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Showing posts from June, 2014

Introducing the Chickens!

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One of my huge homesteading goals for this year was to get laying chickens. So far, this is one of the best things I have ever done! The chickens have been fairly easy even though we had a rocky start together, but all in all I can't wait to try meat chickens in a year.



We had a rough start when they came home. We thought we had their crate warm enough, but evidently not. We lost three due to failure to thrive and four to being too cold. We rigged a heat lamp into the crate and had very happy chicks. We had 16 to start with, we lost 7, and I bought 5 more bring the total to 14 hens.



They outgrew their crate about two weeks after they came home. Rob and I (mostly Rob) got the old dog room ready for the chicks after we moved the dog to the garage. I moved the chicks in there and they loved the extra room. We kept them cooped up with the heat lamp for another two weeks until we built the outdoor area.



We used a 10' x 10' dog kennel that was given to me and surrounded most of it …

Tuesday Homesteading and Frugal Update

The garden is growing! The garden is growing! And so are the weeds...

I have been weeding almost every night and have decided that I need to go back to my original plan of weed blocking material and straw/hay to control the weeds. I didn't really want to, but the weeds are growing as fast as the vegetables. With weeding all the time, I am not getting much else done like canning strawberry jam!

Typical gardener issues, I know.

We have strawberries! A lot more than last year! However, I am thinking about planting more strawberries. I think we will need more plants for them to provide for our needs and still have some to snack on. I have a space open next to them that I will add more plants too.

I was able to take advantage of a sale on strawberries from the local grocery store. Four pounds of strawberries for $4.88. By far the best deal I have seen this year. I got 3 - 4 pound boxes to can jam and dehydrate the strawberries. Hopefully, this is the last year I will have to buy extra.

Preparedness on the Cheap: Inventory Your Food Storage

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(Preparedness on the Cheap is a series of articles for the prepper and everyone else that doesn't have a lot of money, but needs to take steps to be prepared. A good deal of prepping is learning, planning, and organizing. Prepping doesn't have to cost a lot of money, but does involve a lot of doing!)
This is when I first put up these shelves. They are no longer this empty!
While prepping can cost you a lot of money, there are some very easy prepping things to do to keep you sane and your money to be spent a little more wisely. This week I am going to tackle inventorying the food storage.

Doing a food storage inventory can seem like a daunting task, but the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks:

1. Knowing what you have on hand to make meals.
2. Knowing what you need to stock up on.
3. Knowing what you need to can from the garden this year or even plant in the garden this year.
4. Having a concise list in case of disaster.
5. What you have been eating every day vs what you thought you wo…

Tuesday Frugal and Homesteading Update

Welcome! We have been a busy bunch! We got a lot accomplished, some of it can be debated as it is frugal, and I got a few lessons on good money decisions.

The outdoor chicken area is done! Yeah! I got chicken wire fencing wrapped along the bottom of the old kennel, the edges by the barn, and over top. All-in-all, I think I have spent $10 for the whole outdoor area. I am still trying to convince Paige to make a "Chicken Cabana" sign for the door as a 4-H project.

The chickens are all alive still! Yeah!

The garden is going great too! Almost everything has come up. The carrots didn't make an appearance. I still might replant in the next few days since they will can handle the fall weather. The acorn squash plants did not make it either and I might put in more beets in their place.

We built a dog kennel over the weekend for Holly. Rob didn't really like that Holly was on a tie-out when we were gone so he designed and mostly built a 10' x 22' kennel for her. We lo…

What Do You Need To Start Canning Your Own Food?

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Canning, by and far, is one of the easiest things I know how to do. That may be because I steer away from complicated recipes, but I find it so rewarding to pick food from my garden or trees and preserving it myself. Many people are overwhelmed by canning, but with a few good pieces of equipment, you can do it too.

Canning is not fancy if you choose it not to be, but some basic equipment is necessary. I got a lot of my canning equipment from my mom and garage sales. I got a lot of jars from my grandmas and friends. You do not have to drop a lot of money on canning unless you want to. The list below is what I consider the essentials of canning. This is all I use to can.

The Essentials:

1. Jars. I use half-pint, pint, and quart jars. The half-pints I use for all kinds of butter, jams, and jellies. The pints and quarts I use for just about everything else. I have a tendency to can using portion and meal size for my family.

2. Lids and Rings. You will need many more lids than rings. I started…

This Week's Goals

Every week is busy, but I find myself forgetting about what needs to get done or time slips right past me! For at least the Spring, Summer, and Fall, I will post what I want to get done weekly. These lists will seem a bit ambitious, but I like to aim high!

Again, I am glad I have my list. This list keeps me accountable and posting it here keeps me accountable to you all. I am amazed how that keeps me motivated alone. I have been weeding the garden almost every night, spending 20 minutes with the hoe and 20 minutes pulling by hand. I am not sure anymore if I want to use mulch because of the toxins in the mulch and how some of the garden might react to it. 

Last Week's Weekly Goals

Homesteading/Yard Chores
1. Cut down tree growing in the rhubarb patch (!!!)
2. Move chicks to the chicken coop
3. Make nesting boxes and a roost for the chickens
4. Clean up garage
5. Finish securing the chicken run by attaching chicken wire and filling in gaps.

Gardening
1. Finish the raspberries and rhubarb
2. Cl…