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Giveaway: A Year's Supply of Luv Nest Organic Nesting Herbs


Nibbles are here!


Dave and Tina, the dynamic duo behind Luv Nest, reached out to me a few months ago, when they were just completing the finishing touches on Nibbles, their latest product. I am so excited to help launch this new product with them today. We have been secretly sharing Nibbles with our flock for a month now and I can tell you that these girls love this clever treat!

Nibbles not only features Luv Nest's organic herbs but also sneaks in some mealworms, kale, clover, and sunflower seeds too. It's a great way to nurture your flock. Of course, like kids the girls pick out their favorites first, which happens to be the mealworms and the sunflower seeds. Then they nibble on the rest of the mix throughout the day.


Luv Nest has four organic nesting blends to choose from. We've tried them all and just luv'em! There is nothing like a chicken coop that smells good and has the added benefits of keeping chicken pests away and providing hens with a little aroma therapy during their egg laying.

Check out the Critter Ritter BlendOriginal Herbal Blend, Chick Mix Blend and the Layer Blend. Can't decide on which one you'd like to try first? Then why not order a sampler pack?

To help launch Nibbles, we are giving away a monthly package of Luv Nest for an entire year. Enter below for your chance to win. Congratulations to Dave and Tina on the launch of Nibbles!

Prize retail value approximately $180.00

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Photo Credit: Tilly's Nest

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup


The tomatoes are abundant.
Last night was chilly.
I made soup!

This tomato basil soup is a wonderful way to use up your garden tomatoes. It also freezes well for later when you want to snuggle up with a bowl full of soup, a nice grilled cheese sandwich, and fuzzy slippers. 

Serves 6

Ingredients:

1 large onion- diced
3 cloves of garlic-minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups of fresh diced tomatoes
1/4 cup of fresh basil-chopped
2 teaspoons of cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon of salt 
1 teaspoon of pepper
1 can diced tomatoes (14.5)
1 can tomato paste (6 oz)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (from the shaker can)
6 cups of stock. We typically use chicken.

Preparation:

In a large stock pot over medium high heat, saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil until translucent. 

Next add the cumin, salt, pepper, basil and oregano and cook for 2 minutes.

Next add in the tomatoes (fresh and canned), the tomato paste, stock, parmesan cheese and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.

When the vegetables are soft, with an immersion blender,food processor, or blender puree the soup until creamy. Be careful it is very hot.

Simmer for 10 more minutes. Serve hot or chilled with fresh Parmesan crisps (Whole Foods) and a sprig of fresh basil.

Photo Credit: Tilly's Nest

Giveaway: Windy Willow Homestead Fall Basket & Soaps


We love using our coiled fabric basket from Windy Willow Homestead. But did you know they aren't just for harvesting eggs? They are durable, beautiful, hand-crafted in California, and versatile. These baskets are lovely to hold fruit, sewing items, outgoing mail and keys. Today we are launching this amazing fall inspired giveaway for this awesome basket below and three of their soaps!

The soaps are made from scratch and cold processed. Their scents are amazing! This giveaway includes one bar each of:

“Eggcellent” Awaphui Seaberry: For the true poultry lover, this bar of soap features an egg shape in the center. Scented with Italian bergamot extract, tart seaberries, marine, geranium, jasmine, and fresh rose petals with a hint of white musk. The scent is light and fresh.

Mango Sorbet: Scented with mangos, raspberries and lemon curd. A yummy scent that is almost good enough to eat..

Bumbleberry: This fragrance is a combination of wild blackberries and strawberries, and earthiness. Blackberry, apricot, strawberry sweet pear, lavender, and jasmine with a bit of glitter on top.



The basket measures 6 ½ inches tall, 11 inches across the top, and 4 inches across the base. A sweet trio of leaves adorn the curlycue.

This giveaway has a retail value of $58.00. Enter below for your chance to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Down Home Blog Hop~Number 96 + Spooky Candy Apples


As the arrival of fall nears, we begin to think about the delicious treats of autumn. In our house, apple picking and candy apples go hand in hand. This year, I decided to put a twist on traditional and make spooky apples. I turned our traditional red candy apples black! 


I swapped out the red food coloring for black and rolled them in black sugar sprinkles.
When the kids and I made them, they could not wait to taste them, nor could I.


They were delicious and will certainly be making their way into our Halloween festivities.
For all the directions, take a peek at my post over on HGTV Gardens.


Now it's your turn. I'd love for you to share a post about the last hurrahs of summer or how you usher in fall. All are welcome to share up to three posts from their blog. Thank you for linking up to this week's blog hop. I'm so glad you are here.


Photo Credit: Tilly's Nest

Two Beehives Become One


About a couple of week's ago, one of my hives had practically succumb to a complete death. A day or so after I witnessed that, I began the rebuilding by adding a few frames of brood from another hive and two frame of honey. This past week, we combined an early summer nuc that we made with this weak hive with the hopes of a strong hive that will survive the winter.


First we inspected the old hive that originally had problems. They looked great! All of the brood had hatched from the introduced frames a couple of weeks prior. There were no queen cells and no signs of any problems. There was still plenty of honey. We poked a bunch of holes through a single sheet of newspaper and placed that over the top of the existing hive. Poking the holes will ensure that the new queen's scent will permeate the entire without the bees meeting just quite yet. If we didn't do this, the bees would fight til the death!



As the nuc we were adding to this hive only had 4 frame (a feeder taking up the space of the 5th frame), we needed to add 6 frames to this hive. We spaced them like so. The frames from the nuc will be kept in the exact same order and placed in the center of the box.


Finally, when ready, we lifted up the lid of the nuc.


It was bustling with bees. We removed the feeder first. It was empty and full of bees. Then one by one we placed the frames in the hive.


Slowly and methodically we added the frames. The bees and the queen looked awesome! We shook the bees from the feeder on top of all the frames and added the inner cover.


Since the new bees we added had very little honey stores. On top of the inner cover, we added a feeder full of sugar syrup and Honey B Healthy. The two sticks act as a way for the bees to move around the feeder. We blocked off the entrances to this upper box that is hiding the feeder. This will prevent robbing, as it is robbing season. We simply plugged up the entrance with a wood chip that fits.


The entrance on the front of the deep is opened half way and an evergreen branch is placed in front. This forces the bees to reorient to their new home's location. I will remove it in a couple of days. The bees go right through it.


Here is the hive immediately after the combination. Two hives became one. The hive on the bottom uses the bottom board entrance that has had the entrance reducer on since it was so weak. The new hive is in the second green box on top. The newspaper is between them. On the top of the hive is the old nuc box. It is completely empty. Some bees are still in there and will not discover where their queen has gone immediately. They will sense where she is within a day or two and join the new hive. The feeder although empty was still with a few bees. I left it on the side for the bees to vacate for about an hour or two. The bees, working from the top and the bottom, should chew through the newspaper in a couple of days. Once the hives are combined, they will function as one.

Can you do this as a beekeeper? Yes!

  • This technique works to combine two weak hives and make one strong one.
  • It can help integrate a weak hive into an existing one to over winter.
  • It can also be used to add a nuc to a weak queenless hive.
  • If you decide to give this a try, there should only be one queen when attempting this.
Photo Credit: Tilly's Nest

Giveaway: Flint Creek Soap Company The Lavender Package



Today, I am very excited to share with your one of our newest sponsors, Flint Creek Soap Company. A few weeks ago, they sent me some of their amazing products and I am hooked. We have washed, sprayed, and lotioned ourselves up in some of their most delightful products. As much as I love getting dirty in the gardens and at the beach, it is always nice to come home to beautiful products like these.


Made from all natural ingredients, they are pure and simple. Since 2001, they have been sharing and developing products shampoo, conditioner, soaps, botanical bug spray, and powders. They'll even send you a few samples (your choice) of their soaps for $5.

The scents are light, simple, and botanical. They are not overpowering in any way and can definitely be used on sensitive skin. My son has periodic eczema and has found the goat's milk soaps to be very soothing.

As summer is winding down, we are getting ready to harvest the last of our lavender blooms. Lavender is used in many personal care products because of it's scent and benefits. Lavender is often used for it's antiseptic properties, relaxation, aromatherapy, and skin irritation. I thought that it would be very fitting to giveaway this amazing Lavender Package from Flint Creek Soap Company.


Enter below to win:
One Lavender shampoo and conditioner (paraben and sulfate-free) 16 oz each, One Lavender Body Lotion (almond oil base) 16 oz, 3 Lavender Soaps (5 oz each)-Goat Milk w/lavender, (plain) Lavender, and Three Little Birds (Lavender & Patchouli). Prize value: $45

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: Tilly's Nest was provided complimentary samples of Flint Creek Soap Company's products however, the opinions in this post our 100% ours.