Sunday, August 30, 2009

Urban farming

The chickies are growing so fast! They are three weeks old now, and their feathers are coming in...I like to say they are going through their awkward stage.

Chickies at 3 weeks
Enjoying the sunshine

They are still living in the basement under the heat lamp, but we let them out in the backyard for some fresh air yesterday because it was SO HOT! Dan is going to build a coop for them in the backyard, where they will move to when they are fully-feathered in another five weeks.

For urban farming inspiration, Dan and I visited Ghost Town Farm yesterday, which turned out to be just around the corner from our friend Brian's old house. We had been so close to the vacant lot farm, but never knew it was there! I had read about Novella Carpenter's adventures in pig-raising and her farm in San Francisco magazine, and Dan found out there would be an open house as part of the Eat Real festival. He was particularly interested in seeing the humane chicken slaughter demo, in case one of our chicks turns out to be a rooster (please, no...though there is a 5% chance) or for when the girls are past their laying years. I am not so sure about this plan, but figured it would informative. Dan saw a Cuckoo Maran rooster die, but I looked away during the actual deed. I did watch the feather and innard removal...it was definitely a memorable morning.

Afterward, we walked around the farm and saw the beehives and a giant rabbit almost as big as Arrow. Then we visited the chicken coop, saw some of her hens and...little goats!

Getting closer
Goat on awesome green staircase

Carol & goats
Posing with goats

We also enjoyed delicious peach cobbler and hibiscus tea, and bought a copy of Novella's book Farm City. (I had reserved it at the library but was #97). Dan has already started reading it.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Open unhovel

Dan and I opened the unhovel to our friends last weekend...and the occasion called for cupcakes!

Party prep
Getting ready

I made peanut butter cupcakes with chocolate ganache, apple cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting, vanilla bean coconut cupcakes, and flourless Mexican chocolate cupcakes...with my sister's help, thankfully! She had just returned from Africa a few days before, and I put her to work peeling and grating a huge pile of apples (from our box), among other things...thanks Katie!

Peanut butter cupcakes with chocolate ganache
Peanut butter tower

Vanilla bean coconut cupcakes
Vanilla bean coconut

Cookie and cupcakes
Cookie Monster & cuppies

We had a great turnout, and cupcakes were eaten. The chickies were a big hit, and Arrow got some attention too. The kiddos followed her around, and a couple of them even went into her crate! It is toddler-sized, I suppose. I didn't take any photos, but my sister took a few for me, yay! Darcy kept calling Arrow "Harold," tee hee hee...

Darcy & Arrow (aka Harold)
Darcy & Arrow (aka Harold)

Stefan & Arrow
Stefan & Arrow

Our friends brought many pretty flowers.

Flowers at the unhovel
Summer color

We also had ice cream.

Unhovel
Reaching into the freezer for Mitchell's!

And I got to hold baby Nate! It was a good day. Thanks to all our friends for making it so much fun! We are very happy to be back in the city.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Here chicky chicky

Four new residents joined the un-hovel today...we got chickies!!

Chickies
Settling into their new digs

We got four chicks at Half Moon Bay Feed & Fuel...two Ameraucanas, one Rhode Island Red, and one Buff Orpington. They are three days old. The Rhode Island Red is Henrietta. Jeff came with us to Half Moon Bay and named the Buff Orpington Goody Goody Good Chicken...Goody, for short. The Ameraucanas are yet unnamed...any suggestions?

Chickies around the feeder
Stripeys are Ameraucanas

We are following the instructions from the Sunset chicken blog. Arrow is pretty excited too.

Arrow is excited
Wow, chickens, wow!

Wish us luck!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Outdoor summer fun

Summer is flying by...how can it be August already? Crazy! There are those who do not like the summer fog in the city, but the cool mist does not bother me that much...especially when unbearably sweltering heat covers so much of the state...ugh. But after a week of uninterrupted fog, it is nice to escape to some real summer weather...

Scenic Utah
Scenic hillside in Eden

So I was off to Eden, Utah! Last year my friend Bethany got a vacation place there, and we had talked about having a girls getaway...so we did it this summer! It was perfect. Bethany, her sister Robyn, Diana, and I took the quick flight there, explored Salt Lake City a bit, drove through a canyon, past a reservoir, and there we were...surrounded by gorgeous hills and pretty wildflowers so different from home.

Arid flora
Wildflowers in Eden

We admired the mountain views, went for cooling dips in the pool, watched movies, and lounged about...it was very relaxing. One day we packed a picnic and visited the nearby reservoir, where we swam in the water, read magazines, sunned and napped, and just enjoyed the view.

Reservoir
Water surrounded by mountains

Diana tests the water
Diana tests the water

Big house on reservoir
A big house across the water

I even found a bottle of von Hovel Riesling at the State Liquor Store! I don't usually choose white wine, but I had to get it in honor of the un-hovel. We had it one evening, and it was actually quite nice...bright, crisp and slightly effervescent...apropos in my year of sparkling wines.

Von Hovel
von Hovel

Dusk color at the Cascades
Dusk over the Cascades at Wolf Creek

Our time in Utah ended too quickly, and it was time to return home. I finally saw Salt Lake from the plane...and salt flats...and red salt! (I think.) Then of course the fog welcomed us back.

Red salt
Patriotic aerial salt display

But I didn't stay in the fog long...the next morning Dan and I embarked on a weekend camping adventure with friends. We went to Armstrong Redwoods State Park in Guerneville, where Marie, Mary and Brian had staked out a great spot by Bullfrog Pond. We had lunch in town, walked along the bridge over the Russian River, and took a hike in the afternoon. The view of the forested hills and fog in the distance was lovely.

Fog in the distance
Fog over the hills

Though there were three campstoves between all of us, none were brought...but we managed to have a delicious dinner...as Dan says, food always tastes better outdoors. And he roasted marshmallows over the fire...s'mores just might be the most important part of camping for me! The next morning we picked blackberries, and by nightfall I was enjoying blackberry crumble back in the foggy city. I had been skeptical of camping for just one night since we usually go for a few days, but it was a lot of fun.

Blackberry crumble
Summer crumble yum

Hopefully August will bring sunny days in San Francisco!