Monday, May 6, 2013

Baby chickies, ducks and so on

Our silkie roosters were getting too loud for the city ... so about 3 or 4 weeks ago they became silkie rooster pie (minus the silkie part). Ever since then our silkie hen has been sitting on her eggs quite diligently. We were beginning to feel sorry for her, all that sitting and we just knew the eggs were not fertile. Well, this morning we discovered much to our delight and surprise that we were wrong. She has hatched out 6 little chickies so far and she's still sitting on 3 eggs. It was hard to get a picture of her off the babies and eggs but another hen got into her cage so while she was going to defend the nest Brianna quick took a few snaps.

In other news, a month or so ago we got 5 chicks and 2 ducklings that are growing up rather quickly. These were originally all for meat but I'm not sure if we (well, those of us who eat meat around here) are going to eat the ducks or send them to the big, country garden to eat bugs.

We did not get a picture of our girls (the barred rocks) but they are all doing very well.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Frugal health and beauty

This post is going to be about toothpaste, soap and shampoo.

I cannot even remember the last time I regularly used 'normal' toothpaste, though I know it has been well over 10 years. Just like diet in general, my experimenting with toothpaste has been through some changes over the years. Baking soda, just water, Dr. Bronner's, homemade paste (made with baking soda, coconut oil, essential oil and a few other things), back to baking soda, just water, and so on, but none of these things ever really seemed to work satisfactorily. 

A few years ago I met a brother who only used salt water for his teeth and he said he's never had a problem since. I gave it a try and that is what I have been doing ever since. I LIKE IT A LOT! He uses a plastic water bottle, fills it with water and adds in a teaspoon or two of salt. I like to just wet my brush and sprinkle on a little salt each time (I use RealSalt). My teeth and gums have never been better. I even use salt water (just regular sea salt) in my hydro floss.

Toothpaste rabbit trail:
Several years ago I discovered the Tightwad Gazette. Have you ever heard of it?? Lots of interesting ideas in there!! I checked out the 3 volume set from the library and that was the first book I ever read about cutting corners and saving where you can. Amy had a tip in there about 'how low can you go' - I think I even mentioned it on this blog before? The basic idea is: keep using less and less of something until you get to the point where you are using as little as you can and are still pleased with the results. Toothpaste was one of the things I experimented on and discovered that I really did not need a huge blob of paste on my brush like the ads and commercials showed! So, the first thing I did with toothpaste was cut down my use of it from a good sized blob to about a small pea-sized amount.

Lately I've gotten in to making my own soap. Though the upfront cost can seem a little much, the ingredients last a long time and make a lot of soap. I especially like that I know exactly what is in my soap and only put things in there that I want on my skin and in my body. (Anything you put on your skin goes right into your body! My general rule is, if I would not eat it, i do not want it on my body ... thought I am not obsessive about this rule.)

Maybe the next time I make soap I'll post a video of how I do it? But for now I can only offer you the title of the book I used and appreciated to help teach me: Smart Soapmaking by Anne Watson. Her detailed instructions and lists can seem a bit intimidating at first, however after the first time through you'll be much more comfortable the next time.

Ok, I will admit it ... it's been a long time since I've used shampoo. I just do not like the stuff. No matter what brand I use, there always seems to be a bunch of build-up left behind in my brush! Honestly, this grosses me out. I switched to 'no-poo' and have not looked back. It's really simple and cheap ... and best of all it works great for my hair and is not toxic!!

Shampoo (or 'no-poo'): Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of baking soda with one cup of warm water into a squirt bottle of some sort. I found soft plastic squeeze bottles for a dollar at walmart in the kitchen gadget isle (these bottles would normally be used for ketchup or something - they have a pointed spout and a tiny little cap). Shake well before using.

Rinse: 1T vinegar to one cup warm water. Shake well before using.

To use: Squirt baking soda mixture all over scalp, concentrating more on dirtier areas. Gently rub with fingers and rinse with water. Now squirt the vinegar mix all over your scalp and rinse well with water.

That's it.

Tip: I tried mixing a larger batch of soda and water but the soda ended up clumping at the bottom. It would eventually (mostly) mix in if I shook it long enough, but I found it not a very fun thing to stand in the shower and shake a bottle of soda and water. Now I just keep some soda in the bathroom and mix it up each time.

Another tip: I am the only one in my family that does this. My boys just use Dr. Bronner's for everything and my daughter uses a few different kinds of shampoos. She is hoping to find something more natural that works for her, however she has not found it yet. So, I guess the tip here is ... don't expect everyone to jump on board!!


What are your frugal health and beauty tips?