Self Discovery

sunset

I’ve been wanting to write a post about this for a while but really didn’t know how to start or really what to say but… things happen in your life and you just start to think (and sometimes your husband points things out that you didn’t notice hehe) and decipher more into how you think.

(This might be a big explanation on some of it but I feel like to understand how my crazy brain works I need to cover a few things)

Firstly, in my younger days I was neglected and I did a lot of personal work on myself to try and counter the damage left behind (and no, it was nothing terribly bad my parents just don’t quite understand what all it takes to take care of children and I will leave it at that) and it was emotionally painful. You literally have to dig and figure out bad habits that you’ve developed over the years and figure out the why which leads to the cause and ultimately you have to start repairing all of it. Biggest thing is acknowledging it and willingness to change. I’m glad I figured it out in my twenties instead of my forties like most people. The hardest part for me was realizing the problems and it wasn’t fixed just by knowing it. It was a long process in changing everything.

With that said, when you’re neglected I would say most of the time you have no idea. You’re a kid, you’re living your life or what you know it to be. “That’s just how it is,” comes to mind because when you’re a kid how do you know the difference? You think differently as a kid and ironically enough it’s hard to notice even in your teens when your mind starts to change and you notice more because like attracts like. If you were raised like I was, you were drawn to people that were raised the same and that’s exactly how I did. Not all of my friends but the ones I was the closest to were like that. Please know, I feel most parents do the best that they could and I’ve come to accept that because sometimes it’s hard not to have resentment build up.

I myself know, my mom and dad did the best of their ability with being my parents. The crappy part about neglect/dysfunction is that it starts with someone and it gets passed down through the generations but the cool thing, is it only takes 1 person to stop it. So I say all of this so you can know how I felt all the time; what my “normal” was. I don’t remember a lot of stuff in my younger years because I just blocked a lot of it away. I never felt good about myself. I would put up a front so people thought I did. My best explanation though is being on the outside looking into my life as things happened. I thought that was normal. It doesn’t seem like a big deal but here’s an example:

When I was in high school we had a group of friends. I’m from a really small school, my graduating glass I think was 17 students? Anyway, there were about 7 or 8 of us in the group of friends and we were most of the time friends through our grade school years, middle school, and high school and even though I was “in” the group I never once felt like I was. I played my part as always but… I never felt accepted on the inside; it was always that “outside looking in” feeling.  So now that I’m a different person for the better, anytime I run into those friends from the past I feel like a dancing monkey trying to be friends with them. If you want to understand check out this poem.

I, of course, have never noticed this about myself until now. After you’ve repaired the damage every once in awhile the issues pop up on you again. (Which is annoying by the way since you thought you had “fixed that”) I’ve tried over the years to give people a chance and I’ve realized that we’ve grown apart and don’t share the same ideas of life and I’ve slowly eliminated them from my call list but honestly, I like giving people the benefit of the doubt. Not to mention, I have this annoying habit probably like most people that I just forget the last instance that I spent time with people and I’m so excited to get to visit with them… All the bad crap goes out the window.

(I’ve thought about giving more detail in this post but I think I’ll just remain vague since what if people took offense and all that?)

My discovery is this: 1. I resorted back to my old habit of being a “dancing monkey.” Trying to be friends with the so called “popular kid” and 2. Just because I’ve changed and I’m a better person, I shouldn’t expect it of anyone else. 3. Just because I can be a good friend, doesn’t mean other people expect that as well.

I will say this though, if I’m making an effort to be your friend or helpful or we have a conversation about different things and maybe to be nice you agree then ignore me any time I text you after that point… I don’t care how busy a person is, a text takes a few seconds and it shows that you’re a nice person. I think of a scripture from the Bible “Just let your word ‘Yes’ mean yes, your ‘No,’ no, for what goes beyond these is from the wicked one.” –Matt 5:37 Does that not mean anything to anyone? You would cause less hurt just being honest rather than to pointedly ignore someone on purpose.

I wear my heart on my sleeve and try and think the best of people and try to be courteous to people in general. I value friendship, I make as much effort as I possibly can to make things work because all relationships don’t just happen on their own.

I got upset over this situation and my husband reminded me that this happened in the past with this person and it always ends with me trying to make a friendship happen and them not trying and a few years pass and it plays out again.

I had to take a step back and think… He is right. I do have to say, I already have a true friend/best friend that will always stick by my side and that is my husband. He knows me better than anyone else and it’s nice to have someone to know what you’ve been through and has been through it with you. I’m glad he remembers all of this because I definitely have to be reminded. Some people just aren’t friend material and that’s fine. I don’t hold it against them or anything and I’m not calling them out at all; but at least I’m aware of it now and I can’t get hurt again. On the other hand, I could be totally wrong and misreading the situation but it’s hard to say when you are ignored.  In the end, I still made a self discovery and learned I needed to work on some things I thought I already dealt with.

Sorry if this was an over explained mushy post but I wanted to get it off my chest. Has anyone else been in this situation before?

Initiative and Having a Team Mate

This isn’t a great image but I took it a few days after I wrote this and thought it was appropriate for teamwork. I’m raking hay on our old farmall and WAY OFF in the distance, Jeremy is baling it

As I was drinking my coffee this morning (which by the way, our milk cow Daisy calved last week so it’s actually my homemade creamer! Also even better news, she had a little heifer! We are majorly excited; one more step to building up our herd) and was going through the list within my thoughts of all of the things I had to do and since it’s middle of summer, most of it will be canning today.

Daisy our milk cow with her new little baby heifer 🙂 which I think we will call Gracie

Which reminded me of recent conversations I’ve had. Which in turn, made me think back to my life before being with the right person and changing my life around and as they say, “putting on the new personality” and with that comes, “Stripping off the old personality and it’s practices.” (Which is Bible based–Col. 3:9, 10)
To clarify, there was VERY many things to change but in this instance what I have in mind might seem like something that’s not such a big deal but I think in living you life–this makes a big difference. I’m referring to laziness and taking initiative. (Which also makes me think of the Bible–Proverbs 31 the capable wife)

I know in life, it (life) is busy! It’s very hard to find time between secular work, getting your house affairs (cooking, cleaning, maintaining, chores, etc) in order. I try to compare what I did in the past with my time and I always come to the same conclusion: What did I do really? Yes, I had a 40 hour work week but what else did I do?

The reason I puzzle over this is living on the homestead… I don’t do a secular 40 hour work week, I work part time and I have NO TIME whatsoever (In all actuality, I really don’t have time to write this down but I’m doing it while canning which gives you a little bit of waiting around time. Probably as close as I’ll ever get to multi-tasking 🙂 ).

I guess I did what most Americans do; sit around and watch TV. I didn’t can, I didn’t farm, no chores… I did run around a lot because I didn’t want to be home. When Jeremy and I first got together it was a clash of two different worlds. Mine was previously mentioned, his was a life of raising your own beef, pork and chickens. Having goats to raise bottle calves, constantly busy gardening, fixing broken equipment, fixing fence…  (All of this from an early age. A story Jeremy always likes to tell is when he was… 4 or 5 years old he would get pliers and go walk the fence on his mom and dad’s property and fix it (it was electric, not barbed wire don’t freak out. I poke at him a lot because he says things like, “I’ve been fixing fence for over 30 years.” He’s 35 if you wanna know but he was helping even when he was a little guy.) The list goes on, as well as his secular job.
Back when we first were together, I thought I work, I do my part. That’s all that is required. Jeremy took care of EVERYTHING, even cleaning the house because if he didn’t, who would? Obviously, that was him crying out, begging for us to be a team, for me to just try, just help. I was so naive and lazy. I had no clue. I feel so stupid looking back to those times but at least now I do my best to keep up with everything and I know I’ve made an effort to be better. It didn’t just click into place though, there were countless arguments where I constantly thought I was right and he had no idea and how dare him? but I finally started to see that I was pushing everything on him. I always seemed like a victim in my mind but I really wasn’t unless you count all the dysfunction my mother passed on to me which is what I had to work against this whole time.

To be honest, my mom never raised us to clean house and do those things, even though that’s how she was raised (but that’s another story). I’ve always had a job since I was 18. It’s always been a 40 hour work week or more most of the time. But I was never happy, I was never content. I was never fulfilled. I think that’s the point of this article. (Just keep in mind that this is my opinion and maybe it’s not completely what you might agree with but then I have to wonder why you’re reading this blog lol) I was a provider for myself, I had a full time job but other than that, I was a VERY lazy person. I’m not saying this life is for everyone but what I am saying is; sitting around watching TV all day isn’t a life.

Taking initiative which sometimes I’m still horrible at… But here’s the definition: initiative- the power or opportunity to act or take charge before others do

So, do you want to be the person to say “I can’t” or “I won’t” because there’s always another person that’s going to shoulder the brunt of the load because you didn’t help out or even try and stick with it?

I feel like farming, doing things on your own, for yourself– it alters/changes you in such a way that if you sit around and watch TV or something, you feel kind of stir-crazy like you need to go outside and work (hehe)

Oh, and there’s always bonuses. Here’s something extra you’ll get… Pride, fulfillment, feeling accomplished, satisfaction, etc. Let’s take one example that I’ve used previously… Canning. Canning to me, is an even better feeling than getting a recipe  right ( which is a pretty good feeling on it’s own) because you are preserving something wholesome for you family. Also, think back to the past, that’s what people HAD to do. It wasn’t a choice. What they ate was solely reliant on what they grew themselves and preserved themselves instead of buying from the store which I don’t think happened in a lot of circumstances since most were too poor. Canning is just one example but here’s a few a feel pretty good about… Butchering our own chickens, raising our own beef, foraging wild edibles.
None of these things are easy, they all require work–that’s life. Plain and simple, but that’s also taking initiative. Some people, don’t have the means to do these kinds of things and that’s fine, you do what you can–you live the life you wanna live–beyond that; if you do have this kind of life, I just think it’s better to have a team mate?

It’s better to work together and help each other and don’t push the load onto their shoulders alone. I keep thinking of something Jeremy use to say before I decided to be a good team mate and that was always, “If I don’t do it, who will?”

It’s all YOUR choice on who you wanna be, on how you wanna live your life, I just hope that you kick into gear a lot quicker than I did at first. Anyway, speaking of time… I better get back to the grind!

Happy Homesteading!

 

Meet the gang: Donkey

Since we’ve been hosting Sorghum Days, I have been wanting a petting zoo and since I have cats, chickens, ducks, cows… I wanted a little donkey. I have for a couple of years. This year, Jeremy surprised me with this little guy!

We asked our friends to give us ideas on names… Very simply most came up with Eeyore which is cute and who doesn’t love Eeyore? But I tried it out loud yelling for the donkey to come in… It sounded ridiculous, even though I do like the name saying it was a whole different situation.

He is so awesome and sweet and he makes these cute little squeaky noises when he’s happy your around or when he wants carrots or apples.

Sometimes I go sit on the porch steps drinking my coffee and feed him carrots 🙂 good times

Curiosity

Being curious opens up so many doors that you never knew were there but once you’ve opened the initial one that starts it all… My door was gardening. Gardening lead to: How can I make our homestead sustainable (We haven’t completely got there yet but it’s a goal and we do the best of our ability with what time we have available) and within that thought… Money.

Everything takes money to start almost any project. I would research all these plants that I wanted to buy that would help with the ‘Stead being sustainable but after a while things really start to add up. So then I wondered… What grows here in my state, in my area? What can I just attain by going out in the woods. I mean, I grew up here in Missouri so I have a good idea about foraging though I never really called it that at the time. I’ve hunted mushrooms since I little which was a start.

If you’re willing to research, willing to learn… The results are endless. Our minds are constantly expanding with knowledge if you just look for it. It’s the same way with spiritual growth/learning. You think you know a bit from the Bible but once you start really digging in more… You realize you only skimmed the surface before. (As always, if you need to know more in that area Jw.org is a great resource)

Now I’m at this point where I just want to learn as much as I can about plants and their uses. Once I do, I try and see if it grows here in Missouri and try and see if I can harvest it or how I can get my hands on it. I guess I’m just trying to say… The sky is the limit? I didn’t know anything a few years ago but I was CURIOUS and I was willing to research, willing to learn.

I just thought I’d throw these few thoughts out in case people are wondering where to start?? Hope this helps someone! Any thoughts? Feel free to comment with your own story!

Foraging: Hunting Morels

It could just be me, but I feel like hunting morels use to be this little secret that wasn’t really broadcasted. The locals knew what time to look and would slip into the woods unseen and come back with golden treasure to fry up in a few days for a scrumptious dinner or in Jeremy’s grandma Juanita’s case: Breakfast. Now it’s… Trending. For me, I grew up with it. We always looked to April and May with anticipation and hope of detectable fried goodness. To be honest though, the best part is the thrill of the hunt.

I actually am haunted during morel mushroom season, I dream about them that I’m finding a big patch and it’s crazy how many there are… Then I wake up 😉

But it seems now that mushrooms are in and trending. I’ve seen several blogs post about how to find them, wild foraging, wild crafting, etc. I’ve heard people actually follow morels up the states. They start in the warmer ones and work their way up until they are gone for that year. Missouri’s season is usually mid April to mid May but this year’s season as far as my location… Wasn’t so great. We had two batches we fried up and that was it.

Soaking in salt water

When you do go out to hunt, be careful of snakes! One of my last trips, I ran into this guy and yes, he’s poisonous.

Pygmy rattler

In my experience, growing up I always found morels below my mom’s property under sycamore trees… Which send odd to me now because I never find them there anymore. Most of the time I find them at the base of oak trees.  What you want is warmer temperatures during the night and warm days as well as rainy days. They need moisture and warmth.

I’ve never really thought about it, but I had someone say they looked like brains as a description to someone new hunting them but I guess they kinda do.

If you haven’t ever gone… GO. It’s really fun going especially with friends. Anyone have any good mushroom hunting stories to share in the comments???

 

New way for wood cutting

Have you ever thought about how many times throughout the process of cutting wood that you touch it? Let’s just play out a quick scenario: you go locate your logs, chainsaw cut, load into truck, split wood, and stack wood… Or locate, cut, split, load in truck, drive back home, unload into wood shed. Even after all that, you still need to take it in your house every other day during the wood burning season.
It’s definitely a lot of hard work but what if you could cut out a couple of steps?

Jeremy and I came across an opportunity that did just that. I’m sure you’ve seen your local excavating companies cutting a path through an area. Jeremy has to go out and survey that for them and noticed a lot of trees bring cut out so he asked what they did with it. They actually pay someone to come in and haul it out! So he offered to come and get it for free and they agreed! 

We don’t have to load it, they use an excavator (which I wish we had for the homestead!) and we leave our truck and trailer, when it’s ready to go they call. We pick it up after work and take it home and unload with a tractor. Less back breaking work is awesome! Plus!  We’ve already got our winter’s worth of wood and then some 🙂

We positioned it close to our yard so when we do cut and split it, we are going to put on trailer and back up to wood shed and pile it in. I dont think I’ve ever been this excited about wood season before lol It’s going to be a piece of cake! I hope anyway.
How does your wood cutting season usually go?

Bringing the cows in for the last time

Today I left early from work and rushed home to saddle up my horse to bring the cows in. At the survey office we have a big 3500 acre job that has a time frame so Jeremy was needed more there than me so I volunteered do have the cows ready by the time the stock trailer came to pick them up.

I wasn’t going to be alone, Jane (aka Superwoman) was going with me along her her husband Nick. When I got home, I called the horses– they ignored me and proceeded to run out of reach so I went to BabyDoll (my horse whose the sweet one) and pet her and they all stopped and gave in.

I caught Jane’s horse Lady and my horse (when I need him to be) RedMan. I took them in the barn and started saddling up and I heard a rusty gate swing open letting me know Jane had arrived. She saddled Lady and we rode down in the field together down to the south end where the cows were lounging in the shade bunched up together.

The plan (Jane’s) was to try and just grab the ones that werent ours so we didn’t have to cut them out but I thought that was a horrible plan… Who doesn’t want to cut out cows? That’s the best part! That didn’t work because they all wanted to go so we let them instead of wearing out our horses 😉

They all knew the way to go so they started meandering towards the direction of the barn. They didn’t know that would be their last time there. They had been on this Homestead since September of last year, the plan was to let them calve and do calf shares but with all the flooding lately, it did some damage to our bottom land where the creek runs through and took out a considerable amount of fence.

They didn’t put up much of a fight going in. We shut the gates and I took after our cows. Most of them were bunched together at the corner  of the barn so I snuck around them quickly and cornered them toward the corral. Nick was at the gate in case we made the cows on the lease head out with ours.

We shuffled out four, one jersey milk cow, 2 steers, and a young Angus heifer. Some were outside the fence that didnt get the chance to come in because Jane closed the gate on em. I’d bring them to the lane and she would chase down it to Nick and back in the field. Before long they were all out. We did a final count and the stock trailer showed up. We chased them into the corral and backed the trailer up. We separated out 5 at a time and loaded until full and the hauler headed up the road to transfer into a semi trailer.

They can be trouble but I know Jeremy enjoyed having them but hopefully we can build our herd a bit bigger now. I will miss my favorite cow who I called Sweet Face and Jeremy will miss “Snake Eyes.”

And as always, I was on horseback and busy so no pictures but there one of RedMan when I took the saddle off ready to be done and go eat some green grass.

Early night, he said

Jeremy does this thing… I think it’s called being hopeful or optimistic but it’s always the same thing he uses it on which is “Babe, let’s hurry up when we get home and do our chores and make it an early night.” Which means early dinner as well… Writing this article, I’m sure you know where this is going. Obviously, being hopeful means it probably doesn’t happen. I’m not saying having hope is bad, I’m a spiritual/religious girl and without hope that doesn’t leave you much when it comes to that. In this case though, early dinner in itself is hard for me.

I’m not against this idea, I’m just very self-aware 🙂 When you have a farm/homestead, things happen and most nights… they don’t end early. Our days go like this: We get up around 5 AM and get ready for work. Right now we are raising meat birds– so after I convince myself that it’s necessary to have a secular job, I get up and get ready/dressed then pack lunch for the day then before we are about to leave I have to go check on the birds and feed and water them. I have two sets of chicks currently which is the meat birds and then I’m raising laying hens as well so that I can breed my own.

We go through the normal of a workday, decide to eat out since we needed to get 2 horses ready to take to the horse sale the next day to make it a quick easy night. My chores consist of taking care of the chicks again, taking care of the laying hens, and feeding the cats & dogs. Jeremy gets on horseback and rides out to bring the cows in which at this point is 29? I think, not counting the Jerseys. If they are being good and just down in the bottom that doesn’t take too long. Then he feeds them and feeds our jerseys, horses, and some other cows that are separated out. Last night I needed to put pine shavings into my brooder shed and my regular chores. I noticed Jeremy had been gone for a bit and I didn’t see a cow in sight so I had my mud boots on, I decided to scout around to see if I could hear him on the hill side. With the recent rain, the water was RUSHING and it was raining as well. I could occasionally hear him but not enough, I decided to cross the creek on foot (bad idea) and went all the way down to the south end. I knew the cows and him had been that way but I wasn’t sure where he was. I knew he had to be on the bluff line but couldn’t hear a thing so I cross the creek again in a deeper spot and got soaked all the way up to my butt.  After that, I needed to go change and while I was in the house, he showed up, horse soaked in rain and sweat. He told me that he was going to call him mom and by then… I’m thinking it was almost 6 pm. So, I put on my cowgirl boots and my carhart coat and went to saddle Red Man.

When you’re working, you don’t really have time to take pictures but I wish I had because it was a cattle drive for sure. They were 2.5 miles away from the farm in someone else’s field full of lush green grass. We had to cross creeks and go through old abandoned roads to get there but we found them and they weren’t separated into 2 groups, they were all together, we did a count and the 3 of us drove them to the gate opening. Everything went pretty well except they kept trying to bush up a couple of times but with a little ingenuity, we turned them the right directions and headed for home. It was dark by the time we got back and the other horses were at the gate entry when we got there so they started scattering the cows so we had to split up and chase the horses off. We finally brought the cows in and put them to graze in the south hay field to stay until   fixing the fence gets finished this weekend.

After that, we had to go in the pitch black and bring the horses back in since we needed to take 2 to the sale barn the next day. By the time, it was all said and done, it was 8:48 PM when we got into the house. I wouldn’t call that an early night… But it was fun. I did try to shoot a picture with my phone and it flashed… Scared the horse, so I put it back in my pocket so my death wouldn’t be any more eminent than it had to be.

wp-image-1551564211jpg.jpg

so you can see much, but a tree line and shadows of cows and some rain but it’s proof 🙂

 

Kombucha: The Elixir of Life

Kombucha seems to be trending… Which bugs me. I hate being involved in trends because I feel like it affects my individuality. Yet, I guess if it’s trending, maybe people will find this and read it and enjoy it. I will say this though, everyone seems to LOVE the taste. NOT SO MUCH here. My first experience with Kombucha tea was my mother in law (Superwoman) and my father in law toting it’s benefits and how they felt better when drinking it. You know, a lot of old timers swear by it though not Kom-buch-a… Kombuchie tea… Though not pronounced right, it’s still the same.

For me, I thought it tasted like pure vinegar! YIKES! Though I fully believe in benefits of raw apple cider vinegar, I don’t enjoy drinking it personally. I more or less treat it like a whiskey shot (Not a fan of whiskey either lol) and mix a little with lemon and honey and down the hatch! followed by orange juice to drown out my gag reflex 😉 BUT it definitely helps me when I have a cold or whatnot so I bear through it. Really isn’t a happy time to be a picky person in those moments. You should see the look on my face…

Back to Kombucha aka Kombuchie, I never latched on because it was so horrid when I tried it at the in laws place. I lost touch with it for a couple of years until further researching it and the many benefits it exudes. Just some of the things are that it enhances mental clarity, energy boost, aids in detox process, promotes longevity, maintain probiotic health, etc. The properties in this probiotic tea are the obvious: probiotics, malic acid, amino acids, oxalic acid, nucleic acid, acetic acid, enzymes, lactic acid, gluconic acid, analgesics, vitamins, and don’t forget caffeine from the tea itself.

What’s not to like right?? As for me and my household… We would say: The Taste.

But keep in mind, we are picky. So before I come up with some simple solution for this, let’s dive in to the HOW DO WE MAKE THIS LIFE CONDITIONING ELIXIR?? THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH!

What You’ll Need to Make Kombucha

  • 8 tea bags or 2 tbs of loose tea (black tea or green tea, unflavored–good chance of flavors killing the good SCOBY except I’ve heard Jasmine Green Tea seems to work but I haven’t tried it yet)
  • 1 gallon jar
  • SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria & Yeast) which is the brains of the outfit–you can get this from a friend or a health food store
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 3.5 quarts of water
  • 1-2 cups of starter Kombucha which you can get from a friend or use store bought
  • Clean breathable fabric or coffee filter
  • rubberband
  • vinegar (I just used some Apple Cider Vinegar)

So relatively simple ingredients other than the acquiring of the SCOBY 

Before we move on to the ‘How to’ part of this, you need to make sure everything is sanitized and I don’t mean with bleach. What I did was clean all my utensils and containers then I rinsed with Apple Cider Vinegar even my hands as well. Otherwise there could be a chance it messes up your batch. I do know this from experience. When we first started milking our cows and trying to improve on the cream extraction– we bought one of those 3 gallon mason jar looking pitchers that have the spout at the bottom. We used it for quite a while and then changed our process so I stopped using it. I thought it would be perfect for Kombucha batches but after a few weeks, mold popped up on my SCOBY and I tried another batch and it happened again. The spout, no matter how much I tried to clean it was causing things to go wrong, they never fully would get sanitized. On my third try, in just a regular gallon jar, it went perfectly.

How to Make Kombucha

  1. Brew your 3.5 quarts of water with your 8 tea bags
  2. Add your sugar and let this cool, other wise it can kill your SCOBY, which is a living organism affected by temperatures
  3. Pour in the SCOBY after temperature has cooled and isn’t hot anymore
  4. Add in your 1-2 cups of starter Kombucha
  5. Cover with a paper towel, coffee filter, clean breathable fabric, whichever–and put rubberband in place to hold it there.
  6. Put it in a dark area with a temperature ranging from 68-75 degrees F for 7-12 days

The other Old SCOBY should have New one attached to it so your brew should be done. So here is where my solution to the sour vinegar taste can be altered and it’s just simple and most people know it, it’s just that I had no clue at the time. The easy solution to get the benefits of Kombucha tea is to flavor it. There are many different flavors your can come up with, the sky is the limit but I’ll let you know what I did.

First off, I really suggest in purchasing some swing top bottles. I avoided it until I absolutely needed to but ultimately they aren’t too expensive especially since they are reusable. I bought mine at The Home Brewery in Ozark, MO which I’ve previously mentioned in the Homemade Wine post. 

Like i previously mentioned, the sky is the limit but let’s go VERY easy with this. What I used is frozen fruit but you can use fruits, juices, honey, herbs, spices.

Flavoring Kombucha along with the Fizz Bonus

  1. Sanitize your bottles and add in your brewed kombucha
  2. Add fruits and if using the bottles then you’ll definitely need to chop up to fit in and easy to strain. Also, fruit tends to sink to the bottom so you might not have to strain. The mixed berry version I did was that way (I did read one article on pureeing fruit and putting in the bottom and pouring in the kombucha and personally I didn’t like this. One, the texture if you drank it straight is… bleh. The mix floated to the top so you had to drink it through that. Makes me cringe just thinking about it. Two, it’s hard to strain if you don’t like said texture)
  3. If you want a fizzy kombucha like soda then you’ll need to go through a second ferment so the bottles need to be latched in place and put in the same area you fermented before but this time it will only be 3-5 days. 
  4. Put in the fridge to stop fermentation process. When you open these, they will flavored, slightly sweet, and surprisingly bubbly 🙂



Mixed Berry (no fizz)

    New Batches

    After the bottling process, you’re left with the Old and New SCOBY so you’ll divide them by pulling apart from each other and you can make 2 new batches or just one more batch and give the other to a friend in need of the addiction that is Kombucha hehe

    I hope this was helpful and that you can start making your own batches and get those health benefits it doles out. I’m pretty new to this so if I left anything out, please let me know! What are your experiences with Kombucha???

    Growing/Butchering/Processing YOUR OWN Chickens

    I don’t know if most of you will appreciate this but I feel like it’s an article/how-to that is necessary for a sustainable farm. There are some things I refuse to do, others I refused to do and was told it was an essential part of surviving on the farm (Yes, from the husband). In this world/society, I know we have food available right out of the grocery store but there’s something about knowing where your food comes from and how better to know exactly what process it went through and how unlikely it is that you’ll get e coli poisoning, and whatever other crazy germs seem to being presenting themselves on our chicken these days. (If you want to know more, I suggest watching Food Inc it will definitely open your eyes) Most of it is being shipped to China and is constantly being refused because there are metal pieces in it! Eck. Eek. Yuck. YIKES.

    So, this is me warning you ahead of time: VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED. I don’t want you opening up this post to see blood and guts and not be warned. Though it will take a little bit of reading so you have time to change your mind.

    Like most things I post on this blog, I didn’t have any idea what I got myself into/married into ;). As a matter of fact, if you asked me 7 years ago if I would be processing my own chickens, I would have laughed in your face. My first time… I almost couldn’t do it, I most DEFINITELY was not a country girl. The only thing I could handle doing was to rinse the birds off after being processed but the next time I felt okay doing a small amount more and next I did even more until my friend Shay and I would race to see who could process a bird the fastest… I would say that’s growth and acceptance in one 🙂

    So is it a step you want to take?

    It’s for sure something to think about. In the end it’s pretty similar to a smart chicken being bought out of the store but is cheaper money wise but hard work and less germ yuckiness. The best way that I know is to talk to your friends. The more birds you get, the less they will cost and if you have people interested then most likely they will pay for you to take care of theirs if you have the room and they don’t. Also, that’s extra help which means, assembly line! Which means getting done faster and running like a finely honed engine. If every “station” has a hand on deck then the whole process moves along fairly quickly.

    The Hard Part

    You start with the above picture of little chicks. Yes, chicks are adorable but you need to establish the difference between meat birds and laying hens. Personally, when I raise laying hens, I talk to them like people and enjoy the whole process from start to finish; it is an enjoyable experience and there’s a connection there that you get to keep each day when you go out to your “girls” to collect eggs. (On a side note, that’s what Jehovah God commissioned us to do in the very beginning: watch over the animals, be fruitful, and multiply. That would have been our jobs, live in a paradise and take care of the animals and the land but Adam rebelled so we inherited sin and death instead)
    Meat birds… They really aren’t as sweet. At first, it’s not too bad but towards the end, they just want food and they can get kind of mean. By that, I mean when I went to feed them one afternoon in flip flops, they bit me! I don’t mean a little peck like most chickens, I mean bit me! So one, I learned to wear boots from that point on and I wasn’t completely against butchering to tell you the truth.

    It’s honestly like raising milk cows which become part of the family versus feeder steers. Feeder steers.  You just don’t get close to feeder steers, those are the rules. They aren’t pets, their food. Milk cows are pets, put your affection to them, not your steers.

    Maisy, my milk cow–feeder steer in background away from everyone

    What You’ll Need

    • Brooder box
    • Heat lamps/lights
    • Meat bird feed 22% protein is good
    • The chicks of course (we used cackle hatchery this year)
    • Waterers
    • Pin
    • Shelter
    • Apple Cider Vinegar, optional
    • Colloidal Silver, optional
    • Oregano oil, optional
    • Food container

    I should also mention I refuse to medicate my birds. What’s the point in all this if you aren’t going antibiotic free? Anytime I raise chicks meat or laying, I use natural remedies to avoid antibiotics. One of the biggest reasons that people started using medicated feed for chicks was because in the big industrialized chicken farms there were so many that you wouldn’t be able to tell which ones were sick (and coccidiosis was the big issue and spreads to other chickens through feces) so it can get out of hand pretty quickly. Instead of trying to keep track it was better for them to medicate as a safety precaution. All chickens have Coccidian protozoa present in their intestines. The problem is an overgrowth of the protozoa that leads to them getting sick.

    As far as a small farm, it doesn’t seem necessary to me. Especially since Apple Cider Vinegar is around; add about 1 TBS to your gallon waterer and you’re all set. Here’s a link to basic use of ACV and here’s one that’s helpful on this particular subject. The last one is a great article that was very helpful in proving what I already knew to be true.

    Feeding

    Feeding an animal doesn’t seem that complicated but with meat birds you need to pay closer attention. My in laws have been doing this for over 30 years and learned some lessons the hard way, by doing it of course. They have lost a lot of chickens in the past and have perfected it to where they hardly lose any at all now. So, just needs more effort on your part.

    1. Using a preferably 22% protein feed, for 1 week only give them as much as they want, fill in morning and when you are home in the evening
    2. The second week, feed them 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour at night. (The reason you have to take it away is obesity. These birds will eat and eat and eat until they are literally so heavy their legs can’t support them. You have to limit them because you don’t want them to just lay around, they do need to be a bit active and if they can’t walk they can’t make it to water and feed)
    3. Week 3, put food out 24/7. When they start getting bigger you will have to put more food out and they will really start going through it the last two weeks, they are bottomless pits. (Growth time is usually 6-8 weeks)
    4. You’ll need to pick a nice sized bird and weigh, when you reach 7-8 lbs that’s what you’re looking for. That size usually dresses out to 5lbs which you can probably get 2 meals out of depending on your family size. It’s just Jeremy and me here on the homestead so it’s 2 meals

    Chicken Massacre Spring 2017  

    You’ll need quite a bit of stuff initially but once you have this it can be a once or twice a year thing and can be stored together for later use. I feel like I should also say, you can spend extra money and buy specialty stuff like stainless still but to me, bleaching everything before you start… Seems to do the trick and I’ve never been sick from one of our birds. But this is your choice and I’m mentioning this now because maybe the pics won’t look “professional” but this is what WE do. It’s your call on what YOU do.

    FYI

    Just something helpful we have learned is to pick your butchering times in spring and the fall so you miss the flies and the heat.

    Supplies needed:

    • Two big pots, the size used for frying turkeys
    • Nails
    • Wood stump
    • Baling twine
    • Hooks
    • Feed sacks (plastic ones work best)
    • Orange road cones
    • Outside sinks
    • Running water source
    • Really sharp knives (the best I’ve found is RADA pearing knives you can get one for $5 on Amazon if I remember correctly but you’ll also need a good sharp serrated knife as well and a chef’s knife is always great too)
    • Bleach
    • Dawn dish soap
    • Timer
    • Two thermometers
    • Frozen water bottles
    • Tubs with lids
    • Galvanized steel container
    • Bags
    • Metal ties
    • Pliers
    • Absorbent sheets, optional
    • Cutting boards or what we use which is recycled microwave plates
    • Paper towels
    • Gloves
    • Buckets
    • Plucker (you can rent one or build one)

    The process

    The night before you need to take the food away from the birds. You don’t want to process a bird and have it full of… Processed and unprocessed food, its gross and smells awful.

    The next day, it begins…

    First, set up your work area. Each task is a station.

    An off-with-their-heads-area-the stump with two nails and axe. You put the chicken through the cone and put its head between nails and pull slightly, aim tour axe and use enough force otherwise… You have to do it twice like Bethany did and it’s not as clean and… Just not great. (There’s another method which involves just hanging bird upside down and cutting jugular but it just wasn’t for us) After this step have the bucket close and transfer to it. Square part of cone holds it in place.

    You then need to be able to hang birds to drain, we use Jane’s clothes line post.

    Once the bird is completely drained of blood it needs to be dunked in water.

    Boiling area-has to be at temperature and you soak holding feet to make sure legs stay under water and after about 45 seconds check to see if feathers pull out really easy.

    From the boiling area it goes to the plucker, from the plucker it goes to get the neck and legs removed, then to the processing area, it goes to the check and rinse station.

    From the check and rinse it will go into water to soak 2 and 3 at a time and then goes into a big galvanized pot in ice cold water where it will stay until you put about 20 birds in then it goes into tubs with lids and a frozen ice water bottle is put inside the chicken so it freezes as much as possible from the inside. They wait there until it is time for bagging.
    With bagging, we form an assembly line at a longer table and one person holds the bag, another tucks the legs and puts the bird in the bag, another twists the bag, one clips the bag, one pokes holes in the bag (so when it shrinks the air gets out that way), one takes and dips 3 at a time in boiling water and the kids that are there are usually the runners. They take them to the freezer.

    Put into the cone so it wont bruise and then you transfer to the bucket so it drains and stops jerking after head is removed

     

    Draining

    Boiling to loosen the feathers

    Plucker

    About to get legs and neck removed

    Processing a bird

    Getting rid of the legs and neck and the first soak

    After the soak process, into goes into this one for a colder soak

    Our sink setup, two sinks are for processing two for check and rinse

    Boiling station

    Birds stored in tubs with frozen bottles inside

    Bagging birds

    Adding the clip

    Bagged, ready to be dunked

    Put in the pot for the dunking to shrink plastic bag to the chicken

    Being dunked

    Finished product