Farm News/Blog

News and happenings about the farm:

things raised be it plant, or animal, recipes and all things made here for anyone that has an interest in:great food, non chemical household cleansers, handcrafted soaps, bath, and body products, frugal ways, some DIY or purchase of such if you have no time or desire for do it yourself products.

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Ottawa Basic Soap making Workshop

Posted on February 3, 2013 at 5:20 PM

This category is a companion to the soap making workshops I teach and is a resource for the workshop participants.

Anyone who has an interest in home soap making is welcome to use these recipes as well.

The basic all vegetable soap recipe we use in the begiiner hot process soap making workshop is posted along with other recipes and the most popular eight lye calculators

Please click here to access the Soap recipes page  I will update and add recipes from time to time so please check back often.

Prior to using any recipe always verify your ingredients with the lye calculator.

Happy Soapmaking


Home made Bug Repellant Recipes

Posted on January 10, 2013 at 5:45 PM

Having a number of  horses here at the farm one of the primary things is to make my dollar stretch. When bug season comes the commercial fly sprays from the tack shop we literally use by the gallon it seems. We live on a heavily forested area with a lot of ponds and prime breeding areas for insects. We have blackflies, a heavy mosquito presence, and of course the dreaded horse fly.

Below are a few bug spray recipes that I have found, formulated to fit what I like, and changed to what I use for what seems to work here and of course not smell too badly.

Feel free to try them out and I will be adding various different ones from time to time.

please note: these recipes are formulated from my own experience and every horse has different sensitivities. Use your own judgement when using different substances on your horses. Your vet is your best adviser as to what is safe for your horses health.



Fly Repellent Ointment like swatt


I use this a great deal and the cost savings are substantial as it only costs approximately 25%  of the fly repellent ointment in the tack store.My friends all have started using this mix and the cost savings are well worth the trouble to mix this upworth it

Repellant: I use Farnam's "wipe" brand 

I jar of vaselline any size

Mix chosen amount of wipe into a container of Vaseline, ( I use approximately an ounce of liquid per 4 ounces fof vaseline but if you use too much repellant the mixture is too runny to use as an ointment)

apply as needed to belly, flank and areas of horse that are being bitten. Works well for every bug from black flies and horse fly's  to mosquito

Recipe #1 Equine 

2/3 cup(167ml) Listerine Mouthwash

2/3 cup (167ml) apple cider Vinegar

1/3 cup (83 ml) vegetable Oil

20 drops (1ml) spearmint oil

20 drops (1ml) cedar oil

You can also substitute white vinegar if the apple cider vinegar is too strong smelling This one is quite effective

but my colt smells a bit like a pickle.



Recipe 2 Equine

2 cups (500ml) apple cider vinegar

2 cups (500ml) cold prepared tea (sage) or (chamomile)

20 drops (1ml) eucalyptus oil

20 drops (1ml)  lavender oil

20 drops (1ml)  citronella oil

20 drops (1ml)  tea tree oil

20 drops (1ml)  cedar oil

I also added 2 oz of Avon skin so soft (any other oil can be substituted if this is not available where you are)

20 drops (1ml)  emulsifier such as polysorbate 20 but you can skip this step  just  shake frequently

as the oils will separate

 Recipe #3 Equine ( My version of the Skin so Soft Mix)

2 cups (500ml) white vinegar

1 cup(250ml) Avon skin so soft (original formula)

1 cup (250ml) of listerine  

1 tablespoon of Eucalyptus Oil

1 tablespoon of Tea tree Oil

1 tablespoon of Citronella Oil

Formula for Roll On: Equine


I use this in a recycled bottle and roll iton around the ears and face (NOT close to the eyes)

20 drops Eucalyptus oil

20 drops Cedarwood oil

10 drops Tea Tree oil

10 drops Geranium oil

2 oz. carrier oil ( such as mineral oil )

Mix together in a 4 oz. container. Apply to skin as needed avoiding the eye area.

Test on a small area of skin for sensitivities .

Experiment with different percentages of essential oil.


 For Dogs! Natural Bug Repellent Recipe

10 drops Geranium oil

10 drops Lemongrass oil

5 drops Lavender oil

5 drops Peppermint oil

5 drops Eucalyptus oil (Some people like to use lemon scented)

2 drops Catnip oil

Mix the above with 1/4 cup water. Shake well before each use.

Use  all recipes at your own risk and please consult your veterinarian with any questions.



Home made Horse treats

Posted on January 10, 2013 at 5:35 PM

We always want the best for our equine friends

Here are some homemade horse treats for those that like to make thier own

Simple Molasses/Oat Treats

3cups flour

1cup oats

1 cup bran

1 chopped apple

1 chopped carrot

2 cups of molasses

 Mix flour bran, and oats together. Add molasses if the mixture is not doughy or more flour if you require a dryer consistency. . Add carrots and apples.  I dip a spoonful into loose oats and flatten in pan prior to baking Cook until golden brown at 350 degrees.

Peppermint Treats

2 cups of flour

1 cup of oats

1/4 cup of molasses

10 crushed peppermints

2 apples

Mix flour and oats together. Add molasses if the mixture is not doughy. Add water slowly until it is doughy. Add peppermints and apples.

Cook until golden brown at 350 degrees.

Carrot and Apple Horse Cookies

1 cup sweet feed

2 cups bran

1 cup flax seed

4 large carrots, shredded

1 cup molasses

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 cup applesauce

Mix molasses, brown sugar, carrots and applesauce in one bowl. In another mix the dry ingredients. Slowly combine the molassess mixture with the dry ingredients. Add only enough molasses mixture to form a thick dough, add more bran if necessary. Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil using a tablespoon drop batter onto cookie sheet and flatten slightly to form portions about the size of a silver dollar. Bake at 300 degrees for about 1 hour, flip and bake for an additional 45 minutes, until they are dried out. keep checking to make sure they don't burn.


Oatmeal Apple/Carrot balls

1 cup dry oatmeal

1 cup flour

 1 cup shredded carrots or apples

 1 teaspoon salt

 1 teaspoon sugar

 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

 1/4 cup molasses

Mix ingredients in bowl as listed. Make little balls and place on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Peppermint Surprise Cookies

2/3 cup sweet feed

1/3 cup molasses

1/3 cup flour


Mix all the ingredients except for the peppermints. Take a peppermint and put it in the middle of a ball of the dough. Bake at 350 degrees for 21 minutes. This makes about 8 patties. You may double the recipe as many times as you want.

Head Bobbers-  Horses Bob their heads when they eat these:)

1/4 cup molasses

3 or 4 apples, finely chopped

1 cup carrots, finely chopped

2 tablespoons corn oil

1 cup flour

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup bran or grain of your choice, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a large cookie sheet. Mix apples, carrots, oil, and molasses. Then mix in oats and flour. You can either spread the mix on a cookie sheet and break apart after they are baked, or roll the dough out and cut into cookie shapes. Cook for about 20 minutes. Let cool.


Great online resource for planning your Garden

Posted on December 28, 2012 at 6:35 PM

I know its not even Jan1 but if you love gardening like i do you are already looking at seed catalogues and planning a terrific summer garden. Here is a fantastic online resource Crop-by-Crop Guide to Growing Organic Vegetables and Fruits from Mother eather news: 

Our Complete ‘Crop at a Glance’ Collection Our comprehensive crop guides take you crop-by-crop through common vegetables and fruits for backyard gardeners. Each guide explains how to plant, when to plant, best harvest practices, how to save seeds, and how to deal with common pests and diseases naturally, setting you on your way to growing organic vegetables and fruits in your home garden successfully.

In each crop guide, you’ll also find a list of the different crop types to consider growing, plus a list of recommended varieties for each type. (Use our custom Seed and Plant Finder to locate seed companies that sell varieties you want to try.) If you’re curious about how to put a particular vegetable or fruit to good use in your cooking, check out the “In the Kitchen” section of each guide.

Written by expert gardener Barbara Pleasant, our “Crop at a Glance” collection teaches you how to grow everything from garden classics such as tomatoes and squash to lesser-known crops such as Jerusalem artichokes. Our growing guides are arranged alphabetically here, giving you easy, quick access to these succinct articles on home vegetable gardening. If you’d like to access these crop guides plus other gardening tips on your smartphone or mobile device, try our free app called Food Gardening Guide.

There’s a sweet satisfaction in growing your own food and filling your table with delicious, healthy produce. We hope these guides help you in your gardening journey, introduce you to new crops and growing techniques, assist when you have to troubleshoot a problem, and ultimately lead you to bigger, more successful harvests.


Cranberry Sauce with Maple and Orange

Posted on December 27, 2012 at 7:55 AM

Cranberry sauce with maple and Orange

very easy to make


2 12 ounce packages of fresh cranberries

1 cup cranberry juice/or cranberry cocktail

1 cup maple syrup

6 Tb orange juice

1 Tb orange zest


Bring to a boil, then simmer20-30 min. 


use a stick blender to slightly puree

Cranberry Sauce With Oranges and orange liquer

Posted on December 26, 2012 at 11:55 AM

I made this as a cranberry sauce for christmas turkey dinner and it was a huge hit. No one except the cook is really sure what the added tanginess is from the oranges and liquer but it disappeared rather quickly.


Cranberry Sauce With Oranges and orange liquer

Makes 3 cups

Units: US


2 navel oranges

1 (12 ounce) bag cranberries

2 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup water

3 tablespoons Grand Marnier or 3 tablespoons orange liqueur or 3 tablespoons orange juice concentrate




1.In a medium, heavy-bottomed, saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugar, water and the zest. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often to

help dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the sauce is thick and the cranberries have burst, 10 to 15 minutes.

2.Using a sharp knife, cut away and discard the thick white pith from the oranges. Slice the oranges up into small pieces.

3.Stir in the orange sections, continue to simmer for about 10-15 more minutes

4 Remove from the heat , (use a stick blender to break up the large chunks if you prefer)and stir in the Grand Marnier.

5.Cool completely...but if impatient like me you can serve warm

6. The cranberry sauce can be prepared up to 1 week ahead, covered and refrigerated. Serve at room temperature or chilled.


Natural Deodorant Recipe

Posted on December 18, 2012 at 8:05 PM

Why Use Natural Deodorant?

There’s a lot of buzz these days around knowing what goes into your food and your body. There are too often annoucements in the news about recalled foods and contaminants found in factory made big name items. People are turning to local food sources and using natural body products

More people than ever are concerned about the personal hygiene products they are using on a daily basis. There is also growing concerns about the health risks of using products with chemicals and parabens, especially aluminum on underarm skin..  And many people are becoming sensitive to a great deal of commercial body care products.

Everybody wants to smell good when out with friends, at a meeting or at the gym, however now more than ever people want to know whats in the products that they use and they are not willing to compromise their health. One of the things people are doing is choosing a natural deodorant over commercial deodorant products.  

A good natural deodorant will protect you from body odour and keep you smelling great all day! 

Natural deodorants will let your skin under your arms breathe. Natural deodorants should make you feel safe and worry free. When using a safe natural deodorant you don’t have to worry about the mounting evidence that associates a lot of the ingredients of commercial products with Breast Cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

I am not a research scientist nor am I a doctor, however I do feel more comfortable knowing what I am using and exactly what goes into my food and my cosmetics. In addition its a huge plus to save money.

Making my own deodorant, toothpaste alternative ( will post that recipe very soon), and soaps are a great way to have products I love with my favorite scents. There is also the comfort in the fact that I know exactly what goes into the products my family and I use.

 Other reasons why you may want to choose a natural deodorant:

 - Increase your overall health

 - Reduce incidents of skin irritation and reactions (rashes and acne)

 - Let your skin under your arms  breathe during your work-out, run or yoga class!

 - If you’ve identified you have too much aluminum in your body!

 - While pregnant or breast feeding

 - If you notice lumps around your armpits it could be from clogged pores due to

long term commercial deodorant usage

 - If you are worried about long term lymph node health

 - No more stained clothes!

The vast majority of over-the-counter and prescription deodorants and antiperspirants are made with potentially harmful ingredients that can enter the blood stream and hurt the body's ability to function.

For example:

Aluminum chloride-a known irritant that helps reduce perspiration, but also removes color from clothing and degrades fabric

Propylene glycol-used to degrease engines and other industrial products.

Triclosan-a known irritant made from petroleum. It's a synthetic antibacterial agent.

Aluminum zirconium tetrachlorhydrex-GLY-plugs the pores and stains fabric when mixed with sweat (It's what leaves that yellow-ish tinge on your white shirts)

Stearyl alcohol-slows the evaporation rate of water (sweat)

Aluminum has an affinity for the brain and human pineal gland (our spiritual center) and large concentrations of toxic aluminum develop in these body parts. Aluminum has been implicated as the number one cause of Alzheimer disease.

Recipe#1    T=Tablespoon

3 T Coconut Oil

1T grated  Beeswax

2 T Baking Soda

2 T Arrowroot

Essential Oils (optional) 4-6 drops

Heat beeswax and coconut oil in a double boiler over medium heat until melted. If you do not have a double boiler float a heat proof bowl in a pot with boiling water. Remove from heat and add baking soda and arrowroot (If you don’t have arrowroot, use more baking soda) Mix well

Add essential oils and let cool until it starts to thicken or nearly go solid. Pour or scoop into either a container for storage, or an old deodorant container.. It does not need to be stored in the fridge.

Once it cools completely it can be used like a regular commercial stick


Recipe# 2 


3 T Coconut Oil

3 T Baking Soda

2 T Shea Butter

2 T Arrowroot

2 capsules probiotic powder

Essential Oils (optional) 4-6 drops

Prepare as with recipe 1 add the essential oils prior to the baking soda and arrow root but add the probiotic powder last just prior to the entire mix hardening as propbiotic s are live cultures and adding them to the hot mixtire will kill the culture.

Note recipe 2 may melt in the heat of summer without any beeswax in it


I invite questions and comments on how this works or doesn't for you. This is a work in progress and your input is most welcome

I currently use recipe 1 with 8 drops of peppermint oil, I  found the peppermint oil a bit strong therefor recommending 4-6 drops








DIY recipe for natural multisurface spray cleaner

Posted on December 16, 2012 at 12:40 AM

This natural spray cleaner was inspired by the lovely scent of a spray cleaner that used to be sold by a local Canadian Company. Unfortuneatley for all of us here locally who LOVED the smell it was discontinued. I was able to duplicate the scent as close as i thought by trying different essential oil combinations. This is a natural cleaner but not a duplicate of the original.

The original recipe seems to be  based on a witch hazel base with emulsifiers for the oils. When I am able to put together a similiar witch hazel based cleaning solution I will post the recipe for all of you to try.

This is a work in progress so please do comment on how it works for you/ or doesn't :)

For those who do not do a great deal of DIY things the recipe can be a bit labour intensive if you don't have the raw ingredients. I am putting together a handmade soap and environmental healthy cleaning product side to the farm so I have a lot of the raw ingredients here. 

Washing soda is heat treated sodium bicarbonate, I cannot find it in the local Ottawa area without ordering it in bulk by the pail.

However: washing soda can be made in your oven from heat treating or  "baking" the baking soda in the oven at 450 for 30-40 min.

The castille soap I make here at the farm but you can purchase a very small "Dr Bronners" liquid castile soap at any health food store that will last you a LONG time.

Please note: If you are local and want to get some of my castille soap and washing soda i will be more than happy to give you a bit to make your recipe. Particularily you local fellow epicure consultants who have been asking me for the recipe.

Natural All Purpose Cleaner

1 teaspoon washing soda

2 teaspoons borax

2 teaspoon vegetable based  "castile" type soap

2 cups hot water

Essential oils (your choice for scent,optional)

20 drops sweet orange oil,

20 drops bergamot,

4 drops  peppermint ( use the peppermint essential oil sparingly as it will completely overpower the other scents)


Mix all ingredients except the essential oil in a pot on the stove heat and stir until the borax and washing soda are dissolved

Pour into a spray bottle, this recipe fits into a 500ml spray bottle perfectly!

add essential oils and spray as needed, shake prior to using as there are no emulsifiers in this recipe  and the oils will separate out when the bottle sits. Use on  dirty hard surfaces in your home and enjoy the scent!

This formula is especially good at cutting grease. It can be kept indefinitely in a (labeled) spray bottle.

Happy cleaning everyone


Photos of the 2012 heirloom tomato and zuchini harvest

Posted on December 13, 2012 at 7:00 PM

For the first time here at Cuardach Farm a number of heirloom tomatoes were trialed for the 2012 growing season. The rich earth here produces huge growth and the tomatoes flourished. Alas we encountered the notorious tomato blight, which can go through a tomato patch in an unbelievably short amount of time.After some research an organic treatment was discovered and saved a portion of the tomatoes but we will be well armed for next year!

I am hooked on these fabulous tasting unusal tomatoes though and with some planning the goal is to plant a U- pick type of tomato garden where people in our local community can come out and pick thier own black krim, supersnow white, and zebra tomatoes!

In addition we grew the strangest looking, but best tasting zuchini i have ever seen.

Despite the cold and the snow please enjoy our tomato photos


Super Snow White and Black Cherry


Earl of Edgecombe Orange

Green Zebra and Black Krim

December and a new unplanned addition

Posted on December 10, 2012 at 4:20 PM

Well its December and i cannot believe its actually been a month since i did a posting.

Here are the 2 DIY links for those that do not want to read the cat article


The hundred plus chickens from this year are all in customers freezers as well as my freezer, the only living things left here for the winter are the horses and the laying hens. And of course  ....the new edition. A very surly unfriendly feral tomcat.

Thankyou to my neighbor Jayne for dropping him off, he was originally dubbed flash, and I have added an alias: in Oscar the grouch.

I can't blame him for being rather unhappy as he sustained some kind of a bite just before he arrived. In addition to the big infected abcess on the top of his head he had some punctures under his jaw and he was thin and cold and....lets face it..mean!

So he's since been cleaned up, healed, fed and its done absolutley wonders to his weight but absolutley nothing to his surly demeanor. If anything he is much stronger and more enabled to claw and bit more effectively. And he has taken to serenading the household at 3am onwards to the dismay of anyone that needs to get up and work the next day. I've included 2 photos from the 4th and then the 18th of November. The abcess on his head has healed well with just a small scar  If anyone locally is missing this white tiger i'd be overjoyed to give him back.

In the meantime I am going to rig some insulated housing out in the barn so he has good food, and water and the barn occupants can be serenaded with his late night music offering. All of the cat sanctuary and rescue's are full and if i dropped him off at the humane society it would be a quick trip to a euthanasia in the end as he is not terribly adoptable with his curren demeanor. I'd like to at least give him a chance as he has already been through a great deal. He looks great now but still has the quintessential nasty tomcat attitude ( note the teeth sunk into the glove in the last photo)

So I'll get my DIY skills up and build Oscar a heated house out in the barn.

 I found these two cold weather  do it yourself ways to provide cats with cold weather housing.

Any comments or suggestions on rehabing a feral cat are most welcome.