Tag Archives: Homestead

When asked… “What do you like about homesteading?”

The obvious answers are that I love the lifestyle. I love the fresh veggies. I love the fresh meat and knowing where my food comes from. I love the sweat and tears. I love the animals. I love the time that I spend with my family while we are working on different projects.

But one answer that I give more than ever it that I love the people who I meet and those who follow a similar lifestyle. My friends Gary and Susan are prime examples of people who I ADORE. This morning, (At 6am, no joke) I message Susan if she had any quail eggs that I could buy from her. I needed to add back to my quail line. My feathered crew is not laying real well right now. And guess what? Not only did she have some, but she gifted them to us and then brought this mama a care package of dried herbs from their garden!! (and she was online too at 6am) They are the most generous people. I LOVE their dry herb gift too!!!! OH MY! My winter teas are going to be so tasty!!

If you are planning on dehydrating herbs (or any other fruits and veggies) the Excalibur Dehydrator is my dehydrator of choice. Check out the links below or visit our amazon store for more items that are choice for our homestead.

Jackpot Show – 8/10/2019

Throughout our lives as homesteaders, I wanted to make sure that my family were able to know all about the animals that we have, both large and small stock. Last night, we were honored to be a part of a local jackpot show. We are proud members of the Chino Valley FFA Pals group for all of my younger kids. The 4 youngest participated in the show with their rabbits or chickens.We only brought small stock critters with us. Although they need more practice answering questions with the judges, overall they did great.

This was Trystan’s first back to the grind after being in a behavioral hospital for the last year+. He did AWESOME in the junior division! He scored 3rd place on his barred Bantam Cochin hen (I think that he named her Amy, but don’t quote this mama on that) for showman ship and 2nd place for confirmation.

Grayson is in PeeWee division still until next year. She got 1st in showmanship for her lop, Tyler.

Rowan got 4th in showmanship and second in confirmation for her lionhead rabbit, Snickers.

Berlyn got 5th in showmanship for his lionhead rabbit, Cookie Dough.

Well, we have some work to do this next month to brush up on showing and the judge questions before the fair next month. I am sure that I will write something into our homeschool program for animal science for that. 😉

And a special shout-out to Rosie Darby and her family for putting on this AMAZING show for the youth in our community at their home.

End of Summer Projects

It is that time of the year. The summer for public school kids in our area is coming to a close. I love that we have a bit of freedom in our homeschooling. We have a handful of projects to still get worked on our homestead for this summer season

  1. Our aquaponics system is being put back up. In this process, we are researching a solar power system to save on the moneys that we spend on this. Our power bill is already OUTRAGES at over $400/month. Thanks APS (Northern Arizona Power Company) for upping your prices again. So, our goal is to find a “do it yourself” solar panel system to get our water system back up and running to help save some money and not tap into the power grid. Fresh produce year round for this family is ideal. For now too, we are planning on putting in just goldfish, but eventually will put back in tilapia.
  2. We are taking out annual family photos early this year. My AMAZING nephew Brent is leaving for the ARMY next week. So our photos for our Christmas cards/calendars and gifts to my sister and parents are going to be created early. We normally don’t take them until November… so a bit of a change. This year, Trystan will be back in them and we have a new family member, Michael. 🙂
  3. We have 7 goats and 10 kunekune pigs to sell. That would cut down on our feed bill immensely. So hopefully we can find some home for these babies. But, if not, we will have some full freezers in December.
  4. We have the county fair coming up in about 5 weeks. We can not wait! My kids love to go and see animals, compete in the showmanship and ride the rides. I can not wait to have some fair food. I have lost over 50 pounds so far this year and having fair food will be mom’s special treat!
  5. We start back up with homeschooling in about 2 weeks. I am still gathering our curriculum and writing our daily schedules. We have picked up a few books to fill in the gap and will be starting out with the comic book writing projects.
  6. Working on 3 new books from our homestead. One is a collaboration with the kiddoes. And has been in the works for a while. It is an Advent projects, ideas and scripture book. Another one (actually a 3 book series) about Haka. This one is about complete. Missing some artwork. We had been so terribly busy with traveling to see Trystan in Phoenix that now that he is back home again, I have an extra day each week to be able to complete these tasks. And the 3rd is a book project (fiction) that I have been working on for a while.

Seed storage and other tips to start your garden

Download the 2019 Yavapai County Planting Schedule 2019 Yavapai County Planting Schedule (196 downloads)

Over the last 20 years, I have been able to streamline how we store and use our seeds for our gardens. Check out the quick video below!

Meet me on the homestead – Kunekune pigs

Our baby “War Pigs” have grown up and that includes Haka, the littlest runt from the litter of December 2017.

 If you were at the Heights Church for the Christmas Eve services in 2017, you were able to see a litter of 3 day old baby kunekunes. (I added a few photos below)

So here is a picture of Haka, Our “little War Pig. ” And guess what? His first book children’s will be out soon. We will keep you updated!

Kunekunes are an AMAZING breed of pigs that we have had on our homestead for over 5 years now. We use them often when people request us to come and share our animals as part of a “petting zoo program.” Mama Pumpkin is one of our most requested animals to share. 

Our family jokes that they are called “War Pigs” because they were (extra buffed out via CGI) in the war scene for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. See the clip below that we found on youtube.

 

Kunes are a very docile and gentle pig, making them a great addition to a homestead. They are more like having big hairy dogs than having pigs.
 

Originally from New Zealand, the pigs have made a comeback here in the US as well as the UK. Their name means “fat and round” in the Maori language. They come in a variety of colors including black and white, brown and white, solid ginger, solid cream/fawn, solid brown, solid black, and ginger and black. 

These hairy pigs can reach 300 pounds or more however, making them the largest of the miniature breeds or the smallest of the meat breeds. They are a pasture pig that eats primarily grasses and fresh fruits and veggies. We do not feed our kunes any commercial pig feeds and we have rescued a few of our kunes who were being fed dog food. Not a great choice for these gentle giants.  Being that they are pasture pigs, ours like to graze in the same field as our horses. And they love tomatoes, strawberries and other fresh goodies. 

Raising mealworms for animal feed

The Benefits Of Raising Mealworms

Mealworms are an ultimate healthy snack for chickens, ducks, geese, and quail. They are jam packed with protein and something that your critters absolutely love. We raise our mealworms to feed to our hatching babies in the house. We raise (Grand Champion) Quail. The babies go CRAZY over the mealworms that we put in their feeders. 

A few things I have found in raising mealworms are that:

I know what I am feeding my birds!

I know what I am feeding my kids, why shouldn’t I monitor what I am feeding my birds too? After all, our birds give us meat and eggs that my kids are eating. Mealworms pack so many nutrients and protein. And your birds will thank you for it. 

Meals worms are one of the easiest additions to your homestead. I keep mine in a tub(with holes drilled into the top) and an old fishtank in my laundry room. I feed each container a potato on Fridays and blow out their tanks once a month of all of the “skins” that they shed. Yep, that simple! I have a few pieces of cotton balls in each container for them to lay their eggs in and the bottom of my containers either have oatmeal or chicken scratch. 

The mealworm life cycle is in four stages: egg, larvae, pupa, and darkling beetle. The larvae stage is what I feed to my birds. 

 

You can find me and others at the Simple Life Mom Hop and the Simple Homestead Hop!

Day 1 – Reestablishing Fodder

Photo of Day 9 wheat/pea fodder

Last year, after my foot surgery, we put growing wheat fodder on the back burner along with many other things. (When Mom is down….) It was a bit too hard to keep up with it.

However, with a yard full of KuneKune pasture pigs, we needed to start growing something for them again during the winter time.  Fodder is PERFECT! It is 100% greens and soil free that is perfect for animal feed. 

Soaking Wheat Seeds

Fodder is a GREAT way to feed animals in the winter time, especially when there are no greens growing in your yard. I soak my seeds for 24 hours in water to help jump-start their growing.

To start, we soak 4 cups of recleaned wheat seed in water for 24+ hours.  That’s my Day 1 for every tray. If you notice mold forming in day 3+ you can add a capful of apple cider vinegar to the soaking water. 

You do not have to stick with just Wheat. You can use barley, oats(although I haven’t had a great outcome in the past with oats), winter peas, black oil sunflower seeds. Whole corn takes too many days to sprout, so I avoid this seed.   

 

In the past, we have used solid trays and drilled holes into the ends for the water to drain. I am trying this new mesh bottom trays this time to see how they work. 

Fodder can feed my kunes and also my chickens, ducks, goats and rabbits. It is a win/win feed and the output is up to 6x the feed grown in 9 days as the weight of the seeds. 

You need 1 soaking bucket (I used an old plastic bin that was missing its lid and you need 8 trays/buckets/bins.  Heck, you can use old rain gutters if you have enough angle that the water doesn’t sit and mold the seeds. 

You will also need a shelf or some way to stack these. I have a PVC pipe shelf that Griffen made for me years ago. 

 
Here is a link to the trays that I am trying out.

 

Revisiting – Raising your own meat, Oathkeepers

oathkeepers-homesteadmeat.pdf (101 downloads)
I love that my children can stand up in front of a group and share everything that has to with their homestead animals and the meat that comes along with it. Shelby and Elwyn had a GREAT presentation for the Oathkeepers.  (August 2017)
by Shelby Fullmer – August 12, 2017

Rabbits

Food – Alfalfa pellets, basic greens like kale, spinach, chard, leaf lettuce (NOT iceberg, cabbage or broccoli), alfalfa, timothy, and bermuda hays, carrots, even small quantities of raspberries, tomatoes and strawberries.  

Shelter – Rabbit hutches or colony living with buried wire with shade/cover to protect from weather.

 

Gestation period – 28 days – up to 14 babies

Male rabbits go sterile in severe heat and all rabbits need a cooling system in Arizona in the summer time. Frozen water bottles, fans, misting systems, in a cooler shelter, etc. are all good ways to keep your rabbits cool.

Uses of Rabbits – Meat, bones for broth, leather, fur, manure

A few of the meat breeds of rabbits for meat, Rex, New Zealand, Californians, American Chinchilla, Silver Foxes, Flemish Giants

Website with more information on breeds – http://theselfsufficientliving.com/best-meat-rabbit-breeds/

 

Chickens

Dual Purpose Chickens are the best egg laying hens combined with the best meat chickens. The truth of the matter is that there are plenty of chicken breeds that are good for both purposes.  Includes Rhone Island Reds, wynnedottes, barred rocks, orphingtons, Jersey Giants – all full sized chickens. For smaller meat and egg production Bantams or (mini chickens) lay smaller eggs and are about half the meat size of a regular chicken.  

Food – Layer, seed, oyster shells/ground egg shells for extra calcium, bugs, produce/greens, kitchen scraps (no meat)

Shelter – Coop to protect, layer boxes with hay, ground shavings/hay

Incubation times – Bantam 19-21 days, Full sized chickens – 20-22 days

Uses of chickens – Meat, bones for broth, feathers, fertilizer, insect control, garden prepping.

Website with more information on breedshttps://www.backyardchickencoops.com.au/dual-purpose-chicken-breeds

Waterfowl

Birds including ducks and geese

Heavy and medium weight ducks typically are raised for meat production. The main breeds are the Pekin and the Muscovy. Around 90 percent of the duck meat produced in the United States is from the Pekin. Commercial producers are able to obtain a duck weighing 7 to 8 pounds in seven weeks.

Food – Layer chow, oyster shells/ground egg shells for extra calcium, bugs, produce/greens.  

Shelter – Coop to protect, layer boxes with hay, ground shavings/hay, swimming pool/pond

Incubation times – 28 days

Uses of waterfowl – Meat, bones for broth/soup, feathers, fertilizer.

More information on raising waterfowl – http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/raising-ducks-geese/ducks-and-geese-zm0z14fmzchr

Quail

Fast growing animals for meat and eggs. In 8 weeks they are full grown and laying eggs between 8-10 weeks old.

Food – game bird chow, oyster shells/ground egg shells for extra calcium, bugs like mealworms, produce/greens, excess eggs – Quail need at least a 25% protein to lay.  

Shelter – Smaller rabbit hutches work great for quail.  Or larger enclosed coops

Incubation times – 16-17 days

Uses of quail – Meat (mainly breast meat), bones for broth/soup, feathers, fertilizer.

Information on Coturnix quail – https://www.healthbenefitstimes.com/quail/

 

Game Birds – Chukars (Partridges) and Pheasants

Food – gamebird feed and cracked corn in the winter for all your birds. You can also give them treats like fruit, veggies, mealworms, peanuts, and wild bird seed.

Shelter – Large enclosed pens with coop.

Incubation times – Chukar – 23 days, ring necked pheasants – 24-25

Uses – Meat, bones for broth/soup, feathers, fertilizer.

More information on Game Birds – https://wgfd.wyo.gov/WGFD/media/content/PDF/Habitat/Extension%20Bulletins/B33-Raising-Pheasants-or-Other-Game-Birds.pdf

Revisit – Oathkeepers – How to use medicinal herbs

Oathkeepers - Medicinal Herbs (115 downloads)

http://www.yourbodycanheal.com/medicinal-herbs.html

How to Use Medicinal Herbs

So you’ve decided you want to incorporate herbal remedies into your health regimen. Congratulations! You’re embarking on a journey that will help your body heal itself from the inside out in a way that is much more natural, safe and gentle than conventional medicine.

It’s also a journey that can be a little confusing. There are many different types of herbal remedies out there. Sometimes you will find the same herb sold in many different preparations. What do all those different terms mean? Here’s a rundown of some of the most common ways medicinal herbs are sold and used.

Tablets and Capsules: Like conventional drugs, herbs are often packaged and sold in tablet and capsule form. Tablets involve compressing an herb into a round or cylindrical shape, usually with some sort of binder, colorant, flavorings and coating that prevents them from breaking down in the body too quickly. Capsules are usually made of gelatin and the herb is placed inside the shell. Other ingredients can also be mixed in to make the herb taste better or to prevent it from being digested too quickly. Vegetarians can find capsules made of vegetable cellulose, but check the label to make sure you know you’re not getting any animal products.

Extracts: Herbal extracts may be sold as tablets, capsules orliquid herbal extracts; the herbs contained in an extract are far more concentrated than those in a standard pill. Extracts are made by soaking the herbs in alcohol or water (or a combination) and filtering and drying the herb at low heat. Much like culinary herbs become stronger when dried, herbal extracts are highly concentrated remedies, allowing you to take many fewer pills to get a large dose. Continue reading Revisit – Oathkeepers – How to use medicinal herbs