Up With the Chickens

Raising children and chickens on a little buffalo farm

Avoiding the Dreaded Tummy Bug


As I write this, three of my four children are recovering from the stomach virus. I have a phobia of to stomach virus.  Well, not really a phobia.  A phobia,by definition, is an irrational fear.  My fear is completely rational and grounded in experience – gruesome, horrific experience.  I’ll spare you the details, but let’s just say that for years my family had a tradition of ringing in the New Year with a tummy bug.  In 2005, I realized how entire families used to die during influenza outbreaks. Daddy out of town, four small children with the stomach virus, and a mommy too sick to tend to them.  Poor Hal returned from his hunting trip to a ghastly homecoming.

So, you see why I avoiding the stomach bug is of utmost importance to me.  Here are some of my strategies:

1.  Coconut Oil 

If you read by previous post I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts, you know I’m a huge fan of coconut oil for all kinds of things.  In times like these, I’m particularly interested in it’s anti-viral properties.  I try to add at least a tbs of coconut oil to my smoothie or oatmeal each day, but these days, I’m sure not to miss a “dose” and I’m adding extra to my diet when I can.

2.  Apple Cider Vinegar (with the mother)

For some people, this cure might be worse than the disease, but not for me.  I’d drink nearly anything to avoid the stomach virus – including drinking apple cider vinegar.

3. Grape Juice

Drinking apple cider vinegar became easier when I realized I could mix it with grape juice and get double the bug preventing benefits.

4. Obsessive Compulsive Cleaning and Hand Washing.  

In a previous post I shared with you my desire to follow ten baby steps to natural living, but when it come to the tummy bug, I would carpet bomb my house with Lysol and Clorox if I could.  And I wash my hands constantly.  I keep sanitizing wipes in every room and use them after I’ve touched anything my children have touched.  I should probably be more concerned about alcohol poisoning than the stomach virus.

5. Withholding Affection

Okay, not really.  And this is my Achille’s heal.  I’ll be honest.  When my kids get the tummy bug, a part of me does want to avoid them.  But then they look up at me with those pale faces and pitiful eyes, and I just have to hold them and kiss them – but only on the very tippy top of the head.

So that’s it.  My big strategy.  I can tell you it has worked in the past.  The last few times the bug hit my family I was spared.  Will I be this time?  Only time will tell.  In the meantime, I’ll just enjoy some yummy coconut oil, delicious grape juice and a super clean house.



Why We Raise Rabbits


In some ways I am not the ideal person to guest blog for Jill. After all, Jill is a full-fledged, seasoned farmer. I, on the other hand, am really just starting out. Sure I grew up on a farm (a buffalo farm), but I never took a real interest in farming, even after my husband took over the operation, until the youngest of our four children started school. A couple of years ago I decided that it was time I embrace life on the farm. Much to my husband’s surprise I asked for chickens for Mother’s Day. From there, my love for farming has grown.

Shortly after we got the chickens, a customer of my husband’s hardware store, offered him three rabbits. Eager to expand my livestock collection, I readily agreed. It has been a great decision, and we’ve learned a lot. Here are some reasons I’m glad we are raising rabbits.

1. Rabbits do not require a trailer. One reason I wanted to get into farming was to have an activity to enjoy with The Littles (this is what we call our two youngest). They had both shown an interest in the farm, but buffalo are not like cattle. They can be aggressive and difficult to deal with. We needed a smaller starter animal. Rabbits seemed like a good choice. But I don’t even like to parallel park. No way was I hauling a trailer full of sheep, horses, or goats. We can easily fit six or seven rabbit cages in the back of my Suburban if we are taking them to a sale or show.

2. Rabbits are cute. As excited as The Littles were to get rabbits, they aren’t always excited about feeding them. Being able to play the adorable card helps. “Poor Little Blossom. Wouldn’t you hate for her to be hungry.” It’s hard to argue with this face.


3. Rabbits are easy to manage. Aside from being easy to haul, rabbits are easy to handle in general. This is important for a beginning farmer and her Littles. Worst-case scenario someone gets a scratch or bite, but on one is going to get kicked in the head or trampled. Larger animals might be in our future. In fact in recent months, I’ve begun helping my husband more with the buffalo. But for now, I prefer The Littles and I get our farming feet wet with small, easily managed livestock.

4. Rabbits are the fastest producing food source. Or so I hear. We have not actually eaten our own rabbits yet. I thought we could. In fact, when the offer of rabbits first came up, I thought having rabbits would be a handy way to enjoy some hasenpfeffer. However, within five minutes the Littles had named, claimed, and cuddled my future feasts. And it’s just really hard to eat a Mr. Fluffington. For now we are content just to breed and show our rabbits. When we do decide to start eating them, we will have to name them things like Stewie. For those who do want a readily available food source, rabbits breed quickly and grow to eating size in a relatively short period of time. They are also easy and free to slaughter. (It costs a fortune to have a buffalo slaughtered.) For those preparing for a “worst case scenario” that might include a life without electricity, rabbits are a one -meal slaughter (requiring no refrigeration). And yet it is easy to maintain a large enough herd to keep a family in meat year round.

5. Rabbits are the pet you can eat. Okay, that is not exactly the slogan we want on our letterhead, but it is the truth. The Littles love to have baby bunnies around. They are ridiculously cute. However, since we aren’t eating them, we can’t just keep them. Fortunately, in a farming community like ours, it is easy to find homes for baby rabbits. Most people want them for pets or to show, but a few people are looking for a food supply. We successfully market to both, and The Littles get a little spending money from their rabbit sales – another incentive to keep the bunnies fed and happy.

For families raising a variety of larger, meatier, more valuable livestock, cute little bunnies might seem frivolous. But for people new to farming or for families with small children, rabbits might be just the ticket. And if you decide raising rabbits isn’t for you, there’s always hasenpfeffer.

This post was to appear as a guest blog for The Prairie Homestead , but technical difficulties have prevented that from happening – so far.

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I am so not crafty.  I lack the necessary attention to detail to be precise.  And I can’t cut in a straight line. But I crack myself up. I’m constantly pinning adorable crafts, homemade gift ideas, and DIY projects. As if…

Well, you know what. As if I’m actually crafty, I set aside a whole weekend with my girls to take on some of the projects I’ve pinned. I bought all the supplies in advance because one of the rules of  the MOTHER DAUGHTER HOLIDAY PINTEREST WEEKEND is that we stay in our pajamas all weekend. Cat was thrilled with the idea, and MM was willing to tolerate it. Here’s what we did:

Refrigerator Magnets                                      photo
Aren’t these adorable! And they were sooooo easy. And inexpensive. We got the idea from a clever gal, Sabby in Suburbia

Young House Love gave us this clever idea.  Actually, this project was mostly Chet’s.  Yes, it was a risk letting him use the hot glue gun, but these turned out great, and he was really proud of himself.

photo  photo


These are the sweetest.  In my house we try to keep the spirit of Advent.  Yet, everyone (except me) wants to put up the tree before December 20th.  These are a good way to compromise.  The kids and I made NAMES OF JESUS ornaments and will add one to the tree everyday during Advent.



Thank you, Roaring Momma

Also, we made these beauties!  This was MM’s favorite project.  I’ve seen the idea on a variety of websites.  And there are different methods for doing this.  We just took plain glass balls, popped off the top, squeezed in some acrylic paint, and then shook vigorously.  I think we might have skipped a step or maybe just used too much paint,  because the paint didn’t dry.  Every time someone drops one of these – paint every where.  I guess we should have used the plastic balls, but oh well.

photo  photo

This next thing is all us.

-We cut pictures from old calendars and Christmas cards and burned the edges.  This is not necessary, but we like the way it looks.

-Next, we covered a small canvas with either scrapbook paper or gold spray paint.

-We glued on the picture.

-Finally we slathered the whole thing with Modge Podge.

-We just hot glued some ribbon to the back of the canvas for easy hanging.  And voila…

photo   photo photo

We also did a cork board for Cat’s room using the same method and super cute scrapbook paper (no burning).


We didn’t come near finishing everything I want us to make, but this is a start. As I type , I’m making this body wash from Katie Gibson.  I can’t wait to try it!

No, I’m not naturally crafty, but the holidays and time with my girls always inspire the Martha Stewart in me.  She hides most of the time, but this year, I think she showed up in full force.  Who knows, maybe she’ll stick around even after the holiday this year.