GameSaver Titanium Giveaway

 

I want one!

I want one!

Even though I have been really busy with nursing school, I am never too busy to help out with a giveaway. I figure that my readers will appreciate the opportunity to enter and win.

So, go for it and good luck!

GameSaver Titanium Giveaway

This GameSaver® Titanium Vacuum Sealer w/Bonus Offer is a sponsored post/giveaway from our friends @ FoodSaver®.com. We are happy to be able to offer you a chance to win one! A vacuum sealer is the perfect tool to preserve your hard won game, to stretch your family’s food budget, and it will also extend the life of your food staples. It is easy to use and will save you money! Michael at The Backyard Pioneer did a full review on this fantastic GameSaver® Titanium Vacuum Sealer w/Bonus Offer! If you are a hunter, this is the FoodSaver® Vacuum Sealer you will want for sure! It’s sturdy and heavy duty. Please enter today for your chance to win one…Good luck to everyone!
This FoodSaver® GameSaver® Titanium Vacuum Sealer w/Bonus Offer is a sponsored giveaway and is open to any resident who is 18 years of age or older who lives in one of the 48 US Contiguous States. This giveaway starts on Monday, Nov. 17th at 5:00 am (MST) and ends on Sunday, Nov. 23rd, 2014 at 5:00 pm (MST). The winner will be notified by email and will have 24 hours to respond. If we do not hear back from said winner in the designated time period of 24 hours we will choose another winner and they will have 24 hours to respond from the time the notification email is sent. Please check your SPAM email folders. Good luck to everyone! Let’s be prepared for the unexpected!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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An Encouraging Word to Backyard Farmers?

We will all figure this out together.

We will all figure this out together.

It has been a little while since I wrote a real post. I just keep in touch by posting stuff on Facebook.

School is hard. We are working on tearing down the long beds and installing a sprinkler system-to attract an HOA type home buyer. So I am juggling too many plates. So far I have not dropped any.

Steve had originally set a goal to put the house on the market Dec 1st. Will he make it? I hope so, but a goal is better than nothing. I am not worried. I see the Hobby Farm coming.

But when I look deep into my magic computer, I see cries for help and a bit of discouragement going out from my friends who call themselves Backyard Farmers. I want to be in the middle of it all-believe me. But for now, all I can do is send encouragement. That will change soon though.

For the rest of you-who are reading for entertainment value- let me help you understand this by giving some common definitions.

Backyard Farm-most people use this term to describe a “lot” that is a half acre or less- where animals and gardens are grown for some type of food or fiber production. The owners have an outside source of income. The plants are more than just ornamentals and the animals are more than just pets. I guess that by this definition, I would consider myself a Backyard Farmer. Many people that I know fall into this category.

Hobby Farm-most people use this term to describe a “lot” that is a half acre or more and is used to produce more of the household food. On these places you might see chickens, goats, pigs, and cows. These people also have outside streams of income, because a hobby farm would not normally support all of a families needs. I know several hobbyists living on 1-5 acres of irrigated land.  These people may even sell some of what they produce; like milk, eggs and vegetables; to offset some of the costs of this hobby lifestyle. Steve and I hope to be bumped to this level in the next few months.

Farm is a term used for larger lots that are used to not only produce food for the resident, but also food to sell to others. A farm would have multiple acres to plant; not only to feed the family and animals, but also as a cash crop to sell large amounts of produce to others. In addition to the cash crops, the farm may also have animals to provide food for the family- as well as large amounts of excess to sell to others. This type of production provides the farmer with an income stream that is capable of keeping a family going without an outside job.  With all the regulations that are being applied, this is getting harder and harder to do though. I only know 1 farmer.

Homestead- a home on acreage that is used to produce most of the products that are used by the residents and animals. The goal is even more self sufficiency; without bringing anything from the outside. Very few can really do it. It is pretty hard, but there are those who you will hear that are living totally “off-grid”. I do not personally know any homesteaders.

Lately I have been pretty quiet about my backyard “farm”. There is a reason.

I have been successfully raising vegetables, fruit, and animals in my backyard for many years. Yes, there were many who did not understand, and some thought I was crazy. I did not even stop to think whether it was “legal” or not to do so in my area. But as long as I kept my animals clean and relatively quiet, no one really cared too much about what I was doing in my backyard. I was respectful of my neighbors and they were respectful of me.

I have seen that in the last 5-10 years though, it has become quite a trend to keep a few chickens and raise a garden on a residential sized lot. I have had many people come to me wanting to know how I have done it. They are on the path to “self-sufficiency” and want to know how this can work for them too. With all this new attention to Backyard Farming, there are more people who are also pushing against it. There is a general belief that a farmer is someone who is less educated,  and less clean. So I am less likely to share what I do in my backyard.

But with all new trends, the pushing and pulling will eventually balance things out. Time will help with that. Those who are serious will find the way to do it in a way that will be more acceptable to those who push against. Those who push against will get used to it as long as it is done properly.

As I meet the new people who are attempting to follow this trend, I notice that some of them have been very successful at keeping things clean, quiet, healthy and visually appealing. Some are not; they get caught up in the idea, but get overwhelmed and unable to care for it all. Some are very respectful of their neighbors, some are not. Some care that we all live in this big world together, some only care about what they want to do. Then there are those who do all the good things mentioned and still have neighbors that have nothing better to do than to peek over the fence; making it their business to see what the neighbors are doing.

Many Backyard Farmers start out very clean and quiet. You do realize don’t you that it all starts with just two chicks:) It grows from there. and it is very easy to get carried away. Soon you have 20 chickens, 4 goats, a pig, a pony out back, and the Code and Compliance officer knocking on your front door.

I believe that we all should be able to keep gardens and honey bees and a couple of chickens in our backyards. Maybe even a couple of goats, if we have the room to make it right. But there is a line between having just enough and having more than you can manage. That my friends more often than not is what gets the notice of those that push against.

Where is the encouragement that I promised? The good news is that with so many new people following this way of life in the last 5-10 years, our magic computer has become full of information. There are more and more people everyday coming up with new and clever ideas of how to do it better, cleaner and healthier. I myself have been collecting mentors. Some of these people are a source of information, some of them actually have beautiful examples for me to visually enjoy and attempt to emulate. You too can find a teacher online, or even better- in person. Find a mentor, register for a class or go to your favorite search engine. But with any new and wonderful trend comes a responsibility. Let’s help  to clean up the image of the “uneducated and dirty farmer”.

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Healing Bone Broth

Rich chicken broth with lots of gelatin

Rich chicken broth with lots of gelatin

The last couple of years, I have been working diligently on healing my gut and ridding my body of an inflammatory condition.

Then, I got this infected mouth. Well, it was really one tooth, but it felt like my whole face. No actually… it felt like my whole head! Though I am indeed thankful to live in a time that a tooth infection does not lead to yanking the tooth out in the barn and then praying that I do not die of infection; I hate taking antibiotics.

I have worked too hard on my good gut flora to have it all destroyed now. So I doubled up on my kombucha production. I divided my kefir grains and am making two batches at a time. I will drink a cup of kefir or kombucha two hours prior to taking the antibiotics. That will give the good bacteria a chance to get into the gut before the bomb hits. They may not survive, but I just want to stay ahead of this thing.

Then I went to the freezer to get some bone broth out to thaw.

Oh no! There were only 2 quart jars left. Well, I knew just what to do.

When this backyard homesteading momma cuts up her chicken, she puts the backs, the feet and the wing tips in a bag and tucks them in the freezer. She also puts the bones and gooey stuff left over from a roasted chicken in the bags

So I went through the freezer and found all the tucked away backs, feet and gooey bits. I  like to make my big batch with 10# of meat. I came up a little short, so I took out a rabbit too. I have found that rabbit bone broth does not gel as well, but the chicken feet will make up for that.

Did I use my crockpot- No. Why? Because I wanted to make a batch. I went upstairs and brought down the big gun. Ta-Da Most of the items that I keep around serve multiple purposes.  I got my pressure canner.

This Girl Means Business!

This Girl Means Business!

I put my 10 # of meat and bones in and added 2 onions, 6 carrots and a whole head of garlic. I did not peel anything, just did a rough chop. I sliced the head of garlic across the middle. Then I added 3 Tablespoons of sea salt and 6 peppercorns. I grabbed some parsley and dill from the herb pots out front and tossed those in too. I filled the pot with water to about 3 inches from the top.

I turned the heat up until it just started to simmer. Then I turned the heat down to very low (one on my dial) and locked the lid on. Once the meat was cooked, I fished it out and stripped the meat from the bones. I put the meat in the fridge for meals and put all the bones and gooey stuff back into the pot. Now is the time to add the apple cider vinegar. About  1/2 cup to this mother load.

It only cooked down about 3 inches

It only cooked down about 3 inches

Here, my friends is the magic of doing it in the pressure canner. With the lid locked and no weight on, you can keep it going 24 to 48 hours on very low. Because  the lid is on, it will not evaporate much either.  A crock pot is fine for a small batch. But I am serious about this. A full freezer is a happy freezer, and you know that I like to keep my freezer happy.

 

After 30 hours of simmering, the bones are crumbly and the broth is ready to strain into the jars. I will chill them overnight and then find them  a temporary home in the freezer tomorrow. I say temporary because I will drink a cup of this every evening before bed. I will have to make another batch pretty soon.

Cheers!

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Sun Oven Giveaway!

I am recovering from a terrible toothache. I do not feel much like writing a post today. Here is something that I can get excited about though.

Win An All American Sun Oven in this Giveaway!

 

The folks at the All American Sun Oven company have teamed up with a large group of bloggers and we are giving away a deluxe Sun Oven! The retail price of this set is $399! But that is only the start of the reasons why you should enter to try and win this oven.

Sun Oven Giveaway

Using a sun oven can help you be more frugal by cutting your utility bills. Wouldn’t it be great to have that bill lowered. Cooking in a sun oven is just as easy as using a conventional oven and really only takes a few minutes longer in the cooking cycle. Prepare your recipe using a little less liquid in casseroles, soups and stews. For baked goods use the same amounts of liquids as the recipe calls for. Find the optimal direction of the sun and get cooking. Of course, using a sun oven does require the sun to be available. However, it is possible to obtain good results even on a partly cloudy day.

The All American Sun Oven is manufactured right here in the USA. The company stands behind their product. Globally, Sun Oven has worked to bring this off grid cooking solution to many undeveloped parts of the world, allowing people to eat healthier, cooked foods. I am happy to work with a company that has a giving mission.

With all the benefits of lower utility bills, being prepared to cook without fuel or electricity, and supporting a wonderful company, who wouldn’t want to own a Sun Oven! So lets get to the giveaway.

The Terms

(otherwise known as the small print)

The All American Sun Oven Giveaway is open to any resident who is 18 years of age or older who lives in one of the 48 US Contiguous States. This giveaway starts on Monday, Oct. 20th at 5:00 am (MDT) and ends on Sunday, Oct. 26th at 5:00 pm (MDT). The winner will be notified by email and will have 24 hours to respond. If we do not hear back from said winner in the designated time period of 24 hours we will choose another winner and they will have 24 hours to respond from the time the notification email is sent. Please check your SPAM email folders. Good luck to everyone! Let’s be prepared for the unexpected!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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Excaliber Dehydrator Give Away!

This is the Cadillac of dehydrators. I even know people who take the drawers out and make yogurt. Though I have seen one in person, and actually touched it. I do not (yet) own one.

Here is your chance to win one for free. Good Luck!

Enter to win

Enter to win

This giveaway is open to residents of the congruent United States. Entrants must be age 18 or older to enter. Giveaway runs from October 15th – 22nd. Winner will be drawn October 23rd and emailed. The winner will have 24 hours to respond to the email before another entrant is chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Thermal Cooker Giveaway

Every time I turn around, I see a new give away to join in on. I saw this and thought that it was interesting. So I joined in on it and now you can enter to win. Hit the rafflecopter link and follow the instructions. Good Luck!

 

Thermal Cooker Giveaway

Thermal Cooker Giveaway Oct. 13th-19th, 2014 cooks like a slow cooker |via www.foodstoragemoms.com
We are really excited today about our thermal cooker giveaway! We are a group of bloggers who like to show our readers how to use different preparedness items. This Saratoga Jacks Thermal Cooker works very much like a slow cooker. It comes with two stainless steel pans with one lid that fits right inside the thermal cooker. You can use this for either hot foods or cold foods. Just a note, frozen meat or frozen foods will not work in this, just so you know. The meat must be totally thawed.

1. Bring To A Full Boil

The first thing you do when you decide what you are going to make is decide if you will use one or both of the inside pans. Let’s say you are making soup. First, you brown the meat, add the broth, vegetables and bring it to a full rolling boil. You need to make sure the liquid in the cooker is within one inch of the top. If you use both pans you will add enough liquid to be level with the bottom of the upper pan. In order for this thermal cooker to work it must be full.

2. Boil Four Minutes

Next, boil the liquid, vegetables and meat for four full minutes. At the end of four minutes, quickly put the lid on and set the pan with the lid inside the thermal cooker. Put the thermal cooker on the counter top or in your car. These work great for ballgames, sporting events, family reunions or everyday meals. It uses zero electricity after the four minutes of boiling. You can “cook” your meal for 5-6 hours while on the kitchen counter, in your car or on vacation trips.

3. Use It To Keep Salads Cold

Another awesome feature about a thermal cooker is the fact that it will keep foods cold for four to six hours. This is what you do, make your salad the night before you need it. Place the salad inside the stainless steel pan with the lid. Place the pan with the lid in your refrigerator overnight. I would leave the liquid salad dressing off or the salad will be soggy. In the morning, quickly put the pan with the lid inside the thermal cooker. Now it is a refrigerator/cooler.
Saratoga Jacks Thermal Cooker (great ideas, recipes and so much information)
This Saratoga Jacks Thermal Cooker Giveaway is open to any resident who is 18 years of age or older who lives in one of the 48 US Contiguous States. This giveaway starts on Monday, Oct. 13th at 5:00 am (MDT) and ends on Sunday, Oct. 19th at 5:00 pm (MDT). The winner will be notified by email and will have 24 hours to respond. If we do not hear back from said winner in the designated time period of 24 hours we will choose another winner and they will have 24 hours to respond from the time the notification email is sent. Please check your SPAM email folders. Good luck to everyone! Let’s be prepared for the unexpected!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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The Blueberry of the Desert

We in the desert have no problem growing this magical fruit.

We in the desert have no problem growing this magical fruit.

We all know that blueberries are a magical fruit. They are much sought after for their antioxidant properties. Most commercial berry farms use non organic means to grow them. So someone like me, who is trying to eat more organic food, is forced to either buy them organic or grow them.

Organic blue berries come at a much higher price than conventional. So I have been making attempt to grow them in my desert backyard. It is very difficult. Blueberries love acidic soil and thrive in a different climate than I can provide. I am not throwing in the towel yet though.

But, pomegranates are another magical fruit known for its antioxidant properties. We in the desert have no problem growing pomegranates. The trees are usually heavily laden with the fruit. Each fruit is like a treasure chest full of jewels.

The trees lend themselves well to becoming hedges, they are hard to kill, and usually very productive. Commercial growers do spray their trees with pesticides. But pomegranates can easily be grown with organic methods.

It is pomegranate season right now and several of the friends that I have been helping are now returning the favor by allowing me to have some of their abundant harvest. That is just one of the benefits of Sharing Life’s Abundance!

This  post was featured on the following pages

http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/

http://strangersandpilgrimsonearth.blogspot.com/

http://naturallivingmamma.com/

http://beingfrugalbychoice.com/

http://www.aprilshomemaking.com/

http://www.schneiderpeeps.com/

http://homesteadbloggersnetwork.com/green-thumb-thursday-linkup-1016/

http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2014/10/the-homeacre-hop-92.html

http://www.adelightsomelife.com/2014/10/home-garden-thursday-15.html

 

 

 

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