Tuesday, June 28, 2011

You Don't See This Very Often...

Over the past two years or so I have been collecting vintage cookbooks. What I like are pre-1960's books because I like to see the thrift and old cooking methods that were once employed by homemakers of the past.

I recently visited the local Value Village and came across an older book published in 1968 - "The American Every Day Cook Book in Color". I originally picked it up because it looked old, but bought it only because it was authored by Marguerite Patten.

If you are unfamiliar with Marguerite Patten she is a British home economist who has authored around 170 books.  Durring the Second World War she assisted the British government's Ministry of Food in educating the public in rationing and invented nourishing recipes from the foods available at the time.

So, of course I needed to have this book in my collection even though it was published in the 1960's.  Upon looking at the recipes there were many things that struck me as being from before the '60s such as this recipe for Mulligatawny soup (and you don't see this very often)...

I don't know about you, but I have never seen a recipe requiring you to simmer a small lamb's head in any modern cookbooks.  In fact, I'm not sure if my butcher even stocks small lamb's heads... maybe I'll ask next time I visit the shop.

Anyway, the book surprised me with the thrift and use of ingredients(?) that nowadays we no longer use or would even think of using.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


I have extremely bad cracked heels and have suffered this condition for the past several summers.  Once I begin wearing sandals and open backed shoes my heels split, bleed, and develop deep cravasses.  I have tried everything including very expensive moisturizers containing urea (yes that means pee - luckily a synthetic one in this case) especially developed for split heels.  Nothing has worked so far, and I continue to suffer.

A couple of weeks ago I was listening to a BubbaTanicals podcast and he mentioned that the best thing to moisturize skin is petroleum jelly.  Duh, of course I forgot to try the least expensive method!  Well I ran out to the store and purchased a big tub for the paltry sum of $2.99, and guess what.... IT WORKS.  I slathered it on my heels and then put on some socks and within a couple of days my heels have healed!

I don't think I would use petroleum jelly for moisturizing anything else as it is very thick and greasy.  I'm really not familiar with the product and I didn't even use it when the kids were babies.  But for my heels that is the way to go!

For that past year or so I have been moisturizing my face and hands with coconut oil after reading about it on Crunchy Chicken.  I think the jar I purchased was around $12.95 and it has lasted me over a year now.  I was surprised that the oil is actually semi solid and then melts at body temperature (of course on a hot summer day it turns to liquid).  I've been really pleased using it as it is not too greasy and fairly light on my skin.  Unfortunately I haven't noticed any wrinkle reduction as Crunchy experienced :( 

Coconut oil appears to have a lot of health benefits and is antimicrobial.

My jar of coconut oil is almost out, so I purchased a new jar from the health food store.  Imagine my shock to find that a year later the price had doubled!  I guess it is another victim (or perhaps I should say we are the victims) of global food inflation.  Still it is cheaper than a lot of other commercial moisturizers and a lot better for you.

Posted on Homestead Barn Hop #18

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Its much more fun to drink from the hose....

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Pasty Bums (and it's not mine!)

I'm not feeling particularily well today so I'm taking it easy with the farm chores. I did notice this morning that our new chicks had some pasty bums, and of course that needed to be taken care of right away.

If you are not familiar with Pasting ,or sometimes called Sticky Bottom, it is something that happens to new chicks that are under stress, have improper temperature, food or water. Their poop can harden when stuck to their butts closing off the vent and then they can not longer eliminate. If they can't poop they will die, hence the need to clean them right away. The pasty butt also entices the other chicks to peck at them and you really don't want that to happen either.

The video below shows you how to clean their little bums with warm water. Depending on how hard the poop is, it may take a few minutes before it is soft enough to remove. Obviously with chicks that are only a few days old you have to be extremely gentle.

I don't get grossed out with poop so I did this with bare hands (mind you I did wash VERY well afterwards!), but if you have a problem with poop you may want to wear some surgical gloves.

Posted on Homestead Barn Hop #17


Well, if you are interested my podcast interview is available to hear on The Northern Homestead blog.  Jason conducted the interview using Skype so I noticed there were some delays in my responses - just the nature of technology, I'm not really that slow :)

It was a lot of fun speaking with Jason, but as in any conversation that flows things seem to get left out, or could have been expanded upon.  If you have any questions or want more information on anything we spoke about make sure to leave a comment.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

New Chicks

Our new chicks arrived via Westjet from Frey's hatchery in Ontario. We ordered 25 Barred Plymouth Rock to replace our current laying flock ( they sent 27) and 25 Frey's Specials for meat birds (28 sent) and all arrived healthy and sound.

We now have an assortment of little yellow and black balls of fluff. It seems strange to see yellow chicks as we have always had ones that were 'chipmunk' coloured - brown with stripes.

Podcast Interview

I'm so excited!  I'm being interviewed this morning for a homesteading podcast by Jason over at The Northern Homestead.  Once he has it up on itunes I'll let you know.... hopefully I don't sound like a dork.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Life and Death on the Farm

Two weeks ago we hatched another six Americauna chicks. This was our second chick hatch this year (or perhaps I should say ever) and we increased our hatch rate from 33% to 70%. Unfortunately one of the chicks died immediately after hatching.

The other morning as I went into the garage to water and feed this second batch of chicks in the Rubbermaid container brooder box I found that one had died. It appears that it was smothered by the other chicks while they slept. (another of our existing hens died this way after we introduced them to the hen house a couple of years ago)

It is always unfortunate when one of your livestock dies, but it is the way of the world - all are born and all must die one day (us included)

I have really been enjoying the pigs and geese. They have such wonderful personalities, and the pigs are extremely curious and playful. A far cry from their fearfulness when they first arrived at the acreage. The geese are just lovable.... when free ranging they just want to be where ever we are. They especially like to follow me (all the animals love me because I'm the 'food lady')

I'm beginning to wonder how I'll be in the autumn when it is butchering time.  Daughter has named all the animals.  I know we shouldn't name our food, but then we talk about them all the time so its easier if they are all named.  I'm not unfeeling or uncaring and I so enjoy the animals, but in my head I know they will be food for us one day.  So many people can't imagine butchering and eating an animal, but we are practical people.  I would rather know that the meat I am eating came from an animal that was raised properly and humanely, and that it had a happy life.  Purchasing a plastic wrapped styrofoam tray of meat where you have had no connection with the animal and have no history of how it was raised seem unnatural to me.  Though we have also purchased meat that way for a long time, I prefer to shop at our local butcher and buy free range beef, chicken and turkey that he brings in from local farms.

Here is a photo of the ducklings we hatched out last week.  Out of the nine eggs only four hatched.  We have decided to sell them, so if you would like to add some Khaki Campbell ducks to your homestead just let me know :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Living Small

This video was featured on Yahoo News this morning and I thought it was so inspiring!

Housing sizes have increased phenomenally since the 1950's when the average family home was 900sq ft compared to today's average floor plan of about 2200 sq ft (in North America). As you can see from the video that much space is not really needed.

I love the fact that this family focuses on what they have, and not what is missing. What a wonderful attitude.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wordless Wednesday


Tuesday, June 7, 2011


27 days ago I put 10 Khaki Campbell eggs into the incubator and this morning the eggs began to hatch!  I candled the eggs at day 7 and found that one was not fertilized - the white shells make the candling so much easier than the green or blue chicken eggs from the Americaunas that I hatched this year.

So far we have two tiny ducklings!  We had the chance to actually witness duckling #2 hatching.  I still can't believe how a living creature can emerge from inside an enclosed egg - a miracle!

Tomorrow morning I will transfer these babies to a brooder box and give them something to eat and drink.  And of course make their photographic debut!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sadie's Horse Bean

Today I planted some Sadie's Horse Bean seeds(?)  that I ordered from Heritage Harvest Seeds early this spring.  The description in the seed catalogue caught my eye and I decided I really needed to try these.  I hope June 5th is not too late to plant these, but I wanted to wait until the ground warmed up some, and this year things are taking a little longer than usual.

When I opened the package I was in awe of how big and beautiful these beans are.... 

Here are a few left over, some of the beans were white, some purple and pink with spots as well these these brown speckeled beans.

From the seed catalogue:

A beautiful heirloom runner bean that was grown in the same family for over one hundred years! Huge beans have to be seen to be believed and come in a gorgeous mix of colors including pink mottled black, lavender mottled brown and pure white. The pods are also huge and can be eaten as a snap when very young. This bean is truly one of the most ornamental vegetables you can grow. The vigorous vines are covered in a mix of white and red flowers all summer long and also attracts hummingbirds. Simply breathtaking! (110 days for dried beans) Pole.

So I really hope that the Sadie's Horse Bean grows.  I have them planted at our 'crazy' garden next to a large trellis.  This is the spot were all things can grow and get out of control if it wants to, and we have horseradish, rhubarb, peppermint, english mint, chives, lovage and also wild flowers growing.

Posted on Homestead Barn Hop #15

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Trip to the Feed Store

A few days ago I was told about a feed store waaaay on the other side of town from me.  I never knew about this particular store, but was told I should check it out as their prices were pretty good.  Before making the long trip out there, I decided to call first and compare prices to the store where I normally purchase our feed.  Well their prices were not only pretty good - they were PHENOMENAL!  He even carries dog food made in British Columbia made with BC ingredients at (get this!) a third of the price of what I currenty pay for dog food (which is not even local).

So this morning Husband and I set out to the feed store with long list in hand....
250 kg of pig grower
2 large dog food
1 bag hen scratch
8 bags layer feed
2 bags medicated chick starter
2 bags unmedicated chick starter
1 bag grit
4 bales of straw

We calculated that we drove home with 3/4 of a ton in the back of the pick up truck (good thing its a big truck), and for all of that we paid $387.68

If I purchase 2 bags of dog food and 8 bags of layer at my regular store I have already spent around $255.00, so I'm very pleased to have obtained so much feed for a very reasonable price, plus the owner was extremely nice and knowledgeable.  It is defininately worth the gas money for the trip out.

So I think we are set in the feed department for awhile and I'm all prepared for our new hatchlings and the chicks which will be arriving in 2 weeks.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wordless Wednesday