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New Years Chicks 2014

Successful hatch completed New Years Day 2014! We hatched 16 out of 20, 2 passed the first and second day, and we now have 14 Healthy Happy chicks! One of the deceased was very weak, and the other could not open one of its eyes, so I trust mother nature knew what she was doing. With death, there is also life and we love healthy baby chicks!

Our New Fluffy Chicken Nuggets
Our New Fluffy Chicken Nuggets

Check out their new home that Papa Crab built for our new babies! We call it the Redneck Television 🙂 because it is so fun to watch them move around now that they are more active!

Redneck Television
Redneck Television! Our New chicks in their new brooder box

And one week later they are moving and grooving! We have one yellow chick, I am sure it is a Rhode Island Red. We do not have a Red rooster, but we do have a Plymouth Barred Rock Rooster whose mom was a Red, and his dad was a Rock. He is a beautiful Roo! Dark feathers with tints of green and red. I am positive that this yellow chick’s mom was a Red and the dad was the Mixed Rooster. From my understanding, if the mixed rooster’s dad was a Red and the mom was a Barred Rock, then we could call him a Black Sexlink (sp). But since his dad was a Rock, he is a Rock.

One Week Old Chicks Enjoying the Space
One Week Old Chicks Enjoying the Space
A far out shot of the redneck TV with the one week old chicks!
A far out shot of the redneck TV with the one week old chicks!

We are in the process of incubating 20 more right now. Coming up on Day 8, the first candle day. We are working on a self sufficient meat supply four our family and are looking at slaughtering the chickens when they reach 6-8 weeks of age. Depends on their size of course, but we now have 10 hens laying and 2 roosters, which we will replace slowly with a couple of chicks from our new hatches. This is why we are consistantly hatching. Hopefully this new plan we have ensures our chicken meat consumption for the future months, chicken broth I can preserve via pressure canning, and continuous egg production from our 6 month-1 year chickens. We no longer have Rhode Island Reds, as we slaughtered all of the hens this Fall. Well all but the newest yellow one! Not sure if we will keep it around or not, I am still deciding. Either way, we are in full chicken making swing here at the Crab Homestead!

 

 

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The Best Laundry Detergent Ever!

The Ingredients To Use
The Ingredients To Use

I know this is the second laundry detergent I am posting, not including the revised one, but after experimenting over the last few months, I found this one smells and works the best! Use all of the same ingredients as original:

  • Borax, Super Washing Soda
  • Fels Naptha Soap
  • Your favorite soap bar (I have Caress because I had a ton of coupons for them!)
  • Your favorite scented Downy Crystals. (These are the only ones I have used, but I am sure other brands will work just as well).
  • Optional (I have not tried yet, but thought of it): OxyClean

I also doubled this recipe in some places so I would have more, as my last experiment only lasted 2 months. I say “only” but that is a small amount if you have ever made your own laundry detergent! I like to have more at one time so I only need to do this every 3-4 months! I am still using my same borax and washing soda boxes that I purchased a year ago…so yes it is def COST SAVING!

You also need ready:

  • 5 gallon bucket (Home Depot & Tractor Supply sell these for $2.50
  • 3 Empty and Clean Milk Jugs, or empty laundry detergent bottles
Add 4 Cups water to a big pot and heat to almost boiling
Add 6 Pints of water to a big pot and heat to almost boiling
Grate 1/4 of the Fels Naptha Bar into the hot pot of water
Grate 1/4 of the Fels Naptha Bar into the hot pot of water
Grate 1/3 of the bar soap into the hot water next.
Grate 1/2 of the bar soap into the hot water next.
Add 1 Cup of Borax and 1 Cup of Super Washing Soda to the pot of water. You may see suds in your pot and it may be boiling by now, that is fine. Just lower the heat a little to keep it from bubbling too much to prevent spills.
Add 1 Cup of Borax and 1 Cup of Super Washing Soda to the pot of water. You may see suds in your pot and it may be boiling by now, that is fine. Just lower the heat a little to keep it from bubbling too much to prevent spills.
Time to add the smell goods! I poured 3 cap fulls of Downy Crystals into the water. You can add more or less. This should leave you with a half bottle of crystals for your next use or to add directly to your wash to boost the smell even more.
Time to add the smell goods! I poured 3 cap fulls of Downy Crystals into the water. You can add more or less. This should leave you with a half bottle of crystals for your next use or to add directly to your wash to boost the smell even more.
Bubbly Perfection! You should have a soapy liquid soup (smells great, don't eat!:)) Stir to make sure the grated soap is fully dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool for a little bit so it does not melt your stirring bucket.
Bubbly Perfection! You should have a soapy liquid soup (smells great, don’t eat!:)) Stir to make sure the grated soap is fully dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool for a little bit so it does not melt your stirring bucket.
Once your pot of Bubbly Goodness is not steaming anymore: Add 4 Cups of Hot Water (from the faucet should be hot enough) to your 5 Gallon Bucket. Then pour your Soap Soup into the bucket and stir.
Once your pot of Bubbly Goodness is not steaming anymore: Add 4 Cups of Hot Water (from the faucet should be hot enough) to your 5 Gallon Bucket.

Then Add your Soap Soup to the bucket once it is not steaming anymore. Now, Stir like a witch and her cauldron! Let it set for 24 hours. It should be a gelatinous beauty the next day.
I forgot to take pictures, but mine was pink and was firm with a little water in it still. I used a funnel and soup ladel to distribute the soap into my 3 milk gallon jugs. I aimed to only fill it half way in each jug, just in case I had to add water to it to make it less chunky. This was a problem I had with my first batch. It was too chunky for my HE wash. Thankfully, this was not needed this time.

SHAKE REALLY WELL BEFORE EACH USE TO BREAK UP CHUNKS! Add water if you feel you need to. You shouldn’t have to though. Add about 1/2 a cup or to fill line in your wash and enjoy your wonderful smelling clothes!!

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To Catch a Predator

Here I demonstrate how to use a livetrap to catch a predator that was taking my chickens’ heads off! The trap was about $50 at the local feedstore, and I used peanut butter, dog food, and some meat as the bait because I figured it was a skunk or a possum. I never caught it, but did find out that owls will actually take heads off of chickens to eat or feed to their young…so I need a better idea! So far I haven’t had any more issues though!

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Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

As a “couponer”, I would always look for sales and coupons on any laundry detergent, softener, and dryer sheets I could find. First off, you never have enough, you always need it, and it is stupid expensive! My mom actually found this recipe, but there are many others out there you can use as well. Either way, I used this one and it smells fantastic. You can also make your own softener, but I have not done that one yet. About too though, so I will share once I do it! These products show below are all found at Wal-Mart, and I have seen some at HEB. They are all inexpensive and you use very small portions of these (except the bar soap) so they will give you A LOT OF CHEAP DETERGENT!! I made one of these batches 4 months ago and I am only half done with the batch. Family of 4, hard working and always outside= super dirty laundry and lots of loads. Oh, and I use this on my HE washer and it works great!

*Start Saving your Laundry Detergent bottles, or have your family and friends save you some. The ones with the push button dispenser are not great for this since the consistency is a little off for the drain. I use the smaller bottles with the handle to help pour.

The Ingredients
The Ingredients for Home Made Laundry Detergent

Start off with:

  • 4 Cups hot water
  • 1 Bar of Fels-Naptha Soap
  • 1 Cup Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda (no normal baking soda, must be sodium carbonate)
  • 1/2 Cup Borax
  • 5 Gallon Bucket** (optional and can be found at home depot for $4)

Directions:

  • Grate the Fels-Naptha into a large pot with the water
  • Continuously stir over medium heat until soap dissolves. It takes a while, so make your grated pieces small to speed up the process.
  • **For using the bucket: Fill the 5 Gallon Bucket half full of hot tap water.
  • Add melted soap, super washing soda, and borax and stir thoroughly.
  • Fill bucket to top with hot water
  • Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken
  • Stir and fill the laundry soap dispenser half full of soap and the other half with water.
  • SHAKE BEFORE EACH USE!

You will probably get a better mix doing it with a 5 gallon bucket. However, if you do not have a bucket to use, this is how I did it:

  • After melting the soap, add the washing soap and borax to the pot, along with enough water to fill your large pot.
  • Stir and let cool
  • Pour into each container 1/4 to a half full, and then fill the rest with hot water.
  • This gave me 3 containers of detergent and the solution thickened in the container. I only needed to add more hot water to one container to loosen it up a bit, but for the most part it gave me a gel consistency and I have been very happy with it.

    The consistency of my detergent is gel-like
    The consistency of my detergent is gel-like

*Experiment with this recipe! I have been told you can add any bar soap you want for the smell you like. Fels-Naptha is just a really good stain fighter and all of the ingredients are found in the laundry detergent aisle. You can also add essential oils (REAL ESSENTIAL OILS!) to your mix for an even better smell:)

Hopefully this is a good place to start! Good luck!