Chickens Love Colorado Springs!

IMG_2069-300x225Welcome to Hungry Chicken Homestead! Ten hungry chickens live here as well as some other animals, and people who know where the food is stored.

The chickens love Colorado Springs and want to tell you about local farms and small businesses right here in our community!  Chickens know a thing or two about the importance of a good flock and good things to eat.  Likewise, people benefit from knowing their neighbors and knowing where to get good food!

Click for listings telling you where to buy food grown or produced right here in our neck of the woods.

We hope you’ll find a little inspiration for your own story too!

Coffee in Colorado Springs: Rosco’s Coffee House

What is that place on the corner of Bijou & Walnut? And why is there a burro standing out in front of it?

Rosco the Coffeehouse Burro

I passed by Rosco’s Coffee House at least a hundred times last year and wondered what it was. It’s such an odd building, a hundred year old thing that looks like a house, standing next to a wig shop that also looks like a house. People would sit outside sometimes, but it wasn’t until somebody asked me why they had seen a burro on that corner that I decided I really had to know.

Rosco's coffee offerings

It turns out that Rosco’s is the pet project of Tony & Jann White and Rosco the Burro is Tony’s Burro Racing partner.

“Jann does most of the work,” quips Tony, “I’m just the face of the donkey.”

The Whites started up this coffee shop because they wanted to do something for the neighborhood. They’ve owned the building since 2006 and had noted that while the east side of the Bijou I-25 bridge teems with businesses, the west side doesn’t have much. The area has been gaining some neighborhood hangouts in the past few years, like 503W and Brother Luck Street Eats, and they felt it was time to add a coffee shop.

The building itself was built in 1901 and has been everything from a grocer to a pharmacy to a “phone room”. It was owned by the Musick family and used as a drugstore and pharmacy from 1913 to 1921 and you can imagine Tony’s surprise when Jenna Musick walked across the street and asked for a job! What an interesting coincidence, especially considering that Jenna had not known her family had a connection to the building.

Rosco's Food

I am a huge fan of this coffee shop! I schedule meetings there all the time because …

Rosco's special coffees

  • It’s quiet and you can nearly always find a table. They don’t play loud music and you can hear what everyone says. They even have a conference room upstairs that we can use once we’ve bought our cups of coffee
  • The coffee is really good and the baristas are friendly
  • They have local art shows and we are always inspired by the interesting art on the walls
  • There is always a chance that Rosco will join our meeting. No business meeting is complete without a burro, I always say.

Rosco's coffee mugs

Rosco actually announces his visits and you can follow along on their Facebook page. They also announce book signings and other events on that page. Recently, they had a “Run with Rosco” contest to see who would get to go with Rosco on a training run. Rosco and Tony are a Pack Burro racing team, in which they run five to 25 mile races together. Pack Burro Racing stems from mining days and they have had formal races in Fairplay since 1949.

“It’s definitely a team sport. You have to have patience,” says Tony.

Check out Rosco’s at 432 W. Bijou St., immediately west of the I-25 exit. And if you see Rosco the Burro, tell him I said hello!

Rosco the Burro

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©Hungry Chicken Homestead 2016

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Managing Money on the Homestead

Homesteading is a lot of things. It’s gardening, raising animals, cooking, fixing things and lots of other activities, but there is one we never seem to talk about.

Money management.

Now I admit, this topic doesn’t have the potential for belly laughs like raising animals and it’s not as immediately useful as a recipe for the kale growing in the backyard, but if you really want to beat a path to a peaceful, self-reliant homesteading lifestyle then learning how to make the most of your money can’t be neglected.

Glory says she wants expensive cat food and I had better come up with the cash to pay for it!

Glory says she wants expensive cat food. I had better manage my money, that stuff isn’t cheap!

It seems to me that besides the obvious enjoyment of making things for ourselves, homesteading  helps us feel more secure and grounded in a world full of mysterious black boxes. We rely on many things that we don’t understand and can’t control, things like the process that brings food to the grocery stores, the energy that runs our furnaces and stoves, and even the technology that makes so much communication possible. Homesteading brings some of this back into our control and makes the world a little simpler again by making us more self-reliant.

Whether we like it or not, money is part of that equation. Managing money in a way that makes it available in an emergency isn’t all that different than putting in solar panels or raising chickens for eggs. All of these activities bring your ability to meet your family’s needs back into your control.

Don’t worry if you have no idea how to do this. Most people don’t. The only reason I know anything about it is because I had to learn when my late husband died and I had the good luck to get a referral to a money manager I could trust. That person taught me how to manage our small nest egg in a way that gave me the opportunity to quit my corporate job and start my business … a business where I work from home, sometimes with a house chicken in my lap! That’s what I really want from life, house chicken and all, and money management was the key to making that happen.

Randi Chicken prefers to spend her time in the big, fancy coop with me.

Randi Chicken appreciates that I can work from home.

With all that in mind, let me introduce you to Bill Stanley, the Money Coach, if you haven’t already seen him on television or heard him on the radio. Bill kind of reminds me of my dad. He has had a long, successful career as a financial advisor and while he still takes a few clients, what he really wants to do now is help people like us. He has a website with hundreds of free articles and has given me permission to link to them here and in my newsletter. Incidentally, Bill also wrote an article about the Chicken Coop Tour in 2013.

I asked Bill for some simple tips about where to start and he referred me to an article called 10 Rules for Financial Success. If it seems confusing and overwhelming, as money often does, just start with rule #1, Have Financial Goals. What do you want for your future? Do you want land for goats? To pay off your house? To quit your job? How much money do you need? Everything starts with the goals and choosing goals is fun.

Do you have questions? Bill told me he would be happy to answer our questions, free of charge. You can contact him at MoneyCoachBill@aol.com.

Believe me, I know financial planning can be dull and overwhelming, but I’m also living proof that it’s worth it.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go clean up after the house chicken.

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©Hungry Chicken Homestead 2016

Join Chickens on the Mailing List to learn about Colorado Springs locally-owned businesses, keep up with local homestead & garden events and read stories about the hilarious homestead chickens!

 

Colorado Springs Local Business: Frog on a Limb Primitives

What is a primitive? You’re probably asking yourself that question and rest assured that I wondered too. I also asked Jessica, the owner of Frog on a Limb Primitives in Monument, CO, but the answer quickly faded in importance thanks to Jessica’s distracting homemade candy.

Colorado Springs homemade candy

I know. I should pay closer attention, but at some point during our discussion of how primitives are a style of decor in which old things made into something new with a vintage look, we began to discuss how they are made. Jessica makes the lion’s share of the items in the store and she was telling me how she learned from her great-grandmother, grandmother, mother and her father.

“From the time I could pull a stool to a sewing machine, I have been doing this,” she explained.

Colorado Springs homesteading store

One of the things she does is make mixes for baked goods and candy. She makes the packages, like the one above, herself.

This is about as far as we got because at that point she opened up a handmade package and gave me a piece of her homemade candy. It was a huge piece of bavarian cream brittle.

“Here. Try this,” she said, handing me this generous piece of candy.

“Oh, my,” I thought to myself. “How am I going to decline to eat this much sugar before lunch without offending her.”

I took the candy and delicately tasted it. Jessica continued telling her story about staying with her grandparents as a kid, where they gardened, carved soap, made wreaths and salt dough instead of watching TV or playing video games. I tasted the candy again, eventually holding it between my teeth as I took notes.

And then the candy took over. I was committed. It was too big to talk around and too tasty to waste.

It takes a long time to eat that much brittle and it’s hard to focus on anything else while you’re enjoying it. I’m sure everyone will understand when I say I didn’t really get the rest of the story, but I did take a lot of pictures and can show you what’s in the store.

Colorado Springs Homesteading store 2

Handmade Cake candles!

Handmade candles

Handmade rolled candles

Chocolate Merlot Cake Mix

Chocolate Merlot Cake Mix

Handmade spice blends

Handmade tea & spice blends

Local Honey!

Local Honey!

Oh no! More candy!

Oh no! More candy!

Colorado flour, sugar and even black pepper!

Colorado flour, sugar and even black pepper!

You’ll also want to know that they offer Colorado meats, including bison and chicken.

Colorado meat

And they offer classes.

Colorado Springs Homesteading Classes

As of this writing, here is the schedule…

April 23 straw bale gardening 2pm – 4pm
April 30 candlemaking 12 noon – 4pm
May 7 straw bale gardening 2pm – 4pm
May 28 canning class. Bread and butter pickles 12 noon – 4pm

Visit the shop at 341 Front Street in Monument, CO (a block north of Main St. in Old Monument) or call them at 719-481-8888 to sign up

And whatever you do, don’t eat the candy until after the class or you won’t learn anything!

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©Hungry Chicken Homestead 2016

Join Chickens on the Mailing List to learn about Colorado Springs locally-owned businesses, keep up with local homestead & garden events and read stories about the hilarious homestead chickens!

Colorado Springs, It’s time to order your farm share!

Have you ordered your farm share yet?

Colorado Springs Local Farm AVOG CSA in Color 2

You might not know it, but several Colorado farms and farm co-ops deliver farm shares (aka CSA shares) to Colorado Springs every week. I have personally tried three different farms and enjoyed them all. I’ll share them with you here, but first I want to explain why I always order a farm share…

  1. I save a lot of money on produce by ordering direct from the farm. Farm shares are calculated on wholesale prices, which means you get a whole lot more organically grown food for your money.
  2. As you are probably aware, I want my money to support our local economy and to keep farms in business. I love farms. CSA programs help the farms get the most for their products and keep the land in the family.
  3. The food I get in my farm share is incredibly fresh! Grocery stores have to bring food in by truck and do all kinds of time consuming things to get the food to the consumer. The farm share produce, on the other hand, gets delivered directly to me, with no downtime in the truck and on the shelf.
  4. It’s wonderfully convenient to pick up the share and have all the produce I need for the week. Every winter, I lament the endless trips to the grocery store. I have to find parking, weave in and out of cart traffic and sift through a lot of food I don’t want to find what I do want. It seems like such a waste of time after the quick CSA pickups in the summer.

That’s why I always order a share and why I think you should too.

Colorado Springs Local Farm AVOG CSA Sept 12

Now, here are the CSA programs I’ve tried…

Venetucci Farm: I’m sure you’ve heard of Venetucci Farm, just south of Colorado Springs. I bought into their program two years in a row. You have to order early to get in. They have a limited number of shares. As of this writing, some are still available, but don’t procrastinate!

Reasons to choose this program:

Austin Family Farm is located in Paonia, CO, on the western slope. They sell fruit/vegetable shares and fruit-only shares. I often find myself ordering a fruit share in mid-summer and wishing I hadn’t waited that long.

Reasons to choose this program:

  • Fruit! I’ve gotten Colorado peaches, pears, grapes, apples, apricots & plums. You may have heard me recite whole odes to their concord grapes in the fall. They taste just like grape candy, but they’re really grapes!
  • If you are a member of this program, you can order extra items from their weekly produce list. This is convenient if you want to preserve some food for winter … or if you just want to eat a whole lot of concord grapes.

Arkansas Valley Organic Growers (AVOG): AVOG is a co-op of nine or ten family farms south of Colorado Springs, with most of them located in the Arkansas Valley, east of Pueblo. Larga Vista and Venetucci are both members of the co-op, as is Hobbs Family Farm and others you may have seen at the Colorado Farm and Art Market.

Reasons to choose this program:

  • AVOG offers many share add-ons, like meat, cheese, jam and honey.
  • AVOG has the widest variety of pickup locations of the three CSAs listed here.

This year, I’m signed up with Ahavah Farm. Egg shares are still available, but they have sold out of produce shares.

See! You’ve got to be quick! Sign up now and save yourself money, time and aggravation at the grocery store all summer.

Colorado Springs Local Farm AVOG Midsummer

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©Hungry Chicken Homestead 2016

Join Chickens on the Mailing List to learn about Colorado Springs locally-owned businesses, keep up with local homestead & garden events and read stories about the hilarious homestead chickens!

Colorado Springs Local Business: Greenclean

I spoke with the owner of Greenclean this morning, but I can’t tell you who that is. I wouldn’t have to kill you or anything of great hyperbole like that, but they might not clean my house again.

As you may recall, cleaning is very important here on the homestead. Between the people and the animals, nothing stays clean very long.

Greenclean and the Pigeon

For example, this pigeon escaped her cage today and laid an egg in the bathroom. You see why we think we’re Greenclean’s oddest client.

You see why I protect my relationships with cleaning services.

I chatted with Larisa Janzen, Greenclean’s manager. She and the mysterious owners were part of the same service organization when they decided to hire a manager. Larisa took over and used to do most of the cleaning, but just recently she had a baby. She brought this adorable little person with her to the chaos that ensued at the appointment.

I had been out for the morning and arrived at home to find Larisa, the baby, and her crew of two cleaners waiting for me.

“Oh no!”, I exclaimed as we walked in the door. “I forgot to straighten up!”

They smiled and said this was ok. I learned later that my house, for all its many occupants, is actually neater and less cluttered than some.

I suppose people all over town have chickens laying in the house ... another unlooked for thing that happened this morning.

I suppose people all over town have chickens laying in the house … another unlooked for thing that happened this morning.

I asked again about the products they use to clean. With all these animals, I am very concerned about poisons in my house.

“We learned recently that you could actually eat these products without getting sick,” responded Adea, a member of the crew. “Maybe you wouldn’t want to, but you could.”

It occurs to me that the crew is concerned about poisons too, since they work with this stuff all day. I watched them for a while. They used baking soda or vinegar when they needed to boost the cleaning power of these seemingly edible products and I was satisfied with the result.

At the end of two hours, my house was clean! Even the stove was clean, which I consider nothing short of a miracle!

Adea gave me the stove cleaning recipe, which I’ll share with you. “Mix baking soda and water into a paste that is somewhere between the consistency of toothpaste and pudding”, as Adea colorfully puts it. Put it on the burnt stuff stuck to the stove and leave it for a couple hours. When you come back, spray it with vinegar and then rinse.

I don’t know if I’ll ever use this recipe. I’d rather have Greenclean come back and do it for me. And  I think they will, since I kept their secret.

***

©Hungry Chicken Homestead 2016

Join Chickens on the Mailing List to learn about Colorado Springs locally-owned businesses, keep up with local homestead & garden events and read stories about the hilarious homestead chickens!

– See more at: http://hungrychickenhomestead.com/2016/03/10/colorado-springs-local-business-furry-friends-pet-food-delivery/#sthash.fqDNqfZ1.dpuf

Colorado Springs Local Business: Furry Friends Pet Food & Delivery

“Wow, those cookies look really good!”, murmured a fellow shopper at Furry Friends. “I want to eat one.”

“Sometimes people do eat them,” replied Debbie Brookham, co-owner of Furry Friends Inc. an adorable pet supply shop at Woodmen and Rangewood roads in northern Colorado Springs. “They are meant for dogs, but are fine for people too, even if they are a little surprised at how they taste.”
Dog Food Delivery Colorado Springs 1

We laughed, but that didn’t stop me from wanting to eat them.

This family business started out as a franchise of another business back in 2002. Debbie’s life has followed a similar trajectory to mine, making it fun to talk to her.

“I used to work in the corporate world,” Debbie would say.

“So did I!”, I would say.

“I got burnt out.”

“So did I!”

“I knew there was something out there where I could share my love for the dogs and make a living.”

“Me too! …. Ok, well, share my hilarity at the chickens, at least.”

And so on.

The Brookham family really know dogs and soon disengaged from the franchise, wanting the freedom to do better. They began by creating their own blend of food with a pet food nutritionist. They had plenty of testers and it was certain that the food would be well-regarded by dogs.

“I grew up with dogs,” she explains. “When we downsized, I just told people we got smaller dogs…but we got more of them!”

Dog Food Delivery Colorado Springs 2

Once the dogs had approved the food, they began delivering it, much to the delight of pet owners from Pueblo to Denver! They have their own brands of food for dogs in different stages of life and different needs. They even consult with people on the best way to feed their furry friends.

“Our mission is to create healthy lives by bringing people and pets together through good nutrition,” Debbie explained. As a person whose best friend is a cat with an outsized personality, this makes sense to me. The healthier Patience the Cat is, the less I fret.

Furry Friend

Debbie loves meeting people and as much as she enjoys the dog food delivery business, she wanted to help people and their pets more directly. Opening the store was a way to do this.

Not only can you buy food and toys off the shelf at Furry Friends, but you can wash your dog! The “Beach Club” has several human-waist-high tubs with steps leading up, making it easy for bather and bathee.

Dog Food Delivery Colorado Springs 3

They have a floor level shower too, for the biggest dogs.

Dog Food Delivery Colorado Springs 4

Visit Furry Friends at 3586 C Hartsel Dr.  Colorado Springs, CO 80920 or call the store: 719-495-7387. You can also request a free sample of their food.

You know what else Debbie told me? Furry Friends could add chicken feed to their delivery offerings if there is enough interest. I hope you’re interested because I sure am! Take this one-question survey to let us know what you think!

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©Hungry Chicken Homestead 2016

Join Chickens on the Mailing List to learn about Colorado Springs locally-owned businesses, keep up with local homestead & garden events and read stories about the hilarious homestead chickens!

Colorado Springs Local Business: Yoga with Christina Thai Bodywork

“I’m not really very open-minded about alternative treatments,” I explained awkwardly. “But Lori says it’s helping her joints, so I figured I’d give it a try.”

“It’s ok,” responded Christina. “Think of it like having yoga done to you.”
Thai Bodywork Colorado Springs 1

I wasn’t sure what to expect and I figure readers might not know either. Here is how it works:

  • First, thai bodywork is done with the client fully clothed (unlike traditional massage). It’s good to wear comfortable clothes, but Christina has plenty of loose one-size-fits-all clothes to lend if you’re coming from work in a suit.
  • You, the client, sit or lie on a futon on the floor. It’s clean. Every client gets a new sheet, just like in traditional massage.
  • Just like traditional massage, you start out by telling Christina what hurts, what’s stiff, etc. She uses this information to help you.
  • When the massage starts, Christina tells you to sit or lie on your side or back or whatever. You will move around during the therapy.
  • It’s helpful to breathe deeply during parts of the work. Christina will coach you on this, but I’ll note that I found it helpful to bring some water. She has water if you forget, I just like my own fancy bottle.
  • Some of the work is pretty ordinary massage, but since Christina is moving you around, she is better able to get at specific muscles. She will also move your arms and legs around (This is the “having yoga done to you” part). I like to pretend I’m Raggedy Anne when she does this. It’s helpful if you can disassociate yourself from your limbs for a while.

Thai yoga bodywork colorado springs 2

I was skeptical, but after three treatments, my troublesome shoulder has a lot more mobility and doesn’t hurt as much. I’ll also note that Thai bodywork doesn’t seem to hurt as much as deep tissue massage. I bought a whole package of treatments, despite not really understanding how this works.

I did ask. Christina explained that this is a form of massage, movement and energy therapy. Basically, she is trying to create space for blood and other important fluids to get into and heal whatever is causing the problem. She does this by compressing, warming and stretching the muscles.

Thai yoga bodywork Colorado Springs 3

My sessions usually start with Christina trying to compress the muscles in my neck & shoulders.

It also involves more abstract energy work, which I can’t explain to you. As I mentioned, I’m not very open-minded about those things. Christina didn’t take this personally at all. “I’m a very practical person. I’m not going to be sitting there talking about rainbows and moonbeams.”, she said. “Not everyone needs to understand about the moonbeams to feel better. I meet you where you are at.”

Thai yoga bodywork Colorado Springs 4

And where am I? I am at my Crossfit gym doing pull ups again because my shoulder is so much better. If you’d like to try this for yourself, contact Christina at 719-422-9642 or visit her website, YogaWithChristina.com. She offers 20% off your first treatment. It’s worth a try. What have you got to lose? You can even keep your skepticism.

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©Hungry Chicken Homestead 2016

Join Chickens on the Mailing List to learn about Colorado Springs locally-owned businesses, keep up with local homestead & garden events and read stories about the hilarious homestead chickens!

 

Colorado Springs Local Business: B&Co Hair Design

I have an interesting quote in my notes from my interview with Brittany Jones, owner of B&Co Hair Design.

“We put so much into beauty here that we kind of lose ourselves in it.”

She was comparing our approach to beauty here in the U.S. to that of her favorite vacation spot, Belize. It’s a common complaint that the beauty industry tells us we aren’t good enough, but Brittany emphatically talks about how we ARE good enough. She reframes the definition of a good stylist as one who simply enhances the client’s natural beauty.

B&Co Salon

I’m not entirely surprised to hear her say that. I met Brittany about a year ago when I was looking for someone to help me get through growing the henna out of my hair. This was harder than it sounds. Brittany did some research and discovered that henna cannot be bleached out without risking turning it green. Not only did she save me from green hair, she worked with me all year to keep my head from looking like a tree losing its bark.

B&Co Colorado Springs

This reality-based view of beauty makes Brittany and her salon a place for clients of all ages. She built her salon on a commission model, which makes it more cohesive and consistent across stylists. She trains them on the latest things going on in New York and B&Co is the place to go if you want opal hair or hand-painted highlights, but it’s solidly rooted in Colorado and the stylists understand the real needs of clients. A new client might want the latest thing or she may want the same cut that has served her needs for years.

B&Co Salon Reflection

Brittany has put all this together before the age of 30. Her journey started in college, where she was going to be an art major, but after a year decided she wanted a change. She moved to Arizona, where her grandparents lived. She and her grandmother, a cosmetologist, would go to salons and beauty supply stores together and Brittany decided to apply her art to humanity instead of paint or clay.

B&Co Salon Sign

She finished her schooling in Durango, Colorado and did an apprenticeship in a commission salon. She explained that a commission salon hires stylists and has a more cohesive, communal feel than a booth rental salon. Stylists at a commission salon work together whereas stylists at booth rental salons are each running an independent business.

B&Co Wash Station

Brittany looked for a job in a commission salon in the Springs. The trouble was that only corporate salons had that feel and she prefers local businesses.

The solution? Start her own!

B&Co hairbrush still life

Brittany is a natural entrepreneur and has built a business to last. The salon has done quite well and continues to grow. You can visit B&Co at 125 E. Costilla St. downtown or call them at 719-228-6000. 

“I enjoy making people feel good and I’ve always wanted to be successful,” she answers when I ask her why she does this. We’re lucky to have her here, putting her energy into our community and recognizing the beauty in every client.

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©Hungry Chicken Homestead 2016

Join Chickens on the Mailing List to learn about Colorado Springs locally-owned businesses, keep up with local homestead & garden events and read stories about the hilarious homestead chickens!

Colorado Springs Local Business: Made with a Mission

“I feel like it’s essential for people to know they have a purpose.”

That’s a quote from Laura Cameron, founder of Made with a Mission. Here is another.

“Everything we do is done in excellence. We never wanted to do something that was second rate.”

In other words, you can make a good product AND make a difference. That’s exactly what Laura and Made with a Mission are doing.

Because they have found ways to do more world-improving things in a day than I manage in a week!

This social enterprise specializes in high quality candles made from recycled bottles.

Here is how it works.

First, Made with a Mission collects old bottles.

Look at all those bottles! Imagine what that would be like in a landfill.

Look at all those bottles! Imagine what that would be like in a landfill.

Then they send the bottles to another local business to be cut, polished and annealed. That business is Wine Punts Drinking glasses, also located on Las Vegas St. Apparently, they heat the glass to something like 900°F to harden and smooth it, making a strong and safe container.

Made with a Mission fills the jars with cosmetic-grade wax that was made in North America and chemical-free scents. The result is strong, nonpoisonous and attractive.

That saves a lot of trouble!

And matches come with every candle!

But that’s not the best part. Made with a Mission has been working with the Springs Mission for two years to become a partner in programs that help people in poverty get on their feet. Today, the Springs Mission owns 49% of Made with a Mission, which translates to financial support for this local nonprofit every time someone buys a candle.

Or anything else. Made with a Mission sells gift baskets and caramels too.

Or anything else. Made with a Mission sells gift baskets and caramels too.

In time, Springs Mission clients may be involved in the production of Made with a Mission products, as part of the program to help people reintegrate into society.

“We feel like this product tells our story, something thrown away is repurposed and has meaning again,” says Laura.

That story began in an unexpected place … the luxury handbag market. Laura and her sister love luxury handbags and they started their first business after buying a fancy bag at a garage sale for $2. They had it cleaned and fixed then sold it for $30.

“I know what luxury looks like,” she said. She’s applied those standards to the candle business, knowing that customers like high-quality products. “We wanted them to buy it because it’s really good, not just to support a cause.”

I'm burning this candle right now and the room smells like mandarin & clove.

I’m burning this candle right now and the room smells like mandarin & clove.

The Gazette recently published an article about Made with a Mission’s collaboration with the Springs Mission. You can buy Made with Mission’s products on their website, at Frayla Boutique or in an increasing number of stores.

Wherever you get it, it won’t be second rate, but it will help give people a second chance.

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©Hungry Chicken Homestead 2016

Join Chickens on the Mailing List to learn about Colorado Springs locally-owned businesses, keep up with local homestead & garden events and read stories about the hilarious homestead chickens!

WWII Era Chocolate Cake

Let me start by explaining that, for once, we did not make this recipe up. We adapted it from a recipe on the ever-helpful King Arthur Flour Company recipe site.

imageNot only do they have the original recipe, made vegan due to shortages of milk & eggs, but they also have a helpful explanation of how to adapt recipes for high altitude.

I don’t know exactly why we decided to make a chocolate cake, but I do know that members of the household have forbidden me from ever making it again.

Why? Is it too dry? Does it taste weird?

Actually, it’s too good. We just can’t stop eating it and nobody needs to eat half a chocolate cake in one sitting!

I adapted the recipe for what was in my kitchen and to work at 6,000 ft. My goal was a nice smooth cake with no collapsed section in the middle.

image

I accomplished the goal with a few tricks:

  • I used 3/4 of the leavener called for (baking soda)
  • I used extra water & less sugar
  • I turned up the heat by 25 degrees and shortened the cook time

Why does this help? Because our baking problems at altitude are caused by the thin air. Really! It sounds crazy, but it’s true. The air isn’t as heavy as it is at sea level and baked goods rise too fast. Quick breads and cakes tend to rise larger than the structure can support and they collapse like a soap bubble blown by an enthusiastic kid.

Reducing the leavener decreases the rising power. Using extra water thins the batter and reduces the rising potential. The sugar, interestingly enough, tends to weaken the cake structure and turning up the heat causes the batter to set more quickly, giving it less time to over-rise.

That’s the science behind the smooth cake top, in a nutshell. Now, let’s get to my version of the recipe.

Ingredients:

Cake:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon vinegar
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 1/8 cup water

Frosting:

1 1/2 cups vegan chocolate chips
1/3 cup cold coffee

1. Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Lightly grease an 8″ square or 9″ round pan that’s at least 2 inches deep. I used an oval shaped casserole pan because I’ve used all the metal pans to water the chickens.

2. Mix all the dry ingredients into a bowl. Use your favorite method to mix in the liquids. I like to make a well in the center and add the liquids before stirring & transferring to the baking pan, but the original recipe has an interesting method for mixing right in the pan.

3. Bake the cake for 25 or 30 minutes. It’s done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

4. Make the frosting by melting the chocolate chips with the coffee on the stove or in the microwave. I had twice as much frosting as I needed with this recipe, but you might like a thicker frosting layer. Try very hard not to dip a fork in the frosting to taste it. I ate about an eighth of a cup this way.

5. Let the cake cool a bit, frost and serve.

Yum!

Yum!

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©Hungry Chicken Homestead 2015

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