20 March 2014

The chickens through winter

The Coop in winter

I took up raising chickens this fall.
It was something my mostly Finnish spouse wanted to do, but I ended up taking the bulk of the duties. Thus far we only have 2 hens- a Sebright Golden  and a New Hampshire Red. We had another one but that is a story for another day. They spent the winter in the coop you see above. And it was a really cold winter. I did not heat the coop so the hens needed to produce their own heat.
I did not have a heat source mostly because the coop is so small ad there is no safe spot for a heat lamp. I also read from many chicken raisers that you let the hens produce the heat by supplementing their feed with corn. I also insulated 3/4s of the coop. 
Now that it is spring, I am pleased to announce that they survived the rugged Dakota winter.
The only thing I learned is that they need better ventilation in winter. Lots of condensation built up inside.
I had a cloth over the door on the majority of the winter. The hens have not figured it out- except perhaps the bantam. Although she seems to have fallen out the door because they often build up straw near the opening.
So far only a half dozen eggs. The Red started laying infrequently early last month.

18 March 2014

The mall is dead- long live the mall

Found a particularly interesting website devoted to dead malls and the shifting of cultural gathering places.

I am a bit fascinated by suburban decay and enclosed malls certainly have claim to be the dinosaurs of the rot. My other favorite is the repurposed fast food joints.

Back where I grew up in the Grove, there were 2 malls- Grove Plaza and Cottage Square. Grove Plaza still exists- although it certainly has waned in the last decade. It went through a mid-life crisis in the early 80s when one anchor left. In the 90s it saw the K-Mart leave and the movie theater waver from existence to existence but it still had high occupancy. The fast food in on one end of the parking lot went from KFC to Burger King to destroyed. The café on the other side of the parking lot started out as a Sambos and then became locally owned Jerry's and then destroyed and rebuilt as a video store of some kind.
Cottage Square was a more modern enclosed style mall. It had a central hall with skylights. It was anchored on one side by a hardware store and on the other a Synder's drug store. Conco shoes was also a central anchor of sorts in earlier times but became bingo parlor later. The mall also had a few restaurants in addition to a plethora of little specialty stores and the Bulletin License center. The mall met its demise in the last decade. It was razed and Norris Square, a senior living facility was built on the site. What plagued Cottage Square was it was on the wrong side of town. Most of the new growth in the city was on the other side of 61 on the south side of the Jamaica corridor. If the Square were built where the Target stands today- it would probably still be around.