There is nothing more wonderful for a gardener than sharing the love of gardening with another. In this case, we are talking about sharing that love with your chickens! Not only will chickens love to be included in your garden, but they also can take some of the gardening work off your shoulders. In this post we will go over how you can work with your chicken’s instincts to prep and clean up your garden during the growing season, fertilize your soil, and till your cover crops under when the timing is right.
In Part One of this blog series we talked about why it's crucial to switch over to a natural hair care routine, in Part Two we set you up for natural shampoo success with the acclimation period, and now we are going to talk about the top five toxin-free shampoos I've used. Let me be clear and state that everyone’s head of hair is different. There is no definition of a good or bad head of hair here. That’s why there are five choices and not one be-all end-all choice. I encourage you to try one, stick with it for a month, and then try another if it isn’t working for you.
Allow me to personally vouch for these shampoos, as I have tried all of them for extended periods of time (at least 1.5 months). At the moment my hair is somewhat thick, un-dyed, medium length, slightly wavy, and gets greasy in about three days. My post-shower routine is to not blow dry unless I have to be somewhere special, which ends up being maybe three times a month. I used no post-shower product while implementing these shampoos. I have blow dried with each of these products though, and all of them past the test.
Typically, post-shower I run a wide toothed comb through my hair as sparingly as possible. Next I turn my head upside down and shake my wet roots loose from my scalp to give them some drying oomph. I look like a wet dog when I shake my hair out - I promise it’s fun! Then I’ll let my hair air dry. If I’m feeling sassy, I’ll twist it up into a loose top knot once it’s halfway dry with a singular bobby pin and let it get a slight curl to the ends. That’s it!
Alright, let’s jump in to my top 5 favorite toxin-free shampoos...
Don’t be upset if you go to try natural shampoo for the first time and aren’t pleased with the results. For those that have tried natural shampoo already, you know how frustrating using a natural shampoo can be. Enter the acclimation period. Every time we make a change to our rituals or our habits, our body always needs a little time to catch up. Once I realized that results were not going to be instant I calmed down a touch. I had also experienced this acclimation period with natural deodorant and was met with success, so I knew there was hope if I stuck it out. When it comes to hair, sometimes acclimation can take two weeks, sometimes a month or more. The pain point here is that it sucks to have a bad hair day out in public for an extended period of time. Luckily I have a few hair care tricks and perspective shifts to push you through it!
There are many reasons why homesteaders decide to bring a rooster into their flock. For me, there was a moment last winter where I woke up in the middle of the night and thought, “I want to hatch my own chicks.” In that late night epiphany I knew I had to get a rooster in order to make that happen, because, well, mother nature. Now I have four gorgeous roosters and will never go back to having just hens. Let’s break down the pros and cons of owning a rooster to help you decide if having one is right for your long term goals as a chicken owner.
Whether you have long or short locks, finding a shampoo that actually works and is free from harmful chemicals can feel impossible. My own toxin-free shampoo journey has been rife with greasy hair, dandruff, and itchy scalp. I spent countless showers in hopes that a new random hippy dippy shampoo I found on Etsy would finally be my saving grace, but my early shampoo adventures wound up disappointing and left my hair feeling like it hadn’t even been washed. So why go to all the trouble of finding a toxin-free shampoo? As Part One of my Natural Hair Care Series, we are going to dive into the reasons why you should avoid these main culprits that are in generic shampoo and consider switching to a natural hair care routine. I encourage you to click the linked studies cited below and read further into the findings for yourself. Let's get started!
We spent our Thanksgiving clearing land and cooking, it was quite the to-do list. After we saw how much Buckthorn had taken over our property earlier this fall and subsequently removed as much of it as we could (more on that process in a later post), there was a section of land just beyond the garden on a very gentle slope that would be ideal for a fruit and nut orchard. There was a slew of dead ash trees, a rusty old fence, and what I'm sure is a hefty crop of Buckthorn berries ready to sprout given the chance on that location, so we took it upon ourselves to get started this fall in preparing the land for an orchard and future fruit guild. What exactly does that mean? Well read on and learn how to get yourself off on the best foot when a fruit and nut orchard is in your homesteading plan!
I have sad news my fellow chicken lovers. We lost one of our Silver Laced Wyandottes last night. Cue the violin!
Paul and I have had the habit of going out to close up the coop around 7pm well after the sun has set, which I will admit was lazy on our part. Upon opening up the coop we found feathers everywhere, three chickens were cowering in the corner under the nesting boxes, four were hiding underneath the coop itself, and one was laying in the middle of the run with its head severed from its body.
Clearly there had been a predator through our chicken run. This incident was especially troubling because whatever it was, it was able to get through or over our fence. Paul likes to call our chicken run Fort Knox, but after last night we are questioning our perspective. What could have gotten through and killed one of our birds?
Turns out I'm not the only one that feels like a fish out of water when the humidity and heat strike hard mid July here in Wisconsin. My chickens were right there with me! Chickens and high heat plus humidity can be a deadly combination, especially this Wisconsin summer with the heat index climbing into the low 100s. So I wanted to share a few of the tips and tricks I've learned to keep my flock comfortable when I feel personally feel like melting.
Wow, I can't believe it's June already! The garden has been planted (and replanted). The chickens are happily free ranging and getting bigger everyday. The trees in the back are shooting up like weeds, despite a few being munched by deer. The workshop is 98% done with just some upper cupboards waiting to be built. We are BUSY with a capital B!
Pictured you can see one of my cheater tomato plants. I planted seeds indoors in April only to have them all fizzle out. They were hardened off and everything, but no dice. These cheaters I got at Menards, 6 for 6$. They were very happy and green, unlike the ones I tried to transplant.
Consumer report: I am not a fan of Burpee's Organic Seed Starting Mix. The stuff turned to cement after a week of watering. I also had trouble with the seed starting pods, which are supposed to disintegrate once planted, but of course they didn't. All my pumpkins, squash, and zucchini became root bound and died. So replanting it was! Now they are coming up just fine, albeit three weeks later than anticipated.
Right now the potatoes, gooseberry bush, herbs, arugula, and lettuce are robust and lively. Of course my cheater peppers are being finicky, but fingers crossed I'm watering and feeding right. Only time will tell...
The last two weeks have been full of sore muscles and helping hands. It has been a marathon getting our vegetable garden finished up as well as planting our food forest in the back of the property. We couldn't have done it without frequent visits from both our parents, family rocks guys!
Paul's parents helped us finish up the electric in the workshop - now we have light! Within two weeks they installed two new workshop fans, built a big shelf for all Paul's motorcycle stuff, fenced in my garden, and built me my three garden gate doors. Work gets done so much faster when you have help!
Thanks to the amazing resources of the UW Exstension Office I was able to plant 40 baby trees for $80. We've got crab apple, sugar maple, swamp oak, and black cherry all growing nicely in the back 3 acres of our property. It took me one full day to dig and plant. Clay and I are best friends now guys! Not.
We also got our 128 native species (see the picture!) from the Mothers Day Plant Sale at the Wehr Nature Center in Franklin. I cannot stress enough how fabulous of an event this is. All of the native plants were categorized by their growing preferences and each were individually labeled with growing instructions and care. Paul and I made a day of it and planted everything in one big swoop. We decided to backfill with peat moss and composted manure to help these plants along and to make the soil more workable as we planted. Since it was Mothers Day we named all 64 strawberry plants Michelle, after my mom.
Thanks for stopping by Green Willow Homestead! From chicken rearing to orchard planting, we've got our hands full and we love sharing what we've learned along the way. Follow along as we strive to live a toxin-free life and turn these five acres from just property to a fully functioning small-scale homestead.
1. Sustainable World
2. The Chicken Chick
3. Mother Earth News
4. Liz Wolfe
5. Sustainable Dish
6. Zero Waste Home
7. Joe Salatin