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Progress on the Barn Build

I am getting more and more excited by the day! The barn is coming along nicely and will hopefully be done soon. Or at least the stalls will be done soon. However, Aarron has a few more ideas on what he wants to do with the barn, but I will wait to name them until they begin to happen.

So one stall is complete and the other 2 are very close. He still plans to put some tin on the outside wall and add insulation to make it a bit cooler in here.  He is sectioning the doors that they will open in sections rather than as one large door. This will allow us to open the top parts of the door so that there will be air flow all the time.

The door isn’t complete yet, but it’s getting there. I am so thankful to have a husband that is so handy with just about any type of tool and can make what he needs if he doesn’t already have it.

There are 2 separators that still need to go in between the stalls, but it’s definitely getting closer and I can’t wait. If you would like to see the progress you can click this link for the first post, and this link for the second post.

The back of the barn is part of the fence to the back yard. There will be doors there too so that we can take the girls in and out without having to go around to the gate on the other side of the barn. I am so excited about this build and look forward to seeing how it turns out.

Have a great day!

Renee

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Setting up the Meat Birds

Holy Cow! Meat birds eat a lot! We didn’t have any luck the last time we tried meat birds, so I wasn’t sure they were going to last more than a few days here, however, they did and they are growing quickly. Of course I knew they would but it’s still surprising at how quick they actually do grow.

This will be their new shelter to grow in. We were having to fill their water about 20 times a day because it’s a small container for chicks and there are 20 of these babies. So I guess that shouldn’t have surprised me but it did. This will give them more room to grow and more room to move around. It also gives us more room for a bigger water and food bowl.

It is so nice to see them will more room, they were getting a bit cramped in the brooder. The last step will be to another pen that is about twice the size of this one where they continue the grow out until they are ready to process. We are going to do them a little early because it seems that if we try to wait to lose too many of them because of the heat and because of how quickly they grow.

I will try to keep updating on how they are doing and how they are growing but with everything else going on right now around here I’m not sure if I will remember or not. Have you grown meat birds? I would love to hear how well it worked or didn’t work for you. Leave a comment below and let me know.

Have a great day!

Renee

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Beginning of the Barn

I am so excited right now! The building of the inside of the barn has begun! I know that it’s going to take a while to get done because it is so very hot here right now, but just the fact that it has been started has me so excited.

Aarron managed to trade to get some of the materials we needed to begin getting the barn set up and now that we have it, it’s going to take a bit to get it done. In the summer, I have to basically stay in the house because I do not do well in the heat at all. So Aarron will do most, if not all, of this build by himself. Just the fact that we now have the materials is a big boost.

 

The plan is to create 3 stalls to start with for the 3 does we have on one side of the barn. The other side of the barn will have the milk stand and a refrigerator to hold the milk. We will plumb in a sink later but we do have water to the barn already. There will be doors on both sides of the barn. The top part of the doors will open separate from the bottom of the doors on both sides to help ventilate in the summer time. There is also a ventilation fan that can be run to get some of the heat out in the day time, however, the only time they will be in here is at night.

I so can’t wait to have this done, but I know that I will have to be patient and wait.

Have a great day!

Renee

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Meat Birds

So, I got a call from my daughter the other day telling me that TSC had chicks for .25 each! Now, I have just recently lowered my bird count from over 100 birds to just 12 birds. I did this because we were just going through way too much food and it was costing us more than we were making from the eggs we sell so I had to do something.

The guy that was helping her, then told her they are meat birds. I explained to her that meat birds do not live for very long. I told her that once they get big, they will start to die if we don’t process them for the freezer. She said she knew this. So I told her she could get a few if she was willing to learn how to process them.

What she did not tell me is that there were 21 meat birds and she was going to buy all of them! So we now have 21 meat birds that will need to be processed in several weeks. All I can say at this point is that I am glad Aarron will help doing this because that is a lot of birds to have to try to process on his own.

I guess we may be selling some processed chickens soon to help recoup the cost of the food. Thankfully they don’t live long enough to really make a dent in the food budget for the birds.

Have a great day!

Renee

 

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Aarron Made Me A Display Ladder

I have always wanted one of those display ladders for blankets. I have a couple blankets that I would love to display in the living room. Mostly blankets that I have made but a few that were made by someone else. I have never had a place to display them so they sit in the closet collecting dust.

Aarron made one for me! I will be able to display a few of my blankets now. He said it was really pretty easy to do. The thing that took the longest time was allowing the sunflower stalks to dry out completely. So the making of this ladder actually started at the end of our garden season last year. Around August last year the sunflowers were ready to harvest. Once we cut the flowers off, Aarron cut down the stalks too.

Once all the stalks were cut down, he laid them all out with a weight on them to straighten them out. Once they dried like that for a short time, he was able to gather them all up and tie them in a bundle together so they could finish drying. Finally last week he was able to pull them out and put them together for me. We are going to see if there is a market for them in the area because they really are so easy to make. He used twine to tie them together at the points they meet.

It came out really nice considering this is the first time even trying this. And I can’t wait to get them in my living room to show off both the ladders and my blankets.

Have you done something like this? How well did they work for you? Leave a comment below and let me know.

Have a great day!

Renee

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TV Mount is finally up!

This post contains affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase through the link I will make a small commission at no cost to you. To see my full disclosure click here.

We got this TV Mount a couple months ago but things have been so crazy that it has just sat in the bedroom waiting it’s turn to be put up. Hubby finally was able to get to it. This means the shelf at the bottom of the bed no longer has to pulled out to hold the TV. This means that I can finally walk around to my side of the bed without having to bend down around said shelf.

It attaches to the wall and puts the television out of my way! I’m sure you can imagine how excited I was to see this going up yesterday. It seems that everything else was more important (animals and garden and such, so yeah more important).  But I am so thankful that the time for this project finally showed up.

The really nice thing about this TV mount is that you can also lean the tv up or down depending on how you need it for viewing. It is so nice to be able to move the tv to where we need it rather than us having to move to the television. I can’t tell how great it was to lay down and watch a movie last night with this being on the wall now.

It also moves in toward the wall and out away from the wall. So now I just have to remember to duck my head a little if the television is still out from watching a movie. No more ducking under the shelf though so I definitely call this a win.

Have a great day!

Renee

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Garden Progress

So, it has been brutally hot so far this year. I’m talking 110 and above most days so the garden hasn’t done very well this year. I haven’t managed to get any of my herbs growing so far.

The hydroponic system hasn’t started growing yet, but it’s only been a few days since planting these so I’m not worried about it just yet. We are hoping this will help us this year with all the heat but it remains to be seen just yet.

The peonies are doing fairly well so far. We had to move them again because the cats killed a few of them so they are inside the shaded area now as well with most everything else.

The lettuce and cabbage seem to be doing good since Aarron moved them. They haven’t died yet at least so there is still hope. The carrots are beginning to grow again so maybe we will get some this year that are bigger than fingerlings.

The sunflowers and tomatoes in the back are doing alright. We have no fruit growing yet so hopefully we will get some this year. Tomatoes seem to be pretty hard to do here as they usually freeze just before they are ripe. Although last year I did get a few green tomatoes for my fried green tomatoes. That was amazing since I hadn’t had them in quite a long time.

So considering the heat this year, I guess the garden is doing alright so far, but I just hope that we can keep them going until the monsoon season when it tends to cool things down a little bit.

Have a great day!

Renee

 

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Gray Water Usage

In trying to conserve water we are looking at ways to use the gray water from the house. One way that Aarron came up with was to reroute the washing machine drainage from the septic to a large kiddie pool.

 

For the last few years we here in Arizona have been in severe drought so water is a premium resource right now. For that reason we are looking at ways we can reduce our water usage or reuse some of the waste water from the house, such as the washer and the sinks. Aarron set the washing machine up first and so far it has been a help to keep the hose off in the garden.

We are still looking at ways that we can filter the water better before using it for the trees and the garden. One thought has been a fish tank filter running on the trough that this will eventually run to. Aarron has also been working with a spa bubbler to see if that will get rid of the soap residue any better than a filter of some kind would.  No matter what we end up doing, we know that this going to help keep our water bill down too so that is always a plus when working on a farm or a homestead.

So far it seems to be working although the set up is no where near complete. We are still gathering parts to finish running it from this pool to the water trough as well so it may take a bit to get this all done but so far we have been able to keep up with the water used through the washer to this pool. I just hope this continues in the future. Once it’s all set up though it will be an automatic waterer for the garden or at least that is the plan at the moment.

Have a great day!

Renee

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Hydroponics Experimentation

Okay, so Aarron found some things laying around here and decided to make a hydroponics system with it in the shaded area in front of the house. I have tried my hand at hydroponics before but it was with an expensive system that I could never quite figure out how to use correctly. I thought at that point I was done with hydroponics and wouldn’t try it again…Well here goes.

 

So to hold the seeds he is using toilet paper rolls with soil in them and they are placed in the squares of a baby gate. The gate he took and put on top of a small kiddie pool with a grate underneath to keep the rolls at the right height.

He wrapped some nylons around the bottom of the rolls to  keep the soil in the tubes where it needs to be. The cardboard of the toilet paper rolls pulls the water in so that the soil will remain damp but not overly wet. We planted the seeds on Saturday so hopefully soon we shall begin to see some growth. Of course this is an experiment so we have no idea how well it will or will not work.

To keep the water moving, he used a cooler pump with a line attached to it to push the water through and move the water in the pool so that it doesn’t get stagnant. This time of year this would be a very bad thing as it would breed mosquitos and we get enough of them already so that water has to move.

I’ll keep you updated on this when I do my garden updates every month so you will know as I do whether this will work or not. Have you already tried this? I would love to know, leave a comment below and let me know.

Have a great day!

Renee

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Mesquite Flour Part 2

So we dried the mesquite beans in the oven and ground them up into flour. It appears this is to be the easy part. I made bread with the flour, and while it wasn’t a total fail, it didn’t turn out as well as I would have liked.

Most recipes online suggest mixing both mesquite flour with regular flour and I believe I understand why now. I used my normal bread recipe which makes two loaves of bread. I proofed my yeast and it was good. Put all the ingredients into the mixer and let it go. Once it was all mixed well, I put it on the stove to rise for an hour and this is where things went bad.

The dough didn’t rise at all! It was like the yeast didn’t work with this flour. But we wanted to see how it would taste so I went ahead and put it in the pans and baked anyways.

I think this is the ugliest loaf of bread I had ever made. The dough was still very sticky and didn’t work with me at all. So this is what came out of the oven. The flavor is actually really good though so this is the only reason I didn’t call this a complete fail. I’m beginning to think that the mesquite flour may be something to use more in flat type breads that don’t require yeast, but more experimenting will need to be done on this before I consider this a complete fail.

Of course since the dough didn’t rise, the bread was very dense and not the airy bread that I am used to  but I expected this. As I said earlier though, the flavor was good and I can see using this is baked goods and different types of breads but maybe not for a sandwich bread.

Have a great day!

Renee

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Using Gray Water on the Farm

It looks like the next project here will be fitting the house so that we can use the gray water in the garden and possibly with the animals (depending on how this goes). In Southern Arizona, water is an expensive commodity so we need to try to use it as best we can.

The plan is to pipe this tub from the house and to the garden. We plan on putting a fountain or something in it to help keep the water moving all the time. It is the hope that the fountain ( or spa at this point) will help to remove the bad stuff from the water before we put it in the garden. At this point, the spa makes it bubble up and we remove the bubbles from the water with a pool skimmer.

At this point we are still in the testing phase, so not sure how well this will work but we’re going to give it a try. Right now it will only be used for the trees around the property such as the mesquite trees and the apricot tree but the hope is to be using it with the rest of the plants by the end of the year and to have the plumbing done for it by that time also.

It seems like we are always trying something new to see if we can make it work. It would be nice to have the money to just buy what we need, but that is just a dream at this point.

Do you use the gray water from your house for your plants? How well does this work? Leave me a comment below and let me know.

Have a great day!

Renee

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Making Mesquite Flour

On this journey, we are trying to be more self-sufficient.  This means using what the land provides for you. So, this year we are trying something new and hopefully it will be a success but we shall see. We have started collecting the mesquite beans this year to make flour. I am hoping to replace the flour we buy at the store for just one more thing we don’t have to buy.

We have let the beans dry for a few days in the baby pool and now Aarron is taking and running them through the chipper to make them smaller (so they will fit in the grinder). We are going to let them dry for another few days to a week and then they should be easier to shell.

The hard part is still going to be getting the seed out of the shell. It will take a bit of time and patience, which is sometimes short around here. Once we get the seeds out of the shell we can put them through the grinder to make the flour. I have my grinder already because I have been buying the wheat seed to grind for flour so this won’t be any added expense. In fact, if it works and we like the outcome, it will save us money right away.

If it works, and we like it I won’t have to order the whole wheat seed for grinding anymore so that will save us right off the bat about 40 dollars a month. No matter what happens, it will be well worth the try to see how this tastes and how well it will work. I will definitely update later to let ya know how well it worked and if we like this new flour.

Have you done this already? I would love to hear your experience with this. Leave me a comment below and let me know.

Have a great day!

Renee

 

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New Pig Pen

I am still learning about my animals. We got our pigs last year to breed so that we don’t have to buy piglets every year. We have had them in the same pen for this whole time. I am just learning that the male can antagonize the female and make her lose the piglets so that she will go into heat again.

I am now wondering if this is the reason we have not had any piglets yet. I’ve also learned that pigs can have up to 3 litters a year as well. We have had our pigs for about a year now and haven’t had a litter yet.  So with this new knowledge in hand, we are making a new pig pen to separate the male and female.

So the hope now is to see if we can figure out when Momma goes into heat so we can put them together a few days so we can get those babies we’ve been waiting about a year for. Aarron has made it so that it’s easy to get them between the pens which will be nice if I have to move them by myself for some reason.

He already has the water bowl in there and working on her mud hole. The last thing is to get her shade up and a place for piglets to get away from her if needed and then Momma goes in and we wait.  I always like to try to do the best I can for my animals, so hopefully she will be better off for this  move as well as Poppa but I guess we just have to wait and see.

Have a great day!

Renee

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Waiting on Kidding

Waiting on a kidding is one of the worst parts of being on a homestead or a farm. Your does will hold them babies hostage until the worst possible time and then decide to have them. Hopefully she won’t need assistance if you happen to be away from the home for a short time.

This is called the “doe code”. She will hold on to those babies until she has no choice but to deliver and it is usually not at a good time. Either you are busy doing something else or it will be in the wee hours of the morning or when you need to run to town to get supplies. No matter what, it always seems to work this way.

This girl is due any time now. We are trying to plan supply runs around her. Let me tell you this is not always an easy thing to do. Usually when kidding time gets close, I will stay home while Aarron goes to town. As some of you know, this too is not always easy. I feel like when kidding gets close I don’t leave the home for at least a couple weeks so by the time the kids come, I am going stir crazy.

This is not her first time kidding, but it is the first time she is kidding here so I really don’t know what to expect with her. One of ours has needed help every time she kids and the other usually has no issue and does it all on her own but with Desi, I just don’t know what I am in for. I just know that I am ready for her to release the hostages already.

Have a great day!

Renee

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Moving The Garden

So, it appears that this year is going to be a hot one. We are hitting record high heat this week, all week and our garden is suffering because of it. So this year Aarron is trying to move the garden under the shade of the screen room on the house.

This was going to be the new greenhouse area, but we are losing many of the plants in the garden so they are now coming in as well. We have never had much luck with transplanting so we are hoping this is going to work. My Garden Progress  posts, will be about this area now as we have combined both the garden and the greenhouse to one area.

So far, many of the plants do not look like they will make it, but we are going to try anyway to keep them alive. We have put some in the ground and others in pots because we only have so much space and need to be able to move around them and move some around in the process so this should be interesting. I am still hopeful so far though.

At this point in time, it seems that the lettuce and cabbage are doing the best, but others seems to be coming around as well and my screened area is starting to look more like I was hoping for. It seems this year may be a hard one again. We can’t seem to catch a break right now for anything. Oh well, here’s to hoping things get better.

Have a great day!

Renee