Welcome to The Pauley Principle!

The Pauli Principle, named for Wolfgang Pauli, deals with atoms and electron-sharing that results in new, stronger bonds. Think 2 parts hydrogen and 1 part oxygen, a shared delectable (!) electron and VOILA! Water!

Similarly, when you prepare whole food to share with family and friends, especially foods you've grown, something amazing happens. Meals become tastier and healthier. Your soul, not just your stomach, becomes fulfilled. You live life more abundantly as a result. During a shared meal, the bonds that people create grow stronger and become something new: GREATER than the sum of the parts! I give you The Pauley Principle.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Chicken Condo, in Progress

Measuring 18' X 36', this unit is big enough to house a small family. Instead, it will be a four-room building for housing different kinds of poultry. Little chicks that will become laying hens will be the first inhabitants. The plan includes nesting boxes, a roost, little chicken-sized doors, and a large run outside when the notion hits them. (No, the ducks won't live there. Chris is designing a kind of movable playpen for them that will include a wading pool.)

When this chicken house is finished, most of its inhabitants will be chickens we plan to raise for meat. The process is designed to give them comfortable and healthy living conditions and we plan to do this for several years.

There has been quite a bit of interest as people pass by the farm. Some stop to inquire. We're finding out several people, whether city dwellers or country dwellers, are interested in poultry. Some want a few laying hens in the new "urban farm design". Some want to duplicate what we're doing but on a smaller scale, and some want to enjoy the produce from ours. Occasionally, people take pictures of it. One new friend said he wanted to use some of the design ideas Chris has in the chicken condo for his family home but I'm not sure whether it's the piers he likes or the steel supports for the floor. Maybe it's the ample lighting, complete with skylights. See why I call it the Chicken Condo? By the way, a friend called it that, just in passing, and it stuck.

Whatever the reason, the chicken condo has attracted some attention. Some people are still wondering if it will be for rent soon. If our plan to supplement our groceries with good and good-for-you home-grown produce doesn't work out, it just might!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Good Day for Ducks!

The weather, being what it is, will likely do what she wants to do. Is it a good day for ducks? I asked Chris. His fact du jour was that the ducklings need to stay in their brooder and out of the rain. To allow them to swim in a pool of water could be fatal. The reason: Since Chris became their surrogate mother, they don't have the advantage of their mother's natural oil that penetrates feathers and keeps ducklings afloat on water. Besides, their brooder provides the ducklings a clean, controlled environment with steady temperatures and protection from predators.

It's working. All eleven ducks are healthy and active and, when I visit, they give me a cocked-head sideways look that only ducks can do, like they're thinking I don't know what you are or why you're even here, but I think it's time for you to leave!

Right now Chris is making a movable "schooner" so that when the ducklings can get outside, there won't be a chance for a predator to break through. He's already built a fence, electric and woven wire combined, to keep out the big critters. The ducklings will live inside this schooner that will keep out everything but sunshine, insects and small birds. Chris will move the schooner around the poultry yard from time to time to give the ducks fresh grazing. By the time they get outside, the ducklings should be ready for their wading pool.

All this for table fare? You're right, and here's why. We want to raise a portion of the meat we consume and give the animals a good life. Suppose a person eats 8 oz. of meat a day. The cost of getting started with poultry is a one-time expense, except for maintenance, and with little continued overhead. The cost of producing poultry is considerably less than beef because their weight gain is so rapid!  Raising ducks requires less land than raising a steer, much less time to reach maturity, less feed per pound of weight gain, and we like the meat. So it's a good choice for us. Improved quality of life=improved meat. On top of that, the environmental footprint is greener than it would be with beef.

Is it a good day for ducks? Yes, if you're in an environment that takes care of your every need!!! That's what we're doing! And we'll keep on doing it to the end of their days!

It's all good except for one little problem: I still haven't found the white vintner grapes that I can grow in this locale that would make a really delicious and smooth wine to serve with duck.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lucky Duckies

The post office called at 7 a.m. to let us know our ducklings had arrived, so Chris scrambled out of the house to  pick them up and get them settled into their new home. The photos are from one day later. They weren't a bit camera shy!

This particular variety of duck, the Pekin, will become white later on and are respected as table fare. I know! AWWW! But, look at it this way--we'll give them the best food and care a duckling could possibly get, providing them a very good life!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Three Sisters and Friends

People ask me what they should try to grow if they have a small garden. My first thought: tomatoes! They're so adaptable to meal plans. My second thought: potatoes! No longer relegated to the garden, they are emerging as horticultural plantings for landscapes, make a very pretty ground cover and provide delicious spuds that can be prepared for the table in a multitude of ways. My third thought: "The Three Sisters", quite possibly responsible for the success of both the early native Americans and the immigrants who came later to live and thrive here in America.

In early times, before recorded history in America, the people who inhabited the land would plant beans, corn and squash together. The three vegetables came to be called "The Three Sisters" and became standard. This planting combination had been a brilliant agricultural plan, ingenious in the way the plants complemented each other. The way it worked, stalks of corn provided a structure for climbing beans. In turn, beans brought nitrogen from the air down into their roots and into the soil where the corn, which has to have nitrogen, could use it. Beans and corn together would provide a great protein source, especially important when meat could not be found. Squash provided the perfect vining ground cover to fight weeds and hold in moisture, proving to be even better because it was edible. Our early Americans valued both its flowers and its fruit.

If you have the room, I would suggest all these vegetables but, especially, garden with the three sisters. They worked in olden days in the garden and will continue working today!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Ark of the Chicken Condo

Ohio's rainiest April in recorded history has slowed down progress on the chicken condo only a little. With intense fervor, Chris still gets out there everyday and makes some progress but I am beginning to question what he is building. First, he loves animals and wants some to care for. Second, the rains just keep coming. Third, he's already expanded from chickens into ducks and, fourth, the project keeps growing. I'm convinced that he's building, not a tiny little chicken coop. I think he's building an ARK!

Chickens? I wonder. Chris and I were both involved in and traumatized by the primitive methods of preparing a chicken for the table when we were kids. If more people participated in that process or any other meat preparation, they might develop a greater appreciation and reverence for the animal that gives its life for our sustenance and, as a result, our nation of meat-eaters might consume less meat. Getting back to an intimacy with our food couldn't help but make us healthier as a nation. Children now are so far removed from the source of their meat that the habits of disregarding the life of the animal are well-ingrained and chicken in our country is consumed at an enormous rate! That has led to production practices that often appear to be inhumane.

I'm not the only one who feels this way. The author of The Color Purple, Alice Walker, has chickens in her backyard. I heard her interview on the Diane Reames Show on NPR. Her current experiences with chickens has caused a backlash of childhood memories of chicken day and a renewed reverence for animals. The childhood "trauma" she experienced caused her to try a vegan diet for awhile but she is back now to eating some meat, including chicken occasionally. She has written a memoir of her thoughts, her travel adventures and letters to her chickens. No kidding.

And that brings me back to this project Chris is preparing. Whether it's an ark or a chicken coop, I'm convinced that whatever lives in or around it will be treated with the utmost care and respect with windows and a movable yard where they can "graze" and find insects because chickens like to do that. Will the rains subside? Will we soon learn his true intention? I can only hope. The ducks arrive soon, followed by chicks, and then who knows? If they arrive 2 X 2, from where you sit now, you'll be able to hear me!