Homemade All-Natural Tick Repellent

Homemade All-Natural Tick Repellent

We are big fans of warm weather, in fact several members of our family live for it. That being said, there are certain realities that come with the joys of being outside and one of them is no joke: Ticks. Fortunately there are homemade all-natural tick repellent options out there for those of you who don’t want to lather up in dangerous chemicals.

With so many options out there (just Google it to see what I mean!) it can be intimidating when trying to figure out the best recipe. Plus, if you’re looking to protect your pets as well- you’ll have even more work cut out for you. Not to worry. Over the coming months we’ll explore (and experiment with) different versions of repellent out there so you won’t have to wonder as much.

The first recipe we found is as follows (Thanks Mommypotamus!)

Ingredients for Water-based Recipe

  • 2 oz. apple cider vinegar, or vodka
  • 2 oz. water
  • 20-40 drops of either geranium bourbon essential oil, citronella essential oil, lemon eucalyptus essential oil, or catnip essential oil (Or a mixture of any of these essential oils as long as the total amount used is 20-40 drops. They say catnip doesn’t smell all that great)
  • Optional – 1/2 teaspoon glycerin to help the scent last longer
  • Spray bottle (glass or PET plastic- safe, so the oils don’t leach chemicals from the plastic!)

Make it

First add your geranium oil to the apple cider vinegar (or vodka). If you have castile soap, add a squirt in and let it sit a minute before stirring. Add the water and pour it in to your spray bottle. To use, spray well and apply to your skin and clothes before going outside.

If you visit Mommypotamus, you’ll see there are other versions of this great recipe- both an oil based and a lotion based version. Very simple to make!! The question really is how effective it is. We’ll update this post in a few weeks once we’ve had some good use of this one. Good luck out there!

Now that it’s Spring aka Garden time- your hands probably need some help:

Try our Gardener’s Friend Hand Scrub Soap!

Featured on A Farm Girl In The Making

It was an honor to be featured on A Farm Girl in the Making. What a great website. Click to visit the website to see the article, or read the piece below:

A Farm Girl in the Making

Heritage breeds have a strong place in our hearts, and we encourage all homesteaders to visit the Livestock Conservancy’s website to learn about which poultry or livestock breeds need help in maintaining their existence.  Then, in a true homesteading fashion, raise these farm animals in the manner which best meets their needs.

When the decision was made to begin our homesteading journey, we knew immediately that preserving the existence of threatened farm animals would be a goal of ours.  We have been blessed to be given the opportunity to raise 6 breeds found on the LCL (Livestock Conservancy List), and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

The decline of many heritage breeds began in 1916 when the first self-serve grocery opened, the Piggly Wiggly, in Memphis, Tennessee.  People decided that convenience took priority over raising their own food, and in the drop of an eye the world began to change.  Small livestock and poultry were no longer needed, and the breeds began to become harder to find.

Recently we have had the pleasure in speaking to Kendall of Dalby Farm.  This small family owned farm is working to preserve rare farm animals on a larger scale, and you know this melts my heart.

Dalby Farm isn’t just a preserve, they have opened their farm to the public in hopes to education through tours and special events.  These activities, along with a small shop (which sells soaps, lotions, honey and jellies) generates funds to maintain their farm.

Please take a minute and continue reading, maybe even consider making a donation – either by purchasing from their shop or by supporting their Go-Fund-Me account.  Honestly, this is a great cause and one many homesteaders and farmers should get behind.

DALBY FARM & COUNTRY STORE: MAKING A DIFFERENCE ONE CHILD AT A TIME

Since the early 2000’s, Dalby Farm in Scituate, MA has been working on a difficult mission: Educate the community about the importance of preserving rare farm breeds and encourage environmental conservation.

Home to many rare farm breeds ranging from rare poultry to livestock, the family owned and operated farm offers multiple educational programs and events.

Shane, the rare Arapawa Island Goat. There are only 300 in existence.

 Dalby Farm is a popular spot for school field trips, birthday parties and summer learning programs, children are given positive experiences with plants and animals in hopes that they will carry a new appreciation for nature with them into the world after they leave.

In the face of global warming and other severe environmental threats, it is more important than ever to instill a sense of responsibility in the up and coming generations.  It has become clear that the future of our planet’s wellbeing is not only in our hands, but our children’s as well. Without proper exposure, it is fearful that children will lack the personal context needed to become the advocates the environment and its creatures need so badly.

They have certainly had success creating a local force of young Dalby Farm Rare Breed Enthusiasts, proving their concept. Many of their current Summer Program counselors began as young participants who kept coming back until they aged out. In just 8 days between two Summer sessions, bonds are made between the children and the animals that more often than not result in enrollment year to year.

Unfortunately, the farm cannot run on passion alone. New England has its fair share of imminent weather, which forces the farm to close for nearly 6 months of the year. Revenue streams are limited during the Fall and Winter months but the price of feed and general upkeep remains consistent and overwhelming.

To make matters more complicated, key members of the family have struggled with debilitating health conditions that currently hinder their ability to expand. Even so, the family of five pushes on- taking every penny earned from farm offerings and putting it right back into operations.

Without government funding, a non-profit status or even regular donations, the family needed to create an opportunity for supporters near and far to help keep the farm running. That’s why you should consider a purchase from the Dalby Farm Country Store.

The store features specialty goat milk soaps and lotions, all natural preserves, jams, honey and condiments, pet treats and cute, country home décor. It is also a great resource for rustic holiday décor, unique gift crates and Jar of the Month club subscriptions. Every purchase helps the family improve educational programs, bring new rare life to the farm and will hopefully allow them to hire help outside of the family one day.  The online store also gives the option to make a donation to the creation of their much needed duck pond for those only interested in sending some financial aid.

Every sale makes a difference and has the power to help a worthy cause grow in effectiveness. Over the coming years, the farm has hopes of creating interactive, educational online content so more people in more places can develop relationships with not only the rare farm breeds living at Dalby Farm, but all animals facing the threat of endangerment and extinction.

In the meantime, our blog is regularly updated several times a week with informative entries on how you can become a better steward of our planet.  You can also follow our journey on Facebook at Dalby Farm and stay up to date with our efforts.

 

As you homestead think about the impact you can make in this journey, and hopefully this will lead you to help restore the existence of many poultry and livestock.  If you’re able to contribute to keeping Dalby Farm going, Justin and I thank you.  If not, be the change on your homestead and make a conscious effort on the livestock you bring to it.

Use Vinegar instead of Round-Up for Weeds

Use Vinegar instead of Round-Up for Weeds

Looking for an environmentally friendly way to take care of the weeds in your yard? Ditch the harmful chemicals, use vinegar instead of Round-up (white distilled).

Spare the environment the chemicals from using products like Round-Up. No matter what the labels say or how they try to market it, Round-up is not biodegradable or eco-friendly. In fact there’s a lot of research out there on the internet to support the incredible danger it poses to human cells, animals, trees and many plants.

From an article on ScientificAmerican.com:

““Moreover, the proprietary mixtures available on the market could cause cell damage and even death [at the] residual levels” found on Roundup-treated crops, such as soybeans, alfalfa and corn, or lawns and gardens.

The research team suspects that Roundup might cause pregnancy problems by interfering with hormone production, possibly leading to abnormal fetal development, low birth weights or miscarriages.”

Um. Horrifying much?

It works

How about we steer clear from this product and look at easier, healthier ways. I found a great article from AGardenForTheHouse.com where Kevin proves white distilled vinegar is the a great way to kill weeds in gravel paths, brick walk ways and stone paths. This was their before and after:

Use Vinegar instead of Round-up Use vinegar instead of round-up

These pictures were taken 24 hours apart!! Pretty impressive. They applied the vinegar with your average pump-strayer. It must be pointed out that some weeds may not succumb as easily or even at all.

Where the vinegar is applied must be thought out carefully. If the vinegar were to come in to contact with plants you want to keep alive, you may be out of luck. That’s why it is suggested to put it in areas that are weed-ridden, not on your lawn! You could live to regret that move 🙂

We hope this solution works out for you, we know it will do good for the planet. Please avoid harmful chemicals at all costs.

 

Join us in June for some Outdoor Yoga on the Farm!

Outdoor Yoga on the Farm

Okay we know, it’s not Goat Yoga… but it’s yoga near goats, sheep, chickens, ducks and more! Many are rare breeds! Plus you get to be outside and away from any bruising hooves and you can keep your palms out of excrement 😉 Some of the proceeds are donated directly back to our animals so we can continue our educational programs. Everyone wins!

We have been chatting with South Shore Yoga instructor and photographer Andrea Lynne Skane for the last few months discussing the possibility of creating a unique experience for young adults and adults alike. We’re branching out from our usual education based learning programs and trying to give our local adults some fun on the farm too.  Please join us on Thursday nights starting June 1st from 6:30pm-7:30pm for an all levels outdoor flow. Beginners are welcome!

Details:

Classes are every Thursday starting in June-October, 6:30-7:30pm.
All levels – beginners welcome.

$12 cash drop-in / $40 4-class pass (Cash or check please; Paypal in advance is accepted

By now we’re sure you’ve heard of Goat Yoga, and while we can’t offer you that (our gang is too big and heavy, even the kids Lottie & Iris!), we’re happy to give you Yoga near rare and/or endangered goats, and chickens, and ducks, and more!

Relax and enjoy the outdoors with this playful yoga flow lead by South Shore yoga teacher & photographer Andrea Lynne Skane. We will focus on a highly aligned, breath centered practice that is infused with energetics and guided meditation. This is an all levels class, beginners welcome. Connect with yourself and with nature while being surrounded by well-loved animals on a scenic farm landscape.

This class is not exclusive to adults, ages 12+ are welcome to sign up. However, anyone under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. If under 18, we’ll need a parental signature on the initial waiver at their first class.

This is an all levels class. Beginners are absolutely welcome!!

*Classes weather permitting, times may change in the fall with daylight savings*

Please plan to bring water and a yoga mat or towel to practice on.  Use the form below to pre-register for your 4-class pass.

Drop-ins should arrive 10 minutes prior to class start time so we can get you checked in.”

Whether you are an advanced yoga student or someone who is just starting their journey- we encourage you to give this class a chance. Bring some friends or members of your family. Andrea will be leading a relaxed, breath centered flow with energetics and guided meditation.

Outdoor Yoga on the Farm

Earth Day Can Be Every Day

Earth Day Can Be Every Day

Today, April 22nd, 2017, is Earth Day. It’s a nice idea and all but to be honest, this “holiday” is pretty insulting these days. It’s no secret our planet is having a hard time as a result of years and years of greed and willful ignorance. For us to dedicate one day a year to the Earth is ridiculous. Every day can be Earth Day, and it should be.

In any case, my complaints won’t make a single difference, so let’s focus on what we can be doing every day to help the planet. If enough of us participate in even the smallest of thoughtful activities, perhaps we can make a big impact. It’s worth a shot, this is our only home after all.

Simple things

When I say we can help the planet, I don’t mean we need to be traveling the world spreading the word and trying to influence hundreds of people. I mean, think of the little things you do during your every day life that carry short or long term consequences to the planet. Consider the following:

-Bring cloth bags to the grocery store. Stop encouraging the manufacturing of plastic waste.

-Walk, ride your bike, take public transit where possible. Decrease your carbon footprint.

-Grow your own food. Stop relying on big agriculture as they are doing plenty of harm to our planet with their current practices.

-Plant bee-friendly plants and flowers.

-Get yourself and your children outside. Help them appreciate this planet so they will take good care of it as they grow up. Their generation has a better chance of understanding the impact of our actions than most of others at this point (as sad as that is to say).

-Fix all leaky faucets and shower heads so you are not leaking (and wasting) water.

-Don’t use pesticides. You don’t need them. There are other ways to get rid of weeds etc. that are natural and won’t hurt the environment.

-Don’t buy bottled water. Purchase a reusable bottle. It will cut down on waste and can be used for years.

Earth Day can be every day

Your children are the Earths best shot at seeing significant improvements over the next several decades. Dalby Farm spends every Spring Summer & Fall  helping kids learn how to better care for the planet- allowing them to develop meaningful relationships with animals, plants, and insects. We believe (and have seen) that these experiences early in life lead to a more environmentally-concsious lifestyle as they grow. Consider booking a birthday party or enrolling your child in our summer learning programs to start them on an eco-friendly path today 🙂

 

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mother’s Day Gift ideas

This year Mother’s Day falls on Sunday, May 14th. Do you usually have specific traditions or is it your job to find something new and exciting every year? Do you celebrate your mom or all your mom friends? We have some Mother’s Day gift ideas that every mom will love!

In our household, as long as my mother gets to do what she wants, that’s all that matters to me. Oh, well- she also needs to have a dessert and a delicious meal to look forward to but that’s obvious right?

Help her relax

Every mother has a tough job- they’re taking care of their family! Chances are you wouldn’t be where you are today without your incredibly strong mom looking out for you.

Ensure she gets to relax a little bit on Mother’s Day and beyond with our luxurious Spa collection. Whether you opt for the crate, or a lotion or bar of soap- every woman loves to pamper herself with specialty soaps and lotions.

Goat Milk, Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Pictured: Scituate Sea coast

Add to her home

Does the mom in your life love rustic style? Our general store is full of unique items that will help make any home have more country love! A wall hanging can change the entire mood of a space; fun, spring decor can be something she looks forward to taking out each year. Think about what she would love to see in her home (and eventually associate with you!)- browse our selection!

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

The simple things can make the biggest impact!

Sooth her mind

Nothing can set a mind straight like a delicious cup of tea! We love our new line of herbal teas and insist you pick a can up for the mom in your life. Pair that with some delicious clover honey and you’ve got yourself some relaxation and mental nourishment in every sip.

Why You should be Drinking Water, Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Don’t look past the power of tea and honey!

We have a lot of great options and gift ideas for Mother’s Day. We’ll post a few more as we get closer to the day 🙂

Fun Spring Activities for the Family

Fun Spring Activities for the Family

Are you ready to be let outside into the warm, beautiful weather after a relatively cold winter? I know we are! We’ve compiled a list of fun spring activities for the family incase you need some inspiration.

Get planting! Start a family garden. It’s a great way to teach your children how to grow their own food and take care of plants.

Have a picnic! Whether you’re in your own yard or you prepare a basket of goodies and take it to a local park- nothing beats a good picnic. Spring is the best time to do one, as the Summer months can definitely make things uncomfortable with enough heat.

Bikeride! No more snow, ice and cold temperatures to keep you off the wheels. Get that fresh air in your hair and lungs with some quality exercise. It’s so fun it doesn’t even feel like a workout!

Hunt for Crocus. It shouldn’t be hard to find if you’re in Scituate – but crocus are the first spring flowers to make their appearance. Walk around the yard, or your local surroundings and see if you can spot the beautiful purple bursts of color!

Outside tables! Are you going out to eat for lunch or dinner? If the restaurant offers outdoor seating, take advantage!

Visit Dalby Farm on the May 7th Spring Hatch Celebration or on an Open Farm Day! Shameless plug – but can you think of a better season to stroll the property and greet the animals? They’d love to see you!

Fly a kite! If you’re on the South Shore, why aren’t you on a beach flying a kite right now? Okay, maybe it’s not always windy but your odds are good! That’s some good ol’ fashioned fun right there.

Find a playground. Whether you’re 5, 15, or 50, everyone can enjoy a playground!

Chalk. One of my favorite things to do when I was younger was sit outside in the warm sun and draw designs on the driveway in chalk.  I’d enjoy them for days! Every rain was just another excuse to go back out and do some more 🙂

Farmer’s Market. Many Farmer’s markets start up in June. This is a great way to connect with local businesses in your town and socialize with other kids and parents. The quality of the products being sold are usually a step above as well!

Just sit and watch. Look at the bees getting to work, watch the rain pitter patter, listen to the birds sing, observe the budding trees and plants. Appreciate your surroundings and the beauty in the world that we have the honor of living with.

Fun Spring Activities for the family

We hope you and your family take advantage of our beautiful planet!

Shop for a cause and help us continue to spread the love<3

Dalby Farm Open Farm Day Schedule!

Are you hoping to spend some relaxing, quality time with your children and family this Summer? Have you always wanted to see the animals at Dalby Farm but never had the chance? Take advantage of Open Farm Days at Dalby Farm!

The reality is we aren’t able to let everyone up whenever they want, even though we’d love to. In case you don’t know, the farm is on our family residence and we are not always available to bring people around on tours. In our dreams we’d be able to hire someone to be on-site every day during a specific time frame so you and your family could visit whenever you wanted.

Sadly we do not currently make enough money from the 6 months of the year we are open to be able to do that. That’s one reason why we started our GoFundMe Fundraiser. In any case, we have come up with Open Farm Days.

The first Sunday of every month from either 10:00am-11:30am or 1:30pm-3:00pm, you can drop by the farm and visit with the animals! For just $5.00/person, you can casually browse the farm at your own pace and get to know the animals. Bring a few snacks with you to sit and enjoy in our picnic area while you’re at it!

A Farm-based educator will be available to answer any questions you may have!

Here is our 2017 Open Farm Day Schedule:

Sunday, June 4, 2017
10:00 am – 11:30 am
June 2017 Open Farm Day!
Dalby Farm, Scituate MA
Sunday, July 2, 2017
1:30 pm – 3:00 pm
July Open Farm day
Dalby Farm, Scituate MA
Sunday, August 6, 2017
10:00 am – 11:30 am
August Open Farm Day!
Dalby Farm, Scituate MA
Sunday, September 3, 2017
1:30 pm – 3:00 pm
September Open Farm Day!
Dalby Farm, Scituate MA
Sunday, October 1, 2017
10:00 am – 11:30 am
October Open Farm Day!
Dalby Farm, Scituate MA

Thank you for supporting our farm. Every time you visit, make a purchase from our shop, throw a birthday party with us, or send your child to our learning programs – you help preserve rare farm breeds and enable us to educate the community on the importance of environmental conservation.

Allergy-free Kids Have Had Plenty of Exposure to Farms & Dirt

Allergy-free Kids Have Had Plenty of Exposure to Farms & Dirt

Allergy-free kids you say? We came across a fascinating article from 2o15 that we just had to share the other day. It was from the Washington Post and it discussed how there is more evidence to suggest that kids who have plenty of exposure to dirt, cows and overall farm life will live more allergy-free than children who don’t. For some reason, Dairy farms as especially relevant in this discovery.

Specifically they have fewer asthma problems. Interestingly enough, researchers found a protein that doesn’t necessarily “prevent” allergies- but instead affects the ‘structural cells that make up the lining of the lung’.

“The research is related to something called the hygiene hypothesis, where a lack of exposure to microbes as a tyke leads to more allergy and asthma. It’s what leads microbiologists to say that the best thing you can do for your kid is roll them around on the floor of the subway. That may indeed be true (as long as you roll very, very carefully!) but there’s increasing evidence that farms have the best germs for preventing respiratory problems and allergic reactions later in life. One study found that just 25 percent of children living on Swiss farms reacted to common allergens like dust mites, pollen, animals  and mold, while 45 percent of children in the general population reacted.” Source.

This isn’t really news for us here on the farm… well, perhaps the scientific jargon is. But we’ve always believed that the more exposure you have to more things, the more likely you are to become immune. While I still sneeze around Hay, I think it’s just the dust!

All the more reason to consider signing your little one up for one of our memorable Summer Learning programs! Check out all the info on DalbyFarm.com and be sure to contact us if you have any questions.

Easter Egg Decorating 4 Ways

Easter Egg Decorating 4 Ways

Every Easter weekend, every since I was a little girl, my family had a very simple tradition, Easter egg decorating. We would hard boil a dozen eggs from the chickens and dye them a multitude of different colors. Then we’d all sit around the table, grab a bunch of permanent markers of varying colors and design our own. There’d always be an egg that had the names of all the animals that used to live and still do live on the farm, among a couple other recurring designs. They would be placed in a cute little dish that was full of plastic green grass, and would become our centerpiece for the rest of the day.

The next morning, Easter, we would (and still do) wake to find all of them are missing. My parents hide them in 3 rooms of the downstairs, and my brother husband and I all search for them as if we were still 8 years old. We’re competitive, what can I say? It’s a really fun tradition that really ages like fine wine and I look forward to the day I get to introduce my own children to it.

For those of you who do not decorate eggs for Easter maybe this is the year to start!

Traditional

Much like my family, it’s easy as 1,2,3 to pick up a $5 PAAS egg dying kit, grab some cups, vinegar and water – and dye your eggs! This particular kit is very simple to use and has beautiful vibrant colors. It also comes with 90 stickers in the event you’d prefer to do that rather than draw on them with markers like my family.

Blackboard eggs

I had never heard of this method until recently but I am curious to try it. Take some chalkboard paint and go to town with the eggs. Once they are dry, you are good to go! Take your chalk and start designing. Here’s a great example of what they look like.

Temporary Tattoos

Here’s another unique method I have yet to try.. Whether you already have some lying around the house or you place a quick order online… you can design your Easter eggs with your favorite temporary tattoos! Your kids will love the range of possibilities they have, since the egg will be able to fit more than one.

Glitter Eggs

I love this idea and will likely try it out even this year. Go ahead and dye your eggs as you usually would. Once they’re dry and ready to go it’s time to get out the tacky glue. Make little dots of glue in the desired design. Grab a plate, and your preferred glitter. Sprinkle the glitter on to the egg (over the plate to catch any spills!) and let dry. Before you know it you’ll have a dazzling egg! Little girls will just love this!

Nothing beats Spring! Check out our seasonal products in our General Store- great home decor to get your house feeling chipper!

Simple ways to relax

Simple Ways to Relax

As an adult, you may not always have all the time you used to when it comes to finding peace and quiet. That’s why it’s important to take a moment and think about ways you can incorporate some much needed downtime in your life so you can be at your best.

As someone who also faces the problem of making time for myself, I started looking for options that were actually realistic with my schedule. Some hobbies take up more time than I can reasonably expect to commit any given day or week. While those are still something I turn to when the time is right, the reality is I had to find quick ways to unwind. In some cases, you may be able to accomplish two things at once! It just takes some thought and imagination to make things go in your favor.

Here’s what helps me:

Audiobooks

Gone are the days when I could sit in one place for hours on end enjoying a good book. It’s just not feasible when I have multiple jobs and various responsibilities calling me any given day. It was a game changer when I found Audible.com. It makes it easy for me to still get my literary fill without needing to sacrifice my usefulness.

Now, whenever I drive anywhere, or if I’m doing laundry, cooking, even before I fall asleep-  I have my trusty audiobook playing. It’s relatively inexpensive if you subscribe to a service like audible – and can really lift your spirits. I find myself so excited to ‘get to work’ when I know I can have something that genuinely interests me and makes me happy. It’s a natural de-stressor, and chores just don’t seem that bad anymore!

Meditation

When you can’t catch a breath because you are so overwhelmed, you know you’re doing something wrong. If you’re like me, you have bouts of strong anxiety when you realize how much is on your plate. That’s why finding tools like meditation are so important. I will write about this experience in a future entry- but for now, hop on to the app store and find yourself a well reviewed meditation app. 5 minutes of concentrated breathing and focus will morph your perspective and will help balance your stress. Don’t get carried away with work and anxiety- you can moderate the power it has over you.

Watercolor / Doodling

Although I am not a very good artist, when it comes to drawing I find it incredibly therapeutic to be able to put lines and dots down on a page. As I said, some hobbies are very time consuming and involved- making it less likely for you to turn to them in moments of stress. However, if you have a palette of watercolors, weighted paper and some brushes hanging around- watercoloring is actually a pretty quick and easy thing to pick up and put down with minimal mess. If you have the space to keep it out in one place all the time, do so! Otherwise, it takes all of 5 seconds to get your materials together to sit down for a little painting session. You’d be amazed what one half hour of mindless doodling and creation can do for the soul. Don’t knock it til you try it!

I spent maybe $30 on paint, paper and brushes- which will all last me a good while. Give it a shot 🙂

Cooking / Baking

You have to eat anyway right? Don’t make meal prep a job (unless you absolutely hate cooking of course). But for most of us, the only reason why we dread making dinner is because we have to. If you change your perspective and look at it as a way to work on your skills, try new things- and hey, have that audiobook going- it won’t be so bad! You can play music, have a movie or TV show going in the other room… in other words- create an environment you want while you do things you do (or don’t) love to do! Attitude is everything. These days, I look forward to the hour I need to be in the kitchen, in a sense- it’s me time. Besides, the family is always happy to be fed 🙂

Simple ways to relax Why You should be Drinking Water

Nothing relaxes me like a hot cup of delicious herbal tea sweetened with some honey 😉

Just a thought!

Classic Easter Traditions for the Family

Classic Easter Traditions for the Family

Although Easter is very much so a religious holiday, all kinds of people can still enjoy some of the classic Easter Traditions for the Family.

Spring is a very fun season for little ones. All of the blossoming flowers and colors, warm temperatures optimal for outside play, and plenty of animals to spot and observe. New life is always exciting and Spring is symbolic for exactly that!

Here a few traditions you can do with your family whether you apply the religious context to the Holiday or not:

Classic Easter Traditions for the Family

Easter Egg Dyeing & Decorating

This is a great way to get the entire family around the table for some quality time. There are many kits out there that make the dyeing process very easy. We’ll probably get into this more as we get a little closer to the week of! Once the eggs are colored, grab some sharpies of all colors and let your imagination run wild!

Easter Baskets

Growing up, getting Easter baskets was one of the best parts of celebrating easter! If you want to do it like my mom always did- come up with a theme each year. Think of things your children love to do and enjoy and stuff the basket accordingly. It never hurts to include a few sweets and splurge snacks while you’re at it! For that extra umph, go ahead and hide them!

When I was young we would have to follow a jelly bean trail. It would lead to a room in the house where the basket was hidden, and then we were on our own. I had some of the best memories with my family trying to search for my little basket of goodies!

We look forward to giving you some ideas as to what you can put in the baskets for not only your children but husband and parents as well! After all, adults can still enjoy the little things in life too!

Egg Hunt

You know those wonderful eggs you just decorated with your family? Now it’s time to hide them! Make sure to keep a list as to where you put them all incase they aren’t found. My brother and I always had a civil rivalry- in fact, to this day, we still insist my mom hide the eggs just so we have an excuse to compete. We’re nearly 30! It goes to show family traditions may start for children but can evolve and keep going for many years after.

Family Photos

Whether you opt to find a man in an Easter bunny suit or not, Easter / Spring is a wonderful time to get in some nice clothes and pose! Don’t take anything for granted- someday you’ll be glad you made this a springtime tradition. Be sure to get hard prints! Don’t rely on USB flash drives and Facebook to keep track of precious mementos.

Dinner

If you aren’t interested in anything else, that’s cool! Everyone has to eat though right? May as well try to orchestrate a nice Easter dinner for the family. Many go for a honey ham with au gratin potatoes and fresh garlic asparagus… sounds good to me!

 

Don’t forget to decorate! We have some adorable Easter themed decorations every home should have in our General Store!

Country Easter Bunny Decor

 

Join us for our Annual Spring Hatch Celebration & Mother’s Day Sale!

Come celebrate spring with us on Sunday May 7th, 2017 from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.! Take a guided General Animal Tour and visit with the rare farm breeds that live on the farm and you can meet our new baby chicks!

Spring hatch and mother's day sale

Want to join a guided tour? Register by calling or emailing Cheryl: 781-545-4952

TOUR TIMES: 11:30am & 2:00pm — $5.00/person (Children 12 mos. and under FREE)
Please specify which tour time you will be coming for, and the number of people in your party.

After your tour, stop by the craft room for some children’s activities. While you’re there, swing into our Country Store and do some Mother’s Day shopping. Shop for a cause and surprise your loved one this Mother’s Day, with a gift from Dalby Farm! In addition to the many unique items that you will find, there will be gift baskets, designed just for her, as well as the Dalby Farm line of all-natural jams, pickles, salsas and more. Other great items include goat milk soap products, fashion jewelry, unique gift items & more! Not only will she receive something great, but also the proceeds generated, help with the cost of the care and the upkeep of the rare farm breeds, that are a critical part of the educational programs offered at the farm.

Normally the farm schedules group tours only, but due to a large number of requests for individual tours, we have started to host special events where we offer tours to the community for a fee of $5.00 per person. So, book one for your family, your friends or you can even come alone! There is no minimum number of people required but pre-registration is a must!

Dalby Farm is also taking reservations for group General Animal ToursBirthday Parties, and for the Summer Learning Programs (for children Pre-K – 8th Grade).

Fun Facts about Cats

Fun Facts About Cats

My entire life I have been a cat girl. It’s not that I don’t love dogs, but personally- I relate more to the independence and reserved love you get with a cat. I may be biased though, I spent 19 amazing years with my first black cat Millie- she really was my best friend. We had a lot of set routines together- my particular favorite was her tendency to sit at the top of the driveway everyday waiting for me to get off the bus. We’d then go inside and spend the evenings together. These days between my home and the farm I am blessed with three amazing rescue kittens who all remind me of Millie. In any case, I wanted to share some fun facts about cats – because they’re great.

Mitzy Muffin and Maizy Mae

-Did you know? A group of cats is called a clowder.

-It takes 20 muscles for a cat to control their EARS!

-70% of a cats life is spent sleeping

-Owning a cat can reduce your risk of having a stroke AND heart attack by 1/3!

-Cats are officially a more popular pet than dogs (88 million vs. 74)

-The largest cat recorded is 48.5 inches long- that’s pretty big!

-A purr doesn’t always mean a cat is happy, it can also be an expression of fear/nervousness.

-Cats meow because of human interaction. It is said that without humans, cats would never need to make noise.

-Yes, your cat does hear you. They’re just too important to acknowledge you right now.

-Milk generally isn’t recommended for your feline- as many are lactose intolerant.

-Where dogs have about 10 sounds, cats have more than 100!

-Humans and cats share identical sections of the brain which control emotion.

Fun Facts about Cats

Dalby Farm’s resident queen, Ellie Mae

-Whiskers help cats determine whether or not they can get through  a space.

-Felicette, or “Astronaut” was the first cat in space, she was French by the way- and survived the trip to tell the…tail!

-A cats ear can move a full 180 degrees.

-Tail, forehead, lips, chin and under their front paws: locations of cat scent glands.

-Apparently cats will lick themselves to get your scent off- jeez!

-It is said that Black cats are bad luck in the U.S. (no way!!) but they are a symbol of good luck in the UK and Australia (smart people!).

-The oldest breed of cat is the Egyptian Mau (translates into “Cat”)

-Not only do 11.5% of people call themselves “cat people”, but 11% of those people are more likely to be introverts.

-Male “cat people” supposedly have a higher success rate in the love department, they are seen as more sensitive.

-The largest litter of kittens on record was 19. That poor mom!

-This one is very sad- but only a shocking 24% of cats who enter animal shelters are adopted. Please rescue!!! They need you (and you don’t know it yet, but you need them too!)

Catnip Toys for Cats

Treat your furry friend to a catnip barn mouse  or some of our all natural cat treats!

DIY Easter Egg Wreaths

DIY Easter Egg Wreaths

DIY Easter Egg Wreaths

My mother played a little trick on me last weekend. She asked me to come over to the Farm a couple hours before I usually would for our weekly Sunday family dinner. I knew she had a craft in mind but I didn’t know it would be DIY Easter Egg Wreaths!

I’ve seen these all over the likes of Pinterest and Google image, so I was curious to see if it was something I could pull off. I’ve been crafty my whole life but it had been a while since I’d picked up a glue gun and went to town. As it turned out, this was a great thing to spend an hour doing- especially since it would soon become an annual treat to take out every Spring!

What You Need

This isn’t a very expensive craft to take on but it will cost you a few bucks depending on what you have around the house, and where you shop. Many of these items can be acquired at Michaels, Jo-Anns, or any craft store. Even Wal-Mart should have most of these materials.

-Straw Wreath

-Glue Gun (and plenty of glue for it)

-Plastic Easter Grass (more than one bag/color to make it festive!)

-A couple bags of multi-colored plastic Easter Eggs (more if you’re doing multiple wreaths!)

-Ribbon (pre-tied bows or roll of ribbon to tie your own)

-Wire (for the bow/hanger) & pliers to manipulate

What to do

Make sure the surface you plan to work is covered with a layer or two of newspaper. You don’t want any of the hot glue to make its way onto your table!

Have the glue gun heating as you prepare your workspace. Remove the wreath from its plastic. It can be a bit frustrating so don’t be afraid to use some scissors to help get it off.

Decide which colored grass you want to use. For mine, I used a mixture of green and pink- it’s a favorite combo. Keep in mind you will only see some of the grass in the finished product, so don’t get too obsessive over the colors.

Once the glue gun is ready, take a couple handfuls of your selected easter grass combination and try to scrunch it into a tight ball (as best as possible). Put zigzags of glue in one area of the wreath at a time, and carefully place the grass onto those areas. I used the handles of my scissors to help pat down the grass so I didn’t burn myself. I would suggest you use something like that as well- but be ready to get some glue on them. Continue to do this until you have grass covering the entire front of your wreath- to your liking. It can be thick or thin, whichever you prefer.

Decorate

With the entire wreath covered with grass, it is now time to start placing your easter eggs. Make sure the plastic eggs are securely tightened/closed. Put a large glob of glue down on one side, and place it on the wreath, over the grass. There are a variety of ways to go about decorating the wreath with eggs.

You can opt to do three rows in random colors or specific color patterns (Purple ribbon) or you can place random colors in random places (Pink ribbon). The three rows will ensure patches of visible grass, whereas the random placement may encourage a tighter design, thus leaving the grass harder to see.

Leave a spot at the top free of eggs so you can easily apply the bow. To make it easiest, put a bit of hot glue right around where the bow will eventually sit, let dry. Wrap the wire around the sides of the wreath and secure tightly. With the remaining wire, shape it into a small hoop fit for a door hanger. Be sure to secure the wire by applying another large round of hot glue to the back. Let dry- carefully place it at an angle up against something until it has.

If you’re tying your own bow, be sure to search for a tutorial on how to make your preferred design! Google is your best friend, and Youtube will have plenty of videos to help!

Check out our Spring Home Decor and other festive general store items!

 

Essential Gardening Tips for Spring (vol. 1)

Essential Gardening Tips for Spring

I have been looking forward to being able to say “Spring is here!” and the moment has finally arrived. Although us New Englanders are still facing some lousy, bitter cold (and even a March blizzard, what gives!), March 20th brought with it the first official day of Spring. My backyard in particular needs a lot of help, so I look forward to documenting its progress as we go! In the meantime, keep these essential gardening tips for Spring in mind:

On a nice sunny day, consider taking these steps to get your yard ready for the peak of the season!

Clean Up the Garden

This is probably one of the least fun parts about Spring- the cleanup! The Fall and the Winter wreak havoc on your precious gardens in the sense that there are leaves and weeds everywhere. Be sure to pull out all of the roots so they don’t grow back.

Revitalize your soil

You want to make sure your soil is moist and packed with nutrients before planting anything this Spring. The best way to do this is by adding an organic manure or compost. To be sure you have the proper treatment you may consider having your soil tested so you can add a customized component. People add fertilizer to guarantee healthy soil and longer life for your plants. We will get more into your options with healthy soil in the coming weeks.

Prune Old Plants

The best way to get plants that survived the winter is to give them a good ol’ trim! It’s essentially jump-starting the plants system so it will thrive in the warm sunny days to come. However, do not do this until Mid-April or early May. As you know, March and early April can still bring some cold spells. Trimming back plants too early will leave them vulnerable and will be more likely to die if exposed to freezing temperatures.

Mulch

We’ve seen a few debates over which kind of mulch you should use on your garden, but we’ll get to that. Adding mulch to your garden will help prevent weeds, it will lock in the moisture and will help regulate temperature. Be sure to keep the mulch a few inches away from the stem of the plants so they do not rot!

Get Planting!

Once everything is cleared, revitalized and ready to go- you can start your planting of new shrubs and flowers! We would suggest picking up perennials so you do not need to buy new plants next year (annuals). There are many great Spring plants to choose from such as Pansies, Lilacs and Tulips just to name a few. We will be discussing the importance of paying attention to where you purchase your plants from and how they were treated prior to sale- as many corporate home centers sell plants that have damaging effects on surrounding wildlife. Stay tuned!

Essential Gardening Tips for Spring

Now that Spring has Spring your hands are about to get pretty dirty! Give our Gardener’s Friend Hand Scrub Soap a try and enjoy having soft clean hands after a hard days work!

 

Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Feed Ducks Bread

Why You Shouldn’t Feed Ducks Bread

Why You Shouldn't Feed Ducks Bread

How many times have you found yourself at a public park or zoo and participated in or witnessed people throwing bread in the ponds? Somewhere along the line this became a standard practice but unfortunately it can do a lot of damage not just to the birds but also the waterways. As much as I’m sure the ducks and geese appreciate the gesture, there are several reasons why you shouldn’t feed ducks bread.

Not Healthy

One of the biggest problems with feeding ducks and geese bread is the fact that it gives them absolutely no nutrition. They will fill up on bread instead of sourcing food that keeps them in top form. Preventing them from searching for a balanced diet will inevitably have long term effects on their wellbeing.

Bread isn’t the only human food that can harm waterfowl but it is the most common when it comes to feeding wild birds. We want to make sure these birds aren’t exposed to fatal or disabling conditions as a result of our ignorance. A disease caused Angel Wing, for example, is caused by a nutrient deficient diet- causing deformities like loss of wing use/ability to fly that may leave them vulnerable to  predators.

Water Problems

The obvious issue bread in water creates is a decrease in quality. Do you want to swim in or drink water with remnants of soggy bread? Probably not. Worse than that- it creates a legitimate health concern to all who rely on these bodies of water to survive.

When there is excess bread in the water, it can cause changes in the bacteriological and chemical content, greatly increasing the risk of avian disease. Other life living in the water may also be fatally impacted as a result of these changes.

Safe Things to Feed Waterfowl

Nobody is saying you shouldn’t feed the ducks and geese you see, let’s just do it in a way that helps not hurts our birds and the environment. Here are some examples of what you can feed them:

  • Cracked corn
  • Oats
  • Rice (doesn’t have to be cooked)
  • Birdseed (any mix)
  • Sliced Grapes
  • (Defrosted, not cooked) frozen corn or peas
  • Earthworms and Mealworms
  • Chopped lettuce or other greens
  • Veggie trimmings

Please avoid:

  • Bread, Crackers, Biscuits
  • Chips
  • Popcorn
  • Sugary food – like chocolate

 

If you’re here, you must care about the wellbeing of the Earth’s creatures! We appreciate that. As you may know, we’re a farm dedicated to raising awareness of rare farm breed preservation & encouraging environmental conservation. We are an educational facility, home to many rare breeds- bringing hundreds of children on tours every year so they will acquire the personal context needed to become protective stewards of our planet. If you are feeling particularly generous, and would like to help us continue to expand our efforts (we’re just a small family owned and operated farm) we would greatly appreciate it. Read more at our Dalby Farm Expansion GoFundMe page.

 

Throw A Dalby Farm Birthday Party!

As we approach the beginning of our 2017 season, we wanted to remind our locals to consider Dalby Farm when looking for the perfect venue for birthday parties! We pride ourselves on giving the entire family an event they will remember for years to come!

We have even added a new party package this year called the ‘Story Stroll’. Read below to learn about our offerings:

If you would like to register for a birthday party, please visit this page and fill out the form.

Alternatively, you can download the form and mail it to us with your deposit. We suggest giving us a call before sending it so we can confirm your requested date.

Standard Birthday Party Package

Throw a Dalby farm birthday party

Our Haystack Hunt is a birthday party favorite!

Each birthday party group will start off with a guided tour of the farm. Before beginning the tour though, the birthday child will choose a ‘party animal’ from our selected list. This animal will be introduced to the group at the end of the farm tour and will be the focus of an animal discovery talk where everyone will learn all kinds of fun and educational facts about this animal. In addition, everyone will have the opportunity to actually meet and, many times, pet and interact with him/her.

Following the ‘animal discovery’, the group will retreat to the ‘coop’ for the final part of the 1 ½ hour celebration. Everyone will commemorate the event with your cake and refreshments. After the celebration, if you opt to, this is the perfect time for the ‘haystack hunt’ and/or distribute other party favors.

The price is $250.00 for up to 10 children. BIRTHDAY PARENTS and 6 additional adults ARE FREE. Each additional child is $12.50 with a party maximum of 28 children. Additional adults are $5.50 per person (includes participation in the farm tour and one free drink). Guests under 12 months, are free.

This package also includes invitations, decorations, paper goods and one drink (soda, bottled water or juice) per child. In addition, the birthday child* will receive a Dalby Farm Party T-shirt, a free goodie bag and a photo birthday card from their chosen ‘party animal’.

  • You have the choice of either bringing your own birthday cake or we can arrange to have one for you for an additional cost.
  • Haystack Hunt** for a fee of $45.00 or Jumbo Haystack Hunt** for $55.00 (The Dalby Farm’s version of a pinata – fun for everyone!)
  • Goodie bags, filled with all kinds of old-fashioned fun toys and candy, can also be added for an additional $4.95 per child.
  • Add some more fun and order Farm Animal Bath Tub Ducks, individually wrapped in a cellophane bag and tied with a bow, for a fun favor that everyone can take home, for only an additional $1.50 per child.
  • To really thrill your guests, for an additional $1.50 per person, you can give them a real peacock ‘eye’ feather; or you can opt to give them a peacock ‘V’ feather for just an additional $1.00 each! (While supplies last).
  • Additional T-shirts are available for purchase at birthday $15.00.
  • Additional beverages can be purchased for $.75 each.

* If there are multiple birthday children, within the same family, (twins, etc), then an additional fee of $25.00 per child will be charged if they are to receive the T-shirt, goodie bag and picture of the party animal.

New for 2017!

‘Story Stroll’ Birthday Package

If you’re looking to experience all the fun of celebrating your birthday on a farm and would like to add something a little different to your event, then the Story Stroll is for you!

Created as another option for younger children, the Story Stroll Birthday Package is sure to engage and enchant little ones, as they stroll through the farm. In addition to greeting each animal as we pass them by, we will also be stopping at specific ‘story spots’ along the trail, where everyone will ‘read’ the featured page of a farm-themed story book. As we meander along, meeting the various animals, you’ll see the children become more and more excited, as we literally stroll through the ‘pages’ of the book! The story ends when the trail ends!

If you opt for the 1 ½  hour Story Stroll Birthday package, in addition to the stroll, you will receive everything offered in the Standard Party Package as well. The price is $265.00 for up to 10 children. BIRTHDAY PARENTS and 6 additional adults  ARE FREE. Each additional child is $12.50 with a party maximum of 28 children. Additional adults are $5.50 per person (includes participation in the farm tour and one free drink). Guests under 12 months, are free.

Craft Activity Birthday Party Package

For even MORE fun, you can choose to add a fun-filled, creative craft activity. By adding this option, you can still enjoy everything offered in the Standard Party Package but instead, the party will be 2 ½ hours long and all party guests will make a craft that they can take home with them. The fee for the extended ADD A CRAFT party is $295.00 for up to 10 children. Each additional child is $14.50 with a party maximum of 15 children. Additional adults are $5.50 per person. Ideal for kids over 5 years of age!

Dalby Farm Party Policies:

  • Birthday parties are scheduled, by availability, any day of the week.
  • A non-refundable deposit of $100.00 is required to reserve date and time requested. A cash or money order down-payment will reserve the date immediately. Checks take time. The balance owed must be paid 14 days prior to the scheduled date. We accept cash, checks and money orders.
  • Only if the party is cancelled due to rain, the $100.oo deposit, less the ‘Invitation/Postage Fee’ of $25.00, will be returned.
  • There is a $35.00 service fee for any returned checks.
  • All parties must begin and end promptly at scheduled times so make sure that all of your guests have directions to the farm and arrive on time.
  • It is recommended that parents bring at least two adults per party. While we organize and orchestrate the party, it is up to the parents to supervise and maintain control of the group.
  • Many rare farm breeds live at the farm and it is imperative that all of the animals are treated with respect and courtesy.
  • Never feed the animals.

If you would like to register for a birthday party, please visit this page and fill out the form.

Alternatively, you can download the form and mail it to us with your deposit. We suggest giving us a call before sending it so we can confirm your requested date.

Bee Thoughtful: Why you should not plant the free Wildflower seeds Cheerios wants to give you

Why you should not plant the free wildflower seeds Cheerios wants to give you

Have you heard about the latest effort put forth by Cheerios? Their intentions are honestly fantastic and we applaud their decision to help raise awareness regarding our very concerning bee situation… but their method of trying to help may have the exact opposite affect.

Cheerios has an active campaign stating they will send packets of various wildflower seeds to people all over the country. Sounds great right? It did until you start to examine what they’re sending and where it could end up.

Free Wildflower Seeds Cheerios

Damaging Reality

Perhaps I don’t have all the facts, but my understanding is once you’ve sent in for a free sample  you are likely to receive any of the following:

Forget-Me-Not, Wallflower, Poppy, Coneflower, Aster, Flax, Baby Blue, Gilia, Indian Blanket, Tidy-tips, and several others. Here’s the problem, if you’re not paying attention you could end up planting something in your region that may not belong there, and may not be welcome.

Forget-Me-Nots, for example, are a banned noxious weed in MA and CT. The California Poppy may be awesome for CA, but move to the southeastern states and you you’ve got an invasive exotic pest plant. The fact that most of these wildflowers aren’t even native to the United States- poses a question of- will it actually have a positive impact on bees in the first place? Who were the people who put this list of flowers together? Did they consider the fact that it could have the exact opposite effect?!

Not all out-of-region plants are ‘Bad’ but…

When a plant is introduced to an area that is outside of its native range, it doesn’t make them a ‘bad plant’ – but it can use up resources the native plants rely on in that region. Disease can spread, and cause physical changes to the areas – creating big problems.

Don’t get me wrong, the effort put forth by Cheerios is a good idea and is conceptually sound but it’s half-assed. Unless there is a team behind the curtain that will be sending certain seeds to certain areas- we need to be careful. We are in this bee dilemma because us humans have been extremely careless with the way we do things. If this endeavor isn’t performed with the utmost care, we could find that we’re doing much more harm than good. My understanding is you’ll receive one packet with seeds of all these flowers. Ahhhhh!

Cheerios is relying on the individual to do their own research- which isn’t impossible but it is highly unlikely. They hear the word free, and the phrase “save the bees” and they think they’re doing something good. It’s half true. Let’s hope we can all pay a little more attention before planting something that may not be long here. While you’re at it, DO look up wildflowers that are native to your home and plant some. Take the spirit of Cheerios idea into your own hands and help create a better world for our bees 🙂

More from Bee Thoughtful to come!

In the meantime, try our delicious honey and help us educate the community on rare breed preservation and environmental conservation!

 

 

Now accepting Donations via GoFundMe

Now Accepting Donations via GoFundMe

In all honesty, we don’t like needing to ask for help. However, the growing costs of operations have led us down a path that require some outside assistance. If the farm could run on passion alone, we’d be set for life.

Please consider donating a few dollars to Dalby Farm. It will help us increase our educational programs, bring new rare breeds to the farm and maybe even allow us to hire some much needed help one day. Being a family owned and operated business in the small town of Scituate, MA is something we are very proud of, and we’d like to be around for many more years to come.

Any contribution will help us continue to raise awareness of rare breed preservation and encourage environmental conservation. We truly believe influencing our younger generations will make all the difference in changing the world we live in for the better.

Those who donate will be recognized on our website, and in areas throughout the farm property. Even if you don’t have the extra change, sharing our campaign with your social media following could go a long way. We’ll take whatever help we can get 🙂

Thank you in advance for your generosity, we won’t let you down!

Donate here.

Donations Via GoFundMe

Learn more about Dalby Farm.

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