Are pastured eggs really worth it?

Confusion everywhere!

There is so much confusion when it comes to purchasing eggs in the United States. Should we buy free range, cage free, natural, vegetarian-fed, hormone free, antibiotic free, or organic? Or are those just clever labels to garner a few more pennies at the check-out?

The confusion comes from the fact that most of the terms on egg cartons have very little regulated meaning. Sigh. Continue reading “Are pastured eggs really worth it?”

Garden prep

When it comes to Springtime garden prep, I’m much like a kid at Christmas. I’m so excited to get going, wondering what surprises this year will bring and whether we’ll have a bounty. With eager anticipation, I’m fast-forwarding to that first tomato, juice dripping down my chin as I sneak a bite while I’m still in the garden.

There’s no guarantee with gardening, but I’ve gotta try. Continue reading “Garden prep”

7 Things I wish I knew before moving to the country

Eight years.

I spent eight years reading books and articles, watching videos, trying things, and talking with people who were already doing what I wanted to do. You’d think that I would have foreseen some of these.

But no.

Here’s my list (ever-growing) of things I wish I had been told before we made our move to our rural homestead: Continue reading “7 Things I wish I knew before moving to the country”

Greenhouse project

Greenhouse.

Hoophouse.

Tall tunnel.

Call it what you will, it’s soon to be completed and will act as winter housing for critters, then growing space for tender plants.

We chose to build a tall tunnel by bending our own hoops with a handy device from Johnny’s Selected Seeds. I’ve done the PVC greenhouse thing, but since this structure needs to protect our first commercial layer flock and survive the wind and snow that’s inevitable at 7000′, I wanted to go with something a little more durable. And secured to the ground. And not break the bank. Continue reading “Greenhouse project”

Gertie, the horse trailer who wanted to be a chicken coop

I don’t know why she’s “Gertie”. It just felt right.

Anyway, here is our new old 2-horse trailer. She’s a beautifully worn 1968 model with an unusual center front door over the tongue.

Why did we buy a horse trailer if we have no horses?

This little beauty will be transformed into our first mobile chicken coop. We’ll open up the inside, hang some nest boxes on the sides, install roost bars, vents, and an automatic door, and we should have a great little coop-on-wheels that we can move around the property. Continue reading “Gertie, the horse trailer who wanted to be a chicken coop”

Cast iron cornbread

Cast iron.

It’s the stuff of old, shrouded in mystique, out of the grasp of technologically-minded suburbanites like me, right? <<insert gameshow buzzer here>>

Oh man! Why did it take me this long to play with cast iron?!?

Tonight, I left the comfort of my bland, square glass baking pan, and embarked on a journey to richness of flavor, satisfyingly crispy crusts, and undeniable beauty that will call me to return again and again.

With Cast Iron Cornbread. Continue reading “Cast iron cornbread”

A 6-step exercise in minimalism

So our new cabin is half the size of our former home in the suburbs.

HALF the size. And NO basement.

For this family (genetically predisposed to collecting), living in a small house will be a challenge.

To be honest, we still have a bunch of stuff in our storage unit. After all, we ARE planning on building a bigger cabin. So I do expect to have space again someday. But in the meantime, here we are, a family of four, living in a small house, with a TINY kitchen. How do I do it? Continue reading “A 6-step exercise in minimalism”