Thursday, August 18, 2016

Re-homing the Roo

It took a while for our rooster to get accepted by our established flock, and once he did, he kept to his own. After a while he started acting like a cockerel and mounting our girls... and crowing again. He stopped crowing after he was introduced to the flock, but once he took his place as the chicken in charge, he crowed. A lot.

Finally accepted, he would roost next to (or in between) the girls. Here he is sleeping on the far right.

Sadly, we have had to rehome our rooster. I made certain to check with each of our immediate neighbors, personally, to see if his crowing was disturbing anyone. I understand that we all have to share this space, and I don't want to be that neighbor. You know, the one that always annoys the others? Yeah, I don't want to be that person.

Every single one of the neighbors assured me it wasn't bothering them, but I told them if he ever started to bother them, please let me know and I will get rid of him right away.

Last week we had a surprise visit early in the morning. It was a police officer. Someone had called to complain about the rooster crowing, so they had to come out to let us know. Same sort of protocol as if someone complained about a dog constantly barking or something.

The whole interaction (which was pleasant, mind you. The officer was very kind.) saddened me. I wondered why someone just wouldn't tell me in person. I can only assume it wasn't one of my immediate neighbors that complained, as I know for a fact that some of them enjoyed hearing the crowing because it made them feel like they were in the country!

Regardless, one complaint is plenty when it's a situation we cannot control. I've heard of those collars you place on a rooster to prevent them from crowing, but I've also read too many instances where the rooster died after they placed it. (Yes, it specifically states how to put them on, but if the rooster can still crow they consider it too loose... and one of the reviewers tightened it a hair tighter and the rooster seemed to be okay but simply wasn't getting enough oxygen after that.)

I couldn't do that to my rooster, so I contacted the person that took the chicks (the other half of my younger chicks) and asked if they were interested in a rooster. For free, of course. I wanted him to go to a good home. They accepted, and quickly picked him up. I have been promised pictures, which makes me feel better. He wasn't cuddly after he started his cockerel duties, so it's not like I lost a chicken I could hold. Still, he was a handsome fellow and I will miss him.

Disclaimer: Thoughts of Fluff is responsible for the content of this post. All opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own.

Monday, August 15, 2016

No-poo journey

Early in the year 2014, I stopped using shampoo. I was fortunate in not having work at that moment, because I heard that your hair goes through some really oily phase as it adjusts to not being washed as much. I tried a variety of things at first, but thanks to this blog post (which shared actual scientific reasoning as to why baking soda is bad for your hair), I knew to steer clear of the most commonly discussed method of going “no-poo” which would be a baking soda and ACV wash/condition method.

I had done a lot of reading leading up to my decision, and got many ideas for things to try. First up was just water. Literally just water. I wasn’t sure how it would work, but I knew that around week 4 was supposed to be the greasiest your hair looks with any no-poo transition, so I decided at the start I wouldn’t judge until at least week 7.

Week 7 and my hair just wasn’t feelin’ it. My hair is very thick, and it is naturally a bit oily. It just looked bad with plain water. Thankfully, with no job at that point, I didn’t have to worry about professional appearances, and would just throw a bandana on over my hair when I had to step out, hoping it would pass the greasy phase.

June 2014 (nothing)

I decided to revisit the post linked above and tried out the rye flour method of shampoo. I just mixed in a bit of rye flour with water until it was a paste, used that to rub into my scalp, and rinsed. I used ACV/water for conditioner.

May 2015 (Rye flour)

The above worked really well, and I continued doing that for the last year and a half (if not a bit longer). It was especially nice when I would cut my hair short, but I recently started using shampoo again, for simplicity’s sake.

June 2016 (Rye flour)
I know it sounds like not much work to pour a bit of rye flour into a bowl and mix with a bit of shower water. It really wasn’t. I stirred it with my finger. It took basically no time. The hard part was rinsing it out of my hair. If I had thin hair, I think it would be a totally different ending to the story, honestly. Rye flour has little pieces of the shell (husk) in the flour. It is great as an exfoliator for the scalp, but isn’t a friend to thick hair. I found that if I didn’t take the time to use the highest pressure and carefully blast every part of my hair, the tiny little pieces of husk stuck to strands of hair. This looked bad. Not just like a weird piece of fuzzy in someone’s hair, weird… but it looked like a piece of dandruff, or worse, a louse egg.

If I switched to the tub faucet and rinsed under there, it was easier to get it all out, but it just was such a water waste. That, and it hurt my neck to do that. It was more of an inconvenience, and my hair was longer by this point. Thick, long, heavy hair… and having to do that.

I truly believe that if I had very fine, straight hair, this would be a non-issue. Sadly, my hair is not only very thick, but naturally wavy (not curly). I loved paying only a few dollars a year for rye flour and having it last so long, but now I’m back to shampoo. I’m actually really sad about it, as I really wanted to never go back. My hair already feels less healthy, but I’m trying out more natural shampoos and hoping to find the perfect one for me. It will probably be a lot of trial and error until I find one I like, and it isn’t going to be as cheap as the rye flour (nothing would!).

If you’re looking to go no-poo and have thin/straight hair (or just short hair), I highly recommend trying the rye flour option. Otherwise, I’m interested in hearing suggestions for other no-poo alternatives (or good, natural shampoos)!

Disclaimer: Thoughts of Fluff is responsible for the content of this post. All opinions are my own and may differ from your own.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Adventures with Chicks (pt. 9)

Instead of waiting a whole week before letting them out with the girls, I decided to only wait 5 days based on the behaviour of the chicks and the established flock. There didn't seem to be any sort of animosity in the group, so I let them out after spreading out a whole box full of produce goodies for them. I made sure to scatter across the whole run so everyone could snack without being forced near the other chickens, then I put the chicks in.

There were squabbles, but nothing constant. Most of the time the hens were just wanting to eat. Sometimes even eating near the chicks. Occasionally a charge at the chicks, but not a full-on attack.

There have been a few times when the hens attacked a chick, pulling a feather out here or there, but that was it. They didn't carry on, it was always a quick squabble. This is quite the opposite of when we introduced our roo to them, as they would corner him and just pick on him constantly until I intervened. This is just attempts to establish pecking order.

I can't tell you how much of a relief it was to see them react this way! The new girls stick to their little group, but the rooster is the one that was nice to them straight away. He would even break up a pecking-order squabble from time to time.

Disclaimer: Thoughts of Fluff is responsible for the content of this post. All opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Cleaning Trickery

I recently realized that Bobble could do a lot more than I was having him do around the house. I remember I used to let him just match socks for me with laundry, but the other day I saw him actually folding laundry and doing it well. If I asked him to do some laundry, however, he wasn't interested.

Same with anything else. I likes to help clean, but only when he wants to. If he's asked, no dice. Having "chores" or "clean up" on a schedule didn't change this, despite him always wanting to do what was on the schedule any other time.

This past weekend, however, I finally found a way that works (at least for him)!

He likes to watch the show "UmiZoomi", and they always have missions. He also likes to play video games where they have specific challenges or missions to complete for him to move on in the game. I put this knowledge to the best use I could, and hand wrote a note for him to find in the morning. (He cannot read 100% on his own, but he can pick out the majority of the words these days.)

It read something along the lines of:


Here are your missions for Sunday morning:
1) Pick up living room
2) Vacuum living room
3) Put away YOUR laundry

Good luck!


The list actually had 7 items on it, but all were tiny (the living room was mostly picked up already), easy to do (one was literally telling me a different room was ready for me to vacuum it), and worded simply so he felt he could read it himself and would actually try.

He took to the "missions" swimmingly, and took great delight in crossing the items off as he completed them. I'm going to start putting "missions" on the fridge on a dry erase board and see if I still have luck getting him to cooperate!

Disclaimer: Thoughts of Fluff is responsible for the content of this post. All opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Adventures with Chicks (Pt. 8)

At 12 weeks of age, the chicks that we still had (4 of them were rehomed) found their cage set up in the enclosed section of our coop (just like our rooster was set up when he was first introduced to the girls). While we set that up, the kids watched the chicks play in the baby-gated area, and then loved on them a bit.

We put up a section of plastic on the western side of the coop that was directly behind their cage to help protect from the elements (eventually it has to rain, right?), and a bit of cardboard on the one side to help them be able to hide from the girls if they felt nervous before the established flock was let out in the morning.

I have let the established flock out to free-range and opened up the door for the chicks to explore, but they don't want to venture too far away yet. Soon they will be integrated with the rest of the flock! They aren't really looking like chicks anymore, though. They look so grown up!

Disclaimer: Thoughts of Fluff is responsible for the content of this post. All opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Alba Botanica SPF 50 SunScreen (review)

Last year I found an organic sunscreen I liked a lot, but we couldn't find it without driving roughly 90 miles. While that's not always a big deal (since that's right near the zoo and we like making zoo trips), it's not very practical for the rest of the time. I also couldn't find it higher than SPF30, and it had only 40 minutes of water resistance.

I did some searching and found Alba Botanica's Hawaiian Clear Spray Sunscreen with SPF50. It's not organic, but the ingredients are 100% vegetarian, biodegradable, and it is water resistant for 80 minutes.

One of my favourite things about this sunscreen is that it is air-propelled (no CFCs) and it is biodegradable. It is also free of parabens, phthalates, and ..... synthetic fragrances!!! This last one is huge for me because most fake scents don't agree with me. Well, at least not my sinuses.

In addition to the benefits above, it's an easy spray-on sunscreen that doesn't need to be rubbed in. Instead of being a white sunscreen that sprays on and you rub in, this sunscreen is clear.

If heavily applied (as on Squiggle's arm above), it's still just clear. Also, don't spray that much on. That happened because Bobble was helping! I just used the extra to apply to her face. Bobble's back (also seen above) shows immediately after applying the sunscreen (in the proper amount).

To apply to faces, simply spray on your hand and then apply to the face. Alternatively, wipe the extra off that your child attempted to apply themselves and use that.

Another neat feature is the locking cap. If you twist the cap to the right, it won't spray. While not exactly child-proof, it certainly helps with sunscreen transport in a bag!

I haven't been able to find this locally, though Walmart apparently carries it (at least online). Having Amazon Prime, however, it's a non-issue. Though I could also order the other sunscreen I liked (mentioned at the beginning of the post), this one lasts longer and is much less expensive.

Disclaimer: The above products were purchased by me. Thoughts of Fluff was not compensated in any way for this post. All opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own.