"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation.

You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."
Dr. Adrian Rogers 1931-2005

Monday, May 26, 2008

Where IS Jennifer?

Friends...I am taking a month or so off, to complete a task at hand. All is well on the Farm and pray that you know how much that I have appreciated your friendships.

See you all soon...
Jennifer, the humble wife.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Humble Creatures on the Farm

Here are Daisy and Maizy...our newest additions to the farm. Originally we planned on having goats to raise kids to sell, and make goat milk soap. Now we may, on this path of simplicity actually use the milk for our own consumption. Of course, the real blessing is that we have 3 uses for the goats. I think that goats are a great asset to the farm!

Here is part of the new flock. It is a mixed flock, of 19 hens, a rooster and 9 chicks. My thoughts after collecting 25 eggs in 2 days are HIP HIP HURRAY!!! I have observed that 3 are not laying so true to our motto we will be harvesting these for the freezer(No lay no stay). I will watch for a full week, just in case the move caused the ceasing in laying. This flock will totally be for eggs to eat and to hatch to perpetuate the hens we utilize for meat. The Dominique's and Turkens will be to raise to sell the chicks, and for eggs to sell.

Still feeling like I am in a cloud, so as you look out in the sky, you may see me!lol

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tuesday Thoughts

I have read the gloom and doom that so many are making over the food costs. I guess I haven't paid attention of late as I have been working for a while to maximize every product we purchase.

Here is an apple pie I made yesterday. Notice that I used an aluminum tin, as over last Thanksgiving my oldest brought a store bought pie home. I save everything. In fact I try and buy things that will be dual purpose for me. The container can be as worthwhile as the product.

The recipe is one that can be found anywhere, but the ingredients are the key here. I purchased the apples on sale, and these were some from last month(yes nearly 50 days old). After I washed and peeled and cored the apples. I made the pie. For the crust if I make a thin bottom crust and use a cookie cutter for the top I save and only have to make one crust.

But here is the best thing, I boil the skins and cores in a sauce pan filled with about 3 liters of water(equal to 1 1/2 cran juice containers). When I boiled off about a third of the water, I then strained the juice. I poured the juice in a juice bottle added 1/2 cup of sugar and the kids and I enjoyed apple juice! It was yummy! The only difference was that it looked pink, due to the skins. Oh and the peels I then gave to the chickens. So the apples are a great value in this home. The apples probably cost me $1.00.

Guess what I made with my first eggs that the hens gave us?? Banana bread!!!

This is another item that one can save on. The big chains cannot do this, but if you have a local grocer, you can sometimes buy the browning bananas. Friends these are perfect and with the markdown could be great savings.

Here is one more thing to mention, the prepared meals are costly and oftentimes less nutritious as there are many preservatives in them. The thing about meal management and stretching your money is planning and really maximizing all that the item has to offer.

Sunday I baked to whole fryer chickens and ended up with Sunday's dinner(1), homemade chicken noodle soup(2) for lunch, 3 more baggies filled for soups(5), and a meal of large breasts and pieces(6), I then boiled the bones with the veggies in the fridge, peelings(of carrots, potatoes,) garlic cloves, green onions that were looking like death, half a sliced tomato from dinner on Friday, and spices. I saved a pot full for the chicken noodle soup I had planned on making Monday, and the remainder I canned in 2~ 16 ounce jars. Then I took the strained veggies and bones- and put in the bucket for the hens. Boy they love bones!! Again it all was salvaged. Some things go into the compost too.

It is not a situation to take lightly, this stewardship of all we have been entrusted to. We must not ever consider that we are too wealthy or what not. It is now the time to address how we are living. I think that like the post I linked to on Pen of Jen, we are comparing ourselves to Christians here in the US, and do not see any flaws...but friends we are to compare our lifestyle to the Bible and standards set within.

Wealth and consumerism and lacksy daisy life of seeking pleasure are the norm where I live. The references to the Lord that I hear are OMG to leave it crudely. Our clothes, our homes, our temples are flamboyant and filled with the world not of Him. Please do not think that I am suggesting that one become a free living Hippie, but I do believe that one should really assess ones lives.

"What are we doing for Heavens sake?"

"Could another determine that you are a Christian from looking at you?"

Well that is all I have for now, as I have been fighting a spring cold for a few days, and it has hit full force. Time to rest.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Saturday Snapshots

This actually was from last night. The weather here has been really unusual and has me wondering what will happen next.

This is the mountain in Ruidoso NM. I am not sure if you can tell from the photo, but that is snow on the mountain peak. I was speechless when I looked out front.

I must mention here that I live in Southern New Mexico and live in a very arid area. We do have rain in late June and July(and October) but minimal. I believe that the average rainfall for Southern New Mexico is around 8 inches.

Snow in mid-May!!!
The times are rapidly advancing. Are you ready? Unsure what I mean? email questions to mcbenningministries(at) yahoo(dot)com.

Friday, May 16, 2008

This and That

Here's this:
Remember last post, where I described using the Mesquite branches for shade for the chicks? Well this pile was as high as the Mesquite bush behind it. Fire restrictions are high(of course) and to haul these off would be tedious. The pile is woven together like brambles. So as I looked out the window I thought what can we do with this? Slowly but surely I pull out a branch(poke myself in the process~sadly...ouch) and then weave it in the chicken wire. I love that it is low cost...NO cost and provides the chickens with the added shade.

And That:

Last night we had company over and served grilled chicken, Spanish rice, beans, cucumbers, salsa and several sides. My favorite easy meal from leftovers is using chicken and making chicken casserole enchiladas. We cooked about 20 or so legs and thighs last night, and this is what is leftover.

I first pick off all the good meat.
Then I cut it up into small pieces.
Then I take the corn tortillas and shred them. Spray the pan and place the corn tortillas on the bottom of the baking pan.

They will curl a bit and this is fine.
Cover the tortillas with with the chicken.

Shred the rest of the corn tortillas and cover the chicken.

Shake Hatch's Enchilada Sauce, open and cover. Then put on your favorite cheeses.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. This is such an easy meal to prepare and set in the fridge until the evening to heat up. I make the bean enchiladas the same way. Oh and if you do not have access to Hatch's Enchilada Sauce I am so sorry! As this is the most delightful sauce we have ever tasted. It is made here in New Mexico in Hatch of course!!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bits of the Farm

Here is Fourth, today. It is very cold here, that darn global warming bites again!

The duck pen. If you are wondering about the green thing in the background, it was at my local grocery store by the dumpster. I asked the manager if I could salvage this~one because I thought it was cool! and two because it has many purposes. This has four shelves(circular) and this was the banana top to the banana stand that is usually in the cereal aisle. The shelves are currently in the green house.

Here is the new coop yard. It is next to the duck pen, and will house the 19 hens. We will keep the chick brooder with the 9 new chicks with this batch of hens.

Every morning I muck out the coops, and the dust leaves residual on the recycled windows...I wrote a message for my sweetie, can you see it?

Remember the Mesquite trees and the branches with the thorns? We dug out 19 in the backyard. We have a pile of the branches...to get rid of, but I was thinking as I was doing the dishes and came up with this idea. I wove the branches(with many pokes and thorns to my hands) in the chicken wire. This gives shade to the yard in the afternoon. Eventually I will do the top also, and the new coop yard. Happy chickens lay yummy eggs and taste even better!!

Turkens you wonder???They are the brown birds. They have no feathers around the neck and look(to me) creepy. But they are chickens. The white one is a turkey and you can tell a turkey by the little pimple like bump on his head. Here is a photo of what a turken will look like full grown. I went on a tour of a farm that has rare breeds of birds and she had these little ones. She offered the male and female to me to start up breeding and selling turkens. I figured why not? I mean if we do nothing but eat the eggs and raise them, it will be fine with me. And I took the birds others must be willing too, right??lol

Yes, you could definitely say that living in the southwest has inspired this perch. I made this with branches from around the property. We had one perch in the coop, and I knew that they needed more so here it is.

I was not sure if it could be seen clearly so I brought it to the yard, and up a hen jumped to test it in the yard.

I tried to take another shot, bird free...no such luck. That is Colonel Sanders in the shot giving me the once over!

Thanks for visiting me on the farm. I hope you understand that we are trying to reuse or salvage nearly everything that we can, and still live cozy and comfy being the best stewards that we can be.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Double Nickel Census

Farmer's Wife-1
Children-4(one on own)
Guinea pig-1
*we are increasing the flock on Friday...1 new rooster, 19 hens, 9 chicks
**goats are weaned and we will have by Saturday.

*****we waged war on a mouse in the green house...and won, but the casualty rate of plants after months of growing was emotional and shocking. Garden may require store bought plants:(

Surviving plants:
6 potatoes planted
6 bean plants planted in garden beds
lemon tree
10 saplings

We have been busy building new pens, coops, and painting around the home. Spring is a busy, harsh, wonderful time.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Uses for Snow Sled in the Desert

Here are the ducks, and they stayed in the house for a very small amount of time as they are so messy. They love the pond we created on this sunny New Mexico day.

Then the kids wondered if the chickens would like a water pond too, as we have 2 snow sleds. They were nervous at first but most of the hens stepped in and liked the water. I have yet to see Colonel Sanders go in, but I am sure he will.

Oh and the reason we have snow sleds in the desert?

To sled at the White Sands!