Thrift Shop Reality

I’m gonna pop some tags… only got twenty dollahs in my pocket…

I like that song. I grew up shopping in thrift stores and Goodwill, and yard sales. I remember when we lived in town, walking up to the Goodwill with my mom and brother with a dollar, looking to buy a new Babysitter’s club book. I shopped at Goodwill pretty frequently until I got to high school. I remember one day I found a pair of black Calvin Klein jeans for five dollars.I wore those things until they were threadbare. I loved them.

In college, I also went to the thrift store frequently for books, or whatever else we saw. We were the cliche poor college students. I remember Boyfriend and I bought some old pieces of computers for four dollars each, and built a new computer for about twenty bucks.

After I graduated and started working full time, however, I didn’t go as often. I have never been too good for a thrift store, but since I had a little more money, I enjoyed buying things new.

Last week, we went to the Goodwill, and I found so many cute things, even for a big girl. Not only did i pick up some cute things to wear, but I found some adorable little chickens for my kitchen, and some crib bumper to give to Brother, and a mason jar for thirty cents. I filled up the SUV for thirty dollars! So I am about to ban myself from retail stores and go back to the thrift store.

I love the smell of a thrift store, of old books. And it is always fun to see what you can find and at what great prices. Now,too, I can look for things to repurpose or sew or paint and turn into new things.

Always good to save a little money, and live simply. ❤

Have you found anything awesome at a thrift store lately?

Farm Updates

I finally figured out how to crochet. I’m still not great at it, but I managed to finish a scarf. Now I am working on a blanket for Brother’s baby, due in December. It may be his kindergarten graduation present. Sigh.

I obviously need no more animals to take care of, but Husband found this kitten in the parking lot at work, and he brought her home. She is my anniversary present. Meet Luna. I don’t know how people manage with no pets. I love animals.

The pullets we bought or hatched out in February and March are starting to lay, but not my Marans nor the Welsummers. I am eagerly awaiting that first egg to see how good (how dark) the color will be.

Ivy is doing very well on the Buteless. She isn’t walking much better, but she is walking a LOT more and is limping quickly. Most days when I walk her she is so happy and feels so good she jumps and bucks with three legs. I bought her a little hat. How cute is she?

The other two are just fine, but they are getting very fat, so we are limiting their pasture time. If you are interested in minis, you should know they can easily founder and gain too much weight.

We have had our last kindle of the year for the rabbits, and it was a good one. The doe had nine kits, and they are two weeks old and all of them have made it. We will probably try to sell a couple of them, and butcher the rest. Big litters are nice for that. We sold off the smaller kits from the last litter, and that cash bought rabbit feed. We have always been able to sell a rabbit.

The cannery is finally finished! We just need a gas stove now, and it will be ready for business for Canning Season 2016. Right now I am not canning anything, we are just eating things. I had a freezer that was slam full and jars everywhere, so we are making an effort to eat some of the food. I keep emptying jars and taking them to the cannery to be refilled soon.

We got a meat grinder at a great deal, and I am SO excited because we are going to process our own deer this year. This is going to be a huge savings. I also picked up a meat slicer at an auction this year, and I just loaded up the vacuum sealer to take there as well, so we are in business!

During the fallout from the hurricane, we got a TON of rain, and my cabbages are not doing great. However, where there is life there is hope! I am hoping I will be able to can up cabbage, and some deer later. I will have some rabbits to process as well. Always something to process!

This week we picked about two ten gallon buckets full of walnuts from the black walnut tree on the farm, and I just put up two half gallons of sunflower seeds to plant next year. I am not much on eating them.

Looking forward to another week. Always something happening on the farm!

The Fair, Round Two

We took our stuff to the next county fair. The competition for the canning goods seemed to be more intense. I still won a first place for my jalapeno peppers, a second for my pickles, and a few white ribbons. The sunflowers and the cut basil we brought also won a first place ribbon. You may remember the painting of a rooster I did at the beginning of the year. It won third of all the adult art, which was very exciting.

There’s a third fair in the next county, and apparently they have a large exhibit hall. We weren’t prepared this year, but we will next! Even though we took quite a few things, we thought of more to take next year: hopefully I will be able to crochet by then, some eggs, walnuts. The fair circuit is just fun, plus all the yummy fair food! I feel bad for people who live in big cities. They miss out on all the fun of a small town county fair! 🙂

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Of Ribbons and Yarn

Went to pick up the ribbons and jars today. Took Kid with me, and she thought this was the greatest thing. I gave her one of the white ribbons and a dollar for her pickles she made.

She had fun telling the lady at the fair that “her momma lives on a farm, and has chickens, and rabbits, and horses, and her favorite horse was Ivy.” It was rather cute

I am also teaching her to crochet. But I have to learn better first. 🙂 She learned a single chain though, and we made her a necklace

So, Kid and I had a nice quiet weekend together. ❤

An Update On Ivy

Ivy has been doing rather well lately. We took her off of bute a nd put her on this vitamin deal that tastes like apples and doesn’t have bute in it. It is supposed to be much gentler on her stomach. We held our breaths for a few weeks, but there was no negative change. In fact, with the cooler weather she has wanted to walk more, wihch is good for her leg. She is still limping but I think if she walks more she can gain more control over her leg. She has wanted to walk and investigate, and today she was tossing her head and kicking bc she was happy to be out in the nice cool weather.

She, for some reason, did a second shed recently, and has changed color. She’s a darker grey with dapples.

I am feeling very blessed, because when she was hurt in April, I thought we may only have a couple weeks with her before her quality of life diminished and we would have to say goodbye. Every year, the farm who bred and raised Holly and Ivy brings a few foals to the county fair to advertise them. That is where we met our girls, and fell in love. When Ivy was hurt, and I was beside myself, I said perhaps this fall we could purchase her sister (cousin/half sister/whatever there was). Yesterday we were there, and they had weanlings, and I was SO happy that my beautiful beautiful girl was safe and happy at home.

I love her so much. Thankful for every day.

It’s that time again: fair season!

It’s FAIR SEASON!

We went to the first of the local fairs (I live right on the county line) today. I took twelve jars of canned goods, a macrame necklace I made, the glass canister I painted, and the rooster painting I did this past winter.

I racked up! Best year for ribbons so far. The glass canister and the macrame necklace won first place

I have long coveted the first place canning ribbons bc they say canning and have little jars on them, and finally I won one! I won for my pickled cherry tomatoes. I also won several second place ribbons for green tomato relish, pepper relish, and wax beans. I won third place for potatoes, corn, squash, string beans…and something else I can’t seem to remember at the moment

I can’t wait for the next fair!

Meal Prep for Week Of September 14th

It’s Meal Prep Day again! I love meal prep day. Each time I have done this it consistently takes about two hours to do all the prepping, cooking, and cleaning, and then I am done for the week!

I made sweet potato biscuits last night. I dont know what I did wrong, but they were not good. I bought some whole wheat flour  awhile back, and nothing I have made with it has been good. So, the dogs will get them. Not a huge loss, and they won’t be a waste since the puppies will enjoy them.

I also put a pack of chicken thighs in the crockpot with our homemade bbq sauce we made last weekend. I took out some collards and squash from the freezer, and when I got home from church, every thing was thawed and the chicken was cooked.

Here is the food and the cost breakdown (which is my favorite part)

Breakfast: boiled eggs. I boiled 10 and will have two each day for breakfast

Cost: 0, cause I got the eggs from the farm, and I don’t pay for the laying mash 😉 Admittedly, some of the cost effectiveness of this plan is I get a lot of produce and meat in exchange for the work I do picking and canning for both families.

Lunch: Burritos with shredded chicken from the farm, salsa verde, black beans from a can, chives, and a sprinkling of cheese. I also made some rice.

Cost: 1.50 for burritos, idk how to calculate the chicken…I will say 1 based on the costs I had for the chicks and the amount I canned, .50 for the beans (hit a sale), nothing for the chives, 1.00 for the rice and a 1.00 for the cheese (used half a 2.00 bag). Salsa verde I made last year, and made from green tomatoes, jalapenos, and onions, all from the farm.

Total: 4.00 for 5 lunches

Supper: Baked chicken thighs in the bbq sauce, with two of the following: squash, collards, potatoes, and corn. All veggies are from the farm. The bbq sauce cost 17 dollars to make 11 pints, but that was Dad’s project, and I got a quart for helping.

Cost: 5 dollars for the thighs. Veggies all from the farm. Collards are ridiculously cost efficient by the way bc a little packet of seeds yields a LOT of collards.

Total: 5.00 for 8 dinners.

Total Cost for the week: 9 dollars for 5 breakfasts, 5 lunches, and 8 dinners is 9.00. Let’s add another 1.00 for anything I am leaving out, like any oil I used and seasonings, so 10 dollars total.

I am looking forward to the burritos. Yum yum.

News and Notes Around the Farm

We finally got the canning kitchen done, but we are still decorating, so I am still postponing the Big Reveal. We are getting a new freezer this weekend, which is very good because hunting season is coming.

Next weekend fair season starts.I have a box of jars that are contenders. I will need to get them together and take them in Tuesday or Wednesday next week. I am very excited.

Ivy is…I don’t know if improving is the word, but she isn’t getting any worse. We stopped giving her bute and have switched to Buteless, which is over the counter (available at Tractor Supply), and is much more gentle on her stomach. We held our breaths for a while, because we were worried she would be worse off the bute and not able to get up. We have always said that once she was in pain and couldn’t get up, we wouldn’t make her suffer. However and very happily, she has really done well on the Buteless. In fact, she seems to be walking farther and quicker. I know she probably won’t ever get totally better, but she is very happy little girl. She loves her pets and her treats and grass and walks. She gives kisses and nickers happily. She just limps. And as long as she is happy, we will do everything we can to take care of her.

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The little white rabbits are really growing. We butchered the old red doe and two of the bucks grow outs. We are keeping the big buck and the two does, at least for now.I asked to keep the strawberry colored doe kit since we dispatched the old doe. She is such a pretty color. They are not nice rabbits though. They will scratch you and slice your arm up!

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The white rabbits aren’t as pretty, but don’t scratch half as bad. Alas.

We foud some paw paws down in the pasture. They cannot be canned, but I peeled them and got the seeds out and froze three bags of two cups each. It was right much work, but…food is food. They smell really good and I think they will be good in a cake topped with cool whip.

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We went yardsaling last week and got TONS of great deals for Brother, who is expecting his first child, Nephew, in December! In amongst the excellent baby finds, I got a HUGE lot o yarn for five dollars and decided to take up crochet. I bought a hook for 1.27 at Walmart and watched some You Tube videos. It is slow going, but I am getting there.

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And those are all of the updates! Always something happening!

Happy farming!

Homemade Barbecue Sauce

Over the weekend we made barbecue sauce, and it is seriously the best I have ever had. We used the recipe from a jar of Grandma’s Molasses, and had Brother, who is a cook, figure out the correct ratios to make a big batch. Here is what we came up with:

four jars of Grandma’s Molasses

3 quarts of pizza sauce

1 container of dijon mustard

3 ounces Texas Pete

5 ounces Worchestire sauce

12 tsp garlic powder

3 cups apple cider vinegar

4 processed peppers (we used banana peppers)

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I filled the jars up and processed them in the waterbath canner for 15 minutes. We will also be keeping them in the cabin fridge, because I am not following a tested canning recipe.

Next week for my meal planning, I am going to do barbecue chicken. I can’t wait to use this!

Happy homesteading!

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A Letter to my Former Self

Dear Past Me,

Girl, I just had to thank you for your work and foresight. You know how you have always been worried we would lose our part time job? Well, it has happened, and as you figured, money is tight. Of course it would happen after the old truck died and we can to replace it. We got a used car, but there’s still a car payment.

Still, as you know, there are always things to be grateful for. We have a roof over our heads, and the bills are being paid. We still have our full time job, and Mister has his. And we have plenty of food to eat, thanks to you!

Past Me, thank you for all those hours you spent over the hot pressure canner. You have created so many delicious meals that we do not have to pay for. Thank you for drying the food in the dehydrator; those spices are really making these meals delicious.Thank you for buying meat when it was on sale and putting it in the freezer. Those barbecue chicken thighs are going to be delicious next week. Thank you for helping Dad butcher and process the deer, rabbit and chicken. Our freezer is full, and our grocery bill small.

Thank you for couponing. All that rice you bought for 2 cents a pound, (all the bags people laughed at you for buying) are really stretching our meals now. Those salsa jars you canned, even after everyone said you had enough, they are making amazing burritos to take to work.

Thank you for couponing and cutting out those coupons. Thank you for buying all the shampoo, even when others said, really, why are you buying ten bottles? When we are running out of toothpaste, soap, shampoo, or laundry detergent, we don’t have to worry about how we will manage until the next pay day. We just go to the closet or reach under the sink and take out another bottle. And thanks to you, Past Me, we can do this for quite a few more months, giving us time to either pay off some things or find another job (or both!).

The shopping you did in January, when toys were marked way down, and other things were half price or cheaper, is a life saver. Most of Christmas is already purchased and paid for. The Kid will have more than enough presents under the tree. Between that and a few homemade gifts, this may even be the best Christmas ever. I remember when you second-guessed yourself, Past Me, as you picked up another discounted board game, and I remember you saying to us, “you know, we never know what tomorrow will hold. Let’s go ahead and get this while we have the money and it is a good price.” You made good choices, Past Me.

Past Me, you have made some mistakes. And I hate to break it to you, but I am still making mistakes. We have learned some lessons, but there is always more to learn. But there were many things you did well to stock our pantry and our home, and for that, I must thank you.

Much love,

Current Me