Friday, April 29, 2011

Are You Prepared for High Prices and Hard Times?

Many people believe that really hard times are coming. Some think it is for a short while, others think it will last awhile and still others think it is the end. The cost of fuel is rising and food prices are starting to soar. What are you doing to tighten your belt and be prepared for hard times?

Do you have a garden? Maybe this would be a good year to try your hand at gardening. If you already have a garden, then maybe you could expand yours. You can grow a lot of food in a pretty small space if you have to. You can even have pots on a patio if you are in an apartment or condo. Gardening does not have to be hard or even expensive. It all depends on what you do. Don't think of a garden full of every kind of veggie out there. I am often tempted when I see a seed display to look and see what I don't have. I then have to ask myself, do I really ever eat this, or do I eat a lot of it? With our new eating plan, we are consuming a lot of broccoli and cauliflower. We eat it both raw and cooked. I am going to put some of both in my garden plan this year. We eat a lot of green beans. They are so easy to grow and all beans are open pollinated, so you can save some as seeds for the next year. If your space for a garden is small, think vertical. We have been putting our cucumbers and beans on a trellis. I saw where someone grew cantaloupe on a trellis. It kept the worms from getting into the fruit before it was ripe. Go to the library and check out some books and get some ideas on the different types of garden styles. The square food gardens put a whole lot in a small space. There is a book written by Ruth Stout telling how to have minimal weeding in your garden by mulching heavily. One year we put down thick newspaper all around our squash plants and then put a thick layer of straw over that. It worked great and kept the weeds away. One of the wonderful benefits of that was the next year when the rest of the garden was having weeds come up (before time to plant), that patch was weed free. Get your family involved. Children can enjoy helping with planting and growing things. Make it a family affair.

Canning is not hard. It can take some time and effort, but you can eat your own wholesomely, organically grown fruits and veggies all winter. I can tomatoes whole. Then as I need sauce or paste, I cook some down. One woman I know puts a 5 gallon bucket in her freezer. She puts whole clean tomatoes down in it and deals with them in the winter when she has more time. Keep good notes on your canning and it will help you in future years. I keep an excel file that tells me how much of a fruit or veggie I started with and how much I ended up putting up. Also, think about how often you eat something. Lets say you eat your first fresh beans at the end of June. You can keep eating them from your garden all summer if you have a pole type that keeps producing or you have several different planning times with bush beans. Then along comes the Autumn, then Winter, then Spring. Lets say you eat green beans once a week and you cook a quart for your family (you will have to figure out your own family's needs). So, we have from October through June. That is 9 months and at an average of 4 weeks a month, that is 36 quarts of green beans you would need. Some people think that canning is really expensive. It doesn't have to be. Put the word out that you want canning equipment and jars. Put an ad in the paper, watch garage sales, tell your friends. You will be surprised how much you can get for cheap or even nothing.

Another thing to think about is planting trees and berries and grapes. The sooner you get them in the ground, the sooner you have a crop. We planted apple trees one year. The next year we planted plums, then pears, then peaches, then cherries. We have several kinds of grapes planted. We have strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries. The birds planted the blackberries. :) We did a little something each year. This gives us fresh fruit to eat and also some to put up for the winter.

Shop in bulk on items that store well. People make comments (not always nice ones) about how much coffee we have stored. When it goes on sale and we have coupons, we might buy up to 10 cans depending on how many we have. We don't have to buy coffee that is not on sale very often. If you buy your rice or flour or beans in bulk, they are cheaper per pound.

Another thing to think about is water. If the power is out do you have a way to get water? We do not. We would love to install a pump, but that is not happening any time soon. We do have a non-electric water filter that we could even put our pond water through if it came to that. :)

What are some things you are doing to be prepared for hard times? Even if the times are just a small blip, it is nice to be prepared.

Yes... Lamb Racing. :)

The first part of this really shows the lambs racing. Then you hear the wind get really loud. The mommas all see me and come running to see if I have peanuts. That ends the racing. Don't forget to turn off the music in the side bar.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I Love a Clean Smile

This is a compensated post written by me on behalf of Walgreens. All opinions are 100% mine.

I love the feeling of freshly brushed teeth.  Do you?  I like how they are all smooth feeling and your breath is fresh.  I learned a long time ago the importance of cleaning your tongue as well.  This also adds to the clean feeling. 

I was recently sent one of Walgreens Brand Health & Wellness Products to try.  They sent me a toothbrush.  I am very picky about my toothbrush, but I gave it a try. 

One feature I really like about it was there is a tongue scraper on the back side of the head of the toothbrush.  This means you get your tongue really clean without having to purchase another product. 

I also liked the fact that it had an angled handle.  This allowed me to brush my back teeth just as well as I can brush my front teeth. 

The price was on the toothbrush.  It is much lower than the name brand toothbrushes that I have looked at.  This is one way that Walgreens is trying to help people keep their health costs down.  There is an entire line of Walgreens Brand Health & Wellness Products.  They are all pharmacist recommended and have a 100% satisfaction guarantee.  You can go to their website and see what they have available.  On the medicinal products, most contain the same active ingredients as other national brands.

I would highly recommend you trying some of these products.  I was pleased with the toothbrush that I received.


Walgreens Way to Well Fund™


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Monday, April 25, 2011

Count Your Blessings Monday!!

Here is an opportunity for all of us to give thanks unto the Lord for a blessing in our lives. If you would like to take part great. If not that is OK too. If you would like to share your blessing, just leave it in the comments. If you want to use the picture above and list a blessing on your own site, then leave a URL to your site in the comments. There is no pressure here. I just know that I am incredibly blessed and I would like to share that and give thanks to Him who all blessing come from. This is a way that we can encourage one another. I know that I am often encouraged when someone shares a blessing with me. I think that many times we forget that it is a blessing to be able to breath, to get out of bed, to hold a baby... Share your blessings with us. We can share so many other things.... special gifts, recipes, let's take the time to share how God has blessed us!!

Today, I am thankful that I serve a RISEN SAVIOR!!!! I have a very real and alive relationship with God. It is personal and He is there whenever or wherever I need Him. WOW!!!!! I am His child and He loves me no matter what!!

What are YOU thankful for?

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lolloping Lambs

One more video. :) I know I get obnoxious about my lambs this time of year. The sound on this is not good. Don't forget to turn off the music in the side bar. The camera growls when it focuses and then the wind was blowing so hard, it made it hard to hear. :)

The Joys of Spring

Spring is a season of new beginnings. All of creation comes to life after a long cold winter sleep. It still surprises me a bit to look out and see green grass. I was so used to everything covered in white or brown when the snow would melt. You start to see a blush in the woods as the trees starting putting forth their buds. Even when you think it is still way too cold, you see the daffodils push through and the crocus coming up. How someone could view the world around us and not believe in a Creator is beyond me. The daffodils come up every year and they are the same. There is a rhythm and timing and someone is orchestrating this beautiful unfolding. I can go out and walk around the yard just looking for all the beautiful signs of Spring. It fills me with joy and sometimes even wonder at the beauty of it. I know I have said this before, but God could have just given us black and white, but He didn't. He chose to bless us with colors and textures and great beauty in detail. I have no proof of this, but I truly believe that when we get to heaven and see what He has there for us, all of this will be just like black and white.

Here are some scenes from around the farm. The Bradford Pear is blooming.

The lilacs are full of buds this year. It is supposed to go down to the mid 30's tonight. I hope they don't freeze and die.

The Forsythia is just full of blossoms this year. I have really enjoyed it. The Wonderful Neighbor woman came over one day last week with her youngest. I took pictures of the little Neighbor in front of the bush. They really came out cute.

You can see the branches are loaded with blooms.

I have some pretty wretched chickens though. They are getting into my herb beds and using them as a place to take dust baths and to scratch up. We are going to have to get a fence up around the garden and soon. Michael planted a rhubarb plant this past weekend. It had the cutest little red rhubarb stalks coming up. The chickens dug it up and separated the stalks from the roots. Here you can see them enjoying one of my raised beds.

Knit had her twins on Monday evening. She had 2 little ewes and they are both black. We have not chose names for them yet.

This little guy always poses for me. I have a bunch of pictures of him. His name is Vanilla, but maybe I should have named him Hambone.

I love the markings on Rambler (the white and brown one). He is kneeling down to say his prayers before he eats. :) Not really, they do this a lot when they are little.

This is Chocolate and Vanilla having a deep discussion.

This is Purl the Second and Lamb Chop. Lamb Chop is probably my favorite lamb this year. I love her markings. We may keep her and breed her to see what she throws. She has some brown on her face that is not showing up here.

Then yesterday, Rachael (the final one to lamb) had her twin lambs. She had a white ewe and a black ram. I think we are going to name them Ebony and Ivory. Here she is with the white one. We thought she only had one lamb. We went out and she was in the stall with this little girl. Earlier in the day, I had gone out to take a video (see below) and you can hear a little tiny lamb crying. Many times the moms get busy eating and they don't respond right away. He sounded so tiny and I kept watching to see who would come and help him. None did so I though maybe his mom knew he was OK, but I thought I would watch. When Michael came home he heard a little one crying and said it sounded tiny. I told him that I was pretty sure that Rachael had her babies, but had not been out to check yet. So we went out and found her with the white lamb. The white lamb was totally dry and doing really well. We were sort of surprised though that she only had one. I went out into the pasture to try and figure out what was wrong with the little one that was crying. I was not sure I could catch him, but he had laid down. I went over and scooped him up and started walking figuring the mom would come running to see where I was taking her baby. No one came. So, then I started looking around and sorting out moms and their babies. I kept coming up with an extra. Michael went into the shed to see how many were in there and we did have an extra so this little guy had to be Rachael's. I took him in and held him out to her. She started nickering in a motherly way. I sat him down and he immediately went around to nurse and she let him. We locked them in last night to let them bond. Poor little guy was so hungry. He nursed a long time.

I saw that there was some great lamb racing going on out back. I went and got my camera and turned it on to see if it was working... it was. I switched it to video to see if that was working... it was. I went out the back door and all the lambs quit running. :( I took this video though to show you some of the joy I get to watch. You can see the pup wanting to get in with the sheep. :) There is also a short gross part near the end of this little clip. As soon as I realized what was going on, I panned away. Sorry. Also, I sound like a real goober on here. :)

I had these beautiful tulip buds out behind the house. I was looking forward to seeing them bloom and bringing them in the house.

Then I went out last night to take the above video and found this...
Death of a tulip...

The pup was a little too anxious to see what the color was going to be. Sigh...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Count Your Blessings Monday!!

Here is an opportunity for all of us to give thanks unto the Lord for a blessing in our lives. If you would like to take part great. If not that is OK too. If you would like to share your blessing, just leave it in the comments. If you want to use the picture above and list a blessing on your own site, then leave a URL to your site in the comments. There is no pressure here. I just know that I am incredibly blessed and I would like to share that and give thanks to Him who all blessing come from. This is a way that we can encourage one another. I know that I am often encouraged when someone shares a blessing with me. I think that many times we forget that it is a blessing to be able to breath, to get out of bed, to hold a baby... Share your blessings with us. We can share so many other things.... special gifts, recipes, let's take the time to share how God has blessed us!!

I have so many blessings all around me. I take way too many of them for granted. My prayer list is so long right now and with serious requests. I do have needs and problems in my life, but what are they in comparison to my blessings and to the concerns in my friends lives that are hurting and struggling.

We are blessed to live on a farm. Neither Michael or I were raised on a farm. We feel that God led us to this life and He has blessed it. So many of our firsts were with a book in one hand and a tool in the other. The first time we butchered chickens was that way. We kept trying to figure out which was the wind pipe and which was the jugular. :) We still have a lot to learn, but we have learned a lot. Most of our learning comes through trial and error. We have had sad moments, character building moments and many moments of joy.

We are blessed with good health. Both of us are overweight, but we are pretty healthy despite that. We try to eat right, but ultimately it is a gift from God. He controls our health. I was talking with someone this last week. She was saying how people claim they are healthy because of what they eat or don't eat. Both she and I agreed that God is the one in control over that, but we do need to do our best.

I am blessed with friends. Some around here and some all over the country. These are wonderful people that I can pick up the phone and chat with, or even if I had to travel their way, I would have a place to stay.

We are blessed with still having my Dad and both of Michael's parents. After losing my Mom so suddenly and unexpectedly, it shows me what a blessing these we have are.

I need to do better at keeping my eyes on the blessings and not the other. God has promised to supply my need. I do take my needs to Him in prayer, but He knows best and I need to rest in that.

What are YOU thankful for?

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Friday, April 15, 2011

More Lamb Posts

There are lots of lamb pictures this time of year. I love watching them and when I can get my camera to work, I love taking pictures of them. :)

In this first one, it looks like the little lamb is smiling.

Here is a little one grabbing a quick snack. You can tell his little tail is wagging.

This is how they fell asleep.

Here is a video of the lamb races. These take place each evening. It is so fun to watch.

This is a bouquet from the yard. There are regular, white and double daffodils and hyacinth. It smells wonderful!!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

New Eating Plan

Several of you asked me here and on Facebook about our new eating plan. You can read about it here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Spring Glorious Spring!!

We got our first batch of chicks last week. I got 5 Welsummer chicks. I love their coloring. They lay DARK chocolate brown eggs. Here is a picture of one of them.

Here are some of the chicks. There are 5 Welsummers, a Buff Orpington rooster and a Golden Buff Rooster (he has a black dot on his head).

Here are the broiler chicks or at least part of them.

Michael had some time off last week and we took a day trip. On the way, we took a side road to go and see this barn that we had caught a glimpse of. We never were able to get close to the barn to see it better, but we did drive right by a swamp. Michael spotted this goose on her nest. She was about 30' from the road.

I am not sure what sort of ducks these were, but they were black with white bills.

A very sweet friend gave me 2 dishcloths she made. I LOVE them!! This one has a shamrock design.

This one has an Easter basket design.

Another friend traded with me and I got this milk bottle. I use these to put tinctures and herbal concoctions into. I have lids that fit them.

Joshua and Brittany bought us this bird feeder and the shepherds hook for our anniversary. It is beautiful!!

I got a picture of a visiting bluebird. I hope he stays and uses my bluebird box!!

Here is my buddy, Skye. She is really growing up.

The hyacinth are blooming like crazy.

This picture really makes me think Spring. It is overcast (you know those April showers) and there are sheep and chickens and the Forsythia in bloom!!

The violets are starting to bloom!!

Daffodils are blooming all along the driveway.

What signs of Spring are in your neck of the woods?