24
Jul

How to Keep Rabbits Cool in Summer

by Tiffany in The Homestead

Keep Rabbits Cool SummerReally hot summer weather is not fun. We are lucky that we can go inside, crank the A/C, and relax even during the most severe heat waves. But what about homestead animals? The heat is tough on them too and they don’t have the options that we do.

When the summer heat kicks into gear there are a few tips and tricks you can use to keep your homestead rabbits cooler and more comfortable. I know there are some homesteaders who don’t feel as though one should take any steps because they want to breed out any rabbits that cannot tolerate heat. My stance is that if I lose ANY rabbits to heat stroke then I am a guilty of animal cruelty. It is not an option in my book to sit back and do nothing when rabbits are struggling in the heat.

Ways to Keep Rabbits Cool

Keep water bottles full – Rabbits drink more when the weather is hot, just as we do. Whereas you may have only needed to fill them once a day before, now you may have to fill them 2-3 times daily.

Give them shade – Rabbits should be shaded in the summer months as much as possible.

Frozen bottles – Keep a chest freezer full of frozen bottles…16 ounce, 2 liter, and gallon jugs. At mid point in the day stick them inside the rabbit’s cages where they can lay up against them to cool off.

Frozen ice – Freeze water in ice cube trays or other small plastic containers (get them at thrift stores). They love to play with the cubes and it helps to cool them down.

Ceramic tiles or a terra cotta pot saucer – Put a flat ice pack under the tile or saucer. It will stay cool with the ice underneath it and the rabbit can lay on it to cool off.

Fans – A rotating fan will keep air circulating, especially if they are in an enclosure and cannot feel the natural breeze.

Brush Them – Rabbits usually manage to keep themselves well groomed but it can help to brush them and remove excess fur.

Get them wet/damp – Rabbits don’t like to be submerged in water and doing so can stress them and make the heat situation even worse. You can get their feet wet or lightly mist them using a spray mister system or a misting water bottle.

Bring Inside – A pregnant doe or another rabbit who is struggling may need to come indoors for awhile. Having a special place for this in your house (extra room, basement, etc is super handy).

Hope this helps  you keep your buns cool in the summer heat!

22
Jul

Can-It-Forward Day!

by Tiffany in The Homestead

can it forward

Today is Can It Forward Day when we celebrate the art of canning and preserving your own food!

In past years, canning and preserving food was a way of life and necessary to survival.  In today’s modern society it is easier to go to your local grocery store and purchase canned goods and preserved foods.  Americans in particular spend large amounts of money on ready-to-eat foods that can be prepared quickly and easily.  Very often, the need for two incomes within a family leaves little time for cooking at the end of a busy day.  Purchasing food can be one of the major expenses in any family, especially if you have several children.

Canning and preserving your own food is a great way to save money and ensure that your family consumes only healthy, preservative-free foods that contain no harmful additives or pesticides.  While it does take some time to can and preserve foods, the benefits far outweigh the time and effort required.  Foods that are preserved at home are by far the healthiest you can provide your family.  You can save hundreds of dollars over the course of a year by canning and preserving your own food.  The process of canning food is not difficult and you can be an expert in very little time.  You will be assured that the food your family consumes is healthy and fresh, and contains no harmful ingredients.  You can control the amount of sodium in foods you prepare and preserve at home, which is a big concern for lots of families.

There are numerous benefits to canning and preserving your own food.  You can involve the entire family in the process.  Your children will love to open and eat foods they have helped can themselves.  By growing your own food in a garden, you can have a good supply of canned food that will last through the winter months.  The money you save will be an added benefit to the health advantages you receive by canning and preserving your own food.

Things to do on Can It Forward Day:

  • pledge to can-it-forward by signing up via the pledge page.
  • Tune in on July 22nd to watch canning demonstrations via Facebook Live from 10:00AM – 3:30PM ET. Each hour, viewers will have the chance to win a giveaway prize!
  • Ask Jarden Home Brands canning experts any preserving or home canning questions via Twitter with the hashtag #canitforward from 10AM – 5PM ET on July 22nd. Consumers can also share their own #canitforward creations with the brand on Pinterest and Instagram.

Happy canning!

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

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20
Jul

Build A Blackout Survival Kit

by Tiffany in The Homestead

Build Blackout Survival KitEven if you are not into prepping or survivalism having a blackout kit is one of those things that just makes sense for any and every household. Just about everyone experiences blackouts or power outages. With climate change and all the crazy weather that has hit our country in the past few years I think a blackout kit is smart. Anyone can be adversely affected by an outage due to severe rain and flooding, a snow storm, or an ice storm. It is best to be prepared and to do that you need to think about what you need now so you have in later.

So what items do you need to assemble to be prepared for short or long term power outages? Here is a list:

What Goes in a Blackout Kit

  • A waterproof bag or box to hold everything
  • Emergency radio
  • Headlamp
  • Flashlights
  • Batteries for all gadgets in the kit
  • Candles
  • Matches
  • Small lantern
  • Glow sticks
  • First aid kit
  • Battery powerstation for mobile phone charging

Assemble all these items in a strategic location that the whole family knows about. You don’t want to tuck it away in the basement where it would be hard to get to in total darkness. Instead aim for an area more centrally located such as a hall closet or a kitchen cabinet.

In addition to having a kit ready and waiting, you should also be prepared in a few other ways. Make sure freezers are full or add 2 liter bottles of water in the empty spaces to preserve frozen goods as long as possible. Have 4-5 gallons of fresh drinking water stored for emergencies. Have a backup plan for heat if you live where there are harsh winters…ie a generator, a wood burning stove, etc. Build a firepit in the backyard for cooking. Have a 10 gallons (or more) of gasoline stored in case it is a large blackout and gas stations are closed.

Hopefully you will never have to worry about a long term blackout but you just never know. I have never experienced a blackout that lasted more than a few hours but just 10 minutes away from me a suburb in my city went without power for about a week. It is always best to be prepared…just in case.

19
Jul

4 Easy Ways to Use Baby Oil

by Tiffany in Birth & Baby

Ways to Use Baby OilAfter a child is born, people tend to give gift after gift after gift, maybe without realizing quite what it is the gifts do. Baby oil is an often bought gift for the expectant mom. It’s a product that’s little understood and seems to just exist inside of baby gift baskets. If baby lotion is around to provide moisture, what uses are there for baby oil? Due to the nature of oil, it clings to skin longer, providing more hydration.

Aside from contributing to the overall hydration of your child, baby oil has many other uses you might not have known about. This article is going to go over those other applications!

Removing Latex Paint from Skin

Paints and primers are tricky, sometimes they can just rub off dry like rubber cement, sometimes they’ll be stuck to your hands for a few days. A secret trick to removing these stains is to take a cotton ball, wash cloth or other porous fabric and dab the cotton ball on the baby oil, once applied, rub in concentric circles around the painted portions of your skin. Baby oil is not a scrub, it’s softer and more localized massage oil.

After you feel like you’ve made some progress, feel free to scrub with soap and water until all of the paint gone.

Remove Eye Make Up

Everyone loves a clean face, but modern makeup supplies have been designed to stick to faces stronger than they ever have before – which can make it quite a chore to take off. If you don’t have the right tools you may not be able to remove it, which can lead to build up in your pores that can cause acne outbreaks. If you simply apply some baby oil to a cotton ball and gently rub over any eye makeup that you want removed. Use another cotton ball to wipe off excess oil, and voila!

Shine Your Wooden Furniture

If your dinner party guests are on their way and you’ve just noticed that there are unsightly water stains on your tabletops, have no fear – baby oil can help by providing a quick polish. This is a great alternative if you have nothing else and no time to get to a store to buy a tablecloth.

The mineral oil will make the wood shine and help create a water-proof barrier that should impress all guests.

Removes Wax, Gum or Bandages

If you’ve got some bubblegum or wax on your body or in your hair, baby oil will get it out. Apply a small amount to the affected area, let it sit, then work at the mess with your fingertips. It will make the gum easier to get out, it will soften the wax, and it will help the bandage come off without tearing out any hair. This is a great method to remove the residual wax after an eyebrow waxing appointment.

Baby oil has many practical health and beauty uses, as well as household applications – so be sure to keep some around your house handy at all times!

17
Jul

How to Use Plants and More to Repel Mosquitoes

by Tiffany in Gardening

Use Plants to Repel MosquitoesIt is the worst when pesky mosquitoes keep you from enjoying the outdoors, especially your own backyard. Some of us with harsh winters don’t want to let even one summer night go to waste, so what can be done to keep those blood suckers away??

Well, your garden can actually be used as mosquito control headquarters if you plant strategically!

Just be aware that none of the plants I am going to mention can keep mosquitos simply by growing them in a garden or inside a container. I think many people misunderstand and think that all you have to do is grow certain plants and the mosquitos will smell them and stay away from the area. This is simply not true.

You need to grow the plants and then USE the plants. They contain great natural mosquito repellents that you have to apply personally. The mosquito repelling plants only work if you strip off the leaves, crush them up, and rub them on your exposed skin. When you use these plants in this way they work just as well as any chemical based repellent you will find in stores. Even better, if you grow these repellent plants then they are always available when you are outside working in the yard or just relaxing on your patio.

Plants to Repel Mosquitoes

Lemon Balm – This is a great mosquito repelling plant because it produces large leaves fairly quickly. Because it so easy to grow and it is actually on the invasive side (like mint), you may want to plant it in raised beds or large containers.

Lemon Thyme  – This lemony scented planted is one of the absolute best mosquito repellents you could ever grow. The caveat is that it is small plant with tiny leaves so you have to grow a lot of it to last a family through mosquito season. However it is a trailing plant perfect for large containers and hanging baskets.

Catnip – Another great plant that can be used to keep those skeeters away but I have never been tempted to grow this one because I don’t want cats in my yard.

Before you crush up some leaves and rub them all over your body or that of your kids do a patch test first to determine how your skin will react. Rub the leaves on the skin of one forearm only and give it some time. Just because something is natural does not mean is always 100% safe for you personally. The are potent plant oils we are dealing with. Also don’t assume that because many of the repellent plants are lemon scented means you can just go ahead and use lemon or lime leaves. These plants have been known to cause serious skin reactions, especially if you are in the sun.

Other Ways to Keep Mosquitoes Away

A fan – If you are enjoying some time outside on your patio or laying on a deck or lawn chair then set up a fan to circulate air around you. Mosquitoes cannot fly very well so a strong breeze will keep them away.

Standing water – Don’t allow standing water to pool around your house. Clean gutters of debris often and make sure rain barrels are secure and cannot become mosquito breeding houses.

BTI – Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis is bacteria used to control larvae stages of certain species. You can use dunks or granules in areas where there is water around your home to decimate the mosquito population. It is a natural biological control and it will NOT harm bees, birds, frogs, toads, pets or people. It only affects mosquitos and certain flies.

Attract Birds – If you want fewer mosquitoes then you may want to attract more predators that eat them. Bird houses for nesting, bird feeders, and bird baths with fresh water will usually mean more birds and fewer pesky mosquitos.

The mosquitoes may invade your yard and make it a less likely for you to enjoy your time outdoors but you can turn the tables and use it as command central to combat these blood suckers and get back to enjoying every lazy summer evening you have. Good luck!