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Meat Bird Chicken Sling

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It has been a while since I did a meat bird update! The chickens are growing so big, and they are drinking so much water because of the hot humid weather we have been having! Maybe I can write a post about them later 🙂 First I want to talk about the chickens that had lost their leg mobility. Remember them?

 

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There were four, but now only one is left- two died and two got out. The one died at the time of my last blog post; the two escaped to the rest of the flock when Dad and I moved the chicken’s shed (afterwards I found one of them and separated it because it was having a hard time getting to the water). So for a while I had two separated out, until one slipped away during the night from heart issues.

Are you confused yet?

The point is that I had two chickens that had leg problems. One Sunday after church, my uncle (who raises many meat birds each year) and I were talking about them. He had a chicken with bad legs and he mentioned making a chicken sling. So after our conversation I thought that maybe I should try sewing one…

 

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These are the first two harnesses I made. The chickens definitely were much happier to be off the ground 🙂 After I put the chickens in, I had to make a few sewing adjustments, but otherwise they fit quite well. (The one on the right is the one that died; I noticed it going downhill even before I made its harness.) The one on the left is doing very well; so well that I had to make a larger harness! I thought that maybe I should give you all a tutorial about it, in case anyone else needs to make one 🙂

 

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First, find some sturdy fabric. A stretchier piece is good for the base part, and a very sturdy piece is best for the straps. Now, you need to make this sling with the size of your chicken in mind. I made a large one, because I knew my chicken would be growing bigger. I also wanted to make it to last because I want to be able to re-use it next year!

 

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Straps:

The straps are going to be bearing the chicken’s weight, so you want them to be wide so that they spread the weight out evenly. My bird is a meat bird, so, like I said, it’s going to grow! I made the straps three and one-half inches wide, but I could definitely have gone to four inches. Cut on the straight of grain so that the straps are more stable.

 

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Cut four straps.  Mine were very long, but I don’t think that the length really matters!

 

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Sew right sides together,

 

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and then turn inside out; iron smooth and set aside.

 

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Base:

I found it helpful to draw on the base fabric before cutting it. It helps you get an idea of the size your chicken needs 😉

 

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Pin it together, cut it out,

 

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fold it in half, and straighten the edges.

 

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Make a rough drawing of the holes for the legs, a cut out to ease the flow of chicken excrement, and draw in where you want to sew the straps. The leg holes you want to make a bit larger then your chicken’s legs. You might also want to have an idea of how far apart the chicken’s legs are.

 

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Cut out the leg holes and the triangle cut-out.

Note: Since I made this sling, I have been thinking that maybe the leg holes shouldn’t be so far back. Play around with it though!

 

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Make little marks on the inside of the fabric where you want the straps to be sewn on.

 

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Now sew the base together, leaving a space to turn it right side out.

 

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Sew around the leg holes. I did a very sloppy job of this;  I was trying to do it fast so that I could get the sling made to take out in the morning 🙂 On my first slings I did a zig-zag stitch around the leg holes, which has a bit more give in it.

Sew the space shut  🙂

 

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Pin your straps onto the base. You might have to play around with these until you get them to the spot where you think they will give the most support. I pinned my straps on at the marks I made earlier.

Note: Now looking at how my chicken sits in this sling, I’m wondering if the front straps should come out to the sides and over the wings instead of out and up the chest. I think that is how I will make the next one!

 

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Sew the straps securely to the base.

 

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Use a safety pin to pin the other end of the strap to your metal ring. My straps were very long, so I pinned quite a bit of fabric under.

 

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Hang the sling away from you to see how it looks. Make any adjustments.

 

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Sew the straps onto the ring.

 

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Sew up by the ring  and further down by the safety pin.

 

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My chicken seems to be very happy. The sling was a little large for her, but now she has grown into it. 🙂

 

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I hung the sling from two 2×4 boards that I had screwed into the wall earlier. Then I looped a couple bungee cords through the ring, and over the boards. I keep having to adjust it (that’s why there are all the bungee cords!) because of the weight.

 

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This little girl is much happier now 🙂  I was very surprised the other morning when I went out to the coop to see that she had gotten out of the sling and was resting nicely on the floor! Her legs are much stronger now!

 

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Here is a list of materials I used.

Sturdy fabric
A sewing machine and thread
Pins and safety pins
A metal ring (I found a set of them in the jewelry department at Hobby Lobby for around $2.00)

 

 

Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

~Elisabeth

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Patriotic Rhubarb Pies

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Rhubarb pies are my favorite pies; we try to make at least two pies when our rhubarb patch is ready. Maybe this year we’ll make more, especially if we have people over on the 4th! We might even try making a rhubarb strawberry pie. Ya know, I’ve never even tried one tiny bite of a rhubarb strawberry pie?!

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Last week, Mom and I made two rhubarb pies. We are kind of slow at making pies so we decided to start them right away in the morning because then we had all day. It took us about two hours from start to finish, which included all the clean-up!

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The first pie was a pure rhubarb pie.  Mom rolled the pastry and

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skillfully set it in the pie dish.

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We filled it with the rhubarb and sugar/flour mixture. And the next step was so fun….

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I remember acutely that I just said this, but this step was so fun! Mom rolled out the pastry for the top, and we cut out little stars with our little star cookie cutter.

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Then we set the cover on the pie. Adding patriotic touches like this is an beautiful way to enjoy patriotism in our everyday lives, don’t you agree?

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Amazing looking! but a little raw, so we put it in the oven to bake while we started on the next pie. 😉

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The other pie was rhubarb custard….my absolute favorite!

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The recipe always makes a little more than what fits in the pie dish, so we got to make little custards too 🙂

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We decorated this pie with the cut-out stars from the first pie, and then I used a spoon to create the “firework” look on the crust.

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Ooooo, pie 🙂

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Everyone enjoyed them, and hollered for seconds too!

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Note: My mom always uses Betty Crocker’s pastry recipe. It’s the pastry recipe that Grandma (Mom’s mom) used and that we girls will use when we can’t convince Mom to make the pastry! So, you use your favorite pastry recipe for these pies too.

 

Betty Crocker’s Rhubarb Pie  

(For the best pies, use tender pink rhubarb. Use the lesser amount of sugar for early rhubarb.)

For a 10-inch pie:

1 3/4 to 2 cups sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel, if desired

5 cups fresh rhubarb (1/2 inch pieces)

3 tablespoons butter

Prepare pastry. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Stir together sugar, flour, and orange peel. Turn half the rhubarb into pastry lined pie pan; sprinkle with half the sugar mixture. Repeat with remaining rhubarb and sugar; dot with butter. Cover with top crust, cut slits (or stars!), seal and flute. Sprinkle with sugar. Cover edge with 2-3 inch aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning; remove foil last 15 minutes of baking.

Bake 40-50 minutes or until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through the slits in crust.

 

Rhubarb Custard Pie

For a 9 inch pie: (We have 10 inch pie dishes so we adjusted this recipe to fit the dish, and we did not make a cover for it, just added the stars!)

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Dash salt

3 eggs, beaten

4 cups rhubarb, sliced 1/2″ think

2 Tablespoons butter

Prepare pastry. Mix sugar, flour, nutmeg, and salt. Add eggs; beat until smooth. Stir in rhubarb. Pour mixture into pastry-lined pie dish. Dot with butter and cover with top crust. Seal and flute edges. If desired brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Cover edges and bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes. Cool before serving.

 

Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

~Mom and Elisabeth

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Articulated Tandem Bike

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A couple days ago Elisabeth and I were going through our bikes and we found a teal bike missing a front wheel. The idea came upon us that we should try making a tandem bike by attaching the two front rods (forks) of the teal bike to the back axle of Elisabeth’s old blue bike. We hauled the project to Dad and this is what we got. 🙂

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First, here are the two bikes that we used.

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This was Elisabeth’s old bike…she really liked it, but it wasn’t working very well, so it was pretty easy to convince her to use it in this project! hehehe…

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Dad started out by bending the two rods (forks) on the teal bike apart so that they would fit around the back axle of the blue bike.

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Then he made the bottom portion parallel to hook on the axle.

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This done, he cut the nut that was holding the frame of the blue bike to its back wheel in half so that two nuts could fit on the bolt.

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He then attached the two front rods of the teal bike unto the bolt, screwed the nut into place..

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Tightened the nuts, and…

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the finished product! It is articulated, so it is a bit harder to learn to ride. But I think Elisabeth and I have almost gotten the hang of it. We have only fallen off once, and that was on the grass. 🙂

Thanks for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

~ Gabrielle and Elisabeth

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How To: DIY Rose Hair Clip Tutorial

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There are few things more romantic than roses, especially when they are adorning a chic up-do on Valentine’s Day! After many experiments (and a few failures to begin with), we finally discovered the best method for making flower hair clips. If you are just looking for lovely hair flowers to purchase, you can find some beautiful ones here.

You will need:

• An artificial flower (see next paragraph)

• Cream or other coordinating craft felt

• Alligator-style hair clip

• High-temperature hot glue gun and glue sticks

• Hair 😉

 

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First, when you are choosing your flower, find one that has a mostly flat base. You don’t want a hard chunk of plastic, because it will stick out from your head instead of nestling into your tresses. After a few trials, you will become an expert in judging artificial flowers.

 

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Pull the rose off the stem and dissect it. Be sure to keep the layers in the order that you remove them. Oh, and it is handy to have the plastic support pieces between the right layers, too. Some flowers hold their shape without them; others need a boost to keep them looking like they are in full bloom.

 

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Usually I take the center-most piece out first, and I wait to put it in at the end to keep from squashing it unnecessarily. I might glue these petals together a little bit, just to keep them looking pristine.

 

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Cut the stem quite close to the base. It’s important to keep the plastic to a minimum.

 

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I also glued the next layer around the plastic piece, just to keep the green all together.

 

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Now it’s simply a matter of gluing the rest of the petal layers together in the right order. Don’t overuse the glue, but do make sure each layer is secure. If you feel like the flower needs the support pieces, glue them in.

 

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I sometimes glue the petals together a little closer to the edge, so the plastic support won’t show.

 

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That’s the last layer! Now for the clip, which you can see in the background.

 

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Cut two pieces of felt: one needs to be about 2″ x 3″. This is the felt base.

 

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The other should be about 1.5″ wide, and just slightly longer than your alligator hair clip, maybe 2″ long or so.

 

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Spread glue across the back of the larger piece of felt.

 

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Center it on the back of the flower and press it down until it’s cooled.

 

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Spread glue down the clip and on the felt sides.

 

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Place it neatly in the center of the large felt piece. Hold it until it’s completely hardened.

 

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We haven’t forgotten about the innermost piece that we started with! Glue the bottom of it and set it right in the center on the top of the flower.

 

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Wiggle it around until it’s perfect. Finally, glue any petals that look like they need held in place to give the rose more shape. Tuck your hair into your favorite chignon, clip this lovely rose into it, and have a wonderful Valentine’s Day! ❤

 

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Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

~Kerstin, Elisabeth, and Gabrielle

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Valentine’s Day Roses

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This bouquet of roses is simply magnificent! We had a lot of fun cutting, arranging, and getting photoshoots with them. 🙂

 

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Maybe we got a little carried away with the photos…but the roses are so pretty that we couldn’t resist!

 

Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

~Kerstin, Elisabeth, and Gabrielle