Feeding on a Budget: Chickens

This week I am going to take a break from the What’s happening posts because it’s very early in the week writing this and not much has been done since I wrote the last post. I’ll return with that one next week to show everyone the new property.

Chicken  feed from the feed store can get pretty expensive quickly if you have more than just a couple chickens so let me give you some tips to help keep that feed bill down. First off, I only feed scratch in the winter time when they need the extra to help with warmth. So this is my first tip, only buy scratch in the winter time. The rest of the year they really don’t need the extra because it’s like a treat to them and they will fill up on that and you egg production could drop because of this.

Baby Chicks

I know a lot of people will tell you this is wrong and I am only going over what works for me. If someone else tells you they need it, I can tell you that I have not fed scratch other than in the winter for about 6 years now and I have not lost a bird to malnutrition.  The second tip is to feed kitchen scraps. I have given my birds everything from the kitchen from vegetables and fruit to meat. I wouldn’t feed meat all the time, I try to only give meat a couple times a week but 3 or 4 times would be ok too because I have done that. I just wouldn’t do it all the time.

Chickens

 

My next tip is to give them everything you take out of the garden. When you trim you plants give them the trimmings. When you weed your garden give them the weeds. While working in your garden, give them any bugs that you remove from your garden. The chickens will absolutely love this. If you are able let them free range for a little while during the day so they can get the bugs in your yard. Just make sure that any plants you don’t want them to get at are protected because otherwise they will find it.

Chickens

 

I do not know if these are recommended tips I am only sharing what has been working for me. I don’t lose birds very often and it’s usually from old age rather than anything else. I am just saying this is what I have been doing to keep the food bill down for my chickens. I hope this is helpful for you.

If you have any other tips I would love to hear them. Leave a comment below and let me know!

Have a great day!

Renee

 

What’s Happening Part 4

Well we have closed on one house and are working on closing the other now. We should be at our new property in a couple weeks. Would you believe we haven’t even seen it yet? It’s true. We are buying this land on pictures alone. It has a well and electric on property but nothing else. It’s going to be quite the adventure starting from scratch. The closer it gets the more excited I get about it.

As for what is going on here, Aarron is still working on the yard. It’s getting closer though. The goats are still here, which is a little frustrating but I’m dealing. I hope they will be going to stay with friends this week sometime but we shall see. I’m not sure what I’m going to do on my Instagram until we get the goats to new property. My instagram is usually the goats and my blog so it may be a little bare for a couple weeks. We shall see on that one.

Side yard

It feels like this is taking forever, but it’s really not. It’s a lot for one person though. Thankfully Aarron’s dad has been here most of the time to help him because otherwise it would just be Aarron. I wish we had the money to just pay someone to do the rest of it. It would be so much easier Aarron if we could.

House front

 

I have say that I absolutely hate moving. We have way to much stuff. We have gotten rid of so much already but there is still so much more to get through. I can’t wait until this is done and my anxiety can calm back down. I have been so anxious the last week that it almost feels like I’m going to pass out most days. I will be glad when this is all over.

Front yard

 

I am thankful that we are getting closer to be done. I am thankful that the new property should be closing next week. I am thankful that we are going to be away from this area too. I can’t wait to get back to homesteading posts and how to’s. I hope you will bare with me during this transition stage.

 

Have a great day!

Renee

 

What’s Happening Part 3

So, we are finally closing tomorrow on one property and hopefully closing next week on the other property. I have to say the closer it gets, the more excited I am getting. It’s going to be a new chapter in life and for our little farm. We are going to continue working with our breeding program with the goats so there will be more kid updates later. We are wanting to get pigs again and hopefully work on a breeding program with them as well, but we shall see how that goes later on.

The clean up is going well. We have  two weeks to get everything finished up and it’s looking more and more like it will happen. The back is mostly done other than the goats. They are still in the smaller pens right now which I don’t like, but we have to do what we have to do at this point in time.

Back yard

 

All the fences are down and the materials are moved to the front so they can be separated and shipped out to where ever they are going (trash, scrap, new home). Aarron’s Dad has been here helping with this because I don’t know a thing about scrap so it’s mostly his job to get this all done. I have been helping a little where I can but it’s not been much outside. My job has mostly been in the house getting everything packed and ready to go when we get the new place.

Side yard

 

There is still quite a bit to do (which is partly why this post is late). But it seems to be coming together now and getting down to mostly what is going to the new house. Once we close on the new property, if it’s the one we are looking at right now, we will have more acreage which will be nice. Where we are now is 1 acre and if the sale of the property goes through we will be on 10 acres. I am so looking forward to this. And it looks like there is only one other house in the near vicinity. So we won’t have nosy neighbors so close to us this time.

Front yard

 

I honestly can’t believe it’s taken this long, but there have also been many challenges that my husband has faced through moving all of this. Many tires have blown before during and after drives to town to take scrap. I don’t know how many tires my husband has done by hand to make sure the trips go well. He has been amazing through all  of this. We have been so stressed out and yet he doesn’t take it out on me when he gets mad at something or someone. I wish I could say the same for myself, but we are working through every thing and we will get to the new property as one. I am exited about our next journey.

Have a great day!

Renee

What’s Happening Part 2

Ok. So we are getting closer to our closing date and things are getting rough. We will get through it, but I’m stressing pretty hard at this point. We were supposed to close tomorrow on this property and the 10th on our new property. However, now they are postponing this property until the 9th. I’m not sure that I will have the money on the 10th now. Grr. This is so frustrating. Plus, we are supposed to be done here on the 10th as well, but if we aren’t closing until the 9th, I’m not sure that will happen.

Anyway, Aarron is doing his best to get all the scrap out of the yard, but it’s a long arduous process. You will be able to see from the pictures that as of yet, it doesn’t look like there is much of a dent in progress. It’s been just him for the most part, but last week the church did come out to help and now his Dad is here to help him as well so hopefully things will really start moving now but we have to wait and see I guess.

Yard, before

 

Yard Before

 

 

The pictures above are before we really started anything so there is A LOT here. And we have to get all of it out. This is the hard part. However, Aarron and his Dad are starting to take loads to the scrap yard today so it should start clearing out pretty quickly now I hope.

Yar After

 

Yard after

 

 

So you can see from these that the back yard is making pretty good progress while the front not so much yet. I am praying every day that we can accomplish this monumentous task but my husband has pulled off miracles before and God willing he will do so again.

I have the house almost packed so I’m not worried to much about that. I know I will have it all packed and ready to go as soon as Aarron is ready to start moving it. I should have taken before and after pictures there too, but I didn’t think about it. It’s just so very strange to see the house so empty. I haven’t seen it like that since my Dad moved into it back in 1998.

Well, that what’s going on here right now. Is there anything really big or stressful that you are working on right now? I love to hear it! Leave a comment below.

Have a great day!

Renee

 

Onion Powder

There is no reason you should be using the onion powder from the store. It is too easy to make at home to use something that has so many ingredients and chemicals in it when you can make onion powder easily from the comfort of your home. I will show you how. All you need is an onion and a dehydrator or you oven.

onion slices

Cut 1 onion into thin slices. You want to try to get them as even as possible so they will dry about the same time.

Onion on dehydrator tray

 

Place the onion slices on your dehydrator trays or on a cookie sheet if you’re using your oven. Make sure there is a little space between each one.

Dehydrator

Place the onion in your dehydrator or in your oven if you’re doing it that way. Set the temp in the oven at 200F. For the dehydrator I set the temp around 145-155 and set the time for 12 hours.

At this point, you will want to watch them and check on them occasionally to see if they are dry. I usually start this around the 6 hour mark. Once they are completely dry ( the will snap when they are dry enough.) remove them from the dehydrator or oven and let them cool for a few minutes.

dried onion slices

Then you will want to place in your container that you will use to powder the slices. I use a ninja blender for this part but but a blender, food processor, or mortar and pestle will work for this.

Blending onion slices

I use a pulse motion to grind the slices into powder. It doesn’t take very long, a few minutes at most. I generally stop to check it often. Once you don’t see any large pieces, it’s done.

Powdered onion slices

The blender makes quick work of this so it should only take a couple of minutes.

Powdered onion slices

Once you have it in powder form, you just need to put into whatever container you are going to use. I have an old jar that I did buy a while back that is already labeled so I just use that.

onion powder

It is so simple guys! Anyone can do this. I mean anyone. Using the oven takes just about as long as a dehydrator, unfortunately some ovens don’t go down to 200F so you have to get a dehydrator. But if your oven does go down that far, it will work just as well.

Have a great day!

Renee

What’s Happening

So we are moving. That is what we have decided. This town has gotten pretty toxic over the last few years. It has been decided that we are going to leave this small town and try to find another somewhere else that isn’t quite as bad. Cause honestly I think it’s getting pretty bad every where. So here’s to hoping we can find what we are looking for.

This will be bitter sweet for me because this was my father’s land. It’s hard to leave that and I know there will be many tears involved over the coming weeks because of that. However, that said, I believe this is what is best for my family right now.

I have a friend that is going to keep the goats until we can get settled and make a space for them. We have sold the chickens and hope to get more once we are settled. We sold the cows last month and we haven’t been able to find pigs in a while so there are none of them right now either.

I was completely against moving at first, but the  more I think about it, I am a little excited to see what this next chapter is going to hold for us. This neighborhood has become so bad in the last couple years. I’m glad my Dad didn’t see that. The neighbors make hard for me to want to stay. They fight all the time and it’s loud enough that it sounds as though they are in my living room. So the more I think about this, the more I am certain this will be a good thing for us.

We are hoping to get more land this time. We are on one acre right now so I would like 10 or more but would be happy with 5. We are looking in areas that are cooler than where we are in Southern Arizona, but we don’t want to go so far that it snows every winter so we are thinking Wilcox or maybe down in Douglas where Aarron’s family is.

I will continue to work on my blog and post every week while we are in transition. I am hoping that my excitement will continue to grow as we get closer to the move. I know this is what is best for us and that is what I am holding on to right now.

Have a great day!

Renee

New Year New Goals

I am really struggling right now. Usually I have put together my goals for the next year, but this year everything is up in the air. Either we are going to sell the property or we are going to stay if we can save it. We are trying so hard to save it, but it’s not looking good at this point in time. We have a barn up for sale that would give us the amount needed to keep it but if it doesn’t sell soon, I will have to sell the property.

Barn

I’m extremely attached to the property as it was my Dad’s but I really would like to go somewhere that people aren’t so close. We are on an acre but they are long rather than square so the neighbors are like right outside my doors it seems. If they fight, we know it close. So I’m kind of torn on what to do at this point.

Barn 2

I keep thinking that somewhere new would be a nice change, but it’s my Dad’s property. He left it to me when he passed in 2020. I just feel like we are stuck right now though and I don’t like that at all. However, with everything being up in the air, I can’t work on goals for the new year yet either. So this means that everything will be so far behind by the time we get everything figured out.

 

Yard

What would you do in this situation? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Have a great day!

Renee

Kid Update

The girls are growing so very fast. They are becoming wonderful Does now, well Doelings anyway. When they hit a year old they will then be considered Does. Until then, I will continue to update on their progress. We had to move them because they could get into the pen with the bucks. At around 6 months they start going into heat and we don’t little ones that young to become pregnant so we had to move them away from the adults.

Growing Girls

 

They are not happy about this move because they are no longer with momma any more. They are by themselves for the time being. They will be by themselves until the next kids move in with them. The next kids should start coming around February. So we are moving everyone around and trying to get ready for kidding now. Hopefully we have 2 does that are carrying and should drop in February.

Girls pen

We haven’t had any bucks born here in the last few years so I’m kinda hoping we get at least one this year but we’ll have to wait and see. The girls new area is where the cows were at last year. They got the pen now since we don’t have the cows any longer. It was easier to move them rather than try to make the area they were in escape proof because these two have shown they can be pretty crafty so we just moved them to the front yard instead.

Growing Girls

I can’t wait to continue to watch these two grow and become adults. I can’t wait to see what their babies will look like in a few years. I am looking forward to working with them and seeing what they will become.

Have a great day!

Renee

Growing Girls pin

Kid Update

So the kids are still growing. It seems now that they are slowing down on that though. I haven’t noticed them bigger lately. Just fatter and fluffier. They are getting their winter coats in. It’s been cold here (for us). We’ve been getting down in the 30’s and 40’s at night. Again, for us in Southern Arizona, that is cold. We usually only get a couple weeks this cold so this whole month so far has been cold. It’s got me looking forward to warmer weather. Anyhow, the girls are getting their winter coats in so they look fluffy which I adore. It just makes them more cute.

Honeysuckle Kid Update

Their personalities are getting stronger. Honeysuckle is still the more reserved of the two. Diamond does not want to stay where she is put. She is always getting in with the older ones. It’s not too much of an issue right now, but in a few more months it will be because my buck is in the pen she gets into. I really don’t her getting bred too soon. I wait until they are around 2 before putting them through that for the first time.

Diamond Kid Update

So over the next few months we will be working on the fence to try to ensure she can’t get in the other pen by the time she starts going into heat. She is such a trouble maker though so I’m not sure how that is going to go. We shall see.

I’ll be back next month with another update.

Have a great day!

Renee

Tucson Water Company – Update

You may remember our issue with Tucson Water from a couple weeks ago.  Well we finally got it resolved and our water is back on. However, it was a hard won fight. I talked to so many people at the water company and couldn’t get anywhere. The way it finally ended was my daughter going into the office to talk to someone.

At first they told her that they couldn’t do anything because we had to call their tampering line. My daughter explained that we had been doing that every day for the last 2 weeks and no one ever called back so she finally decided to try to help.

Even though on the voicemail I left my number, the number the lady said they called was not the number I left. Mind you, I even left my husbands number and my daughter’s number telling them the number on the account was not active any longer in the message. But they never tried calling any of the numbers left in the voicemail.

So the lady at the office was finally able to get the fine paid and the water started again. It took 2 weeks of trying to do it the way they wanted it done to come to the conclusion that they didn’t want it to work that way because they wouldn’t call back. The only way we were able to get it taken care of was by physically going to the office and making a fuss about it there.

Have a great day!

Renee

Kid Update

So the girls are 3 months old now and still going strong. We’ve had our ups and downs but they are great. Their personalities are coming out so well now. Diamond is the outgoing one while Honeysuckle seems to hang back to make sure all is good before she’ll come interact with others. Honeysuckle likes to weight the situation before making a move. It’s the cutest thing because you can tell she is trying to decide if she wants in on the action or not.

Diamond

Diamond is the more outgoing one and loves to get into trouble. Just today she got out of her pen and got into a fenced area where we are growing their food. She was having a ball eating all that she could. Thankfully she is still small so she couldn’t eat the whole field but she sure gave it a go today.

Honeysuckle stays in her pen like she is supposed to. That or she just hasn’t figured out how to get out of it yet. I’m not sure which. But they are both growing like weeds and living their best life. Or as best as we can give them any how. I think it’s been decided (by my daughter Kira) that we will be keeping them. She doesn’t want to give up Honeysuckle because she bottle fed her from birth and has been there since the very day they started life.

Diamond

 

So we will continue to watch them grow and thrive. We will continue to give them the best care that we can. We will continue to play with them and feed them their snacks that they so love. We will continue to watch over them until they are adults and can run with their momma and the other does.

Have a great day!

Renee

Sand Casting

This is something Aarron has been working on for a while now. He still doesn’t have it down perfect but he is getting there. It’s a fairly long and drawn out process that takes about 4 hours from start to finish. Sadly most of it has to be done in order because he has found out that if he make the sand cast early, it usually falls in before the aluminum is ready to pour.

Aluminum for Sand Casting

The first thing he does is get a good hot fire going so that he can melt the aluminum down to liquid again. After he gets it close to liquid, he starts getting the mold ready. He made a couple wood frames to hold the sand for the mold.

Mold for Sand Casting

 

The sand that he uses has been mixed with bentonite clay to make it more sticky so it will hold the shape better.

Sand for Sand Casting

Once he has the mold ready, he said that he uses a powder or something to make sure the newly made piece will come out easy. Once the aluminum is ready he will pour it into the mold and let it cool. So far, he hasn’t made a perfect piece yet, but he is getting close. He keeps tweaking how he does this until finally he will get a perfect piece. The best part so far has been the picture below.

Sand casted item

As you can see, it’s not quite right yet, but he is getting there. If anyone has any suggestions on what he could do to get closer it would be greatly appreciated. I know that he is getting frustrated with the results of this sometimes.

Have a great day!

Renee

Tucson Water Company

I am going to rant in this post because right now I am so angry and I don’t know what to do. Yesterday, Tucson Water came and put a lock on our water line so we have no water.  This is now the second day with no water. At the meter (not my house, but at the meter) they left a notice to call the tampering line and schedule someone to come out. So I call this number and it a voicemail box, no human at all. They say they will call back within 24 hours. It is now 27 hours since my call yesterday and I haven’t heard a thing! So now for the back story.

Water bill
This is October’s water bill due 10/10

 

Water bill
Break down of charges on Water bill due 10/10

We had an overdue balance of 202.29 and a balance of 79.54 bringing the entire balance to 281.83. (This is from my Oct. bill that is due 10/10, today mind you in 10/7). They shut the water off last week just before we were able to pay the bill. We paid the bill in full all 281.83. Aarron turned the water back on because we have a 3 yr old and animals here. We didn’t think anything else about it because they got their money. My account had a $0 balance. Yesterday, they put a pad lock on the water meter and left a notice in the water meter to call the tampering line. And that brings us back to today where I still have not heard anything from anyone. So I go to check my account again and it’s showing $100.48 due. They have charged me for a full month of service and a $55.52 lock service charge! This is the first time we have EVER had an issue with the Tucson Water, but oh what an issue it is!

New bill
Break down of what I now owe.

So here we are 2 days without water and I have no idea what to do about it because I can’t get anyone to even talk to me or call me back or anything. Any ideas at this point would be greatly appreciated because this girl is at her wits end. Things have been so hard since Covid hit and it just keeps getting better and better. I have tried to keep off the blog because well privacy and all, but I just don’t know what to do anymore. I am ready to just walk away, but this property is the only thing I have of my Dad other than memories and I really don’t want to lose but I think that is what is going to happen.

I have to put my animals up for sale because I have no water for them and I don’t know how to fix it. I have a small herd of 2 papered bucks and 3 does and 2 female kids that I want to get $1500 for but I’m not even sure that will happen. I feel like I am going to have to give them away because I can’t properly care for them right now until I can get the water settled. I feel so defeated right now.

Renee

Baby Update

So the kids are almost 3 months now and they are growing fast. I love getting to see their personalities come out and watching them play.

I have decided that we are going to keep them both to add to our herd once they are big enough. Because of this decision we did not de horn them as the rest of our girls all came to me with horns. I have to give them a fighting chance right? Diamond seems to be the more outgoing of the two and Honeysuckle is more reserved.

I thought that Diamond was all white, but she is actually turning out to more of cream color which is so pretty. Of course if you see her just right, she looks dirty not cream colored. Honeysuckle is white with cream/brown markings around her ears/eyes. They are both going to be beautiful. I can’t wait to see what colors they will produce later on.

 

In a couple years they will be bred to Rocky who is brown with some white markings. I am hoping for some darker babies from them because of Rocky’s coloring. I was debating about breeding Rocky with the older girls this year, but I went with Huckleberry instead so next years kids will likely be mostly white as well.

 

Watching them grow is so much fun. I love to see their personalities develop over the first months and then watch them grow in size the rest of the year. I am glad that I bottle raised them because they are so much more friendly than our last years girls were. I will post another update at some point next month to continue to let you see them grow.

Have a great day!

Renee

Baby Update

The baby goats are just over a month old now. I figured I should do an update to let people know how they are doing and how well they are growing. First off, let me say they are the most friendly goats I think I have ever had, although right now they still are only coming to me for bottles.

Their horns are starting to come in now. We were going to dehorn them but decided not to as my other ladies all have their horns. This way, when we go to integrate them, they will have a better chance against the others. They are on 2 bottles a day now. We just moved them down a few days ago and they are not happy about it. Although they have started to eat hay and they are drinking water, so it was time to take them down.

Honeysuckle has quite the personality. She is very outgoing and loves attention. Diamond on the other hand is a little more reserved. She come to me but so far she runs from everyone else. Including my daughter who is helping me to feed them. She will only come with a bottle. They are both very vocal though. Every time someone opens a door they sound off.

They are growing fast and doing well so far. We are still not sure if they will be staying or not but I would like to keep them as I don’t have any of my girls babies as of yet. The decision will need to be made soon though.

Have a great day!

Renee