Saturday, July 05, 2014

#Cows #Livestock #Homesteading

In our talk about GMOs, I referenced cows. Cows are not easy animals to raise yourself. It's not because they are difficult or need a lot of attention. It's because they require a lot of space.

They also act like dogs if you're around them enough, and with them being like that, I'd never have the heart to raise and send to the butcher. I'd have them named and they'd all be following me around the yard.

However, with my downsize to less land, I'd never have room for even one anyway.

For most families, one cow a year in the freezer is plenty. But, be aware, it will take the ENTIRE freezer.

We have a number of ranchers out here. (If you don't you can hit a cattle auction.)

I'd advice talking with them and making sure your purchased cow is GMO free. Ask for references and talk to friends if you can. And make sure you have that extra, empty, freezer in advance so you're not on your way to the butcher realizing you have no where to put 600 pounds of meat.

My plan? Although I'd love to see it happen this fall, it's not looking like it will be possible. But the plan is:
Buy large freezer...ask local rancher that I know if I can purchase on of his cows and pay him to deliver it to the butcher. This takes my feelings/emotion out of the equation and places good GMO free meat in front of my children.

I already know how his cows are fed and cared for. So there's no issue there.

Then go and pick up the packaged meat in a few days.

On a side note, if you purchase the cow and have it butchered, expect to spend $1000-$1500. However, if you break it down...it's cheaper (and healthier) than purchasing from the store all year.

Friday, July 04, 2014

#FourthOfJuly - The Meaning

The meaning ~ from Wikipedia

Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain (now officially known as the United Kingdom). Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworksparadesbarbecuescarnivalsfairspicnics,concertsbaseball gamesfamily reunions, and political speeches and ceremonies, in addition to various other public andprivate events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States. Independence Day is the National Day of theUnited States.
I tell my kids it's not about BBQs and swimming and fireworks. There's so much more to this. And often I feel the true meaning and importance of the day has been lost. For many it's a reason to splash in the pool, have friends over, BBQ and drink.


It's a perfect day to teach your children the real meaning of the day - what is Independence Day, what do the stars and stripes on the flag really mean? Mention the values of a properly run country and government. Discuss what the president's job really is...how we can help our own country....how we can help the soldiers that fight daily to protect our freedom. How important it is to realize the sacrifices of those that have been lost or made POWs...and their families.

Talk about the Declaration of Independence and what it meant then and what it does/should mean now. It's significance.


Let's make this 4th of July more than just fireworks and food. Have a safe day and remember those who have family members missing because they've fought for our country.










Thursday, July 03, 2014

#Horses #Homesteading


I used to ride years ago...for years. It was a daily thing. With all that's been going on in my personal life, I decided it was time to get back on a horse. They always made me feel so relaxed and free. Like the stress just melted away while I was on them.


Living rural, I knew people with horses and took one up on an offer to ride. For the record, after not riding for 12 years, it is NOT like riding a bike.
For several reasons.


I rode in the midwest. Not the White Mountains. The difference is exactly that. Here the terrain is rocky, full of mountains, hills, trenches, and so on. Out there it was flat and green. The thought never crossed my mind that my horse would trip. Now they do it several times per ride.


I still dearly love horses and decide to take lessons. (Which are moving way faster than I prefer. Their logic? I have a good seat and can ride, my confidence just left and went somewhere. I attribute it to the change in landscape and I need to get over it.)


Will there ever be a horse on my property? I really do hope so. They still calm me. However, if I don't master mountain riding...I may have to realize yet another old love has some to an end.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Around the #Homestead #Summer #Hiking #Landscape

While I really can't call it a homestead (officially) yet...I like to think of it becoming one - a very small one - but still one.

Here's some views from our hikes over the summer...

(Please do not steal the images, if you'd like to use one, let me know and at least credit and link back.)
























Tuesday, July 01, 2014

#Homesteading #Chickens ~ Get Your Stock Moving

If you remember, the goal was to be a lot farther than where I am by this time of year. However, rather than stress over what I cannot control, I've decided there's a reason that my plans are delayed and I get more time to plan it for next year.

Also, if you remember, we had a bit of "Homestead" devastation ( The Joys of #Homesteading (or trying to) #Chickens #Dogs #ToughLessons ). Needless to say, these are my three remaining chickens. I am loving the color of the black one and will definitely be looking for more next spring.

Anyway, back on topic....it's healthier to feed your family from items you've grown/raised yourself. I loathe the idea of having to slaughter anything. However, I know that by doing so, I'm putting the best food on my table for my children. I know exactly what they've eaten and how they were treated during their life. I understand about meat being essential. However, I feel there's never any reason to mistreat those animals....even if their end result is being in an oven. Actually I think they should live like kings and experience happiness.

So, what I've learned....

You have to know exactly what you want to do with your stock. This applies not just to chickens. Do you want all layers? Will you eat some? Will you buy new chicks each year or try to produce your own?

With three, there's not a whole lot to plan this season. However, I've decided the following and I've got to make my yard set up plans accordingly.

I definitely want layers. I spend way too much on eggs. And, if you allow them to free range part of the year, all you really have to do is make sure they're disease and parasite free and have plenty of clean fresh water (well and their coop stays clean). I really need about 24 just for layers. I want to have plenty for home and some to give.

I also think it's important to produce my own stock for the following year. So, there will be another (smaller) area for breeders. I'll have to pick up a small incubator to try to raise my success rate as well.

As far as "eaters" - I may not get to it next year, but I'm going to try. Again, I'll need stock as well as breeders for coming years.

Since I've decided I'd love to have a horse or two, (more details on that later) I've had to replan my yard and what will go where and how much room I have. I know I'll have to cut back on some things I really wanted to have...but I'll just have to see what we need more of.

Do you have a plan for your chickens? Tried and true chicken breeder? New to chickens and thinking of starting? I'd love to hear from you.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Let's Talk {Briefly} About #GMO

First let’s talk Genetically modified food ~ From Wikipedia -
Genetically modified foods (or GM foods) are foods produced from organisms that have had specific changes introduced into their DNA using the methods of genetic engineering. These techniques have allowed for the introduction of new traits as well as a far greater control over a food's genetic structure than previously afforded by methods such as selective breeding and mutation breeding.

Commercial sale of genetically modified crops began in 1994, when Calgene first marketed its Flavr Savr delayed ripening tomato. To date, most genetic modification of foods have primarily focused on cash crops in high demand by farmers such as soybean, corn, canola, and cotton seed oil. These have been engineered for resistance to pathogens and herbicides and better nutrient profiles. GM livestock have also been experimentally developed, although as of November 2013 none are currently on the market.


There is broad scientific consensus that food on the market derived from GM crops poses no greater risk to human health than conventional food. However, opponents have objected to GM foods on several grounds, including safety issues, environmental concerns, and economic concerns raised by the fact that GM seeds (and potentially animals) that are food sources are subject to intellectual property rights owned by multinational corporations.

Now a bit about Genetically modified organism ~ From Wikipedia
A genetically modified organism (GMO) is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. Organisms that have been genetically modified include micro-organisms such as bacteria and yeast, insects, plants, fish, and mammals. GMOs are the source of genetically modified foods and are also widely used in scientific research and to produce goods other than food. The term GMO is very close to the technical legal term, 'living modified organism' defined in the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, which regulates international trade in living GMOs (specifically, "any living organism that possesses a novel combination of genetic material obtained through the use of modern biotechnology").

This article focuses on what organisms have been genetically engineered, and for what purposes. The article on genetic engineering focuses on the history and methods of genetic engineering, and on applications of genetic engineering and of GMOs. Both articles cover much of the same ground but with different organizations (sorted by organism in this article; sorted by application in the other). There are separate articles on genetically modified crops, genetically modified food, regulation of the release of genetic modified organisms, and controversies.

Why are GMOs bad (if the above didn't give you enough reason to simply try to say no to them)?
Quite simply, they're unhealthy and leave a "forever contamination" (as I like to call it). Say your cow has come in contact with GMO, this cow has a baby....after the baby you continue to use for milk. The milk is contaminated, the baby is contaminated....the babies the baby will have will be contaminated as will their milk and so on. There are always side effects (although it is clear these affect different people in different ways...is it a risk we should be taking? They also increase the use of pesticides as they're better able to tolerate them. Not good.

GMOs harm the environment and they seem to be something that people want to keep under wrap. Why not label everywhere for GMO use? Shouldn't it be our choice? Also, GMOs are not proven to actually increase yield. So, really, where's the point in this?

For the record, I'd much rather produce less and know I wasn't feeding my children products that will harm them. Yes. I said WILL. I don't believe it's a matter of IF. I feel it's a WILL. The only thing we don't know is exactly how long it will take to affect each child.


The only real way to avoid GMOs in your store bought products is to find out who uses them and ban buying their products. It forces them into a corner....they won't make money and they'll have to give in.

In addition, (and I'll hit more on this in the coming weeks)....grow your own. You know exactly what you're getting then.

Please join me for July to get back to the basics of what this blog was all about. Get some fencing and livestock updates as well as plans for winter and spring...topics of concern, how to start your own homestead, recipes and so much more. Have a topic you'd like to see discussed here? Please let me know.




Sunday, June 29, 2014

Time To Think New #Homeschool Year



For many of us, summer is winding down. We're back to our homeschool schedule on July 7.

Why so early?

This year's goal is to be able to have "no school" from the week of Thanksgiving all the way until after January 1.

How?

Well. you'll need to check your individual state requirements, but here...we can have a total number of hours completed OR a total number of days. Both are not required. Well, let me rephrase - if you're going by days...you DO also have to meet the minimum hour requirement for each grade level. However, that's also the reason I focus only on the number of hours we're putting in.

What are your plans for the new school year? Have your calendar set yet? Curriculum picked out? New favorite finds? Feel free to share.

Past Time To Write This Post #LIfeLessons #LearningTheHardWay

I appreciate each and every one of you that had hung out with me over the months. I was finally finding my place with blogging, finding like minded people to talk to -- and people just to share a variety of opinions with.

Then regular life sort of shattered.

My husband and I were the couple no one thought would get together. Then we were the couple no one thought would make it. Years later, we were the couple no one thought would ever fall apart.

Fall apart we did.

Separation. Divorce.

Rebudgeting. Learning to do the "guy" household stuff. Trying to finish the property on a lot less money. Children acting out. Dad playing them against me.

It's been a long haul and it's not over yet.

But what is over is me hiding in a corner.

I'd like to get this blog back to it's original concept and purpose. I hope you'll join me and tell others about it as well. It's a little lonley over here since my absence was so long.

This Week's #Interesting #Articles



Each week I'd like to share some unique and/or interesting articles that can be useful to the topics in this blog. So, I'd love for you to share links to resources and articles you've come across recently and we'll see which make it to posts over the coming weeks. Each week, you're welcome to link articles in the comments.


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