Monday, February 28, 2011

Chicken First Aid Kit

If you raise chickens, chances are you may have unfortunately lost a chicken or two to predators or disease. Rather than scrambling to find supplies to administer First Aid treatment to an injured hen or rooster, it's helpful to have them all in one place in the form of a poultry First Aid Kit.

Gather all your supplies and store them in a container. I used an old box, but you can use a Tupperware, basket or whatever you like. I stored mine in our shed with our chicken feed, but now that it is getting warmer I moved it to a closet inside our house. You can certainly include more supplies to tailor to your specific needs, but here's what I have in mine: 

Topical ointments, antiseptics, wound dressings

Gauze pads for wounds

Oral antibiotics and a package of vitamins and electrolytes

A syringe to administer the oral medications (just dribble a little on their 
beak and they will drink the rest of it)

You can't forget the treats!! (I usually cave in and give mine their 
favorite: shredded cheese, grapes, or bread)

You will also need to have on hand old towels, washcloths, and Q-tips and/or cotton balls. You may also consider keeping in your kit a needle and thread as well as supplies for broken limbs.  Hopefully you won't ever have to utilized your First Aid kit, but if your flock were to be attacked or suffer some illnesses, it's better to be prepared. Chickens can be surprisingly resilient, and it's amazing the wonders a little bit of nursing can do.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Do you know your roost's history?

Are you curious about the history of your old house? What story would your home tell if its walls could talk? Perhaps someone lived there that later went on to become famous, a juicy scandal could have taken place, or the house may have been designed by a well-known architect.

If you are willing to put a little time and energy into research, below are some steps to discovering your historic home's history:

  • Is your house in a historic district? Check with your local SHPO (State Historic Preservation Office) to see if your house has been surveyed either in a municipal or county-wide comprehensive architectural survey. If so, ask for access to a copy of the survey to see if you house has been included in the inventory.
  • Check your county's GIS website or tax records (possibly located at your courthouse or government administration facility) for basic information. Ask the staff to help you navigate the website or online records database if you need help. Sometimes these records will include the date in which the house was constructed.
  • Check with your local historical society, archives, or public library for basic research resources like local histories, geneologies, architectural history publications, photographic histories and old postcards. Explain to the archivist or person on staff what you are looking for- these people are a great help and often a wealth of information regarding sources pertinent to your research.
a small piece from a 1907 Sanborn Insurance map 
  • Utilize Sanborn Insurance maps. (image at right) These were created starting in the last quarter of the 19th century by the Sanborn Fire Insurance Company for many cities and towns. You can glean key bits of information from them about the buildings themselves, street patterns, and the building's use.  A good library or university archives should have these maps available in digital or sometimes hard-copy format. Some originals are even in color.
  •  Check with your local newspaper's archives to see if they have any old photographs or articles that might mention your neighborhood. If you are lucky, your local library might have newspaper articles indexed by year and separated by subject. You can usually access them on microfilm. 
  • If you know the previous owners, ask them what they know about the property. Try to locate and talk to "old-timers," or folks who have been in the area a long time, who may remember previous owners of your house.
  • Check old City Directories (usually kept at your local library or university). 

If you don't live in a historic home, try out these research methods on a historic building in your community that speaks to you. Most importantly, have fun! 

Linking to:

Monday, February 21, 2011

Homesteading at the Roost

our very first egg

Here at Restoring the Roost I haven't focused as much on our homesteading activities (oh, right... except the chickens, of course...I am kind of obsessed with talking about my chickies).

Even though I wouldn't necessarily call myself a homesteader, all of the various arts involved in homesteading are very important to me--and I cannot shake my deep longing to become more self-sufficient and connected to the land that God blessed us with. I love gardening and cooking with the fruits of my labor, my husband brews his own beer, and we raise backyard chickens. In the future we hope to grow a lot more of our own food than we currently do, and perhaps have a small vineyard. I also love to fix up my roost. Does that make me a homesteader, too? Perhaps.

Mr. Rue thinks he's hot stuff

My journey of restoring the roost, wherever that may be, includes not just my physical home and its historic fabric, but also the health of our homestead, spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

Below are some goals for healthy living I've made for this year similar to Amy's "Food Journey" over at Homestead Revival.  These will result in BIG but needed lifestyle changes for our family:

Goal # 1- pray more and be more diligent in daily Bible study.

Goal # 2- eliminate processed foods

Goal # 3- cut way back on consumption of sugar, especially anything with refined sugars

Goal # 4- switch to buying organic produce or local farmer's market produce as much as possible, particularly for the "dirty dozen"

Goal # 5- switch to antibiotic and hormone-free meats if possible or available

Goal # 6-  become more organized at home, devoting a set time for chores and housekeeping each day (instead of letting it all pile up for the weekend)

Goal # 7- try raw goat's milk (if available) and consider eventually keeping goats. If I can't stomach it, then at least switch to hormone-free organic milk

Goal # 8- be able to bake my own bread with local grown/milled whole grains

Goal # 9- switch to all-natural or green cleaning products (we already use green products for some things, but need some alternatives to bleach and regular detergents)

Goal # 10- put extra effort into making our vegetable garden more productive

Quite a list, huh? I am planning to gradually make these changes so that it's not so overwhelming all at once. So, any thoughts or advice? I'd love to hear stories about your own homesteading goals!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Day Trip of the Month: Star, NC

I love discovering small, historic towns that you would literally miss if you blinked when driving through. Many of them seem like ghost towns, but I believe they hold great potential for charming, safe, and special places that almost always have such an interesting history. Places where the pace of life is slower and the neighbor's front porch is welcoming. This is exactly my impression with Star, located at the geographic center of North Carolina.

Star is a classic railroad town later fueled by the textile industry so prevalent in this region of North Carolina. Though rural, the town has charm--I fell in love with it when I first saw this dilapidated Victorian Gothic cottage:

A-MAZ-ING..... and I am sure it was even more breathtaking in its former glory. What a gem! 

The facade features a turret and most likely had a porch at one time.

Even though only about 800 people live in Star, every single person we encountered either on the streets or in the shops befriended us.

Star shows evidence of blossoming again as natives are moving back and a small business incubator and glass-blowing organization called "Starworks" is bringing new life into the community. Additionally the town's plans for downtown revitalization are currently underway.

So much potential! I love the corner entrance...

I hope to return to Star for its annual "Heritage Day" in June.  Have you been on any day trips lately? Perhaps you discovered a charming town you never knew about before or fell in love with an architectural beauty in need of some TLC? 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wishing you a very happy Valentine's Day....

"Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong 
as death, passion fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a 
raging flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. 
If one offered for love all the wealth of one's house, it would be utterly scorned." 
- Song of Solomon, 8: 6-7

Be sure and spread some love throughout your roost!


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sharing the sweetness of Valentine's Day

Looking to share the love this Valentine's Day?

Bake a yummy treat for your and your special someone:

Or, if you enjoy baking sweets in celebration of Valentine's Day but are watching your calorie or sugar intake, consider giving your cake or batch of cookies away to an elderly friend, neighbor or nearest soup kitchen.

To get the Martha Stewart recipe for these decadent but cute molten mocha cakes, visit here.  My hubby and I enjoyed these delicious treats as a pre-Valentine's gift.

Think traditional valentines are only for kids? Think again. Adults enjoy receiving them too! Send a special love note to friends or family members that might be especially lonely this year.

Creating these handmade cards is a fun way to pass an afternoon with friends and they are a special delight to the lucky recipient.

Have fun creating to your heart's content this Valentine's Day- and don't forget to tell someone how much you love them :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Restoration Basics: historic window repair

Want to learn how to restore your home's original wood windows without having to pay a professional?

Then look no further than Rebecca Schwendler's week-long series of posts with the National Trust's PreservationNation blog as she walks us through the process of restoring her own windows from her 1892 Victorian.  She explains how with a little research and hands-on training from your local craftsman, you too can learn the art of window restoration.  I encourage you to check it out!

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Friday, February 4, 2011

10 tips for energy savings in your historic cottage

It's still pretty chilly outside, and we can all use some advice on making our historic homes more energy efficient during the winter and sustainable at the same time. Here are 10 tips to think about:

  1. Restore and weatherize original windows and doors, sealing the exterior envelope of the house. Visit here for more information on weatherizing original windows. Refrain from replacing windows with energy-efficient models; the result would adversely affect one of your cottage's  most character-defining features. Nor is it worth it in the long run.
  2. Have the efficiency of your HVAC system checked and if necessary upgrade to a more efficient model. If you are especially ambitious, consider geothermal.
  3. Switch to LED light bulbs or CFL's if possible. Consider installing motion sensors.
  4. Add insulation strategically to the attic and/or basement to prevent heat from escaping rather than to the walls, which can harbor moisture and contribute to other problems.
  5. Invest in quality, heavy draperies that when closed help to prevent heat from escaping from single pane windows.
  6. Don't forget the basics. Close off rooms that are rarely used, turn off lights, unplug appliances that are rarely used. Monitor your energy use.
  7.  If your cottage has an existing wood-burning stove, use it! If you know your historic house previously contained a wood-burning stove, investigate where it might have been located and consider installing a period-replica. Some homes can be heated entirely from wood-burning stoves.
  8. Consider installing solar panels on an inconspicuous place, perhaps on a rear or side elevation of your roof if your historic district ordinance allows for them.
  9. If you are still convinced that your original windows are contributing to the problem, carefully install low-E exterior storm windows.
  10. Make sure your appliances have an Energy Star rating.

By living in a historic home and virtually recycling all the materials, you are already saving a HUGE amount of embodied energy! By making some initial investments, you can save a lot more on your utility bills in the long run. And if you produce more energy that you consume (a possibility with solar panels), you may even end up with your utility company paying you!

Have a great day and stay warm!