Saturday, August 28, 2010

An answer to pray and other things

It's been a slow day around here.  Jeremiah and the older two girls went to prepare the soccer fields for the season.  They were gone until lunch.  Around here I managed to clean the girls bathroom.  No small task.  I've been having them clean it.  And although they do a decent job, it needs a mommy's touch after a couple of months.  Seriously Moira and Isabella really do a good job in there cleaning it.  It's all the little things that go undone in there that add up.  I had Jonah's help :-) With the older girls gone Flannery had asked to milk the goats.  She can't do that unsupervised yet so I took the boys out with me as I watched/helped Flannery with the milking.  Since it was nice out we played outside for a little bit.  I was able to come in and exercise to a video.  Afterwards I attacked some of our windows with a bleach solution.  Not sure if I mentioned our fly woes, but this was my attempt to see if it would help.  I wish I could have gotten more things done, but I seemed to be moving rather slowly today.  As I was eating lunch I was browsing some crafty blogs.  Then it was on to more cleaning.  I put in dinner and decided to take a break by writing up this post.  Mostly I have the odds and ends left to do.  I think it is time to take pictures of what a clean room is supposed to look like (for the girls).  It seems they have a keen eye when it comes to things like a sparkly gem in a parking lot.  Or a penny in the rough.  But they can't see the three colored pencils lying next to the couch.  Hmmmm isn't that amazing? 

So to my answered prayer.  This may seem rather odd as a prayer request.  As you may know we are trying to become more self sufficient.  And also to find thriftier ways to do the things we want to or need to do.  So after reading a bunch on the homesteading post site I was really wanting to find a source for beef at a good price.  We know some people who farm, and sell their eggs, milk, beef and chicken, but their prices are rather high.  Today while Jeremiah was at the soccer fields he met a man who sells organic (though not certified) beef.  If we buy half a cow we would only be spending a little over two dollars a pound for ALL the meat.  That includes ground beef, and steaks!!!  This is simply wonderful!!!  This also means we will need a place to store the beef!!  I really need to learn how to can beef, quick :-)  I know the meat comes packaged, I just don't know if it will be frozen already.  If so then we will probably just get a big freezer.  But if it doesn't come frozen, then I would still want to freeze some, but I would like to try my hand at canning some as well.  This will cost us a bunch up front, since a half of a cow weighs a lot!  But over the long run we will save.  Especially since I really wanted to get away from the non organic meat.  We bought some organic ground beef for the first time this past month and there was a big difference in taste!  I have to say I've never noticed a difference in taste with organic chickens, but definitely with the beef!  Yum! 

I am thinking of making a prayer list in my side bar.  Not to put God to the test, but just to see that He does indeed answer prayer.  I have quite a few odd prayers (or they may seem odd to most people).  A lot of it has to do with what I mentioned above, becoming more self sufficient.  There are things that I would really like to see happen around here and I really have no idea of how we are going to pull it off.  For example something I have wanted for a LONG time are fruit trees.  See, I told you I have odd requests :-)  I lament the fact that had we started some espalier trees or dwarf trees when we first moved here we would have been gathering fruit this year.  But fruit trees are not cheap.  And therein lies the need to pray for them!  And there are logistics of how to use our land.  We have 2.5 acres, but the majority is wooded.  It would seem silly to try to move, something I do NOT want to do, nor could I even see that being possible right now.  And in all honesty we need to be making good use of the land that is cleared before we think of clearing anymore of it.  And you guessed it, clearing land takes money.  Hmmm do you see a common thread?  :-)  So to become self sufficient so that we can save money, we first need money to put us in the position of being self sufficient.  Oy.  And then there are the little things, needed, but not quite so much.  For example clothing.  Clothing is a need.  But I would really like to be able to make some things.  Even if it is using used items.  And then there are things I would like, not really need, for our home to make it homey.  I am not a knick knack person at all, so I'm not looking for things like that. I am the type of person that would appreciate jewelry for my birthday, but I would be totally excited/happy with glee if I got a mixer instead.  I'm practical.  But I would really like some beauty in my practicalness.  That has sorely been missing.  For example I see a garden as a need, at least for our large family and how  much produce we go through!  But that garden can look nice as well.  Not all fancy smancy, but nice.  Again, the idea is to be frugal.  But I am hoping to find beauty in my frugality. 

Well I hope I didn't put you all to sleep!  I have on my list of things to do to make up a list of things I feel would be useful in our goal to become self sufficient.  Plus those little extras.  When I get that finished I'll post it.  But first, seeing as how our big shopping day is fast approaching, I need to make up the grocery list.  Thankfully I accomplished making up our menu for the first two weeks of the month, so making the actually grocery list shouldn't be too much work.  The thing that takes the longest for me is making the menu.  After that my grocery list comes right off of the menu.  This month however we seem to have run out of a lot of staple items.  I always hate coming home from a big shopping day and as we are putting things away I realize that we forgot this spice, or that oil, or some other staple item. So after making my list I'll take it over to my pantry to see what's missing.

This coming month I am looking forward to getting some more kefir grains.  I really feel that the kefir and kombucha helped with my ability to digest food.  I will also be happy to get more animal feed.  For the past few days I've been making our own, out of necessity.  Someone left our food storage room open.....and the goats got in.  I bought bins to keep the food in, but the handles broke, so they don't lock.  So no more food for the animals, and no more money to get any, and only days before payday.  What to do?  Ah, well make something up!  Yeah, how ingenious!  We had some popping corn that I ground up in my grinder, added oats, flax seeds, a small bit of super green food powder and black strap molasses.  The animals go nuts over it!  Not sure how nutritious it is for them, but it will do for the next couple of days.  And see, my list is getting longer.  On my things we NEED to buy are food grade pails and some gamma seals.  The gamma seals make it much easier to get into the pails for the humans.  We tried the paint pails with the pry off lids, and those were too hard for the girls to handle.  I've had to deal with them these past seven years, since we've been buying wheat in bulk, and it is a pain.  I am looking forward to just twisting off the lid and not breaking my nails over trying to pry off a lid.  And of course, these things all cost money.  Sigh.  So I will need to pray for discernment over which things need priority, and which can wait.  But with at least five bags of grains (all 50# bags) in our house we are asking for trouble if we don't get the food into sealed containers.  We've only lost a couple of bags to pests in the past, so it's not been a big concern. But this past year, the bug population seems to have tripled.  It seems to be prudent to spend the extra money on some good food grade containers to keep our food safe.  Plus it is essential for the animal feed as we have had a LOT of wasted animal feed due to multiple reasons.  We will just have to make sure the girls actually screw the lids back on!! 

Ok, I need to get off and take the boys outside.  Dinner will be ready soon but they have been asking to go outside.  So a little outside time, then dinner, then clean up then baths and prep for church tomorrow.


Kathy said...

Isn't it amazing how things are different with the older children gone for the day?

We have an old freezer in our garage. We have found that having an older freezer that needs to be defrosted and keeping it full (sometimes with mostly frozen containers of water doesnt cost much at all. Apparently having the freezer constantly defrost itself adds up. I would also suggest investing in a Food Saver. The bags are plastic but a good, high quality plastic and food stays fresh for a very very long time. If you invest in containers for it, those can be reused.

I have two been looking into how to get organic beef (preferably grass fed only) at a good price. We are so far from buying the whole cow:)

Do you have room on your walls? You have such great pictures of your family and it would be fun to use those as wall art and decoration. You can get some really good deals at for free 8 x 10s or the places that print onto canvas have cheap cheap specials time to time....

Bethany W. in mid-MO said...

I have been reading The Self-Reliant Homestead and the author suggests using an old chest deep freezer to hold grains. He says that he can hold 500 pounds of grain in theirs. I highly recommend getting your hands on this book, as he has MANY good ideas for free or DIY homestead fixes!

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