Tuesday Thoughts

  • As you have probably realized, we were out of town this weekend. Lily, Matt and I went on a campus tour of UNC-W on Friday. We drove down on Thursday and stayed until Sunday.
  • I spent an hour on the beach, we all enjoyed the lazy river, kids played in the pool. Putt Putt was enjoyed as well as a campfire and a couple of card games.
  • We also went to the outlets and enjoyed several hours of shopping
  • We have cleaned and winterized the camper. This includes using it as storage for coolers and plastic totes.
  • I started a batch of pear sauce and have plans to use the new electric canner this week.
  • We are staying very busy. I am still overwhelmed at work. Hopefully this will improve in October.
  • My health is improving, and I am hopeful to avoid a second surgery this year.
  • We have finally turned off the air conditioning which is very late for us. I would love to go any entire month with needing heat or air but the chances are very slim at this point.
  • After returning we have opened the rest of the chicken coop. The chickens are enjoying the extra space and practice flying from one end of the other. We have a automatic door to install but that is down the list.
  • My goal for the remaining three month include reducing the grocery budget and working our way through the freezer and pantry. I would love to do a no shopping challenge but not sure I am ready for that additional stress.
  • The garden is changing as well. We have added the rotating bottoms to the green stocks, we need to dig out sweet potatoes and plant that with carrots. The green beans are finishing and I need to purchase worms to add for the end of summer as well.

5 Things Friday

  1. We are still running our a/c with no end in sight. In fact next week, we are supposed to see temperatures reach 90*. I love summer and this warm weather is still extremely nice.  I know all good things must come to an end, but I am all about enjoying the last few weeks of warmth!
  2. We are starting to clean out the garden. I have been pulling a lot of dead plants and plan to go ahead and pull out the watermelon this weekend. I also have some lettuce cabbage and broccoli starting to grow as well.  I have been able to harvest green beans FINALLY!  Matt harvested 53 pears today as well. It appears that most have some bad spots, but I am hopefully to enjoy a couple and maybe even freeze a few.
  3. Lily has scheduled a couple of college visits over the next couple of months. I am excited but nervous as the expense of college is overwhelming for at least 3 more kids. I am currently encouraging her to stay at home and commute to college, but we shall see.
  4. Zach is enjoying playing football and all the kids have decided that high school football is a cool event. I am thankful that Zach is being allowed to play each game and so far a broken bracket is all the damage.
  5. After lots of research and debate, I have decided to purchase an electric/ digital canner. I am hopefully that this will take the scary part of canning away and allow me to preserve summer items for use all year long.  I also considered a dehydrator and freeze dryer but decided to try this first as it is a significantly less of an investment than the freeze dryer. Dehydrating is another option but I am currently using the green house to complete this on a small scale so purchasing equipment does not seem like the best thing to do right now!

5 Things Friday

  1. I was able to plant my fall garden today. It consisted of 2 types of lettuce, broccoli and cabbage.  I am planning to plant a batch of carrots when the sweet potatoes are dug up. I think we are at the end of the tomato run but anticipate one to two tomatoes a week for until the end of September. I may have enough green beans to make a meal out of the third round of green beans I planted. We also are getting cucumbers and squash! This has probably been the best garden we have ever had.
  2. The chickens have learned to climb up and down the ramp to the coop independently after 2 days. We are still working on getting them to go up at night but hopefully this will happen in a couple of days. I did decide to add a water container to the coop at night. I just want to make sure that they can drink if they don’t realize it is time to be locked up.
  3. Zach is currently playing football at the middle school. Games will be on Wednesday.
  4. I survived my first day back at work. I know that I am going to be fairly busy this year but it is good to have a routine.
  5. We are hoping to finish up the new cabinet in the dining room this weekend. I will have to spend a chunk of time rearranging to make things appear less cluttered and more functional.

Thursday Thoughts

  • The chickens have officially moved outside!  We made the move yesterday. We did install a temporary door that has to be manually opened and closed. I actually went out at 6:28am this morning to open the door. Lily also went down and helped them exit the coop this morning.   We did decide to order and install an automatic door that should arrive in the next couple of weeks.  This will allow us to open and close the door remotely once the chickens have learned to go into the coop each night.  The expense of the chicken has finished increasing, I hope. I did use a gift card to order the outdoor chicken feeder. I spent $32 on a watering container and the door was $99.   Again, this confirms that these are pets.
  • Today is my last day of summer break.  I did a couple of errands, including having the Tahoe cleaned and attempted to mow the yard but managed to get the mower stuck. We all have haircuts this evening as well.
  • My plan is to make a couple of batches of stuffed peppers today. One for next week and one will be placed in the freezer for future use. I also want to try a batch of tomato soup just to see if it will turn out.  I also have a couple of new recipes for dinner as well. Sounds like a lot of cooking so we will see how it goes.  Yesterday after cooking most of the summer, I ordered pizza for the first time all summer.
  • I am actually kind of excited to go back to work and get in a regular routine again!

Saving on Saturday

This week we saved money by using what we have!!!  When we decided to purchase chickens, I did not want to purchase or even make a brooder box. The reason being my plan is for this to be a one-time experience. In the future, when we need to replace the current chickens because they have stopped laying, I will purchase pullets that are almost ready to lay.

To start with I grabbed a large plastic tote, that we have collected after donating items from my building. This worked well for the first 3 weeks. As the chick’s got bigger, I added a screen that we had used in the past on top of the rain barrel.  However, this week the chickens were even bigger, and I honestly think they could jump out of the plastic tub. I also wanted to add a roast as they were sitting on the top of the food and water containers, I called it playing “king of the hill”.

My mother offered a box that she received from Walmart. To be honest this is likely the biggest box I have seen in a long time!
The screen is again the one from a rain barrel that we are no longer using. The box was FULL of brown paper, so we decided to shred it to use as bedding.  Kendall shredded 2 full shedders from the packaging. We used one each time we change the inside which is every couple of day at this point due to the smell.  Matt helped by drilling a hole in the side of the box and we used an old scrap of wood for a roast.

Happy Chickens at no cost!

5 Things Friday

  1.  This is my final week of Summer Break!  Lily actually starts college classes on Monday. I go back to work next Friday with Zach and Kendall actually returning to school on the 29th!  We do have a quick Disney trip plan so that makes things a little easier.
  2. The chickens have received an upgrade housing with total out of pocket expense of ZERO!  I am going to share pictures and plans Tomorow.
  3. I have been selling items on both Facebook marketplace and ebay. We currently need $14 to cover the cost of a new sunshade!
  4. We have a small list of things that I need to accomplish in the next week including, oil change for Tahoe, ordering glasses and contacts and a good stock up Costco trip.
  5. The garden is really slowing down.  I froze tomato sauce on Monday and will likely freeze some diced tomatoes today.  I am really excited to also pick several cucumebers!

Tuesday Thoughts- Updates

  • I am going to turn off the heat lamp on the chickens tonight. Last night, I heard them several times and they woke me up.  Today they have been sleeping most of the day.  They are around 3-4 weeks old today. I k now they will let me know if they are cold, but I enjoy my sleep way to much to have chickens wake me up!
  • Speaking of chickens, the current topic for discussion/ debate… should I go ahead and purchase 2-3 more older chickens they will begin to lay eggs in the next couple of weeks?  I can buy either a dozen eggs or a chicken at this point for the same price. I already have the everything to support the chickens so they would be the only expense.  I am concerned about everyone getting along up front…….
  • I have spent quite a bit of time in the kitchen today.  I used 2 pounds of sausage and a dozen eggs to make up additional 9 breakfast today. I made up 25 omelet bags and 16 breakfast “hot pockets”
  • We harvest enough apples from our apple tree to make a batch of apple butter!  First real harvest from these trees that we planted several years ago!
  • We have earned 3/4 the money we need to purchase a new sun shade for the beach next year by selling on Facebook marketplace.  I also have several items listed on ebay so hopefully we can easily meet this goal.
  • I have been sent several “free” offers this month. Including $20 at Belk’s, which I used Monday to purchase a sweater and holiday shirt. I have $20 for Lane Byrant which I am going to use either this week or next and $25 at Old Navy.  Hoping for a few more for my birthday!
  • I have been focusing on spending 15 minutes a day in the garden so that I don’t become so overwhelmed.  Between Kendall and myself we have cleared the blueberry bed of weeds again. The garden beds are staying weed free as well. I have pulled up several squash and bean plants in order to clear out space for some fall gardening, I also with the help of Matt added dirt to a couple of beds! My goal is to plant on August 15th which is 2 months before our expected first frost date.
  • Because the house has not had a good cleaning in several month. I told the kids that we are increasing the expectation to 8 chores a day for the next 2 weeks. The goal is to get everything super clean before heading back to school.
  • 9 days of summer break left!

5 Things Friday

  1.  Shout out to myself!  This is the 8th day in a row that I have posted! And the 5th post for the month of August on the 5th!
  2. I am finally feeling back to normal this week which means I am starting to catch up on all the things I planned to do this summer!  This really does help my mood and energy level to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
  3. We are continuing to harvest from the garden! This week, I planted some pumpkins and have hopes to start a fall garden including lettuce and spinach in the next couple of days!  We are also starting to plant some things in the chicken coop area which will make it both pretty and functional!
  4. I have been wanting to list things on Marketplace and Ebay all summer and today was the official day to complete. I have 5 active listing on Ebay and 7 on Facebook marketplace. I know we have at least 2 additional listing to make on Marketplace tonight.  The goal for this clean out is $250 to purchase a pop-up sunshade for beach use next year.
  5. The chickens are continuing to grow. We have turned off the heat light. The book we have been following said to start decreasing their constant temperature by 5 degree this week. The set point would be 75*. The air in our house is currently set at 74 for the day and 72 at night.   So we decided to go ahead and try without the lamp.  They did great last night so I am going to continue. We also are trying to get them outside at least a couple of hours a day right now. I hope to move to daytime outside next week with full time outside the next week.  Because it is summertime, this is a much quicker and easier process. Even when going outside full time the plan is to have them in a coop each night just to start that training process. A very sad update, this afternoon one of the chickens (Gummy) died.  We had been watching her closely today as she moved to the corner and was sleeping.  Not quite sure why it happened but we cleaned and cleaned the cage so hopefully this will be the only lost.