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Saturday, June 22, 2013

It's Harvest Day!




 I took this picture on the 18th. The sky is blue, the grass (and weeds) are green, and the wheat is oh so brown. I just knew harvest day was coming soon. We have had wonderful rain this spring and I prayed that it would not rain too much that the fields would be all muddy. Instead we got some heat, the ground dried up, and TADAAAAA............
 
 It's HARVEST DAY!!!!! Oh the 21st is such a wonderful day! The wind is pretty strong today so we can not even sit on the front porch to watch the tractors do their jobs. It's too bad because I was really looking forward to that. I got a mouth full, nose full, and eyes full of wheat dust just trying to take these pictures. I ended up having to send Bryson out to take more because I started coughing. He did a good job. I wanted a picture of both combines together. He got it for me.
                                                     Oh what a wonderful day!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Food Part 1: The Budget

I was just reading another blog from a lady who was explaining how to make do on a food budget of $150 a month. Her explanation on the hows and whys and wheres of saving money on food was very good. She even gave examples of her menu, which I thought sounded very yummy. But I kept reading the same thing over and over again - for me and my husband. I was a little frustrated with myself for going back over that phrase again and again until it dawned on me that she was only talking about $150 for two - yep 2 - people. And then I knew what the problem was. I was subconsciously jealous that she has so much money to spend on food. It is true and I won't deny it.

I decided that I would share what I do because my budget - or I should say Daniel's budget - is way less than that and there are 8 of us. So here's how it goes: Every three or four months (several years have been every five or six months) Daniel goes to a store we have here that is 45 miles away called Aldi, and spends between $200 - $350, although I do remember him spending $400 once.  He buys canned corn, peas, green beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, chili beans,   kidney beans, refried beans, pork and beans, cream of mushroom soup, macaroni and cheese, macaroni noodles, spaghetti noodles, ramen noodles, rice, oat meal, oil, sour cream, powdered milk, sugar, and flour. Occasionally, he may come home with bread, bananas, apples, a box of raisins, or a vegetable or two he thought was a good price or just wanted to treat us with. If cheese or chicken goes on sale then he might buy that.  If you were to average it out, even at $400 every three months, which just doesn't happen, it would still only give us a food budget of $133 a month for a family of 8. It's actually more like $65-$100 a month. (Right now I'm sure you are either impressed or thinking that we are totally out of our minds crazy. You may be right on both accounts!)     

We don't eat a lot of meat and what we do usually comes from what ever I can butcher in any given year - deer, turkey, chicken, cow, pig, or goat. I can a lot too. When my garden is great we eat great, and when it's not I do a lot of bartering to make up the difference. This year, between the tornado that took out my garden and the fire that took out my food, I have been doing a lot of begging. A friend of ours gave us a watermelon they grew and the rind of one they ate. I made dill pickles with that rind today and got 14 quarts. That's good in my book. Also I pick apples and pears from different people who have trees and don't want them or don't want any more of them. I slice them, sauce them, juices them and can them. This year was a great year for sand hill plums. In less than two hours the kids and I picked two five gallon buckets, which will translate into jam and syrup. If there are any left on Friday, I will be picking more.

I have lots of dry beans on hand, and always seem to be given more - no complaints from me. And I have lots of wheat, rye, and soy beans. I make breads, rolls, pastas, cakes, cookies, etc. from what I have on hand. It's yummy and some times way to good for us. For example, Brandon decided that he wanted to make cinnamon rolls so he and Grandma Wohlford made a double batch. We had cinnamon rolls for supper that night, breakfast, lunch, and supper the next day, and breakfast the following morning. That does not include all the snacking on cinnamon rolls we did. I banned anyone from making them for a whole month. Oh but they were sooooo good! Wish you were there :)

So you see, it is possible to. I will be more than happy to show you how I do it, and then if you have any hints or suggestions then you can pass them on to me. On my next post I will tell you where I started. See ya soon and thanks for chatting!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Just an Update

It's been a really crazy life these past several months. I'm sure I don't want to repeat them. I have wondered if I should ever post the things that were really hard to handle or bad things that happened and for the longest time I thought I should not. Then I was randomly reading articles and I came across one that a lady shared of the bad things that happened and how she was able to learn and grow from them. So I thought, and thought, maybe if I only shared good things people would get the wrong idea of what life is really like, how hard it can really be and not really understand why it is all worth it for me. So I figured it wouldn't be bad to share. After all, I'm still here and still plugging away at the life I want to create ~ good or bad ~ and really loving it.

So here it is. 2012 has been a very hard year so far. It seems nothing has really gone my way, though I am not complaining, and everything that I thought I wanted to accomplish has been put on hold. The year started out all right, I say because I actually can not remember. I know it was hectic, chaotic, crazy, and fun. Then the first part of April brought on storms and we got hit with a tornado. We lost all of the out buildings except for the garage and the library. The house and the library both have a hole in the roof. Neither one has been fixed. Our siding is full of holes, not fixed, trees were uprooted, there is metal everywhere, equipment was damaged, it took out my whole garden-including all of my raised beds and food that was already in the ground.... And yet we were lucky, rather blessed. The same tornado took one entire house, completely damaged others, and destroyed the livelihood of other farmers in our area. Livestock was lost. In my case, some of my chickens were killed and a couple of my goats were hurt but ours fared better than others. The clean up still goes on around us but we still look like a war zone. Part of that has to do with the fire we had. Yep! A fire.

After the tornado, school ended and we went to Utah for 2 weeks to see my Hannah graduate, my nephew, Justin, graduate, and Daniel's niece, Alex, graduate. WOW! It was fun! Family! Friends! Hugs and Kisses! Can't beat it. It took our mind off of the tornado mess at home (and the SAD SAD fact that Daniel sold ALL of my goats- still crying over that one). We got home and got back to work. I replanted as much of a garden as I could, which wasn't much at all, redid some pens, and moved animals around. And then the fire.

July 3 the fan motor in the deep freezer in the basement went out. The motor over heated and caused a fire.   Within a few minutes the entire house was engulfed in smoke. Another blessing, the entire house did not go up in flames, only smoke. The saddest thing - we lost most of our food because the freezer was beside the shelves holding canned goods and things I had canned. Not to mention all of our deer meat in the freezer (about 200lbs) and all of my frozen fruit and vegetable mixes that I had been putting up. Fish, cheese, cakes, and other goodies rounded out the freezer stuff. I am very broken hearted about that loss. But I've been blessed again. I made some new friends and others have been so kind to us during this whole adventure.

Tomorrow is September 1 and we are not yet back in our house. We spent a month bouncing around from hotel room to hotel room and then were finally able to find someone willing to rent us a house until we can get back into ours. My garden did not survive the summer and my inability to tend to it. All of my small chickens have gone missing as well as all of my unique hens, stolen I'm sure. Fencing, t-post, and other things are gone too. Our well is going dry and we will have to dig a new one soon. So far we are able to get enough water for the animals, though I don't know what we are going to do once we all get back home and the water is in use frequently. But still we are being blessed and I can not complain. Soon, I hope, we will be back home and I can resume the never ending work of becoming free! For free I will be!

Garden Shed Day 1







It took the kids and I five hours one Saturday to put together a garden shed and it took the Kansas winds one time to blow it apart. It actually looked like it exploded. I've always known that I'm not a builder. So I did the only thing I could do - ask Daniel for help. Actually, to build it for me and let me help him. He said yes, because he's such a wonderful husband that can do ANYTHING. This is Day 1




The start of the foundation. It took Daniel all of 2 seconds to cut the wood to the size we needed.






Daniel hard at work. Don't look at the fact that he's doing all of this without the proper safety gear or the proper equipment to make it safe. He also does things at super speed which always scares me to think that it's all without thought. But he's just that good.





NOTE: This was a 2011 post that was saved to draft that I just figured out how to post today. (I really can be slow)

Update: This really did turn out to be a fantastic garden shed/green house. If I can find the other pictures I will post them in a second update. I liked it so much that I connected a chicken house to it. It really was wonderful. Unfortunately, the April 2012 tornado took it out as well. The entire double structure was exploded. We lost a handful of chickens, all the feed, most of my garden equipment.... The thing was the entire front wall of the greenhouse side, giant window included, was up in the tree that was behind the chicken house part. And if that was not crazy enough, all the walls were blown apart but the window was not broken. I still haven't been able to build another chicken house, green house, or garden shed. It will all come together this fall.

2011 Potato Crop


This is the grand total of my potato crop this year. It's not even 2 lbs. I planted them in a raised bed that was 4 x 10. It has the best soil in my whole garden.


My boss gave me the extra that we didn't plant at work, just to see how well my crop did. Boy this is going to be a laugh.






This is the two varieties that I planted. I don't know what they are called, but I know that the one on the right is a fingerling variety. This one even looks like a finger. The one on the left is not red. It is a white variety also.








Note: Yet another 2011 post saved that I could not post until today. Sorry!

The New Pig Pen

My growing pig has become a fence terrorist, breaking through every weak spot there was. So today I not only fixed the whole thing, adding more t-posts and wire, but I also made it bigger. It is 30x80. I am so proud of it! I fixed it all by myself. The down side - my pig is sooooooo mad at me. Haha! It's so funny. Every time I walk past her she yells at me. I love it! But I did warn her that if she didn't stop I was going to make sure she couldn't get out. The straw that broke my camel's back was when she got out and busted into the calf pen and chased my calf around and around the pen. I was not happy. Let's see you get out of this pen Terrorist Pig ;)

NOTE:This was actually a 2011 post that was saved in the draft and I just figured out how to post it today. (sometimes I know I'm slow)

Update:  This past April 2012 we were hit by a tornado. The pigs house was blown right off of her and smashed to pieces. Four months later we have still only found one piece of her house. She is currently in another pen that has a shelter already in it. This fall I will be redoing her little piece of heaven so that she can move back home.

I FINALLY figured it out!

For months, and I do mean months, I have been trying to figure out how in the world do I add another post to my blog. This may seem totally silly but I really could not remember. Not to mention that I have had to change emails, passwords, computers........ So I have been all kinds of confused. But here I am at last! I figured it out. I wrote it down. I've made progress! What more could I ask for? No. I better not go there. I have a running list that is quickly filling up my notebook. Really, it's good to be back. I have lots to share and lots to say. I really hope you enjoy, and maybe learn from all that I am doing and trying to accomplish. Thanks a million!!!