Thursday, August 27, 2015

Are You Prepared?

Today is a Prepper day. We aren't hard core survivalists or Preppers but we do try to have everything we need for most situations. No not the Zombies or the Apocalypse but the everyday emergencies. Power outage, bad weather, vehicle problems, sickness or livestock health problems so today I'm working on having more of what we need for those kinds of events.

I have been working on a quilt and got the third block started. It is the cutest baby lamb. The first was a rabbit that you can see HERE. The second block is a duck with her babies.

Quilts are something everyone should have especially with fall getting here. Winter is not far behind.

After finishing the lamb block I started on a basket of fresh peaches we got at a farmers market the other day. I'm going to can this bunch. They were still pretty hard so I waited until they softened up so the skins will come off easily when scolded in boiling water then dropped in an ice water bath.

I went to a garden festival that you can read about in my last post and while there I found an awesome canning book that every preppers kitchen should have. You can find information about it and order HERE.  More great kitchen self sufficiency ideas are over at Pantry Paratus. You can find all kinds of goodies there as well and they have FREE shipping for Military!

Overseas Military (with an APO or FPO address) always get free shipping. Please use the coupon code "apo-fpo" to apply that discount. It's our way of saying "thanks."

If you raise rabbits I have found an awesome product that can save your arms from scratches when moving them around. They are used by welders all the time and work great in your rabbit barn.

If you don't have a building to house your rabbits or supplies you should check out this post on how to buy shipping containers.

Books are a very good idea for your survival preparedness homestead. I have quite a few and try to add to our stash all the time. I've found some I think you might be able to use. I personally own all of these or plan to buy ASAP.

What do you do to add to your stash? I personally think you need to learn skills first then add lots of real books not electronic ones to your library. Most electronics won't be working in emergencies. After that medical supplies then water and food. If you need an idea of where to start or what kinds of food to get please leave a comment below and I'll do my best to help you.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Gardening Festival

Today was a wonderful day to be outside. A friend and I decided to go to the Master Gardener Fall Festival at our local college extension research center. They had a list of free classes all day including a one called Cooking with Grains that turned out to be very good because we got to eat the results.

We had three dishes that were all made with mostly fresh ingredients to try. They all turned out very well and I learned how to make Quinoa. I've tried before without much success but now I feel like I can do it. This is my friend Jessica and I enjoying that class.

I also got some great ideas for reusing different things in your garden plan. We have a few acres and try not to buy new things to use. When they dug our well and put in the septic, they found lots of rocks I can reuse to do something like the photo below. I also bought some medicinal herbs to add to my collection.

I mostly do raised beds but have wanted to try this square foot gardening and plan on it near our cabin with herbs. How do you garden, in beds, rows or containers?

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Herding Dog Workshop

This is what Tory and I did today for fun. She is a pup and has a lot to learn but she did a good job. I have more to learn than she does so we fit together good. Herding dogs are a great tool on a homestead. They can work all types of poultry and livestock saving you tons of time and energy.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Are Quilting and Photography Homesteading Skills?

I love to quilt. I use a sewing machine but do it by hand if the power goes out, It is a great homesteading skill to have. Even if you are off the grid without power you can still do it. A pair of scissors, thread and some fabric is all it takes. Is it a skill you should have. Yes! Blankets are always needed for warmth and they also make great trade items.

Patterns also but it's relatively easy to make your own if you don't have any or you can make a crazy quilt. It doesn't require a pattern. Cut fabric in all different shapes then sew it together with decorative stitches and voila, a crazy quilt is born.

I don't really like doing traditional quilts but have on occasion. I made a blue jean one with my oldest son before he deployed years ago. He wanted a really big heavy one so that's what we made and used jeans from all our family members. I also made one from my daughters baby clothes for her but usually I stick to art quilts.

Yesterday I started on a new one with farm animals. Block #1 is a rabbit with carrots and lettuce. The photo below is the beginning of it and even though it's made from all different fabrics pieced together instead of regular blocks, it can still keep you warm in the winter. 

Block #2 is a duck with babies. I got most of it done today. Just have the babies left. Of course these are far from done even then. The final stitching, putting the quilt together. quilting and binding takes time after all the fun stuff is done.

While I was having fun working on this quilt my husband was taking a class at college and got some great photos while he was on a break. I think photography is also a good skill to have. You can document your belongings, take accident pictures and do detailed shots of a skill you are learning.

It was a busy day here getting all this done and our new Stove got here. I just ordered it two days ago so I was thrilled. Of course I can't use it yet because we need to get it hooked up. Our electrician is a busy guy but hopefully will get here soon.

Do you think quilting is a good skill to have? Do you quilt or sew?

Monday, August 17, 2015

How to Make Your Own Rabbit Feeders

We go to the farmers market often to supplement what we grow. This year it's for lettuce mostly. There is a local farm that grows it along with Kale hydroponically so we buy from them. I don't like the fact that it's packaged in plastic containers though and will start asking them to put it in my homemade 100% organic cotton veggie bags from now on.

After much thought about how to recycle the ones I have, it was decided to use them as greens feeders for the rabbits. Simply cut one side off. It doesn't matter which one then put a hole in two of the sides and bottom. Take zip ties through the holes that you made in the feeder then the cage wire from the outside and snug them up. Voila, instant feeder. Fill your hay and greens through the top and the bunnies can enjoy through the wire without stepping on the food and soiling it.

Got a photo of hubby working hard today while I was making feeders. He is putting in our stone walkway because it can get muddy here. The stones didn't cost anything. They dug them up as they were installing our septic system.

Fresh roasted vegetables and chicken for dinner afterwards.

How do you feed your rabbits if you have any? Do you have a unique feeder design?

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Fall Garden Planning Time

Yes it's that time already. I woke up late this morning because I didn't get to sleep until about 5 am. I have chronic insomnia so it happens. It's OK. I have still gotten plenty done already today.

First item was to set up a new rabbit hutch for Betty's kits to be moved into for weaning. I did that with a little help from my husband then moved the first two kits into it along with a new bunch of fresh greenery, water and pine cones to chew on. I will move two more tomorrow and then the last two the day after that. It helps the doe to stop producing milk when you do it that way so they don't develop mastitis.

After caring for all the animals I came back into our cabin for my morning coffee and granola. I thought about what to do next and the garden started calling my name. I took a farm bag, garden shears, seeds and Tory with me to start working.

They were some plants that still needed to be cleared out so that's what I did. The tomatoes and corn are finished for this season. The old plants either go to the rabbits or on to the new raised beds to compost over the winter. 

Next I had to decide where to add the new seeds. Carrots, Mescalin lettuce mix and radishes. I have one bed dedicated to herbs along with the ones that are on our porch railing so they are handy when I'm cooking. I chose the next bed over to plant the seeds. After planting I watered them in well and marked the rows. It was getting hot so the rest will have to wait until later this evening. Peas, more pumpkins and lettuce are next to go in.

As I was working away Tory was chasing frogs in the creek and Bruce was installing our new automatic gate opener. That will make life so much easier, especially when we are going in and out with our horse trailer. Right now it's operated by battery but as soon as they go on sale we will get a solar unit to work it. Just one more way to help do our part in not using electricity. 

 I also managed to get some herbs in the dehydrator for winter use. This time it is mint and basil. Daisy watched from her spot on the couch.

Have you started your fall garden? What are you planting? Here are some good ideas from Old World Garden Farms. I read this blog often They have some wonderful ideas and helpful advice.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Food Storage and Junkin

It's been a busy few days here. A lot of canning going on because our garden is producing tomatoes, peppers and herbs like crazy right now. I've been making green tomato marmalade , green tomato and raspberry jelly, Ro-tel, ketchup and freezing some as well.

Next I started on the peaches we found at the farmers market. I canned those in a very light simple syrup consisting of two cups of sugar to six cups of water heated until the sugar was incorporated thoroughly. I put the fruit into boiling water for one minute then dropped it all into a bowl of ice water to release the skins. Chopped into nice thin slices and packed into the jars then poured the syrup to cover. Left a half inch had space then water bathed canned for ten minutes. Now in the middle of winter we can have garden fresh peaches.

I had to go on a hunt for more canning jars. I unfortunately did not find any at my usual resale stores so I had to buy new ones. I really hate doing that because they come wrapped in plastic. It's the lessor of two evils though. I certainly couldn't let all the fruit go to waste.

We also found some huge eggplants so I made two eggplant parmigian dishes. We enjoyed one of them right away and froze one for later. I just take some home made tomato sauce and pour it into a glass baking dish. Layer eggplant, fresh tomato slices, cheese and more sauce until your dish is full. Add Italian seasoning or fresh herbs and bake at 400 degrees until done. It usually takes about an hour but that depends on how thick or thin you slice everything.

We went trail riding at a friend's ranch and she gave me a ton of feed bags so now I have more to sew up into farm totes. Email me to order if you'd like some.

Today we were heading to Home Depot when the habitat for humanity rehab store called my name! I just had a feeling we should stop and I was correct. We found a door for the back porch and two kitchen cabinets for $110 total! Do you have those stores where you live? What's the best deal you have gotten?

We loaded those up then got to Home Depot and got another great deal. A pick up truck bed full of huge wood posts and planks for $49 dollars! They often have wood for 70% off that has a flaw. We don't care. It still works great on our homestead and saved us over $200!

You can find great deals everywhere without buying new if you spend some time looking.

Friday, August 7, 2015

New NON GMO Chicken Feed Recipe

I was scouring the web the other day looking for more sources of items that we use to make our personal hygiene recipes when I stumbled on a wonderful site called Stone Family Farmstead. I started reading their blog and found this great recipe for chicken feed. They give all the information about it and the recipe in detail. 

It sounds like the perfect feed I've been looking for. Especially using non-gmo products! 


Pearl Barley – High in fiber, but low in energy and difficult for chickens to digest. Should be no more than 20% of a chicken’s diet.

Hard Red Wheat – High in protein, good for energy

Millet – This tiny grain is rich in iron and amino acids

Oats – High protein, adds calcium, fiber, and B vitamins to the feed; good energy source

Split Peas – Very high in protein

Kelp – Adds omega-3s to the hen’s diet, making egg yolks that wonderful, deep orange color

Garlic Powder – Thought of as one of nature’s best antibiotics, garlic brings power to the immune system of your chicken

Diatomaceous Earth – Keeps bugs out of the feed, is thought of as a natural wormer by some

Please visit The Stone Family to get the scoop! HaHa

What do you feed? What kind of containers do you keep it in?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Trail Riding

This is what my husband and I do for fun with our horses. Mine is an American Cream Draft cross gelding which is a critically endangered breed and Bruce has a wonderful American Saddlebred mare.

Do you have animals?

New Rabbits

We woke up this morning to some rain. It's badly needed here so it was a great way to start the day. Coffee pot turned on then out to do chores.  We only had a little while until we had to leave for a nice two hour drive to pick up some new rabbits. As we headed out the door I grabbed my mason jar full of cold well water and Bruce got his coffee so we wouldn't have to stop for water in plastic bottles or coffee in Styrofoam cups.

The rabbits are not pedigreed which is fine as they will be bred for meat. We are a working homestead and do raise animals to eat. It is a mom and 6 babies. The kits, which are what baby rabbits are called are about 6 weeks old. They will stay with mom for another two weeks then will be weaned. Meet Betty and kits!

We have two New Zealand Reds that were here 1st and they are Fred and Wilma so Betty seemed appropriate. 

After meeting the people that we were buying Betty from we stopped at a farmers market and scored some huge apples, nice peaches, cabbage, cucumbers, cantelope and peppers. They all went into my reusable shopping bags or cardboard boxes that the farmer had.

After getting home with everything we had to set up the new cage for Betty and kids. While we were doing that one of our ducks and roosters were watching from outside.

A good day with family. What did you do to better your life today?