Country Living & Penny Pinching

Getting back to "Little House on the Prairie" living

Tag: littles (page 1 of 3)

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.

 

 

 

Becoming A Wood Hoarder

When starting to do any projects around the homestead wood is almost the number one material and that material is soooooo expensive. So when we moved out here I started thinking of all of the cool projects to do but instead ran into a really big materials bill. So….onto the internet I went trying to find something that could help. Have you heard of Craigslist?

Now, Craigslist and me are tight. I LOVE shopping on Craigslist. Almost everything I get rid of goes on Craigslist. If you too love Craigslist or are thinking of trying it, make sure to be safe and bring someone with you. I have multiple saved searches on Craigslist that send me emails when someone posts about it.  Very cool feature. Well, wood is one of my saved searches. Let me rephrase, FREE wood with in a fifteen mile radius from me. Most posts are a few pallets, some scraps from someone else’s project, or broken down fences. Although, every once in a while someone posts a BUTTLOAD of wood.

Most often I don’t have the Hubby’s truck so I have to pass, but one day the stars aligned and my wish was granted. I had the Hubby’s truck, the Hubby, and a post showing a butt load of wood only minutes from our house. After loading up the Littles we went to go get it. Now not all of this wood was usable but the polite thing to do was take the bad with the good. The couple that had hoarded acquired all of this wood was so ready to get rid of it that they let us load up their truck too and followed us back home so it could be done in one trip. After we dumped the wood in our driveway it became an instant eye sore to the Hubby.

Now you can see why. 1/4 of it became fire wood, 1/4 went in the dumpster, and the other half was definitely salvageable. Then about a month later we re-purposed an old shed into a working chicken coop and all that extra wood went to a special place. That’s right, my wood pile!

I love my Costco hat. Not super flattering but this hat stays on and gives me plenty of shade 🙂

The Hubby was again not pleased because the pile kept growing and it was the first thing he saw when getting home. Also it was a bit of a hazard to the Littles because most of the wood was filled with nails or screws. So most of the afternoons were spent ripping out nails and having the Littles gather them up in a tin can. Don’t worry they had to wear their gardening gloves when helping.

Now it became a bigger priority with so much wood there. So another month and a half later the Littles and I finally moved the last piece out of the driveway and up against the fire-place from the abandoned foundation. **Our first choice of where to put the wood was under our patio cover until a friend told me about black widows liking wood, and if it was up against the house then that would be an easy way for them to get in the house. YUCK!!! Just FYI**

I LOVE IT!!!

I LOVE IT!!!

I don’t know about you but this beautiful wood pile makes me super happy. It just screams “Build Something!” Now we just need power tools of our own to actually make the things I’ve pinned all over my Pinterest. Feel free to hop on over to my Pinterest account and check out some of them.

Stay tuned for those projects and let me know if, what, and how you became a hoarder?

 

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.

Stages of the Duck Pond

If your husband is anything like mine than all you need to do is get ducklings and he will jump on the farming band wagon. We started with two Muscovy ducks. This breed was chosen because they do not need a pond, it would be great but they wouldn’t suffer if there was not a permanent pond in place. So plans were never made for one, but since the Hubby was smitten he declared they must have water since they really did love playing in it. That brought us to the 1st stage of the duck pond. A Pie Tin!!!

 

Two little ducklings sitting in a tin, S-P-L-A-S-H-!

Yep, this was a throw away pie tin in my cupboards from a certain restaurant that sold Calendar’s (haha I crack myself up, Marie Calendar’s). It was the right size for them to sit together, splash around, and still left plenty of room for them to walk around the cage.

Once the ducklings moved to the pen with the chickens on the deck we quickly learned the pie tin was now too small and the chickens would try to sit on the edge and dump it over immediately. This is where the 2nd stage came in. It was brought on by the Hubby’s love for the ducks and not knowing which dishes were the expensive ones.

a Pyrex Baking Dish

That’s right, one of my glass Pyrex baking dishes. in his defense there really wasn’t anything better to choose from in the cupboards and this worked out really really well. Heavy enough to not flip, deep enough to dunk their heads in, and really easy to clean. So props went to the Hubby after I had a couple of breaths and thought it through. Also I happened to have a weird size and he thankfully used that one, which is one I do not use regularly.  So I definitely recommend this to others as one of the stages to use for growing ducklings.

our lovely ladies

After the ducks were in the coop we realized they were getting way to big for the baking dish and needed something bigger that would not break the bank, easy to clean, store, and move around. Thus moving us into the 3rd stage of the duck pond. We went to Walmart and found the $4.88 kiddie pools! The Littles got a blue one and the lady ducks got pink. It took some coaxing but the ducks eventually learned that this bright pink thing was something fun and they would only go in when we weren’t watching. By the time we could get the camera they would have jumped out and ran back into the coop.

can you even imagine what this animal conversation was?

Word of caution! Baby chicks and duck ponds do not mix very well. Our dog was acting weird so we went out to see what was wrong and there she was with this hen staring at one of our Leghorn chicks who had fallen into the pool…I mean pond and couldn’t get out.

Eventually we would love to make a real pond but seeing as we are penny-pinching, our kiddie pool will suffice for now. Have you ever had a duck pond? What was it like? Pictures are always great too!!

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