Monthly Archives: February 2015

Quail eggs in the incubator

krisandlarry.com - Hatching quail eggsAs our family continues our journey to create a homestead that provides for us, we are incubating quail eggs (or at least attempting to hatch them).

We have a new incubator and have regular egg rack/turner and a quail egg rack and turner inside.

We have 24 quail eggs along with chicken eggs from the last 3 days from our own hens in the incubator. I never knew how pretty quail eggs were until we got this batch! THANKS to my friend Jessi for picking these up for us.

We also have several dozen eggs from our own chickens in it. Hopefully “Jeff” the rooster is doing his duty and fertilizing our eggs.

The quail eggs only take about 17 days from start to finish. The chicken eggs are about 21 days…. So that makes quail due on about March 6 and chicks due to hatch on March 12, 13 and 14th.

I am always in AWE that it goes from an egg with yoke to a feathered (or rather fluffy) chicken in such little time. krisandlarry.com - Incubating Eggs

Homeschooling REVIEW – "Mapping the World with Art"

We have been meaning to get started on this new curriculum. We had been eyeballing this book for a while and I overheard another mom talking about this class that her kids were signed up for… I thought, well, WE can get the book and do this… And so far, WE LOVE IT!

The book is divided into 3 different sections.

  • The first is a section includes histories and photos. Day 1 talks about Mesopotamia and shows different types of maps from up to 2500 years BC. It has photos of stone maps, papyrus maps and even a drawing of a Polynesian map.
  • Section 2 is a MAP DRAWING Section. It is a step by step on drawing a map of certain area of the world. Lesson one is drawing Mesopotamia including the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Even my 7 year-olds could follow long with the drawings.
  • Section 3 is extra activities… in this activity, you could make a dough and draw a map in it.

We just began this book. I had several old rolls of butcher paper that I had picked up at a yard sale. So, my supplies were very inexpensive. WE LOVED starting this book. I can’t wait until we get through more of it.

 

map-day1-griffen map-day1-rowan map-day1-trystan map-day1-breckin map-day1-elwyn

Essential Oil Tuesday – Dryer Sheets

KrisAndLarry.com - Essential Oil Tuesday, DIY Have you read what is in the dryer sheets that we use on our clothes? I have! And I HATE those chemicals touching my body!!!

Dryer sheets are VERY easy to make… and only costs pennies with things that I already have on hand!!!

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup white vinegar (if you have a larger jar, you can incread the vinegar to 2 cups and add 10 additional drops of essential oils)
  • 20 drops of essential oils. We used lavender and rosemary in the video. Lavender is yummy, and so is tea tree oil. Lemon grass smells like fruit loops. I love patchouli and orange with a bit of ylang ylang mixed in. All of these can be found online at www.youngliving.com/krismazy. 
  • Glass jar with lid (I picked about a dozen up at the dollar store last year to use for different projects around the house. )
  • Flannel or cotton material cut into 6×6 or 6×8 pieces (DO NOT USE NEW FABRIC in RED or OTHER DARK COLORS!!! It will bleed into your clothes!) We used a worn, old thick shirt that was my dad’s… it was on its way to the garbage since it had a hole in it.

 

Add vinegar to the jar. Drop in the essential oils. seal jar and shake throughly…. I know what you are thinking … VINEGAR? That smells funny!!! Once it goes through the dryer, it has no smell…. and helps get rid of anything existing in the clothes.

Add in the cloth to the jar and let it soak up the vinegar mixture.

When you switch your laundry, ring out one or two of the cloths and throwthem in the dryer with your laundry.

Once you fold your clothes, throw the now dry dryer sheet back in with the liquid in the jar.

We replace our vinegar every other week or so… or as we smell the clothes are not as strong with the essential oils.

 

Dehydrating broccoli

www.krisandlarry.com dehydrating broccoliWhen we can pick up veggies for a super-great price, we jump all over that… I can some things, freeze some and even dehydrate some… after we get our fill on fresh.

This last week, I picked up 40 pounds of broccoli for $26. My kids love grilled broccoli served with feta cheese.

I did dehydrate about 15 pounds of it in my Excalibur 9-tray dehydrator.

What do I use dehydrated broccoli for, you might ask.

  • My kids tend to snack on dehydrated veggies often and LOVE the flavor of dried broccoli.
  • We add it to soups, including veggie soup and cheese and broccoli soup.
  • I mix it with sour cream and serve with pita or carrots.
  • You know that vegetable soup mix that you use to make artichoke dip? Yep… grind it up and put it in there.
  • Powder it and put it in your morning slushies.
  • I have even stuck it in my blender and added it to bread and cracker dough.

In order to get a good dehydrated batch, cut into bite sized pieces. Soak your cut broccoli in a large bowl with a tablespoon of salt for 10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly. place on dehydrator trays for 12 hours at 135 degrees or until broccoli is crisp.

I warn you… Broccoli SMELLS when dehydrating! LOL

 

Progress on our homestead, February 2015

KrisandLarry.comWe have been blessed with beautiful weather this February. It is not always the case and the rest of the country seems to be hit HARD with cold weather and snow. We are taking full advantage of this warmer weather.  We have been working on a “plethora” of projects as supplies arrive.

#1 Goat Playground – The initial tires have gone in, but we have more to go. Elwyn has also built one platform for the goats to climb on. We have the base and a few extra tires stacked on top to make a pyramid.

#2 Our Goat Pallet Barn – We picked up some pallets off of Craigslist for REALLY CHEAP! And are off to the hardware store later to get corrugated steel for the roof. We screwed in all of the base pallets for the frame. – One side for the female goats and one for the males. Once we pick up the roofing, we will make a peak in the center and then add that roofing on. Then, we will be adding plyboard on the inside and a hinged door. We have cattle panels to make a separate pen for the our billy so that he won’t be with the girls.

#3 Aquaponics Greenhouse and System – Aquaponics is growing fish and veggies in a single unit. The fish eat and poo in the water. That water is pumped into grow beds that is providing lettuce and other plants. Those plants filter the water clean, using the poo as fertilizer. The water then goes back into the fist tank, clean for the fish. Griffen dug out the 16×8 ft location to make it even (on a slight slope) KrisandLarry.comadded 6 railroad ties, 4 cattle panels forming a bow and zip tied them together. Later we are drilling in 2x4s over the base of the cattle panels into the railroad ties to make the base stable. We have ordered the plastic cover. Next, we get to work on the system itself. (He has already picked up an IBC tank and 2 blue barrels. He also has some of the PVC pipes that he will need along with his pump.  Watch for a future video for Griffen’s aquaponics system. (We will post is here and on our facebook page as well. – www.fb.com/krisandlarry

KrisandLarry.com#4 Newest Baby Goat. – Mor Dubh is 2-1/2 weeks old and is LOVING the kids, especially the ones who bring his bottle to him. He is going to be our herd sire for the future and is ADORABLE. We bought him from www.westcreekfarmstead.com.

#5 Additional Garden Beds – 2 pallets of block later, we are almost done with getting those new beds in. 3 done so far… one more to go. We have lined these with chicken wireKrisandLarry.com

#6 Hatching more chicks and baby quail. – We have our own eggs from chicks… and have quail eggs arriving later today to put in our incubator… We are hoping to get this going too.

#7 Our new bunnies – We picked up 3 new bunnies last week also from West Creek Farmstead – Here is their Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/WestCreekFarmstead The kids named them Angus, Elinor and Merida. We are hoping to get an additional female as well. They will be ready to breed in about 6 weeks or so. These 3 are our pets… but their babies will be “food”. 

 

We still need to get building a larger chicken coop. We have moved 5 hens and a roo over to the goat yard, but have about 30 more to get moved still… We need a bigger coop for them over here (rather than on the other side of my parents’ barn in that coop.

 

Our goal is to be self-sufficient from May – September this year… I do NOT want to go to the store at all.

 

Planting a large garden

www.krisandlarry.com - Berlyn Planting PeasEvery year we plant a garden… and every year, our garden gets larger and larger to provide for our ever-growing family.  Our goal every year is to plant enough produce to provide for our family and to be able to trade with other families for their produce.  Our goal this year is to not go to the grocery store from May-October… Hopefully between rabbits this year, goats, our garden plus the upcoming aquaponics system that Griffen had been hard at work gathering supplies for, that we will make that a reality.

On February 1, I plant my first batch of spinach, peas, carrots, radishes in the garden. (The extension college has different dates for us for these… but this is how I have always planted and have had great success.) We also have green bunching onions, spanach and Swiss Chard in the greenhouse in big buckets.

Here is the local Yavapai County Extension planting information

 http://ag.arizona.edu/yavapai/publications/yavcobulletins/Yavapai%20County%20Vegetable%20Planting%20Dates.pdf

On February 15th, we will plant an additional row of peas, carrots, spinach, and radishes, plus turnips, beets, kale, onions and garlic. We will add broccoli and cauliflower to the greenhouse.

 Remember too that you do not need a huge piece of land for a garden. A patio container garden works well too. We have all of our herbs in containers. And we have successfully grown tomatoes and tomatilloes on our back patio.

Happy growing this 2015 season!