Jewelweed for Poison Ivy

A friend recently posted on Facebook that she was making some jewelweed spray. She filled a jar with fresh jewelweed and crushing it up, then added some witch hazel.

I thought – oh, hey! I have TONS of jewelweed! (I also have tons of poison ivy.)

There are other ways of making poison ivy relief with jewelweed. I’m not a great user of herbs and plants, so I don’t really know all the ways to infuse, extract, etc.

I washed mine, chopped it up, and put it in my blender with a little bit of water. I pureed the plant, then poured into ice cube trays to store in the freezer!

IMG_20170904_091245342-copyIMG_20170904_092501744-copy

Advertisements

Hatching Chicks

This summer was definitely more prolific than last summer. We had peas, beans, tomatoes, zucchini, and cucumbers grow very well. I canned watermelon pickles. We started our mushroom logs, which we need to try to force fruit soon. We built an in ground fire pit with a stone surround. But the highlight of the summer was the baby chicks!

We had a wyandotte go broody. Usually, we try to break our birds of their broodiness. But this time, we asked if anyone had any fertilized eggs for her to try to hatch. And a good neighbor did!! He brought over a handful of eggs, which he thought would be some kind of Ameraucana mix. The bird was able to successfully hatch out three eggs, and the chicks are all growing up and doing well!

I follow Lisa Steele on social media, and she has shared out her newest book to be released at the beginning of 2018: Let’s Hatch Chicks! an illustrated children’s book where the experience she had with her own chickens hatching and adding babies to the flock.

For awhile, we were concerned that maybe the eggs wouldn’t hatch. The hen had left them and then became trapped away from the eggs, so we thought maybe they had become too cold and had died. We candled them and could sort of tell there was something, so the hen got back to work. It was exciting to watch when they did actually hatch! I had picked up one of the eggs and tapped it, and could hear the ‘peep’ from inside. Soon enough, the chicks were pecking their way out. So cool!

Not all of the eggs did hatch. I think we had six eggs, and three of them hatched… which I consider a wonderous success! Each chick looks a little different: one is a darker grey, with a little bit of barred look to the feathers, one is a gorgeous light brown and grey combination, and the littlest chick is a soft ball of fluffy light grey. I can’t wait to see what they all grow up to look like!

Chicken count: 3 Barred Rock (hens), 4 Rhode Island Red (hens), 3 Golden Laced Wyandotte (hens), 3 chicks, breed unknown

Pests

Trying to plants peas in my (newly upgraded raised bed) garden, I was unrelentlessly attacked by black flies. They are terrible, mean, bitey things.

Black flies are particularly bad this year. I’ve been coating myself in bug spray to no avail.

Also, the mosquitoes are plentiful. In fact, I just found a mosquito *inside* my shirt. Jerk. (This Avon bug repellent does work against black flies, mosquitoes and ticks).

Wasps. A lot of wasps. Unfortunately, I am allergic to stinging insects so I can’t be the one clearing out nests.

AND… tent caterpillars. That’s right. These buggers are back.

18556173_1897788517106194_1236293050249949786_n

While these little crawlies are mostly harmless, and they do make a tasty snack for birds, they will contribute to diseases in the tree they are taking residence in. If you care about that tree (fruit trees, ornamentals that you paid big bucks for, etc.) then removing them is important.

Using gloved hands, pull the caterpillars and their webs out of the tree (if you can reach it!). Bag and then double bag for the trash, OR throw the nest on a fire to kill them. Then spray the affected tree with insecticidal soap.

Insecticidal soap.

Garden Safe organic brand is good. You can also make your own.

2% Dr. Bronner’s pure liquid castile soap

98% water

Mix around 1 tablespoon of liquid castile soap to 1 quart of water, or 4 tablespoons of soap to 1 gallon of water. DO NOT USE DISH SOAP!

Other, optional additions:

  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil to help with adhesion to the plant; in hot sun, this might contribute to leaf burn, so use cautiously
  • 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar if the plant has powdery mildew issues
  • to prevent leaf chompy bugs, finely diced garlic clove

A Dollar and a Dream – of Eggs!

Our daughter wanted to color easter eggs. The dollar store had some egg coloring kits, so I picked up a two.

We didn’t need to buy eggs. We literally have so many eggs…. we composted at least 3 dozen, sold another 7 and there are still 2 in the fridge. And another dozen probably in the coop. Girls are super laying like crazy.

(14 hens : 6 Rhode Island Red, 4 Barred Rock, 4 Golden Laced Wyandotte)

IMG_20170413_181352746

And, we spent an evening of fun, coloring eggs!

I blow out my eggs, rather than boiling them. 1. It’s super easy, 2. You can keep the eggs for years!

To blow out eggs, take a raw egg and puncture both ends. I used a screw to do these. I do a “larger” end and a “smaller” end. Then I blow the egg out by putting the smaller end against my lips and blowing the yolk and egg white through the larger end. Then, rinse the eggs, running the water through the egg.

IMG_20170413_180532194_HDR

The dye we used were the little dissolvable pellets. One came with cute little cups, and the other kit came with gold paint. They actually colored the brown eggs well!

 

Each egg needed some individual attention, to really get the right color. It took some time! But I think the result was a beautiful basket of colorful eggs. OK, so it cost me $2.

IMG_20170414_180037159.jpg

Maple Sugaring

Tree tapping day!

It is currently 40° outside, despite the remaining foot + of snow on the ground. We thought today would be a good today to tap the maple trees. We are starting MICRO. We have three spiles and three buckets, and even though we id’d the maples last summer and made a map, that map is now gone, so we are *hoping* the trees we tapped are actually maples.

IMG_20170220_133021449_HDR.jpg

Gotta admit… ZERO clue what we are doing. I’m usually confident in homesteading adventures, but maple sugaring is so very new to me, I have never done it, and I have no background knowledge whatsoever.

Wish us luck!

 

IMG_20170220_133223972.jpg

img_20170220_131813403

Add Herbs Until It Looks Tasty

Another forecasted snow fall. Blizzard, they say, this time. 18″ to 2 feet? Ugh. At least it might help resolve our drought issues.

Sunday evenings are usually getting ready for the week, chores and roast chicken. Then, I use the chicken carcass to make bone broth for recipes during the week.

img_20170212_150513202

Wash, pat dry, place pats of butter on top, sprinkle with poultry seasoning, bake at 350° until done. 

I also mix my own poultry seasoning. I don’t measure, I just add herbs until it looks tasty. I’m so precise. :/

img_20170212_151002160

sea salt, black pepper, rosemary, sage, thyme, marjoram, and nutmeg

 

New Rabbit

Another snow fall. 12″ this time.

16711696_10154955019638255_1859974150249111725_n

I spent the day in the kitchen and clearing snow. For lunch, I made Moroccan carrot lentil swiss chard soup. I also made kale chips with the dehydrator, but it was my first attempt and I need to tweak the recipe.

The big adventures this week is our new rabbit. We saw that one of our local farms was selling some rabbits (for pets only – some farms do sell rabbits for meat) and this cutie just had to be ours. So we are learning how to be bunny parents. He’s currently 9 weeks old, he’s a Satin cross (though not sure what with). He loves greens and scares our kitten.

16641069_10154950094833255_1966602409371460231_n

Speaking of cats, (now 2 years old) escaped the house and run into the snow. Then he panicked, climbed a tree and started to howl until I rescued him.

While that was happening, we were trying to convince him to come back in using some treats. Well, the elder feline ate some of those treats and they make him sick (every time – we just don’t feed them to him but he snuck them). So, of course he vomits. I heated up some bone broth for him and he’s trying to soothe his kitty tummy with it now.

The chickens are just cranky because they couldn’t leave the coop today.