Monday, May 31, 2010
This morning I headed over to random.org, put in the info needed and here is what it came up with:
Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2010-05-31 08:19:03 PST
That means that Anne, you're the winner!
I'll be emailing you to get your information! Thanks to everyone who entered. I hope that you were encouraged by the Franklin Springs Family Media website and found some videos that interested you. It is so nice to be able to find wholesome, family movies nowadays! I was actually encouraged by many of you to delve deeper into their site. I ordered the Farm and Family Pack yesterday and can't wait to watch them with the whole family!
Thursday, May 27, 2010
This summer I'm going to be doing a series of posts that cover a wide range of homesteading skills. Each month we'll cover a new topic and I'll post information a couple days a week that specifically relates to that topic. The schedule will be as follows:
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Here's how you can enter:
1. For your first entry, head on over to Franklin Springs Family Media and browse through their selection of videos. Then come back and leave a comment about which video or video pack looks the most appealing to you.
2. For an additional entry, blog about this giveaway or share the link on your facebook page and leave an additional comment letting me know that you did.
This giveaway will be open until Sunday, May 30th at midnight.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Do you have a co-op where you live? If you're west of the Mississippi (for the most part) Azure probably delivers to your state! Most of the food that we consume (other than our garden and farmers market) comes from our co-op. I do go to the grocery store, but only once in a while and usually for just a couple things. Shopping with the co-op allows me to save money and time. Getting all the things I need once a month is a blessing! Especially when you live in an area where it rains 3/4 of the year and you have 3 kids, ages 3 and under to take to the store!
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2010-05-22 13:21:07 UTC
Thank's for your generosity
May 17, 2010 5:20 PM
I will be emailing you to get your info! If I don't hear from you by Tuesday another winner will be drawn.
Friday, May 21, 2010
1. Know your zone! Your local garden center or nursery will be able to tell you what zone you live in, or you can use this to find out. Different plants grow better in different zones.
2. Know what you can and can't plant. This goes along with #1 but I guess I want to stress it because not everyone can grow, for example, corn. Trust me, I know. This is the first year I did not plant corn. While I may be able to find a breed of corn that grows better in cooler climates, the fact is that corn likes lots of sun and warmth, neither of which we have here. Why am I forcing something that is just not natural? I would especially recommend planting for your area if you're a first time gardener. There's nothing worse than crop failure your first year. It'll make you feel as if your green thumb has turned brown!
3. After careful consideration of sunlight and where it rises and sets, map out your garden on a piece of paper. This will allow you to better plan the placement of your plants or vegetables. Don't go in without a plan or you'll get your pole beans growing so tall they shade your tomatoes for half the day!
4. Seeds should be planted twice as deep as they are large. Example: pole beans are about 1/2" long, they get planted 1" deep.
5. Space your plants out (if you're doing veggies.) A great reference for this is the book Gardening When it Counts. It is better to have a few vegetables with optimal nutrition than 20 of them with little nutrition.
6. If you don't live in an area with a lot of rain and have to water often, mulch your garden. Chips from trees or straw works well. This will help retain moisture in the ground and as a bonus, keep your weeds down!
7. Weed often. Not only is it easier to pull up little weeds rather than big ones but weeds compete with your plants for nutrients.
8. Water deep. When you thoroughly soak your ground at a watering, it benefits you in two ways. First, you don't have to water as often and second, your plants roots will grow down deep into the soil and result in healthier, bigger plants. Shallow watering encourages shallow plant roots and small, weak plants. Watering first thing in the morning is the best time to water. It helps your plants manage the rays of the hot sun during the day and allows for drying time so that nothing is sitting wet overnight.
9. Plant only what you need and in phases. Example; Unless you're feeding a family of 20, two 10' rows of lettuce planted all at the same time is not only going to be way too much but is all going to come ripe at the same time. Plant what your family can eat fresh (can the leftovers) and stage planting things like lettuce or broccoli so that you can eat it as it comes ripe. Planting this way will also save space in your garden, if your space is limited.
10. Grow as much as you can vertically if your garden is space challenged. Choose pole beans over bush beans, trellis anything else you grow that can climb (i.e. cucumbers.)
11. Compost! What a fantastic way to turn your kitchen scraps into nutritious dirt for feeding your plants! Remember to only put raw things into your compost and avoid all meats. You want to add things that rot, not that go rancid. Grass clippings and raked leaves make for excellent additions to your compost bin. Try to have your bin in a somewhat sunny location (heat is what makes the contents turn to dirt.) Turn your compost regularly with a pitchfork and if it looks as if it's drying out too much you can add water. We don't have that problem here in the pacific northwest. Things actually take longer to break down because of the cooler temps and lots of rain!
12. Go organic! If you're starting seeds (which I would recommend, they're less expensive and easier than you think to start) or purchasing starts, try and buy organic ones. Research the types of plants and bugs that you can add to your garden (yep, you can even buy beneficial bugs) to eliminate the need for chemical bad bug control. You can also create a space near your garden to act as a buffet to draw in birds that like to eat all those pesky little bugs. Use things like natural fertilizers and compost to feed your plants on a regular basis.
13. Finally, know that gardening is learned through trial and error and that even after years of gardening you'll still be learning and trying new things. Enjoy your garden and the bountiful harvest you'll be able to reap throughout the growing season!
Thursday, May 20, 2010
I got an email this morning sharing that the entire series is on sale now! 10 videos for $99. The set includes the newest video, the Art of Quilting. My set did not include that video but I think I can pass on that one, I've got a couple quilts under my belt. *wink*
I'm not affiliated with this company at all but I just wanted to share the blessing that it has been to me and hope that it would be the same for you!
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
To make lard, you'll need a couple supplies:
Pig fat (that's a given I think)
Some source for heating it slowly. I use a crock pot but others have used their oven or stove top.
A couple bowls and jars
A strainer and some cheesecloth
Pieces, like this one above, need to be cleaned up quite a bit. You don't want to be cooking meat along with your fat.
Step 2: Cook the fat.I like to do mine in the crock pot on low or warm. You're going to cook it for about 12 hours, stirring occasionally. As it cooks the chunks will melt down into a liquid.
Not everything will melt down though, in my experience. You will still be left with a little at the end that looks like this:Step 3: Strain the fat.
You'll want to strain all the liquid off of the remaining mush through a strainer and into a bowl. Don't worry about any little bits that get into the liquid at this point, we're going to do a second straining later. If a lot of fat chunks are left you can continue to melt those down in your crock pot for another few hours.
I would recommend using, if you have one, a large glass bowl to place your strained liquid fat into.
Then, add 1-2c of water to your liquid fat.
Refrigerate over night.
Step 4: Skim off the lard.
Letting the liquid cool over night will allow it to separate into lard, on the top, and the water and bits of fat (that went through the strainer) on the bottom.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
All of this to one lucky winner!
To enter, leave a comment below. If you blog about my giveaway, leave an additional comment and I'll give you two more entries! Wow, that's 3 entries total!
Rules: I'm sorry but the entries are limited to the USA only. All comments must be made by Friday May 21st at 6pm (PST) to qualify. Winner will be drawn on Saturday May 22nd. Please leave a way for me to contact you (like an email.) If I can not contact you, another winner will be drawn.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Any takers for this one?
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
This picture below was the first of our problems. Not having any way of separating chickens in the coop. If you are building your first coop may I suggest that you build a section IN your coop to be used for new chicks (that aren't raised by a mama hen) or a hurt/sick chicken. Right now we are just using a dog kennel fence to keep our smaller chicks and turkeys separate. My plan is to never do chicks again (that I have to take care of.) We'll be getting a rooster in the next 2 years and I'll let things happen naturally to gain more chicks so, we are not planning on adding any other kind of room in our coop. If you like raising chicks or don't want a rooster then I'd recommend the separate area.
Laying boxes. Make sure you have plenty. I think we have 9- which for us works. What doesn't work is that the sides of the boxes are so low that they don't create enough privacy for the hens...and hens like to do their business in private. So, they argue over the 2 end ones that are next to the wall and refuse to use the others. We'll be removing the dividers this summer and replacing them with much taller dividers so that all the boxes can be utilized.
Our roof. It's a mess. We did do one thing right in building our coop, we made it very open air. Unfortunately it's a little too open air. We only put a roof on about 1/3 of it thinking that the chickens would have plenty of sunshine streaming into the coop and that there was enough cover, if they needed, to get out of the elements. Wrong. Our chickens like to roost on the furthest beam (the one shown below, with no roof above) and along with their food and water being constantly ruined by the elements (i.e. rain,) they were apparently not smart enough to come in from the rain. So we put up a temporary tarp. A 5 year temporary tarp. It's now ripped and ugly and it needs to go. We'll be fully roofing this coop this summer.
We have 2 ramps leading from the ground up to the boxes for the chickens. While they could just jump up to the ledge and then get into the boxes, we felt like spoiling them and giving them walkways. We noticed though on one of them that the chickens were having trouble gripping (since the boards are fairly steep) so my husband nailed wire to it so that their feet could easily grip the path.
One great thing that my husband did do while first building the coop was to dig the perimeter deep. That way we were able to actually bury the chicken wire to keep critters from digging under to get in. We also layed a bunch of smaller river rock and even a little concrete in the ditches to make it ultra raccoon proof.
Lastly, the chicken run. It's a sad thing. Our chickens have always been full free range. They have had complete run of the acre but with the arrival of quite a few new neighbors, we seem to have a dog issue. And it's not a good thing, so we're fencing them in. There will, however, be a couple benefits to it.
Benefit #1: No more egg hunting in the summer. Hunting eggs can be left for Easter only. There's nothing worse than one, or more, of your hens deciding that she likes the back 40 better than the chicken boxes and she's going to lay all her eggs there. Remember, I said that hens like things private.
Benefit #2: The poop. While having 3 hens on one acre isn't bad, having 9 hens and 2 turkeys is gross. Poop. Everywhere. This way, the kids can go barefoot, babies can crawl around and sitting in the grass can happen without having to carefully examine the grass first to make sure that you won't be sitting in poop.
Benefit#3: Not having to sit out with a loaded gun all day waiting for dogs to come by.
We are building it large enough to offer plenty of sunshine along with grass to our chickens. Once in while I will let the chickens out to roam the entire property again but will try and keep their visits fairly short. When the run is complete, I'll post a picture.
Wings will need to be clipped on a regular basis (every 2-3 months) to keep them in the run since our fence is only 4 feet tall. Clipping a chickens wings is a quick, simple and non-painful task. After the run is built and I have to do mine, I'll do a tutorial here on how to do it.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Now, for some reason Nourishing Traditions always seems to have the "2 day" rule about letting things ferment on your counter. Maybe it's my house temp or our climate but 2 days never cuts it for me. Our kraut sits out on the counter for a good 2 weeks before it's ready. I let the beet kvass sit out a little too long and it started to develop a light scum on the top. I scraped all of that off, strained my beets and placed the tonic into the fridge. It's recommended that you drink one 4oz. class morning and night.
So try not to gag (I know, that doesn't sound very promising,) and drink it for your health!
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Monday, May 3, 2010
Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2010-05-03 14:10:55 UTC
The Pink Fawn said...
I am a big Heather Ross fan, so I love your coasters! I remember the old VW vans when we used to camp as kids - lots of fun memories.
Keeping my fingers crossed that you can contact me and I can get these out to you! I left a message on your blog! :)
Now, if I'm not contacted by the Pink Fawn by Wed. night I will draw one more winner. After that, these puppies are headed to goodwill! :)
Sunday, May 2, 2010
I asked my father in law (who is a cabinet maker) to help me put one together. He ended up making the whole thing. Almost. It really was a 3 person effort. He put together the wooden back splash, I painted it and did the shopping on eBay for the vintage rolling pins, and my husband attached the pins for me. I'd have to say that my part in it was certainly the easiest, and the most fun!