Friday, April 11, 2008


We never have napkins to use at mealtime, I don't know why I don't ever remember to buy them. I got tired of torn papertowels and made a supply of napkins from my scraps and remnants. Still want a few more, but it's a start. The girls love 'em, 'dabbing' their lips so daintily.....


After my mom told me (over and over) that I should try to find a neighborhood freecycle, I finally looked into it. I had to sign in with a Yahoo account, but using my zipcode, I was able to find over 50 listings from the last 2 weeks-- all of free stuff. Either yard sale leftovers, moving remnants, spring cleaning discards, what have you. For a five minute drive, I picked up this lovely serving bowl, brand new in the box packed in styrafoam.
An added bonus, as opposed to Craigslist 'free' section, most of the posts I found were very obviously women. I feel much more comfortable picking up something in my own 'neighborhood' from another mom, instead of downtown Phoenix from Jose.

Laundry Soap

1 box of Borax
1 box of washing soda (not to be confused with baking soda….)
1 (small) container of generic oxyclean
1 bar of Zote
1 bar of Fels-Naptha

It took a bit to find it all, the Borax and oxyclean was easy (Wal-mart), but the others were tricky. I finally found Fels-Naptha at Safeway (in the laundry aisle) and Zote at the dollar store ( 3/ $1!!!), washing soda at Food City. The ‘upper class’ locations and chains do not really carry such items, since the people who shop there are not interested in them.

I used an old Christmas popcorn tin to mix it in. I literally just dumped all the powders in. Then I used a grater on the bar of Zote and Fels-Naptha. As I said before, the Zote powdered up well, and then I just kind of shaved little curls of the Fels-Naptha into the tin. I put the lid on and gave it a little shake and TA-DA! A total of about an hour, which included trying to figure out the technique of shaving the soap.

The recommended amount of soap/ load is 1 tablespoon for a small, lightly soiled load. 2 Tablespoons for more stubborn stuff (like just about all I do!).

I think I spent a total of $10 on the project, which included a ‘nice’ cheese grater that would be specifically dedicated to making laundry soap!

It's done great thus far, including diaper loads. I am keeping it in a gallon sized Ball jar that I found at Russ's.

Airing the bed

I read this post thanks to Alee, on MJ's. Since then, our bed has been 'aired' every morning, and will continue to be, or I think I might not sleep well.

"Each day when you arise, air the bed. Open the windows, if possible; throw the bedcovers back over the foot of the bed. (If the bedding will otherwise drag on the floor, stand a chair at the foot of the bed to support it.) Let the bed stand this way, unmade, while you shower and eat breakfast. The bed should air for at least an hour if you are going to work, or even longer if you are staying home. This helps immensely toward keeping the bed feeling and smelling fresh until you next change the sheets."

"While you are sleeping, you breathe about two pounds of moisture, along with breath odors and flocks of microorganisms, into the air, your pillow and your bedding. You also perspire, perhaps a cup's worth, and exude skin oils and body smells. And you use up the room's oxygen and replace it with exhaled carbon dioxide. When there are two or more people in the bed or the room, these effects are multiplied. All this explains why, if you sleep with closed windows, the room has a characteristic stale morning smell (although you might not perceive it until you leave for a few minutes and then return.) Unless you leave the bedcovers pulled down and the windows open for an hour or two, the moisture you have left in the bed either does not evaporate or evaporates very slowly, which makes for an environment in pillows and mattress in which dust mites, molds, and other microbial life have more of an opportunity to multiply. Opening the windows lets in new air to dilute the pollutants (microbial and particulate), carry them off, and bring in fresh supplies of oxygen."

Stages of Life

Penny and Belle are looking so big and uncomfortable. I keep thinking they will kid any day, but especially this morning when they refused to eat. Penny was walking around with an extra 'sway', Belle was laying completly on her side and 'moaning', and gnashing her teeth. I have been on kid watch all day, but nothing yet. They haven't finished this morning's feed yet.

All 4 turkeys and 3 ducklings are growing well. The white turkey, though, has a serious twitch and I don't know how long it will live. For sure that one will be eaten. The ducks, which were the same size as the poults when we got them, have far surpassed them now, and are drinking about a gallon and a half of water/ day. I'm going to try to make something for them to use in the chicken coop. They aren't big enough or feathered enough to be out and about just yet, but the hutch is looking cramped.

Our laying hen census includes:

2 light brahmas
3 gold sex-linked
2 jersey giants
1 barred rock
1 rir
1 americauna
1 buff orpington

The orpington has gone broody in the last couple days, so I moved her to a more solitary spot out of the other hen's way. She has, I think, 9 eggs. Don't know how many are fertile, though.
There are also 9 or so teenagers running around, including: 2 barred rocks, 3 brown leghorns, and a few australorps. Besides our Silkie rooster, my favorite chicken is the runt barred rock. Her first day out in the yard, she got trapped under some wood and hurt her leg. I resuced her and stopped the bleeding on her leg. Since then, she runs up to me and follows me around in the yard. I have named her 'Rocky' (after her breed, and the blood).

Apricots, peaches, tangelos, oranges, apples and lemons are in varrying stages of growth. Only the plum tree did not flower this year, but it's its first year in the ground, so I don't expect too much of it. It did add about 8 inches of growth, which I am happy with.

The first of the sunflowers are up, first noticed last night. By lunchtime, there were about 10. Also, the sweet peas just poked through the dirt this morning.

My chives did not come up yet, or the basil.