"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, April 25, 2011

Fort Drum or Bust

I am going to take a mini road trip with my oldest son this week. He came home after spending the year in Afghanistan and is driving back with his car. He asked me to ride along so we can have some time together.

This year has been a bit hard with the loss of my mom, and I realized something very important. We have but moments in our lives, and what we do with each moment makes a difference. I have this moment to travel back with my firstborn. I am afforded this opportunity to get to really talk to him as an adult and see what his plans are. Afghanistan really makes a person come into focus, and I have already seen a changed man.

So, I will be on the road again.

I hope to update with photos and ask those so inclined to say a prayer for us in our journey.

Where ideas for the farm come from...

Getty Images

The fires in Texas have been on my mind and I have read a good deal about them online. I stumbled across this photo of a wildfire in Texas and at first was in shock of the horizon on fire. Then I noted the patio. This is what I have been saving and gathering rock for. I collect the rocks when we go into the mountains, when I drive around, and even on the farm. I plan on this style flagstone patio around the house and although it is not going to be complete for a few years, I am able to see how it will look as I have photos such as this to be my inspiration.

Although topic today is lighthearted one can negate the issues that a wildfire brings to mind. I write often about preparing for times ahead. A wildfire is something to prepare for, as well as the economic wildfire that is coming fast and furious towards us all. What are you doing to prepare? My advice at this point is to reduce debt, stop buying stuff, eat at home, learn to grow some things, and declutter your life.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

"Earth Day"

I have some issues with Earth Day and its agenda. My main issue with Earth Day is something most people would not be able to guess. My issue is not with the day as much as with those professing Christians that are not only on board with saving the planet, but promote it on their blogs and how others can be proactive in saving Earth.

You see a Christian has to be very careful with this line as saving the planet conflicts with several important things that God said. God told man to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 2:28). The Green Movement, the Earth Movement are in direct conflict and believe me these movements have influenced millions around the planet. (Sterilizing to be green, forced sterilizations Uzbekistan)

God also promises us(even knowing our horrible condition) that there would be a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21:1). This is a promise. The outcry of the planet in catastrophic shape and the fear-mongering is something a Christian should not heed. Fear should only be used in the context of: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction(Proverbs 1:7).

I find it alarming that the Earth is considered "Mother Earth," and the UN wants to prepare a
Study on the need to recognize and respect the rights of Mother Earth.
Really? I have a few random thoughts~and for many, I will be told they are not related, but I really wish for thought. If Mother Earth is granted rights, she will be exactly like a woman in the United States, and will be free to choose, which child to abort and which to keep. Who will be the voice of Mother Earth? The UN? The US? China? Many would be troubled by granting this power to the UN and China, but why not the US*? Tricky to allow for the needs of a planet...as who knows? Some voice the rights of a small bait size fish, usurps man~today. Can you imagine what will happen when Mother Earth is free to appoint how many people can live on her, and what measures can be taken to dispose of the unwanted?

By the way, who says that people will be dominant? Most concerning for man, is who will help The Mother determine what is a sustainable number of people on the planet. By the way, these are not crazy speculative notions. Have you ever heard of the Georgia Guidestones?(on Flikr). The Guidestone's has this message on one of the stones:
  1. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
  2. Guide reproduction wisely — improving fitness and diversity.
  3. Unite humanity with a living new language.
  4. Rule passion — faith — tradition — and all things with tempered reason.
  5. Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.
  6. Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.
  7. Avoid petty laws and useless officials.
  8. Balance personal rights with social duties.
  9. Prize truth — beauty — love — seeking harmony with the infinite.
  10. Be not a cancer on the earth — Leave room for nature — Leave room for nature.
I will only comment about #1. That number is half a billion...I wonder, what is the population of the world? A bit under 7 billion. So how will this balance of humanity take place?

My problems are monumental with the Georgia Guidestones, as with Earth Day. God is not considered and man will be the hero in sustainability. Not all men, and for the record not gluttonous Americans. I took the Earth Day Network Footprint Calculator quiz. I am very conservative(I will not say Green, but I could teach many the real meaning of being how to recycle, reduce and reuse. The average person under this movement has no idea how to live this way 24-7) yet, I require 3 earths to sustain my lifestyle. Three! The children that participate in these surveys must feel pathetic, useless, and empowered knowing that they are the villain in the story.

It is hard not to get caught up in the fervor of the movement, and a Christian should be a good steward, so why shouldn't Christians ignore the bad, and celebrate the good? Because we are to avoid the very appearance of evil. We know that the earth is not going to implode, no matter what man does, because God tells us He alone will provide a new planet and this will be on His timetable. We cannot do anything to expedite His plan and there is much proof of biblical people trying to do so to their own angst(think Abraham and Sarah). We also know that the very villain of Mother Earth conflicts with the last and most special of God's creation-man( Genesis 1:26).

What should we do as a Christian? How can we teach our children what the earth and all its inhabitants are for? By opening the bible, it is that simple.

Oh and man is to have dominion over every living thing that moveth upon the earth(Genesis 2:28) and with that verse, I have my pattern for life. I do not desire to align myself with a movement that wishes to drastically reduce the population, nor do I desire to be considered evil for living life. I have hope and will live my life as an example of that hope.

* for the record Americans are well equipped to be the voice of Mother Earth(source)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Breaking the Land

When we began this farm, it was in name only. I grew up back east, and know what a typical farm looks like and loosely envisioned that here. We named the farm The Double Nickel Farm and truly put the cart before the horse, because we knew we were willing to invest some sweat~equity towards our dream. But in southern New Mexico a battle is ongoing with the Mesquite bush, the sage, the cacti, the soil, and the critters. We have problems with rattlesnakes, javelina's, coyotes, as well as some folks that recently moved to the canyon that won't secure their dogs. Each year we set a new goal, and realize that this farm may take several more years to come into focus, but everything here...Everything, has been done by us. Initially we began headfirst acquiring animals. The kids and I mucked out sheep pens on a local ranch in trade for the start of our Navajo sheep. I did not want any sheep, but sheep that are native to the southwest, so we cleaned out stalls.

We also, mostly due to lack of any surplus funding, have lived by the low cost~ no cost method of building our farm. I have shared posts about how we built a coop out of campaign signs as well as other re~purposing methods. This year we set a goal of fencing the entire perimeter of the property. We have fences for the sheep pens, the cow pen, the birthing pens etc, but we need that added barrier. Fencing for barter/trade/ or work takes a bit more time, yet, we finally gathered everything we need, and last week began.

It is not easy. The thorns in the Mesquite are huge, as I show from a photo I took a few years ago.The fence begins with hauling this wagon to every corner. The tires are filled with the sludge as no tire is safe out here.
Axes, picks, shovels, sawzall, plumb line, clippers fill the wagon.

This is the south side of the property. The cleared land is not ours. We are the land with all the mesquite and brush.

Lots of junk...found several bikes, tons of cans, buckets, and waste.

Intermingled with the brush are bushes with fine thin stickers. It takes days to get out the little shards that find you, even from ten feet away!

We had to weave through this to attach the lines to then begin clearing.

Denim seems to assist rapid entry to the skin.

line up here...

Third posing near the southeast corner...note the junk at this corner. Even though the property is not too large, we still have much to do in the primary use areas so these far edge areas have not been cleaned(yet).

This is the southwest corner. I always get excited as we work on another project as that takes us one step closer to the dream... Bill sat on the porch with the family and told them to look all around. He reminded them of how it looked a few years ago, and of the work each one has done. Then he shared that someday, when they come back with their children, they will be able to walk them around and share the work that they did. "See that fence? I dug that hole, cleared hundreds of Mesquite bush, and tugged the field fence up. We used only the strength of our bodies and what you see today is only possible because a family had a dream and was willing to work at it."

I was humbled listening to Bill share this with the kids. In times of a now society, my children have had an opportunity to be part of a life that reminds me of yesteryear. I reflect upon those that moved to raw land and it may have taken a lifetime to accomplish the settled farm look. I have a great appreciation for our nation and those that settled in uncharted regions and made America what it became. Ambition, desire, and hope for a better life for the next generation made a pathway for today. Can we look back to those that settled this incredible country to bring us back into focus? Can we get off of the handout train, and plant a few things to provide something for our own? Can we live without a cell phone, television or new clothes if we do not have the money for them? I pray we can...as times are changing and we either take our nation or we fall as civilizations have in the past. Sadly I worry that complacency most likely will be the determining factor on the outcome.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Day in the Life: Prom

Third with his date "B" on Saturday night.
I made the corsages for B as she her dress was not quite purple, not quite another color. I adapted by buying a few fake flowers and a some fresh flowers from the grocery as our town is not a metropolis and buying corsages to order are not always possible.

Since this was her first prom I was not sure if I should make a wrist corsage or a regular one...so I made this one first...then
opted to make a wrist corsage too. I had never made one, and thanks to a few G*oogle images, was able to create this one.

I then needed to store it in the fridge until my son left, so I went to my handy cupboard where I store containers and found this one that we had bought donuts in. I made a ribbon and voila my son has flowers for his lovely date.

As you can see from the first photo and here, B opted to wear the wrist corsage. I am so thankful that I have had a few years of improvising and creating, as I believe it made all the difference in how easy it was to make something that helps in a memory for my son as well as B.

Life is really a moment at a time. Instead of being overwhelmed by the entire magnitude of a situation, perhaps pulling a moment from a day makes the difference. I know it does for me.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday Photo Time

April has been a busy month. Third turned 18 a few weeks ago and I need to update the photos of Third and Second back to back. These two are 9 months and ten days apart in age as I had Third several weeks early.

This is 2008 Second on left Third on right.

2009 Third on left Second on right.

April 7 2011 Third on left Second on right. For the record all three of my sons are either just a bit above 5'10" or 5'10"...not bad for having a mom barely scraping by at 5'0"(course having their dad nearly 6'4' does balance the odds)

I found this photo from a few years ago at Fort Davis, Texas. Fourth, Second and Third.

I took this photo a few weeks or so ago when I was driving through my gates as the sunset behind the White Sands was breathtaking. I do love New Mexico.

Bill with the babies from church...we love them so much. Clearly we took several photos and as babies are so easy to pose with this photo of Bill laughing seems to share our success! Jovahnii is 16 months, Gavin his new brother is almost 1 month, and Kylie is 2 years old!

Cell phone photo of the freezer. I shared I was saving labels to complete another project and here it is . We acquired a rather beat up freezer that worked wonderful, and I wanted to not have it look so awful, so I went all Warhol-I confess I really like it! I would like to believe that Warhol came up with the idea of repetitive can art, but I took it to the next level!

Have a lovely week...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Farm Life: Eggs

Our chickens are for the most part free range hens. Now we have two main coops and the hens all head to one or the other to perch each night but during the day they are scratching all over. We also have nest boxes in the main coop, and most of the hens lay their eggs in the coop, but we do have a few that lay here, there and pretty much anywhere. It is up to my daughter to locate the stray nests. If she finds a nest she marks the eggs with an X then the next day she collects any egg without an X.
Here is one of the nest, which is in one of the compost tires. It is hard to see but the three eggs on the left do have the X on them. By leaving the eggs once she finds the nest, the hen will continue to lay there so we can gather all the fresh eggs. (oh and life on the farm is fairly honest, and yes you are seeing sheep poo next to the eggs!)

Because we do gather free range eggs and there is not a freshness date on the egg, we check the freshness by what we call the Float Test. Fill the sink with cool water place the eggs in the sink and remove all eggs that float. After the Float Test we wash the eggs with basically cool water and a brush. I save the old toothbrushes for the egg cleaning.

Dry the eggs then place in a carton. I love the egg colors so much. Almost all of my life I expected white eggs from the grocery, not knowing the rainbow of colors that Chickens lay...we have green, blue, all shades of brown, white and speckled. Most important note. I mark the carton with the date. Keeps it easy knowing the date the eggs were gathered and it helps me when I want to hard boil eggs. If you are wanting to hard boil eggs allow them to sit in the refrigerator for 2 weeks so that they will be easy to peel.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Day in the Life

As I take a late morning break, I thought I would share what I do almost every morning. My day begins around 4:30 in the morning all because of Tim. Who is Tim you may wonder? Tim is one of our roosters that a friend Tim gave us. Name creativity maybe not, but hey, I do still have Colonel Sanders, our first rooster-which is still by far my favorite critter name.
Tim.. He lives in the front coop and comes out and begins crowing early, oh and under my bedroom window. Yep, it is a lovely sound~

As I slowly allow my brain to awaken, I chat with my husband as we plan the day. If I can I jump out of bed first because last one in bed makes the bed. So as usual, I made the bed, then grab clothes that I will iron for Bill as Bill wakes up Second and Third. If you are a child of the 70's and 80's you may remember the Dunkin Donuts commercial "Gotta make the donuts." Bill wakes the boys up by saying "Time to make the donuts." Poor kids-well at least they have a story about how goofy their parents are. Fourth is so fortunate. She is serenaded by Bill. (I know I have shared previously about the singing ability of the Farm!!)

As the kids come out, I iron while Bill makes breakfast for Third and himself as they eat an egg burrito nearly every morning. I iron Bill's clothes and greet the kids as they roll out of their rooms. Second feeds in the morning. So he grabs his gloves and heads out front. Third and Bill eat and shower as both of them need to head out to work. I make Third's lunch and Bill's salad while they shower. Third standard lunch is two sandwiches, a cup of soup, an apple, and a desert. Bill has a plate of the previous nights dinner and salad. After they head out the door, I make my breakfast. I am pretty a-typical on my breakfast choices and have one of three things every single day. I eat lentils and an apple, bean soup( made of rice, beans and the reserved juice from canned tomatoes) or beans with an onion. Today I ate lentils so I thought I would share how easy it is to prepare lentils. Lentils are very nutritious. Check out this link here on the nutritional value of lentils. First I measure out about 1 cup of uncooked lentils, so I can have three to four days of breakfast.
Then I go through the lentils and make sure that there are no bad ones or any rocks or dirt clods.


Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil then eat! It takes about thirty minutes to cook completely. The only flavoring I add is salt as to me they are delightful as is!

My oldest son is here so I boiled some canela with water for him to drink, as it is very soothing for someone adapting to the desert climate. We also drink canela whenever one of us has a sore throat. Canela is the Spanish word for cinnamon and we use the cinnamon sticks not the ground cinnamon. We buy the canela from a Mexican market near us.

After I made the tea Second had to head to his fire department and work on one of the trucks. Yesterday he went to a brush fire near the Border Patrol station. I am so glad it did not take off, as the winds have been very bad here lately.

Fourth went out and changed all the animal waters, while First helped clear some brush as we are fencing the north side of the farm and I made another batch of homemade deodorant.

You need equal parts of corn starch,

and Baking soda,

Then you mix in coconut oil. About 2 tbsp is all that you need. Blend it until it becomes thick. Last time I shared this recipe, I washed out a deodorant container and used that. Way to much energy- instead us a mason jar!

To apply use rub fingers on and apply under the arms. The cornstarch absorbs the wetness, the baking soda removes the odor and the coconut oil is the binding agent. No chemicals, nothing harmful to cause any infections or whatever. This is so inexpensive and so amazing, I still wonder how women stopped making their own and switched to store bought. By the time a woman finishes showering and getting ready for her day she usually has applied or used 100 chemicals, that are in her shampoo, conditioner, haircare products, deodorant, makeup, lotion, toothpaste, bar soap, liquid soap, mouthwash and perfume. Maybe, just maybe, the rise in women's cancers can be directly related to the increased items added to a woman's regime, and the increased synthetic items she is exposed to before she leaves the bathroom...

Yes I did go off on a shocking personal discovery. For me I began this journey to save money while still enjoying the comforts and life I had before. To do so, I learned about the products and how I could make them. That is how I discovered the WOW factor of exactly what we are doing to our bodies, all in the name of cleanliness and beauty.

It is now a bit past noon, so this is a window to my morning. In addition I mopped the dining room, entrance way, and vacuumed two area carpets, and began a load of laundry. I try and rotate my chores so that my activities are not the same and offer a variety each day. By the time 5 pm rolls around I hope to have lasagna dinner going, a bag of wool washed, another load of laundry hanging on the clothesline. Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

In the Pantry

Stock photo Hunt's

It is possible to have food storage that is low cost, very versatile and not too unhealthy for you and your family. Tomato sauce is one such item. Tomato sauce in the USA is not a condiment, but a base that is made from water, tomato paste, salt(or you can buy it unsalted) spices and a citric acid(preservative). In England, Australia, and New Zealand tomato sauce is like American ketchup. The items are not the same.

In the USA, tomato sauce is a base. One can make anything from spaghetti sauce to salsa from it, as well as a ketchup, bbq sauce, tomato juice and a base for a ton of other things. Where I live, I can buy tomato sauce for about 5 cans for a dollar. The cans can be stored for approximately two years(check dates on can) as long as you store it in an area that the temperatures do not go too high nor too low.

Tomato sauce provides vitamins A and C have no fats and it is low in calories per serving. What you add to the tomato sauce makes the meal. Instead of buying pre-made sauces use tomato sauce and make your own and you can curb corn syrup and sugars added to your food as they are cheap...but not healthy.

I have not pushed much on the time to prepare or having some storage for times of crises, but it is well passed thinking of having some storage. Inflation is here. Economic woes have not gone away but have steadily increased for the past two years. Gas prices have skyrocketed and our government balances the budget by reducing 38 billion dollars. Do you realize that our government spends $70 billion dollars a week more than it has? We are in that creek, you know, the one without a paddle, and it is going to continue to get worse until something drastic is done.

For my pantry a goal of maintaining around 100 cans of tomato sauce is set, and currently I confess that I have more as the writing is on the wall. What have you done to prepare for tough economic times? Have you reduced expenses in any area? Have you learned how to make more meals from scratch? If so, have you discovered that it is healthier to prepare foods from scratch than store bought!

Double Nickel Farm Spaghetti Sauce
1 Tbsp each: minced onion, parsley flakes, cornstarch, salt
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp each: fresh minced garlic, basil, thyme, oregano, pepper

2 cans tomato sauce
1/4 cup water
1 lb ground beef cooked with 1/4 tsp cumin, onion powder, garlic salt and a pinch of cinnamon

*I have the seasonings for this sauce mixed in bulk and store in the spice cupboard in a mason jar.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mother Knows Best...unless

of course it is when she packs a lunch for her child. You know in these economic times where it is financially important to pack a lunch which can costs pennies verses $2.25 a day~this is the time that a school bans packed lunches! This causes me to ask an incredible question-WHY?

Answer #1
Any school that bans homemade lunches also puts more money in the pockets of the district's food provider, Chartwells-Thompson. The federal government pays the district for each free or reduced-price lunch taken, and the caterer receives a set fee from the district per lunch.

It is ALWAYS about the money. Disregard all the other answers, as Obama money used to be, well, somebody else's money that the schools, as well as many have gotten cozy thinking that they have a right to...and they willingly take it, not for anything other than-$$$.

Answer #2
"Nutrition wise, it is better for the children to eat at the school," Carmona said. "It's about the nutrition and the excellent quality food that they are able to serve (in the lunchroom). It's milk versus a Coke. But with allergies and any medical issue, of course, we would make an exception."

Yes ALL parents give their children Coke at home, and nutrition wise the children are better eating at the school. Why stop at lunch and breakfast? Let's go ahead and keep them until 5'ish and serve them dinner too.

Answer #3
"While there is no formal policy, principals use common sense judgment based on their individual school environments," Monique Bond wrote in an email. "In this case, this principal is encouraging the healthier choices and attempting to make an impact that extends beyond the classroom."

I think that the below photo can show us good old common sense judgment on food choices...Because my opinion about how the educated elite think that they are brilliant and NO ONE is as superdeduper smart as they are may come of as crass and rude, so let's let the meals served tell the common sense story.

Photo Credit Chicago Tribune
Doesn't this look delicious?! This is listed as enchiladas, no kidding.

The above photo would be more of what I would think could be of a southwest flair that could begin showing some common sense on nutritional choices.

This is a chicken enchilada casserole made by me. I serve this often on the farm. The enchilada sauce is homemade with 7 ingredients and the corn tortillas are shredded as to make a speedy meal.

Sides that could complement this meal that are so easy to make in bulk for cafeteria setting would be pinto beans (or smash them in their own juices and make refried beans), Spanish rice with oranges, lemons, limes, and salsa. Yum oh and it costs pennies.

I no longer believe that we live in a nation that can sustain this idiocy much longer. When a parent cannot pack a peanut butter and honey sandwich with an apple and some cheese slices so that the school can prostitute the children for more money oh and serve your children slops...it appears that this is a battle we as a nation have lost.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Shopping, Groceries, and Preparation

What do we at the Double Nickel eat and now that prices are skyrocketing, how much does it cost us? These are things I think about often as I prepare the food and have to make the most for my family. I pack Bill's lunch and now my Third son works full time so I pack his lunch each day too.

While looking at the photos keep in mind the hens provide us with all of our eggs, and all the meat is raised on the farm minus a few processed meats I bought.
32 oranges 10 limes 3 mangoes 10 jalapenos 1 habanero 5 garlic 15 large onions(10 lbs)
10 tomatoes 1 avocado 8 oz cane sugar

5 oriental ramen noodle packs 1 baking cocoa 1 hamburger dill slices 1 dill mini pickles 1 gallon dill pickles 10 packs of assorted lunch meats 1 large bag of krisp rice cereal 1 cooking spray 1 bbq sauce 1 tub lard 1 black pepper 3 lbs spaghetti 21 oz. fideo noodles 21 oz of elbow noodles 2 jars of mayonnaise 1 pack Chocolate chip cookies 1 bag bagel crisps 3 jars unsweetened applesauce 1 pack pepperoni 1 pack bacon 1 lb cottage cheese 1 bag split peas 4 boxes pudding 4 boxes jello

The lunch meats are for mostly for my son and his lunches. I send him with two sandwiches and bowl of leftovers each day as well as cookies or some sort of desert. The jello is NOT a big hit, but I am kind of a jello fan every now and then.

10 lbs potatoes(25 potatoes) 1 gallon fudge swirl ice cream 1 pack flour tortillas 2 gallons vinegar
1 lb red grapes 2 bunches spinach 6 golden delicious apples 6 gala apples 8 bananas 14 baking bananas 3 heads of cabbage 2 lbs carrots 2 cucumbers 1 lb sunflower seeds 1 gallon milk

For Bill's lunch I make a spinach cabbage salad with sunflower seeds and then an orange to squeeze on. I send him a hardboiled egg with the salad. Or I will pack him the exact dinner we had the night before. He takes a gala apple every other day to munch on while at work.

The baking bananas will be for muffins, bread, and oatmeal banana cookies for all of us to enjoy. I buy whole milk which I split between two gallons and add water to double my money. I use the vinegar in a sink of water to wash my veggies, so much better. I also use the vinegar in my laundry as the fabric softener, as well as for a rinse for my hair.

We have mostly a Mexican fare on the menu and I buy my rice in 50 lb bags so I do not have any need for rice.

This week we are going to have in no particular order:

The asterisk is a food item from the pantry or freezer

*tomato sauce
*homemade spice mixture
*frozen fresh veggies
*mozzarella cheese
cottage cheese
*Parmesan cheese
homemade breadsticks from flour, sugar, yeast, olive oil, salt, water and garlic

2. Beef Roast-from our own beef
3 potatoes
1 carrot
2 cloves garlic
homemade rolls flour, milk, sugar, yeast, lard, salt

*cherry pie from cherries I canned and homemade crust

3. Beef enchiladas
*corn tortillas from freezer
*ground beef our beef
homemade enchilada sauce from lard, chili powder, flour, cumin, oregano, garlic powder
*mozzarella cheese
*cheddar cheese
*pinto beans cooked over night in crockpot with 1/2 onion 1 jalapeno and a piece of salt pork(from our pig)
*Spanish rice made with tomato sauce, bay leaf, 1/2 onion, garlic clove
*salsa homemade-I make a gallon at a time

4. homemade pizza
*crust flour, sugar, salt, olive oil, water, yeast, and a bit of honey
*sauce tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, garlic, onion salt, pepper
* pineapples
fresh spinach
cabbage spinach salad made with cabbage, spinach, oranges, sunflower seeds

5. BLT wraps
flour tortillas
cucumbers with lime, salt and paprika

6. Shredded beef burritos
Beef-our beef slow cooked over night
*beans cooked as above
*rice cooked as above

desert tortilla rollup made by warming tortilla spreading butter on then sugar

7. spaghetti
homemade spaghetti sauce as above
homemade bread(as rolls above)
frozen veggies

desert jello

8. Baked potato night
sides: crumbled bacon, butter, sour cream, salsa, onions

9. Potato soup
*ham from our pig
*frozen corn
flour salt and pepper

Here is a sample of our beef. This is a beef chuck roast which I have in a defrosting pan. The pan is 9 x13 to get a size idea. I am going to slow cook this overnight.

I am able to spend more on fresh produce and buy the snacks such as the ice cream and cookies because I have slowly built up a food storage by raising our own animals(which by the way we actually worked in trade to get a start for) and then butchering them. It has not been easy and the learning curve has meant some days we ate no meat, but we saw the potential in living in a home that may not have been ascetically perfect but could provide a foundation for our farm.

If you note the other items in the freezer, I buy items on sale and freeze them. Bread was 9 cents a loaf a few weeks ago and as I pack two sandwiches a day for Third, this was an incredible deal. Shopping means buying sale items you normally would use and planning around those items. I freeze the empty water or soda bottles as ice for the coolers for my son as his lunch sits in his truck until he preps it, and this is New Mexico.
This is my second freezer. Each pack is ground beef in the door, as well as the Bisquick and the oats to keep them bugs free.
We got this freezer from friends who had it in their garage and when they moved wanted to give it away...I gladly gave it a home, as a butchered cow fills one freezer! This freezer is lamb, pork, and other meats, as well as more bread that was on sale, and the grocery bags are filled with frozen slops. Our local grocery sells the old produce that is rotting or going bad in a large box for a dollar...I buy and then cut up and prep for the animals. I freeze the excess as sometimes the store does not have any slops. I like to give a bit of slops mid day for the chickens...and what better than fresh frozen slops? It is New Mexico and the chilled food seems to be a major hit for them.

The key to living on a budget and living well while on a budget is understanding that it may take elbow grease, hard work and planning to provide everything that your family needs. My goodness I am amazed at how many zucchini you get off of one plant! Tomatoes are another shocker, yet a blessing. To raise the animals you do need a bit of space, but please do not allow yourself to be dismayed. There are wonderful books on small scale farming that will impress upon you how little you need to provide so much. Sadly we live in times where perfect homes, perfect lives and the false front of our economy rule, and many of you may not be able to even put a clothesline on your own property. Times must adapt to the economic situation we are in. Our wise politicians cut what 30 billion or so from the budget? Do you realize that we overspend EACH WEEK 70 billion dollars. This IS NOT sustainable. Are you prepared? Are you ready to provide for your family if inflation hits more so than it is?

In addition to the animals each year we have added more to allow our farm to produce as much for us as possible. We have four fruit trees and a large garden area-remember for us we deal with the varmints and the need to preserve and utilize water in the most ingenious of ways, yet it is successful and surprises even us!

Please take the time to learn how to can if you can't grow your own harvest. You can purchase produce in the summer and put it up for the same cost as it would to buy it in a can, and it will not have the preservatives in it. The time is now...

Oh and the above groceries in the first three photos cost me $122. 54. I shop every two weeks and so with the dollar a pound per meat each dinner we add another $30 to the total which comes to about $270 a month for our family of five.

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Day in the Life: UPDATE-Warning Graphic

Who would have thought that I would be surprised by an event on the farm, but tonight, I was. We had javelinas in the yard!! Well now one less. We have been noting the animals acting a bit antsy and so Bill and the kids had been checking the pens often. This is what he found and took care of.
Javelinas are a menace to the farm and the animals.

Here is Third hauling the javelina to his truck.

A neighbor wanted to butcher it, so Third, Fourth and Bill drove it over to their place.

Before they took off one of the farm cats wanted to know what was going on. Nothing much to see except another day, another experience to carry us on this incredible life we live.

Breaking the land and making it into the vision we have in our minds is a steady paced life that requires 24-7 work, yet has been more fulfilling than I could have ever imagined, what is shocking to me though, is the amount of barriers we have had to cross. Coyotes, flooding, snakes, heat, bizarre winter of record proportions, and now javelinas. I am not sure what is coming next but I am certain that we here on the farm will be able to handle whatever!