Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pecking Chickens

For quite some time, we had the chickens broken of the pecking at us habit. (There was nothing more annoying than Cluck pecking at my ankles while I was trying to give them fresh food!) Well today I was collecting eggs when Big Crown ran right up to me and pecked at my hand. This really surprised me since she almost never does this and recently none of the chickens had been either. Their beaks are remarkably sharp and on more than one occasion they have made me bleed. We have read, from many sources, that the best thing you can do is swat at the bird to establish yourself as higher in the pecking order. I just hate doing this, but we really have to. She seemed surprised when I hit her, and she ran to the other side of the cage. (I promise I didn't hit her too hard and hurt her.) I was able to collect the rest of the eggs and change the water/food without further incident. With the holiday and both of us being busier than normal at work, we haven't spent as much time with the chickens as we normally do. You can tell that they aren't as social as usual. We will have to make more of an effort to spend time around them.

Laundry Detergent- DIY style

To avoid the incredible amount of waste packing most products come in, we tend to attempt to make as many of our everyday products ourselves as possible. Today we ran out of laundry detergent so it was time to make another batch. For the two of us, we have to make our detergent about every six months or so. (The ironic part of the story was Jeff was holding Cluck when she had an accident and hence the discovery of no more detergent- oops.) What I love about this laundry detergent recipe is it uses ingredients that we need for making other cleaners around the house. So for a few items we can buy in bulk once, we can get many uses out of it, saving money and being earth friendly- win win. So here's the recipe:

This makes a two gallon batch (I save the bulk of the detergent in a bucket and put a small amount in an old store bought detergent jug since it is so much easier to pour from.)
  1. Boil three cups of water
  2. Grate a bar of soap (Use whatever soap you like, but keep in mind this is where your color and scent are coming from) and put that in the boiling water a little at a time until it is all melted in
  3. Add one cup washing soda and one cup borax
  4. Stir it all together until everything has dissolved
  5. Add the remaining two gallons of water
  6. Let it sit overnight with the lid on
The next day it will be ready to go. The final mixture will be globby and you could mix it up every time you want to use it, but I have never seen any reason to as it gets mixed up in the washing machine. Use one cup per load of clothes. During the summer months I will mash up some of our rosemary from the garden to add a nice extra scent. Hope you enjoy this recipe.