Thursday, July 7, 2016

A week on the homestead


“If you ever feel like you have control over your own life, start a farm.” -Anonymous 


We were having a good week. The garden was actually doing well, the chickens were laying beautiful eggs, the puppy was happy, the dog was healing well from his most recent autoimmune attack. Things were going well at Kintzel Homestead. 

And then, the hail came. 

We had a massive hail storm and pillaged our snap peas and other beans.That wasn’t that devastating. We knew we planted more snap pea vines than we needed and we weren’t too excited about the beans anyways. We also lost the majority of our tomato blossoms. Yes, the loss of crops made us bummed, but we weren’t devastated, yet. 

And then came the sick hen. 

Upon our weekly hen inspection, we finally got our hands on one of our elusive hens. She loves to dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge our attempts to pick her up for her weekly physical. But this day was different. She let Jonathan approach her, she gave him the submissive squat, and he was able to calmly pick her up. And then we realized why. She had a prolapse vent. And an infection on her foot. Delightful. It was time for us to learn new skills of massaging a prolapse vent back in place (my new skill) and how to cut open a foot and remove the infection (Jonathan’s new skill). Again, this was all a bummer, but didn’t devastate us.

And then, the creatures broke loose. 

Our puppy, Vail, and our rooster, Jay Leno, got into a fight. But not with each other. They fought with either the hornets that have decided to nest close to our house, or a snake that has been creeping in the bushes around the chicken coop. And then the puppy spent 2 days vomiting with an eye that was swollen shut. The rooster, well, he didn’t survive the fight. This was what got me to break. 

I was ready to shut down the homestead and return to normal suburban life. I was ready to let the grass grow in our backyard. I was ready to sell off our chickens. I was ready to let the garden die out completely. I was ready to quit. 

Until my husband reminded me that these things happen. Storms roll in, we needed the rain more than we needed the beans. Infection happens, we were ready to learn new skills. Roosters are meant to protect the flock, and that’s what ours did. Puppies get into trouble, that’s their nature. 


I encourage you, whether you are tending to one small window box of herbs, or you have a full blown farm, do not be defeated. You are making a difference for our food culture, no matter the obstacles you face. 
keep reading "A week on the homestead "

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Essential Summer | Pocket Guide

Do you love summer as much as I do?

I love the hot hot weather. The smells. The greenery. The tanned skin. The humidity. Everything. I love everything about summer.

Except the bad stuff - the sunburn on my nose, the bug bites, the extra cuts on my hands and knees from gardening, and my skin breaking out.

To combat the very few negatives of summer, I made this handy, printable, essential oil summer guide. This is great to keep in your purse, diaper bag, or beach bag. Feel free to print out a few extras for your friends so you can spread the love! This graphic fits perfectly on a 3x5 index card.


 

What are your favorite summer time oil recipes? Share in the comment section below or over at The Oily Yogi on Facebook.

Want to know how to purchase these oils? Visit my page here. 


only recommend using Young Living Essential Oils for internal and topical use. These are not the same quality as the oils you can buy at the grocery store. Please do not use topically or ingest any essential oils that are not 100% pure, therapeutic-grade oils.



Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please confirm any information obtained from or through this web site with other sources, and review all information regarding any medical condition or treatment with your physician. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on this website.
keep reading "Essential Summer | Pocket Guide"

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

chicken coop cleaning spray


In our house, we only use the purest cleaning supplies. I like to be able to pronounce every ingredient on the label and my husband likes to see the facts the they disinfect. The same goes for what we use to clean our coop.

The #1 way to avoid a smelly chicken coop is a regular cleaning. We clean our coop every Saturday. We've deemed Saturday to be "work days" at our homestead. Lots of chores and tasks must get completed in order to keep things at homeostasis. 

When I remove all of the coop bedding, I spray down the floors with an all natural cleaner and give them a light scrub with a sponge we only use for the coop. I've made my own chicken coop cleaner spray and it is amazing. Sometimes they get fussy when I've got myself in their coop trying to clean it. They find the need to be inside of it to see what's going on. If a bit of this spray gets into their mouths, I'm never worried if it will harm them. 

Coop Cleaning Spray
  • 10-15 drops orange essential oil 
  • 2 cinnamon sticks 
  • 3 teaspoons 100% pure organic vanilla extract 
  • Vodka - I use the cheapest stuff I can find, you can also use white vinegar but this does leave a vinegar odor.
1. Fill spray bottle with vodka 
2. Add essential oil, cinnamon sticks, & vanilla 
3. Let sit overnight
4. Shake and spray


Orange is a natural solvent.
Cinnamon kills mosquito larvae. 
Vanilla deters flies and mosquitoes. 

only recommend using Young Living Essential Oils. These are not the same quality as the oils you can buy at the grocery store. Please do not use on yourself, animals, or the garden, any essential oils that are not 100% pure, therapeutic-grade oils.

Want to know how to purchase essential oils? Visit my page here. 








Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please confirm any information obtained from or through this web site with other sources, and review all information regarding any medical condition or treatment with your physician. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on this website.
keep reading "chicken coop cleaning spray"

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

summer skin protection


I love summer. I love the heat. The afternoon showers. The cook-outs. And my birthday is in August. So that helps too.

My family and I took a vacation to Cape Ann, Massachusetts last month. We spent many summer-loving days on the beach. When I was younger, I never had a sunburn. As I got older, I started to burn, huge bummer for a renounced tan-aholic. Even when I'm at home, I'm outside a lot working. 

I've come a long ways since the days of pouring baby oil on my skin to darken my tan. Now I'm a little obsessed with how I can protect my skin from the sun without using chemicals. 

Here's my 3 go-to's for my summer skincare: 
  • Astaxanthin  
    • This is the stuff that gives flamingos their pink coloring. It may seem a little weird to be eating your sunscreen but by taking between 4 - 8 mg a day, you can increase your amount of time spent in the sun without burning. Only naturally produced Astaxanthin can help you out with this. When shopping for the supplement, make sure it says natural and not synthetic, I like this brand. I start taking Astaxanthin about a week before I go on a sun-loving vacation and continue to take it throughout my vacation. Read more about Astaxanthin here.
  • Badger Balm Sunscreen SPF 35 
    • This sunscreen is the best. Their ingredients are simple and it truly works. I've used it for 2 summers and love it. My favorite is this kind. They have scented sunscreens, face sticks, and kids versions as well. 
  • Lavender Oil 
    • Even though I tried hard to avoid any sunburn on vacation, I managed to fall asleep on the beach and didn't reapply any sunscreen. I started applying lavender oil as soon as I got back to the beach house to soothe my skin. I used a liberal amount of lavender but in about 3 days my burn had faded and I did not peel. I only recommend using Young Living Essential Oils for internal and topical use. These are not the same quality as the oils you can buy at the grocery store. Please do not use topically or ingest any essential oils that are not 100% pure, therapeutic-grade oils. Want to know how to purchase this oil? Visit my page here. 

What are some of your favorite ways to protect your skin during the summer?







Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please confirm any information obtained from or through this web site with other sources, and review all information regarding any medical condition or treatment with your physician. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on this website.
keep reading "summer skin protection"

Saturday, August 8, 2015

summers at kintzel homestead


There is a big draw lately to get back to the roots of how life should be. Jonathan and I get so many questions about what it's like to homestead. Creating our little solstice, aka suburban homestead, has been refreshing.

Here's what a typical week day looks like for us right now:

6:30 am - Husband gets home from working the night shift (3 days a week) and lets the chickens out from their coop.
7:00 am - If husband didn't have to work the night before, I let the chickens out of their coop, and check water & food levels. Baby chicks (living inside) get checked as well.
8:35 am - I leave for my day job
3:00 pm - Husband wakes up (remember, he work's night shift y'all, he doesn't just sleep the whole day away on purpose) and checks on chickens but really no work needs to be done
3:30 pm - I get home from work, husband and I water the garden and work on it as needed. Since we are so far into the growing season now, not much work needs to be done except fertilizing with epsom salt and Neptune's Harvest. We are having some light harvests right now too. Compost gets turned and scraps from the kitchen are added every other day. Chickens get loved on with belly and comb rubs, meal worms and watermelon treats are given.
6:30/7:00 pm - Dinner time (although last night we ate at 9, whoops), we take time to put down any projects to enjoy dinner together and TV time (Gasp! Yes, we are hippies that still watch TV daily, deal with it.)
8:30 pm - Baby chicks get played with, they are calmer in the later evenings. They watch TV with us and get lots of belly rubs.
9:00 pm - Chickens living outside have put themselves to bed for the night by walking into the coop on their own, we go out to do a quick head count and close the coop door.

And then the cycle starts all over again the next day. Jonathan works 3 days a week so, the nights he's working I take care of things on my own. But it's really not so much work. I teach yoga a few nights a week so he manages without me on those nights.

The weekends are a little more labor intensive. The chicken coop and baby chick's brooder box gets cleaned every Saturday. That takes maybe an hour or so. The garden gets a thorough, plant-by-plant, inspection for any unwanted pests or diseases. Diatomaceous Earth is added to the garden and around the house. Chickens get a head to toe inspection to assure they are still healthy and lovin' life. More chicken food is mixed up and feed buckets are refilled for easy feedings during the week.

Each season is different and requires different chores but summers are pretty chill at Kintzel Homestead. Stay tuned for a season by season update as our year progresses...


What does a typical day look like for you and your homestead? 
keep reading "summers at kintzel homestead"

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

prepping for pregnancy | part 2


Why am I sharing these weird posts? Well, because I believe this is something women need to talk about. I struggled to find a place that combines what I believe (holistic health, real foods, etc) alongside of how to prep for a baby in your body. Read part one of this post here. 

At the age of 14 I went on hormonal birth control. The pain I felt during mensuration every month was unbearable. Not cool. My doctor told me even though I wasn't sexually active, hormonal birth control could help with my cramps. 

Hormonal birth control became an everyday part of my life for 8 years. Two months after I got married, I made the decision to go off birth control. I had some pretty crazy side effects while I was on birth control - the hair had basically stopped growing on my legs, and I had some questionable results on my yearly pap-smears. My doctor had encouraged me to switch birth control types since I had been on the same brand for 8 years. After 4 months of no mensuration what so ever, I knew something was not right and made the decision to stop cold-turkey. One of the best decisions I have ever made. After about 6 months, my hormones finally started to level out and my body returned to homeostasis. 

Before Jonathan and I get pregnant again, I want my body to be the healthiest it can be and free from artificial hormones. I also want to know what's going on with my body each month in regards to my cycle and ovulation. We now use a method called Fertility Awareness Method (FAM). I know, I'm stepping into some hippy-dippy waters here so just bare with me. This isn't a new method, it was first introduced in the 1930's. 

The premise of this are taking your basal body temperature and charting your cervical fluid every day, that's it. I use an app called Kindara that lets me note everything. Kindara converts my data into a chart that helps me determine what's going on with my body. Charting your BBT and cervical fluid let you know when your most fertile days are and what stage you're in of your cycle. This is helpful for those trying to avoid pregnancy, trying to conceive, and those who just want to learn more about their cycle. That's the stage I'm in - I want to understand my body and my imbalances before we try to make a baby. 

I've found the FAM to be incredibly helpful. I can avoid pregnancy right now without using hormonal birth control that wreaked havoc on my body years ago, but I'm still prepping for baby by learning my cycles. It's a win-win. 

Check out Kindara's site and download the free app to get started with your FAM journey!

Kindara has an amazing thermometer that connects directly to their app using bluetooth, no worrying about forgetting to imput your temp every morning. It's called Wink. To order, click here and you'll get $10 off! 

Have you ever tried FAM? What is your experience with it? 
keep reading "prepping for pregnancy | part 2"

Saturday, August 1, 2015

the good, bad, and ugly of homesteading


I see a lot of homesteaders (myself included) who only talk about their successes. Homesteading is A LOT of failures. At first I would get flustered, now I just laugh. Yes, my garden is producing an amazing crop this year. But there are a lot of things I did that didn't work. Remember the old sayin' "try try again"? That is had to become my motto the 5th time I planted lavender seeds that didn't germinate. Don't let your failures hold you back from anything. 

Here's what didn't work/germinate for us this year in the garden: 

  • Lavender 
    • how the heck do you make this grow from seed?!
  • Blue & Lacinato Kale 
    • my most successful crops last year
  • Fresno Peppers 
  • Rosemary
  • Fennel
  • 2/3 of our cucumber plants 
  • 1/2 of our watermelon plants 
  • 3/4 strawberry plants 
  • Garlic 
    • planted from last year, the leaves started to sprout and then disappeared a few weeks ago 
  • Oregano 
  • Pumpkin 
    • At first, our Cinderella pumpkins were doing great! Long vines, beautiful flowers. We even had a small pumpkin forming. To my surprise, I walked out to my garden yesterday and saw our pumpkin rotting on the vine. Ugh. 
Our garden wasn't the only place we have had strife. Last Friday, I came home from work to find one of our 3 week old Ameraucana chicks not being able to stand up. She was rolling on her side and couldn't hold her neck straight. Jonathan and I rushed to the feed store and got plenty of vitamins, pro and pre-biotics, electrolytes, and medicated starter feed. We still don't know what exactly happened to her but she is doing amazing now. She is even learning how to jump out of the brooder box! 

Moral of the story: Try everything. This isn't meant to scare you off from homesteading. Last year, we had a great kale crop. This year I'm planting for the second time hoping the seeds germinate. Failure is good. It means you're pushing the limits. Plant more than you think you need. Seeds are cheap. If you end up having too much produce, awesome! Share it with family and friends. Or make nice with coworkers by bringing in your surplus of fresh crops.

If you're struggling and needing help, look for local gardening/homestead groups in your area. Or start one of your own! I started a suburban homestead group on Facebook for our community and it is an amazing support group. 



But seriously....who has tips on growing lavender from seed? 



keep reading "the good, bad, and ugly of homesteading"