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Archive for June, 2014

The Garden is Paying Me Back

June 21st, 2014 at 03:31 pm



So I spent $400 on my garden this year. The largest portion of that was in the straw and hay bales I bought for a growing medium. This is the first salad of the season that I had yesterday and today I had another one. I figure that so far I've eaten $2 worth of organic lettuce and greens. In this particular salad I had both red and green lettuces, baby spinach, arugla, frisee, chives, basil, thyme, and a small assortment of baby Asian stir-fry greens.

I have also harvested $1 worth of organic raspberries and strawberries so far. So $3 total to subtract from the $400. That means I have $397 to go to break even. Judging from the way things are going, I will probably have paid back my costs by the end of July, based on organic food costs.

The last year I had a garden (besides fruit) was 2012. I paid back all I spent and harvested enough food beyond that to make it well worth my while. I think this year, if all goes well, I will probably harvest about $1000 worth of produce, so will come out ahead around $600. That is a conservative estimate, because I won't count my tomatoes before they've hatched.

I hope to have enough green beans, pickles, and tomatoes to can for a year's supply, enough raspberries and blueberries to freeze for a year's supply, and enough blackberries for the occasional winter treat. I will also can some of the potatoes we are growing to make easy pour and dump stews in the winter along with my canned carrots and canned meats. I should be able to make enough applesauce for the year this year judging by the fruit on the trees. That will do wonders for my fall, winter, and early spring produce bill.

I also plan to freeze bell peppers and onions for use in stir-fries when the peppers are out of season.

This is shaping up to be a fantastic garden year. I can't remember having a June this lovely or having vegetables this far ahead in all the years I have done a garden.

Back from the Feed Mill

June 20th, 2014 at 06:37 pm

We made a trip down to the feed mill today to buy rabbit feed. We bought 500 pounds of non-GMO feed for $135.67. We used 3 gallons of gas. The feed works out to $13.56 per 50 pound bag and that includes tax. A 40 pound bag of feed (no guarantee on no GMO's) here costs $19.56 with tax. Even adding the $12 worth of gas to the total, making it $147.67, it still comes out way cheaper. The equivalent amount of feed bought locally would be $244.50, so I come out $96.83 ahead by going directly to the mill.

500 pounds is a two month supply. Possibly longer since we don't have too many kits right now, but when the production gets into full swing again with six litters growing out at a time, it will be a two month supply. From that two month supply of feed we will end up with about 120 pounds of meat at $1.23 a pound. So worth it. Well, maybe $12 more a month in hay, too, but still. That doesn't up it by too much per pound. Plus we are feeding the breeders with that amount as well, not just the kits.

I don't know about you, but I can't find meat for under $1.59 a pound anymore and that is only on a tremendous sale, usually it is closer to $2.49 a pound and that is just for standard, not organic or at least GMO free.

We are talking about getting our fresh water fishing licenses and seeing if we can't catch a bunch of trout. We can can it up. Home canned trout is supposed to taste a lot like canned tuna. After we caught 18 pounds of fish to pay for the licenses, anything else would be free to us. Totally worth it, I think. Assuming we can catch anything. It has been a while since we have gone fishing.

I harvested my first salad and my first raspberries from the garden. I'm on my way to paying back my garden costs for the season.

An Opportunity

June 20th, 2014 at 12:25 am

Well, turns out 4 of my 5 Welsh Harlequin laying ducks are drakes. Which means I need to get some females pronto or Addy is going to be overwhelmed in a few more weeks.

I saw an add on craigslist for one year old female WH's, so I sent off an email and hopefully will hear something back from them by morning. They are a one hour drive from here, not too bad. She has ten and I'd like to purchase four. They are $25 each, which is about the going rate for an adult laying duck. So it'll be an out of pocket expense of $100, plus gas.

If we can combine it with our feed run, since the mill is on the way to the farm, we could save a bit on gas costs there.

If I can get these ducks, I will have four egg layers with them, five with Addy when she gets a little older, and 7 total females with the 2 female Pekins. I would have to butcher 2 of the 4 Welsh Harlequin drakes, probably the two smallest unless final feather color plays something into it) and 1 of the Pekin males (seizure duck as we can't risk continuing his bloodline in future chicks).

We knew some of these were going to be meat ducks. When you buy straight run it is a given that you will have too many males for a harmonious flock. I had just been hoping that we'd have more females than we did. But with the red chest feathers coming in and the drake tail feather coming in, there is no denying it with the Welsh Harlequins anymore. There was for a while because 2 of them matured faster, but all denial is gone now. I really hope she gets back to me quickly.

Our straight run of turkey poults seems to have given us 3 toms and 1 hen. It could be 2 hens, but I really don't think so. 3 toms is okay, because that means we will have two 16 pound turkeys for Thanksgiving and Christmas. And the remaining hen and tom will give us our breeders for next Spring.

Emergency Fund Update

June 20th, 2014 at 12:11 am

$9389.98 Starting EF Balance
+__10.00 Weekly Auto Deposit
----------
$9399.98 New EF Balance

$600.02 left to go to bring the EF back to $10K.

I am So Worn Out

June 18th, 2014 at 07:34 pm

I feel like half my entries these days are some variation on the theme of me being exhausted. I really, really am. I've got a nasty spring cold and it is dragging me down. I am ready to be done with it.

We are almost done on the online homeschooling front. My son has one 4 paragraph comparison and contrast essay left to do for literature and then we send all the assessments off to the state. We've already gotten his report card and he made honor roll again.

I spent two hours down at the high school today. After more or less taking the semester off after having a nervous breakdown my daughter is going back to school next year. She is doing well on the medications and is really excited to be going back and getting her life back on track.

My son is also going to be starting high school in the fall so he is all signed up now. I really, really hope it works out for both of them, because I don't honestly think I could handle another year of homeschooling. The exhaustion it causes is just really getting to me. It's like I have to have my brain on all the time and some days I just want to shut it down and go on autopilot.

Things are chugging along otherwise. The gardens are growing well and I will harvest my first lettuce leaves tomorrow. I have 7 tomatoes growing and five bell peppers. In another week I can start planting in the hay bales. The green beans have taken off and most of the sprouts are up.

I am going to make some carrot seed tape and get it planted hopefully this weekend. I am just doing Little Finger carrots which don't take too terribly long to grow.

Not too much going on on the financial front. I did have to buy 2 bales of hay and 2 bags of feed. I need to budget for a big rabbit feed buy this payday, ten fifty pound bags. We will call down to the feed mill and make sure they have the 17% protein feed available before we drive down. I think the 21% is just too high for the little kits.

I have done really well on sticking to my menu plan this week. I have been really tempted to eat out, but it is not a good idea when I am sick or I will want to do it every day.

I am not looking forward to this weekend. We have to put in an appearance at my niece's graduation party, which I don't want to go to, but since I couldn't go to the graduation due to it being held in a stadium that is not really handicapped accessible, and DH couldn't go since he was in Alaska, we need to.

Then we have to butcher rabbits and chickens. We can't put it off any longer and we need the cage space. I hope I get some sleep tonight and tomorrow night so I will be in better health to deal with all this.

DH and I have decided to drop the selling price on the house $10K. I just want it gone. We need to meet with the realtors and make an adjustment to the paperwork in order to do so.

DD has her follow up doctor's appointment tomorrow. She is doing really well on the new medication so I think we can cancel the appointment with the sleep doctor now.

Feeling a Little Frustrated

June 16th, 2014 at 11:00 pm

Well, it's been 8 months since we listed our house and the biggest thing seems to be that while people like the price and the house, they don't like the drive from town. *sighs* That was one of the primary reasons we moved to town. And apparently there are a lot of foreclosures out there that are much cheaper, but not in as good a shape.

Our real estate agent is recommending we drop the price by $10K. I hate to do that, but at this point I don't really see another option. If the house were in town it would have sold by now and probably for much higher than we are asking, which is only $129K.

$119K, if we could get it, would still allow us to pay the guy who did the repairs (he's waiting until the house sells no matter how long it takes), pay off the van, and give us a decent down payment for a new house. Just not as decent as $129K would. With the van paid off, though, we could save that money to add to a down payment and hold off a while longer on buying something.

Of course at this point I don't know if we could even get $119K. Despite how beautiful the place is, and how pretty the neighborhood is, that 25 mile drive is tough for a lot of people. We are going to have them add to our listing that it is only an 8 minute walk to the county transit stop. Maybe that will help encourage some folks that they can take the bus for their commute instead of having to drive it themselves.

I think if we don't get an offer after it has been on the market for a year, we're going to have to look into renting it out. I don't really want to be a landlord, but I hate that it is sitting empty. We do have someone who has offered to rent it for $1000 a month. That is the going rate for rentals out there of that size, so I feel it is fair. Of course that offer was a few months ago, so I am not even sure if it would still be on the table.

I wish the place would sell. It is so frustrating sitting here feeling like it never will. I am almost at the point where I feel like buying a piece of land where I want it, and having the house moved. I love the house, except for the outside color. It is the location that I am done with. And we could probably sell the raw land much easier. Since the house and land is paid for, just having to buy raw land and get a house moving loan would not be the worst thing in the world.

It just seems like it would be a world of hassle.

Well, keep us in your prayers folks, that we sell that albatross. I'd sure appreciate it.

Emergency Fund Update

June 15th, 2014 at 01:10 pm

$9269.98 Beginning EF Balance
___10.00 6/5 Weekly Auto Deposit
___10.00 6/12 Weekly auto Depost
+_100.00 Monthly Deposit
---------
$9389.98 New EF Balance

$610.02 to go to get the EF back to $10K.

Payday Report

June 15th, 2014 at 12:17 pm

$757.82 Van loan (plus extra)
_283.13 groceries
__50.00 gas
_204.00 for strawberries for the year
_140.52 Sleep doctor
__48.60 Phone (old house)
__88.15 Internet
___9.80 Book of stamps
_120.00 Physical therapy
_100.00 Emergency Fund
_100.00 Propane Fund
_100.00 Property Tax Fund
__19.00 Dues Fund
-------------
2021.02 Total Money Out

I also spent $48.03 on rabbit feed and supplies.

Meal Planning for the Week

June 15th, 2014 at 12:06 pm

We are well into strawberry season here, so that is why you will see strawberries listed for dinner every night this week. There is absolutely nothing out there that is as good a berry as those grown in the Pacific Northwest, particularly my part of it.

In fact I will be picking up 90 pounds of strawberries on Monday to process for the freezer. I am hoping that will be a year's supply for us. We will be buying at the height of the season when berries are at their sweetest and produce the most juice. These are the only berries we will have to buy as the raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries are all coming on strong, as you can see in my fruit garden update below.

http://youtu.be/t8ZqYw2fBUw

Sunday:
Homemade (sort of) pizza with store bought crusts topped with: tomato sauce, rabbit sausage, ham, pepperoni, yellow onions, red and green bell peppers, fresh basil and fresh oregano from the garden, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses
Strawberries

Monday:
Bacon cheeseburgers made with ground rabbit and homemade buns
Fried potatoes
Homemade coleslaw
Strawberries

Tuesday:
Chicken and broccoli stir-fry (cauliflower, carrots, green beans, snap peas, onions)
Strawberries

Wednesday:
Pan fried steaks
Baked potatoes
Green beans
Strawberries

Thursday:
Barbecue and teriyaki chicken
Fried potatoes
Coleslaw
Strawberries

Friday:
Fried rabbit
Baked potatoes
Salad from the garden

Saturday:
Beef chuck pot roast
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Broccoli/cauliflower
Strawberries

I Forgot to Post My Menu Plan

June 10th, 2014 at 03:23 pm

I can't believe I spaced on posting my meal planning for the week. The goal has been to eat down the protein stores in the freezer in preparation for bulk purchasing in the later summer. I'm not buying any new protein for these meals. We are also processing the Cornish cross chickens this week, so I am definitely not going to run out of chicken for a while, but I'm using up what was already in the freezer first.

I'm going to post Sunday and Monday's menus even though it is now Tuesday.

Sunday:
Crockpot duck (I raised it up on aluminum foil balls to keep it out of the cooking liquid) sprinkled heavily with herbs de provence
Microwave baked potatoes
Green beans

Monday:
Tacos

Tuesday:
Fried chicken legs
Baked potatoes
Green beans

Wednesday:
Pan-fried steaks
Fried potatoes
Salad

Thursday:
Hot turkey and provolone sandwiches on Rosemary bread
Coleslaw

Friday:
Crockpot Beef Chuck Roast
Baked sweet potatoes
Broccoli/cauliflower

Saturday:
Spaghetti with homemade sauce
Meatballs
Coleslaw


Spending Journal

June 10th, 2014 at 03:15 pm

Yesterday I spent $90 on physical therapy.

I also spent $14.49 on a half flat of local strawberries and 75 cents on a doughnut. I've been wanting a doughnut for 3 weeks now, but kept putting it off and finally yesterday I gave in. The upside is now I no longer want doughnuts.

This weekend I want to go to one of the local farms and get a bunch more strawberries that I can do up for the freezer and do one batch of strawberry jam. Strawberries are the only berries we eat a lot of that I don't have much of growing. When we move I will put in lots and lots of strawberries, but there really isn't the space to do that here.

I'm not sure how much I'll spend on strawberries, but I am thinking $100. And then do it again the next weekend, too, but after that the season will be over. I want to freeze both sugared strawberries and whole ones for making smoothies. It is sure cheaper than buying them throughout the year, and I like buying locally so I know where they come from. I also know that the two places I buy berries from don't use GMO's or spray their fields. Not as good as organic, but good enough to make me happy until I can grow all of my own.

I'll Get Used to It

June 8th, 2014 at 09:39 am

I had a moment of blind panic yesterday. I was checking the date for something else and I realized I forgot to pay the mortgage this month. It took me a full 30 seconds to remember that I didn't pay it because I had paid off the mortgage and anyway, I would have had until the 15th before it would have been considered a late fee even if I had. But for those 30 seconds I was a little crazy.

I wonder when that will go away? I guess 16 years of paying something became so automatic it is still hard to get used to not having that hanging over our heads. 2 months of being mortgage free is not long enough to have that fully sink in yet.

Freezer Inventory #1

June 7th, 2014 at 10:05 am

When we moved our stuff out of Mom's freezer and into our own new huge chest freezer, I took an inventory of what was in there to help me with future meal planning. I still need to go through what we have in the small chest freezer and move a portion of it out, and what we have in the above fridge freezer in the laundry room and move all of it out, and the below fridge freezer in our kitchen, but I figured this was a good start and I could put it here and then compile my spreadsheet later.

I've broken it down into categories, and then individual types within each category.

Rabbit--
15 whole cut-up
2 quart bags of liver
1 gallon bag of bones for making stock
7 bags of belly flaps for making jerky
1 container of soup
2 gallon size baggies of homemade sausage patties
1/2 a cut up rabbit

Beef--
2 skirt steaks
3 quart bags of stir-fry meat
4 pounds of ground beef
7 rib-eye thin cut steaks
1 chuck roast
2 packages hot dogs

Turkey--
1 package of 3 extra large turkey legs
1 turkey kielbasa

Chicken--
7 quart size baggies of boneless skinless
3 family size baggies of chicken legs

Pork--
4 ground
3 packages of sausages
3 packages of bacon
4 chops

Lamb--
1 ground

Elk--
1 ground

Fish--
1 package of cod
2 pounds of shrimp

Rice--
1 baggy of chicken fried rice
3 baggies of brown rice

Vegetables--
1 bag of fire roasted onions and peppers

I'm going to try to inventory the 2 fridge freezers today. The small chest freezer will probably wait until tomorrow.

I want to get through some of this meat before we buy a side of beef and a side of pork later this year. We've got the chicken way down, but only because we are going to be butchering some in a couple weeks. We also need to get moving on the rabbit as we will be butchering again in about 3 weeks and then pretty often during the summer.[

A lot of the rabbit meat needs to be ground, mixed with a little tomato sauce and seasonings, and pressed into patties. I will also do up some meatballs and cook them and freeze them for future use. The meat is packaged well, but it is from February of last year so it'll get used up faster in a more usable form. Because of how we've packaged it there has been no freezer burn or drop off in quality, but I'd still like to get the older stuff gone.

With this inventory at my fingertips I can keep it handy and we can get eaten what needs to be used up and do far less grocery shopping for protein because I will know at a glance what I have and plan around it.

The Adoption is Official

June 6th, 2014 at 02:52 pm

Just got word from my niece that everything is all complete. It's a wonderful feeling knowing that no one can take my great niece away from her new parents. Welcome to the family, again, to the sweetest three-year-old I know.

Lots of Gardening Work Going On

June 6th, 2014 at 11:22 am

I finished planting my straw bale garden yesterday. I am really happy with it. The gutter garden is filled with greens and doing well. And I started building the hay bale garden. I have the center filled with rabbit poop and will be putting compost on top. Today I will start conditioning the bales after I get the soil part planted.

I can't even begin to state how much easier this type of gardening is on my body. I am really thrilled to be able to plant so much again and grow so much of my own food this year. I've put in an outlay of $350, so once I start harvesting food, I will count that against my total. I usually come out ahead by several hundred dollars on a good garden year. And I think this is going to be a good garden year.

http://youtu.be/UqleDAp2eaw

I have planted enough tomatoes and green beans to supply my family's needs for the year. I've planted enough potatoes, that I should be able to can at least 52 quarts, which will be a jar a week. And I should have some left over to dehydrate for hash browns, and of course some for fresh eating. I would like to get more potatoes into the ground, but I don't know if that will happen. The harvesting of potatoes will be the only difficult part of harvesting this year, but the kids will help.

My ducks are almost 12 weeks old and have started swimming in the kiddie pool I gave them.



They could start laying eggs anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks from now. I am really looking forward to those first fresh duck eggs. I still have to wait a while to determine sexes for certain. But I have 4 females for sure and I think it is possible that it is 6 out of 9. Once the drake feathers come in on the males, I can then determine which ones will go to freezer camp and which ones will stay around for egg laying and breeding purposes. The drake feathers can start any time from now until about 20 weeks old, so I am keeping a sharp eye out.

The turkeys are getting huge at 8 weeks old and the little pullets at 10 weeks old are growing pretty fast, too. They just look small in comparison. In another 4 or 5 weeks, depending on size, we can start integrating the pullets in with the laying hens. They can't live with the turkeys forever, but they need to be big enough to defend themselves against the older hens. Hens can be really mean to young pullets as the new pecking order is determined, so I like them to be close to equal sizes before putting them together.

I will try to get some photos of them to put up. We for sure have one tom turkey. He has done the whole tail fan spread strut thing, which is kind of funny at this age, because it's not very big but it is definitely a fan. He also gobbles. We also have two hens. I am unsure about the fourth turkey. I am hoping it is a hen, too, but the way the tom challenges it I think it might just be a smaller tom. Then again, it could be a hen aiming for the top of the pecking order. It is the second biggest of all the turkeys.

In another 2 weeks or so we will be ready to start butchering our next batch of meat chickens. The Rainbow Rangers were pretty good and they actually looked like chickens, though they were pretty lazy. I hope the Cornish cross are even better. They better be or I won't raise them again. They are pretty sad looking and their feather growth can't keep up with their body growth, and they don't move around much at all. I feel bad for them. Still, they get to be outside during the day and have fresh air and sunshine, and that is better than the commercially raised ones live. And I know what they are being fed.

Cornish cross grow faster than Rainbow Rangers, but you know what grows even faster? Pekin ducks. And they feather properly, so I may just grow Pekins as meat birds next year.

Will we end up saving money on the cost of chicken and duck meat after feed and bedding costs are considered? Yes, but not by much. Still, to know how they lived and how they died and how they ate is worth it to me. And so far the flavor is incomparable to grocery store birds. Even the organic ones. I am not counting the cost of building their housing, because that is a one time cost.

A Lot Accomplished

June 4th, 2014 at 11:30 am

This week has been a lot of hard work and a lot of planned spending, but our turkey pen is more or less complete and it is attached to the coop and useable, so I am happy. We ended up spending about $700 on the coop and pen altogether, and $300 on the duck house we made earlier in the spring. This is why we gave up on the idea of a greenhouse and aquaponics this year.

We still built for far less than it would have cost to purchase premade coops or pens and we built it better, too, in my opinion. And everything is built in such a way as to be fairly easy to take apart and put back together again, so when we move to our farm eventually (if our house ever sells) we can take it all with us.

If you are interested in our turkey pen build I did a video for it: http://youtu.be/iMYjVl18j3c It's about 8 minutes long, and you will see the turkeys and young pullets near the end. You will also see the guttering we attached and filled with potting soil to grow greens in. I am excited about that.

The straw bale garden is doing well. Nothing has died, even the scraggly looking extra chard plants that were stuffed in the one gallon pot along with the main 3 big ones. They are sending up new leaves from the center. I've got some more transplants I need to get in.

I also got 8 more bales to start conditioning. This time I got hay bales as I would like to see the difference between straw and hay. I found a lady on youtube who swears by hay bale gardens over straw bale. She's done both and says there are more nutrients in the hay than the straw and they grow better in straw. So I will start on conditioning that today and in a few weeks I can plant my late season crops in it. We can often grow into about mid-October, and later for things like brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, purple cabbage).

I would really like to grow onions and carrots, but root crops don't do too well in bales. I might try arranging them in such a way so that I can have a dirt row down the center of the bales to grow them in. It's a little late for onions, but I could grow some small to mid-sized ones from sets. And the dirt row wouldn't have to be conditioned, it could be planted now, if I bring in some bags of compost.

I'll have to do a little fencing, too. We've got a wild rabbit warren nearby and they are on their second set of babies and the little nibblers are out a lot. I saw a total of five rabbits of various sizes out yesterday. Usually they are just in the yard eating our clover and dandelions, but an unfenced garden is just asking for it. The straw bale garden is fenced, so we would just need to figure something out for the hay bale one. Maybe some plastic fencing wrapped around a couple of PVC frames to set over the top.

We got our potatoes planted on the weekend, so I am happy about that. It won't be enough for the year by any means, but it will be enough to can some so I have it on hand for pour and dump stews during the fall and winter. Canned potatoes are also great for making fried potatoes in a hurry. And there should be enough to dehydrate some with some onions for making hash browns. I also saw a homemade tater tot recipe I'd like to try out this year.

Oh, I also did a much shorter video update on the ducks and the rabbits this week if anyone is interested: http://youtu.be/pde7xamLO8o We will be starting on butchering some of the bigger kits in 2.5 to 3 weeks. Lola's kits will have to grow out longer since they grew up without their mother and didn't get milk after 2 weeks old, except the really small one I fed with a dropper. Dropper bunny is now 2 1/4 pounds and doing pretty well at 8 weeks old, but I think it will end up growing out longer with the kits that are 4 weeks old now. I might even keep it if it is a doe. She is so sweet and friendly. Even if she might be a smaller doe, I find temperament more important than size these days. Her size is less important than the size of the kits she'll have anyway.

Well, I've got work to do, so I suppose I should stop lolly-gagging on the internet for a while.

Sore This Morning

June 2nd, 2014 at 08:13 am

Yesterday I got some more transplants put into the straw bale garden. My back is sore, but I think that is more from grocery shopping and having the girl over pack the bags I had to heft both into the cart and back out of it again.

I spent $38.40 to get 4 more tomato plants, 7 pickling cucumbers (which had 3 to 4 plants per pot), 2 slicing cucumbers, 2 Swiss chard (total of 7 plants in the pots). I got them all planted out, plus two of the pots of basil that have been sitting in my kitchen window since March (each pot had 3 plants in it). It's really starting to look like a garden now.

http://youtu.be/XzYjLHuBW9k

I also spent $61.92 at the feed store, buying 50 pound bags of game bird crumbles for the turkeys and flock raiser for the ducks and chicks, and 2 bales of straw for bedding for all of the birds. We go through about a bale of straw a week for bedding between the two coops. That will probably lessen when all of the birds start spending the day outside.

They had some good sales on juice so I stocked up on apple juice, orange juice, and Simply Lemonade. Since we don't drink pop at all, and it has been hot, it will be nice to have a little something that isn't water. We drink a lot of water, it's our beverage of choice, but sometimes it is nice to have a little flavor. Right now there is 8 gallons worth. Yeah, I think that is what hurt my back over the garden.

I still need to get some more green beans, kale, and some kohlrabi into the garden. I am going to pop over to Joe's gardens and see if they have any starts for that. Otherwise I'll shove some dirt and seeds into the remaining unplanted straw bales and get those going.

My top 3 goals with the garden this year are to grow enough tomatoes and green beans to can for the year for my family's use, and enough pickling cucumbers for a year's supply of canned pickles for me, since I am the only one who eats pickles.

We've processed the first batch of Mom's meat chickens over the week (14). She has given me most of the breast meat which I have cut up into stir-fry and nugget sizes. So far I've gotten a total of 9 pounds of meat from her, since she doesn't like breast meat that much. It is not our preferred meat, we like dark better, but white does work well for quick cooking methods like stir-fry and nuggets. The flavor is very good.

In another week or two the next batch of meat chickens (29) will be ready to be processed. That is going to be quite a chore. Now that the older birds have been butchered, their coop will be cleaned out today and we can start moving the younger birds into it. They will have more floor space and they are old enough to have access to the outside now. These birds are so lazy though I don't know if they will do much more than lay in the dirt or the clover. But at least being outside in the fresh air and sunshine will be good for them.

Well, I've done enough lolly-gagging. Time to get to work on the turkey pen and the rest of the work that needs to be done today.

Menu Planning for the Week

June 1st, 2014 at 10:51 am

The only foods I need to buy for this menu are potatoes and broccoli/cauliflower. Everything else is either in my freezers, my pantry, or my fridge already. I will have to buy a few things for lunches this week and some eggs for breakfast since most of the 7 hens are still not done molting so aren't laying more than one or two eggs a day. I will be glad when the ducks and the new chicks get old enough to lay eggs.

Sunday:
Beef Fajitas

Monday:
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Green Beans

Tuesday:
Tacos

Wednesday:
Fried Rabbit
Baked Potatoes
Broccoli/cauliflower

Thursday:
Korean Style Mandu Dumplings
--Ingredients are ground rabbit (in place of pork), savoy cabbage (in place of Chinese cabbage), bean sprouts, green onions, ginger, garlic, egg, mirin, dark sesame oil, and goyza wrappers. I leave out the tofu as it causes a histamine reaction.

Friday:
Steaks
Fried Potatoes
Green Beans

Saturday:
Bacon cheeseburgers made with ground rabbit meat
Cole slaw




Long Week

June 1st, 2014 at 01:45 am

We've been working really hard on building the turkey pen so the turkeys don't have to spend all day inside their coop. It's been a lot of time and we will probably spend a total of $600 altogether, although that includes the cost of a reciprocating saw, a staple gun, and an electric sander.

We got Mom's freezer cleaned out and our stuff from it moved into our large chest freezer in the garage. I made up an inventory list of the food and then promptly misplaced it. Still, I've got a pretty good idea of what we have so that will make it easier to plan my menus for this week.

I started moving some transplants into the straw bale garden today. I like it so far. It is definitely holding in a ton of moisture from the conditioning process. In the long run this will use very little water and hold on to what it absorbs for a long time, which is great. I still got a lot of transplants to do, but here's what I've done so far:

http://youtu.be/xYzDaxNdn6Y

I'll post the turkey pen build video when we've got it finished.

Payday Report

June 1st, 2014 at 01:38 am

I didn't get around to doing this on Friday or Saturday, so thought I should get to it.

$530.02 AMEX
_400.00 Mom's Utilities
__45.30 Life Insurance DH
__41.88 Life Insurance Me
__70.86 Car Insurance
__47.17 House Insurance (Old House)
__41.16 Security System (Old House)
_186.00 Storage
_300.00 for Farm Supplies
_120.00 Physical Therapy
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1782.39

Interest Added to Emergency Fund

June 1st, 2014 at 01:22 am

$9264.68 Beginning EF Balance
+___5.30 Interest from C1-360
------------
$9269.98 New EF Balance

$730.02 left to finish refilling the EF to $10K.