More canning and homemade foods…

A friend of mine tried the first batch of pickled okra. It was SALTY- so I adjusted the recipe a little and used the last of the okra and banana peppers from the garden. I am so in love with the blue jars! I can not wait to plan some more canning for next year- and I am working on stocking up on my jars. I still have some nectarines- some strawberries and some oranges that I need to make some jam/jelly with! But the good thing about it- it is slow season- so I have more time to make these. AND they make great Christmas gifts- so I hope my family is prepared to get some homemade gifts this year!

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I have been cooking more from scratch, and the more I cook, the more of a habit it becomes! So this past weekend I made pork chops for one day last week- and I made some chicken for us to eat. One night we had it with mashed taters- and the night I cooked it I made homemade fries. I am getting my cooking groove back! And I am so excited for that!

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Chickens like what?

The girls have been laying a steady 4 eggs a day- although it is molt season so I can’t tell who is and isn’t laying. There is 7 in this coop- and poor Spaz hit her first real molt- she looked horrible and there are feathers everywhere!

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We feed them a little sunflower seeds in the shell every day!

Did you know you can be frugal and feed your chickens your mums? I bought 3 from my daughter’s fundraiser for music for school- and boy did those girls enjoy them!

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The littles are not laying yet- but I keep my eyes peeled every day for eggs! The coops got cleaned out last month. I should show you an after picture if I can- they ate everything down to the stems.

I also found out something was digging- may have been my pooch- near the coops- so I filled in the holes so I don’t step in them. And in the meantime- also got covered in ants from an ant bed! Gracious- we are a hot mess!

Enjoy some pictures below!

Save it for later..

So because the weekends are busy, and i am getting accustomed to a different schedule, i have decided to save it for later. We had some nectarines that needed to be preserved, i bagged them and froze them to make jam later. I put up some more peppers and some okra in the freezer as well. When you don’t have time, freeze it, then when winter comes, you can use it! The freezer is filling up fast!

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!