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March Menu Plan for Busy Homeschool Moms

Over in our Hip Homeschool Moms Community, I read the posts by the moms struggling to have time to get everything done. I can’t buy you more time, but I can help you organize your menus. I have found that if I’ll just commit it to paper, I will cook it! I don’t know why, but the guessing and questioning “What’s for dinner?” is harder than doing the menu plan! I’m sure there is some great psychological reason behind it… I just know it works, so I do it.  So here is my March Menu Plan.

march menu plan d

 

 

Also, menu planning saves money. Many know about our struggles to keep our home and for me to able to continue to homeschool, so saving money is a big deal around here. One of my secrets is my hubby hunts. We use 2 lbs of meat in our ground beef recipes… but one of those pounds is ground venison. That saves us a little right there. Also, we live in the country, so we tend to buy in bulk instead of shopping the sales.

Many moms in the group just want ideas of what to cook. So I thought I would create a monthly menu plan with a Pinterest board to match, so you can find them easily and pin them yourself.  And yes, I know March is 1/3 over, but hey, you gotta’ start somewhere, right? Anyway, I hope this helps you and gives you some motivation to get it done!!

If you don’t have a crock pot, you need to get one. That is one of my secrets for saving time. I can put dinner on in the morning while we are still getting ready to start school and it is ready when we are finished. My favorite crock pot cook book is Fix it and Forget it. We have cooked dozens of their recipes and they are all good.

I just keep my menu plan on my normal calendar. This is one I got back in December with one of those fabulous lightning deals I’m getting known for …. It is a Lily Pulitzer calendar! I just love it.

calendar

March 1. Homemade Potato Soup. I modified this one heavily, but I’ll share the base recipe and you can adjust to fit your particular likes.

March 2. Leftover Potato Soup.

March 3. Broccoli & Chicken Stir Fry. We love this recipe. It is quick and easy. A win / win!

March 4. Creole Mustard and Garlic Crusted Roast Beef. This was our Purim meal. We are Messianic and celebrate feasts as Israel does… so this was a feast for us!

March 5. Crock Pot Salsa Chicken. This is from my favorite foodie… Conni over at Cosmopolitan Cornbread. She is our Foodie at Hip Homeschool Moms!

March 6. Nachos Grande.  Remember this is one we would split with Venison. My kids love it. I also use Lime Salsa instead of plain salsa.

March 7. Eat out. Yes, that is on the menu sometimes too 🙂

March 8. Chicken Tortilla Soup.  I sometimes use canned chicken (yep, I said it). And thanks to a visit from my partner in crime over at Hip Homeschool Moms, Leann, I now add about three cups of rice to this recipe. Sooo good.

March 9. Heinz Red Magic Meat Loaf. I actually snagged this recipe off a Heinz ketchup bottle 20 years ago and am still using the same recipe 🙂 I cook mine in two meat loaf pans instead of one. My boys like it less moist.

March 10. White Chicken Chili. This recipe is so easy. I use dried navy beans and cook them in the crock pot on high for 6 hours with two chicken bouillon cubes. Then I move it all to my soup pot. We use a lot of cumin and chili powder. More than the recipe calls for. I make this with my Quick Corn Bread recipe.

March 11. Sweet and Spicy Citrus Tilapia. Finding a recipe that all my boys like in the fish category is challenging (unless it is fresh flounder at the beach). But this one is always popular.  Note. I cut the red pepper in half. They rated it an 11 out of 10 🙂

March 12. Crock Pot Meat Balls. I don’t use frozen meatballs… I make them. But this is the recipe I use.

March 13. Grilled Chicken Quesadillas. This is one of our absolute favorite recipes! We love cumin and cilantro!

March 14. Leftovers.Disclosure

March 15. Salisbury Steak with Caramelized Onion Gravy. This is my middle son’s favorite recipe. He asks us to cook this almost every week. It is a long, cumbersome recipe. But it is worth the effort (once a month 🙂 ) We double it so Gage can have left overs.

March 16. Chicken Spaghetti or Chickenetti. We don’t do black olives so I don’t use those, and I cook it in the oven for a bit longer (we like the cheese to be melted).

March 17. Saucy Pepper Steak. To save a little money on this one, I use green bell peppers instead of the other colors. They are much more expensive.

March 18. Grilled Chicken Light Alfredo Sauce. For the Grilled chicken, I just use butter and light garlic salt on chicken breasts. Either bake, fry or grill them. For the pasta, I use Bow Tie Pasta (my boys love it).

March 19 – 21st I’m out-of-town… so the family is fending for themselves. 🙂 I imagine there will be lots of boxed lasagna, homemade pizza and maybe some ramen noodles for lunch! Actually all of my boys can cook, they may eat this… but they are capable of cooking more if they want it.

March 22. Crock pot Turkey. We tend to use our crock pot a lot. I usually thaw my turkey… for this one.  Another very easy meal.

March 23. Crock Pot Stuffed Bell Peppers. We have several different recipes we use for stuffed bell peppers… just to keep them from getting boring.

March 24. Garlic Brown Sugar Backed Chicken. This is one of my hubby’s favorite recipes and it is one of the easiest you will ever cook. I usually cook garlic, lemon pepper chicken for the boys because they are not huge fans of this recipe.

March 25. Chicken Fried Rice. This one I’ll just have to get the recipe for you. I have modified the Beni Hana’s recipe so much… but here is a different recipe until I get mine posted.

March 26. Taco Pizza. We haven’t made Taco pizzas in a while. Will pull this recipe off the shelf and try it again.

March 27.  Honey Sesame Chicken. I guess you see we have a thing for Mexican and Asian dishes!

March 28. Leftovers.

March 29. Beef Burritos. This website was down when I went to pin this… if it is not back up soon, I’ll post the recipe on my site with credits to them. It is the best burritos recipe ever. Another 10 out of 10 from my family on this one!

March 30. We always attempt to try something new each month. Here is this month’s new recipe. Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken. If you make it before I do, let me know what you think.

March 31. Beef kabob. This is actually one we love to fix. It is from Eating our Way around the world Geography study.

So, did I inspire you? I sure hope so! I’ll get my April Menu plan up sometime in late March.

What are some of your favorite recipes that I should be testing?  

C is for Crimson – The Stalker Chicken!

Hello! This is my C post for  our alphabet blogging series where we blog through the alphabet. I have to tell you about something funny that happened to me a few days ago. I was holding one of my roosters when he reached up and bit me on my neck! The rooster that did this is the subject of my post. Crimson – The Stalker Chicken!

c

Now I have to explain to you the story on how we got Crimson, our tiny little rooster. (In this picture he is full-grown.) We ordered some blue Cochin Bantams from Welp Hatchery. A few weeks after we received them we could tell that this breed is a very small breed or Welp had gotten our order wrong. A month or so later, when they were full-grown, we knew our order had to be wrong.

Crimson

It was hilarious how small they were and instead of crowing, the roosters sound like a squeaky toy! Well, pretty soon Crimson started stalking me while I fed the hens and other roosters. One time, when I was leaning over to place one of the food bowls in the correct position, I felt something pounce on me, pulling my hair and scratching my back. Not knowing what it was, I shot up straight sending what was on me soaring to the ground. I was surprised to see Crimson standing there giving me this “look”.  Now known as “his look”.  It is where he keeps one eye glaring at you and the other eye overlooking his flock. 

From then on, Crimson darts after me when I am in their vicinity. When I run, he loves to race after me and flog my ankles and lower legs. How can this tiny little rooster match my running speed? I don’t know, but he does! When I have finished my chores and have returned to the house, he takes it as a huge victory that he has not only protected his ladies but has “run off the intruder”. His victory is confirmed by a long, high-pitched squeaky crow, followed by him strutting over to his ladies. By now, I guess you have figured out, he is the head of the flock. The hens love him even if he’s the smallest rooster we have. and he is my favorite rooster. I love how he protects his ladies. One of his ladies hatched out a couple of babies and now, he has a son!  His son is already taller than Crimson!

 

Crimson2

 

I hope you have all enjoyed me posting about my little rooster! See ya soon!

Modeling Life-Long Learning

If you recall, we are in the midst of getting our house ready to sell… we are downsizing in a big way!! Part of the downsizing includes clearing out the curriculum that my children have used and passed by. I have been listing all my curriculum for sale and have been so blessed to have sold a ton. I still have loads more to go, so keep watching that post, I’m adding to it all the time! We have so much we are getting done in preparation for putting the house on the market:

  • We have a new liner going into our pool.  
  • A new slide for our pool coming.
  • I am painting the mortar of our brick floor in the kitchen (I’m writing a post on that too, I’ll link it when I complete the post). 
  • And, getting our house painted by an outside contractor. Well, at least I thought we were!

Apparently this is another one of those projects that we are supposed to do ourselves because we literally can’t hire a painting contractor to do it.  So, here we go again… I’m beginning to wonder if I jinxed us when I named the farm “Live and Learn”! We seem to be doing a whole lot of that lately! No, not really… but we are certainly modeling life-long learning for sure!

modeling life long learning

I am just going to add this to our ever-growing real life homeschool activities. You see, we have had a plan in place for a long time to expose the boys to as many experiences (work-wise and leisure activities) as possible while they are here with us. This might even be a blessing. Chase has really been struggling to identify a business he wants to throw himself into for the next few years. And since apparently there is a great need for exterior painters in our area, this just might be the beginning of a paint contracting business for them through high school! Hey, you never know!!

In preparation for this huge task, I have been doing some research. I found a great article on This Old House by a professional painter who gave us lots of suggestions. The pro mentioned that half of a great paint job is the prep work. You need to get the surface ready to paint by scraping, sanding, filling, sealing, and priming first. Then, and only then, do you paint.  Today, we began this new life-lesson on prepping our house for painting. We got about half the front porch completed and still have a lot more to do!  This project may take us a while, but I’ll post updates to let you know how it is going! Here are a few pictures of what we got done today…

House prep

Whew… the house is going to look UGLY for a few weeks at this rate! I guess that will be part of my motivation to get it done!! I’m not going to say this project doesn’t intimidate, because it does. But, not because of the scope (although that is enough to intimidate most painters apparently) but because we have so much going on already! It already feels like we are furiously treading water. So prayers will be greatly appreciated for us to stay on track and not let this project stagnate like we have a tendency to do when we are overwhelmed.

And finally, the last aspect that is uncomfortable right now is the fact that we will have to spend some money on tools to do this project. So far we have purchased:

Disclosure

But that is nothing … to do a project this size, there are two major purchases we have identified that we will need to get:

  • The first is a pressure washer. We are always borrowing a dear friend’s washer. It is here more than it is at his house. We have PVC fences that are constantly needing to be washed, brick walkways and patios to hose down, driveways and a portico that needs to be washed and not to mention the house itself. So, this one will get used and often!  Today we purchased a Generac 6590 from Amazon. We really wanted to buy it locally, but if we ordered it from Home Depot it would not be here until after July 4th… and that is going to be a weekend of working o this house painting project! So, we ordered it from Amazon, even though it has an awful review there… the reviews on Home Depot, are fantastic, so that is the reason we still bought it!! And speaking of faster shipping… Have I mentioned how much I love having Amazon Prime? Honestly, between borrowing Kindle books for homeschooling and my need for speed with the deliveries, I more than recuperate the $79 it costs for a year!!  Try Amazon Prime for free on me !!
  • And the second big purchase is a paint sprayer.  This one we will be buying at Home Depot, because it is much cheaper than Amazon (which is unusual)!  This will be a lifesaver on this size house… but we also have a ton of other paint projects on the horizon.  We are planning to paint cabinets, shutters, plantation blinds, and outdoor furniture… so this will certainly get used as well!  

I really hate to spend that money right now when we really can’t afford it… but I think these will be wise investments and we will come out way ahead in the end. And, once we downsize, if we don’t have a need for these tools, we can always sell them!!

So, say a prayer for us. This is a huge project that we were not planning to tackle. We trust that God has a plan for us through this, so we are jumping in head first and getting it knocked out.  I’ll post an update on our progress soon!

Until then… be a blessing to someone!

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They are Laying!!

Hello! Sorry I have not posted in a while I have been busy with ALL kinds of stuff from chicken accidents to school to a friend’s birthday party!  So I have not been keeping you updated on my babies.  

I have a surprise… They are laying!! Our baby chicks and teenage chicks are laying eggs!  YAY!!!  If you remember, a friend of ours, Mrs. Pamela, gave us the teenage chicks. They are Red Sex Links and White Leghorns and there are four of them. We bought the bantams from Welp Hatchery.  There are probably 15 hen bantams laying eggs. With another 15 or so roosters… anybody want some roosters?

 

Hens are a' laying

 

Here is a picture of the variety of eggs we are gathering daily. The eggs vary in shape, size, color, and weight. The biggest ones are from our Rhode Island Reds that we have had for several years. The next brown one and the two white ones are from the teenage chicks. The cute little bitty ones are from my baby bantams… but they are not babies anymore!  I have not found any itsy bitsy eggs from our Dutch, Blue Bantam chicks yet… but am expecting to find one of them soon! Can you imagine how little they will be? The smallest eggs so far are about 1.5″ x 1.25″ to the big eggs that are 3″x 2.5″. The color ranges from a white/cream color, to a reddish-brown and then just plain tan. And the shape of the eggs can range from a normal ovular shape to a pointy bullet-shaped egg. I now have to check all the boxes every day, not every 2-4 days on the bantam side, since they were not laying yet.  

My mom loves the little eggs, she was so surprised at how small they are. Speaking of small eggs… my brother, Chase, loves omelets. My dad has been joking around with Chase saying his next omelet will be a three egg omelet using the littlest eggs. We have not cooked with any yet, but we are having breakfast for dinner tonight… I’m sure my mom will have me comparing eggs and photographing our dinner.  I’ll post those pictures soon!  I am sorry I left you all waiting for another post, while all these things at my house were going on. From now on I will try to post more often. 

One final note, we have a possum or raccoon attacking our chickens, and we have lost 3 chickens including two of my favorites… Cuddles and Sunny and another barred rock, Checker, who I have not talked about before. We just borrowed a live trap to try to trap the animal. Please pray we catch whatever it is getting my babies! I’ll update you on that soon too!  

See ya soon!

How to Make Homemade Blackberry Jelly

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We planted blackberry bushes 5 years ago and this year they have produced a bumper crop!  We have already picked five gallons of berries and there are that many plus much more still on the bushes!  I made blackberry jelly with my sister-in-law last year, and our boys just loved it!  So, I knew I was going to be making jelly this year, but I’ve never made it on my own.  So, as the name of our blog implies, we learn by doing around here, so today, hubby and I made 21+ pints of blackberry jelly in six batches.  Since hubby manned the juicer, I guess I wasn’t completely on my own, but I was the primary and he was the assistant, LOL!  So here’s how to make homemade blackberry jelly!

 

How to make homemade blackberry jelly

We started with 5 gallons of blackberries that we have been picking over the course of a week and putting in our refrigerator to keep.  We juiced all 5 gallons of berries and they produced about 24 cups of blackberry juice. To juice the blackberries, we used our KitchenAid Mixer. The KitchenAid Mixer has an attachment that is specifically for juicing. I know lots of folks buy a separate juicer, but I like to really get the full use of our kitchen equipment, especially ones that you invest in like a KitchenAid!! Besides, you can spend as much on a juicer as we did on our mixer! We even grind wheat with an attachment to this mixer!  It is simply a workhorse and worth every dime you pay for them! We did have to clean out the juice attachment once while processing the 5 gallons of blackberries. But that was not much work at all.  

(Note to self:  I really should not call the by-product of juicing “waste” because we feed it to our chickens and they were some kinda’ happy to get blackberries!)  

The Sure-Jell directions as well as our Ball Canning Recipe Book both were VERY emphatic about not making a double batch and that the measurements needed to be exact, so I ended up making six individual batches of blackberry jelly.   

Ingredients per batch (Use precise measurements):

3 3/4 cups of Blackberry JuiceBlackberry Jelly Ingredients

4 1/2 cups of Sugar

1 Box of Dry Pectin

1/2 Teaspoon of Unsalted Butter

 

Equipment needed:

7 Half-Pint Jars or 3 Pint Jars and 1 Half-Pint Jar

Lids and Rings for Jars 

6-8 Quart Stainless Steel Pot (to cook Jelly) NOTE: I found this great deal on Amazon!! 

Small Stainless Steel Saucepan (to keep lids in hot water)

Large Pot for Water Bath for Canning

Jar Tongs

Ladle

Jar Funnel

2 Measuring Cups (One for Dry and one for Wet ingredients)

Knife (to cut butter)

Wash Cloth (to wipe jar tops after filling so lids can seal)

Magnetic Wand (to retrieve lids from hot water)

 

Directions:

Step One.  Wash jars, lids and rings in warm soapy water and rinse well.

Step Two.  Put Jars in large canning pot for the water bath to get them hot and lids in the smaller pot to keep them hot.  

Step Three.  Pour 3 3/4 cups of Juice in Stainless Steel pot and add 1/2 teaspoon of butter and one package of dry pectin and cook on high stirring constantly.

Step Four.  Once Juice has reached a boil that you can’t stir back down, add sugar, stirring in one cup at a time, but being quick about it!  Let boil for one minute.

Step Five.  Move juice off heat.  Using the jar tongs, retrieve all the jars from the water bath (draining them back in the pot as you go).  Get funnel in the first jar and ladle in the jelly.  Move as quickly as possible.  

Step Six.  Wipe the rim of the jar and place the lid and ring on.  Tighten down rings and move to filling the next jar.  

Step Seven.  Once all the jars are filled and closed, using the jar tongs, place the jars back into the canning pot water bath.  Bring to a boil.  

Step Eight.  Boil for five minutes and remove from water using the jar tongs.  

Step Nine.  Let sit undisturbed for 24 hours.  

Over the next 30 minutes or so, be listening for the “pop” of the lids to show that they sealed correctly.  Once the jars have cooled, you can check to see if they are sealed by pressing in the center of the lid gently. If the lid pops up and down (making a popping sound), the jar is not sealed. But, if you put the jar in the refrigerator immediately you can still eat this jelly.

Just so you know, it gets quite hectic once you put the jelly on the stove to boil.  From that point until the jars are filled and back in the water bath, it is pretty non-stop action. It is not hard to make jelly and it doesn’t take long to get a routine going, but having an extra set of hands really helps during these steps.  I’m pretty sure I would not recommend doing six batches one after the other, but this project is off my list now!  I love marking things off my to do list!  Plus this is a pretty messy process (notice the spill beside the juice in the picture above).  So, I wanted to process all the blackberry juice we had already made.  We had to clorox our white counter-tops to get all the blackberry stains off after I finished!  

Blackberry Jelly 21 Pints

Cost breakdown per batch:

We already had all the equipment, so those items are not considered in the cost analysis.  For one gallon of blackberries, expect to get approximately 3.5 pints of jelly.  

Blackberries – $0.00

Sugar $1.61

Dry-Pectin $2.50

Butter $0.05

Jars $5.00

Equals about $2.62 per pint…. and it’s homemade! Gotta’ love it!   

So, now that I am an expert at this whole making jelly thing, I figured I needed to write a post to teach you how to make homemade blackberry jelly too!  LOL!  Honestly, my boys said it’s better than Aunt Neal’s jelly (don’t tell her that though).  So, even though I may be a newbie, I was a successful one!   PS… that is quite the compliment, it’s hard to top Aunt Neal at anything, much less at cooking!  

Until next time…

The Great Chicken Migration

The Great Chicken Migration

Good Morning! Sorry I have not posted in a while. I am finishing up my Apologia General Science class, and I’ve been getting a little lazy this summer :P. Anyway, I’m trying to get back to blogging. But I have been working with the chicks, I just haven’t been writing about it!  Last Thursday we decided that it was time for the Great Chicken Migration, to move all 30 “babies” to our second chicken pen where the teenage chicks have been.  

The first two chicks were chosen:  Nipper (a barred rock cochin bantam) and Foghorn (a white frizzle) were placed in the coop. Nipper just walked out through the chicken Foghorndoor (see picture above), but Foghorn just looked out the door and there is where the problems started.  As we (Mom and my brothers) continued placing the chicks in the coop, they just piled up in there at the chicken door. We got one more chick to go out, Cuddles, a deep black Barred Rock Cochin Bantam girl… but all the rest just hung around inside the coop and at the door. Cuddles just trotted around the pen and ate some food and drank water.  So we started taking them out of the coop, dipping their beaks in the new water source and showing them the food. We got about half out when we started noticing the second problem.  

The teenage chicks were bullying the “babies”.  That was not going to work, so we moved the teenagers into the grown chickens’ pen where they are enjoying their new jungle. That night we had to corral half of the chicks back in the coop.  Why only half?  Because half of the chicks never even left the coop to begin with that day.  The chicks had no experience being put up at night, so we had to help them all learn to go in at night and come out during the day.  We had to pull two out of the little dog house we have in their pen.  I guess they were using it for shade or because it was not as crowded at the door to get in!  When we went out in the morning to let the chicks out, we found we had left one out all night long.  But thank God it was okay!!!!

SupermoonNow the chicks know the routine, they know where the food and water live, when to come out in the morning, when to put themselves up at night and how to get in the rafters!  They have not experienced any weather other than normal sunny days and moonlit nights so it will be a new experience when it rains!  And tonight may be the night… the forecast shows rain and a storm.  They did get to see the International Space Station fly over and they got to see the Super Moon too!!!

Well… I will keep you updated and I will keep posting pictures!!!  See Ya Soon!

Roots, Fruits and Shoots Business

Blueberries

Hello, my name is Blake and I’m nine years old.  We are a homeschooling family and I have just started an organic produce business.  I named it Roots, Fruits and Shoots. We have been busy planting a garden this spring.  It is our first time to use wood mulch.  My mom has been posting about it until now.  I’ll be posting about the garden now.

We were not sure about the wood mulch at first, but once we saw the weeds flourishing under the mulch we thought our plants might do well.  We have been weeding the garden and the roots were big, but most were so easy to pull up.  I have only watered the garden once this year.  The wood mulch stores the moisture for the plants.  

We have quite a lot of things coming up like nasturtium, strawberries, potatoes, blueberries, carrots, and radish.  And we also have horseradish and blackberries in our front yard.  Our first crop is starting to come in, guess what it is?  Strawberries!!!  We harvested our first strawberries today!!!  

Strawberries

We have a green house where we planted tomatoes and peppers in pots.  We will move them out when they have matured and its warm enough.  I will be planting beans, corn, zucchini, squash, watermelon, pumpkins, cantaloupe, honey dew, Okra, and cucumbers very soon.  

Four years ago we planted blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, apples, grapes, peaches, and pears.  They are really starting to flourish and produce lots of fruit now.  Especially our blackberries and strawberries.

Blackberries

 

Help with Identification and Treatment of Bumblefoot

Good Afternoon! The other day I was outside playing and my brother, Blake, came out and said “we have a problem with Rocky!”  Rocky, our Rhode Island Red Rooster, was limping.  Rocky is about 3 years old.  He was limping so much that I could catch up with him and sit him in my lap (which I have never been able to do before).  I inspected his feet to see if I could see a problem and it appears he has an infection called Bumblefoot.  Bumblefoot is an infection chickens and chicks can get from walking on hard surfaces which can cause cuts to the chicken/chick feet where bacteria can enter and cause an infection.  What I’ve read doing research says when a chicken has Bumblefoot there will be an iconic scab.  I think this is what Rocky has on his foot.  Here are some pictures of Rocky’s foot:

Bumblefoot

 

 

Bumblefoot Identification Top View

I am not sure how to treat the infection.  I have seen and heard many ways to clean out the infection and stop the pain.   I have been researching what to do and I found this list on the Chicken Chick‘s site where she describes one way to treat Bumblefoot.  I’ve copied it below:

  • peel off the scab after soaking the foot in Betadine mixed with water
  • then squeeze the infection out
  • if it is stuck, cut a little bit with a sanitized knife until you get the infection out of the foot
  • then apply Vetericyn
  • after applying Vetericyn wrap foot (or pinkie toe in our case) with vet tape or gauze.

Please, can someone confirm that this is Bumblefoot.  And please let me know if this is the right treatment!  Or if I need to do something else.  

Thank you!   See ya’ soon….

Teenage Chicks’ Playpen

 

 

Teenage Leghorns and Red Sexlink

Good afternoon. As our surprise baby chicks grow from young balls of fluff to teenage chicks, they are getting more and more rambunctious.  One of the leghorns started wanting to roost so he/she would fly on top of the waterer.  They all love to try to fly, run, and play.  I decided they needed a perch, so my dad and I created them a small perch and they loved it!  

But that is not enough. They need to start getting ready for the outside world, the grass and hunting for bugs.  I saw a big one on Backyard Chickens, but we didn’t really want one that big.   So my Dad made them a small outdoor play pen.  It does not have a bottom so they can be in the grass and scratch around.  Their waterer and a bucket are in there (the bucket is for them to hide in if they want),  they are loving this too!  I scattered some of their chick starter on the ground in the play pen so they could start learning where to look for some of their food. I had to put them back in their brooder though because it started to rain. They all seemed shocked by the rain, this was their first rain they ever really experienced.  

Chicks' Playpen

 

 

In a month, I will move the teenage chicks out with the Rhode Island Red chickens.  We will keep them in a separate pen and the coop is separated too.  I believe they will be shocked by them too.  We think one of the surprise chicks is a rooster because… early one morning dad was checking on all the chicks when he thought he heard a strange rooster call emanating from the teenage chick’s side of the garage. I can not tell which is a rooster yet but i will be able to soon. They don’t need a heat lamp any more unless it is a cold night. If one of them finds something interesting he/she picks it up and the other two will chase it until they either lose it or if it is food, eat it. They love to cuddle with each other when they are tired

They are very tricky sometimes.  For instance… As I got their waterer out to clean and refill, one of the leghorns hopped up on a support beam in the top of the brooder.  This is not the first time this has happened.  The last time I handled it wrong and the two leghorns got out!  Thankfully me and mom caught them before they ran off. After learning my lesson last time, this time I just slowly put the top to the brooder back on and he/she just hopped back down in the brooder. 

I’ll give you an update on the baby chicks this week too.  See ya’ soon!

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Permaculture Garden Update

As most of you know, we are converting from traditional gardening techniques to a permaculture garden this year, so I wanted to give you all a quick Permaculture Garden Update.  We have been busy trying to get mulch in place and seeds planted.   Well, we have finally seen a few signs of life under all that mulch (besides weeds), so I wanted to share our pictures of our first plants.  We have not watered the mulch once!  How exciting is this!!!  

We have planted all the cold weather crops (except Kale and I’m hoping we are not too late to get one round in the ground next week).  We are getting the spring crops in the ground slowly but surely!  We have tomatoes, bell peppers, hot peppers, and catnip planted in the greenhouse, but we are having a hard time remembering to get in there and water!  I guess that is a result of NOT having to water the rest of the garden!  Will have to stay on top of this one better!  I’ll continue to post pictures as the plants start peeking out!  

I was really worried about the nitrogen levels of the ground the first year… so this is exciting to see any plants successfully growing.  It may not last, but we are praying we have a bumper crop this year.   If you are not familiar with the concept of permaculture gardening, think about a forest floor.  There you will find extremely rich moist soil that is not watered at all…  yet all these plants continue to thrive and grow year after year in the forest.  We are attempting to recreate this concept.  I first learned about it via a video called “Back to Eden Gardening“.  I talked with Paul Gautschi (the gardener in the video) and we decided to convert our raised beds to wood mulch planting this year.  So far, I’m thoroughly impressed and totally excited about the planting season!  For anybody that has gardened without the luxury of a tractor, you know that is not common to hear somebody being excited about planting!  I was and still am!  

Our “to do list” is a mile long and continues to grow, but we are chipping away at it and will do the very best we can.  And that will be good enough!  Anyway, here are some pictures from the first little plants out of the ground!!!

Cherry Belle Radish Perma-culture Garden   Comet Radish Perma-culture Garden

Peas Perma-culture Garden

 

Until Next Time…. 

 

 

 

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