Thursday, December 3, 2015

Life on the Farm

This is what it looks like when you live a life without plastic, reduce, reuse, recycle and raise your own food.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Real Savings for Veterans

I am a veteran's wife and mother. My husband is a retired disabled veteran and one of my son's is also a disabled veteran so I have some insight into the financial side of their lives. Money is always an issue. The military doesn't pay huge amounts so you have to learn how and where to save whenever you can.

Recently I was searching for a way to lower some of our bills especially the phone service I use. I had an iPhone on Verizon and yes they do give a military discount but the bill was still over $60 per month!  I found an amazing company that is run by a Marine. Republic Wireless.

Headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, Republic Wireless is an innovative new mobile provider, spearheading a wireless freedom movement to return value and control of the smartphone experience to its members. Leveraging the power of the Internet and an engaged community of users, Republic Wireless offers data, talk and text service starting as low as $5 per month, with no contract.

Is Republic right for me? Smartphone plans starting as low as $5 per month.

"Military service isn’t an afterthought here – our CEO, David Morken, served in the US Marine Corp, and it isn’t unusual to see him leaving the office early to welcome home family members on active duty. Many team members and our loved ones proudly serve or have served in one form or another in the US Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and the Coast Guard."

The service is amazing and starts at only $5 per month and they pay you back for any data you don't use! What other company can say that? Basically they use the cell towers then switch to WiFi whenever is available. No one can get service where I live but since going with Republic I have no problems having a signal here now and did I mention I love the phone!

No contract Moto X from Republic Wireless. Plans starting as low as $5/month

I bought the Moto X 2nd Gen and it's wonderful. The camera takes great photos and it has tons of features. I use it more than my tablet now for everything. I got $1.44 back after my first month using it and I'm sure I'll get even more this month. The quality of service is great. No dropped calls and quick downloads. Plenty of help of you need it too. I subscribe to their newsletter and learn new tricks with each one.

To find more ways to save you may want to drop by The Military Wallet. They have a lot of resources, articles, podcasts and more to help you manage your money and the person who started it works with Republic Wireless also.

Republic says, "As such, we are so excited to work with Ryan Guina, the tireless blogger and podcaster behind Ryan served on active duty in the US Air Force and is currently serving in the IL Air National Guard. He has dedicated a good portion of his time since leaving active duty military life to helping the military community better manage money and understand the variety of programs and benefits available to them. As Veteran’s Day draws closer, Ryan doubles down and spends hours and hours compiling all the restaurants and companies who want to thank our veteran’s by providing them with discounts or a free meal."

Where do you go for financial help and advice? 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

How To Raise Quail

Quail are wonderful birds for meat and eggs. I hadn't thought about keeping them until I got twenty with some turkeys from a neighbor. l didn't know much about the cute tiny birds except that they needed a heat lamp and a predator proof cage. Since then I've received a lot of emails and facebook inquiries about how to raise and care for them.

I was at our local co-op picking up feed for them and met a very nice gentleman that raises hundreds of them. He was kind enough to give me some pointers. First they need a very secure enclosure because of their tiny size. All kinds of predators will try to get in to eat them. Hardware cloth is the best. You can find it at feed stores locally or online.

I had an A-frame cage from last year that wasn't being used so I did some reinforcing and added a secure door. Then put in their heat lamp, food and water. For food I bought regular chick starter, you can also use game bird starter and don't forget to add small rocks to the waterer until the birds get large enough to not drown in it unless you are using the kind with a very small base.

There are many health benefits to keeping Quail as well. Especially the eggs. Quail eggs have been used for a very long time to treat various ailments in the human body.  Asthma, Coughs and Allergies to name a few. Many people are allergic to Chickens and their eggs. Chicken eggs can cause itching, nausea and even vomiting. Not so with quail eggs. They are not only allergy free but they help to fight allergies in your body due to a special protein they contain known as Ovomucoid. So if you are allergic to Chicken eggs, you will be able to eat Quail eggs. The eggs are also known to improve your memory, boost your immune system, they are rich in iron and contain so many more vitamins and minerals that aid in good health.

By raising your own quail for meat, like all birds and animals you know what you are eating. No mystery meat! Quail can dress up wonderfully.  A Jumbo Coturnix Quail can weigh in at nearly 14 ounces, and a Jumbo Bobwhite can yield up to 16 ounces! While Bobwhites take much longer to grow and won't be ready for butchering until 14 to 16 weeks of age or sexually mature until 6+ months of age, Coturnix Quail are fast growers and can be ready for the table at 6 to 8 weeks of age and laying by 9 weeks of age.

The gentleman I spoke to said the the Coturnix are OK if you are wanting meat and eggs for yourself but the Bobwhite are best if you want to raise birds for sale. They are what people are used to hunting and want to purchase. Just know that if you plan on raising them, you will need an incubator. They are not very good at hatching their own eggs.

Mine were getting bigger so I needed a new larger house for them. I didn't have anything that was suitable for small birds so I decided to raid our scrap pile and build something. I used plywood, 2x4's, chicken wire and other scraps and came up with a usable house for the quail. It's about 8 feet long and 4.5 feet high with a solid back, top and side. I wanted to be sure they had plenty of protection from the weather and predators. It's very important that you use hardware cloth up the sides for a quite a ways so they can't be reached by predators as they sleep at night, because they roost on the floor. I'm going to add more to this pen today.

There are easy keepers, give fresh meat and eggs and their manure is excellent for the garden. Quail poop is like brown gold for your garden. It's low on odor and isn't very messy to deal with. Shovel up your excess quail manure each week and move it to a garden manure bin to age until it breaks down before using it on plants. It is high in nitrogen, and when fresh, it can burn plants. In the heat of the summer, if the manure does emit much odor, a light covering of lime will eliminate it and sweeten the pile. You can find some more information and yummy recipes over at Backwoods home.

I hope this answers some of the questions and gets you started.

Do you raise them? Let me know any tips and tricks you use to have healthy birds.

Monday, November 2, 2015

5 Places To Get Free Entertainment

1. Local State Parks

Here we are blessed to have the Great Smoky Mountain State Park and visit it often. There is no cost to go and explore the sites like Cade's Cove and Clingman's Dome. This time of year the fall colors are amazing.

2. Local College Talks

We recently got to see Bill Nye the Science guy for free at UT. It was an amazing experience.

3. Street Fairs

I love those. There is always something to see and usually great food to try.

4. Museums

Most have days where there is no cost to go in.

5. Art Galleries

I enjoy seeing different types of art and pottery. I am addicted to pottery especially.

Where do you find your free entertainment?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Recycle and Build for Free

It's been a while since I've posted. We have been very busy here getting ready for winter. I've cleaned out the garden beds of everything except the herbs that can over winter and one pepper plant that is producing like crazy. I plan on making some hot sauce soon with them.

I added some old hay for mulch and planted some fall crops. Broccoli, beans and peas. I also planted one whole bed of garlic. Because the weather has been crazy here, warm one day then frost the next, it's started growing. I hope it goes dormant soon.

With the help of a friend, I built cages in our new rabbit barn that was done with all recycled or found material. Total cost for a 16 foot by 20-foot rabbit barn is about $10, and that is just for the screws we had to buy.

My husband and I went around our homestead looking for material. We found some good sized trees to cut down for the poles then added used lumber that we buy off the sale bin at Home Depot and already had here. Wire and left over OSB board from other projects finished it off.

My friend and I made built in cages of different sizes to accommodate young does, bucks, grow outs and mother's getting ready to kindle. It's a good thing we did because this morning my friend came over with five more New Zealand Red rabbits. One of them is getting ready to have babies next week, so our rabbitry is exploding in size quickly.

After that, it was time to make my front porch a Tory free zone. Last night she chewed up a foam filled cushion and started to eat one piece of my wicker set that is out there! That wicker set is also recycled . I got it at a thrift store a couple of weeks ago.

It's time to lock her off the porch for good so hubby, and I got an old table that we weren't using and put it on the side of our cabin away from the wind. Tory has a very nice large crate, so we put it on top of the table then wrapped it in some heavy duty plastic to make it waterproof. I had found the plastic at a yard sale a long time ago. We added a board to extend the roof then Bruce said that he knew where an old set of stairs were so we nailed those to the table so Tory can get into her house more easily. I put her food and water underneath and now she can't tear up things on the porch anymore!

What have you recycled lately? 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

How To Save Money at the Dentist

1. Visit to compare prices

2. Pay cash

3. Monday and Friday morning appointments are the slowest times so they will give you a better price

4. Use a dental college with students

5. Negotiate fees

6. Use natural toothpaste without all the chemicals! Get my recipe here.

Not dentist related but more ways to save money on your homestead.

Get real paper books and learn all types of skills so you can do things without hiring someone.

Do it yourself. There are many projects you can do!

Use natural ingredients. They are so much better for you and way cheaper in the long run.

Go to walk in clinics with no office visit fees for your dogs and cats. We had to switch to chewable flea and tick medications for our dogs when the natural recipe just wasn't working. Here in Tennessee we have mutant fleas. LOL One of our small dogs actually developed an allergy to them!

How do you save money?