Natural cleaners using Mandarin peels

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In these handmade recipes, you can use any citrus fruit peelings. Oranges, mandarins, lemons, grapefruit, etc….

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I wanted to stop using one of my favorite and not so natural cleaners. COMET

  I researched many different ways this could be replaced and came to one of my favorite blogs, “The Nerdy Farm wife”. Here is her link to the recipe.

I love how she uses dried herbs as a scrub. I really wanted to use up our Mandarin peels and give it a try. Plus, how nice is it to have the clean, fresh smell of any citrus while you clean?

 I decided to dry only half the peels we saved and use the other half for another homemade citrus cleaner.

Once the peels were fully dried, I ground them up into a fine powder with the food grinder.

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Ingredients:

1 cup of Baking Soda

2 Tablespoons of dried finely Ground up Mandarin peels

10-15 drops of essential oil “Sweet Orange”

Mix everything well and place it into a glass jar that can be tightly sealed to retain the scent.

This natural scouring scrub is used for sinks, tubs, toilets, showers.

Feel free to use other dried peels and essential oils.

HOW EASY IS THAT?

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How to Make a Citrus and Vinegar Household Cleaner

With the undried half of Mandarin peels I made this cleaner to remove grime and residue.

Once you have enough peelings, fill any glass jar, then add white vinegar to cover all the peelings. Leave enough space to screw on the jar lid. Place your jar in a dry, cool area for 7 to 10 days.  This will allow the mixture to macerate (blend). This will make your cleaner smell wonderful at the same time creating the cleaner. This is a true cleaning agent and can be used throughout your home.  Be careful on wood and other porous surfaces as it can discolor it. Once your mix is ready, remove the peels and compost them. I have not yet tried this mix, it’s not quite ready yet. I can’t wait to add this to my spray bottle and get SPRING cleaning.

I can’t believe I haven’t made these sooner. I’m hooked and now I want to send my husband out to get me lemons.

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Natural “All purpose” cleaning spray

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I have never thought of adding my natural cleaner into a spray bottle before. I always used my natural laundry soap mix, ( 2 Tablespoons) with hot water and mixed this into my cleaning bucket with a rag. I love this method but wanted something I could grab and spray.

The spray bottle is a great tool to have around the home for quick clean-ups

I decided to try a recipe I found on the web.

Here is what I have tried.

1/2 cup of white vinegar

2 tablespoons of borax

1/4 cup of Castile soap  Dr Bronner’s Tea Tree Liquid Soap 

“They have many different scents, so pick your favorite”.

2 teaspoons of Lemongrass essential oil.

I mixed all these together, then added 3 cups of water.

I filled a spray bottle with my mix and stored the rest in a glass jar.

Benefits for cleaning your home with these ingredients:

CASTILE Soap~Acts as a surfactant and helps lift away dirt and cut through grease. An all-natural soap that’s surprisingly strong. A few drops go a long way.

Tea Tree oil~A natural oil that cleanses and disinfects.

Lemongrass Oil~ Has some antiseptic and deodorizing properties, which are helpful in homemade cleaners.

Vinegar~Effective for killing most mold, bacteria, and germs, due to its level of acidity.

Borax~Disinfecting

I love this mix. I have been using this for a few days now .The smell makes me happy and adds enjoyment to cleaning.

Transformation

It’s been far to cold to mill lumber over the past couple weeks, however it’s perfect weather for working in the woods. I’ve taken this opportunity to clear an area of forest which will become the Disposal Field for our on-sight Sewage System.

clearing

After several days of slogging through 3 to 4 feet of snow just over half an acre has been transformed into an open space producing several cords of firewood and over 60 good sized logs which I will be mill into timbers for the house. Once the Disposal Field is in place we will develop an orchard within the remaining portions of this site.

clearing3

The next project is to clean out some of the fallen and dead debris in the forest surrounding the building site and expanding the garden area on the east side of the house. With a forecast for warm weather on the weekend skidding logs out will also be a priority, to get them to the mill.

cutting

Homestead Apprentice Wanted

 A homestead or farm presents many skill requirements and numerous young people are willing to learn these important skills. Acquiring  apprentices is an important means to assure the continuation of small farms and farming, as well as teaching youth the essential skills of basic survival. I have had the opportunity to share the many facets of my woodworking skills with several apprentices over the years but have never considered passing on the extent of my other learning in natural subsistence and sustainable survival skills. I have decided to seek out prospective applicants for a program formatted towards essential farming/homesteading skills. The mission of this endeavor is to enhance our relationship with the rural Cape Breton landscape by applying and teaching the essential skills of sustainable living and small-scale farming, thus invigorating a more functional collaborative community. Over the next few weeks I will draft an application including a detailed outline for this program.

homestead

Focus for this program will include Organic Gardening, Sustainable Forestry, Traditional Arts and Cottage Crafts, Renewable Energy, Alternative building, Herbology just to mention a few. Stay Tuned for further details!

Breath Well

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Today I’ve decided to make some natural room spray. This can save on some serious cash, while saving your home environment and lungs from chemicals, toxins, and a whole lifetime of respiratory problems. Try making your very own with 100% essential oils. They don’t just smell amazing, they also have therapeutic benefits. I have been mixing essential oils with nothing more than water for years to freshen our home. I always took my favorite scents and blending them without thinking about their benefits. Now, I am reading up on the many different benefits and uses. I made a room spray to keep the cold and flu away.

Here are some essential oils that work wonders for just that:

Peppermint:

Eucalyptus:

Lemon:

Lavender:

Tea Tree:

Thyme:

Oregano:

Most of these oils are antiseptic, antibacterial, detoxifying, disinfectant, germicide, fungicide, purifying, cleansing, deodorizing….

I did have some of these oils so here’s what I’ve mixed.

20 drops of Lemon Eucalyptus

20 drops of Peppermint

10 drops of Lavender

10 drops of tea tree

This was added to a 4 oz blue glass spray bottle with spring water and shaken well. Please note that a dark glass bottle is much better than clear glass or plastic ones, the darkened glass will extend the life of your spray.

to extend the life of your spray.
to extend the life of your spray.

Outside our window

We were teased with a bit of snow and temperatures barely over freezing for the past week.  A steady fire has been burning for at least 3 weeks now in the wood stove, keeping the chill out and making for cozy evenings.

4The first row in the wood pile has a definite chew out of it and over the next few months one row after the other will slowly disappear. A blanket of bark and splinters will be left behind covered with the hundreds of cobwebs that the spiders spun between the wood over the past summer.

2Several days ago I began construction on a small drying shed for the lumber I am cutting. It’s not a very big enclosure but will be helpful to store the sawn lumber out of the weather. I’m using marginal material for this shed, lumber which has some defects yet is structurally stable enough to use for this purpose.

1The siding is random width edge boards and creates an appealing wall that has adequate spacing for ventilation to help dry the lumber.

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The cold damp weather halted construction for several days however today the skies cleared and brought with it very warm temperatures. I was able to finish boarding in the walls and the roof.

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I was also able to cut up a cord of firewood from the slab pile. This will be going to the neighbors up on the mountain. Nothing at the mill goes to waste, I bag the sawdust to use for bedding animals and for mulching beds in the garden.

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With more fine weather in the forecast I may be able to catch up with the many errands still to be done before the real snow starts flying.

 

 

 

Hectic

  It’s been a hectic month, too much to do with not enough time in the day to do everything that has to be done. The weather has been pleasant and outdoor activity has been very enjoyable, no more black-flies or mosquitoes to contend with.

silas

Silas enjoys his time outside in the fields, woods and yard. Large piles of leaves are gathered around the yard and neighboring kids have been seen floating around.

floating

The saw-mill finally arrived and the milling has begun. The pile of logs is now revealing its inner beauty.

mill

So far I’ve only been able to slice up a few logs, full time milling will have to wait till other errands around the house and property are completed.

lumber

On a more sour note I’ve also had to spend time dealing with the mess left in the wake of logging adjacent to our property. The land owner (proprietors of Hunter Mountain Chalets) and the logging company (C.D. Blue Forestry Ltd.) have completely destroyed our road that accesses the back reaches of our property. Along with this they have severely compromised the integrity of the main road up the mountain along with the ghastly mess on the raped piece of land just below us. Its disgusting that these forestry companies hide behind glitzy websites that only show choice photos and descriptions of their work. At the same time hiding behind associations like the Nova Scotia Landowners and Forest Fibre Producers Association   http://www.nslffpa.org/  An organization that stipulates certain guidelines for proper logging procedures and forest management, however seems like very few companies registered with this group even remotely follow any of these guidelines.

road

What used to be road along our property has now become a quagmire and resembles more of a ditch or eroded river bed than a road. The muck is over a foot deep and pools of running water have developed everywhere.

muck

The roadbed has been pushed aside and is a foot to two lower than its previous level. The rape of our forests and abuse of public property in our area is a contentious issue however it requires direct action and I will take every available means at my disposal to deal with it. Heads are going to roll so to speak and I will post further developments as they happen.