Life on a little urban homestead in the making, with ideas for self-sufficiency, food preservation, chicken keeping, cookery, organic gardening, crafts, DIYing, thrifting, vintage stuff,
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Apr 14, 2018

Natural Pain Remedies For Injured Chickens, 'Prepper's Survival Retreats' Book Giveaway!

Natural Pain Remedies For Injured Chickens-
Poor Gwynne, she gets picked on, gets sick, and now appears to have either a fractured pelvis or hip issue. This week I saw her in the garden run limping terribly. I picked her up and checked her. No wounds that I could see, bleeding, etc. Dave said a night or so ago he saw her fall off the coop perch, probably pushed off by another hen.  I left her outside for another day, then realized how much pain she was in. She would walk around a little, then collapse on the cold, damp ground. With 32 in the forecast I brought her in. She was hungry and thirsty. I think she hadn't been going in the coop much to eat or drink. She warmed up and rested in the kitchen chicken hospital, large laundry basket-

She can stand up pretty comfortably but starts breathing hard when she sits down. I think she may have a fractured hip or pelvis? Best guess. After doing some research I bought some Boiron Arnica pellets-


Very small-

 After doing some research it appeared I could give her a "dose", so I decided to just start with one pellet. I also put her in a larger space to observe, a tarp under our chick outdoor enclosure (thrifted) in the kitchen-

I dosed her twice with no seeming effect. She appears to be really hurting laying down, breathing hard. More comfortable standing up. So I mashed up a full dose of 5 pellets into applesauce, but she wouldn't eat it. I use the small amount of water in a cup and put in 10 pellets, a double dose. After dissolved I added a pinch of sugar and loaded that into a small pet's oral syringe. Dave had to hold her and I gave her 1 dose. Waiting to see how it goes, time will tell. I didn't see much effect, so gave  her a 2nd dose tonight. Here are some good resources to start with if interested in more chicken treatment ideas-   Arnica and Calendula For Poultry    Pain Meds for Chickens  If you have any other suggestions, please post a comment! Sadly can't do a Vet visit.

Prepper's Survival Retreats Book Giveaway-
When I was approached by Molly at Ulysses's Press to review a book I was excited! What kind of info would it have? The title certainly sounded interesting. She sent me a copy and it's really pretty fascinating! One of the things I've learned about the Depression in the last century the people survived reasonably comfortably because they were prepared and have a certain skill set. They also had a home/property that was set up to grow, preserve foods and be more self-sufficient. I don't know, however, if those people were also concerned about security issues? I gave the book a look , lots of great info, and here are the chapter titles, in order-

A brief history of collapse, What do you need to survive, The big questions, Purchasing an existing home, Can you make it here? Building or renovating your survival retreat, Survival groups and your new retreat relocation, Whittling down a short list of properties. 

There are some graphics and photos scattered throughout the book and lots of interesting questions like- timing is everything, how soon do you want to make this happen? So if you're interested in winning this book all you need to do is leave a comment below and follow me on Facebook. It's that simple! I will do the drawing at the end of this next week, post the winner and then ask you to email me your shipping info. I've already seen lots of other great reviews, what I've seen so far I really like, is very relevant and very practical.

Apr 8, 2018

Meaty Pasta Sauce, DIY Flagstone Pond Edging, Read Your Pet Food Labels, Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

Meaty Pasta Sauce W/ Home Grown Tomatoes-
A week or two ago I was taking the last of my frozen peaches out of the freezer I realized I had some homegrown tomatoes left! I didn't know that! When I froze our organic tomatoes I also added some chopped red and green Italian peppers-

That was great since I wanted to do another batch of a very meaty pasta sauce for multiple dinners. Yesterday I thawed them, drained them (tons of juice!) and started sauteing a couple of tubes of New York-style Italian sausage. To that I added a chopped onion, several cloves of fresh garlic, herbs and the tomatoes. I also added a couple large cans of tomato sauce since I needed something with more thick liquid with all of that meat. I cooked that down for several hours and it came out great! Since I didn't completely crush the meat there were mini meatballs mixed in! I served on top of rigatoni pasta with some fresh basil topped with some shredded fresh cheese. I haven't some french bread and salad and it was awesome! After a very rainy day it was nice to have a nice, hot , hearty meal.

I also took down my Easter decor and left up my Spring things-

Daffodils already mean Spring!

More rain this afternoon-

DIY Flagstone Pond Edging-
For several years we have thought about putting a new edging around our little recycled pond that we had built in the backyard. We got the pond liner at a yard sale really cheap, bought a new pump and a few different nozzles at a thrift store. We used to river rock that we had scavenged originally but I really like the look of the flat flagstone. One of the things about river stone is that a didn't really cover the black plastic edging of the pond, sort of defeating the purpose of having it look natural.  One of the other problems with River Rock what it was continually fall into the pond,  fall backwards into the shrubs, and was basically unstable-

 I'd seen tons of photo online with flagstone edging where it covers the plastic so all you see is a stone and the water. Dave and I went to Home Depot yesterday and surprisingly they didn't have any in stock. Luckily there was a Lowe's not too far from here so we drove there. It is been really windy all day, had rain in the morning, so I check the weather before we left. I took my rain jacket and told Dave he should probably take his, which he didn't. It started sprinkling while we were at Home Depot and turned into a torrential downpour going to Lowe's. Thunder and lighting oh my! It was an absolute monster storm the whole time we were there but we did find some Flagstone. Nice sized pieces for about $8 each- Natural Patio Stone. We bought 12 pieces, for about $100.00.  David had measured about how many square feet we would need-

And big bags of potting soil, $2.00 each!

By the time we left we were both pretty soaked, but that was okay. Dave wore a hoodie, was soaked and I was soaked from the knees down to my socks. We did have to change clothes, but the afternoon turned out to be fairly dry. I found a video on YouTube that had real simple and easy directions about how to edge the flagstone as needed-

He removed the river stone first and leveled the area little bit-

He started doing a dry lay out of the stone. The dry layout lets you see where the potential pieces should go and what you might need to adjust-

Lots of square corners

Many of the pieces were square/rectangular, and we wanted to soften those up a bit, so the video was perfect. Dave set up a little work area and went to work-

Bucket to catch the odd pieces brilliant!

He took his hammer to most of the edges to curve a little bit and fit them. All in all the whole project took about 3 hours of labor, but it looks awesome! 

Thanks Dave!

The stone will last for years and years, and are a great investment. We store leftover river stone for other projects in the yard, and had a little bit of extra flagstone that we will use somewhere else-

I think it's always better to have a little bit left over that's running out. It will look even better when we add the water lettuce plants and we bark dust!

Read Your Pet Food Labels-
For a while on your wonderful cat Anya had had some stomach problems, and had gone to the vet a few times. For a variety reasons I decided to take a look at what the ingredients of the Science Diet cat food that she had been on. It's advertised veterinarians recommend this diet most! I was kind of surprised when I started really looking at the ingredients how many fillers there were in the food-

I want around Pet Smart where we buy our food with my cell phone and took a few photos of the ingredients to compare. I was also looking at the prices and if it was a standard food that they usually carried. I was kind of surprised to see that Blue Buffalo, a food that advertises itself as very healthy, was actually a bit cheaper than what I had been buying. A lot less fillers, also included vegetables, other nutrients, and other ingredients that were pretty healthy-

Short of making your own pet food from scratch it can be challenging to find an affordable pet food that's healthy. And affordable can be a relative term. So I decided to post the two pictures of the ingredient labels just as a comparison. Whenever you see anything that says pulp that is filler, anything that basically is some kind of a ground up ingredients is usually junk. I switched to Blue Buffalo and she seemed to really like it and so far her stomach is fine, so time will tell. Just a reminder to read the labels since you may be able to get something that's healthier that's actually cheaper!

                                                               Click here for more info

Strawberry/Rhubarb Crumble-
With our rhubarb coming up in the garden it reminded me that I have some in our freezer. I bought some strawberries and decided to make a strawberry rhubarb crumble. It's one of our favorite spring desserts because it's sweet and tart and super healthy. I decided to try this recipe since I've had tried a few others. With this I did not use the vanilla pod and used walnuts. Yummy on a cool Spring day since the temperature dropped 10 degrees. Try it! Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

Apr 1, 2018

Saving a Blouse/Rotating a Collar, Healthier Eating/Spiralizer Review

Saving a Blouse/Rotating a Collar-
Well Spring is sure here! It's been in the 60s the last several days and that's been a really great relief from crazy weather in the last few weeks. Dave's started some early gardening, and we plan on planting the cold frame with cold veggie seeds nest weekend. The "sun room" has been taken down off the coop, hens are loving it!

I bought a springy-type blouse on eBay a while back, since but I loved the blue and green motif, perfect for spring. When it arrived I washed it like I usually do anything used. I noticed a light brown stain the outer part of the collar right in front where you can see it. So I treated the stain, but it didn't come out. Three more rounds with other types of stain removers and no luck. I really loved the blouse, which was like-new and scratched my head a while. I remembered seeing several years ago the idea of rotating a collar. Someone did a blog post about her husband's favorite shirt that was worn on the inside. The idea was that you remove the collar, flip it over and reattach the collar. Problem solved! So I thought what do I have to lose? I have a decent sewing machine, so I pulled out my favorite seam ripper-

I removed the collar completely and sat it aside-

Next I pinned the collar in place-

I tried to match the width of the stitching as close as I could so it would look the same. Reattaching the collar only took about 10 minutes. After it was flipped over the stain is now underneath, problem solved!

Healthier Eating/Spiralizer Review-
I've been working on doing healthier eating since last October, when I decided I needed to stop dieting and start getting healthier. I was on the border of pre-diabetes and wanted to nip it in the bud. Really happy to report I've lost about the size and a half, and some weight. My A1C is closer to normal now, happy dance. One of the things I did in general was smaller portions, a lot less wheat, and sugar. When Dave saw his doctor recently she encouraged him to start eating more veggies. She mentioned using a spiralizer instead of eating pasta. I had heard of them before but wasn't really sure what I could do with it? I did some research and reviewed quite a few different makes/models and prices to get an idea what was out there. I thought it would be great idea for both of us since we both love pastas. I found you can actually spiralize all kinds of different ingredients, fruits and veggies. After doing some research I came up with this model which I ordered on Amazon-


 I chose this model as it was moderately priced, comes with three blades with built in storage for them. One blade is spaghetti, one fettuccine, and one large ribbons/curls. It takes up fairly minimal space-

I didn't want a little tiny handheld one is that looks really awkward, and I didn't want a really expensive electric one that was overpriced. I like the fact it doesn't take up a lot of storage after it's all put back together. I did one zucchini tonight cut in half, and used the fettuccine size spiral-

 I sauteed in a little bit of homemade pesto and olive oil. The fettuccine size came out nice and firm, I served with pesto flank steak

I got this library book to test drive, and I LOVE IT!


I can see all kinds of applications now. One of the bladed does large curls, great for salads. I saw a  recipe where you make carrot noodles, roast with some a little olive oil and salt, top with smoked salmon, avocado slices and a herbal dressing. Looks great! Really enjoying it so far, hope to use more and try lots of other ideas. I have about three more books on hold at the library so I can play around and see what I can come up with, keep you posted! I also think I may be able to dry some foods using this, but will do more research.

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