Chickens and The Pox

We’ve had a rough animal week here at TEH. Hank, our outdoor cat, got into a scuffle with something (cat, raccoon, who knows) and had to go to the vet to get an abscess lanced. It was really gross.

And then, our chickens came down with the pox! Fowl Pox, that is. This is the first time we’ve experienced any problems with the chickens – they’ve been relatively low maintenance and healthy thus far. Anyway – after a little research, it turns out there isn’t much you can do to help your chickens through this type of illness. Fowl pox is a slow moving virus that can infect backyard flocks through contact with mosquitos and wild birds – and unfortunately all of our chickens are already affected, so quarantining won’t help.

The ladies don't mind modeling - even with Fowl Pox
The ladies don’t mind modeling – even with Fowl Pox

The main symptom of fowl pox is small lesions on the chickens’ combs and wattles. This should clear up in a few weeks. Outside of general lethargy – the other potential symptom shows up as reduced egg production. Our 2 Rhode Island Reds (Lucy and Rhonda) have continued to lay pretty much every day so far – apparently the Barred Rock hens (Ethel and Phyllis) have decided they do not want to contribute any eggs and will continue to live as freeloaders for as long as possible.

If you have any experience with Fowl Pox, or have any advice – let me know!

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Peppermint Essential Oil

It’s been a while – and I admit, I meant to post last weekend, but was distracted by the flooding that occurred on Friday. 16 inches in 24 hours – can you believe it? Two separate areas of our house flooded, but we were fairly lucky and managed to clean up most of the water before it spread into other rooms.

Anyway, it’s finally getting colder here in central Texas – we actually dipped below 50 last night! We planted our fall garden (pictures coming soon!) and this afternoon was sunny, relaxing, and slow. I took advantage of this to harvest some peppermint to make into peppermint essential oil. Mint grows like an invasive weed here in Texas, so we always plant our in a container to keep it from spreading.

Mint grows really well in a container
Our mint – growing like a weed.

I’m a huge fan of essential oils – I use them all the time, but have never attempted to make my own until today. Turns out – it’s actually pretty easy.

I harvested about 1/2 cup of fresh peppermint and trimmed the leaves off the stalk. Then I crushed the leaves and put them in a small glass jar and covered with jojoba oil (though any carrier oil will do). After waiting a day or two, all you need to do is repeat this process a few times with new peppermint leaves, until your essential oil is at the desired strength.

There are so many things to make using mint essential oil – I love this Honey & Mint Facial Toner, which I made and is shown below along with my mint essential oil and some homemade night cream.

Mint essential oil, toner, and homemade face cream
Mint essential oil, toner, and homemade face cream