Tag Archives: homesteading

Preparedness class at Oathkeepers

I was honored to be able to talk at the Chino Valley Oathkeeper’s Preparedness class this weekend! THANK YOU FOR INVITING ME!!! Click the button below to download the PDF of the handout of the class.

[sdm_download id=”4316″ fancy=”0″ new_window=”1″]

We talked about getting your garden up and going. Yep, this can be essential to getting ready for any disaster or need.

krisandlarry.com - Being PreparedStart simple…. Lettuce, tomatoes, squash… and all of these can be planted on your back porch in pots and will provide fresh veggies for your family. – What you don’t eat, can or dehydrate.

Next, get a chicken or 2 for each member of your family.  (Or instead, 4 quail per person in your family will provide enough eggs for your family and can live in much smaller spaces. 

If you are able, you can add sheep or goats to the swing of things in order to get milk for dairy products and I was able to show what a cheese press looks like. Yep, It was a good day!

I was able to share 2 important handouts:

  1. My list of go to websites for many different homesteading products. THIS IS NOT COMPLETE and is a full working list. Here it is to share with you!
  2. My local planting guide from Yavapai Extension Office. Here is a link for their PDF: http://ag.arizona.edu/yavapai/publications/yavcobulletins/Yavapai%20County%20Vegetable%20Planting%20Dates.pdf

Here is my list for you: 

Planting Seeds

Cheese Making Supplies

Local Delivery for Grains Meat and Other Bulk Items

Homesteading

Food Dehydrators

Goat & Animal Supplies

Soap Making Supplies

Dried Herbs and Teas

Vitamins and Supplements

Survival Products

Blog and websites from general information:

Cheese Press by homesteadersupply.com

krisandlarry.com Farmhouse Cheddar
Farmhouse cheddar made from our goat’s milk on our homestead getting ready for the 12 hours second press.

I was so intimidated by the thought of making cheese and of curds separating from the whey. I mean… Think about it…. curds and whey look like rotten milk.  I promise you that it is not rotten and it is supposed to look like that!

I had no idea where to start, what to do. I ordered a kit to create soft goat cheese and then realized that it really wasn’t that hard. We have been making our own soft goats milk cheese for over a year now. 

(Trystan’s tummy can handle anything with goats milk too!!! YEA!!)

Krisandlarry.com Cheese Press
Elwyn getting ready to use her Cheese Press.

Then I started researching how to make hard cheese. I needed a cheese press? WHAT IS A CHEESE PRESS?!?!   I remembered that Homesteader Supply made their own and used to be a local business here in Arizona but have since moved to Tennessee.  www.HomesteaderSupply.com  is an AWESOME company and they carry one of the best presses out there. AND it is Made in the USA! 

Once you discover how easy it is to make your own cheese (and do not have to add dyes in it to make it yellow), you will see that it is something that you can do for your family.

Here is the recipe that we have been using for our hard cheddar from HomesteaderSupply’s blog:  https://www.homesteadersupply.com/blog/2014/05/farmhouse-cheddar-cheese-recipe.html

3 gallons whole milk
Mesophilic Culture (1/4 tsp Abiasa, 1/8 tsp Danisco, or 1/16 tsp Sacco) (We have been using Danisco because that is what I had on hand already)
2 teaspoons calcium chloride (only needed for store bought milk)
1.5 tablet rennet or 3/4 tsp liquid rennet
1/4 cup unchlorinated water
1 Tbsp salt
  • Combine milk, (calcium chloride) in 16 qt stock pot (double boiler to prevent scorching)
  • Slowly heat mixture to 86 degrees. Turn off heat and stir in lactic cheese culture. (Different types of culture create different flavors of cheese)  Stir gently throughout. Cover mixture and allow to rest undisturbed at 86 degrees for 45 minutes.
  • Dissolve rennet tablet or liquid rennet in 1/4 cup  water.
  • Keep the milk at 86 degrees.  Stir the rennet mixture into milk slowly but thoroughly. Allow milk to set undisturbed for 30 – 45 minutes or until curd shows a clean break.
  • Using long knife, cut the curds into 1/2 inch squares, then stir gently just to break the strips of curds into chunks. Let it sit to rest for 5 minutes.
  • Slowly heat the curds and whey to 102 degrees, raising the temperature 2 degrees every 5 minutes. Stir curd gently to prevent matting and reduce their size to half peanut size. A large whisk works well by placing it to bottom of pot and putting up right so curds break as they fall through the wisk. Hold curds for additional 30 minutes at this temperature
  • Place pre-warmed with hot water colander over a pot and pour the curds into it.
  • Reserve 1/3 of the whey and pour back into the cheese pot. Set colander of curds onto the cheese pot. Cover top with cheese cloth and lid to keep in warmth. Allow curds to drain for 45 to 60 minutes. This is called the cheddaring process.
  • Cut slab into pieces and press through french fry cutter or cut by hand.
  • Add 1 tablespoon course salt. Using your hands, gently mix the salt into curds. You can eat these curds now, or press into a wheel.
  • Place the curds into cheese press and follow the directions for dressing with cheese cloth for the next 12 hours.
  • Remove cheese from press, unwrap the cloth, place cheese on drying mat to air dry for 12 hours, creating a nice skin over the whole cheese.  Cheese is ready to slice and eat or you can wax and age for stronger cheddar flavor.
  • Mix 1 tablespoon of salt with 1/2 cup of water. Use a corner of the cheese cloth to lightly apply a saltwater wash to the cheese.

Here is a video using the cheese press by GNOWFGLINS.com

 

Coturnix Quail at our homestead

KrisAndLarry.com - Quail Eggs
Berlyn, my 10 year old, holding a quail egg from this morning.

Coturnix quail are extremely easy to raise for both meat and eggs. They are full grown between 6-8 weeks. And begin laying at that time too.  Their eggs are AWESOME in both flavor and in nutrients.  

Here are the coturnix quail sub breeds that we are currently offering. We have been hatching quail for several years and bring in new lines several times a year to keep our bird lines fresh. We began raising them as meat and eggs for ourselves. We hatch 600+ eggs a month (and take advance orders). This is a kid-run 4H business. Our prices are always $3 each or more than 10 are $2.50 each. Our facebook page is www.facebook.com/krisandlarry (We have a new sub breed of eggs on the way too)
ABM_1453700808

Here is a list of different sub breeds of Coturnix that I have come across in all my research. 

  • Pharoah Coturnix- Wild color (We have these!)
  • A & M-  pure white feathers- can also have brown spots on back of head and or on the back. (We have these!)
  • Golden aka Manchurian, Golden Speckled
  • Tibetan aka British Range dark coloring (We have these!)
  • Tuxedo– this bird is produced by breeding an A&M to a British range(We have these!)
  • Silver / Lavender
  • Cinnamon / Red(We have a line of these on their way.)
  • Fawn / Rossetta

 

Feeding your quail 

Quail need a higher protein than chickens to produce eggs.

We give our quail a 25%+ game bird food everyday along with a scrambled egg in the pens ever few days or so. We also grow our own wheat fodder and give them meal worms as treats. 

Egg Production

Breeding season for quail is March – September… You can keep up egg production with them as long as you  keep them both “warm” in the winter and 14 hours of light. 

Housing

Quail are simple to keep. We have our in an old converted chicken coop with a cattle panel hoop house run.  They can be kept in rabbit hutches, or even specific made quail cages. We give ours a bit of room, but know that they don’t need a ton of space. 

Weighing a pig with no scale

krisandlarry.com
Our BIG Mama, HAMMY and the 3 little meat pigs

We have been using the following technique to  weigh our meat pigs. 

krisandlarry.com
Griffen Measuring Pig Heart Girth

Measure around their heart girth… Easiest way to measure pig is during feeding time. 

Remember that number. For our smaller 4-1/2 month old pigs they measured about 39 inches around the heart girth (They are all about the same size.)

Next, measure from ears to tail along their spine. 

For our 4-1/2 month old meat pigs, the was 44 inches length.

Next multiply girth x girth x length.

That number came out to 39 x 39 x 44 = 66,924

Pig Length - krisandlarry.com
Griffen Measuring Pig Length

(Shelby says) DON’T PANIC! This is not what your pig weighs!

Now, take that answer and divide by 400. 

66,924 / 400 = 167.31

So this is the approximate current weigh of our meat pigs 167 pounds – We are right on track to them being of a good weigh for the end of March.

Our big Mama, HAMMY measured 58 heart girth by 58-1/2 length (We told you she is a big mama!!!) That comes out to 58 x 58 x 58.5 = 196,794 /400 = 491.99 pounds!!! She is due for babies in March!

This is the best info that we have found online about weighing pigs: 

http://www.thepigsite.com/articles/541/weighing-a-pig-without-a-scale/ 

The most accurate way to measure the weight of a pig is to use a specialist pig weigh. However, these can be expensive and if you only have a few pigs to weigh and a high degree of accuracy is not necessarily needed, we explain how to obtain a good estimate of a pigs weight using only a measuring tape and a calculator.

IMPERIAL – Weight of your pig in POUNDS

  1. Obtain a fabric measuring tape or a piece of string to use as a measure. If using string mark the dimensions on the string and then measure the dimensions using a steel tape measure.
  2. Place the tape/string under the pig just behind the front legs and measure the circumference of the pigs girth in inches. This measurement is known as theHeart Girth (see graphic)
  3. Then measure the Length of the pig along its back from the base of its ears to the base of its tail, again in inches. (see graphic)
  4. To calculate the pigs weight, first square the Heart Girth to get the Girth Result.
  5. Now Multiply the Girth Result by the Length and DIVIDE by 400.
  6. You now have the weight of your pig in Pounds.
Girth Measurement Length Measurement

Example:

  • Porky Pig has a Heart Girth of 50 inches and a Length of 40 inches.

  • Squaring the Heart Girth (50 x 50) = 2500 = Girth Result

  • Multiply the Girth Result (2500) by the Length (40) and divide by 400 = 250 Pounds.

Welcome to 2016!

IMG_20160105_103640Welcome to 2016! And Happy 12th day of Christmas!! 

This year on our homestead, we are working really hard to get self sustaining and be able to offer more animals, produce and eggs to our friends.  It has been a great year! We have pressed the “easy” button and made life simpler which is this busy mama’s long term hope for the family. (And by simpler, I do not mean easier, but rather slowing down the CRAZY and drinking iced tea on my porch, watching chickens peck the ground and kids playing outside.)

What are our goals for our homestead this year? We know that most of these won’t happen this year… but we are all hopeful.  

  • add tilapia to our aquaponics system (right now, we have just goldfish in there.)
  • add an additional aquaponics system
  • Add a solar system to the aquaponics system(s)
  • build another greenhouse
  • build a smoke house
  • add 5 more raised garden beds to our garden
  • build additional quail house to house at least 150 more quail
  • purchase a second cabinet incubator for all of the eggs that we have been hatching
  • publish 2 more books
  • plant and tend our garden 
  • not go to the grocery store from May until October (and we are well on out way! I just got a call that our 1/2 steer will be ready to pick up in mid February from the butcher. Our pigs will be going to butcher in March too. My freezers will be FULL!)
  • learn to make sour cream and purchase a cheese press to make cheddar
  • raise turkeys to sell (we have 80 eggs in the incubator right now.)
  • raise coturnix quail to eat weekly for our family
  • Continue to homeschool our amazing kids (minus Shelby who is in college and is being joined by Larry in college this spring to get an additional degree)
  • continue to offer our home as a foster family for kids who need us
  • BE A FAMILY! BE TOGETHER! SHARE OUR LOVE!

HAPPY 2016!! 

Hatching quail in 2015

Every 6 weeks or so, we hatch out and sell several hundred quail chicks. For the chicks that we don’t sell, they end up with our stock for additional eggs and meat. Several times a year, we order eggs from an outside ranch to bring in “new lines” to our own flock. This adds extra healthy birds to our own line. 

krisandlarry.com Coturnix QuailCoturnix quail (also known as Pharaoh or Japanese)  are awesome little birds. They are full grown at 6-8 weeks and begin laying eggs at about the same time. They do need a covered pen because they fly and can not be free-range in a field. We have ours outside in a coop with a covered 8ft by 8ft outdoor run made out of cattle panels.  They lay daily in the warmer months, and less during winter. We feed ours a mixture of fodder, seed, and mealworms.

Currently we have only 40 quail in our outdoor coop, 8 in our indoor garage cage and about 200 babies for sale. I have a crew of people picking up their orders this week for this new line. This batch is from several outside ranches to add new bloodlines to our covey.

If you are interested in starting with quail, give us a call! 

Chicks for sale (plus waiting list for other animals)

We are hatching little chicks left and right today! I love that sound our of my incubator!!! PEEP!! PEEP!!PEEEEPPP!

We have chicks and quail hatching year round on our homestead.

Ameraucanas and Ameraucana mixes hatching this week. Quail are due this weekend. We have ducks and geese due at the end of November. 

IMG_20151104_111437453We have over 300 eggs in our incubator at any given time and will add more as needed.

Chicks(chicken and quail) are $3 each or 10 or more are $2.50 each.

Ducks are $6 each

Geese and Turkeys are $12 each. 

GREAT for eggs or meat!!

We also have a waiting list for spring chickens, ducks, geese, quail, turkeys, Yorkshire pigs, KuneKune pigs, Rabbits, and Nubian (both registered and unregistered) Goats.

Message us to get on our notification list when babies are born.

Visit our family homestead online at www.krisandlarry.com or on facebook at

Welcome to October on our homestead!

IMG_20151011_130452195 It is a beautiful October day up here in northern Arizona. A lot has happened in the last month. We have (as a whole family, including my parents and sister and her family) picked up a steer. TBone will fill up our freezer in about 8 months or so. He is a bit thin, so we are “fattening” him up. 

 

IMG_20151019_113911223

Berlyn is continuing to be homeschooled with the other kids. Autism will not stop this handsome guy!IMG_20151019_140630719
Meet Fern! She is a KuneKune sow to breed with our Wilbur.  3 of the kids joined 4H this season for swine market, swine breeding, rabbits, goats and poultry. 

We officially got back the first of the goat’s registrations back from ADGA (American Dairy Goat Assoc.) 4 more to go this season!

Goat Milk Soap

ABM_1443640836I have the most AMAZING kids… Yep, I can say that because I am their mom… But #farmkidsrock is a hashtag that I use often on Instagram. 

For years in our house, we make so many of our own products including lip balm, laundry soap, sugar scrubs. 

Elwyn has always wanted me to teach her to make goat milk soap… Heck, we have the milk coming right off of our homestead. 
ABM_1443643004

Goat Milk Soap BASE Recipe

  • 12 ounces milk (We freeze into ice cubes)
  • 4.3 ounces lye (sodium hydroxide)
  • 22 ounces olive oil 
  • 8 ounces coconut oil 
  • 1 ounce castor oil 
  1. Measure out all of your ingredients before you get started into separate measuring cups . 
  2. Wearing gloves and goggles, stir together lye and milk. SLOWLY!!! (Lye can BURN YOUR SKIN!) We put the bowl that we stir together the lye and milk into another bowl filled with ice to keep the temperature down.  We also add just a little bit of lye at a time. The sugars in the milk will scorch if it gets too warm.  
  3. As the lye is melting down, pour all of the oils in a large bowl. Stir until blended. 
  4. Once the lye mixture is melted down and all of the lye is incorporated with no granules left, slowly pour the lye mixture into the oils.
  5. Stir until the mixture begins to “Trace”. “Trace” means that soap batter is thick enough to hold an outline, or “tracing” when drizzled across the surface of itself.
  6. Once the mixture is beginning to trace, you can now add in essential oils, fragrance oils, colors, etc. (We don’t use fragrance or colors in our soap, keeping them as natural as possible.)
  7. Pour the mixture into your soap molds. This recipe fits in our silicone soap block perfectly.
  8. For 24-48 hours, we drop our filled mold into the freezer.  It keeps the color as cream as possible. 
  9. After 24-48 hours in the freezer, remove soap from mold and cut into 1 inch bars. Yes, these bars will be VERY soft at first!!! It’s OK!
  10. Allow the bars to cure in the open air, on a sheet of wax or parchment paper, for at least four weeks, rotating occasionally. Because of the higher amount of olive oil in this soap recipe, the longer you let it cure, the harder the final bar will be.

We have all of out current soaps for sale here: http://krisandlarry.com/forsale/