Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Turn Your Scraps Into Black Gold-Compost!!

It has been many a moon since I posted last.It seems like life got in the way,and that happens to us all.

However,I am back,and am going to chat about one of my loves-compost!

If you garden,compost is your best friend. It's even better when you create it with items from your yard,your kitchen,and the poo from from some farm animals. It saves lots of money-you don't have to buy it,and,depending on the size of your garden,that can get mighty expensive. Who needs that?

Our compost pile started with a huge pile of leaves and pine needles that we raked up. When we got chickens,their poo and straw were added. Then,we started adding kitchen scraps. We went from one pile to this:

Pile to the left is pure composted soil. The other two are in the process of being broken down. We now actually have one more section that we have added for soil,and of course,we now have sheep poo to add to the mix.

Composting kitchen scraps is very easy,and you would be surprised at what you can compost. At first,we used a 5 gallon bucket,but it start smelling after a bit. We then went to a counter top container:

 This is a one gallon container that has a filter in the lid to help keep unwanted odors at bay. Some of the items that you can compost from the kitchen are:
-egg shells
-coffee grounds
-veggie and fruit scraps
-paper towel and toilet paper cardboard rolls(ripped up)
-used paper towels (nothing with a cleaner on them,and you have to rip them up)
-dryer lint
-tea leaves

Of course,being in a one gallon container,it will have to be emptied on a regular basis.

Outdoor items to compost:
-Leaves,pine needles
-grass clippings
-plants from your garden
-farm animal poo ( bear in mind that how long the poo needs to compost depends on the animal. You need to read up what animal you have. Sheep,goats,and chickens don't take long to break down).

You pile all this together,and turn it on occasion. We started using a shovel,but our piles got so big that Rick now uses his tractor. If you see steam rising from the pile when you turn it,that is a good thing-it means that everything is working and breaking down. The first time Rick saw the steam,he didn't know what it meant-he thought it was going to combust!

After a few months,you will get lovely soil. It's even better if you see worms all through it-that means it's perfect!! We do still sift our soil,because sometimes something will get in there that doesn't belong. However,the soil is black gold goodness!!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Homemade Furniture Polish

I am always on the look out for new homemade cleaning ideas. 

We have this old Singer sewing machine:

The photo comes from the web. Ours is missing the knob on the upper right drawer and the wood is not so nice looking. I keep our cable box and DVD player on it.It serves as a great table. I would love to use it as a display piece because the sewing machine is so lovely,but I don't have the space for a display item that big.

I was looking at it the other day,and I wanted to give it some love in the form of polish.

There were very dry areas on the wood,as you can see,and some spots were cracked and coming up. Regular furniture polish wouldn't do,since it doesn't have a varnish on it. I looked around on the internet and found several of the same recipes. I tried it out  on this section:

It made quite a difference,so I tried it out on the front.This is before:

And this is after. The photos really don't do it justice.

Here is what i used...white vinegar and olive oil. Yep.That's it.

I didn't want to make a lot of it in case I didn't like the way it worked,so I only made a bit. The recipe is 3 olive oil to 1 vinegar,so I used three tablespoons oil to one tablespoon vinegar,shook it the combo,and rubbed it on the sewing machine with a cloth. I was able to polish the whole sewing machine with less than what I made. It absorbed nicely into the wood,and going on four days later it still looks fabulous!

Furniture polish for pennies on the dollar!!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Home Organization Binders

I had a home organizer binder for a few years now. It was a 3" binder,that was getting so very full that I had no room to put any more pages in it. It was also quite heavy. I had not only household organizing in it,but gardening and chicken info too. Well, now that we are expanding,I had to separate the home from the farm. My old binder was very boring. I perused various websites and found some nice ideas at http://strangersandpilgrimsonearth.blogspot.com/2013/03/keepers-at-home-home-management-binder.html. I liked the idea of photos and quotes,so I scoured the internet and made some pages of my own,thanks to her ideas. A great website for information pages ishttp://blog.worldlabel.com/2012/organizing-planner-the-harmonized-house-project.html. It has some info pages that you can download and just type the information right onto the pages! 

My home binder:

Here is an example of the beginning of the section for contact information:

In the home binder, I have the following sections:

-Contacts and Reference Information
 *Emergency Numbers
 *Family and Friends Contact Info
 *School Info
 *Medical Information
 *Website passwords
 *Utility,Insurance Info

-Homemaking Info
 * Daily,Weekly,Monthly and Seasonal To do lists
 * Homemade Cleaning Recipes 
 * Laundry Soap records ( how much I spend and how often I make it to see how much     money I save)
 *Essential Oil Information


I save ideas from magazines and incorporate them into the binder as well.

Farm information:

 *What is planted and dates
 *Square foot garden maps
 *Weights of harvests
 * What I sell and how much is earned ( New for this year!)

 *Number of chickens 
 *Egg records-gathered,sold,and how much earned
 * Feed records 

 *Health records,when it's time to trim hooves,etc
 * Record of feed hay and bedding hay,when bought and how much spent
 * Shearing Records-when sheared,how much collected
 * Yarn Records-weight and number of skeins spun, plants used for coloring,color records ( New for this year!)

-Goats ( new in Spring!)
 * Health records
 * Feed records
 *Birth records (2015)
 * Milk weight (2015)
 * Products produced ( milk,cheese,soap.etc) how much made,sold,and earned (2015)

Each binder is different for each person. What you want to keep track of depends on you! You will need:
-2" or 3" binders
-plastic paper protectors
-tabbed dividers ( if you wish to break down the main subjects more)
-stick on file tabs

To decided what subjects I wished to put in the organizers,I wrote everything I wanted to include  on a piece of paper. I chose the main topics,and then decided what information that I wanted to include in each one.

I have also made a binder for all the instruction booklets,warranties,and manuals for things  around the house,such as the computer,TVs,DVD player,fridge,oven,etc. I got tired of them slipping and sliding in the file cabinet. Now everything is in a page protector and is not going anywhere. I also made a binder for my knitting and crocheting patterns,and am working on one ( or more) for my family tree information. Right now I have several notebooks and folders that are jammed into the bottom drawer of the file cabinet,and I really need to free up the space.

A quick thank you to everyone who responded to my last post. You have no idea how comforting it is to read such wonderful,heartfelt support!