The chickens love Colorado Springs and want to tell you about local farms and small businesses right here in our community! Chickens know a thing or two about the importance of a good flock and good things to eat. Likewise, people benefit from knowing their neighbors and knowing where to get good food!
We hope you’ll find a little inspiration for your own story too!
Baby chickens are pretty adorable. In this episode of Baby Chicken Video, four three-week old chicks play in a pile of chick crumbles (their food) that has been dumped out in their cage.
Why did I pour their food out? Because birds aren’t very hygienic and they leave droppings in the feeder. They’ve done this so many times that the bedding is basically a layer of chick crumbles instead of pine shavings, but they are perfectly happy with this.
Watch as one chick dust bathes in the food while the others eat off of her feathers.
I’ve just washed my hands for the 15th time this morning. It’s not quite 10AM. It’s part of a life with animals, but my hands get eczema every winter. Does this happen to everyone who keeps chickens? Probably.
Last winter, my friend Misty started selling Lemongrass Spa products. I liked that they were made out of ingredients I could recognize, but I’m always reluctant to use products made outside this state when so many great products are made right here in Colorado.
“Nice,” I said. “Where is it made?”
“Oh!”, she exclaimed. “You’ll like this. It’s made in Pine, CO!”
I was hooked.
In my endless search for something to stop my feet from itching just as I’m drifting off to sleep, I bought a foot spa kit.
You know what makes feet stop itching? Soaking! So I developed a strange habit of soaking my feet while working at my desk. I do the whole routine, from the soaking to scrubbing with the walnut hull & salt scrub to slathering peppermint foot balm on my feet. And then I put on socks. The socks are important, even though the kit doesn’t come with them. They keep the balm on your feet long enough to soak it in.
Now, back to the hand-washing problem.
Since the foot kit worked so well, I figured I’d try something for my hands. Here is the routine:
It’s working. I won’t say I have no eczema, but it’s a lot less than most years!
I don’t know how they make this stuff, but I do know where they make it. Heidi Leist started this business in 2002 in the mountain town of Bailey, CO. Her idea was that she could make spa products in her home to sell and then she could stay home with her baby.
A lot of people have ideas like that, but Heidi did it! She sold the products by demonstrating them at home parties, like she’d seen people do with products from big corporations. The model worked and when she was selling enough that she couldn’t do it all herself, she stuck with it and started signing up consultants.
It’s not a bad deal, all in all. Consultants can make $400 a month by doing a party a week. I signed up the Chickens and we do online parties (since they aren’t allowed to leave the yard.)
Lemongrass sells makeup too. I started using it now that I spend as much time in business meetings as on farms. It doesn’t come off on my hands all day, but I can still get it off easily at night. It also doesn’t have a lot of preservatives, as you can see.
Many of the products are still made in Pine, although the company is big enough that it has another facility in Florida now. The headquarters are still here and we’re planning a visit for spring.
If you’re looking for gentle, mainly organic skin care and makeup contact us. You can use your skin care dollars to get a great local product and support the Hungry Chicken Homestead Chickens at the same time!
copyright 2017 Hungry Chicken Homestead
For some reason, I know a lot of people who can’t sleep. I don’t know if it’s politics or the dry climate or too much screen time, but they are up late. I’d like to use the first part of this post to recommend that they visit Simple Body for this product:
I haven’t actually tried it yet since the store isn’t open at 1AM, but it sounds like a really good idea.
I went to visit Simple Body to talk to Jewels Burdick, owner, tester and product-maker. Jewels is actually a professional graphic designer and if you’ve seen websites from Superfine Designs, she designed them.
“My whole life has been chaos,” she says, explaining how she came to be running a popular graphic design studio and a retail shop for which she makes all the products by hand.
How Simple Body Got Started
In 2010, when Jewels was starting her fast-growing design studio, her mother had a health scare and they realized it was probably due to a common chemical, aluminum chloride. Jewels started looking for alternatives to the cosmetic product in which it is usually found … anti-perspirant.
It’s easy enough to buy a deodorant that doesn’t have aluminum chloride in it, but it’s not anti-perspirant and they often don’t work as well as one would like. She tried 15 different brands, all expensive, and none of them worked.
What to Do When Nothing Works
What do resourceful people do when they can’t find an acceptable product? That’s right! They make their own. Jewels started making her own deodorant. It’s made from natural ingredients and melts easily on the skin. It also melts easily in the container too, in the summer, which is why you can buy it in a stick or in a jar.
What to Avoid
Jewels recommends a book called the Green Beauty Guide. It lists 100 ingredients that are toxic and helps you know what to avoid. Since it’s so hard to avoid all 100, Jewels started making other products like lotions, massage oils and baby care products.
It’s pretty amazing how she runs both businesses together. “Growing this business is important to me because I want to educate people,” she explains. “A lot of people don’t know! I also want to make a product that is affordable for everyone. It’s more about getting it into the hands of people who care and are looking and can’t afford other alternatives.”
It’s hard not to admire a person who works so hard for the benefit of others. It’s no easy task running a service business. I know this for a fact since I run a content writing business. Service work is detailed, it requires a lot of focus and clients can be exacting.
I can’t help but be a little awed that Jewels does all that and still finds a way to make time to make natural body care accessible to others.
Visit the website for classes and learn how you can make your own non-toxic body products straight from the expert! Or do what I do in these busy days and just visit the shop.
Note to the FCC: Jewels gave me a tube of her Healing Balm to try. It’s lovely, but my favorite product of hers is actually her clove deodorant, which I bought with money. Jewels also refers clients to my content writing business on occasion, but this doesn’t really affect my thoughts about deodorant.
copyright 2017 Hungry Chicken Homestead
I once met a doctor who badly wanted to sell a particular product. He had done a lot of research to find a supplement that would help the brains of people with a particular disease and finally, after scouring the medical world, he had found it. But there was a problem.
It was sold through direct sales, also known as multi-level marketing, and this doctor, like so many people, hated direct sales.
This was such an obstacle that the doctor almost didn’t offer the product to his patients. He almost let this chance to help them go by simply because of the sales method.
Why was this such an obstacle?
Why Do People Hate Direct Sales So Much?
This is an unscientific assessment, but as far as I can tell from observation, there are two reasons.
- Sometimes people who sell direct sales products are inexperienced salespeople and they are come off as aggressive. They don’t understand yet that selling is a matter of finding people who want what you have, not convincing people who don’t want it to buy it.
- Some direct sales products are kind of … absurd. I’m not going to single anything out, but I’ve been the target of direct sales people trying to sell what we used to refer to as “snake oil”. One product essentially claimed that it was vital to human health even though none of the things it “cured” had any symptoms and the consumer would have no evidence that it was doing anything.
All of this has made me very nervous, but direct sales has some interesting advantages.
Good Direct Sales Companies Offer a Lot of Education
Education is a critical part of self-sufficiency. It costs more than most people can afford to reinvent the wheel and experiment until they figure out how to make a living. A good direct sales company teaches you how to be a salesperson and, even better, they utilize the relationships between recruiter and recruited to offer mentoring.
In other words, your friend who signed you up is the same person who helps you learn to do this for yourself and the community of consultants support each other.
I admit that some companies are doing this badly or perhaps some people aren’t taking advantage of the educational resources available to them. Nonetheless, the opportunity to learn a marketable skill should not be sneezed at.
Serious Sellers Can Make a Living for Themselves
I learned something interesting after I signed up. People who approach direct sales seriously and who choose their product carefully can make a living. If it’s a good product and people want it then the seller isn’t that much different than any other salesperson except that they run their own show. They’re not working for anyone but themselves.
I take this seriously. Many smart people dislike or are not suited to working for someone else. A person who struggles in an office may do very well on her own with the right resources and support.
The Path To Promotion Is Very Clear
When you work for a big corporation, no matter how hard HR tries to build a clear path to promotion, it’s still very political. Sometimes your boss just doesn’t see you as promotable and sometimes there is simply no opportunity for promotion. I can’t speak for other direct sales companies, but the one I signed up takes the politics out of promotion. If your sales reach a certain level and you sign up a certain number of new salespeople, you get promoted. End of story.
How did I learn this? I signed up with a direct sales company that makes a product I love right here in my state. Despite direct sales’ reputation, I’m not sorry. I’m learning how to sell a product without annoying my friends & family, spending time with people I like and getting to do something that doesn’t involve sitting in a chair for 8 hours at at time.
And once I’ve gotten what is essentially free training, I can use it to sell anything. My “Colorado Local” store dream is one step closer to reality.
To sum this up, I’m not telling you to quit your job and sign up with a direct sales company, but next time someone asks you to come to a jewelry party or participate in a Facebook nail wrap party, try not to roll your eyes. By all means, say no if you’re not interested in the product, but if it’s something you like, give it a try.
Your purchases from that individual help build a world where independence is really possible, a world where people can support their families without spending half their lives in a cubicle.
It seems to me that the real obstacles to opportunity haven’t changed. Can you get the education? Do you have community support? If so, then you have the power to choose how to live.
Choose wisely, do your best and you might be pleasantly surprised at how much there is to be grateful for.
copyright 2017 Hungry Chicken Homestead
“I hate MLMs,” said my friend, referring to multilevel marketing companies like Nerium and Amway.
“Uh oh,” I thought. “How am I going to do this without making enemies…”
Let me explain … Hungry Chicken Homestead doesn’t just exist to be a Chicken Old Age Home. It’s our way of finding the middle ground of economic survival. We’re too exhausted to work in the corporate world anymore, but we have resources and want to support ourselves. This website and our corresponding content marketing business, Writer for Hire, keep us off the government welfare rolls and out of the cubicle.
We like to do this in the most self-sufficient way possible, which means having goals and values that help us treat people right.
- Self-reliance: Take responsibility for ourselves and our needs
- Humility: Don’t let our egos take us over
- Simplicity: Don’t make things too complicated and overwhelming
- Integrity: Treat people thoughtfully, kindly and respectfully while remaining true to our values
- Modesty: Don’t go hog-wild with ambition and take more credit than we deserve
- Curiosity: Find out about a thing before judging it
In this case, we were curious and we had a need for improved self-reliance.
Writer for Hire is a great work-from-home business, but unless I want to work with corporations (which I don’t), I can’t charge enough to produce high quality work while supporting the household.
The solution? Product sales.
We promote Colorado businesses, right? Why not give them a platform to make more sales on Hungry Chicken Homestead? That’s been on our list of things we want to do for quite a while and now we’ve begun work on it.
It will be called the Hungry Chicken Homestead Colorado Local Store and you can follow it on Facebook.
We’re negotiating with local authors, jewelry-makers, jam-makers and others to make this happen and our local Design Break Studios are working on building us a virtual store.
Now, back to the MLMs where we started.
The first product we can really make available is Lemongrass Spa. Lemongrass Spa makes soap, makeup and some other stuff in Pine, CO. Interestingly, it’s popular on the East Coast. How do they sell it?
Multi-level marketing. In other words, Uh oh.
copyright 2016 Hungry Chicken Homestead
I burst out laughing when Julie Miele told me how she got the cattle that started her ranch, Miele Farms.
She and her then-husband had bought a place out in the country. “He bought me some cows for my birthday,” she recounts.
I’ve heard a lot of stories about ranches, but Julie is the first person I ever met whose ranch started out with a gift.
It was the right gift. “It was the first time in my life I felt like I found something I was really good at,” she says of raising the cattle on her own ranch to her own standards.
Julie learned to raise cattle in a more commercial manner than she likes. Today she raises them on grass with no vaccines. The herd grazes a pasture and then moves to a new pasture when it’s time.
“We watch a lot of the growth cycles and the grass cycles. We don’t let them eat to the ground,” she explains. “For us, it’s all about watching the grass.” Her herd are grass fed and grass finished. “We want them to graze as much as possible.”
I wondered how she knows when they are ready to process and got an interesting answer.
“They’re done when they look done. We’re not a factory farm. It’s not an exact science. You have to be patient and flexible.”
“Who is ‘we’?”, I asked.
Julie and her children are the only people working this ranch. I sat back a moment in awe.
Miele Farms doesn’t just raise cattle. The family also raises pastured chicken, lamb and hogs.
The Mieles have three sows and a boar. They migrate down to the creek on her property to graze and play in the water. Even the 700 lb. boar plays in the creek, which must be quite a sight.
The other animals run and play on their pastures too. Sometimes the family will witness a calf playing with its mother.
“Nothing is better for me than seeing animals being happy and living out their lives. I feel very honored.”
Are you as struck as I was by Julie’s acceptance of the cycle of life? People often put some emotional distance between themselves and the animals that will be processed for food. Farming and ranching are vocations that put a person in direct contact with the mysteries of life and death, and it’s a bit much for most of us.
We name the laying hens, but not the meat birds. We watch the cattle in awe, but we try not to develop close relationships with them.
Julie somehow dispenses with all that. She gives the animals names, honoring the individuality of each one. It occurs to me that it takes pretty awesome strength to show that kind of humility. She doesn’t try to remake the cycle of life by pretending those animals are simply commodities or by pretending that being alive doesn’t require reliance on others.
“I know I have given them the best life possible. I know they’re happy and every day that they were here, they were happy,” she responds when I ask her how she does this.
Are you familiar with that part of the Bible where Rebecca asks about the babies who are already fighting in her womb, “If this is the case, why do I even exist?”
Julie answers that question every day. We exist because we have the power to spread the light of kindness, even in the dark places.
Note to the FTC: Julie tried to give me three broiler chickens to eat, but I thought that was too big of a gift. These are hand-raised, hand-processed pastured chickens and they were delicious! You’ll see some ads for Miele Farms in the Hungry Chicken Homestead newsletter as a trade.
copyright 2016 Hungry Chicken Homestead
Do you know what a schooner is?
I don’t mean the boat. I mean the covered wagon.
These days, tiny homes are all the rage. You can even spend your vacation in one… as long as you book early, that is.
People like tiny homes for a lot of reasons, among them that the size limits the potential time spent doing housework. That’s my favorite reason, but most people mainly seem impressed by their potential for energy efficiency.
Dan Rosenbaum, owner of Schooner EcoHomes, takes energy efficiency very seriously. In fact, he doesn’t think of the tiny homes he builds as simply wooden RVs. He thinks of them as demonstration homes for the latest in energy efficiency technology.
Dan didn’t even know about tiny homes until someone called his energy consulting management company about putting foam insulation in one. He did some research into the movement and found that the main feature of a lot of tiny homes is simply that they are small.
As an energy consultant, this looked like a missed opportunity to him. “It doesn’t make any sense to downsize and not do anything sustainable,” he comments. He offered his sustainability products to existing builders of tiny homes, but none were interested.
I went to see the model home and it was pretty fascinating! It has the energy efficiency features you expect, like solar panels and that composting toilet, but it also has things I never heard of.
Now, what can you do with all this newfound knowledge? Well, let me tell you.
- If you’re interested in tiny homes, you can have one built for yourself. Contact Dan and he’ll build a custom tiny home for you on wheels. Take it wherever you like and live off the grid, all for the price of a fancy truck.
- If you’re interested in energy efficiency, go to the website for Schooner’s sister business, Voltaire Engineering. Voltaire can do an energy audit and install technology to make your full-sized home more energy efficient.
Honestly, we should all do an energy audit. We live in a crazy climate, here in Colorado. Why not take advantage of it, like Springs Hosting did?
Do you have a tiny home or have you thought about buying or building one? Tell us about it in the comments. If we have learned nothing else, it’s that people LOVE tiny homes and want to hear all about them.
Note to the FTC: Unfortunately, Dan did not offer me a tiny home to try before I wrote this article. I would definitely have taken him up on it if he had. That said, one of your regulations may require that I disclose that Dan is married to Liz Rosenbaum, delightful owner of Her Story Cafe, and Liz has treated me to coffee and some extra house-made macaroni and cheese at times. Fortunately, there is no regulation or law prohibiting extra house-made macaroni and cheese because if there was then I would surely be in jail. And it would be worth it.
copyright 2016 Hungry Chicken Homestead
“I’m a designer and an artist, but my wife has the best ideas,” says David Thomason, co-owner of Red Dog Coffee in Manitou Springs. “Always has.”
David is referring to Laura Thomason’s revelation about what to name the coffee shop and how to brand it. At one point, ten people were working on coming up with a name for the coffee shop, but good names are hard to find.
You may already know David and Laura as the owners of Pikes Peak Chocolate & Ice Cream down the street. If you do, you’re probably asking yourself the same question I asked David.
“Why a coffee shop?”
The Thomasons didn’t start out planning to open a coffee shop. They started out by renovating the building that housed a coffee shop and when the owner of that shop got out of the business, they decided to start one up themselves. After all, Manitou needs a place where people can refresh themselves after walking around the town. A coffee shop is an important part of the Manitou experience!
Of course, just as with a home, when one has free rein with a space the temptation to change it is strong. The Thomasons took down a wall. And then they discovered the space needed new electrical wiring. They took down more walls and discovered plumbing needs. If you’ve ever worked on an old house, you know the drill.
The renovation work took a lot longer than expected, which is pretty much how all renovation projects go.
Unlike the old houses I’ve worked on, the Red Dog space had been home to a variety of businesses and the Thomasons uncovered remnants of them… wallpaper, flooring and an old mural.
This is the best part of the story and I’m sorry I don’t have a picture of this mural to show you. An artist (who is still alive, by the way) had created a paper-strip mural for a business called Red Dog’s Bar in the 1950s.
That was it! That was the name! They would call it Red Dog Coffee.
The mural had little dogs in it that were all caricatures of people the artist knew. Unfortunately, it was too old to restore and they had to cover it up again, but it was the inspiration for both the name and the logo.
Since David is a professional designer, he wanted an interesting logo, but couldn’t think of a theme. Laura came to the rescue, suggesting the cat.
“Ever since, we’ve had fun because people approach it differently,” he comments. People ask about it. “Some are diffident, some ask what went wrong and some are confused.”
Confused or not, check out the shop. They carry locally roasted Colorado Coffee Merchants’ coffee, serve food and just added beer & wine. You may not be able to see the mural anymore, but Red Dog is a little piece of Manitou Springs culture and welcoming place to relax.
Note to the FTC: David brought me a lovely coffee mug with the Red Dog logo and some chocolate from Pikes Peak Chocolate & Ice Cream. I cannot say with honesty that this didn’t affect my article about Red Dog Coffee. My opinion is easily swayed by good chocolate.
copyright 2016 Hungry Chicken Homestead
It’s a ZUCCHINI INFESTATION!
Ok, not really. Some readers noted that I complained about not growing any zucchini and two weeks later complained of a Zucchini Attack!
My own zucchini patch is having trouble attracting bugs to take care of the fertilization and I am too shy to do it myself. I didn’t get that much produce out of it.
However, even without a prolific zucchini patch of my own, we still have tons of zucchini in the kitchen from Ahavah Farm. I wrote about it in the last Hungry Chicken Homestead newsletter and several readers were kind enough to send me recipes to help us conquer this vegetable.
Zucchini Pizza (From Dani Coke)
Shredded mozzarella cheese
toppings of your choice
Slice the zucchini and put on a baking sheet. Top with sauce, cheese and toppings. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes.
Zucchini Chocolate Cake (From Lois Pratt)
Lois is a local nutritional therapist with Healthy Determination and she graciously sent me an actual recipe for Zucchini Chocolate Cake! Here it is…
1 1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup organic cocoa
1 cup grated zucchini
3 tablespoons coconut oil
4 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
a pinch of cinnamon
a pinch of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Mix all the ingredients in a food processor and pour into a buttered 6X8 cake pan. Bake at 350° for 30-40 minutes. Cool before cutting.
Zucchini Cobbler (Jessica at Frog on a Limb)
Not enough? I’ve got one more. I stopped in to visit with Jessica, co-owner of Frog on a Limb, in Monument and she suggested this zucchini cobbler recipe. Zucchini cobbler? I thought she was kidding, but it’s a real thing.
Let me know if you try any of these. We like our zucchini noodles with meat sauce here on the Homestead, but I think I could convince everyone to try something new.
Especially if it’s dessert!
copyright 2016 Hungry Chicken Homestead
How long does it take to feel like a kid at Cole’s Gourmet Candy after you walk in?
About 45 seconds.
Cindy Cole greets you and takes you on a tour of this shop on N. Academy, across from Chapel Hills mall. Something strange happens as she shows you the bulk candy, the nostalgic sodas and the old-fashioned candies. You gradually change from a guarded adult to an excited 7 year old.
Except this time you’ve got money and you can buy whatever you want.
Cindy finishes the tour and starts giving you samples. Try this popcorn we make here in the shop! Try this house-made fudge! Try a bit of this house-made popsicle called a paleta!
The shop is a little oasis of happiness in a stressful world. Here are five products that will make you happy, whether you eat them or not!
- Root Beer
Cole’s has what must be the most comprehensive selection of root beer in the state! I can’t remember how many different kinds they have, but they covered several shelves.
They don’t just have root beer. The shop carries all kinds of old-fashioned sodas, including some flavors I’d never heard of before!
2. Moon Pies
I’ve read about Moon Pies, but had never actually seen one. Did you know they come in chocolate flavor?
I also found Ice Cubes, weird flavors of gum and a selection of candies made in Colorado, such as Hammonds of Denver. Cole’s carries bulk candies as well, including a childhood favorite of mine, Jordan Almonds.
3. Chocolate Covered Popcorn with Sea Salt
Who came up with this idea? This stuff satisfies cravings for both sweet and salty food at the same time!
It’s just plain dangerous to keep this in the house and I can say the same about the Extra Buttery popcorn. I brought home a small bag of it, but nobody else got to taste it. I ate it all before the other residents of the Homestead even knew it existed.
I swear I didn’t mean to. It just happened.
Cole’s carries dozens of popcorn flavors, from cinnamon to bacon cheddar to caramel cashew. The menu is two pages long. All of their popcorns are made in the store in a fascinating mixing machine, but that’s a story for another blog.
Paletas are the popsicles you would make if you didn’t just buy them from the ice cream truck. They are made out of fruit and cane sugar with additions of coconut milk and rice milk for creamy versions.
The paletas are made in-house, with organic ingredients whenever possible. They are colorful, flavorful and fun! You can try a sample before choosing a flavor.
5. Fudge with Silly Names
Don’t ask me why, but the “Moose Poo” flavor of fudge is very popular. It comes in a set with other moose-themed flavors during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, but you can also get it by the pound.
I went with the more traditional chocolate fudge.
All of the fudge is made in-house and samples are available.
The owners, Cindy and Tom, tell a story that describes how you feel at the end of your visit. A lady and her husband came in once and bought a huge bag of popcorn. As they were leaving, the lady exclaimed, “We need more of this!”
“What do you mean?”, retorted her husband. “You’ve already got a huge bag.”
“No,” she responded, gesturing to the store itself. “More of this.”
And she’s right. A little more delight makes the world a much better place.
Note: I got this interview with Tom and Cindy because Colorado Springs digital marketing firm Uzu Media hired me to write the content for Cole’s new website. The fact that I am being paid and am acting like a responsible grownup does not affect my written opinion of the shop or of Cindy’s magical power to make you feel like a happy child once in the store.
copyright 2016 Hungry Chicken Homestead