This year I think a lot of people are looking at a very different, unique Easter time. On a church related blog that I run, we’re sharing items that some of us ladies make and sell in an effort to not only connect with each other in support but also to provide some “pretty things” made locally to fill those Easter baskets or bring some cheer to someone. Below are some images of the chalk painted jars with flowers and lotion bars I’ve been making over this past year, as well as botanical print cards from drawings I did. If you are “local” and are interested in either of these items, please fill out the contact form and let me know 🙂
We’re finally able to get out into the wet wet fields to pick some pumpkins! We had hoped to offer “pick your own” but we’re afraid everyone is going to get stuck in the mud while picking their pumpkins! So for now, we’re picking and putting them at the bottom of our driveway at the self serve stand.
Most of our pumpkins were grown from seed at our house from Baker Creek Heirloom seeds. They are all considered delicious eating/baking, even the wee ones!
Visit our driveway stand at 1988 County Road YY • Baldwin
Little pumpkins are 3 for $1.
Large pumpkins are $3 each.
Special “bulk pricing” for friends with large families 🙂 (ie – if you have more than 4 kiddos, we’ll make you a deal so you can carve pumpkins with your kids and still afford to buy groceries for the week!)
We have 4 varieties of pumpkins:
Slate, blue-grey, 6- to 10-lb pumpkins of superb quality. Their shape is flat, ribbed, and very decorative; also a good keeper. Popular in Australia, an excellent variety. One of the more tasty varieties for a variety of savory dishes and is excellent for a year-round supply of squash, as these will often keep well over 12 months!
This tiny, cute pumpkin weighs just 8 ounces; flat and ribbed. These are highly popular and a top-selling fall crop. The flesh is good to eat, and the skin is bright orange. This type of squash may have been developed in the Orient, as pumpkins of this type are offered to the ‘Spirits’ by many in Thailand, where they come in 4 or 5 colors.
The heirloom pumpkin of the New England settlers and Indians, several hundred years old. Golden fruit weigh about 20 lbs each. This is a truly old variety; can be used for pies; the traditional American pumpkin.
Of course I have no idea what kind of pumpkin we bought last year but we got it at Aldi and saved some of the seeds, and they came up just fine this year!
This year we decided to try planting a pumpkin patch for pick your own pumpkins this fall, along with a zinnia patch, sunflower patch and sweet corn. We also planted a large number of heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs and perennials from seed that we hope to be able to sell later in the summer as well.
Dan invested in a few more tractor/farm implements, including a planter and a plow, and has prepared and planted the 5+ acres we had previously leased to a local farmer… we now have fields of timothy, clover, and switchgrass for cover crops/habitat, and we’re adding our garden fields of pumpkins, sunflowers, and raspberries. Its finally dry enough in the fields to be able to get out and do some planting! We’re hoping for a long fall to make the growing season long enough to make all farmers’ plantings worthwhile this year…
Here are some pictures from the homestead over the past couple of weeks (including today!). Many of the photos are courtesy of our daughter Eva.
Last year I ran across some really nice recipes for making lotion bars. Well, what I ran across first were some super cute lotion/soap bar molds that I fell in love with! So I ordered the molds, then decided to try making lotion bars. Someday I will try soap, but for now, I’m enjoying using beeswax from local honey bee keepers and experimenting with different combinations of essential oils.
I someday hope to have a little shop set up on our “homestead” where I can sell things like this and other crafts, but for now, I’m going to just spread the word and likely add these to my Etsy store.
If you are interested in purchasing one of these lotion bars and live locally, I’d be happy to prepare one for your wife, sister or mom for this upcoming Mother’s Day 🙂 I have them in the form of larger 4oz size flowers, which come with/on an antique (or antique-ish) saucer for $8 or in a smaller 2oz size in tin for $6.
Lotion bars are made with beeswax from local beekeeper, shea butter or mango butter, coconut oil and an essential oil. They have a very light fragrance – I have used a mixture of lavender and orange with some, and peppermint and orange for others. They work great for rubbing onto really dry spots on your skin, for travel, and for sitting next to your kitchen/bathroom sink or on a night stand… having it rest on the little saucer makes it handy to keep anywhere! And it looks cute! (if I do say so myself!)
Since the flowers are all in various designs and the saucers have been collected from second hand shops, there’s no guarantee that you will get exactly what you see online… please allow me to pick the right flower and saucer combo for you 🙂 Your purchase will come in a little bag with tissue paper and a tag, ready to give 🙂
Please fill out the contact form or send an email to jennifer at turningleafstudio.com if you would like to place an order 🙂 Thanks!
My husband Dan gets these emails periodically from the USDA about farming practices and farms across the US who are doing interesting things. One of the more interesting ones came in the other day about a farm in New Jersey, which is run by a doctor. He and his family bought a large acreage and now runs a farm in conjunction with his practice…
From the USDA article: “Two farmers help Dr. Weiss with the farm and run the Doctor’s Farm Market, with ‘doctor’s tips’ and ‘doctor’s recipes’ next to each fruit and vegetable…” Read the article Healing Patients on the Farm here. You can visit the doctor’s website at www.myethoshealth.com.
Image and info credit to Dr. Weiss/Ethos Health/Farmers.gov
As yucky of a topic as this is, I thought this was a very good and informational article by Whole-Fed Homestead about ticks, how they work, and how to use natural products, and common sense, to help prevent being bitten by the little buggers… it is so hard to decide between using something chemical that has proven nasty side effects, but is effective, and some natural options which require more effort and applications, and may be less effective. Either way, there are pros and cons. Every year, we weigh it out and often use both methods. But I felt this article covered a lot about how ticks work, which helps me decide what to do to protect myself and my children. Good luck!!
Taking orders for freshly picked apples from our family orchard! Apple varieties include Honeygold, McIntosh and Cortland. Selling in 10 lb bags for $5 and 15 lb bags for $7.50. (larger quantities available at $.50 per pound). Bags include mixed variety. We do not use any sprays or chemicals so the skins are blemished, but the apples taste great and are perfectly safe to eat. Please email orders to jennifer @ turningleafstudio.com or call 715.688.4010 and we will have them ready for you to pick up!
Also selling deer/wildlife apples from the ground in 50lb feed bags for $10.
I just got an email from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, talking about planting soon for fall and winter harvests… I have never actually thought about this before, but always admired friends who had hoop houses and green houses and were able to pull carrots out of the ground in January… it seems Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds might have some suggestions I could actually consider here in their blog and on their website… Might be fun to start thinking about how to extend the growing season on our property!
I am not affiliated with Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds; I simply love their seeds and gorgeous catalogs and like to share…!
photos and content credit: Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds/Rareseeds.com
I love the flowers that are blooming in my front garden. The Hubby is putting on a new front porch for us, since our house needed a little more “curb appeal.” Even though we live on 20 acres in the country, and there is no curb. So eventually, I will be able to sit out on my covered front porch to admire my flowers …
Today’s guest post is from Kylie of Green and Growing, a blog dedicated to green news and green living. Kylie shares with us today some handy information about a topic I’ve had to do research on over the past couple of years myself: the raising and care of chickens, specifically chickens that are allowed to free range. In this article, Kylie shares with us some handy tips and information to consider when deciding to raise chickens of your own! Thanks Kylie!
Helpful Tips for Raising Free Range Chickens
Raising free-range chickens can be a rewarding experience that the whole family can get involved in. There are numerous benefits to raising free-range chickens. The birds have a better quality of life that is reflected in their overall health and egg production. When choosing to free range your chickens, it’s important to remember that it’s your responsibility to see to their safety and well-being. Listed below are some helpful tips on raising healthy birds in a more productive, natural way.
What are Free Range Chickens?
Free-range chickens are allowed to enjoy the benefits of a large chicken yard or field where they can forage free from confinement for the majority of the day. The opportunity for the chickens to roam about provides them with needed exercise, and their ability to forage cuts down on the cost of feeding. The varied diet is beneficial to the birds, and overall they are healthier than chickens that are enclosed 24 hours a day.
Most people who choose to raise free-range chickens still keep a coop to house their birds at night. This offers protection from the elements as well as predators, and a coop equipped with nesting boxes makes it easier to collect eggs.
You can keep free-range chickens all year round. During the colder months, chickens have a tendency to stay close to their coop, and they typically won’t forage if there is snow on the ground. During the winter it’s a good idea to increase the amount of feed that you offer your chickens, and they also appreciate the occasional treat of hot oatmeal during the colder months. You might also consider scattering straw near the coop with a bit of feed mixed in to give your chickens the opportunity to forage when it’s snowy. Installing a heat lamp in the coop is also an option, especially if you only have a few chickens that won’t be able to produce sufficient body heat to sustain them overnight.
Start with Chicks
If you are new to raising chickens it’s best to start out with chicks. Hatching your own eggs may seem like fun, but there is a lot involved in the process of hatching eggs. Instead, purchase chicks from a reputable hatchery. It may be tempting to buy chicks from a hobby breeder to save money, but you run the risk of purchasing chicks that are not healthy and nutritionally sound. If there isn’t a hatchery readily available, you can always order your chicks online from reputable hatcheries. Two such hatcheries are Murray McMurray and Hoovers Hatchery.
It’s also important to consider the best chicken breed for free ranging. All chickens can be raised for free-ranging, but some are more suited than others. You want to choose a breed with feather colors that will provide suitable camouflage to protect your birds from predators, and you also want birds that are considered to be good foragers. Rhode Island Reds, Plymouth Rocks, and Welsummers are all excellent choices for free range birds. They’re all excellent layers with good feather colors, and all three breeds are sound foragers with good personalities, making them easier to handle.
Keep Your Coop Simple
There is no need for a big fancy coop unless you have your heart set on one. Most sustainable farmers and free rangers put together simple sturdy coops, often from repurposed materials. A coop is intended to be a safe place for your chickens to roost, lay their eggs, and protect them from the weather and predators.
An ideal coop will be a well ventilated, sturdy structure and will include one or more nest boxes for hens to retreat to for laying. Providing nest boxes for your chickens makes egg collecting a lot easier. It also helps cut down on the attraction of raccoons, foxes and other predators that will be drawn to any eggs the chickens have deposited in the field if they’re not provided with nest boxes.
When dealing with a new flock, coop your birds for a couple of days in order to establish the coop as their home. When you feel that they are sufficiently settled, release them onto the field or yard that you intend for them to use, and then tempt them back to the coop in the evening with chicken feed.
From the very beginning, you should establish a good routine that will help to keep your chickens and their coop clean and healthy. Begin by training your flock to vacate the coop early in the morning, going to their designated area to forage for the day. Try and choose an area for your free rangers that’s not prone to foot traffic to avoid tracking chicken droppings all over your house and property. You may want to consider fencing off areas that you want to be chicken-free, otherwise, your flock is likely to roam about wreaking havoc in your garden and taking over the food dishes of any pets you might have.
After your flock has left the coop for the day, take a few minutes to tidy up. Cleaning out nesting boxes and turning the straw or litter on the floor of the coop only takes a few minutes if you do these things daily. Not only will this cut down on dirty eggs, it will also keep your chickens healthy and less prone to feather loss and illness.
Whenever possible, go natural or homemade when tending to your chickens or acquiring equipment for them. Try to avoid chemicals that can be potentially harmful to your birds when cleaning and disinfecting your coop. A simple cleaning solution of equal parts water and white vinegar will do the trick when cleaning the coop. It’s not harmful to your birds and it’s a lot cheaper than the commercial cleaners on the market.
As often as you can, repurpose items to create tools and equipment for your chickens. Chick waterers and feeders can be made from things you already have on hand. This saves you money and it’s environmentally responsible.
Chickens need calcium to help them produce eggs. Instead of buying calcium supplements, feed your chickens crushed eggshells to give them the calcium they need. You can also include kitchen scraps in your chicken’s diet to give them additional nutrients as well.
Don’t try to force your chickens to lay eggs by leaving lights on them all of the time. Chickens periodically need a break from laying, and forcing them to always produce can actually shorten their lifespan and result in low-quality eggs. Let them lay on their own schedule instead. This supports a healthy lifestyle for your chickens, and it reduces your electric bill.
Raising free-range chickens might take a little effort when getting started, but the end product makes it well worth it. Not only will you have a source of eggs and poultry that is clean and chemical free, but you will also be giving your chickens a better life that allows them to live in a natural, healthy way.
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Kylie is the editor at Green & Growing. She enjoys the outdoors, especially when she can go on a fun hike or adventure. She likes to focus on the perks of green living. She feels it is so important to take care of our earth and hopes to spread more awareness as she edits and writes.