Saturday, July 30, 2011

Preparedness Challenge #19

This week, I picked up more canning jars. I also stocked up on some food items. With the air conditioning getting put in next week, I checked into getting a plug put in for a freezer and it won't be happening in this house. This complicates my food storage a lot. :( However, it is fine & I will make due with what we have and it is ok. God is good all the time. :)

I have been doing some 'spring' cleaning this week too and have gotten rid of some things that we just don't need any more. If I had my way, I would get rid of a lot more. I am cleaning out my closet today and will go thru clothes, get the dust bunnies out and make room for my BOB's and just things I want to hold on to, but don't want to be 'out' in the room.

The History channel airs a show called Modern Marvels. Well yesterday they did a show called "built to last", and one of the featured companies was a company called Radius Engineering International, Inc. Have you heard of them? They build bomb shelters.  One of the most interesting parts of this segment was that they claim to have their product in almost every major city, with a bunch of these units in Washington DC! I went to the website and looked around. They had small shelters all the way up to what looked like a small commune. There was too much information to go in to on the site, but it was an interesting site, Google it when you can and check it out.

That is it for me, just plugging along. Enjoy your weekend. :)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Air Conditioning Woes - In Florida

Next week we are going to have to replace our 53 year old heat pump. It is water to air and just not conducive to use in our house anymore. I hate the thought of spending money on something that is not even broken, but there are other factors in our decision.

As I said, its water to air unit which means it uses water from our well. There has been a great strain on our well lately so this is one reason why we are changing it out. I can't believe how little water pressure we have and throughout the day the water just gets less and less. We are praying this will fix the water situation and that we won't have to dig a new well.

The second reason is because of the electric bill for running the well. It. Is. High. Too high and since the unit is so old and really needs replacing we are going to bite the bullet and just do it. We researched and came up with a three ton, hybrid. When it needs to it will be running as a 3 ton, but when the house is cool or warm enough it will drop down to a 2 ton, using less electricity and (I assume) less wear on the unit itself.

The company we are going with can use the original duct work but we will have to have some electrical work done. They will put the unit on part of our patio area; and the ugly old water purifiers that are there will be hauled away. While they are doing the electrical work I am going to see about having them put an outlet outside, in the (covered) carport area, a 220 volt outlet for a small freezer! I have wanted one forever so hopefully this will work out and I can blog about it for the Preparedness Challenge update one of these weeks. :)

Thanks for reading! Have a stupendous weekend!
Head over to The Homestead Revival tomorrow for the Preparedness Challenge.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Grandbaby Update :)

Well, today we found out what my daughter is having! It's a...


And his name is going to be Kai.

He is tiny, she is 16 weeks and this is a 4D sonogram.

In Hawaiian, it means "the sea" and in Greek it means "keeper of the keys; earth".

I can't WAIT to meet him!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Barn Hop #21

Garden Update for the Barn Hop!.

I have been planning my fall garden and have about 2 weeks to get the soil and garden area ready for seeds. It is way hot still but I am going to give it a shot for the veggies that can be planted in August. :) I love to use the website to plan my garden. It is only $25 per year and I think, worth it. The program will remember my spring garden and warn me if I am going to replant something in the same space rather than rotating the crops among other things. It is really fun to play with. Anyone with snow in their future could plan to their hearts content waiting for spring time. :)

My potatoes did well this year. I was happy because it was my first shot & I am definitely going to plant them again next spring but I will plant a lot more plants. I didn’t get a ton of them, but overall, I am very happy with the outcome. These are some of the Yukon Golds. I haven't dug the "Red Cloud" as of yet. My little niece is on vacation this week and she wants to help dig them up so I will wait for her to get back. :) I highly recommend Wood Prairie farms, if anyone is interested, for the spring planting.

I had a small watermelon on my vine, but an animal snuck in again and ate it. Boo. It is totally my fault, but I have learned a lot this year and hopefully, next spring, the garden will be better. My tomatoes tried, they really did, but I got them out too late and I think the heat got to them. The beans, pumpkins and peppers too. I did notice that a lot of my plants closer to the house did better so I will be moving them closer in the fall and then again the spring. I think the animals are afraid to come close to the house so that is a good deterrent. :) Fencing will also be added and I have definitely decided to build some kind of square foot gardening boxes. I tried the "bed in a bag" method and it worked, but not well for me.  

I have decided not to have bees for now. I miss them though. I loved watching them in the sunlight, and knowing how hard they work and all the good they bring to the world really inspires me. I may reconsider down the road, but for now I am not bringing them back. I love reading about all of your adventures with them so for now, that will have to do. Luckily, I still have a local honey source. :)

I really wanted to make the trip to Seven Springs, PA for the Mother Earth Fair, but am not sure I will be able to make it. If not this year, then perhaps next year will do it. :)

Click on the button above to join in the fun!  
Happy Homesteading! Have a wonderful week.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Preparedness Challenge #18

This week for the Preparedness Challenge I worked on my food storage. You can never do enough and you will always rotate so this is a good thing.

I purchased a few of the Gamma Lids. I have been collecting the 3 and 5 gallon (food grade) pails and am excited to see them work. I have been getting the pails for free at my local grocery store bakery. They don't mind, but they are far and few between so it has taken a while to collect some. I think someone else has the same idea, lol. Here is the 'skinny' on the lids:

The Gamma Seal Lid:
  • Fits Universally on 3.5 to 7 Gallon Buckets/Pails
  • Re-seals Your Bucket Quickly
  • Stackable
  • Simple Color Organization
  • Easy Opening Lid
  • Airtight & Leak proof Gaskets
  • Heavy Duty and Durable
They come in a lot of different colors too. I purchased white ones. I can't wait to put the rice, flour, sugar and oats in them and see how they do for our family.

I also scoured the grocery flyers, but they weren't very good this week and we are good with what we have. I will continue to work on food this week.

I have been looking at pressure canners. I have a water bath canner and can can the tomato sauces, jellies and jams, but I want to put up other vegetables. I have had real good luck finding jars at garage sale lately too. I have to buy the lids and rings, but so far, the jars have been perfect.

 These are all the instructors pressure canners!

So, a couple of Saturdays ago I took a canning class. It was at our local county extension office and the class was very full. It was advertised to be for meat and/or vegetables and she did carrots. I have taken the class before but for some reason, this time, I got so much more out of it and feel totally comfortable using a pressure canner.

filling the jars with carrots

She was patient with all of us and answered all our questions. We went about a half an hour over the class time but she didn’t mind at all.  So now I am on the hunt for a good pressure canner. I am leaning towards buying new though. I just want to make sure it is in proper working order and would hate to waste money on one that does not work right.

some veggies she had done before

Thanks for reading and click the Preparedness Challenge button above to join in the fun!
Have a great week!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Barn Hop #20!

It has been a while for me, but I thought I would join in this week. Things around here have been so hot. My garden is all but gone. I didn't get much out of it this season, but that is ok. It is all a learning process for me. I did get a few potatoes so far this week and there are more to come! :)

It has also been wet around here and the ground has produced a lot of these...

All kinds of those as a matter of fact. Red ones, orange ones, white ones and brown ones. I would like to check out a book to see if any are edible.

That is about it around here for now. We have had lots of family in this month with more to come and have taken a few little day trips. I am going to start planning my fall garden very soon.

Thanks for reading. To join in the Barn Hop, go here.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tubing down the river part II

I am slightly behind on this post but I hope you will enjoy the pictures just the same. This beautiful water is 72 degrees all year long and so nice and cool when it is sooo hot and muggy out. My camera lens kept fogging up as I would take the camera out of the water so forgive the water spots. Enjoy.

part of the gang! There were 15 of us!
foggy because of the heat!
looking up from underwater. :)

again, looking up, looks like a mouth

there were 3 little otters playing under the tree.

this was an "adjustment" spot in the river, lol

pretty water

a nice picnik lunch at the end.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ever heard of MyPoints?

Have you heard of MyPoints? I am a member and love it. It is a Reward website similar to Ebates and it works like this:

How MyPoints Works

Earn Points

  • Earn Points for doing what you already do online: shopping, reading emails, playing games, searching the web, taking surveys, and more!
  • The more you do, the more Points you'll earn.

Shop or Book Travel

  • All the stores and brands you already love and trust are in one place, making shopping, booking travel and earning Points a breeze.
  • Find the best products, prices and deals.

Redeem Rewards

  • Use your Points to get gift cards for nearly 100 different stores and restaurants -- or enjoy gas cards, airline miles and hotel discounts. You pick the rewards you want.
  • Gift cards are quickly delivered to your door, free of charge.

I like to use this during the year for birthdays and also for the holidays. Especially during the holidays as it is a very good time to take advantage of point values that are usually doubled or tripled and they have bonuses too. I LOVE getting the coupons too. Most grocery stores don't mind, but sometimes the cashiers will ask their managers if they are ok. I have never had a problem and I think with the popularity of grocery coupons being online it is more acceptable than when I first started.

Go to: and check it out. If you want to get referred by me (I get a few points), then just email me your email and I will sign you up! Otherwise, you can go directly to the site and sign up, either way is fine. Then you can get your friends to sign up and get more points!

My total lifetime points is 63,643 point and I usually redeem for dining gift cards. I can usually average one dining card per month. Usually, I turn the point in for restaurant dining cards but with a baby coming in January the points will be even more handy! :)

Enjoy your week!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Preparedness Challenge #16

This week for the Preparedness challenge I continued to take advantage of the BOGO's at the grocery store. I also checked some more books out of the library on preparedness and emergency kits.

I am taking a Meat Canning class later today at our County Extension office. I have found all kinds of good canning jars at garage sales and hope to find some more tomorrow when I am out in the "country" for the class. I am also going by an organic farm that is nearby to get some produce to can. My little garden did not do much this year and I want to practice canning something even if it is just a few jars of ground beef or tomato sauce. It is basic until I can get a better grasp of what I am doing. :)

I will continue to read the many books I need to read and stock up on food items for my pantry.
I hope everyone has a great week.

Link up here for the Preparedness Challenge!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Our Animals...

We have animals on our property. We have raccoons, all kind of birds, owls (they are huge!), opossums, snakes, turtles, frogs, otters, fish and a hawk or two. I am sure we have alligators too, but I haven't seen one in a long time. Rumor has it, if you live on a body of water in Florida, you have gators.

Right now the turtles are laying their eggs. I love it when they do that because when they hatch, we get to see the little buggers waddle down to the closest body of water (we live on 2 lakes and have a pond on property) and splash in, just like a kid would do! The only bad thing about when it is time to lay their eggs is the crows. They caw and make such a ruckus while the poor mama is laying her eggs, and as soon as she is done and away from the nest, they fly down and dig in. I don't like that part but I know it is only nature taking its course.

Well, I have been watching a mama turtle off and on all morning walking all over the place trying to find the perfect spot. (didn't get a picture, forgot the camera). Of course the crows were all over her! Poor little thing. She finally found the perfect spot and laid her eggs. So as soon as she was done and on her way back to the pond, I went over and placed an old milk carrier over it to keep the birdies away. Soon we should have some babies running around. They are so cute when they are little aren't they?

I hope you have an awesome week!
Thanks for reading. :)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Preparedness Challenge #15

I have been remiss the last few weeks as far as my blog goes, I apologize. But I have continued to work on being prepared. Thank goodness.

I have been reading lots of books on homesteading and medicinal herbs. I live on a small piece of property and I am sure there are medicinal herbs growing somewhere on this property. My goals this next month is to hunt them down and identify them, possibly drying them out for storing.

I have started a small library on books that I have checked out of the library. If I like the book, I buy it online and keep it for reference in the future. My latest discovery is Homesteading: A Back to Basics Guide to Growing Your Own Food, Canning, Keeping Chickens, Generating Your Own Energy, Crafting, Herbal Medicine, and More (Back to Basics Guides), Abigail R Gehring. I absolutely love this book. It covers everything from gardening to herbs to building a root cellar. It will make an excellent addition to my little homesteading library.

My garden is pretty much done. It is so hot here that nothing did very well. I have learned a lot this season and really have high hopes for my fall garden. Today I am actually going to go through my seeds to make sure I have what I need to get started. Perseverence is mine. I do have one little moon & stars watermelon, but I don't think it will make it. It is only the size of a nickel, lol. I also have potatoes ready to harvest and will be doing a post on those soon! We had a lot of cool and wet weather this spring and everything went in too late (I believe).

My food storage is lacking a little bit but since the reading of the new book above, I have lots of ideas. I have been looking for a dehydrator and ball jars on Craigs list and have found some jars, but no luck on the dehydrator. I may have to break down and buy one. Also, Likewise Ye Older Women is giving away her ebook on stocking your pantry. It is a free download and you can go here to get it.

We are having a lot of friends and family in this month so I may not be posting much, but will continue on with the preparedness and gardening updates. It is summer time after all and we have another tubing trip planned for this coming Tuesday. Everyone is looking forward to it and there are about 14 of us going (so far). You can be sure there will be pictures to follow.

I linked up to the Preparedness Challenge, will you? Thanks for reading! Have a Happy & safe 4th!


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