Full Incubator, New Chicks in the Brooder and The Power Goes Out!

So, you have an incubator full of eggs and new chicks in the brooder that need heat and your power is now out and you don’t know when it will come back on!  Not to mention, you don’t own a generator either!  In the wake of Hurricane Sandy I know many of you are in this situation.  I’ve been there, not as a result of a hurricane but bad weather nonetheless and it’s a horrible sight to see chicks only days old “piling” because they are cold.  Or eggs in your incubator and you’re watching the temp drop by the minute.  There is something you can do!  It wasn’t that long ago, I was frantically running around trying to figure out how to keep 2 brooders warm and my incubator warm too!  Here’s what I did:

1.  Fill mason jars with boiling water and wrap them with aluminum foil (the foil helps hold in the heat), then a thin dish towel (the dish towel protects your chicks from getting burned) and place them in brooders and the incubator(s).  I am fortunate to have a gas stove, so cooking is not an issue with a power outage.  Maybe you have an electric stove, if so, fire up your grill or build a fire in your fire pit, somehow figure out a way that works for you to get boiling water.  If there is no way, then simply use the hottest water you can get out of your tap.  The temps drop quickly so you must move fast and the hotter the water, the faster you’ll get your temps up again.  You will have to continuously monitor your temps so they don’t get too hot and they will fluctuate a lot using this method, but in an emergency, it works.

2.  If you’re not too far out in the boonies, hopefully there is a store nearby such as a Wal-Mart or Meijer or hardware store.  For about $30-40 you can purchase an electrical car adapter (pictured below).  We own 2 of these little lifesavers (during the black out of 2003 we sat and watched tv when there was no power anywhere).  This wonderful little gadget allows you to run small appliances off your car battery! You will need to leave your car running most of the time while doing this but when it comes to an emergency, you won’t care!  I was able to run lights for both my brooders and my incubator off my car battery until the power came back on!  All my chicks and my eggs were saved and our power came back on 16 hours later.

car power adapter

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of you who have been affected by Hurricane Sandy.  Be well and stay safe our friends.



Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

What’s so great about ACV?


  Health Tips for Dogs

Apple cider vinegar is filled with minerals and essential vitamins, including potassium, iron, and magnesium, it is also an antibacterial!

For Humans:

For us humans, ACV has many health benefits.  It has been reported to help with asthma, psoriasis, exzema, allergies, dermatitis, digestion, acid reflux/heartburn……the list goes on and on.  For me personally, I have noticed a big improvement with my scalp psoriasis when I “shampoo” with ACV.

Look for apple cider vinegar that is in a fermented and unfiltered form with “the mother” which contains the most enzymes and minerals.  I suggest Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar, it has been the best for us.

For humans: Mix 1-2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water. Take 3 times daily, before or during meals.  If you still can’t stand the taste, try adding it to your favorite juice or tea or add some honey.

ACV, is not only good for human consumption.  It is also good for your canine friends!  Here’s some of the health benefits your 4 legged friends can benefit from when given ACV.

For Dogs:

                       * It can help prevent skin problems from allergies, such as rashes, itching, and irritation.

* It can help fight against tooth decay and ward off bad breath.

* It can even help eliminate those tear stains by your dog’s eyes.

* ACV aids in dog’s digestion. It helps balance PH levels resulting in them having a better apetite, and helps get rid of nasty constipation and diarrhea problems.

* It’s also been reported to help with flea infestations.  Simply apply evenly on your dog’s coat after shampooing, let sit for a couple minutes, then rinse.

* Clean your dogs ears with a cotton ball soaked in Apple Cider Vinegar, it will deodorize the ear and clean with the anti-bacterial reactants in the ACV.  It’s also reported that this can help with pesky ear mites.
The best way to give apple cider vinegar to dogs is in well diluted water.

A TEASPOON of it diluted into water 2 to 3 times a week for small dogs is the perfect amount or a TABLESPOON given the same way for any dogs over 50 lbs.  DO NOT use in metal dishes, it is too acidic and can cause corrosion.

For chickens and other poultry:

ACV is also beneficial when given to your feathered friends.

Like dogs, just add to their waterers a few times a week.  I recommend 1 TABLESPOON per gallon of fresh clean water.  DO NOT use in metal waterers, the acid can cause corrosion.

There are many health benefits when given ACV regularly, they include:

* Aids is digestion

* Helps manage stress, especially beneficial during their molt, and summer heat.

* Has been reported to eliminate and prevent against internal and external parasites.

It is also excellent when used for cleaning the coops and roosts since it has antibacterial organisms in it.

There is so much information on various websites about Apple Cider Vinegar and all it’s health benefits.  Search, experiment and you too will see what a wonderful product it is!


RSR Update


I see I have not blogged in a while:( Sometimes life just gets in the way I guess.  Anyways, we have been quite busy lately!  Fall is well under way, although you would never know it the last couple days, I think we’re having our Indian Summer.  Today is supposed to be 79 degrees!  Our gardens are done producing now and it’s time to prepare for a long cold MI winter.  Back in the spring a local grocery store replaced their fruit and veggie stands and gave away their old ones!  This was a great score!  Hubby has been working on plans to modify 1 of them (we got 2) and turn it into a chicken coop.  Really won’t take much because they are already in the shape of a house, so all that’s really needed is a weather proof roof, some doors and some nest boxes.  The other one will more than likely get turned into a goat house for those goats I’ve been thinking about getting.

Our newest baby alpaca continues to do well and is sweet as ever!  She still needs a name though.  Her Momma is being bred to a new herdsire this time around and we are very excited to see what kind of results we get from him since he is not proven yet (not proven means, he has no babies on the ground).

As for the dogs, as luck would have it, or shall I say lack thereof, Cherokee went into heat just before her 2nd birthday (which was yesterday), so we will not be expecting our first litter of puppies from her until next spring now:(  We still have to get her OFA and CERF tests done (hips and eyes), these have to be done after 2 years of age, so now that she’s officially 2, we’ll be getting those done so she’ll be ready to breed on her next heat cycle.    STAY TUNED!

Now, you heard me mention goats, and if you follow us via Facebook, you know this is something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately.  We have a small piece of property, so a cow is out of the question, but having goats would allow us to make one more move to living self sufficiently too.  So the Nigerian Dwarf breed is what I have my eye on.  I’m still learning about the little cuties and I’m sure the best way to really do that is hands on, so I will definitely learn more about them by having them.

Well, there you have it, and this is just the farming end of our busy lives lately:)

I want to welcome and encourage you all to share with us any tips, advice, suggestions or what have you on raising goats, especially the Nigerian Dwarf breed, and if you have a cute and clever name you would like share with us for our baby girl alpaca, we would be most appreciative.


Ripening Tomatoes Indoors

By now, many of you are saying good-bye to your summer gardens by canning and freezing all the produce you’ve worked so hard for all summer long, and saying hello to frost and freeze warnings in your area, I know I am.  They’ve come a tad bit early this year in our neck of the woods, but the good news is, I saw it coming!  In preparation of it, I went out and harvested what I could of all the green cherry tomatoes which I am going to attempt to ripen indoors.  Here’s how:

Most varieties of tomatoes need temperatures to be above 60 degrees to finish ripening. Where we live, by October, those days can be few and far between.  To speed up ripening of the existing green tomatoes on the vine, pinch off any new flowers.  If you’re in an area like us, there is a few things you can do to try and get every last tomato off your vines before winter sets in.

1.  You can use the tried and true method of simply bringing your green tomatoes inside and placing them in a sunny window sill turning them daily until they turn the desired red color.  This method works best on fruits that are already beginning to change color.

2.  You can pull out the entire plant and hang it in a dry, sheltered location, like the garage or basement. The fruits will continue to ripen and will still have some of the benefits of ripening on the vine. Try and take some roots with the plant and shake off any loose soil. You don’t want to hang the plants in direct sunlight or total darkness.

3.  You can wrap each individual green tomato in newspaper and layer in a box, no more than 2 layers deep. Place the box in a dark, dry spot and check weekly for progress. It usually takes 3-4 weeks for the tomatoes to ripen, but check frequently and remove any fruits that show signs of rotting.  *I personally do not have time to wrap each individual tomato, so I improvise by placing a single layer of tomatoes in a cardboard box.  Then I lay a sheet of newspaper over the layer and start a new layer.

Ripening Green Tomatoes in a box

4.  You can also place the green tomatoes in a paper bag with a ripe apple. The apple gives off ethylene gas, which speeds up ripening. Check the bag daily.

Keep in mind, not all of your green tomatoes will ripen and, by ripening them indoors, they will lose some of their flavor, but at least it won’t be as heartbreaking as seeing your huge bounty of green tomatoes get killed by a frost or freeze.