Green Rascal Design


We've Landed!


Hubby and I are now successfully relocated just south of San Jose, California. People think this is the middle of nowhere because it takes us 20 minutes to reach anything. But we like it.

We brought the chickens with us, and they have a nice big fenced-in yard to scratch around in. There are lots of new things for them to interact with: pocket gophers, giant jerusalem beetles or whatever they're called, blue-bellied lizards... turkeys, peacocks... cows across the street.

The cat made it more or less unscathed. He continues to freak out about certain things. This cottage is a lot smaller than our old house, so he's bummed out about the lack of hiding places. However, that is a small price to pay for all the fun wildlife he gets to now look at.

Our tiny dove, Peet, did not make it. He sadly died the second night here. :( We miss him.

We have been working on a garden here. The landlord said make use of whatever is available, so we have been. Unfortunately I don't have pictures on this computer to share right now. We're learning about things that grow in California. Lots of things are different here, so the learning curve is kinda steep right now. But most things that haven't been eaten by the pocket gophers are doing well. There's a raspberry, strawberry patch, herb garden, vegetable garden (mostly lettuce so far), a small fig, various potted citrus trees, and a pomegranate that's doing really well. I have also prepared a long line of "pots" to plant things in, and a long skinny bed for future tomatoes and hot peppers. In addition, we have partially buried two toilets that we found in the junk pile out back, and put some flower seeds in there.

There was a pretty big junk pile behind the shed where mice had made nests inside an old gas grill, etc. Amongst the true garbage was a small pile of decorative concrete blocks which we will use as a border around something. Not sure what yet. The neighbors took the "dog igloo" to a local shelter that may be able to use it. There were three small dish network satellite dishes, a full table, two partial tables, lots of wood, three task chairs, one folding chair and a poster that says "red elvises." There are also two metal trash cans full of garbage, which we plan to empty over time and then use to grow sweet potatoes.

I'm finishing up one house I've been working on (off and on) for ten years. Hopefully it will get built this year!

There is a logo in the near future for some old friends. That will be fun.

Other than that, I'm not continuing work under Green Rascal Design. This website will probably just get a large overhaul at some point so that the blog can live on. I'm excited about making new connections here around San Jose, and possibly building something else new depending on finding funding for it. So stay tuned. ;)
Dear fluffs,

Why can't you all just get along? I mean really!!

Pepper, what's with picking on Clover in the FUV, or keeping Pumpkin away from the food? They're so much smaller, and you're fat. You don't need all the food/grass. You can afford to share. Especially since Summer is coming, and you know how hot you get with all that fat under those heavy black feathers!

Cinnamon, yes I love you too. If I could hold you all day long I would, but I can't. Mommy's got things to do. I know laying an egg is so dreadful and you think you can't possibly go on without your daily two-hour snuggle, but at some point I do have to put you down. You'll just have to live with it.

Pumpkin, what on Earth is that noise for??? It's so irritating! You're not a rooster, so stop trying to act like one. You've never event MET a rooster! I can't believe such a small birdy can make such a racket! And for goodness sakes, will you please eat the treats when I give them to you? You need to eat more.

Clover, you're such a sweetie. Keep it up. Good birdy. I don't know how you turned out so calm and quiet being raised with Pumpkin, but I thank my lucky stars.

Sugar, you're a mess. I don't know what's up with you, but I really wish you could speak English instead of Chickenese. That thing you "laid" earlier today... WTF? You poor sick little birdy. You should take better care of yourself. Get ready for a bath tomorrow, because gurl, you need it bad!

Alright everybirdy, I know things are tough with all this rain, but you lived through the hurricane last year. Things are not as bad as you think they are, so please cut out the whining.

Also, good job on the eggs lately. You've been keeping them pretty clean, and I really appreciate it. The lovely women who buy them from me really appreciate it too. I know they say they don't mind a little poop, but I think secretly they do mind, and the greatly reduced poop-on-egg level is really awesome.

Now if only we could get you to wipe your feet...

Well that's all for today. Now mommy has a networking event to go to, so be good for daddy. You know how he is. There are a bunch of strawberries for you if

Love you,
young Nutmeg, before she grew her comb
Nutmeg was always watching the camera.
Nutmeg was usually closest to the camera.
Nutmeg loved to be held and petted.
Nutmeg loved to be in the grass.
I'll miss sweet little Nutmeg.
Things have been SO BEAUTIFUL out, that it has been difficult to focus on work.

It's now too hot for the chickens. They're being very demanding, and want to be out in the grass nearly all the time. But they continue to lay about 4 eggs a day, and we have way too many eggs now.

All the plants are putting out their leaves. Our trellis is almost looking happy again! I tied the blackberry and raspberry canes in interesting shapes so they look less messy, and hopefully will be easier when it's time to pick berries. Hubby threw down a seed mixture he'd concocted after reading several examples of other people doing so, with mixed results. The plants are all clumped together, so I'm worried about over-crowding.

Happy St. Patty's


So it's March! It has been pretty warm around here, and the chickens have been laying eggs like there's no tomorrow. We weren't expecting it, but are happy to report that Pepper has laid two brown eggs in the last 3 days! This means she wasn't totally broken by last summer's heat wave that ended her season prematurely! The Marans breed isn't the best for egg production, so it would've been fine with us if she never laid another one. But I am just so happy to have a couple brown eggs!
Now we're in garden prep mode. Have been for a while. The beds are anxiously waiting the first seeds. Traditionally St Patty's Day is when you plant peas, and they're the first seeds we would be putting out. Except it has been so warm that we broadcast some white clover seeds in some bare spots around the yard already. The trick will be to keep the chickens away from them until they sprout. I was not expecting the birds to want such tiny seeds, but they do. sigh!

This weekend is the annual borough St Patty's Day parade. It's a big deal 'round these parts. I had no idea bagpipes were SO popular! And there are also a lot of little girls involved in traditional Irish dance. (forgive me for not knowing what that's called and being too lazy to look it up!) Anyway, to celebrate we hope to have a new batch of mead done. We made a strawberry mead and also an apple mead. Hopefully one will be Irish enough for the holiday. (I could just dye the apple mead green...)

Besides the St Patty's traditional pea planting and beer drinking, I've been very busy networking. Just the other day I met someone from the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture. This, less than a week after hearing this talk from the founder of Double Brook Farm, and our participation in the Plymouth Whitemarsh EcoFest later that night. It has been a great week for Green!!

Oh! And this week I was featured on Eggzy's blog. They started a new series called Featured Flock Owner. Check it out!

Eggs Over Medium


Suddenly the chickens are in full egg production mode. It seems like the little windows we put in their new house were quite appreciated on cold mornings when we've kept them inside until after breakky... and the warm weather has allowed their door to be open much earlier for most of the year so far...

In the last week of January we slowly started accumulating eggs. I think this is about a month ahead of last year! Now on the 10th day of February we have gotten 31 eggs since they started laying on 1-25-12. Our cost per egg is under $1 for the first time in two and a half months, and it seems that soon I'll have to start selling them.

By the way, if you're interested in buying:

Pumpkin says:


Happy Halloween!

Isn't she just the perfect Halloween birdy? She's orange and black and goofy all over the place. And the hearts are adorable.

Ok, so I'm a little bit early with Halloween wishes, but it's better to be early than late. That's according to mom. This week is going to be busy! And we have a birthday party to go to this weekend. So let's not waste time. Here are more Pumpkin pics.
Whether you like it or hate it, there is just something about egg salad...

When you have 4 dozen eggs in your fridge and you don't know what to do, there's something about egg salad...


Blue Egg Day


This is it! We got our first blue egg! I believe it is from Clover - our little blue wheaten. It's very small, but so adorable!
first ameracauna egg!
today's eggs
We haven't been on vacation, if that's what you're thinking. It has been super busy this week with the garden and extracurriculars.
raspberry and blackberry bushes
I counted the jars of strawberry jam, and we have ten. Some strawberries are still in the freezer awaiting rhubarb season. There is also a gallon of strawberry wine bubbling in the basement. Since strawberry season ended and raspberry season has begun, we have canned 3 jars of raspberries. I will soon start to make raspberry vodka. Blackberries are on their way now, too.

We stopped trying to harvest sugar snap peas. They're just plain old peas now. The same is true for the lettuce. We just got sick of salads.

The kale and swiss chard is harvestable now. I know that's not a word.

And the tomatoes started invading the walking paths, so I had to spend an hour tying them up on the little trellis things that have been there for months with no action.
monster tomato plants
You can't even see the trellis things anymore because the tomato plants are THAT big. There are lots of tomatoes starting already.

The chickens have been integrated for a little while now. Pumpkin and Clover still get picked on a little bit, but there is very little screaming in the morning.

Also in that picture you can see a little bit of the new house we've been slowly working on. Now, this is NOT fine home-building. I read Fine Homebuilding, and our skills in no way match those of the professional builders you read about in that fine publication. However, the chickens are much happier now that they have more space and more private nest boxes. They can also go underneath the new house and roll around out of the sun where it's cooler.

In my backlog of tasks is the new shade device for the chicken cage. Eventually it will be fabulous, I promise. Ok, well maybe not FABulous...

Now away from home-base, there has been a lot going on all over the place. First, I had a chance to go see a potential project out in the middle of nowhere on Swamp Pike. It needs a TON of work, and I'm not sure how the potential clients intend to pay for all of this. But I need to write up a short proposal and send that off to them. That was Monday, and I feel bad it's been this long.

Tuesday after my regular work I went to The Power Lunch Project/King of Prussia Business Networking Group's speed networking event. It was really fun and interesting, and I'm glad I went. However, I still need to reach out to most of the people I met there.

Wednesday after my regular work I went to the Women in Architecture/SMPS presentation on networking at the Center For Architecture in Philly. There, too, I had a lot of fun and met interesting people. The speaker, Aimee Lala, was really cool, and I hope to rope her into talking to the 422 ARCH attendees about networking in AEC as well.

Thursday I had to go get chicken feed because we were completely out. The trip to Pickering Valley is fairly long, and so I ran other errands on the way. This all prevented any real work from getting done, but sometimes you just gotta do "office management." haha. I'm still recovering...

Today I had real work to do, and I'm happy that my one rammed-earth house project is under-way. I still have no idea how this "observation tower" is going to work! BUT at least I can entertain new networking contacts with the story of my rammed-earth design.

Luckily the new Rascal business cards arrived in time for all of this networking!
Rascal business card
latest card
Right now I LOOOOOOOOOVE the new card. Sometimes I just stare at it. It might be a little minimalist, which one may think is the antithesis of all that the Rascal stands for... but we're happy. Of course we are. I wouldn't be sharing them here if we thought they sucked. (notice how I've never shared a biz card here before?) So wrap your pretty little heads around that one!

Plus, it's prime Cancer season... I have lots of friends and relatives born under the sign of Cancer, so here's a shout out to all of them and a heads-up to say I did indeed send out birthday cards. Recycled paper with soy based inks, no less.

Have a great weekend!