Come visit us at the Connecticut Country Store!

Come visit us at the Connecticut Country Store!
Smart Folks Shop Local!

Thought for the moment.....

Friday, September 23, 2011

New Body Balm Bars and Tins!

I am so excited to be able to offer these body balms in the store!  We had a farm we bought different scents from last year but they stopped providing them.  I was so sad because I loved them and they were so good for my hands and feet and they smelled so good!  This year with  more time to think and plan I decided to make my own with the beeswax from out hard working hives - and it is better than I imagined.  The natural scent from the beeswax is so nice and with a touch of lavender it is heavenly!  The small tins are a great way to keep your skin protected on the go, not to mention a nice way to relax with a nice scent in the middle of a stress filled day.  The body bars come in the shape of a flower, a 'joy' stone, a 'smile' stone, and a 'love' stone.  I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!  Be Well!

Turkey/Chicken Treats

Although I did not blog right away about the treats, I did make and test them :)  The Turkeys devoured them, the hens couldn't care less about them, the chickens have not been tested.  Here I will show pictures now, I am working on producing a fun video of the turkeys enjoying the treats.  I got this recipe out of one of my many magazines, this one might have been from 'backyard poultry' which is a funny magazine with some good information if you want to raise birds.  The ingredients are 1/2 cup hot water with 1 package of gelatin (4 packages come in a box which will cost about $1-$1.70 depending on the store), add this to a bowl of about 3 cups of scratch grains (a 50# bag is about $14), then pack it into containers with or without string to hang.  I put my on string with a metal piece to hold it on, but hens would have probably prefered it on the ground.  Here are some pics;
it was pretty fast and easy to do with some recycled small containers I found in my pantry.

The shape kept well and they hung sturdy in the hen pen where they weren't eaten.  The turkeys tore it to pieces in minutes!

At first the turkeys didn't know what to do, but once they found out the treats didn't last much longer than a few minutes.  Which was NOT what I wanted.  I was hoping to entertain them so they'd stop fighting so much.  I had read to clip their beaks slightly when they are young but that seemed cruel so I didn't.  MISTAKE!  They do far more damage to eachother than a little clip would have done them.  Lesson learned.  In the meantime, I got them 'Pecker Wrecker' which is the same type of idea as this but had abrassive additives to dull their beaks.  They are eating the Pecker Wrecker but I don' tknow if its effecting their pecking yet.  Too early to tell!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Saturday afternoon

Yesterday I had to buy a flashlight for my head!  Waking up at 5am to feed the animals before heading to work is very...dark.  I've tried several things including carrying an oil lamp during the hurricane!  I've decided that a head lamp was the only way to go and so far so good although it takes a bit of getting used to and the dogs definately don't like it.

The past few months my life has changed dramatically.  Some bad, some good.  Let us focus on the good.  I left a full time job that was incredibly draining.  I adopted some guinea hens to add to my group.  I FINALLY began to spin the angora wool I've been harvesting for 2 years!  And I've started to have time for the things I love, the crafts I've learned, and the wonderful people in my life.

This week I started working in the store regularly for the first time in over a year.  I'm working on developing new products, reaching out to new artists, and with luck bringing in another building to provide the space we need to grow.  I'm also improving our online presense with an online store, adding my own products to other online venues, and promising once again that I will blog blog blog the adventures.

Today's blog (in addition to this one) I will be demonstrating a recipe for my hens and turkeys.  It uses gelatin and scratch grain to form hanging 'popcorn ball' type treat to keep the birds busy and out of trouble.  I'm hoping my sister-in-law will also try this with her chickens and report back!  Over the next week I will be writing to you from my pottery studio and my kitchen with new fun things to make. 

I'm also starting plans for a 'Cleaver Night'.  When I was a kid my mother would have her girlfriends over to make crafts and talk about life and enjoy eachother's company while the husbands watched sports.  I know, very stereotyped, but true.  My mother would make up all sorts of easy fun crafts to do that would result in a nice end product within 2 hours.  My goal is to start this tradition here at the store.  I'll document the crafts we made with materials for those who can't be with us.  My plan right now is 1-2 sessions per month with alternating weeks for a free-for-all where people can just bring what they want to work on.

I'll let you know how this all goes as we move on to these new adventures!

Be well!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fall Apples are here!

We've got apples! Jonamac, gala, and ginger gold (my favorite)!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New Fun Fall Decorations! The Great Pumpkin is here!

Fun additions to any garden!

The greatest door decoration!

Mini pumpkin for your mum planters!

Carding wool at the Connecticut Country Store!

I decided to combine alpaca wool with my rabbits' angora for my next project - very warm!

First I carded the 2 kinds of wool together.  This alpaca was already processed in to roving which made things much easier for me!

I didn't want to card too much because I want the striped yarn with variations of brown and white.

After I filled this bucket I started to spin.

This is how the yarn is looking.  This is 1 ply.  I will make 2 spools of 1 ply and let them stretch, then I will ply them together to make a nice warm yarn.  I am hoping I can then talk one of my talented sisters into making me mittens with it!

Pictures from the storm!

Well, we all survived the storm!  It was very windy for a very long time and the river did get wider, but never crossed the tracks.  John boxed all the birds in with trailors and we filled the inside of the cages with hay to keep them dry.  I've learned since that the guineas should not get wet and should still be on a heatlamp, but we can't bring them inside and we lost electricity for almost a week.  They survived anyway so we were lucky!  They are getting big and losing the feathers on their necks now, they are starting to get the guinea look I love!  Here are some pics of the storm and the bird set up and us trying to coax the goats outside when it was safe.  Be well!
The turkey flight cage and the guinea tractor were wedged together between a few trailors and the party boat.  The plan worked well and all were safe.  I stood in the flight cage during the worst parts of the storm and barely felt any wind.  Luckily the guineas were not scared of the turkeys and actually tried to stay near them cage to cage.  We are seperating them slowly every 2 days now so they don't get too upset.

You can't see the river yet, only the puddles forming around the gardens.  The river got very wide but not enough to be threatening.

Turkeys will stand right in the rain.  Here they are hoping I brought them cucumber slices - which I did.

The guineas on their inside pirch during the hieght of the storm.  Interestingly, most of them were outside laying in the hay watching the rain and wind tear through the yard!

Buttercup and Cupcake watching Cricket run around outside and getting first dibs on all the leaves that fell.

Buttercup wasn't really interested in coming outside, but eventually she did.

I cannot get this picture to go upright, but I love it, so here it is anyway - tilt your head to the left :)

Silky and Cochin Hut 2011

Guineas in their new flight cage!

Easy Bantam Nesting Boxes

Easy Homemade Bread!