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Archive for October, 2013|Monthly archive page

Spring’s Life Cycle

In Non-Fiction, Poultry on October 26, 2013 at 7:44 am

The arrival of spring starts a new cycle of life with many lambs being born in the paddock and the first chick being hatched by one of my lovely Light Sussex hens. 2013-09-19 08.55.45-1

Now I have a motherly Orpington hen sitting on her eggs so I’m eagerly waiting to see if she will hatch one out too. A poultry-keeper-friend of mine told me that it’s quite usually for a hen to only hatch out one or two chicks on her first time, due to her inexperience of turning (candling) the eggs. I am yet to find out whether the new chick is a hen or a rooster. Hopefully a hen but I’m doubtful as there are always more roosters than hens. The new feathery chickadee has been named ‘Georgie’ by my daughter who has been desperate for one of the hens to have a chick, and she’s held on to that name especially for when the time comes. I told her it would only happen if one of the hens’ turns broody as I’m not going to start breeding until next year. When the first one did turn broody we let her get on with by moving her and her nest out of what I call the ‘big coop’ and into a smaller one by herself, with a run attached to it. To my surprise about five weeks ago a chick appeared!

The Light Sussex is a heritage breed and quite striking with gorgeous white plumage, an attractive black lace looking collar and black tips to her tail and wing feathers. The roosters make good table birds and the hens are good layers. As well as being good mothers if IMG_4085allowed to sit on her eggs. I’m really pleased with the two I have, which I got from my poultry-friend who breeds them and they are pure bred too. (Photo: right)

The Orpington is gorgeous and I would describe her as being voluptuous with her copious amount of feathering; almost touching the ground like a cape she carries round with her. Her light colouring is nice-looking and the shape of her eyes is different to the others, more oval and pretty. They also make good mothers to their chicks, so let’s hope she hatches one out. Unlike the Light Sussex, I can’t be certain the Orpington is a pure bred chicken as the breeder I got her from is suspicious another rooster may have intervened when he shouldn’t have! I did have two of these lovely birds originally, but sadly one died. (Photo: below)

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A couple of months ago I acquired two lovely cross breeds, they are both black in colour and pretty small in comparison to the others and they lay white eggs. One is a Houdan crossed with a Leghorn Frizzle and the other is a Houdan crossed with a Leghorn. They have the well-known Leghorn genes: a double comb and five toes! There is something about this pair I find amusing as they dart about so fast and hide under the tree or in the long grass. When the smallest one of the two first arrived (the frizzle) she took a liking to the fluffy Orpington and would snuggle right up to her in the coop every night (she’ll be missing her now she’s off on her nest elsewhere). Yet the two of them, named Mickey and Mini by my daughter are always together during the day. I try not to name our chooks as I’ve had a few of them with names die, but I find myself creating my own names sometimes from nowhere whilst walking amongst them and I call these two Houdan and Little Frizz!

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The Muscovy ducks are also doing well. They’ve all been through the maternal stage and sat on their eggs, but unfortunately none of them were fertile because it turned out that ‘Daffy’ is not a drake! We’d let them sit for a while and then take their eggs away. May be we’ll get a drake next year! They’re laying eggs again now they’ve finished brooding and the one’s we don’t eat are selling well at the gate with the chicken’s eggs.

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Duck eggs are great for baking and have big yellow creamy yolks, very tasty fried or in an omelette. Duck eggs are actually twice as nutritional as a chicken egg, although the yolk is higher in cholesterol, but it’s the good kind! And they last longer in the fridge. The longevity is due to their hard shells—they need a good crack.

IMG-20130722-WA0002(photo of my delicious Victoria sponge)

The newest arrivals are six brown shaver pullets, eleven weeks old. They’re lovely with their soft young feathers and settling in well to free range life. I’m looking forward to when they begin to lay and hope they’ll be good layers. I still have ten other hyline chickens, the first hens I purchased when I began my little poultry farm. I call them my ‘old girls’ as they’re getting on a bit now, but still lay eggs every other day. Sadly I’ve had to separate them from the others, although they still free range, because they are not very nice to all the other chooks and ducks!

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Parabens and Sulphates

In Non-Fiction on October 16, 2013 at 7:50 am

Test Tubes of Colored Liquid

The products I put on my skin not only changed but became prevalent in my life when I developed skin psoriasis over a year ago—startlingly it advanced over a couple of months until it affected my whole-body.

I had heard of Psoriasis; however I did not know that Psoriasis was an incurable and chronic auto-immune skin disease that affected all the body including the scalp. There’s no doubt it’s partly changed my life, affected my self-esteem and at times it becomes exhausting to keep it under control.

Topical treatments work for a short time and there are various other options like UV treatment and more potent drugs. Personally, and after looking into these more evasive treatments, I want to avoid all of them for as long as possible.

I began looking in to natural products, vitamins, diet and anything to help myself. I have psoriasis everywhere except for my neck and face. Some areas are worse than others and unfortunately I have three types: inverse, plaque and guttate psoriasis. It took me a long time to cope with the itching, the uncomfortable nature of the disease, but also the visualisation of it—that I don’t look the same anymore. It overwhelms your self-esteem. I still hope it will just disappear and try to remain positive, but it’s difficult to be optimistic all of the time. Nevertheless, I am aware this could be much worse.

Even though this is a disease that erupts from what’s going on inside the body, it would not be helped by using products that contain chemicals on my skin. Parabens and sulphates are in our shampoo, body wash, moisturisers, and creams and so on. They’re there to give the product extra shelf life, but over a period of time they enter the bloodstream. We live in a world where are bodies are consuming so many toxins, which we do not need and can not cope with. I decided that the way to go for me was to be as natural as possible and completely avoid using anything made with sulphates and parabens.

There are many websites on the Internet that tell you all about these potentially dangerous chemicals; therefore I would only be paraphrasing in my writing if I used all the information here. For that reason I will simply provide some basic facts:

Parabens

On the labels of products these are the ones to avoid – basically anything ending in paraben.

  • Methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben are the most commonly used parabens. Less common parabens include isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben and benzylparaben.

Parabens are inexpensive and give a shelf life to a product for up to two years, yet they mimic the female hormone, estrogen.

As with parabens, phthalates are considered estrogen disruptors and the cause of reproductive problems, especially in males. They also have been indicated as causing fat-related health risks.

SulfatesPerson Washing Hands with Soap in Washbasin

  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Myreth Sulfate. These ingredients generally act as detergents or foaming agents and are found in cleansers and shampoos.

You can read more scientific explanations of  these products at https://dermamedsolutions.com/news-blog-events/category-blog/parabens-and-phthalates-and-sulfates-oh-my/ including many more, such as petroleum.

There are copious amounts of information out there about all these chemical ingredients.

When looking for natural products in New Zealand I came across a fabulous place I could purchase natural shampoo; a base shampoo that was free of all the aforementioned chemicals, and I could add essential oils to it that would support my scalp rather than irritate it.

I found this shampoo and essential oils from Lotus Oils NZ and their Office Manager, Nik, was most helpful when I emailed her for advice. The cost is no more than what I’d be normally spending in the supermarket or pharmacy, and they were posted out to me quickly. I’ve been using it for nearly a year now and have added organic argan oil, lavender and chamomile essential oils to the shampoo base. I can also apply the argan oil directly on to my scalp to soften the plaques.

Since the first order I have used more products and feel assured that I am not putting anything harmful on to my psoriasis. I still have to use topical treatments given to me by a dermatologist otherwise it gets out-of-control, but with natural products supporting me I don’t use them everyday anymore.

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More recently I found ‘Naturalus’ –  another provider of natural products, equally as fabulous. I emailed them for advice so that I was ordering the correct products. I made contact with Tanya who was amazingly helpful and went above and beyond what I expected giving me tips and advice for my condition.

Tanya Townsend is a Clinical Medical Herbalist, who was also an advocate of natural products long before Graduating from Canterbury College, and has been using them personally for the past twenty years. There are many different creams and oils that I can use from Naturalus, but it doesn’t stop there as they also sell a large range of teas that can help anything from your complexion to your menopause. One of the ingredients I have discovered is ‘calendula’ that is used in creams, teas or soaps: it soothes and heals the skin, which is great for me. I have the soap to wash with in the shower that smells divine and the infused calendula oil for my scalp.

calendulaCalendula

My natural product endeavours have expanded to my family too, with products from both Naturalus and Lotus Oils being used by them also.

To find out more information about anything mentioned in this blog click on the links below:

http://www.naturalus.co.nz/

http://www.lotusoils.co.nz/

http://www.psoriasis.org/

http://www.psoriasis.org.nz/

https://dermamedsolutions.com/news-blog-events/category-blog/parabens-and-phthalates-and-sulfates-oh-my/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calendula

In Non-Fiction on October 9, 2013 at 5:38 pm

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