Tuesday, January 31, 2012

You Know You Have Chicken Fever When....

1. Your family and friends roll their eyes and tune you out because you are telling another chicken story.... again...

2. Whenever you see a child's playhouse you exclaim, "That would make the cutest chicken coop!" and then start to devise in your mind how you could retrofit it.

3. You purchase certain foods at the grocery store for special "treats" for your flock (aka grapes, blueberries, shredded cheese).

4. You cancel plans or purposefully stay home on weekends so that your flock can happily free range while supervised.

5. You "accidentally" come home with new baby fuzzy butts from the hardware store when all you had stopped in for was some chicken feed.

6. When you look around your house somehow you've accumulated a collection of chicken-themed knick-knacks and antiques. This collection seems to grow steadily as friends and family catch on, no matter how much you try to limit the gift-giving.

7. In many of your conversations, even with strangers, you can't help but brag about your chooks.

8. You see scrap wood laying on the side of the road and ask to pull over so you can save it for coop modifications.

9. You spend hours on www.backyardchickens.com and wonder where the time went.

10. You have pictures of your chickens up at work, on your computer's screen saver, on your cell phone, on your facebook page, or framed around your house.


(please post a comment to add to this list  :))) )

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Seed Orders and Garden Planning

How is your 2012 garden planning coming along?

Here at the Roost we are busily planning for a bountiful harvest (if the weather conditions permit!). This year we are adding a couple of new raised beds to the garden and switching around where we planted our vegetables from last year. Of course more bed space means I get to add some new vegetables we've never grown before!

Cover of 2012 SESE catalog
(image via www.southerexposure.com)

Here are my choices for this year, ordered from Southern Exposure and Seed Exchange:

pole beans
greasy beans
sweet corn
pickling cucumbers
slicing cucumbers
garlic (already planted, almost ready for harvest)
southern peas
peppers (red, yellow, orange)
banana peppers
yellow crookneck squash
butternut squash
acorn squash
tomatoes (Brandywine, yellow brandywine, Barnes Mountain Orange, Cherokee purple, Roma)
cherry tomatoes
herbs (basil, cilantro, mint, rosemary, oregano, chives, marjoram)

*if we have room, I'd like to try potatoes this year too!

my rough 2012 garden sketch for our back yard

I have planned where each plant will go and exactly when to plant seeds for each according to frost dates as well as according to the moon. Has anyone else tried planting by the moon? I'm curious to know if the plants are more productive with this method. We plan to start lots of seeds in our cold frame as well this year.

my watercolor of the "three sisters" garden

Another thing I'm really excited about is in one bed, I will plant a "three sisters" garden with my beans, corn, and squash. The "three sisters" tradition of planting places the three complimentary crops together so that they benefit each other: the corn acts as a stake for the beans to climb, the beans provide nitrogen to the soil, and the squash leaves shade the ground and help retain moisture for the other plants. Since I've had to be off my feet so much lately due to my broken leg, I thought I would make a little watercolor illustration of the three sisters garden (shown above). Watercolor painting for me is so therapeutic.

Are you raising any special or new vegetables in your garden this year?

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Friday, January 20, 2012

The Master Bath

The evolution of the master bathroom has come a long way since America's early Colonial days. Originally a separate outhouse or "privy" located outside the main dwelling and primary built for function, the bathroom eventually became standard in homes with the invention of indoor plumbing for those who could afford it. Before indoor plumbing, during cold weather folks might use a chamber pot and bathe with a washbowl and pitcher or in a portable tub near the fireplace. By the early 20th century, most homes located in towns or cities had one indoor bathroom to serve the needs of its inhabitants. However, in rural areas many families used outhouses as late as the 1950s.

Usually a sink or two, toilet and bathtub composed the typical residential bathroom in the early to mid-20th century. Tile was used frequently and tubs were often made of cast iron. Bathroom decor and materials evolved further in the 1950s and 1960s when colorful tile patterns on the floors and walls took the place of an all-white or more subdued palette. Pink, mint green, blue and yellow were popular bathroom colors but virtually  all colors of the rainbow can be found in bathrooms of this era.

Today bathrooms have changed considerably with the master bath nearly always containing a shower in addition to or in combination with a bathtub. In general, contemporary bathrooms are much larger in size and many contain the ubiquitous "vanity" holding at least one or more sinks with storage underneath. Bathrooms seem to be trending toward more of a "spa" like feel and appearance.

Our master bath is not very large, but serves us well. It features wood floors, an antique claw-foot tub, and two vintage pedestal sinks in addition to a toilet. We happened to have this Art Deco style vanity painted black and it fit perfectly between the two sinks!

 I love having a window in my bathroom that I can open and let fresh breezes come in. I didn't change much about this bathroom after we moved in except for painting it a pale pink.

In case you were wondering, we have a brass caddy that lays over top of the tub to hold our toiletries,
but I removed it for the photo shoot! 

Our master bedroom (to which the bathroom adjoins) contains some pink undertones and and I loved the look of the light pink with all the white and pops of black. Who would have thought the 1950s pink bathrooms would be back? Ha!

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

National Register of Historic Places Workshop: Part 1

Hi, folks! Ever wondered what it would take to nominate your historic property to the National Register of Historic Places?

Today I will begin a series of posts to help guide you through the lengthy nomination process and offer some useful tips along the way. To preface, please be aware that if you want your National Register nomination done right, my best advice is to hire a qualified consultant. They should be experienced in preparing nominations, conducting research, and evaluating historic properties and should know how to work directly with your State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). This will save lots of time and energy on your part. On the other hand, if you do attempt to prepare the nomination yourself, be prepared to turn in several drafts before your application is accepted for review by your SHPO and state advisory committee that reviews nominations.

With that said, if you really want to take a stab at it yourself, I'm going to offer some tips for before you begin preparing your National Register nomination.

Tip #1: Purchase or download a copy of National Register Bulletin #15. You will need to read and refer to it again and again! Here is a link:  http://www.nps.gov/nr/publications/bulletins/nrb15/  Also, National Register Bulletin 16A is a good one to have on hand if you've never completed a nomination form before. Click here for the link: http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/publications/bulletins/nrb16a/

Tip #2: Get to know your property! Why is it significant and why does it deserve nomination to the National Register? How intact is the property in terms of original materials and floor plan? This will affect its integrity (we will talk more about integrity later). Remember, it must possess significance under:

  •  Criteria A (association with significant events that have contributed to the patterns of history)
  •  Criteria B (association with a significant person)
  • Criteria C (represents the work of a master or a significant representation of a type of architecture or art), or 
  • Criteria D (yielded or may yield important information in history or prehistory) or 
  • In cases only when a property or site possesses "exceptional significance," can it qualify under Criteria G (attained significance within the past 50 years). 

Additionally, properties such as cemeteries, birthplaces, commemorative sites, religious properties, moved properties, reconstructed properties, and properties less than 50 years old usually are not considered for nominating to the National Register. There are exceptions to this rule, however, and they are detailed in NPS National Register Bulletin 15.

Your property must be significant under one or more of the criteria above under a particular category of theme such as "education," "community planning and development" or "agriculture." Your property doesn't have to be an architectural masterpiece to deserve nomination to the National Register. Sometimes simply being an excellent representation of a particular style or house type in your county of residence is enough merit significance. Or perhaps your home was the stage of an important social or cultural event? Is your property significant on a local level, statewide level, or national level? These are all questions you should consider. If you can't determine why or how your property could be significant, then you will want to rethink your decision to nominate it to the National Register of Historic Places.

Tip #3: Make preparations for things you will need in order to complete the nomination form. For example, you will need a USGS quad map and a utm counter in order to complete the geographical information section. You may need to make an appointment with your SHPO to learn the process for this step. Or, perhaps you will need someone to help you draw or sketch floor plans of your property if there aren't any existing ones for you to work with.

Tip #4: Plan when and how you will document the property. Photos are very important to the nomination packet, and you will need to take both exterior and interior photographs from various angles, of each elevation and interior view, and of as many details that are necessary to demonstrate the significance and architectural details of the property. Also important are contextual photographs to demonstrate the property's relationship to the surrounding neighborhood, streets, or outbuildings.

Tip #5: Make sure your property possesses integrity, which include these seven aspects:

  • Location
  • Design
  • Setting
  • Materials
  • Workmanship
  • Feeling
  • Association

The Murphey School possesses excellent integrity, capturing all seven aspects detailed in National Register Bulletin 15. It was listed in the National Register in 2009 and the owners were then able to take advantage of 
state and federal rehabilitation tax credits. 

The next post in this series will deal with background research and documentation for your historic property's nomination. Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Goodbye Clove...

Sweet little Clove.....

...hardly ever uttering a peep, timidly accepting his position at the bottom of the pecking order....

....has turned into a dominant, hen-harrassing, full-blown ROOSTER!

But boy is he beautiful.......and his crow literally makes me laugh out loud EVERY time I hear it because it is so high-pitched and feminine sounding.

I love Clove, I really do....but we have one too many roosters on our hands and somebody has to go. Rosemary has been suffering under a lot of stress from being chased and bullied by so many roosters. With Clove being my only non-Dominique breed and the trouble-maker of the group, he was the natural choice. Thankfully, a friend has agreed to take him and incorporate him into her existing small flock of three hens (get ready, girls!)

Clove was rarely seen without his BFF, Coriander, by his side. He would even cry with shrill peeps when we took Cori somewhere else until they were reunited. Recently, Clove has been mean to Cori as he assumes the dominant position in the flock. Poor Cori is terrified and we fear he is not always getting enough food. 

 I think Clove will love his new home, especially now that he will have three ladies all to himself to care for and get into trouble with. I just hope and pray he behaves himself!! I'm hopeful that I'll receive regular updates on his progress and even get to visit him with his new flock.

But for now, it's a bittersweet feeling. Sad to see him go, but at peace knowing that he will be well taken care of and much happier with his new family. Have you ever had to re-home a beloved chicken?

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