Nov 30, 2016

Waste Less Wednesday Blog Hop 11/30/16

Blog Hop Zero waste plastic free less waste sustainable

A blog party focused on environmentally friendly practices: zero waste, recycling, gardening, homesteading, sustainability, living plastic free and upcycling.  It is live Wednesday at 12:00 am CST through Friday at 11:55 pm CST. 

The Host:

Katy writes at SkipTheBag about her experiences trying to minimize waste, avoiding plastic and homesteading with her garden and chickens. If you love her posts you can follow her here:





Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML


Not sure what a blog hop is? Click here


The Rules:

  • Link up to 3 original blog posts related to minimizing waste. Posts can be zero waste, living plastic free, sustainability, less waste recipes, homesteading, upcycling or anything to do with helping out the environment.
  • No links to stores or link parties. Giveaways are OK as long as they are accompanied with a post.
  • Please visit your fellow bloggers: they care about the environment just like you!
  • In addition to featuring the most visited blog, the "most social" person will be featured. It's hard to track, but use the hashtag #WasteLessWednesday when commenting on people's blogs and sharing posts on social media to qualify.
  • Posts will show in a random order.
  • By participating you give permission for any part of your post, including pictures, to be used for party promotion. Don't worry all credit will be given to the original source. You will also receive a weekly email reminder for Waste Less Wednesday. 

Features from Last Week:

Katy's pick:

Katy's pick:

 Recycled Snowman

Link Up Below!


Nov 28, 2016

Less Waste Hand Soap

Less Waste Hand Soap SkipTheBag

I have soap by every sink. I think most people do. But that means 4 soap dispensers which could lead to a lot of waste. So what are some less waste ways to have hand soap?


1. Bar soap. 

This probably would produce the least waste. You can likely find soap that isn't packaged or minimally packaged with paper or cardboard. However I find that a bar of soap usually needs a soap dish and I don't have any these. And, unfortunately, many of them are plastic.

2. Refill Hand Soap Dispenser

For years this is what I would do. I bought a plastic disposable dispenser to use. Then when it was about to run out I'd go and get the largest container of hand soap I could find. From there I would refill each container. It uses far less plastic than purchasing dispensers every time they run out. 

3. Refill Foaming Hand Soap Dispenser

When I was in Hawaii someone taught me how to make your own foaming hand soap. All it needed was the "special" foam dispenser. She said that there was a particular brand that would fit in a mason jar. That's all I needed to hear. So of course I went hog wild in the Bath and Body Works store buying many more hand soap containers than I would ever need. And, of course, that is NOT the brand that fits in mason jars. Oh well. So instead of using them for mason jars I've just be refilling the Bath and Body Works jars. 

How do you do it? Fill the bottom of the container with liquid Castile soap. Then top off with water. Seriously it's that easy. A little goes a long way so you might be surprised how little soap is actually needed. But if the foam doesn't feel quite hearty enough, just add some more Castile soap to the mixture. If there is a particular scent you want you can add some essential oils or use scented Castile soap. An added bonus some places refill Castile Soap containers so that would be waste free.

4. Reusable Soap Dispenser

Of course you don't have to start with a disposable soap dispenser. There are many options available that are intended to be reusable and durable to last a long time. So if you find one you love you can have it and refill it for years to come. 

What do you use for hand soap?

Shared on Homesteader HopWaste Less Wednesday

Nov 25, 2016

Chickens Eating Eggs



I have learned a lot of things about chickens, like that they can get avian pox. But one thing that surprised me was that chickens like to eat eggs. Chickens can eat eggs cooked or raw. It's not uncommon for them to peck at the eggs left in their nesting boxes. I would have thought it's some cannibalistic thing and they would avoid eating eggs, but I was wrong.

So we started keeping an eye out after learning eating their own eggs was a risk. But we had gone several months without an issue so it sort of fell to the back burner. One of the major suggestions that I read was to clean spills quickly so the chickens didn't get a taste for eggs and start viewing eggs as food. So the few times we'd have a couple of cracked eggs, we would wash up the buckets and make sure that the chickens didn't get too interested.

We generally put broken eggs and discarded egg shells in our compost pile. The hope is that it will make our compost more nutritious, but since it is open there is a risk that the chickens could wander over and find an eggshell. So we try to break up egg shells before putting them in the compost pile.

This site uses affiliate links (disclosures). If you click on product links and make 
a purchase I may receive a commission which is used to help fund this blog. 
The price to you remains unchanged. 


Since the chickens need calcium (although most of it is provided in their feed), we also tried to feed the chickens their old shells. Recycling in it's finest. We made sure to dry out the shells and crush them up so the 'calcium treats' we were giving them didn't look or smell anything like the fresh eggs they were producing. Fortunately our chickens eggs haven't seemed to need any additional calcium since the majority of their diet comes from layer feed. It was a pain to keep the egg shells clean and dry them so we've stopped supplementing the chickens and diverted most of the shells to the compost pile.

Chickens eating eggs may be a sign of nutritional deficiencies. They may be lacking calcium or protein. However make sure that you are feeding them good feed appropriate for their stage in life (chick vs layer) and that they have enough calcium. Don't forget grit too. Providing them commercial feed this is less of an issue than if your chickens are free range and at the mercy of your yard. However it chicken pecking at their eggs may mean your chickens are just jerks, so don't freak out.

We thought we were doing the right things, but none of that seemed to matter as last week we lost 2-3 eggs to the chickens.

So what did we do to combat it? We bought ceramic eggs and placed them at the front of their nesting boxes. The way the boxes are set up they can only stick their heads in a little bit. The eggs help as it will teach them that eggs in the bucket are hard and not for pecking. It has the added bonus of they will lay in front of these eggs, so they can't physically reach the real eggs from outside of the bucket.

Nesting Boxes With Ceramic Eggs
That helped for a while and did teach them that not to get at the eggs. However when we upgraded our coop and redid the nesting boxes we made sure that the buckets had a slight slope back. That helps prevent the chickens from standing outside the nesting box and pecking at the egg.

What have you done to prevent your chickens from eating their eggs?


Pin for later:

Shared on Homesteader HopWaste Less Wednesday

Nov 23, 2016

Waste Less Wednesday Blog Hop 11/23/16

Blog Hop Zero waste plastic free less waste sustainable

A blog party focused on environmentally friendly practices: zero waste, recycling, gardening, homesteading, sustainability, living plastic free and upcycling.  It is live Wednesday at 12:00 am CST through Friday at 11:55 pm CST. 

The Host:

Katy writes at SkipTheBag about her experiences trying to minimize waste, avoiding plastic and homesteading with her garden and chickens. If you love her posts you can follow her here:





Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML


Not sure what a blog hop is? Click here


The Rules:

  • Link up to 3 original blog posts related to minimizing waste. Posts can be zero waste, living plastic free, sustainability, less waste recipes, homesteading, upcycling or anything to do with helping out the environment.
  • No links to stores or link parties. Giveaways are OK as long as they are accompanied with a post.
  • Please visit your fellow bloggers: they care about the environment just like you!
  • In addition to featuring the most visited blog, the "most social" person will be featured. It's hard to track, but use the hashtag #WasteLessWednesday when commenting on people's blogs and sharing posts on social media to qualify.
  • Posts will show in a random order.
  • By participating you give permission for any part of your post, including pictures, to be used for party promotion. Don't worry all credit will be given to the original source. You will also receive a weekly email reminder for Waste Less Wednesday. 

Features from Last Week:

Katy's pick:

Upcycle your old stained t shirts into necklaces

Some Fun Holiday Decorations:

Cute Sweater Upcycled Christmas Ornaments

 Glitter Ornaments

We are on round two of our handmade Christmas with DIY decorations with our Picture Frame Wreath and Hand-Swirled Ornaments.
Link Up Below!



Nov 21, 2016

November Garden Update


We are in the middle of our Fall Garden!

We discovered that while our garden gets full sun during the spring and summer, it is only getting about 3 hours of sun right now. There are two trees that are blocking the sun right now. One is a huge one in our yard. That would be nearly impossible to remove, or very $$$. The other is in the neighbor's yard and I doubt we are going to convince them to cut it down.

A few spots are eeking out a few extra minutes, but that lack of direct sunlight has meant that things are growing a little slower than they were in the spring.




The tomatoes are doing well, well we've got one runt, but we've also got plenty of green tomatoes just waiting to ripen.

As you may remember from last month I've got an unknown plant. I'm thinking it's a watermelon, but not sure.

The broccoli is doing ok, but hasn't produced anything.


The lettuce is just sitting there.

So is the cabbage.

Our jalapeno is still going strong. It's in 3 main bushes and as you can see it's still producing several peppers.

Do you have a fall garden?




Nov 18, 2016

Our Chickens Have Pox!


It's true, chickens can get pox. While not technically chicken pox, it is a related virus called avian pox. Our chickens started having spots on their comb and waddles. I searched black spots on chicken comb and got some options.

1. Mites. The mites show upon the comb and on the body of the chicken itself. The black spots of mites look like tiny pin pricks of black on the comb. Our spots were bigger than that so I was able to quickly eliminate that as the culprit. Thank goodness cause I'm sure they are a pain to get rid of!

2. Chicken fights. The next possibility I read about was that it could be due to the girls figuring out their pecking order and attacking one another. I hadn't really see our girls be aggressive toward one another, and I saw it on several of them. None of the spots really looked like they were bleeding or scabs so I doubted it was this.

3. Avian Pox. This was the third thing mentioned that it could be. I immediately googled a picture and sure enough it's what my girls have.

So what is Avian Pox? 

It is a viral infection called Avipoxvirus that is spread by mosquitoes, from bird to bird, or contact with contaminated food or water. Living in Florida I'm guessing my flock got them from a mosquito.

How can you prevent Avian Pox?

There is a vaccine available. However once it gets in your flock it is too late for the vaccine. Besides we bought $3 chickens to have as pets and/or an egg source. We weren't going to pay for that.

Is Avian Pox harmful?

There appear to be two forms of the disease, a wet form and a dry form. The dry form seems to mainly affect the comb and waddle and is less serious. Blisters form in non-feathered parts of the birds, like the comb, the blisters rupture leading to the black scabs.

The wet form affects the mouth and throat and can make it painful/difficult to eat, drink or breath. These, of course, are more serious effects which can lead to death.


How do I treat Avian Pox?

Unfortunately since it is a virus it just needs to run its course. If you have a chicken who is having difficulty eating or drinking you may need to get her to drink by getting a syringe full of water down her throat.


Can humans catch avian pox?

No, humans cannot get avian pox. The chickens are contagious to one another, but not to humans. If you see a chicken with symptoms you could try and isolate her, but most likely it has already spread to others in the flock and they will begin to show symptoms themselves.


Do they affect the eggs?

Chickens that are under stress, including illness, may not lay as many eggs. However, they eggs they do lay are perfectly fine to eat. Remember humans can't get avian pox.


How long does it last?

It takes roughly a month for it to make its way through one bird. Since it is spread slowly through the flock it may take a couple of months before everone has healed.


Want to read more?

Michigan Dept of Natural Resources
National Wildlife Health Center
Missisppi State Diseases of Poultry

I use affiliate links (disclosure). If you click on an Amazon link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission which is used to help fund this blog. The price to you remains unchanged.


Pin for later:

Nov 16, 2016

Waste Less Wednesday Blog Hop 11/16/16

Blog Hop Zero waste plastic free less waste sustainable

A blog party focused on environmentally friendly practices: zero waste, recycling, gardening, homesteading, sustainability, living plastic free and upcycling.  It is live Wednesday at 12:00 am CST through Friday at 11:55 pm CST. 

The Host:

Katy writes at SkipTheBag about her experiences trying to minimize waste, avoiding plastic and homesteading with her garden and chickens. If you love her posts you can follow her here:





Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML


Not sure what a blog hop is? Click here


The Rules:

  • Link up to 3 original blog posts related to minimizing waste. Posts can be zero waste, living plastic free, sustainability, less waste recipes, homesteading, upcycling or anything to do with helping out the environment.
  • No links to stores or link parties. Giveaways are OK as long as they are accompanied with a post.
  • Please visit your fellow bloggers: they care about the environment just like you!
  • In addition to featuring the most visited blog, the "most social" person will be featured. It's hard to track, but use the hashtag #WasteLessWednesday when commenting on people's blogs and sharing posts on social media to qualify.
  • Posts will show in a random order.
  • By participating you give permission for any part of your post, including pictures, to be used for party promotion. Don't worry, all credit will be given to the original source. You will also receive a weekly email reminder for Waste Less Wednesday. 

Features from Last Week:

Most social:

Katy's pick:

one brown planet, beach clean, plastic pollution, worlds largest crochet turtle, amigurumi


Link Up Below!



Nov 14, 2016

Easy DIY Garden Fence


As you may remember we recently got a new puppy named Maggie. We love her to death but she has caused many more headaches for us than we had with our other dog Lexy. She is a chewer, we've lost several cat toys, shoes and DVD cases to her. She's also a digger. She used to dig holes under the fence to come visit Lexy when she was still the neighbor's dog. Now she's moved from trying to dig under the fence to digging in the garden and yard.

We didn't want to lose our garden due to her digging and the chickens have started to scratch the mulch so we decided to put in a fence.

We knew that we needed something that was taller than Maggie to discourage her from trying to jump over. We'd probably have to have a 6 foot tall fence to completely eliminate that risk, but we figured if it was taller than her it would serve enough of a deterrent.

I didn't want it to cost too much because we weren't expecting to buy a fence and I didn't want anything too permanent as I'm hoping the animals would just magically stop going in the garden. The holes are about 2 inches by 3 inches. Big enough that you can see through it, but it keeps the animals out.

Garden Fence 

We went to the home improvement store and looked to see what they had. We finally settled on a 50 foot length of wire. The area we needed to cover was about 56 feet, however. So we knew we would need a gate.

Hubby had a cart full of lumber to build a gate when he saw the prefabricated piece of fence that he was able to just split in two to make a door. He attached it to two pieces of lumber so it is more sturdy.

Garden Fence Gate
We are just waiting to attach the lock, but it's been working great even without that. We've found no evidence of dog or chicken since putting up the fence.

Do you have a fence around your garden?


Shared on Our Simple Homestead, Waste Less Wednesday,

Nov 11, 2016

5 Simple Plastic-Free Swaps To Make In The Bathroom

plastic free zero waste

Plastic shampoo bottles, plastic razors, plastic toothbrushes, plastic, plastic, plastic. As I was started on my journey I realized how much waste was created in the bathroom. It can be a little overwhelming to figure out where to get started, but I realized there were some easy swaps that could be done.

File:Lush Cosmetics solid bar shampoo 8285658811 o.jpg
Shampoo Bars

1. Shampoo and Conditioner Bars 

I'll admit, I never thought twice about throwing my empty shampoo and bottles in the trash. Most of them are recyclable, but who has a separate recycling can in their bathroom? Not me, so into the trash they went.

Now that I've been using shampoo bar for months, I'm really surprised how easy the transition has been. I can't even call it more work, it's just a slightly different routine and you have eliminated a source of plastic from your life.

I highly recommend you check it out. And commit to using it for a while, a whole month or even the while bar. I've heard different brands can have different experiences (especially if homemade), but I've been happy with J.R. Liggett's*. I also have been trying out a conditioner bar and that seems to be working well too. 

File:Chrome-Safety-Razor.jpg
Safety Razor

2. Safety Razor

This is another switch I wish I'd made earlier. Hubby has used a safety razor for years, but I always just used disposables. I would use them forever, far longer than I probably should, but at the end of the day it was still plastic trash.

I'll admit I was really nervous about using a safety razor. I thought I would have to find a different way to hold the blade and move it up and down my leg. I watched several videos about shaving legs and armpits with a safety razor. And my actual experience? So easy! I haven't had to change my shaving process. I'm maybe a little more careful around the knees, but really it's been no different. In full disclosure I did get a small cut the front of my shin once. I have no idea how it happened or what caused it, but it was very small and healed quickly. I got a Merkur Long Handled Razor*.

File:Soap in blue dish.JPG
Bar Soap

3. Bar soap

For years I have been firmly in the body wash and poof loofah camp. Well once this last bottle of body wash runs out I'm going to be rejoining the bar soap and washcloth camp. Some soaps have left my skin feeling dry afterward, so there may be some experimenting to find one that works. However  if I'm remembering correctly I've not had that experience when using Dove soap*.


File:Tampon with applicator.jpg
Cardboard Applicator

4. Cardboard Applicators for Tampons

I was never exclusively using tampons with plastic applicators, but I also wasn't avoiding them. I typically would buy whatever was on sale. However like many other single use products once I started analyzing my waste it seemed like a no brainer to switch to cardboard applicators. Yes there are other options (no applicator or menstrual cup), but these are SIMPLE swaps. Those will be featured in part two more advanced swaps.

Bamboo Toothbrush*

5.  Bamboo Toothbrush

This is another swap I made in the beginning of my zero waste/plastic free journey and question why I didn't do it earlier. It's a toothbrush...just not a plastic one. Yes, the brushes are still plastic (nylon), but it's a whole lot better than the alternative. I have not found a commercially available toothbrush with natural bristles. If you find one please let me know. I'll try it for you, and the environment, but honestly the thought if putting boar hair in my mouth gives me pause (Although I love it for my hair brush*!). I discovered I push too hard while brushing my teeth, but since lightening up on that these Earth's Daughter's* toothbrushes work perfectly well.

So there you go, 5 simple swaps you could make today to help reduce your plastic use and waste in the bathroom.

Update: Want more of a challenge? Try the 5 Advanced Plastic Free Swaps For The Bathroom.

*This is an affiliate link, not a sponsored post. See disclosures

zero waste

Shared on Our Simple HomesteadWaste Less WednesdaySimply Natural Saturday

Nov 9, 2016

Waste Less Wednesday 11/9/16

Blog Hop Zero waste plastic free less waste sustainable


A blog party focused on environmentally friendly practices: zero waste, recycling, gardening, homesteading, sustainability, living plastic free and upcycling.  It is live Wednesday at 12:00 am CST through Friday at 11:55 pm CST. 

The Host:

Katy writes at SkipTheBag about her experiences trying to minimize waste, avoiding plastic and homesteading with her garden and chickens. If you love her posts you can follow her here:





Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML


Not sure what a blog hop is? Click here


The Rules:

  • Link up to 3 original blog posts related to minimizing waste. Posts can be zero waste, living plastic free, sustainability, less waste recipes, homesteading, upcycling or anything to do with helping out the environment.
  • No links to stores or link parties. Giveaways are OK as long as they are accompanied with a post.
  • Please visit your fellow bloggers: they care about the environment just like you!
  • In addition to featuring the most visited blog, the "most social" person will be featured. It's hard to track, but use the hashtag #WasteLessWednesday when commenting on people's blogs and sharing posts on social media to qualify.
  • Posts will show in a random order.
  • By participating you give permission for any part of your post, including pictures, to be used for party promotion. Don't worry all credit will be given to the original source. You will also receive a weekly email reminder for Waste Less Wednesday. 

Features from Last Week:

Most social:

ignoramt

Katy's pick:

Quick & Easy Denim Baskets repurposed from old worn jeans. I don't sew so If *I* can do it, anyone can. Check out how easy this is, y'all! #TaylorMadeHomestead


Link Up Below!