Posts Tagged 'coop'

Aggroculture

I’m getting more and more into (the theory and dream) of homesteading and off the grid living.  And the more I read and follow blogs, it almost seems as though this is the beginning of an underground movements of this decades “F the man.”  The pepole I’m running in to are tattooed, pierced, rockabilly, punk rock….chicken farmers.  It’s like the way to fight societies rules, now-a-day, is to raise your own food, produce your own power, and work your own land.  Maybe it’s a coincidence.  Maybe the people I grew up with, and got tattooed with, are now old enough, and in a financial position, to do so.  But personally, i think I’m on to something here.  There seems to be a throw back to late 1800’s early 1900’s independence.

And on that note, I helped my friend Joel build a chicken coop.  Oh..not just some rinky dink little back yard cage.  I’m talking a full on, walk in, chicken chook condo.

Joel picked up a half dozen chicks back in February.  They’ve been living in a dog kennel in his work room in the back yard.  Joel started coming up with plans and designs.  Finally the day came.  He made a run to Home Depot, and called me to come over.

The plan.

When I arrived, Joel was busy staining the wood, and sealing it.

We started by framing out the sides.  3/4 of it will be covered with chicken wire, and 1/4 will be the plywood sleeping area.

After the sides were assembled, we stapled the chicken wire over the open areas.

Joel framed out the door and the 4th wall after I left.  I returned the next day and we put up the 4 walls.  Once the walls were up, we screwed on the plywood for the sleeping area.

One of the side walls is 6 inches higher than the other, to allow for drainage.  One of the first ideas we tossed around was a green roof.  Maybe an herb garden.  Or some kind of vine that the chooks could actually eat.  But due to the size, he decided to stick with something more traditional.

The roof has beam going in each direction for support.

Then, the inside of the residence was finished.  A couple of roosts on one side.

And the egg box on the other.

The area under the coop got a nice layer of bedding.

The outside of the coop looks even better than the inside.

The egg box. Accessible from the outside.

The people door.

And finally…the finished product:

I think it looks amazing.  I can’t have chickens where I’m at right now, so I’m living, partially at least, through Joel.  I think any chook would be lucky to live in this 12′ x 6′ x 7′ luxury condo.

And beyond the independence of raising his own chickens, and getting is own eggs, I got to share int he experience of building your own building.  And that carries it’s own satisfaction with it.

Having a blast!

For more on homesteading and off the grid living check out some of my favorite blogs:

Neo Homesteading.
The Alaskan Life
Living Off Grid

I’ll touch more on the topic in the future.

Bountiful Baskets

Last time I mention Bountiful Baskets.  But I thought they deserved their own thread.

Bountiful Baskets is a produce co-op that was started in Arizona. It has since expanded to Arizona, Idaho, Utah, and Washington. If you live in these states and aren’t participating, you’re missing out.

Actual Basket Contents From Site In Phoenix

Here’s how I describe the process.

Bountiful Baskets is a food co-op.  That means, all volunteer drive, no employees, and thus, no overhead.  Tanya and Sally (who run it) collect money from people, and then go buy produce.  That produce is split among those that contributed.  Doesn’t sound that amazing yet, does it?

Well, if I go to the store, carrots cost me $3 a bag.  But, if 10,000 people each contribute $16, that’s $160,000.  You show up to a produce distributor with $160,000 in your pocket, and you get a lot more buying power at lower prices.  So that’s basically it.  You pay $16.50 every other Tuesday (or every Tuesday if you’re really dedicated) and Sally and Tanya combine everyone’s money, and buy truck loads of produce.  On Saturday morning, those trucks head to per-determined meeting places, which are usually parks.  Volunteers arrive, and start to sort and distribute the produce.  From there it’s basic math.  If they t 160 bananas, and there are 20 people at the site, each basket gets 8 bananas.  If there are 300 apples, and 20 people, each basket gets 15 apples.  And so on.  Any remainders (meant both in math, and literally) go split between the volunteers.  Seems fair since they donated an hour to save me some money.

Actual basket contents from BB

Each basket is a bout a 50/50 mix of fruits and veggies (+/- 5%).  An average basket has about $35-50 worth of produce.  Yes, I’ve received up to $50 worth of produce by paying $16.50 for it.  Each basket has a fine assortment of average, and frequently used fruits and veggies (apples, oranges, pears, bananas, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, mushrooms, celery, etc).  Each week there is what I like to call the surprise, or curve ball item.  Kumquats, Persimmon, Guava, Blackberries, Pineapple, Brussels Sprouts.  One thing that makes you go, Hmmm…Never had this before.  Might have to look up a recipe.

Here’s the caveat.  You have no choice in what you get.  Sally and Tanya do all the shopping.  You shop up with a laundry basket, cooler, or re-usable grocery bags and haul it off.  There’s no choice, and no selection.  The draw back to that is, I hate celery.  I get celery a lot.  Other’s don’t care for certain items, that they get.  My mom’s complaint is that she had way to much lettuce after a month of baskets.  The bonus to that system is this.  You have no choice, and therefor need to make no decision.  It’s an easy flat rate system.  Also, you’ll try new things.  Would you ever buy Persimmon?  Probably not.  But did you know they make an amazing bread?  They do.  And we wouldn’t know without Bountiful Baskets.

Here’s another advantage.  We ALWAYS have fruits and veggies in the house.  The kids snack on apples and bananas, instead of Cheese-Its.  I always have a side item to serve with dinner, be it green beans, asparagus, potatoes, etc.  We are eating healthier, every day.  We have fresh fruit for breakfast and lunch, and veggies with dinner.

You could not go to the grocer and buy all this for $15.

For you home caners, this is the best deal going.  Not only do you have a steady supply of fresh produce coming in, but they also offer things in bulk.  It’s not every week…but they’ll offer cases of tomatoes, apples, peaches, cucumbers, citrus, and other stuff.  2 weeks ago I got 50# of cucumbers for an additional $17.50.  This week, I’m getting 20# of tomatoes for $9.50.  It’s an easy and convenient way to get produce for canning and preserving.

On a side note, they also sell bread, cookies, granola, and honey, although I haven’t bought that, as we bake our own bread and cookies.  They also have organic baskets every other week, but they cost more, and that’s not my thing (yet).
Long story short.  Pool your money, get better prices.  Get a ton of random, good quality, produce for $16.50.  Buy when you want, no obligation to continue.  We get it every 2 weeks.  My mom gets one a month.  Others I know get 2 baskets a week (with 7 kids at home).  It’s all up to you.  Their website “opens” on Tuesdays.  You can order between noon Tuesday, and 10pm Wednesday.  The produce is distributed Saturday morning between 0700-0900, depending on your site.  Please try it, at least once.  I think you’ll be hooked.


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