Thursday, April 26, 2012

Easy Homemade Fabric Softener Recipe

I've seen this one all over Pinterest and decided to give it a shot. I already had everything needed.

Fabric Softener Recipe:
White Vinegar
Essential Oils of choice (I used sweet orange)

I filled an old fabric softener bottle (I've been saving all sorts of containers in anticipation of such things) with the vinegar and added about 20-25 drops of the sweet orange oil. Shake. Done. I'm going to try adding a 1/4 cup per load.

Have you ever tried a similar recipe?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Homemade Dishwasher Soap and Rinse Aid

The next item on my list of cleaning supplies to tackle was dishwasher detergent. I perused the internet for quite some time and finally came up with a hodge podge of several recipes.

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda
1/2 cup Baking Soda
1/2 cup Salt (Some recipes said kosher salt, I used what I had)
1/2 cup Citric Acid
Several drops Essential Oil (optional, I used sweet orange)
One of those little absorbent packets that come in vitamins, etc. I read that this helps avoid clumping.
Throw everything together in your container and shake well. The essential oils clumped a bit, not sure if I'll use them next time. Use a fork to break up any clumps. Throw in the absorbent packet on top (and as they all say 'do not eat'). I'm using 1 Tablespoon in the pre-wash spot and 1 Tablespoon in the main wash spot in my dishwasher.

Rinse Aid
Simply fill your rinse aid dispenser with white vinegar. I've been doing this for quite some time already.

Have you ever tried making dishwasher soap? How'd it do?

The rinse aid works perfectly...the dishwasher soap, not so much. Back to the drawing board. I find it just gets hard and you wind up scraping it out of the container. Also, it didn't clean that great.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ellie and Fiona

The other day Darran announced that he'd found two baby girl goats on Craigslist. Still on bottles. $50 each.

We had discussed getting goats to eat down the weeds and make our back property all around more usable. We've neglected it for...10 years-ish? Other than the boys and I playing at the creek we haven't done anything with that land. Needless to say the weeds have had a hay day.

Sure, we could use a tractor or some other gas/diesel powered machine to mow the weeds, but how fun would that be? Also, the land is so un-even it might not even be possible. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I grew up with goats. Raising goats was a big part of my childhood. I showed them in 4-H. You probably didn't realize that you're talking to the Grand Champion in Showmanship at the County Fair in 19.....

Anyways, back to these goats. We decided goats were the best answer to our weed problem and since we'd both grown up with goats we wanted our boys to have that experience too. We'd looked around and who knew goats could be so pricey? I told Darran that I wanted 2 or 3 girls, and only wanted to pay $50 for them. I was beyond excited when Darran found these two on Craigslist. We went and got them last Wednesday. They were 2 weeks old when we picked them up. 

Baby goats are seriously the cutest thing ever. Proof:
Ellie is the one in front with the toothy grin and Fiona is the one who managed to wedge herself behind me.

Video from their first day home:

Soaking up some rays in front of their new house. Darran built it out of old pallets. Yes, he amazes me daily.
My 8 year old has informed me that the next thing he wants to raise is peacocks. I think I've created a monster, LOL.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Homemade Toothpaste

I'll be posting all week the homemade concoctions I made this last weekend. This one I actually made a week ago. I've had this toothpaste recipe from one of my favorite blogs for quite a while. I already had the castile soap (in peppermint), coconut oil, and baking soda on hand, and ordered the calcium carbonate and xylitol from amazon. I omitted the optional ingredients to save money.

It's really easy to make. The taste/texture takes a little bit of getting used to, but I like it fine now. I had been having some problems with my gums and after a week of switching to this they're better. Weird. But I'll take it!

Do you have a favorite homemade toothpaste recipe?

I love this recipe! I notice a big difference in my gum health and my teeth are whiter. I will stick to this as toothpaste.

Monday, April 16, 2012

What I've Managed NOT To Kill So Far

The past few days have been home to a little doubt. All along I've tried to stay hopeful and positive, but around the edges a little bit of doubt has crept in. After killing about $50 worth of heirloom seeds I was beginning to doubt my abilities to grow anything! That and battling the crazy Colorado weather have made me question our sanity once or twice. Oh yes, and because of where we live not only is weather a problem, but also predators. We have all sorts of crazy wildlife that would love to have a chicken-snack. Bears? Check. Mountain lions? Check. Coyotes, bobcats, raccoon.... you get the idea. I've doubted our ability to keep the girls safe.

Growing most of our own food is a pretty big goal...and I feel I haven't done so hot so far! 

My lettuce is happily growing in the greenhouse even with the weather.
One little strawberry plant is hanging on...oh, did I not tell you of the killing of the strawberry plants? Well, um...
Spinach has braved it's little head in the greenhouse!
We're getting 21+ good, nutritious pastured chicken eggs a DAY right now! 
Maybe we won't starve!

I just have to give myself a little attitude check. I think that I'm so committed to growing/raising most of our own food that I just can't stand the thought of failing! It's all good. I truly believe we are right where we're meant to be, we just have a little learning to do yet! Everything won't happen over night. A little patience and perseverance, oh yes and a little faith...did I mention patience isn't my strong point? ;)

Oh well, I'm off to check the asparagus.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Springtime in Colorado

Phone blogging, sorry about the crooked pics. How's the weather where you are?

We got just over 6 inches of snow today (Sunday).

Don't worry, we shoveled the girls out, but I had to get a pic first!
While I'm dreaming of planting the garden, the weather is most certainly not cooperating yet. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Updates, Lessons in Chicken Sh*t, and Asparagus Stalking

Busy, busy, busy. Wow, have we been busy. I'll try not to just explode all over this post. I have so much to share!

We've finished two mobile chicken pens and have just over half the chickens out on pasture. Are they ever happy chickens! We've managed to build them from all reclaimed materials, but we did have to break down and go buy some chicken wire as we couldn't scrounge anything up.
My 6 year old checking one of the mobile pens for eggs.
We have 1 or 2 more mobile pens to build for the egg layers and they'll all be on pasture. Then we hope to order more chicks for meat birds. I know, that may not be popular, but we're trying to grow/raise our own food...and we eat chicken. 

I've been researching how to make our own feed for our pastured birds and I'm now in the process of trying to procure local/sustainable ingredients for the feed we will supplement them with. That is no easy task. I'm just going to be OK with doing the best I can for now.

Darran turns 41 today! I'm going to make him some paleo walnut meal brownies. Shhh, don't tell. 41 also happens to be how many chickens we have right now. I'm taking that as a good sign. ;)

Our seeds did not sprout. Not a one. Too much chicken shit in the potting soil we mixed ourselves; we'd thought it'd been aged enough, not so apparently. All those carefully selected and lovingly planted heirloom seeds...To the compost pile they went. Lesson learned. I did however start some lettuce in different soil in the greenhouse and....

Hooray! Oh yes, and speaking of chicken shit...

When we returned from our Easter fun we decided to move chickens into the second mobile pen Darran had just finished. As we were moving them my 8 year old almost dropped the one he was carrying. Now, had these been the older chickens I wouldn't have worried, but the young ones go crazy when loose and are hard to catch. I had one hen safely tucked under my left arm, so I grasped for his chicken with my right. I managed to grab her feet to keep her from escaping. (some people carry chickens around by their feet, it's perfectly safe, although I generally don't like to carry them this way) Just as I got ahold of her BLAST. She sprayed the front of me with chicken shit. So, there I done, makeup, the works and my hoodie and capris covered in chicken shit. What was I to do? Well, I went back for another chicken of course. Then when we were all done I chased my 8 year old around the yard begging for a hug. Can you believe he wouldn't give me one?

Ok, one last thing: Asparagus. Last fall when we decided for sure we would launch into this little endeavor we went for a hike around our back property deciding how to best use it. While out we came across some dried up plants that Darran announced were wild asparagus. I was so freakin' excited; I grew up here and didn't know wild asparagus grew here! 
Once the grass greened up this spring we began stalking asparagus. The boys and I would check the asparagus...daily. We'd march back behind the creek and check the three spots Darran had pointed out; sometimes twice a day. When Darran got home from fixing whatever for whoever (he does many side jobs to pay the bills) I'd drag him back to check asparagus. Then, a few days ago my six year old and I found:
And with that little asparagus spear all the trials melted away. The wasted heirloom seeds, the calluses, the tight budget, the being shot by the south end of a north-bound was all good. I was so excited and grateful you'd have thought I had won the lottery. With that little asparagus spear I knew that everything is going to be OK.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Bring on the Snow

I'm dreaming of a snow like this one.
The last week I've worked hard. Physically hard. On top of all of the farm work we have going on I'm reviewing a new fitness program for my fitness blog. It's been a lot.

I fall into bed each night exhausted. Blissfully so. Tired from days spent working hard doing something you love is entirely different from normal tired. We call it "good tired".

I'm good tired. 

It's supposed to snow today...which would mean less outside work for a day or two. I say bring on the snow!

(In other news, we got 21 eggs yesterday. Whoa!)