Cosmopolitan Cornbread http://cosmopolitancornbread.com food, family, faith and homesteading Wed, 28 Jun 2017 16:39:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 http://cosmopolitancornbread.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/cropped-CosmoCornbread-hen-400-32x32.jpg Cosmopolitan Cornbread http://cosmopolitancornbread.com 32 32 45592639 Why I Reject Minimalism & Organized People Are Not Lazy http://cosmopolitancornbread.com/minimalism/ http://cosmopolitancornbread.com/minimalism/#comments Wed, 28 Jun 2017 12:00:26 +0000 http://cosmopolitancornbread.com/?p=32672 Thoughts on Minimalism, Defending Hipsters and Rejecting the Lazy Label Over the past couple of years, I have seen a huge push towards “minimalism.” I’ve even seen a documentary of sorts on Netflix all about it – though it looked more like an artsy infomercial for a book rather than an actual documentary. I’ve seen...

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This original post - Why I Reject Minimalism & Organized People Are Not Lazy - written by Constance Smith first appeared on Cosmopolitan Cornbread | Copyright © 2008 - 2016

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Thoughts on Minimalism, Defending Hipsters and Rejecting the Lazy Label


Over the past couple of years, I have seen a huge push towards “minimalism.” I’ve even seen a documentary of sorts on Netflix all about it – though it looked more like an artsy infomercial for a book rather than an actual documentary. I’ve seen many friends posting about it, wanting less, wanting simplicity.

Let’s talk about simplicity a moment. There’s something to be said about keeping your life simple and get rid of the clutter. That applies to everything from the items in our homes to the chaos of our schedules. We’re always running behind, we’re always fighting clutter monsters in our houses.


I know that personally this can be a challenge. Trying to manage my time so that things are done in an efficient manner. Maybe it is the German blood that runs through by veins, but I loathe wasted time and inefficiency. When I do my runs into the city, I want to get everything done that needs to be done in one trip. No running to town multiple times – home and town, home and town. Not only that, but I try to plan the trip so that I am doing everything in a sweeping, circular fashion so I’m not back tracking in my route. See what I mean? Efficiency.

Not too long ago, I saw an article that said “organized people are lazy.” Lazy? That’s right – LAZY.

It said that organized people don’t want to have to utilize necessary time, energy, etc. that could be used for other things. What?! How on earth does being efficient make a person lazy? I think the author of the article was simply an unorganized, frazzled, chaotic person who was just trying to make themselves feel better about their lack of discipline.

There are simply not enough hours in the day to be wasting precious time looking for things, waiting on things, backtracking and burning gas.  There’s pasture to be mowed, livestock to care for, chores to be done, projects to get to. Gas isn’t cheap either, so I don’t want to waste that either. Just saying.

But back to the Minimalism thing. A few weeks ago, I saw a joke where someone said “Minimalism is being rich enough to live like you’re poor.” It’s kind of funny in its accuracy.

So why do I reject the idea of minimalism?

Well, I guess you could say that I view being a minimalist, as being someone who believes you will always be able to go to the store – always have that job – always have the ability to go get what you need as you need it. But what if you lose that job, and now there’s nothing in your pantry? What if you find yourself in a situation where you have to make do with what you have…and there’s nothing to make do with? What if you need to fix something or make a repair, but didn’t bother to buy any tools in your quest to be minimalistic and prove to the world that you don’t need material things?

I had a conversation with a friend, and she mentioned that “hipsters” get a bad rap. It’s true. How many people today have an appreciation for older things? How many people want to fix something up rather than buy something new? The fact that there is a portion of a younger generation who has a love for old, a love for quality and for reusing and valuing the “old” is encouraging to me.

I put time and energy into growing food in the garden, into preserving and “putting by” what we produce, so that we have that food to enjoy and consume in the future. Having a well stocked pantry means that if a hard times happen, you have something to live on. If your neighbor has an emergency, you can walk in there and get something to bless them with and not have to think twice. How can you do that if there is nothing in your pantry?

When we lived in Alaska, we were up in the Fairbanks area. For those who have never been to Alaska, or have no idea just how big and remote the state is, think of this. You go to the store, and the thing you really, really need is out of stock. So you just drive to the next town and get it there. Well, in Fairbanks, the next city over is 300+ miles away. You’re not making that drive when it is -67 degrees outside. You have to be prepared for things like that. If there’s a bad blizzard, the grocery stores aren’t getting stocked and the mail may not even run for a while. We used to keep gallons of milk in our freezer for the times when the delivery trucks couldn’t come for a week or more.

This idea of being prepared isn’t just something for Alaskans. Our grandparents understood the importance of preparedness. It isn’t a new concept, it isn’t a “crazy prepper” concept either. It is our responsibility to be able to take care of ourselves or maybe our neighbors too, in hard times and emergencies.  If you think you’ll be able to go to the store every other day…well. I hope you are never proved wrong. We live in a very uncertain world. There are disasters – man-made and natural, riots, computer hackers, and all sorts of dangers out there that could happen without warning.

If you are a minimalist, and you don’t have supplies, you don’t have tools, you are a victim in waiting. You are living with the assumption that if a disaster of any sort occurs, that someone else will come in and take care of you. Who? The government?

I think Ronald Reagan said it best, when he said…

Wouldn’t you agree?

All of that said, I understand it. As a society, we are driven by bigger, better more. Bigger houses, fancier cars, the latest gadgets and yet where is the fulfillment? We find ourselves hungry for something else. Starved to the point that some have allowed the pendulum to swing to the complete other side. Not finding fulfillment and satisfaction with their material things, they reject all of it and get rid of everything still seeking that sense of peace. That tranquility.

Many may disagree, but I believe that when you know your worth with God, you don’t try to seek your value with things of this world – acquiring more and more to find your worth. Equally, when you have the peace of God, you don’t look for peace from a rejection of material goods.

There has to be a balance.

Should we work ourselves to death, building up debt to keep up with “the Joneses”? Of course not. But on the flip side we also shouldn’t make our selves vulnerable by rejecting all material goods and not being prepared for bad times.

Know your worth with God. Have what you need so that you are not beholden to others for food, shelter, safety. So you aren’t a victim waiting to happen and a burden to others. And at the same time, don’t run yourself ragged trying to acquire all of the earthly treasures that you can’t take with you.

Balance.

Why I Reject Minimalism & Organized People Are Not Lazy | Cosmopolitan Cornbread

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How to Keep Chickens Safe in Hot Summer Weather http://cosmopolitancornbread.com/chickens-summer/ http://cosmopolitancornbread.com/chickens-summer/#respond Tue, 27 Jun 2017 09:00:30 +0000 http://cosmopolitancornbread.com/?p=32636 As hot weather gets hotter, chickens can struggle to stay healthy. Help your flock thrive and survive the soaring summer temps. Most people understand that your chickens have special needs to get through the bitter temperatures of winter to stay healthy and safe. But often people forget that hot weather can be just as, if...

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As hot weather gets hotter, chickens can struggle to stay healthy. Help your flock thrive and survive the soaring summer temps.

How to Keep Chickens Safe in Hot Summer Weather from Cosmopolitan Cornbread

Most people understand that your chickens have special needs to get through the bitter temperatures of winter to stay healthy and safe. But often people forget that hot weather can be just as, if not more, dangerous for your flock. The heat effects our chickens and egg production just as much as bitter winter temps. Here in Alabama, we have relatively mild winters. This past winter, I saw no drop at all in egg production. But now that the disgusting hot weather is here, my numbers have dropped a little. I mean, can you blame the hens?


Here are a few things to take into consideration when it comes to caring for your chickens this summer.

Are They Hot?

Just like you need the ability to cool down in hot weather, so do your chickens. Chickens, like dogs, don’t sweat. One of the ways a chicken will cool itself is to pant. You may see your chickens lying in the shade, or walking around with their mouths open. Water is evaporating from their lungs as they breathe and this is a method for their body to cool. This is especially difficult if the weather is very humid, like it can get here in the southeast of the US.

Heavy panting is the first sign that your chickens are too hot. Another sign that your chickens are getting over heated, is that they will lay or walk around with their wings out from their bodies. Thing of how you’ll pull your hair up off of your neck when you’re hot. That’s basically what the chickens are doing. They don’t have thick feathering under their wings, so they are trying to get air underneath and against their body.

If they get overheated, this can cause extreme stress or even heat stroke. Not only will your egg production go down, but you could also lose some chickens.

How to Cool Them

Shade

First, one of the most obvious things, is make sure they have a place where they can find shade. In the photo below, you can see an A-frame structure that is made from two pallets. I have several of these out in the chicken area.

This is a simple way to make shade for your chickens, particularly if their paddock/yard has no foliage for them to hide under. These structures are simple to move as well, and can go wherever their yard is moved to, since we do rotational pasture. Most of our structures have tarps attached to them, giving them total shade and rain protection underneath.

How to Keep Chickens Safe in Hot Summer Weather from Cosmopolitan Cornbread

You might also think of planting fast growing shrubs that they can go underneath. When we let our chickens run loose, they loved to hide under the butterfly bushes. They would hide under there and rest in the heat, and didn’t do anything to the shrub other than peck at a couple bugs. I actually plan to plant some of these around our chicken coop for this very reason.

Chickens like to take dust baths in shady locations as well, something that is important for their health and also a cooling action.

Coop Ventilation

In the past, I have talked about how important windows are for airing out your coop in relation to keeping your coop from stinking. (Article: How to Keep Your Chicken Coop from Stinking) But it is equally important for the environment inside your coop.

Think about a hot car in the summer. How horrible is it in that car when the windows are closed versus when the windows are wide open. Make sure there is plenty of ventilation in your coop. If you have the ability to, or your coop design allows for it, you might even think about putting a fan in the coop. This can also help keep flies away.

Cut the Crowding

Ever been in a packed room and seen how hot and stuffy it got? Make sure your chickens have plenty of space. Don’t try to cram too many chickens into one coop and make sure they have plenty of space to get away from one another if they want.

Summer Pests

Now we know that predators are a year-round issue, but in the summer things like fleas and mites are much more prevalent. Make sure to take steps to keep pests out of your coop. Some people swear that food and water have to be inside the coop (hen house) all the time. Maybe if your chickens live in there 24/7 or have limited access to outside. Our chicken coop door is opened before sunrise, and closed after the chickens have gone to bed. Chickens sleep hard and aren’t getting up for midnight snacks. They only go inside to sleep or lay eggs.

We keep the food & water outside the coop. Our primary reason for that, is to keep the coop cleaner and not attract mice (and snakes), ants or other pests.

Another thing we do to keep our chickens safe from pests, is by using food grade diatomaceous earth. I sprinkle this onto their coop floor and in the nesting boxes before putting the bedding down. DE kills insects naturally and is completely safe for your chickens and other livestock. You can also sprinkle some onto their food to help keep parasites from being an issue. Additionally, where ever your chickens like to take their dust baths, sprinkle a bit into the dirt. This will help rid them from any pests that might bother them on the outside.

When Wilson (our pet rooster that adopted us) came to live with us, he looked rough. He was constantly scratching and biting himself, worse that a dog with fleas. His legs were scaly and sore looking. We put DE where we saw him dusting himself, and in no time we noticed his scratching and scaliness improving.

Summer Nutrition

In the summer, the pasture is rich, green and full of great plants, bugs and more for them to eat. So for that reason alone, your chickens may eat less feed than they do other times of the year. But when the weather is very hot, and all they are doing is laying around in the shade, they are now eating less overall. A hen needs to take in lots of good nutrition for her body to create eggs. If it is too hot to eat, you simply have to expect a lower number in egg production and plan for that.

Less Corn

Corn is your best friend in the winter, because your chicken’s body takes more energy to digest it, heating their body up. But in the summer time you want to limit how much corn they get. If your scratch grain mix is high in corn content, think about cutting back on the scratch and giving them more of the regular feed.

 

Water

Food aside, something you will notice your chickens consuming a lot more of is water. Just like you need to stay hydrated, so do your chickens. Make sure that you always have more than enough clean, fresh water for your chickens. Set your waterers in a location where it is shaded to keep the water cooler. You could also add ice to it if you wanted.

In the summer, I add a supplement to my chickens’ water that provides important vitamin, electrolytes as well as probiotics for their gut health. It only takes 1/3 of a teaspoon per gallon of water so one jar goes a long ways.

“Wet” Treats

Because your chickens still need good nutrition as well as hydration, consider giving them “wet treats” like watermelon, fresh tomatoes or other goodies that are high in water content. This will not only have your chickens happy, but it will help them be healthy as well. I don’t give these goodies to them in the heat of the day, because I don’t want them running around chasing each other and fighting over the treats. These are best in the morning or late afternoon as the heat subsides and they are more active anyways.

Hot Weather Breeds

Finally, you may want to take into account what actual breeds of chickens you are keeping. If you live in a hot climate, you may want to think about looking at breeds that are hardy in hotter weather. Generally breeds that have the larger wattles and combs tend to do better. The chicken’s blood flows through that cherry red flesh and cools down more easily.

Have any summer tips for your chickens? Share below!

 

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The New Project & We’re Being Invaded! http://cosmopolitancornbread.com/invaded/ http://cosmopolitancornbread.com/invaded/#comments Mon, 26 Jun 2017 14:22:48 +0000 http://cosmopolitancornbread.com/?p=32664 In this episode, I had two projects I worked on. The first was a simple modification to the rabbit tractors. The second – a biggy! Then…the homestead is being invaded!!! What and see what it was.

This original post - The New Project & We’re Being Invaded! - written by Constance Smith first appeared on Cosmopolitan Cornbread | Copyright © 2008 - 2016

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In this episode, I had two projects I worked on. The first was a simple modification to the rabbit tractors. The second – a biggy! Then…the homestead is being invaded!!! What and see what it was.

The Latest Project & We're Being Invaded! | The latest episode from Cosmopolitan Cornbread

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Zippy Peach Pork – An Instant Pot Recipe http://cosmopolitancornbread.com/zippy-peach-pork/ http://cosmopolitancornbread.com/zippy-peach-pork/#respond Sun, 25 Jun 2017 05:04:48 +0000 http://cosmopolitancornbread.com/?p=28643 This Zippy Peach Pork has the sweetness of peach but the zesty flavor of fresh ginger and Sriracha sauce. And even better, this tender, flavorful meat will be ready in no time, made in your Instant Pot. I’ve been using my Instant Pot quite a bit lately. This isn’t a sponsored post or anything like...

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This Zippy Peach Pork has the sweetness of peach but the zesty flavor of fresh ginger and Sriracha sauce. And even better, this tender, flavorful meat will be ready in no time, made in your Instant Pot.

Zippy Peach Pork in your Instant Pot - Get the recipe from Cosmopolitan Cornbread

I’ve been using my Instant Pot quite a bit lately. This isn’t a sponsored post or anything like that, but I will say this. I now use this even more than my traditional slow cookers, because the Instant Pot is a slow cooker, and a rice cooker, and a yogurt maker, and many other things besides an electric pressure cooker.


But if you don’t have an Instant Pot, no worries! I have the slow cooker instructions for this recipe included.

Enjoy this recipe any way you wish to make it.

Zippy Peach Pork - Instant Pot Recipe
 
Author: 
Ingredients
  • ½ c orange juice
  • 2 Tb soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 Tb Sriracha sauce
  • 1 Tb grated fresh ginger (or 1 tsp dry, ground ginger)
  • 1 c peach preserves (jelly or jam)
  • 2 lb pork tenderloin
  • Rolls for serving
Instructions
  1. To begin, in a bowl combine the orange juice, soy sauce, garlic, Sriracha sauce, ginger and peach preserves. Whisk these together, breaking up the preserves as much as possible. It’s going to be a little lumpy and that is quite alright. It will melt into the sauce as it cooks in your instant pot.
  2. Place the pork tenderloin in your instant pot. You can cut it in half if you need to so that it will lay nicely in the bottom.
  3. Pour the sauce over the top of the pork.
  4. Place the cover on the Instant Pot, and press the "manual setting" on the controls, and the set the time to 90 minutes. Allow your instant pot to cook the full cycle.
  5. After it has cooked, pull the pork apart with two forks. Serve this on rolls.
  6. Enjoy!
Notes
* Any leftover meat will make amazing paninis the next day for lunch. My favorite are made with Havarti cheese on sour dough bread. Heavenly!



This recipe can also be made in your slow cooker. Prepare as above, placing the pork and sauce into your slow cooker instead. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Shred and serve as above.

 

 

This original post - Zippy Peach Pork – An Instant Pot Recipe - written by Constance Smith first appeared on Cosmopolitan Cornbread | Copyright © 2008 - 2016

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Selling our American Blue Rabbits http://cosmopolitancornbread.com/selling-rabbits/ http://cosmopolitancornbread.com/selling-rabbits/#respond Sat, 24 Jun 2017 09:00:01 +0000 http://cosmopolitancornbread.com/?p=32617 American Blue Rabbits are growing in popularity. Find our more about this heritage breed and whether we will sell any. Since adding the American Blue Rabbits to our homestead, I have been contacted by several people inquiring about purchasing rabbits from us. I thought I would take a moment to address this question that we...

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This original post - Selling our American Blue Rabbits - written by Constance Smith first appeared on Cosmopolitan Cornbread | Copyright © 2008 - 2016

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American Blue Rabbits are growing in popularity. Find our more about this heritage breed and whether we will sell any.

Since adding the American Blue Rabbits to our homestead, I have been contacted by several people inquiring about purchasing rabbits from us. I thought I would take a moment to address this question that we are often now asked.

American Blue Rabbits

About American Blue Rabbits (Also called American Blue & Whites)


The American Blue breed is over 100 years old and was created in California by a man named Mr. Lewis H. Salisbury. To develop this breed, it is believed that some of what he used included Blue Flemish Giants, Blue Viennas (now extinct), Blue Beveren, and Blue Imperials (now extinct.)

When this breed was first developed, it was called the “German Blue,” but after World War II there was a general animosity against Germans. Many families changed their names (including my own) to sound less German. My father’s side of the family used to be “Diehl” and became “Dahl.” Likewise, the name of this rabbit breed was changed from German Blue to American Blue.

American Blue rabbits have a mandolin body shape. A mature male weighs in around 9-11 lbs and a mature female weighs in around 10-12 lbs

The rabbits generally come in two colors: rich, deep blue or albino white with red eyes. Rabbits who are born with a different color are called “sports” and are not considered to be good for keeping breed standards. That said, even the sports are adorable. One of our does produces breed standard kits – blue/white. Another doe produces some of these color variant kits. They are fine for all purposes, meat, pets, etc., but we will not breed the “sports.”

American Livestock Breed Conservancy lists the American Blue rabbit breed as “critical low.” The breed was nearly extinct, but is starting to gain popularity once again.

American Blue rabbits are an excellent heritage breed rabbit. They have beautiful soft fur, are a good sized rabbit and ideal for meat production. But besides that, American Blue rabbits also have very friendly, docile personalities. They would make great pets! Every time I go out to our rabbits, each of them greets me. The young kits will also pile up on one another to get closer to me as I feed and water them…and wait for me to scratch their ears and rub their backs. They are an all-around excellent rabbit.

Will we sell our rabbits?

Yes and no.

If someone would like to purchase rabbits from us, we are more than willing to sell some – whether for breeding stock for your own rabbitry, or single rabbits as a pet.

Because I am a blogger & vlogger, everyone can see how well our rabbits – as well as everything else here – lives and is treated. Our animals live a good life here on this homestead. Anyone who wants one of our rabbits, will know exactly what they are getting. Now these rabbits are not yet pedigreed. I don’t have three generations of records on them, yet.

So – need breeding stock to get started with (or add) American Blues? Looking for a great pet rabbit? We’ll certainly be happy to talk about it. (Contact me.)

The Catch

As I stated about, selling rabbits comes with a “yes” and a “no.” So what’s the “no” part?

We will only sell rabbits to people who are in the area or are willing to travel to come get them. We are simply not comfortable shipping live animals. I have been contacted by people from as far away as British Columbia who wanted to purchase rabbits from us. We just can’t do it.

Additionally, not that we ever expect something like this – but we would never sell rabbits for laboratory or any other purpose of that nature. Again – we don’t expect it, but just tossing it out there.

American Blue Rabbits are growing in popularity. Find our more about this heritage breed and whether we will sell any.

Have questions about our rabbits? Want to know more or to discuss it further? Contact me 

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