Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Prepping and Preparing

Last night I was looking at online seed catalogs and found that many of them are selling ‘Survival Seed Packages’. I’m pretty sure these are the same ones that used to be marketed simply as ‘Complete Vegetable Garden Packages’. I also saw the same thing on Ebay when I searched for seed.

This got me to thinking about just how drastic everyone’s outlook has been changing. About how what we are doing here on our place is giving us an advantage in an unforeseen future. About how something that we find so gratifying and enjoyable could end up holding our family through some very hard times later on.

Many people believe that Obama is intentionally destroying our great country. I don’t think it’s intentional, but I do believe that it is being destroyed. I think that TIIC are power drunk and grasping anyway they can to leave their mark. I don’t like it when dogs leave their mark, what makes the beaurocrats any better? Our economy is collapsing under us and it is getting worse by the minute. Unemployment is up, federal spending is through the roof and seems to be increased almost daily, the markets are down and there is no end in sight. They just keep cranking out more cash at the mint and throwing it at the problem.

For many, all of this means finding alternate ways of doing things. It has created huge change in millions of households. It means growing your own gardens, finding alternative energy sources, recycling the old into new. It means canning, freezing, and dehydrating. It means raising animals for food when possible. And surprisingly, more and more are doing these things without any acreage at all.

I firmly believe that learning all of these skills now and applying what you can, before you find yourself in a bind, is necessary. Some may think I sound like a fanatical nut job, but how can preparedness be any kind of a disadvantage? If our economy were to recover tomorrow, and all were to be plentiful for everyone, I would still enjoy my garden and the animals. I would still take comfort in knowing that I have a year’s supply of food packed away and enough stores and stock to produce several more years worth. I would still find pleasure in tinkering on something, in order to find its new use. I would still enjoy sharing all of these things with my kids while they are young and still full of wonder.

On the other hand, if the economy keeps slipping, we will be ready. We will have a plan. We will be able to feed our family. And along the way, we have met many very nice people that have brought small community back into their lives. Either way, we won't have to worry about it as much as if we hadn't strived to be more self-reliant

God Bless!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Nit Pickin'

I am not a relaxed parent. I try to be, but I expect my kids to follow my lead and my directions. This includes not talking to strangers. When the girls first moved in, they would walk up to anyone and start a conversation and give more information than they needed to. Very scary as a parent. Now, we do live in a rural community that is very friendly, but still.

Saturday night we took Chris out to dinner for his birthday. As we were leaving, a woman walked in with a tiny dog. She saw the girls and walked directly over to them and asked if they wanted to pet the dog. Kirsten and Haily got down to petting and Shyann asked me if it was o.k. I praised her for asking before talking to a stranger in a tone that let the woman know that her behavior wasn't appropriate and letting my other littles that their's wasn't either.

This woman got offended and told me that it was a service dog for emotional support. I told her that my kids are being taught to not talk to strangers and that I didn't appreciate her approaching them before me. Instead of responding to me, she told the girls, condescendingly, that they have a good mom and tried to pet one of MY KIDS on her head. This was not welcomed by my daughter and we left without any further discussion.

I just wonder, why do people feel that it is ok to approach a child, while bypassing the parent? They may think they're an ok person, but that doesn't mean I do. I don't even know them! I'm pretty friendly in public, but I'm an adult and have tried to get this through to my kids. My kids have learned the rule, but the dog threw it all out the window. I told them that night that just because a person has a dog, it doesn't mean that they are safe. Now, if I could just get strangers to realize the rule!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Today was a very lazy day around here. Haily wasn't sick, but wasn't feeling well either. I hope the stomach flu isn't coming back around for her. Most of the day was spent planning out how I was going to build the chicken coop and the pig pen. I have my ideas all drawn up and my materials list made now. I asked Chris his opinions on all of it and where he thought we should put everything, but beyond that I want to do this myself. I'm the one that will be caring for the animals and I really do enjoy doing things like that. Our chicken tractor came out well...except I forgot to put a door on the run part and could only open the coop part for a while. Live and learn. Oh, and I guess I did end up with 6 roosters out of the 6 chicks that I bought. Live and learn.

Anyways, I will be purchasing all of my lumber at the beginning of next month and will post pics as I go along. I'm very excited to get all of this going. I still haven't decided if I want to purchase pigs from the livestock auction or locally. $20 vs. $80-100. Knowing what you're getting vs. ??? I'm going to try not to use this as another live and learn experience.

Since, really, I had nothing worth reading tonight I thought I would post these pictures of this evenings beautiful sky. I tried to capture it from my front porch, but I still don't fully understand all of the doo-hickeys on my camera so they aren't the greatest. It's usually just set on motion for the kiddo's pictures.

God Bless!

Word Sleuths

I have gotten a couple of emails from friends telling me that I spelled Provincial incorrectly. Just for the record, yep, I know. It is an inside joke with a friend relating to my problem with people saying supposebly or supposevly. For some reason that is a pet peeve of mine and makes me cringe and it started a long running grammatical joke. Get mishap at a time? There you have it...a glimpse into my sense of humor.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What's In This Stuff???

Last night I was reading about a 390-ton hamburger recall. I shouldn't be surprised, since hamburger is always being recalled. I decided to look around for more articles, since the one I had read was relatively short and I wanted more info.

I read an article written by Michael Moss of the NY Times talking about a company that injects its beef with Amonia. Really??? Amonia??? Yep, Beef Products, Inc. was looking for a way to kill E. Coli and Salmonella, and they found it. And this was accepted by the USDA. Unbelievable.

As if that wasn't bad enough, there is another article regarding different chemicals that are added to foods in order to make them more appealing. It is frightening to know that we are putting these things in our bodies. Cancer causing agents in flour, colorants for egg yolks that can cause retinal damage and the list goes on.

I have always been a proponent of raising your own food. This is the only way to know where it has come from and what it contains. After reading about some of this, I realize that unless you render your own fats, mill your own flour, and grow all of your own herbs and spices, you really have no clue what you are eating.

It also amazes me that if you purchase products from the natural food stores they cost double what you pay in the supermarket. If, in fact, they aren't using these chemicals and additives, why is the food so high priced? And just because they are all natural or organic doesn't mean there are no dangers. Many of the items on the list of additives come from natural sources. Does that mean that they can use them too?

I have to say that by growing our own food we are taking much of the unnecessary elements out of our diets, but until the day comes that we can grow it all, I will read all labels, buy as much as I can from local sources, and cook what I can from scratch using only whole foods.

Here are the links to both of the above mentioned articles:
Safety of Beef Processing Method Is Questioned
Top 15 Chemical Additives In Your Food

God Bless!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Rain-a-Cometh

Kirsten told me it was raining cats and frogs outside today. When I told her that the phrase was 'cats and dogs' she reminded me that we weren't allowed to have a dog for a while. I reminded her that she couldn't have a frog either. That is when I was told that I didn't have too much of a choice, since they show up wherever they please. Oh, that very clever girl!

I got my rabbitry cleaned out today, with Shy's help. Who knew a six-year-old girl could be so helpful when it comes to rabbit poop. She told me all she knew about soil and fertilizer, and I shared a good bit of my knowledge with her as well. She tells me every time she helps out there that she will own rabbits when she is an adult too.

I am truely looking forward to them learning about gardening this year. I plan on setting up a small area in the garden for each of the girls to tend and let them choose what they would like to grow. Helping in the main area will give them a sense of satisfaction, but having something they do themselves will give them a sense of accomplishment.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Today, my friend Tammy came down and we butchered four mean roosters and five rabbits. A couple of weeks ago, we butchered three chickens and my two-year-old was fine hanging out with us. We were a bit worried that our older kids would freak out, especially when it came to the rabbits, but they thought it was the coolest thing ever. I think that being honest with them from the beginning and letting them know that all of our animals (except the cat, of course) are strictly for meat was the key.

I have to say that after we were finished, there was a deep satisfaction knowing that what was butchered were animals that were bred and raised here on our property, all of their pens, cages and hutches were built by me, and that they are all free of medication and hormones.

I think it may have been a bit awkward for Chris though. At one point, Tammy and I were starving and asked if he would make us a sandwich so that we could keep going before the storm hit. When he came out he mentioned that our roles seemed a bit too reversed for comfort. I felt a little bad about that. In my defense though, when I decided to take on more rabbits than what was needed for our family, I promised I would do all of the butchering and manage all of their care.

Here are a few pictures of my rabbitry that were taken over the summer. Since these were taken, I’ve built another hutch in the same design but much larger. I built all of the new cages myself, as well and have replaced the floors in all of the cages in the photos. There is something to be said for doing it yourself.

My kids were amazed watching me build the new monstrosity. That was probably the best part. It taught them that you can do anything if you put your mind to it, that men aren’t the only ones that can build things, and that if you want something done…then do it. Don’t wait around for someone else to do it for you.
God bless!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Warning Labels...

We've all seen stupid warning labels and had to laugh. You know the ones. A can of pepper spray with the "May cause eye irritation" warning. The stroller that says to remove infant before folding for storage. HOWEVER, bunk beds should come with the following warning:
Avoid putting child with the stomach flu in top bunk. Failure to heed this warning may result in damage to lower bunk, walls, closet doors, dressers, toys, and large areas of carpet. This may also cause gastric upset in parent, resulting in increased damage.

Why, oh why, did I not think of this in advance???

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A new blog...and no idea where to begin. Maybe a small introduction and some of what I'm all about. My name is Paula and I'm living southern Oregon on 6 acres with my wonderful husband and three terrific daughters that we are in the process of adopting. We are working hard to become more self-sufficient and let our land work for us, rather than working for it. Before I really get started, I should mention that we are not homesteading because it is the 'green' thing to do. We are doing it because we want to be closer to nature, eat healthier, save money and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that we've done it ourselves. Anything 'green' that results is just a wonderful byproduct.

It is the beginning of a new year and I have so many projects to get working on around our small homestead. I intend to set up a pen for 3 pigs, a coop for about 18 chickens, quail cages, and an expansion of my already existing rabbitry. There are several other projects waiting for me, but those are on my must-do list before spring gets here.

We are also determined to home school our daughters, but must have approval from DHS since their adoption isn't finalized. The moment we get approval, or our adoption finalizes, we will be pulling them from the grip of the public school system. Where this will put us as far as my must-do list...we'll just have to wait and see, but it is certainly what is best for our family.

God bless!