Thursday, November 13, 2014

Chickens

I gave the hubby quite the scare the other day when I told him I was going to shoot some chickens...perhaps I should've mentioned that it would be with the camera. Anyway, here's a few photos of our brood...I'm slowly turning into that crazy chicken lady!

 Twizzlers (Twizzie) - Araucauna
 General Tso - Buff Orpington Roo
 Almond Joy (AJ) - Cochin Roo
 Cacciatore - Barred Rock
 Buffalo, Barbeque, Popcorn & General - Red Sexlinks & Buff Orpington Roo
 Toffee - Cochin Roo
Twix - Cochin

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Freebies!

I try to only post these once a week, but there were a few that I found today that I couldn't pass up! Just click the title below the photo of each book to be redirected to Amazon. Remember, these were free at the time of posting BUT always check the price before clicking "Buy Now" to make sure it hasn’t returned to full price :)

Growing Herbs Indoors

Homesteading For Beginners

JeBouffe Home Canning

Backyard Chickens - 2 Book Combo!

Homesteading Essentials - From Plot to Pot - 2 Book Combo!
Deer Hunting - The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Hunting Deer for Food

Monday, November 10, 2014

"Lazy" Days

Occasionally I get bored and yesterday was one of those days...We finally got around to finish putting up the gutter around the garage. Having the chicken coop and run built along the backside of the garage may have saved us some supplies when building it, but whenever it rains the runoff was going directly into the chicken run and creating a muddy mess. Now the chickens will be very happy!


I also decided to "upgrade" one of the kiddie tables. I've never been a fan of character items to begin with so I had been trying to find a fabric I liked to replace the Cars top this one had, anyway. We also had this car mat. The kids were constantly getting frustrated because the mat would move or crinkle when they were trying to play. You can take these little card tables apart with a couple screws, I cut the mat to fit and stapled it in place on the back and then reattached the table. Problem solved!


Also, never sound a lazy dog in to wake the lil man up from nap...She decided he had a pretty good idea and joined him instead haha

Friday, November 7, 2014

Freebies!

Here are a few more great homesteading, canning and DIY books that you can add to your e-Library (just click the title below the photo of each book to be redirected to Amazon). Remember, these were free at the time of posting BUT always check the price before clicking "Buy Now" to make sure it hasn’t returned to full price :)

Canning & Preserving

Dutch Oven Cookbook

Raised Bed Gardening
Cheese Making at Home

Raising Chickens

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Great Uses For Your Wood Ash

 
Chances are if you’re going to be burning wood to heat your home this winter, you’re going to have a ton (maybe literally!) of ash by the end of the season, before you just toss the ash aside, there are plenty of useful ways to re-use it!

Wood ash is extremely alkaline and contains potassium and calcium. It can also contain sulfur, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, manganese, iron, copper, cobalt, magnesium and molybdenum, all of which are great for your plants depending upon your type of soil.

Enriching the Soil
Wood ash is great for certain types of soil, specifically soil that is overly acidic. Almost without fail, alkaline-loving plants such as onions, garlic and leeks will flourish if you add a bit of wood ash to the soil around them. The exception to this is if the pH of your soil is over 7. In that case, you may not want to use wood ash because it contains potassium and is very alkaline. It’s great to mix in if your soil is acidic but if it’s not, you’ll make matters worse.
If you decide to use wood ash in your soil, don’t apply it straight to your raw compost pile because it’ll react with the nitrogen and turn it straight to ammonia. You’ll lose that nitrogen that you’re working so hard to get. If you’re going to add ash to your compost in order to decrease the acidity (raise the pH), add it to mature, ready to use compost.

Wood Ash Protects Your Garden
Spread wood ash around your gardens to protect it from certain bugs that are harmful to your plants. It serves as a barrier to slugs and snails and some say that it protects against some beetles, too.

Use Wood Ash to Do the Dishes
Tossing a bit of wood ash into your dirty skillet will produce enough lye (and friction) to get your camp skillets good and clean. Some people even use it raw as soap.

Give Your Chickens a Spa Day
Chickens naturally roll in dirt as a way to cleanse themselves. This protects them from insects and pests such as mites and lice. However, if your chickens can’t roam, finding a nice dusty place to roll may be a challenge for them. Mix wood ash and sand equally and place it in a litter pan or baby pool, or just dump it in a corner of their pen. The wood ash kills mites and lice and the sand keeps the ash from blowing away.

De-Skunk Fido
Nothing is more disgusting than the smell of a dog that’s been skunked but if you have some extra wood ash, you’re golden. Just rub the ash into his fur and it will neutralize the odor.

For more ways to make use of all of your leftover wood ash, head on over to Survivopedia and read the rest of Theresa Crouse's article.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Halloween Crafts

With Halloween literally right around the corner, the kids are getting quite excited to dress up and go Trick or Treating! In the meantime, we found some ways to have fun all in the name of Halloween!

These printable masks from Mr.Printables were a big hit and so easy to help the kids make.

Same concept with the Build A Monster. Just cut out the pieces and assemble into your own monster! (The kids needed a little help as some of the eyes and arms were a little tricky for their little hands to try to cut around without lopping off a vital piece)

And just for fun I packaged up some of their snacks and added these joke toppers to them.


I also came across this gem of a recipe for candy corn and white chocolate cookies from Averie at Averie Cooks. The kids absolutely love the festive cookies, and I'll always look for a chance to put candy corn in just about anything!

 (Photo from Averie)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, soften
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cream or half-and-half
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons corn starch
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste
1 1/2 cups candy corn (1o to 11 ounces)
1 cup white chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Using a mixer, cream together the first 5 ingredients on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, roughly 5 minutes.
  2. Add the next 5 ingredients, and mix on low speed until just incorporated, about 1 minute; do not over mix.
  3. Add the candy corn and white chocolate chips. Mix until combined.
  4. Form heaping two-tablespoon mounds, I got about 20. Place mounds on a large plate, flatten slightly, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, before baking. *Do not bake with warm dough because the cookies will spread and bake thinner and flatter. Make sure the candy corn is not baking directly on cookie sheet - it will melt, burn, or turn runny if it is. The candy corn pieces need to be in the inside of the cookies, completely surrounded by dough.
  5. Preheat oven to 350F. Place cookies on greased baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart. Bake for about 9 minutes, or until edges have set and tops are just beginning to set. Even if slightly undercooked (pale and glossy in the center), make sure to not over bake because they will firm up as they cool. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooking. 

Happy Halloween!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Chili!

It's that time of year when we start canning and really stocking up our food storage. When the weather starts to get chilly, I really start to crave warm, hearty soups and dishes. This is a friend's recipe for her awesome chili and it makes a LOT! 10 quarts and 7 pints to be exact. Great to have in the freezer for a quick meal down the road!


Ingredients
Brown 10 lbs of hamburger meat or turkey, set aside to drain
In Large pot add:
1 large red pepper chopped
2 large cooking onions chopped
1 regular size can of tomato paste
1 tiny can of tomato paste
3 cans of dark red kidney beans
about 8 small/regular size cans of various brands of chili beans
2 large cans of generic tomato sauce
about 4-5 large cans of various brands of chili beans
mix together and add about 2 cans of water (you don't have to if you don't want to) I wanted to and some of the water will cook off.
3 cans of Del-Monte Green Pepper and Onion

Spices: This is definitely an estimation.
2 tbsp of garlic powder
2 tbsp of paprika
1 tbsp of black pepper
1 tsp of Zatarain's Blackened Seasoning (this will give it a little kick)
2 tbsp of cumin
2 tbsp of chili powder
2 tbsp of onion powder
about 6-7 shakes of Worcestershire Sauce
about 2 tsp of fresh chopped garlic

Note: She did not add salt because she adds 1 tsp of canning salt to the jars before she processes it and cans the rest. Also, make sure you freeze any leftovers.

Let this simmer for about 45-60 minutes and then it will be ready to pack some jars. Once everything is mixed together process at 240 degrees, 10 lbs of PRESSURE and PROCESS for 90 minutes .