Negative 36 with chickens in our garage

The past couple of weeks have been interesting to say the least.  Our temperatures here in Interior Alaska have gone from positive temperatures in the teens to lows of -40.  While the house is hanging in there, of course, no surprise there. This place was built to last, we have lost a couple of animals and now as of today, the 5th of January, we are housing three chickens in our garage.  Unfortunately two of these girls had the bad luck to start molting late Autumn.  Little Ms. Toriel started molting first in late November.  Chloe came right behind her in mid December.  By the morning of Christmas Eve it became apparent, we had to house poor little Toriel in the garage as first and foremost she had very little feathers on her poor body.  She's also lower in the pecking order which means others are picking on her and she is not allowed to share their heat.  As my husband brought her in to show me it was apparent, she was on deaths doorstep. Her eyes were frozen shut, her foot looke…

Current Earthley Sale January 1-6

Current Sale
Jan 1-6
20% off 10 products.
Code: swap20
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Remineralizing Tooth powder instead of paste
Rosemary-Lavender Shampoo bar instead of liquid
Silky Smooth Leave-In Conditioner spray instead of conditioner
Mineral Deodorant instead of conventional deo
Pain Potion instead of Tylenol
Charcoal bar instead of cleanser
Digest-Support instead of heartburn meds
Nourish Me, Her, Him instead of multi-vitamins

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Who are we and why are we here?

I write this today not for those who already know who I am, but for those instead who are new to our page.  Now I have to admit, the page used to go by the name How Does Our Garden Grow because when I first started it in Maryland, that was how it fit us more.  How IS our garden growing? 
When we first moved to Maryland, we had so many things happen to us financially that, truly, we were really bad off.  We had dry goods in our pantry, but nothing fresh in the fridge, and only a small amount of canned goods.  We had no homemade canned goods at all. 
Imagine being in a situation where all you have is flour, Bisquick, sugar, cornmeal, some dried beans, and a container of rice.  Yes, you can make a meal out of that, but it gets boring super quick.  To make matters worse, we couldn't afford to buy much due to issues with the condo we still owned in Alaska along with car troubles and a financial gaff by the military which left us with two and a half months of no pay due (yes that means …

Stories from the Homestead

This morning our family finished breakfast, were engaged in cleaning up and putting things away.  I decided I'd really like a cup of cappuccino before I got moving on making some salsa with some reduced tomatoes from Fred Meyers yesterday.  Suddenly I heard a large bird, I mean really large hit the front window.  I exclaimed loudly "what the heck was that?" Of course my husband Edward just answered "huh? What?  I didn't hear anything"  So I went out to look.  Thank God I did.  Poor Pot Pie, our newest addition who is one of the few that DOES NOT have her wings clipped was hanging out in a pot of dirt at the window.  The poor girl was looking in with desperation, not realizing I was standing on the porch.  I shrieked "Pot Pie sweety, what are you doing here?"  At which point I grabbed her, began walking to the yard where the chickens and rabbits are when I then screeched with a chicken held to my chest "DOG!!!!"
Oh no.  A dog was in the y…

Progress on an Alaskan Homestead

I can’t believe the year is almost over with.  Its Mid-November, the ground is fully covered with snow (finally), and we’re just about done for the season. 
This year seemed to be more about protein farming than our garden really; when I sit and ponder it.  Slowly but surely our property is becoming more and more productive.  In July I posted that it seemed as if our meat rabbit production was not doing as well but suddenly come September that all changed.  We had two surprise litters and we had a friend drop off some of her grow outs as she was getting out of rabbits for a while.  This pushed our meat harvested massively up.  That definitely helps counter the cost of raising the rabbits.  While I love my breeder rabbits (Bones, Pepper, Dorothy, Cadbury, Butterfinger, Granny Cookie) they are not simply pets.  As any protein farmer knows, these are also my livestock.  I get to know each and every one.  Their likes and dislikes, who enjoys what kind of food and who tends to be more or…

Cafe Mocha Hot Process Soap

Brew coffee triple strength several hours prior to creating batch of soap.  This will be used for the lye.  I like to add cloves into the brewed coffee as it adds a bit of a complex smell later.  

SoapCalc © Recipe Name: NewPrint RecipeTotal oil weight3 lbWater as percent of oil weight38.00 %Super Fat/Discount5 %Lye Concentration27.883 %Water : Lye Ratio2.5864:1Sat : Unsat Ratio60 : 40Iodine41INS176Fragrance Ratio0.5Fragrance Weight1.50 ozPoundsOuncesGramsWater1.14018.24517.09Lye - NaOH0.4417.05199.92Oils3.00048.001,360.78Fragrance0.0941.5042.53Soap weight before CP cure or HP cook4.67574.792,120.32#√

Avocado Spearmint Hot Process Soap WITH FINISHED PRODUCT PICTURES

SoapCalc ©Recipe Name: NewPrint RecipeTotal oil weight2 lbWater as percent of oil weight38.00 %Super Fat/Discount5 %Lye Concentration27.285 %Water : Lye Ratio2.6651:1Sat : Unsat Ratio39 : 61Iodine56INS156Fragrance Ratio0.5Fragrance Weight1.00 ozPoundsOuncesGramsWater0.76012.16344.73Lye - NaOH0.2854.56129.35Oils2.00032.00907.18Fragrance0.0631.0028.35Soap weight before CP cure or HP cook