6.24.2009

I feel like an Omlet

The chicken House of my dreams:I have been thinking of a raising some chickens at our house in Ojai.  What I have discovered is that I am not the only one.  I stumbled onto a web sight; Backyard Chickens, which boasts over 35,000 followers!
Here are some of there examples of little chicken houses.
This is the chicken "coop-de-villa"   I love the bumper sticker!
How about a chicken village?  
 What is up with all this chicken stuff and what do chickens actually do in there?
What happens is you start with the little cutie above and you end up with Fog Horn Leg Horn below.
  Who doesn't remember Martha Stewart and her love affair with her Arauncana chickens.  She created the most amazing fan deck of paint colors from the eggs of her chickens.
  I cannot believe the variety and creativity of some of these little houses. Next thing you know, we will be seeing HGTV's "rate my chicken coop"! 
It also seems there is quite a bit  of work involved in the keeping of chickens, in order for them to be happy and to actually lay. Sort of like "The Real Housewives of Rural America" a new reality series...I am so cracking myself up. 
Most are designed like little play houses with a few walls and a sleeping loft for laying.  Am I experiencing Chicken porn? Quite a few are movable in order to utilize the chicken droppings as fertilizer to keep the pecking areas clean.  I'm not even going there....



I love how the one above has a ramp from the bunk/barn house to the play/pecking area below.  A pretty simple design and is cute also.  Chicken nirvana at last!
The real gem of a chicken house was Martha's Palais de Poulet seen below.  Just beautiful.  Thanks Martha, for the chicken house of my dreams. 
    ~*~kelley

6.21.2009

New Best Friend #2

Some girls love power tools:


My new DeWalt 3100 PSI power washer $699 at Home Depot

What is not to love about small machines that run on gasoline and can clean just about anything?  I bought this bad boy to clean up around our house and property during all of the construction we have had going on.  I also needed something to wash off the rocks we are using for wall and planters.  This pressure washer is so amazing.  Easy to use and maneuver around the yard.  It comes with 5 nozzels, each for a different use of the power spray.
After I washed up my dump truck, I used it to clean my market umbrella, all of my teak patio furniture and to get sap and grime off the porches. Once I got going with this thing I tried to wash just about everything I could think of.  My dog Millie got a little freaked out when I started to look at her.  Hum...she is a little dirty.... I think the photo below is a beauty shot of the carburetors?!

Whats not to love, DeWalt tools are my new best friends ~*~kelley

6.18.2009

Little Yard/Big Ideas

May Gray or June Gloom;  who's your mama ?

For those of us fortunate or unfortunate, as the case may be, to live in Southern California in the early summer, the weather can be really horrible (see above) for weeks on end: note wet patio from continuous drizzle.I have  wanted to do a post about our little patio at our home in Corona Del Mar for quite some time now.  A blog I am taken with is called Color outside the lines and he (Artie) 
 is  hosting a Sunday share-a-post that relates totally to gardens.  
The timing could not be better since our property in Ojai is a monumental list of tasks and our property in Corona Del Mar is basically done. 

 So here is our yard.  With a lot at 30' wide and 80' deep problems abound.  Lack of sun and coastal fog contribute to dismal days much of the year.  Don't get me wrong, we are just a block from the beach but....space is at A PREMIUM.
We have a wonderful cozy space with a fire place and just recently added a fountain.
A water features is essential in a small urban space in that, it can cover up noise and create a sense that you are not actually in a city.  We used three hand thrown urns from Greece and set the back stacked stone directly on the wall.  The wall was notched to allow the water to flow from antique spigots.  The small raised planter is perfect for annuals and succulents.
The spigots are set into antique french tiles place on the diagonal. The bower vines are doing quite well considering the lack of sun but it won't be long before summer arrives and Mrs. Grey and Mrs. Gloom disappear until next year. 

Happy Gardening!!!



Look for my next post about the ongoing Ojai project...best~*~kelley

The naked laundry room

Get rid of the clutter and see the light
I recently needed a new washer and dryer (the two I inherited/stupidly purchased from the prior owners were sooo bad!) only to find out that in order to get them out I had to pull out the cabinets around them.  Once I got everything out I realized how nice this little 10' x10' room actually was.  The first item I bought for this laundry room was the Kohler sink.  It is a drop in style but can be purchased with this wonderful birch base.  The exterior is a matte black and the faucet set can be configured a variety of ways.
I also knew I wanted open shelving;  #1: so I would quit buying cleaning products I never use and #2:  simple is usually better.  I found these shelves on line.  They are made by a company called Danver.  The finish is very nice and excellent quality, a bit pricey however, at about $300 each.  I also purchased a stainless kitchen cart for storage not shown in the photos, also by Danver.
The white buckets are for powdered soap and oxyclean.  I found those at my local hardware store, they are actually ice buckets!
My new big bad beautiful set by Samsung.  I can't say enough good things about this set.  It has anti- vibration technology in the drums so they are really quiet.  This laundry room is directly above my kitchen on the second floor and when the old set was on the spin cycle all my glasses would shake.  Check these out if you are in need of a new washer or dryer...five stars.
The new light fixture is galvanized metal form Barn Light Electric, a great company.  I have purchased exterior fixtures from them as well.
On the floor I used a porcelain travertine in 1x1 mosaic bordered with white thassos marble and 12x12's
A nice little reno and so much better than all the cabinetry.  When in doubt...go naked! ~*~kelley

POT-FEY-YOU-TAY and other good stuff

My new best friend:  frozen puff pastry
Asparagus Gruyere tart

1 sheet frozen puff pastry
2 cups (approx. 5 1/2 oz) Gruyere, Emmental or Swiss cheese shredded
1 1/2 lbs medium asparagus
1 tbl olive oil
salt and pepper

Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees.  On a lightly floured surface roll out the puff pastry sheet into a 16x10 inch rectangle.  Trim the edges if necessary and place on a baking sheet.  Using a sharp knife score the edges of the pastry 1 inch from the edge on all 4 sides.  Pierce the pastry sheet with a fork inside the markings at 1 inch intervals.  Bake until golden, approx 15 minutes.

Remove the pastry from the oven and sprinkle over top with the shredded cheese.  Trim the asparagus to fit in the tart and alternate tip and stem ends to cover the tart in a single layer.  Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Bake until spears are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly before serving.  Serves 4-6 for lunch or appetizers

From Great Food Fast;  from the kitchens of Martha Stewart Living

This is such a great little recipe.  I found it on The Perfect Pantry blog.  Be sure to alternate the asparagus tips and tail ends so that when it is sliced you don't have pieces with just asparagus bottoms, which is what I did.  Soooo yummy
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