Saturday, June 27, 2015

Animals in the Heat Wave (tips)

If you have animals,
be they pets &/or livestock,
they might take some extra consideration during hot spells.
Our forecast is for triple degree weather for the next 10 days.
If you are part of this forecast as well,
here are a few tips to help keep the critters comfy.

Okay, this should be obvious,
but clean fresh water is a must.
One step further:
for livestock troughs, if you have a chest freezer,
put a few inches of water in the bottom of the bucket and freeze it
during the night.  Mid morning 'pop' the ice into the trough
to encourage drinking.
If you don't have a chest freezer,
you can still make reusable ice cubes.
I save vinegar jugs, fill about 2/3 - 3/4 of water and freeze.
You can put the lid on and toss in the trough to cool the water.
(Regular milk jugs will work once, but they split when frozen.)
You can do the same for bunnies, chickens, and other small animals
just on a smaller scale - or just add some ice cubes to their water.

Shade &/or Shelter
Animals with enough room will find the coolest place
to lay down or hide out in the heat of the day.
If you have livestock in a pen,  even a temporary tarp/canopy
propped up will help.
You can sprinkle the area down, that helps too.
Evaporation is a cooling process.
If they are in a shed or barn,
Water down the structure in the heat of the day.
(If allowed and not in drought area.)
Another thing to do is wet burlap sacks and hang over the open windows
or in a tree or anywhere the animals "hang out."
This acts like a swamp cooler.
If you have wire bunny hutches, hang these over one side.
You can also "insulate" a barn or shed
by stacking bales of hay or straw on the hottest side.

Animals will naturally eat less in the heat.
This means what they do eat needs to be of good quality.

try to cool an animal down too fast if they are hot.
I have seen people put a dog into hypothermic shock
by putting it into a bath of ice water because they thought 
the it was too hot.

Again obviously,
if in doubt about the condition of your animal, call a vet.

Animals are stronger and smarter than we often give
them credit for.  If given the opportunity, they will fend for themselves
and do what best suits the circumstance.
It's when we (humans) interfere that they seem to have problems.

One last note:
Do these things for yourself as well!
Stay hydrated, try not to over do it in the heat of the day, 
and skip the ho-ho's and go for the greens.
If you become ill, who will tend the critters?

If you have more tips,
please feel free to share in the comments.
Different areas and topography mean different 'tricks' that work.
We all benefit from sharing.

Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches

Monday, June 22, 2015

Sometimes You Just Have to Live

We just returned
from an absolutely beautiful weekend.
Over the past few weeks,
we have attended graduations, dance recitals,
had out of state company, worked overtime, and 
still somehow tended elderly, yard/garden and the house.
This weekend, we took Friday off and headed out
in our 'new toy.'
I will share more about her soon.
But what I wanted to share today
is that lately I've noticed that so many people
seem to be concerned with getting it all on camera (or phone.)
It makes me wonder if they are actually enjoying the moment
or just recording the moment others are enjoying.
It kinda gets me turned sideways inside.
I want to live life, not just watch it or record it.
My camera has been pretty idle lately.
It was so beautiful in this area of Hells Canyon
that I did decide to snap a couple shots.
The above picture is the meadow where we were camped.
It was just us and another couple.
The dogs ran like race horses and tumbled like bear cubs.
We watched the dogs, listened to the river and the breeze
in the trees as well as the chipmunks and birds.
There was a bald eagle that was flying around.
The guys didn't catch much in the way of fish.
I don't think they really minded.
Mr. LB said, "I forgot how beautiful it was there."
This was my first time to that part of the river.
Alas, like all good dreams, it had to end.
We came back rested and at peace.
If only we could live in such peace.
I know it's not for everyone; some folks love entertainment
and busy city streets.
Hubby and I both love wilderness and solitude.
It's one of the things we love about each other.

 Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

*~*~*Homemade Toothpaste*~*~*

In an attempt to eventually rid ourselves of toxic chemicals,
reduce dependency on the "grocery store,"
and save money as well,
I have found a recipe for homemade toothpaste
that works wonderfully.
Just so you are aware,
any recipe I share with you here is put to the test
and has to prove itself, or it will not make the cut.
If I shared all the failures, this might turn into a comedy blog.

This recipe takes maybe five minutes to make
and could easily be made by children.
I keep my "house-keeping" type recipes in a hideous little recipe box
that I happen to like.
It's a great size, and I don't misplace it.
I look to the 'T's and pull the recipe.
First in a small deep-sided bowl,
measure 2 Tbl. coconut oil (I don't soften mine)
and 6 tsp. baking soda.
Mix it together like you would grease and flour for pie crust.
It will get crumbly then begin to hold.
At this point, add 1/4 tsp. hydrogen peroxide and several drops of 
an oil of your choice (the edible sort of course.)
Mix those in well and place in an air tight jar.
I was using a 4 oz. canning jar, and that worked well.
I now put it in a pretty little glass container. 
It dries out a little towards the end, but that doesn't bother me.
This last me a couple weeks or so.
To be honest, I haven't really kept track.
The coconut oil is supposed to be good for 'pulling' bacteria.
I don't know how true that is, but it does cover 
the baking soda so it's not like eating plain baking soda.

*This is not an original recipe of mine.  I believe I found it in Hobby Farm Home a year or more ago.  When I went back to verify, the magazine was out of print so if there was a specific creator of the recipe, I'm sorry I am unable to give that person proper credit.

Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Could You Live with Your Trash?

Some time back,
in a post about saving money,
I made a comment about decreasing your trash.
Also, look in your trash to see what you are spending money on.
Now, it's time to ask a couple more questions.
Where is away when you throw something away?
If you couldn't throw it "away" how would that look?

I would rather not preach, but offer some ideas for decreasing 
the amount of trash we (society) produce.

If you've not yet seen such heart-wrenching things,
put in your search engine and view images...

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

I typed it that way to make it easy to copy and paste.
We have been working on decreasing our amount of trash
around here, and the homesteading, sustainable, or DIY lifestyle
actually lends itself in this direction quite well.
We have 3 garbage cans.
I think the last time I went to the dump was just after Christmas.
We are getting close to needing to go again within the next month or so.

Here are a couple charts I found interesting:

So what can we do?
1. Take a reusable tote with you to the store.  That's an easy one.  A bonus is that some stores take a nickel off your total for each bag you bring.
2. Take mesh bags (or muslin etc) with you for produce.  I find these at the Dollar store - 3 for a dollar.  You could also get a veil from a thrift shop and make enough for you and your neighbor.  Or, you could grow your own produce.
3.  Compost your scraps.  Many of us are already doing this.
4.  Re-use items.  Again easy.
5.  Consider the gifts you are giving.  Try not to give plastic as a gift.
6.  Buy in bulk.  Azure Standard is a wonderful site.  Go in with others if you don't need a lot.  Even with shipping, it's usually less expensive.  I have a friend/neighbor who I call and say, "When you order from Azure, can you add 5 lbs. of XYZ or whatever."  Often it's a case of "Oh good, I need some too.  Can we split a bigger bag?" etc.
7.  Cook at home.  It's healthier and creates little or no garbage.  I recently found out (by asking) that the plastic liners around our meat from the butcher/meat packer is even recyclable.  (We get a full beef in the fall.)
8. Yes, I left recycle for way down the list.  Obviously, recycle what you can.  The thing is ~ if you can avoid it in the first place, that means don't bring it into your home, you won't have to recycle it.
9.  Before you pitch an item, ask a friend or neighbor if they could use it.  Or keep a bag to add things to.  When it's full take it to a local thrift store.  (These items can be a tax deduction if you ask at the thrift store.)
10.  And alas, how many of you open your mail over the garbage can?  You can begin to control what comes into your home via the mail box.  The Direct Marketing Assoc. has an opt out choice.  You just go to the link I just provided and decide what you want or don't want to receive.  The only glitch is that if you have donated to an organization in the past, it will not remove you from that list.  You will have to call those places and ask to be removed from the list.  Mail has been an on-going issue for us, but we receive very little junk mail.  Any time you give your name & address out, specify that it is not to be sold or distributed in any way and that you would like to be added to their 'No mail" list.

There are probably many more ways to avoid and/or decrease the amount of garbage you produce.  If there is something that works for you, please feel free to leave a comment and share.  

Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitched