The City Chicks

The life and times of a couple of urban farmgirls!

Meet Gracie July 28, 2010

Filed under: The Urban Homestead — Flour Girls & City Chicks @ 10:54 am
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Well I told you all that I had been busy around the homestead and not just in the gardens.  Earlier this month, after much research on dog breeds , we acquired our new puppy Gracie!  Yes, I already know you may thinking our family already has a large enough menagerie of animals between the 8 chickens, two cats, a dog and a cockatiel.  My friend Bebe already pointed that out.  However, we felt like we could add one more.  My sister Ashley and her family have a great golden retriever, Maya,  and when we were researching breeds the golden’s kept popping up as a good fit for our family.  So that is what we decided on as well.  Gracie is amazing!  We absolutely adore her.  She loves playing out in the gardens and harassing the chickens when she is not in the house getting chased by midnight, our kitten…won’t midnight be surprised in a couple of months when Gracie is bigger than her.  As you see though Gracie is still small and it left me little time for much else.  I forgot that new puppies were like new babies.  It has been a good reminder of why we didn’t have more than two children.  This week though I have been working on getting Gracie up to the sewing room with me, which is also where my desk is.  So far so good.  As I type this she is sleeping soundly at my feet.  Well I better take advantage of this down time and look for that project to finish!

Hugs~ Christina

 

No eggs yet

Filed under: Our City Chick's (the feathered ones!) — Flour Girls & City Chicks @ 10:00 am

Do you have any eggs yet?  That’s the question I get asked at least once or twice a week.  No not yet.  Our girls are still too young.  Maybe by fall.  Our girls are growing into their own little personalities though.  With Izzy, our Buff Orpington,  definitely being one of the sweetest.  Just yesterday she started following me around the yard and when I called her to the gate she came flitting over to me.  The Dominiques, Milly and Tilly are tame and like to be held when you go to them.  Then you have the Crazies…  The Ameraucanas, Cleo and Isis, they like to be the leaders of the group and at the same time the loners.  They are not as social towards us as the others but by no means are they mean.  They still allow us to hold them…if we can catch them!   We got the crazies for their beautiful blue and green tinted eggs though.  We still have three baby chicks in our house though.  We are in the process of getting the older ones used to their presence in the yard so they don’t get picked on to terribly.  Although, I think a little is to be expected. 

If you are ever in the neighborhood stop by and visit and us.  You better plan to stay a bit though.  The girls will lull you into a calm submission with their little crackles and chirpy sounds.

Hugs~ Christina

 

There here… May 20, 2010

Filed under: Our City Chick's (the feathered ones!),The Urban Homestead — Flour Girls & City Chicks @ 4:15 pm
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Yes, they have arrived.  What you may be wondering?  Well if you have been reading the ramblings of the City Chicks for a while you probably already know…The Chicks are here! The Chicks are here!  The post office called us at 6:40 a.m. yesterday to let us know that are chicks were ready to get picked up.  Who knew the USPS would call anybody that early.  They proceeded to call us two more times even though they didn’t open until 8:30.  Apparently they must have been nervous or scared of the peeping box.  The chicks all arrived safe and soundly. *Even though the hatchery put the wrong address on the box.  Luckily Omaha is not that big of a city! 

 Jade has already started naming them in pairs.  Izzy & Bella for the Buff Orpington’s, Tilly & Milly for the Dominique’s, and no names for the two Ameraucana’s yet.

Well I’m off to get the house ready for Farmgirl Friday.  Have a great day!

Hugs~The City Chicks

 

Didn’t anybody… May 13, 2010

Filed under: The Urban Homestead,Through the Garden Gate — Flour Girls & City Chicks @ 7:15 pm

Didn’t anybody tell Mother Nature that it was Springtime?  Here at the U.H. we are all starting to get a wee bit restless.  It seems as though the sun has not let her precious light shine in at least a week.  Yes, it has given me a reason to clean up the sewing room.  However, it feels too clean now and I can’t decide what to make next! 

 But then today, about an hour ago, the light peeked through the clouds.  So I simply couldn’t resist grabbing the camera and going for a little stroll through the homestead.  Lord, has that rain been doing wonders for the new strawberry patch…not to mention the weeds loved getting there feet wet too.  As much as I have disliked the weather it appears that Mother Nature was just doing her job.   Things are blooming and growing like crazy. 

May Showers have brought Strawberry Flowers!

 

This is the bush that is technically the neighbors but it is right along our driveway.

 

Well I’ve gotta go get back outside now.  Those weeds are going take over if I don’t go and start getting at them now.

Hugs~ The City Chicks

 

Laundry Day May 3, 2010

Filed under: Little things to help save our planet,The Urban Homestead — Flour Girls & City Chicks @ 5:13 pm
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I can only think of a couple of people in my life that actually like doing laundry.  My grandmother, because she is of the old school days of “if you do a load a day it will never pile up”.  Now maybe she doesn’t enjoy it.  Maybe she is just caught up in the load a day habit thing.   Then there is my friend Celeste…I really don’t think enjoys the prospect of washing her broods laundry any more or less than I like doing my families but you never know.  I am not here to judge.  I just think she enjoys the peace she finds at the clothesline.

Either way laundry is not my favorite chore.  I have tried Granny’s method of a load a day over the years and never stuck with it.  I prefer the City Chick method of wait and do it all in one day when I have nothing clean left to wear.  Life is to short for me to worry if I got my daily load done.  When that day of the week comes along I do like to keep it easy and in the non winter months I too find it somewhat enjoyable.  I really dislike lugging the basket up the stairs and out to the laundry line over and over again but it is all worth it when the weather cooperates.  Nothing beats what I consider the best part…pulling the clothes off the line.  They smell so crisp, clean and fresh and best of all they are usually wrinkle free.  Plus, as a bonus, line drying is good for our environment.  It is hard to imagine that so many suburbs prohibited people from having a clothesline.  If you are one of those folks you should visit the folks over at the Right To Dry.  Even if you are lucky enough to have one take a look.  It is very interesting.

To make my laundry days bright and cheery I use a homemade laundry soap that smells fresh, is cost effective, is good for the environment and most of all it cleans amazingly!  Of course, don’t forget that the extra dose of vitamin D you get from hanging those clothes out to dry inthe sun will boost your spirits as well.

Ingredients   

1 box of Borax

1 box of Washing Soda

3 bars of Fels Naptha laundry soap

1 economy size box of Baking Soda (optional)

1 container of any oxi cleaner (optional)

Directions

  • Dump the Borax and washing soda into a large bucket (mine is about 3 gal.).  Use a bucket with a tight-fitting lid!  If you are adding the oxi cleaner and baking soda you can add it now as well.
  • Grate your 3 bars of Fels Naptha soap.  If you have never used, seen or worked with it before it is a very hard soap.  I highly recommend using a food processor to help with this step.  Otherwise it could take all day to grate.  (not literally)  If you are using a food processor shred it through like you would cheese.    
  • Once it is shredded you can add it to the bucket.  However, I prefer to double process mine.  So I place my soap “cheese” into a glass bowl and change my blade on the food processor to the mixing one.  Then I add the “cheese” to it and start pulsing and mixing the soap again until it is about the size of an eraser top.
  • Now I add mine to the bucket.  Place the tightly fitted lid on to the bucket and start shaking, rolling and tumbling it around until it is well mixed.  That’s it.  Your done!  Isn’t that easy?
  • Since I am space challenged near my washing machine I transfer a small amount into a smaller container to put on the little shelf next to the washer.  Each load of laundry only takes 1 tablespoon (for lightly soiled) to 1/4 cup (heavily soiled) per load. 

So if you chose to only use the first three ingredients it only cost $10 for the entire container which on our homestead last about 6-8 months.  It will cost about $4-5 more if you add the other optional ingredients which will help with softness and brightening. So it is only pennies a load.   *NOTE~ if you have a front loader like I do just add the soap to the basin of the washing machine before adding your clothes.  Otherwise it tends to build up in the dispenser!

*Tip 1*  If you want to whiten your whites try adding a bit of hydrogen peroxide to the load.

*Tip 2*  If you would like to soften your clothes vinegar in the softer dispenser works great.  No, your clothes with not smell like vinegar once they dry.  

*Tip 3*  If you are wanting an extra scent to your laundry you can always add a few drops of essential oils to your soap or vinegar.  It will be so dispersed or diluted that it will not stain your clothes.  At least it never has ours. 

May your day be blessed with a basket of crisp clean clothes off your line!

Hugs~ The City Chicks

 

So what did you do? May 2, 2010

Filed under: Little things to help save our planet,The Urban Homestead — Flour Girls & City Chicks @ 2:27 am
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So the 40th anniversary of Earth Day has come and gone.  Did you take any steps to help out our planet?  Maybe you did and maybe you didn’t.  I am not here to judge but I will share with you what I did. 

To some it may not be a huge step and some may think we are a little crazy here on the homestead.  So what was our big step you may be wondering….well it wasn’t that we decided to use only recycled grocery bags every time we go out shopping…we already do that.  It wasn’t that switched our household cleaners and laundry soaps to green ones…yes, we already had done that as well. 

It occurred to me a while ago that my family, me included, was spending way to much time watching television.  A lot of the time was spent just looking for something to watch.  There were 200+ channels and still nothing was ever on.  So I did some research to see just how much our “vampire”  was sucking out of the outlet and I was amazed.  Over the course of a year our one HD/DVR and one TV cost as much as a refrigerator to run.  That doesn’t include all the other televisions, dvr’s and gaming systems we have hooked up either.   If you do a google search on it you can find several sites that can help you estimate just how much your electrical goods use while not in use.  So now can you guess what we did?  As crazy as it may seem in this media driven society that we all live in we CANCELED our Directv service!  No, we didn’t switch to cable instead.  So were we crazy to give up a service that brought us so much mindless joy…it could be that I was since Tue Blood season 3 is starting soon.  No not really.  It was an environmental smart choice for us to make.  It has been a week now with out it and even though we no longer have our multiple dvr’s we haven’t really missed much on tv.  Thanks to Playon and Fancast we can find nearly all of our favorite shows.  See I am not that crazy…I didn’t give up the internet!  A girl still has to have the world (or world-wide web) at her finger tips.

So as the days and weeks go by I hope that you all continue to think of ways to make Earth Day everyday. 

Hugs~ The City Chicks

 

Time has just flown by… April 22, 2010

Filed under: City Chicks & Farmgirl Friends,The Urban Homestead — Flour Girls & City Chicks @ 4:05 pm

I find that time is one of those crazy things.  It is always slipping away and I never seem to have enough of it. 

The last few weeks have been a bit hectic for me here at the U.H. (Urban Homestead).  I had to organize a roast beef dinner large enough to serve 200 already this month; and whew am I glad that is over and done with!  It was a lot of work but it raised over $1200.   Then I have been spending a bundle of time out in the garden.  I am not complaining though.  Our family was fortunate enough to have someone gift us about 50-75 strawberry plants from their organic family farm.  I stopped counting after I reached 50.  That was a whole day affair of digging and separating the crowns and planting.  Thankfully the weather here has been quite lovely though and that day of planting was enjoyable.  However, very exhausting. 

Celeste recieved it!Last week Jade and I whipped up the ingredients for some vanilla pie sugar, finished our aprons for our farmgirl apron exchange and then finally  I had my favorite time of the month…Farmgirl Friday!  Where Celeste showed the other girls how to make homemade laundry soap and were given other helpful tips on green cleaning!  Well for this week…so far with the help of my dear hubby I have repurposed our old deck steps into a border for a raised shade garden,  we have almost finished the interior of the new chicken coop and  I have done a ton of laundry (where it all came from I have no idea).  So I haven’t been trying to neglect you all the last couple of weeks.  I have just been too busy to sit and think a bit.  Although, my goal this week is to try to figure out how to better manage my time here on the homestead.  Maybe I will make a list.  Maybe!

Hugs~ The City Chicks

P.S.  I will post the recipe for the Vanilla Pie Sugar and the Laundry Soap soon!