Sunday, March 28, 2010

Books Books Books

John Grisham's Playing For Pizza -
    This was a fun little read about nothing.  The basic story line is that an NFL player moves to Italy to play American football when he can't find an American team to play for.  He eats good food, drinks lots of wine and meets a girl.  I'd save this one for a summer vacation at the beach.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn's One day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich -
   Another quick read, but far better then Grisham's book.  The basic story follows Ivan Denisovich through one day in a Russian prison camp in Siberia.  I love the positive attitude Ivan keeps through out the book and how he can find pleasure in the very simple things in life.  If he can be happy in this frozen hell, then I can be happy as well.

Martha Riley's An Ordinary Man -
(Full disclosure, Martha Riley is my grandmother)
       This is a longer read but very well written.  The writing made me want to keep reading but the content allowed me to only read this in smaller chunks.  The book is based on the life of a man that my grandmother once knew.  The book follows a Polish air force officer from the invasion by Germany, to a labor camp, joining the SS, escaping from the SS, joining the resistance, and finally running from Nazi hunters.  What would you do to survive?

Ashley English Keeping Chickens -
    This is a wonderful book/guide that I would recommend to anyone who is thinking about keeping chickens.  This book has been very helpful as Firefly and I have been getting ready for our chicks (we'll bring them home on Thursday...should only be a day or two old).  I feel confident in our ability to raise the chicks to healthy hens and continue to care for them afterward because of what we learned in this book.  This book won't make you the best chicken keeper in the world but it is a very good crash course!  You can also check out Ashley's blog @

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Chicken Update

The coop so far, almost finished!

Our chicks should be hatching in a few days and we'll bring them home on Thursday!  We have everything we need for them, we just need to set up their home.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Story of Bottled Water

The story of bottled water by the folks at the is out.  Everyone should head over to and check it out.

The video has lots of good information as does the website itself.  Check out the story of stuff while you're there too!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Chicken Coop Coloring Contest

We need your help!  Firefly and I are spending the weekend building our chicken coop and we're looking for some help in the paint department.  Our hope is that you will download the above coop picture, color it, and then post it with a link in the comments section.  You can also print it out and then scan it.  If it is easier, you can email me at:

I'm think I will also put some out at work and see what designs we get back.

Here's my entry:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

How funky is your Chicken?

After much debate between ducks and chickens, we decided to raise to raise chickens this year.  We've spent the last few days researching different breeds and type of chickens trying to find the perfect fit for us.  After much debate and three phones calls to the feed shop (Greens Feed in Reno) our order was placed.  We decided on two bantam White Silkies and two standard Silver-laced Wyandotte.

In our chicken search Firefly found the great chicken website,

You can learn all about the White Silkies here and all about the Silver-laced Wyandotte here

Because the White Silkies are bantam, they come straight run which means our odds of getting pullets (females) are 50-50.  I guess the bantam are too small at birth to tell the gender. 

We went with the standard Wyandottes so that we would be sure to have some hens. (10% chance of getting males because they are sexed by hand) 

Our chicken book, Keeping Chickens by Ashley English should be here tomorrow or the next day and tomorrow I am going get the yard ready for the coop we are going to build. 

I'll post updates here but most of the chicken news will be located at

Friday, March 12, 2010

how to be a good Husband

Bake some bread while your wife is out so the house smells good when she comes home.
(The above is an amazing gluten-free bread from a Bob Redmill mix)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Rice has been Milk'd *Update*

Sadly I can't report back on how the rice milk was from the freezer because I forgot to leave enough headspace when I filled the mason jars and they both broke.  Time to make more and try again!

Robin Hood Tax

I support the Robin Hood Tax, how about you?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Trader Joes Wine #10 Rootstock

Wow! Right from the get go, this is a sweet wine.  The first thing I noticed when I uncorked this beautiful colored red wine was the smell.  To me it was a mixed smell of fresh strawberries and blackberries.  The taste is far less sweet then the smell and the finish is wonderfully spicey.

The bottle says "will pair well with hearty entrees," but I enjoyed it both with dinner (homemade veggie soup w/rice) and has a post-work/pre-dinner wine.

Down and dirty info:
Price: $6.99
Average rating ( 78/100 (I would rate this MUCH higher)
Drinkability: 4.5/5
Length: long w/some spice
Dry?: Low
Drink again?: You betcha!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Hand Crank Compost Shredder

This is my weekend project...anyone have any suggestion to make the design a bit better?  My goal is to make a hand powered compost shredder so that I can breakdown our kitchen scraps before I add them to the compost pile.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Miles driven

For a while now, I have been wanting to keep track of how many miles I drive, both for work and personal use.  Why? Because I am curious about Carbon Offset and how much it would cost to balance out my driving.  A while ago I posted that if everyone lived like I do, it would take 2.75 Earths to sustain us all.  While we can't make a few more Earths, I can reduce my impact on the one we have.

The plan is to enter in how many miles I drive daily into a GoogleDocs form I made. (I can walk you through it if you'd like)  When I pull it up on my phone it looks like this:
All I have to do is select one of the four preset vehicles I drive the most (or other if borrowing/renting a car) enter in the millage and hit submit.  The information is then automatically sent to a spreadsheet which I have posted above. (I am going to be making a button on the homepage for this soon)  At the end of every month, I will sort the raw data into total millage per vehicle and post the results.  I am still looking for good data about the amount of carbon produced for each vehicle and once I find that, I will share it as well.

I am going to try and get work to buy carbon offsets (or many plant enough trees) to offset the amount of carbon released by just one employee over the course of a month or year.

If you would like to do something like this as well, let me know and I can post your information as well.  I can make you the same spreadsheet or you can just post/email me how many miles you drive a month and what kind of vehicle you drive.

You can find out your Ecological Footprint here: