Country Living & Penny Pinching

Getting back to "Little House on the Prairie" living

Category: Kids (page 1 of 2)

Every way the Littles can be a part of the homestead

Cutting Back on TV

OK, so I might not know this exact science of how much to cut back or if you should. This is all a personal decision, but I do know that practically every child research center has made the statement of no TV for kids under 2. Now I have not been one to follow that advice. I know, shame on me, but I LOVE TV! One of my favorite things to do is lay on the couch and binge a show with some ice cream and chocolate and….you get the picture. Not a very productive, healthy thing to do is it?

This is seriously how I felt almost every time a series ends and I would try to scrounge around for another series to fill my time…..Not that great but totally legit feelings.

Well I have a friend that does no TV, uses the Waldorf methods of play and education, eats super all natural and was part of my inspiration for moving to our town because I could see how it was going to be living up here. Almost six months ago she told me about putting a blanket on my TV in order to deter me from wanting to watch it, especially with the kids. This is how she stored her TV until she got rid of it and there were also chairs NOT pointed directly at it. I thought that was super strange but it made sense since she never used it. So up went a scarf/wrap that I never wore and it sat on the TV for about….a couple days, maybe a week. It started to get annoying having to take it off the TV every time I wanted to watch something once the Littles went to bed, so eventually it got folded and placed next to the TV. That still counts right?

Six months later that wrap is still next to the TV, but that is more because the wind keeps blowing it down 😀 The last three weeks we decided that enough was enough we were going to start cutting out TV. Now I cannot go cold turkey, it’s just not in my DNA to give up something I love so much. So instead we came up with a goal with an awesome reward. Some might say it was counter-intuitive reward but this seriously worked.

We were going to do no TV from Sunday at 5 pm-Friday at 5 pm. Therefore weekends they could watch Saturday morning cartoons and we could still do a family movie night on Fridays so that is why we had the weird hours. At first the Littles were not very happy about this but then something changed… We told them what the reward would be if we could go THREE weeks with no TV during the week.

KUNG FU PANDA 3!!!!!!!!! in the theater!!!!!! opening night!!!!

We did it!!!!

We did it!!!! This was the only sign and my camera and the light did not work well together.

 

I am not a super Kung Fu Panda fan, I like the movies every now and again but Po (main character) will always have a special place in my heart, Po and I go way back. The Hubby and I first hung out together (in a group) after my high school graduation party where we saw the first Kung Fu Panda movie. Remember we were in a group but even so just him and I shared a popcorn and drink (sharing a straw is like kissing right? haha), and our friendship just continued to grow.  OK, I know, I know, enough about our relationship. I just wanted to give you the back story.

So any time a Little would ask about watching TV during the week we would remind them of going to the movie theater if we could just stay away from the TV. Were there times that I just wanted to let them watch something because then I could get more stuff done??? Of course, but instead we thankfully had great weather and I made it a priority. They would wake up, eat breakfast, get dressed and run outside to play!

The first week I still watched TV at night-time because this was just a goal for the kids. But then something happened…as I couldn’t watch TV during the day with the kids I was on social media less, I was becoming more productive, our house was a little bit cleaner…and I was losing my desire to watch TV. Now don’t get me wrong, I still love a good movie and I catch up on the few shows I watch while I am cleaning. Also a lot of date nights around here involve cuddling on the couch with snacks and a movie. But now I use my TV time wisely and I only watch during certain chores (dishes and laundry) because they are not my favorites.

This goal started because I felt like I was relying on the TV too much as a babysitter. Now I will not condemn ANYBODY who does this because I have done it for five years now and we are finally taking the actions that align with our family priorities. How are we supposed to get back to the basics of life if we are relying on a TV to entertain our children? Laura Ingalls and other children in the pioneer days did not have a television when they were growing up. They had sticks and rocks and maybe a doll or a couple of things their dad carved. They had good childhoods filled with many adventures. We want that simplicity for our kids. Being content in what they have, an imagination with no limits, a healthy body, a love for the outdoors, coloring and reading more, a love for animals, an understanding of how and where our food is made/comes from, playing from sun up until sun down, doing chores as a family, and sitting at the table for our meals. As old fashion as those sound, that is exactly what we are striving for. A life that has gone back to the basics.

 

 

 

Butchering A Chicken

Taking a class for butchering a chicken and having the instructor walk you through the whole process makes you feel invincible.  Give me a hundred chickens, no problem! Processing a chicken at home with three Littles under five years old…well that feeling has no words.

I decided that today was going to be the day no matter what. Three Littles, an ax and a stump were all we needed.

****Disclaimer: This does get a little graphic, the chicken was treated with respect, killed humanely, and no kids were harmed or handled sharp objects during the whole process****

Step 1: Watch YouTube videos on how people do it to refresh your memory on the exact science of it all. Personally I loved this video and found it very helpful since we were butchering a two-year old chicken.  jnull0’s awesome descriptions and how to

Good Bye BIg Mama

Good Bye BIg Mama

Step 2: Have everyone say Thank you and Good Bye. This step is mainly if you are doing it with little kids, spiritual or connected with the animal.

Step 3: End the life of the chicken in a humane way. We chose to chop its head off. Other ways are snapping the neck and slicing the throat. Quick and to the point.

sharp ax and a stump

sharp ax and a stump (don’t mind the grungy clothes and flip-flops)

Having the eldest Little help hold while stringing up the twine

Having the eldest Little help hold while stringing up the twine

helping clean up and totally grossed out

middle Little helping clean up and totally grossed out

Step 4: Drain the blood. Hang the chicken upside down and get out as much blood into a bucket for the compost pile or cooking. I did not cook with it, but I know it can be done. If you don’t want to use it in the compost then there is not much blood, just let it go into the ground and put some dirt on it.

make a noose with twine to hang the feet

make a knot with twine to hang the feet

2015.09.04 butchering the first chicken 15

Step 5: Skin or pluck the feathers. With young chickens, the boiling method is great. Boil some water in a big pan and dip the bird in for about  15 seconds getting the water between all the feathers. Then sit and pluck the feathers out, pretty simple. With an old hen the feathers are SUPER hard to pull out. the boiling method can work but pliers will still be needed to pull out most of them. If you don’t mind not having any skin on the bird just start at  the feet, make a slit all the way down to the neck and then pull the skin down. Be careful near the vent because you do not want to break what I call the poop pipe. This is where are the waste/poop comes out and is attached at the vent.

start with the feet and move down

start with the feet and move down

Step 6: Cut off the feet and neck and proceed to pulling out the insides without cutting the poop pipe! Just reach in and start grabbing all the organs. Pull gently to not break any of them. The intestine is long so make sure you pull slowly and get all the organs that come out with it. Then when the poop pipe is being pulled on (part of the intestine that connects to the vent) just cut off the vent and throw it away. Sorry but anatomy is not my strong suit.

Gorss! A farmer's gotta do what a farmer's gotta do!

Gross! A farmer’s gotta do what a farmer’s gotta do!

Step 7: Cover and let it sit for 24 hours in the fridge.

I love the press n seal wrap! Saran wrap and I are not friends.

I love the press n seal wrap! Saran wrap and I are not friends.

Step 8: Cook and Enjoy! An old hen should be boiled and slow cooked ALL DAY, the meat will be very tough. A young chicken can be used just like normal.

Step 9: Remember a bit of bleach and warm water goes a long way in cleaning up raw meat. Just don’t do what I did…drop the iPhone in the cleaner.

Don't forget to have the bag of rice ready for when the phone goes plunging into a bowl of bleach water for cleaning up.

Don’t forget to have the bag of rice ready for when the phone goes plunging into a bowl of bleach water.

Did this help you know how to butcher a chicken? Any questions please let me know.

Fleas!!!

Were there fleas back in the “Little House on the Prairie” days? I seriously do not think so. There was no Advantix, Advantage, Comfortis, and any of the other flea repelling medications we have today. So if they didn’t have these chemicals we use, what chemicals did they use back then? By now I hope you know I am being sarcastic.

Well here on the homestead we got infested! I do not mean our dogs and cats got some fleas and we needed to keep them off of them. I mean they were EVERYWHERE! The Littles were being bitten, the Hubby looked like he had chicken pox but only on his legs. Me…I had a bite, maybe two. For some reason after pregnancy I have not been loved by the bugs and I am not complaining about it.

Anyways with having the Littles around it made us go the natural route first.

  1. Borax all of the rugs. Sprinkle/pour it all over and use a broom to push it into the carpet fibers. Leave it for at least 24 hours. Vacuum and repeat as necessary. You can also substitute food grade Diatomaceous Earth .
  2. In between Borax treatments vacuum everyday, maybe even twice a day.
  3. Lavender! Put drops of lavender everywhere. On the collars, the pet beds, your bed and the animals favorite places to be.
  4. Garlic…this was a tough one. Get the pills for you if you are being bit and get the chew-able tablets for the animals. I found some on amazon and bought the human ones at Walmart.  The problem with having Littles is that they don’t want to swallow pills and even disguised in food the eldest Little would not swallow the pill.
  5. If all of the above fails (because I could not keep up with the fleas from two cats and two dogs…) bug bomb, get a month of chemicals for the animals and start over. If using chemicals do not go cheap, those just do not work and you will have to buy the more expensive stuff anyways.

To bug bomb is not my first response but we were overrun and we didn’t want to invite people over, and everyone was tired of being eaten alive.  We lost the great fight and fell yet again to the conveniences of today (not always a bad thing).

Have you ever fought the great fight against fleas? How did you handle it?

You Know You’re a Homesteader if…

  1. Your daughters have and wear bonnets. We got ours from Calico Ghost Town, but I would love to make them myself.

    the oldest Little

  2. Smash ants with your hands. These are the least of my worries out here.
  3. Leave the daddy-long-legs in the shower to eat the other bugs. that come crawling in the night.
  4. The barn cat makes friends with your inside cat. Our barn cat has become like a big papa.

    black is inside cat, orange is barn cat

  5. You have a barn cat!
  6. Chickens come to the front door clucking  for dinner. In our case a few of them have to have a baby gate up so they won’t actually come inside.     
  7. Turkeys cuddle with your feet.. and you love it.

    ignore my feet 😉

  8. The Littles bring chicken feathers for the teacher. At least our eldest brought only the cool looking feathers for her teacher.
  9. Wake up to the sound of a rooster

    Red the Rooster

  10. 9pm rolls around and your bed is calling for you.
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