What’s for Dinner?

IMG_9724

Since my husband started a new job and is working some evenings, I am on my own for dinner!  What you don’t know (if you don’t know me in “real life”) is that I don’t cook anything but breakfast foods…I will cook eggs, etc. for dinner, but all I cook is “breakfast”.  Ever.  Period.

So I found myself alone the first evening shift and had to come up with something to eat! I remembered seeing a yummy looking recipe on Facebook…something with smoked sausage and cabbage.  I finally found something similar online, but I knew I wasn’t gonna be firing up the grill – the recipe I found was foil packets on the grill!  So, I thought to myself…I am 56 years old, I can do this !

And I did !!!  Let me tell ya, this is the best darn stuff !  This is how it went down…

First I cut up the Hillshire Farms Smoked Sausage in cute little sideways cut pieces and just browned them a little to give them that “grilled” look and to get some juicy flavor in the skillet.  When it was well heated, I took it out and put it in a bowl for later.

Then I put a little oil in my Rachel Ray Oval Dutch Oven from QVC, cut up a few potatoes (I don’t measure anything y’all…I’m sorry!) and one good sized onion and tossed the potatoes in the pan and pan fried (I’m guessing that’s a good term to use) them until they were about 1/2 way done.  I tossed the onions in and stirred it all up and let it cook until the onions were no longer white and crunchy.

Next, I put a head of cabbage (I cut it up in good sized chunks while the potatoes were cooking) in the pan with the potatoes and onions and added about a cup of water to the hot skillet, covered it and let the cabbage cook until tender (or however you prefer it).

IMG_9681

Finally, the sausage got tossed back in on top of everything and stirred up well, then I let it simmer for a few more minutes, covered.

 

IMG_9726

 

Voilà!  It’s done!  Boy, was it good !

Easter Eggs!

 

Easter Eggers

Finally !!! One of our Ameraucana pullets is a big girl now !! A hen!

We found our very first “easter egger” bluish-green egg yesterday !  Our six EE girls were born last February – we got them in mid-April – and we have been waiting for this day since then!!  I was soooo surprised when I went to collect our 5 eggs yesterday (our 5 laying hens are usually on it daily…sometimes we only get 4 though if one is taking a rest day!)  and there were 6 eggs – a smaller bluish green egg along with the normal 3 white, 1 brown, and 1 light brown collection.

Pullets (“baby” hens) typically start laying eggs around 6 months old, but that depends on the breed.  Larger breed like Wyandottes, Plymouth Rocks and Orpingtons will start laying a little later, but smaller breeds such as the Leghorns, Stars, and Australorps will start laying sooner.

We got all of our laying hens when they were already laying, so this is a learning experience for us!!!  We are excited that our other 5 Ameraucana (Easter Eggers) will start laying soon, and we also have a Barred Rock and a Blue Andalusian that are the same age, so they will be getting ready to put their eggs into the mix too!

Here is one of our Easter Eggers…maybe this “big” girl is the layer of our first blue/green egg yesterday!

 

IMG_9294

 

GERD – do you have it?

GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) is no joke!!! Even so, I do LOVE my coffee in the mornings but I have got to cut it out !!! (I need to find something new to put in the {{awesome}} mug my oily friend Elizabeth at Living the Nourished Life gave me!!)

no more coffee

Some of you may know that I had gastric bypass surgery (RNY) in 2004, and after this surgery it is highly recommended that caffeine (and a myriad of other things that can cause damage to the stomach lining) be avoided – so, my daily coffee has really affected my stomach negatively.  This is one of the things that I have had a hard time giving up – although I did cut out coffee and caffeine of all types about 3 years ago after a short stint in the caffeine world, but somehow this little culprit snuck back in within the last year !

blog - me coffee

My GERD has gotten worse since my coffee binge, and it will have to go !!!  Having a “pouch” instead of a stomach with working acid pumps (I can just envision little pumps in my stomach!), make any irritating drink or food “off limits” for gastric bypass patients!  Check out this article on what foods and drinks to avoid if you have heartburn here.

After my gastric bypass surgery I was prescribed Prilosec for occasional GERD flare ups, and for many years I didn’t take it at all…I didn’t need to!  Since the coffee, I have had flare ups and have taken it occasionally, then daily fo

r awhile – but these 2 articles changed my thinking drastically!  The first one is from Science Daily and the second one from a Canadian Health website.

pills

Photo from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170705113546.htm

What a scary thought that a prescribed medication may actually do more harm than good!!!  But this is NOT unusual!  Another reason we started using essential oils for a healthier alternative!

The icing on the proverbial cake is that caffeine also decreases bone density!  I also have Osteopenia (pre-Osteoporosis) and caffeine is a HUGE no-no!  Read more about osteoporosis and  coffee in this article at WebMD.

 

osteoporosis

So, my diet and coffee intake MUST change y’all !!!   I have also started using my DiGize Essential Oil in a roll-on form over my abdomen, and it has helped soooo much (what took me so long to do this????  Hubby uses it daily!  Hello?)

DiGize

My next project is to get some help from my friend and followers to make a list of yummy (and healthy) smoothies to replace my coffee in the morning! Does anyone have any suggestions for me ???  Leave them in the comments!

 

 

Holy Time Batman…it has flown by!

IMG_8694

Geez….this has been a busy month for us and for our oily business !!  Young Living had their Convention this month and we have been teaching classes like crazy with the NEW Makeup and Baby lines coming out !!!

Please forgive me for hiding…I didn’t mean to, but it happened.

If you want a sneak peek at this awesome, all natural mineral makeup that has got me star crazy (I haven’t worn makeup in TWO years because I couldn’t find one that was safe and free of all sorts of yuk!!!), here it is…

Savvy

Have a little one?  We have something NEW for you too!!!  Check out the Seedlings product line…

seedlings

My friends, I promise that I will be around more consistently!! And I want to hear from you!  Are there any topics you want me to write about???  Any questions you might have?

I’m here for you!

FREE Essential Oil Class!

IMG_2375

Have you ever wondered what essential oils are all about? Would you like to go to class but just don’t know anyone that’s teaching one? I have a solution for you!

I have an awesome Intro to Essential Oils class and I’d be happy to  email you an MP3 file.  This is one of the best classes that I have ever heard! It’s recorded by Sara Harnisch, author of the book “Gameplan”. I just love listening to her speak, she was a radio host for many many years and has the best voice ever!

I learned so much about essential oils, listening to this class…why it DOES matter where you buy them, why the Seed to Seal guarantee is so important, and so much more!

If you’d like a Copy of this Essential Oil 101 class for free, go to our contact page and send us an email!! You can listen to it in your car, at work, or wherever you are – just download the MP3 file to your computer, phone, or iPod! 👍

For a little more info on these power packed bottles of oil, read more about them here.

#ListenWhileYouDrive #EssentialOil101 #IntroToEssentialOils #CleanLiving #NaturalWellness #DitchTheToxins

A Fire What ?

Yep…it’s our Fire Pit Yardscape!!!  We have finally started our fire pit area!!!  We purchased our fire pit last fall and have been planning our “pit  area” for a long time now!!  This is only the beginning!

shed

Not too long ago there sat an old worn out shed on this spot.  When we found an awesome lady that wanted the old shed – for a chicken coop no less – she came to our place and my hubby helped her take down the shed, loaded it on her trailer, and waved bye bye to them both.

shed spot

We were left with a 10’ x 10’ area that was nothing but dirt.  Then a  light bulb went off!  We had been planning for our fire pit area to be on our concrete patio, but this area would be so perfect!!!

Hubby and I moved the fire pit over to the “sandlot” and it looked so pitiful there all by itself.  We needed seating and had thought about building benches or getting some cool looking lawn chairs…but then, my daughter and son-in-law had a HUGE tree cut down in their front yard!!  Another light bulb exploded in my head – STUMPS !

fire pit

So, here is the beginning of our Fire Pit Yardscape! We are going to get four more tree stumps from my daughter soon.   I will be moving my outdoor chandelier to this area and also adding solar lighting on the ground and eventually some lighting on poles around the pit.  This is going to be awesome for hanging out with friends, roasting marshmallows with the grandkids, and just enjoying an evening fire with my hubby.

Now…if we can just get all of that done before cooler weather we’ll be OK!

Cleaning the Coop Naturally

 

img_1999

Since we are new to chicken “farming”, we wanted to incorporate our love of essential oils in our poultry care! We knew that Lemon Essential Oil is awesome for its cleaning properties and it is all natural, so we decided to use it to deodorize our chicken coop!

This spray works great, is safe for our chickens, and best of all it is  100% chemical free!

  • Using a 16 ounce spray bottle – glass is best – fill 1/2 way with white vinegar
  • add 25 drops of Lemon Essential Oil – you can buy it here – swirling the bottle to mix
  • Fill the rest of the bottle with water

We clean our nesting boxes, roosting bars, and for general coop clean up !

*If you would like more information on how to get your hands on essential oils or how to use them, you can contact me here !

I’m so thankful…and surprised!

blogger recognition

I can’t believe I was nominated for the Blogger Recognition Reward

by the **awesome** LowcountryHippie!

Thank you !!!!  

You have been my #1 fan since my first post!  I appreciate that!

 

How was this blog born?

When we got our chickens there was soooo much to learn and so our blog was born!  As we learned, I wanted to pass those “chicken tips” along to other newbies!  Since we have become more natural and are attempting to be self-sustainable, naturally healthy, and cleaning our home and coop with chemical free homemade cleaners, I thought a blog incorporating all of these would be a great way for me to keep track of everything!  I’m no spring chicken (pun intended) and my memory fails me most days, so having a place to go to document our recipes, DIY projects, etc. sounded like a great idea.   So our “brand” is homesteading, essential oil using, healthy (most times) eating, chicken loving old folks living!  Oh, and DIY stuff too!

For the new bloggers – a tip or two.

Hmmmm…..first, don’t stress about posting!  Pick one or two days a week that you will post and do that until you feel you have the time/topics to post more.

Secondly, have tons of topics listed and a bunch of posts written and ready to post when you start!  I didn’t. So I stressed.  Until I realized this isn’t a job…it’s for fun!

I have a full time job so I knew I couldn’t post each day so I started with my Fun Fact Friday series.  Take it slow unless you are completely ready to dive in!

I’m nominating these blogs…

Hot Mess Homesteading – we have like interests and I love reading about the goats, that’s something we want to add to our “urban farm” when we purchase our own property!

I also LOVE Three Story Homestead !!!!  Again, right up my alley!  Such an informative and beautiful blog!  Thanks for all you Share!

For those nominated, here are the rules for this award.  Keep the love going!

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  2. Write a post to show your award.
  3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  5. Select (up to 15) other bloggers for this award.
  6. Comment on each blog to let them know you nominated them and provide a link to the post you created.

 

Happy Blogging everyone and Thanks to my faithful readers!

 

Fun Fact Friday – “Are there any common chicken practices that you believe to be harmful or just less-than-ideal? Certain coop setups, feed, nesting materials, etc.”

This week’s read question is “Are there any common chicken practices that you believe to be harmful or just less-than-ideal? Certain coop setups, feed, nesting materials, etc.”

As far as “chicken practices”, I am only assuming that the reader means commercial practices in hatcheries and chicken processing plants.  Since we are small backyard chicken parents, I will be the first to admit that I know nothing about the practices in commercial facilities, so I really can’t speak to that.  I have seen articles on Facebook about overcrowding, feeding them steroids for bigger chickens (meaning bigger chicken pieces to sell to consumers), etc. and I don’t agree with any of those things at all! I realize that we eat these little guys and gals and that we, as consumers, contribute to the demand for chicken to eat, but I believe there are farms that are more caring and I am going to make it a point to find some local organic chicken farms to purchase my chickens for eating!  Thanks for that question, it has really made me more aware of what I am eating and where and how the chickens were raised!

Now, coop setup.  This totally depends on how much room and money you have!  Just my opinion.  We have 2 chain link fence dog kennels configured into a 10’x30’ are for our chickens.

18424094_10154279793916910_3568595082123084047_n

PICTURE HERE

 

We live in a neighborhood, so they can’t free range all over the place, but we do let them in our fences in back yard to semi free range in the evenings while we are outside cleaning coops, tending to the plants, and letting our little dog Mike run around.

 

Ideally, when we have our own property, I plan to purchase a small, pre-built shed to turn into a “chicken house” with a large totally enclosed run for them with a door in the shed to go in and out.  To me, this is the ideal coop set up!  With a walk in door in the shed it makes it much easier to clean, gather eggs, and I will use the front end of the shed to store feed/cleaning items.  Sort of like these (on a smaller scale)…

Photos found on Pinterest

 

Some coop/bedding choices are:

  • Straw and Hay – a very popular choice, soft for the hens and eggs, inexpensive, and durable.
  • Pine Shavings – readily available and very affordable, this is what we use. They dry very quickly, and can be scooped out easily.  They are also great for the compost pile after cleaning out the coop!
  • Cedar Shavings – they work much like pine shavings, except for the scent and chickens respiratory systems. There are differing opinions on whether cedar is safe for chickens,  therefore, not an option for us.
  • Sand – a great choice as nesting box bedding if you are committed to spend time sifting it! I have a cat and I detest the litter box, so this is not an option for me as we have to sift litter inside already!  As a ground layer for the outside run, I would LOVE to have sand, when we own the property where our chickens live 😉   It dries super fast and the hens would love it for dust bathing!
  • Grass Clippings – they could be free but clippings tend to stay more moist. This will make them smell more.  Also, if you don’t know where the clippings came from, they may be full of pesticides or chemicals!  The chickens will pick at it and that could be dangerous!
  • Recycled Paper – again, not a favorite option of mine since there is ink in the paper and can also be slippery when wet. The main drawback is that when a hen lays, the egg is wet and the paper will stick and dry to the egg!

For the Nest Box – pine shavings are our choice.  One nesting box for 3-4 chickens is ideal.

Some ideas for nesting boxes are:

  • Covered or uncovered cat litter boxes
  • Pet carriers (you can find these at yard sales or thrift stores)
  • 5-gallon buckets obtained from restaurants or other sources, on its side
  • Plastic dish tubs
  • Plastic milk and soda crates
  • Wooden crate (harder to clean than plastic)
  • Old drawers from a dresser or desk
  • Plastic storage tub – cut a hole in the lid and lay on its side

Chicken Feed:  totally a personal choice as to what you think is best for your flock.  We chose Nutrena Layer Feed from Tractor Supply.  It has all the nutrients and egg hardening properties for “adult” (over 16 weeks) hen!   We do have 2 that are just under 16 weeks and have also been eating this feed.  I’m thinking now I should go buy this. I just realized they are NOT 16 weeks old yet  – still a few weeks to go!  We tried the pellets first, but our flock seems to like the crumbles better!

  NatureWise_Layer Crumble_50__920735_CP_Thumbnail

So, I think this week’s Fun Fact Friday is a wrap!  I hope I answered the questions of “Are there any common chicken practices that you believe to be harmful or just less-than-ideal? Certain coop setups, feed, nesting materials, etc.”!!

Next Friday we will be looking into our final reader question…”What would be your number one tip for new chicken owners?” – please come back next week and join us!

 

 

Fun Fact Friday – Do you ever sell chicks or eggs? Is that regulated at all?

eggs4

 

Our next reader question is – Do you ever sell chicks or eggs? Is that regulated at all?   Great questions!!

We don’t raise chickens, so as far as selling chicks, I had to research that and here  is the North Carolina Statutes on Chick Dealers and Hatcheries.  I learned a lot reading through this…thank goodness we never intended, nor had a desire, to hatch or sell chicks!

So, yes, there are laws governing selling chicks and hatching eggs (eggs that have been fertilized and are being sold for hatching purposes).

Selling eggs for eating (unfertilized eggs) we do!  North Carolina law – the “Egg Law” – can be found here.  The short version of the Egg Law is “a producer marketing eggs of his own production shall be exempt from this section when such marketing occurs on the premises where the eggs are produced, processed, or when ungraded sales do not exceed 30 dozen per week.”

Our Oily Homestead Eggs

 

The way I read that is that if a farm sell eggs that their chickens lay and the sale takes place on the property where the eggs were laid, they are exempt from the grading of eggs, or if they sell less than 30 dozen ungraded eggs a week (that’s a bunch of chickens y’all  – 360 eggs a week – that would be a max of 360 hens!!!)  Also, containers must have the word “Eggs” on the container along with the farm’s name.  We purchase our egg cartons at our local Tractor Supply Store.

We sell eggs to our friends that know the value of fresh eggs!  We only do this when we have an abundance of eggs – our main reason for having our hens is so that we are more self-sustainable – but when we have more than we will eat, we sell a dozen or two!

eggs2

 

That’s pretty much it in an “eggshell” – NC laws for selling chicks and eggs – at least that is what my research turned up!

Fun Fact Friday next week will tackle the question – “Are there any common chicken practices that you believe to be harmful or just less-than-ideal? Certain coop setups, feed, nesting materials, etc.”

See you next week !