To Can or Not to Can…

That was my question last weekend. I had some strawberries that had thawed in the fridge- so I knew I had to get those done. I had a bunch of cucumbers that needed to become pickles as well. My mistake was the middle of the day canning- I definitely heated the house up- but my problem is I am too tired at night to do it, so I wanted to make sure I could get it done. So onward I went. I ended up with 10 jars of jam and 8 jars of pickles. Well 8 jars of jam in the pantry and 7 jars of pickles in the pantry. We gave one jar to family, and ate one jar of jam, and then have a jar of pickles in the fridge. I am hoping that my cucumber plants keep growing some so that I can make another big batch of pickles.

We mostly eat slices- but this time I will try to spear some as well and see how it goes. I did happen to get some pictures of the process this time. The pickles were a little bit of a faster process but all I smelled was vinegar for awhile! I did use a different process to make the jam this time and it came out much better. I use my hand blender to squish the strawberries- so we didn’t have chunks, and we had much more juice stuff to be able to make more jam. So I will wait until this fall/winter and make more so it doesn’t heat up the kitchen so bad.

This was on Saturday so Sunday I made waffles so that we could enjoy our jam! I am using the mix we have left, and then we are going to delve into making my own waffle/pancake mix.  Yum yum!

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DIY- Trim Goatie Hooves

So this weekend, I attempted to trim both the goat’s hooves. Now this was quite the job and took Sheldon, Hubby and I to get this done! Sheldon had to watch to make sure that we did not get disturbed by the loose goat. I need to plan a little better- and make a separate area to do this- also a milking stanchion, but to later plans. For now I know the goats needed to be trimmed. A friend of ours has goats- and some people I know do not trim them at all! But it is like fingernails- I know they had to feel better after!

To plan- I bought a pair of these from Amazon- (Sorry Y’all- I did not get many pictures!)

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They worked wonderful- and look at all those uses!

I did watch a few YouTube videos and read some articles from other bloggers- maybe next time I will get more pictures and be able to post more. I did not want to take too much off- goats have quicks- so if you cut too much- you can make them bleed. Therefore they will need to be done again in about 4 weeks or so. Most of what I heard- you need to trim them every 6 to 8 weeks. It can prevent hoof rot- and more. I think this is more for show goats- BUT I know I don’t want them to get sick- and it looks like it almost hurt to have to walk on funky hooves- so maybe more for me than them.

They both seemed to be happier a little after- although they did not want to come near us for awhile. They don’t hold grudges long y’all. I found the easiest way to trim was Hubby helped catch them- one at a time- and then we rolled them onto their backs on his lap. It worked really well as they did not scream as much and they got loving as I was messing with their feet. I did the front first and then the back. I trimmed little by little and they probably needed more- but I started to see what looked like part of the quick/foot. So I will trim them again in 4 weeks and each time I will get better and soon become an expert!

They do seem to be happier when they walk!

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Look for that post soon! Also look for a goat expansion post and update- we may be adding more to the herd since Kevin and MJ are half brother and sister and really can’t breed together! I may let them have one set- BUT MJ is 7 months old, and Kevin is 6 months old.

DIY- Poop Catcher

So safe water for animals is VERY important. We clean out and scrub the waterers for the chickens once a week. I need to deep clean the dog and goat waterer soon- but I digress.

We made the girls the cup bucket waterer so I didn’t have to worry as much about fresh water during the summer- well let’s just say they have a roost above the bucket- and it got covered in poop! OH, and how I worried it got in there- so cleaning the bucket was a must! I scrubbed it out- and the hubby and I made plans to adapt.

We rescued the metal trash can lid from the trash- and hubby drilled a hole and cut the handle- now I have a poop catcher yall! It looks so gross now- but no poop in the water! It will have to get scrubbed soon though!

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What to do with cut grass?

So Monday, we had to cut the grass. It was getting long, and we knew it had to be done to do the fireworks, and for the kids. I don’t like it to be kept long because of the bugs especially. Hubby borrowed his dads sweeper so we wouldn’t have grass flakes everywhere. Well what do you do with all of the cut grass? We have 3/4 of an acre, and most of it is grass, it was pretty long, so we had about 3 loads to do something with.

The first load got taken to the chicken pens, the girls freaked when we added it- but learned very quickly what it was. They were very happy after, as I’m sure it had a couple crickets- and yummy bugs as well. We are hoping it will cut down on the mud some- and reseed the area. The next 2 loads got taken to the goat pen to try to regrow the grass in there as well. The last load went into the compost.

This was right after, and I am hoping that it reseeds the ground. It is all dead and brown now- but at least it is in there preventing some more mud.

The goats were a little unsure- and they did not eat it- so that is a good sign!

I will have to let everyone know how well this works!

Chicken Coop Additions

So we had bought a chicken waterer that had nipple waterers on it. The girls did not like it at all- they had a harder time learning how to use it. So while at Tractor Supply I saw the cup waterers. We are going to do a PVC one with the other coop since there is no where to hang one. If there is one thing I worry about with animals- it is water!  There is 2 to a pack, and so we bought 4 to switch out the nipples on the bucket. One of the holes split the bucket- luckily we had another bucket to use! Hubby drilled the holes and we got the bucket ready!

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It just involves the girls pecking at it. If it wasn’t summer I would remove the other waterer so they could learn to use the other- but I am paranoid. On the package it states to remove all other water sources- and they will learn quickly how to use it. I think we may have to move it to another spot- and see if they will use it there! Right now it just gets pooped on!

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I scrubbed the other smaller waterer and feeders so I can leave some extra when we go on vacation. I do have someone coming to take care of them- but I will worry less if there is more for the babies and the girls to use! Scrubbing these was some work- but I will have to scrub the bigger ones this weekend. I don’t want my girls to have yucky stuff!

Goat Update

The goats are doing great! We are doing some more DIY with them later this week. I still have to finish cleaning out the pen this weekend. I can’t do it much when it is raining! We are expecting rain all week! Good for the garden- but not to do work in. We did manage to get a new watering system set up!

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Enjoying the new hay in their pen! I still have to clean some more in the pen, but at least they have a fresh, dry spot to lay now!

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The brushes were an addition awhile ago- we added some brushes so they can rub against them and brush themselves! I have seen them use them sometimes. Here is our new water get up. We bought a bigger water tub- better than the 2 buckets! It gives them fresh water all the time! We did buy a float so that these guys will never be without water! Not as frugal because we bought a new tub, and the float- BUT it is a time saver so it has that going for it!

Stay tuned for some more goat pen, and goat toys expansion and DIY Frugal ideas!

Chicken Update and DIY Chicken Run

So I have a bad addiction! That much I can say!

I sold 6 of my babies to a friend who wanted some chickens. The funny thing is I am not sure what I have left! If the weather is nice this weekend, I am going to give them some land time, and then try and figure out how many and what I have. See the problem with that is since I sold 6, I bought 6 more, and I don’t think I got the breeds I was supposed to from the feed store- the lady working there asked me what was what, and I can’t grab my own- sooo we will have to see! I already have a plan for either Fall Chicks or next Spring chicks- probably next Spring.

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This happened this weekend. We had to expand the coop so the big girls and the teenagers could get along. It was not working, and it is so not fair that they did not have enough room. We added 3 pallets long and one pallet wide for now! That helped the girls tremendously- Spaz was not taking very well to new hens to the coop. The teenagers are half of their size, and the only time she pecks at them now is if they are in her way or when she doesn’t want them in a section of the coop. I am just very glad that more space gave them some harmony! A lot less stress on me too! The inside of the pallets are covered with chicken wire, and the top of the coop is covered in netting. We removed a section of the coop and still have it so if I need to section them off to do some work we can. It is not the prettiest addition, but it makes me and the girls happy! The only thing we had to do to expand the coop was buy some t-posts, chicken wire, and we bought a bunch of netting for projects! Low cost and frugal is the way to be! Show me your coops!

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I still need names for the 3 cherry eggers- and the 3 golden comets. The Comets I can tell apart- but the cherry eggers I can not just yet. So help a sister out! Spaz is my all white hen, and Violet is my hen with the black and white.

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Love it! And look at all the colors!

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My babies are growing by leaps and bounds! Expect more and better pictures this weekend if the weather cooperates! And by the way these lil suckers are hard to catch!

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Sorry for the blurry picture- it was raining and I take them all on my phone! The girls got to enjoy some cantaloupe today! Spaz ran the teens off- but now that they roosted in the coop for the night- the teens get to enjoy some too! My cantaloupe was almost bad- so I shared it with the girls- we try not to waste anything! If I can feed it to the animals- that’s better than composting or in – dare I say it- the garbage!

Enjoy! If you have littles, or chickens, how are they doing? Any tips!

DIY- Goat Pen

We have built a goat pen, low cost and with materials on hand. We did have to purchase t posts, a gate, some screws, and 2 posts for the gate. We had a bunch of pallets that hubby can get from work for free. So our pile dwindled a little- we will have to collect some more! This is the start- we still need a real roof on it, and we built it this way so we can expand it.

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This is part of the yard. It is 7 pallets long- and is 4 pallets wide. We are going to have to do something about the shorter pallets as our lovely baby Nigerian Dwarf doe is trying to climb the fence and jump out. This is new for her so it will take them some adjusting time. So hubby will be fixing that! But we placed t posts in every corner and every other pallet. I saw the idea on pinterest. We screwed each pallet together, and the corners are screwed in very well.

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For right now you can see the goat shelter. We have screwed a tarp on to keep rain and wind out- the tarp was something we had on hand. We had some hay from last October and placed it in there for them to lay on.

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We have a 6 foot gate- and 2 cedar posts that the gate attaches too. We had it swing to the inside.

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This was the plan for the gate to swing in. In case we needed to lock them up to clean the pen- or do some work to it. Well because MJ has decided to try to get out, until hubby gets the shorter pallets fixed- I am locking them up at night. They are not happy but I feel better- and I won’t have to worry as much. I will be posting some more updates soon as I have to build some goat toys to keep them occupied. And this helps them to get adjusted.

Any goat tips? Who wants to help a sister out?

Greenhouse and more seeds planted..

About a month ago, I bought a greenhouse from Tractor Supply to try out. We have put it together and have it out in the sun, and tied down to the ground.

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This was before we strapped it down. We had some weather come in and I didn’t want it to blow away, so we used some straps and anchors.

That day we also planted some seeds. We planted green beans, okra, sweet pepper, pumpkin, watermelon, cantaloupe and sugar snap peas. They have not seeded yet- but we have had pretty cloudy weather- and I may need to try this with grow lights.

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My frugal planting idea- we used some Italian ice cups I had saved to plant seeds. They are the perfect size, and are reusable. The bottom shelf has our tomato and cucumber plants from the little mickey greenhouse. We have some more basil seedlings, and I need to get some more seeds started this week. It may be next weekend.

What do you have popping up? Or how is your seedlings or seeds growing?

Money Saving Technique..

Hubby and I have been talking about getting a programmable thermostat for the house for awhile now. Part of the issue we have is on some weekends we are gone a lot and then hubby works second shift- so there is only a few hours of the day when someone is not home. For instance- I leave the house with the kids at 6:45 every morning- normally we do not return home until 6 most nights, that is Monday through Friday. Hubby normally leaves at 1 pm and comes home at 2 or 3 am. If we are not home, I do not see the point at keeping the house comfortable like we are home! And I love him to death but he does not remember to adjust the thermostat. So this is a great option- it also has a vacation setting and you can program sleep settings and away settings by location. It will not work if the wifi is not on as far as some of the features, but when you get so far from the house- it goes into away settings automatically. You can program from the unit also- so even if we don’t get the app working correctly- we are going to use the actual unit to program. So we have been looking into saving some money on our heating and cooling bill by having a programmable thermostat. Alabama has some crazy weather- I am not kidding yall! We need heat and air in the same day. For instance the other morning it was 40 or less degrees out so we needed some heat- but then during the day it got up to 70 something- so the air was turned on. It is hard to heat and cool a house when there is such a weird schedule with weird weather.

So this is what we decided on- it was bought and installed on Saturday. Not without some hiccups of course! We have yet to program a schedule to make sure it is working! I will do an update post once we program and can watch the power bill for a month or two to see if it helps!

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So don’t mind the paint and holes- in time that will be fixed. The thermostat is smaller than the original that was in the house when we bought it.

Want to hear the funny part? Well it was not really funny when it happened, but it kind of is now. We installed the thermostat and installed the app on our phones. It was working okay at first- although it seemed to get stuck on emergency heat- by the way I have a heat pump. I finally got the mode to change- which I do have a tip for Honeywell- please put a user manual online for access or in the box. It only comes with an installation manual. Well I left for work Monday morning and called Hubby on the lunch break to make sure he was awake- and he told me the house was 75! So he got up and played with the thermostat and did a factory reset to see if he could get it to work. He didn’t get to finish programming the app to his phone- or check it to make sure it was working. Well needless to say when I got home Monday night at 7 from picking the kids up from a friends- it was 78 and it took me forever to get it to cool down. The thermostat had gotten stuck on heat again, so it had not cooled! I tried for over an hour to see what had happened and doing research but wasn’t able to. At least the house was cooling- but when I woke up it was still only 75. We like to sleep in the cool- when its too hot- no one can sleep. So needless to say I woke up and so did Tooty about 5 or 6 times that night. Hubby got home and started looking at the thermostat. After looking at it today and messing with the wires and programming, we finally got it to work. So before you install this- make sure you know what kind of programming you have for yours, and make sure that the wiring is exact that it needs to be as on the unit. We have not gotten the app to reload- and that will be a story for another day, and are making sure the unit is going to work before programming it. But it is a step in the right direction! Learn from our mistakes! I did not order ours from Amazon- we bought it at Lowes- but you can check out some more features here.