don’t raise turkeys to eat…………..yet.  We’ve thought about it, considered it, turned the idea over and over but haven’t taken the plunge.

Molly:  Turkeys have a reputation of being mean and I don’t like keeping mean animals around that may or may not jump on you.

Mike:  My cousin Joel who raises a few hundred each year in Maine likes them.  He says they are pretty funny and not aggressive, more curious.

Molly: Yeah but they eat a lot!

Mike: True………..Kind of expensive » » »