Sunday, March 30, 2014

Pigeon Coop Construction

        The pigeon coop was the first thing we built on our little homestead. The first thing ever. Needless to say, it wasn't very good, but it allowed us to keep my pigeon Allegro which allowed us to get chickens which allowed us to get our neighbor a goat which allowed me to get my own goat. The whole process took almost three years but it was worth it *smile*. It has kind of been falling apart - we didn't really know what we were doing when we built it, so it was time for a new one. The shelf/roost had fallen off, the door and the roof were sagging, and it was close to just coming apart. It looked fine when not under close examination, but wasn't.

        About a week ago, my mom brought home two huge spools, the kind that they wind thick twine and rope off of at Home Depot, to attempt to make a coop inspired by one she saw on Pinterest. I saw the same one and it is actually on my chicken coop board now. :)

          In progress:

        The spools are set on top of each other, with select slats taken off of each. There is a hole and a ladder for the pigeons to come between the levels, and a roost in the top portion. I'm guessing that's where they'll sleep in fair weather. Because it needed to have rounded pieces of wood and we're not pros at this whole jigsaw thing yet, it doesn't fit perfectly. 
        The top and bottom are actually two separate pieces, so cleaning it out will be a bit easier. The spools themselves aren't terribly heavy, but they are just super bulky. I can only barely reach the top of the coop with my hand, when it's on the legs.
        We put the pigeons temporarily in the top of the rabbit hutch while we were tearing down the old coop and finishing the new one. Why not just leave them in until the new coop is ready, you ask? Well, I'll tell you. We had to use the redwood roofing from the old coop for the top of the new one, so it wouldn't have had any roof. They won't fly off - I let them out for exercise frequently - but we have a problem with hawks. My white wedding dove is especially conspicuous. Allegro, who is quite a little character, was very distraught when he saw us tearing down his house. He watched in horror as I ripped it apart board by board with the help of my handy drill, a.k.a. the ray-gun. Wouldn't you be too? Poor guy!

This little machine is my friend, as much as I like using a screw-driver.

        'Legro is actually adjusting well - my little white wedding dove is very easy going and adaptable, so that eases the change for him. I think they like their new house!

        Here you can see how the legs are attached; they kind of set in under the lower spool:

        The top, with recycled redwood boards:

You have NO idea the kind of gymnastics I had to do to get this picture! :)
        This is the bottom part, which is mostly enclosed.

         Happy pigeons? I think so!


Friday, March 28, 2014

Eggnog Custard Cake (Gluten Free, Grain Free, GAPS)

         This morning, my mom asked me if I wanted to make breakfast. Of course, I said yes, and not really wanting to make the usual lemon poppy seed muffins or sourdough/sprouted flour waffles, I went to look up some recipes. Pinterest is just great like that. ;) So I found one. Our six chickens have been laying pretty well, so I found one that took more eggs than usual. Normally we have to be economical with our eggs because we don't have very many chickens, but since we have been eating a bit more sourdough and sprouted instead of all GAPS recipes (which take a lot of eggs), we have had more on hand. So six eggs it is. I originally found this recipe here, and modified it just a smidgen.

Ingredients (I'm not going to say organic before each one, but we all know that's the way to go):

  • 3/4 cup butter or coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 6 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sour cream or full-fat yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (I used homemade) 
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mace or nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • heaping 1/4 cup of coconut flour
  • 1 large banana
  • 3/4 cup frozen blueberries (or fresh, if you have them)


  • In a large bowl, combine eggs, sour cream, vanilla, spices, and salt. Mix by hand or with a blender of your choice.
  • Add in melted oil and honey/maple syrup, stirring well.
  • Add coconut flour, and stir in - make sure you don't have any clumps.
  • Grease and 8" by 8" glass dish with butter or coconut oil, and pour your batter in.
  • Slice your banana and lay the pieces over the top. They should float. Sprinkle your blueberries the same way.
  • Bake for 50-60 minutes at 325 degrees. The top should be golden brown and the center should be firm. 
  • Cool for ten minutes and then cut up. The website I got it from says it makes six generous servings. We *ahem* did not find them to be too generous. 
As a note, I must say that we had this cold the day after, and I believe it was even better then!

        I got only positive feedback from this recipe, and I hope you enjoy it as well as my family!


Monday, March 24, 2014

Pride and Prejudice (2005)

        My mom and I watched P+P '05 for the first time. Well, for me it was the first time. Before I get started, let me just put out there that I am a die-hard P+P '95 fan, and I was a little biased going into this. And we all know that P+P '95 is the best, don't we? What follows is simply my honest opinion - I know we fans can be just a teeny weeny bit scathing when it comes to our favorite books and movies and such - but no one minds a light-hearted bashing, do they? Good. And if you happen to be a P+P '05 fan, I love you very much and will pray every night for your conversion. 
        Let me start out with the characters. I'll just say that Keira Knightley is not Lizzy Bennet. She simply doesn't have the poise! To tell the truth, none of the actors do, but her lack of early nineteenth century charm is blatantly obvious. Jennifer Ehle in 1995 did such an amazing job portraying this amazing character that Keira Knightley is put completely to shame. Yes, she did have 'fine eyes' and an energetic disposition, but for a young lady in the Regency period, she did not have nearly enough dignity and even (may I say?), lady-like reservation. She was all right in Pirates, but that's not even close to being the same thing.

I really do like this dress - *when* I make one I'll raise the neckline a bit, though.

        I actually didn't mind Rosamund Pike as Jane. She was very sweet, and pretty too as Jane is meant to be. I know that Susannah Harker was prettier by Regency standards than she is by modern ones, and I happen to think she is lovely, but it was nice to have a Jane that you see and immediately think 'gorgeous!'. I can't help occasionally seeing in her the just-a-tad snobbish Lady Harriet, however.

        I felt like Mary didn't have a whole lot of character in this movie. She was very unlikeable in the 1995 version, yet I felt that was better than how bland she was here. Kitty and Lydia were all right, but I still liked Julia Sawahla much better. Yes, I know she was too old, but she was still brilliant. 

        Mr. and Mrs. Bennet were nothing spectacular. In fact, Mr. Bennet was rather a disappointment to me after liking him so much in the other movie. And there wasn't nearly enough nervous fretting on his wife's part. I didn't feel that she really fulfill what Mrs. Bennet was in the book. Oh, and I DO NOT like his hair. Far too sloppy for a man of his station.

        We'll move on next to Mr. Bingley. I couldn't stand him - I'm sorry. I recognized Simon Woods right away, having seen him in Cranford *giggle*, but his awkwardness was so much better placed there than here as a man of five thousand a year. I mean, he was SO undignified I felt embarrassed for him. Really. Poor Mr. Bingley.

        Mr. Darcy was a little better, but not much. Yes, he was dignified, but he looked like he needed a good bath, a haircut, and some speech practice. I won't go any farther than this because we all know Colin Firth is the ultimate Mr. Darcy. :)

        I liked Lady Catherine. Well, I like Judy Dench, and it was hard for me to see her as anyone but Miss Matty, so I didn't really have a choice *grin*.
        Mr. Wickham was all right. I didn't dislike him, whereas in the 1995 version I saw him and was like, "Bad news, bad news!" It was kind of funny, we were watching it and recognizing all of these actors from different movies, Simon Woods, Rosamund Pike, Claudie Blakeley, etc. So Mr. Wickham shows up, and my mom says, "Haven't we seen him before?" My heart kind of skipped a beat because I was worried my reputation for being able to spot actors right away was at stake. ;) I stared at him, not matching him with anyone else, and then realized, "Hey, she thinks it's Orlando Bloom!" Spot the differences:


        Ehehehehe... I don't think she knows he was wearing contacts in LOTR. If it weren't for that I would have been questioning myself.
        I liked Charlotte Lucas, but that might be just because I like Claudie Blakeley. She suited the character very well, I thought.
        Mr. Collins was not as silly, nor as irritating as David Bamber. It's kind of counter-intuitive, but that's not a good thing. All I could think of was Osborne Hamley and Lord Beckette. When he arrived at the Bennets' house and greeted them with 'Mr. Collins, at your service', I was like Hey! He can't say that! That's reserved!
        Anyway, back to the story. The whole thing was just too modern. It was made, not by the BBC, by Hollywood and was definitely geared towards a more contemporary audience. The body language was not at all period correct, and no one had the right poise. I thought the costumes were nice, but the hairstyles were on the whole too sloppy and wispy, and LIZZY WORE HER HAIR DOWN!!!!! HORROR!!!!! I died. Oh, and we won't even talk about Mis Bingley's sleeveless ball gown. It's my impression that she forgot the actual dress - that thing can't be any more than a slip.

        Secondly, the Bennets' house was not period correct either. Yes, they were, in a sense, poor; but that would not imply that they lived in such a house with animals and such roaming free about the grounds. They were not of the working class; they had an inheritance even if it was not much.
        I had heard that the first proposal, the one in the rain, was good, but I did not have the same opinion. I just don't think Matthew Macfayden is Mr. Darcy. And the second proposal? Oh, don't even get me started! They were both walking out in what might as well be their underwear! Ugh, Hollywood! It's worse than Mr. Thornton with no cravat!

        Did it seem like I only said negative things? Sorry. It was a good movie, I thought, just not a good adaptation of an amazing Regency period book! I don't think I'll be watching it again in the next several years, if ever.
        Oh, and I don't own any of these images. I got 'em off Google. I'll leave you with a funny meme I came across:



Friday, March 21, 2014

Stalking Turkeys

        With turkey hunting season fast approaching, my brother and I have been going out every day to scout one of the flocks near our house and figure out its habits and other good information to have. We also explore around a bit; we've found a few places we didn't know about before. I brought my camera a few days ago, and took some pictures as we went. 
        We walk about a half mile from our house and then turn up onto a hill. There are a few little paths, but they are hardly traveled and may as well not be there.

        I spotted the first turkey:

         We climb to the ridge, and then walk along this drainage ditch:

         The creek from up there:

        Then, we cross a street at the top of the hill when we come out of the brush. There is an even bigger hill ahead; that's where we stalk the turkeys. The first of the flock:

        The two Toms:

         We use this landslide control, umm, thing, as a blind to sneak up on them:

        Getting closer:

        Don't they look tasty?

        Once we got halfway up the hill, we were pretty tired from ducking and running up through low brush and grass, so we stopped to rest a minute at this huge oak tree.

        Then we continue on. The day before we had gone kind of around the hill and then taken the road back, but this time we went we continued up the hill. Climbing...

        The top! There was a lovely field of poppies:

        Looking out:

        We headed back down through a different neighborhood, and saw a few more interesting things. We ended up tracking through the brush again because we just don't like the city. :)

        No, silly, that's an alligator lizard!

         One lone hen:

        We walked back along the trail. That's the farthest we get to wilderness around here. Ugh. At least it's something - I can't wait for turkey season!