Tuesday, December 10, 2013

We did Chickens

Yes we did ! We raised chickens this past summer .I know I've been talking & wishing so much to begin .Well we did meat chickens this yr. Because we only stay out at my mums place 6 months and then return to the city .so I could not do layers . Below are pics and the story of our experience
 First off dh & ds 17yo began the building of the chicken house .
I was so proud of both of them and how they worked together to decide the construction

This is the door our neighbour placed in the back lane for trash ! It is a great heavy solid wooden door .

They decided to make flaps and have screen so there would be good ventilation .However the flaps had to be shut at night .I forgot one night & thank goodness for two big dogs .They woke me with loud barking and yes there was a raccoon stuck on the screen trying to get in !

Before the chicks arrived I used the shed as a drying room !
I also gathered hay
which led to many fun hrs of play

he was jumping for joy the chicks were coming !

my mum loaned me her old pitchfork she showed me how to turn the hay for drying .
it was great for scooping out the dirty hay later on too .
ds12yo & I drove about an hr away to pick up our 12 chicks !
He was so thrilled he sat with them in the back seat all the way back home !
We boarded off 1/4 of the shed so they would have a cosy space to stay warm .
We started them on beginner feed .
We also just got the Cornish cross because the other breeds had sold out .We were not able to get our chicks til beginning of July so by then this was the only breed left.

They do grow fast as they are bred for meat . I feel happy though because they were able to be outdoors all day and eat what they liked .

this is one thing they went nuts over ! Fish Flies ! Yep they loved them .I would leave a light on the night and next morning there would be breakfast for the chickens .
They also picked off all the red berries from that honeysuckle tree .

 dh fenced off a nice piece of the forest for them and I used an old muffin tin to put their feed in .a garbage can lid made a great water trough .
We also had to put deer netting over the top because of eagles , owls , hawks and more . we had a huge owl for 11 days .the crows followed him round cawing non stop !

They got bigger , very big .
Yes we lost 1 chick . it had gone lame after a few weeks
Yes we had to kill our own chickens !
we watched youtube videos on healthy ways to do this .We used Story's chicken book too.
we set a table up in the yard .had a strong fire going with water boiling .dh decided on the cone method to kill them .after two chickens he could not do it .So ds17 came and did the actual killing . then I did the plucking , and dh did the gutting . ds12 did the feet . if you don't know , chicken feet have to be peeled .they have like an extra shell over their nails too .
so as a family we got it done .we had loads of clean water handy and bags & a freezer as well.
Okay the one thing I have decided is .I can't do this again unless we will have some live chickens left to care for .
It was torture to go back to where they had been and silence . nothing .Then having to empty the chicken house .The food tin etc.
It was extremely difficult & no we had not named our chickens but we loved them and cared for them .
So unless I can maybe do layers next season I am very leery on whether we will have chickens again .
What I and we all know is we want this farm thing to happen ! so we keep on pluggin along hoping this will be the yr we can build on our land and move .
dh said a shipping container is our next purchase

Friday, March 15, 2013

making hand cream

This is a Recipe for creamy smooth hand/body cream . I use the main recipe from
The library usually has this book

waters : 2/3c distilled water ( I use rain water during warmer months, melted snow in winter  )
1/3c aloe vera gel
few drops essential oils
vit A or E oil optional
Oils :
3/4c grape seed , almond or apricot oil
1/3c coconut oil
1/4tsp lanolin
1/2 to 1 once grated beeswax ( I use 1/4c for lotion , 1/2c for a thick cream )
you will also need a blender , a double boiler & clean jars and a wonderful handy tool if you have it is an icing bag .
I have successfully doubled the recipe .
Below are the directions I use

I meassure my oil and I add a bit more than 3/4 c because as you see below

I like to infuse plant material into the oil . I personally believe this gives much better properties than just using essential oils . Plus it shows my customers how much I love plants & time I put into my work .
So for this batch I am infusing organic lavender & wild rose petals .

let your oil & plant materials sit on low for 1-4 hrs in crock pot or sunlight . of course you can skip this step if you just wish to use essential oils .
while this is infusing you can get everything else ready .I also washed the dog while waiting .

combine water , aloe and essential oils in cup or container

In double boiler place your coconut oil , lanolin

and grated beeswax and infused oil from crockpot .
Let them all melt together until beeswax is all liquified .

Pour this hot oil/wax mixture into your blender . Now I have a glass blender .I'm not sure if plastic blenders can handle hot stuff ?
Let this oil mix cool . This is very important . absolutely do not begin blending step until this is cooled ! you may think it will turn hard it does not because of the oils in it .
so while waiting for it to cool you can get

Your jars ready and icing bag if you have one . I found cheap one at the dollar store . a spoon & soatula are handy as well in the canning step.

so you can see how it looks once cooled . its is quite cloudy and white or off white.
Once the oil mix is like this you are ready to blend . I put the lid on but keep that round plastic plug out . turn on blender on high and slowly begin to pour in the cup of water/aloe mix . it will begin to chug and sputter and turn into cream . do not worry to turn it off and scrape sides. I do then turn back on and add rest of water mix. be sure you get all the wax/oil mix scraped off the sides .
once it is creamy and ready you can now scoop into jars or icing bag then squish into jars.
okay a tip about icing bags , they work great for making lip balm too !
so that is it . be warned you will have ooey gooey creamy hands .rub leftovers on yourself .

Oh another tip , news paer for wiping off oil and wax is great . boiling water too but do not do it in your sink as the wax solidifies and pluggs up the sink. so rinse with boiling water outside then wash with soapy water later in sink.
I hope you have as much fun as I do making creams .

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

bathing & braiding with Sage

I am attempting to begin blogging once again ! So I thought I'd start with something fun .
I've written before on how much I love our tub and herbal bathing .
Well last spring when I moved out to my Mums place for 6 months away went the tub. Of course I had access to the tub when I'd come in the city to see dh ( remember he is renovating so we can sell our city home )
I did not wish to go without bathing so the solution aside from going in the lake is bathing how my great, grandmother & mother all bathed .As a child when I lived with gramma this is how we'd bath too.
Spot or sponge bathing that is . I had mentioned before about homemade deodorants how with the great change aka menopause how much I began to stink ! There was no way I was not going to bath .
Now I use sage alot for a smudge  and of course have used it in bath tea .Yet it always just used for certain times , for a certain remedy be it spiritual or medicinal.
However I began to use it on a daily basis .I pick sage each summer & early fall. I make smudge sticks but then also just have it dried loose in big paper grocery bags . so below you can see

I have filled a big ole gallon jar. I take a big handful of sage and pour boiling water to the top. Let it steep .I then use this the rest of the week. I fill a basin with warm water then pour in about a cup or so of the sage water . I begin with brushing my hair with the water .Then my upper body and under arms. I'm not going to go heavy on the medicinal or spiritual of sage . Just that it is used for cleansing and is known to be anti bacterial .
Yes I do stink less when I do this !
So the braid , also as I've written before I like my long hair . I have personal strength in my hair . I like to look after it .
As I brush it with sage water maybe I know it is my changing . My growing into my role as granny . as the elder. As the silver grey shines I feel a presence of standing strong.
I began I guess because I'm living at my grandmothers house to think of the women .Those women who were my role models . My teachers. An elderly woman , a grandmother who basically ran the farm we lived on in Oaxaca told me that single women wear two braids & mothers or widows wear one braid. I don't know the why , if there is a story behind the why.
I looked to my Aunt Freda who was a fisher woman in a time when women were not commercial fishers. Her standing strong in her plaid shirt pants & rubber fishing boots. And yes her hair in a braid . My cousin says I remind him of her .So to me wearing a braid shows respect, it also shows I respect myself , who I am growing into.
I like that the braid is 3 in 1 . Like the goddess or the trinity or sisters.
So I have been maiden , mother & now crone .
The three become one in me .
I am happy to be blogging again ♥