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How to Raise Chickens Cheaply – Small Budget? No Problem.

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How to raise chickens cheaply?

That’s what I needed to figure out.  I got the idea to raise chickens while unemployed for several months. Times got a little tight (to say the least!) and I thought that if I had a coop and a garden at least my family and I would have just a little more in the pantry. So I set out to learn as much as I could before spending any little cash. Here are a few lessons learned…..

Build an Inexpensive Chicken Coop

Before dropping a lot of cash on one of those fancy chicken tractors you see in the back of poultry magazines, keep in mind you can spend your cash a little wiser. It depends on your living situation of course. If you are a city dweller, then you might have to put a lot more into your chicken operation than us country folks. City folks have zoning regulations and neighbors to deal with – problems I didn’t have to deal with. My thoughts contained here are more for those of us who have a little space between us and the neighbors.

Chickens need a place to get out of the wind and rain and a dry and safe space to roost at night and somewhere to lay eggs. Keep these very simple requirements in mind when building a coop.  I have seen coops built out of an old truck cap, pallets and plastic sheeting, old yard sheds, etc. You are only limited (out in the country) by your imagination.

As for my coop, I had a friend who had an old camping trailer. He wanted the frame for an ice shanty and was going to rip off the camper and junk it. I asked him for the camper body and helped him cut the bolts off… and I was on my way to raising chickens!

After cutting the bolts, we towed the camper into place and proceeded to “slide” it off the frame. It turned out to be an interesting time but we got it done.

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Choose Coop Placement Carefully

This brings me to my first lesson: Location, location, location! My Wife had a few “rules” that I had to follow to stay in her good graces.

Rule #1: she wanted it out of sight.

Rule #2” she didn’t want to smell it!

Very valid points! I wanted it close enough to the house so I could easily go out to tend to the birds. I have a detached garage situated across the yard from the house, out near the gardens. We agreed that that was the best place for a coop. Far enough for her and close enough for me! Once the coop was in place, it was time for the next decision.

Should You Let the Chickens Free Range or Keep Them in a Run?

Having chickens free ranging is great. It gives the place a “country” look and they will eat bugs out in the yard. Keep in mind, they will also eat your young plants in the garden, flower beds, get out on any roads nearby, wander over to the neighbors, etc.

I also took into consideration that I live very close to a highway in a heavily wooded area. My chance of losing birds to coyotes, hawks, coons and cars was very high. I chose to build a run for my flock and not spend money feeding the local wildlife or seeing my investment flattened on the road.

For my run, I looked around for anything that might work before spending any money on something fancy. I was lucky enough to have an old dog kennel set up behind my house sitting empty. I used the chain link panels to construct a run behind the coop. I even had enough panels to construct a top for my run to keep the hawks and coons out. (The “dog coop” would also make a perfect pig shelter, but that’s another story!)

Now that the coop was in place, the camper gutted, it was time for some work to make it easier on the birds and myself. First, I built nesting boxes out of existing shelves inside the coop. Then I used saplings to build a roost inside the coop.

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Then I built an interior wire wall and door into the laying area thus creating a space to store feed and supplies.

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The camper windows allow me to control ventilation and I added a passive roof vent (the Restore $3.00).

I buried wire around the coop and run to keep out tunneling varmints. Once all this was done, it was time to get birds!

What Breed of Chicken is Best?

What breed you get is your personal decision. Why are you keeping chickens? Meat? Eggs? Both? What climate?

I chose White Leghorns. Why? Because they are cold tolerant (it gets cold in Northern Wisconsin!) and they are EGG LAYING MACHINES!

This is where I made my first mistake. I ordered too many! I ordered 14 hens and one rooster. I got 14 hens and 2 roosters shipped to me. I was not ready for the sheer amount of eggs they could lay!

Now, I know what you are thinking: “Great, I can sell the extra eggs and make money!”. All I will say is, don’t even think about it. There are a TON of people trying to sell eggs. Competition is fierce! The thought of making money raising chickens is a pipe dream conjured up by writers at Mother Earth News or Backwoods Home magazines. On good months, you might break even. Most months you won’t!

I was lucky enough to have a local feed mill sell my eggs for me – but it’s hit-and-miss some months. During the winter, egg production drops like a rock but feed consumption goes up. During the summer, feed consumption goes down but egg production goes up. You will either have so many eggs that you just can’t get rid of them, or so few any steady customers you do have will not get eggs year round. It’s just part of raising chickens!

Now, when I ordered my flock, I ordered pullets (8weeks old). Due to some miscommunication at the feed mill, I got 1 week old chicks.

This leads me to my next point:

Be flexible!

The day comes, and I get the call that my birds are in. I was surprised to find baby chicks and not pullets! Now what??? I wasn’t set up for chicks! Well, I took them anyway. They are animals and you can’t send them back to the hatchery.

When I got home, I made an impromptu brooder out of a cardboard box and a heat lamp. I had to set it up in the living room for the first 2 weeks. Then the noise and smell prompted me to move them to the coop. It was getting warm enough outside and with the help of the heat lamp in one corner of the coop the chicks would be fine.

I was a few weeks behind schedule but I was raising chickens!

How Much Time and Effort Does it Take to Raise Chickens?

People ask me: “How much time out of your day do you spend taking care of your birds?” My answer: not a whole lot. I set aside about 10 minutes in the morning to feed them, check their water and adjust ventilation for the day. In the evening, I do the same. It’s not a lot of work keeping chickens. You will fall into a routine. I find that I have a summer and winter routine. It takes a little longer in the winter but it’s not a lot of trouble at all. In the summer, I spend a lot of time in the garden so I look in on them more, especially during hot spells. They are very easy to take care of!

Another point I want to make. If you are gathering eggs, please do so EVERY DAY! I hear of people buying “farm fresh eggs” only to crack them open to find a developing chick inside! GROSS! Who wants to see that when cooking breakfast? That tells me that some people are not gathering eggs every day and getting them in a refrigerator soon enough. It’s a sign of laziness on the part of the chicken farmer!

Winter Care for Chickens

During the winter, the waterers WILL freeze. It’s a fact of life here in the North. I got a second waterer and keep it in the house. I fill it with warm water and bring it out to the coop in the morning and swap out the waterer from last night. I do this every 12 hours. A heated waterer is nice and I will get some for next winter but it’s not necessary to get started.

I also create a draft shield to stop that blast of cold air from hitting the birds when I open the coop door. I staple up some feeds bags on the wire wall next to the door to protect the birds. Also, give the flock some scratch in the evening inside the coop, they will love it and it will help keep them warm on cold nights.

I also leave a red light on inside the coop 24/7 to help keep down incidents of picking.Chickens get “Cabin Fever” just like we do in the winter so give them something to do. Scratch blocks in the coop work well, as does enclosing the run in plastic sheeting so they can still get out side even on cold snowy days. Throw in a head of cabbage once a week or a bale of hay into the run so they can pick it apart during the winter.

It’s important to still have good ventilation during the winter as well. I close the windows on the north side of the coop but keep a window open for air intake between the coop and garage. I put down extra bedding on the coop floor and stuff the nest boxes thicker during the cold months as well.

Create a “dust bath” for your chickens. I did this by taking a cat litter box and filling with a mixture of 1 part play sand, 1 part sifted (cold!) ashes from the wood stove and 1 part food grade DE. It helps them clean themselves.

Summer Care for Chickens

During the summer, I keep all the windows open. During the day, I leave the outside door open. The camper has a screen door so I leave that closed allowing air flow but no varmint access. I keep a closer eye on the water, they will drink a lot more in the heat of summer and I like to keep the dust bath full as well. I take the plastic sheeting off the run and replace it with a tarp on top will help keep the sun off of the birds and give them a dry place to sit when its raining. I cut my grass and bag the clippings. Then I dump the clippings into the run. The chickens love it! As long as you don’t spray your lawn for weeds, it’s okay.

It’s been a year now and I will say that it’s been worth it! I have learned so much and continue to do so. You will get advice from EVERYONE! Keep in mind, there are a lot of so-called “experts” out there who will try to tell you that you are doing it wrong. All I can say is when you get some advice, research it yourself. The internet is a great tool for this or better yet, get to know the folks at your local feed mill. Go to “small animal swaps” and get out a meet others in the chicken business.

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TEOTWAWKI Survival: You’re Guide to Making It through Dangerous Survival Situations

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TEOTWAWKI: it’s an acronym for “The End of the World as We Know It,” and it is a phrase most commonly used in survivalist circles. TEOTWAWKI survival means two things: preparing for bad situations so you are in a better position when something terrible occurs, and knowing what to do when a survival situation arises in order to increase the likelihood of survival.

There are many ways the end of the world as we know it can occur, whether it is nuclear war, electromagnetic pulse (EMP), weather disasters, natural disasters, financial collapse, a downed electrical grid, or even a pandemic of some kind. In such events, you’ll need to be ready to act accordingly to ensure your survival. Part of being prepared is being able to answer some very simple, direct questions: What will you need? Where will you stay or go? Who will be with you? How will you travel?

Plan A for TEOTWAWKI survival

You will want to establish two solid plans of action if you want to survive TEOTWAWKI. Consider the different situations that can occur and make a clear plan of action to increase the chances of your survival. You need to begin to think about what you are going to do in a given situation and the steps you will take in order to implement plan A.

Some of the basic preparatory steps you take will, of course, be the same in any situation. For example, you’ll want to stock up on food, water, and other supplies. Nevertheless, you make have to take different survival steps if there is a pandemic verses if a nuclear war.

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You want to have a plan where you have somewhere to go, and all of your family members need to be on the plan. You’ll want to establish a location that is outside of the city area as it can prove dangerous where the population is the highest. Consider the fact that in a situation that aligns with TEOTWAWKI, chances are the thin veneer that law and civilized behavior that keeps a civilization intact will be wiped away.

What will be left in its wake are frightened, unprepared people by the thousands. There’s liable to be fighting, crimes, looting, and an increase in violent situations. Thus, finding a place that is away from the city area can improve the likelihood of your safety as well as the safety of your family members.

Choosing a safe location

The city is definitely out when you are devising plan A and choosing a safe place to take your family. Cities will be areas where the resources will be limited, including power, water, and food, and therefore it will be impossible to sustain everyone. The place you choose to bring your family should be remote, perhaps even hidden from the main roads, and not easy to find. Once you choose a location, you’ll have to plot out how you will get your family there quickly and without being detected.

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You may want to establish a survival team for when things go badly. The team can include your family and close friends. Each person in the team can have a role to play, not only in preparation, but also in implementing the steps necessary to get everyone to safety when the time calls for it. If you choose people to be on your survival team, you should have regular meetings to discuss the following:

  • Where everyone will stay
  • Food stock pile
  • Medicines
  • Weaponry and weapon usage
  • Training in survival skills
  • Strategies for survival

For more information on choosing a safe place for you and your family, view the following video here:

It will teach you about the safe routes to take, the places you will need to avoid, and why such places should be avoided if and when TEOTWAWKI survival situation occurs.

Stockpiling your needs

There are several things should stockpile when you are preparing for TEOTWAWKI survival. The first thing you’ll probably think of is food products. There are many food products you can stock up on and store for years. You can put them in storage in your safe place. You’ll also want to have some food stored in a bug out bag that you can take with you as your travel to your safe place. Here is a list of some of the foods you will want to keep in storage.

  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Beans
    nuts
  • Bouillon
  • Canned foods
  • Canned meats
  • Cereals
  • Cheeses covered in wax
  • Chocolate
  • Condiments
  • Dehydrated foods like eggs, whey, and milk.
  • Dehydrated meats
  • Flour
  • Grains
  • Herbs
  • Honey
  • Jams
  • Jellies
  • Liquid stored in cans
  • Oils
  • Pasta
  • Peanut butter
  • Protein bars
  • Protein drinks
  • Rice
  • Salt
  • Spices
  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Water

Additional foods you may want to consider adding to your TEOTWAWKI survival stockpile include things that have a long shelf life. You can get dehydrated meals and foods from specialty retailers. You can also add sunflower seeds, other seeds, figs, dates, and a variety of natural foods to your stockpile.

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For a really good idea about some of the foods that are most ideal for survival situations, check out the inventory that specialty shops have available. You can get freeze-dried meats, veggies, fruits, and eggs, and you can buy them in bulk in airtight packaging. Make use of a food storage calculator online to determine your food storage needs.

Stocking up on medical supplies

Just as food supplies will be important, TEOWAWKI survival will call for a stockpiling of medical supplies. Remember, the hospitals will be located in cities and they are liable to be overloaded with people seeking medical attention during an emergency situation. Having the basic medical necessities stored in a safe place will ensure the greater likelihood of one being able to deal with simple medical situations. It can also end up saving a life. Here is a list of some of the most common things people stockpile for TEOTWAWKI survival situations.

  • Antibacterial soap
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Bandages
  • Band-Aids
  • Blankets
  • Cold medicine
  • Cold packs
  • Gauze
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Herbal remedies like eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil, thyme oil, cayenne, honey, garlic oil for their natural antiviral, antibacterial properties.
  • Hot packs
  • Lighter (for needle sterilization)
  • Magnifying glass
  • Medical tape
  • Medications
  • N-95 masks
  • Needle holder
  • Needles
  • Nitrile gloves
  • Oral Airway (OPAS)
  • Oral antibiotics
  • Pain relief
  • Peroxide
  • Q-Tips/Cotton Balls
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Safety pins
  • Scalpels
  • Scissors
  • Sheets
  • Spider wire for emergency stitches
  • Splints
  • Super glue for the treatment of superficial wounds
  • Surgical masks
  • Sutures
  • Tongue depressor (Popsicle sticks)
  • Tweezers
  • Wound dressing

Additional items to store

In a survival situation, the best thing you can have stocked up and ready for use is water. The more water the better. Remember, you’ll need water for drinking, washing, and cooking. In fact, water should be your foremost concern as you can die without access to some drinkable water. To that end, consider having some water purification tablets and filters on hand so you can filter out impurities in the water sources you do find.

You may want to stash a few things a way to serve as entertainment, especially if you are in a situation that will last several weeks or more. Books, magazines, games, and other things to entertain you will help pass the time as you wait for negative conditions to settle down. You might also want to bring a radio and some electronics that you can power with chargers and order batteries.

Bear in mind that when a TEOTWAWKI situation arises, cash will be rendered useless. In order to survive, you’ll want a few extra things on hand that you can barter with if necessary. Consider what is most important during a survival situation and that is what you will have to barter with that is the most valuable, including food, water, and weaponry. In regard to weapons, you’ll need to decide what you want to have on hand. If you have a gun or rifle, you’ll need to stock up on ammunition. You’ll want at least a few knives as well.

Plan B and TEOWAWKI

If you are going to survive TEOTWAWKI, you’ll need to have a plan B. Survival, to a great degree, is based on one’s willingness and ability to adapt to abrupt and uncertain change. To that end, you’ll want to have a bug out bag at the ready that you can grab and run with. You can use the bag to sustain you until you get to your safe place.

At minimum, if you never make it to your safe place, you’ll at least have some food, water, and materials to sustain you. Either you can create your own bug out bag or you can buy one ready-made with many of the supplies you’ll need already in the bag you buy.

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Of course, no plan is going to work if you don’t give it a trial run. It’s imperative that you and your family/friends rehearse what it is you will do when an emergency situation arises. There are several ways you can put your readiness skills to the test.

First, give your family about 15 minutes to pack up everything they will need in a survival situation and stage a mock evacuation where you have to get your family away from the location. After you get to where you planned to go, assess how well everyone did, what may or may not have been forgotten, and make a list of the things you’ll have to change. Attempt to incorporate such changes when you make your next survival plan rehearsal.

Additional preparatory measures

In addition to acting out an evacuation, you can also take a weekend to see how you can handle what it would be like to be in a TEOTWAWKI survival situation. For example, try eating nothing but the survival food you have for the weekend. Alternatively, have the family spend an entire weekend without the electricity to use. You’ll be better prepared for the moment when TEOTWAWKI survival techniques become necessary. You may also gain a greater appreciation for the privileges you presently do have.

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Survival is also about education and training. You’ll want to read everything you can about survival, hunting, wilderness survival, survival medicine, and on subjects that teach you innovative, conservative means of living. Meanwhile, you’ll want to assess your physical fitness and train yourself to be as fit as possible.

Learn how to grow your own food and can it. It will also help you greatly in survival situations if you know how to preserve foods. If you don’t know how to hunt, it may be time you learn. Being able to hunt will give you a chance to hunt for additional all natural food sources. Hunting is just another survival skill.

If you don’t know how to hunt and you don’t want to learn, at minimum, you should learn how to fire a firearm for your own protection. Remember, civilization will not be what it used to be and you will be responsible for your own safety and the safety of those you love.

Affording all your preparations

It may seem as if getting ready for TEOTWAWKI is an expensive endeavor, and indeed it can be. However, there are ways you can save money as you prepare for a survival situation. Here are a few things you can do to save a few dollars now while you are preparing for a survival issue in the future:

Start now – start early: If you start stockpiling just a few things a week and you start right now, you’d be amazed at how quickly you can accumulate everything you need to remain comfortable in a survival situation.

Shop sales: Look for food sales and make sure you keep an eye on your food stock. You will have to regularly rotate your inventory. Eat up foods that are nearing the expiration date and replace them with new inventory.

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Grow goods and can them:  Initially, there is a small investment in growing your own food and canning goods, but you’ll find the expense is reasonable when compared to how much food product you can stockpile. You can grow a garden and can goods like cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, beets, and other vegetables for long-term storage. If you grow fruits or you have some nearby berry bushes, for a few dollars, you can make your own homemade jams and jellies.

Coupons & other savings methods: Become an extreme couponer, and if you don’t know how, then learn. You can save a lot of money on your stockpile by using coupons.

More methods for saving money

As you prep for a survival situation, you make want to consider becoming the member of a warehouse club. Doing so will allow you to buy foods and water products in bulk while saving a considerable amount of money. You can shop at places like Costco or Sam’s Club and fine a variety of items, and not just food related either.

If you shop at discount grocery stores, you can get canned vegetables and foods for cheap too. You can buy veggies by the case and stock up the food pile quickly. Discount grocers sometimes also sell other things you’ll need to store including hand soaps, shampoo, conditioner, toilet paper, cleaners, and personal hygiene items.

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Online sales: Shopping online for the items you need for a survival situation lets you find items and compare prices with greater ease. Shop with websites that offer reduced shipping and/or free shipping solutions.

Go organic: While organic foods are a bit more costly, in the long run you are contributing to your overall health, which is important in any survival situation. Shop at food markets where you can buy fresh foods to can that are free of GMOs, dyes, gluten, herbicides, pesticides, additives or preservatives.

Just a few dollars a week:  Using just a bit of money each week can afford you the things you’ll need for TEOTWAWKI survival. Return bottles or save pocket change and use the funds to get the items you need for the moment that emergency situation does arise.

In conclusion

TEOTWAWKI survival will take some considerable planning on your part. Nevertheless, getting ready for an event where the entire world as we know it will be forever changed will ensure your safety and the safety of those you love. With a few strategic measures and a bit of planning and forethought, you can remain as comfortable as possible in an emergency situation.

You and your family will have a safe place already established with everything you need to survive at the ready. With your day-to-day and medical needs meet, you can ensure the long-term survival of yourself and those you love.

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Salt. I never really knew you.

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Beside making food delicious, it’s believed there are more than 14,000 uses for salt, and our grandmothers were probably familiar with most of them. A number of these uses were for simple things around the home before the advent of modern chemicals and cleaners. Many of these salt uses are still valid today and can be much cheaper and more environmentally-friendly than more sophisticated products. We make no guarantee about the results if you try any of these uses and tips, but there must be something to them since they have been handed down over the years in many households. Most of these salt uses have stood the test of time.

The most familiar use of salt undoubtedly is in the kitchen and on the dining table. Salt accents the flavor of meat, brings out the individuality of vegetables, puts “oomph” into bland starches, deepens the flavor of delicate desserts, and develops the flavor of melons and certain other fruits. No other seasoning has yet been found that can satisfactorily take the place of salt.

But, there are many other uses for salt around the home, as well. Salt is an excellent cleaning agent, either on its own or in combination with other substances. A solution of salt and turpentine restores the whiteness to yellowed enamel bathtubs and lavatories. A paste of salt and vinegar cleans tarnished brass or copper. A strong brine poured down the kitchen sink prevents grease from collecting and eliminates odors.

Salt helps destroy moths and drives away ants. A dash of salt in laundry starch keeps the iron from sticking and gives linen and fine cottons a glossy, like-new finish. A thin paste of salt and salad oil removes white marks caused by hot dishes or water from wooden tables.

A box of salt is also an important item in many bathrooms. In mild solutions, it makes an excellent mouthwash, throat gargle or eye-wash; it is an effective dentifrice; it is an effective antiseptic; and it can be extremely helpful as a massage element to improve skin complexion.

Salt Uses & Tips: In the Kitchen

(Click to view our Gourmet Sea Salts available for cooking and kitchen use)

Boiling Water – Salt added to water makes the water boil at a higher temperature, thus reducing cooking time (it does not make the water boil faster).

Peeling eggs – Eggs boiled in salted water peel more easily.

Poaching eggs – Poaching eggs over salted water helps set the egg whites.

Testing egg freshness – Place the egg in a cup of water to which two teaspoonfuls of salt has been added. A fresh egg sinks; a doubter will float.

Preventing browning – Apples, pears and potatoes dropped in cold, lightly salted water as they are peeled will retain their color.

Shelling pecans – Soaking pecans in salt water for several hours before shelling will make nut meats easier to remove.

Washing spinach – If spinach is washed in salted water, repeated cleanings will not be necessary.

Preventing sugaring – A little salt added to cake icings prevents them from sugaring.

Crisping salads – Salting salads immediately before serving will keep them crisp.

Improving boiled potatoes – Boiled potatoes will be given a fine, mealy texture by sprinkling with salt after draining, then returning them to the pan and shaking them back and forth quickly to get rid of the excess moisture.

Cleaning greasy pans – The greasiest iron pan will wash easily if you use a little salt in it and wipe with paper.

Cleaning stained cups – Rubbing with salt will remove stubborn tea or coffee stains from cups.

Cleaning ovens – Salt and cinnamon take the “burned food” odor away from ovens and stove burners. Sprinkle spills while oven and burners are still hot; when dry, remove the salted spots with a stiff brush or cloth.

Cleaning refrigerators – Use salt and soda water to clean and sweeten the inside of your refrigerator. It won’t scratch enamel either.

Extinguishing grease fires – Salt tossed on a grease fire on the stove or in the oven will smother flames. Never use water; it will only spatter the burning grease.

Improving coffee – A pinch of salt in coffee will enhance the flavor and remove the bitterness of over-cooked coffee.

Improving poultry – To improve the flavor of poultry, rub the fowl inside and out with salt before roasting.

Removing pinfeathers – To remove pinfeathers easily from a chicken, rub the chicken skin with salt first.

Cleaning tarnished silverware – Rub tarnish with salt before washing.

Cleaning copper pans – Remove stains on copper pans by salting area and scouring with a cloth soaked in vinegar.

Cleaning coffee pots – Remove bitterness from percolators and other coffee pots by filling with water, adding four tablespoons of salt and percolating or boiling as usual.

Removing onion odors from hands – Rub fingers with salt moistened with vinegar.

“Sweetening” containers – Salt can “sweeten” and deodorize thermos bottles and jugs, decanters and other closed containers.

Cleaning sink drains – Pour a strong salt brine down the kitchen sink drain regularly to eliminate odors and keep grease from building up.

Brightening cutting boards – After washing them with soap and water, rub cutting boards with a damp cloth dipped in salt; the boards will be lighter and brighter.

Fixing oversalted soups – If soup has been oversalted, cut up a raw potato or two and drop into the soup. The potato will absorb the salt.

Cleaning dried-on egg – Salt not only makes eggs taste better, but it makes “eggy” dishes clean easier. Sprinkle salt on dishes right after breakfast; it makes them a whiz to clean when you have time.

Preventing food from sticking – Rub a pancake griddle with a small bag of salt to prevent sticking and smoking. Sprinkle a little salt in the skillet before frying fish to prevent the fish from sticking. Sprinkle salt on washed skillets, waffle iron plates or griddles, heat in a warm oven, dust off salt; when they are next used, foods will not stick.

Preventing mold – To prevent mold on cheese, wrap it in a cloth dampened with saltwater before refrigerating.

Whipping cream and beating egg whites – By adding a pinch of salt, cream will whip better and egg whites will beat faster and higher.

Keeping milk fresh – Adding a pinch of salt to milk will keep it fresh longer.

Setting gelatin – To set gelatin salads and desserts quickly, place over ice that has been sprinkled with salt.

Salt Uses & Tips: Cleaning

Cleaning brass – Mix equal parts of salt, flour and vinegar to make a paste, rub the paste on the brass item, leave on for an hour or so, then clean with a soft cloth or brush and buff with a dry cloth.

Cleaning wicker – To prevent yellowing, scrub wicker furniture with a stiff brush moistened with warm saltwater and allow to dry in the sun.

Cleaning grease spots on rugs – Some grease spots can be removed with a solution of one part salt and four parts alcohol and rubbing hard but carefully to avoid damage to the nap.

Extending broom life – New brooms will wear longer if soaked in hot saltwater before they are first used.

Removing wine stains – If wine is spilled on a tablecloth or rug, blot up as much as possible and immediately cover the wine with salt, which will absorb the remaining wine. Later rinse the tablecloth with cold water; scrape up the salt from the rug and then vacuum the spot.

Removing rings from tables – White rings left on tables from wet or hot dishes or glasses can be removed by rubbing a thin paste of salad oil and salt on the spot with your fingers, letting it stand an hour or two, then wiping it off.

Restoring sponges – Give sponges new life by soaking them in cold saltwater after they are washed.

Settling suds – If a washing machine bubbles over from too many suds, sprinkle salt on the suds to reduce them.

Brightening colors – Wash colored curtains or washable fiber rugs in a saltwater solution to brighten the colors. Brighten faded rugs and carpets by rubbing them briskly with a cloth that has been dipped in a strong saltwater solution and wrung out.

Removing perspiration stains – Add four tablespoons of salt to one quart of hot water and sponge the fabric with the solution until stains disappear.

Brightening yellowed cottons or linens – Boil the yellowed items for one hour in a salt and baking soda solution

Removing blood stains – Soak the stained clothing or other cloth item in cold saltwater, then launder in warm, soapy water and boil after the wash. (Use only on cotton, linen or other natural fibers that can take high heat.)

Removing mildew or rust stains – Moisten stained spots with a mixture of lemon juice and salt, then spread the item in the sun for bleaching; and finally, rinse and dry.

Color-matching nylons – Good nylons that don’t have a match can be made the same color by boiling them a few minutes in a pan of lightly salted water.

Fixing sticking iron – Sprinkle a little salt on a piece of paper and run the hot iron over it to remove rough, sticky spots.

Cleaning fish tanks – Rub the inside of fish tanks with salt to remove hard water deposits, then rinse well before returning the fish to the tank. Use only plain, not iodized, salt.

Salt Uses & Tips: Health & Beauty

(Click to view our Scented Bath Salts and Wholesale & Bulk Bath Salts available for health and beauty use)

Gargling – Stir 1/2 teaspoon salt in an 8-ounce glass of warm water for use as a gargle for sore throats.

Cleaning teeth – Mix one part salt to two parts baking soda after pulverizing the salt in a blender or rolling it on a kitchen board with a tumbler before mixing. It whitens teeth, helps remove plaque and it is healthy for the gums.

Washing mouth – Mix equal parts of salt and baking soda as a mouth wash that sweetens the breath.

Bathing eyes – Mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a pint of water and use the solution to bathe tired eyes.

Reducing eye puffiness – Mix one teaspoon of salt in a pint of hot water and apply pads soaked in the solution on the puffy areas.

Relieving tired feet – Soak aching feet in warm water to which a handful of salt has been added. Rinse in cool water.

Relieving bee stings – If stung, immediately wet the spot and cover with salt to relieve the pain.

Treating mosquito and chigger bites – Soak in saltwater, then apply a mixture of lard and salt.

Treating poison ivy – Soaking the exposed part in hot saltwater helps hasten the end to poison ivy irritation.

Relieving fatigue – Soak relaxed for at least ten minutes in a tub of water into which several handfuls of salt has been placed.

Removing dry skin – After bathing and while still wet give yourself a massage with dry salt. It removes dead skin particles and aids the circulation.

Applying facial – For a stimulating facial, mix equal parts of salt and olive oil and gently massage the face and throat with long upward and inward strokes. Remove mixture after five minutes and wash face.

Removing tattoos – Called salabrasion, this technique involves rubbing salt on the tattoo and requires several treatments. Healing is required between sessions, but there is virtually no scarring. CAUTION: This is a medical procedure that can be done only by a physician.

Salt Uses & Tips: Household

Extinguishing grease fires – Keep a box of salt handy at your stove and oven and if a grease fire flares up, cover the flames with salt. Do not use water on grease fires; it will splatter the burning grease. Also a handful of salt thrown on flames from meat dripping in barbecue grills will reduce the flames and deaden the smoke without cooling the coals as water does.

Drip-proofing candles – Soak new candles in a strong salt solution for a few hours, then dry them well. When burned they will not drip.

Removing soot – Occasionally throw a handful of salt on the flames in your fireplace; it will help loosen soot from the chimney and salt makes a bright yellow flame.

Invigorating goldfish – Occasionally add one teaspoon of salt to a quart of fresh water at room temperature and put your goldfish in for about 15 minutes. Then return them to their tank. The salt swim makes them healthier.

Cleaning flower vases – To remove deposits caused by flowers and water, rub with salt; if you cannot reach the deposits to rub them, put a strong salt solution in the vase and shake, then wash the vase with soap and water.

Keeping cut flowers fresh – A dash of salt added to the water in a flower vase will keep cut flowers fresh longer.

Holding artificial flowers – Artificial flowers can be held in an artistic arrangement by pouring salt into the container, adding a little cold water and then arranging the flowers. The salt will solidify as it dries and hold the flowers in place.

Keeping patios weed-free – If weeds or unwanted grass come up between patio bricks or blocks, carefully spread salt between the bricks and blocks, then sprinkle with water or wait for rain to wet it down.

Killing poison ivy – Mix three pounds of salt with a gallon of soapy water and apply to leaves and stems with a sprayer.

Keeping windows frost-free – Rub the inside of windows with a sponge dipped in a saltwater solution and rub dry; the windows will not frost up in sub-freezing weather. Rubbing a small cloth bag containing salt that has been moistened on your car’s windshield will keep snow and ice from collecting.

Deicing sidewalks and driveways – Lightly sprinkling rock salt on walks and driveways will keep snow and ice from bonding to the pavement and allow for easy removal. Don’t overdo it; use the salt sensibly to avoid damage to grass and ornamentals.

Deodorizing shoes – Sprinkling a little salt in canvas shoes occasionally will take up the moisture and help remove odors.

References: http://www.saltworks.us/salt_info/salt-uses-and-tips.asp

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How to Fillet a Fish: An Illustrated Guide

Reblogged:  http://www.artofmanliness.com/

fish

Few summer pastimes are as satisfying as fishing — it’s a great activity to do with your kids, makes for an excellent microadventure, and harkens to our manly imperative to be providers. What makes it even more satisfying is being able to fillet and cook your catch for a real water-to-table experience.

This illustrated guide is a useful starting point that will be accurate for most fish; some varieties have unique methods, but in those instances you’ll likely have someone with more expertise with you. Get out there and bring some dinner home!New

Hat tip to AoM food guy Matt Moore for consulting on this piece.

Illustrated by Ted Slampyak