Diatomaceous Earth on the Homestead: How to use it

It took me a while to learn how to pronounce Diatomaceous Earth (die-a-toe-may-scious earth) but despite it’s complicated name, it’s a must-have item on the homestead. This powdery substance can be used in many ways around the homestead from protecting your flock from nasty insects to keeping your pets flea-free.

Add Diatomaceous Earth to your homestead toolbox. It has many uses both on the homestead and in the home.

Add Diatomaceous Earth to your homestead toolbox. It has many uses both on the homestead and in the home.

What is Diatomaceous Earth?

Diatomaceous earth is made from fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard shelled algae. It is a naturally occurring soft, siliceous sedimentary rock that is crumbled into a fine white powder.
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Book Review and Giveaway: Homemade for Sale

You know a book is a good one when it lights a small fire under you. That is what Homemade for Sale by Lisa Kivirist and John D. Ivanko has done for me. While many parts of the book are not so relevant for me here in Ontario where federal laws prevent pretty much forbid anyone in the country from selling home-cooked goods, I found it to be a great guide for both building up my pepper jelly business and pushing for change in this province. I want to start a cottage food industry revolution in Canada which would allow people like me, who love making something that other people seem to love, to take a chance at building a business.
Homemade for Sale is jam-packed with resources and inspiration to launch your home-based food business.

Homemade for Sale is jam-packed with resources and inspiration to launch your home-based food business. Read on to learn how you can win a free copy.

I love canning and pepper jelly is my favourite thing to make. My friend Shandra and I spent dozens of hours in my kitchen last summer whipping up new and unique flavours of pepper jelly. We shared these with friends and family who couldn’t get enough of them. They are that good (okay, I might be a little biased). We went to one bazaar around the holidays and not a person who sampled our jellies left our booth empty-handed.

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Chicken coop cleaning: 5 ideas for spring

The sun is shining, the days are warming and the sun is staying out later. It’s spring on the homestead and while we are basking in the warmth of the spring sun, we are also up to our eyeballs in chores. This winter was our first one keeping small livestock. It was also one the harshest, longest, snowiest winters we’ve had in a long time. But alas, it is over (I hope, we did have snow last week) and spring has sprung. Spring is a time for new life — from the baby bunnies to the cherry belle radishes poking through my seed tape — and it is also a time for starting anew, starting fresh. And that means cleaning not just the house, but the animal houses. And that means spring cleaning the chicken coop.

Chicken Coop Cleaning: 5 Ideas for Spring | www.pickytoplenty.com

We practiced the deep litter method over the winter months since weekly cleanings were not an option. Instead of cleaning out the coop regularly, you just keep adding more and more straw. The coop got cleaned during the few warm spells but other then that, we just kept tossing in the straw.

I cleaned out the winter’s mess a few weeks ago but I have been meaning to do more to truly clean up the chicken coop, especially since we are getting a regular supply of eggs now. I want to make sure our coop is as clean as it can be for a place where chicken’s sleep, poop and lay eggs.

 

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Meat birds: searching for the perfect heritage breed

Initially, when we decided to raise chickens, it was going to be strictly for meat. We eat a lot of chicken in this house. A lot. We probably eat chicken three or four nights a week, mostly breast meat. It gets a little expensive, especially when you buy organic like we do. So we thought we would raise some ourselves and stock our freezer. I read a lot into the different breeds that were out there and talked to a couple of local farmers about their chickens. They recommended the Cornish Cross (around here it’s also called a White Rock) which is the standard in the poultry industry. I was ready to follow the flock and raise these guys since their conversion rate is amazing. In just eight weeks these guys are ready for the dinner table — and you better be ready, raise them much longer and they are known to keel over because of their enlarged breasts or have heart attacks. If you are truly looking to save money on food costs, I would go with this breed.

The search is on for the best heritage meat birds | www.pickytoplenty.com

The search is on for the best heritage meat birds. Image courtesy of Simon Howden at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Amazing Carbless Pizza

Cauliflower. Oh I have always dreaded thee. You were not on the same level as peas, but you were pretty close. It’s that smell it has while cooking that turns me off. For the same reason I cannot eat tuna. I just can’t bring myself to trust that something that smells so bad can possibly taste good.

Cauliflower is not the crust of this carbless pizza

I have wanted to give cauliflower a try for some time now. I thought about making that cauliflower pizza crust but I don’t think I could convince the hubby it is actually pizza. But when I came across a recipe for an alternative carbless pizza crust (and another for a creamy, garlicky cauliflower sauce) the flavour wheels in my head started turning. I had to make this pizza, even if it was even less pizza-like than the aforementioned cauliflower crust.

You'll  never guess what the main ingredient is in this amazing carbless pizza crust.

You’ll never guess what the main ingredient is in this amazing carbless pizza crust.

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Help! My aggressive rooster wants to kill me

Hi, my name is Amanda and I am terrified of my chickens. Well, maybe not the whole flock, maybe it’s just one in particular. One terrifyingly big and strong, aggressive chicken.

That chicken is in fact, my rooster. My suddenly aggressive rooster.

How to deal with an aggressive rooster | www.pickytoplenty.com

An aggressive rooster will usually give a warning before charging.

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Failing at raising meat rabbits

Raising meat rabbits is hard

I was about to throw my arms up in the air and call it quits.

Raising meat rabbits is hard. I was about to give up when I had a change of heart | www.pickytoplenty.com

I am failing miserably at raising meat rabbits.

I woke up yesterday morning to a dreary, rainy day. The day was made worse when I finally braved the elements and headed outside for my morning chores. A peak into the rabbit hutch and my day was instantly ruined. It’s not easy raising meat rabbits.

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Thai Red Roselle: an edible and beautiful addition to the garden

Every year I like to try new varieties in the garden. This year, I am growing Thai Red Roselle, one of many new varieties I am testing out. Thai Red Roselle is both edible and beautiful. The calyxes, or fruits, produced by this flowering plant can be dried to make teas, cooked to make jellies or juiced raw. Even Roselle’s flowers and leaves are edible. Roselle can be tossed in salads or added to desserts for a hint of citrus. The taste is fruity and similar to cranberry, so I have read.

Red That Roselle is a type of hibiscus that can be used in making teas, jellies, juices and more. Image courtesy of Stoonn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Red That Roselle is a type of hibiscus that can be used in making teas, jellies, juices and more. Image courtesy of Stoonn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Make your own DIY seed tape

I hate thinning.

Up until last year, I didn’t even know what thinning meant. Luckily, I attended a wonderful workshop at The Sentimental Farm where I learned the importance of thinning carrots (read about it here). You see, if you don’t thin your carrots, you won’t get any carrots. Or you will, but they will be tiny and mishapen. This is where this DIY seed tape will save your sanity.

Save time and money by making your own DIY seed tape.

Save time and money by making your own DIY seed tape.

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