Crafting with Aaron: Designing & Building a chicken coop
Which came first, the chicken or the coop? Truth be told, getting seven chickens may have been an elaborate excuse to work on a really fun design project: designing an affordable, easy-to-assemble, predator-proof, cool, modern chicken coop. Not sure it matters at this point, it’s done - at least prototype #1 is. I would describe the design as an equal parts Prouve and Eames mash-up made from plywood, aluminum sheet, and, of course, chicken wire. Having never raised chickens before, I knew it was going to be difficult to anticipate all the functional needs, so I figured it would take a few go-rounds to get it totally right. After two weeks of occupancy, the first version seemed to be working pretty well.
When I was a kid, my cousin gave us a chick that we named Peck. We kept Peck for a few months until he grew into a rooster, at which point we returned him to our cousin’s farm in Maine. It was a great, memorable experience from my childhood in which I am hoping my kids will also partake now that they’ve named their chickens...
Anyway, our chickens have just spent their second week in their hip new house, and they seem to be loving it. We are anticipating that they will start producing eggs sometime in the fall, which will give us plenty of time to gather egg recipes and start collecting egg cartons. Here are some pictures of the chickens from weeks 1-5 and some shots of the coop.
Cooking with John: White Bean Salad & Mackerel Ceviche
On a recent fly fishing trip for tarpon in the mangrove flats north of Tampa FLA, I found myself in a familiar situation...needing to prepare food for lunch on our guide’s boat with no kitchen to prep the food. The best fishing places are generally far from anything ---- so the nearest grocery is usually the only option. So I did what I've done before, and put together a simple and tasty picnic for myself and my fishing partner from ingredients I could find in the grocery and that I could put together later on the boat without a kitchen. This is the kind of picnic cooking I have done before, but this is the first time I have written it down.
No Kitchen White Bean Salad
- One loaf of bread per person
- One can of white beans per person, cannelloni are great, great northern are ok
- Premade guacamole, about 4oz per person
- Red onion, pre-chopped if possible
- Lemons or limes
- Little bottle of olive oil
- Flat parsley
- Sweet peppers
- Cherry tomatoes
- Rip the top off the bread and hollow it out to make a bowl.
- Smear about 4 oz of the guacamole on the inside of bread bowl.
- Tear up a hand full of parsley and put in the bottom of the bread bowl. Cilantro would be nicer but doesn't hold up under heat and time as well as flat parsley.
- Next goes the onions to taste and a can of the beans, rinsed if possible. Regarding the beans: if possible get canned beans that come with a pull top so you don't need a can opener or an axe to get it open. The bonus: you can use the top of the can as a knife if you don't have one to cut up the vegetables.
- Toss in the cherry tomatoes and peppers.
- Add olive oil, lemon or lime juice, and salt to taste. Note: canned tuna is a great addition to this if available. I prefer olive oil-packed tuna.
This next recipe originated serendipitously at around 11 AM when I caught a Spanish mackerel. My friend who grew up on the Mediterranean Sea said mackerel is the most preferred fish for making Ceviche, the Spanish dish that involves cooking raw fish in fresh citrus juice. I happened to have a bag of key limes to accompany the bean salad and garnish our gin & tonics; the problem was that we did not have any dishware for mixing the fish (!). We ended up cutting the tops off of plastic water bottles and mixing the civeche in the bodies of the bottles. Many of the same ingredients in the Bean Salad are used for this recipe.
No Kitchen Spanish Mackerel Ceviche
on the Boat
- Catch a Spanish Mackerel or similar firm-fleshed fish. Filet and cube into thumb-sized pieces. Put the the pieces into a plastic water bottle with the top cut off.
- Squeeze enough limes to completely cover the fish .
- Add the chopped red onions, chopped hot pepper, chopped cherry tomatoes, and cilantro (flat parsley will do).
- Add a little olive oil and salt to taste.
- Add Gin to taste
- Mix it all up. If you don't have mixing utensils, you can cut the top off of another plastic water bottle and pour the mixture between the bottles until it is thoroughly mixed. BTW, this technique also works for mixing cocktails if you don't have a shaker.
- Place in a cooler on ice for about hour before serving.
Welcome to our new home:
We are pleased to unveil our new site and blog to you. Over the past six months, our design team has been working diligently to reinvent the way you experience our brand online. First and foremost was to make the site effortless to use and navigate for all of your BUILT shopping needs. Simple in its function and look. We decided to get rid of the clutter - call it “spring cleaning.” We figured you would appreciate the peace and quiet amidst all the noise. Making it more minimal, we realized, gives it a very distinct look compared to the majority; variety, as we all know, is the spice of life. We also want you to get to know us a bit better, so we have added this blog and will be introducing other new content very soon.
In-store like experience
We’ve organized our products so that you can easily find what you need: you come with the what and we’ll figure out the how.
- EAT – Adult, Kids, Kitchen
- DRINK – Wine, Champagne, Beer, Water,
- PLAY – Laptop, iPad, Kindle, E-Reader & Tablet, Camera, Phone Case,
- GO – Totes, Travel
A new addition to our navigation is the category SLOW. In the spirit of simplicity, we've provided a collection of products that are excellent accompaniments for wherever the weekend may take you. You'll want to check back often as this section changes regularly.
- SLOW – Picnic, Beach, Hike, Weekend
New spotlight feature
We know good things always come in threes so we’ve introduced a spotlight section, which will feature three monthly highlights, such as new designs, sales, and inspirations.
A splash of color
We wanted our website to pop like our patterns so we’ve brighten up our colors and added vibrant accents.
We truly hope that you find our site as effortless to use as we do, and we encourage you to take a break from your daily routine and spend a few minutes exploring.
As always your suggestions, comments, and feedback are important to us. Please feel free to let us know what you think and shoot us an e-mail