Thursday, February 23, 2012

Additions to the homestead

If any of  you have read my "Big Changes" series then you know that we are taking our family vision seriously.  With the illnesses we have been experiencing we have had some relapse into old habits (more from the adults!). But we are determined that we are not going to fall off the wagon.  Maybe our wagon was stalling, be we haven't fallen off.  During the past few months Jeremiah and I have been discussing how we were going to use our tax money when it came in.  I am sure there will be many who may not agree with how we decided to spend that money.  I can assure you it was with prayer and thoughtfulness that we made our decisions.  Like many people, we have debt.  I am glad to say that the debt we do have is about 90% or more medical debt.  Not that I am happy that we had such things come up medically that it got us into debt, but at least it wasn't from reasons that got us into debt in the past.  We made a promise to pay off some of our debt with this tax return, so we can chip away at it.  However the rest of it was needed to further our family goals.  One of our goals is to be debt free, but our priority is in capturing the hearts of our children, something that we had lost.  Seeing the results that we have gotten so far from the changes we've made all the more cemented our resolve to do what we could to further the relationships within our family.  Although I hate the idea of owing people money, it is much more woeful to have lost your children.  We can continue to work on paying off our debts as we are able.  I am sure we will make greater strides once we are all working together, here at home.

Alright!  So all that to say....we made some purchases to further our wee homestead.  There are still a few more purchases that need to happen, some will come in the next few weeks, and others will have to wait for a few months.  We tried to stick with the idea, 'what God gave us in the here and now' to work on, and some of the 'things we would really like to try.  With all of our purchases there has been a renewed excitement to work on our homestead.  Here are a few of the things we have obtained so far:

Meet Red Beard, or Buddy.  Not sure how Buddy can be the nickname of this goat that they decided to call Red Beard, but hey, I leave the animal naming up to the girls, and this is what we got :-)  This is our new Nigerian Dwarf billy goat.  We recently bought a Nubian billy this past fall.  Now we will be able to have our means to securing milk :-)  This will not enable us to expand our herd, as we would need more males, but this will give us the milk we need in the coming years.  Maybe in the future we can work on herd diversity and expansion.  But for now we are happy with our current herd size.  Along with drinking the milk we plan on using some to make cheese.  The cheese supplies are something that is on the "buy in the next few months" catagory.  We also plan on making soap with the milk.  You can see below that we bought the supplies for that venture, now we just need some milk :-)  I do have a few gallons in the freezer that we plan on using to try our hand at soap making.

 Next up, supplies for our gardening venture. Above you can see our new shop light, that we hung from the bottom of one of the shelves that we have in our laundry room.  The trays you see below will not be orientated that way.  The girls were just trying to figure out how many trays they could fit underneath.  After hanging the light we realize that we will probably need two lights.  But for now, this set up will do.  Tomorrow we have a truck load of dirt/compost being dropped off so that we can make up our garden beds.  I envision lots of outdoor work in our future :-)  In the next few weeks we will be purchasing some fruit trees and possibly some more heirloom seeds.  A friend of mine offered us some blueberry bushes!  I am so excited about that.  We have plans to put them in our backyard, along the back of the house.  I think those are all the near future plans we have for our garden.

 We took the plunge and purchased an Excalibur food dehydrator.  After pondering all the ways one can store food, we realized that for our size family, dehydrating would be the best way to do so.  The number of canning jars we would need to store food for our family?  Oh my.  I have been buying 3 five gallon pails from Walmart each pay period.    In the next few months we will be purchasing a food vacuum saver along with some oxygen absorbers and vacuum bags. 

   These are our soap making supplies.  These will also be used to make some hair conditioner and cleaning spray. I purchased most of my oils from the Soap Dish.  The prices were reasonable and they were quick to deliver.  If I had more money I would have bought a lot more as the shipping was pretty high, but mostly a flat rate, so in the long run I would have saved  more money,  but I can only do what I can do :-)  The essential oils and the castile soap were purchased from Vitacost.  They are always quick to deliver and so far have always had the best prices of what they carry.  The crock pot you see will actually be used for our cooking.  I bought it for soap making, but it is a nicer model than the one we have for our food making! So I will trade my intended purposes for each crockpot.  This crock I picked up at the Goodwill.  I forgot to take a picture of our stick blender.  Oh well.  If you are not sure what a stick blender is I am sure you can do a google search.  My camera is currently in use :-)

There you have it!  Lots to look forward to.  Along with the above we have a major outside 'spring cleaning' that we need to do.  Thankfully it has been a mild winter and we should not have any problem with getting out there to do so.  We have some fencing to put up so that we can make another area for the goats to live in.  Goats are very, very prone to worms.  In order to keep them healthy you need to have separate areas for them to rotate living in so as to cut down the worm population.  In the mean time we will focus on what we can do, which is to make one extra living area (they need more, but that will definitely be a future project), put down some diatomacious earth, and supplementing their diet with herbs and greens.

I tried to add a new button to the top menu of my blog.  Let me just say, for the record, I computers are like a second language for me...foreign! Ha, ha!  I want to be able to record our homestead's production.  I want to be able to know what has worked for us, and what we need to try differently.  It is hard to do that just on memory.  The girls started notebooks for this purpose, but I would like a back up to make sure we don't loose our information.  


All Natural Woman said...

WOWWWWZEEEEEE!!!!! I cannot believe how much is going on!!! You are quite busy busy busy!!! I am thrilled to hear about all the wonderful changes going on! I have an idea...why not sell your house and move to KY??? Then you can teach me everything first hand??? :) Miss you all! Will call soon! Love, ME

Anonymous said...

May you continue to be blessed in all your new endeavors!

I wonder if vita cost is less expensive than the place I order my soap materials from (bramble berry)...I'll have to check it out. We dehydrated more food this past season than in the past and it definitely takes less time and space than canning.

Kerri said...

Um, Trace...are you going to volunteer to pack me up? Ha, ha!!!!! I don't do moving. Moving is bad.

Well, unfortunately Vitacost doesn't sell the oils for the soap, just the essential oils. I found Soap Dish to be very reasonable. I am hoping to see if there is a local place to buy some. I know of a soap maker around the corner from us and she has things in bulk, I think. Not sure how to get in contact with her. Best of luck finding a cheaper source!


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