Country Living & Penny Pinching

Getting back to "Little House on the Prairie" living

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2016 Homestead Management Printables

***This is a review for the 2016 Homestead Management Printables that Quinn over at Reformation Acres put together. I was not paid for this review and all of the thoughts are my own. If you just want the meat of the review scroll down until you see stars.***

For those that have been following from the beginning you know that the beginning wasn’t that long ago. October 2015 (the end to be honest) was when our blog started. Before that we only had chickens for a couple of months and a somewhat of a sad garden and now we have dogs, cats, chickens, ducks, goats, better plans for a garden and the pigs will get here in a couple of months.
With the chickens there was not much record keeping to do. They were little, had no eggs and I knew about how much feed I would need a month and I just budgeted accordingly. Now there is production flowing out our ears. Baby goats due in a month which means milk coming in, almost every chicken is laying, half the ducks are sitting on eggs, and it seems that I have been really bad about record keeping.

Now in my defense I really was trying but using a pen and lined paper was just not cutting it. I felt like things were missing, everything was getting put together when it should be separate, there was no direction to my unorganized chaos and there needed to be. That is when I stumbled upon a heaven-sent printable package over at Reformation Acres Quinn has made a full scope homesteading printables package. When I first saw it I thought it would have the basics, chickens, goats, pigs and cows. Then upon further investigation it also has gardening printables and my FAVORITE PART……..

a seed sowing calendar!!!!!!!!!!!!

Last years garden was so sad even though I tried to plan well for it. I believe that if I had these printable and sowing calendars then things would have gone a lot smoother. Knowing the exact dates of when to soak seeds and start them indoors and harden off and transplant them is such a load off of my mind that I don’t have to figure it all out I feel really confident that this year we will be a much happier garden and gardener. If you want to know about our garden adventures click over here to read about that.  Otherwise I will keep going.

****the meat of the review****

There are pages for all of the animals we have, so we are able to document expenses and production with no hassles and there are even pages that make the Hubby not too happy….there are ones for meat chickens… cows…. rabbits…. and bees….Oh those pages are just calling to me “Please start raising us so you can write down all the expenses and production” haha yes I know I am a bit crazy and I am trying really hard to just stick with what we have now and get good at it then expand but these printables are so cute and fun and I really love beef and honey…I’ve only had rabbit once out on the trail but I want to start them anyways!

 

So long story short 2016 is going to be an organized year thanks to these fun and clear printables that Quinn put together. Now I know that I am all about penny-pinching and spending money is not something I like to do but when it comes to something that will truly help the homestead out and is very reasonably priced I just can’t say no. For the time and effort that Quinn at Reformation Acres put into these printables I gladly paid the high price (just kidding) of $5.99. I would pay that price just for the seed sowing calendar that is included.

Now I know that not everyone has all the crazy amount of animals that I do, or the amount that Quinn has, but even if you are starting out with a garden or a few chickens these printables can work for you and maybe even encourage you to start adding more ways to help you get back to the basics of living.

Rain on the Homestead

It’s raining……..do I write the clothesline post………it’s raining………write about the rain instead haha

That was my mentality while writing this post. Here in sunny Southern California we have RAIN. Not a sprinkle but it is puddling and flooding all over the property :/

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I parked…stepped into the puddle…pulled my car forward more and then got the Littles out

Now the most rain I remember getting while growing up was back in high school. It rained for a week straight and all of the walkway drains got backed up and there were huge puddles across the paths and single file lines next to the buildings to try to pass in the few feet that were not inches deep with water. You always knew someone was going to be in big trouble if they got to class late because they went straight through the puddle that was at least mid calf high.

OK, I know, enough down memory lane! All of that is written to express how much I am not used to rain where we live. If and when it does rain, it is normally during May/June and its one good down pour then it sprinkles. Since we moved out to the country last year we have been introduced to hail, snow about twenty minutes away, thunder storms, rain in the summer (yes I let the Littles play in it), and now down pour after down pour. It is said (by who I am not really sure but everyone keeps saying that, I’m just kidding haha some weather person must have said it but I do not really follow the weather channel, I know what the weather is like by looking out the window haha anyways…) this year will be a crazy el nino year. Oh My Gosh! I am not ready for this much rain!

the chickens aren't ready for this much rain either. Hiding under our back covering.

the chickens aren’t ready for this much rain either. Hiding under our back covering.

Don’t get me wrong I love chai tea and sitting on the couch to read a book with a blanket and cuddling with my furry babies and husband and listening to the rain with the window open a tiny bit all the way.

haha totally staged :P look at the rain drops on my sweater.

haha totally staged look at the rain drops on my sweater, but there really was tea and this is my favorite book

But that does not happen here on the homestead! I mean seriously that is in fantasy land. With three Littles under five, a puppy, chickens, and now pregnant goats this mama is not getting to sit on the couch any time soon. I know it sounds like it but really I am not complaining, I love having all these animals and I love my psycho kids but those days of relaxing  and listening to the rain are about fifteen years away, (5475 days), haha not like I am counting.

don't mind the shopping cart the littlest Little loves to leave out his toys

don’t mind the shopping cart the littlest Little loves to leave out his toys

OK OK back to the homestead. So our goat shed/chicken coop thinks that when it rains it needs to absorb all of the water and keep it in this massive puddle under all of the bedding! Seriously! Just look at the water!

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inside the shed/coop

So while I was checking on all the animals I decided while wearing my flip flops I should jump over a massive puddle……what was I thinking? It was only by the grace of God that I did not fall backwards and land in the said ginormous puddle. Stepping stones just might be in my future, and if you read along with the blog then they will be in your future too!

the water is up to my toes

the water is up to my toes

Now, one should never complain (again not complaining just sharing my thoughts on the topic) unless one has a way to fix it. I was relieved to see this article that someone posted on a Facebook group stating where to find free sand bags. Just google free sand bags in your area. Turns out during crazy weather fire stations will provide sand and bags and all you need to do is show up (preferably with a buddy) and a shovel and make your own, do call ahead to make sure. Fill the bag about half way with sand and instead of tying them just fold over the top and place it flap side down. This way they are nice and flat and will fit nicely together.

she knows how to keep dry :)

she knows how to keep dry 🙂

Since it is raining right now and I have all the Littles by myself, I am not getting my sand bags today haha but hopefully once it all dries out I will go fill quite a few sand bags to place around the shed/coop and be more prepared for the next rain. Also rain gutters or a roof extension will most likely be in the shed/coops future. So stay tuned.

Staying cozy together

Staying cozy together

All of the above was mentioned for fun. The main point of this post is to let you know that rain is a battle that we must conquer. For me it is fighting to keep home base dry for the animals with sand bags and a longer roof. Duel accepted! Rain you are going down. (haha I crack myself up!)

What does your rain battle look like? 🙂

Christmas is Coming

With it being so close to Christmas we have decided to take a break from blogging until the New Year. As this year comes to a close try to remember that our kids and family will not be extremely crushed if there are not hundreds of presents under the tree or over flowing stockings.

Thank you wallpaperscraft.com for letting me use this image.

OK, there may be a few tears especially if your Christmas normally looks like the one above, but then heat up some hot chocolate, drop in a few marshmallows, turn on a Christmas movie and cuddle up under a blanket. Then you can play a board game, or a card game, just spend time together, QUALITY time together. Go walking around the neighborhood looking at Christmas light. Try to keep the phones and electronics on silent, in another room and pretend you live back in the Little House on the Prairie days.

This would mean exchanging only one gift each, listening to music (that Pa most likely played), and reading and playing games together and of course there being a blizzard that threatens the arrival of Santa and in swoops Mr. Edwards to save the day. Now I know our Christmas wont truly look like that because like I already mentioned we can watch movies, and of course we don’t all know a Mr. Edwards or live in a snowy climate but those simple Christmases are what I think this generation is missing.

We need to get back to living simple and having the gifts we give come out of the time and effort we thought about what to get that person. My favorite Little House on the Prairie Christmas episode was when Laura sold her horse to Mr. Oleson to buy her Ma a wood burning stove all the while her Pa was making  a saddle to go on Laura’s horse. When Mr. Oleson came to pick up the horse and drop off the stove, Laura had just opened her saddle present and started crying because she was sad that her Pa had worked so hard on the saddle and now she couldn’t use it. I tried to find a video clip of it but….that is the one YouTube clip not circling the internet, so you will have to use your imagination, or go watch it yourself. It is from the first season episode fifteen. You can watch it here on Amazon!

Have a wonderful Christmas and everyone is saying it, so I might as well too, remember the reason for the season. Jesus loves you and that’s why we get to celebrate his birth this holiday season.  Enjoy this time with your family and we will see you in the New Year with our dairy goats.

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Building the Compost Pile

Calling all pallet lovers! This compost pile is for you. Gather up those pallets, look behind stores and Craigslist. They are out there and ready to be found. Thankfully we have great neighbors who lent me their tools and coached me on using them. Five pallets, long screws, a power screw driver, and helpful neighbors is a recipe for success.

all set up

all set up, as you can see I was not concerned about them being different sizes

We made a three sided square with three pallets standing up so the slats were horizontal, screwed the corners together. Then added the other two pallets to make two, three sided squares that shared a side. Look at the picture and it will all make sense. Once we attached them, that was that, the next step was to add material that needed to be composted.

this is the back of the pallets where the screws were put

this is the back of the pallets where the screws were put

Now there are two compartments to work with. All of our compostable material goes in one side and when we are ready to stir it, the compost gets moved from one side to the other. Added benefits are that it’s on concrete so I know I’m getting just compost when digging it out and the chickens get immediate access to all of the food scraps and bugs. But dirt is always good to because its easier for the bugs to just crawl straight from the ground into the pile.

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Remember…NO PROTEIN or DAIRY! We keep a bin on the kitchen counter for scraps and take it out every morning when we let the chickens out. I found this awesome picture on pinterest, the link is in the description.

great list of what is and isn’t compostable

Now with all the compostable materials the chickens LOVE the compost area. My only problem is the spread it out super fast. IMG_3752

The next addition to the compost structure will be a board at the front blocking the chickens from spreading the waste everywhere. For now though this is them enjoying their compost heap.

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she does looked peeved though haha she is the only one who really sits still for a picture

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Also if you do not have much waste in your house ask for friends and relatives to help out. Make them buckets for them to keep outside with a list on the top saying what can and can’t be put inside. Then once a week stop by their house and collect all of the scraps. Then offer them a share of the compost when spring comes around. There are always ways to find stuff for the compost bin.  Have fun making black gold and saving the landfills from our excess.

What does your compost pile look like? Or what plans do you have for making one? Even people in an apartment can have a compost bin. More on that in another post though 🙂

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