Friday, July 29, 2016

Farm Fridays #3

            Welcome back to another Farm Fridays Link Up! If this is the first week you're joining us, be sure to read the few little guidelines below. Most importantly, though, have fun and I hope you learn something! I know I have been from all of your posts so far!

  1. Add up to 3 links each week.
  2. Please visit at least as many other posts as you link up and either comment on or share via social media the posts you visit. Even better if both!
  3. Please grab the button code and put it in your post somewhere or on your blog's sidebar, etc. That way we can reach more people and have even more awesome posts to read and discover new blogs!
    Farm Fridays Link-Up
  4. Whether you're a hardcore homesteader or part-time planter, we want to see your posts! So, what kind of posts are we looking for? Basically, anything sustainable/green living related:
    -Livestock of any kind
    -DIY recipes: salves, beauty, bath and body, etc.
    -Food recipes (Preferably from scratch and/or using whole foods. You get the idea.)
    -Tips on any of the above and living a greener lifestyle.
    -It can even just be posts on what's going on around your garden, yard, farm, homestead, etc.! (Like a lot of mine.)

    I am still looking for homesteader stories too, so be sure to contact me at aliciaowen6814 @ yahoo dot com if you are interested in that!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Cost Effective Reason to Free Range

            Hey folks! Today's post ties in a bit to last week's Farm Fridays post. If you missed it, you can find it HERE. It's all about the costs that go into raising chickens, so definitely be sure to check that out if you're considering them in the future!
             I know there have to be some of you out there reading this that are like me and both want to makes things as easy AND cheap as possible. In the chicken world, you get both when you let your flock free range. Let's talk a little about what free ranging is.
             It's probably exactly what you have envisioned: Basically, you're letting your chickens roam around wherever they want. It does have its drawbacks, such as worrying more about predators picking off members of your flock and having to keep them out of your gardens somehow, but it has a lot of benefits too, one of the main ones being saving you a ton of money on feed!
             Depending on the size of the area they're allowed to graze upon and what kind of grasses, plants, weeds, bugs, etc. you have, you can drastically cut your feed costs. Don't get me wrong: Chicken feed doesn't cost all that much. We buy some cheaper stuff and it is about $10 for a 50lb bag and we go through one about every 2-3 weeks for 16 birds altogether. But, that is largely due to how much they forage during the day.

Borrowing this pic from another post, but the big girls seem to enjoy drinking from the puddles much more than their waterer in the coop.
             According to the Abundant Permaculture guy, one chicken should only be eating about 1/3 lb of feed per day if they are free ranging/pasture raised. This got us curious about how much ours were eating and we figured it up that they are actually eating less than this per day. That's amazing! That means they're getting the vast majority of their food intake for free! If we kept them locked in their coop all the time, they would be going through at least three 50lb bags per month...And that is rationing them to the 1/3lb/day/chicken mentioned above. If we were allowing them “free choice” (basically letting the chickens eat however much they want) and keeping them cooped up, they would easily be going through 5 bags per month. Again, we're only going through one per month. If that doesn't convince you to free range, I'm not sure what will!

 The chickens LOVE the berries from our giant honeysuckle bush! That's also what Victoria, the Silver-Laced Wyandotte, was after in the first picture.
             Now that we got my main point out of the way, let's talk about some other benefits of free ranging. First of all, you will still have to “coop train” your birds. Whenever the word “training” is involved, it sounds like something difficult but I assure you coop training is not. It's a fancier way of saying “keeping your chickens locked up for at least several weeks so they know where home and a constant source of food is”.
             Once that's taken care of, they will never wander too far from home. Honestly. Sounds too good to be true, but it is. Since they are wandering around all happy at their will, this provides the perfect opportunity for varying their diet too, thus having healthier chickens as well. Chickens don't just eat weeds and grasses (though they are excellent weed eaters!), but berries, wild grains, and bugs as well. (They're also great natural insecticides!) They'll even eat snakes! So, not only do they have a healthier, varied diet by free ranging, but they help keep your lawn fertilized, weeded, and the pest population down too.
            I find that they are also less work because they free range during the day. I don't have to fill their feeder every day nor their water. They actually seem to prefer drinking from outside sources that have collected rain water better than their waterers in the coop. I don't have to clean their coop out frequently. (Truth be told, I have yet to clean their coop because we're doing the deep litter method with the wood chip bedding “fluff”.) It's pretty nice. Most days I just have to let them out in the morning and lock them up at night. I only need to fill their food and water every 2-3 days and I really don't need to then. Both their feeder and waterers are usually half full by then and I just like to keep them topped up because I'm OCD like that.
             Do you have free ranging chickens or would you consider it? Why or why not? Don't forget to link up with us at this week's Farm Fridays! (Click on the Farm Fridays image below.) Until next time...

Monday, July 25, 2016

A Day in the Life

             Hey folks! I don't know exactly what it is about them, but I enjoy reading “A Day in the Life” posts. Maybe it's because, after reading other posts of this type from other mom bloggers, I don't feel like I'm neglecting my children quite so much after all. (Not that I'm saying I think other mom bloggers do! Ha ha Just that I feel like I probably spend about the same amount of time with my kids as they do, from what I've read, and I'm happy to know I might be normal in this case.) Or maybe it's nice to read about shared experiences/issues of mothers with children who are close in age to my own. Perhaps it's just the authenticity that draws me in, especially after the recent debacle about a previous mommy blogger basically claiming that all mom bloggers are fake. (Not true!) Regardless, I hope you find some humor or kindredness in today's post where I'll be sharing one of my own days with you.

8:30-Little Bit wakes me up and she eats. I change her diaper after she's finished and she goes back to sleep around 9. She normally goes back to sleep pretty soon after her first morning feed, but she's been acting kind of funny lately. Not sure if it's a cold or teething.

9:00-I fluff our clothes in the dryer from yesterday so I can put the cloth diapers in later. I put some water on to boil for my oatmeal and hustle my bustle to feed the cats and let the chickens out. I'm normally pretty lax about this, but I checked the radar while Ripley was eating and I saw it was going to storm in the next hour or so.

9:30-After I let the raptors free, I put my oatmeal in and start the load of cloth diapers in the wash. Myka woke up around 9 when I was transferring cloth diapers to the hamper in her bathroom. She is (thankfully) watching Daniel Tiger on TV.

9:45-Looks like I fed the critters just in time. It starts pouring, my oatmeal gets done, and I hope to God Myka stays entertained by anything so I can get some blog stuff done while I eat!

10:00-Naturally, by the time I catch this list up, it is pouring so hard that the internet has gone out. Since we live in the sticks, we have satellite internet. Don't ever get it. It's terrible and over-priced.

We do some “school stuff” because Myka is always asking to now. This morning it consists of dot marker and coloring pages for the letter “R” and the number “2”.

10:30-We go outside and jump in puddles for awhile after the rain goes away.

11:00-12:40-Somehow this time turned into a hot mess of poorly timed bathing and a baby that pooped (before the bath, thank God), therefore was hungry sooner than normal. Let's not go into details.

12:45-I finaly get done showering and make some mac and cheese for the 3 year old because we eat healthy like that.

1:00-I'm about to go crazy at this point. It's the first full day of Mka being home after spending an extended holiday weekend at my parents' house and she's driving me nuts! Every 5 seconds it's something. She's WAY more demanding than the baby.

I'm finishing the mac and cheese and she's yelling from her bathroom that she's finished pooping. I get in there and it's a turd not even worth pooping.

1:15-We get to eat, finally, and I get some blogging stuff done too! Myka (gloriously) plays with her dinos and watches a movie by herself for a bit.

1:45-Ripley wakes up from a short nap. I finally get around to rinsing out the poopy diaper from, like, 2 hours ago. (Ew) Myka and I eat some graham crackers and do a puzzle.

2:00-We play on the floor, read books, and feed Ripley again. I convince Myka to at least lay down and rest for awhile around 3:15.

3:45-I FINALLY get giveaway HTML sent out for my Fabulous Fitteds Giveaway! It's literally the only thing I've wanted to get done all day so I'm not stressing out about it and so I can enjoy my kids and the rest of the day!

4:00-I start searching through this mess to find some very overdue doctor bills. By some miracle, both of the kids are napping! (Myka doesn't take naps very often any more.)

This is what most people have on their kitchen table, right? Noise cancelling headphones, work gloves, toy bins, a giant pile of mail, etc. etc.?

4:50-It literally takes me about this long to go through all three spots where we hoard mail, but I find the bills! Papa John gets home from work early.

5:00-6:00-We make out the evil bills, eat, change Ripley, boring stuff.

6:25-Big sister is somehow still asleep and Little Bit is ready for a nap. Woo hoo! Let's do some yardwork!

6:30-7:15-We went out and mowed some. Naturally, Myka woke up and came out right as we were spraying bug spray on and heading toward the barn, so I pulled her in the cart behind our mower...And then I ran out of gas. So Myka and I ran to town for gas because wouldn't you know, we were completely out.

7:30-I discover that, out of the three gas cans I could have chosen from, I picked the one with a cracked handle. (I didn't discover this until I was at the gas station, of course. It's always something!)

8:00ish-Come home and fill the mower up and put it away. Rinse out another poopy diaper from several hours ago.

8:30-Fold clothes, feed Ripley, and put her to bed around 9.

9:15-Sit down to catch this list up, watch some YouTube videos, and eat a sandwich. Myka is watching “Babe”. Probably because I mentioned we were going to get a pig soon.

10:15-Myka and daddy have been happily playing with dinos for awhile. I fold the cloth diapers at last. We put Myka to bed around 10:30. (I would say her late bed time is because she took a good nap, but I'd be lying.)

10:30-11:30-Hubby and I piddle on the computer more: videos, blogging stuff, picture editing.

11:40-Time for bed!

            This was a fairly typical day for us. What does your day look like? Do you work off of a loose schedule, or are you pretty open?
 photo ThisMommasMeanderingMondays_zps5366bef9.jpg
Epic Mommy Adventures

Friday, July 22, 2016

Farm Fridays #2

            Hey folks! Welcome back to week 2 of the Farm Fridays link up! Thanks for joining us again and I hope you enjoyed last week's posts. Before we jump into this week's link up, I have a special announcement to make.

            Do you consider yourself a homesteader? I want to hear your story!

            I'm looking for urban and rural homesteaders alike to feature in an upcoming series on the blog. You get the chance to share your story and readers will get some motivation they may have been looking for to start their own homesteading adventure!

            If interested and you would like to learn more, send me an email at aliciaowen6814 at yahoo dot com. Now, back to the link up!

  1. Add up to 3 links each week.
  2. Please visit at least as many other posts as you link up and either comment on or share via social media the posts you visit. Even better if both!
  3. Please grab the button code and put it in your post somewhere or on your blog's sidebar, etc. That way we can reach more people and have even more awesome posts to read and discover new blogs!
    Farm Fridays Link-Up
  4. Whether you're a hardcore homesteader or part-time planter, we want to see your posts! So, what kind of posts are we looking for? Basically, anything sustainable/green living related:
    -Livestock of any kind
    -DIY recipes: salves, beauty, bath and body, etc.
    -Food recipes (Preferably from scratch and/or using whole foods. You get the idea.)
    -Tips on any of the above and living a greener lifestyle.
    -It can even just be posts on what's going on around your garden, yard, farm, homestead, etc.! (Like a lot of mine.)

Cost of Raising Chickens

             So, you're thinking about backyard chickens. Congratulations! Sure, it's getting late in the season and the pickings will be slim at your local farm supply stores but, you can always order online through a hatchery or check with your local FFA group. (I'll talk more about this in a minute.) Even if you're still not completely sold on keeping chickens and/or still in the research phase, I would like to share a rough cost breakdown of raising chickens with you today to give you an idea of what you're getting yourself into!
             Let's start with the numbers and we'll expand upon some items after.
  • Cost Per Chick: $2.99-$4.99 (in general)
  • Chick Starter/Grower Crumble Feed: $12.99
  • Pellets for Layers feed: $10.49
  • Meat Bird Crumble Feed: $14.49
  • Organic, non-GMO Feed: $27
    -Meat Bird: $31
  • Pine Shaving Bedding: $5/30lb bag
  • Chick Feeder & Waterer (respectively): $2.79, $1.69
  • Adult Feeder & Waterer: $5, $20
    -DIY Waterer (Nipples & Bucket w/Lid): $5, $4.40
  • Heat Lamp: $2.50 (bulb), $20 (base)
    -Eco Glow-$80+
  • Building material for coop: Variable
             Are you still with me? I hope I haven't scared you off! Let's talk some more about the items listed above. For starters, if you are purchasing your chicks from a farm supply store, they are, in general, going to cost less than ordering them online. Most breeds are between $2.99 and $4.99 per chick. Ordering online from a hatchery tends to cost more due to shipping costs (because they are live animals and need to be expedited for obvious reasons. Also, I've read the post office doesn't really like having to deal with them.) Plus hatcheries will have “fancier” breeds available. I've also heard that you can order chicks through your local FFA, but honestly, I don't know much about it as we've never done so.
             Ah, the food costs. Looks kind of scary, right? Think of it this way: It's like feeding a cat or two...except these are chickens and will be a “productive” member of your farm, homestead, backyard, whatever. Also, the prices above are all for 50lb bags. That's a lot of feed! Plus, depending on how many chickens you wind up with, you won't have to buy it too often if you are letting your chickens free-range. For instance, we have 11 chickens eating from the 50lb bag of layer pellets. We go through a bag about every 3 weeks, probably a little longer than that, actually. So, each of our 11 big chickens is only eating 5 cents worth of feed a day!
             Also, a little side note on feed: You will see that the meat bird feed cost more. However, from what I've gathered, you usually cull most meat birds around 8 weeks, so you're feeding them for MUCH less time!
             To be honest, the bedding situation is going to vary from person to person. We use pine shavings and are going for the deep litter method. (You can read a bit more on that on The Prairie Homestead HERE.) We have a big coop and are still trying to build our “fluff” layer up, so we'll usually puchase a thing of pine shavings every time we buy feed, so every 3 weeks. If you're just starting out, you will need MUCH less than this, or, even better, none at all if you build/buy a coop that has a removable screen for where they poop at the most.
             Chicken feeders and waterers are cheap as chips. The adult waterers can be a bit pricy though, in my opinion. A much cheaper method is to make your own from a 5 gallon bucket with a lid and some inexpensive water/chicken nipples. I actually have a post on how to make these with old 2 liter bottles HERE.
             If you get your chickies when it's still cool out, you'll probably want to get some sort of outside heat source for them. Heat lamps are actually not really recommended any more because of the fire hazards they post, but I felt compelled to include them anyways since that's what we used. You can check out these nifty EcoGlow warmers HERE. I don't know much about them other than they're a lot safer!
             It would take a whole other post to cover all of the variables on chicken coop building/buying costs and, as usual, this post is already long. You could build a super cheap one like we did with our first chickens in Arkansas or go all out and buy one of the fancy “pre-fab” models from a farm supply store. If you're lucky enough, maybe your place already has one like ours did!

             From my experience, it seems like there is no in-between when it comes to what people expect it will cost to raise chickens: They either overestimate or grossly underestimate. With that being said, I hope this post has given you a realistic idea of what to expect. As you can see, after the intial costs, they're basically like having even lesser maintenance cats running around your yard and pooping everywhere. Ha ha Their food is actually cheaper than cat food and, depending on how many you have, of course, you will have to buy chicken food about as often if you are letting them free-range. 

*I am not an expert on chickens by any means. As I mentioned, the costs above are a rough estimate and will vary depending on your area, where you buy, time of year, etc. With that being said, I LOVE talking about chickens (in case you haven't noticed. Check out my Instagram account for more chicken shenanigans from Wild Onion Farm.), so please let me know if you have any questions or if you have anything you would add or change on this post. Until next time...

Thinking Outside The Pot
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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Calling All Homesteaders!

Do you consider yourself a homesteader? I want to hear your story!

I'm looking for urban and rural homesteaders alike to feature in an upcoming series on the blog. You get the chance to share your story and readers will get some motivation they may have been looking for to start their own homesteading adventure!

If interested and you would like to learn more, send me an email at aliciaowen6814 at yahoo dot com. (For the record, you don't need to be a blogger to participate either!)

Monday, July 18, 2016

Family Fun Complete Mosaic Kit Giveaway

Family Fun Complete Mosaic Kit Giveaway! Plaque, Tiles, Grout & Glue! $70+ RV!

Sponsored By: Milltown Merchants

Hosted By: Love, Mrs. Mommy

Winner Will Receive Over $70 worth of Mosaic Supplies! Included items are: Goldfish MDF Plaque, 8" x 5.5" 1 pound Orange Smooth Mosaic Pieces 1 pound Lime Green Pebbles 1 pound Iridescent Blue Pebbles 1 pound of white grout 5.4oz. bottle of Weldbond

Milltown Merchants is the #1 destination for choosy crafters everywhere! Explore their store for an unbeatable selection of mosaic bases, tiles, and supplies. Be sure to check out their full line of MADE IN THE USA shapes!
Open To The Contiguous United States - Must be 18+ to enter 

Giveaway Dates ~ 7/18 (9:00 AM EST) through 8/1 (11:59 PM EST)

Good Luck!

Disclosure: Love, Mrs. Mommy and all participating bloggers are not held responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill their prize obligations. Love, Mrs. Mommy did not receive monetary compensation to host this giveaway, however LMM did receive mosaic supplies. This giveaway is in no way endorsed or sponsored by Facebook or any other social media site. The winner will be randomly drawn by Giveaway Tools and will be notified by email. The winner has 48 hours to reply before a new winner will be drawn. If you would like to participate in an event like this please contact LoveMrsMommy (at) gmail (dot) com.

Fishing for Newbs

             Hey folks! Maybe it was just how we were both raised, but for my husband, John, and I, no summer is complete without fishing. Besides enjoying nature, relaxing, and (hopefully) catching some tasty fish to cook up at home, it's a pretty cheap pastime! I have a special guest post from John today for those of you who may have never been fishing before because you've never had a chance or just didn't know where to begin!

Basic fishing:

Fishing pole - I recommend the Dock Demon by Zebco. It's small and portable, relatively cheap, and good quality. You can get cheaper poles, but they are harder to use. They also are light enough to feel the small fish biting the hook.
Hooks - Small panfish/cricket hooks are a great general hook.
Sinkers - Small but heavy, about pea sized.
Bobber - Optional, but whatever you like best.
Bait - I like old fashioned live bait: Worms and Crickets.
Fishing license - Some states have discounts/free for veterans and old/young. Do not skip this - they do not mess around with game/fishing laws.

            Pole should come pre-strung with fishing line. Feed line through pole guides and tie on hook. I recommend the Palomar knot - easy to tie and very strong. Feed line through hook eye then back out eye so you have a loop. Tie a standard knot in the loop around hook, feed hook through loop and tighten. Trim excess line. Place sinker about 1-2 ft away from hook. Place bobber above this (3-4 ft from hook is a good general size.) Bait your hook and have fun.
            Cast for shady areas, where you see fish, or just wherever. Best fishing times are generally early morning/sunrise till 10-11am and again at sunset, but fish will feed throughout the day often "starting back up" every 1-2 hr.
            I prefer casting with no bobber and I place the bait to cover the sharp hook end to prevent snags. You will lose a lot of hooks if there is a lot of debris on the water bottom. Just reel slowly and pause every now and then from reeling.
            Experiment with the depth of the line using bobbers, Sometimes fish are near the surface, sometimes they are deep. It depends on time of day/time of year and water temp.
            When you feel a bite (a tug on the line or you see the bobber or tip of pole go down) jerk hard back/up on the pole while reeling. This "sets the hook". Reel in your fish. Be quick, but don't try to rip them out of the water either.
            Follow whatever rules/regulations are in place for your fishing area/state/lake etc.. For fish size/type/limit.

            As far as preparing and eating fish goes, my favorite is panfish (bluegill, sunfish, etc..) Filet them, take skin off. Rinse fillets well and check for bones.
            Soak in saltwater (milk for catfish) for an hour or so in fridge (gets rid of any bad fishy taste). In a gallon bag, place several cups of yellow cornmeal with salt and pepper to taste. Fry in peanut oil at 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit. Pieces are done when they float and are flaky when broken open.
            Optional way:  Place fillets in baking dish. Liberally drizzle with melted butter. Sprinkle with fresh lemon juice and a light dusting of creole seasoning. (I prefer Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning.)

Helpful Links:

Same Knot

   photo ThisMommasMeanderingMondays_zps5366bef9.jpg

This Is How We Roll Thursday Party 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Farm Fridays Link-Up #1

             Hey folks! Welcome to the very first Farm Fridays link-up here on Mixed Bag Mama! I'm glad to have you here. Let's get this party started and find some useful gardening tips, yummy recipes, and more! Read on for more info on what kind of posts you can find below and how to link-up.

  1. Add up to 3 links each week.
  2. Please visit at least as many other posts as you link up and either comment on or share via social media the posts you visit. Even better if both!
  3. Please grab the button code and put it in your post somewhere or on your blog's sidebar, etc. That way we can reach more people and have even more awesome posts to read and discover new blogs!
    Farm Fridays Link-Up
  4. Whether you're a hardcore homesteader or part-time planter, we want to see your posts! So, what kind of posts are we looking for? Basically, anything sustainable/green living related:
    -Livestock of any kind
    -DIY recipes: salves, beauty, bath and body, etc.
    -Food recipes (Preferably from scratch and/or using whole foods. You get the idea.)
    -Tips on any of the above and living a greener lifestyle.
    -It can even just be posts on what's going on around your garden, yard, farm, homestead, etc.! (Like a lot of mine.)

Making a Homestead: Getting Off Our Lazy Butts!

             Hey folks! I am super excited to be bringing you the very first Farm Fridays post and link-up here on Mixed Bag Mama this week! I have so many homesteading posts going on right now (tis the season, right?) I figured why not? Some weeks I will be doing a separate post and just linking up to the link-up post. Others I will just have the link-up post with a bit about what we've been doing that week in the intro. It just depends on how long my post is. :P We were pretty busy outdoors last week, so this inaugural post gets its own separate page!
             Hey folks! I have to admit that other than the chickens, we have TOTALLY been slacking on all the homesteady type stuff we started this spring. We recently came across the Abundant Permaculture guy (Justin Rhodes on YouTube) and just watching his videos has given us the push and motivation we needed to take back our yard and gardens that we've been neglecting.
I can breathe!

             Despite our utter and complete neglect, we do have some plants that are actually growing and some that are even producing already! I got out a couple of days ago and freed our blueberry plants that actually made it. Unfortunately, we planted our berry bushes too early and the raspberries didn't make it. However, we have a TON of wild black raspberry bushes growing all over the place, so we're pretty set on those anyways. Also, I'm not gonna lie: I completely forgot we planted a grapevine too until hubby pointed it out while I was weed eating.

            Speaking of those black raspberries, check this out. This is just from going out and picking the easy-to-get-to ones several evenings. There are easily 2-3x this many in hard to reach places! Myka and John have actually been picking the majority of them, so I hope to get out there more myself and try to sell some!

            We've had a crazy amount of chamomile too. It's right next to the back walkway, so I've been better about keeping up with harvesting it. We've got a buttload already drying, so I can't wait to make some tea with it! I'm not sure how long it keeps flowering, but if I get much more I might try to sell some of it too. I let a lot of them go to seed, so I'm hoping even more grows back!

            So, what else is growing? The peas seem to be doing well despite not weeding the garden AT ALL since we planted everything. Seriously. It's super sad and I'm hoping to get around to weeding some more in the next few days when/if it's not raining. We also have onions, carrots, tomatoes, and green beans. Some pumpkins (that the damn chickens didn't get to!) are starting to flower and produce and some of the corn seems to be growing decently for now too.

            Are you sick of my chicken obsession yet? I hope not, because again, no homesteading update would be complete without them! So, this first picture above...Yah. The struggle is real. The chickens have officially taken over the poor cats' area. I'm glad they're not afraid of us or the cats, but between the chicken crap all over the walkway and them ravenously trying to eat the cats' food, it's gotten out of hand. I had to start putting the food bowls in the window sill and a few of the cheakier ladies will still get up there and eat it. (I'm especially talking to you, Gladyss!) Oh. And on top of that they come through and trample all of my chamomile plants and eat the flowers off the pumpkin plants. Sigh...

             These are the Three Amigos. (The two big ones are Brahmas and the other is an Easter Egger.) To be honest, they are my least favorite of all of our chickens because they're the most skittish (which is obviously our fault, for the most part) and they're kind of a-holes. The Easter Egger (Plucky) was picking on the bigger Easter-Egger (Yasmine) for awhile, which isn't cool because she has messed up toes and doesn't like to get around much unless she has to. All three of them come and eat the little ones chicken food as soon as I fill it, which drives me nuts. (The crumbles are supposed to be for the five little ones and the pellets for all the others.)

 Isn't she cute? “Whatcha doin'?”

             I've not given the five little chickies much love besides the super fluffy bantam Silkie I call “Don” on Instagram, so here's a few pics of the others. We somehow have three names for the gray one on top: Lil Chicky (I know. Real creative on my part, huh?), Gandalf, and The Hamburglar. (John came up with the last two. Hamburglar because it's a Silver Hamburg. Hardy har.) She's my new favorite and I've been calling her Gandalf more and more, so female chicken Gandalf it is.

             Live I've said before, I just love watching the Easter Eggers change colors and patterns as they grow. It looks like our two littlest ones are going to be the darker colored variety instead of light like the older two. (Yasmine and Plucky. ;) ) I decided to call this one Amber since she has a lot of dark coloring on her chest. I still need a name for the other Silkie bantam and Easter Egger. Let me know your suggestions in the comments below! I'm obviously open to ridiculous names! (Have I mentioned one of the Australorps is named Australorpennegger?)

            Guess what this stuff is for! I was recently looking into “chicken tractors”. (A caged in area for chickens to clear land.) However, I came across a message board and learned that this can be both detrimental to the land and the chickens, but that pigs are much better at this without affecting their nutrition and the nutrients in the soil. So, we did some more research on using pigs for clearing land and we're deciding to go for it! Since I had some extra money from a sponsored post last month and a lot of the items we need for fencing were on sale at, you guessed it, Rural King, we went ahead and bought all of the supplies we should need for portable, electric fencing.
            We think one pig will be sufficient for our needs, even though there are several areas we'd like to get cleared before next spring planting. Oh. You might be wondering, “Why don't you just till the land you need for planting?” We still don't have a tiller and quite frankly, I can't see us being able to afford one any time soon. Even including the fencing, the cost of purchasing the pig, and having to fix up the old hog shed (which should be free or close to it since we have lots of extra wood and tools), it will still be significantly cheaper to keep a pig than buy a tiller. Like, a fourth of the cost, in fact. Especially since we're cheap and we're making our own fence instead of purchasing one of the pre-made portable electric fences. (Although that might be nice to have in the future!) Maybe I'll do a cost breakdown of that soon too!
            Well, I think that about wraps things up for this time. I could go on about the pigs, but this post is already running long. ;) Until next time...

Fun fact: That pile of dirt that shovel is in? That's where our massive, volunteer pumpkin vine is growing!
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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Fabulous Fitteds: A Cloth Diaper Event Giveaway

Welcome to the Fabulous Fitteds
Cloth Diaper Event!

Hosted By: Mixed Bag Mama

             Hey folks! It's finally time for the big giveaway! If you love fitted cloth diapers or are looking to try them out, you've come to the right place! One lucky winner will receive the huge prize pack of fitted diapers and wool covers listed below.

*Starry Nights Creations One Size Nighty Night Fitted Diaper-Review
*$40 Gift Certificate to Green Mountain Diapers-Review
*Osocozy Unbleached Birdseye Cotton Fitted Diaper (Size 1)-Review
*EcoPosh Wool Cover (Winner's choice of size.)-Review
*Imagine Baby Products One Size Bamboo Fitted Diaper-Review
*Dri-Line Bamboo Baby Fitted Diaper (Winner's choice of size.)-Review
*Nicki's Diapers Merino Wool Overnight Cover (Winner's choice of color & size.)-Review
*Nelpe Fitted Diaper (Winner's choice of size.)-Review

             To find out more about each company and diaper, simply click the links above to be taken to the companies' websites or read Mixed Bag Mama's review on each product.

             Now for the fun part! For a chance to win this great prize package for yourself, simply enter the Giveaway Tools widget below. Only your email is mandatory to enter (only used to contact the winner. Mixed Bag Mama will never sell or distribute your personal information.), but the more entries you have, the more chances you have to win! Good luck!
Mixed Bag Mama and all participating bloggers were not compensated for this post. Participating bloggers are also not responsible for prize fulfillment. With the exception of the Osocozy diaper, sponsors are responsible for prize shipment. This giveaway is not affiliated with any social media platforms, including, but not limited to, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. For questions, please contact Alicia of Mixed Bag Mama at

Fabulous Fitteds Review Links

Starry Nights Creations OS Nighty Night Fitted

Green Mountain Diapers-Workhorse Fitteds, Snug-to-Fit, & Babee Greens Cover

Osocozy Birdseye Cotton Fitted

EcoPosh Wool Cover

Imagine OS Fitted

Dri-Line Bamboo Baby Fitted

Nicki's Diapers-OS Fitted & Overnight Merino Wool Cover

Nelpe Fitted

Monday, July 11, 2016

Nelpe Fitted Diaper Review

             Hey there, party people! It's day 8 and the FINAL DAY of reviews before we get to the big Fabulous Fitteds Giveaway tomorrow! Woo hoo!
             Today I have a small business to share with you that specializes in cloth diapers: Nelpe. Nelpe is a mother-daughter collaboration based out of Littleton, Colorado. They offer cloth diaper covers, fitteds, and flats (all of my favorites!) and, best of all, they are affordable!

             Shelley from Nelpe gave me the opportunity to try out, you guessed it, one of their fitted diapers. They come in two sizes and we decided to go with the size 2 to be safe since Little Bit was approaching the limit of the size 1. Here's what I thought in a nutshell:

-Nelpe's fitteds are similar to the Imagine and Nicki's in that it is soft, floppy, and on the thinner side.

-Even though it is a sized diaper, it has a fold down rise on it like the Starry Nights Creations fitted I reviewed last week. These types of rises have really grown on me since I started reviewing them. It makes sense on this diaper too since it covers such a wide weight range.

-This one also surprised me in it's absorbency. We've gone 11 hours easily and have had no issues with leaking. Bamboo really is as fantastic as everyone makes it out to be!

-VERY stretchy. It's actually a little stretchier than I would like, but this will come in handy as baby reaches toddler size.

-Because of the extreme stretchiness, I would say the sizes run big, which Shelley did warn me about. As you'll see in the picture, I had to use a Boingo fastener at first because it was too big to secure the snaps!

This is actually from when I was still fastening it starting from the wrong side. ha ha Hey, whatever works, though, right?

-As far as ease of use, it took me a few times to get the hang of the Nelpe fitted. Even though it seems counterintuitive, I seem to personally have an easier time securing the stiffer diapers than the stretchy ones. I also found the left to right snapping weird. I always do the right wing first because I'm right handed, but you can't with this diaper. It felt like I was using a diaper specifically designed for a left-handed person. (Which might actually be easier for some of you!)

-Since this is similar to the Imagine and Nicki's Bamboo Fitteds, its dry time is the same too: medium for diapers in general and on the shorter end for bamboo.

-As I've mentioned in other reviews, pretty much everything fits in our EcoPosh cover. That's why I love it so much. However, this diaper barely fit under it. Needless to say, it's a bit big. But again, we have a size 2 which is intended for babies 15 to 40 pounds and Ripley is just now probably 15 pounds.

-The biggest qualm I had with the Nelpe fitted is the snap-in soaker. I wasn't crazy about the size and shape of it plus it is as wide as the diaper. Personally, I like any type of inserts to fit nicely inside the diaper, not flush with its edges.

             Overall, I am really starting to like this diaper. I will admit it wasn't my favorite at first, but now that I've gotten the hang of snapping it “backward” and am getting more used to the fold down rises in generally I am digging it. It's soft, absorbent, and very affordable compared to a lot of other fitteds on the market.
             Nelpe fitteds start off at $14.00 for a size 1, which you can purchase on their Etsy page, along with their covers and flat diapers. You can keep up-to-date with them on Facebook and Instagram. Come back tomorrow for a chance to win your own Nelpe fitted diaper along with other great prizes in the Fabulous Fitteds Giveaway!
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