Friday, September 6, 2013

FALL TO DO LIST

Fall is still two weeks away but I started the list that I want to get done in the next month:

1. Weed the garden (big job)
2. Move the free horse poo over from across the street
3. Chop up leaves and put them in the garden
4. Clean up my yard (blown in trash and stuff)
5. Clean off the front porch
6. Weed eater doesn't work and the guy I hired to do my weed eating didn't come back so "Use scissors to cut the weeds around the garden (big job...lots of blisters)
7. Clean and rake the chicken yard
8. Add an upper layer of chicken wire to the top of the chicken yard
9. Catch the chickens and lock them  into the chicken yard
10 Water all of the trees weekly until drought is over
11 Sort all of my tools and put them on the shelves in the closet
12. Clean out the tool shed
13. clean out the two tool boxes and organize
14. Clean out the food pantry
15. organize the laundry room
16. make up a large batch of homemade laundry soap
17. pull weeds in the unused back garden
18. Move the bird bath out front and keep full
19. move firewood up onto porch holder
20. hang kerosene lanterns on the front porch
21. split starter wood sticks and put into a water tight container along with pine cones
22. Start some fall kale and chard
23. clean out the fire place
24. Call the fire place guys to come inspect and change out the pipe
25. Clean out the closet in the living room
26. Clean out the gutters
27. Mouse proof the truck tool box
28. Order egg laying chicks
29. Take my 15 meat chicks to slaughter
30. Clean out the master bedroom closet
31. Fix the old dog kennel into a grow out cage for the chicks
32. Organize my Christmas decorations

Well That will keep me busy.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

GOT HIM!!!

I have been trying to catch this guy for months. He is the top rooster on my farm but not the genetics that i want. I want a big meaty style bird. He is too skinny.

Now the new pecking order has begun in the front yard. O have 1 White Rock and 4 Dark Cornish roosters and one White Maran, 5 Cuckoo Marans, and 4 White Rock hens all of which combined with th Dark Cornish should produce a really meaty bird

Saturday, January 26, 2013

TEXAS SPRING

It has already been in he 70's here and it is January!!! I have decided due to my work schedule I will focus on less garden plants. Here are the ones I am going to plant this year:

Boxcar Willie Heirloom I started 58 of these today! I will be planting them in 5 gallon buckets on bricks and will resort to spraying the bottom of the buckets to keep out the fire ants.

Sugar Baby Watermelon

Burgess Buttercup Squash

Pumpkins

I will also still be growing my mandarin orange and Meyers lemon trees because I am so happy with how they did in pots this year. And so far have been fine in my office w/out any artificial light. My herbs are suffering a little. Next nice day I will take them out for a little sun.

I will also be adding more of the orange and lemon trees.

I will also  plant Beuregard Sweetpotatos.

Last year I filled my raised beds with a truck load of turkey compost that I purchased. This was not completely composted and nothing grew very well but the dirt this year looks AMAZING!!! Dark and crumbly however it had settled and was too shallow.

So I went out yesterday I took a rake and pulled all of the dirt to one end leaving about half empty. I will purchase another truck load and filling the other half with raw compost and will not plant there until this fall.

Chicken Update:

I still have too many roosters. The chickens are sleeping in the trees very high up!!! I caught one rooster but I will need to trap the rest. One rooster is a very great protector of his girls but he is a White Leggorn/Brown Leggorn mix and is way too skinny I am trying to raise meat chickens. I hate to get rid of him but I must.

The next thing I have to do is Build a bigger chicken house with a large comfortable roost. The girls are starting to lay eggs and I will be ready to start hatching meat chicks by March..

I will be keeping records when I start that because it is an experiment.

I have one Japanese Bantam rooster

I need to buy two hens for him because he is lonely! The big girls just don't like him no matter how fancy he is.

I just posted an ad on Craiglist to see if I can find him some women!







Saturday, December 29, 2012

NEW SOAP

I was off work today and made some more unscented honey oatmeal soap. But first I found that I didn't have enough tallow so I spent several hours rendering tallow.


I got new knives from my son and daughter in law for Christmas....can you tell?



During this time I decided to melt and store some of the smoked tallow I rendered last week over an open fire. I was sure it was ruined because of how it smelled....very smoky....but decided rather than waste it I would make a batch of soap and if nothing else I could use it as a degreaser soap for when I had been working outside. Here is what it looked like melted:


Here is the soap cooking in the crock pot




 

When it was 30 min from being done, I got out my cool little chopper




 



 
And I chopped some oats for the soap




Added my super fats: cocoa butter, coconut oil and shea butter


Added 4 oz of honey and 2 T of vegetable glycerine



 
Cooked it for 30 more minutes on low. Poured it into the box that I am using for a mold.
 


 


And put the lid on the let it cool. Tomorrow I will take it out and cut it into bars.
 


 


 

Monday, December 10, 2012

SOAP MAKING

I am on vacation for two weeks! And my boss just texted me and told me the company just gave us Christmas Eve off paid too so I don't have to go back til the 26th!!!

So today will be spent inside cleaning and making soap. But first I have to prep for soap. Here I took some of my harvested rain water and filtered it twice.


I purchased suet from my local butcher and rendered the first 20 lb into tallow. Warning do this in small batches and if you can do it outside. Filter with stuff you can throw away like layers of cheese cloth. Don't wash it in your sink or washer or you will have a plumbers bill. Tallow takes several boilings in water and then I still melt it and filter it at the end to make sure it is pure. I store it in quart canning jars and cool with the lids off until I am ready to use it.




This is my greasing rod. I used this to grease my pvc soap molds. I used 3 socks that had no matches, in a ball and used an old towel over it and then held it onto the rod with a heavy rubber bands.


 

I went to my local ACE and purchased 3 inch PVC which they cut into 12 inch lengths. To figure how much soap one will hole it takes a little math.

PI = 3.14 (aprox)
The radius of a 3" PVC pipe is 1.5"
The formula is PI x radius squared x length = volume
In this case 3.14 x 2.25 x 12 = 84.78
Multiply the volume x .4 to get this lb of oil you will need
84.78 x .4 = 33.91 oz of oil for the recipe to fill each of these. Now this is on paper. I haven't actually used this formula yet. I will update at the bottom if it fills or over fills the mold.


Because I hate to waste anything....here are the paper towels I used to wipe out the bowls, pots and pitchers that I used when filtering the tallow. Don't throw these away! I found an old wooden tabogen at a flea market. All it needed is a good waxing. I will use these tallow rags to do just that!


I have also taken an inventory of oils. I have:
16 oz palm oil
16 oz raw cocoa butter
16 oz shea butter
10 lb honey
15 oz coconut oil
1 qt soybean oil
101 oz extra virgin olive oil
4 oz vitamin e oil
1 pint infused calendula oil
1 pint infused comfrey oil
1/3 pint infused tumeric oil
1 lb bees wax
4 oz of kadlin white clay
LOTS of essential oils

And a tired kitty snoring on my shoulder which makes it hard to get up and make soap! 

I dedicate my soap making to my wonderful kids, kid in law, and grand kids. They seem to appreciate me like no one else does.
 
Update; I felt the soap and it was really hard after just a few hours. I was worried that I would not be able to get it out. However my fist fits in the 3" pvc and I just simply shoved it out. This gave me confidence because my second batch of soap failed horrible and I had to dump it out back because it smelled so bad....(note to self...don't fall down the steps in the dark with a scalding hot caudron of oil and lye). Now I am sitting with my sore ankel up. Not sprained just sore. But here is my first loaf tonight. This is orange blossom/mandrin/bergamot. It smells heavenly.


A little raggedy but I will smooth them out in a few days after they cure a little.

Friday, November 23, 2012

HEALING OINTMENT

Last night i made infused oil with comfrey and calendula. Tonight i made ointment with it.


 

Is this not a wonderful shade of green.

 
 




 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

MORE FIRE CIDER

This stuff kicks allergies and sinus infections well!