Nothing is work…unless you’d rather be doing something else!

Bill Collins, from the Sugar Creek Gang, complained about having to weed the garden when he’d much rather be down at the creek fishing. Well, right now I’d rather be working then sitting! My oldest son is at church and I need to leave to pick him up in an hour so there is no use in me getting into all the projects I have piling up on my to-do list. It also doesn’t help that my four-year old is constantly challenging my patience :o). Since I have so much on my mind I thought I would unload some of it here.

Last Sunday I call “Palm Sunday” because I spent a few hours picking up re-potting about a dozen Sago palms that we inherited from our neighbor when they moved a few weeks ago. They had been so badly neglected that the pots were bursting open and the roots ran out of the pot into the ground! I can hardly believe how well they were growing left in that state. Sagos do grow well in our area and they are expensive to buy. I have arranged some in our yard that we are going to keep but I will probably sell or give away the others. That day I also re-planted a banana tree in a larger pot. It had two pups but when I broke them off they did not have any roots attached so they would not survive on their own. I aslo read that the pups should be at least 3ft tall before separating! Oooops! I’ll remember that next time.

I also started some sprouts. I had accidentally ordered too many buckets of buckwheat sprouting seeds but have discovered many uses for them. You can grind them to make flour, you can sprout them, you can make buckwheat lettuce or grow in your garden beds as a cover crop! I also like to use my hard red winter wheat to make wheat grass to juice. I am also trying Fenugreek seeds for the first time. My favorites to sprout for salads are sunflower and alfalfa. Sprouting seeds are good to have on hand because they are an excellent source of minerals and vitamins and they are easy to grow in a sunny window (no garden space needed). You can either grow them in a mason jar covered with cheesecloth (soak and rinse method) or grow them in soil. When I grow mine in soil, I reuse the plastic containers that berries and cherry tomatoes come in. I just cut the top off, layer it with a folded paper towel and place under the container then fill the container with organic seed-starting soil and put the soaked seeds on top. I keep moist with a spay bottle.

Yesterday the UPS man showed up with my Frugal Family Toolkit I ordered  from Vision Forum. I thumbed through both books and I think they are excellent resources, especially for those just starting to learn about creating a small homestead and planning for emergencies. I can hardly wait to watch the videos that came with the kit. I have always had an entreprenerial spirit (probably inherited from my dad who has spent most of his life being his own boss). In the past I had my own scrapbooking business, taught homeschool classes and wrote and sold my own ebooks. My passion is teaching. I love to share my knowledge with others! Right now I am working on, as I mentioned before, writing my own homeschool curriculum based on the Sugar Creek Gang books and I would like to teach homesteading skills. I always seem to get myself into doing too many things at once and become frustrated to the point of having to let some (or all) of it go. Balance and moderation are not my stong suits ;-).

Yesterday is when the sales flyers come out for the local grocery stores and I use them to make my menus for the upcoming week and decide on what to buy food for storage. I went by the store after I dropped my son off at church and picked up 2 – 5# bags of potatoes, 2 – 3# bags of frozen blueberries, 5 – 4#packages of chicken thighs and 2 – 3# boston butt roasts. First, the butt roast can be cut up to make different types of meat at a very low cost. I learned how to do this from a webinar by the author of “Confessions of a Butcher.” From the roasts I can make 4-6 meals (steak, pot roast, bbq beef sandwhiches & italian beef stew) plus have leftover stew meat that I will either can or freeze for winter. From the potatoes I will slice and dehydrate for storage and use some for making steak fries that I can freeze and use as needed. From the frozen blueberries I will dehydrate to store then for use in muffins, pancakes and the oatmeal blends I make myself. I learned about dehydrating from an awesome woman on YouTube and her site Dehydrate 2 Store. Finally, I will pressure can the chicken thighs into mason jars for storage to use in soups this winter. I learned how to do this from a 2-DVD set I bought from FoodStorageUSA.com but you can learn how to do this from a Google search or your Blue Ball canning book. After that is all finished I will need to make more yogurt. Yogurt is so easy to make yourself and so much cheaper too! I can even use my dehydrator to make yogurt. Here is a step-by-step tutorial on how to make your own yogurt. After you make yogurt you can learn how to separate the whey and make soft yogurt cheese! Yum! I also need to preserve some of my eggs. We have about 3-dozen from our chickens. We will give away some to family and neighbors but the rest I will make into egg salad, freeze or pickle.

Now for the outdoor projects that need attending to. We borrowed a trailer from my husband’s boss to move our chicken coop. The wood is rotted and is in bad need of repair so my husband is going to replace the wood and fix it up. We are firm believers in returning what you borrow in better shape than you received it in. I think it will be a blessing to him especially since his brother is fighting a losing battle with cancer. I need to get those Sagos planted in the ground, especially the ones in our front yard since my husband is afraid someone might steal them. We have an outdoor shower that needs to be enclosed so we can strip off our dirty workclothes and shower off outside before coming in. We need to put plywood up around the overhang where we will be housing our goats in the Fall. We need to raise the chicken coop higher off the ground to hang our feeder and automatic waterer…which also means digging a trech to add new pipe for a water faucet. Then I need to get my garden beds ready for the Fall crop and start more seeds in my bedroom window greenhouse. We have a purple martin house that needs to go up and I’d like to put up a clothesline outside (our last one broke). There are lots of other things that need attending to but I think this will keep us busy for quite awhile!

Well, now I am off to pick my son up from church. The most important thing on my to-do list needs to be done and that is spending time with my boys!

Homestead Blessings,

Kristen

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