Went to the BIG Chicken Coup Yesterday. COUP TOUR

On the farm I live on, my partner and I have a tiny shed with out goats and two chickens. However, his grandma has coup that features about 60 egg layers. Every spring his grandma gets a shipment from her daughter/ my partner’s aunt, who happens to be a farm vet (pretty awesome), and runs the main egg production for the farm on her property. Grandma has a small super- organic- table scrape- non refrigerated egg project. When doing a farm we walk we stopped at the big coup and saw the set up. There are a variety of breeds there, but mainly the classic brown chicken like the ones we have.

The coupe is spacious, dry, and clean- perfect for the chickens. There are about 60 birds in there, and it is overwhelming to think how many birds would be crammed into the space if it was an industrial farm. Once it warms up a bit, Grandma will set up a moveable electric fence so for the chickens to hang out in during the day. But its so rainy and dreary and they just moved into their new digs, its probably best that they stay inside for a week. This place is deluxe! Well, if you are chicken. Multiple rooms, fresh straw, great feeding/ watering stations, nest boxes, lots of natural light, safe, and a roost that is over a grate for easy poop cleanup.

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Oh crap, there is an office potluck tomorrow! Quick Pickled Cucumber Salad

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Right now, my life is a little chaotic and unorganized. I am finishing up an internship with the National Park Service and starting a position at a Montessori school this week. So I am not on the organizational-planning-game I try to aspire towards. At about 8pm on Wednesday night I realized there was an office potluck the next day and I had nothing to prepare. As a recent college grad in an internship, going out and buying something was not going to happen. And I leave the house at 6am, so staying up late to bake something was also not going to happen. I played the what-do-I-have-that-is-easy-tk-make game. And I think I won! My main item of surplus was a bunch-o-cucumbers, thus quick pickled cucumber salad.

I have resorted to this in the past for outdoor potlucks so I knew it was a quick, easy, and a tasty treat. I don’t bring items like this to a farm potluck (which is pretty common in the summer/ end of season) because (a) mine is nowhere as good as real farm folk (b) there are always loads of veggie dishes/ pickled dishes (c) summer potlucks = pie. I would recommend this for other potlucks. Folks in my office seemed tickled pink at having crisp and fresh pickles and it was a real treat for them.  Also, this potluck treat cost me approximately $2.50 (three cucumbers, splash of vinegar (already had), sugar (already had) caraway seeds (already had), and home-grown rosemary)

I based my recipe on this one, however altered the portions, flavors, and amount. The original recipe was more of a light “pickled” mixture over the cucumbers. I went ahead and drowned the cucumbers in it, then removed about half the “juice” when I transferred it into a presentable container. I saved the liquid mixture and but some hardboiled eggs in it for pickled eggs. Yum. I didn’t have dill or mustard in my spice/ herb stash, so I used caraway and rosemary because they are favorite and I have an insane amount of both. Recipe after all the pictures

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Cucumbers/ Onion Mixture

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Water, vinegar, and sugar

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Pour, baby, pour

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Add them spices! I added these after the liquid mixture. If doing again, I would recommend mixing the spices with the dry cucumber/ onion mixture

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Final potluck ready product

RECIPE 

Ingredients:

3 Cucumbers

1/2 White Onion

1/2 Red Onion

2 Cups White Vinegar

1/2 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar

1 Cup Sugar

1 Tablespoon Caraway Seeds

1 Tablespoon Ground Rosemary

Instructions: 

  1.  Slice cucumbers and onions into thin slices.
  2. Place cucumbers/ onions into large bowl or tupperware container.
  3. Add caraway seeds and rosemary to cucumber/s onions and mix to combine. (I did it at the end, and the flavor was not fully dispersed.
  4. In a saucepan, combine sugar, vinegars, and water stirring over medium heat.
  5. Once the mixture starts for froth and boil, remove from heat and pour over cucumber/ onion mixture. The liquid should really drown the cucumber/ onion mixture to infuse the flavor — don’t worry, about half of the liquid mixture will be removed later.
  6. Lightly cover and place into refrigerator.
  7. A least 2 hours later (I left it until morning) remove about half the “juice” so the liquid mixture barely covers the cucumbers.
  8. In the morning, I transferred the mixture into a quart mason jar to add presentation points.
  9. Eat, enjoy, and smile demurely when compliments flood in.

Towel Rack Weekend (Ok several weekends) Project!

I am not the most handy of individuals, luckily I come by it honestly– in my family we call AAA even for a simple flat tire.  I am a-ok with that, however as a recent underemployed college graduate the DIY route tends to be cheaper which means I am learning all kinds of things from how to change my own oil to building a towel rack. My farm apartment doesn’t have a proper towel rack in the bathroom and the bathroom is where I let my vaguely OCD- self sparkle thus I become extremely possessive about how the bathroom looks. I am not one of those gals (or guys) who spends a lot of time in there with my morning beauty routine lasting approximately 10 minutes and showers about 5 minutes. But there has been no towel rack/ hooks forcing me to dump my bathrobe, clothes, and damp towels across the top of the shower. Well, no longer my friends!

Several weekends ago I decided to get motivated and figure out how to build one (yes, I know they are super cheap at target but I (a) wanted a project (b) even that expense is not in my budget and (c) I wanted something a little hipster/ farm/ DIY/ funky looking). As with all my projects the first step was TO THE INTERWEBS!  Here is what I found that I liked:

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Towel Rack Inspiration 1 from

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Towel Rack Inspiration 2

  • Shelve for images/ supplies
  • Place for hooks for hanging bathrobes
  • Horizontal rack system rather then hooks system
  • repurposed wood vibe rather then shiny metal vibe

This could easily be completed over a weekend with an hour or two each day. However life happened so I started it about a month ago and finally got the energy/ time to finish it this weekend. Also, the first time I measured out the actual “bar” in the rack it was a little short so I had to cut another section and try again! That is kind of how things go with me, it usually takes two tries. This is not a beautifully crafted object, but it’s my first construction type project. I certainly learned a lot and will hopefully make some better wood/ design choices in future projects!

Materials:

  • 2 chair arms/ legs/ curved wooden piece
  • 2 thin boards —  I used 6 x 1 inch found boards from an old pallet
  • dowel rod– I used 2 inch diameter rod
  • Long and short screws
  • Hand Saw
  • Drill — hand screw driver could work as well
  • Measuring tape
  • Homemade beeswax varnish found here — increased the ratio of 1/2 beeswax/ olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Went for a walk in the woods and found some busted up old chair rotting near a creek. Broke off the curved wooden arm.

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    Broken off hunks-o-chair

  2. Continued my wood/farm walk and found old rotting red painted pallet boards and removed two boards
  3. In the farm lumber area found an old broom handle.

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    All wooden pieces to make base of towel rack

  4. Sanded all materials to remove any snags and splinters.
  5. Cut the boards to desired length– mine measured 40 inches for my space, but if I had a larger space I would have increased the scale.
  6. Sand board edges.
  7. Cut curved wooden pieces to desired length — mine measured 8 inches.
  8. Sand curved wooden edges.
  9. Attach with 2 long screws the curved wooden pieces on each side of one board making sure the edges are flush.

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    Creating the base of the towel rack

  10. Measure and cut dowel rod to desired length between the two curved pieces — mine measured 35 inches.
  11. Attach with 2 long screws the wooden dowel between the curved wooden pieces — but leave a little bit of space on the curved pieces to act as the “hook.”
  12. Attach the remaining board to the top of the rack with two short screws (acts as a shelve).

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    Towel Rack assembled!

  13. Make beeswax varnish found here. Takes about 20 minutes. — the wood I used was really dried and cracked and probably shouldn’t have been used so I wanted to help it out a bit and reduce the splinter risk. If you are not using repurposed wood, then you can probably skip the varnish.

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    Beeswax for Varnish

  14. Paint varnish onto towel rack.

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    Beeswax based varnish – let it soak in for a night

  15. Let the varnish soak in overnight.
  16. With an old rag, wipe varnish off until a smooth but not sticky coating remains.

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    After wiping off varnish, nice and smooth

  17. Hang up and take a shower! (Ok, the shower is not mandatory) 
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    Final Product Installed

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    Final Product Installed!

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