Jane Abbott

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since May 22, 2015
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Newbie Permie. Have a 2.5 acre urban micro farm. Raising kids, rabbits, chickens, ducks, veggie plots and apiary in process.
Step by step making my way out of the rat race and into self sufficiency and hopefully having fun and learning a few things in the process
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Recent posts by Jane Abbott

Erica Strauss wrote:Hey guys - my most recent blog post is on using comfrey as a skin soother. There's a recipe for making Comfrey Cubes, which are the best things in the world for sunburns. Thought you'd like this one: http://www.nwedible.com/sunburn-soothing-comfrey/

Thanks for this article Erica!
and love the light jab to us permies lol
I have run across your blog a few times and always good info. I have used comfrey many times on different ailments but never thought to freeze it for use later.
Great idea
9 years ago

The last few days have been rough for our 130+ lb. Newfie. It has been in the high 80's to low 90's and HUMID for the last few days and he has very very thick double coat of fur so at first I didn't think anything of it that he was just lazing about the house and not being as energetic and playful as normal. But three nights ago, he wouldn't even stand up to cross the room to get a piece of steak I had leftover while cooking dinner and I knew something just wasn't 'right'.

He gets regular ear infections and first went to check his ears and sure enough the tell tale brown waxy discharge was there in both ears but not as bad as he had had it in the past and still didn't quite explain the excess lethargy. I made sure he was well hydrated and turned the air conditioning down a bit further and waited for him to perk back up after cleaning his ears well and using the drops we got at the vet the last round of infections.

The next morning he was still very lethargic and I was getting pretty worried. I layed on the kitchen floor with him and decided while he was so calm it would be a great time to work on a few mats in his fur I had noticed and get some of the undercoat out as he is currently blowing his coat. Well this is no small task and unless you have owned a Newfoundland you would never expect the amount of fur that comes out of these guys, and how quickly they can develop mats!

Well, after getting his belly and rest of body brushed out and noticing some small scabbed over areas on his belly that looked like they had been ant or gnat bites and saw they were healing nicely and some just sloughed the scab right off and nice new pink skin was underneath I didn't worry over much.
I took his collar off and noticed a pretty foul odor and what looked like dried matted fur in some of his many neck folds, I kept examining further and found several more areas that were tender, hot, open and oozing.


I have heard horror stories about these spots that seem to grow by the hour become infected at the drop of a hat, cause the critters misery, bald spots that maybe will never grow hair back on and hundreds of dollars at the vet (Not to mention the horror stories of vets using steroids that destroy the dogs immune system, heavy chemical sedatives, and pump them full of antibiotics)
Needless to say if I couldn't get this taken care of and fast I would be forced to head down that road with him as I refuse to let him suffer. I did hours and hours of research to find the best treatments. The two overwhelming responses I found were some I have used many times on myself and should have thought of! *smh*

Apple cider vinegar and coconut oil!

I figured I better give the vet a call just to get her opinion on my plan and find out if anything was contraindicated for use on him. (If he weren't as big as he is, lethargic and not terrified of getting in the car I might have just driven him over there so she could examine him. I did make an appointment for him this Saturday first thing just in case as that is the soonest both myself and husband would be home at the same time to lift him in the truck and go.)
Well, I was very upset about our vet's response! Basically she said she wouldn't recommend anything at all for him until she saw him in the office, not to clean it, not to treat it, not to give him anything for itching or discomfort and to either kennel him or put a cone of shame on him until we could get in to see her, and oh make sure you bring your checkbook because Saturday visits are extra and more than likely it will have spread and become infected and he will need to be sedated and shaved and given a steriod injection and be sent home with antibiotics......
Exactly opposite of what I wanted to hear. I tried to explain our situation with car trips and getting him in and out and yes, I know how quickly they can get infected which is the precise reason I'm calling. No luck.

Well, F* that, Let's give this a shot! I'm totally abandoning what the vet told me because it just didn't sit right with my conscious to confine him, which he hates, and let him suffer.
Everything is natural and organic, I've used these things on myself with good results and I read dozens and dozens of other testimonials on dogs with amazing results. It couldn't possibly be worse than doing nothing and letting him suffer and getting worse.....

I mixed a 50/50 solution of the vinegar and water in a spritz bottle and lightly sprayed him down with it as I groomed him per normal everywhere else but his neck (They say you can use it directly on the open sores but that sounds painful like lemon juice in a papercut) well the itching stopped almost immediately after the vinegar got down into his skin. On the open and crusty areas I massaged good quality organic coconut oil into the crusts and layered a bit over the open areas, this also seemed to calm his skin as well and he even leaned into my hand as I was massaging it in!

Just for good measure I added 2 tbsp of the coconut oil to his food which he just loved and put ACV into his water as well (1 1/2 tbsp per gal)

I have to say that within a few hours he had gotten up and gone outside, seemed more at ease and the open spots were much less 'angry' looking.

This morning I checked him out a bit before I left for work and the wounds still looked pretty good, hadn't gotten any bigger, weren't oozing or matting his hair and I could be imagining things but they looked smaller as well.

Nature is truly magical!
Now it might be a bit too soon to say definitively that it works but it has certainly soothed our poor guy and looks very very promising!

I will keep you updated on his progress.

If you don't know about the myriad of uses for ACV and coconut oil look it up! Such amazing qualities! antibacterial, anti fungal, skin soother, gastrointestinal remedy, etc, etc..
As I kept reading I kept thinking is there anything these two ingredients couldn't do?

9 years ago
An older well dressed man is out on the golf course, playing what seems to be the worse game he has ever played.
On the 8th hole he slices the ball deep into a wooded area, and that being his last ball trudges into the brush to look for it.
While searching for his ball he comes across an old woman stirring a boiling cauldron over a small fire.
the woman said to him "why do you look so troubled?"
Frustrated at his game and not finding his ball he tells the woman about his game and loosing his last ball.
The woman said to the man "I have a potion in my cabin that will fix your golf game, but I warn you it will effect your sex life"
The man chuckles and replies that that isn't a problem at all and he would gladly take the potion. She goes back to cabin, brings back the potion and a handful of golf balls she had gathered from the woods. Before she hands him the potion she cautions him again about the side effects, he brushes her off again and happily leaves with the potion and the golf balls.
The next day he goes out golfing with his buddies, drinks the potion and places a small bet on him having the lowest score, to which his friends all skoff as they have played with him before and gladly ante up and accept the bet.
Well just as promised the potion starts working and he is playing the best round of golf he has ever played and comes in 7 under par ahead of his friends. As they hand over the cash they are all inquiring about who he got his lessons from as he had to have been taking classes behind their back. He assures them he hasn't had a single instruction.
Well the next week the man is still feeling pretty pumped up about his new prowess on the greens and was hanging out at the pro shop looking for someone else he could make a bet with. Sure enough a young man comes in needing a second and the two start off down the fairway.
The first 9 holes are going great and he is well under par, by about the 12th hole his drives are getting a little shorter and he finds himself hooking the ball too far or three putting on the green. Wanting to continue with his lucky streak the next day he returns to the course and purposely slices the ball deep into the wooded area where he had found the old woman the week before.
She was still there stirring away at the ever roiling cauldron.
The man runs up to her "Please, please let me have more of that potion you gave me last week, it's fantastic! I've never played this well even in my youth."
The woman looks questioning at him "But what about your sex life? If you have taken all of the potion already it MUST be affecting you"
"oh, don't worry about my sex life, it's just fine" he says.
"Well now, really this is highly unlikely that it hasn't affected you" " she lowers her voice a bit and asks " So can I ask, um... how often you um have relations?"
"The mans faces blushes slightly, but obliges " Well, usually once a week or so..."
"ONCE a week! that's awful, I will not give you anymore of this potion!"
The man pleads with her for more and says he's fine with once a week.
"No, No, No I just can't agree to this once a week is terrible"
He pleads with her again and tells her really once a week is all he will ever hope to have, after-all being a priest in a small town"
The woman turns around produces two bottles of the potion and the man walks back onto the fairway...
9 years ago
More pics of the new old farm
9 years ago
A few of our growies!
9 years ago
Aside from foraging for your chicks and giving a grit option for them locally sourced you could stretch the feed you have by fermenting it. Not only does it double the amount of feed but gives added healthy probiotics. Another option is starting a fodder system and growing their feed. Barley, BOSS, clover, rye and wheat are the most popular I've heard of. Others have a mealworm farm system or use vermicomposters and feed the excess. You could always do a combination of any of the above options.
Personally, I ferment my feed (I only use the organic GMO free feed). But I'm also planning on vermicompost to help the gardens and amend soil but won't feed the worms to my girls until the population is up to a sustainable size. The fodder systems interest my as well for both my hens and rabbits but need to wait a bit to start those systems as cash flow allows.
Hope this helped and I didn't ramble too much.
If you want more info on fermenting feed or the research on fodder systems and vermicomposting would be more than happy to share.
9 years ago
I'm following this as well!
I took a PRI permie course and have observed observed observed here on our micro farm for the last year. While I understand the the concept behind swales, and other earthwork techniques. I feel like I still need more information or guidance to be confident in grabbing a shovel and doing it. (Not to mention the confidence to get the hubby on the same page)
9 years ago
Permie Newbie first time poster here!

So very glad I found a group of people who are so like minded, instead of the people who look at me like I have 2 heads for raising chickens, ducks, and rabbits and dreaming of at least being self sufficient.

Anyway before I start to ramble on and on, I'm always looking for ways to cut down on feed cost for the birds and stumbled across fermenting your feed and starting a fodder system to provide the birds with twice the food for price.
I love this approach and my girls really seem to go for the fermented food over the dry pellet, we haven't tried the fodder yet but plan to.

Looking forward to hearing other peoples thoughts on fermented foods and other ways to lower cost of feed.

(Before you say to let them free range and forage, which I agree would be ideal, my hands are tied by local ordinances and the fact that while I do have 2.4 acres, we are surrounded on all sides with 1/8 - 1/2 acre r1 lots)

We have a 10x8 coop, and a 24'x32' shaded fenced run for our dozen hens and 3 ducks
9 years ago