I am not a winter person, mostly because I cannot stand cold weather, I've also decided I would not be able to live any more north than I do now. My love for snow last for the first two hours, long enough for the mudbugs and I to play in it, then I'm done. So I've been waiting for the past three months for warm weather and now that spring is here and the sun is shining most days, I am finding it hard to stay inside! I've been starting my organic veggie seeds, planning my homestead, and getting muddy!
I received The Encyclopedia of Country Living from my husband this past Christmas. He claimed it was his attempt to help me not kill everything that I plant. But in my defense, this is the first year in the past four years that I have not been pregnant or taking care of small babies and in the past two years I haven't even attempted to plant a garden. And as you can see, from all my marking tabs, I've been eating all the wonderful information up! It pretty much covers any topic of living off the land and doing it yourself! I've found the chapter on Garden Vegetable to be extremely helpful and have now started on chapter 8, Introduction to Animals!
We have had chickens for several years now. We have never had a problem with getting them to lay eggs until this fall. So I turned to my encyclopedia for some help and now we are getting eggs again! I will be posting a video, Happy Chickens Give Happy Eggs soon
Seedlings have been started. We will be planting two different areas this year, the main garden (corn, squash, beans, okra) and a terraced garden (tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, radishes, & carrots). I am currently videoing my terrace garden experiment, so you'll get to see how it goes, lol! My husband still thinks I will kill everything, I am hoping to prove him wrong!
While researching water strategies for our gardens I cam across a real neat website, www.thepreparedhomestead.org. Sean and Monica have wonderful resources on their site along with podcast ( I love podcasts, because I can listen to them and learn while I'm working! I don't really have time to watch television and the downtime I do have I like to spend watching educational YouTube videos, reading articles, and books.) While on their site I found their Homestead Planner and I am in LOVE with it! I just thought I had it all figured out, but that was the problem, I "thought", I did not have a written down plan (Being a business owner, I should have know better, all dreams need to be planned out if they are to become a reality!). This planner helped me to think about all the aspects around planning my homestead. I also love the fact that my husband and I had to work together on the plan which meant we have to discuss what each of us sees/dreams of what our homestead will be and become. Being on the same page helps us to be more successful.
After getting dirty all day I use Burt's Bees Cleansing Oil to wash my face. My favorite part of this all natural wash is that it is easy to use, works the first time, and can be found at your big name pharmacies.
Green Goddess- Lavender Mint- Organic Olive Lotions is my go to for my dry hands after working outside all day. This is the very lotion that made lavender mixed with mint my favorite scent! I also love using it on my legs before I go out the door. You can find it and other wonderful smelling organic products at www.mermaidsnaturals.com
Also with spring comes the abundance of rabbits! When walking in the woods around our place they seem to be everywhere. Sometimes even scaring me as they lay still, camouflaged, and wait to run until I'm practically beside them. Our area is known for timber rattlers, so fast moving critters at my feet are not cool! But what is cool is our MS MUD rabbit sling bag http://www.msmudapparel.com/products/rabbit-sling-bag . This heavy-duty canvas bag is perfect for carrying around all my books. I plan on using its easy across the shoulder design out in the garden to hold my tools while I work!
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Spring break is always the week we pick out our spring chicks! I loaded up all the mudbugs and we went to our local Tractor Supply to pick out our future egg layers. There is just something magical that happens when children hold a soft fluffy baby chick.
You can just see the light shining in your child’s eyes as they hope you will let them take one home, but there is so much more to just taking one home. I hear stories all the time about how some little mudbug’s chick died a few hours/days after taking it home. I will be the first to admit that I, myself, made the same mistake with my oldest daughter, but on a much larger scale than most! My over ambitious self not only got baby chicks without really knowing everything I needed too, but I got 15 chicks of a small specialty breed! The next couple of days were filled with lots of tears and me feeling like the most horrible mom ever! I managed to get my facts together only in time to save around 8 of them. So, here are some helpful tips for you to know beforehand.
Baby Chick Tips:
Your chicks will need a small water and chick feed container. They will need to be re-filled every day.
Make sure to get a bag of chick starter feed, not regular chicken feed.
Baby chicks need to be housed in a container that will keep them warm and free from cold drafts. You can start them out in a small cardboard box or plastic container (if you use a round container they are less likely to pile up on each other which could lead to smothering) and then move them to a larger container as they get bigger. We have used plastic containers, dog kennels (make sure to cover any opening, it would surprise you how small the opening can be), and for the past three sets of chicks, we have used our tile shower.
Yes, I said our shower! Our shower is a walk-in that is completely tiled and I have found that using newspaper as a bottom cover is the easiest to clean up. After I roll it up and put it in the garbage, I then sweep up anything that is left in the bottom of the shower and lay fresh paper back down. (While cleaning up, I put the chicks in a small cardboard box)
The all tiled shower also makes me feel better about the heat lamp which is need to keep our little chicks warm. You need the lamp to keep the tempter around 90 -95 degrees for the first week. Our heat lamp is connected to a “door”, which is really just a mud-dying screen that happened to fit the doorway perfectly. If the lamp happened to get knocked over and the paper catch on fire, I’d rather it happen in the tile shower and not a cardboard box! Leave your chicks enough room so if they get too warm they move to a cooler area, then return to the light when they need too.
Also, protect your chicks from other household pets! Dogs seem to just be curious but can still hurt them enough to kill the small chicks, and cats are looking for a snack!
Watch out for “pasty butt”! Some of your little chicks will have poo that sticks to their bottoms and will clog up their vent. If it is not removed, it will kill them! You must check them every day and remove any stuck droppings with warm water.
In the last vlog we got muddy dying some pillows. I use an all-natural dying process in which at the end I wash my pillows with an all-natural washing powder mix.
The number one home care item that I’m asked about the most is my all natural washing powder!
The three ingredients are not only all natural & eco-safe, but also cheap!
What you need:
1 box - Arm Hammer: Washing Soda- course grained- is hydrated sodium carbonate.
1 box- Arm Hammer: Baking Soda- softer grained- Sodium bicarbonate
1 box - Borax – Sodium Tetraborate- Borax when mixed with lots of water will emulsify (grab hold of the fats/oils in your clothes), making a very thin oil-in-water emulsion that rinses right out during the rinse cycle.
1 – Used ice cream bucket (reduce & reuse!)
1 – Small scoop leftover from another product (reduce & reuse!)
Take your ice cream bucket, gradually pour a 1 inch layer of washing powder, then a 1 inch layer of baking powder, and now 1 inch layer of Borax. Now shake your bucket around, mixing it up or use a wooden spoon. Now repeat this over and over until you reach the top. Once at the top, you may want to be careful as you mix with your wooden spoon, so that it doesn’t spill out. Now add a left over scoop from another product.
Why do you want to use this natural washing powder? Think of the impact all those harsh chemicals in your store bought detergent is leaching out into the environment. If you live out in the country like I do, more than likely the water used in your washer, drains out into your backyard. It may be pointed away from your house, but think of all the animals (free range chickens in my case) that will come across this water source. Now at this point I must mention the following: Borax powder is toxic if ingested by humans and pets! Also, use common sense and do not let children swallow any of the above ingredients. Powder may irritate the skin, just wash off. Now you’re thinking about my chickens right? What about the plant life? The following is from the National Pesticide Information Center, www.npic.orst.edu:
What happens to boric acid in the environment?
Boric acid naturally occurs in the environment. It can be found in soil, water, and plants. Boric acid dissolves in water and can move with water through the soil. Under certain soil conditions it can reach ground water. However, its mobility in soil depends on pH and the presence of some metals. Boric acid can also be taken up from the soil by plants. It moves through plants into their leaves. Once there, it generally becomes stuck and does not move into the fruit. Plants need boron, a major component of boric acid, to grow. However, too much boron can be toxic to plants affecting their growth. Citrus, stone fruits, and nut trees are most sensitive to boron.
Boric acid does not emit vapors into the atmosphere. Particles that get into the air do not break down. They settle to the ground or are removed by rain.
Can boric acid affect birds, fish, or other wildlife?
Boric acid is practically non-toxic to birds. It is slightly toxic to practically non-toxic to freshwater fish. Boric acid is practically non-toxic to frogs and toads and aquatic life, such as waterfleas. The U.S. EPA concluded that boric acid is relatively nontoxic to bees.
I also found this there:
Is boric acid likely to contribute to the development of cancer?
No. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concluded that boric acid is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans. In some experiments, mice and rats were fed boric acid and borax for two years. No evidence that boric acid or borax causes cancer was found.
Now I have seen another washing mixture that has been popular and labeled as cheap, but I have found that not only is it not cheap, but contains harmful ingredients. There has even been discussion between my family members that colors seem to fade when these ingredients are used. They are right alongside the above mentioned cleaning agents on your grocery store shelf. If you use the following in your mix, it is no longer all natural: Scent boosters (the little scent beads), Oxi brand powder, and that golden bar of soap that doesn’t even but the ingredients on their packaging, I had to look it up on their website via the directions on the packaging.
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Welcome to my first post of MS MUD’s Blog! My goal for this blog/vlog is to explore what it means to get muddy. So, what does it mean?
If you have discovered our MS MUD apparel line, you know that I literally get muddy, lol! To me getting muddy is more than just the clothing I create, it’s a way of living. I’ve always had the desire to stay close to the earth and to be self-sufficient. How cool would it be to go back and live like my great grandparents who lived off the land! Now that doesn’t mean I want to go to the extreme and give up all my modern amenities; but I can raise a few animals and a garden that would allow me to provide not only food for my family, but safe food for my family. This leads me to another concern, what are my children being exposed to? The food and products of today are not the same as what our grandparents used! But how natural can I get? Let’s face it, as a mother of four, I cannot afford to go 100% organic in every aspect of our live; however, I can do small things to make a difference in; our food, what we use on our bodies, and the products we use daily.
I do not claim to know everything, and not everything I’ve tried has worked; but, part of my “Going Green” journey has been to continue to learn. That includes: reading some of the classics like, the Encyclopedia of Country Living, recent publications like Gorgeously Green. And, of course, the greatest word of all, the Bibl. As many farmers, gardeners, and mothers who came before us will tell you, it is full of practical everyday living advice! I will be exploring/testing different techniques and methods from each of these books to see which ones will fit our muddy life style!
We have kept free range chickens, who have supplied us with fresh eggs’ for the past three years. From egg to bird, I have learned a lot and still learn something new every year! I have also been pregnant for the last four years, so it has been awhile since I was able to get my hands back into some good gardening soil. I have had lots of time to plan my garden and read about different techniques that I can’t wait to start!
I am the organic, all natural nut in my family! Everyone thinks my paranoia of chemicals seeping into my skin is a little crazy, but I find that they often love the products that I use. With good quality ingredients, you can expect a great product that solves your needs and in my case, gives me peace of mind! Over the years I have found that there are several local and national artisans that have spent years honing their craft and producing quality organic products. Many of those products I use on myself and my children. Safe products are not as hard to find as you think; some are even at your local grocery store. One turn off, as mentioned, is price but many are very affordable.
I have been using several techniques and products already that have worked and I can’t wait to share them with you! Many of you are busy with work, raising kids, or just living life without a spare moment to research all the options. Come follow us and discover what we find as we do the exploring for you. I hope that this blog will provide you with helpful information that is just a click (or tap, if you are on your phone, lol) away! As I mentioned before, that I literally get muddy while working. So, I invite you to get muddy with me, in my first video, as I make some pillows!
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