You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."
Friday, October 31, 2008
So today I will start with our morns, and what we do. With the animals the morning comes early and regardless of how one *feels*. For Bill his day begins after his usual night of trying to catch an hour or two of sleep. He is nearly 4 years out from the day that changed
For me, I wake and iron Bill's clothes for work and we visit. The kids do the morning routine with the feeding of the animals...and the ducks never seem to sleep. Often a morning discussion occurs around the trunk(coffee table) about something one of has read. For example, today we discussed 'avoiding the very appearance of evil' and the scriptures that accompany this.
Breakfast is so different now that we do not eat cereal...it is either a morn of egg sandwiches, arroz con leche, oatmeal, or first come first serve over leftovers(last night we cooked over the fire pit-and there was yummy meat leftover-the boys split it this morn)...each of the dishes is from scratch and so much better and filling then the cereals. As it continues to get colder we add hot cocoa for mornings. Currently the guys drink coffee. We gals are not coffee fans, so water or the likes is our quencher!
We then have a break, and I get on the computer(after Bill leaves) and the kids disappear. Around 9 we begin house chores, and I clean the kitchen. After house chores we have school and it is based on where we are in the lessons. The kids as a group are working on memorizing something, they also have written and drawn up plans to make something on the farm work more efficiently...Second has an idea about salvaging gray water and directing it to a tank. Fourth has a design to access the fenced in areas of the property. Everything on our farm was modge-podge when we moved in and some things are not too high on priority...Fourth and I struggle to open and close the gate, and the dog actually can manipulate it to open...go figure. Third has not revealed his project, but you get the idea. Hands on ideas and solutions offered by the kids...my favorite way to learn(trial and error).
As morn slowly comes to and end around noon, my daughter or I take out the slop bucket to our little friends. It is a scramble to get something/ anything from the bucket. The chickens go goofball to get any morsel. It is fun to watch, and as a parent I realized that this is the life that I am happy that the children have. I am glad that they are seeing farm life/no living farm life, as it is making all the difference to us all.
Monday, October 27, 2008
I am moving our original compost piles(2) to one area we plan to plant apple trees. The best advice for moving to a climate so extreme as the desert southwest, was to check out the neighborhood and see what the neighbors are growing. Then you know what you can grow.
So we know that apple, pecan, pistachios, and pomegranate trees grow for sure here. So we are going to plant the above listed trees. I do know that some friends in town have a peach tree, and another has a cherry tree, but in the canyon area we live in are the 4 listed. So our orchard is no longer on the drawing board but in the soil/ground prep stage! Yay!
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Our new plan has been inspired by a visit to Mesilla Valley in Las Cruces, New Mexico. We are planning our garden beds as dual purpose, due to the farm animals and varmints wandering around. At Mesilla we saw this:
Tires are free for the picking up! And after much research, we have discovered many people have used tires in their gardening and all works well. Here is a neat link that I found to give you a visual of what I am describing.
So for the night I will retire with the Double Nickel all in bloom in all sorts of tires...I guess our farm motto should be "Don't TRED on me!"
3. Conserve water: Since we don't all lug our water from the stream for home use, we'll have to do a few things to help conserve water. Besides taking shorter showers (5 minutes or less or take a military style shower) and flushing less often, you can create a great reminder about water usage by turning the water off on most of your sinks so when you go to use them nothing comes out. Conserving water in the Southwest is critical. We really do try to remember this at all times. Before we begin I will plot out an estimate of what we use...and set a goal to lower our daily use.
4. Transportation: Walk as much as possible. This will force you to support more local stores if you can't drive across town. If this isn't feasible, then drive or take public transportation. Most importantly, try to combine trips and if you really don't need to go out, stay home!
We have no public transportation out here in the sticks...but we can reduce the trips and have Bill bring in anything that we need...kind of how it is now=)
5. Rethink your entertainment: Instead of spending the week passively watching television or movies, try to engage more with the people you live with or neighbors within walking distance. Get the family back into playing games, music or just sitting around talking and telling stories. If you aren't in the mood for socializing try picking up that long lost craft hobby or start a new one.
This one is a neat rule and I think that we can incorporate some neat projects and games...all the while spending time together.
6. Watch your wallet: Think of this as a Buy Nothing Week. Since you'll be pretty much eating at home or at home all week, you don't really need to buy anything, now do you?
Again this is so easy as we are so careful with every penny.
I guess that this Pioneer Week would have been harder a few years ago...but for the past three years we have been building up to this and I am sure we will be fine. Life on the Double Nickel is most certainly unique but probably not much different than many small farm families across the world.
When we begin the week I will update as needed.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
We have 28 pumpkins!!! We brought the remainder in last eve as it froze the night before and it did freeze last night too. The final 5 were gigantic mammoth pumpkins. One is bigger than a enamel canning kettle. Remember this, these pumpkins did not grow on the ground but up in the snarled poky branches high up...some 5 feet high. God is amazing because now we know how to grow in the desert and keep varmints away until we get fencing.
So another day of making pumpkin puree, pumpkin seeds, and the likes!
oops I originally wrote Job instead of Jonah...I don't know what I was thinking, but realized my error as I pulled out a batch of cookies.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Here is Rule #2 = Energy usage: Keep your energy usage low by keeping the heat low or off, use only one light in the house at a time (or at least turn off the lights when you are not using them) and line dry your clothes. Since you'll be doing a lot of cooking at home, try to coordinate when you are using the oven to take advantage of baking and/or roasting items at the same time. I don't expect you to unplug your fridge or freezer, so don't worry about that.
This is another fairly easy rule as we are very careful about not wasting energy. I catch the boys leaving the lights on the most, but for the most part we are very good about turning lights off. The dryer began going on the fritz a bit ago and we haven't replaced the element yet. I know that we will but currently we use the SOLAR DRYER daily=)
As for cooking I already maximize oven use, and this is best to contemplate in the summer here in the desert, as cooking in the middle of the day is so cost defective to the budget. My example for this is what I did today, I turned the oven on to roast the 5th batch of pumpkin seeds, then prepped the risen dough for bread, put that in the oven, and then finished making my three pizzas that were for dinner...~~~breathing~~~ with all that effort, but it truly maximizes the oven and its energy.
We use a wood stove for heat, so no furnace going~ so we are still okay with this rule!! And don't worry about not unplugging things. We live a simple life, but are not going to jump off the deep end. I love learning new skills and am quite sure that in a power outage we at the Double Nickel would do just fine. Our freezer is on it's last legs...well it definitely needs to be seen by a *surgeon*, but I am weighing the necessity. (In our past life of climbing upwards...we used this for the Schwan's man to fill 'er up!!)
On the fridge, we are planning to downsize, as the back and the lower shelves, still, in all our caution become a weigh station for science experiments GONE bAd!!!
Well I think that this covers rule #2. I really do like this challenge, as so far it is doable, without much angst on our part. Rule #3 is about water conservation. I can see this is going to be easy as we learned while leasing a home in town about strict water regulations and STILL grew an incredible garden in the desert!! Yes, through simple gray water savings, and some rain barrels for the monsoon season we were fine.
Rules #3 and 4 in the next post.
I wrote in my previous post how the Double Nickel Farm family is going to *play* along with Pioneer Week(here). I linked the post that explained in detail the challenge. The blogger that is hosting this has had far too numerous challenges for me to mention. Most I have just smiled at the project but go on about my life. But I do like this challenge so I am going to share a bit of it's rules and how we are going to go about trying to accomplish them.
The first part of the challenge is to make all of your foods from scratch(to the best of your ability). Since we began our life here on the farm we have jumped in with gusto making things from scratch. I think that this is an incredible goal for families to attempt irregardless of participating in the challenge or not. I cannot begin to say how much better off you and your family will be. By cooking from scratch you see every item that goes in the food. You reduce all ingredients that you cannot even pronounce.
flour(same as above)
My bread is yummy and makes the house smell wonderful, and we love it. It requires some forethought in cooking yet the rewards are heavenly. So Pioneer Week is something that I am ever so glad that we at the Double Nickel have been doing in cooking. I mean have you read labels?? The one that made my heart jump from above is the one that the FDA has urged manufacturers not to use. They are the FDA, hello.
What recipes can one do in cooking from scratch?(here is our standard menu)
Breakfast: arroz con leche...oatmeal, homemade granola cereal(oats, raisins, brown sugar, powdered milk, cinnamon, olive oil, dried apples)
Lunch: we usually eat Ramen noodles and sandwiches(so this will be modified)and we will have Turkey Noodle soup(homemade noodles and leftover turkey) sandwiches...chicken with rice soup, tomato soup with quesadillas. Yes I make the soups, and the breads...and jellies.
Dinner: gumbo with tortillas, pizza night(toppings are leftovers from the week...) chicken enchiladas...beans spanish rice...salsa, baked chicken...onion potatoes...rolls...strawberry sweets(strawberries soaked in apple syrup- my own), cream of chicken noodle casserole...corn...buttered bread, stew(from farmer's market) breakfast for dinner( pancakes, eggs* all from our hens and ducks*, bacon), chicken pot pie(with any veggies from the gardens)
Snacks: popcorn(we only make on stovetop), pumpkin cookies (our own) pumpkin pie(our pumpkins), apple pie(from neighbors tree), tortilla roll ups(butter melted on tortilla with sugar sprinkled on),
So you can see that we only need to modify a bit. I serve ramen for its low cost and what I can add...add veggies and it is something new. Slice ham and toss it in and it something else...but I will serve soups instead.
I do plan ahead as to have the food ready for the day. Right now I am steaming pumpkin to be able to puree it for pies and cookies. I know that as it is chilly I need to prepare the dough for the rolls and pizza earlier so it will rise. I do this daily and refer to mental menus in case I need to make a quick menu change.
Consider joining in on this challenge...it will really be such a benefit to your health. I will address another rule in my next post.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
I posted on Pen of Jen about our addition to the farm yesterday, but I will share here today. We bought 14 ducks for $15.00. This was a wonderful deal, and this morning during chores we already found a duck egg. Pumpkin cookies will be made with this egg=).
I am linking a post of a blogger that is having a challenge that sounds fun. I do not agree with a bit of the political leanings on her blog, but the Pioneer Week challenge sounds fun, especially for homeschool families. Check out her challenge.
If you are a Little House on the Prairie fan, this will be fun. I think that the Double Nickel family may try this!
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
24Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
25And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
26And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
27And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
1Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
2And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
3They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
4But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
5While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
6And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
7Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
8And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
9But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
10And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
11Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
12But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
13Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
The above scriptures are parables of Christ. Do you see what they share? The wise man and the 5 virgins were prepared. The wise man built his house on a solid foundation(Jesus Christ), and when trials and troubles came his way he was prepared. The five virgins had enough lamp oil and were prepared for the bridegroom(Jesus Christ).
The foolish man was ill prepared, nor were the five virgins without enough lamp oil. They were not truly believers because they lacked critical preparedness. Are you prepared? Do you realize that the five virgins left, knew the Bridegroom...yet they did not know Christ as their Saviour.
Do you? Are you certain in times that are seemingly uncertain? Because eternity is the worry, not the stock market roller coaster, nor the current election.
Many times in the Bible we learn to wait and prepare. I believe that this is the time to prepare. Study His word, pray and fast, and then begin the cycle again. Remove the clutter that fills your day...for example television and prepare.
That is all I have to write today.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
This is how our entrance way looks- well kind of. The boys all wear size 10, 11, and 11 and Bill's are 12...we farm girls both wear a size 8....but this photo took me back to a time when the order was like this.
Oh and for a reality check as we do not use rain-- mud--boots...due to the climate and well you know, living in the desert, we use slip on crocs for the round about chores...and they look more like
just a bit more
I know, but you are going to laugh
Got ya!! No this is not one of my gang's foot(or mine) as camera is broke...I just thought that I needed to come back to blogging a bit at a time, and with humor! So did you smile???
I hope so, and for the record- our crocs do look pretty bad!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
We are having Thanksgiving tomorrow. We are so thankful for so many things, and this year, having our oldest spend so much time with us, has been a wonderful blessing. He ships out on Sunday.
We are going to put out the decor and have a day like all previous Thanksgivings. Funny thing is that when Bill was in the Army we celebrated holidays on his days off, so here we are doing the same thing. It is not always easy to have special time with family, especially as the children grow and move on. I am one that takes every opportunity and thanks God.
Here is our 2008 list of Thanksgiving:
~Our Lord and Saviour
~the children's health
~our lovely humble farm
~blog friends and their health too:)
~the lovely surprise of pumpkins and zucchini growing in the Mesquite
~the green house and the salvaged windows to make it a permanent one
~our woodstove which we used this morning *snuggly*
~having the freedom to profess Jesus Christ and NOT BE AFRAID
~a friend that worked on the movie Transformers 2-partly filmed at White Sands(because he gave us so much that was left over from production that is NEW and we can find great uses for)
I cannot believe that this is Bill's and my 21st Thanksgiving...now that is truly another thing to be thankful for!
Here is last years post on our Thanksgiving...
I guess I will be back next week full time...what ever that will be! Thanks to all of you that visit. I am thankful for blog friends too, and will remember you tomorrow in our prayers.
Double Nickel Farm family
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Where have I been? Home on the farm.
Why no blogging? I am without words lately.
This day my baby is a teenager. I am a mother of all teens and so this post although seemingly slow(and without photos) is Fourth's birthday...and we are going to have a simple BBQ in the backyard. Smores and a watermelon(well a cake to look like) cake...for dessert. A simple gift for her hair, home made cards, and a night of game playing.
Friday, October 3, 2008
I have not posted much as of course we have our usual prep going on, and cutting wood and such. But I had something neat happen and thought I would share this with you. For 10 years or so I have had the luxury of having extra padding, around the midsection...you know the story, life is good and I had the ease and sadly the convenience of buying whatever foods I wished. I did not read nor truly care what I ate, as if it tasted good, then I was fine.
But on my path to simplicity I have really investigated the foods that we ate, and what preservatives have been put in them. What an eye opener! Boy the junk that is put in foods is awful for us. In fact the growth hormones given to cattle is frightening, especially when you see the obesity rates of children. I mean do the math if it makes a cow grow faster and put on bulk, then wouldn't it make sense that those that drink it would be affected by the hormones?
I cannot express to you the importance of reading your labels, and be cautious when you eat. In my research I discovered that the food we eat should be as close to it's original form as possible. For example eat a potato that you mash if you wish for mashed potatoes, instead of buying mashed potatoes. Now I must also say that the potato is not the best food you can eat. But you get the idea.
Now to my eye opener: on this path to simplicity I have worked a great deal with my 5'0" frame. I have hoed, raked, weeded, lifted rocks, fed animals, chased and caught a goose, chickens, ducks...and mucked out pens, painted the house in and out, ripped out carpets, and baked from scratch...and I have lost inches in the mid section! I cannot keep things pulled up and things are loose!!Yay.
The lifestyle has kept me in the sunshine and I have added natural vitamins from the environment...vitamin D...for one.
Now to the interesting thing...in our previous life(before simplicity) Bill worked 50-60 hours a week so that we could buy neat things and expensive foods, and eat out and travel, and he worked holidays and overtime so that I could buy exercise equipment and gym memberships, all for naught. Now he works 40 hours and uses all leave or sick time promptly(unlike in old life where he NEVER took any time off). We have in front off us visible rewards to our efforts. The boys are so much more tone that when they worked out with the Nordic Gym that they have, or when they jog and lift weights. Funny huh? God tells us in Genesis that after the Fall that the in the sweat of thy face thou shalt eat thou bread...and we sweat and are the healthiest(aside from injuries as a result of accident) that all of have ever been.
You see this world was made by Him and He did provide ample ways for us to maintain a healthy lifestyle. He did not make it easy, but the regime has been a blessing!
Now to my newest workout method! Are you ready? It did cost some money. I paid $3.43 cents for one item and $1.00 for the other item...and I have the rest...
What is this??? you might innocently say a plunger!
How about this?? Again you might innocently say a broiler pan
And these?? 5 gallon buckets...RIGHT?
Nope...in order you see an agitator, a washboard, and the wash basin and rinse basin of the Double Nickel Farm. I realized after much research that the average washing machine uses 60 gallons of water per load! We have a well in the desert, and I want it to last and be hearty...so I pondered what I could do.
Wash clothes... by the hand method. (I will use around 15 gallons per load or less). I will still use the washer for the bedding and the jeans of the guys, but the rest will be in our handy dandy laundry center. I have researched this a good deal, and realize that much of what I have washed was clean, one time usage and I have been conditioned to wash and sterilize EVERYTHING...
No we are not going around dirty...and secretly I love the idea of another work out that is more than a mundane activity that I HAVE TO DO TO BE SKINNY. By doing physical labor that benefits me!!!
I do believe friends that our financial situation in the US is not going to get better because the politicians believe that the solution is to BAIL out BUY out, GIVE FOOD stamps, Welfare FIRST...for everyone. We do have those that need help, but I believe that we should help ourselves FIRST...BE PART OF THE SOLUTION. On the airplane we are guided if we have small children to first put on our Oxygen mask, then the child, as if we pass out from lack of Oxygen then we cannot help them. Same premise for us as a nation. Take it to your family level. Pull your bootstraps up and get smart with the money you make. Be frugal with the effort you make to bring home a paycheck.
Be cautious and wise with your money! And for you women that want a toning up exercise, begin making your bread...IT WORKS:)
Oh and as this is my 200th post here I am going to offer two crocheted dish cloths that I made. Leave a comment and I will draw next week...The dish cloths look like these but may be a different yarn print(whatever I have on hand!!) I use one like these to do dishes every day!