Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Chickens in Woods Cross?

My friend S emailed me about this, so I looked it up on the WX city website:
Notice is hereby given that on June 2, 2009 at 6:30 P.M., at the Woods Cross City Municipal Building, 1555 South 800 West, Woods Cross, Utah, the Woods Cross City Council will hold a public hearing to consider a proposed amendment to the City Zoning Ordinance. This amendment details the conditions for keeping urban chickens within the R-1-8 and R-1-10 zones.

You are invited to attend this meeting to provide your input. If you wish to comment or are unable to attend, or have any questions, contact the Community Development Director at 292-4421. All exhibits and materials are available for review at the Woods Cross Municipal Building at 1555 South 800 West, Woods Cross, Utah.

I've been collecting articles on keeping chickens in urban or suburban areas, and it's becoming more and more common- people realize the benefit of having fresh eggs as part of their food storage, and also what fun pets chickens can be.

If you live in, or know anyone who lives in Woods Cross, attend the meeting, or write the city council to encourage them to allow backyard chickens.

Things to keep in mind:

-Hens don't need roosters to lay eggs, so fear of noisy crowing doesn't have to be a concern.
-In their prime, hens can lay nearly an egg every day. Three or four hens can provide more eggs than a family can eat, so you can give eggs to friends or neighbors.
-If you keep chickens in your backyard, you know if they're healthy, and you'll be assured the eggs are high quality.
-Fresh eggs are much better in cooking.
-A few hens don't need a lot of space, and using the deep litter method, don't stink, and don't require very much care.
-Hens are fun pets, especially if you raise them from chicks.
-Hens will provide fertilizer for your garden, and eat bugs.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

One-Hour Bread

Ann's Best Whole Wheat Bread

2 1/2 C hot tap water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp gluten flour
1/8 C vegetable oil
3/8 C honey (I used 1/4 cup instead because that seemed like a lot of honey)
6 C whole wheat flour (I grind my own, no guarantees if you use store bought)
1 Tbsp Saf-instant yeast

Using a mixer with the dough hook attachment, combine water, salt, gluten flour, oil, honey, and half the four. Mix until blended, then add the yeast and the rest of the flour just until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl. The dough will be sticky. Be careful not to add too much flour, it will dry out the bread, Cover and let the machine knead for 5 minutes. Remove the dough hook, cover, and let rise for 10-15 minutes. Oil a cutting board and lightly oil your hands. Turn the dough out onto the board and divide into loaves. Do not overwork the dough. Let raise once more for 10-15 minutes. For standard six loaves bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, and small loaves for 22 minutes. Makes 2 standard sized loaves.

I've never used gluten flour or Saf-instant yeast before so I wasn't sure what to expect. The bread is good, it's chewier than my usual recipe, but not overly so. For how fast and easy it was, it's very good bread.

May Picture Round Up

Automatic chicken waterer- the end of the soaker hose (which is on an automatic timer) drips to fill the butter container (with the bigger container to catch the leftovers- the kinks aren't totally worked out yet, but I'm hoping it will allow us to be gone for a day or two without worrying about watering the chickens).

Leaves from last fall mixed with the neighbor's grass clippings make a nice hot compost pile.

Mother's day breakfast in bed (sorry it got turned sideways somehow). If you're wondering why the omlet looks neon-yellow, it's because we've been feeding the chickens lots of lettuce and other food scraps, which makes the yolks a lot darker.

A good rain storm turned our dry riverbed into a rain garden. I think this is the closest we've come to having the water overflow onto the sidewalk. It didn't, but it looked like it might for a little while.

A lot of the water comes from this downspout, but we also have a tube hooked up to a backyard downspout that runs underground until it comes out in the rocks just above the downspout pictured.

My Mister building our dog poop digester.

Digester in place, ready for use. (we've been using it for a couple of weeks now, without noticeable smell!)

J's last soccer game of the season- he really started doing well, being more aggressive this spring. I enjoyed being his coach, and I'm glad it will be someone else's turn next fall.

Tomato plants.  We used the walls of water (the green things on the grass next to the tomatoes) on about half of the plants, and the plants that are not covered are about half the size of the ones that are- I guess walls of water are useful even after threat of frost has passed.

This was our first successful attempt at starting from seed, I transplanted into cups several weeks prior to planting, and was amazed at how much the roots grew during that short time. 

Because CP is so darn cute:

J "losing" his 3rd baby tooth. The funniest thing was that the tooth went flying and was temporarily lost under the stove. We found it, and the tooth fairy found a note from J apologizing for the tooth being dirty. It was very sweet. Luckily the tooth fairy has a tooth washer.

CP helping dad build the shed (made from nearly all scavenged materials- we bought cement blocks to put under it and nails so far- gotta love dumpster diving).

A helping dad.

Moving parts into place. The walls aren't nailed in place yet, we just had them standing up to see how things would fit. It's going to be awesome.