You may have noticed I changed my blog header again.  I’m thinking if I can get my blogger butt organized I’d like to change it at the beginning of each month to something relevant.

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Currently ladybugs are relevant.

All toooooo relevant.

Not only did a swarm attack me outside the chicken coop a few weeks back (yes, attack, I swear it was an attack with biting and everything and yes I swear they bit me) but dozens of them have made their way into our humble abode.

I took down the Mi Casa Su Casa sign, but still.  Still they come.

I have this silly superstition stuck in my head that it’s bad luck to kill a ladybug so we’ve kind of let them be.

I mean, they are sorta cute.  When they’re not attacking and biting of course.

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They are certainly better than bees or wasps which I have an unfortunate history with.

Except I’m starting to become afraid.  You see, the ladybugs in the house are organizing.

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Yesterday we learned that the Father-in-Law won the right to name our Barred Plymouth Rock Chicken.

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And the winning name is . . .

Cluck Norris

Not to be confused with Chuck Norris obviously.

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Now that the chicken name’s outta the bag, I have two more winners to announce.  These two Reds need names as well so Petey drew an additional two Easter eggs from the drum.

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Winner winner this chicken’s not for dinner!

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Not yet anyway.

When I was in college I had a friend in art school whose parents owned a farm.  He used to put pictures of the cow in the freezer on the front of the fridge.  He had a grill out.  I ate “Satan”.  Yeah, I did.  Apparently that cow was mean, hence the name.  Anyway.  I’ll try not to let that happen to our chickens.

That’s right, our chickens.

Now that you guys are naming one, I feel that co-ownership is really the only option.

I’ll send you a bill for her feed, mmmm K?

So I know you’re all wondering . . . who won the great chicken naming contest of 2013?

Dun dun duuuuuuuuuuuuuuun.  Check out the video below.  If for some reason it doesn’t publish for you, you can see it directly on YouTube Here.

 

 

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It’s here.

It’s finally here.

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A giveaway like you’ve never seen before.

A giveaway like no other.

A great giveaway.

The great giveaway.

The Great Chicken Giveaway of 2013.

That’s right, we’re giving away a chicken.

Right here on Midwestern Bite.

Well, sorta.

We’re sorta giving away a chicken.

Okay so it’s not exactly a chicken, per se.

It’s more like the essence of a chicken.

Okay, it’s a chicken name.

We’re giving away a chicken name.

Well, that’s not exactly it either.

We’re giving away the chance to name one of our chickens.

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That’s right.

We want you to name our chicken.

NAME OUR CHICKEN!

Please name our chicken.

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Who wants to meet the girls?!?!

That’s right.  Girls.  Hens.  Five of them.  No roosters.  No dudes.  That makes me their dominant male influence.  Hence the totally appropriate – single entendre – title of this post.

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If you’ve been following along in our fledgling livestock adventure, this is the moment for which you’ve been waiting.  You’ve had a few days to settle down after the euphoric grand tour of the coop I built.

Time to introduce the ladies.

Please meet:

Curly

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Curly is a Blue Copper Maran and is about 18 weeks old.  She’s still a pullet (meaning a female less than one year old), but will hopefully start laying soon.  Pullets can begin dropping the good stuff generally anywhere from 18-26 weeks on average, so let’s hope she’s advanced for her age.

When Curly does start laying, her breed is supposed to lay very dark, almost chocolate colored eggs.

By the way, I’m sparing you a lot of history, breeding, genetic disposition, and other information I’ve devoured about various poultry breeds.  I do so because The Wife promptly gets that eye-glazed 1000 yard stare whenever I share it with her.  So I figure you also don’t care.

For instance, when I finished giving Joanna a twenty minute dissertation about this copper necked lovely, she shook the haze out of her head and said, “Wait, what is it called?  A Maran? I shall call him [sic] Curly.  Curly Moran [sic].  From Veronica Mars.”

So there you go.  Curly.

Next, meet Curly’s best friend:

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I know everyone has been waiting with bated breath to see chicken coop updates since you devoured my first Build report.  Well, prepare your gullets.  Here you go.

I like to spend as much non-office time wrestling with the world’s strongest Toddler… so this project has taken way too long since it was mostly relegated to snippets of nap-time-construction-time and after-night-night-total-darkness-build-hours.  However, I finally declare this beeyotch 99% done and ready for occupants!

Who wants the grand tour?  Just ignore the ugly tall unfinished fence post that’s part of my ugly tall garden deer fence.  I wanted the coop in here so they could free range every now and then helping to clear the garden of weeds and bad bugs, while being protected from our friendly free range canine neighbors.

Feast your eyes on the prettiest little coop Joanna has ever co-owned.  Such is the life of a lucky Gentleman Farmer’s wife.

 

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I’m building a chicken coop.

Granted, Joanna is less than thrilled with my latest project, but I have a feeling she’ll come around.  Her icy demeanor seems to be melting a little bit already, thanks to new neighbors that moved in down the lane.  You see, in a very short time, they’ve amassed a wonderful little mini farm complete with over a dozen chickens, several turkeys, and their very own miniature donkey named Ruth.

The boy loves to visit.  So do I.  So does Joanna.  How could she object to just a few of her own hens in comparison?

I’m sure we’ll have lots to share with you as we embark on our livestock adventure.  Especially since like most things we have no idea what we’re doing.  For now I thought I’d show you the coop build thus far.

Just don’t look too closely.  I know as much about carpentry as I do animal husbandry.  (read: zilch).

Here’s the result from one of our many lumber trips.  The foreman approves.

As you can see, that dude is a stickler for safety gear.

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The very first of many frame sections cut and ready to assemble.  All necessary tools and supplies accounted for.

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“Healing the World One Bite at a Time.”

That is the tagline for Polyface Farms – a family owned, multi-generational, pasture-based, beyond organic, local-market farm owned and operated by my personal foodie hero, Joel Salatin.

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Photo Credit to www.polyfacefarms.com

This is the Husband.  Thanks for letting me step in on one of Joanna’s off days to quickly introduce you to Joel, and more importantly his philosophy and practices.  This will not be an exhaustive review.  Merely a little something to hopefully whet your appetite so you’ll follow up with a few links below.

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Since Joanna started Midwestern Bite, I’ve regularly been following along with her new world.  I’ve seen some of her “internet friends” grow into real friends.  I’ve found a few blogs in this stereotypically girlie niche I enjoy reading every day.  I’ve also found plenty I like to make fun of around the dinner table.

If you were like me and stepped into this strange universe of Foodie-Healthy-Living-Move-Everyday-Look-At-My-Latest-Juice-Cleanse-Miracle-Cure-While-I-Instagram-My-Feet… or for that matter visited your local urban Hipster Market or smalltown suburbia Farmer’s Market… you’d see that eating Organic and/or Local is all the rage these days.

Mr. Salatin’s practices are a little different, and a lot revolutionary only because he’s a throwback to how things used to be done for hundreds of years, yet implementing those core agricultural truths with modern technology like lightweight portable electric fencing.  Farming was done very differently before cheap oil.  Before a chemical conglomerate could manufacture the perfect 10-10-10 “organic” fertilizer mixture that ultimately runs off polluting our drinking water.  Back when farmers understood nature and worked with it to be successful.  Perhaps only by coincidence… maybe not… back before widespread outbreaks of salmonella and mad cow disease. When organic truly meant organic.  Not like today where “Organic(TM)” is a government regulated label that is given away to the newest mad scientist finding a loophole in harmful chemical balancing.  When free range meant free range, not stuffing 5,000 “Free Range(TM)” chickens into a massive noxious barn with one 12″ x 6″ door in a corner they’re unable to find since they don’t have enough muscle or bone density to stand up.

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