Summertime!

Just a quick note today – so thankful to live in such a giving part of Canada! And so thankful to the farmers from the St. Jacob’s Country Market that supplemented what we were unable to grow in our garden this year!

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What you need to know about livestock feed

In line with my constant ramblings about chickens — they are new– I have so much to say about them — I thought it was appropriate to move into what to feed these birds. When we were in the adoption process for our dog, I literally spent HOURS looking up dog food. I am mindful of what I put in my mouth, and wanted to make sure what I was feeding my new best friend was good for her. Likewise was the case for my birdies.

This issue is so timely. Livestock feed is a hot topic right now, especially with Heath Canada’s plan to reduce the amount of antibiotics in feed for the purpose of “growth promotion” — i.e. artificially fattening, so animals are bigger, faster = more $.

Sounds good no? Continue Reading…

Marketing scheme or brilliant waste reduction strategy? The case of ‘ugly’ veggies!

Since composting and waste management has been on my mind lately as we consider the pros and cons of our 4 new poop-filled friends (the chicks!), Here’s a look an an interesting initiative from France, and the ‘inglorious’ fruits and vegetables as a way to combat food waste.

hugging carrots

I think these loving carrots could bring a premium price point…

We throw tons of food away – literally, and this isn’t counting that long forgotten broccoli in the bowels of the fridge.

I find this interesting – is this actually a viable ‘solution’? Or is this another way for supermarkets to sell us something?

Watch the video and comment!

 

This idea is not new – for a really terrific initiative out of the US, please visit Marin Organic which glean (pick up what would be thrown away) organic produce for use in school food programs! This initiative isn’t backed by a major corporation nor seeks profit.. compare this model to Intermarche’s… vastly different… think about it!

10 reasons to vermicompost!

We started our vermi-bin three years ago while we were still in our tiny one bedroom apartment. While our municipality has curb side organic pickup for houses, this was not the case for apartments (and still is the case I believe…). So we decided to do some 6th floor composting! So here’s why you should do it too!

Open up your home to these composting champions!

Open up your home to these composting champions!

1. Super easy — literally ‘set it and forget it’ We keep our in our laundry room in the basement where it is dark 99% of the time (which worms love)

2. No smell – although its a mini-ecosystem, you’ll never know its there. No fruitflies either!

Now you see it...

Now you see it…

3. Takes up very little space – we have ours in a 15 gallon Rubbermaid container, and there are literally thousands of Red Wiggler worms in there

No you don't!

No you don’t!

4. BLACK GOLD! The stuff these worms make is magical! We put it on our veggie garden in the spring, and wait for a mid-July WOW!

5. Personal security 101 — For their bedding, we use our shredded dated bank statements, credit card bills etc. Talk about ending the paper trail!

6. Makes a great conversation piece! When the convo gets dull, a “Hey, wanna see my worms?” will surely liven up even the dullest of hangouts!

Here's a look inside the bin -- we like avocados here!

Here’s a look inside the bin — we like avocados here!

7. Reduce landfill organics – while municipal green bins are great, they still rely on trucks for transport to and from composting sites. These truck rely on oil. And oil produces harmful emissions. Shorten the process, and compost in your kitchen (or laundry room!)

8. Break it down faster! Again, green bin programs are a step in the right direction, but again scale needs to be given some attention. Tonnes and tonnes of food waste is being processed every week by such programs, and even though well- intentioned, these massive piles take a long time to decompose. Think of  one apple vs one thousand apples, and the rate at which each would break down.

Garbage dump outside Buenos Aires

9. Mind yourself! Makes you much more mindful of what YOU are eating (no bone, dairy, or meat in a vermi-bin!)

10. More fruits & veggies! Oh no! No skins or pits for the worms? Better get eating. Let them help you!

 

 

Check out these chicks.. and a key thing you need to know about chickens

The gals had their first free jaunt in the yard this weekend, and it was the perfect opportunity for some glamour shots! They are growing quickly and we are in the process of acclimatizing them for the coop. My go-to site for chicken raising info, The Chicken Chick has some great tips for how to make the transition from brooder to coop here. She takes a more holistic approach to raising chickens that is great!

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Dot — the most curious of the bunch

Continue Reading…

Eat Eggs? Why you can’t afford to ignore the reality of commercial egg production

In light of all the excitement of our new avian additions, we had to step back and reflect on the core reasons why spending hours and hours on the construction of the coop, and countless hours in the future cleaning chicken poop was so very important to us. While I am sure that our friends, neighbours and family think we are bit nuts, I think this is a vital experience in food, and ultimately the nature of life. This is also quite timely, as Dr. Oz ( I have mixed feelings about him — much of his information isn’t contextualized enough) ran a show on the chicken meat industry that can be viewed here.

We got our chicks from a friend – a chicken enthusiast whom raises her own birds as pets, and in always looking for different breeds to add to her flock, particularly heritage breeds that are much harder to find (also due to the industrialization of our food system). Our birds were around 4-6 weeks old when we picked them up, and some tell tale signs of sex were emerging — this is a luxury. Most people want those fuzzy little day old chicks. They are adorable.

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Continue Reading…

Water proofing and bug deterring the COOP!

The gals are a-growing, so we are putting the finishing touches on the coop. They still haven’t completely feathered out yet, so we have been bringing the chicks inside at night! We have removed the heat lamp too, so that they can start acclimatizing to their big girl house!

We predator-proofed the windows with construction grade mesh – courtesy of my dad – ain’t nothin’ getting in those windows! We painted it to match the trim (of course) and use decking screws and washers secure the windows in place.

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We also caulked all the seams and cracks and painted the plywood in exterior paint so we can literally hose the entire coop down if need be. We used Behr Marquee Exterior Semi-Gloss Enamel from the ‘OOPS’ shelf at Home Depot for both the interior and exterior, so I can’t tell you the exact colour. It was super cheap, and turned out to be super cute as well! We used peel and stick laminate tiles for the flooring, for the same reason.  This will also help to keep out other garden crawlers from setting up shop in the cracks and crevices of the coop.

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Now onto the run! Will update post once we  are up and running! Stay tuned!