Friday, June 22, 2012

Food Storage

This morning while in the garden I picked lunch.  A handful of lettuce, some spinach, and the first peas.  I happened to turn my thought to canning and how much food I would be putting away for the winter.  The question is: How much is enough?  I happen to live on top of a mesa the only ways up and down are roads that could be closed in the winter.  How would I feed my family and my animals if I couldn't go to the store.  I went to Emergency Essentials and found a food storage calculator.  Here are the pros and cons of the calculator.
  1. I can add items in the pantry that I get from the store or can my self.  Such as applesauce.
  2. As I was adding items I already had I could add items I needed.  My next order is stored on the website and I can order at any time. 
  3. On the right hand side of the page was a wonderful tool.  I could find products biased on nutritional needs.  Need more fiber no sweat the tool will help you find products with fiber.
  4. After I had all of my food on hand in the calculator I found out how many days of food I had on hand.  I currently have 30 days of food.  It even shows what nutritional value your food on hand has. 
  1. There is no place for to add animals.  My food storage is biased on 3 people not 3 people, 1 dog, and 40 chickens.  I know I don't have enough food for the animals.  I also know that I could feed the animals off of stored food such as wheat, dried fruits, and so much of what they sell.
  2. I can't add animals for food storage.  In the summer my girls lay plenty of eggs.  The eggs and any extra roosters are part of my food storage and could be eaten.  There is just no place to put that in the calculator.
  3. I was trying to figure out food storage for a few winter months, but if I was trying to figure out enough food storage for a year I would like to add my garden.  I have blueberries, blackberries, and cherry bushes.  No place to add that to a years supply, not to mention the garden which produces so much in late summer.
Over all I did like the food storage calculator from Emergency Essentials.  I was excited to know as of right now we can survive 30 days should I not be able to go to the store.  I hope that all of you will consider having some type of food storage.  Here is a direct link to the calculator. 

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Chicken Sweater

Today was hot, yesterday was hot, tomorrow is supposed to be hot.  With all this heat and no end in sight, I've found that I need a nice cool afternoon project.  I've taken to crocheting.  Not the big winter blanket crocheting, but little 1 day projects.  Chicken sweaters have taken over my afternoons.  I will admit I love it.  I have been using up some random balls of yarn, and it has been fun using up the different colors.  Caution:  Do NOT use red chickens are attracted to the color red and will pick at it.  Here is the pattern I found: .

What a good sport Katniss was to pose in a sweater for us. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Upcycled Chicken Coop

I'm very excited!  The Little Upcycled Coop was finished today.  The only thing we bought is 3 boxes of screws costing around $21.  Everything else was reused, and well FREE.  That in its self is exciting.  I will warn you now.  It will not win the cutest coop of the year award, but it might just win the cheapest coop of the year award.  Check out the other blog posts on our little coop if you would like to see the beginning steps involved in building this coop.

Today's first step was setting up the walls.

I was on babysitting duty since my husband needed help.  They used screws to tie the pallets together on the long sides.

Next they installed the window that will serve as my door.  Sorry I couldn't get a picture.  Then they ran 2x4x10's along the top, and screwed the tin roofing to the 2x4's.  Here is a picture of the finished coop.

One cute Little Upcycled Coop.  The chicks aren't living there yet, I still have to put fencing up.  I hope this project gave you some ideas on making you own upcycled coop.

The Small Tale of the Moody Broody

Moody Broody after I counted her eggs today.
Meet my Moody Broody.  Saturday June 9th my little hen decided she was going to be a mama.  I wasn't sure she was in it for the long haul so I took most of her eggs away and left her with only 4.  The next morning she was still sitting, so I added 10 more for a grand total of 14.  I marked all of her eggs with a colored pencil to keep track of witch eggs were hers.  The other hens decided that they would take over her nest.  It doesn't seem to bother her, but it did make me mad.  I just knew that one of her eggs would be broken.  Of course on Monday one of her eggs was broken, and I was broken hearted.  One of Moody Broodie's babies was killed.  I tried to move her nest, I took both her and her eggs and placed them in the dog house with straw.  She was not impressed and would not set.  I moved the dog house into her old run so she could be with her pen mates, well that didn't work.  I had no choice but to put her back in one of the nesting boxes.  I had to do something.  Then it occurred to me, I've seen nesting box curtains made by The Chicken Chick .  They didn't need to be fancy or fabric, just functional.  I needed to keep her out of site so the other hen's wouldn't lay their eggs with her.  Tuesday (yesterday) I figured it out, a feed bag would solve my problem.  I cut the back off of a feed bag cut it in half, and stapled it to the nesting box Moody Broody was using.  Drum Roll please.......... this afternoon when I went to count Moody Broodie's eggs there were only 13!  No extra eggs.  This is such a simple fix.  I hope you had fun with my story.  I'll keep you updated on Moody Broodie's hatch.  They are due July 1st!  Just in time to help us celebrate Independence Day. 

Here is the nesting box curtain.  Moody Broody is behind it happily setting on her eggs.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Phone book Firelog

Around here we have 4 different phone books, two for our area, and two for the neighboring big city.  Every year we get new phone books and this year we even received repeats.  I hate throwing things away you should know that by now =)  So I found a way to reuse the phone books.  I personally don't have a fireplace, but I know plenty of people that do.  I rip off the covers and any glossy pages roll them up and tie them with string.  We've have burned a few phone books in our burn pile and they burn forever.  I'm sure these will to, put them on the bottom and keep adding the wood on top to keep you house toasty warm.  I know I'm talking about a toasty warm house in the middle of summer, but hay winter is right around the corner. 
Phone book Log pile.

*Although this is a way to reuse phonebooks, should you go ahead and use this idea, I take NO responsibility to those who use it.  When fire and life is involved please be careful, and use common since.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Planting Garlic

Its a little late to post this for this years garden but, it is never to late to start thinking of next year.  I stumbled upon this when I was in college. I needed a little garlic and proceeded to take the skin off of the entire bulb.  I put the rest in the fridge.  The rest gave me the knowledge to help you plant some garlic really cheap. 

First you will need some garlic, either from your garden or from the store.

Start separating the cloves from the bulb.  I save the biggest cloves for planting and use the small ones for cooking.
Separated and ready for the skin to come off.

Skin is off and ready to plant.

Next you have some options, if you plant in the fall which is traditional you simply plant the garlic in the ground about 2 inches deep.  If you are going to plant in the spring you can either plant the garlic in March right after you have separated the skin from the garlic.  Another way to do it is to separate the skin and the garlic in February and put it in a container in the fridge it will start to sprout, plant in March.

I find this the ultimate upcycle.  After just one purchace you have a lifetime supply of garlic, just by keeping the biggest cloves to make more bulbs.  Happy Planting!