Life on a little urban homestead in the making, with ideas for self-sufficiency, food preservation, chicken keeping, cookery, organic gardening, crafts, DIYing, thrifting, vintage stuff,
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Jul 28, 2012

Chicken Run Add-On, Garlic Dill Refrigerator Pickles, Choke Cherry Jelly, Home Grown Blackberry Tea, Thrifting

Chicken Run Add On-
I use a mister in our main, fenced in veggie area, there's shade in the berries, but it hasn't really enough for my poor, hot girls. After watching my chickens cook for two summers I finally had a brilliant idea! We had a fence border at the edge of the rear coop corner. Behind the coop were two pallets and the components of the winter "sun room" we add on to the coop. When I looked at what was past there I realized it was all nice and shaded and had established shrubs- nothing they could damage. Bingo! Dave and I talked design, spent about $20.00 at Home Depot (nothing else to use), it took about an hour and now- fenced in shade! The girls LOVE IT!  We used culled wood,  hardware, and 1 roll of green plastic fencing (1" holes, 4' high, 25' long), we had some left over. There was storage area behind coop, so Dave later cut the pallets in 1/2 to make more of an open path.

New end of fencing, next to the compost bin. Love the duct tape!

Girls love the new cooler space!

Need to use those onions!

Garlic Dill Refrigerator Pickles-
I used this recipe Canning Garlic Dill Pickles and modified based on a comment that Cheryl left on her blog-
"We make a refrigerator pickle very similar, but, to make it even easier, the brine does not have to be boiled. Just use cold water and the vinegar (we use all cider vinegar, no white) and they are ready in about 3 weeks. We also add chunks of onion or slices to our jars and I suggest using fresh dill instead of dill seed. It is much more pungent. They will last up to a year in the fridge. We are just finishing up last’s years. I got a little crazy making them and luckily we have an extra fridge in the garage for produce, etc. But, it’s really my pickle fridge! " Thanks Cheryl!!!

I decided to give that a go! Since we have a college-sized fridge in our garage for extra produce, etc., it would work great! I like the idea of using all apple cider vinegar for a little different flavor. I added 1/4 tsp. pickling spice to each pint (1/2 tsp., to each qt.), 1/2 sliced jalapeno (with seeds) to each qt. It was so nice to be able to not heat the brine. Since I had some brine leftover I did 2 qts. of celery, carrots, Vidalia onion chunks and red bell pepper. Now I just have to wait 3 weeks to crunch time! I did realize that I could add some "pickle crisp" (finally found some at WalMart) to the cans and so I did. They should be extra crunchy!!! My total was 5 qts. and 4 pints.

Choke Cherry Jelly-
I planted a Choke Cherry bush in the front yard 3 years ago. It's a native plant here. This is the first year I had a small harvest to do something with. I decided to try a jelly. I realized, after picking, that I probably should have waited about 2-3 weeks later, oh well. I only had about 1/2 cup of berries to work with so I made two 1/2 pints. I know some people wouldn't have bothered but it will be nice come winter. Boiled the cherries for 15 minutes, then my version of a mini jelly juice extractor-

                                        the juice was almost lavender colored, very pretty

Sugar, lemon juice, pectin and a little later- jelly!

Home Grown Blackberry Tea-
I had to trim my blackberry vines, so I thought, "hey that's tea leaves!" I carefully removed some leaves, and dried them. Blackberry tea for winter-


Today I got some great deals- at Cost Plus World Market (where I got a 15 % off coupon in an email) we got: teas, 3 bottles (1 Liter each) of Italian extra virgin olive oil for $4.99 each. It was only today, an unadvertised special- good timing! This is my favorite- a cute tray with cover for picnicking, $3.00, and it collapses for easy storage! I now some of you would love this for GLAMPING :)

A cute little napkin holder at a thrift warehouse, 25 cents- I may cover with chicken wire, or paint?

nice, big basket, 50 cents

stainless steel water bottle, perfect for work

A dresser, drawers removed, for $6.00 for my new "canning cabinet", a work in progress, it will be painted and prettied up. I will post "after" pictures-

Dave and I went to a farmer's market about 1 p.m., and we got there as everyone one was packing up. I thought they closed at 3 p.m. I wanted to buy something before everything was gone, and spotted some red potatoes. I asked the lady farmer about them. She started bagging some, handed me a bag and said "here, try these.". I said, "let me give you some money", she said- "nope, I'd just have to take them home". Lesson learned- go early for better choices, go late for freebies, or discounts!!! We received about 5 lbs of 2 kinds of gorgeous fresh red tatters. I'll go back early next week and buy more local produce...

My best score last week, my 2 BIG down-filled couch pillows, these will be great for winter!
Washed and ready to go, and I love the design!


Elaine @ Sunny Simple Life said...

I always love to see what you are up to. Do you think the chickens will fly out of there? Mine can jump way up onto our patio table chairs. I even trimmed one of the wings on one and she still manages it.

Kristina said...

Your thrift finds are fun to read about. We don't have choke cherry here. We hope to plant blackberries next season.

nancy said...

Elaine, we've trimmed all their flight feathers regularly, and no problem so far in 3 years.
Kristina, blackberries are great, easy to grown, but I wish I had thornless :(

nancy said...

I should add, all our fencing (except the wood) is 4' high...

lulumusing said...

Love that your chickens are the girls. I have a friend whose chicks are the same and all have names. Ive learned that chickens are quite social!

Shannon@Cozy Home Scenes said...

Looks like you and Dave did a real favor for your chickens. I don't like to think of any animal suffering in this awful heat. Thanks for coming by my blog. Be sure to check in again for next Friday's Paws and Claws Pet Day. Hope you have a great week!------- Shannon

Yael at Home Garden Diggers said...

Your Choke Cherry Jelly looks really yummy. Love the chicken run and finds. Hope you have a wonderful week.

Yael from Home Garden Diggers

Laura @ Laura Williams Musings said...

My children have been picking chokecherries for me to make jelly and syrup with.

Love the basket you found. I love baskets period.

Anonymous said...

Useful content and awesome design you got here! I want to thank you for sharing your solutions and taking the time into the stuff you publish! Sublime work!

nancy said...

Thanks all, and the girls love the new shade area!

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