Friday, January 29, 2010

Fresh free range eggs

A friend of ours once called me 'the male Martha Stewart' because of our colourful fresh eggs. I guess Martha has colourful laying hens as well. I'm comfortable with my masculinity so I took it as a compliment (which is how it was intended).

We currently have 14 free range laying hens. Half lay brown eggs and half lay beautiful bluish / green eggs. On average we gather about 8 or 9 eggs a day from the barn. We've always had enough eggs for our own needs plus we've had excess to sell to our neighbours and family every week.

The hens don't do a lot of free ranging in the winter but on sunny days a few of them will venture out in to the snow. It was about minus 10C today and only the Rhonde Island Red hens had the initiative to go and visit the goats for the afternoon. When I closed up the barn for the night I had to carry two hens back to their roost. I'm sure they were planning a sleep over in the goat stall and I just ruined it. Mean hobby farmer.

Off topic: My wife picked up some vegetable scraps from the grocery store today. I can't believe what the store considers scrap now a days! I could have eaten salads all week long on what they discard as rubbish. The goats loved it ... I could hear their tummies gurgling as they ate as much as they could. I saved half of the box for tomorrow morning. They really love having something fresh to eat in the dead of winter but I bet they would have reacted the same way if it was mid August. LOL!

Back to the chickens: In the spring I intend to increase the flock to ensure we have more than enough eggs for the journey. Eggs are absolutely the perfect food and they are extremely versatile. When ever we have too many eggs in the fridge we make quiches, egg noodles, angle food cake, pickled eggs and many other dishes. I'm always looking for recipes that call for more than a few eggs.

I'm certain I'll write of my love for chickens again and again in the future. I believe that everyone should own at least a few hens if they can. They are extremely low maintenance creatures and they have wonderful personalities. They are addictive though and I must warn you that once you get a few chickens you'll find yourself wanting a few more.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I've spent the past week creating garden plans and rough meal ideas. I've realized that the amount of food I will need to store away is considerable. To think that our cold room will actually be filled with food is exciting! Right now it holds camping gear, empty jars, cola and beer.

I've become quite good at making egg noodles over the past year and I've started to make homemade bread. My sister gave us a Romertopf clay baker about 10 years ago and I used it for the first time this week. I have to say that it baked the best homemade loaf of bread that I have ever made. I was so impressed that I went out and bought a second Romertopf clay baker today so I can bake two loaves at once. I have two loaves baking at this very moment (edit: see picture above).

The biggest challenge of this journey will be finding the time to make all the food we need. Baking bread seems to take about 2.5 hours or more from start to finish. That's quite an investment when you consider I work full time and have a heck of a commute to contend with. By the time I get home, eat and catch up with the family I have very little time left to do much more than brush my teeth and head off to bed. I joked with my wife that I hope she likes making bread because it would be so sweet to come home to fresh loaves cooling on the counter :). But alas, this is my obsession and not hers. At least not yet.

I can only hope that this process will become routine. It has to. I do like being in the kitchen. That helps.

Our last frost date isn't far away so I have to keep planning the garden layout and timing. The garden I'm planning to put in will be atleast 5 times bigger than any garden I've ever had before. It will be a lot of work but I'm sure it will be worth it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

First blog post

Hi World!

You've likely heard the saying
"Dance like nobody is watching." ... well I'm going to blog like nobody is reading. Let's begin shall we ...

I've decided to start my preparations for a journey on a one year diet I am calling the 100 Meter Diet. You may have heard the term the 100 mile diet where you eat locally produced foods that were produced within 100 miles of your home. Well, I'm going to prepare to live the 100 meter diet where almost all of my food is grown and raised on our family property ... just a short walk outside our back door.

We have 4.57 acres of land where we already raise chickens and have two young goats. We believe our goats are pregnant but we won't know for sure until the end of March 2010. The official journey is expected to start on June 1, 2010. That is the day I expect to milk a goat for the first time. Once that happens I will commit myself to the 100 meter diet.

Of course there are some supplies that I will need to purchase to make this journey possible - like flour, sugar, yeast, vinegar, some spices, oil and maybe a vitamin or two. Everything else I believe I can produce myself (weather permitting).

My family will be participating, at least partially, in the journey as well. My beautiful wife and our three boys will share in the meals I create but they won't be commited to the 100 meter diet.

I expect to achieve more than a few goals from this journey; 1) lose a few pounds by cutting out the unhealthy food I eat 2) expand my recipe list (a must if I want to stay sane while eating the same foods over and over again) and 3) a greater independence from the food market that includes so much pre-packaged, over processed, foods.

I can hardly wait to start!

Let's get to it ...