Tuesday, September 6, 2016

A Return after a Hiatus

If anyone has been following this blog, you probably noticed that I disappeared this summer. At first it wasn't deliberate, but life was busy. And then...it was deliberate.

One of the last posts I had up (not counting meal plans) was about the construction of our chicken coop. We finished the coop, the girls moved outside, and I was waiting on the weather to cooperate to get some good pictures of the finished work to share. I finally got those pictures, and was writing the post, when the unthinkable happened.

A stray dog got into our backyard.

For those that know me in real life, you've probably heard the story by now. For those that don't...I still get heavy hearted thinking about it. And that's what has kept me away from the blog. Because I'm still not entirely ready to write it all down.

But I'd like to get back to my meal planning posts because they really do help me. And I'd like to get back to my house update posts because they are fun.

So, my precious first flock is gone. We have plans to rebuild for next spring. We have plans to make the coop even more predator proof. Because methods that work against nocturnal predators proved useless against a determined neighborhood dog. But you may not see much about that until next spring.

But hopefully with this, I will get over that emotional hurdle the blog has represented, and I'll get back to the posts I enjoy.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Weekly Meal Plan 5.29.16

Happy Memorial Day!

This is a big yard-work weekend for Sean and me, so we're keeping the dinners simple Sunday and Monday. The plan is for Sean to fix and/or move some of our sprinkler heads, and we're putting in some fruit trees and vegetable plants. Not to mention getting the chickens adjusted to living outside! So some easy slow-cooker meals are a must!

Here's what we're planning to eat this week:

Sunday: Slow Cooker Curry (linked recipe calls for goat, but I have beef so that's what we'll use) & roasted butternut squash

Monday: Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken Sandwiches & raw vegetables

Tuesday: leftovers

Wednesday: leftovers

Thursday: Zucchini Lasagna (inspired by this recipe)

Friday: Lamb & Swiss Chard Stew

Saturday: leftovers

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Weekly Meal Plan 5.15.16

I was gone in California for a long weekend, so this week's meal plan is a little late. But here's what we ate & will be eating this week.

Sunday: leftovers

Monday: dinner on the way home from the airport

Tuesday: Green Chef meal

Wednesday: Italian Sausage Pasta with Spicy Cream Sauce

Thursday: leftovers

Friday: leftovers

Saturday: dinner out before a play



If you're interested in trying Green Chef, you're welcome to use the link below to get 4 free meals in your first box. Full disclosure: if you use this link and order a second box, I do get a $25 credit.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Building a Chicken Coop in an HOA

This spring has been busier than we expected, so while we originally planned to custom build a coop we ultimately decided to order one. Planning for chickens while living in an HOA has been a little tricky due to size restrictions, but I also know that we're lucky our HOA allows chickens at all!

We ended up ordering this coop from CCOnly.com:


By our calculations, our 3 girls should be fine in here, especially since we plan to get a portable run to use when we are outside with them. One of the things I like about this coop is that if we do end up deciding they need a larger run, we can add on an extension relatively easily.

Of course, since we back up to open space and we have seen coyotes, foxes, and hawks frequently, we will be predator-proofing. Our plan for that involves digging down and out about a foot, laying 1/4" hardware cloth (to prevent anything from digging up into the run, like rats, voles, etc), then building up a foundation of CMU blocks with hardware cloth along the sides. Then the coop base will sit on the CMUs, with the hardware cloth from the foundation coming up and connecting to the hardware cloth on the sides of the run. The trench will be filled back in, and I'm considering laying pavers along at least one side so that there's a solid place to stand in the winter when the yard can get muddy from snow melt. We also got solar powered predator deterrents that use little red lights to mimic eyes. I'll write more about those once we install them and I know if I like them or not!

The coop also must be painted to match the house (one of our HOA rules). The body of the coop will be the same gray-blue as our house, and the trim plus the framing around the run will be off-white.

So, that's the chicken coop plan right now. It's been a constantly evolving plan, since we originally planned to custom design, then the coop we originally planned to purchase from CCOnly went out of stock while we waited to get HOA approval, and now we're waiting for a weekend with no snow on the ground so that we can get the process started! I'm looking forward to learning from the whole process, and giving our little chickens a nice home in our backyard.

Weekly Meal Plan 5.1.16

Wow, what a crazy end to April! Between two plays, and Denver deciding that it was still winter, I am ready to have some time to relax and get outside again! The warm weather also makes me crave fresh fruits and vegetables from the garden...unfortunately it will be a little while before I get anything fresh from my garden, but the farmer's markets should start back up near the end of May. It's a welcome change!

Here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday: slow cooker paleo chili

Monday: leftovers

Tuesday: rotisserie chicken and salad

Wednesday: Green Chef Taiwanese Scallion Cakes

Thursday: dinner out before Sweeney Todd

Friday: Green Chef Shrimp Fettucini Alfredo

Saturday: Green Chef Rosemary Sirloin Steak

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Weekly Meal Plan 4.24.16

It's both Passover and my second week of tech rehearsals this month. Should be an interesting week, since I'll be packing dinners each night. My plan is to do some cooking during the day, before I head off to rehearsal. We shall see how well it works!

Here's what we're planning to eat:

Sunday: Rosemary and Garlic Leg of Lamb and charosets, maybe another vegetable

Monday: Passover Potato Quiche

Tuesday: Paleo Slow Cooker Chili (minus the bacon for Passover, of course)

Wednesday: leftovers

Thursday: steak with roasted Brussels sprouts

Friday: dinner out before opening night

Saturday: leftovers

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Weekly Meal Plan 4.17.16

A tech week meal plan, also known as "Green Chef saving my butt during tech/eat up all the chametz before Passover". It'll be a weird week for food, but here we go:

Sunday: Sean leftovers, Cheryl PB&J at rehearsal

Monday: Sean Green Chef meal (Chermoula Chicken Bowl), Cheryl salami sandwich at rehearsal

Tuesday: Sean leftover roast beef, Cheryl leftover Chermoula Chicken

Wednesday: slow cooker lime chicken

Thursday: leftovers for all

Friday: Passover seder at a friend's house

Saturday: salmon and spinach cheese balls



If you're interested in trying Green Chef, you're welcome to use the link below to get 4 free meals in your first box. Full disclosure: if you use this link and order a second box, I do get a $25 credit.