Monthly Archives: January 2013

Birthday!!

Today is my youngest son’s birthday!!  Sorry but taking the day off from the blog.  I’m sure you all understand!

Happy Homesteading!!   😀

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Future Milking

Yeah I know we don’t even have our other house yet and wont for a while, but it’s fun to see how much it will cost you for your dreams.   🙂  One of the first animals we will get will be cows.  Should we move this summer as planned, we will have sheep, chickens, and turkeys already.  The following spring we would plan on purchasing a calf.

I haven’t decided how ready I am for the whole milking thing.  I know I want to drink my own milk rather than drive 15 minutes and pay someone else to do the work.  For how long I want to do this, I don’t know lol.  So just for fun I thought I’d look up how much one of those portable one cow milkers are.  The lady I get my milk from has one. She says even her kids can do it which saves her time.  Now because she is a Mennonite, her kids are like freak of nature farm hands that actually do work because they are suppose to and not have to be told a million times. They are not always on Minecraft, Xbox, or watching Netflix. So a Mennonite child at age 7 is out there running machinery that I highly doubt I’d have confidence in letting my 12 year old run.  I’d be afraid he’d do something to make the cow remember for the rest of it’s days, that it hates milking.

So again for fun..lol I looked one up.  Well it’s neat looking…

However it is $1995.95.   SSSOOOO looks like if I get a cow it will be milked by hand.  I am sure my boys can handle that   😉

 

Happy Homesteading!!   😀

Categories: Homesteading, Livestock | Leave a comment

Spring Fever

Boy do i have it bad. I want to get outside and start doing things…but last week it was -2 overnight…sigh..  Yesterday I wrote about Joel Salatin.  I am ordering his book Salad Bar Beef.  I can’t put beef out on our 1 acre, but I am putting sheep.  They will be followed by chickens and then turkeys.  The problem is that the lambs are coming in like a month and a half. It’s still going to be cold.  I need to order fencing.

The fencing he recommends is Premier.  It’s not any more expensive then the big rolls of wire I was lugging around that constantly needed moved to mow our actual lawn.  The problem is it is step in.  Now you tell me how with feb temps being below freezing am I going to step this in?!  Now I did plan ahead of time and I have 1 huge paddock they can roam in but…

Winter needs to leave!!  I hate the cold and snow and below freezing temps.  I hate the howling wind that cuts through you like a knife.  I have things to do Jack Frost.  I have plans that need executed Old Man Winter!

SSSOOOOOO on with the plans.  I actually got out my garden seeds yesterday.  I usually don’t do it till end of Feb.  Then I make the Flower store hurry and order their seeds because someone is calling and asking for them already lol.  I’m not sure if I mentioned it or not but I start my garden on St. Patricks day.

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I sat down with my computer and looked up all my seeds to see which ones were heirloom and to make sure none were GMO. I’m happy to report that 90% of my seeds are heirloom.  I do save some but honestly I have not been faithful about it.

So Mary, Mary Eileen, Eileen quite contrary, how does your garden grow?  Well certainly not with Silver Bells, And Cockle Shells. Those are a waste of space!  The only pretty that goes in my garden is Marigold.  It keeps certain bugs and the moles away.  I usually take my garden and split it into 4 parts that rotate to the left every year. The sections are planted according to when the veggies need to be planted.

Here are some pictures of my garden plan from two years ago. This first picture are the perennials. Cabbage goes after the strawberries until the strawberries fill out.

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The very back part of the garden that wasnt labeled is split in two and rotated between corn and green beans.

I have started the habit of saving all the chicken manure/shavings and putting them into covered composting areas (the osb board you see above) then once I start planting rows, I make big paths using the shavings.  It is too “hot” to put on my plants but kills grass really well. It lasts about half the season and usually one half of the garden looks nice and the other is full of weeds.  What I also do is make a manure barrel.  I need to make it all pretty with decorations but right now it’s an ugly black barrel.

Every year I need fertilizer. I do not have a way to get any on a spring basis to do the entire garden at once.  My remedy to this was to build a manure barrel.  So now is the time you get to hear how winded I sound even though I’m not, which is why I make minimal videos lol.  So here is my manure barrel and it serves me well except I need a screen inside.

Manure Barrel

So there you have a little of what I do in my garden.  I can’t until St. Patty’s day to get started on this years garden!!

 

Happy Homesteading!!  😀

 

Categories: Gardening, Homesteading | 11 Comments

Joel Salatin

He’s the man!  That’s it..end of blog.  Ok not really and you could already tell because obviously this expands down the page lol.  Joel Salatin is my hero.  For those of you who don’t know who he is..this is him.

Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms

Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms

He’s a lunatic farmer. He will admit that himself.  His way of using the land to produce grassfed animals is just amazing.  He has written many books, has tours of his farm, does speaking events, and has many Youtube videos.  Everything he does is what we all should be doing.  He’s found a way to stay in business when many renegade farmers cannot.

The FDA and the USDA are extremely powerful.  They have the authority to come onto your property for no reason what so ever, take all your livestock because “someone” filed a complaint..which could be no one at all, and then euthanize all of them.  They can put you out of business in the blink of an eye because we are poor people with little power.  We do not have the right to eat what we want in America.  We cannot legally buy or sell raw milk in many states.  We cannot buy raw cheese in many states.  We cannot sell a simple chicken to the next door neighbor who asked to buy it without jumping through a ton of loops.  It is very ridiculous to me that we have no choices.  We are suppose to eat chemical laden, pesticide filled, bacterial food because it is deemed “safe”.

To me eating safe is knowing exactly where your food came from, who processed it, and being able to go watch them do it, or help them even!  I make this point because in my journey, that the Lord has called me to, I will end up being a rebel.  My overall plan is to use the Joel Salatin farm model.  Splitting my, hopefully this year, farm into several parcels and raising grassfed beef.  After the cows are done with a pasture and have eaten the grass to the bottom of the teen stage, then a few days later the free range chickens take over.  They spread the manure while picking bugs out and produce eggs..same with turkeys and if you so choose to raise, broilers.  I plan on raising pigs that while young are turning the compost piles that have grown over winter with kitchen scraps.  Then turned out on pasture to eat fresh grass, shrubs, and insects.  Finally to finish them in the woods, using them to clear out brush and spark new grass growth, all the while they are eating acorns, walnuts, berries, shrubs and anything else they find.

Why is it so hard for our government to understand that we have a RIGHT to eat what we deem healthy.  If my neighbor is processing a deer in his kitchen, I should have a right to buy it if I choose.  If I have a cow, and milk it, I should be able to sell that milk.  How are we going to take care of each other if the government won’t let us make a living? Oh that’s right, the government will take care of us….  I suppose I could give it away, but I should be able to ask a price for my labor and my time processing.

I want to encourage all of you to be like Joel.  Maybe not in every sense of the practices, but to follow his model.  Be a lunatic farmer who demands the right to grow, sell, and eat what we choose, not what is chosen for us. This growing season I will still be living on my little acre plot, but I plan to use pasture rotation with sheep, followed by chickens and turkeys.  Yes I am selling this food to my neighbors.  I will grow an organic garden and I will sell those things too.  If I have to jump through hoops to do it, so be it.  If I have to end up trading things with people, so be it.  I will drink raw milk. I will make cheese. I will sustain myself as best I can on my little acre.

To end my rant I am posting a few links so that you too can be inspired by Joel to be a lunatic..a rebel… a “deemed unfit for human consumption” eater!

Polyface Farms 

Farm visit with Joel part 1                                               Farm visit with Joel part 2

Farm visit with Joel part 3                                            Farm visit with Joel part 4

Processing a chicken-how to with Joel

Some Books Joel Salatin has written(There are many more):

  • You Can Farm: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Start & Succeed in a Farming Enterprise
  • Salad Bar Beef
  • Pastured Poultry Profits
  • Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal: War Stories From the Local Food Front

Eye Opening Movies Joel has starred in:

  • FRESH
  • Farmageddon
  • Food Inc.

 

Happy Lunatic Homesteading!!   😀

Categories: Chickens, Homesteading, Livestock | 13 Comments

Raw Milk Ice Cream

I love ice cream. I could eat it in the middle of a blizzard!  When I was on a low fat diet, I pretty much knocked it out of my diet.  It also had a lot of sugar in it and my kids didn’t need anymore.  I’ve tried multiple times to make homemade but it always came out hard.  It got to where I couldn’t even scoop it even after letting it sit out for an hour.  I had thought of buying an ice cream maker but the one I wanted, which did not use rock salt, was $80.  Right now we are trying to save for a house, so buying that was not really an option.

I actually came up with this by accident.  I was going to make some whipped cream, or see if I could out of the cream I skimmed off of the milk.  Usually you have to use heavy cream from the store, but just on a whim I thought I’d try it.  I mean you don’t know till you try right??

I put about 2 cups in a quart jar and used my electric whisk.  It got all foamy but there was still lots of liquid.  It doubled in size and so I added sugar like I normally do with whipping cream.  I also added vanilla and folded it in. Then I froze it.  It turned out the milk froze on the bottom and the whipped part was soft on top.  So I set it out for like 5 minutes and then scooped it out into a bowl and stirred. It was soft and creamy and delicious.  It was a tad sour because I used old cream. If it wasn’t going to turn out I didn’t want to feel like I was throwing away good stuff!

Now the tricky part..had to duplicate it to see if it was a real thing lol.  It was good enough for me..so I’m posting it.  First, let me tell you that you really need to try not to get a bunch of milk.  You need just the main cream part because it will already have enough milk in it.  Don’t skim all the cream off..once you start to see the marbling as you skim STOP. (marbling picture on How to Make Butter)

Ok, First step, skim cream off your milk.  I had 3 gallons and got about 3 cups of cream. I skimmed a bit too much on mine.

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Take an electric whisk, and whisk for what seems to be an eternity.  It was at least 15-20 minutes. It might be less time if you let the cream warm up a bit.  Kinda wished I had something other than a hand mixer when I was done!  It should form enough bubbles to be double in size.  As your whisking, add in sugar.  Taste to make sure its sweet enough.  Next add in vanilla. I used 2 tsp for my 3 cups. Whip that in as well.  Once you have it where it looks double or close..

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Slip it into the freezer- bowl and all.  I left mine in all day because I had to leave to help a friend.  I got it out when I got home after dinner and it was easy to scoop and move around.  The more you can whip it to be whipped cream the better.  Mine had a little bit of ice crystals because, like I said, I had too much milk skimmed in with mine.  I just stirred it up and mashed it around.

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Voila!! Ice Cream.  I grabbed some frozen blueberries, thawed them out some, then stirred them in.

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The kids think this is awesome.  I know exactly what is in it..raw cream, sugar, vanilla, and blueberries. We can make this every week (unless I need butter) and it serves 4 people.  It allows us to have ice cream but not have gallons sitting around loaded with sugar.  It is a sweet treat for one day which is what I want! The best part is… I just saved myself $80!   🙂

 

Happy Sweet Homesteading!!   😀

Categories: Homesteading, Recipes | 5 Comments

Skill: Blacksmith

Fairly recently my children have been learning to bend and twist and mold steel into wonderful things.  The art of the Blacksmith is almost non-existent.  I honestly didn’t think it existed anymore but there is an actual association!  My kids started doing this about September of 2011.  A friend, who lives in another town, came across a flyer.  It stated that the local museum was holding classes every second saturday of each month.  Anyone was invited to come.  The cost was free will donation for the coal and metal. I asked the kids and they both thought it would be cool.

The first project he taught the boys was to make an S hook.  It took them forever!  It was really hard to learn exactly how to hit the metal to move it where you wanted. When all was said and done we had fairly nice little S hooks!

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They have made a small S hook, large S hook, and a coat hanger hook.  The poor guy isnt really prepared, I don’t think, for other projects for them to do. The last time we went he had them do an S hook all alone with no help. The oldest got his done within a half hour. The other got discouraged because his hand was hurting and he accidentally bent it the wrong way and had to reheat and bend it all back.  It happens I guess lol.  I let them tag out early that day.  Overall I think it is a wonderful trade to learn. You can do so much with it!  Check around your local area and see if there are any classes you could take.  it is a great trade to learn for a homesteader!!

 

Happy Homesteading!!  😀

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Are you Too Busy?

It is really easy to get caught up in life.  Even more so if you have kids.  Sometimes you might feel like this:

I have tried really hard in my life to not be too busy.  I am very productive, but I am never busy. I have things that keep me going all day long.  Sometimes I choose to do them and sometimes I choose not to.  I have days like I’ve previously posted where I was doing 5 things that day and it takes up my whole day. I’ve had things take all weekend to get done. Here is a small list I’ve compiled to show what “too busy” means to me.

You’re too busy if:

  • You forget to eat. – We all do it sometimes, but when you’re productive you take the time to eat. It fits in your day. When you’re busy, you are too concerned with what you have to do constantly and pretty soon the day has gone by and you haven’t eaten.
  • You don’t see all your kids at one time. – Some of you laugh, but Johnny has soccer practice before school even starts so he’s already left. Suzy caught a ride with Dad because you couldn’t take her due to the fact that you are taking Mary to a doctors appointment.  After school Johnny has baseball practice, Suzy has piano, and Mary has swim. Then later that night Mary has play practice, and you are going to rip your hair out because your husband had to work late and Johnny and Suzy have to be at two different places at the same time!  Oops you forgot to get dinner….
  • You cannot make most of your meals at home.- This is becoming harder and harder for families to do.  Both parents work, one works late to help get overtime, the other is running the kids to this place and that. There just isn’t time for dinner…Fast food here we come!
  • You don’t have time for friends.- You haven’t seen your best friend in a year. You used to hang out all the time. You both have families and now you’d love to get together but there just isn’t time. You’ve tried for 3 months to find a date to get together but you don’t see a day open for at least another month.
  • You are exhausted. -You stay up well into the night because you were so busy running all day that you didn’t get anything done at home. The laundry is piling up, the trash needs to be taken out, the dishes need to be done…before you know it, it is midnight and you have to get up at 5 am.  You wake feeling like you didn’t sleep a wink and muddle through yet another LONG day.
  • You hate your life.- For some of you that is true.  You hate getting up because you know the day will be so long with things to do…  Things you wish you didn’t have to do.  Things that make a long continuous list of to do’s.  Things that make you want to run away to a tropical island somewhere!
  • You cannot help others. – Your friend called. She is sick. She never calls you unless she absolutely needs something.  You know her well.  She says she needs you to help with something because she can’t even get off the couch at this point.  Your answer is “I’m sorry, but I’m really busy this week….is there someone else you can call?”

This is just a short list..but I have tried hard to not let it be me or my family.  There is NOTHING more important than you and your family.  Not work, not places, not things, not money..nothing.

If you are so busy that you can’t get a good nights sleep, how will you be years from now?? It will take a toll on you.  How good are you to your family? To your employer?  Take care of yourself and get at least 7-8 hours of sleep. Make it a priority!

If you are so busy you are forgetting to eat, how will that affect you internally. You need nourishment to keep going!

Fast food is not nourishment.  It is chemical laced, preservative loaded, calorie infused junk.  You need fruits, veggies, whole grains…a big mac does not cover this and again..it isn’t kind to your body to be eating it.

God gave you your children for a reason.  One day they will be gone living lives of their own.  You need to form them into the people they should be or the world will form them into what it wants.  If you never see your kids because they are here and there and everywhere, how will you talk to them about life?  You need to build relationships with them so that they come to you when they have a problem, no matter how old.  You need to sit down as a family and plug into one another.  Lose baseball one year, take a break from swim..it’s ok!  The world will not end, and others will envy you for not putting your family up for sale for a sport.

Friends are the best thing to have next to family.  Friends build you up, encourage you, sustain you when life gets difficult. They are there for you when family is annoying, when they don’t understand.  They listen, they know you…. you need them.  If you never have time to hang out and keep in touch..soon there are no friends to call on when you need something.  There are not friends to call when you finally get a break from your busy schedule to talk about your life.

You should never hate your life.  If you have close family, friends to talk to, and enough time to have fun, then life is worth living.

Bills will always be there.  Work will always be there.  There will always be things to buy with money.  If you lost everything you had..your job, your money, your house, your car, all your possessions…what would be left?? Family, friends, and your health.  Please don’t let “Busy” take that from you.

 

Happy Homesteading!!   😀

Categories: Homesteading | 3 Comments

Chicken Enchiladas

My mom likes getting free stuff.  Mostly just for the sake of giving it to us girls.  Anything she thinks we will like such as gardening magazines, birthday cards, coupons, and recipe cards.  This recipe was a gift from my mom lol.  It came on a free recipe card from Kraft foods.  She gave me a handful of them and I use the roll recipe all the time, but that is for another post.  Today is Chicken Enchiladas.

Pictures are always a little deceiving.  Of course, professional chefs put these together along with a professional photographer, to make these recipes look like they are simply delicious and you must make it now!  So let me show you how these are suppose to look. Let me take a minute here to say mine have NEVER looked like this.

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I have made this about 3-4 times.  So instead of writing out this whole recipe, I’m going to take a picture.  This card is part of the Easy to Bake, Easy to Make series. It says Card 4 on main dishes and is from 2001.. yes it has taken 10 years to get this recipe onto a plate in my house, but like I said in the last post we don’t eat these very often.  I enlarged it for your viewing pleasure. Pay no attention to the keyboard keys….if you must know it stands for Thank You Ultimate Important Organic People…viewing my blog lol.

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So I’ve changed a few things because I am trying really hard not to buy/eat processed things.  So I use home grown chickens, organic-grown myself bell peppers, still use packaged cream cheese..cant figure out how to make it taste “normal”, salsa (cant find organic), homemade tortillas, raw milk, and no velveeta..eww..I cant even pronounce half that stuff in there.  I just sprinkle mine with shredded cheese- raw if you can find it.

Ok so drumroll please….  Voila! Here is my picture of them. Not too shabby, and oh so delicious!

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Happy Homesteading!!   😀

 

Categories: Homesteading, Recipes | 4 Comments

Homemade Tortillas

There is nothing like a tortilla to bring my kids running. It can only mean one thing..Taco’s!  Well now it means two things Enchiladas lol.  I have had this tortilla recipe since I was like 9ish. My mom used to make them, you know back in the day when she had time…so about twice a year lol.  As we got older we were allowed to help. We ate them more often then.  These are not soaked flour ones, but since we don’t eat them that much (like once every 3-4 months) I’m ok with it.  I use unbleached white flour for these. I have not tried wheat, but feel free to experiment!

First, Soften half a stick of butter. Make sure not to melt it.  You can use vegetable shortening if you want. It was in the original recipe but I’m not ok with shortening anymore..butter all the way!  Once the half stick is softened then you need to put in flour and cut it in like you do for a pie crust.  Add salt and baking powder and cut all that in too.  Then add in hot water. I cut that in also and once most of the dough is soft then I start kneeding.  Here is a pic of everything being cut in.

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Once you get the dough ball kneaded, it will be slightly sticky. Place it on the counter for about 5 minutes. I just take that time to clean up my mess!  Then you need to divide that ball into 4 smaller ones.  Then with a rolling pin, roll them out THIN and wide. Mine come out about 12-14 inches.   You can either throw them into a pan right away or you can place a generous amount of flour between them and freeze them in a stack.   I have not done this personally. I have stacked them with flour and waited about 3 hours until it was closer to dinner time.

To cook these you can use the oven or use a skillet like I do. I use a 14 inch cast iron pan. I spray it lightly with cooking spray and then lay the tortillas inside.  You want the heat about medium and a hair on the low side. They cook fairly fast and you dont want them to burn..not that I would ever do that   😉  Once they are slightly brown on one side, take a fork and your finger (be careful!) and flip them, cooking on that side also.

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They are stiff when you pick them up and you will notice they will not be doughy looking. They will be more white.  If you are not using these right away, take a plate and place a wet paper towel down and then lay the tortilla on it.  Place another wet paper towel down over it and make the next one. Layer the tortillas with wet paper towel and they will stay moist.  I also place foil over it all if it will be a little while.  Not all of us have tortilla keepers and besides I have to make huge ones because my kids eat a ton.

I actually double batch this for our family of 4. Each of us would get two good size taco’s and I can make enchiladas too because the recipe calls for 8.  Tomorrow I will post the recipe for the enchiladas   🙂

Tortillas

2 cups flour                    1 TBS baking powder

1/2 tsp salt                      1/4 c shortening or softened butter

2/3 c hot water

 

Instructions:

  1. Cut shortening and other ingredients into the flour with a fork.  Form into a dough ball and let sit 5 minutes.
  2. divide into 4 pieces for 12-14 inch tortillas, or 8 for 6 inch tortillas.
  3. Using a rolling pin, roll them out to very thin flat tortillas
  4. Warm in an oven at 250 or cook them in a skillet with a little cooking oil.

 

Happy Homesteading!!   😀

Categories: Homesteading, Recipes | 6 Comments

Ginger Bug

In an earlier post I commented that I fed my ginger bug.  This is not a bug per say. I hate bugs. This is a cute sweet ginger bug lol.  I was searching for fermented things on the net when I came across this lady who uses the ginger bug to make ginger ale and also uses it to start ferments.  When I got my Nourishing Traditions (NT) book I found a similar bug, but put it was in a recipe for ginger beer.

Ginger Bug- take a glass container, 1/2 gallon will work.  Chop up 1 inch of ginger, add 1 TBS sugar and 2 Cups of water.  Cover with cheesecloth or coffee filter and let sit. Everyday for 7 days add about 1 inch of ginger and 1 TBS of sugar. That’s it!

Here is the link to her website. A Life Unprocessed

Here is my Ginger Bug.  She’s happily bubbling away!

gingerbug

 

Next step, Honey Wine!   Happy Homesteading!!   😀

Categories: Homesteading, Recipes | Leave a comment

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