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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Personal "Christmas Club" Postage Stamps Savings Account

Sometimes, I save stamps through the year and have enough stamps saved by Christmas to use them and not have to fork over money to the PO for mailing gifts. It is sort of like a Christmas club savings account, but with stamps. This is akin to saving change all year to spend it at Christmas. Saving stamps is my unique parsimonious scheme.

I did not set out to do this, but one year I knew I could not afford to mail my gifts that I had worked so hard to acquire for little throughout the year. As I scrounged for stamps so I would not have to come up with cash, I found a stamp here and a stamp there. Those single stamps, forgotten by me, helped to save almost the whole cost of mailing a box.

Often, I find envelopes stamped and never mailed. If you cut these stamps off and affix to a package with Elmer's glue, you have salvaged a stamp. Right now, I have an envelope with a 33 cent stamp. This will go into my stash of Christmas stamps. The stamp would never have been thrown away! But, now I have a new goal for stamps! It is my new Christmas tradition!

Some of the stamps were not adequate for mailing a letter after postage went up and I had forgotten to buy penny stamps. Others were just lost. Then, there were the penny stamps I bought and did not use. Yes, those packages had loads of stamps!

Using less cash and more forgotten stamps worked for me! Now, I just set aside the sheets with at least three stamps left and use those at Christmas for gift mailing. Setting aside three stamps each month for a year: 3 stamps x $.42 x 12 months=$14.12.

You must realize I don't use a book of stamps each month. So, I will not have deliberately set aside stamps that will mail a box without using some cash. However, if you do use many books of stamps during the year, this "savings plan" will work for you. A flat-rate box costs $10.95 or $14.95 at USPS, depending on the size box.

One year around September, I started saving change with the express intent of using it for mailing gifts. Since I mail gifts for three people to NYC and five in Texas, I put all gifts for one destination in one box. The weight of the gifts does not matter. However, they must all fit in one flat rate box.

I do and can use change during the year even if I am saving it. Stamps can only be used for one thing--mailing items.

Has anyone ever scrounged for stamps to mail a letter or box?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Practical Tap-Dancing Chickens in My Yard

For months I have observed my hens scratch, step, and peck to find their food. I sat entranced, watching when it became obvious their movements were much like a choreographed dance.

One day, all four hens were in unison, doing exactly the same “dance steps” to the same tempo. Their rhythm is intoxicating. I feel mesmerized as I sit in the cool greenness of my yard, gently swaying in the yard swing, observing their dance. It’s almost as if nothing but the hens and I exist. They dance and I am the appreciative audience.

In tap terms, this is how hens search.--Hen Dance

Done slowly and leisurely or quickly and with energy

L brush back, (scritch sound)

L step in place

R brush back (scritch sound)

R step in place

L back step

R back step

Peck, peck, peck

Repeat, ad infinitum

Variations can include two R brush backs (spanks) before the step back, two L brush backs (spanks), anything that seems expeditious to get to the bugs.

Occasionally look around to see who else seems to be having luck, especially when you hear a slight sound emitted that sounds like a signal for bugs or success. Run over to the good bug spot and start the dance over.

Repeat from the beginning, all day long.

Okay. When the dancing is over, my hens then wander about the yard pecking grass. Whoever said they keep down weeds forgot to mention that they do also take the grass and scratch up bulbs, too. I watched my four hens one day for about 30 minutes when they were close enough to me to see exactly what they were eating…green stuff.

Let me tell you—they do love St. Augustine Grass. The weird thing is—they never eat it right after it is mowed. A few days later, they take a snip here and a snip there, walking all over the yard—step, snip, step, snip. Their beaks are very good at snipping off an inch or so. Some days, they spend an hour just snipping grass. These are the days when they have spent at least forty-five minutes doing their chicken dance—hunt, scratch, peck.

There are often days when I sit and swing and muse about chickens. There are so many unanswered questions. How long have chickens been doing their dance with the step, snip variation? Since these hens have never known a mother or seen another chicken other than chicks and themselves, all their actions are instinctive.

Reared without a mother to guide them, they instinctively know how to get food—pecking, snatching, and running with food has been their life since I brought them home. I just marvel at the instinctive nature of their survival. Most animals with which I have the most contact have mothers to protect and feed them until they can feed on their own and evade predators.

Chickens don’t have a very present mother the way many of us raise them in our back yards. But, just watching their dance causes me to wonder every day. They come into this world prepared to find food. They instinctively dance for their food. And, they all know the same steps.

Could this be the latest Chicken Dance? Do your chickens tap dance, too?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Something wrong with blog

Yes, it looks rather bare. All the info on the right is waaaay down at the bottom of the page. I am getting no clues as to what happened. Stuff on dashboard does not work. Any ideas?

Managing Missing Money: Budgets?

Everytime I hear someone talk about a budget, I go a little ballistic. When I add up my fixed bills--telephone/internet/cell; utilities that include water, sewer, garbage; gas and car insurance; and personal items/care, I come out with more debt than money. In other words, I am in the red all the time. So, how does a budget fix that?

It doesn't! My car and home are paid for. If the car needs a repair, I am really out of luck. Savings? What is that? I paid for my home rather than put money in the bank. Hey, my mortgage was less than $200/month. Rent would have been higher by far.

The implication (explicit and implicit) of the budget gurus is that management of money is the entire problem. No, it is not!

I really need the cell. I decided to give up the home phone that I was keeping for dialing 911. However, giving up the house phone and line meant I could not get the internet, Part of my patching together an income depends on making money from the computer and internet connection. There is an option of getting a line for the computer connection that would cost the same or a bit more than the house phone line. The cell uses a cheap plan that works with my calling habits. Yet, I have 3000 to 5000 rollover minutes each month. My home phone is no-frills--no long-distance, no caller ID, nothing. My children and grandchildren all live 1000 miles away. So, the cell and internet are two mediums of communication that I need. Plus, all my news and weather are from the cheap DSL Lite.

The utility bill is not negotiable either. I must have the ac when it is 100 degrees out because of breathing problems. Period. Heat is not used in the winter at night or if I am out of the house. I use half the water a single person should. I cook in batches. Clothing is washed in cold water and most wash is line-dried. It costs more for sewage each month than it does for water. Each household MUST pay for garbage pickup. There is nothing for the elderly or disabled or poor to get lowered rates.

I am only 63, but I take anything offered for seniors. I am applying for a disability but am not in a wheelchair or bedridden. Even with my income I do not consider myself poor!

I put myself on a gasoline diet. No matter what the cost of gasoline may be, I will only put $20 of gas in my car. That is 3/4 of a tank and must last for a whole week. Sometimes, my $20 worth of gas lasts 10 days, sometimes 5 days. It all evens out. Insurance for the car only covers my medical needs, other cars and other drivers, and uninsured drivers.

Personal items are at a minimum. Thankfully, I just don't like, don't need, and don't wear makeup. A lipstick and lip gloss each fall are about it for makeup. I do get my hair cut each month and I color it at home. Really, you do not want me to get depressed, do you?

Absolutely no paper products enter my home. This is a tree-hugger move, but it saves money along with trees and the environment.

Did anyone notice I have not mentioned a cable bill? Well, that is because I do not have tv from any source. I bought the box last year, but maybe I need an antenna. Paying $50/month or thereabouts for cable or dish is not going to happen around here even if I had the money. I check out dvds from the library. But, none of this consoles me. Lack of TV is a lack that really bothers me.

Patching together the rest is the goal in my life! Yes, I have sold things. I have bought things to resell and have done well. However, none of this is steady income.

Gifts for children and grandchildren are bought new on deep discount, second-hand, or with Coke rewards. So far, my gifts have been well-accepted. Then, I must mail the boxes to the ends of the earth. (Remember? 1000 miles in opposite directions.) By putting all gifts in one box, I only have two boxes to mail with gifts for 9 people.  However, I get the PO boxes that are flat rate. I know the limit is what the box will hold, no matter how heavy and I live within those limits. I am never shocked by shipping rates.

Even after all frugal measures, this leaves me the job of managing missing money, money that is not in the budget even though the expenses still roll in. Little by little I will get out of the hole, but it is hard down here, shoveling, shoveling, shoveling before the hole falls in on me. Now, this is not to be taken that I feel despair. Not at all. I just have my work cut out for me.

Do you find yourself in a hole and shoveling desperately? Share with me, please.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Diapers and Jelly

Okay, strange subject? Not really. What do diapers and jelly have in common?

My youngest child is 35-years-old. You would think most of her baby things would be long gone. No, not really. Not only do I have bins of her clothing, I found four dozen diapers that I forgot were still here. Along with those, I found diapers belonging to my 40-year-old daughter and 42-year-old son.

Why do I have these items? Am I hoarding?

No, I saved the clothing for my children to have, and they do want their own clothing. Diapers were saved for dust rags and other uses.

Since I make jelly, there are times I need cheesecloth. I have never owned a piece of cheesecloth. Diapers perform the same duties. Besides, I have the diapers and would have to buy cheesecloth!

No amount of badgering intended to induce guilt about hoarding could ever induce me to toss, donate, or otherwise release my diapers. Yes, they do have sentimental value. No, the sentimental value does not override the useful aspect of the diapers. Diapers don't remain for the sentiment. They have a job to do. If you want one, I am willing to part with a diaper. Friends know I am generous with my stash of stuff.

All my diapers are the square birdseye cloth. I spent a fair amount of my young adult life folding these diapers. Someone gave me two dozen of the diapers that have the thick folded part in the middle. It seemed these took the same effort to fold and use. Those diapers were sold at a yard sale before the last child was toilet trained.

The long rectangular diapers were a pain at first. A few of the printed ones were saved for my daughter. They are gone. Only the really practical ones remain here--square birdseye.

Some of you may liken my diaper stash to a butter bowl stash. I don't see it that way. Let me explain. Butter bowls come into some homes regularly, even my home. So, two or three is all I really want in the cabinet on a regular basis because I know more will eventually make their way into my stash.

Diapers, on the other hand, will never come into my life again. The last time I brought a new diaper into my home was 1975.

Besides using diapers to strain jelly, I used one to make a sweatband for a friend who left his at home. He was doing yardwork on a steamy day. I folded the square diaper into a triangle and folded it until it was a narrowish band that he tied around his head. The diaper worked.

Diapers are great for dusting. They can be folded and refolded to get a new surface while dusting.

The downside of using a diaper to strain jelly is that the diaper will be horribly stained. Nevertheless, a stained, folded diaper resides in the drawer in the kitchen where all my dishtowels reside.

No shame. It is a stained diaper? Yes, but I know what made the stains. Besides, almost 40 years have passed since they saw any poop, so it's not gross at all to me.

Maybe you don't want to use your stash of diapers this way. Okay, but save a few so you won't have to buy cheesecloth.

Do you have a special use for diapers you no longer need? Or, do you cringe when you think about using diapers near food?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Plagues of Biblical Proportions: Pests in my Home

I hate to admit it, but bugs are overrunning my house. Well, they were but not so much now. There are no locusts or frogs!

First, there were the fruit flies. Putting vinegar or ripe banana in a jar and sealing it with plastic wrap and a rubber band and punching a hole in the top never works for me. So, the vacuum cleaner is my weapon of choice. However, I could never make headway on the fruit flies.

Second, the Indian Meal Moths I brought home from a friend's house in January reappear occassionally. The traps with pheromone help lots.

Third, flies made their way into this 108-year-old house. It is anyone's guess as to where they came in.

Besides using the vacuum cleaner to scoop up fruit flies and moths from the air, I added a second and third weapon. I have already mention Pantry Pest and Victor fly stips from Lowe's. Both worked, yet the problems escalated. The traps for both were full of moths and fruit flies. However, no relief from the pests seemed to be in sight.

Then, amongst the foodstuffs for storage, I found a runny bag of spoiled white potatoes, leaking all over the kitchen floor. Upon surveying the whole place, I found another bag of potatoes harboring yet more fruit flies! Then, today as I bent to look in a file cabinet, the unbearable stench of rotten potatoes closed in. There, not six inches from my nose lay another bag of potatoes! Rotting! Foul!  Liquid! I think a friend put those there when he carried them in for me. Put them? Oh, just put them where it will be dark and cool and where I will not trip over them. sigh....

Now, one task remains. Yes, I am sure they are all gone and have not attacked the 25-lb box of peaches. Loading the dishwasher and vacuuming the remaining fruit flies, plus putting up two more fly papers. And, I will have solved the fruit fly problem for good. Well, a few may come back later, but I can handle a few. It was thousands that I could not deal with. Really, there were swarms. I have not canned anything or cooked for anyone but myself because I feared my cooking would be full of fruit flies.

No, I am not nasty. Things got out of hand for several reasons. I was not keeping up with what I brought into the house. Someone shared potatoes, so I forgot those. Others were put behind the door by someone else. Since I have never "lost" more than one or two potatoes at a time, and none have gone to liquid, this is an extraordinary failure on my part. Remember all the sleep I was not getting for two weeks because I accidentally drank caffeine for ten days? Well, that worked to make me ditzy and forgetful. Never again!

From now on potato bags will only sit in a pan that does not leak. Yes, I still have to keep them in the dark, but a tall paper bag in a leakproof container will work.

Okay, the flypaper is up and the lone fly that entered with me a few minutes ago is gone.

This has been a three-week or more ordeal. The houseflies have been dealt with. The fruit flies numbers have abated. And, the meal moths are gone. Maybe they are not meal moths since I found some on fabric. Maybe they just died there.

I can think of worst pests--roaches, fleas, or mosquitoes. Really, I should just thank my lucky stars I found all the pests favorite rotting foods and not bring the wrath of the pest god down on me. Shhhh, no more talk of what could have been, what pests I avoided.

Has anyone else had to struggle this hard to rid their home of fruit flies?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Pears Galore & Funk of Figs

Some people do a pretty good job in the free food area. Somedays, I am just green with envy. This weekend, I will get my share of free food. It is just the free lemons and apricots and tomatoes that get to

If you have never asked for unpicked fruit, ask! Just screw up your courage and ask. Whether they say yes or no, surely opportunity will present itself again. Make sure you are prepared as you drive around doing your daily chores. Free fruit or vegetables will present themselves when you least expect it. You don't want to ask for free fruit then beg for a bag!

Carry a stash of some kind, bags/containers for gathering. If you can, carry at least one container that will sit open on its own--box, stiff bag, paper bag--because having to deal with getting fruit into the floppy top of a plastic bag is really annoying and slows down the process. Sometimes, I have picked up the same piece of fruit three or four times while trying to get it into a bag that keeps folding down and collapsing.

In my car I carry--fruit picker, pecan picker-upper, bags, basket, gloves, reacher (for alternative storage container access), and a shovel (for digging plants). Be prepared.

When I was buying the long-handled fruit picker, I know my friend with me thought I had lost my mind since he knew I had little money. But, he was astounded at the amount of pears I got in one day--115 lbs. So, the cost was worth it--returned in just one day. The right tools do help even after you have screwed up your courage. Some days I have to do a drive-by and go back to ask.

My friend and I went past the pear tree after I picked so many, and the mower was several blocks down the road, having just mown over the pears on the ground. We weren't going to pick anymore, but hated that any were lost to others. That was last year. This year, I will carry a good pail to pick up pear parts for the hens.

By the way, that tree where you picked up so much fruit from the ground will yield more than were on the ground. Return. Apples that fall on their own usually have a flaw. Apples were meant to be picked. That is not to say that apples should be left on the ground. I eat them.

Offer to pick a bucket or box full of fruit for the owner of the tree. Ask if you can return for more fruit as it ripens. Bring a jar of preserves or whatever back to the owner of the tree. If you are getting extra tomatoes, bring a can of preserved tomatoes. Assure the person that the tomatoes have been preserved properly, briefly sharing you method. You don't want someone throwing out your canned food, thinking you might not have done it properly. It is not necessary, but offer to bring pecans you have picked. Anything! In other words: share. Share with someone who is being generous. Even if the person says it is not necessary, do it anyway. Okay, if you think they might be dangerous, don't go back. That is the only reason I can fathom for not sharing with a generous person.

In "After Apple Picking" by Robert Frost, the storyteller states that the apples on the ground were good only for cider. Well, if I have the story right.... But, I would eat them.

I would encourage anyone who has the remotest chance of picking fruit from a tree to get a fruit picker-gatherer. That $19.99 has been paid for in pears. At first, I could only reach 7" from the ground just standing and reaching. If my friend tugged the branch a bit, we could get a few pears that were about 9" from the ground. With the fruit picker I can reach 17" from the ground.

Because a friend and I both bought a fruit picker, large nut-cracker, and pecan gatherer, the guy knocked off the tax. I asked for the favor.  By buying several things and getting two of each, the merchant, my friend, and I profitted. This is a small locally-owned store, so this might not work in a chain.

My funk of figs? Well, that sounds better than a passel of figs. Right? My friend gave me another gallon of figs today. I gave her 18 fresh eggs from my hens. There will be plenty of fig preserves here this winter.

Is anyone canning figs or preserves? Okay, what are you canning? Have you ever used the fruit picker?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Money and a Child--Me

Even as a child I was mindful of money. Having it was important. After all, isn’t this one of the differences in children and adults—having money? I had no job, so I had to be creative. I learned early, around age four, to maximize my chances of having money. Collecting Coke or other drink bottles for the deposit was just one of my methods of getting money.

I lived in the era of recyclable bottles. Bottles were a boon! I could get two cents for recycling one bottle. Since Cokes and candy were a nickel apiece, it didn’t take long to accumulate the necessary funds. Of course, every child wants both Coke and candy, finding enough bottles in one week was sort of difficult. Usually, I just settled for the candy--a Baby Ruth.You see, I was not allowed out of the yard to make the big bucks.

The best I could hope for was that someone would throw one into the ditch in front of our house in the rural area in which I lived. Since there were three of us children (then four children) collecting bottles for deposits, chances were slim that I would find a bottle. To make matters worse, I did not live on a main road. Occasionally, and only for a specific reason were we allowed to walk down the road. Reasons? To go pick plums. (for a few weeks) To go on an errand where I was allowed to ride my bike to the store and go onto the main highway. To walk to a friend’s house. Maybe!

Later, we lived in a neighborhood where the chances of finding a bottle were greater. Then, we moved back to Memphis and we were once again relegated to finding bottles thrown out on the highway. No matter where we went when we were in town, we found stray bottles in order to collect the deposit.

We never missed the opportunity to gather bottles even though we scarcely had the chance. We did manage to get ten cents to buy the occasional candy bar or coke or both. Hallelujah! Sometimes, we claimed Coke bottles brought home full of Coke. Sadly, this rarely happened. I suppose I was a deprived child, forced to subsist on and quench my thirst with water instead of Coke.

We bothered our father to allow us to keep change if we were sent into the store for a purchase or if we took money and ran an errand. Since I was the oldest, I was the biggest pest. Rarely did he ever give me anything when I pestered him except grief.

Even though I wanted to buy candy, I also wanted just to amass money. While my younger siblings found joy in having more coins, I knew from an early age that having large coins was the key. They played with, counted, lost, and frittered away a handful of pennies. If they had a nickel, I could always count on one of them to trade me the nickel for five of my pennies. To my credit, I did explain why it would be best to keep their nickel and how foolish they were being. Those little kids were overjoyed with their good fortune, while I was celebrating having silly siblings.

You might say, “Okay, Linda. You were 7 and they were 6 and 4. You were just older and had learned about coins.” I say, “How about when I was 10 and they were 9 and 7?” See, they just kept wanting pennies while I wanted to get dollars for my quarters and a five dollar bill for my five ones.

I think this strong desire and ability to take small amounts and save and consolidate until I reached my goal of more money has served me well. I was never tempted to fritter away my money even though I really did want Cokes and candy. I did spend some of my money on these small pleasures, but I valued saving more than I valued having a constant supply if candy.

This attitude still serves me well. I paid off my mortgage after years of deprivation, skimping, saving and patching together a living for a few years.

Oh, please tell me how you collected bottles? When? Where? Did you have a ready stash? Live behind a store?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Free, Fresh-Fresh-From-The-Garden Bounty--Sharing is Priceless!

Nothing is better than fresh vegetables and fruits. I am sure I will get no arguments from anyone. Free is wonderful. Having someone else pick it cannot be beat! My friends, Charles and Jenny, gave me a gallon of figs, a mess of purple hull peas (two gallons), and a dozen, huge, juicy, delicious tomatoes. All was picked on the day I received it--Thursday! I am looking forward to tomatoes and peas today for dinner. Yay me!

Even though the food is free, I actually am giving them something I have in return. So, this is not strictly a barter in the sense that we struck a deal. Nevertheless, we are both benefiting from what we have to share.

I took them a jar of fig preserves from last year's harvest of figs. Today, they will pick up a carton of 18 fresh-from-my-hens eggs. Sharing works! Do you have friends with whom you share?

I love to trade for what I get rather than having to spend money. Even better is being involved in the preparation of my food. Sure, I can buy a bag of peas from the freezer in the store. I can go to the market and buy peas to shell. Either way, I have no connection to the food. Having friends share their peas makes the food seem better, more personal. Shelling peas from a friend gives me a feeling of connection and satisfaction even though it is work.

All the tomatoes are trimmed and sliced. Some were going to go bad by this morning. Figs are washed and are mixed with sugar in the refrigerator. The beans are in the refrigerator and will be shelled later today.

It is immensely satisfying to work with fresh vegetables and fruits. Being involved in the "production" of my fig preserves gives me control. I know these figs have never been sprayed with anything because my friends told me so. Besides canning things, I can watch my store of foods multiply for next winter.

Earlier in the day, I attended a dinner (free) at a church. I brought home the scraps from many plates for the chickens. Remember, I never buy food. Before the dinner a friend at the farmer's market gave me about two gallons of produce-beyond-its-time for my hens. Scraps of turnip greens, pinto beans, and cornbread were my four hen's dinner. There is none of the meat to give them. And, I did not think they would care for sauerkraut! Breakfast for them will be produce from the market.

Thursday was  a good day in terms of food! Today, I will pick crab apples and make my own pectin. The jelly I made from crab apples last year was not good. Well, it was too sweet for my taste. It seemed it had no flavor of its own. Has anyone had this experience?  If I remember correctly, I did not use all the spices that the recipe recommended. Maybe that was the problem? Maybe I can follow the recipe next time.

Are your food experiences good this summer? Isn't it wonderful when friends think of you and give you  produce? I don't care how much you have in the way of material things or an abundance of food, it is always a good experience when people share with each other. Sharing food is a nurturing act whether any of the parties involved realize it or not. So, let's share our bounty!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

How Donna Freedman struck a chord in me, again! Jobs as a child

Donna Freedman's post about jobs we had as a child caused me to reminisce. My "job" as a child was actually fun and a skill that translated to a creative outlet, stress reliever, money maker, and a pride in ownership of things homemade.

I started learning to sew when I was four years old. That makes 60 years I have been sewing! That's a long time. At first, I constructed clothing for my dolls entirely with a needle and thread. Around the age of ten I learned to sew on a treadle machine. There was no stopping me after that.

My cousin paid me $3 to make a velvet dress for her daughter when I was eleven years old. By the time I was 14, I was making clothing my family wore, including appliqued baby clothes and clothing for my mother. She wore the dresses to church. Yes, I was good!

There were perks other than money. I would sit after school and make clothing for myself and my sisters. At that time, I and my next younger sister had to take turns washing dishes each night. My sister was furious that she often had to dishes all week. Mama told her there was no way I was going to sew for hours and then do dishes when I was sewing for my sister. Of course, if I were making clothes for myself, I still did not have to do dishes.

Do you realize how hard it was for a teen girl to get out of taking her turn at the hot, steamy sink in an un-airconditioned kitchen in the 50s? Some things are better than money. Besides, I loved to sew and did not love to wash dishes.

When I was about 8 or 9 years old, I got my first job. The neighbors had children who were little, over a year and close to three-year-old. They obviously had seen me baby wrangling with my three younger siblings. They hired me to watch their children while they gardened. Their garden was at another location. It was very scary and liberating to leave my family and go off with what seemed like strangers.

All afternoon for several days over the next few weeks I made sure the kids were happy and out of trouble. They gave me $3 and a huge brown grocery bag of vegetables, their surplus, I suppose. Then, I had to walk back to their house and take my little brother along to carry the last two bags. I felt like I was a contributor to the family. I felt like an adult. Each day I worked, there were vegetables and money to take home but never as many vegetables as that first day. Of course, there was the bit of money I had for my own that did not have to be shared.

As a teen I wanted to baby sit, but I lived between a large town and a tiny town. We were not actually in the country. But, the few neighbors had no children for me or anyone to watch. When I did go to college and found babysitting jobs, I was paid $1/hour.

That's not much of a work history! Well, I was working around the house, just unpaid child labor. Did anyone I know pay a child to clean or garden around their own home? Not in my world.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Humpty Dumpty's egg shells

Have I mentioned that I feed my egg shells to my hens? I do. And, they will not eat their own eggs after being fed the shells. I toast them in the oven before I crush them to feed to the four hens producing eggs for me. When I was a child, taking the pie pan of leftovers out to the dog and hens, Mama cautioned me to brown the shells so the dogs would not recognize (by scent, I suppose) the shells as the same things the hens would lay each day. So, I continue to slightly brown the shells for the hens.

Actually, with brown eggs like I have, it's difficult to tell when they are starting to brown. Watch and when the inner membrane left starts to brown, turn the oven off. Oh, by the way, never turn on the oven to brown shells. Just use the oven while it is preheating or after you have removed something from the oven and the oven is still hot.

If you feed shells to dogs, they will become egg eaters if they can reach the eggs. Otherwise, the shells are good for dogs.

Somewhere I read to wash out the shells. DON"T! There is protein in the membrane of the shell, protein that your hens will use to produce more eggs. The calcium in the shell is all hens seashells needed for shell-making.

Check this out----> cute cartoons about hens. Tell her I sent you.

Does anyone feed shells to their hens? Is this the exclusive source of calcium? Are you afraid your hens will eat eggs? Let's talk.