Andrew Hammond

Hacker, Homebrewer, Homesteader.

Our First Eggs!

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Our chickens were born on May 19th, 2014 and our first egg arrived on October 9th, with the second one coming two days later. Any day now we should be seeing up to 8 eggs a day! We fried up the first two eggs for breakfast this morning. They are very small eggs and we aren’t totally sure if they are both from the same hen or not (they are the same size but slightly different shades of brown). The eggs tasted fantastic! The yolks were nice and golden and turned a beautiful orange color when fried. Most of all, nothing can beat the feeling of satisfaction after all the hard (and never ending) work to build the coop and care for these girls.

I’m hoping to move them off of the conventional Agway layer feed pellets and onto a homemade feed mix next spring, but I have a lot more to learn before then. The hardest part is finding a place to buy all the bulk ingredients that make up a healthy balanced feed. For now, they are enjoying supplemental home grown mealworms and scraps from the kitchen.

For more frequent updates on our chickens, follow me on Instagram.

Drying Homegrown Hops

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Last weekend I was given 5 one quart freezer bags full of homegrown Nugget hops from my wife’s grandma. This is just a quick post showing how I processed them for later use.

Homegrown hops

(Read on)

Update Java to Fix ElasticSearch “Unsupported major.minor Version 51.0”

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When I went to install ElasticSearch with Homebrew on Mac OS X, I got the following error message when trying to start up ElasticSearch: "Unsupported major.minor version 51.0". I found the experience kind of sucky, with a lot of misleading or generally unhelpful posts out there when Googling. So naturally I figured I’d add to the confusion. Here is how I solved the problem on my machine.

Downsizing Sucks

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It’s 10pm and, after debating the issue for quite a while now, I decided to take the first step in downsizing one of my hobbies. Downsizing a hobby really sucks, but sometimes it’s for the best. In this case, the hobby is homebrewing. I’ve been homebrewing for about 3 years, and the whole time has been on an upward trend as far as my obsession for it goes, but lately it has really taken a back seat. We recently bought our first house and in the move, and settling in, and enjoying all the new space and freedom (like beeing able to build a chicken coop), my half-baked 20 Gallon Electric Brewery project was put on hold. Well, I just posted my three, never been used, 20 gallon brew kettles for sale online…

read on for my reasoning behind this terrible downsizing

Stay-cation Projects Update

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I decided to take a couple days off of work to catch up on some of my projects at home. Taking Thursday and Friday off gave me a nice 4 day vacation, or “stay-cation”, as they say, since I stayed home for it. It’s Sunday morning and I’ve already gotten a lot done and still have a whole day to go.

In just three days I’ve organized our garage (it was a disaster), built a solid workbench, got my hydroponics experiment working, started a new colony of Black Soldier Flies, and built a really nice door for the chicken coop. Keep reading for quick summary of each of these projects along with pictures.

Chickens Moved Into the Coop

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This weekend marked a big milestone for our homestead. I made enough progress on the coop build on Saturday that I was able to move the chickens from their 4’ x 4’ brooder (inside a spare room of our house) to the cabin part of the coop before the sun set. I was able to keep an eye on them all of Sunday and make a few adjustments as needed. Check out the album.

Exclude Properties From JBuilder Partials

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I found the lack of documentation for JBuilder partials to be very frustrating. Ideally I could write one partial for each of my ActiveRecord models and re-use them in all my JBuilder views. The problem comes when you have a model like User, for example, which has one or more Photos. When I request the show action for my User controller, I want the User partial to be rendered with it’s Photo as a child (using the Photo partial). On the other hand, when I request the show action for my Photo, I want the Photo partial to be rendered with it’s User as a child (using the User partial). This can lead to an infinite loop which, at first glance, can only be solved by making many individual partials for the same model, like photo_without_user and photo_with_user.