Becky's Farm Life

The simple life, living off God's land, one day at a time.

Ok, Let’s Try It Again

   First off, thank you all for your prayers. I am still kicking, just had a few bad days. (almost a pity party) Funny how easy it can sneak up on you.  For a few days, I felt like I was in a black hole and could not get out, and at times did not want out. You all know how your mind can play games with you. But the sun has come back out and the black hole is gone.  Thank you Lord. So I am going to try  again and get this blog going with more posts.

   I dropped my power bill by: turning off lights and use them only at night when it’s dark or work is being done, using the small night lights in hallway and bathrooms ( no need turning on all those lights when the night light works fine), now I do turn the bathroom light on to take a shower, the cow fence charger was taken down( it used power), unplugged the extra ice box, turned off the water heater during the day and off after showers, TV-VCR-computers etc are plugged into a power strip that turned off when not in use, no dryer (not using it to dry wash cloths like before about once a week, now I use homemade wash cloths and napkins so we are talking about almost 50 cloths to hang up.), do one load of dish in the dishwasher a day (no more- different glass every time you get a drink).

   My gas stove is getting fixed this Thursday, no more store bread. It went out months ago, and I have been using the small toaster oven. But it’s not big enough for bread. And the bread prices keep going up and up along with everything else. It’s a bit of money to get it fix. But I also see it as saving more money as I will be able to cook more at home. Boy we sure do miss my oatmeal cookies.  🙂 I have saved up to get it fixed. And can’t wait to get it back in working order. 

   TommieLynn’s male hamster got got last week. For three days he had freedom. Then this morning the female hamster was not in her cage when I woke up. Her and her 7 babies gone. I don’t mind telling you think twice and then think again before getting hamsters. Well her freedom did not last as long as his, only a few hours. Thank you Lord. And the kittens keep coming, now we are up to 14 kittens, 1 more cat due any day. Anyone need a great mouse cat, they are free. My cows were so much easier than these hamsters.  LOL

   It’s going on it’s second week of rain every day. Today it only rained this morning. My grass is almost knee high but it’s still to wet to mow and it’s supports to rain the rest of this week. So I have not even been able to do any garden work. My garden does not need to be that big this year as my food barn and freezers are still full. But we do need a few things. I am so thankful I started stocking up when Tommy told too, almost 2 years ago now.

   The jobs are still very few in this area. More and more people losing jobs and homes. And more are having their power turned off. More are growing gardens, and more are trying new ways of doing things to stretch their money. At times it’s overwhelming to see the way this world is going. But I’m ready for home.

   I have been making homemade popsicles out of kool-aid and juice, an quick snack.  I have the cream in the freezer for homemade  ice cream when it gets a little hotter. I am still stretching my meats at dinner, and having eggs at dinner as we have so many eggs. Sometimes just sandwiches. Trying very hard to buy less and less from the store, most of the time I do great. There are times when I do buy what I call extras/just because things. So far we are doing good. When KFC chicken sends out great deals with coupons on buckets of chickens, I get them and pack in meal size freezer bags. It a fast meal and better than the frozen box chicken. Does not happen often, but it’s a treat too. When we do go out to eat, we use coupons or no go. Have you all seen more then usual  coupons coming out in the mail? Some are great deals. Right now here, KFC has a 2 piece meal deal out for $2.00. I know fast food is not good for you, but sometimes you just need to get out, a night off.

   I need your help, ok. I have some many black ant hills in my yard it’s no long funny. Every other step, is a step into a ant hill and they are in my raised bed garden too. I have never seen so many. How can I get rid of them as they are now trying to come into the house??? They are breeding faster than rabbits and rats.  HELP !!

   I am still feeling my way through this new life, one day at a time, by God’s grace I/we will make it.

 

 

 

 

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May 5, 2009 Posted by | economic situation, family, farm life, Food prices, freezing, ideas, low income, making do, saving money, self sufficiency | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Road A head – Part 4 – Making more at home

Well I have made 2 batches of homemade ice cream. And for some reason it’s so much better than store bought. I have never worked out the price to make it, as we have milk and eggs here. We save up ice to make it.

A trip to town yesterday was an eye opener. Gas here was down to $2.78 a gallon.  I’m trying to restock some of the sugar I’ve used. (so as my stock does not get to low going into the winter). And do you know the 5 pounds bags are gone with the wind.  All I could find where 4 pound bags for the same price as the 5 pound. I was not a happy camper. Some lady in the store said, “They changed to 4 pounds two months ago. Why are you so mad,now?” And as nicely as I could told her about my stocking and that I was just refilling my stock. And then I got the funny look from her, and she asked why I was stocking up? I just rolled my eyes, sorry to say, and went on. Potatoes, these are now gold in this area. Early this year, 10 lbs. $1.49, 50 lbs.$7.00, now 10 lbs are $4.99 and the 50 lbs. jump to $18.99. I bought one 10 lbs bag, why not the 50 lbs? Well we wanted some french fries(it’s been a month and half since we have had any), and the frozen french fries were even higher. I have some canned potatoes and instant mashed potatoes . We use to eat potatoes about every night, now maybe 2-3 times a week. Which is killing my 11 year old daughter.

I am now only buying staples at the store. I was buying a off brand hamburger helper ( for a fast meal) but the last two boxes I bought had a flavor of nothing but salt. So no more prepackaged foods. If I can not make it from scratch, we don’t eat it. I have put my foot down on cereal too( the only prepackaged food I buy as I have not learned to make it), as the price is the same but the ounces keep going down. I’ll buy one box a week that is not more than $2.00. Which has my 11 yrs. old checking prices and ounces better than before. Yesterday at Save A Lot, she was almost in tears. She said, “Mom, my cereal is now $1.89 a box and two weeks ago it was $1. 69 and 2 ounces larger.” She knows I will not buy it when it goes over $2.00. I think this mess is hurting the children hard. Yes, I know there are other foods for breakfast but we also use cereal as snacks( because we have so much milk).

I need to keep an eye out for milk prices as our milk cow is slowly drying up. (We are praying the bull in the pen with her, has done his job.) We are now getting about 2 gallons and a quart a day. I am still freezing and canning.

But we are  using/drinking a gallon a day. So I’m not sure now long my stock will last. 

 

Collodial Silver Water – Natural Antibiotic

I first tried this, a few weeks ago. And I love it. I had a super bad ear infection, which meant I needed an super antibiotic( I used pill antibiotics for 20 days). I could not hear out of my ear for almost 3 weeks. A friend said to try this Collodial silver water. And I did, with in 3 days, I could hear again. Then I goggled it and found more uses. Here is one: Usages. And another friend has the machine to make it at home and is going to make me some( thank you Angela). The last few days, I have been checking out herbs and their usages. Finding out which I can grow at home, which grow in the woods and fields around me. Please check into this.

My son got me an “Natural Remedies Encyclopedia” with  908 pages. He had gotten it earlier this year so that I could find things that might help Tommy with his cancer. I know this is an other must have book.

Here at Amazon 

This book is not cheap, runs from $50.00 and up. (Maybe you can ask your son too, as we could not have bought it our selves).If you are like me and know very little about herbs, it’s great. And if you already know about using herbs, it has everything in one book. This book tells you everything, from photos of the herbs to making them, and what herbs to use for what.  My son blessed us in more than one way with this book. This book covers a lot of every day things too. And think of all the money you will be saving, no more waiting in the doctors office for two hours.  You say your not a doctor and will not know what your treating. Well the book also list symptoms, causes, natural remedies and is written by MD’s. I am not saying never go to the doctors, just not as much. With money tight you want to do all you can to save it. Some of the herbs are growing in your back yard for free. You moms with kids, I know you get tired of going in for ear infections, the Collodial silver water works and the book will give you more herbs and ways.

There are a very few books I put on my must have list. But the ones that are on this list are the best out there. And most cover everything in a subject. I have a most have gardening book, I’ll  tell you about next time.

The more thing I can make/ or do at home, the less money I’ll have to spend. Everything I am doing takes more time than money. Time I have, money very little of.  A few years ago, I would of never dream of using herbs, as I only knew a very few people who used them, so I did not know much about them myself. I had nothing against them or using them. I guess you could say I didn’t need them. Then Tommy got sick and  this opened my eyes to herbs. I don’t know a lot about them YET, but I’m learning daily. And I’m thankful the Lord supply’s all our needs, even in the back yard. 

 

Happy herb hunting,

Becky

 

October 18, 2008 Posted by | economic situation, Food prices, great book, herbs, ideas, making do, recession, Road Ahead, saving money, self sufficiency | , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

This and That on the Farm – 9/24

This comment was left on ” I have a Friend” and it’s great and I wanted everyone to see it. Thank you Linda J.

“…if all things are in His hand, if the very hairs of our head are numbered; if every event, great and small, is under the direction of His Providence and purpose; and if He has a wise, holy and gracious end in view, to which everything that happens is subordinate and subservient;–then we have nothing to do, but with patience and humility to follow as He leads, and cheerfully to expect a happy issue….How happy are they who can resign all to Him, see His hand in every dispensation, and believe that He chooses better for them than they possibly could for themselves!” ~John Newton, who wrote the hymn, “Amazing Grace”

A friend of ours let us borrow his living weed eater, goat. We are trying to clear out an area, so the cows can have a little more room. This area used to be the goat pen,  then was a pig pen. Well, at about dusk the goat was running around the yard.  Our friend had always keep him on a chain and just moved him around as needed. So the goat does not really like people, he runs from them. Yet, all my animals run to me, which makes catching them so easy, except it gets a little hairy when you have a 900 lb.+ cow coming at you. OK, back to this goat on the run. He had broke his collar, no fixing it. We got him , and used a rope to hold him. While
I tried to find another collar. Ok, I live on a farm and have animal bottles of all sizes and shapes, and I thought every thing needed to run a farm.

But there was no collar on the farm. I had think of something as the goat would go through the fence with the cows in it, and it’s getting dark. Here is what I did, and goat was not to happy. I found a calf halter and put in on him. And yes it was big on him, Tommy had to cut another hole in it to get it as tight as we could. And let me tell you that goats can dance. He tried for over an hour to get it off.

 

Now for gas here. A friend called yesterday and said that our area was very low, or out of gas. One gas tanker was splitting the gas between 4 stations. For about 40 miles around us there is no gas. They are not sure when it’ll come in. When Tommy came home Monday, he said the gas station , less than a mile from home was out of gas, and the next station 6 miles up the road had a 10 gallon limit. So he filled up the truck. Which now I am thankful he did. With the new little truck, we can go to town 3 1/2 times in gas for what we only got 1 trip with the other truck. Thank you Lord. And thank you Lord the worry and fear bug had no hold this time, I had Your peace! And last nights News was not much better, but I got my peace.

 

I am having to get more creative. Here are some more of my new ways of saving money:

  1. I use freezer bags, but have not been washing them out and reusing them. ( don’t reuse the ones that have held meat in them. I use freezer paper for my meats.) But now I’m washing them out. I have seen those little bag drier stands, costing about $20+. I will not pay that. So at the thrift store I found a small set of Tinker toys for a $.25, and got them. And made my own bag drier and it sits on top of the drier. I’ll post a photo in a day or two.
  2. The AC was turned off in the food barn. And the windows were opened and a fan turned on. This will really drop the bill.
  3. I willing be making my own clothes soap this week.( will post photos later).
  4. Will start back making our own bread as a store loaf here is over $2.50.
  5. Even my 11 yr old daughter is getting creative, she has 3-4 new grilled cheese ways.
  6. Tommy is getting up some fire wood. Not knowing what this winter will bring, we are preparing for the worse and praying for the best. We do not have a wood heater but I will be able to cook. The cooking/heating gas has already gone way up and winter is not here yet.
  7. I am making everyone wool house socks. Our floors are so cold in the winter. And the heat this year will be keep on low. I guess I will not be able to wear shorts in the house this winter. And I’m looking into getting my daughter sweat suits to wear to bed this winter, as she does not like to cover up or likes to kick them off.
  8. Water- We have a 425 gallon tank in our back yard. ( I need to change the water below winter) You can save any bottles you have and fill with water. The bottles that had soaps of some kind in it, fill with water, they can be used to wash dishes, hands, etc. Other bottles for drinking/ cooking water. And the bottles can be stuck anywhere it does not freeze. Fill bottles almost full and let freeze, to put in coolers for when power out.

We were blessed this week, when a family up the road was moving out. Tommy trade a few ladders, transit, air compressor for a 12′ X 16′ building. They could not move it on the highway, but can be moved to our house. It is dried in, has a roof, a small loft in it, cedar siding almost done on the outside. It is so nice, looks like a little cabin. Well Tommy said I could have it. He had a  trailer frame  here in which to make me one, but this one is so close to done and the trade was good for both of us. The family could not take it, but needed the tools. The Lord is so good. It will be a sewing/ guest house. I can’t wait to get it here so as I can fix it up the way I want. You see, we rent so I can’t fix up much here. But the new little house is mine, oh what fun I am going to have. We’ll put the bunk bed set we just got ( twin on top and full on bottom, which slides up to make like a couch.) The loft will be great for all the kids to sleep. They are pulling it down here this coming Saturday.

 

I have to go to town today to get food and feed. Boy, I sure hate going to town. I don’t need much, but I really need the animal feed. So I’ll get the few other things I can’t make. Like bath paper, sugar, oil, goat collar. I have been reading others post about the prices of everything going up, so I’m glad my list is short. Anyone know how to make bath paper? I’m willing to try it.

 

Well I better get going and see what great deals can be found in town today.

May you all have a blessed day,

Becky

 

 

 

 

September 24, 2008 Posted by | blessings, creativity, farming, Food prices, gas prices, ideas, making do, recession, saving money, self sufficiency, winter | , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Is it worth it to have a milk cow? YES

863.5 gallons 

from 12-1-07 to 9-26-08, just milk in gallons, 10 months.
x    $3.00 price of the cheapest store bought milk- by the gallon
= $ 2,590.50 total of milk if bought in store
–  $1,600.00 10 months of feed for cow, $160 a month
=$990.50 we saved just on milk in 10 months

But this is just milk prices. From this milk I have made: all the butter, whip cream, cheeses, sour cream, fed the cats and dogs and more, that we use.

So really our savings is more than above. But I use the number as a guide to make sure I am not losing money by feeding the cow.

Some people have wanted to know this as they are thinking of getting a milk cow.

Hope this helps.

Becky

 

September 20, 2008 Posted by | Food prices, homemade cheese, milking cow, saving money, self sufficiency | , , , , | 2 Comments

Farm Life – 9/15

We received a big box of apples, oh what a blessing, thank you Carol.  I did get all the onion sets planted.  Pulled up my garlic to dry. And the Lord sent a light rain last night. We have built a new chicken pen for the young chickens to go into.

We pulled up the hallway carpet (to many dog messes), and I scrubbed the tile that was under carpet. Now I looking for washable rugs to put down in the hallway. If I can’t find what I want then I guess I’ll start sewing them.

Our daughter came by yesterday and brought us lunch. This was a treat, thank you Sissy. Hamburgers and milk shakes, mmmmm.

I have also been weeding out the house. Throwing things away I no longer need or use. Tommy wants to take photos, as he says I never throw away any thing. But I’m tired of all this stuff getting in my way. We have an old school bus, that we use for storage. I have gone through things in there too. I already feel lighter. Some called it fall cleaning, I call it weeding the house.

I have frozen more eggs, canned more potatoes and milk.  I’m not sure how much longer the chicken will lay and the cow give milk??? And winter seem to be coming a lot faster this year.

I am working on knitted socks for this winter. And making gifts too. I think this would be a great year to start a nothing but homemade Christmas. With money so tight with everyone, maybe this will happen. And it’s so much fun, even my 11 yr. old is thinking up things to make. But my job is to find her what she needs or come up with something else to use.

I have started cutting down on how much meat I put on the table for dinners. And this hit my 11yr. old hardest last night. As we had what she loves most, fried chicken. She usually eats 2-3 pieces, she really likes fried chicken. But I had to tell her it’s 2 nights of chicken not 1 night.  I told her she could have more vegs.  She was not to happy, but she handled it pretty well.  Her dad and I tried again to tell her about hard times coming and making things stretch so they would last longer.  Our frozen chicken is very low and the chickens in the yard are not big enough yet to kill.  This is our first time of stretching food, as I use to put 3-5 lbs of meat on the table. We ate a lot of meat when the other 2 kids were home too. We always had enough, and even left overs.  We have always lived pay check to pay check.  But I have never before had to watch/cut back on meals.  All this mess with high prices and no jobs, how do you get your kids to understand??? She never gotten everything she wanted, but even a trip to the park in town cost more with gas prices up. She is use to the simple things in life, but now the simple things cost more too.  Yesterday, her little friend came over for the day. Do you know what they came up with, and had a blast doing? They filled up two 55 gallon steel drums with water, and played in them for hours. You could hear them laughing in the house.  I really love the simple life.

Becky

 

 

September 15, 2008 Posted by | blessings, creativity, Food prices, food storage, ideas, making do, self sufficiency | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Another week on the Farm – Winter is Coming Fast

I have stayed busy. Tommy has had a bad week but thank God, I think he’s getting better.  I have canned more potatoes, froze more milk and cream and eggs, and made a big batch of mozzarella cheese for the freezer. The mozzarella cheese photos and recipe, I will post in a few days.

I have 3 lbs. of  onion sets that need to be planted. I could not get any this past spring. So hopefully they will have enough time to grow this fall. I have never grown onions in  the fall, so this is my something new this year. We eat a lot of them. And two weeks ago at the store they were $2.?? for 3 lbs., used to be less than a dollar.

I am at the point were I hate, hate going to the store (any store). The prices on everything are up to unbelievable. Enough to make all sick. Thank God for my food barn, milk cow and chickens. I know a lot of you don’t have these things, and I am racking my brain on tips and hints for you. For right now, my tips are buy very wisely and learn to cook from scratch. I’ll be posting some easy from scratch recipes soon.

The chicken are slowly slowing down on their eggs. But I’m freezing a lot too.  The  milk cow is down to 3 gallons a day, and should keep going down now.  We have a cow in the freezer. Chickens to kill this fall when it cools off more.

Winter is on the way. And I’m almost ready, or should I say as ready as I can get. This summer has flown by. There are leaves all over the ground here. At times, I would love to put a hold on the winter coming, Saying I need a little more time to get ready. But the good Lord knows what’s He’s going, so I pray I’m putting up enough for the winter. And if not, He’ll find a way to supply what we need, not want.  I have felt like the ants in the Bible, more this year than ever before. And we have lived like this for years.  Does anyone else feel like the ants this year??  I feel we all are in for the longest, hardest winter world wide.

I would like to thank everyone for all your comments and your prayers. These blogs have been such a blessing to me in more than one way. To be honest, I didn’t think I would be able to help any one. But the overwhelming numbers are unbelievable. The canning potatoes post has reached  497 hits.  Are there any potatoes left out there?  Thank you all again.  I am just here to help you all any way I can.  There are so many people looking for ways to make it through all this mess. And my heart goes out to you all. I wish I could give you all a big hug.

Well it’s time to start another day. May God bless you all to overflowing today.

Becky

 

September 12, 2008 Posted by | Canning, eggs, Food prices, food storage, freezing, homemade cheese, making do, self sufficiency, Tommy, winter | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Low Income – Disability Check – Recession

This year is hard on everyone with the recession : high gas prices – high food prices – job cut backs – no jobs – etc.  I wanted to share how we are making it on just a disability check of $996 a month for 3 people. This is our second month living off of it, and it was a little hairy last month but better this month.

With this check, we first pay the rent, power and phone bills. And we are left with $ 211. The $211 is used for: food, gas for the truck, truck ins., soaps and etc., and animal food. And this can be tricky and overwhelming, but so far we are doing it.

The rent bill, we can not lower.

The power bill: is high in the summer due to having to run a AC in the food barn (which holds a years supply of food) , in the winter: we use gas to heat with so power bill will drop but then we have to add back the gas bill. Everything is turned off when not in use.

The phone bill: is a little high but it includes- free long distant and a toll free number ( for family and friends to call), and our Internet which is used for school and to find new ways to save money.   

Some ways we are saving money, not spending money, doing without wants, new ways of doing things:

  1. We started last year storing and stocking up on food and other house hold goods. Which I am so thankful we did because we would be having a hard time now if I had not. And we put a beef cow in the freezer a few weeks ago. So our meat is good and will last 1  1/2 to 2 years.
  2. Our milk cow is giving us 21+ gallons of milk a week, chicken give us eggs ( 80+ a week) and meat, and vegs from the garden. You can do a lot with milk and eggs including feeding cats and dogs.
  3. We only go to town twice a month. I’d like to get it down to once a month but I’m not there yet.  A trip to town cost us $30 in gas round trip.
  4.  Bought power strips to plug in the TV, VCR,  etc., so as they can be turned off all the way when not in use.
  5. Lower watt light bulbs
  6. Home school books left over from older kids, another 4 years worth left before I need to buy more.
  7. We do not eat out, and our sweets are homemade. I do buy cereal as I have not learned yet to make it.  The good, low sugar kind- the good for you kind.
  8. I make a lot of my cleaners, clothes soap, monthly pads, dish clothes, cloth napkins, socks ( I buy wool sweaters from the thrift store, and take them apart for the wool.)
  9. I do use my dishwasher but I don’t use my clothes dryer. I chose to give up using the dryer so I could use the dish washer. And it is only ran once or twice a day.
  10. I chose to have Internet over dish/cable TV. We have air TV and get 3 channels (ABC, NBC, CBS),  we think that is enough for us.
  11. We fix things when they break not buy new. I love DUCT tape, but hubby does not. Oh, well I still sneak it in once in a while.
  12. We save for things that are needed. We don’t rent to own, where you end up paying twice. Now there is nothing wrong with people who choose this, as I know it’s their only way. But we chose not to.
  13. When I go to the store, I only buy things on sale. I plan my menu on what I have on hand.   And at times it’s been hard, as you ladies know sometimes you just want something you don’t have on hand.
  14.  You really have to learn to give some things up but not everything.  We have all of our needs meet and still have a few of our wants. It’s hardest on the kids. But I have been giving mine a choose of things. I just don’t say no. I ask her, “Would you like this or that? or Do you want to do this or have that?” Recently she wanted to go to the pool, well we did not have the gas money. Which I told her, she said ok and went out side to play. She came back in a while later and asked,” Mom, can I use that big roll of plastic to make a water slide?” I said sure. She found a way to have fun with out spending a penny. I am so proud of her.
  15.  Read a lot. There are so many ways to learn something new.
  16. Pray a lot. Count your every blessing both big and small.
  17. Remember this earth is not our home. I say, Earth and living here is our boot camp for heaven.

I know it’s going to be a long hard winter for everyone. And we might have to give up some things for a while. But the sun will come out again, this I know. I know some of you are working with a income lower than ours. Some of you may not be able to pay your rent or buy food. And I’m really sorry, I wish I could be of more help to you, but I’ll pray for you. Maybe some of my ideas will help you, at least I pray they do.

 

I will list more things as they come to mind on saving money, etc. And I’ll let you know when I find great web sites, too.

Well I better go for now, work to do. Hope you all have a blessed day.

Becky

August 27, 2008 Posted by | creativity, disability check, Food prices, food storage, ideas, low income, making do, recession, saving money, self sufficiency, Stocking up | , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Canning Potatoes

You can use garden or store potatoes to can. Our potato plants died to soon, so we did not get the crop we usually get. So when potatoes go on sale, I will buy a bunch and can them.

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These are our new potatoes dug this year. The small ones, I wash really good and can. These are good when it’s cold outside.

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The above canned potatoes are from this year. The below are from last year. The starch (the white coating on potatoes below) is just washed off, and potatoes are good.  The chopped potatoes are used in : beef stew, put in a pan and fried with butter and onions, in a pan and eaten as boiled potatoes, drained over night and used in potato salad, and more.

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To pressure can Potatoes:

 (are a low acid food and must be pressured canned  to destroy all bacteria and etc.) 

Small ones:  just wash well and pack loosely in jars.

Large ones: Peel and cut into a brine water ( 1 teaspoon salt to a quart of water) , then rinse and pack loosely in to jars.

Then add 1 teaspoon of salt per quart and fill with water.

Process 40 minutes for quarts at 15 lbs.

Happy Canning!

For those of you who do not have a pressure canned, the potatoes can be froze, put in the cool part of your refrigerator. But please do not use a hot water bath canner as it is not safe.

See comment #25 below on how to freeze potatoes.

( more answers can be found in the comments here)

Becky

August 23, 2008 Posted by | Canning, Food prices, food storage, garden, ideas, making do, recipes | , , , , | 253 Comments

Getting ready for Winter, Family weekend, Photos,

The News yesterday said we were in for a hard, long winter, with prices still going up, and all the floods and fires in the USA.  All around here people are without jobs, and having a hard time making ends meet.  More and more people are asking me what I do and how I do it.  I tell most it’s about giving up things, (eating out, driving to town for no real reason,  buying ready made meals, etc.). This is not a easy time for anyone here in the USA. People need to go back to helping each other and trading for what they need.  We had family up last weekend, and  we needed help cleaning up the yard and house. With no money to hire help, we asked friends to help. They too, have been out of work for months.  So we traded meat and canned goods for their help. So everyone won. I liked too thank those good friends again for their help and their friendship, you guys mean a lot to us.  Good friends are very hard to come by.

Barb // August 8, 2008 at 10:27 am

I found your blog most helpful and I do agree with your husband. We are headed for some very hard times ahead. I would love to know how you heat your home and what part of the country that you live in? We may not have gas or electric heat in the future….and that is all I have. I have a wood stove that I have thinking about installing in case we lose our electricity.
Love your blog…..great info.
Barb

Barb asked in a comment about  how we heat our home. Well we use gas, and live in  GA, USA.  With Tommy’s breathing wood  heat would be hard. And our house has no where to put a stove.  With our gas heater, it still works if the power goes out. If you all can get a wood stove, do so now. A friend told me yesterday, that the wood stove companies were not making as many this year due to high prices on everything.  We know our heating bill will be up but right now we just will have to make due. No running around the house in shorts this winter. And we’ll wear our shoes in the house. I’ll being baking more this winter: breads, cakes, cookies, etc. Which will help heat the house.

Tommy and I were talking about the winter times coming just last night. We are trying our best to plan ahead as much as we can.  With his disability check we get every month, we’ll pay the rent, power, phone, heating gas and have a little let. So we are blessed to be able to pay these bill as some can’t. Heating gas: we used 200lbs. a month last winter( running it on low) for about $100 a month, but the gas prices have jump here by $20 extra a 100lb tank.( last year a 100lb tank filled cost $50 and has jumped to $70 and winter is not here yet) We use two 100 lb tanks, and fill them as needed. I know most people have the big 250 lb + tanks in their back yard, but we have never had the money at one time to fill the big tanks.  And we are really paying less per gallon than those filling the big tanks.  Our biggest bill this winter will be our feed bill( cow’s milk and eggs) without feed we will not get the milk and eggs. Right now our feed bill is up $25-$30 a week($70 in feed week). But we get some much for the money: 21 gallons of milk, 80+ eggs, beef meat, chicken meat). So we are trying to find a way to pay the feed bill, as this bill is a must. And we know the feed prices we keep going up. Many farmers have sold all their stock due to high feed prices. I can do a lot with milk and eggs, so we really need them. We’ll just have to wait and take it one day at a time.  And our food stores, I can make them last two years( just needing to buy flour, sugar, oil).   We have learned to make due or just do without. Yes, there are a few things we would like to have, but that’s life. We still have fun, we eat very well compared to some who can only eat very little due to food and gas prices. We always look for things to be thankful for instead of wishing for what we don’t have. Take a really good look around you, look really close: You can find many things your family can be thankful for.  And being thankful for everything will lighten your load, we all are really so blessed. We sometimes forget to count our blessings ( including me). And most of the time the smallest blessing mean the most.

It going to be a long, hard winter. And we all can make it one day at a time and helping each other along the way. I have learned so many new things since we got the Internet. I know I will not use it all daily but when it’s needed I’ll have the info. I have always prepared for the worse times and prayed for the best. The simple life has been good for us in more ways than one. It’s a working life( garden, and animal care, cooking from scratch, using less power and using God’s wind), but we have always had a roof over our head and food in our tummies. God has blessed us, we have always had all of our needs meet.

Tommy is doing ok. Yesterday, he was hurting in his hip bones. He rested most of the day.  Friends brought us some dog cage panels yesterday ( an other answer to prayer, we needed them to make a jr. chicken pen, badly, and no money for new fencing, God sent them to us). So Tommy had a nice visit with him on the porch for a few hours (Tommy does not sit still well, thanks Scott).  It has been getting really hot about noon and staying that way until dark. ( 92-95 in the house) Well winter will be here soon.

Our family weekend with so well. We all had a great time.  Someone had given us a big, big roll of plastic, which my 11yr. turned into a homemade water slide.   The kids had so much fun, and they were funny too.

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Most of the weekend everyone was trying to get a photo of the humming birds coming to the feeder on the front porch. Even with everyone sitting on the porch they still came, but went as soon as someone tried to take a photo. Well they finally got a few Sunday evening.

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I made homemade cinnamon rolls, but there was none left, oh well.

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And I had my first S’ mores, and it was really good.

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It was really a great week end. Thank you to all who came. Well I had better go and get this day started. Hope and pray you all have a great day. Becky

August 21, 2008 Posted by | blessings, family, Food prices, making do, self sufficiency | , , , , | 3 Comments

Blessings, Apples, Stocking

We have a week of on and off rain. Which we so badly needed. The youth group came back. They mowed the yard, weed eatted around the yard, and moved just about all the mulch into the upper garden. They were a great blessing to us.

I went yesterday, and picks 2 big plastic totes of apples. I got them free, off  the ground. The older man has a hard time picking from ground. He told me I could come any time and get all I wanted off the ground. Thank you Lord for the fruit. His trees are loaded. And so was the ground. As soon as I get these apples put up, I’ll go for more. I hope to make applesauce, can apples in a light syrup,  and for the first time make apple jelly. We could not get apples from him last year due to a late frost, but did get some the year before. And I only have a few quarts left from that year.

If you all see an apple (pears,oranges,….) tree in someone’s yard, and there are apples on ground, stop and ask if you can have the ones on the ground. 9 times out of 10, them will just give them to you so as they do not have to pick them up or mow them.  This is how I started, and now they call me when they are ready to pick up, year after year.   Put the word out that you want peoples extras. After I have canned and froze all I need for the year, I call in people to come and pick the extra, and some people call me to come and get their extra ( things I don’t grow or have). Find out every one around you who farms or gardens, trade things with each other. More people are willing to trade than buy right now. I offer people a 1/3 to 1/2 on what I am doing for their help( snapping beans to can, peeling apples,  peeling potatoes to can), just let people know. I have a list of people wanting to help. And Lord knows I need help.  It is really time to start helping one another, and it blesses me so to see so many doing just that.

Well, yesterday I went to town ( I  go  every two weeks, now), and I could not believe the prices are still going up, even on my feed for the animals. And just in two weeks, some things with up as much as $1.00 per item. Boy, I  really hate going to town.  But I found a few good deals: Ivory soap 4 @$1.00 (was 3 @$1.00), cans of coffee $3.00 cheaper than anywhere else( I got 6, that’s all they had left),cereal for $1.89 a box( got 8), 2 baby changing pads $.25 each( for my homemade pads). This week there was not many sale for me, so not much to add to stock, but I got some.  I got 700 pounds of feed for animals for two weeks, this bill was up by $30.00 . I wish I had enough room to grow my own feed, but I don’t, so I buy. 

Well I have a lot of work I needed to do, pray you all have a great weekend.

Becky 

July 12, 2008 Posted by | blessings, Canning, Food prices, saving money, Stocking up | , , , , | Leave a comment