Sunday, December 30, 2012

Vinegar Citrus Cleaner

I read about this on MaryJane Farmgirl blog.
I decided to give it a try. It is very simple and I love simple. It is also inexpensive which is always a bonus.
Take the peels from oranges and place them in a jar.
Add White Vinegar with 5 percent acidity. Put on a lid.
Let sit for 2 weeks.
Strain the contents. ( I used old pillowcase)
Store vinegar mixture in a jar.
When you are ready to use place 1/3 vinegar mixture with 2/3 water in a sprayer bottle. Shake well.
When I made my first batch I missed the mix with water step and my cleaner was like WOW with the vinegar smell. I thought maybe this cleaner was not for me.  But after following the directions more carefully it works great.
There will be some vinegar smell when you use it but it will dissipate and the citrus smell will linger.
You can use lemon, lime, and grapefruit peels as well.
I did find a website that has several recipes along with tips on making your own cleaners using vinegar that I thought I would pass along. I am definately going to try some of her combinations.
There are a lot of uses for vinegar. I keep several gallons on hand. Here is another site that gives 1001 uses for vinegar.
Economical, Environmentally friendly, 1001 uses...whats not to love!


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Loads of Fun

I have this sign hanging up  in my laundry room. I don't know if I actually feel that way about laundry but any motivation helps.
The girls informed me that we were out of laundry soap shortly after I had gotten back from my shopping trip in town. I had bought the supplies to make my own soap awhile back and figured this was the perfect opportunity to give it a try. I decided to use a dry soap recipe even though we usually use liquid soap. I may try that another time.  It is very easy to do. You use three ingredients.

 One bar Fels-Napha, 1 cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda, and 1 cup Borax
Start with grating the soap with the finest part of the grater.
Next add 1 cup of the Washing Soda and 1 cup of the Borax
Mix together well.

Use 1-2 Tablespoons with each load.
Very simple.
I will try it and see how well it works.
I have read good reviews from others who had used the homemade soaps.
I am just glad that I had the supplies on hand. The last place I wanted to go is to the store and deal with the Holiday Rush, again.
Happy Washing!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Dreaming of a White Christmas

December is here but the cold weather is no where to be seen.

Earlier on the news I heard that there was a chance for a thundershower tonight.
Crazy weather. Feels more like Spring.
I have to admit there are some advantages to the warmer weather.
Outdoor chores are much easier when you don't have to bundle up and trudge through the snow or face the cold air but  Christmas is in 6 days and we want SNOW!

They did predict that there may be snow by the weekend.  So there is hope for a White Christmas.

I will have to remind myself that I actually wanted snow when Winter does make an appearance and we are having to break up ice in the water buckets and we are hauling hay with a sled.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

With a Baa Baa Here and a Baa Baa There

With the high hay prices we are feeding grain this winter. I noticed the sheep have been a lot more vocal lately. Normally, I do not hear them but since we have started feeding grain they start making a racket around 3 o'clock.

It didn't take them long to figure out that grain was going to be a part of the daily routine.
They never get that excited about hay.

Thankfully we still have some gates set up outside the pasture so feeding time is very easy. I can put the grain in the tubs without getting knocked over.  The sheep can eat without being pummeled by the horses.
Its a small enough area so  I can get a good look at everyone. There don't seem to be any bullies so everyone gets their fair share. When they are done I just let them back out.

With the daily inspection I can see that everyone is in good health. The one thing I am not happy to see is that they are occasionally picking up a burr in their wool. Burdock is an unwelcome guest that just won't leave....But that is another topic!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas Advent Calendar

I went to a Christmas Workshop last month and came home with some great ideas.

One of the projects was an Advent Calendar.
An easy project for anyone to do.
First choose a shape: Their choices were Stockings or Mittens.
I chose Mittens.

Next choose material:
I used the 50 precut mittens made from felt that came with the handmade kits that were given out at the class. But you could use wool felt, burlap or another material that holds it shape.

Gather up Needle and Floss.
Use an overcast stitch to sew the mittens together. (leave the bottom open)

Customize-I  added fur to edge of my mittens, some used white felt, others no edging. You can embelish them anyway you like.

Now decide how you want to display.
IDEAS: Hang from Large Tree Branch OR Clothesline made from Twine or other material.
I chose to hang mine from Twine that I embellished with buttons.

Inside the Mitten I placed cards that counted down to Christmas.
One side of the card I have a Christmas Scripture to read. The other side a Family activity to do that day. (examples: Make Christmas Cookies, Watch Christmas Movie, Make Chistmas Cards, Bring a Treat to someone etc...)

I am really excited to have an interactive Christmas Calendar this year!


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

One of a Sheep's Best Qualities

One our "senior ladies"

One of the best thing sheep have going for them is their Wool!

Before I started raising sheep, if you had asked me about wool my first thought probably would have been my Grandpa's old wool Army blanket. Rough and Itchy...

Now,  if you asked me about wool I would tell you all of the wonderful qualities it has and that is has gotten a bad rap over the years.

What do people think about when they think of WOOL? My experience has been that most people had my perception. Rough, Itchy, Scratchy.
I took a quilting class several years ago. They were teaching how to make log cabin quilts. I had just got back some batting from some wool I had processed and bought it into class. When I told the women that I was using it for my quilt  their reaction - "You don't want to use that it will not be comfortable".  I pulled the batting out and they couldn't believe how soft  and comfy it was. Their next response was "Where can I get some."

I have done a few presentations on sheep and wool for young children. When I ask them about wool they respond much in the same way. I always have a sample for them to feel and they cannot believe how soft it is.
I then explain how the chemical  processing of wool is one of the reasons wool can be itchy.

Wool is not all created equal.
The diameter and length varies on different breeds of Sheep and because of that some wool is suited for some purposes better than others.
It depends a lot on the breed of sheep the wool comes from.

Some sheep produce very soft fiber and other breeds produce very course fiber.
They both have their uses.

What some people do not know about wool is that it is:
*Flame retardant
*Stays warm even if wet
*Bacteria and odor resistant
*Helps you stay warm when cold and cool when hot.

I probably sounds like a wool commercial but I do raise sheep which in turn mean I raise wool so I like to get the word out about this wonderful, natural Fiber.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Oh Christmas Tree

It is hard to believe it is December already and Christmas is right around the corner.

What always makes it a reality is our traditional trip to Booth's Christmas Tree Farm the first Saturday in December.

I absolutely love this small family owned business that has helped us create many family memories over the years.

Horse Drawn Wagons, U-Cut Christmas Trees, Wreaths and friendly service keeps us going back every year.

Patty and Casey taking us out to find a tree


Katie and Beth on the return trip

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