Benefits of gardening with young children with sensory challenges

Gardening is a great way for children to get the sensory input their bodies crave.

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You can’t deny all of the input you receive from being outside, digging in the dirt, (barefoot if you are related to me and my children.)

I made sure to really understand and learn from the occupational therapists about the children’s different sensory needs.

Before Miss H and EBEs diagnosis’s I didn’t understand the term; sensory seeker, undersensitive, hypersensitive, avoider, just to name a few.

But I’ve made it a priority to learn, to take notes, to ask when something isn’t working.

Anyways I am a firm believer that we do need to go back to our roots sometimes.  No you don’t need to throw out your WiFi router, or toss your computer.  But, we’ve become a society obsessed with labels, obsessed with quick fixes, overly medicated, instead of making maybe a few life changes.

This is my first big garden.  Most of it was started from seed.  It was back breaking labor, but I love seeing our progress.  I love being able to teach the kids about the importance of diet (because in our home it truly does make a difference with behaviors).

I love knowing how things were raised, no pesticides, truly organic food.

I don’t have enough this year so of course I still buy from the grocery store.

It not only teaches the importance of working hard for what we eat.  Being grateful, and not being wasteful as well.

The kids absolutely love it.

Usually they are barefoot, which I wholeheartedly support.  If you haven’t researched grounding and barefoot walking you should.  It’s pretty interesting.

I have a sensory seeker, and a sensory avoider, one loves to be barefoot and one doesn’t.

EBE is the sensory avoider.  Somehow after we had spent 30 minutes digging for potatoes he barely had dirt on his fingers and asked for it to be immediately washed off.

Miss H and I had dirt in our hair, up to our elbows and were barefoot.

EBE is the avoider, and Miss H is a sensory seeker.

Both were so excited to be picking their own food and were tasting it along the way.

EBE has a lot of food aversions, but even he was so thrilled at our garden finds that he happily ate some freshly pulled carrots.

There is so much value in teaching your kids about healthy diet choices, teaching them to grow their own food.

I know for our house food really affects the behaviors we see.  I can always tell if we’ve been a bit to relaxed on diet and snacks.

Have you noticed a change in your child with autism or sensory processing disorder depending on their diet?

I find that whole foods and non processed foods are the best way to go for us.  I tried gluten free, but it didn’t make a difference for us I didn’t see a noticeable change in behaviors like I do with whole, natural foods, and lots of water.

Thank you for reading!

Danielle

 

How to naturally increase Iron absorption with skillet cooking

Symptoms of low Iron

  1. Unusual Tiredness
  2. Paleness
  3. Shortness of Breath
  4. Headache and Dizziness
  5. Heart Palpatations
  6. Dry & Damaged hair& skin
  7. Restless Legs (which can result in poor sleep)
  8. Brittle or spoon shaped fingernails
  9. More frequent infections
  10. Feeling anxious

These are just a few symptoms associated with low iron levels.

When EBE was about 2 years old we started consistently talking to the doctors about his inability to sleep.  He was always tired yet never slept.  We referred to a psychiatrist who talked about a lot of nonsense and pushed prescription medication.  Needless to say I got up and left in the middle of his prescription medication rant.

I did what mama’s do best and started researching and demanding blood work.

He did in fact have low iron levels which made sense considering I could barely get him to eat anything but a milk and graham cracker diet.

Fast forward to today.  I cook almost everything I can in a cast iron skillet.

Did you know a cast iron skillet has the ability to naturally increase your iron?

Scrambling eggs in a new iron skillet increased the iron content from 1.5 mg to almost 5mg

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I will warn you that children under the age of three can in fact get to much iron, resulting in iron toxicity so I’d encourage you to speak with your Doctor or do you research beforehand.

Plus I think everything tastes better in the cast iron skillet.

 

Considering backyard chickens?

Then welcome!  Let’s talk chickens this week.

Last year if you had asked me if we’d ever have chickens I’d have told you absolutely not.

But I was misinformed.  Hadn’t really considered all the pros to being a chicken owner just had one disgusting experience involving chicken cannibalism as a teenager house sitting.

Our decision to add chickens to our homestead sort of just came to be.  It wasn’t a monumental moment that I could really jog from my memory.  But I do remember being sick of the prices of organic happy chicken eggs from the store.  Diet is important in our house.  And organic free range eggs are a staple.

I found someone locally getting rid of a few hens.  Quickly a few hens turned into 8, oh and plus one rooster.  The luck of the draw with pullets (unsexed baby chicks) locally hatched.

Not only we were saving money on eggs immediately, but we found that the chickens were actually a great form of sensory input for our children.

Raising good humans in this worlds current climate is necessary.  Providing our kids with opportunities to learn and encouraging growth is our job as their parents.  What better way to teach them about the food we consume than having chickens in the backyard.

When our pullet turned Rooster we decided to use the fertile eggs to hatch our own babies this spring.  Out of 10 eggs, 5 hatched all natural, compliments of our broody hen Harriett Ann.

It was really simple.  Nothing to crazy.  Harriett Ann did reject her first chick, but with the advice of others and an evening chick reverse kidnapping she happily took him under her wings just a few days later.

So here it is in a bullet version why I’d encourage you to consider backyard chickens (if you’re not a lengthy article reader)

  • Cost savings (Even with the price of chicken feed I’d say it was much more cost effective then buying eggs weekly from the grocery store)
  • If you have kids it’s an excellent learning opportunityIMG-3402
  • They are really simple and don’t require much.
  • Inexpensive to start you’re own backyard chicken flock.  I think our total cost to starting our little chicken family was about $50.
  • You can build your own coop using pallets or recycled wood.IMG-7735(1)
  • Feeders can be found on sale.
  • The best eggs I’ve ever tasted and they are much cuter than store bought eggs!IMG-2031
  • Fresh, I always wondered how long have the eggs I’m purchasing actually been sitting on the shelf.  Now I know how fresh mine are.
  • Organic eggs.
  • An extra way to make money on the side by selling farm fresh organic eggs to neighbors.  Also people looking to start their own backyard flock are willing to purchase hens.  You won’t get rich quickly, but it is a nice way to make a little money on the side.

There are cons to owning chickens too.  I mean they can be stinky.  But I use essential oils and natural products to keep their coop as clean as I can.

But overall I’d say the benefits to owning our own backyard chickens has exceeded the negatives.  And I’ve found myself fond of quite a few!

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Should I raise meat birds on my homestead?

If you happen to be a vegetarian you could skip out on this article.

If you spend a lot of money at the grocery store weekly and are sick of the prices of meat as well as the quality you might want to continue reading.

Part of our homesteading journey included possibly raising meat birds.  Me, being the biggest animal lover couldn’t really stomach the idea.

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That is until King Mabel went rogue and transformed into an aggressive Rooster.

Anyways.  As our trial meat bird.  King Mabel’s life came to an end and he was processed for dinner.

So let’s get into it.

Pros

  • You know what quality of meat you are getting.  In our case we have had King Mabel for 10 months and we fed him a high quality chicken feed. (He was handfed up until a few weeks ago when he got testy)

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  • Free Range
  • Quite tasty was the consensus from the family.
  • It gave us a perspective on how much we as American’s consume.  That was a huge eye opener.
  • Taught the children a valuable lesson regarding consumption, and being grateful for the food on the table.  (They were not present for King Mabel’s death)
  • Ease of plucking and preparing the chicken.
  • Gives the hen’s a break they were starting to look a little ragged.
  • No loud crowing at 3:30AM.

Cons

  • Death.  I have always had a love hate relationship with meat.  The animal lover in me can’t really stomach too much.  So I’ll be honest I cried.
  • Finding a quick way to kill the chicken.  Like I said this has been a learning experience.

So our consensus was that it was worth it as you can see the pros definitely outweigh the cons to raising meat birds on your homestead.  It really put the amount of food we consume into perspective.  I know I can speak for myself when I say that I will consume much less meat now knowing and seeing the process from start to finish.

I’d say if you are seeking a simpler way to living.  Consider the pros and cons before raising your own meat birds.

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5 Simple Steps to add more flowers to your homestead for free

I will cut to the chase on this. I know it can get frustrating reading a wordy article just to get to the 5 steps you chose to click on.

But I love anything free.  And I always love to add to the landscape of our ranch.

One of my favorite things to plant is the potato vine.  It has such a beautiful deep purple color and flourishes in our climate here in Nevada. (we will see how it survives the harsh winter next year)

Find a plant you want to propagate (I chose the Ornamental Sweet Potato)

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  1. cut a piece of the stem (I’ll be honest sometimes I just pinch them off but they say it should be a clean cut)
  2. dip in water
  3. dip in rooting powder
  4. place in the soil appropriate for the item you are propagating.
  5. water generously, I try to keep the soil pretty moist until it perks back up)

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And it’s truly as simple as that!  This method doesn’t always work for every flower, tree, or vine you are attempting to propagate.  I’d do a little googling before trying different items from your yard.  Also generally I put the new start into a pot, our soil here isn’t the most planter friendly.

Also if you have friendly neighbors you will find that people don’t mind if you take a cutting if you see something you’d like to add to your yard.

Happy Planting!

 

The Fate of the Backyard Rooster

When our sweet hen Mabel turned out to be a beautiful Blue Orphington rooster we were a little hesitant to keep him but chose to anyways and he was gifted with the name King Mabel.  Here we are about 8 months into it and I’m leaning towards taking the backyard rooster out of the equation for a bit.

If you’re considering a backyard rooster or find yourself with a surprise rooster in the flock here is my personal experience as a rooster owner.  If you have a rooster let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Pros

Protect the hens from predators.

Less yelling between hens.  They do seem to get along better with the Rooster around.

Introducing new chickens to the flock is a much easier transition with a Rooster around.

They are beautiful!

They do have a fascinating dance they perform to impress the hens.

The chicken family dynamic is pretty interesting to watch.

Fertile eggs.

Cons

I remember only a month ago bragging about the sweetness of my Rooster who is now about 10 months old.  However suddenly he’s taken a more aggressive approach and has resorted to chasing Miss H and pecking her anytime she comes into the chicken pen.

He posts up and now chases me out or lunges when I come into collect eggs.

They are loud.  Sometimes obnoxiously so.  It seems he’s really gotten the hang of his morning alert and it can be a bit irritating for those who sleep lighter.

The mating process appears to be quite violent.  It’s not something I enjoy seeing  in my backyard.  I know it’s nature, but yikes.

So there are my personal pros and cons to owning a backyard rooster.

The fate of King Mabel has yet to be decided.  Stay tuned.