Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Crafts and Fruit!

So, last night I went out to collect the day's egg(s) only to find that one had been broken and half-eaten!  Ew...  So, I had to remove the nest box, bring it inside, and wash the icky, sticky egg gunk out of the bottom of the box (the bottom half of an old, deep, litter box used by our first cat (Garrick's cat).  I left it to dry by the back door over night and this morning, filled it up with fresh straw from the garage (which is where we are currently housing the coop supplies) and took the fresh box out as the girls were looking for their beloved Magenta nest box!

On the way out to the coop, I noticed a bit of bright red poking out from the Raspberry bushes!  We got 6 starts from a lady that Garrick works with last Spring.  I have talked about how and where I planted them before, but the short of it is this...  When we moved in, there was a plastic pond liner in the raised area of our backyard.  I removed the pond and liner after we lost a small bird who couldn't get back out once he/she got in the pond.  So, for several years we had a bog hole in the raised area of our yard...an ugly, filled with weeds, hole.  So, last year, I dumped four large bags of potting soil in the hole and added the Raspberry starts!  Well, nearly one year to the day after getting them planted (they lived in a potting soil bag for a really long time)...I got actual fruit off my bushes!  And oh my god are these yummy!  Super sweet and juicy berries!  After eating two of them, I stopped eating to post this photo on my wall over on Facebook...5 minutes later, I still had that yummy Raspberry flavor lingering in my mouth, like I had just eaten one!

Sadly, while picking my first berries, I also found slugs on my bushes!  I didn't even know we had slugs!  Teeny tiny slugs, but slimy, nasty slug none the less.  So, I guess I need to relocate those homemade slug solutions that I have always zipped right by thinking I didn't need them.  The best solutions I have found are either beer or a mixture of yeast, warm water, sugar, and a bit of salt.  If the girls would behave themselves outside the coop...they are actually better than any other solution to spray and/or trap the little slimy things!  Alas, the girls are too flighty for me to let out and I don't want to risk the berries I have ripening either (I could put one of the girls in the "chicken crate" near the bushes and see if that helps).

I don't know why this one insists on being upside down...
Today's agenda also included finishing pair number two of crocheted baby socks!  They are so "cute"!  I mentioned the other day I was thinking of making "extras" to sell...I'm still thinking about that.  To go with both pairs of socks, I also have made "bookmark bracelets".  I got the patterns (they are different) from a blog called Don't Eat the Paste, I have found several things there that are super fun!  Lots of printable items and such...  Of course, I changed both patterns just a little bit.  The solid blue one got a single crochet (sc) back up the strap and was made using the "diamond" pattern.  Then, I made the "round" pattern in the Ocean variegated thread, but I used one size larger crochet hook and the strap area got a double crochet (dc).  I also added a button to the center of the circle, making it easier to get on/off.  I plan to use one or both of these as "booby bands" or "milk maids" or whatever you want to call them...keep the bracelet on the wrist of the arm nearest the boob that was used last.  I may be able to remember this system...if not, at least I have two pretty cool looking bracelets that also double as bookmarks!  No photos of the bookmarks though, sorry.

I've been trying to get a pair of crocheted baby Converse to work...but I just cannot get that pattern to work!  I guess it's time to get cracking on the reversible baby booties (in chocolate brown and Giraffe print), but those have to wait until I at least get the upstairs vacuumed...my beige carpet looks very black these days.

Other things that I have gotten actually completed recently?  I got a double batch of Laundry Soap made, but not "bottled" yet.  I have a 35-pound cat litter container totally full of soap and 7.5 gallons of empty milk containers waiting to be filled (though I really only have like 4 gallons of soap).

Also, I made a new batch of Shaving "cream" last night!  I ran out of the Rosemary and Mint Conditioner (I also use it to make my Fabric Softener), so I decided to try a new "flavor"!  This time, I bought Suave Professional in Almond & Shea Butter...this is their "moisturizing" formula.  I forgot I needed both Shampoo and Conditioner in this recipe...so there's a bit of both smells.  I went ahead and made a full batch this time.  I also added extra lotion and coconut oil too.  Here is the recipe I used this time:
  • 1 cup Rosemary & Mint scented Suave Shampoo ($2.74 for the big bottle)
  • 1 cup Almond & Shea Butter scented Suave Conditioner ($2.74 for the big bottle)
  • 6 Tablespoons Suave Vitamin E Lotion (I forget what I paid for this, but I have made 2 batches now and still have most of the big bottle left)
  • 6 Tablespoons Coconut Oil, melted (I reuse a glass quart jar that had Organic Coconut oil in it, but I use LouAna brand from WalMart...under $8 for a 32-ounce container of it)
I dumped everything into a large yogurt container (I bought two Whole Milk plain yogurt containers on clearance for $1.79 and used the yogurt in making dog food), whisked, and then used a half-cup measure and a funnel to pour the mix into my "shower container" which is a 3-ounce travel container, it holds just under a half-cup perfectly!  I love the scent of this stuff!  In fact, I even used it this morning in the shower as a body wash!  I can't see anything in here that would make it "not appropriate" to use as a body wash.  I get the shaving recipe from One Good Thing by Jillee, I get a lot of recipes from her...including my Fabric Softener!  The above recipe is how I adapted her recipe...it is a very runny mixture, this is why I keep it in a little squeeze tube in the shower...I've also used a ketchup/mustard container, but I found the container just too "big" for my shower.  If you want it thicker, you could reduce the amount of oil in the mix, but that would also reduce the moisturizing properties in the mix too.

I made a ton of dog food this past weekend too!  Well, not so much a "ton"...but it ended up making 16 2-cup servings (or 8 days worth for Rosie)!  Recipe for that as follows:
  • 2.25 pounds Elbow Macaroni ($0.58 a pound = $1.30)
  • 2 20-ounce packages Ground Turkey (I got these on sale for $3.99 each = $7.98)
  • 1 16-ounce package Frozen French Style Green Beans ($1.08)
  • 1 16-ounce package Frozen Mix - Broccoli, Cauliflower, Carrot rounds ($1.18)
  • 64-ounces Chicken Broth (I used up what was left in my Better than Bouillon Chicken Base, mixed in 8 cups Water)
  • 2/3 cup White Rice (this was given to me ages ago)
  • 1 32-ounce container Nancy's Organic Whole Milk Yogurt-Plain ($1.79 on clearance)
  • 2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
First, I cooked the pasta (it was the cheapest one I could find in the bulk bins)...this really only takes me about 10 minutes after the water is boiling.  I then drained the  pasta and piled it into a huge mixing bowl.  Since some of the pasta stuck to the bottom of my stockpot, I added a good helping of Olive Oil to the pan before I put it back on the burner and added both packages of raw turkey meat to the pot.  Once the meat was no longer pink (but not really browned), I added both packages of frozen vegetables, which had been sitting out on the counter since we got home from the store, and gave the mix a good stir.  Then, I dumped in my Chicken Stock, which I had microwaved to bring to a boil before hand.  At this point it looked more like soup than the stiff mix we feed the dog!  I then added the rice to help absorb some of the liquid, I really could have used 1/3 cup or less...the pasta soaked up plenty of the liquid too later on.  Once the rice was cooked, another 10 minutes of boiling, I dumped the cooked pasta into the pot and gave it a really good stir!  At this point, it filled my 12-quart stockpot!  I had to separate my mixture into 3 portions to get the yogurt mixed in to it once it had cooled for a little while!  I didn't let it cool "enough", but after it cooled for about 45 minutes, I got help mixing the quart of yogurt in to everything.  Then, we gave the dog dinner...which we then had to take away from her and put in the fridge to cool it down enough for her to eat, I know...I'm a mean Mom that way!  After she got to eat, we went out to dinner and when we came home, we spent the time to bag individual portions making morning and evening meals much easier!  This batch cost us $13.33 or $0.83 per meal.  We buy canned food for when Rosie won't be with us (and for when I'm super lazy and don't get food made) for $0.68 each.  The problem with the canned food though, Rosie has actually lost weight (3 or 4 pounds in about a month)!  She weighed 61 pounds when I took her in to the vet for a boarding stay at the beginning of the month, she has to be boarded again at the beginning of August, so I'll have a better idea of if I need to up her food consumption.

I think that's all for now...

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