Today is another super windy day in Kansas and that has lead me to contemplate how much I would love to be able to harness some of that and use it to power my house. While that is not financially feasible for us right now, it would still be neat. I am, however, contemplating a couple other small changes here at Animalhaus, hoping that it will motivate me to make bigger changes.
One of these changes is we are going to get a couple backyard feathered friends for eggs. I love the fresh eggs I buy from individual chicken owners when I can find them. However, as more people get the exposure to a real egg from a well raised chicken instead of a supermarket egg, the competition for these little prizes is getting fierce. I'm not seeing them offered for sale along the country roads much anymore. So, we have decided we are going to get our own very small flock. Actually I don't know if 5 chickens qualifies as a flock, but it will be enough to keep us supplied with fresh eggs and possibly have enough to share. Both boys are helping me look at coop plans and it is going to be a whole family project to build the coops and the enclosures. We live in a small town, but there is a limit on how many we can legally have--and no roosters for obvious reasons--so we won't need a really large set up. We will need a secure set up since we have a hound dog that thinks she is a hunting dog and literally grabs birds out of the air mid flight. We also have a couple neighborhood cats that make their way over our fence at night. That may be cured soon since our hound dog caught one last week and almost killed it by the time we pulled her off. The cat got over the fence and I haven't seen him back since. We have indoor cats, which the dogs doesn't bother, but for some odd reason, if a cat is outside, Cocoa goes after it. I'm not sure why. Anyway, I really feel that we need to build a very secure enclosure to keep the girls safe. I think the boys have settled on the chickens that lay the pale colored eggs. I'm getting them from Mypetchicken.com, which sells them as "Easter Eggers". They are not the Ameracuna or the Araucanian chickens, instead they are hybrids (mongrels). Not a problem since we are getting them for the eggs, not for show.
We are also planning to build raised beds for the garden this season. We bought a composter, but so far it has not been filled enough and for long enough to yield any of the black gold, so we will buy composted soil this first season. By next season we should have enough to add to the existing beds.
We planted a cherry tree two years ago when we moved in, and this year it has taken off. Not enough to produce, I'm sure, but possibly by next year. We will be planting a dwarf pear tree and blackberry bushes this year in a effort to grow more of the veggies and fruit we consume. I'd love to get an apple tree, but we don't have a huge yard and I doubt we have room for much more. We'll have to see once the pear tree and the rest of the gardens get built.
Am I the only one to notice gas prices went up by 30 cents? While it is not $3, it does make me aware that we have relaxed our gas economizing a bit by driving a little more and not bundling trips like I used to. I am going to start bundling trips and minimizing unnecessary car trips starting this week. While the prices are not what they were, saving $ on gas gives me money to spend elsewhere in our budget. I'm still doing well with cooking at home more and am looking forward to being able to stretch the budget even more by having our veggie needs supplied in our backyard. Plus we will be growing without chemicals.
When I was in Iowa visiting my son, I got hooked on (flavored) Greek yogurt. Unfortunately, it is pretty expensive in our local grocery stores, so I am thinking about getting a yogurt machine to make my own yogurt. Again, I'll save $ and be in control of what goes into it. Has anyone madetheir own yogurt? Was it any good? I'll share my experiences once I actually get started..