The holidays are fast approaching and I wanted to share some of my favorite finds with you. These are things we use and love so we feel good about recommending them to you. Just to be clear, this is not a wishlist for us (please don’t buy us these things, we already have them), but a list for YOU. Some items are currently on sale or have savings codes so act fast!
Disclosure: You should be aware that pretty much all of my posts contain affiliate links and if they don’t I made a mistake and will fix it ASAP. That doesn’t mean I’m a sellout because I would only recommend and share items I really, really like and use in my own life regularly. If you click on my affiliate link(s) I’m bound to make some serious change. I’m talkin’ CHA-CHING. You know, the kind of dough that makes you want to roll around on it nekid. You might even see me sporting some major bling from the windfall! Or at least buying a shiny new bale of hay. Don’t be mad or jealous. It won’t cost you anything to use my links and you might even save a few pennies. I promise it won’t cause you any pain but it will make my day.
Farm & Garden
1- Fence Post Puller
Why? Why did we wait 7 years to buy one of these? My back aches just thinking about all of the t-posts we removed by hand. Our ground is hard, mostly clay, so removing t-posts is laborious. It generally involves soaking the ground and then rocking the t-post back and forth with great effort to enlarge the hole enough to eventually pull the end out. It always involves pain in my lower back…and bent, useless t-posts…a huge waste. This puller is amazing. I’m not lying. We just set 6 t-posts yesterday and then realized we needed to move them all just a foot or so. No big deal. Easy peasy. This is a purchase you will not regret. As a matter of fact, you may go around looking for random t-posts to pull because it’s so fun and easy!
2- Grooming Bag
Sometimes it takes me a while to see things differently and think outside of the box. We needed to create more floor space in our little barn for Casper, our latest rescue horse. That meant removing a shelf and stand that we used to hold things like brushes, hoof picks, fly spray, and other grooming items. I still wanted those things to be handy and came across this hanging grooming caddy. It’s meant for horse trailers but works great on our wall. This is a 2 pack which provides plenty of room for all the stuff.
3- Automatic Waterer
Who knew adding an automatic waterer could be so easy and inexpensive?? Okay, maybe everyone else but me. Honestly, I had no idea it was as easy as attaching your hose to this little gadget that costs less than $15. No plumbing experience needed! With a mixed herd, our water trough has to be low enough to allow tiny Dot access. But Casper, our 16-hand paint horse, drinks gallons and gallons a day, especially in the summer. The Little Giant Trough-O-Matic does a perfect job keeping the trough full and it’s smarter than us because it never forgets to shut off. No more flooded trough area!
4- Grandpa’s Weeder
I generally don’t mind “weeds” growing. A lot of them are beneficial to insects and pose no threat to our animals. But we do get a few that are either toxic and/or form burrs that cause issues. Those are easy to identify but often have terrible thorns. I got Grandpa’s Weeder last summer and it was a great help in removing those pesky plants. No bending over, no getting stabbed by thorns, and it got most of the roots. It’s also nicely made!
1- Tiger’s Tongue Groomer
By far my favorite grooming tool and the animals love it too! Use it like a brush, wet or dry, to groom and massage your horses, goats, donkeys, and more. It’s soft and squishy but slightly abrasive too (like a cat’s tongue) so you can safely brush legs and bony parts without worry. I really, really love this tool.
2- Slow Feeder Hay Bags
Another game changer has been using slow feeders for our horses, donkeys, goats, and pigs. Not only do they make their meals last longer and can help prevent choke but they also save money by reducing the amount of wasted hay. My animals don’t seem to understand that if they pee and poop in their hay that it won’t taste good anymore. I don’t know about you, but I find high-quality hay to be quite expensive. Shoot, even crappy hay is expensive, especially to be used as a toilet! Hay bags help a lot!
Safety note: hay bags are not safe to use with shod or horned animals!!! Great care should be taken with blankets and halters because the buckles can get stuck. And be aware of hoof size and hole size (mesh size of the hay bags). Hooves should not be able to fit in the holes, ever.
I love both Hay Chix and Gutzbusta Hay Bags. They have hay net/slow feeders small enough for 1 flake of hay and large enough for a huge round bale.
Get 20% off your Hay Chix order here> https://682haychix.refr.cc/mutinyranch
Get 20% off until Nov 28th at Gutzbusta and an additional 10% off with my link> gutzbusta.com/TALESFROMTHEMUTINY
Kitchen & Home
1- Azure Standard
This is another thing I put off utilizing for far too long that cost me time and money. I don’t want that to happen to you! How do I explain this one? It’s not exactly a “gift” that can be given but more of a concept. However, items you can purchase through Azure can certainly be used to make gifts whether they are homemade baked goods or gift baskets you design for someone special.
Azure Standard is kind of like a health food distributor that delivers healthy ingredients across the US. You guys know I’m thrifty so trust me when I say many of their products are below the price I can get at my local grocery stores or on Amazon. This is especially true when you compare the quality you get from Azure. And if you’re trying to make the change to organic you’ll be hard-pressed to find better pricing.
There is a little bit of a learning curve when ordering from Azure. First, you need to check to see if there is a nearby drop-off that you are willing to drive to. Azure will also give you the contact information for your local coordinator who might offer to pick up your items. See, with Azure Standard, there are certain dates orders are processed and then delivered. For me, that means I can order once a month and pick up my items about 5-7 days later. Everyone who orders actually drives to a predetermined location and meets the truck! I find it’s pretty fun and I’m meeting new people too.
Here are some of my favorite items:
* Any and all flour for baking (Einkorn, Spelt, Bulgar, Wheat, Kamut, etc.)
* Old-Fashioned Oats (we buy in the 50-pound bags)
* Whole Flaxseed (best price ever)
* Cod Liver Oil (cinnamon flavor)
* Water Kefir Grains
* Organic Sugar
* Red Lentils
* Organic Rice
* Mason Jars and Lids
* Avocado Oil
* Redmond Real Salt
* Canned Coconut Milk
* Herbs and Spices
* pretty much EVERYTHING
2- Flair Manual Espresso Maker
In 1989 I was a barista at a tiny local coffee shop in Fairbanks, Alaska. This was long before Starbucks and Peets took over every street corner. I opened the shop, made cappuccinos, and lattes, and pulled shots before heading off to the University of Alaska for classes. Let’s say I become addicted to fancy coffee drinks quickly. It’s no wonder I now roast my own coffee and make lattes 3 times a day at home!
But, I’m still thrifty and don’t have the means (or desire) to spend $1000+ on an espresso machine. That doesn’t mean I don’t get an amazing espresso though. I use the Flair Neo Flex to pull some really nice shots. Two things I love about it?
*it’s under $100
*it doesn’t require electricity or a plumbed water line
That’s right, it’s a manual tool that allows me to make my precious lattes even if the power goes out! I use a small French Press to froth my milk…again, no electricity needed. And with Starbucks grande-sized lattes costing over $7 each now I’m definitely saving a lot of money. CURRENTLY 20% OFF FOR BLACK FRIDAY/CYBER MONDAY. NO CODE NEEDED.
3- Fermentation Glass Weights
I love to ferment all the things…Kimchi, apples, chutney, sauerkraut, dilly carrots, pickles. It’s easy, fun, and rewarding. It’s a fantastic way to preserve food and it’s super good for your gut health. I generally like to keep things simple so I use glass weights and mason jars. Easy, peasy.
4- Three-pack of Scissors
What can I say, I’m at the age where practical gifts make my day. I also understand that having multiple of certain items goes against everything “minimalist”, but…we use scissors everywhere. And I just bought another pack because I need them and they are like $7 for Black Friday. I use a pair in the kitchen to cut herbs and green onions for recipes and salads, another pair is in the feed room to open feed bags and trim microgreens for the pigs, another is in my office/craft room (of course), another is going in the barn for cutting open hay bales and for emergencies, a pair will go to the chicken coop for the same reasons, and that will eave me one backup pair which might find it’s way into Clark’s man cave/craft shed.
5- Bissell Power Fresh Steam Mop
One way we reduce the chemicals in our home is by using a steam mop. Steam mops sanitize and clean with just pure water. Nothing else. The sanitation part is important to us because we have a lot of animals and things can get tracked into the house that can gross a person out.
My mom bought us a steam mop while she visited for the summer. She has one at her house in Alabama and loved it so much that she wanted us to have one too. I really love it. It’s easy to use and the pads are washable.
Treat Yourself (and Others)
1- Oofos Recovery Shoes
I had my first bout of plantar fasciitis last year and it was not fun (1 star, do not recommend). I tried a lot of different things to alleviate the pain…yoga, foam rolling, massage, strength training, heat, ice, red light therapy…and finally bought a pair of Oofos (after seeing an ad). Within a few days, I noticed some relief and after about 2 weeks the pain was gone. I’m now a believer.
A few things you should know if you’re considering them. They aren’t super attractive. They aren’t super durable. They have squishy, foam soles and aren’t made to walk around where you might pick up stickers or have to walk on broken glass. These things will easily penetrate into the sole. But, they do what they are supposed to do. I wear mine like houseshoes. I also tend to buy the ones on clearance because I’m cheap and I don’t ever wear them out and about (so who cares what they look like). I’ve only bought and tried the flip-flops, mules, and slides. I prefer the slides (the mules make my feet very hot). I recommend comparing the store website and Amazon for the best prices.
I had gotten away from wearing makeup simply because I don’t really go anywhere and it seemed frivolous to use it when I’m just out shoveling poo. But, after following the founder, Mary, in her Mary’s Van adventures on Instagram I realized that a high-quality, mineral-based foundation could protect my skin…and make it look nice too.
If you don’t know, Mary is Jason Wynn’s mom (of Jason and Nikki, aka Gone With the Wynns). We’ve hung out with Mary a few times in Alaska and hosted her here at our home (so she could visit her grandcat, Singa). Let me tell you, her skin is amazing. She helped me do a color match and I was gifted a Loose Mineral Foundation to try. I love it! I’ve since acquired a few other items and can say definitively that they are all wonderfully high-quality, long-lasting, and worth every penny.
There’s a lot to choose from but I personally love the Loose Mineral Foundation, Hint of Tint, Eyeliner, and Mascara. I think these can make anyone look put together in a flash.
CURRENTLY 30% OFF REGULARLY PRICED ITEMS WITH CODE SHOP30.
3- Purely Active CBD
Mineralogie’s sister company is Purely Active CBD. It offers a variety of skincare products worth checking out. CURRENTLY 40% OFF WITH CODE CHEER40.
4- Bird Feeders
I don’t know what happened but somewhere after age 40, I started watching birds. Like, really watching them. I got bird ID books, binoculars, and feeders and got obsessed. And, while my IDing skills are still crap I soooo enjoy watching the little buggers. I love hanging feeders (well out of the reach of any cats) and see who will visit.
5- What the Robin Knows
Speaking of birds…you have to get this book. It will help you foster an important relationship with the birds who live in your area. It’s truly a great read!
1- NICO Safe Battery Jump Starter
I know I’m not the only one who is feeling the sting of higher prices combined with a little PTSD of lockdowns, isolation, and empty shelves. The past 3 years have solidified the need to be prepared for things both expected and unexpected. That’s one reason I actually enjoy getting necessities for Christmas and this is one of those things. Keeping a battery jump starter in your vehicle means you never have to go find a stranger to get a jump (not that meeting new people is bad but they aren’t always around). I’ve also found that people these days (I sound old) don’t seem to carry jumper cables or know how to use them And, it never fails that when someone needs a jump there are cars parked all around and finding a place to pull another vehicle up close enough to offer a jump is impossible.
The NICO Battery Jump Start solves all of that. It’s a great safety device to take camping or to the trailhead parking lot where there might not be anyone else nearby. We love ours because we’ve had the truck battery die on us when we were parked out in the pasture. It would have been a huge pain in the keester to get another vehicle out there (lots of gates and herding of animals) to jump it.
Currently 36% off for Cyber Monday!