Eight Acres - the blog

Rendering tallow in a slow cooker

May 28 2018 4 Comments Tags: butcher, soap, tallow

How to render fat using a slow cooker to make tallow for cooking or soapmaking.

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Sustainable habits that our visitors find weird

May 23 2018 9 Comments Tags: sustainable

Its not until we have visitors, or we stay away from home, that we realise how weird some of our habits might seem to other people.  If you are trying to live a simple, frugal, self-reliant or sustainable life, you probably have some weird habits too.  I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours....

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Why do chickens stop laying eggs in winter?

May 20 2018 0 Comments Tags: chickens, eggs, winter

Chickens naturally stop laying eggs in winter.  Actually when you think about it, the fact that they lay an egg a day for so much of the year is completely unnatural.  Birds in the wild will only lay a few eggs until they have a clutch to hatch, but we have bred chickens to just keep laying every day, no wonder they need a break!

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Five beginner questions about backyard chickens

Apr 23 2018 1 Comment Tags: chickens

At my work I’m known as “the egg lady” because I occasionally bring in our excess eggs to sell.  The eggs are very popular and fights have been known to occur over the last carton in the fridge.  As a result I am often sought out by people who are “thinking about getting chickens”.  The questions are always the same, so I thought there are probably other people who would like to know about this too.  I firmly believe that there are no stupid questions about chickens.  When I first moved in with my husband, Pete, he already had chickens, and I clearly remember being surprised that they needed to be fed grain.  I must have thought that they lived off vege scraps!  So it’s not long ago that I was also a chicken novice with very basic questions!

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Organic isn't everything.......

Apr 16 2018 2 Comments Tags: butcher, chickens, eggs, meat, organic, real food

We eat eggs for breakfast every morning whenever possible and I do notice the difference if I don't have them, as I get hungry earlier in the morning.  When I have to stay away from home for work, the one thing that miss the most (apart from Pete, the dogs and the other animals) is fresh eggs from our chickens.   I usually order eggs from the hotel for breakfast each morning, but they are not the same as my home eggs.  They have a darker orange yoke and a funny taste.  Even store bought organic free-range eggs do not taste as good as our home-raised pastured-fed eggs, and here's why.

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Combining knitting and crochet to make a shawlette

Apr 09 2018 2 Comments Tags: crochet, knitting, winter

 On a recent trip to New Zealand I was tempted by some beautiful yarn.  Both the colours (blue, green and brown) and the texture attracted me.  Woven from merino, silk and possum, it is soft, light and incredibly warm.  You did read correctly, in New Zealand the possum was introduced from Australia and is considered a pest, so it is quite common to find possum pelts for sale, as well as possum fur woven into yarn.  This is a win for everyone, it controls a pest animal while making lovely yarn!     Having bought this yarn I really wanted...

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