Category Archives: Botanicals

Sprouting

Why on earth would anybody want to start sprouting you might ask. We’re not grazers after all. 🙂 Well, I’ve been sprouting for a little while now, and it seems with great success. I use the Sproutmaster, and really like it. It’s easy to use and clean, and can easily be stacked with several trays if needed.

So far I’ve sprouted Alfalfa and Wheat Berries, and both are delicious. Since I’m not a great cook, I still have to try it out in various recipes. Like that’s going to happen. 🙂 I like to use it on bread, just drizzle it on top of whatever I put on. It’s actually great on egg salad. And I’ve  been known to just “graze” it as a light snack when I feel the urge. Or throw it in smoothies seems to work very well too.

The goats also love it, and it’s great for them when they don’t have access to pasture, during winter. I mix it in with my homemade feed and they love it. I tried sprouting feed for them, but they don’t seem to like it sprouted, not the whole thing. So long as the feed mix is dry, and some sprouts mixed in, they eat it with joy.

Why did I start this? I want real food that is jam packed with vitamins and minerals. Last but not least, I want to know that no chemicals have been used, and have control with what kind of seeds are used as well. It can’t get much better, believe me.
I’m to the point of researching a big spouting system for the barn, i.e. enough to feed the critters. Still debating though. It needs space, but not too much, and during the winter it would have to be moved inside. Still on the fence on this. If I do it, will most likely build my own. There are plenty of plans to be had out there. Unless I can find one that is small enough. Many of the system they sell tend to be on the bigger side.
If you were ever curious about sprouting, give it a try. It’s really easy, and very good for you. 🙂

Just seeded.

Just seeded.

Sprouted wheat berries

Sprouted wheat berries

Sprouted alfalfa.

Sprouted alfalfa.

Homemade insect spray for the barn/animals

Why would anyone want to make their own insect spray when the commercial ones you can buy work so well? Because the commercial ones comes with harmful side effects such as toxicity and adrenal and immune suppression. There is plenty information out there about the harmful effects, and luckily also on how to make your own. This post would be way too long if I were to include all the information, so look at this as a primer. If you haven’t tried making your own yet, hopefully this will show you how easy it is, and get you going. 🙂
And just a note on the “natural” insect repellents you can buy: it can be very deceiving whether it is an insect repellent or a food substance. Companies are basically allowed to label a product “natural” if it contains any naturally occurring compound, even if it’s been altered synthetically. Additionally those companies adding essential oils to their products are using perfume quality essential oils, not therapeutic grade. These usually contain 90-95% solvents so their cost is a fraction of what it takes to distill pure grade oils.
So when you make your own, make sure you always use therapeutic grade essential oils. If I can find it organic, I use organic as well. Most of them you can find organically grown.

In this post I’ll talk about sprays. There are so many different ways of making insect repellents, with distilled water, witch hazel, oils etc etc. depending on your use. These ones I use in the barn and on the alpacas. They are also safe for dogs and horses. You can also chose essential oils based on which particular insect you want to repel, but again, to keep it short, this is a general list with oils having insect repellent properties.

List of some essential oils (more specific to flies and horse flies, but also general use):
Idaho Tansy
Peppermint
Lemongrass
Lemon
Tea Tree
Rosemary
Myrtle
Clove
Neroli oil/Naouli
Cedar
Thyme
Lavender
Geranium
Eucalyptus
Sandalwood
Patchouli
Citronella

For the barn I use a 24 oz spray bottle, just to give you an idea of how much water to number of drops of oils. But nothing is set in stone. The good thing about this is that you can mix and match, and find out exactly what works for you and your use. Very rarely do I use exactly the same recipe. It differs from batch to batch. You’ll also find that some mixes are more pleasing to both your and your animals nostrils.  You can also always put in a couple of drops of your favorite either calming or uplifting oils (lavender and peppermint?).

Floral Blend Recipe
5 to 10 drops each of the following:
Sandalwood
Lemon
Lavender
Rosemary
Geranium
Idaho Tansy

Refreshing Blend Recipe
5 to 10 drops each of the following:
Peppermint
Eucalyptus
Tea Tree
Lemongrass
Lavender
Idaho Tansy

Dingo is sitting next to me as I write this, and he insists that I mention essential oils and cats. Cats metabolize and excrete things differently than the rest of the animal family. The reason for this is the cat’s liver. It does not have the liver enzymes to break down certain chemicals as effectively as the rest of us, and sometimes not at all.
Cats are particularly sensitive to a group of oxygenated compounds called ketones and phenols, and some monoterpens. It is the thujone content in ketones and carvacal in phenols that seem to create most of the toxicity problems. Carvacrol is a byproduct of d-limonene which is found in all citrus fruits and in many tree oils. Without going into more details, before using any essential oil for your cat, please do your research to make sure it’s safe. And as always, in general, the more you know the better.
Just because essential oils are natural, and considered safe, please use care. Most of them do have medicinal properties.

Dingo and myself are wishing you best of luck, and hope this has helped in getting you started on making your own safe and effective insect sprays. If you come across great recipes or have some other great ideas, please share!