Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Morning Routine

When you have a house full of animals and two people who work, the morning routine can be a bit of a juggling act. We try to balance the needs of the animals with getting ready for the day ourselves.

It goes a bit like this:

6:35 - Wake up 10 minutes before the alarm. Spend the next 10 minutes looking at iPhone while not waking the dogs up.

6:45 - Walk pup #2

7:00 - Wake up hubby and dog #1. Walk both dogs while hubby puts food in their bowls, Kitty #3 gets in front of the cat bowl for a scoop of fresh food.

7:10 - While dogs are eating, I jump in the shower and hubby preps the carrots for the goats and the fresh food for the chickens and Jake (lettuce, tomatoes, corn on the cob, etc.)

7:15 - Since pup #2 has inhaled her food, take her for a walk or hold her off until pup #1 is finished so they can both go at the same time.

7:20 - Give pups two pieces of carrot each. They're spoiled now.

7:30 - I'm done in the bathroom and, on alternating days, go out to get fresh water for the coop and the goats (two horse buckets full), rake out the coop, put out their food, get hay for the goats, refresh the waters, pick up after the goats (poop!) and spend a few minutes with everyone. If it's nice out, I let the hens and Jake the turkey run around the yard while I take care of the goats. Then I have to herd them all back into the coop yard. They are not thrilled by this as they would rather play in the yard all day.

8:00 - Come back in, make lunch for work, maybe grab some breakfast.

8:15 - Make up the bed, pick-up and start getting ready for work.

8:55 - Try to get on the road to drive to work. Hubby gets the pups settled down in the office so he can get to work too.


What's your morning like?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Signs of Spring

I promised better pictures of our lovely Spring blossoms and trees. The best part is we do very little to encourage this. It all just happens to pop-up as it gets warmer. I'm recreating this post from over on Shoe Daydreams. Yes, I'm lazy like that.

This is our neighbor's house. They actually do work on their yard and it shows. Darn them!

Trees in our backyard.


Wisteria blossoms up close.

More tulips.

And our Tulip!

Her prancing baby, Petal.

Happy Spring!
More pictures on Flickr.

Monday, April 19, 2010

International Acclaim

We're very excite here... our site was listed by Dobbies.com as a "Chicken-keeping blog we love!"

How sweet is that?!? Thanks, Dobbies!

Menu for the Week - 4-19-10

Menu for the Week:

- Spinach-basil-vegan ricotta lasagna

- Pesto pizza with onions, garlic, broccoli, olives & sun-dried tomatoes

- Spring vegetable minestrone made with homemade veggie stock

- Spice Roasted Tofu fillets with Israeli vegetable couscous

- Lentil loaf with mashed potatoes, gravy and sauteed greens

Some of these were holdovers from last week. What we had planned made a lot of food. We did really well with not eating out too. I did meet a friend for lunch one day and then we grabbed veggie cheeseless pizza on Friday night because I was home late but other than that, it was all homemade. And delicious.

We made the lasagna last night for dinner and then froze individual portions for lunches the rest of the week. I also made 12 cups of veggie stock which we froze in 4 cup portions to use for the minestrone and just to have.

I really love planning the meals for the week on the weekend and them shopping and cooking on Sunday.

I also made Lavender sables (french butter cookies) with EarthBalance and they came out just the same as with cow's milk butter. And I made my first loaf of Irish Soda Bread which we had for breakfast with a delicious tofu-onion-red pepper scramble and with the lasagna for dinner. I plan on baking more on the weekends too, like I used to.

I'll be adding recipes here but also to the notes section of the Facebook page, so be sure to go by and "fan" it to get all the updates - www.facebook.com/TheDailyCoop.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Week's Menus - 4-11-10

Menu for the week:

- Salad, green smoothie and baked potatoes

- Spicy Black bean burgers

- Big salad and cornbread

- Veggie stir fry with rice

- Spinach-basil-vegan ricotta lasagna

- Hummus & Grilled veggie sandwiches with garlic-herb "boursin-style" spread

- Grilled Portobellos and asparagus with rice

- Homemade pesto veggie pizzas

- Hummus black bean quesodillas

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sharing the Stories

Part of me is not sure what the point is for sharing these horrible, unbelievable stories of abuse and cruelty. But I think that, while they upset and outrage me, it is necessary to share them because they call attention to the link between animal abuse as a gateway to child abuse and other violent crimes including serial killings. They showcase how lax our laws are regarding this type of abuse and how animals are treated as mere property without regard to the suffering endured by these animals and how poor a job we do of protecting these innocents. These mentally disturbed individuals should prosecuted and monitored for the rest of their lives. The laws should be changed.

I hope these stories will help get the laws changed and impact the sentencing of the responsible. And if some karmic retribution comes back to kick their ass, I'd be all for that too. If you can help by donating to the care of this kitty (and the thousands of others hurt each day) that would be great. If you can adopt a rescued or shelter animal, you should. And if you ever see this abuse going on you have an obligation to step in and stop it.

From USA Today -

It's a beautiful day in my neighborhood, but all that sunniness was interrupted when I saw this video. Police are searching for the person who drove a nail through a cat's hind paw and left it hanging from a utility pole in rural Henry County, near Geneseo, Ill.

Local Andrea Bristol found it while driving home, she tells The Dispatch. "It just made me sick to my stomach."

The cat is microchipped, but efforts to reach the owner have been fruitless. If the cat survives, it will be put up for adoption.

Aside from the paw, the cat had head injuries and was dehydrated, according to Karen Russell, president of the Henry County Humane Society-Geneseo. (The Henry County Humane Society-Geneseo says that those who would like to donate toward vet costs can send checks with "abused cat" as the memo to them at P.O. Box 145, Geneseo, IL61254.)

Other stories:

Puppy set on fire by Man in front of his children

Burned and beaten puppy inspiring stronger laws

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Friends Don't Let Friends: Eat Boxed Cereal

I'm a big fan of cereal. I don't have a Jerry Seinfeld level collection but I could easily eat cereal 3 meals a day. The hubby does not agree with this, so we do have actual food in the house... not due to me generally.

And while I love Grape Nuts, Basic 4, Rice Krispies (with lots of sugar) and Apple-Cinnamon Cheerios (okay and Count Chocula!), I know that even the healthy stuff isn't that great, they're pricey plus they have too much packaging. And we're trying to eliminate the packaging.

So that means it's time to get back to making the delicious, fully customizable granola/cereal I love to make!

This recipe can be adapted to include whatever you want to add. I usually throw in whatever looks good from the bulk section, so please take these amounts as guidelines and feel free to add more of something, less of others etc.


3 cups Rolled oats

1 cup slivered almonds

1/2 to 1 cup each: chopped pecans, chopped walnuts, macadamia nuts, pepitas, etc.

3/4 shredded coconut

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 Tbl ground cinnamon

1/3 cup maple syrup (I like to dump in some honey as well. You could use molasses too, I'll bet)

1/3 cup canola oil

3/4 tsp salt

1 cup currants (or raisins or dried cranberries or dried blueberries)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

In large bowl combine the oats, nuts, coconut, currants, cinnamon and brown sugar.

In another bowl/measuring cup combine the oil, syrup, honey and salt. Pour this over the dry ingredients and stir to fully cover and combine.

Place the combined ingredients on a large baking sheet (or two depending on size) and pat down. Cook for 1 hr and 15 minutes and take out the sheet(s) every 15 minutes to stir and pat down the mixture to evenly brown. I line my baking sheet with tinfoil because as the mixture cools it will be very sticky.

When done baking, remove pan and place on a wire rack to cool. Before it is fully cool, remove the mixture into a large bowl and stir to cool. As it cools it will stick together some, but you can then easily break it up for easy eating.

Keep in an airtight container and enjoy as cereal or for snacking!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Becoming the "Less Impact Fam(ily)"

I am a fan of self-improvement.  I love to learn and experiment and explore.  I read a lot, I try new things, I refuse to stagnate.  One of my relaxation treats is to watch documentaries.  Lately they have been on food (Food, Inc., Future of Food, King Corn, Earthlings), social and cultural issues and environmentalism.  These have always been some of my favorite topics so it was great to watch No Impact Man which combines all of these topics.

What is so neat about watching this movie is that I had read the No Impact Man blog during the time he was embarking on this "experiment".  If you aren't familiar with the blog or the movie, Colin embarked on a year-long trial with his wife and child to see how little they could impact the earth.  This means they tried to only eat locally, cut out trash, stopped using chemical cleaners, phased out electricty and got around using their own two feet, bicycles or scooter.

The documentary had an inspirational influence on me.  We do our best here to lighten our load on the environment. We're vegan for starters, which does create a huge reduction but we also try to be good about the recycling, reusable bags, making stuff from scratch a lot and only one of us commutes to work.  We have a high efficiency washer & dryer and only do about 6 loads a month.  We haven't used a dishwasher in 10 years. So all that isn't bad to start.  But after watching the documentary, we're inspired to try and push ourselves to do a bit more.

So, what are we going to put into place?  Well...

 - Eliminate eating out, especially take out, unless we're going out for a social occassion with friends or family

 - Reduce/Eliminate food packaging by buying in bulk, making stuff on our own (granola for cereal, bread, tomato sauce, almond milk, veggie/bean burgers, etc.) and freezing or storing it in reusable containers. Bring our own reusable bags for shopping and bulk and produce buying.

 - Remove our names from all catalogs and ask our banks and bills to go paperless.

 - Stop buying commercial cleansers and make ours from natural options including borax, castile soap, baking soda and vinegar

 - Use up all of our current stock of food items and personal care items before buying more

 - Stop using paper towels (except for pet messes) and swiffer cloths. Instead use sponges and cloth towels, cloth napkins and broom, dust pan and steam mop

 - Cut down our overall consuption (HUGE issue!)

 - Borrow or barter before buying

 - Attempt to reuse/refill packaging before recycling

 - Sell or donate items that are just taking up physical and mental space.  If they are not getting actively used they need to go.

 - Low energy evenings.  This means turing out the lights and turning off the TV/games at dusk.  We will relax, read, etc.  We don't need or want so much sensory input all the time.

 - Hold out on turning on the AC or heaters.  It's cool in the house now with the windows open, the fans on and the attic fan on.  It was above 80 degrees today and we still felt okay in the house.  Our goal is to see how long we can go into May before it gets too warm inside.

 - Create and maintain our garden.  Keep composting but do more such as using our bean soaking water to water the plants.

 - Buy most of our produce from the farmer's market.  We pretty much do this any ways but we want to be better about eating seasonally.

 - Install a clothes line to dry some of our laundry

 - Work on house projects we have the stuff for but have been putting off.

It seems like a lot but I don't think it will be that difficult.  These are all things we like and want to do but we just have not sat down and decided to to do them.  We have a few things we need to put into place, like the clothing line and some window fans, but these are all doable. 

We'll keep you informed with what's working and what isn't.  What are something you would like to do or suggest to us?