Monday, June 27, 2016

The Tale Of The Squeaking Chicken

When we first moved to Wyoming I immediately wanted to get chickens.  For years I had been reading and studying about how to raise them, the cost effectiveness of keeping them, etc.  So finally my dream came true when we moved out on 5 acres in the country.  We got a dozen hens from someone at our church.  They weren't the prettiest chickens you ever saw, kind of ragged and mixed breed.  Several were missing toes from frostbite (it gets to 30 below there often) But they were hardy (having survived Wyoming winters without a coop) and laid eggs just fine, and I loved them. Every day I enjoyed watching them from the back fence busily scratching for weeds grubs and worms out in our garden.

We had also recently joined 4-H for rabbits and chickens with my eldest daughter and were heartily welcomed into the group.  The group had amazing leaders that were fun and friendly to us newcomers and provided lots of advice.

Well one day I went out to collect eggs and noticed that one of the chickens was behaving strangely.  She seemed uncomfortable and kept making this strange squeaking noise.  Alarmed I separated her from the flock thinking she must be sick!  This was during the height of the Asian bird flu scare and many of my family members had expressed their concern with me owning chickens on the off chance that the flu would reach my flock.

As she kept squeaking I finally called the leader of our rabbit/chicken club and told him the problem.  This man's name was Marvin and he was the kind of no nonsense man that you often see in farming.  He was a bit gruff but the kids loved him and he was fiercely devoted to teaching the kids.  He had been raising rabbits chickens ducks and turkeys for more than 20 years and had a wealth of skills.

After listening to my story he bluntly said that he had seen chickens do that before and it was most likely due to my hen having eaten a mouse. Chickens can't tear things apart so when they get ahold of a mouse or snake they swallow it whole!  Well I almost couldn't believe it!  I just had a hard time envisioning the chicken eating a whole mouse.  I mean how could she get her beak open wide enough?

He told me not to worry, within a few days the mouse would be digested and the squeaking would go away.  He, of course,
turned out to be right and the hen went on to live a long life, but it proves that the best reference you can possibly have is an experienced person.  Because I can tell you no chicken raising book I ever read had information on squeaking chickens!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Must Have Books For Anyone Homesteading Or Wanting To!

I thought I'd post some of the books I have found useful in my homesteading adventure.  For those who don't know it I was raised in the city and had no experience with livestock, gardening, etc. at all before I made  the decision to start urban homesteading and later moved onto land.  That's not to say I just jumped in feet first.  I had been reading on the subject for 3 years before I took the plunge.  Here are some books that I will always keep on my shelf.

Disclaimer:  These books are linked through my amazon affiliate, so if you buy one I may receive a small commission that doesn't effect your price, but DOES go to help support this blog!


The Encyclopedia of Country Living - Carla Emery



 I couldn't write a homestead recommended book list without it.  Carla covers everything about homesteading.  Even down to giving birth at home and how to use a wood cook stove.  If you can't get any other book get this one.  It has more information than any book I've found and many things you will never see in some books, written by people who really know!

Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre


A great guide for those of us with little land, it is truly amazing how much food you can produce on a little scrap of yard.


Canning and Preserving Your Own Harvest: An Encyclopedia of Country Living Guide


Another great book by Carla Emery. It takes the guesswork and anxiety out of canning!


The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It

A very good book on being self-sufficient.



Storey's Guide To Raising Chickens


Any of the Storey books are excellent on raising livestock, and I highly reccomend them all for in depth instructions on all aspects of care for your livestock.  This book is invaluable in chicken raising for meat or eggs.  I will say that the Encyclopedia by Carla Emery has more info on broody hens though.



Keeping A Family Cow


This is a must read if you are even considering a milk animal.  It pretty much sold me on the benefits of a cow over goats.  I love goats and I've had milk goats, but there is just no denying that a cow is better for a large family and for things like cream and butter.  It goes in depth on the costs verses the benefits of the family cow.  What you need to raise one.  Feeding, birthing, and cow emergencies.  If you think a cow can't make sense I would say read this first and then make your decision.  Warning!  This book talks in depth about the dairy industry, you may never want to drink milk from the jug again!

I still am clinging to my dream of a jersey milk cow someday, and with prices shooting up and our family demands on milk, butter, and cheese only going to get worse I think we'll have to work it out.



Books are great, but hands on experience is the only way to learn certain things.  Reading and studying can only get you so far when your dealing with living breathing creatures or plants.  So even though I think these books should be on every homesteaders bookshelf having a person of experience is perhaps the best teacher.  If you want chickens you should join or contact 4-H chicken groups so that you can become friends with those who have priceless knowledge.  If you want to grow a big garden do the same thing.  If you want to can food contact the local extension office and they can refer you to those in the community who are master canners.


To highlight my point on the need for establishing community for your skills I'll tell you a funny story.

When we first moved to Wyoming I immediately wanted to get chickens.  For years I had been reading and studying about how to raise them, the cost effectiveness of keeping them, etc.  So finally my dream came true when we moved out on 5 acres in the country.  We got a dozen hens from someone at our church.  They weren't the prettiest chickens you ever saw, kind of ragged and mixed breed.  But they were hardy (having survived Wyoming winters without a coop) and laid eggs just fine. I loved watching them from the back fence busily scratching for grubs and worms out in our garden.

We had also recently joined 4-H for rabbits and chickens with my eldest daughter and were heartily welcomed into the group.  The group had amazing leaders that were fun and friendly to us newcomers.


Well one day I went out to collect eggs and noticed that one of the chickens was behaving strangely.  She seemed uncomfortable and kept making this strange squeaking noise.  Alarmed I separated her from the flock.  This was during the height of the Asian bird flu scare and many of my family members had expressed their concern with me owning chickens on the off chance that the flu would reach my flock.

As she kept squeaking I finally called the leader of our rabbit/chicken club and told him the problem.  This mans name was Marvin and he was the kind of no nonsense man that you often see in farming.  He was a bit gruff but the kids loved him and he loved teaching the kids.  He had been raising rabbits chickens ducks and turkeys for more than 20 years and had a wealth of skills.

After listening to my story he bluntly said that he had seen chickens do that before and it was most likely due to my hen having eaten a mouse. Chickens can't tear things apart so when they get ahold of a mouse or snake they swallow it whole.  Well I almost couldn't believe it!  I just had a hard time envisioning the chicken eating a whole mouse.  I mean how could she get her beak open wide enough?

He told me not to worry, within a few days the mouse would be digested and the squeaking would go away.  He, of course,

turned out to be right and the hen went on to live a long life, but it proves that the best reference you can possibly have is an experienced person.  Because I can tell you no chicken raising book I ever read had information on squeaking chickens!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Last Day To Enter The Father's Day Giveaway on My Blog!

Hurry and enter for your chance to win a father's day gift set from The Beard Baron.  Click HERE to be taken to the giveaway!  Good luck!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

11 Free Amazon Books For Summer Cooking!

Here are some great free cookbooks from my amazon affiliate partner just in time for summer!  Some of these are only free if you have kindle unlimited but even then the price is less than $3.00 at time of posting.  Enjoy and please share!























By clicking on the link I may receive a small commission that goes to support this blog but doesn't effect your price one bit!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Beard Baron - Father's Day Gift Idea and Giveaway!

Are you looking for a practical and unique gift for that father in your life?  Well so am I!  And like many of you I want to show my husband that he is appreciated and loved and a great dad.  So when Beard Baron offered to let me review their products I was excited to see how my hubby liked their products.

Beard Baron is a company founded by John Diehl,who is an artist, Eagle Scout, and beard ambassador. Living just outside of Boston, MA he is better known as The Beard Baron across the world. A beardsman for many years, he has developed his own products to maintain and keep his beard healthy and strong. With TheBeardBaron.com he now makes his handcrafted premium products available worldwide. 
"It's my passion to encourage fellow beardsmen and those that are just starting their beard journey. There's something special about growing a beard, and I want to share my experience and knowledge with as many as possible. Equally important is my passion for creating, designing, and manufacturing beard products that help men take their beards to the next level." - The Beard Baron

Beards are so popular right now for men (I love the look!), but most men don't realize that they need to take care of their beard just like they would their hair.  It needs conditioning!  The products The Beard Baron carries are created to help maintain a healthy beard and come in several scents. I was sent the Beard Oil and Mustache Wax in Wildwood Scent.  Just read the description!
Wildwood Premium Beard Oil
Wildwood Premium Beard Oil is a trip deep into an untouched forest. Surrounded by Cedar, Fir, and Pine trees, the rays of light dance and play on the forest floor. It’s all at once earthy and masculine, yet comforting and distinguished. It’s the entire forest wrapped up into a bottle. Available in matching Wildwood Mustache Wax.

Handcrafted and blended to perfection, Wildwood Premium Beard Oil will take your beard to the next level. Conditioning and softening both your skin and hair, you will be left with a luxurious shine and feel. Made from only the finest ingredients available, your beard will be feeling soft and looking its best.


Wildwood Mustache Wax The Beard Baron mustache wax is made from only the finest and premium ingredients. It is comprised of all natural beeswax, lanolin, and top shelf Jojoba oil. For those new to the mustache game, lanolin is a special wax that comes from sheep's wool which helps waterproof their coats. It's a game changer and will elevate your mustache to new heights.

My husband was really eager to try it out.  He has been using it for the past several weeks and his beard is softer and very healthy looking.  But the thing we BOTH LOVE about it is the scent.  It truly smell like you are out in the fresh pine woods with just a hint of musk.  When he puts it on I can honestly say I am constantly cuddling up to him because I just love the scent so much.  (this he says is a great perk!;)

Mustache CombWe found that both the beard oil and mustache wax are high quality and have helped improve his beard.  After trying it out he is eager to try the other products carried by The Beard Baron.  There are several lines of scents as I said, but also grooming products like combs, brushes, and scissors.

Mustache Mug Protector GuardThe Beard Baron also carries gift certificates which would be perfect for that dad in your life!  My husband and I heartily recommend Beard Baron's products.  They are amazing, affordably priced, hand made, and produced right here in the USA!  To buy your own Beard Baron Products Click HERE to go to their site.




The Giveaway!


Beard Baron has generously offered to give away a set of Wildwood Mustache Wax and Beard Oil to one lucky reader. Use the entry form below, all entries are optional, all winning entries are verified for completion.  Good Luck!


The Thrifty Housewife was not compensated for this post, I did receive a sample product(s) for the purposes of review. This did not influence my review or my opinions. My views are 100% my own. This post may contain affiliate links. This giveaway is not affiliated with facebook, pinterest, twitter, or any other social media website.  The winner will be chosen through the  form which uses Random.org.  Winner will be notified by email within 48 hours of contest end.  Winner has 24 hours to respond to the  email.  Failure to respond will result in a new winner being chosen.  Open to US only.  All winning Entries are verified.

Friday, June 3, 2016

The Secret To Hatching Hens Not Roosters!

I found this great post at fresheggsdaily and had to pass it on.  By the way fresheggsdaily is a great resource for people with chickens or thinking about getting chickens. The information is interesting and proven to a degree.  The way you do it is by temperature control.  I have seen this on nature shows when it comes to crocodiles.  If their nests are a certain temperature more males than females will hatch.  I am definitely trying this out! Click on the pic below to go to the post. Also check out some of the incubators available from my amazon affiliate partner.  If you buy one I get a small commission that goes to support this blog. Enjoy!







Thursday, June 2, 2016

The REAL Pioneer Women + Adorable and Inexpensive Aprons

 

I love this poem, just reading it makes me realize how strong and dedicated the women of our history were.  To make a farm and family work both women and men had to work from dusk till dawn.  Both the man and the woman were absolutely necessary for the success of the family.  Both had their jobs that were important, but I don't envy the men.  Breaking land was brutal work!  I'd much rather cook! It was a life that was eminently useful.

 

The Pioneer Women

Grandma, on her start of day
Milked the cows and fed them hay
Slopped the pigs, saddled the mule
And got the children off to school.
Did the washing, mopped the floors
Shined the windows and did some chores
Cooked a dish of home dried fruit
Pressed her husband's Sunday suit.
Swept the parlor and made some beds
Baked a dozen loaves of bread
Split some firewood and lugged it in
Enough to fill the kitchen bin.
Cleaned the lamps and put in oil
Stewed some apples she thought would spoil
Cooked a supper that was delicious
And afterwards, washed all the dishes
Fed the animals and sprinkled some clothes
Mended a basket full of hose
Then opened the organ and began to play
'When you come to the end of a perfect day'

And If you are looking for something sweet and old fashioned take a look at these very affordable aprons in adorable prints from my amazon affiliate partner!  If you click on or buy one I get a small commission that helps support this blog!













Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Country Morning Coffee Cake-Easy and Healthy


This is one of our families favorite foods for breakfast. The kids love it as does DH.  It is also a quick and easy breakfast and rounded out with milk and fruit is less expensive than store bought cereal.  Now I have to make a batch every week to keep up with the demand from my kids and husband.  We have it for snacks and for breakfast. It's probably much healthier than store bought cereals or snacks and uses up things I have tons of.

It makes a gigantic pan and lasts about  a week for us with 6 people. It is moist and fluffy and doesn't go stale as long as you wrap it up.  My children love it so much that at snack time they plead to have some.  This is a great recipe for feeding a crowd and goes well with coffee, tea, or big frosty glasses of milk.

Housewife  Tweaking:

OK you will notice that I tweak allot of recipes to suit my tastes or needs.   This recipe was originally not as healthy but I have changed it by cutting back the sugar, using applesauce as a sweetener instead, using yogurt, and using olive oil or coconut oil, putting in some whole wheat flour and wheat germ for added nutrition.   It turns out even lighter and moister in my opinion.  Also I like not just Cinnamon in the topping but nutmeg because I'm a nutmeg addict.  I do not add the nuts because all the kids hate them.

Country Morning Coffee Cake

cake

1 c. light olive oil or coconut oil (adds essential fatty acids)
1 c. sugar
1 cup no sugar added applesauce or home canned applesauce (makes a moister cake, cuts on sugar, adds fiber and fruit)
4 eggs, beaten
2 c.  plain yogurt
3 c. flour
1 c. whole wheat flour (adds fiber and is good for you)
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbs. wheat germ  (adds vitamin E and folic acid)


Cinnamon-nut Topping:

2/3 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 c sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 c. chopped pecans or almonds if you like

Use a fork to mix all ingredients together.


Combine fats, apple-sauce, sugar, eggs, and yogurt  in a large bowl.  Stir in remaining ingredients: mix thoroughly.  Pour into a greased  10 x 14 pan baking pan and sprinkle with the Cinnamon-nut topping.  Bake at 350 for  45 minutes or until a toothpick tests clean. Cut into squares.  Serves 18 to 20


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Uses for the Wild Violets in Your Yard

I love wild violets.  They are one of the first flowers to bloom in the spring and have a sweet floral fragrance. Something about them minds me of my girlhood and the innocent happiness I felt back then, even though where we lived I never saw them growing.  My children love to pick them and give me little bouquets. Little did I know till a few years ago that violets have many medicinal uses as well.

Violets bloom in spring in your yard and if you have shady places they can bloom all summer.  Both the leaves and the blossoms are edible and useful medicinally.  So the other morning we went out and picked wild violets growing in our yard.  NOTE!  Only pick from areas you know were not sprayed or treated with chemicals!


 Here are a few links to pages on the uses of violets and different ways to process them.  I dried the leaves for tea and then used the flowers for making violet soap. You can also eat the flowers in salads and use them on cakes if you Candy them.

L'Aromatheque Violette Perfume Extract 8.5 ml perfume

I also love the scent of Violet Perfume.  It is perfect as a first perfume for a young girl who is old enough for a perfume but still young.  Here is a Violette Perfume from Amazon that has great review.






Friday, May 20, 2016

Morel Hunting Success!

Morel mushrooms are in my humble opinion one of the most delicious mushrooms around.  However it is also only found in the woods and is difficult to find at times.  But on the upside it is one of the most easily identifiable mushrooms around due to its very distinct form and lack of poisonous look alike's.  This year has been a great year for morels up in northern California.  Every-time I go out I get a bunch and have been drying them for the winter as you can see.





Monday, April 25, 2016

Dandelions - A Natural and Gentle Treatment for Warts!


Three of my children had lots of warts on their hands as toddlers from playing in the dirt all the time.  Normal country kids stuff right?  Did you know that warts are caused by viruses in the soil? And my kids had them bad, as in all over their hands.  I took my first two (Princess in Waiting and Captain Submarine) to the doctor several times to have them frozen off since the over the counter stuff wasn't working.  Each time I had to hold my screaming toddler down as the doctor treated them.  The treatments left open wounds that stung and hurt for weeks.  Later the warts not only didn't fall off, but a "halo" wart formed around the old wart making them look even worse!  This is a common problem with freezing warts off I found out.  The doctor said the next step was cutting them off requiring lots of anesthesia and stitches!

 I gave up, it wasn't worth the terror of my children to do something that really was just a cosmetic annoyance. 

But then I read in a old all natural book that the milky sap from the dandelion plant applied for several weeks will remove warts.  Crazy Right?  Well it works!  That spring and summer when I took the children out for daily play we picked dandelions as always to feed to the rabbits and I would rub the milk onto their warts.  Two weeks later the warts disappeared on their own!  Not only did they disappear, the treatment didn't irritate their skin and left no scars.  It was as if the warts had never been their.


I told my doctor about it today and he that dandelion sap can work.  Dandelions contain silicon that irritates the wart causing the immune system to "wake up" and notice that the wart is there.  Then, due to this irritation, the body kills the wart from the inside out.  It appears from the outside that the wart just shrinks and eventually disappears.

Consider the difference in using this on children!  Instead of pain, screaming, toxic chemicals, open wounds, and fear, you have a gentle and even fun remedy that will never cause your child to show a marked amount of distrust when you tell them "This wont really hurt honey".  Also it is something even small children can do on their own.

Friday, April 22, 2016

12 Plants that Repel Mosquitoes


Mosquitoes are back in my life with spring and I am on a mission to get rid of them!  However I dont have the money or inclination to spray or have someone else spray toxic chemicals all over my yard.  The more beautiful, useful, and natural way is to have plants that naturally repel them in your yard.  Plus all of these mentioned plants are pretty to boot!  Most of them are perennials so you only have to plant them once and they come back year after year.

  1. Citronella
  2. Lemon Balm
  3. Catnip
  4. Tansy
  5. Lavender
  6. Geraniums
  7. Marigolds
  8. Basil 
  9. Peppermint
  10. Pennyroyal
  11. Rosemary
  12. Garlic


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Healthgiving and Delicious Dandelion Tea Recipies

The best time to harvest Dandelions is right now when they are young and tender.  When harvesting wait until the afternoon when the dew is dried off and always pick from un-sprayed/chemical treated areas!  Enjoy!

 photo dandelion_teas_zpsnhjiflbg.png

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Easy DIY Dandelion Oil For Sore Joints and Muscles

Infuse dandelion flowers in oil to help sore muscles and more.

I found this great DIY dandelion Oil recipe over at Homespun Seasonal Living and had to pass it on to my readers. Dandelion oil can be used for sore muscles and joints when rubbed on externally.  My husband suffers from and badly injured knee and a displaced shoulder so I am making this and using it on him as a massage oil.  Let me know how yours turns out too!  Click HERE for the step by step instructions which are super easy!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Vintage Pillowcase Dresses For Girls

Ok I'm kind of a weird blanket and bedding hoarder.  Whenever I find a great down comforter or adorable sheets at a yard sale or thrift store for our beds I can't resist buying them.  After all they are usually only $1.00 to $3.00 so the investment is minimal.  It is also eminently practical because I have 5 beds to keep in sheets.  

But what I really love, and I mean really!  Is vintage bed linens.  Not only are the prints beautiful, but they are better made and last longer.  But now my girls have graduated from twin beds to fulls or queens so I have all these sets of pillows and sheets with lovely prints and nothing to do with them.  UNTIL NOW!


Pillowcase nightgown.:

  Here are pictures of very simple to make pillowcase dresses for little girls, and they are adorable!  I now have two little gran daughters ages 1 1/2 and almost 3 so I get to sew again!  I used to sew dresses for my daughters when they were small but they've gotten older and now I just find really cute stuff at thrift stores and tailor them to suit.




If you have never sewn before this is a perfect starter project as it is super simple.  I am still a beginner in many ways but this kind of sewing is right up my alley!  Also I can tell it you it will take you less than an hour to do. Here is a nice step by step guide from i Candy Handmade. I especially like the idea of using stretch lace as it is not irritating to children in general.

Toddler Shabby Chic Blue Floral vintage pillowcase dress. $15.00, via Etsy.:

Finding pillowcases is pretty simple.  Go to your local thrift-stores and begin the search.  Also yard sales and estate sales are a great place to pick them up for cheap.

How-To: Vintage Pillowcase Nightgowns For Toddlers by Gingercakes on Prudent Baby:


These dresses are so perfect for spring and summer because they are light and cool, easy for movement and play, and inexpensive so that you don't feel bad if they get stained.  All the while your little girl feels like a princess.