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I am a 50+ yr old stay at home wife of a scientist/Military man.  I raise chickens for eggs, rescue dogs & cats & spoil them all.  I am a silver/metal smith & stained glass artist.  I, at one time was an secondary art teacher & Social Studies teacher.  I am sorta a eclectic earth mother who recycles everything I can get my hands on.  Enjoy working with power tools & even built my own 10ft by 6ft chicken coop.  am pretty much interested in learning everything I can thur books, magazines & friends. I enjoy veggie gardening & doing gardens just for the chickens. I also sew & love making pioneer style comfortable clothes for myself & adding vintage lace when I can find it. I am pretty easygoing, but need my coffee first before I am ready to face the world & day.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

When did living off grid need so many lists? Hand cramp!!!

Good Afternoon everyone!

Well since the last Blog I have been busy drying tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, cantaloupe & smoked Deer roast I had done & already sliced in the freezer.  It will be ready to take out of the dryer in a bit & in goes Brussels sprouts.  I also have a oven full of corn on the cob drying as well...it takes longer but with all I am doing its nice to just check it when i remember & not have to worry about it.

Did you know living a so called normal life & going to totally off gird is really not as easy as you would think??!!  The list of things I need to take with me is growing by the day, at 53 I don't want to forget something I may need for like a very cold winter.  This has proved to be tougher than just boxing up your stuff to move into a new house or apartment.  With that type of move you get rid of the things that are worn out, trash, don't fit, broken & so on.  After all the moves in my life I am pretty good at that form of moving.....

I have lived off grid in my life time, but I went into it with what I already had & just hoped for the best to get through it.  At 22 yrs old it was ok to eat only Bing cherries off the only tree you had with food for 2 months......or the time I had 5 pounds of potatoes & had to learn to stretch them along with 1 bag of popcorn for 30 days.

Now I am planning this off grid experience so its good in many ways but in others it can drive a person batty...not that I am not already batty but do I need to be more batty?

To give you an example of what I will need so I am not struggling, here is a small list of just kitchen things I have written down:
1 plate
1 bowl or big enamel soup cup for my soups/oatmeal
2 forks
2 spoons
2 knifes
sharp knives
big spoons for cooking.stirring etc
hand can opener
small cheese grater for grating soap for shampoo, laundry & floor cleaning
Water pitcher with filters, I may not like the taste of the well water so this is a must.
my enamel pots, since I use them for everything from cooking to washing dishes & clothes.
tongs, big wooden spoons for cooking, stirring washing in hot water
ziplock bags for when I dry herbs, vegs & so on...no room for lots of jars of any kind
few big plastic bowls for mixing biscuits, etc
bottle opener so I can open my canned things like condensed milk
Water jugs for drinking water
hand rags/towels

Now, that does not as you can see include the foods....that list is large but since its all mainly dried, I can store it into my 5 gallon buckets that have gamma lids.

As you can see, its really not like camping which one person told me to think like...Well I have camped many a times & the list is a lot shorter needless to say.....But the concept is a good one to help me get in the right frame of mind.

Another thing I realized, is I may have very few times when I am able to get to town so toilet paper is a big issue...so being who I am, I am buying cheap 2 ply toilet paper & will split the plies so I get two rolls from one.....so that 24 rolls of double rolled toilet paper now becomes 48 rolls for me.......Should be a amusing thing to do on a slow night in my rocking chair...dividing a roll of toilet paper for using...lol

Also the change of my diet..though right now or ever has it been good,  I eat one real meal maybe a day...some days I don't even do that....big fan of crackers & peanut butter.....But at least when I am needing it, I can get meat or the proteins I need....well there, the only meats I will have ready are dried & will be eating a lot of beans for the proteins I need. I will also be taking 5 pound of creamy peanut butter with me which I love eating by the spoonfuls ever so often if I have no crackers.  I hate taking pills, but will take a years worth of adult gummy bear vits with me so I have some what of a good balance  for my body.

Except for the toilet paper the items for bathing & so on fit in one small laundry basket at least.  I am bring light weight towels so they dry faster especially in the winter, lots of wash clothes for the days I just take a sponge bath, lots of my homemade soaps & of course good coco butter lotion I have for my super dry skin.

Then of course, there is all the chicken stuff I need to take since I can't just go out & get chicken feed when I want.  I have many 50 pound bags of oatmeal, stone/steel cut oats, 7 grain mix in flakes & whole grains, flaxseed, wheat germ, cornmeal & wheat bran that needs to be mixed all together & put in good containers to get them through the winter, some of it will be mixed with the regular chicken feed as well.  Each winter I make the chickens a hot breakfast with the items listed above in either yogurt, regular milk or powdered milk.

I have found by doing that, it helps them when they are first let out of the coop to warm up & not suffer from severe frost bite.  I have noticed less chest/lung colds also doing this.  I do have quite a few hens & a rooster who have a very large comb, so this seems to help keep their bodies & combs warmer.  On top of that I do cracked corn just before they head to the coop to sleep...the corn gives them the sugars to burn off at night so they stay warmer then as well.

There is a old silo on the farm with a lot of cracked corn in it still...its not fresh but its something they can have to help in the winter.

Now you all know there will be electricity on the main farm so I have to take all my power tools with me to help with repairing & building while there.  So though I will be totally off grid I still have to have electricity for that...which means more things to take....Not that I mind, but it will sure be a packed U-haul by the time I am done with everything.  I haven't even started that part yet, since its all in my big work shed & needs to all be pulled out & checked...I know my skill saw needs a new blade & so does my table saw....but that will get to later just a few weeks before I leave as getting the things for me & the chickens is crazy enough.

With all that is going on, I have not gotten to build the solar cooker or dryer...but those I can at least get measured out & cut & when I get there, I can put them together when I need to have them...right now they are not that important so its on the back burner, but remembered.  I did buy the foil at a discount store for the solar cooker/oven & have the pallets ready to be cut, so at least I have that part done.

As many of you know I am involved in the Mary Jane (magizine) site that has a chat room sort of thing.  I am bartering a bunch of my home steading/farm/outdoor crafts books with the girls (hens) for things I can use while gone.  Today I got a lovely gallon bag of homemade non-nut trail mix with raisins, cranberries, coconut flakes & other dried fruits to take with me.  Another hen made me 2 pounds of really nice homemade dried laundry soap.   Last week I got a wonderful box of dried zucchini, tomatoes & so on to make in my dried soup mixes.

I love bartering for things, that way I get rid of the things I don't need or use & get something back I can use.  I bartered with my neighbors father for a bushel of corn in trade for my eggs.  I got them 2 days ago & already have them blanched & 28 cups stored in the freezer for hubby while I am away...The corn I have in the oven drying will be about 8 cups of dried corn when all done for me.  Plus I plan to keep some as seed to grow in my garden next spring as this corn is wonderful.

Speaking of gardens...there's another big list, at least all the seeds I am collecting/buying/getting take up little room, but I need other things like a good shovel, my hoe, rain barrels, watering cans & so on for it...I also have some organic dried fertilizer I got just for this, as I want to make sure the dirt is at its best up there.

So as you can see my brain is somewhat numb from all the things I have to remember & write down.  I did find that going from room to room was the best way to see what I needed or don't need....but even then I still find things later I put on the list.

Ok, tired of that so will tell you about Moonlite.  She seems to be doing very well,  I love watching her run around near Momma, but sometimes looks up & realizes Momma is farther away than she thought.  I have an old enamel wash tub I fill with feed for the kids & on nice days set it out in the yard, this morning Moonlite was in it eating away while CeeCee (rooster) was trying to not peck her while he ate as well.  Too bad I didn't have my camera then as it would have been a very cute photo.  This little dustball & the big ole tough rooster having a meal togehter.  Poor Prudence will not get off her eggs & I think they ar duds as some should have hatched by now, so think tomorrow I will kick her out & close up the coop.  She is getting quite thin even though she is eating so its time to stop this.

Lauria, my crooked neck hen is doing good, right now she is sleeping by my feet as I type. She will get some outside time later on today once it cools down a bit.  She needs a bath really bad, but I know she would be happier playing in the dirt right now...so I will let her be for now.

My book has been selling & I am quite happy about that.......I just hope the poeple who bought it enjoy it & can use it for their chickens.  I broke down & bought a book binding machine since to take it in was a 1 1/2 hour drive on top of the high cost to bind each book....it will take 5 more books selling to re-coop the cost of it which will be nice for me.  Plus since its not electric & hand done, I don't have to have electricity to do that part of the book....another big plus.

Well the laundry is calling for me to get it done so best close for now.

have a wonderful chicken day....M' & crew






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