Is your pet getting TOO hot? Learn what to look for!

It’s extremely hot here in Missouri. As for a matter of fact, we’re currently under a heat advisory. So what does this mean for our pets?

1) Keep trips outside short! 10-30 minutes is plenty of time for most pets to do their business. It’s also enough time to start getting hot! So be watchful: when they’re done going potty, bring them inside!

2) Avoid pavement! The pavement itself can literally burn your pets paws off. Stay in grassy areas or carry your pet. No excuses.

3) Keep hydrated! Make sure all pets are well hydrated prior to trips outside. Especially if you plan on being outside for extended periods of time.

4) When traveling: Do not leave your pets in a vehicle ever! Temperatures rise so quickly even a 10 minute trip locked in a car can turn deadly.

Make a pupsicle this summer! Check out my recipe!

What symptoms to look for if you don’t have access to AC or will be outside with your pets for long periods of time:

1) Heavy panting

2) Lethargic or shaking (convulsions)

3) Not urinating or having diarrhea

If your pet is experiencing any of these, take a rectal temperature. If their temperature is 103° or higher it’s time to call the vet. Temperatures of 105°+ are deadly.

Some pets are at higher risk of heat related illness. If you have a pet that is overweight or has an exsisting health condition- be prepared.


1) Exercise at night! Temperatures drop when the sun isn’t out! However the pavement is still hot for a long time so check the pavement temp with your hand. If it’s too hot for your palms, it’s too hot for their paws!

Hank enjoying the grass at sunset

2) Stay in the shade! Again, direct sunlight will raise the body temperature faster than indirect sunlight.

3) Keep a bottle of water ready for your pet- offer frequent drink stops!

4) And if you must exercise- do so indoors or near water (lake, pond, sprinkler) to take a dip and cool off!

A perfect way to cool down

Remember, if you’re hot outside your pets are too!

Help your pets beat the heat with a pupsicle!

You’re probably well aware it’s already a super hot summer. Here in Missouri it has been crazy hot ever since the beginning of May. We literally had NO spring this year! As many folks do, I keep my pets indoors year-round. However, my dogs (and cat!) love to go outside anytime we are out there. With my garden in full swing, it means I’m out there a lot. Dogs and cats alike can get overheated quickly. If it goes untreated for too long it can be lethal. This is why it is so important to not only keep your pets hydrated but also provide them with a cool place to go to get out of the Sun.

Making pupsicles are a fun way to not only keep them hydrated but also give them a tasty treat!

Be aware that there are some fruits that are not recommended for this recipe! Pets should NOT have because they are toxic to them:

  • Grapes/raisins
  • Cherries
  • Currants

Stick to organic fruits. Some of my favorites are strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries.

Simple Pupsicle Recipe

Makes 4 standard size popsicles


12 oz goat milk (or bone broth!)

1 cup fresh organic strawberries or blueberries

4 duck feet


Using a blender, puree the fruit with the liquid (goat milk or bone broth).

Then pour into molds, top off with the duck foot.

Freeze for approximately 4 hours (depending on freezer temp, may take longer)


Dandelions: the most overlooked common plant

I can still remember the taste of those yellow flowers on my finger tips. As a child, I would pick tons and tons of them. Lay in the grass on a hot day, making wishes as I blew the older ones away. Oh to be a kid again! We were so care free and our body’s were rarely sore.. maybe it’s because of all those dandelions we rolled in.

BUT Dandelions are weeds! Right?

No way! However not everyone agrees. Maybe they just don’t know all the health benefits?

If you don’t know the health benefits of dandelions then you are missing out! Check out this list of benefits:

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Appetite stimulant
  • Great source of vitamin A & vitamin K
  • Excellent for healing skin (including acne)
  • Rich in iron and protein
  • Diuretic
  • Dandelion Salve – great for dry skin & achy muscles

Take a look at my video on how I made Dandelion Salve. The full recipe is included under the video!


Recipe for Dandelion Salve:

Yield: 4, 4oz containers
Tools needed:
2 pint jars
Mesh strainer
Measuring cup
4 , 4 oz jars
Crock pot
16 oz infused oil (coconut, avacado.. your choice)
2 oz coconut oil
2-3 oz beeswax (more will make salve harder)
Optional: 15-25 drops essential oils, therapeutic grade only
Pick 4 cups worth of dandelions. ONLY pick untreated flowers, do not use flowers that are near properties that spray chemicals! The wind can carry those chemicals into your yard!!

Dry them on a paper towel for a couple days.
Next infuse in oil for 1 month.
To infuse the flowers: choose your oil (coconut works great) and pour flowers into jar. Leave about 2 inches of head space. Top off with oil being sure to cover all of them. Leave alone for a month. You can also quick process oil infusion in a crock pot of water on low for 8 hours.
With a mesh strainer or cheesecloth strain oil into a new clean jar.
Add beeswax and coconut oil. Depending on how much beeswax you use, it’ll be soft or hard. I like to use close to 3oz.
Allow to melt using low heat. A crock pot works nicely for this. Be sure to give it a stir or two. Turn heat off. After an hour add in chosen essential oils when oil has cooled down (but not set up).
At this point pour into your smaller containers and allow to cool for the rest of the day before attempting to use.
The salve should be a nice creamy yellow when it’s all set up.
This will stay good for up to a year. For best results use within the first 6 months.

Homemade Blackberry Icing

With spring here, our organic blackberry bushes are finally back in bloom. Soon enough we’ll have buckets full of blackberries and not enough recipes to use them all! My favorite way to use my organic berries is in desserts. Blackberries make the perfect garnish on top of a cake. You can even use them to color your favorite icing recipe. Here’s my recipe how I achieved a sweet lavender color for this delicious icing:

Blackberry Icing

1/2 cup fresh (not frozen) blackberries
8 ounces full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


First puree blackberries then take contents through a mesh strainer with a bowl underneath to catch your puree. This will separate the seeds – which there are tons so do not skip this step 😀. Set the seedless puree to the side.

Caution: blackberries will stain everything! Try keeping an old towel on hand to wipe up any mishaps quickly!

Next mix your icing together. I use a KitchenAid mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat the cream cheese and butter together on high speed until it’s smooth. Then add confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Beat again but on low speed for approximately 15 seconds. At this point you’ll need the blackberry puree. Add the entire bowl or little by little to achieve your desired color! Then switch to high speed and beat for an additional 2 minutes.


Use your favorite piping bags and tip to ice your cake. Garnish with blackberries if you like, and enjoy!

Nettie’s Berry-biotic Treats

          Let’s take a look at a healthy summertime treat for your pets! Check out my latest video for how to make these treats:

I’ve pieced together a very simple yet extremely healthy treat for your pets (or even for you)! With only 4 ingredients, it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser for picky dogs as well as dogs with food sensitivities! The 4 ingredients I’ve chosen are raw goat’s milk, greek yogurt, Super Snouts Urinary Berry, and organic blueberries from my garden.

Did you know? 

Raw goat’s milk is a great source of probiotics! It’s also much easier to digest in comparison to cow’s milk because the fat globules are smaller. Goat’s milk is perfect for adding nutritious hydration to your pet’s meals as well as curing most upset G.I issues .

Cranberry and blueberries are super rich antioxidants! Antioxidants are very important to not only our health but also our pets! This is because they help prevent free radicals from damaging cells. So, what does that mean? It means these powerful berries help prevent cancer and many diseases.

So, if you have about 5 minutes and a silicone mold or ice tray, you’ve got to try these out! Here’s the recipe:

Nettie’s Berry-biotic Treats

12-14 bite sized treats

2.5 hours (5 minutes or less to prepare)

Tools required:
1 silicone mold, or an empty ice tray
1 mixing bowl
1 whisk to mix

1 cup of raw goat’s milk
1 cup greek yogurt
1-2 scoops Super Snouts Urinary Berry (follow their guidelines)
1/4 – 1/2 cups blueberries

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, then pour into the mold. Freeze for approximately 2 hours, then serve.

Suggested feeding:
1 treat for pets up to 25 lbs
2 for dogs over 25 lbs daily

          These treats will stay good for up to 3 months in the freezer.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns feel free to ask!

Bone broth is for you and your pets!

Do you ever remember eating fresh made chicken noodle soup after it simmered all day long? How wonderful it could make you feel? That boost you got after a big bowl, or even just a few sips is very real. It was from the bone broth!

Bone broth is not only a beneficial food for us humans but also our furry friends. Pets that are aging, sick, or have cancer can benefit greatly! Even healthy pets benefit from the nutritious hydration! Here’s the top 5 reasons you and your dog should be consuming bone broth:

1) Helps boost the immune system! The amino acids and minerals in bone broth have been shown to boost not only our immune system but also dogs!

2) Heals leaky gut. The collagen in the bone broth seals up tears and holes in the intestines.

3) Supports joints! Bone broth not only has glucosamine but also chondroitin sulfate. The gelatin and collagen also help pad the joints.

4) Great for skin health! The collagen (again!) Is a great helper in improving your skin’s elasticity which means less wrinkles!

5) Flavorful hydration! Pets that eat kibble are in a constant state of dehydration. Adding bone broth on top of their food will not only give them many health benefits but help hydrate them.

So what are you you waiting for? Go to your local natural grocery store and get some for yourself and the pets too! Or better yet make your own! Here’s a link to Dog’s Naturally Magazine recipe on a great bone broth for your dogs:

Water bath canning, easy but BEWARE of these common mistakes!

With the peak of the growing season coming up, I’m seeing tons of friends and fellow bloggers posting about what to do with their harvest! You have a few options: eat em, dehydrate (freeze drying is even better!), freeze, or can it. I typically freeze or water bath can my extras. Water bath canning method is super easy but you will need some basic tools and a recipe with the proper amounts of vinegar and/or other agents to preserve the food. I definitely recommend getting one of the current Ball canning books. It has tons of timeless recipes for everyone to enjoy. Stop by your local home and garden store or check out their website : for a copy. This book has tons of great information and yummy recipes!

Fresh picked tomatoes and peppers from my garden. Roma is my favorite tomato to use for sauce.

Some of the most common mistakes I see in water bath canning:

1) Using the water bath method when they SHOULDN’T. You simply cannot water bath can everything. Meats and many other foods low in acid need to be pressure canned… That’s a whole different blog that I’m not even an expert on (yet 😉).

2) Not cleaning the top brim of the jars after filling. If there is any left over residue from dropping salsa (or whatever you’re pouring) on the lid… You can’t get a proper seal. Not a proper seal = bacteria growth = somebody is going to get sick or worse 💀.

3) Not providing enough head space. You need a 1/4 -1/2 inch of head space in all recipes. This helps prevent moisture from degrading the seal. Trust me, here in 6 months you don’t want to pop open a can of sauce to find out it’s totally molded because it was packed full. Trust the pros here.. leave headspace!

4) Cranking down the lids. This isn’t a competition. We’ve gotta let the air bubbles release.. or you could have an explosive jar. PS those rings are meant to come off after they’ve sealed or else you could end up with a rusted ring. Wait a day or two before taking them off.

5) Not using the proper recipe. Again- reference a recipe that is tried and true. If you’re a beginner don’t risk sickness to try making up a new recipe. Until you’ve done tons of research this just isn’t something you can wing.

I hope this blog was helpful and you learned something new!

Happy canning everyone!

Japanese Beetles Almost Killed My Entire Garden

A week ago everything was going just as planned… Flowers in full bloom, apples growing, blackberries ripening. It’s been so hot that I haven’t been able to get out in the garden in full light for long periods of time to really keep an eye out for bugs. I wasn’t even very worried about bugs because I use Diatomaceous Earth all around my garden pretty heavily and up until a few days ago it was working wonderfully.

When you use as much D.E as I do, you look like this regularly!

Well July 3rd I was getting ready to go run some errands in the morning and I stepped outside and there was a swarm of giant flying bugs around one of my bushes! At least 50-100 of these giant bugs! It was pretty scary. I remembered I had Wondercide and Neem oil inside the house. I got a couple bottles mixed up and started spraying around the bush (from just inside the house!!). It helped a tiny bit. Definitely not enough to my satisfaction! So I had the kids go out the door on the opposite side of the house and I ran out the back door. I was dodging bugs left and right.. got in the car and picked up the kids down by the gate. We start driving and I can just see hundreds probably thousands of tiny beetles in the air. So we went to the feed store and bought some horse fly traps (I thought that’s what they were!). I happened to see a giant Japanese Beetle trap and figured I may as well get one of those too. Boy was I right to get ONE. So , later on it was sunset time, and I went out to water the apple trees because it’d been so dry outside. The swarm magically went away- probably because drenched it in neem, ceder oil, and diatomaceous earth! Well, if you could imagine….. I’m unraveling the hose (50 feet away from the apple trees) and I noticed a couple of my trees suddenly look like they’re dieing!! I started walking closer with the hose and I see hundreds, probably thousands of Japanese Beetles covering every inch of a few of trees!! Holy moly, it was straight Biblical. My freakout mode was activated. I start yelling for my husband. I grab the neem oil and started spraying the trees. Then grab a couple pounds of diatomaceous earth and started dusting the trees. It looked like it had snowed in July. I had to have my husband set up the Japanese Beetle trap because they started swarming me the moment I walked outside with it… I’ve never experienced that many swarming ME. They were in my shirt, on my eye glasses, stuck in my hair. It was flat out creepy. He got the bag hung up.

Completely full of beetles, day 2 we dumped them.. they filled up almost immediately again

I kid you not it was FULL by 7 am. So my husband dumped it. It filled half a grocery bag. Within an hour it was full again. I went and bought 3 more traps. I got home and set up the other 3 traps. 2 more on the fence (3 total on the property line) and one in the chicken coop). All 4 were full within an hour! So it’s the 4th of July.. mind you we have company coming in a few hours.. we dumped them again! So we were up to 9 bags full of dead Japanese beetles by dinner time.

Each bag weighs about 15 pounds

We dumped 3 of the bags again on July 5th. Finally the swarms are down to nothing. I realize we’re attracting a lot of extra beetles.. however, when you live in crop country aka the Midwest aka farming town and these farmers are using HELICOPTERS .. yes.. helicopters to spray pesticides you’re going to end up thousands of displaced bugs. Fortunately, it was only my apple and peach trees. Fortunately, I caught it the day it started. Had we been out of town, or the store been sold out of these traps we would of lost our small orchard that is finally going to give us our first fruits!

Granny Smith apple tree looks ok (diatomaceous earth is that white stuff you’re seeing), some limbs are bad most are fine!
45 pounds of Japanese Beetles from 3 traps in one day! We’ve trapped approximately 15,000 of these beetles in 3 days and I’m still trapping more!

The moral of this story is- you can do everything organic (neem oil, D.E) and some dumbass is going to spray so much pesticides that you will fall victim to their bugs. When it happens, you’re going to have to make a choice. 1) You can hand pick a thousand beetles off several 10 foot apple trees. 2) You can say “screw it! I’ve got to fight fire with fire- and use a pesticide that is not organic like sevin dust. That ought to do it?”. 3) treat your yard with milky spore to help NEXT year. 4) Trap em. Attract and trap. I chose option number 4 and I saved my trees. One might be a goner. But I believe the rest are going to survive this. So, my advice is this- you do what you feel comfortable with. In my case I felt I had to step up kill as many beetles as I could even if it meant attracting everyone on the next property over. Must be the fighter in me 😀.

I definitely recommend the Rescue! Disposable Japanese Beetle traps. You can find them at most home & garden stores or even on Amazon. I got 3 more via Amazon July 5th (was supposed to be here the 3rd of Julyso much for my prime membership grr!) I’ll probably set those out if we get another wave of beetles but I do believe that these little devils are at the end of their life cycle so I’ll keep my fingers crossed. Either way, I’m feeling confident that I’m prepared!

I really hope this tree doesn’t die ☹️ Notice my traps are set about 25 feet away from the trees.


July 18: The Japanese Beetle population is nearly gone. I’m finding a few still on my coneflowers and roses but nothing crazy! Also I found some dead bugs so I took a picture of them! These are the bugs that were swarming my bush that scary day at the beginning of July! Introducing the Fig beetle!

Japanese Beetle next to a Fig Beetle, those things are huge!

Another update::

I believe two of our apple trees are dead. We had just planted them a few weeks before the Beatles came and the few leaves that they had werecompletely ate away. For the most part though our apple trees have survived and have grown back leaves.

Blackberry Peach Pie Filling

Yes I’m a little (a lot) obsessed with blackberries right now! Probably because I have so many I need to make use of already! My blackberry bushes are producing so well this summer, I’m loving it! I’ve never made a blackberry pie so I searched on the internet and even found some old family recipes. I’ve pieced them together to make my own awesome pie filling, I’m not going to even act like I have a decent pie crust recipe- beg your grandma for some help on that!!

For this recipe you need a handful of ingredients and 5 minutes to prep before baking!
Blackberry Peach Pie Filling

  • 2 cups of fresh blackberries
  • 4 peaches halved
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp of corn starch or flour (to thicken the juices)

Combine sugar and corn starch in a large bowl with fruit, then fill your pie crust.

Bake according to the crust recipe. I like to add a little extra flavor to the top crust. To do this you’ll need:

  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tbsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of ground nutmeg

Simply cover the crust with the melted butter and sprinkle the cinnamon and nutmeg over the top!

Get creative with some cookie cutters and make the crust fancy!

After baking let cool. Enjoy with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream!

From Missouri with love,


Spiked Blackberry Lemonade

I’ve been picking tons of blackberries this weekend! It’s only the beginning of blackberry season!! Check out this simple drink recipe that’s sure to be a major hit at your next get-together!

You’ll need:

5-7 organic lemons

1 cup organic blackberries (freshly picked are best!)

8-10 spare organic blackberries for garnish

5-10 mint branches for garnish (one per cup)

1-2 cups of sugar (use half as much if using stevia)

10-15oz of Maker’s Mark or your favorite bourbon (or add 1 shot to each 8 oz glass)

8.5 cups of water

1 mesh strainer

1 spoon

1 blender

1 2qt container to hold the Lemonade mixture


Halve the lemons and squeeze lemon juice into 2 qt container, discard seeds. This should give you approximately 3/4-1 cup of juice. You can add more or less to your liking.

Blend blackberries with 1/2c of water (helps it blend better)

Blackberries can stain quickly so I do this step in the sink!

Drain through the mesh strainer.. unless you don’t mind a thousand seeds in your juice.

Add 8 cups of cold water to your 2 qt container.

Add in blackberry juice, sugar, and Maker’s Mark.

Mix well, let it chill in the fridge for an hour. Serve with a cup full of ice, mint as garnish, and one blackberry on top.

This recipe will make 8-10 8oz drinks.


If you’re having underage kids at your next party I’d recommend mixing in the bourbon into individual adult cups and not the full container to avoid any accidents.

Sativa Blend Terpene Review!

I promised a follow-up on the Sativa Blend! Here it is:

I’m really enjoying this terpene! It’s very uplifting and definitely gave me some extra energy! The taste isn’t bad either.. Its a subtle citrus minty taste -odd combination, but not bad.

I’ve mixed this tiny vial (.5 ml) with 15ml of MCT oil. I am taking a few drops in the AM and few more mid day as a pick me up when I’m ready to crash and need that extra kick of energy. So far it’s working wonderfully with my CBD oil isolate.

Tonight I’m going to be adding Tahoe OG to to my nightly routine to see if it helps me relax and get to sleep quicker. I’ll review Tahoe OG Friday morning after I’ve used it for a few nights.

Check out my Facebook page to stay up to date with the new products I’m reviewing and ways you can integrate all things natural into your life!

Terpenes, why do they matter?

I want to start this conversation by saying that in this project I’m using isolate as well as terpenes that are not derived from the cannabis plant at all.

If your’e anything like me, you’ve tried a few reputable brands of CBD oil and have had some success with them. Or perhaps I’m speaking a foreign language to you, but it sounds a little familiar. Here’s the scoop- CBD is really taking off worldwide. Its nothing new, but more people are getting educated on it and sharing their success with it. You have to be careful though… some companies don’t care to test their final products for  purity & potency, heavy metals, solvents, terpenes, much less microbial contaminants.  If there’s ANYTHING you take from reading this blog entry I hope it’s  this: If the 3rd party batch results are not IMMEDIATELY available for your viewing pleasure- do not open it. Do not ingest it. As a sidenote- I literally do not trust any MLM company pushing CBD. They are jacking up prices to profit from you, and passing profits to their up line (you know how it works..) . I hate to burst anyone’s bubble- but that’s kinda sick and wrong. Buy from a local store that gives you CHOICES. WHEW- sorry about that rant! Back to my journey! 

Why Terpenes?

I’m not quite getting the specific results I want. I’m looking for an oil I can take during the day to help with energy and then one at night to help combat insomnia and every day stress. Most importantly I want to control my tremors. I want them to go away.

What I have been finding in many of the CBD oils I try is they have a seemingly random terpene profile. I literally thought there were only maybe 10 terpenes because it’s all I ever saw on the 3rd party batch results. It was always same terpenes but in varying amounts- lemonene, linalool, myrence , pinene, humulene, and a few others. Honestly, I didn’t even know what terpenes were whenever I was reading the third party batch results. This really sparked my interest in researching terpenes.

In my early research I didn’t realize there were over 100 terpenes! I was really in over my head. I’m still learning; there’s simply a wealth of information out there that I haven’t touched and even more that science keeps uncovering. The most important truth that I’ve absorbed so far though is that terpenes are extremely important for those looking for a particular therapeutic use for their oil. For those of you that are still struggling to understand: terpenes are what give plants their aroma and taste. They also help guide the effect of your CBD oil (or cannabis high if that’s your -legal- jam). To those that understand science little bit more here is the actual definition as provided by Google:


After weeks of research I decided it was time to venture out and do a little experimenting. Since I’m not comfortable mixing my own profile (yet) I chose some that are well researched and match what I want to achieve. Some are great for energy, others are better for sleep. I’ll be taking each sample (mixed in oil) for several days in a row and keeping a live diary of my results. I’m following the guidelines set by True Terpenes to mix my terpenes at a 3% by volume in MCT oil.

My samples!

The first terpene blend I’m using is my sample of Sativa Blend. This profile is typically used to increase energy. The dominant terpenes in Sativa Blend are :

  • Caryophyllene
  • Myrcene
  • Limonene
  • Humulene


I’m really hoping to get better results by adding in specific blends of terpenes. 

Please like and share my journey here as well as my BRAND NEW Facebook page to hear more updates!
To learn more about mixing terpenes I suggest inquiring with whomever you purchase them through. Terpenes are very concentrated and therefore dangerous. Do not risk harming yourself due to lack of education.

Marans, Welsummer, and Easter Eggers OH MY!

Many people raise chickens for eggs and/or meat. We raise ours just for egg production. Even when they get old and stop laying eggs we keep them around and let them live a long happy life. We absolutely love being able to provide a safe large area or them to forage for bugs and worms. To do this can be quite the task when you live in a rural area. My husband installed an impressive fence that even curves underground to keep out digging predators. However, that 5 foot fence didn’t keep out whatever killed our entire flock last year. Some of those prized chickens were over 10 years old. Our Lavender Orpington whom I named Luke Bryan (because he was so pretty and could sing) was also killed on the same night. Whatever it was, it took on some the most hardy chickens I’ve ever known.


A Golf ball to keep snakes from eating eggs

We then bought 8 Ameraucana pullets from a local family in town. It turned out that three of them were roosters. If you’re not familiar with raising chickens… 3 roosters is too many for a small flock. Typically 1:7+ is the ratio you want for a breeding program. We’re not raising chickens to breed/sell, but sometimes it’s nice to hatch our own chicks instead of having to buy them. In all reality, we didn’t want more than 1 rooster regardless of the flock size. YET here we are.

I don’t have it in me to kill the extra roosters and nobody around here wants one. So, we decided to buy enough chicks to even the playing field a bit.

19 day old Welsummer and Easter Egger chicks that we bought from Cackle Hatchery.

We are the proud parents of 24 new tiny chicks. We now have 4 breeds of chickens. In this section I’m going to walk you through the breeds we have and why I chose them.

Egg color: medium brown with dark speckles
Egg production: 170+ per year
Size: Hens- 6lbs Roosters- 7 lb

These chickens originated in Welsum, Holland in the early 1900s. In 1991, they were finally added to the American Standard of Perfection. They are known to be dual purpose birds (meat+eggs) with beautiful golden to red brown feathers. These chickens are still considered a rare breed here in the USA but are picking up popularity. I chose these because of their docile personality and brown eggs!

French Black Marans
Egg color: dark chesnut brown
Egg production: 200+ per yr
Size: Hens- 6 lbs Roosters- 7.5 lbs

You can bet these chickens originated in the Marans of France! These lovely black feathered birds are excellent egg layers! Black Marans have feathers down their legs even! We certainly look forward to having tons dark brown eggs this fall! Here is a color chart for Marans eggs. According to the Marans Club in the UK, their eggs should be between a 4-7 consistently. Any eggs colored between a 1-3 isn’t acceptable and anything darker than a 7 is ok but not typical.. more of a rare occurrence. I decided to get a few of these to add some more variety in the color of eggs we have. I may get some Cooper Marans next year if these do well with our flock. Marans can be less than friendly so I didn’t want to disturb the peaceful vibe we have right now by adding too many at once.

photo credit:

4 few days old French Black Marans pullets

Egg color: blue
Egg production: 180+ per year
Size: Hens-5.5 lbs Roosters- 6.5lbs

These are one my favorite breeds of chicken. They are known to be super friendly docile chickens. Even the roosters we’ve had we’re all sweet. Many of them love to come sit on your lap for a visit. These chickens are also known to have muffs, beards, silver legs with white bottom, and a peacomb. What many people do not know is: they’re a product of selective breeding of the Araucana. Araucuanas originated in Chili and are an even more rare breed than Ameraucanas. This is because they possess a gene that can be lethal to the baby chick. That particular gene is what gives them their tufted ears. When you have a rooster + hen that both have the gene, then many times the chick dies inside shell. The one major difference between the two breeds is that Ameraucanas do not have tufted ears.

So what does all this have to do with Easter Eggers?

Easter Egger
Egg color: pink, light brown, green, or blue
Egg production: 180-200 per year
Size: Hens- 6 lbs Roosters- 7 lbs

This breed isn’t a true breed. They’re the mutt of a Ameraucana (or Araucana) and possess the blue egg genes. They don’t meet the breed standards of either completely and sometimes can have other breeds in them as well. They can have all the same traits of them or a few. Ours for example have silver legs, peacomb, muffs, but lay shades of green,blue and pink eggs. A true Ameraucana or Araucana would ONLY lay a blue egg. None the less, these beauties are still very friendly, and quickly becoming the most popular breed! I went ahead and got several of these chicks because they are super sweet, have colorful eggs, and saved a few bucks in comparison to the pure breed Ameraucana. After all, we’re not a breeding program! We’re in this simply for the colorful eggs and friendly fluffy chickens.

Eggs in every color, including a giant one
The adult flock of Ameraucanas and Easter Eggers in winter.. munching on broken egg shells and various fresh veggies.

Top Common Dangerous Ingredients in Pet Food

The pet food industry is riddled with false misleading advertising and terrible ingredients. It’s flat out confusing to the average consumer to distinguish between a good food and terrible food.

When you walk into a pet food store you see aisles filled with food. Many will feature beautiful artwork on them. Some have keywords like: healthy, all natural, prescription. It’s literally a jungle out there.

I’m encouraging you to flip over your pets food package and read the ingredient panel. If you come across any of these ingredients, return the food to the retailer.

1) Corn , wheat, soy: These are the most common dangerous ingredients I see in big box stores, discount shops, and AT THE VET. Yes, veterinary clinics are selling the crap out of foods that are supposedly prescription quality yet they feature tons of corn, wheat , and/or soy. Studies have PROVEN these are common allergens and pets absolutely do not need these much less digest them properly. Cats also are obligate carnivores are have zero business eating corn nor wheat. Feral cats eat rodents! We all know this, it’s not news! So why are food companies pushing corn and wheat into these foods, more importantly why are we still keeping them in business?

2) Carrageenan: Its used as thickening agent typically. What many people do not realize is this red seaweed is also lurking in many plant based milks and other human foods as well. This additive has zero nutritional benefits! Studies have shown carrageenan to cause gastric distress for pets and even lead to cancer. What does this mean? Major inflammation in the intestines, which will lead to leaky gut. Having a leaky gut is nothing to play around with! We do not want toxic waste leaking into our pets blood stream!

3) Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum: These are just as dangerous as carrageenan! Both are common in canned food as well. They are thickening and stabilizing agents. Both are also known to cause gastric distress and inflammation. Many companies are still using these; they claim it’s difficult to find better additive. However, companies such as KOHA and Nature’s Logic have been doing it all along. Good job guys!

3) Coloring aka Red #40, Yellow#5 ,Yellow #6: When you see a color # listed as an ingredient, just put it back down. These toxic additives are for the human eyes only. Pets do not care what color the food is. This is simply a marketing tool to catch YOUR attention. More importantly, these colors are ILLEGAL across the world in foods. Why? Because they cause cancer.

Made “with” chicken. Did you know that to put “made with chicken” on this label it is only required to have 3% chicken total in the can?
This one hits the jackpot for by products, carrageenan, guar gum, xanthan gum, and food coloring!

4) By- product meal: This is the scrap feet, lungs, brains, feathers, and more. These are portions not suitable for human consumption much less animal. Also keep an eye out for unidentified “meat meal”. These can include diseased animals, road kill, and EUTHANIZED animals. Gross.

5 A) Sourcing: Where are the ingredients being sourced? China? Gross. USA? Great. New Zealand? Even better! Did you know the European Union actually enforces regulations instead of letting companies slide by when they violate the rules? With this is mind, be careful about choosing USA products. The pet food industry is very losely regulated. Many corporations source from China frequently to save a few bucks. As a consumer, take pride in buying from companies with enough integrity to source from reputable farmers that truly care about their livestock and/or crops.

5 B) The manufacturer: Do you know who’s making the food? Have you searched for recent recalls/ why the recall happened? When you flip over your bag of kibble or treats- even it’s grain free, “all natural”, no added flavors… This could still be lurking in the background. There *could be* all kinds of bad things in your batch of food. Check out the manufacturer. Many are known to literally duck tape the problems instead of fixing them. Many do even worse , yet are still producing pet food on a massive scale.

So now what?

Look for small batch, 3rd party tested, family owned companies (not giant corporations)! Check out your local independently owned natural pet food stores.

Some of my favorite pet food companies include: Ziwipeak, Honest Kitchen, Nature’s Logic, OC RAW, Steve’s Real Food, Zignature, Orijen/Acana, KOHA, Lotus, and K9 Naturals. All of them have quality ingredients backed by awesome manufacturers.

A small sampling of what’s in my pantry right now. The deep freeze holds all of my raw bones, goat’s milk, and a few brands of raw food.

Take a moment, if you haven’t already and watch on Netflix the documentary “Pet Fooled” directed by Kohl Harrington. This film highlights everything I just pointed out and even more! It’s definitely an eye opening film that ALL pet parents must watch.

I know this is alot to take in. Every small step you can take to better your pets health is an important step. We are all a part of this journey to learning more about pet nutrition. The goal is to keep moving in a positive direction.

Websites and further research sources I recommend:

Gardening Season

My son Wyatt hanging out by the raised garden beds

My favorite time of year is finally here. I love these rainy days.. the temperature is perfect for a light jacket. Most of all- it’s time to get the garden going again.

It’s May and my asparagus has decided to finally pop back up. Better late than never I suppose? I was getting worried that this unpredictable Missouri weather had killed it for good. As per the usual- I’m taken by surprise.

So I’ve been pulling weeds here and there that I let over grow in my raised garden beds last fall. It’s been a work in progress for a couple weeks. Having 2 elementary age kids and an infant will make you lose track of time! Regretfully I didn’t utilize my garden to it’s full potential last season but I’m making up for it this year.

I’ve put about 40 lbs of compost in each box, turned the soil, and found some old garden tools hiding in the dead weeds. As my husband says ‘Shoulda put those in the shed where they belong so they won’t get rusted’. So, needless to say- I need new tools. I trimmed up the black berry bushes somewhat Sunday. Talk about getting out of control! I was pulling thorns out of my hair all day. It was not fun, but I definitely felt a sense of accomplishment when I was done.

Since then I have planted 2 full (new) boxes of strawberries, a few peppers, and tomatoes. My asparagus box is coming along nicely, as well as my goji berry, blue berries, blackberries, and herb box. I have so much mint that i just might have to open a mojito bar to use it all up.

I hope to plant even more beans, peas, cucumbers, and more fruit trees this year. So far I have about 100 green bean seeds planted. My dog Stormy ran me over when I was getting ready to dust around the box with Diatomaceous Earth so I called it quits.

I’m fortunate I didn’t break a bone! I bit the dust hard!

I just received a couple shipments from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. I have a couple fig trees and blue berry bushes to plant as soon as this weather clears up a little. Today, I’m adventuring into the city to find a nursery with 2-3 year old apple trees so we can plant several of those this weekend. Fun times ahead!

What are you planning to plant this season? Anything new and exciting? I’m always looking for adventurous varieties to try out 😀

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