Homemade Rabbit Treats :: guest blogger heartfeltangoras

Please welcome Rebekah, a new blogger over at heartfeltangoras, to the blog! Rebekah is an incredibly talented artist and her blog features some great projects that you can create yourself. If you have wool, you need to check out her blog and drool over some of her felted items. I know I did. Without further ado, Rebekah has a great rabbit inspired recipe for us today…

Hi! I’m Rebekah. As a bit about me, I live in shoreline Connecticut, I have been a felter for about 5 years, and I’ve had rabbits for about 4.

[My blog chronicles] my felting projects, and my new venture in French Angora rabbits! At the moment (Jan. 2014) I have 4 rabbits, 2 French Angoras, and 2 shorthaired bunnies. In a few months I’m planning on breeding my first litter with my French Angoras, and we’ll see where that takes us!

Homemade Rabbit Treats by heartfeltangoras

Hello all! Here’s a new tutorial for you, how to make homemade bunny treats! I came across this idea recently and had to try it. (taa daa) My bunnies love these.

The Ingredients: (This recipe is easily halved or doubled)
-2 ripe bananas
-1 apple or 1 c applesauce
-2-3 carrots
-4 TB honey
-1/2 c oats
-1/2 c rabbit pellets
-1 c whole wheat flour

(If you are going to use an oven, preheat it to 300-325 F while you prepare the treats.)

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Next, shove ‘em all in the blender…

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and blitz until a fairly smooth paste

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Now lay a sheet of parchment paper (don’t use wax paper or it will stick) on your dehydrator sheet or cookie sheet

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Put the dough on the parchment paper

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Now, flatten the lump of dough a little bit, and lay another sheet of parchment over the dough.
Than roll out the dough to about a 1/4 inch thick with a rolling pin.

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Now just bake or dehydrate your treats until they are a tad darker in color, and dried but still slightly pliable.
In my dehydrator, that took almost 5 hours, it will vary depending on your dehydrator or oven, and how moist your dough is.
(if you are using the oven, heat it to 300-325 F. If you are using a dehydrator, use the meat or jerky setting)
Keep checking on it until it looks right!
Now just cut the treats, and you’re done!

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I keep a handful out with my feed supplies and keep the rest in the freezer.

Go feed these to your bunnies!

Go see Rebekah’s heartfeltangoras blog at http://heartfeltangoras.com

Guest Post :: Living in the Round – We Love It

I’d like to give a big huge thank you to Erin Kelly of Blue Yurt Farms for today’s special guest post! While considering “living in the round”, Erin and I found each other online. I even bought her eBook on yurt living (geez… I need to do a review on that) which answered all the questions that had been bugging me. So this post is extra exciting for me since we have been following her blog for some time now. Please welcome Erin of Blue Yurt Farms!

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Living in the Round: We Love It

In the almost two years since we’ve moved into our yurt, and started a homestead, we’ve fielded just about every possible question about our home. From “do you have real floors, or just dirt?” to “so, that’s plastic around the whole thing?” and “isn’t that thing going to blow away?”, the questions range from educated and informed to laughably ridiculous.

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How has our decision to live in a 30 foot fabric yurt changed our life?
Well. We’ve been turned down from rescuing a dog because we live in a yurt. Home insurance agents laugh in our face when we ask about insuring our yurt. Our neighbors were convinced we wouldn’t make it through our first winter (we did), and told us so. Fitting furniture and appliances made for square homes into a round one has been interesting.

With the good comes the bad, as they say. And when you choose a non-conformist home, that is especially true.

Despite the struggles, we’ve enjoyed the flexibility and openness that comes with life in a yurt. We’ve met some amazing future yurt dwellers that got in touch with us via our blog. And, we’ve become far more in touch with the seasons and daily weather than ever before.

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Plus, thanks to our open floor plan, we’ve hosted beer tasting parties with 15 people comfortably, we’ve had guests stay overnight and not want to leave, we’ve rearranged our furniture more times than I can count…just because, and I’ve even taught a four person yoga class in the middle of our living room.

Our home has been subject to speculation and doubt, starting with the county inspector and our conservative neighbors (and our parents!) and continuing with a never-ending parade of rubber neckers (and we’re OFF the road). However, the inevitable response when someone walks into the yurt is…

“Wow. This is COOL!!”

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And, we agree, it really IS cool. We have a giant dome skylight that lets the sunlight in, and where you can view the weather changing. Snowflakes falling on the dome are mesmerizing. For exterior care, all it takes is a few wipes on the fabric walls with a damp cloth. The interior walls simply need a vacuum every once in awhile.

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The yurt stays toasty warm in the winter, thanks to our soapstone wood stove, which is our primary source of heat. In the summer, we throw the windows and french doors open and enjoy the cool mountain breeze that flows in. On the really warm days, we have window A/C units that keep it comfortable in here.

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Our yurt, with the full wraparound deck, brand new appliances, permits and all, cost us $56K. I tell people we did it the most expensive way possible, with all of the work handled by a contractor (rather than our own two hands) and store bought appliances. We had reasons for doing it that way, but know that is a HIGH price for a yurt…you can certainly build one for much less.

The great thing about yurts is their amazing flexibility. You can put one on top of another structure (basement, or first floor) and make a double decker. You can connect a few smaller yurts to one main hub yurt, so everyone has their own private space. You could use a yurt as a farm store, or a B&B yurt rental (which we’re considering!).

The possibilities are only limited by your imagination, and with the wide variety of yurt companies sprinkled around the country and rental yurts for you to test out, the real question is…

Why WOULDN’T you want a yurt?

***
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Erin Kelly lives in a big blue yurt on 22 acres with her husband, Mike, and a whole host of farm animals. They have a blog about their adventures living in the round at Blue Yurt Farms blog, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/blueyurtfarms.

Guest Post :: A Chicken Surprise

Please welcome today’s guest post contributed by Linda Bailey from housekeeping.org. She is a Texas-based writer who loves to write on the topics of housekeeping, green living, home décor, and more. She welcomes your comments which can be sent to b.lindahousekeeping@gmail.com.

A Chicken Surprise

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Just before Easter my son brought home four tiny chicks. Surprise! Yes they were cute but we had no idea what we were doing. We live in a suburban area and although we did have a large garden in the back yard farm animals were not in the picture.

Thankfully we found out that we could have a few chickens as long as they did not make too much noise and we did not sell the eggs or meat. Since he brought them home my son had the responsibility of taking care of them. We looked up what kind of care and food they needed and set up a place for them where it was warm.

As the months went on they got bigger, and bigger and bigger. Pretty soon they were too big to keep indoors any longer. Thankfully the weather had warmed up by then. My son assembled a chicken coop from scrap wood. It doesn’t look great but it does the job. He even put a real roof on it eventually!

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As we had no idea what breeds they were having been picked up at a hardware store we looked forward to watching them mature. The little yellow chicks, Mike and Ike, turned white. The little black chick, the very noisy one named Laughy Taffy, turned black with white speckles. The little brown chick, Raisinette, turned all shades of brown with some dark green at the tail. Uh oh.

Now that they were nearly full size we had another surprise on our hands. Three hens… and one rooster! There is no doubt that Raisinette is a rooster now. With a fluffy neck, a huge beautiful tail and an attitude to match he is the ruler of the roost. But what could we do with a rooster that crows every morning? That certainly breaks the rules of “no noise”!

Since my son was so attached to him we hated to give him up so we came up with a labor intensive method of saving the rooster. Every night my son goes out and gets him and brings him into a cage in the garage where he can crow to his heart’s content. Then when the sun is up back out he goes with the rest of the chickens.

Thankfully this is one pretty tame rooster, though he does not really appreciate the routine. We still get greeted with a muffled cocka-cocka-caa every morning but the neighbors are not disturbed. Yes, he has not got his ‘doodle’ yet.

Well, life is full of surprises and you never know what you are going to get. I am just thankful that only one turned out to be a rooster!

Guest Post :: Growing Your Own Food Indoors

Reader and fellow blogger, Anna Garcia, sent in this great blog post on growing your own food indoors and thoughtfully reminds us of the dangers of food poisoning. Certainly some great stuff to think about as we approach our growing season! Thanks Anna!
— Sarah

Growing Your Own Food Indoors

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Most people have fallen ill, at least once in their lives, after consuming a meal. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 1 in 6 Americans get sick each year by consuming contaminated foods or beverages. Getting sick from food is officially called a foodborne illness, but is also known as foodborne disease/infection or food poisoning. Sometimes the culprit is easy to trace, other times it could be any number of things caused by numerous microbes and pathogens. Other food borne illnesses stem from poisonous chemicals or other harmful substances found in the food. Food is a vital part of life and it should be safe to consume. Even with proper cooking and washing instructions, food can still cause illnesses. Contaminated food hospitalizes over 325,000 people every year, with approximately 5, 000 people losing their lives each year due to severe bouts of food poisoning.

There must be safer ways to consume food, and there is. No matter where you live and what the climate is there are at least some types of food that you can grow year round in your home. While it is unlikely that you will be able to replace your trips to the grocery store for produce, you can at least lessen them and add fresh, homegrown food to your dinner table year round. If you are lucky enough to have the space, it is relatively easy to convert an entire room into an indoor garden. While this option may not be very cost effective considering the cost of specialized indoor grow lights and the electricity it takes to run them, having fresh, organic produce year round is a luxury that is beyond monetary value for some.

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For those who want to take a more casual route tomatoes can be grown and kept just like house plants in any sunny room in your home. Robert Cox of Colorado State University suggests growing smaller varieties such as Pixie, Patio, Toy Boy, Small Fry or Tiny Tim in six inch pots and keeping one or more around your home for fresh, organic tomatoes all year round. Another great food that is easy to grow indoors is mushrooms. Due to the fact that they prefer shaded, cooler environments mushrooms can thrive indoors year round. Mushroom kits in numerous varieties such as blue oyster, lion’s mane, and the ever popular shitake can be bought from online stores such as www.Fungi.com. These kits contain everything you need to grow mushrooms and in the spring the refuse can be scattered in a shaded area of your lawn to re-inoculate decaying logs.

Making Healthy Food More Safe
It is often assumed that food poisoning stems from undercooked meats or any food at a picnic that has been subjected to the heat of the summer, while illness is possible in these scenarios there is more to food borne illness than temperature control. Think of a well-balanced meal of a lean meat and salad. Many people would assume that food poisoning would come from the meat, but raw produce, particularly leafy greens, are one of the biggest offenders when it comes to food poisoning. Foodborne illness related to the produce we eat occurs when produce is contaminated by human or animal sewage, grown in contaminated soil and/or treated with chemicals.

Purchasing organic produce is always a better idea, as strict regulations concerning chemicals apply, but organic produce can still cause foodborne illness. To remedy this almost any type of leafy green can be grown indoors under simple fluorescent lights inside of Tupperware or other plastic containers. This article from the Farmer’s Almanac explains how to grow your own greens year round in your home in such a fashion.

Growing your own produce indoors can have numerous benefits. Not only will it cut down on the time you spend shopping for good, healthy, organic produce, but you can have produce year round. Since you will be in charge of your own garden, you can monitor what kind of stuff gets in the soil and water that nourishes these plants that will soon nourish your body. You can choose a safe soil, clean water and you don’t need to use pesticides or other nasty chemicals. Your food will be local, it will be fresh, it will be healthy and it will be fun to grow.

About the Author
Anna Garcia is an avid blogger who loves to write about natural health and health related subjects. When she is not writing or digging in her garden she can often be found reading dusty, old fashioned books, the kind written on real paper that don’t require electricity, or wondering the streets looking for the perfect cup of coffee.

Homestead Featurette :: Gretchen of The Backyard Farming Connection

Sit back, relax, and enjoy the first of many Homestead Featurettes to come! Gretchen of “The Backyard Farming Connection” and “Simply Joyful Living” blogs is here today with a little about herself and her homesteading adventure. Take it away Gretchen!

Our Homestead Adventure

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I live on a 2 ½ acre emerging homestead in upstate NY with my husband and our three young children. After many years living a relatively nomadic life and working onboard tall ships running education programs, we finally ‘settled.’ We’ve always been drawn to simple living and started looking for a home with a little land a few years ago where we could invest ourselves in growing and raising our own food. Our 2 ½ acres backs up to woods, so while we are conscious of our neighbors, there is a sense of living in the country.

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Why we homestead…
Choosing to start backyard farming was an easy decision for us. Both my husband and I enjoy the work and rewards of working with our hands to build and create, and are passionate about doing our part to care for the earth. Knowing that producing our own food is better for our bodies encourages us to do more each year. With young children (4 year old twins and a 1 year old), spending time working and playing together in our backyard strengthens our relationships and is just plain fun.

While I did not grow up farming, I was raised to think about the earth and our impact on it, and encouraged to do my part. My mother has beautiful flower gardens and encouraged my brother and me to spend as much time outdoors as we could. I know that my appreciation of the outdoors and gardening is in large part due to this.

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A bit about our Gardens…
Since our soils are heavy clay and drain poorly, most of our gardening is done in raised beds. As we’ve cleared back the land and cut down trees, we’ve used the logs to build up the garden beds and brought in compost to enrich the soil. Currently we have 15 raised beds, an extensive bee garden around our hive, and an assortment of fruit trees and bushes that will hopefully start producing soon. I love getting into the garden and the simple magic of making food grow from small seeds. While we don’t grow enough to feed our family all year, we do eat fresh food from our garden for most months of the year.

Our Animals…
Over the 2 years we’ve lived on our homestead, we’ve added chickens, bees, and recently 2 Pygora fiber goats to our home. Since our house has only a single garage and no outbuildings, we’ve been hard at work building sheds and coops and putting up unending amounts of fence. I know my husband comes home from work each day with his fingers crossed that I won’t have found a new animal to acquire or have plans for a new project to undertake: I am often a bit impulsive in that department.

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Inside our Home…
Inside our home we are constantly finding ways to revisit traditional skills and make as much of our own food and household items from scratch as we can. It’s not uncommon for us to spend a Friday night elbow deep in a new project (like the candle making that went on here this week). Things just taste and look better when their made from scratch. I have grand hopes of using the goat’s fiber to spin and knit up something from start to finish.

The Future…
There are so many plans for the future: bigger gardens, more animals, more land, an old farmhouse, etc. Right now I’m thinking we’ll start with getting either ducks or bunnies next year although we’ve also got our eyes on some turkeys. Our biggest goal is to simply live fully aware of each moment here in this space, and to appreciate the time we spend engaging in the life we’ve chosen to live. By sharing my experiences and adventures on my blog, I encourage myself to dig deeper into this life and continue to push myself forward in our homesteading adventure.

20121118-195639.jpgGretchen spends her days on her 2 ½ acre homestead in upstate NY with her husband, 3 children, a dog, 5 chickens, 2 goats, and a hive full of bees. You can follow her adventures at The Backyard Farming Connection or learn more about her life at Simple and Joyful.

Looking for Sponsors and Guest Bloggers!

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Good afternoon! I have a few fun updates for you in a little bit, but in the meantime let’s talk about you.

Spots are now open for new sponsors of Frühlingskabine Micro-Farm! You don’t need to be some big company to benefit from sponsorship. In fact, we would like it if you weren’t! We like to support the little guy. Do you have an Etsy shop perhaps? Or your own blog or website? Maybe you’re just getting started in producing some wonderful product that you would like to share? We would be happy to feature your product or skill right here with either just ad space ($15 for 4 months) or ad space and a blog post featuring you!

We are also looking for guest bloggers who are skilled in areas that we are not. Maybe you want to share your passion for dairy goats or have a how-to in mind that you would like to share? Let us know! You don’t need your own blog to write a guest post for us… you just need to be your awesome self! We’ll help you put it all together.

We are always flexible so even if you feel that this isn’t quite for you, contact us anyway and we can find something that works for both of us.

With 500+ views a day –and growing– we would love to invite you to be a part of our little family. Email us at fmicrofarm@gmail.com or use our “Contact Us” page up top. We look forward to hearing from you!