Advent/New Year/Resolutions/Challenges

When do you make New Year resolutions, and what do you call them? Are you mostly successful or do you lose resolve somewhere about mid-February? December 1, 2013 is the first Sunday in Advent. Because this is the season we prepare for the coming of Christ, and Advent marks the new liturgical year, it’s the time I make New Year’s resolutions. I prefer to call my resolutions “challenges” because that is how they often feel … Continue reading

Finding Alternatives to Genetically Modified Food: Some Thoughts & a Meal Planning Tool

I realize when I began this weekly feature, I hadn’t made a thorough explanation of the goals. Those of us living on farms have the ability to feed our livestock non GM feed to ensure we have a source of uncontaminated meat & dairy products. This isn’t the case for most people. I don’t know the implications of consuming meat, eggs & milk products from animals on a GM diet. Somehow, I think the cow … Continue reading

Cattle Panel Hay Feeder

Sheep and goats are notorious for wasting hay. When it is fed on the ground, they lie down in it, and once they’ve done that they refuse to eat it. A conventional hay rack allows them to waste hay by pulling it out onto the ground. The taller animals also reach above the smaller animals’ heads and spill hay down into their fleeces. The resulting messy fleece causes major headaches when it’s time to process the wool. Quite by accident, I hit upon an easy, no-waste way to feed my sheep.
The year I decided to section off a side of the hay barn for lambing jugs, I had to find a way to keep them out of the hay. Cattle panels to the rescue! I tied them to the supports and made a wall they couldn’t anything but their heads through. Feeding was now so easy. Hay flakes are laid on the floor and the sheep push their heads through the panels to eat. There is enough space for them to eat side-by-side with no weaker, smaller ones getting pushed aside.

One end was sectioned off for poultry feed, oats and minerals. That took a little more doing. Fencing was wired to the panel on the sheep side to keep the sheep from putting their heads through. Since the chickens range everywhere, poultry wire was stapled to the hay side to keep them out.

I hope others will share their ways of feeding animals now that winter is approaching.

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Retained Heat Cooking – So Frugal & Carefree

When I read about retained heat cooking, I knew this was a frugal solution to the dilemma of finding time to prepare healthy meals on a busy homestead. Soup or stew is boiled for about 15 minutes and then the pot is placed in an insulated container and left for the day. The food cooks slowly, much as it would in a crock pot and there is nothing scorched or stuck to the bottom of … Continue reading

Lard Based Skin Cream – Eeew or Ahhh?

After watching “Victorian Farm”, I was all about making the lard skin concoction. The simple ingredients were in my pantry, so I gave it a go. She had rosewater to add to hers. I didn’t, so that ingredient was omitted. I am thinking some peppermint oil would be a nice addition, though.

Skin Cream Ingredients
Egg Yolk

There were no proportions given in the film. I just started adding things and whisking them together until I hit upon the texture I liked. At first there was too much honey and it made my hands tacky. I added more lard to balance it. I also added some dried calendula flowers. I should have chopped them fine before adding.
This stuff is greasy and makes the skin pretty shiny when first applied. It does soak in and does an amazing job of moisturizing. It also acts as a barrier against water. Pretty good stuff to put on before doing a chore like washing out water buckets. If your hands are rough and dry, this bedtime ritual will help. Put this cream or Bag Balm your hands. Cover your hands with socks to keep the stuff on your hands rather than your bedding. My husband used to do this with Bag Balm to heal the splits in his hands that he got from working outside in freezing weather.
What do you use to help preserve your skin from the rigors of farm life and household chores?