Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Cleaning that brown mark out of the bottom of your jug!

A friend gave me one of those amazing clear jugs with the pretty blue lights for Christmas after I coveted hers during a coffee and a chat last year. I love that I can see how boiled the water is and how many litres my husband is putting in there for his single cup of coffee and I really, really love the blue lights despite them not adding anything to the boiling of the water!

But being a clear glass jug, I could see the dark build up on the base of the jug that is conveniently hidden from casual sight in a metal or plastic jug. I opened the top a few times and had a bit of a scrub but it didn't seem to work and I was reluctant to use more than detergent in it as I drink out of that jug regularly and wasn't keen on poisoning myself with oven cleaner with my next cup of tea.

Then I recalled reading something about using citric acid to clean out the build up in your jug and thought I would give it a go one afternoon.


Here's what I did...

First I dug out my container of citric acid (available in the baking isle along with baking powder and tartaric acid in the supermarket for around the $3 mark)

I popped a decent tablespoon into a litre of water and went to get my camera.


By the time I got back - a whole 30 seconds - the jug was just starting to simmer and the mark was completely gone!


So in my experience its a quick and easy method and I'm annoyed that it was so quick as I don't have a before photo to show you! I thought it would take a few minutes of boiling and I didn't see anything between big brown mark on the bottom of the jug and bright shiny bottom of the jug!

I would say it was a successful experiment and one that is not only cheap, easy but very, very quick!! I use citric acid when I make whole milk ricotta at home and know that its ok to digest (not that I'll be eating by the spoonful!)
 
Have you tried this? How did it work for you?

Score card:
Green-ness: 5/5 for using a more natural chemical to clean things with!
Frugal-ness: Another use for citric acid that makes the $3 well worth it
Time cost: Much less than I had anticipated!
Skill level: Speed photography - or even just the camera to hand if you want to record this amazingly quick process!
Fun-ness: Its nice to see the shiny bottom of the jug again!

Friday, 13 March 2015

How to start making your life green, simple, frugal and practical...!

When I first started my journey into the green frugal and crafty world I had no idea where to start, how to start and how far to go.

There is so much information out there on what we should be doing, could be doing and might think about doing that its easy to get overwhelmed, grab a packet of Tim-Tams and settle down on the couch and catch up with the latest sit-com or downloaded movie.

With so many options available I think its easiest to meet yourself where you are, and then go from there.

 
If you have an interest in cooking, then start with greening your cooking practices. A bit of menu planning will bring in the frugal aspect. Cooking from scratch will bring new skills and a sense of empowerment and making your own preserves, sauces, pasta and breads will bring a tasty new dimension to your cooking world and encourage you to try greening and simplifying other parts of your life.


Maybe you think that growing your own vegetables is the way to start. Then maybe you can grow a few micro-greens to start with, move on to herbs in a pot, a few wicking boxes on the balcony and then the full blown no dig, organic compost vege patch that spreads out onto the front verge of your place. Go with where your interests lie and you cant go wrong.


Perhaps you are a crafty person. Then maybe start with planning to make birthday presents for everyone this year, only holding eco-parties and re-sending last years Christmas cards - before tackling chemical free pest control and organic kale pizza (which is really good by the way!)

There is no gold medal for creating a green life overnight and every ones vision of a green life is different. Start with what you are passionate about and move on from there as things come to your attention and you feel confident enough to try new things. Some things the family wont be interested in getting involved with, but the change to home made washing powder may not even be noticed! Small baby steps are likely to be successful long term rather than large dramatic changes that might not be sustainable for your life style. I know in our household that I didn't mention the change in washing powder since the husband was a bit fussy about such things. Since he discovered that I was no longer using a big brand laundry powder, he has become fascinated by the process and is the one to make up a batch of powder these days... Small successful steps or changes have a greater chance of becoming the new norm in your home than larger, grand, expensive efforts might.


There are lots of people on the web blogging about their daily lives and the steps that they make towards changing how they live. These are great inspiration as well as practical instruction on how to go about moving from a blind consumer to an active greener individual. Not everything you try work s the first time. Or even the second time. My vege gardening skills haven't improved despite the size of the land I have available to me, so I end up frequenting farmers markets and supporting Food Connect until they get better.

I found a couple of "greening myself" lists that I have been using as a base to go back to and have a look at from time to time when I feel like moving forward and aren't sure where to go next. These can be useful as a guide rather than gospel - Don't get caught up trying to do it all at once!

Have a look at these posts to get some ideas for simplifying your home and these ones for greening things in the garden. And once you get going, blogging is a great way to make contact with other like minded people and to share with us your successes! Have a look on my side bar to see who I read regularly and get inspiration from!

This is a link to a list of 50 Green Living Blogs that might inspire you!

Above all have fun with it. If the project you have chosen to work on is not enhancing your life and making you feel good about what you are doing then its not worth doing. I get quite a kick out of the smallest things - even making an inner sole for my shoes out of a washed meat tray - and that's why I keep trying and then adopting new ways of doing things!

If you have a blog that documents the experiments, tells us about the wonderful new things you have discovered - then link to it in the comment section below and let us all have a look at how you have gone about simplifying, greening and fugal-ising your world!

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Moulting chickens... Before and after photos!


Over summer I have had a massive drop in egg production. Here in Brisbane the weather is just too hot and muggy and a lot of my chickens slow down dramatically or even stop for a few months. As the weather has cooled down (about 5 degree, but hey, we'll take it!) I was expecting my egg production to rise - even just a little. But now I have three moulting chickens and one who thinks she's broody.

In case you are new to chicken raising or have always wondered about what is wrong with you chicken - I took some before and after pictures!

First up is Dusk - A Barnevelder of about two years. Note the tight smooth feathers, the tail and glossiness of her plumage... (These were taken about 6 months ago.)







And now for comparison - her moulting photos....



No, this is not another chicken...! Its the same one in the middle of her moult. As you can see they lose a lot of feathers (one of the signs after the eggs stop being laid) and they lose their tails.


This is Dusk with her sister who is still laying for comparison. Dusk is at the back and Autumn is at the front. I find they are quite flighty and uneasy when they are moulting too.


This is Misty. She is a Lavender Leghorn and is a wonderful layer of eggs! (as most Leghorns are). Note her upright, bright red comb, tail and nice yellow legs. These photos are also about six months ago.


Again, note how the feathers are tight and sit in rows. Nice bright yellow legs too!
 
 
And during her moult... Pale legs, feather missing all over, comb flopping a bit and paler than usual.
 

I always think they look like they have been through the lawn mower!
 

This is Snowflake. She is a Speckled or Painted Sussex. She's only a couple of years old and has just about finished her moult. Can you see the downy bumfluff feathers just starting to grow back? You can see the shafts of the feather sticking up through the skin and just starting to push the actual feather out.



On the other hand... Solstice hasn't gone into a moult yet, but she is broody (darnit all, won't somebody lay me an egg or two?) She is a Brahma (and not a show quality one as she has a comb) and just on a year old now. She has been a little bit broody on and off for the last few months. See how her neck feathers puff up and her tail expands when other chooks approach her? She clucks indignantly incessantly and generally is grumpy and obnoxious.



She is trying to make herself bigger and more frightening as mothers do when they are protecting their babies. She weighs about 3kgs and can be quite a handful when she's not happy! Broody hens spend a lot of time trying to get back to the nest. Moulting hens just do normal things except they look terrible and seem a little nervous all the time.

In both cases some extra tonics and good food will always help them get what they need to replenish themselves. Moulting is about giving their bodies a rest and most chickens will do it once a year.

Here is a more in-depth post about moulting I wrote for those who would like to follow up on the moulting process.

What happens when a chicken moults?

If you have photos of moulting chicken feel free to link us to them!

Score card:
Green-ness: 5/5 for owning chickens. 
Frugal-ness: 5/5 for looking on the net to see why they are losing their feathers!
Time cost: A moult will take from one to three months to complete.
Skill level: The chicken will do it all - just keep the good feed up to them!
Fun-ness: Amusing for us, not so for the chicken!
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