Friday, May 9, 2008

Urban Homesteading

I was reading some old posts over on Stephanie's blog at Keeper of the Home and came across this one which included a link to this video.

What an amazing, inspirational video. If this family can grow 6000 lbs of produce on only 1/5 of an acre I can only dream about what we can do with 15!!! I am so excited to get my garden going again! We already put in our new strawberry bed and the asparagus just started to peek through in the last few days. Yum...asparagus quiche...that's what I want to make first!

And here is an excellent book about growing on small acerage. I definitely want to get a copy of this!

And one of my favorite things about where we are is that we can have chickens. I definitely think that raising our own food, whether vegetable or animal, is much more frugal in the long run than buying it from others. I have not actually figured out what my cost per a dozen eggs is to raise my chickens but when organic eggs are between $4-5 a dozen I must be doing OK. Plus I know my chickens are getting all kinds of things that those chickens probably are not like lots of green grass and sunshine!

Our chickens also help us with reducing our waste. Chickens are omnivores so they will eat pretty much anything. They get all of out leftovers. The only things we need to put into our compost are peels (and even some of those they will eat). All of the scraps of meat & dairy that they recommend you not put in compost we feed to our chickens. And they LOVE it. Whenever we head out that way they all come running to see what goodies we have today.

Where we live we do have problems with foxes, fishers & skunks (yes skunks! I never knew skunks like to kill chickens!) so we use some electric net fencing to keep our girls safe. We just rotate their pasture around the hen house every few weeks. We do also keep a rooster now as we have heard that fertilized eggs are great for you also (and I am hopeful one of my hens will go broody one of these days! And maybe get a few baby chicks).

I found this video from the same people that talks about raising chickens in the City! You can do it too!

There are tons more video's and websites out there about raising chickens in a small space and as long as your city ordances allow why the heck not!! Here are a few great websites to get you started.

The City Chicken

Mad City Chickens

An Article in The City Farmer about raising chickens in the city.

And here are a couple of books you could check out also!

Does anyone else out there raise chickens? Would you consider it? Do you have a garden? More Frugal Friday tips!


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Menu Planning Monday...I Know on Tuesday Again!

OK...I am running a little late again this week. The last two days (or should I say nights) have been tough and I have been VERY unmotivated. And let's just say that my new habit forming has not been going quite as planned.

On Sunday night Aiden woke up throwing up. After stripping him and his bed, getting him cleaned up and dressed and putting him into our bed he proceeded to throw up in our bed. Again with the clothes and bed stripping. Thankfully at this point he seemed to be done and went off to sleep. I finally got myself into bed and doesn't Bennett wake up screaming. Not sure why, bad dream I guess but I was up with him for a while longer also.

And then last night Bennett didn't go to bed until almost 9pm and then woke up again a number of times and was then up both mornings by 5:30am. Needless to say I am feeling a little tired.

Done with the pitty party now! On to Menu Planning.

We were able to stick a little closer to our menu this last week. We didn't do the goat roast because I never got around to taking it out of the freezer. The quiche was amazing. I used the Yogurt Dough recipe from Nourishing Traditions. We put in tomatoes, spinach, onions & a little bacon I had in the freeze. Oh how yummy it was! I also made up a HUGE batch of pancakes from a Nourishing Traditions recipe and have some scones and biscuits soaking right now to make.

I just started picking up a few Raw Milk products in the last few weeks also. The farm (Great Hopes Farm in Brooks, ME) is not far from us but I didn't want to have to go out there ever week so I did some research and found out you can freeze milk. I bought enough for two weeks and have frozen a little more than half. I actually got some cream from them so I am hoping to make something yummy for a treat later this week. Maybe some rice pudding or a custard. I will try to remember to post more about the benefits of raw milk later this week or next week.

And our chickens are laying like crazy so we are trying to remember to do lots of meals with eggs. We made egg salad last week, which was delicious (I'm even starting to develop a taste for it) and I plan to make some more hard boiled eggs this week for my boys to eat as snacks. They LOVE eggs.

I really cleaned out my cabinets this week and made a list of everything in them to try to do some pantry meals. I have a few cans of beans that I would like to use up as I am ordering some dried beans from a local grown cooperative. We are going to try to do the same thing with our two freezers also. Go through and make a list of what is left. Feed to the chickens anything freeze burned and start using up everything else. This will also help us to conserve energy as we wont have to open the freezer to see what is in there and we will just cross things off as we use them. Now when that will get done...who knows. Hopefully this week though.

I also have tons of turkey and chicken carcasses left over from processing our birds last year that I would like to turn into stocks before the weather gets really warm so I am hoping to work on that this week also. I also know we have a bit of broccoli left in the freeze and Erik LOVES cream of broccoli soup. Stephanie over at Keeper of the Home shares a recipe that I think I will try for lunch one of the days.

And did I mention that I accidentally ordered a HUGE bag of quick rolled oats (when I meant to get whole rolled oats) from my coop about 2 months ago. I found this excellent breakfast cookie recipe at Heavenly Homemakers that I think I am going to try to use some of them up. They make a terribly mushy oatmeal so I would really love to use them up and then buy some local grown whole rolled oats! now onto my menu.

Tuesday - Pasta, Sauce & Sausages (Erik is working an overnight so I try to make easy things for the boys & I when he will not be home. He will probably take some leftover quiche for his dinner)

Wednesday - Baked cheesy pasta (Erik asked me to make a macaroni & cheese this week. I will cook up some pasta with a little homemade cheese sauce and throw in some vegi's we have in the freezer and maybe some chicken or turkey from the freezer also. And then breadcrumbs and a little Parmesan on top and bake it. YUM!)

Thursday - The Spud Special Soup thanks to Keeper of the Home.

Friday - We are having another family from church over and the weather is supposed to be lovely so we will probably do burgers and vegi's on the grill.

Saturday - Cheesy Beef & Rice thanks to Heavenly Homemakers. I'm thinking I will make up two or three of these to pop some in the freezer. I will also add some more vegi's to it like peppers, maybe spinach, etc. to make it more of a one dish meal.

Sunday - It is mother's day and Erik is working! I will probably let him pick something up for us on his way home for dinner (and some chocolate and maybe a movie for after the kiddo's go to bed. ) And I want to try these Mother's Day Muffin's from Heavenly Homemaker. Yummy!

Share what's on your menu and for more menu ideas check out Org Junkie!

Tiny Talk Tuesday

This is a new carnival that I recently stumbled on. I decided to join because my kids are always saying the funniest things so this gives me a great way to record it.

The first one I want to share is from my almost 4 yr old, Aiden. We have quite a few new babies being born to friends of ours and have started to discuss when we want to think about another child. Erik's best friend, Joe & wife Elena had just had their baby. We asked Aiden if he would like to have another baby in our house.

Aiden: "Yeah, I want to have Auntie Elena's baby."

Me: "Well, we can't exactly have that baby Aiden."

LOL!! To funny!

And Bennett, he is just starting to talk really well. He is going to be two in June. They grow to fast. Some of my favorite things that he says:

"Wait, wait mumma" whenever you walk away from him

"See me" when he wants to be picked up

"Sorry mumma" if he bumps into you, does something that makes you say ouch or if someone else does. He is always saying sorry.

"Piece, Piece, break a piece off daddy." Bennett LOVES Erik's Bagels with butter & cream cheese on them but we don't really want to make a whole one for him. Whenever Erik sits down with a bagel he always starts saying "piece, piece, break a piece off."

"I wuv you mumma." "hugs." "kisses." He is a little lover! He loves to give hugs and kisses and is always wrapping his arms around us and saying "I wuv you." Too cute!

And on Friday...something too cute. He was running in circles around the yard and was singing, "racing day, racing day." Too funny! a lot more here for Bennett than Aiden. But they are always saying such cute things when they are learning to talk. LOL!

Share with us the cute & funny things your kids are say over at Not for Seven.