Month: March 2008

The Economies of Keeping Chickens

When I first decided to build a chicken coop, there were 2 reasons. The first was that my daughter wanted chickens. The second was that the idea of fresh eggs was appealing and I thought it would be economical. A recent article at the Washington Post talks about the price of eggs going up 30% since last year. It got me to thinking how much does it cost me to keep my hens? Now, I originally spent about $300 to put together my chicken coop, not including labor and I’ve probably spent another $30 on the roofing material and the safety hinges for the nesting box roof (don’t want that lid slamming down on any kiddie fingers), and figure around $10 per hen to get them and raise them to the point they are laying eggs. That means my first egg cost me a whopping $370. Figuring that they each eat about 1/4 lb of feed and free range (There is a great web page here about grass fed chickens), that’s about 30lbs of feed a month, so I spend about $6 on feed for the month. I estimated that I get around 5 eggs per week from each hen (Although in reality they’ve been laying every day like clockwork!), and there are 4 weeks in a month. So I should get around 80 eggs a month. That means...

Read More

Switching to Raw Milk

A couple of month ago, I was over at a friend’s house and they had a container of “Raw Milk”. I thought this was an incredible novelty because I’d always thought that it was illegal for unpasteurized milk to be sold in America. I did a little digging and found out that this is not true. Here is the law: FDA law CFR 1240.61 states that it is illegal for anyone to transport raw dairy products across state lines “in final package form for direct human consumption unless that product has been pasteurized.” It turns out that Organic Pastures up in Fresno, CA produces raw milk and it is available at our local Henry’s market. Little did I know of the controversy surrounding the drinking of raw milk. The two sides can probably best be summarized with these two PowerPoint presentations: Against drinking it: www.cfsan.fda.gov/~ear/milksafe/milksafe.ppt Rebuttal : www.realmilk.com/ppt/08rawmilk.ppt The main arguments seem to be that because we put our cows in such crappy living conditions, they are sick all the time and pumped full of drugs to keep them “healthy”, so we must pasteurize their products so that the pathogens they are living in don’t get passed on to us. I don’t see this argument being much different than last year when we had that big break out of E. Coli in all the bagged spinach, or the recent...

Read More

Useless Gadgets I’ve Seen On Amazon.com

This may become a regular feature. I’m all about simple living. Or, as my wife has put it, she’s got me on the “crap-reduction plan.” So a friend of mine told me about this, and I couldn’t believe that there was an actual device (and apparent patent) for cracking an egg. Seriously, can there be a more useless item to spend $6.98 on? Sadly, the item is offered by Amazon seller “Get Organized“ Shouldn’t one of the first rules of being organized be “Don’t buy crap you don’t need, are never going to use, are uni-taskers and will just sit there collecting...

Read More

Taking The Train

I ride MetroLink. The trains aren’t exactly something you set your watch by. I have a lot of fun reading the site at www.metrolinktrainriders.com which reports the delays and other information that www.metrolinktrains.com doesn’t seem to have readily available to us commuters. Now, at my company, I’m a big fan of the phrase “No Surprises”. I tell my direct reports that I don’t care how bad the news is, the worst thing in the world that can happen is that I’m in a meeting with my boss and he asks me about some issue or other that I haven’t been told about – wether it’s a project running late, a production support issue, or buggy software. I extend the same courtesy to my bosses – after all I don’t want them caught out in the cold either. So it really surprises me when a large company like Metrolink that runs our trains into downtown LA seems to do it’s best to keep it’s riders in the dark about delays. Everyone knows delays happen, but when the causes keep getting swept under the rug – I have to wonder why they even bother to hide it? It’s not like we can do much about it – it would be nice to have a website i can check in the morning or even an email subscription alert go out when trains...

Read More

Extracting User List from AD Groups in SharePoint Sites For All Site Users

There is a nice web part called “Site Users” that will display SharePoint users and SharePoint Groups that have access to the site on the webpage.  This is an out of the box (OOTB) webpart, but will only display the name of the AD group and not the members within it. In order to display all the user names for the site, we need to create a custom webpart to handle this additional expansion that will query the Active Directory LDAP store.  Time to fire up Visual Studio…I won’t go into all the details for solution set up, but here’s the basic functionality… First we create a function where we pass in an AD group and get back a StringCollection of the users’ names: //Query Active Directory to get users from Active Directory Groups public StringCollection GetGroupMembers(stringstrGroup) { StringCollection groupMemebers = new StringCollection(); try { DirectoryEntry ent = new DirectoryEntry(LDAP://OU=yourCompanyOU,DC=yourCompanyDC); DirectorySearcher srch = new DirectorySearcher(“(CN=” + strGroup + “)”); SearchResultCollection coll = srch.FindAll(); foreach (SearchResult rs in coll) { ResultPropertyCollection resultPropColl = rs.Properties; foreach (Object memberColl in resultPropColl["member"]) { DirectoryEntry gpMemberEntry = new DirectoryEntry(“LDAP://”+ memberColl); System.DirectoryServices.PropertyCollection userProps = gpMemberEntry.Properties; //getting user properties from AD object obVal = userProps["displayName"].Value; object obAcc = userProps["sAMAccountName"].Value; if (null != obVal) { groupMemebers.Add( “User Name:” +obAcc.ToString() + “, User login name:” + obVal.ToString() + “<br>”); } } } } catch (Exception ex) {//writer.Write(ex.Message);} Return...

Read More

Chicken Coop Update

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to spend a few moments to update, so I thought I’d spend some time talking about the chicken coop and some of the upgrades it has recently gone through. It now has a composite roof and the nesting boxes are now finished. I decided to only cut holes for 2 of the boxes and use the third box for storage. I was at Lowe’s this weekend trying to find some suitable roofing material in order to protect the plywood roof – most of what I found was either to heavy (clay...

Read More