With the festive period looming it can be tricky picking the perfect gift for everyone so we thought we would help make your job a little easier. If you have a wildlife loving friend or relative then we have picked some of the best gifts that you can purchase for them this year – and best of all, they’re all under £30.
1. Build your own nest box – £19.80, Vine House Farm
This is a great gift, not just for wildlife enthusiasts but for the whole family as everyone can get involved constructing a bird box which looks great in your garden. If you purchase through Vine House Farm a donation from the sale will also be made to The Wildlife Trustwhich means that buying your gift will also help protect the environment!
2. Mark Carwardine’s Ultimate Wildlife book – £25, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust
Over the past 30 years TV presenter Mark Carwardine has been exploring some of the world’s most remarkable wildlife hotspots. This book brings together all his experiences and makes for the perfect gift for any wildlife lover looking for their next destination.
3. Countryfile 2016 Calendar – £9.50, Countryfile
The Countryfile calendar features some stunning images across the seasons and at less than £10 it makes for a fantastic present. Sales from the calendar also support BBC Children in Need.
4. Etch butterfly 2016 diary – £9, Paperchase
Portable, practical and pretty, this diary will give you everything you could possibly need when it comes to planning your weekly activities – there’s even enough space inside to jot down your wildlife experiences as you go along.
5. Wild Animals Thermos Flask – £19.99, Wayfair
This thermos flask is the ideal gift for those who like to spend their days exploring but want something to keep them warm. Capable of holding around 500 ml it is the perfect size for transporting on your next adventure!
6.Butterfly Feeder – £14.30, Vine House Farm
If your garden looks a bit like a butterfly farm then why not consider adding this feeder. It can be hung anywhere around your garden although the closer to flowers the more butterflies you are likely to attract!
7. Grow Your Own Mushrooms Kit – £14.95, Not On The High Street
This kit provides you with everything you need to grow your own mushrooms – a great gift for wildlife lovers or foodies. It takes just two weeks from planting them to enjoy the fruits of your labour so order your kit today!
8. Adopt an animal/species – From £5, The Wildlife Trust
Otters, barn owls or a variety of different species are all available to adopt or sponsor through The Wildlife Trust. It starts from as little as £5 and all money raised is put towards managing nature reserves or creating new habitats of your chosen animal.
9. Protect Wildlife with Born Free – Your choice of donation, Born Free
Born Free is a fantastic organisation that has dedicated its existence to protecting animals all over the world. All donations raised are used to help continue their good work, including projects such as Europe’s first elephant sanctuary.
10.Wildlife Days Out – From £30, Red Letter Days
If all else fails then Red Letter Days are a popular option with a variety of experiences that you can buy including owl encounters, husky dog sledding and bird of prey experiences. With prices starting from as little as £30 you’re bound to find that perfect gift you need!
More and more urban homesteaders are getting curious about raising rabbits. It is often times the ultimate goal to become more self sufficient and rabbits can help with that. In fact they may be one of the easiest and best ways to help you further your self sufficient homestead goals. How so? Why rabbits?
Well there are a few reasons why someone might choose to introduce rabbits to the homestead…besides the cute factor. I have a few rabbits myself… giant chinchilla rabbits and red new zealand rabbits. We love having them and the new zealand’s we have had since they were itty bitty so they are very much socialized and willing to cuddle up during some Netflix binge sessions. But I digress…why rabbits?
Rabbits produce some of the very best manure a gardener could ever ask for. It is GOLD I tell you and all gardeners need manure for their compost. Your family can have some adorable pets and they poop out the best garden fertilizer. It might sound crazy to raise animals for their poop but if you are a serious gardener and homesteader then you know the value of good manure. Compost or use it directly, it doesn’t even need to be aged. Fresh rabbit manure is higher in nitrogen than chicken, cow, horse, pig, sheep or goat manure. If you want compost tea you can make that easily by soaking the pellets in a couple gallons of water, its perfect for houseplants and for flowers, like roses.
It is also cost effective. You can buy a 50lb bag of food pellets at a tractor supply store for $7-8 and you can grow your own fodder as well. We grow grass from wheat seeds and we regrow scraps such as carrot tops and lettuce for the greens. They also like fruit scraps.
Many folks can’t have cows, pigs, or goats on their property. In urban areas it is not uncommon for these types of animals to be forbidden. That leaves some other options such as ducks, chickens, quail, or rabbits. The fastest meat production comes with rabbits and most will raise chickens for the eggs, not their meat. Rabbit is a tasty, nutritious, lean protein source. All parts can be used as well if you have dogs and like to feed them raw foods. If you have a couple does and a buck you can provide your homestead with a good supply of meat all year. Taking control of your meat production is a wonderful thing and cattle farming might not be an option. Look into rabbits if you want your own meat source.
If meat rabbits are not your thing maybe you want some lovely angora rabbits for their luscious wool. Spinners and crafty types would surely not pass up a home grown wool source! Angoras are gentle and seem to love all the attention they get from grooming and the harvesting process is completely painless. You also get all that poop for the garden!
Creative kids might also like to have them as pets and make some money off of them…ie the manure, wool, etc. There are so many reasons to embrace rabbits and bring bunnies to the homestead this year!
I remember a conversation I had from years ago in a moms group when my kids were much smaller. They were discussing the concept of “chipping”children like you do pets. I was firmly in the camp of heck yes, as long as it was safe. Even though I am very far removed from the role of helicopter parent I won the autism lottery and was blessed with not one, but two autistic children. The challenges are numerous but two challenge in our case at least, are that they wander and they are quick to forget safety rules.
My youngest in particular has always wandered. He has no concept of danger, not from walking out in traffic and not from taking off in a crowded place. He has the impulse and he just goes with it. Whenever we go anywhere as a family I am constantly looking over my shoulder to look for him every minute or two and it is not uncommon to utter the phrase “Where’s Parker?” 20 times in day during a family outing. Luckily he hasn’t realized that holding his mom’s hand is uncool yet or it would be much worse.
Having a child who simply does not comprehend that he could get lost or separated from me if he wanders off is HUGE. This is one reason why it is in his IEP that he is picked up and dropped off at his front door instead of left at a bus stop. Supervision with him is critical and yet we can’t watch every second of every day. I recall that on the first day of his bus transit the driver forgot about his IEP requirement and dropped him at a bus stop about 2 houses down from ours. I heard the bus from inside the house and stood at the open door waiting for him. What I saw was him streaking past our home and towards a busy cross street. Had I not run out and started screaming his name I am not sure how that one would have ended.
Another issue with this child in particular is that I believe firmly he would go anywhere, with anyone, if they lured him. We have discussed safety and strangers but you are talking about a child with no concept of what is socially acceptable behavior himself so you cannot expect him to recognize suspicious behavior in others. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.
I am often worried about my own child putting himself in harm’s way.
It was of great interest to me to see that a company called Not Your Child was running with the concept of wearable GPS trackers. Not so scary as an implant but still accomplishing the same thing. The tech provides a safe way to know where your child is, and how to find him or her if they have wandered away and are lost. Not Your Child™ will also help authorities to track missing children more effectively. It’s all about keeping our kids safe. The device is comfortable, it’s accurate, and it can be tracked online.
It works in 104 countries so it can be used while traveling. It is both web and app based, so data is accessible anywhere and notifications can be received via email, SMS, or push notifications on iOS, Android and BlackBerry devices. It is available for purchase on their web site.
Is this the future of child safety?
Enter the Giveaway!!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This post was written in partnership with Not Your Child Corp. but as always the opinions I share here are my own and based on my own world view.
Houseplants are an awesome addition to the home for two reasons. They bring a bit if nature indoors and they are mini air purifiers. Selecting the best varieties for air purification and also the best variety for your space is the essential. You want plants that clean the air efficiently but that also won’t overwhelm the space. You also need to make sure they are easy to take care of and also not toxic to any pets you have. It can be a bit overwhelming to pick the best ones but the graphic below shows you some great options. Enjoy!
Image credit goes to Larks and Larks.
Buying diffusers for essential oils is actually a much harder a task than you would think. So many diffusers on the market are junk. They heat up when they are not supposed to, they break after a week, they leak, or they fail to mention in the description that they run off a USB port or batteries rather than a standard power cord.
I have a go-to source for diffusers I can rely on but I am always on the lookout for good other brands that work and that are affordably priced. One diffuser at $80, sure but if I want to have half a dozen to cover more space in my 2500 square foot house than that is a little spendy.
Enter the Vividay 300ml Aroma Diffuser. It is priced at only $32.99 and it works like a charm.
What I love about it:
- It changes colors! There are 7 LED colors and warm white…actually more colors truth be told because each color has about three variations. Aka three shades of green, three shades of blue, etc. Go through all the colors or stay on one.
- It holds a good amount of water, 300ml
- No heat diffusion (to preserve the integrity of the oils) and the unit stay cools as well
- It automatically shuts off once the water is out
- Runs quietly and has a steady mist
- Diffuses the oils well. My first time using it I used 8 drops of Thieves and 6 drops of Citrus Fresh with a full water reservoir and it diffused throughout our kitchen and family room, sitting on an island between the two. It has great range.
- Runs off a power cord
A give it an A+ for price and quality. I have been nothing but pleased with my unit.