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Friday, October 7, 2016

Why Your Chicks Want Access to a Dust Bath Too

Most chicken owners know that their full grown hens and roosters should have access to a dust bath.  Usually, if they have enough space to roam outside, chickens will find their own favorite spots to bathe in the dirt (annoyingly, ours picked right in the front yard by one of our big spruce trees--they are lucky I love them).

But did you know that chicks need dust baths too? 

We Like Making Our Own Stuff
Chicks need dust bath just as much as full grown chickens.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Last Minute Halloween Pumpkin Centerpiece

I discovered a unique, but speedy, idea for a Halloween centerpiece or decoration.

A Halloween pumpkin made with a roll of toilet paper.
An easy Halloween pumpkin made with a roll of toilet paper and a square of fabric.

I was going through some Halloween stuff that used to belong to my hubby's grandma, and came across a cute little pumpkin.  I set it aside, thinking I'd use it to decorate the kitchen table, and started decorating the yard.  While I was busy at work, one of my toddlers found the pumpkin, and took it upon herself to dismantle it.

I was surprised to find that the pumpkin was actually nothing more than a roll of toilet paper wrapped in fabric!  I thought it was a neat idea, especially if you needed a last minute decoration.  Even if you didn't have any orange fabric on hand, I think other colors would work, and maybe even tissue paper could be substituted. 

All you need is:

1 roll of toilet paper
An approximately 18" inch square of fabric
A small brown paper bag, or other brown or green piece of paper
Optional decorative leaves--leaves from outside would probably even work

You just set the roll of toilet paper on the center of the fabric, and tuck each corner into the middle of the toilet paper tube.  Then, you roll up the brown paper bag to make a stem, and stick it in the hole, along with leaves for extra embellishment.

The pumpkin takes maybe 15 minutes to put together, and once Halloween is over, you can put the toilet paper back in the bathroom, and save the fabric and stem for another use, or even for Halloween next year.

What a cool idea!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Yellow Lard Cake with Butter-Cream Frosting (For a Crowd)

Lard (fat from a pig) has been used for thousands of years as a culinary ingredient.  Indeed, the fat from any animal was considered just as important as the meat (as well as the organs).  During the early 20th century, something changed in the United States however; delicious lard, along with other saturated fats, were labeled as being "bad for you."  Things like shortening and margarine became the new healthy fats of choice.

Friday, September 23, 2016

DIY Rose Petal Extract

My interest in roses, and maybe medicinal herbs in general, probably got started way back in my middle school years (this may sound unrelated to roses, but bear with me).  I did a report on the famous scientist and supposed predictor of the future, Nostradamus.

You may have heard of Nostradamus, and his famous book Les Propheties, which supposedly predicted future events. Why am I rambling on about Nostradamus? Because whether or not he predicted the future, he did indeed create something called a "rose pill," which was a lozenge he made using rose hips. These rose pills were used during the time of the plague, and helped many people, probably due to the high vitamin C content. I remember learning this as a kid, and finding it fascinating that something so simple as a rose plant could heal a case of the plague!

Many years have passed since that middle school report, but still, I like to experiment with plants and herbs. We moved a couple years ago to a farmhouse that has several rose bushes on the property:

One of our rose bushes, an old garden variety.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Eggs a la Suisse: A Delicious 3 Ingredient Breakfast

I am in love with another old cookbook (I think this is #2,759).

This one is called Farm Journal's Country Cookbook, and I found it at a garage sale buried in a box of old books.  It was marked for $2.00; normally, that would be too expensive for a used book, because I'm such a cheapskate.  But, it's not just an old book.  It's an old COOKBOOK.  The cookbook itself was published in the 1950s, but all the recipes in it came from Farm Journal Magazine editors and readers, which has been around since the 1800's.

The recipes in this cookbook come from a time when most food was still "real," and things like butter, cream, and egg yolks were considered nutritious.  Personally, I fell off the "low-fat" bandwagon some years ago, and I fell hard.  I now eat all kinds of butter and cream (plus lard, tallow, avacados, and coconut oil), and of course, plenty of eggs, since our pretty hens share with us.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Roasted Dandelion Root Tea

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) contain plentiful amounts of Vitamins A, B, C and D, iron, potassium, and zinc.  The entire plant has an active biochemistry that has made it a valuable medicinal for centuries, from flower, to leaf, to root.  The root in particular is high in phenolic acids (which protect against oxidative damage) and inulin (a prebiotic that encourages beneficial bacteria to grow in the gut).1

Monday, April 25, 2016

Homemade Pasta

Few things can top the taste of homemade Fettuccine Alfredo, made with fresh noodles.  It is one of my family's staple meals.  But we eat all kinds of fresh pasta here, from spaghetti and meatballs, to lasagna, so pasta is something we make frequently.

Why make pasta when you can just buy it?

Good question.  It takes more time than picking up a box of it at the grocery store, doesn't it?  My reasons include:

1.  Fresh pasta tastes better.
2.  We like thick noodles.  Thick and chewy, slathered in a sauce of some kind.
3.  We can use healthier flours (whole grain, sprouted, freshly ground) and avoid unhealthy additives (synthetic vitamins, like niacin, iron, and folic acid).
4.  We just like making our own stuff.

Whatever your reasons are, I'm sure that you will find pasta easy enough to make.