Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is staple in our household. We use it for everything from cleaners to fly spray. It offers a variety of health benefits ranging from clearing skin to boosting energy to soothing sore throats. Here are a few uses:

  • Flea Repellent: Mix equal parts water and apple cider vinegar rub into fur and work into skin.
  • Detangler: Easily detangle kids’ hair with a quick splash of apple cider vinegar during the final rinse.
  • Remover Bruises Faster: Soak a bandage in the vinegar and apply to the bruise. Leave for one hour then remove.
  • Treat Acid Reflux: Treat acid reflux by taking one to two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar daily.
  • Dandruff Control: Rinsing your strands with apple cider vinegar can actually get rid of dandruff by changing the pH of your scalp. Plus, it gets rid of greasiness, itchiness, and irritation. To really target dandruff, combine a quarter-cup apple cider vinegar with a quarter-cup water, pour it into a spray bottle, apply the mixture to your scalp, and leave it on for up to an hour before rinsing.
  • Wart removal: Douse a cotton ball in the vinegar and secure it to the affected area overnight.

For more uses for Apple Cider Vinegar, check out this list on

Understanding Hay Quality – Part III

So far in our three-part series on hay quality we have looked at defining terms, quality standards, maturity, species and variety, leafiness, and harvesting. In our last installment, we’re look at how to meet our horses nutritional needs with hay, testing forage for nutritional value, and purchasing hay. For more information on any of these topics, visit For more information visit Purdue University’s Hay Information Page, which is source of the information below.
50 percent to 100 percent of the horse’s nutrients can be supplied by hay depending on on use and nutritional classification. There are 5 nutritional classes for horses:

  1. Maintenance: Mature horses that are maintaining body weight and are not pregnant, lactating, breeding nor being exercised. This class of horse can often meet all of its requirements with forage.
  2. Pregnancy: For the first eight months of pregnancy the nutritional are the same as for a mare being maintained. During the ninth, tenth, and eleventh months of pregnancy, the energy requirements increase 11 percent, 13 percent, and 20 percent respectively.
  3. Lactation: During the first three months after foaling, mares can produce milk equivalent to 3 percent of their body weight per day and 2 percent per day during months four to six. The requirements for energy are about 80 percent above maintenance for the first three months and 50 percent above maintenance for the next three months of lactation.
  4. Growth: Growing foals require feeds of higher quality than what mature horses require. The age of the foal and the average daily gain determine the requirements. Horses are still growing past 24 months of age, and longer in the slower maturing breeds. The optimum growth rate has not been established, but overfeeding can cause developmental orthopedic diseases and underfeeding can cause permanent stunting.
  5. Work: The level of exercise or work the horse is doing determines the amount of nutrients needed. Energy is the fuel for work, and as the intensity or duration of the work increases from light to moderate to intense, the requirement for energy increases 25 percent, 50 percent and 100 percent above maintenance, respectively.

What you feed your horses should be calculated consider that they will eat only about 2.5 percent of their body weight everyday in dry matter and should consider the quality of the forage fed. Mature forages with high NDF values limit intake and require that more nutrients be provided in the form of concentrate supplements.
Forage Testing
Forage testing helps take the guesswork out of finding the right hay for your horses. There are currently three methods of testing:

  1. Square_hay_bales_1Visual appraisal: Oldest and most used method. Useful for finding foreign matter, finding dust, determining leafiness, and looking for color but overall a very subjective way of evaluating hay quality.
  2. Chemical analysis: Can be costly, but is the most accurate way to determine hay quality.
  3. Near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy (NIRS): Quicker and less expensive method to determine the major chemical constituents in forages. Forage can be analyzed in less than ten minutes.

Hay should be purchased and sold by weight rather than by volume. There is a big difference between a 40lb bale and and 80lb bale. As mentioned earlier, a horse will only consume 2.5 percent of his body weight per day. If a 1,000 horse consumes 25lbs of a 40lb bale, he’s consumed 62.5% of the bale. If he eats 25lbs of a 80lb bale, that’s 31.3% of the bale.
You should also request to see testing results to confirm the quality of the hay you’re purchasing. Keep in mind that what you’re really purchasing is nutrients rather than a bale of hay. It makes sense to pay a higher price for proven quality, because you want to ensure that the hay your horse consumes provides the appropriate nutrients to maintain his weight and health.

Car Care Tips to Save on Gas

In the words of Rich White, executive of the Car Care Council, “You can’t control the price of gas, but you can control how much gas you burn by performing proper maintenance and how you drive. Performing simple and inexpensive maintenance can save as much as $1,200 per year in gas costs.”
Here are some maintenance tips to help you save on gas:

  • Keep your car properly tuned
  • Keep tires properly inflated
  • Replace dirty or clogged air filters
  • Use the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil

And here are some driving tips to help your fuel efficiency:

  • Follow the speed limit. Gas mileage decreases rapidly above 50 mph. Each 5 mph over 50 mph is like paying an additional $0.25 per gallon for gas
  • Avoid unnecessary idling. Idling gets zero miles per gallon. Warming up the vehicle for one or two minutes is sufficient.
  • Avoid quick starts and stops. Aggressive driving can lower gas mileage by 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent in the city.
  • Consolidate trips. Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much gas as one longer mufti-purpose trip.
  • Don’t haul unneeded items in the trunk. An extra 100 pounds in the trunk reduces fuel economy up to 2 percent.

For more information, check out the Car Council Tip site.

Understanding Hay Quality – Part II

Last week in Understanding Hay Quality – Part I, we looked at hay quality standards. This week, we’re looking at maturity, species and variety, leafiness, and harvesting. For more information visit Purdue University’s Hay Information Page, which is the source of the information in this post.
Plant maturity can be determined by the amount of seed heads of grasses or the flowers of legumes present at the time of harvest. As forage progress through seedhead and flower bud development, the concentration of structural carbohydrates and lignin increases and crude protein decreases. The structural carbohydrates are partially digested by the bacteria in the horse’s lower gut, but lignin is not digested at all. For each percent lignin increases, the digestibility of the forage dry matter decreases three to four percent.
Forage digestibility is indirectly measured by determining the level of acid detergent fiber (ADF) in the hay. As the plant matures, ADF increases, and digestibility decreases. Neutral detergent fiber (NDF) increases as the plant matures and is an indirect measure of how readily a forage is consumed. Immature hay is more easily digested by the horse and more readily consumed, and therefore worth more to a horse owner.
Species and Variety
There are two types of hay:

  1. Grass hay: ryegrass, timothy grass, fescue, orchard, redtop, etc.
  2. Legumes. alfalfa and red clover

Legumes are usually higher in protein and calcium than the grasses but not much different in energy or phosphorus levels. Some types of hay bring have potential for feeding problems:

  • Moldy sweet clover hay can contain high levels of dicoumerol, which can tie up Vitamin K and causes the blood not to clot.
  • Broodmares consuming tall fescue that is infected with the endophytic fungus can result in prolonged gestations, thickened placentas at birth, aglactia (lack of milk production), and dystocia (difficult birth).

Parc Éolien de Fresnes-En-SaulnoisLeafiness, Pests, and Foreign Matter
Leaves contain more digestible carbohydrates and protein than stems. As forage plants mature, the leaf to stem ratio decreases. Hay baled at ideal moisture levels of 17 to 20 percent will typically have more leaves because fewer shatter and fall off.
Insects can reduce hay quality potentially leaving behind toxins. Some weeds can also cause problems when present in significant quantity. Some weeds can reduce forage quality while other can be very toxic. Hay should be inspected for the presence of other foreign matter, such as wire or nails. A musty odor can indicate that hay was put up too moist and mold has been allowed to grow in the hay, potentially causing respiratory issues in horses.
Harvesting and forms of Harvested Forages
During harvesting, hay can loose highly digestible sugars and starches, particularly during curing, from the leaching of soluble nutrients during rainfall, and from the physical loss of leaves at harvest. Management techniques that minimize curing time can help minimize loss.
Preservative products consisting have successfully preserved alfalfa hay baled at moisture levels up to 35 percent without affecting intake. Hay should not be packaged when moisture content is greater than 20 percent and an effective preservative is not used.
Forage for your horse can be bought in a variety of forms:

  • Square bales – most commonly used, usually 40-80 lbs.
  • Round bales – usually 800-1200 lbs.
  • Hay cubes – bought in bags, made from coarsely chopped hay.
  • Chopped hay
  • Pellets
  • Silage

Next week, we’ll close out our three-part ha quality series by looking at meeting nutritional requirements, forage testing, purchase, and storage.

US and State Codes

The most important part of exercising your rights as a free citizen is knowing your rights.  The best way to really know your rights?  READ THEM! Below are links to the US code and the codes for each state. Get to know the US Code and your state’s codes. You may be surprised what you find!
Did you know that a vehicle and an automobile are not the same thing?  The term vehicle in most states only applies to a car or truck used for commercial practices.  In most cases, you family’s car is not legally defined as a vehicle!  In fact, codes have a specific definition for a lot of things we assume are common items.  Only by knowing the definitions can we know how the laws really apply to us and our activities.