Friday, April 27, 2012

Evil Chickens

The evil chickens as I find them every night. Why they insist on having me personally escort them into their coop I have no idea. They certainly don't enjoy me grabbing them or prodding them with a stick, and I could do without their piercing shrieks of terror. I'm afraid to think what the neighbors believe goes on in our yard every night!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Seedling Time!

Due to social commitments and some lousy weather the past few weekends, we just got to planting seedlings this weekend.

To the left is my husband posing in his AWESOME post-yoga gardening outfit. I'm just glad nobody saw what I was wearing - my riding breeches, floral blouse and crazy blue sun hat!

It is a little late, but hopefully our mild Southern California weather will trick these guys into blossoming.

Here's what we've got:

San Marzano & Heirloom Tomatoes
Green Beans
Pumpkins (2 kinds, can't remember what they are)
...and a few other items!

Most of the seeds are from Seeds of Change, which sells 100% organic seeds.

Now that the chickens are securely caged and their wings have been clipped we should be able to keep the garden going year round. We are going to have to move a some of the existing herbs that are now inhabiting the raised beds (rosemary, mint, sage) to make room for the larger items. The pumpkins will go in the in-ground bed next to the garage.

I pulled out this crazy Brussels sprout plant and gave it to the chickens, who devoured it with much enthusiasm!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

New Plants & Double Yolks

All of our chickens are finally laying and our yard is coming together. Yay for Spring!
Developments this week - almost all of our plants are finally in the ground in the front yard (photo at left) AND we found that a giant white egg from Marge, our Leghorn, had two yolks! (photo below, right) I read online (you know, the source of all unverified rumor and superstition) that two yolks equals 1000 years of good luck in Chinese culture, or that a wedding is coming up. Either way, good omens!

This weekend we need to start some seedlings and get ready to replant our raised beds and our new in-ground area off the garage, where we are planning to put pumpkins. We missed out on pumpkins last year due to our construction project, so I'm excited to get them going again for this year. We aren't going to make the mistake of letting them grow wild again, as that resulted in them taking over half of our yard. I mistakenly thought that each seedling equaled one pumpkin - boy, was I wrong!

In addition to pumpkins I'd love to get some tomatoes, garlic and potatoes going as we eat these every week.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Mystery Egg

I believe we have a new egg-layer in our midst, but I have no idea who it is or why their eggs are such a dark color! (See photo - mystery egg is at the bottom.) This might also be just a "weird" egg. Hmmmm....let's see what we get tomorrow!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Part Time Vegetarian aka Super Starving Everyday

In our quest for greater health, we've become part-time vegetarians. The rules are simple - we don't eat meat during the week, but can eat anything we want Friday - Sunday. It isn't always easy. You have to eat a LOT more when you have a vegetarian dinner, and you feel like downing a pint of ice cream for dessert immediately after finishing your low-fat meal. However, we do feel better, even if we haven't lost any weight. (See note above about ice cream!) My hat is off to real vegans and vegetarians - it isn't easy!

One of our tools for eating vegetarian is the book "Super Natural Every Day," which my sister and brother in law gave to us for Christmas. After making several recipes featured in the book, we have renamed it "Super Starving Everyday." Okay, it isn't that bad, but it has taken some getting used to. The good news is that the meals are very simple and easy to prepare, so they are perfect for a quick weeknight dinner.

The only really good "repeat" meal I've made is something the author called "gribiche," pictured above. I get to use our gorgeous eggs and the potatoes in the dish help make it more filling. I prepare my own dressing (the author has you mix a cooked egg yolk into her recipe for the dressing, which was kind of gross - I tried making it this way the first time) and it is actually a pretty satisfying meal.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


I'm embarrassed to admit how long our front yard has been without landscaping. We have had versions of weeds, black plastic tarps and plain old dirt for a very long time. It all started when we ripped out the grass in the back yard and thought, hey, we've got a dumpster, let's do the front yard!

Bad move. While we had a vision for the backyard, we drew a blank on the front yard. All we knew is that we didn't want grass anymore. This, coupled with a construction project, left us with somewhat of a disaster zone. We did hire some landscape designers that drew up some very fancy plans that were way out of our budget, so needless to say the dirt design stayed put.

Enter Eugenio. He was a subcontractor on our construction project, and he said he could help us with the landscaping. We pared down the original plans, which included scrapping the design for the backyard, since that really has turned into a farm. (Photos at a later date.) He's been doing a lot of prep work the past couple of months, and finally, voila - the plants showed up!

I'm so excited! Even plants sitting in pots are such an improvement over the dirt! Below are some photos. We have an olive tree, strawberry guava bushes, mexican sage, lavender, rosemary and a couple other drought-tolerant items that I'm blanking on the names right now. Yippee!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Design Blogger Conference

As part of my post at Grace Home Furnishings, I was lucky enough to attend the Design Bloggers Conference this week at the gorgeous Biltmore Hotel downtown. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but it was a lot of fun and inspiring. (look! I'm blogging again!)

On Tuesday night I helped coordinate at party at the Grace Home showroom with Currey & Company, a fabulous lighting company based in Atlanta. (Sidenote - I have one of their chandeliers in my bedroom - see photo below.)

I had a great time meeting all the bloggers and other design industry peeps, but the one topic that kept coming up time and again was my chickens! When I mentioned I used to keep a blog about them, everyone said that they would be interested in reading more about them, so here it goes again!

I think Now and Hen will be a little more broad in it's scope (chickens are fun, but not THAT interesting, especially on a daily basis) but I really am inspired after this conference to give it a go again!