Goats, rabbits, chickens (pages)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

HOW-TO-TUESDAY Wash Your Hair

How To yellow

How To Wash Your Hair

I have spent a great deal of time and money to find the perfect shampoo. I was delighted when the manufacturers decided to go "natural". Unfortunately, natural is not always what it implies; government agencies have taken great liberties with meanings of everyday words. Natural shampoos are laden with chemicals and seemed little better than conventional ones.

I tried making my own but it still wasn't quite right. Then I hit upon an old recipe, one that I had tried years ago. It is so simple and so effective and so economical. It may be too simple. Something that easy can't work? Right?

Wrong.

So, here it is.

Baking Soda


Put about one tablespoon baking soda in a container then fill it with water. Pour this over your hair massaging into the scalp and throughout your hair. Leave on for a few seconds then rinse off. Your hair will be squeaky clean.

This is wonderful for children and a true no tears shampoo.


Rosemary Vinegar




Herbs infused in white vinegar is a great hair conditioner. This one is rosemary (good for brunettes, red heads). I have used lavender and rose petals, too. If you are blond, try chamomile. Put the herbs in the jar; it doesn't matter how much. It depends on how strong or mild you want it. Experiment! I have several sprigs of rosemary in this jar.

Pour a small amount into a container--I use the same jar that I had the baking soda in. Pour this over your hair. CAREFUL here, because this WILL burn your eyes. Do not rinse off.

There may be a slight vinegar smell, but this will dissapate and you will just smell clean with a hint of herb.


I love this dynamic duo...I hope you'll give it a try.


And, as always I hope you will share your ideas and how-to's with us by adding your name and website below.



Monday, November 19, 2012

HOW-TO-TUESDAY Homemade Salted Caramel


  How To yellow

Ostensibly I should show you how to do something today, but let's try something a little different. I found this wonderfully simple recipe for caramel sauce and the photos with it are great. Why, I asked myself, should I try to do it all over when this one is done superbly?

So have a look at this link and make some caramel sauce for Thanksgiving. I think you're gonna love it.... Thanks Brown Eyed Baker... And, as always, if you have something to share add your name and your link and we will check out your How To.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

HOW-TO-TUESDAY Feeding Bees


  How To yellow
I recently acquired a new hive that I'm very excited about...the bees are the result of crossing a wild hive with Italian bees.  They are just beautiful--all dark and mysterious.  I bought them from a beekeeper who practices natural beekeeping--no medicines, pesticides, chemicals, etc.  The result is a hardy hive with strong immune systems. 

It was late in the season for a new hive, so to ensure that they have enough to eat through the winter I have to  feed them sugar water.  Ordinarily, I am against sugar, but in this case, the bees will die if they do not have enough honey to see them through till spring and the flowers are few and far between this time of year.

It's simple enough.  You'll need sugar, water, a mixing/storing jar, 2 smaller jars and a measuring cup.

I made the fall sugar water recipe which is 2 parts sugar to 1 part NON-CHLORINATED water.   My hot water is SUPER hot, so all I do is add the water to the sugar and let it sit until the sugar is dissolved.  You may have to cook it on low for a few minutes.  Let the water COOL completely.

Poke several small holes in the lids then pour some sugar water into 2 pint jars and place in empty super on top of hive.  I use shims to hold the jars off the "floor".  This gives the bees just enough room to walk under and draw the water from the holes.  Some folks put these jars outside the hive, but I like them inside.  This protects them from weather and other sugar lovers.  And, if it's raining, the bees can still get their sugar water. You can see them congregated in the center of the photo....they come up through that oval hole from the main hive into the empty super. Aren't they adorable?

Americas bees are dying at an alarming rate which affects our food supply.  Being informed is the first step to finding a solution to this problem.  You can start by having a look around this website and watching the film.
 Vanishing of the Bees Film :: Home brought to you by The Co-operative

And, as always, please feel free to share your HOW TO with us by adding your name and URL below.  This will provide a link to your website and your brilliant HOW TO.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

HOW-TO-TUESDAY Prepping For Pennies

How To yellow Tuesday is long gone but life had me going in other directions yesterday and I couldn't post.

My grandma called it Stuff In The Cellar. In my time we called it Food Storage. Then it was Emergency Preparedness. Now we call it Prepping.

I guess I’m a Prepper.

Whatever it’s called, it’s a good idea. Some folks may take it to the extreme, but that’s just human nature. Most of us don’t have thousands of dollars worth of disposable income to build a special room but we all have space under the bed.

We may not have the wherewithal to purchase an extra freezer stocked with steaks but we can buy canned goods on sale and stick them behind the shoes in the closet.

Prepping is about planning and thinking and being creative.

Back in the 80’s when I first started thinking about this, it was overwhelming. Where would I get the extra money to purchase the items? Where would I put those items if I had them? And, what the heck do you do with whole wheat? I mean WHOLE wheat still in grain form.

So, I started with what I had. Every time I emptied a bleach bottle I filled it with water. Folks cringe at that now, but when you have NO water, bleach bottle water will fill a lot of needs. We can go many days without food, but we need WATER.

Canned goods may be the easiest thing to stockpile. Even if it’s just one can per grocery trip. Almost every budget can handle that. Some stores offer cases at a very low price so you may have to change-up your shopping habits.

First Aid items can be found in unexpected places. Feminine hygiene products make excellent bandages. Peroxide is very cheap—a bottle thrown into the cart during a “-–Mart” trip won’t even be noticed at check out time. At the Salvation Army store I found this huge, HUGE bag of cheese cloth. I’ve used that for countless projects including first aid.

Dollar stores and salvage places are great for finding prepper bargains. I live in a very small town and we have two salvage stores. I once found a case of Raman noodles for a couple of dollars.

And, don't forget the simple thing of gardening. You don't need acres; you only need inches. Veggies will grow in the tiniest of spaces hiding around your yard. No yard? Use containers. They don't need to be fancy; discarded cans and plastics with holes punched in them will work.

It's winter now, but you can still begin. Almost everyone has milk containers--check out my winter gardening blog for tips on how to plant seeds now then sit back and wait.

Indoor herb gardens can flourish with a small amount of attention. You don't need special "grow" lights; use flourescents for that winter sunshine.

You will have your own unique ideas and once you BEGIN things will pop into your head and resources will come out of the blue. The key is to START. Don’t try to plan everything out before hand. Yes, it’s great to have a plan—I am a planner. But, it’s so easy to get bogged down in the thinking and never launch.

The internet offers you an unlimited resource—once you go here you will not lack for advise! HERE is just one to get you started.


A comment on my facebook prompted this how-to. It can be scary to think about prepping. There are always those who make the rest of us feel inadequate, but, chickadees, we must press on. For YOUrself. For YOUr family. Got ideas? Got resources to share? Sign in below and add your URL. THANKS!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Mark your calendar; grab your gloves; find your pen/paper; it's time for herb class.

ROOTS!

Burdock


Get to the bottom of things during our autumn herb root class. We will study dandelion, burdock, horseradish AND I'VE ADDED POKE and ELECAMPANE. We will explore how these herbs can have a positive effect on your health and also how to make them into remedies.

Elecampane


We will go on an outdoor digging expedition--weather permitting!

THIS Tuesday, November 6 10 am to noon Rocky Creek Valley Farm

$20 Call or email to register. Optional make and take $5.

37009 W. 156th St Rayville, MO 64084 816-853-0440 lizzy@rcvfarm.com

Last years ROOTS class digging burdock.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Horror


I was thinking of food this morning. Actually, I think about food a lot. Afflictions I've had over the years have been food related--my most recent Alpha-Gal allergy.

And, I often think of things I could have done differently raising my family. The elimination of FAST FOODS being one of them. It is one of my greatest shortfalls as a mother to admit that some of my daughter's first words were "Fench fwy" and "coke".

I was young and unwise.

Now I am old(er) and wise(er.

Since ubiquitous McDonald's was the first fast food we frequented, and is available on every other corner, I usually use them for my example. This is not to say other fast foods are not equally as guilty of faux food.

Today kids will be suiting up for trick/treating and moms will be scurrying around trying to make it happen. The perfect time for fast food. In my mind I see little ghosts clutching french fry packets, the undead gobbling down a burger and Justin Bieber look-alikes guzzling a diet coke.

It makes my stomach tighten. The lists of BAD things you are eating along with that #1 are no secret. But, we get busy and we forget. We are in a hurry so we justify.

Please, moms. THINK about the horror that years of fast food will do to your child.

A good way to keep reminding ourselves of the damage hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oil will do to our bodies is to read, Read, READ. The research has been done for you folks. GMO and high fructose corn syrup are villains masked as nutrition; not just for Halloween, but every day.

And, if you want to see a real fast food HALLOWEEN HORROR go HERE

Monday, October 29, 2012

HOW-TO-TUESDAY Calcium

How To yellow

I have so many women ask me about calcium that I decided to re-post an article I wrote a year and a half ago.

Today's HOW-TO is about calcium and how to actually get it inside so your body can use it. So many of the calcium supplements cannot be utilized, broken-down or put to good use inside you. As an herbalist, I have a couple, three actually, good ways to get calcium. Good usable calcium. Calcium that will actually affect your bones by making them stronger and yes, even help to relieve that old-fashioned aching in your bones.

Chances are you have been throwing yours in the trash or grinding it down the garbage disposal, or, if you are really "green", you are tossing your calcium on the compost pile. What the heck am I talking about?

E G G S H E L L S

This first tip is so stinkin' easy your first thought will be that it can't possibly work. Well, it does! When making your next recipe that calls for eggs (please use local farm-pasture-raised eggs!) just follow these simple rules:

1) Save your eggshells.
2) Wash your eggshells.



3) Pour boiling water over your eggshells.


4) Let them cool.



5) Add some lemon. (1/2 tsp per 6 shells)



6) Strain into jar and cap.



7) Use or freeze. Ice trays work wonderfully.

How easy was that? A "dose" is about 1/4 cup of eggshell water. You can just drink it, add it your favorite juice or fruit smoothy. (I have great recipes for smoothies on my website)

Second tip: Instead of water, cover the eggshells with apple cider vinegar DO NOT USE WHITE VINEGAR or I'll have to come out there and get cha! (that's "farm" for get you), organic is BEST. Let it sit at least 2 weeks, 6 weeks is better. Dose is 1 tsp per day.

Third tip: Calcium Tea. If you want to make it yourself the directions are on my website HERE in the Library section under Calcium Tea. It has delightful herbs that are chock full of a lot of minerals, not just calcium. Or, if you want it "ready-made" I also have it for sale in my on-line store HERE


Now, it's your turn to share. Just type in your name and your website or blog address. Your name will appear and folks can click it to be magically transported to your HOW-TO. Thanks for sharing.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Good Chickens Do Good Fences Make


Some of you may remember when we erected a five foot chicken fence between us and our neighbor. It was the result of said neighbor's dog attack on my Mables. I had 15 at the time.

Now, in all fairness, the Mables probably instigated the attack. Unintentionally of course. Our neighbor keeps a large pan of dry dog food in his garage which he subsequently leaves open for his dogs to eat a la carte. Mabels had developed quite a taste for it and I'm sure that played a part in the fatal ambush of most of my Mable flock.

After burying multiple Mables FarmBoy Gary and I put up the fence between chickens and dog food. The problem was that at one end of the fence there was a space of several feet occupied by large LARGE and thick and did I say large poison ivy vines, bushes and small hedges. Neither of us wanted to tackle it in it's present leafed out state.


Eventually a few chickens found their way through the poison ivy jungle. One of those chickens was Milly. She did this recon prior to her adoption of 20 chicks. This week they have ventured further and further from the hen yard.

Today Neighbor called to say Milly and all her chicks were pecking away happily at the dog food. How rude.

Consequently, FarmBoy and I scuttled our previous plans for the day and tackled that poison ivy so we could finish the fence. Since we've had several freezes the poison ivy patch was manageable and the fence is up.

Milly and her delinquents will have to find other diversions tomorrow.

Friday, October 26, 2012

How To Milk A Goat


I have the most precious goats ever. I am milking two right now:

Daisy (the highest one) and her kid, Button who isn't old enough to milk yet. They are Saanens. They LOVE going up to the loft in the barn.




This is Tessa. She is half Nubian/half Alpine: Nupine.




These two girls are so incredibly sweet. And, smart. At milking time they know exactly what to do, where to go and when to go there.


I keep a jar of disinfectant that I make myself in a cabinet in the barn. I also keep clean cloths, small, small plastic cups, a roll of paper towels, herbs and a brush. I dampen a cloth and wipe off the entire udder area, inside legs and underbelly.

I squeeze out a few squirts of milk into a cup. This first milk has bacteria so I dispose of it.



I use stainless steel to milk into and NEVER EVER set it directly on the milking stanchion. I put a paper towel or clean cloth under it. When I'm done I cover the milk and set it in a sterile bucket and put a cloth over the top of that. So the milk is covered twice until I get it into the house to process.



Last I dip both teats into the disinfectant.


Usually Daisy is finished with her ration by this time and I let her out.

Tessa is a little slower to eat...she likes to lick the bowl..so I brush her while she finishes. Sometimes she takes so long I have time to brush Daisy, too!


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

HOW-TO-TUESDAY

Herbal Vinegar Cleaner

I won’t go into how much household cleaners cost—you already know that. I’m not even going to launch into the dangerous chemicals that lurk in commercial cleaners —you know that as well.

Vinegar has SO many uses—cleaning being one of them. But, let’s face it—most folks wrinkle their noses at the thought of vinegar. So today we’re going to make a cleaner from vinegar that you’re going to love.


Begin with the cheapest CHEAPEST white vinegar. I buy it by the gallons and use it for so many things here on the farm. I keep a gallon in the Herb Cottage, one in the feed room in the chicken house and one in the barn. Oh, and, of course, one in the house.


Assemble supplies: White Vinegar—excellent anti-microbial properties.

Quart jar w/lid

spray bottle any size works.

Thyme – about a cup. Thyme has anti-microbial attributes. Our grandmothers used thyme infusions to clean wounds; we use it to clean houses. (It’s also excellent in the medicine chest, but we’ll discuss that another time.) Thyme is going to make your cleaner a beautiful shade of red. This thyme is from my garden. I LOVE harvesting my herbs—the aroma is so therapeutic.

Lavender flowers – about a cup. Lavender also has anti-microbial power which adds a triple whammy to your cleaner. Plus, it smells like a meadow on a warm summer day. I didn’t grow enough lavender to do all the lavender projects I have so this cup is from my super secret supercalifragilisticexpialidocious herb supplier. But, for you I’ll share. Shhhhh…go HERE.

Pour herbs into jar.

I added rose petals just because. Some were dried and some were fresh. My thyme was also fresh but dried works well.


Pour vinegar into jar and put on the lid.




Leave it alone for 24 hours. OK, you can take a peek—it's hard not to watch the vinegar turn red.




Strain the herbal vinegar into another jar and put the used herbs in your compost bin. Isn't it beautiful?




Fill spray bottle with vinegar solution: you can use it straight or dilute it half/half with filtered water--chlorinated if that’s what you have. Clean away! Spray on and wipe off like any cleaner. I hope you enjoy using this as much as I do.

The straight vinegar mix is good for greasy jobs in the kitchen, grime on the floor, dog puke on the carpet and scum in the bathroom. The diluted mix works great for appliances, general dusting, well basically anything. You can use it for windows and mirrors but it’s overkill as it only takes a tiny bit—like a teaspoon in a quart of water—to get sparkling glass.

Caveat: DO NOT USE ON MARBLE COUNTERTOPS—granite is ok. The vinegar will make little PITS and etchings. I learned this the hard way. It’s not a pretty sight.

You can use essential oils with or instead of herbs but I like the hands on method of infusing the herbs. To me it cleans better—maybe it’s because I’m putting my own energy into it which I firmly believe plays a part in anything you make. Like dinner.

And, if you have something you know HOW TO do please share with us. Add your name/URL at the bottom of this post. We’d LOVE to hear from you. To add a comment CLICK on the word comment--easy peasy.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Snakes and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails


My dog chases cars. I hate that. He started by following the neighbors dog when she chased the school bus. I've done everything I could think of to break him. But, twice a day, Monday through Friday, he tears off after it.

Rocky is only 15 months old and not street wise like the other dog--his mentor so-to-speak. She runs in the ditch. He runs in front of the bus. You see my concern.

Then he began chasing Harleys, cyclists in full cycling gear, loud monster trucks and kids on horses. Well, he didn't actually chase the horses, just tormented them from the sidelines.

The inevitable happened. Rocky is a beautiful dog. And, a super great guard dog of chickens and goats. He lives up to his ancestral Anatolian name.

Here he is last week--note the long beautiful tail.





Saturday evening FarmBoy and I heard a dog whelp and cry; we went to the door and Rocky was running as fast as he could toward us away from the road. Neighbor's dogs still in the road and a pickup truck was backing up the road. We knew one of the dogs had been hit.

By the time FarmBoy got his shoes on the truck had driven on, neighbor's dogs disappeared and Rocky was in the back yard still barking furiously.

Upon inspection Rocky is covered in blood and it's difficult to tell just how badly he is hurt. Now, when I say inspection I mean a good ten feet away as Rocky won't let anyone near him.

By Sunday morning Rocky had calmed down and let me examine the damage. His leg wound was deep but not large. But, the tail is ruined. A good twelve inches is nothing but bone and bleeding. He had left six or seven inches of hair and a tiny bit of tail in the road where we think the truck applied his brakes and skidded on the tail.

I doctored him with my herbal farm vet kit and worried that all of that exposed bone would surely invite infection. He wouldn't let me near him after that prefering to take care of it himself.

I wondered if it would be better to cut the tail off rather than take a chance of something more serious invading the wound. I was going to call the vet this morning but nature or Rocky himself took care of the situation: the entire exposed tail is gone.

This morning the bus came right on schedule--it was barely daylight. Rocky laid in his usual spot. I watched. Would he or wouldn't he?

He perked up his head, let out one disinterested whoof and laid it back down. Let's pray that attitude prevails after he is feeling up to par.

He went up the mountain with me and the goats as is our usual morning ritual and he had eaten all his food (laden with echinacea) this morning--both good signs of recovery.

Half a tail is a small price to pay for a life saving lesson. Let's hope he always remembers it.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

These Boots Are Made For Workin'


Everyone needs a good pair of work boots. I mean at some point you are going to be shoveling, sanding or sorting. I searched far and wide for these and I love them.

I don't baby my boots. They hike in rocks. They shovel in manure. They plant in dirt. They carry hay and feed. They rake leaves and catch chickens. They run after a coyote, chase the dog chasing the bus and build a cold frame. They clean out the stock tank and take folks for a farm tour. They do the milking and carry in firewood. And, they look it!

Since I have this nice new jar of "Furniture Polish" -- which is code for Wonder Wax--(Hey, I think that's what I'll call it.) I thought I'd clean up my boots.

I use the Karate Kid method: wipe on/wipe off. It really is that easy. The entire process took 7 minutes--photography included. I don't like to double dip my dirty cloth in the wax, so I use a spoon to scrape out a small amount, wipe it on the rag and apply to the boot. Or whatever you're polishing/waxing.

Half done.









All done.




And, if I was so inclined, I could have buffed them with a cloth to make them really shine.

My hands get as rough a workout as my boots. In fact a farmers market friend makes body products. She took hold of my hand one day at market and said, Oh My Gosh, this is terrible!

So, I rubbed the wax into my hands and kept them out of water all afternoon while I did computer work. My friend should feel them now....ummmm smooth! I actually had a man kiss my hand the other day in saying good bye. How lovely and continental.

I hope you are inspired to try making the Wonder Wax...I know you'll like it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

HOW-TO-TUESDAY Furniture Polish

How To yellow

I was recently asked about making a natural furniture polish or wax out of beeswax. It reminded me of this SIMPLE wax that has MULTIPLE uses. You don't need spray waxes, polishes or dusting aids. Once you make and use this wonderful, versatile wax you will be sold on it.

Don't be timid; this is Easy to make with a capital E.

Assemble supplies: double boiler or other pan, multiple cup transparent measuring cup, vegetable oil, beeswax and essential oil is optional. Any kind of vegetable oil will work: olive, almond, coconut, grapeseed, jojoba...well you get the picture.



I use olive oil because I always have it on hand.

I DO NOT USE MINERAL OIL. Mineral oil is a petroleum product and has no place in my recipes!

You can make any amount of furniture polish you want--just use a 1:4 rato. One part beeswax to 4 parts oil.


An easy breezy way to get your ratios correct: Pour one cup oil into measuring cup, then add beeswax until the oil measures 1 1/4 cups.


Pour oil and beeswax into a pan. Heat GENTLY over low fire--a double boiler is best--until beeswax is melted.



Let cool slightly, add essential oil. Make it as strong or subtle as you like. I like lemon or orange...makes the furniture smell clean.



Remove from heat.

Pour into wide mouth jar for easy retrieval. Leave the lid off until it is completely cooled to prevent condensation.


YOU ARE DONE! Could it be any easier!

Shelf life is about a year....longer if you refrigerate.

Apply to wood rubbing gently and working it into the wood then wipe off with soft cloth. Here's the best thing: you only need to do this once a year. The rest of the time just dust! This polish will clean, polish and protect your furniture. It is good for unfinished or finished wood. And, it's FABULOUSLY natural for home made wooden toys--WALDORF style.

And, another perk: because this "polish" is made from wonderful natural safe ingredients it can be used for so many other things. You'll notice how soft your hands are after using! So use it for those rough calloused places on your feet. Olive oil has many healing properties so it can be used for "owies"--bites, scratches, etc. Can be used on kids,animals and husbands!

On the farm I use it for my goat's hooves and horns. It's a great leather conditioner--boots, bags, saddles. Be creative.

OK, folks. Time for YOU to share. Type in your name and your website address below and your name will appear after my post for others to click on and see your HOW-TO.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Last Week...




Canned beans...


Spread manure on the gardens...


Watched the goats during playtime...

And observed Mother Nature dressing for autumn. Life is Good.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater

Alternative use for pumpkins.






It's that time of year--PUMPKINS have invaded. Farmers markets are dotted with orange spheres big and small and everything in between. And, even though this ubiquitous squash comes in other colors with every imaginable kind of marking there's no replacing the good ole perfectly round, lusciously orange, Sleepy Hollow kind of pumpkin.

I didn't intend October 12 to be my own personal pumpkin day but I see I posted about pumpkins last year on this date. Take a look HERE to learn how to cook a pumpkin.

Pumpkins are not only fun, they are one of natures most perfect foods. That lovely orange color I mentioned is brought to us by those immune-boosting antioxidants the carotene twins: alpha and beta. They are precursors to vitamin A and help keep our eyes looking good.

Other nutrients also hang out with pumpkin: vitamin C and E along with magnesium, potassium and iron. Pumpkins are a wise choice for pies as they only contain 49 tiny little calories per cup. Of course, you will add a sweetener but when you start with such a small caloric count you can splurge a little on other ingredients.

And, don't forget the high FIBER count that's so important to our bodily functions.

One of the best pumpkin parts is the seeds! I love their other name: pepitas...isn't that adorable?

Folk medicine praises the pumpkin seed so much this was instrumental in the scientific community initiating a host of studies. A gram of roasted seeds contain a significant amount of tryptophan which is being studied for anxiety disorders. Although not enough for major depression the seeds are being used to prevent anxiety attacks and other mood disorders. So munch away to keep the blues at bay.

Pumpkin seeds have also been said to help with arteriosclerosis and to regulate cholesterol. They are rich in carbohydrates, amino acids and unsaturated fatty acids. Seeds contain most of the B vitamins along with C, D, E and K. Minerals abound with calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, iron and phosphorous.

Studies show they can relieve arthritis and protect our bones. The World's Healthiest Foods blog has a great article on pumpkins seeds HERE.

Native Americans used pumpkin seeds for parasites and kidney problems and called them cucurbitas--the Latin name for squash.

To roast seeds of pumpkins or winter squash just clean, season and pop in oven at 300 for 10-15 minutes. Ymmmmm.
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