Category Archives: Chickens + Gardening

Stories of our backyard chickens and garden

Backyard Bounty: Apricots

Backyard Bounty: Apricots
Every summer, our vacation plans seem to overlap with the ripening of fruit on our apricot tree.  But it looks like we will get lucky this year - and there are several recipes that we would like to try. Our backyard is bursting with crows and squirrels this time of the year - so we have our competition cut out for us.  My daughter is part monkey, and can climb trees like a champ - so she reached what she could from inside the tree, and then used a ladder to grab fruit on the thinner and...

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Growing Green Onions in the Kitchen

Growing Green Onions in the Kitchen
After teaching children about sustainable food for nearly 10 years, I have been hankering to grow more of my own food.  I have never exactly had a green thumb, probably because I am easily distracted and don't water my garden often enough.  Since I wont' be teaching full time in the classroom next year, I should have plenty of time to get outside, water my plants, and work on my goal of growing more of our own food. Since I am motivated by success (who isn't?), I thought I'd start with something...

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Backyard Chicken Tragedy

Backyard Chicken Tragedy
It happens even to the best of us...Sometimes backyard chickens die.  But usually, it's not the whole flock.  Occasionally, one will get egg-bound or will die from random causes.  Some chickens can be victimized by a rogue crow, raven, or hawk.  Even worse, raccoons or bobcats can terrorize flocks.  Yet I have to admit, it is even worse when the source of the tragedy is closer to home. This is Barley.  She looks sweet, doesn't she? But one day when I came home after being out for a few...

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Valley Verde - Cultivating Organic Home Gardens ...

Valley Verde – Cultivating Organic Home Gardens with Low-Income Families
Many thanks to Raffaella for today's guest post about Valley Verde, a non-profit in San Jose dedicated to helping low-income families grow organic gardens. [caption id="attachment_5479" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Growing food and eating well"][/caption] When I moved to California four years ago from Italy, I was excited to move to the birthplace of the organic food movement, and to raise my child in a place that is considered the fruit basket of the world. I was not expecting...

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Full Belly Farm Summer Camp (+ Mini Frittata Rec...

Full Belly Farm Summer Camp (+ Mini Frittata Recipe)
Thank goodness there were no speed traps on the highway when I was on my way to pick up our daughter from camp at Full Belly Farm.  I missed her and couldn't wait to hug her and hear about her adventures. [caption id="attachment_5139" align="aligncenter" width="427" caption="Collecting eggs from a mobile chicken tractor"][/caption] Of course, it came as no surprise when she wanted to show me all of her favorite animals, including a calf, some goats, and the chickens.  We climbed over the...

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Too Hot In the Kitchen - Roast Beets on the BBQ ...

Too Hot In the Kitchen – Roast Beets on the BBQ Instead
[caption id="attachment_5095" align="aligncenter" width="614" caption="Summer Camp at Full Belly Farm"][/caption] Our daughter came home from a week away of summer camp at Full Belly Farm, in Guinda, California.  We adore this farm. I buy their produce nearly every week at the farmer's market, and we have attended their Hoe's Down festival for the past several years.  I have even lead cooking workshops for kids there...on top of hay bales. This year, Amelia came home from camp with a bounty...

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My Not-So-Secret Love of Backyard Chickens

My Not-So-Secret Love of Backyard Chickens
Several years ago, my daughter joined 4H. I did a happy dance because that meant that we finally had a legitimate excuse to get chickens. I have always been an animal girl, but when I was growing up, my mom never allowed me to get any pets beyond the family dog. It was sort of traumatic, actually. In 3rd grade, my class raised crayfish to learn about their life cycle. Many of the other children were allowed to keep theirs, but I had to release "Pokey" into the stream instead. When I was 13...

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Why You'll Never Hard Boil Eggs Again - The Secr...

Why You’ll Never Hard Boil Eggs Again – The Secret for Easy to Peel Eggs
I opened the refrigerator door over the weekend, closed it again, and went to the phone.  I called our neighbor and told her that it was time for her to start saving her empty egg cartons.  Ever since we adopted 3 new hens recently, we have been getting fresh eggs faster than we can use them. I love hard boiled eggs, but I hate to peel them.  In fact, I might actually have an egg-peeling disfunction.  I end up creating craters and losing up to 1/3 of my egg when all is said and done.  Eons...

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Are All Processed Foods Bad?

Are All Processed Foods Bad?
[caption id="attachment_4763" align="aligncenter" width="342" caption="Probably not what comes to mind when you think about "processed food""][/caption] When you think of "processed foods" the center aisles of the grocery store probably come to mind.  I imagine rows and rows of brightly colored packages filled with chemical concoctions disguised as foods. But I have news for you.  Some "real" foods have to be processed before they can be sold in the stores.  Does that make them...

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Making Sense of Egg Labels

Making Sense of Egg Labels
[caption id="attachment_4701" align="aligncenter" width="358" caption="Eggs from our girls!"][/caption] I have been getting a really nice response from my recent articles about the beef industry and how to read (and understand) meat labels.  Several people have asked if I could talk about Eggs next.  So, here we are... Let's get some vocabulary out of the way first.  As usual, many of the labeling terms don't mean what you think they mean. “Free Range” chickens have access to...

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