Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Care and Keeping of Ducks

Why ducks?

First I would like to mention I did not choose to raise ducklings. My original ducklings were a gift from my father on mother's day to add to my farm. They started as a joke which I thought was a large inconvenience but I have come to LOVE them! Here are a few facts as to why:

  • Ducks are hardy, inexpensive and easy to care for
  • They live up to 20 years
  • They require minimal housing
  • They do not require a pond or other body of water as commonly thought, only a small bucket to dip their heads in for preening
  • Are disease resistant to fleas, ticks and parasites
  • Are not smelly like chickens

  • Are very social (you must always keep ducks in pairs, not alone)
  • Are highly intelligent
  • Ducks love greens and will keep your yard free of weeds
  • They also LOVE snails and slugs

So I have convinced you ducks are lovely creatures, now how do you care for them?

Housing: Protected from predators, weather. I used a cardboard box and then a larger plastic container. Should be well ventilated with lots of light. Keep clean ( I found I had to clean my box daily as the ducklings are messy little things.)
Bedding: Straw or Hay only. Wood chips and shavings can cause severe health issues. (They like to eat the wood shavings, bad for baby ducks!)
Feed: Always feed unmedicated feed. For the first two weeks after you get freshly hatched ducklings they should be fed duck starter, then for weeks 3-7 a duck grower, after they are 7 weeks they can eat the chicken pullet grower. Ducklings also require GRIT which helps them grind food up in their gizzards.
Water: They require a constant fresh supply AND a drowning proof container, never leave ducklings unattended near open water, they can and will drown.
Heat: The first week they need around 98 degrees Fahrenheit. Then decrease by 5 degrees per week until you reach 55 degrees. This is the perfect temp for adult ducks. Decrease the heat by slowly raising the heat lamp. You will know the heat is appropriate for the ducklings if they are moving around freely happily eating and drinking. It is too hot if they are spread as far away from the heat as they can get and too cold if they are huddled under it.

Adult Ducks:
Need protection from weather extremes, clean drinking water, company, adequate light to lay eggs. Are adorable cute and loyal!


Here is a link to a great chart of the nutritional value of duck eggs. Click here for the link.

My take away from the above link is the following pointers:

Duck eggs are larger than chicken eggs. The white tends to be more gelatinous, and the yolks are a brighter yellow and larger. The shells are tougher, which gives them a longer shelf life than chicken eggs. " Scrambled or in omelets, duck eggs are well complemented by onionspeppersmushrooms, or cheeses.  Professional bakers are said to prefer duck eggs because of their rich yolks and because the baked goods have better texture and hold their shape better." Everything you do with a chicken egg can be done with a duck egg. Of note, the water content in duck eggs is lower so they are easier to overcook and can become rubbery.

Best Breeds for Egg Laying:

Runner Ducks
Khaki Campbell ( currently own)
Magpie (Currently Own)

Click here for more info on breeds


Monday, January 30, 2012

Learning to "Need" Less

In our family's conversion to a one income family, the biggest challenge has been to learn to "need" less. I put need in quotations because so many of our "needs" we have found are actually "wants". I am not saying in writing this post that we have arrived, what we have done is realize that our "needs" and our "wants" have often confused as being all "needs". We have come to realize that we have so much and we really can live with "less". Our "less" is someone else's luxury.

As a family and as a person we have so much! I have a lovely 1,800 square foot home (that is gorgeous thanks to my husband and father). Yet, I often find myself thinking "If only I had a sun room, or a garage, or bigger children's rooms. We currently have two cars, we are no longer a single car family, but I look at our older (1999 and 1993) cars and think, "I would love a newer car." I look in my closet and even though I am clothed I want more, better, newer clothes, hoping they will make me feel younger, prettier and sexier. We eat mostly organic, whole, grass fed foods, but I find myself thinking, "Am I doing enough? Should we go grain free, dairy free, completely processed food free? Am I missing something that I should be doing?"
I find myself reading, reading, reading, wanting to find the best home school "curriculum", healthy diet, financial plan, home business ideas, child raising ideas and encouragement. When what I really need to do is STOP and listen to the pages of scripture whisper God's promises and warnings in my ear. Today I stopped to listen to a long ago memorized passage. God was, has been, and will continue to whisper it in my ear.

Matthew 6:25-34

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

"And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.

And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

So don't worry about these things, saying, 'What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?'

 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today."

I am to do the best with what God has given me. Because truly He has given it to me. I might not always get what I WANT but I will always have what I NEED. Although my and God's definition of "need" may be two totally different things. He knows what I need versus what I want.

So this week when I was thinking of that extra $12,000 dollars per year that I think our family needs, I was reminded that God has faithfully provided for us over the past few years without it and He will continue to do so if he wants us to remain as a single income family. How or if that happens are up to Him, I just have to be open to hearing his whispers.

Thanks for listening!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Menu Plan for the Week of January 29, 2012

Tax season is involving a lot of crockpot meals, since I honestly don't know what time the accountant will be home each day. Which means less cooking for me since a crockpot full of food will last us at least two meals and a few left overs for lunches! With that in mind here is this weeks menu plan:

Sunday: (only day at home for the accountant this week)
Breakfast: Gluten Free Buttermilk pancakes with organic bacon and sausage
Lunch: Grilled raw cheese sandwiches on gluten free bread with sauerkraut and grass fed roast beef
Dinner: Chicken Stir Fry with organic sprouted rice

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs and gluten free english muffins
Lunch: Sustainibly caught tuna fish Sandwiches with apples and orange slices
Dinner: Chicken Chili with a side salad

Breakfast: Oatmeal with dried fruit, maple syrup and raw milk
Lunch: Left overs of chicken chili
Dinner: Lentil and Rice Stew

Breakfast: Eggs on Toast with bananas
Lunch: Lunch out with friend
Dinner: Leftovers

 Breakfast and Lunch are a birthday brunch for me at an all organic restaurant! Thank you mom
Dinner: Hamburgers with grass fed beef

Breakfast: Eggs and fruit
Lunch: Tuna sandwiches or salmon sandwiches
Dinner: Homemade pizza with salad

Breakfast: Quiche
Lunch: Salad of some type
Dinner: Spaghetti with peas and corn (frozen veggies from Costco, all organic)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Fred Meyer Deals for the Week of January 29, 2012

Avocado's 10 for $10. These are not organic but they are listed on the clean 15 from the environmental group. Being as the organic one's are normally 2 for $5 dollars and the non organic are 2 for $4. This is a fantastic price!

Organic Braeburn or Cameo Apples $1.28 per pound ( top of the list of the dirty dozen. If you eat apples at all they should always be organic!)

Organic Navel Oranges 99 cents per pound

Simple Truth Organic Milk 1/2 gallon $2.68

Nature's Path Organic Frozen Waffles $1.99 ( I don't advocate buying pre made food organic or not, although I have been know to buy these for a quick snack...I don't own a waffle maker..)

Bac-Out Stain and Odor Eliminator a Biokleen product and all other biocleen products are 25% off at Fred Meyer this week

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wednesday: A small part of my day

English: Final baked loaf
Image via Wikipedia
I started my day with a phone call from my mom to go pick up her 80 lbs of local pastured pork. I am so excited to try the sausage she gave me!

Then while mom played with Olivia  I came home with Henry to make a loaf of homemade bread in the breadmaker, lentil chili (our meatless meal for the week, it was supposed to be black bean soup but changed my mind) and blueberry muffins. Yum. I can't wait for dinner tonight.

Then as a perfect start to the evening I got a delivery of our local CSA right to my front door. Thank you Klesick!

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Organic Deals for the Week of January 25, 2012

The logo of Quality Food Centers (QFC), a bann...
Image via Wikipedia
 I've bolded below anything I think is a great price.

Wild Alaska Whole Sockeye Salmon previously frozen 3.99 per pound
Organic D'Anjou or Bosc Pears 1.29 per pound
Organic Red or Green Bell Peppers $1.29 each

Organic Braeburn or Fuji Apples $1.49 per pound
Wild Alaska True Cod Fillets $6.99 per pound ( Remember Fred Meyer's has this for $3.99 per pound)
Organic Strawberries $3.99 per pound

Top Foods:
Wild Alaskan True Cod Fillets $6.99 per pound
Penn Cove Fresh Pacific Mussels $3.99 per pound

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Homemade Butter

 Today I had a desire to try and make my own butter. Here is how it turned out...yummy!! I highly recommend attempting some of your own.
 Home-made butter is so easy to make! All you need is some cream and patience.
I made butter today by beating cream for twenty minutes...here is what it looked like.

 I changed beaters half way through because the kitchen aid was taking too long. The hand held beater worked much better. Notice the butter separating from the leftover milk.

 I separated the whipped butter from the milk through a strainer. Then placed the butter in a bowl in the fridge for use on our homemade bread later in the evening. The milk will be used to cook Olivia's oatmeal in, for breakfast tomorrow morning.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Menu Plan for the Week of January 22, 2012

Sweet Potatoes
Image by sweet mustache via Flickr
Homemade Bread, as needed
Blueberry Muffins

Homemade Granola
Scrambled Eggs
Eggs on Toast
Baked Oatmeal with dried fruit and nuts

BLT Sandwich
Salmon Sandwiches

Lemon Baked Cod
Chicken Soup
Black Bean Soup
Homemade Chicken Nuggets with Sweet Potato Oven Baked Fries
Salmon Salad
Chicken Stir Fry

Apples, Oranges, Pears, Raw Cheese, Popcorn, Celery and Carrots
Homemade Cookies

On my grocery list for this week:
Cod fillets (on sale at Fred Meyer)
Bacon Organic, Nitrate Free
Bok Choy
Frozen Blueberries (on sale at Fred Meyer)
Raw Milk and Cream
Organic Apples and Oranges
Pastured Butter

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Local Fred Meyer Deals for the week of Jan 22, 2012

English: Sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) f...
Image via Wikipedia
Wild Alaska True Cod Fillets 3.99 per pound
Javatopia Organic Bird Friendly Coffee 6.99 per pound
Private Selection Organic Salad Blends 2 for $5
Naturally Preferred Organic Frozen Fruit 2.99 for 10 ounces
Wild Alaska Whole Sockeye Salmon 4.99 per pound
Wild Northwest Cooked Shrimp Meat 4.99 per pound
Organic Fingerling Potatoes 2 for $5. Each bag is 1.5 pounds
Organic Kiwi 3 for $1
Organic Minneola Tangelos 99 Cents per pound
Organic Valley Milk 1 gallon 4.79
Imagine Organic Soup 32 ounces $2.99
Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar 2 for $6 32 ounces
All Frozen Amy's Products are 30 percent off
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7 Healthy Snack Ideas For Kids

The softer, orange-fleshed variety of sweet po...
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With a little toddler running around I find it helpful to have healthy snacks ready to go for her often growling little tummy. Here are a few of our standbys that she loves and will often beg for more.

  1.  Raw cheese with sliced organic apples and pears
  2.  Sweet potato chips or fries. For the fries I just slice the sweet potatoes thin, drizzle olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in the oven at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. For the chips I dehydrate thin slices in my oven on the lowest setting for 6 hours. (time will vary with ovens)
  3. Fruit Milkshake. Just combine 1 cup of milk (raw cow, almond, rice, and so forth) in the blender with one cup of frozen fruit and a tablespoon of honey
  4. Frozen banana's dipped in melted high quality organic chocolate then rolled in walnuts and coconut. (This is a summer treat for us)
  5. Home-made honey custard (sorry this is dairy based). I love the recipe from Nourishing Kitchen.
  6. Hummus (or peanut butter) and carrot or celery sticks. Olivia loves celery. 
  7. Kale Chips (One of Olivia's favourites!)

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Brain Food for Kids: Eat Your Greens, Fish and Eggs

Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera English: Brus...
Image via Wikipedia
Lutein: Good for your eyes but new research also shows that that this phytochemical is needed in the infant and child's brain for memory and learning. 
Where to find it:
Kale, Spinach (cooked), Chard, Greens, Eggs, Romaine Lettuce, Broccoli, Zuccini, Brussel Sprouts
Check out this website for other sources

Iron: I was surprised to learn when Olivia was at a well child visit that iron is needed to assist in normal infant brain growth.(Makes sense once you think about it, but I hadn't) An infant or child who is anemic for an extended period of time will not learn and progress as they should. Iron is also needed for energy and concentration. Eat iron with Vitamin C for better absorption.
Where to find it:
Lentils, Beans (legumes such as black beans, kidney beans), Spinach, Olives, Turmeric, Thyme, Chard, Asparagus

Choline: A member of the B family has been shown in recent research through Duke University to aid in memory cell production throughout childhood. So next time you find your toddler eating butter by the handfuls in the pantry (recent event at my house), let them eat away.
Where to find it:
Egg yolk, butter, potatoes, peanuts, cauliflower, oats, lentils, brussel sprouts

Fat: The brain is around 60 percent fat. Your little one needs lots of the right kind of fats to grow their brain properly. 
Where to find it:
Your healthiest source of fats is going to be Omega 3's like DHA, found in things like fish (salmon, sardines, halibut, shrimp, cod, tuna), grass fed beef, grass fed butter, walnuts, flax seeds, eggs, chia seeds and hazelnuts.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Olivia's Lesson: The Letter

I have been reading lately a lot of books about home schooling. One common theme is learning in the every day. Especially taking books and then applying them to your life as it is today. 
Olivia's lesson for today involved reading some books, singing some songs and then a craft to end it.  We read several books but ended with "The Letter" from Frog and Toad Are Friends. 
Then I asked Olivia who she wanted to write a letter to. She replied "Uncle and Nana and Papa". So we got out some paper, pens, envelopes, stamps and stickers. She proceeded to "write" her letters. When the "writing" was all through I showed her how we address the envelopes and put stamps on them.

Then our trek to the mailbox started. First with lots of snow gear...

The trip to the mailbox was an adventure in and of itself! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Local Organic Sales for the Week of Jan 17th

Haggen Food & Pharmacy
Image via Wikipedia
I don't think there are any really fantastic deals this week but if you need it and it's on sale, go for it! My favorite deals are bolded out.


Zevia Natural Soda $4.99. There is a coupon on mambo sprouts.com for $1 off this price. Bringing it to $3.99 per pound


Wild Alaskan Cod Fillets (previously frozen) 4.99 per pound
Purity Organic Tea Drinks 10 for $10
Organic Broccoli $1.99 per pound
Organic Minneolas $1.49
3 lb bags of  Organic Potatoes $3.49
Organic Celery Hearts 2 for $5
There is also a coupon in Tuesday's mailout for up to 3 silk almond milks for $2.69
Also with mail out coupon van's organic waffles frozen for 1.99

Top Foods:

Wild Alaskan Sockeye salmon Fillets $8.99/ lb previously frozen
Organic Green Mountain Coffee $6.99 per pound
Imagine brand almond and rice milk 2 for $5 dollars
Rising Moon Organics Pasta Sauce $2.99 each
Woodstock Farms Organic Shredded or String Cheese $3.99 for 6 ounces
Organic Apples (select varieties) 1.29 per pound
Northwest Fresh Pacific Oysters in the Shell $5.99 per pound

Fred Meyers:

4 for $5 Organic avocados
Organic Grape Tomatoes 2 for $5
Organic Blueberries 2 for $5
Organic artisan Bread 3.99 each
1/2 gallon organic simple truth milk 2 for $5
32 ounce Stoneyfield Yogurt $3.69 each

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Some Thoughts on School

With the intention of home schooling my children I have been doing a lot of reading lately on how children learn. All this reading has gotten me thinking about how in reality while our children are at home, whether they have attended school that day or not, they are being "home schooled" for all their hours with me. In effect their "schooling" starts from the day they are born. 

So from day one I have been "organically" or naturally schooling Olivia and now Henry. All my interactions with them are teaching them something. I am their most influential teacher because I spend the most time with them. With that in mind I have been thinking hard on some things I have read lately, let me share with you what I have been thinking about:

 "He is educated who know how to find out what he doesn't know"- Georg Simmel A German Philosopher.
 From this I gather I need to encourage the natural curiosity found in my children. Encourage them to ask why. Don't just reply "because I said so". I want Olivia to be able to think for herself, ask lots of questions, search for the why, how, what, when and where.

"You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you." - St Augustine of Hippo

With all her searching and questions I want to point her always back to Christ as Lord. I want to show her how to find her answers in him.

Food for thought:
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NASB)
Joshua 24:15
Psalm 119: 129-136
Hebrews 4:12-13

Monday, January 16, 2012


We are enjoying what will probably be our only snow of the year! Uncle and Auntie brought over their sled so Olivia could have her first sled ride! 

Auntie got pulled around on the sled with Olivia and the dog (Wesley). All parties involved had loads of fun. Henry slept peacefully inside, oblivious to the snow fall. 

Olivia's good will snow suit. She looks like she is about to go skiing mid 1980's.

The Chickens refused to leave their coop..not so sure about all that white stuff.


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