Sisters Are Doing It for Themselves: DIY Chicken Feeder

Aloha again, it’s Geoff here for a second guest blog post! Yes, it’s about chickens again, what self-respecting blog-post wouldn’t be about chickens?

So this blog is about being awesome for little or no money, right? Well I am always on the lookout for something that will either make my life easier or cheaper and I like to experiment. Let me throw some light onto a recent chicken-project of mine, the chicken auto-feeder.

A treadle feeder
A treadle feeder

I’d been contemplating getting or making a chicken feeder that allowed me to stop the wild birds eating the girls’ food, whilst also being easy to use for the little feathered egg-machines. I came across this link one day for a treadle feeder. A treadle feeder is just like the one on the left, and consists of a pedal that the chickens stand on which opens a lid, giving the chickens their secured food. This works on the premise that the chickens are heavier (and smarter) than the wild birds, stopping the wild birds from eating all the chicken food.

However, reading through the plans and description of this feeder made me a little queasy…I would need to buy all kinds of equipment and materials to make one! If I wanted to buy one, I found them to be priced around $80 online but with no local distributors! This called for a ‘Plan B’.

Raw ingredients
Raw ingredients

Watching a few chicken videos and tutorials online, I had a brainwave and rushed out to buy a cheap drill-bit for around $4. Stick with this please…

Take the lid from a large plastic milk container and make a circular hole in it with whatever tools you have at hand. I recommend a soldering iron (one that you don’t particularly use that often) to melt the hole, this way you don’t leave any sharp edges. Make the hole pretty small to begin with, just a little larger than the handle of the drill bit. Then, feed the drill bit handle through the hole, leaving the top of the drill bit on the ‘inside’ of the lid. Fill your milk container up with chicken food and carefully screw the lid back on. Hang your milk container upside down and voila, you have an auto chicken feeder!

Chicken feeder

Whenever the chickens tap on the handle, food should fall out of the hole! If it doesn’t look like the food will come out (should be a few pieces at a time), simply make the hole a little larger!

Click HERE to watch a video of the feeder in action.

Total cost…$4. Awesomeness rating…10/10. This is Geoff, signing off…until next time folks!

Free Entertainment and Scottish Shortbread

Scottish Shortbread

I don’t know how things are in your town, but around here it seems like there’s some kind of festival on every other weekend. You can’t walk through the park on a Saturday without seeing a bunch of tents. The best thing about these festivals is that they’re free! And free is for me.

Scottish Soldiers

When weekends roll around, it usually doesn’t take us long to fall into the vultures from The Jungle Book routine. Going to the movies can be so expensive. I love eating out, but that adds up too, in dollars and calories. And shopping is almost always out of the question. Taking in a free cultural festival is a great way to get some exercise and fresh air, learn something about your community, and support local vendors.

Highland Games

Recently we checked out the Scottish festival in Kapiolani Park. I was hoping it would make my husband a little less homesick. They had everything you’d expect. There were bagpipers, rigidly adorable Celtic dancers, medieval combat, dudes in skirts throwing heavy balls, and, of course, haggis.

haggis

You can usually get yourself a pretty tasty lunch at one of these cultural festivals for a decent price. And it’s fun to try stuff you’ve never had before. We didn’t get to stay for lunch this time, but we did try some crazy sodas at the Latin festival a few months back.

latin sodas

When you live in the middle of the ocean, it can be extremely expensive to get off your island. But the park is only a mile away. Ethnic food and music in a beautiful park across from the beach in Waikiki? I don’t mind if I do.

whole shortbread

Of course, you can also make your own ethnic food anytime you want. I don’t get to take vacations. I have to pretend. Don’t worry, I didn’t make you haggis. By far my favorite thing to come out of Scotland is shortbread. It’s simple, sweet, and oh so buttery. Perhaps it’s not as exciting as other things in your cookie jar, but there’s a reason this stuff has been around for hundreds of years. It’s heavenly.

Scottish Shortbread

Scottish Shortbread
Yields 8
Simple buttery shortbread perfection
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
55 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
55 min
Ingredients
  1. 240 grams (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  2. 120 grams (1 cup) sugar
  3. 240 grams (1-1/4 cup) flour
  4. 120 grams (1/2 cup) semolina
Instructions
  1. Stir together the softened butter and sugar in a medium mixing bowl with a wooden spoon. You don’t want to work too much air in.
  2. Sift in the flour and semolina then stir that in as well. I used a combination of a cutting and stirring motion.
  3. On a piece of parchment paper, trace a 9 inch circle.
  4. Empty your mixed dough onto the parchment and knead a few times until smooth.
  5. Press the dough to fill the circle. Pat it around the edges to make it smooth and flat.
  6. Use a pizza cutter or a sharp knife to cut the circle into 8 equal pieces, but don’t move anything.
  7. Prick the dough with a fork all over to prevent rising.
  8. Put the dough in the fridge for about 20 minutes to let it stiffen up.
  9. Place a baking sheet in the oven and preheat it to 325.
  10. Remove the dough from the fridge and place on the preheated baking sheet. Bake for 55 minutes until it is lightly golden.
  11. Remove from the oven and sprinkle evenly with sugar. Recut the shortbread while it’s still warm. Allow to cool on baking sheet.
  12. Try to keep your husband from eating the whole batch in one day. Good luck.
Adapted from Delicious Magazine
http://awesomeon20.com/
 

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A Reason to Celebrate and Swiss and Bacon Dip

I have a confession to make. I haven’t been playing my own game the last couple of months. With my husband being out of work, it’s been a little like Greece around here lately, and not because of an over abundance of pita and hummus. We’ve had to put in place some serious austerity measures. It’s been dour. Decidedly unawesome. I’ve been trying to spend as little money as possible, so $20 a day was definitely out of the question.

Sad times
Sad times

But after more than ten weeks of only a trickle of income from web design projects, my husband was finally offered a job today. I know he is thrilled to have somewhere to go and something to do again. And I’m breathing easier myself knowing that we don’t have to live off of my very meager income.

Awesome times!
Awesome times!

I get to spoil myself again. No, this doesn’t involve Coach bags or trips to the spa. This is real life, kids. Tomorrow I’m going to the ATM and taking out my $140 for the week. Then I’m going to the grocery store and buying myself some chicken breasts so I can actually make some of the recipes on my list. This is what the lower tax brackets get excited about. Chicken. It’s true. And a six pack of ciders. That will probably be in my basket, too.

Swiss and Bacon Dip
Swiss and Bacon Dip served at our wedding. Photo by Lindsey Vandolah

When you get news this good, you have to celebrate. I almost never have a party for which I don’t make Swiss and Bacon Dip. It’s got to be one of the best things I’ve ever put in my mouth. Warm gooey cheese with bacon on sour dough bread. Just look at that sentence.

Every time I make this, it completely disappears. There isn’t a crumb left behind. It’s mind-blowing. So think of an excuse for a party and make this. Just got a haircut? Party. Stubbed your toe? Party. I don’t care, just celebrate. And raise a glass to my husband ’cause he’s totally awesome.

Swiss and Bacon Dip in a Sourdough Bread Bowl

Swiss and Bacon Dip
Serves 6
The most delicious hot dip there is. Gooey Swiss cheese and crisp bacon will blow you away.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 8 slices bacon, chopped (I use scissors)
  2. 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  3. 1/2 cup mayo
  4. 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  5. 10 grinds of pepper
  6. 1-1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
  7. 3 scallions, chopped (use the scissors again)
  8. 1 round loaf of sour dough bread
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Cook your bacon to desired crispiness, which for me is nearly burnt. Drain the bacon on a paper towel.
  3. Add cream cheese, mayo, mustard, and pepper to a mixing bowl and mix until combined and smooth.
  4. Add cheese and scallions and mix to combine. Then throw in the bacon and mix that in, too.
  5. Scoop out the mix into a shallow baking dish. Bake it uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes until gooey.
  6. In the meantime, cut the top out of your bread loaf and pull out the guts of your bread to make a bread bowl. Tear the bread and arrange it on your platter around the loaf.
  7. When the dip is hot, carefully scrape it in to the bread bowl. Steal a piece of bread to clean off the baking dish for taste testing purposes. Don’t skip this step.
  8. You could serve this with carrots or other veggies if you like. I’m not gonna eat that. Really, the bread is all you need.
Adapted from Rachael Ray
Adapted from Rachael Ray
http://awesomeon20.com/
 

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