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Homemade Dog Treats

 

Well homemade dog treats is kind of misleading. These dog treats are made out of chicken feet. Wait, let me correct that, they ARE chicken feet. Just dehydrated.

Should I change the title of the post? I mean, they are homemade and they are the perfect treat for dogs.

Ah F it. Homemade dog treats it is.

If y’all didn’t read the last post about our chickens, take a gander. We unfortunately had to get rid of our chickens sooner than expected. These ladies were our first major step towards our homesteading journey and our intention was to love them, allow them to be chickens and then they would provide us with food at the end of their production.

The time had come and even though we tried to chicken out, literally, we stuck to our intention and butchered our first chickens. A more in-depth post on our experience is coming soon I promise. It was nothing like we expected. It was harder than we ever imagined.

But let’s get on with our dog treats shall we. Unfortunately, the only salvageable part of our butchered chickens were their feet. Again, a more in-depth post will come soon.

Their feet, being the only thing we were able to save, were dehydrated and made into perfect dog treats for our pup Angus.

It was super simple to. Ready to hear how to do it?

All you need:

Dehydrator

Chicken feet…….obviously

All you do is:

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  • Soak chicken feet in a bowl of water over night. This helps get all the dirt off their feet.
  • After soaking run under water and scrub feet with a bristle brush. Using soap is not necessary. Be sure to scrub off as much dirt as possible.

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  • Next, you want to clip off their nails.

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  • Bust out that dehydrator of yours and lay the feet on a tray.
  • Now, turn that bad boy on and let it go for about 24-48 hours. Or until they become super crispy. You will know they are ready when you try to bend a toe back and it breaks off without bending. If it bends, even a little, let it keep going. I think ours actually took about 3 days.

***Small tip, plug the dehydrator in the garage if available. Not like the dehydrator is super loud but it can be annoying to listen to after about an hour. In the garage, it’s away doing its bad boy thing.

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That is is y’all. Super easy and your pup gets insanely delicious healthy treats.

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Happy dehydrating!

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We Are Being Forced To….

….Get rid of our chickens.

This past week has been a series of unfortunate misunderstandings that has resulted in us having to get rid of our chickens. It all started with our neighbors dogs and ended in someone reporting our chickens to our HOA.

Even though we cleared up the unfortunate misunderstandings there is no turning back for our chickens. No matter how much we step it up and go out of our comfort zone to connect with people and let them know who we really are, the end result will stay the same.

Our chickens have to go.

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We knew this day could come. But after two years and no one ever being bothered, we thought we would be fortunate enough to experience the full cycle of what it means to feed our family with food that we respected, loved and cared for everyday. In our heads we knew these animals were going to end up on our dinner table. But…

On our own terms.

Not being forced to do it with in a time frame. There is prepping to be done, mentally and emotionally. But now there is this pressure to hurry up. We brought these chickens into our home with the intention of them providing us with food. They would provide us with fresh eggs and when production of eggs slowed, they would then provide us with food to feed our family. We knew this day would come. We knew the intention. But….

On our own terms.

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There is a strange feeling that fills our home at the moment. A strange feeling of uncomfortableness that we are not ok with. Our home is the one place we have that allows us to be us. That allows peace to fill the air and love to fill our souls. Our home is a place where we can live a very simple life. A life that is loud and quiet all in the same moment. Our home is where we decide what is ok and what is not. Where we are not forced to do anything.

But they took that from us.

There are not suppose to be deadlines in our home. There is not suppose to be someone looking over our shoulder wondering what we are doing. There is not suppose to be this strange feeling of unsettledness. And yet there is. But because someone did not want to stop and think rationally or respectfully. And through their actions of rage, we got stuck in the middle.

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We knew that chickens were not allowed in our HOA. We get it. But you have to understand, we are meant to provide for our family. And the way we want to provide for our family is filling their bellies with the purest most loved food in the world. And these four little ladies have been apart of our family. We have cared for them. Lived with them. Watched them grow. We allowed them to be chickens. We allowed them to experience the sunshine on their backs. We allowed them to dig and scratch for bugs. We gave them a life that was filled with love. We gave them a life that was filled with respect.

I am going to miss the way they waddled over to the front of their coop when they saw me coming. They started my day and they ended my husbands. And reaching into their nesting boxes and pulling out, sometimes warm freshly laid eggs is an experience that never grew old. They taught us more than we imagined. Our journey will end with them soon. And we will be one step closer to our homesteading life style as we respectfully and mindfully process these ladies. They will fulfill their purpose of feeding our beautiful family with food that was pure, happy and loved.

As we are forced to bring this inevitable day sooner than expected. We thank these four ladies for providing us with fresh beautiful eggs everyday. We thank them for teaching us what it means to care and love the food we eat. And we thank them for a life filled with chicken happiness. And if you don’t know a life that has been filled with chicken happiness, I suggest you go get yourself some beautiful chickens.

Thank you ladies.

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Chicken Feeder. Making Life Easier.

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Trying to maintain a homestead, even on a small scale, can be difficult to balance when you throw working full time in the mix. As our journey has progressed and chores are divided, we try to make things as easiest as possible for us. As badly as we would love to tend to our homestead full time, we both wake up every morning and go to work. So, in order for things to work, you know things like…..

keeping the house clean, kids fed and bathed, dinner, lunches, tending to the garden, the chickens, kefir, kombucha, composting…….

We have to get tricky with how we accomplish all these things while still having energy for us. Believe me, it is not always easy and it doesn’t always flow so effortlessly.

But hey we try!

When it comes to things like gardening or feeding the chickens, we try and find ways to keep things as easy flowing and none laborious as possible.

Feeding your chickens may not seem all that bad but when you have a full plate, removing one chore can seem like a life saver. This is why we came up with our new chicken feeder, and by we I mean my husband. This badass feeder holds half a bag of feed.

Oh yea, you heard that right!

It holds half a bag of feed and doesn’t require anything other than removing the lid in the morning so the ladies can eat and closing it at night so the rats CANNOT! No more filling small feed buckets every other day. All you do is fill it once and depending on how many chickens you have, you don’t really need to bother with it for a few weeks.

Have I grabbed your attention?

Let’s do this thang then!

Whatcha wanna get is:

6 inch PVC pipe (main body of feeder)

45 degree 6 inch Y connector

6 inch PVC cap (you’ll need 3 caps)

PVC primer

PVS glue

2 drawer handle knobs

Whatcha wanna do is:

The size of your feeder really depends on how much food you want your feeder to hold. Ours is measured 4 feet high with a 6 inch diameter PVC pipe. You want to cut your main body the proper height that fits your coop. Make sure when purchasing your main body PVC pipe, that you purchase more than your are measuring for your coop. You will need to make additional cuts later.

Once you have your height cut, set that aside. From the left over pipe (remember I told you to buy more than the size you were measuring for your coop) cut three 3 inch pieces. Set these aside.

Drill a hold in two of your caps and screw in your knobs. Set aside.

Now it is time to assemble these piece together. Super easy ready?

Take your Y connector and at the bottom spread some PVC primer and glue on the inside of the connector, now take one of the three 3 inch pieces you cut and place inside be sure to leave about 2 inches exposed. This will allow you to connect the cap. Spread some primer and glue on the outside of the 2 inches of exposed PVC and glue the cap on. Make sure that the cap sit snug. This will hold all the food in the pipe.

Now, move to the opening hole where the feed will be available for your chickens, take another 3 inch piece and do the same thing. Primer and glue it in the hole but be sure to leave about 2 inches exposed. This is where you will place a cap with a knob. Do not glue this cap on. This is the cap that you will take off so your chickens can eat during the day and put on at night so no other critters can munch on.

Now it is time to connect your main body to the Y connector. Place your desired size PVC pipe inside the top part of the Y connector. Be sure to make it fit snug. You can primer and glue if you’d like but it is not necessary.

At the top of your main body you are going to primer and glue the last 3 inch piece. Again be sure to leave 2 inches exposed. This is where you are going to place your second cap with a knob. This is where you are going to pour your feed in. Do not glue the cap on.

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Yea, it is dirty. But you know what, it’s reality.

Boom son, you have yourself a badass chicken feeder that is super easy to make and doesn’t cost a fortune. Plus, it saves you labor and is super efficient.

Happy feeder making!

I’d love to hear how this turned out. Leave a comment below if you have any additional questions or to share how it came out.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our email list, you get a free medicinal herbs eBook! Plus you won’t miss out on all the fun!

 

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Using Essential Oils Around the House

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Essential oils are an incredible resource for health and well being. They can be used in more ways than your than your pretty little brain probably realizes. I get it, the word essential oil sounds kinda hooky. Every time someone asks me a health question or a suggestion, the word essential oil comes out of my mouth and I see them slightly roll their eyes. But seriously people, I wouldn’t be yapping about it if I did not freaking believe in them.

So……

I wanted to yap about some ways that essential oils can benefit you and your family other than just using topically, aromatically or internally.

Y’all ready?!

Dog shampoo: If you haven’t read about our previous devil pup, by all means mosey on over here to read about her and this awesome dog shampoo I made.

Glass cleaner: In a glass bottle, fill half with distilled water and half white vinegar. Add 20-30 drops of lemon essential oil. Lemon will not only clean your glass it will help neutralize the smell of the vinegar. As well as, provide an invigorating and uplifting smell. And who doesn’t need that while cleaning!

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Floor cleaner: I use this bad boy and let me tell ya, it is fan-freaking-tastic. Once I am done mopping the floors I just throw the mop part in the wash and BAM, no mop mess to deal with afterward. Since it has a water reservoir, I like to fill it with half water and half white vinegar. Then I add 10 drops of Onguard, 10 drops lemongrass and 10 drops tangerine and 10 drops of grapefruit. The combination smells heavenly and Onguard helps protect against seasonal threats.

Mouth wash: After brushing and flossing I like to fill my mouth up with water and I add 1 drop peppermint, 1 drop frankincense and 1 drop of myrrh. Peppermint freshens your breath while frankincense and myrrh provide support with oral health issues such as tooth decay, cavities and oral infections.

Diffuse: Sounds kind of obvious but hey I gotta say it. Diffusing oils can do so much for your mental state, as well as, your overall well being. My favorite mood lifter is tangerine, grapefruit, wild orange and lemongrass. Add 2-4 drops of each oil for an instant mood lift. My favorite for calming is siberian fir, balance, lavender and geranium. Holy moly, does this smell heavenly. Again just add a few drops of each oil.

Face oil: You’ll want to find an oil of preference for your face. For me argon and jojoba oil are two perfect oils that blend beautifully together to give me exactly what my face needs. In a 1 oz dropper bottle fill a 1/4 of the way with argon oil. Then add 4-6 drops frankincense, 2-4 drops lavender and 2-4 drops geranium. Fill the rest with jojoba oil, shake and gently rub in to face.

***I use the oil cleansing method for my face. I just massage oil onto my face after a shower, then I put a hot wash cloth over it for a minute, then I gently wipe off my face. Feel free to change up your oils.

Deodorant: There are so many deodorant recipes out there. I wanted one that I could rub on just like a normal deodorant. This one works fantastic. However, you do have to be mindful of black shirts. It will leave a white residue. In a bowl combine arrowroot powder, baking soda and just enough coconut oil to allow the powders to stick together. I have a full post here if you want to read it in detail. You can add any oil that tickles your fancy but I like to use lavender and tea tree.

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Wood polish: Holy moly, I am in love with this wood polish. It smells absolutely heavenly and it works fantastic. In a glass bottle combine equal parts olive oil and white vinegar. Then add 5-10 drops of arborvitae, wild orange, tangerine and lemon. Shake that bad boy up and spray your toots off.

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Linen spray or air freshener: This is a fantastic way to finish off your day of cleaning. I especially like to spray this when I change the beds. It just feels like it seals the deal. In a glass bottle you are going to mix 1 cup of water, 3 tbs of rubbing alcohol and 30-40 drops of lavender, geranium or any other essential oils that just puts your soul at ease.

***If y’all don’t want to make this but still want it apart of your life, mosey on over here and y’all can purchase it!

Alright y’all, I hope you found some sort of inspiration from this post. Essential oils can be utilized in every part of your life. This post was just how to use them around the house, I haven’t even tapped into how you can use them to reach optimal health. I know, I know, I’ll get a post out on it soon.

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Happy essential oiling y’all!

This post contains affiliate links. That means that when you purchase a product through the link I provide, Oh Sure I Can gets a small commission at no additional cost to you.

 

 

 

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Good Egg? Bad Egg?

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Alright y’all, let’s talk eggs for a second. When you have a fortunate supply of eggs sitting on your counter from your own chickens, they can get a little questionable at times. I mean, everyday you gather and everyday they pile. When it comes time to washing them and storing them in the fridge, you want to make sure those bad boys are safe to eat.

Right? Right!

So, let’s talk about one sure way to put your eggs to the “are you safe to eat” test.

To float or not to float, that is the question.

Here is what you do:

Fill a nice size bowl with cold water.

After washing your eggs, place egg in the bowl of water.

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If it floats…..IT IS BAD.

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If it sinks…..IT IS GOOD.

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If one end rises while the other end is touching the bottom of the bowl……HOMIE IS ON IT’S WAY OUT. Y’ALL BETTER EAT IT QUICK.

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Why does a bad egg float?

Eggs are porous. They are covered naturally by the chicken with a protectant layer called the bloom. Over time, as the egg sits, the bloom will begin to disintegrate and air will start to travel through the shell and will get trapped inside. This will cause the egg to float.

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That is it y’all. I wish I had something a little more philosophical for you. I know we are all looking for the answer to life, but tonight all I got for you is whether that egg you got sittin’ on your counter is good or bad.

Happy egging!

 

 

 

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Strawberry Jam Yo!

DesignIt was 93 degrees today with a humidity of 84%, sounds like a perfect day to stand barefoot in the kitchen over a hot stove and make some jam.

Don’t you think?

I mean, when really is a good time to can. No matter what, you are going to be dripping sweat so, I say F it…..

Can it up yo!

I love canning food. It is just so empowering to take a delicious piece of food, homegrown or from the farmers market and preserve it at its finest. But canning to many can be super intimidating. When really, it’s not. Today we will can up some delicious strawberry jam. Now, back in the day rule of thumb was a cup of white sugar to a cup of fruit. That just seems a little intense. When you have a pure piece of fruit that is organically grown with love and picked at its prime, there really shouldn’t be any reason to cover up it’s natural sweetness with processed white sugar. This recipe we will be using honey and the ratio will be more fruit than sweetener.

Jams, jellies and other high acidic fruits require the water bath method. Water bath method is using boiling water to process your jars. Usually you can find a water bath canner at walmart, target or even the grocery store. Or you can just click here and bam get one delivered right to your door.

Usually I skip out on added pectin when making jam in the past, which pectin is just a natural starch found in fruits and vegetables. This helps naturally thicken up jams and jellies. I did use it in this recipe and was pleased with the results.

Ready for the recipe…..

What you’ll need:

8 cups of strawberries

1 cup of honey

6 tablespoons of pectin

Juice of half a lemon

Whatcha wanna do is…..

Start up your water bath canner first thing. It’s a ton of water and takes some time to get boiling. Next, place a small plate in the freezer, trust me.

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Then wash and de-stem your strawberries. Now, you can either throw whole strawberries in a sauce pan and use a masher to mash them up or you can puree your strawberries. Either way bring those bad boys to boil.

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Add in your honey, pectin and lemon juice. Bring to a boil that can not be stirred down.

***Let’s take a second to talk about “scum.” Scum is simply air bubbles that rise up from the fruit during the heating process. It is a white foam that sits on the top of your jam while cooking. If you do not remove the scum, your jam will be discolored and processing may be compromised. You do not want air trapped in your jars. You can easily remove the scum as it rises to the top with a spoon.

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Next, remove the scum. See now aren’t you glad I explained what scum is first, now you’re not scratching your head wondering what the in the hell is scum?

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At this point, the water bath should be boiling. Go ahead and put all your jars, rings and seals in the water. Allow to boil for 10 minutes. This will sanitize and keep everything safe for canning.

Now, take that plate out of the freezer, I told you to trust me, and put a small spoonful of jam on it and place back in freezer for 3 minutes. This is an old trick to see if your jam is ready to can. When you run your finger threw it, it gels up a bit, that is when it’s ready to rock.

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Now take those hot jars out carefully, along with the rings and seals. Place a funnel over the jar and fill those bad boys up with jam, leaving a quarter inch of headspace. Gently wipe the rim of the jar, this prevents any residue from not allowing the jars to seal properly. Place seal and ring on and tighten only finger tight. ***Do not over tighten.

Allow filled jar to wait in canner by lifting your rack.

***Ball blue book suggests you do one jar at a time and allow filled jars to wait in hot water until jars are ready to be processed. By doing this all jars stay hot and at appropriate temperature.

Now gently drop your rack down, put lid on and process your jars for 10 minutes.

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Place jars on a towel and do not touch for 24 hours. This allows the jars to properly seal. Hopefully you get to hear the sweet sound of a delicate BING throughout the day. That sound my friends tells you all that sweating you did in the kitchen was worth it.

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***If your jars have white residue from hard water after processing, spray a paper towel with vinegar and wipe jars down.

Boom son, you just canned yourself some sweet delicious strawberry jam.

Happy canning!

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Deep Litter Method for Chicken Coop

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So you went ahead on got your some some fancy little ladies did ya?! There has been nothing better, in our homesteading journey, than our sweet little ladies. They provide us with food for our family and in return we provide them love and a wonderful life.

See y’all, the circle must go round and round or we lose the entire meaning of this whole thing. 

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When deciding to get yourself some chickens, there is so much valuable information out there to learn from. We did a crap ton of research from what to feed them, to how to keep them quite, to how to take care of their coop.

I’d like to share the method we chose to go with. A method that has worked beautifully for almost about a year now. And that is…..

The deep litter method.

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This method keeps it super simple. And super low maintenance. Because if y’all are anything like us, we have to keep things easy and to the point. Working 40 hours a week doesn’t leave us enough time to clean out a coop once a week. And really who the hell wants to clean out a coop once a week.

This method requires  crap ton of straw and………

That’s it.

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You spread a bunch of straw in your coop and just keep layering it on when you see it getting low and starting to smell like ammonia.

What is the benefit of this method?

Low maintenance, most importantly. But it is a proven way to help build your soil and helps to create beautifully rich compost. You see, your chickens will poop. A LOT. And your chickens will love to scratch through the straw and find little surprises to eat. These two things, poop and scratching, go hand in hand. The poop is what is going to give your compost nitrogen and the straw is your carbon. By your chickens scratching, they are essentially turning your “compost” for you.

Wait, isn’t that the two main ingredients to build compost? Yup! And my chickens are doing all the work for me? Yup! So I don’t have to go out and turn my compost as often as  I am? Nope!

Mind blown!

I know, right! Now about once a year you actually clear out all the straw and compost and either allow it to continue to break down in a pile or trash can or use it in your garden.

Homesteading is a laborious life style. An extremely fulfilling life style but laborious none the less. Finding ways to keep things as simple as possible and as low maintenance as possible is the key that we have found to be successful. Maybe you have time to clean out your coop once a week, why you would want to, is beyond me. But when you have a method that works and provides for you AND your chickens, I say that is two thumbs up yo!

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Happy deep little methoding!