Mobile chicken tractors vs fixed pen Mar 14, 2011
How to build a chicken tractor May 14, 2012
Worm farm compost Apr 22, 2013
I first wrote about guinea fowl when we brought home ten day-old keets. That has been the most popular post, although I wrote about them again about 6 months later when we started them free-ranging, and again just recently as an update on their progress. Guinea fowl have been a real learning experience for us, not like keeping chickens at all, and not very happy in their chicken tractor! We have hatched some more though, so we will probably be keeping some around the farm for a while yet. I still don't know if they eat the paralysis ticks though!
Guinea fowl keets Jan 30, 2013
The idea with the tallow soap was to both use up a waste produce from having steers butchered on our property, and to make something that we usually have to buy. I know many people make soap using oils, but that never seemed sustainable or self-sufficient to me, I wanted to use raw materials that we could make or grow ourselves. The tallow soap recipe still uses some olive and coconut oil, but I think you could make it all tallow if you had no oils. The soap does not smell like fat. Not at all, and I made one batch without any essential oils just to be sure. Making soap does take a bit of time to set up, and it needs to be done carefully and without distractions so you don't make a mistake in the ingredients. I think it has been worth the effort, I've made four batches since the butcher was here, and that's been enough to use up all the tallow and to provide our soap for the year. I also wrote more about my soap recipes (one for washing dishes and one for bath soap) after I had more practice.
Making tallow soap Jan 23, 2013
I have written so many posts about chickens, but the one people come back to is the one about figuring out your chicks' gender! I hope it has helped have some photos to refer to. I do find its easier to distiguish between them when you have a few of each and you can clearly see that the roosters have thicker legs and longer combs compared to the pullets. If you only have a few chicks it can be tricky.
Determining the gender of young chickens Jun 25, 2012
We have a special woodstove installed at our house. It has an oven below the firebox, which we can use to cook anything from roasts and casseroles through to cakes and bread. I have heard that the old style stoves can be difficult to control and do not heat the house well (I suppose they were designed with summer cooking in mind!). Our stove controls temperature well and heats the house in winter (we use the BBQ for most cooking in summer). Installing the woodstove was a bit of a drama because we were supplied with not enough flue, but once that was sorted it has been great and very easy to light. The thing I love about the woodstove is using a renewable resource to both heat and cook, and not using any electricity or gas. Our property at Cheslyn Rise has lots of wood, both standing trees and piles of long-dead trees, which means we have both a carbon sink and plenty of firewood, and no guilt about using it.
Winter Woodfires: Cooking in a woodstove Apr 20, 2011