Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Finally a Barn

The barn builders came out and built me a barn last week.  I could not believe it when they were done from start to finish in about 12 hours total.  I had called many different companies until I finally found the best deal I could.  It is a 30 x 50 pole barn.  The builders came out with all the supplies and the next day we had a barn.  Now it is our turn to build on the lean too's that will serve as a goat shed, milking parlor and a chicken house.
This was the first day after about 6 hours
Then they came back the next morning and 5 hours later it looked like this
Yeah!!! we have a barn.....

They did a wonderful job and at a great price.  If you are looking for a barn and live in NEO or NWA I would be more than happy to share the name of the company that did this.....

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Canning Lids !!!

I calculated that for my family we need about 4000 (yes that is 4 thousand) lids in order to can all of our stuff for 1 year.  That is taking into account all of our soup, meats, vegetables, fruits, jam/jelly, and condiments like catsup.  Since I can not afford to buy them all at once as that would be about $2500, I am buying them a little at a time.  My first thousand of them came yesterday.
Since these lids are reuseable 4000 would be a lifetimes worth.  In order to keep them organized and easily gotten out when they are needed I came up with a bin system.
I have about 750 regular lids in the top bin and 500 wide mouth lids in the bottom bin.  The extra I will  put in storage to get out when my supply in the house runs low.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Bambi Burger

My oldest daughter who is now 28 started calling ground venison "Bambi Burger" when she was small... She was about 5 or so.  Yesterday I made Bambi burger.  Venison has very little fat and in order to have a good tasting ground meat you need a little.  I buy the cheapest hamburger I can and then I mix it about 50/50, that gives you about a mix of 87/13 which is going to be real close to ground chuck. 

How to:
Start out with boneless venison that has had all of the facia (shiny white coverings on the muscles), fat (it is gamey tasting), and tendons (the stringy, tough, white things) removed.  Cut it into small enough strips so that it fits into your grinder easily.  I use a grinder attachment for my KitchenAide so I cut them into about 1 inch strips.  first I run it thru with a course blade (it has the bigger holes).  Then I runb it thru with the fine blade.

  As I run it thru with the fine blade I also run the hamburger thru at the same time. I take handfulls of hamburger and put it into the bowl of course ground venison and then get a piece of hamburger and a piece of the venison about the same size.

When you are all done your burger should look like this:
freeze it in 1 qt zipper bags or make into patties and then freeze.  You can make your patties and place them on a wax paper lined cookie sheet.

Put the whole sheet in the freezer.  After they are frozen then take the patties off the tray and put them in a big bag.  Then you can take out how ever many you need for dinner and cook them the same as you would the store bought frozen patties.  The ground venison you can use the same as you would any other ground meat.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Grid down medical

Disclaimer: Until it is a SHTF situation then we should be using Dr's and Hospitals.  This information is for a time when we are not able to utilize healthcare as we have it now!

I just got on Cal Vet Supply and ordered.  They have a large selection of antibiotics labeled for aquarium use (pharmaceutical grade though) at great prices.  It is definately something we need to keep in our storage for emergency use.  They also have diagnostic tools such as urine test strips.  100 test strips are $26.99.  That is equivalent to 100 urine tests.  Only the specific gravity values would be different for humans than for animals.
I became a RN in 1995.  At that time a Dr would many times order a "Urine dip stick"  This is now a thing of the past.  Now they just have the lab run a UA.  A urine dip stick test will tell you many things.  It can tell you if the body is spilling over glucose which would be indicative of Diabetes.  It can tell you if there is blood in the urine which would be indicative of many problems.  It can tell you if there is a UTI (Urinary tract infection) by showing high nitrites or high leukocytes.  You of course would need a lab book so that you could tell which abnormal meant what.  If you have an dip stick test that is indicative of a UTI, then if you had a microscope and some gram stain and know what certain bacteria look like (cocci, rods, gram negative or positive,etc) you could identify within reason the type of bacteria present and which antibiotic would work best.  I would not suggest trying this if you do not have either a medical background or a background in microbiology.

Having a microscope would be handy also to do manual blood counts.  This will take some expertise in being able to identify the difference between a white blood cell, a red blood cell, a platelet.  You can get a lab book that tells you what the normal values would be.

Survive well.....

Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy Mothers day

Happy Mothers day to everyone out there.  I was able to spend the weekend with my son in Kansas and play with my newest grandbaby.  Kansas the land of corn, wheat, silos, storm shelters, and the longest mile in the world. 
I went to the Wal-Mart in Ottawa with my son and I found a treasure.  Wheat!! They had 25lb bags of wheat for $13.  I have been looking online for wheat and with shipping it is always close to $50 for 50lbs.  This made it $26 for 50lbs.  They only had two sacks and I bought both of them.  This makes me think that if that Wal-Mart has it then why can't mine.  I am going to ask the manager to get some.
So if you need wheat... Join me in harrassing the Wal-mart managers until they get this in their store.  I do not see any reason why if the one in Ottawa, KS can stock it why ours can not!!!  I mean it does all come from the same warehouses.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Company has shown up for dinner.. Unexpectedly.. A meal for 11 all from food storage and in 15 minutes

Company just showed up in this case it was my daughter and her two children plus my son-in-laws brother and 2 nephews.  That made 11 counting us.  I did not have anything thawed out for a meal so I went to the food storage and this is what I came up with:
Chipped beef with gravy over noodles and corn

Chipped Beef over noodles
4 jars of home-canned beef
8 packets brown gravy mix
a handfull of dehydrated onions

Put the beef into a pot and the water for the gravy mix (1 cup for each package), the gravy mix and the dried onions whisk until smooth.  Turn on medium heat and heat until boiling and the gravy thickens.

Boil egg noodles and drain when they are done

Serve the beef and gravy over the noodles


3 cans of corn
Butter (optional)
Salt to taste

Drain corn, add 1 stick of butter, 3 tablespoons sugar and salt to taste.  Heat

This entire meal took 15 minutes to make and came entirely from my food storage.  Everyone was telling me "wow this is good"  Then I told them it came entirely from the food storage and they could not believe it.  I made the entire meal in 15 minutes that is why I call this "convenience food", nothing came out of the fridge and everything came out of my food storage.  I had eleven very happy tummies and leftovers for the next day.  Just because it is in your food storage does not mean that it should be difficult to prepare or bad tasting.

Store what you eat and eat what you store.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Bottle feeding baby goats: Jack and Sookie

On March 6th 2012 I bought 2 baby goats that were both just a couple days old for $25 a piece.  Since I am on a really tight budget I had to figure a way to get goats without paying $300 for a grown doe. They are Alpine goats as I plan on producing milk so that I can make my own dairy products.  Although I think Jack (the brown one) may have a touch of Nubian in him because his ears flop down just a touch and he looks like the flying nun.  They came from a dairy herd which in the horse trailer that I picked my babies out of there were Nubians, Alpines and LaMancha's.  I also believe Jack may have been a day or so older than Sookie because he was much steadier on his feet and bigger than she was.

The man that I bought them from told me I should buy goat milk replacer from the feed store and at the same time warned me that baby goats just die and he had never been able to keep one alive.  They were still wobbly on their feet.  We had to teach them what the baby bottle was.  We used a regular baby bottle like for human babies and then I split the nipple with a knife about 1/4th of an inch so that the milk would flow easier.  Because he had told me that they die easy I did research online and found many sites that said that the milk replacer kills baby goats.  So I used regular Vitamin D store bought whole milk, I figured that if baby cows could drink it then why not baby goats.  They started out drinking about 8 ounces every 4 hours.  The first few days I got up around the clock and fed my babies. In about two weeks they were up to drinking 18 ounces of milk each about 5 times a day.  In the beginning 2 weeks I kept them in the house in my laundry room so I could keep an eye on them worried that they would just keel over like the man had told me.  At 2 weeks I built them a small pen outside the back door and put them out there during the day.  They began nibbling on the grass and eating the dirt....  At about 3 weeks I built them a small house so they could stay in the pen at night also.
At about a month old I introduced grain to them.  At first it was my homemade Granola and boy did they love that!  By a 5 weeks old they were drinking the 18 ounces of milk 4 times a day and Jack wanted more.  They were eating grass and grain. They had stripped the grass in the pen down to nothing so I put collars on them and tied ropes to the collars and let them be out in the field to graze.  Cememnt blocks tied to the other end of the rope.  I began decreasing them down on the number of feedings first to 4 times then to 3 times then to twice a day then only at night when I put them back into their pen. Then down to only 1 bottle at night and then the next step was down to no bottles at night.  Now they only get their grain when they go back to their pen.  I can unhook them from the ropes and they will run to their pen because they know a treat is waiting for them.  I gave them their CD + T vaccination at 6 weeks old.  They did not like the needles.  They also got a dose of wormer.
They are now 2 months old and completely weaned.

This is Jack
And this is Sookie (she would not stand still for the camera)

They are both healthy and growing as fast as the weeds.  I hope to have a fence soon so that I can quit taking them to the ropes every morning.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Welcome to our farm

Hello, welcome to our farm blog.  I hope you find what you are looking for.  I plan to post 2 -3 times a week, more if I can.  We have a 5 acre  mini farm in the rural midwest that we are just getting started.  I will be posting about things I try that work and things that don't, food preservation, harvest, critters, survival, prepping, food storage,  cooking, sewing, happenings on our homestead and on and on.  I have been canning and preserving food for 30 years.  I can everything I can get my hands on including somethings the USDA does not approve of.  I will warn you if I post about any of those things (like Pumpkin Butter).  I was an RN for almost 20 years mostly in the ER so I may write about some medical things.  I have since been "medically retired" due to a freak accident.  I have 5 children and 4 grandchildren, I believe strongly in the "golden rule" and try to live my life in a Christian fashion.

If there is anything that you want to know about making homemade I may be able to answer your question.  Just drop a comment and I will try to answer it.  If I do not know or have not tried something I will not give you an answer and do not have a problem saying "I don't know".  I want all of this information to be informative, interesting and only things that I know first hand is accurate.

Bless you and I hope you enjoy the blog

Home Canning Protein: Chicken Breast

Canning protein is one of the most feared things to home can.  It is actually very easy, more nutritous and cheaper than buying it.  For example a 6 oz tin of canned chicken at Wal-Mart is $3 I canned 13 pint jars (16oz) and I spent $30 on Boneless Chicken Breast (it was on sale).  My jars, rings and lids are reuseable so there are no other costs other than a few pennies worth of salt.  This makes it $2.31 for each 16 oz jar.  Also if you read the label on the chicken you buy canned at the store there are many chemicals, fillers and preservatives.  They sometimes even have artificial flavoring.  The ingredients here are simple: Chicken and Salt. 

Begin by cutting your boneless chicken into chunks then pack them raw into the jars, leaving about 3/4th of an inch headspace
Next add 3/4 tsp of salt to each jar
Wipe the rims with a damp clean rag and then place the lids and rings on the jars.  Remember if you are using Tattler lids to back them off 1/4 inch.  After you get the lids and rings on then place into your canner with the needed water for a long processing time.  You do not want it to boil dry during processing.  Use the racks in between levels of jars.
Place the lid onto your canner and then bring it to a boil.  You want the steam to vent out of the stem for about 10 minutes.  Then place your weight on the canner and set to 15lb (or the recomended pressure for your elevation).  Once the canner gets to the correct pressure then time for 75 minutes for pints and 90 minutes for qts.

Once the time is up then slide your canner off the burner to a cool spot.  Do not try to rapidly reduce the pressure you can have jar breakage and seal failure.  After it is cooled sufficiently to have no pressure left remove the lid carefully (the steam can burn you) Then using a jar lifter remove the jars and place them on a clean dry towel.  The jars are very hot at this point and may still be boiling inside the jar.  If you are using Tattler lids then now is the time to tighten the rings down.  Once again use oven mits as the jars are very hot.

Leave the jars undisturbed until they are fully cooled.

 After they have cooled then place a piece of tape on the lid and mark at least the date also the contents if you so desire.  Chicken prepared like this is great for many dishes but our favorite is chicken salad for sandwiches.

Chicken Salad

1 jar canned chicken
6 hard boiled eggs
salt/pepper to taste
Chcopped green onions
chopped celery if desired

Place into a bowl the drained chicken broken up, the cut up hard boiled eggs, the chopped onions and celery.  Then add relish to taste and Mayo to desired consistency, salt and pepper to taste.  Put whatever amount you want on bread or crackers and enjoy.  It is beautiful served on a lettuce leaf.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

grocery store sticker shock: How to make Mayonaisse

Grocery stores… A love hate relationship, we despise the control they have over us.  Unless you have the land, the critters, and the know how to raise 100% of your food we have to have them.  Even then we would still have to buy things like yeast, salt, baking powder, etc.  There are however many ways we can make things ourselves and save literally hundreds by not giving it to Wal-Mart, Kroger or Safeway.  The generations of folks now have in general lost the art of cooking from scratch and depend on the grocery store to buy it.  I hope this helps in bringing us one step back towards self sufficiency in this modern day.  Also if we know how and make these things before the SHTF then it will be easier and less of a hardship to make it when you have no choice.  Remember it is always easier said than done….


$5.29 for a quart of mayo???  Not on my watch I won’t…  It takes only a few minutes, a few dimes and is so easy to make.  If you have some backyard chickens and have stocked up on oil and lemon juice or vinegar then the stores running out will not stop you from having a nice mayo sandwich. Not to mention the barter possibilities of knowing how to make this treat when the masses can not buy it.


2 egg yolks (save the whites for other things, they can be frozen and then whipped into meringue at a later time)

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Oil About 1 ½ cups   (you pick the kind you like best, I use regular old vegetable oil)

If you like miracle whip then add 1/8tsp each garlic and onion powder and substitute vinegar for the lemon juice

Separate the yolks from the whites and place the yolks in a small bowl.  Add lemon juice.  Using a mixer on high then drizzle the oil directly over the beaters, only drizzle it in a small stream.  If you just pour it then the mayo will not whip up.  Stop drizzling the oil every few seconds and allow the mixture to whip.  Keep adding the oil and beating until it whips up to the desired consistency.  The more oil you add the thicker it will get.

Tip: There are times with certain oils that this will not work properly.  I had one bottle of oil I got from Aldi’s that would not whip into Mayo to save my life. The Wal-Mart brand of oil works well. Olive oil mixed half and half with vegetable oil works very well and is healthy for you.  If you have a batch that does not whip up do not give up.  It took me a bit to get the trick to making it down (the drizzling of the oil was the trick) and now I can whip up a batch in 5 minutes, it tastes so much better and costs so much less…..

Remember this does not have preservative chemicals so it will not last a super long time like the store bought chemical laden stuff. It must be refrigerated and not left on a counter.  After a couple weeks or so it will begin to smell bad so do not make more than you can use in a couple weeks. You can adjust the amounts for the amount you will need.  The ratio is 1 egg to 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar then enough oil to whip up.

A picture is worth a thousand words:

Ingredients and equipment needed for Mayo:  Yes one of those eggs is green.  Mine are home grown and some of my girls are a breed of chickens that lay colored eggs.

Mayo beginning to whip

Mayo all done whipping
Mayo all done and in a repurposed jar.  Large plastic peanut butter jars work well also.

Every dime we can save on some things means more of other things we can put in our preps.