The Homestead Box- November 2017

This homestead box was a good one as well. I love how they keep adding to skills that we need. Living off the Land-

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Ever wanted to harvest your own meat? This kit gives you some of the most important tools- whether you are hunting or fishing! We won’t get to do much this year- but I will definitely make plans to do some next year.

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What you can’t see is a green camo bandana, some meat bags to pack ground meat, and a few pairs of the longer gloves. My husband definitely loved this box!

I can’t wait to see what we keep on getting every month! Y’all should really check them out! The skill sets they send are amazing! And normally always includes a book- who doesn’t love to add to the library! Not only that but if we ever lose internet- I still have a reference guide right at my fingertips!

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Staycations are fun…

I know we had a vacation just a little while ago- but that was out vacation for the whole year. I only get so much time off of work, and the hubby and I planned for us to have a staycation week this past week on the 4th. I worked Monday and I will work on Saturday, but it has been nice to catch up on some things on the homestead. We didn’t get to do anything “fun” so to say- but it was nice for the kids to just be home and for us to just spend time together- even it some of it was working.

July 4th we had an amazing day, had a bunch of awesome friends over for fireworks, and dinner. I spent all day cooking and cleaning up to have an awesome afternoon. The show was amazing- we did more than last year- and will have to plan some more for next year. All of the kids have fun- and I enjoyed having people over.

As out staycation ends- it does make me wish that I could just leave the 9 to 5 and stay home to take care of the homestead more and add some more things quicker. I am staying at my rat race job until our car is paid off. It just made me realize how grateful I am to have the time I did this week, and how grateful to have what property I do have to be able to have a mini homestead. So much so that I re-evaluated the goals we have for this year. But that is what goals are for to re-evaluate. It is very hard to work in the rat race and homestead- but we are doing it. That is another post for another day.

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July- and celebrated our independence. I am grateful to live in a country that I can homestead- and have the freedom to pretty much do anything.

Part of this week has been burning down the burn pile of limbs we have trimmed, and the parts of the tree that fell down. We had to use the barrel as the pile has been so wet from where it continues to rain (the garden is grateful!).

It is pretty much down to nothing, and we are planning on finishing some tree trimming by the garden and finishing the pile out this weekend.

By the way, I just learned this weekend, it is illegal to burn cardboard. We were just burning brush- but that is nice to know. By the way- both my husband and I volunteer for the local fire department. We are just volunteers- we aren’t big enough to have a paid department. I haven’t been able to run calls much as to I have the kids- and I have been working. Hubby runs when he can but works the Talladega races every year, twice a year, to earn the department money.

We also got a shed to put all the gardening stuff and feed in. It finally got put together this week. It took us awhile in between the rain. But now the carport and the back porch are all decluttered some, and all of the animal stuff and garden stuff are in the same space!

By the way- yes that is 4 sheets of plywood on top of my car. It is definitely nice to have the floor in there though. The building kit came with a flooring kit so the plywood should not rot as fast. There is still a plan to get the loft kit to get the hay off the floor- and to get some shelves in there so we can have more room for tools, and other stuff. We still have to rig the light as well, right now we just have a little light by the door that I can click on to see if it is night time.

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We also got to fashion the other hose by the goat pen. The original hose was too long, so we cut it, and hubby used the rest of it to make an additional hose so we can water chickens, or use it for washing things out. It is nice to have.

Just some of the projects that got done on our staycation!

Happy New Year- 2017 Goals!

I have plenty of goals for 2017. 2016 was a year of firsts, and goals smashed. We were so busy in 2016 that we did not get a lot accomplished.

In 2016-

  1. We bought our house. This added a mortgage- but we are on a 15 year mortgage and will be trying to pay this off early. I pay a small amount extra each month.
  2. We bought a car because mine had finally bit the dust. This did give us a car payment- and we have a 6 year plan to pay it off. Luckily my father in law cosigned so we were able to get interest free. We are planning on paying this off within 2 to 3 years if not sooner.
  3. We started off with chickens. We had 3, lost one, but the other 2 girls are growing, and they make me happy.
  4. We acquired a Texas A &M quail. She is quite the character.
  5. I got my compost bin started and built. (I am late on the post but with the rain we have had lately, I haven’t been able to take any pictures.

I am looking at our goals for the New Year- what can we get accomplished?

  1. Personal- Quit Smoking. It will save money and my health. This year I am dead serious on quitting smoking. I am also trying to make the switch from caffeine or other drinks to strictly water. That is a slow progression as I tend to get migraines when I lose the caffeine.
  2.  Quail-Finish the quail coop. We did get started with the coop- but it needs to be finished. We are also looking at buying some more babies. I would like to raise and sell eggs/babies.
  3. Chickens- Build a bigger chicken coop- and get some more chickens. I have 2 separate breeds, and have not decided whether I want roosters or not.
  4. Gardening- Start an herb garden. Plant some fruit trees. Start some seeds and a small garden to manage so we can save more money.
  5. Small Home Organization and Projects- Organize the shed. Clean out the rest of our stuff from my in-laws. Declutter a lot of stuff. We have a few renovation projects to complete, which we already have the supplies for.
  6. Save More Money!
  7. Food Preservation- I got a gift card for Christmas- so I bought a dehydrator. We will start with that. I am also stocking up on canning supplies so I can start with some water bath canning. I have a flat top stove- so we have to look and see if our model will allow us to can, otherwise I will find something else to do.
  8. Cook From Scratch- Right now I am working on getting rid of some premade things in the pantry, but we will start slow with that and making our own bread.
  9. Rain Barrel- Get the rain barrel set up. This does involve buying some gutter guards- but we have material to build a stand for it to sit on.

We may have more as the year goes on- but this is what I have for now. We are slowly going to work on becoming more self- sufficient. I am determined not to buy any more cleaning supplies or pre-made box food and go from there. We will work on the rest at another time. I am so excited to see where this will take us. Expect a goal update at the end of every month- so we can see how well we are working on that. Expect some awesome posts when we do get one or two things completed, as we are trying to use as much materials as we have on hand and trying not to buy anything.

What are your goals for this year? What did you get accomplished last year? I would love to hear how much or little you got accomplished.

Pre- Christmas Weekend Fun..

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The lights this year- Rudolph and Bumble were a day before Christmas add! I found them in the Dollar General clearance. I can’t wait to see what we can add next year.

I couldn’t muster up much energy the weekend before Christmas. I did end up sick- what a bummer. So I mustered enough energy to supervise the girls making their Gingerbread Barns- they turned out so cute! We don’t even eat them- but put it out for the birds/animals in the woods to eat. Then the next day, I mustered up enough energy to supervise putting up the outside lights. This year we started new- not much was bought before hand- but we do add one or two things every year. We lost everything at the other house- and that depresses me- but I love lights- and love decorating for the girls and others to enjoy. I can say the hubby had a great idea to add those little hooks that screw in so we can hang the lights. Yes I may have hooks all down my house- but decorating and undecorating will be so easy! Great idea! So here are some pictures to enjoy…

 

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Sheldon and her barn!
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Tooty and her barn! Gotta love the tractor!

Christmas Goodies…

Bless my Mom- she is amazing! We were talking on the phone one night- I live 1200 miles away from all my family y’all- about how I wanted to get some tablecloths and cloth napkins for my table. So for my birthday in October- I received some adorable Halloween kitchen towels, beautiful Fall placemats and 2 sets of matching napkins, a cute pumpkin spoon rest, a cute wooden fabric sign for Halloween, and a set of placemats and napkins for non- holidays. She had so much fun shopping- that I got a surprise package a week ago with some Christmas Goodies. We were talking on the phone about Holidays and trying to figure out what I did and didn’t have, I did mention I didn’t have anything with Santa on it, by the way she had already bought my stuff to send- which is funny. Well she is awesome- I received a cute Santa spoon rest for my stove. I also got beautiful winter placemats, a set of 4 Christmas napkins (which we did talk about how I LOVE gingerbread men),  a set of 4 winter napkins (they remind me of the country), some Winter bathroom hand towels(polar bears y’all!), some Christmas bathroom hand towels(Ho, Ho, Ho in the perfect color to match my monkey bathroom), and an adorable set of kitchen Christmas towels- she already sent the winter Kitchen towels. My Christmas kitchen towels are adorable- kittens with Santa hats and lights wove in between! She spoils me greatly!

I am also attaching a picture of Tooty’s homemade ornaments from school- these always happen to be my favorite. I love the adorable ornaments. I have to write down which ones she made on my list of ornaments so we can keep track of whose is whose. I think when we undecorated the tree this year, we use old popcorn tins to put our ornaments in- I will designate a bin for each girl and then one for the hubs and I. What is your favorite ornament?

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Not sure why it is flipped sideways- and I can not figure out how to edit. Sheldon has a few matching ones!

 

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My Christmas Napkin, Winter Napkin, and you can’t see the detail really good on the placemats- they are red and soft with gold snowflakes that sparkle with the embroidery!

Holiday fun from yesterday.

Yesterday was a day filled with some fun. We had a Girl Scout Breakfast with Santa event. The girls had a blast. Sheldon dressed up as an elf to help at the event. We got to sit with Santa and have a great breakfast, color some pictures, make an ornament, and they got to play some great games. I didn’t take as many photos as I’d like, but we were enjoying the time spent together.

We went to a friends house to visit in between our next event. We drive every year in the Moody Christmas Parade for the fire department. Tooty had so much fun telling people Merry Christmas over the mic. She threw some candy but it was more fun to talk I guess. My arm is sore from throwing candy out the window. Sheldon walked the whole parade with the Girl Scouts and passed out candy. I did give her our Halloween candy so it wouldn’t still be sitting here. We don’t do candy a lot, normally I have to find someone to take it. Again, I didn’t take many pictures as we were having fun. I did do a good deed after the parade, a man was holding 2 horses waiting on his trailer. One of the horses was getting antsy, so I decided to go see if he needed any help. He refused, but I think that just talking to him made the time pass and he didn’t seem as agitated. We were going to get ready to leave but some jerk honked their horn and a fire truck sounded their horn. I don’t think they knew the horses were there but still, we decided to stay until the trailer came. One was black and the other was white. They were beautiful, and I did give them a peppermint and now my new work jacket/jacket smells like horses. The sad thing is I was very excited as a work jacket is supposed to smell like the “farm.”

Here is a glimpse of our day yesterday- Please enjoy!

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Sheldon, Tooty and I with Santa, he was awesome!
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Tooty and her ornament we made.
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Fun and Games playing- make a snowman. Sheldon is the taller elf.
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Playing snowball relay with the other kids.
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Hubby and Tooty getting ready to drive in the parade.
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Sheldon’s Girl Scout float getting ready to walk down the parade route.

An addition to the family..

We gained an addition to the family- a beautiful Texas A & M Quail. She was supposed to go to a friend’s house as they already have a male Coturnix Quail. But on the way home, Sheldon decided she wanted to keep her. Her name is Sunshine. She has become another one of my favorites, and I can not wait until Spring to find some more to have more quail. She has lived a pretty lonely life by herself- and has had trouble before with another group- so I am hoping by bringing in babies- they won’t beat her up!

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I have a lot to learn about Quail- and her and I have come to terms. Quail like to fly- unlike chickens- so needless to say – the first time Sheldon went to give her water- she flew the coop. Luckily Dixie didn’t chase her- and we did get her back in the box. She and I have an agreement- when I feed and water her- she stays at the back of the box.

My first recommendation is that you build the house before you bring home an animal. We are still working on the coop- and I feel so bad that she doesn’t have a bigger home right now- but it works for her- she doesn’t mind. I do though! Pictures of the coop we built to come later- but for now here is our beauty! (I keep trying to call her a Dove!)

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I am not missing!

I have been a bad blog writer! I have not posted in a month. So sorry followers- life got a little busy- and I have not been the best in writing- so be prepared for some posts in the next week or two to update you as to what has been going on at the homestead. You did read the title right? I am a hot mess- so that is why the posts have not been flowing. I haven’t forgotten about you- I just had so much going on- I didn’t get on the computer to write.

Wow-  no posts in over a month- so sorry loyal readers!

But here’s what’s been happening on the homestead-

  • We celebrated Halloween with the kiddos- involving a Fall Festival- a Halloween party at a friends- and trick or treating on Halloween.
  • We accumulated another animal- we are now owners of a lone Texas A & M Quail. Post to follow.
  • I ticked a goal off my list- well part of a goal- I learned how to butcher a deer leg. Post to follow.
  • We celebrated Tooty’s 6th birthday- pictures in this post.
  • We had a great Thanksgiving with family- I cooked the whole meal- and learned to not get distracted. We will just say that I forgot to turn the oven on for the corn and green beans- and the corn took forever- I made way too much! My bad! We are so thankful to having our own house now- and had a lot to be thankful for this year!
  • I finally went to the cardiologist- which involved a lot more appointments- this is an ongoing issue I have had since I have been a baby- and I haven’t gone in 3 years so I bit the bullet and went. I have had my echo done- and am wearing a monitor- I get to take it off on the 30th- Thank the Lord! I go back December 12th to see about it all- I also had bloodwork done- and am waiting to get back with my Primary to see about my elevated T4- thyroid issues. So needless to say- Momma is taking care of herself- I can’t take care of the homestead if I am not 100%. I am feeling much better since he gave me the prescription I started taking 3 years ago- and let it run out and didn’t do anything about it- yes I know- poo poo on me. He doesn’t think I need it- and it may be psychological- but I do- I have been more productive and happy since I have been taking it.
  • Christmas is coming- and I am so excited! I have my own house- so I can decorate it.
  • The Grease Monkey got a promotion at work- woot woot!
  • I got a new car- now I don’t feel like I am driving in the death trap- a big stressor on me. And yes- it is brand new- and we have payments. I wasn’t too keen on payments- but to not have to worry about having a reliable car- or breaking down with my kiddos- it’s a plus. We have a plan to pay off the car early- and thankful for father-in-law, who co-signed- we have no interest- so it’s just the car we are paying for!

I will leave you with some birthday pictures of Tooty.

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This was at her party, the next Saturday after her birthday. She loved her new baby doll- and was excited about the shirt- an awesome friend of ours made it for her!

 

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This was on her actual birthday- she got her own bow! She wanted to be like sister- and I can’t wait to get mine so we can all practice together!

Last weekend progress..

I am late in posting our last weekend progress- but this week has seemed to be a downfall. My car broke on Saturday afternoon, and the hubby didn’t have a chance to look at it since we had a benefit motorcycle ride in the plans for someone my hubby knew. I am blessed that my in laws have a car I can borrow- which means this weekend will be full of looking at the car to see what is wrong.

wp-1475194423371.jpgThe start of my compost pile- we still have to get the other pallets nailed up- but it took hubby a good few hours using the auger (thank God for good friends!) to dig into the clay for the posts. It will have some expanding after awhile but for now I will have a one part compost once we get the other pallets up.

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It was a nice day for a ride- and I almost got sick from the heat- thank goodness I didn’t wear a tank top- but totally worth it. A day spent in the wind with my hubby and donating some money for a good cause- to raise some funds for a funeral.

Hope you had a great weekend last weekend, I know we did- even with the car breaking!