Monday, April 6, 2015

Chick Days

It's that time of year again - chick days!! We had a predator catastrophe this past fall and lost all of our birds except for one mille fleur bantam and three guineas which meant that we had to do a major restocking. I ordered Rhode Island Red hens and a standard heavy assortment from McMurray Hatchery plus we picked up 5 bantam chicks from Orschelns. The RIR hens are 3 weeks old now, the bantams are about a week old and we just received the assortment chicks today. 

For the first couple days, the chicks are inside the house. It's easier for us to keep the temperature regulated and I'm quicker to catch any problems when I can easily see them several times a day. 

Our assortment also included four Turkens! These are chickens with bare necks and they are supposed to be excellent layers and meat birds. That's why I love assortments, we usually get birds that I otherwise wouldn't have purchased. It'll be fun watching these guys grow up. 

When I was raising our little turkey poult last year, I found that he really liked laying under a feather duster so I have one hanging up for our little chicks. They spend a lot of time hiding under the feathers. 

A few of our week old bantams hanging by the feather duster.

Our Rhode Island Reds have graduated on to our floor pen. Within the next couple weeks, they'll be able to start exploring outside. 

Our lone chicken right now. This gal is a fighter!  I assumed we lost her too because she was gone for over a week. Then, I came home from work one day and she was just hanging out in the driveway. She lost a few feathers and a claw fighting with whatever got a hold of her, but she made it back. 

If all goes as planned, we'll be back in the egg business by the end of summer!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Spring Fever

There's no such thing as a holiday when you're a farm family. In our house the only difference between a regular day and a holiday is that the Farmer is home for a few extra hours. Easter was no different...the Farmer went out to check on the cattle and get them all fed and watered while myself and the Farm Kid worked in the chicken shed and the yard. 

It was time to move our Rhode Island Reds out of the cattle tank and into the floor pen. Then I worked on getting our garden areas cleaned up - something I should have done in the fall.

Oregano and Thyme are already coming up in the herb garden.

We've been having an issue with Bitty getting out of her fence so we strung a second line this week and the Farmer brought home a larger fencer. So far so good, but she is not happy with me. She has plenty to eat inside her area, but everything looks better to her outside of the fence. 

The Farm Kid is sick of waiting for me to get our big garden going so he decided to start his own right beside our house. I'm hoping to find a sod supplier so we can actually get grass on this side of the house this year. I'm sick of the dirt. But, it does do a good job of keeping kids busy. 

I finally bought some paint so I can pretty up this bike for a garden display. I'm trying to move away from my usual turquoise and blue's so I'm going to try a coral - ish color. 

*Did you find the eggs?*

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Make Your Own Deodorant

This is something I've been playing around with for a while. I hated the chemicals in commercial deodorants but I could never find any natural deodorants that actually worked for me. Either I stunk or I was sweating like a hog. Yep. 

Because I knew that the stink is from bacteria, I started using Tea Tree Oil and just rubbing a little on my armpits. This worked....for a little while. Until my armpits started itching like crazy. I realized it probably wasn't the best idea to put Tea Tree Oil directly on my skin. Besides, it didn't do much for the sweating. 

So, I started playing around with a few different recipes and came up with a concoction that has been working really well:

3/4c - 1c Coconut Oil
1/4c Baking Soda
5-10 drops Tea Tree Oil

Yes, that is a little boy's head peaking through in the background. :) 

 First, gather one or two deodorant containers. I've found that the solid deodorant containers are the only ones that I can get completely apart. Get as much of the deodorant out as possible and wash the containers with soap and water. Let dry completely.

 Heat the coconut oil until just melted and mix in the baking soda and tea tree oil.

As the mixture cools, mix every few minutes to help combine the baking soda and oils. 

Once the mixture cools into a 'spreadable' state, spoon into your deodorant containers. Because coconut oil has a melting point of 76 degrees, I like to keep the deodorant in the fridge to keep it in a more solid state.

It may take your body a few days to get used to this new deodorant so don't worry if it doesn't seem to work right away.

This deodorant melts almost the instant it touches your skin. I usually put it on right out of the shower and then let it dry before getting dressed so I don't get any on my clothes. Once it's dry, I haven't noticed any deodorant marks on my shirts like I did with the commercial deodorants.

**Common Sense Warning**
Please test on a small patch of skin before using as deodorant. If any reaction occurs, stop using immediately and wash the area.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Making Butter

I recently bought a case of organic whipping cream through a food co-op. At the time, I had planned to use it for our cupcakes at the farmers market. But, things didn't go as planned and I was only able to make it there once. Boo.

I could have freezed it to use for cooking later, but I wanted to get creative. A friend had told me about making butter with whipping cream by shaking a jar with a marble in in. As (un)lucky as I am, I really didn't want to combine shaking and glass so I broke out our mixer.

I chilled the bowl and beater in the fridge for a bit and the dumped in two pints of whipping cream. I turned the mixer on high for a few minutes. At first, it just turns into whipped cream but it just keeps getting thicker and thicker.

All of a sudden, the milk and solids start separating. I learned an important lesson at this point:

Stay next to your mixer during this process. If you are across the room when everything starts separating, the milk will splatter all over your counter, cupboards and walls!

Once it separates, drain away the milk (I kept the milk for cooking - it's pretty much just skim milk) and you need to 'wash' the butter. To do this, rinse the butter under cool water until the water is clear. You'll have to squeeze the butter while rinsing it to make sure all the milk washes off. If you don't do this, the butter will spoil faster. Store in the fridge in an air tight container.

I'm not entirely sure how long it will last in the fridge, but we used ours for two weeks without any issues.

Homemade Playdough

I decided to make playdough for little man this week. After a quick google search for Homemade Playdough, we were in business. I decided to use the recipes over at Moms Who Think.

I thought the no cook version would be the best because C would be able to help with it.

This is what we ended up with...

So, I decided to go with the cooked version...
Much better!

C's having a blast with it and has already requested some blue playdough.
It even keeps him busy while I work.

Although, I did end up with some playdough in my coffee.

This is the recipe from Moms Who Think that I used:

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 cup water
1 Tablespoon oil
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
Food coloring by drops
1. Combine all ingredients in a pan and stir. Cook over low heat, stirring until a ball forms.
2. Add food coloring and mix thoroughly until desired color.
3. Cool on foil. Store in covered container.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Slow Cooker Swiss Steak

4-5 Tomatoes, sliced

2-3 Green Peppers, sliced
1 Onion, sliced
Cubed Round Steaks
Salt & Seasonings (I used pepper, garlic powder and sea salt)
Oil (I love olive or coconut oil)                    

Heat a dash of oil in skillet. Dredge steaks in flour and seasoning. Brown steaks on each side in skillet. Steaks do not need to be cooked through, just brown enough to get a good crust on the outside.
Layer steaks in slow cooker with tomato, onion and pepper slices.
If you’d like a little extra taste, add a little broth or water to the skillet and scrape up any leftover bits. Then pour over the steaks and vegetables in the slow cooker.
Cook on low for 5-6 hours. This is delicious served over brown rice.  
You'll need more veggies than this! I had to dig in the fridge and pull out some cherry tomatoes to add in!


Everything's ready to go.

Okay, it doesn't look really pretty right now but, trust me, it's delicious. All of the juices from the veggies makes the meat super tender.