Monday, December 7, 2015

Chicken Tails...

What a great week in the coop. Believe it or not my girls are increasing their egg production! Not what I expected. Usually egg production decreases as the sunlight decreases. My girlfriend and I were chatting and she admitted she has "egg envy" & I confessed I had "egg basket envy". I am adding an egg basket to my cart, but not getting it until after Christmas just in case...you know...Santa may bring me one. I really am enjoying my chicken journey. Truth be told I am fighting becoming that crazy chicken lady. I have started looking at chicken paraphernalia, but thankfully I am still picky about what stuff I like. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

DIY Cute "Hennie" Gifts - Plus Canned Chicken

There isn't a crafty bone in my body, so this DIY Cute "Hennie" chicken gifts is probably skill level zero.
First what is a "Hennie"? "Hennies are sweet chickens with gentle dispositions, fresh from the brooder, and eagerly awaiting you to adopt" & they were hatched (created) by a wonderfully creative mom from Born Imaginative. She hand makes these cuties and sells them on etsy. I've been watching and thinking about these little peeps.
One of my biggest dreams is to have my grandbabies become excited about farm life with us. Passing on skills for their future; having them revel in the good life.
There are two types of Hennies and several different characters, plus she does other really cute handmade toys to spark the imagination. 
On the left is an original Hennie. Each comes with one hen (approx. Height 3 in, Width 1 3/4 in Depth 4 in.), an upcycled origami nesting box (from paper bags), wool hay and a wooden egg. They also come with a birth certificate detailing their date of birth, their breed and the unique and special details specific to their breed. All for $10 They are SUPER cute!
Then on the right is the Hennie Ornament. She doesn't have the extra stuff, so she runs $7.50.

 
For Easter I made super simple DIY little chicken coops or as I like to say "canned chicken" for my grandchildren. You could easily adapt this to a Christmas or holiday project.


For Christmas I am going to give each of the grandbabies the Hennie ornament. I got little wooden craft crates at Michael's for $1, raffia and small wooden eggs. I just looped the raffia through the crate to create a hanger and look how cute they turned out.

If you are a little craftier, you could get an original Hennie and use the paper nest to create a patterns for folding your own nest in holiday paper.



I participate in the Amazon Associate program, where I receive a small % commission for linking products that I recommend. I only recommend products I personally used and like. Your support is very appreciated, anything you choose to purchase through my link, is helping me to be able to share more things that I do with you. Perky Gramma Teaches Amazon link.

DIY Cute Little Chicken Coops or "Canning Chicken"

This is "Spirit" & she is a "Hennie"
"Hennies are sweet chickens with gentle dispositions, fresh from the brooder, and eagerly awaiting you to adopt" & they were hatched (created) by a wonderfully creative mom from Born Imaginative. She hand makes these cuties and sells them on etsy. I've been watching and thinking about these little peeps.
One of my biggest dreams is to have my grandbabies become excited about farm life with us. Passing on skills for their future; having them revel in the good life. 
So, I hatched this little gift idea to present to them on Easter. This could easily be adapted for Christmas and any holiday.




I got three little hennies, which come with "origami nesting box (from paper bags), wool hay and a wooden egg. They also come with a birth certificate detailing their date of birth, their breed and the unique and special details specific to their breed. " from Jackie's Esty site.
I picked up some edible grass & jelly bellies from Target. But for Christmas I am making some with raffia.



I made a little nest from the edible grass, tucked in some jelly beans, the wooden egg & their birth certificates into a canning jar. Then I nested each little hennie inside and added a lid and ring to finish off their new coop.
On Easter each child will receive their hennie & coop, plus the original origami nesting box and an additional certificate that will entitled them to each name one of the chickens on gramma's farm!
I did have to adjust the peeps to face the other way. Here are "Spunk & Cheer".


Very Important Tip: Make sure you don't put the lids on too tightly, because the hennies need to be able to breathe. It would even be advisable to poke few air holes in the lid. (1127)

I participate in the Amazon Associate program, where I receive a small % commission for linking products that I recommend. I only recommend products I personally used and like. Your support is very appreciated, anything you choose to purchase through my link, is helping me to be able to share more things that I do with you. Perky Gramma Teaches Amazon link.



Tuesday, December 1, 2015

12 Days of Christmas for Singles and other single like people...

Now for my single friends out there please note that you don't need a significant other to "complete" yourself - you are awesome with or without a partner. My strangest Christmas was when I was single and serving in the military. I had to work on Christmas day and I missed the meal at the mess hall. At the end of my shift I went to the only place open (Panama Canal Zone) which was a bar and had a hotdog.


That was years ago, I only wish someone had given me suggestions to help celebrate as a single person.

1. Buy yourself flowers or a box of ammo
According to a survey from eBates, 4 percent of people plan to send themselves flowers this year. Trust me you don't have to have a significant other to buy flowers. Get what you like and have fun making an arrangement.
If you get a box of ammo, go to the range and shoot the whole box. Or you could do both and shoot the flower arrangement when it croaks.
2. Keep your eyes open I noticed at Thanksgiving @LC Culpeper someone offered to host anyone to their home to share in the meal. Maybe this will happen again at Christmas (hint, hint to the married peeps). Take them up on the offer. They mean it, they want you to come and visit.

3. Play your favorite Christmas song on a loop all dayNo one can be annoyed. You could even dance...

4. Serve
Get involved in one of LC's outreach projects. Be a ding-a-ling and ring-a-ling the bell for the Salvation Army at Walmart. There is still time to sign up.

5. Write yourself a message on the bathroom mirror
Seriously, tell yourself you are beautiful/handsome, you are special, talented...

6. Pick out an ornament for yourself
I love the vast array of ornaments at Walmart.

7. Pizza
Buy the pizza you like and you don't have to share! In the words of the honorable Bill Murray, "Every pizza is a personal pizza if you try hard and believe in yourself."

8. Send a note to another single friend

9. Do something silly
Wear a clown nose in public, carry a green balloon (TWD reference) and if someone asks why you have a balloon, hand it to them and say “It's for you!”
10. Friend me on FacebookPersonally I like having single friends, since my hubbie isn't Christian I like to connect with singles, and other single/married people. For me I hang out with females only. We along with single parents have a unique place in the community.
11. Find another single friend, get together and wrap presents.
This works especially well if you are a single parent.
12. Whatever the Heck You Want
Hello, you're a single adult and don't have anyone to answer to for how you spend your money or your time! Even though overspending is the top quality people don't want in a romantic partner, right now that's not your problem. So go ahead, and treat yourself with a little extra somethin' somethin' this Christmas.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Vacuum Sealing A - Z (Tips and Tricks)

The FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer is one of my top five favorite kitchen tools. I use it many times a week. Just last week I vacuum sealed 40 lbs. of Zaycon Chicken (referral link) for my freezer & vacuum sealed some cereal for storage.
I thought I would consolidate all the various posts I have on the vacuum sealer in one place. 




TIPS TIPS TIPS TIPS TIPS 

TIP 1: I find that if you leave extra bag space on the top before sealing, you later can open up the package using the slicer on your FoodSaver creating a clean straight cut. Then when you get out what you need, you are able to reseal the same package. This comes in handy. This week I had a lot of mushrooms I bought on sale and planned to use them several times. One bag, multiply times used and resealed. 


TIP 2: Sometime you may have sloppy leftovers. I have found it easy to freeze the leftover in a pan of some sort, then vacuum seal the frozen block. This helps keep your machine cleaner. When you want that meal for dinner, you drop the package in a pot of boiling water. The bags are sturdy enough to withstand the heat. Cut open the bag then serve.

TIP 3: Occasionally you will have a bag that all the air is not vacuumed out (on the left). If that happens I just put that in the front of the rest of the packages and use it first. To prevent it from happening, it helps to sort of push the food into the middle to create unobstructed channels on each side (on the right). That helps prevent air getting locked at the bottom and sides.




TIP 4: I mentioned above, since the bags are so strong, you can simply drop the bag into a pot of boiling water & cook. Even this raw chicken will cook completely and is very juicy because the package is sealed. It will even create a little broth.                 Posts on How to Use the FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer, 
                                                 Plus More TIPS.






















Items that I've used in these posts:

          

What I do here is simply share our journey. We would love it if your joined our Perky Gramma Teaches community on Facebook. I participate in the Amazon Associate program, where I receive a small % commission for linking products that I recommend. I only recommend products I personally used and like. Your support is very appreciated, anything you choose to purchase through my link, is helping me to be able to share more things that I do with you. Perky Gramma Teaches Amazon link.



Thursday, November 19, 2015

How to Clean Your FoodSaver & a Few Tips

I have always shared everything, including my bloopers.
In all honesty, I didn't realize you should clean your FoodSaver until mine stopped one day, telling me the tray was full. I know, gross. Sometimes the obvious escapes me. The simplest way to learn how to clean your FoodSaver is to open the machine. Seriously, it has the instructions listed inside. But, keep reading. I am showing you here with pictures. The front flips down & then there are two release button on each side. Push those in and the FoodSaver with fold completely open.

Then just read the instructions, remove the two trays, clean them well. The trays are dishwasher safe. Then let the trays dry completely.


 

 

 

 

 

After the parts are dry you reassemble the pieces, close the doors and you are ready to start vacuum sealing again.

TIP: 1) It is critical that the trays are completely dry. 2) The sensor that I am pointing at here on the left, will sometimes have unnoticeable residue that needs to carefully be cleaned or it will not allow you to reset the machine. This sensor triggers when then trays are full and need to be cleaned. The first time I cleaned the trays, I evidently didn't get the sensor completely cleaned of all residue. Causing it to still read full & not letting me continue to use the machine. It looked clean. Once I used the cotton swab with the rubbing alcohol & let it dry the machine reset itself and let me continue to vacuum seal.


Saturday, November 7, 2015

What a difference a year makes (before & after)...

I realized several years ago that I wanted to have a more sustainable lifestyle, that is part of why we decoded to move and start our farmette. So I started to learn about gardening. I worked with a combination of "Back to Eden" and "Square Foot Gardening".
"Back to Eden" is a film that I go back and watch over and over, It is an hour and 45 minutes long, but I derive a sense of peace each time I watch the film. This is how I prepared the ground for our garden. 
Living in Northern Virginia our soil is heavy with red clay. This is a picture of what our soil normally looks like & a picture of soil from my garden today after one year of preparing the soil by the Back to Eden method.                    

                                                                                                            
 Pretty amazing, right? Note the worm...I have worms all over my garden..The earthworms help increase the fertility of your soil. They burrow through the soil ingesting and digesting the unbroken down organic material that is in the soil.Their waste (worm poo) provide vital nutrients for the soil. As they move through the earth it creates an aeration effect, which helps surface water penetrate further into the soil. 
This is so simple to do & more importantly very easy to maintain. I simply use a rake occasionally to uproot whatever weeds may pop up.
The "Square Foot Gardening" method, helps maximize the spacing of your planting as opposed to traditional rows. 
I got my garden started this year in early May & am so excited to see my plants starting to poke their little heads up out of the ground. For the seeds, I have chosen to use only non-hybrid and non-GMO seeds. While there are several great companies out there, I have chosen to use Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, which was recommended to me.


Now the why? I feel it is really important to practice your skills before you have to use them. I hadn't really gardened before, so I am learning as I go. 
I have also learned how to can the food from my garden. This way I will have hands on knowledge BEFORE I really need to depend on gardening. Gardening gives you power of knowing what you eat and where it comes from and everything tastes so much better. Plus, I have learned I really enjoy this as a past time.

I encourage you to start your garden if you haven't tried it yet. Now, take the time to watch the "Back to Eden" film. it is well worth your time. 


What I do here is simply share our journey. We would love it if your joined our Perky Gramma Teaches community on Facebook. Items I am using this week and books I am reading...

 

I participate in the Amazon Associate program, where I receive a small % commission for linking products that I recommend. I only recommend products I personally used and like. 
Your support is very appreciated, anything you choose to purchase through my link, is helping me to be able to share more things that I do with you. Perky Gramma Teaches Amazon link.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Chicken Coop:Phase 2

Thursday we were adding Phase 2 to our chicken coop. Mr. Perky got up early and took down the entire entrance wall, framed up that side, added a door, then put up the chicken wire. This took several hours and the chicken run was completely open the entire time. Dudley-Did-Right and the girls had the opportunity to cross the open threshold and run free for the day. But, they weren't ready for that step yet. What were they thinking? What did they perceive was beyond that imaginary barrier? What stopped them from journeying into freedom?
Inside the run we added angled flashing, for some shade. Also it now will serve as a cover for the feed, feeder & water fount. Since the coop looks like a little house, I also added a lamp post in the yard.
Still more to do & more to share...


What I do here is simply share our journey. We would love it if your joined our Perky Gramma Teaches community on Facebook

Items Used this Week:




I participate in the Amazon Associate program, where I receive a small % commission for linking products that I recommend. I only recommend products I personally used and like. Your support is very appreciated, anything you choose to purchase through my link, is helping me to be able to share more things that I do with you. Perky Gramma Teaches Amazon link.


Chicken Runs and God Stuff

Thursday we were adding Phase 2 to our chicken coop. Mr. Perky got up early and took down the entire entrance wall, framed up that side, added a door, then put up the chicken wire. This took several hours and the chicken run was completely open the entire time. Dudley-Did-Right and the girls had the opportunity to cross the open threshold and run free for the day. But, they weren't ready for that step yet. What were they thinking? What did they perceive was beyond that imaginary barrier? What stopped them from journeying into freedom?
Honestly I believe that people allow fear of the unknown stop them in their path; a path they know in their heart they need to take.
Some people simply become overwhelmed by what they see. Mired in fears.
Others step out on faith.
For the last couple of weeks I have been drawn to read Numbers & Joshua in the Bible. When the Israelites reached Canaan the promised land, they wouldn't see what the Lord had promised them any more. They were complacent, sitting on their laurels with a defeated attitude. They were challenged and made the choice to remain lukewarm. 
Fast forward 40 years when Joshua encountered the man with a drawn sword, the commander of the Lord's army just before Jericho. What did he do? He asked what message did the Lord have for him and then he complied.
The Israelites wandered aimlessly because of their attitude. When their passion was ignited again to actually listen to what God commanded them to do...things changed and they were able to take the territory that God promised all along.
Just a thought...
Canaan or Jericho:
which choice, which answer?
  

Thursday, October 29, 2015

How to Make Classic Simple Syrup

Have you ever added sugar to a drink and not have all the sugar dissolve? I know it's not the end of the world, but it is annoying. Considering I occasionally like to sweeten cold beverages (think iced lattes, iced tea) I thought I would share just how easy it is to make classic simple syrup with raw sugar.
It is so simple to make:
Classic Simple Syrup (with raw sugar)
1 cup boiling water
1 cup raw sugar (you may use refined sugar)
Stir until the raw sugar is completely dissolved.
I store my classic simple syrup in a swing top glass bottle in the fridge.That's it.
What I do here is simply share our journey. We would love it if your joined our Perky Gramma Teaches community on Facebook

Items I used today: 

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I participate in the Amazon Associate program, where I receive a small % commission for linking products that I recommend. I only recommend products I personally used and like. Your support is very appreciated, anything you choose to purchase through my link, is helping me to be able to share more things that I do with you. Perky Gramma Teaches Amazon link.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Chicken Rule #21: You don't need a rooster to have eggs...

Don't feel bad if you didn't know this simple fact. 
Think of it like this an egg is a potential chick. Almost every day the chicken produces an egg, but it just that an egg (ovum). 
  1. Ovum: a mature female reproductive cell, especially of a human or other animal, that can divide to give rise to an embryo usually only after fertilization by a male cell.

If you have a rooster who ummm...fertilizes the egg before it is laid then it is possible to have baby chickens. 
In fact, I hadn't planned on even getting a rooster at first. But, Dudley-Did-Right needed a new home and roosters are handy. Ever vigilant he spends a lot of time watching the surroundings and the skies. He basically is the protector, he maintains order in the flock. A watchman who sounds the alarms and would lay down his life for the flock.
As a society we have gotten away from knowing much about our food sources. i want to help connect the dots again.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Nobody Likes Ticks

Part of our morning routine is getting the dogs really for hanging out in the yard. One of my concerns when we moved to the farm was ticks. Obviously nobody likes ticks, so I did some research.
In my reading I found that the following essential oils were recommended as helpful as a tick repellent: lavender, lemongrass, citronella, eucalyptus, rose geranium and cedar wood. 
Or you could try Insect Shield which contains the Pure Essential Oils of: Citronella, Eucalyptus, Cedarwood, Lemongrass, Lavender, Litsea, Tea Tree, Patchouli & Catnip.

Pretty basic, I filled my bottle with the fractionated coconut carrier oil & cedarwood. Because they have sensitive noses added enough drops of oil that I could just smell it. I always add a carrier oil to extend the oils efficacy.  I got some inexpensive paint brushes to apply it to the napes of their necks and bums. I also apply it to the hems of my pants. Twice a day.

 


All I will attest to is that I was using it for weeks and then got out of the habit. When I was using it, they didn't get any ticks. When I stopped, they got a tick. Now we will use it until the first hard frost.


  


I participate in the Amazon Associate program, where I receive a small % commission for linking products that I recommend. I only recommend products I personally used and like. 
Your support is very appreciated, anything you choose to purchase through my link, is helping me to be able to share more things that I do with you. Perky Gramma Teaches Amazon link.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Not a Deuce Coupe but a Pullet Coop...

How I Chose My Chicken Coop
I have been using my Formex Snap Lock Chicken Coop since October 2015 now and I wanted to give you an update. Initially read everything I could, we looked at various coops online and at the stores and while Mr. Perky is very handy we decided on this little chicken dream house. While this coop cost over $700, but coops can get really expensive or even with plans the cost of the supplies was still fairly high. 
We were getting into a pinch because we had 10 chickens coming from the local coop and time was running out.
So I decided to check and see what the Chicken Whisperer suggested. His recommendation was the Formex Snap Lock Chicken Coop. I chose the large one which holds 6-12 chickens. My chickens are a fairly large breed (red sex links) and I admit it's a little snug for my 10 chickens and one rooster. But, they don't seem to mind at all. I found that ordering through Amazon I saved $23.95 with the free shipping. That bought my first bag of of feed & part of my first chicken feeder. (when you included the shipping from the Formex Site) The coop was delivered in less than one week. These are the selling points and I have found each to be true. I listed the predator resistant first because the very first night we had evidence of a visit from a raccoon. I wanted to mention the "Chicken Whisperers" book, because as a newbie chicken momma, it have found it incredibly helpful and an easy reference to use. When I found the muddy paw prints on the coop, I was easily able to identify them from my book.


The house comes with carabiners for every hasp lock.



  • Predator Resistant
  • Locking Access
  • No tools required
  • Insulating double wall construction
  • Impact resistant
  • Ultraviolet resistant
  • Water resistant
  • Chemical resistant
  • Maintenance free
  • Removable litter tray
  • Adjustable ventilation
  • Easy access for egg collection
  • 64” by 39” by 42” tall
  • Room for twelve standard breed hens
  • Three 36” roosts
  • Four laying boxes
  • Larger adjustable ventilation
Next, the coop was relatively easy to put together. The pieces "snap" together. Sometimes we had to fiddle with some of the pieces to get them to set true. The pieces they selves are double wall construction and are very sturdy. I am able to lean heavily on one of the walls without it bending. It held up extremely well during the snowmageddon we had in January. 

The very best feature is how easy it is to clean. I really like the fact that it has a separate little door that opens up (it is in that last photo above) and you can completely remove the floor trays to clean. Super easy to do.




The people who designed this really thought things out. It comes with 3 adjustable roosting bars that slide into recessed cubbies in the walls. The 4 nesting boxes are also recessed into the sides with lids that open over each side for easy access to get the eggs. The actual nesting boxes are removable, you just slide them out and dump them, rinse them, fill them again. Plus the lid actually slides out and back in, great for adding pines chips.

 


It has vents in the gable on two sides. The vents easily slide up and down to adjust the mount of ventilation.


It has five access points. The front door, the two sides with the nesting boxes, one side of the roof opens up & you are able to remove the entire roof. I am frequently using the high slated roof that opens up for easy overall access.







Some people asked me about out gassing (release or give off a substance as a gas or vapor). There is nothing specific that talks about it on their website. The company has been in business for about 4 years. I did check the Better Business Bureau and they don't have any complaints filed. All that and the fact that Andy the Chicken Whisperer endorses that product I felt comfortable that out gassing would not be an issue.We have been using the coop for awhile now.  To wrap it up, I am more than well pleased with and would highly recommend this Formex Snap Lock Chicken Coop


  


What I do here is simply share our journey. We would love it if your joined our Perky Gramma Teaches community on FacebookPerky Gramma Teaches is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
I only recommend products I personally used and like. Your support is very appreciated, anything you choose to purchase through my link, is helping me to be able to share more things that I do with you. Perky Gramma Teaches Amazon link.