Summer on The Homestead: In Pictures

Home Sweet Home

Roberto cutting fresh hay for the goats

Bringing hay to the goats

Kisses from Astrid

Astrid says, “Thanks, Dad for the vittles!”

Sheepies, Mommas and Lambs, grazing

Visitors. Or maybe they want to become farm animals too?

New chicks! (Any guesses what the one in the front is? She is a mystery rare breed that was sent to us from the hatchery as an extra. Her name is Hedwig).

Posted in Chickens, Goats, Homesteading, Sheep | 3 Comments

Help Us Name Our Newest Lamb!

UPDATE:6/13 – we have named her Tula!

We are trying to come up with an official name for our newest lamb!

She has a lot of nicknames, but not a “real” name.

We want another T name (so each generation of the flock has a name starting with the same letter) and we would like to stick with the Nordic theme. Any thoughts?

Posted in Lambs, Sheep | Leave a comment

Thorina

The first lamb ever to born at Thistlemoon Meadows was born today! We came out in the morning to do chores and there she was. I was in the garage getting together the morning treats for the sheep and goats (a mixture of kelp, minerals and a bit of oat bran) when Roberto yelled “we have a lamb!”. I went running and there she was! When we arrived on the scene her mamma, Inga was still licking her dry, so she must have been born recently.

We had the first big thunder storm of the season. Whenever it thunders, Roberto and I always say, “Uncle Thor is coming to town” and so in honor of the Norse god of Thunder, we named the lamb Thorina – which will probably become Thora when she gets older.

Both mamma and baby are doing well. Thorina has spent her first few hours of life sleeping and walking around and getting used to this crazy world – which to her ears is full of booms and bangs. She is still trying to figure out this whole nursing thing, but she is peeing a lot so she can’t be dehydrated. But we will have to keep an eye on mom and baby and hope that they can figure it out together!

Our goats Astrid and Claire seem to be going a bit crazy though. They have been yelling all morning! Probably jealous, those two can be such drama queens….

Posted in Lambs, Sheep | 7 Comments

How Do Sheep Recognize You?

(Feeding Iona cookies)

I don’t really know the answer to this question, but I am curious. I have talked before about our sheep and our work with taming them. This winter we had a lot of progress. In the early part of the winter, we purchased a shepherd’s hook. Every morning when I went into the sheep pen to give them their daily “cookie”(oats, molasses and apples), I would bring the hook in with me – let them smell and lick it, and use it to “pet” them, so they would get used to it being on them, so we could eventually use it to catch them.

During winter, we wore the same coats, day in and day out. I also fell out of the habit of using the shepherd’s hook in February when they came back from a month at the breeders. Well as the weather changed and we stopped wearing the coats, they began to get more skittish, especially when we were just taking walks passed their pen, they would either hide in their enclosure or bend their heads and necks low to the ground, ready to jump and run.

It made us think, did they recognize us with the pattern of the coats? I am still not sure. But this week I started using the shepherd’s hook again and they have been much friendlier. Do they remember the hook from before? Is the association between that and the cookies just part of their psyche now?

So how do your sheep recognize you?

Posted in Sheep, Treats | 6 Comments

Pine Saved My Goat’s Life

(Astrid)

For those of you who follow us on facebook, you know that we had a health scare with our girl Astrid this past week. I am happy to report that she is officially on the mend and feeling much better and we are now confident that she will make a full recovery. Thank you all so much for your prayers, good mojo and well wishes for Astrid, they really helped!

I will start by saying that this is the first time we ever experienced any illness with our ruminants, and I have to mention for those of you who may be new to them, as we are, that they go down-hill very fast. It is not like dealing with dogs or even cats that have an almost human-like way of communication and can tell you that something is up. With ruminants, once you notice something is amiss, they are practically on death’s door.

(Astrid and Claire)

This was the case with Astrid. Our hay guy was out of town the last time we needed more, and so his son-in-law delivered the bale to us. We found out later that he normally picks from a certain pile when he delivers for us, but since his son-in-law didn’t know, he might have chosen from another pile. For us the hay looked the same and smelled wonderful. So we didn’t think twice about it.

Anyway, we noticed after a little while that the girls didn’t seem as into this batch as they usually are. But they were eating and so we just decided to keep a close eye on things. Meanwhile, I started looking for another hay source. That was much harder than anticipated. Vermont was hit very hard by Hurricane Irene back in August and many of the hay fields (not to mention roads and bridges) ended up under water thus making the hay crop this year rather bad. I couldn’t seem to find any second cut hay less than 2 hours away…

(Astrid in recovery)

Well within a week, Astrid gradually stopped eating all together and was looking very thin. This past Thursday was the crisis day. She was obviously having a problem when she didn’t want her morning grain bribe (we don’t grain our ruminants, we only use it as a bribe to move them from barn to winter pen and back again)- something she normally loves. The only thing I could get her to eat was horse treats made of molasses, apples and oats.

We tried mixing the hay with molasses, salt and powdered grain. No dice. We went to the store and got various cabbages, greens, fennel and apples. She would take a bite of each and then stop eating.  We even got a 50 lb bag of alfalfa – something many of you suggested and she turned her nose up at it. We had an appointment with the vet  for Monday, but we were beginning to worry about whether she would make it until then, especially since we were expecting nights around -19 F. So we called the vet and she prescribed B12 shots, an immune booster and Probios. We started her on those things right away.

(Homemade Pine Forest in the barn – the secret ingredient!)

In the meantime I was frantically on facebook and the phone with everyone I knew that might have a lead for me for hay. I finally lucked out, and our good friends at Applecheek Farm  gave us a lead and I got someone to come out right away with hay. Also my dear friend Suzanne suggested on Facebook that I stick my old Christmas tree in the barn, as she had some trouble like this with her llamas some years past, and they liked the pine. So we did. And it WORKED. Astrid started eating! It was amazing. So we kept her on the B12 shots for 3 days, and we are still doing the Probios (2 TBS, 2x’s per day). For the first few days, all she ate was pine, and only after getting her dose of Probios. Then gradually she started nibbling hay and eating even in between Probios doses. Today she ate her grain and was enjoying cubes of alfalfa in addition to the pine.

I researched the properties of Pine, and was not surprised to find that it is has antiseptic properties as well as anti-bacterial. Apparently the oils are effective against candida, a myriad of bacteria, including influenza, intestinal bacteria, salmonella, and a variety of Staphylococcus and Streptococcus. It also kills most agents of gastroenteritis, dysentery and food poisoning.

(Claire)

The vet suspects there was something in the hay that disagreed with her. Maybe her immune system was depressed a bit from something else, which is why it didn’t seem to affect Claire. I tend to agree and suspect bacteria, since that seems to be what pine is used to cure.

We will be keeping both girls on the Probios for a bit longer, until they both resume eating with the vim and vigor that they used to!

I also got some other helpful tools from the vet. She suggested using FAMACHA, which is checking the color of the eyelids for overall health. She has seen many cases of parasite over load where the animal actually died –  the feces looked normal, but the eyelids were severely anemic. She also liked that we were giving them an herbal wormer, from Molly’s Herbals.

(Astrid enjoying the indoor forest!)

Then she suggested hanging the pine in the barn, so that the goats could “browse” for it – so we made a homemade “pine forest” for them in the barn-something they seem to like very much! We are keeping them in until next week, while we try to get Astrid’s weight up. It has been really cold here, and she just doesn’t have the fat reserves to be out all day like they normally are (and Claire becomes desperate alone).

(both girls enjoying it!)

This week we also had to say goodbye to one of our Freedom Ranger hens, Jolie. She and her friend Camille have lived with the goats since this summer and have been happy companions, until that fateful Thursday, Astrid impaled her and we had to put her down. RIP Jolie, you were a good Chicken.

(Jolie in front, Camille in back)

Posted in Chickens, Goat Adventures, Goat Health, Goats | 3 Comments

Dreaming of Lambs…

(Iona in the back of the pickup)

So in my last, somewhat controversial post I talked about the conundrum of raising dairy animals, in that in order to have milk, there must be pregnancies and babies…

…and here I find myself dreaming of lambs. Our two Shetland Sheep, Iona and Inga are spending a few weeks at the breeder we got them from, with their boyfriend, the handsome Austin and if all goes well, we should be welcoming lambs onto the homestead in late May, early June.

I wish I had taken some pictures of Austin and the girls together, but they got “acquainted” so fast, that we were all just taken with the events unfolding so to speak and of course it wouldn’t be prudent to take pictures of THAT. But gosh, Austin is a handsome guy who knows exactly what his job is…and the breeder remarked that Inga was a bit of a slut! LOL Good Sheepies who know just what to do.  We have twin sisters getting knocked up by the same guy, in view of each other and there is no problem. The natural instinct is so strong!

So what are we going to do with the lambs? Well, we got Inga and Iona in the hopes of making some delicious Italian style cheeses with their milk (and of course for wool). Namely, Pecorino Fresco (which means Fresh “small sheep-ish” – at least that is the nuance that my Italian husband explains it to mean). However, as much as we have worked to socialize them (See Taming of The Sheep) and they do come running for treats, let us briefly pet them and have come to not fear the Shepherd’s Hook, there is no way we will be able to get close enough to them, in a way that would not be a terrible experience for all involved, to milk them for cheese.

Our hope is that by bottle raising and working with any female lambs they might bear from birth, we will be able to imprint a little on them, and have luck milking them for cheese down the line.

Posted in Breeding, Sheep | 1 Comment

For The Love of Horns and Hooves, Part 2

Claire, Alpine Goat, Autumn 2011

I didn’t intend to write this second installment more than 4 months after the first, but as I alluded to in the first installment, there would be some heavy topics to discuss in part 2, and so I found myself really needing to sit on it for a while.  There were many times I thought about writing this second piece but didn’t feel ready. There are some strong feelings associated with this topic, and I even lost a friend over the issue. So this is not easy stuff, but it is important and I want to open some discussion on it, especially with my fellow Vermonters.

WHY AN ANIMAL LOVER RAISES MEAT?

Raising animals for food is not something that we went into lightly. It was essentially forced upon us. The quality of food in this country, especially as it pertains to animals products is getting more dismal by the day. Just this year, one meat company Cargill had two recalls due to salmonella contamination. Plus, it has come to light that many of American meat companies treat meat with ammonia in order to kill e.coli bacteria found in so much of the conventional meat supply.  But yet when you see how hard the government cracks down on something like raw milk , you begin to see how Big Ag really is another form of the mafia, forcing you to eat their poison or pay for it dearly.

So what is a sane person, who doesn’t want to become a vegetarian to do in a world like this? Yes, you can shop locally and buy directly from farmers that you trust, and we certainly do support our local farmers and love them, yet the economy and regulations have been affecting many farmers ability to farm and actually feed people, so in order to really be stable, I think it is good practice to begin raising as much of our own food as possible. It is a good skill to have and really helps to foster a relationship between food and its place of origin. Most people are so out of touch with the reality of food and how it is grown, whether animal or vegetable. For me, my own meat consumption and how I source it over the years has become a very personal and spiritual act for me.

Inga, Shetland Sheep, Autumn 2011

See, I was a vegetarian for over a decade, because I love animals. In my naivety I thought if I didn’t consume meat, there would be no blood on my hands. Now, I know this is fallacy. If you want to learn more about it, I suggest Lierre Keith’s book The Vegetarian Myth. There are things in the book that I do not agree with, personally, mostly politically speaking, but Lierre’s journey stems from the same place as mine. She loves animals, and wanted to opt out of the savage and merciless killing of animals that occurs every day on the large feedlots and slaughterhouses of industrial America. But not eating meat, even animal products and vegetables for that matter doesn’t keep you from the cycle of life and death. As a human on this planet, that is one thing you just can’t escape.

THE PROBLEM:

I guess for me the biggest surprise came when I began thinking about becoming a cheesemaker. Naivety struck again. I make no bones about my lack of practical knowledge when it comes to farming. I learn stuff every day that makes me laugh at myself and what I don’t know! But, once I started thinking about raising sheep and goats for milk, I began to wonder…now that I know in order to produce milk for cheesemaking, sheep and goats must become pregnant, I began to realize I had to open up Pandora ’s Box. In order for me to have milk to make cheese, my animals must become pregnant, and have babies…what in the world am I supposed to do with these babies? At this point, all naivety is stripped away, and as an animal lover you are faced with nothing but heart-breaking solutions: 1) Sell the babies as pets (how much of a market is there for this in my small rural community, that can be sustained year after year before it gets saturated? When the state of Vermont alone has 6,000 male goat bucklings to find a place for every year)   2) Raise the babies for meat and then kill and eat the babies or sell the meat to someone else to eat 3) Sell the babies to someone else to raise for meat.

UGH. So here I am faced with such a daunting task. So I start to research it…what do other goat farmers do with their offspring? Lamb is easy to market, but I don’t see much goat meat out there, so maybe goat farmers are doing something else. There are so many new goat dairies cropping up all over the place, other farmers must have found a solution. Female offspring are easy to sell, live, or to keep continuing your breeding stock, males, not so much. It is not hard to google “male bucklings, goat dairy” to see how many farmers choose to solve the issue. This “solution” is definitely not an option for me.

If I am to be a truly sustainable farm, it means I find a place in the system for all the animals that come under my care. If I can’t, then I have to keep my herd small enough so that I can find a place.  It means I am invested in the animals produced on my farm and must find practical solutions where I can see them through to the end of their journey, whatever that may be by making respectful decisions about their fate. All animals, especially those providing nourishing food for us deserve respect and good care and the forethought necessary to make the best decisions possible before getting in over one’s head and making a reactionary decision.

After months of researching various options, like a “hire-a-goat” service to do lawn and landscape care (where city ordinance laws come into place and basically scraps that idea), the only sustainable option that I came up, that wouldn’t cost me money, was to start getting used to eating goat meat. Sounds sensible, right? I eat meat every day, this shouldn’t bother me. Perhaps if I had grown up on a farm, or even as a hunter (which I do), my deep seated emotions over this would be different, but where I sit now, I don’t care how rational and sustainable it all is, or how much sense it makes, it is hard for me and I don’t see that changing. Yes, when I look at my goats, it feels terrible to imagine killing their future babies. This is not something I fantasize about or take pleasure in, nor do I take it lightly. But it is a responsibility I must recognize and act upon since I decided to homestead and raise animals. The two go hand in hand and cannot be separated from each other, and no wishing on my part is going to change that. So when I said to my friend who also has goats as pets, that my priority as a budding cheesemaker at the time was to figure out this dilemma and raise awareness on how to get goat meat on the market and on the table, she wished me the best of luck with “killing goats”. Not the same thing.

Iona, Shetland Sheep, Autumn 2011

MY EXPERIENCE:

This journey into homesteading and raising animals has been a spiritual journey, as every dark night of the soul is. I was fortunate enough, many years ago to have the experience living on the Dine (Navajo) reservation for 6 months. I lived with two elders, and they lived off the land, raising sheep and goats. I learned to care for these animals, and came to see the reciprocal and symbiotic relationship between herder and animal. Those animals were well cared for and deeply respected. They gave continued life to “grandma” and “grandpa”, and that knowledge and understanding seeped into everything they did with those animals. Part of my duties, besides herding was to help in the slaughter process, and yes, I admit, the first time we butchered an animal, I got physically ill. But then I had to eat that animal if I wanted to nourish myself because there weren’t a lot of options when it came to food out there. After that process and experiencing it more than once, I felt like I had the experience and some of the understanding that came with the responsibility of eating meat, and I stopped being a vegetarian. I then vowed that one day I would raise my own animals for meat, so they could have the best life possible being cared for by one who had the deepest respect for their sacrifice. So I always look back on that when faced with some of these hard choices.

Astrid, Alpine Goat, Autumn 2011

THE SOLUTION:

So what does this mean? This does not mean we stop eating goat cheese, drinking goat milk or start shunning goat dairy products (one Ag expert I spoke to said, if I brought these topics up, it would make people shun dairy goat products). It means we find ways to celebrate the goat and its healthy, delicious and nourishing meat. Did you know that goat meat is the #1 most consumed meat in the world? It is just not very popular in the USA…yet. But I believe it will begin to become popular, as the byproduct of all these new goat dairy operations begins to find a necessary place in the meat market and on American tables.

Some people are already doing something about awareness for these byproducts of the dairy industry. A book recently came out called simply, Goat*Meat*Milk*Cheese by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough. They “make goat sexy and entertaining”. Yes, goats are certainly entertaining, but sexy? ;)   The book contains more than 100 recipes inspired by cuisines that are no stranger to this meat like various curries, tagines, moles and skewered goat, to American classics, like Chicken Fried Goat with Gravy, burgers, meatloaf and goat chili. How about Pan Roasted Chops with Blackberries and Sage? That sounds like a gourmet dinner to me!

A close friend of mine recently bought some goat chops from a local farm, and paid more for it than he would have had he bought lamb chops. Which just goes to show that goat meat is set up to be sold as a gourmet meat, a great business venture for anyone who could fill this gap needed by the goat dairy industry. I would love to see local restaurants participate in a month of delicious goaty goodness, creating menus based on this delicious meat to introduce it to more consumers, combined with local area festivals celebrating the goat. This is what I would love to see in Vermont. Vermonters, can we get this going!?

There is also No Goat Left Behind to look to for inspiration. It is a program developed by Heritage Foods USA in Brooklyn, NY and directed by Erin Fairbanks whose mission is “intended to introduce goat as a viable meat product in the United States, while simultaneously aiding dairy farms that have little need for male goats”. Watch this video to understand how intricately meat and cheese production are connected and why it is so important to create awareness around this issue.

The video makes perfect sense and many of the dairy farms they partner with are already in Vermont! If you check out their website, there are more great recipe ideas. I would love to take what they are doing further and bring some awareness to Vermont. We have a lot of great restaurants here that support and rely on local farms for their food, why not give them the opportunity to try their hand at a new protein source and bring creative goat meat dishes to Vermonters? Why should New York City have all the deliciousness!?

If you are not in Vermont I encourage you to get a copy of the book Goat*Meat*Milk*Cheese and support local farms, butchers and meat markets in your area that sell goat meat. If you are a blogger, please blog the recipes you make to help raise awareness.

To read more about our journey to homesteading, please ready my last post: Share My Insanity

Posted in Goats, Homesteading, Sheep, Whole Farm Thinking | 7 Comments

Share My Insanity

This blog is very much about following your dreams, your gut and going against convention. It can be a weird and lonely place sometimes and some days it is really a struggle. So when I read my friend Francesca De Grandis’ latest book, Share My Insanity, it made me realize that I am not alone in my struggles, that there are people all over the world who are dealing with the same issues. Our dreams may be different, but we are still dreamers and whether you think you are or not, you are too!

I have always been a big dreamer and a bit of an adventurer. I always felt like I was born in the wrong time because what I wanted to do with my life is not what most people want. Call it going back to the land, living a simpler life, venerating ancestors, embracing my birthright, being in touch with growing things or maybe just call it whacky. When I was younger, I had big ideas about my future – I always imagined myself living in a little cottage in the woods, surrounded by beautiful birch forests, living in tune with nature, having a family and raising my own food. I dreamed of sprawling vegetable and herb gardens, fruit trees and berry bushes, and little creeks running through the landscape. I dreamed of a partner, who shared these hopes with me. I dreamed of an idyllic future, where life was bliss and I was in my element. But I had no idea how to get there.

Growing up modestly and being raised with a strong work ethic, which generally involved getting a “good job” working for someone else, working hard and waiting for a promotion, or some other way for the work to pay off, I was often afraid to take risks outside of that paradigm because I also enjoy stability and security in my life and learned that was the way to be secure.  I was afraid if I stopped, I wouldn’t get the security I worked so hard for. So I just had to work harder.  I got wrapped up in working for other people, being locked into the rat race – living paycheck to paycheck and never having more than I needed, so I could never get off that treadmill. Don’t get me wrong, I had some good times, and lived quite comfortably, but I always knew there was something more. There was always a deep longing inside of me and a voice telling me that I wasn’t where I was supposed to be.

As I have gotten older and seen how the world really operates, I have come to realize that the world really isn’t all that secure, working for someone else for example, is risky business, you never know what can happen in their lives and therefore to their business, so relying on that “security” is nothing more than being at the whim of someone else. Depending on food at the grocery store to feed you needs only a disaster to occur for all that “security” to wash away and be exposed for what it really is.

So I started taking a long, hard look at things and I learned through years of hard inner work, that in order to make things happen for me in my life, in order for my dreams to have a chance of coming true, I have to be willing to take risks. I have come to believe that the Gods (God, The Universe, Mother Earth, whatever you want to call it) doesn’t reward stagnation, or whining, or the status quo. That energy, whatever you wish to call it, is always in flux, forever changing and like follows like, like rewards like.

Call it a leap of faith. I have taken several of them over the past few years – moving to a new state and starting my food blog, The Leftover Queen and freelancing was the first one. The second was starting my own business, then there was another move to yet another state to start homesteading…all of these elements, priming me, getting me one step closer to my authentic life, which is not something to attain or a destination where once you get there you are “all set”, but something you work towards every day, refining and building, a never-ending path.

When Roberto and I first decided that we were going to uproot and move to Vermont to start homesteading, many close to us thought we were crazy. Some people down right freaked out. People that loved us worried for that ubiquitous “security”. There was a lot of fear. There were so many questions, some of which I had no answers for. All we knew is we were following our gut instincts, surrendering to the changes and flux of the Universe, and in a way letting divine chaos reign.

With my background and beliefs that had become core values, this was not an easy endeavor for me, even though I knew in my heart it was right.  I have a strong current of black vs. white that runs through my life, with very little room for gray areas. At times, I can be a bit of a control freak.  I had to do battle against myself, my own inner negativity, my own inner sense of control that kept trying to tell me that I didn’t really deserve this, that dreamers were fools. I had to put all my trust in the Gods and the Universe that I understood the messages correctly. I had to surrender and to trust and let the gray areas become wider and bigger.

When this happens to you, you feel very alone. It feels like no one understands you, you become easily frustrated, and are in constant defensive mode shielding yourself from the doubt of others thrown at you, that could so easily dig up and align itself with that negativity and doubt still buried deep within yourself.

If you feel this way, or if you have dreams you are pursuing, or want to pursue, I encourage you to pick up Francesca’s book. If you aren’t sure what you want to do with your life, I encourage you to pick up the book – there are so many tools to help you figure it out! Francesca is a master story teller, and in this book reveals much about her own inner struggles in following her dreams, and living in divine chaos. As you read the book, it feels very much like you are having tea with her, so conversational, whimsical and down to earth is the writing and the message (and yes, you can be whimsical and down to earth at the same time!).  In her openness about her own experiences, you have a safe place to laugh at yourself when needed and to really get down to business when needed. This is a book for everyone no matter what your dream is, what you believe in spiritually speaking, nor you age, gender or any other “box” you think you fit into. It certainly helped to validate my own process to coming to the place where I am today, and I picked up some extra tools and helpful tips along the way for going forward!

Francesca De Grandis AKA Outlaw Bunny is multi-purpose: humorist, mystic, semi-recluse, public figure, Yule elf, bard, painter, mega-upcycler, spiritual innovator. Busy rabbit. She adds, “I don’t try to be everything to everybody. I do help a lot of people find theireverything—the huge world inside them and around them.” Peter Coyote said, “Like all good humorists, Francesca De Grandis has a radical and subversive agenda.” For 20+ years, she’s been a grassroots minister and spiritual healer who helps people of all faiths—and those who are just fine without one—through pastoral counseling and classes. Her goal in this is to help others find both personal fulfillment and the power to make a difference in the world.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Happy Halloween with Needle Felting!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN to all my readers out there!

As the seasons change, attention is brought inward, and towards the home. Days of sunshine and hours outside working in the garden, or doing outdoor chores, repairs and projects are behind us, as we move into more quiet times inside.

One activity that I have taken up in the past few weeks is needle felting! Now that we have a supply of beautiful Shetland wool, from our girls, Inga and Iona, I figured it was time to start coming up with ways to use them. I have never really done any handiwork crafts before, so I thought starting with something fun and flexible, that doesn’t require many tools, would be perfect!

The pumpkin is my second piece, and here is my first, an Autumn scene, based loosely on my favorite tree on our land!

Felting is so much fun, and I look forward to many nights by the woodstove making all kinds of felting creations! I may give knitting a try as well!

What kinds of handiwork projects keep you busy during the winter months?

Posted in Projects, Sheep | Leave a comment

Homemade Fire Starters

This is a super easy homesteading project that I have been planning to do for quite some time. I made them a long time ago, as a kid, when I was a girl scout! :) But I got a reminder  the other day from The Homestead Revival Blog.

People are always giving us leftover cardboard egg cartons. We use them for eggs, but I had some extra, which were perfect for this project. All you need:

1) Cardboard Egg Cartons

2) Clothes Dryer Lint

3) Candle Wax from Old Candles  – I used mostly beeswax, but also whatever else was lying around.

I have an old pot that I don’t use for cooking, that I used to melt the wax. I made sure to remove any metal parts on the candles. I put them in the pot and set the temperature on low. If you don’t have a pot you don’t cook in, you can use a glass or metal bowl and make a double boiler to melt the wax that way.

While the wax was melting I started stuffing the egg cartons with dryer lint. You can stuff a lot of lint into one hole, so stuff as much as you can in there. Once you are finished,  and the wax is melted pout wax over top of the lint. Using a ladle makes it easier! You might want to put your egg cartons on newspaper, as some of the hot wax might seep out the bottom.

Once they are dry, they are ready to use! As a friend suggested, this would make a great homemade holiday gift for people in colder climates that have wood stoves or fireplaces!

Posted in Homesteading, Projects | 1 Comment