Saturday, April 30, 2011

Preparedness Challenge #6

What a week! Fires, horrific tornados, someone's barn burned down, and a friend lost her house due to the economy (they are small business owners and it's been rough)... hearts are grieving this weekend. But there is also hope and rejoicing! There are so many things to be thankful for, even in the midst of trials. 

It's easy to grow weary of prepping if you're constantly trying to out think the what-ifs in life or if you allow the things you hear and see cause you to believe that there's no point in preparing. What began as wisdom can easily turn to worry and then fear and lack of trust. However, if you make being prepared as a part of your lifestyle then hopefully you won't burn out trying to store away so many things that you think your going to go crazy or paranoid! Instead, develop a way of living, saving, storing, rotating, growing, and learning that fits into your every day routine. Live with what you prepare on a daily basis, incorporating it into your life now so that it isn't something that will expire or spoil. (Obviously there are exceptions to that last statement, but generally speaking, this is doable.)

That's what I hope to do. 

Some of my goals are to learn about the native plants on my property that are edible, gain skills where I am able to be more resourceful, and build relationships with people around me so that we know each other before a crisis befalls us. I want to consistently grow our own food, hunt and fish for some of it, and know who I can trade with for what I can't produce. 

How I Prepared This Week

This week, for the Preparedness Challenge, I got my hive up and running, received 25 meat chicks, and started preparing the garden for planting. I also worked on a large area next to my house (separate from the garden) where I intend to create a garden for medicinal plants and culinary herbs. 

I also received some DVDs on Making Herbs Simple and checked out a book from the library on Better Basics for the Home in order to learn how to make my own products. (I make a few things already, but I'd like to learn even more!). I also started assessing some of the native plants on my property and researched their uses. 

Photo Credit

Right now, there's a ton of Nettle around the creek out back. Normally, I would have considered the Nettle a weed that needed to be eradicated as quickly as possible, but since it wasn't in an area that we walk through often I left it there, then showed my girls the plant and discussed it with them so they wouldn't accidentally get in it and start stinging. I need to learn if I can harvest and dry the leaves.

Please share what you did this week to be prepared for a crisis situation. Either leave a comment or write a blog post with the Preparedness Challenge picture, link back here, and then come back and add your post to the Linky below. I always get so many wonderful ideas from the things you all share! It's encouraging and holds us all accountable to get it done!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Prayer For The Lee Family

A Homestead Revival™ reader has just informed me that the Lee family mentioned in my post yesterday is the very same Sherry of A Baker's Dozen Barnhouse. Many of you probably visited her during one of the last couple of Homestead Barn Hops. 

Easter Sunday, Sherry and her beloved husband Tom, took this last picture together. He is now safely in the arms of Jesus for all eternity. 

Their beautiful home is no more, but thankfully all 13 children are alive although they suffered some injuries. I do not believe any injuries are life threatening. Please keep them in prayer, as I know you will, for comfort, peace, and provisions in the days ahead. 

If you would like to give in a tangible way, you may give a donation at Providence Church's Tornado Relief Efforts

We love you, Sherry! Hoping you feel our hugs and prayers!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Prayers For Families Hit By Tornado

I've lived in tornado alley and in earthquake country, and I'm here to say, a tornado is much scarier than an earthquake as long as your not in a downtown high rise when it happens. You see, an earthquake happens and by the time you realize it's an earthquake, it's almost over. But a tornado... you know it's coming, they last longer, and they just seem so unpredictable (not that an earthquake is!). 

Anyway, I have some idea what yesterday was like for many families living in the southeast. (And while we lost a home to a fire as a child, I never lost one to a tornado.) The last tornado I was in, for over a month, I would wake at the slightest sound thinking it was another tornado. I was jumpy and fearful. And a grown adult! Can you imagine what these precious children are going through? 

The Crawford Family

With so many hit by the tornados, it's hard to fathom how to help. But let me make it a bit more personal. If you read Raising Homemakers, you may know Kelly Crawford who is a contributor there. Her family is safe and well, but today they have no home. You can read about their experience and needs at Raising Homemakers or at A Wise Woman Builds Her Home where you'll find additional links and a video, including the story of the Lee family who lost their husband and father.  

Lord, we are truly thankful for Your mercies despite what appears to be a great tragedy from our human perspective. Grant these families and others your grace and courage to face the days ahead while glorifying You! Help us to be Your hands and feet during this time of trial for our brothers and sisters in Christ and for those who do not yet call You Lord. Use this to bring them into the fold.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Make Your Own Seed Planting Reference Cards

If you're like me, you probably have to look up information on each kind of seed every year in order to get them started correctly. Some need heat, some need cool; many need to be planted 1/4" deep and others 1"; and so on and so on...

I love Edward Smith's book The Vegetable Gardener's Bible and I definitely use it a lot. However, have you noticed that several of the seed catalogs provide some of this same information right within their pages? Two that I know of do an excellent job at this; Seeds of Change and Territorial Seed Company

I typically need this information when starting the seeds, so I decided to make some handy reference cards for my seed file by cutting out the information and laminating it. 

I would have only used one of the two catalogs, but after comparing several vegetables, I found that both included and eliminated some really nice information, so I decided to use both. Seeds of change kept their information a bit more concise, but they retained the really important stuff, while Territorial Seeds broke the information down better and was easier to read and access. 

I used white card stock and cut them all the same size, making sure they would fit the largest of all in terms of width and height. Don't forget that you want them to fit in whatever you are using to hold your seeds as well because you'll want these cards right where you keep your seed packets!

Then I glued one on one side...

and the other on the back side.

Once laminated, these should last me for years! I love organizing this kind of thing so that it makes things easier to do each year. 

Now all I need to do is organize the seeds themselves and file the appropriate card with the seed. Simple. Organized. Practical. At my fingertips.

Gotta love it!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How To Make Starter Strips for Bee Hive Frames

At the last minute, I've decided to make wax starter strips for my bees instead of installing pre-made wax foundation in the frames. After reading Fruitless Fall, I've been convinced to be brave and try a more natural way of beekeeping, allowing the bees to do what they would naturally do if they were unattended in the wild.

Let's face it... God designed these marvelous creatures to know exactly what their needs are in terms of cell size and who am I to redirect that to fit a commercial form? On their own, they will draw a smaller cell which seems to resist the Varroa mites much better. Yes, I'll have to do some things differently as a result of my decision, but since I'm new at this, now is the time to learn. Better to train rather than have to retrain, right?

Since I waited until the day my bees were scheduled to arrive to do this, I did not have any "pure" beeswax to use for this project (in other words, beeswax that was sure to be chemical free). However, I did have the wax foundation that I had originally purchased, so I decided to improvise and use that for the starter strips. 

I began by inserting a paint stir stick in the groove at the top of each frame. 

One stir stick is not long enough, so I had to cut another section to fit. 

You want it to stretch all the way across your frame. Others have commented that they have to sand down their sticks a bit to fit, but I found that my worked perfectly. In fact, some were just a bit loose. Not to worry, the next step takes care of anything that might fall out.

Next, I broke up some of the original foundation into small pieces after removing the inset wires.

I used a mason jar and stuck it in the oven on 170 degrees which was as low as my oven would go. 

The wax melts at around 160 degrees, so this worked well, but it cooled too quickly. I tried setting the jar in a pot of water on the stove and that was much better, but finally, I picked up a cheap small pot that I'll use only for this purpose. I placed the wax directly in this pot and kept it on the lowest setting on my stove top and it worked the best.

Taking a small paint brush, I dipped it into the melted wax and painted a strip onto the stir stick and underneath side of the frame. 

It quickly cooled and hardened enough to keep any stir sticks in place while providing a wax foundation for the bees to begin drawing their comb. 

According to Bush Farms, "Bees need some kind of guide to get them to draw straight comb. Any beekeeper has seen them skip the foundation and build combs between or out from the face of the comb, so we know that sometimes they ignore those clues. But a simple clue like a beveled top bar or a strip of wax or wood or even a drawn comb on each side of an empty frame will work most of the time." I'm thinking my bees are wonderfully bright and will do so accordingly! I can hardly wait to see!

I thought that if I used this method I would have to crush and strain to get the honey out, but apparently, you can still put the frames in an extractor. Just start slow and build up speed when more of the honey is out of the comb. Either way, it should be good if they build up enough honey. 

Beekeeping is so fascinating. It really is amazing to watch these creatures up close and observe their ways. How Rowan Jacobson could write Fruitless Fall and not see God's hand in it is beyond me. It's apparent in every step of the process that a wise and orderly Creator made bees to testify of Him in all that they do!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Barn Hop #10

Welcome to the Homestead Barn Hop! 

and Me!

I hope your Easter blessed and you're feeling refreshed.  It always feels like I'm in the home stretch to summer when Easter comes and goes. And there's so much to do! I had hoped to get even more done this weekend, but I spent almost the entire time with my foot elevated while taking Benadryl and Motrin because of a bee sting. 

Wednesday evening as I finished installing the new bees in their hive, I got stung on the ankle as I gathered up my supplies to leave. Some poor worker bee got caught in my sock and since I couldn't find it right away, it kept pumping it's venom in me until I could get it out (which was a while). I had meant to wear my gardening boots, but in my hurry, I forgot and just wore my tennis shoes. I should have stopped and changed. 

At first it didn't seem like too big of a deal, but after 24 hours, my entire foot had swollen and I had a fever. I'm hoping this was just due to the fact of where the bee stung me and since it pumped in more venom than normal because I do NOT want to give up beekeeping! I had the same reaction as a kid when I stepped on them barefoot, but last summer when I was stung on the arm, I had no reaction whatsoever. Pray that this was just an unusual occurrence! 

As for the bees, they seem to like their new home immensely. I've hobbled out there several times to see how they are doing and there's lots of in and out activity. The timing couldn't have been better. With all the rain we've had (and little sun), the wildflowers have been delayed and are just now starting to bloom profusely. Plus the creek out back is still running so that they have a water supply. I'll have to come up with a back up water source soon, because it won't run for long, but in the meantime, it's nice to have. 

I also got my seeds started this past week. Despite every mishap imaginable, they are doing well and sprouting away. I didn't get to use my soil blocker because I'm still trying to obtain all the ingredients for the potting soil recipe, so I used my paper pot roller instead. My 12 year old was able to make all the pots I needed which was a great help since it's a bit time consuming. I'm still hoping to use the soil blocker for starting a lot of flowers for cutting just as soon as I can.

The chicks are growing and I'll be moving them to the coop this week although they'll still need the heat lamp because it's cool out there at night, but I'm going to need the lamp for the Freedom Rangers soon, so I need this group of layers to get acclimated as soon as possible. 

So that's a glimpse into what's happening at my homestead this week. How about yours? 

1. Write a blog post about what's going on at your homestead or a post on something you're learning or an item of interest that will benefit the homesteading community. Be sure to add the red barn button and link back here so others can join in the fun.

2. Come back here and enter your information in the Linky. Please be sure to link to your actual post (click your title and then copy the URL above) and not your home page so those participating later in the week can find your post easily. 

3. If you don't have a blog, leave a comment and tell us what's going on at your homestead!

Please Note: As hostesses of the Homestead Barn Hop, please understand that we reserve the right to remove any links that are not family friendly. While this may be subjective, we will err on the side of caution in order to keep our blogs appropriate for all readers. Thank you for your understanding!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Winner: Homemade Living - The Series!

Wow! I can't tell you how excited I was to see so many entries for the Homemade Living Series by Ashley English! Thank you to everyone who took the time to Tweet, Blog, or Facebook about the give-away and share the information despite the fact that it created greater odds. It's important to let others know that these resources are out there and cultivate the homesteading community. If only I had about 400 of these sets to share! 

Many of you stated that your library has secured copies of these books and I couldn't be happier! Often I will check a book out this way and if it's worth the investment, then I will find a way to purchase it in time. And I think you'll find these four books fit that bill well. When you are ready to purchase, remember that when you go through the Homestead Revival™ bookstore (see tab at top "BOOKS"), the small commission I earn helps keep this blog up and running! In fact, any purchase you make of any kind through my advertisers help tremendously. Thank you for helping out!

But the winner... I know you're wanting me to get to the chase and tell you who won. As always, I use Random.org to select the winner and I did so right after 4:00 pm. PST on Saturday and visited this lovely lady's blog to "meet" her. And I think you'll agree, that she is very deserving of such a wonderful gift... her plate is very full by giving to some children who were very in need of love. Please take a moment to stop by and see her as well. 


Dolisa @ Flying Pig Mama!

For those interested in reading a short interview with Ashley English, you can do so at Lark  CraftsWe do  hope there will be more books! Perhaps one on soap making or gardening or goats... the list is endless! 

And to Sterling Publishing and Lark Crafts for hosting this fabulous give-away - a big THANK YOU

Jesus Lives!

And He has risen from the dead!

Praise to the King of kings!

John 20
1The afirst day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet bdark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the cstone taken away from the sepulchre.d
 2Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the otheradisciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the bLord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.
 3Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.
 4So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.
 5And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.
 6Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,
 7And the anapkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.
 8Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.
 9For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must arise again from the bdead.
 10Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.
 11¶But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,
 12And seeth two aangels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
 13And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.
 14And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and asawJesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
 15Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
 16Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, aMaster.
 17Jesus saith unto her, aTouch me not; for I am not yetbascended to my cFather: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my dFather, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
 18Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.
 19¶Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples wereaassembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and bstood in the midst, and saith unto them, cPeace be unto you.
 20And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his ahands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they bsaw the Lord.
 21Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as myaFather hath bsent me, even so csend I you.
 22And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
 23Whose soever sins ye aremit, they are remitted unto them;and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
 24¶But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
 25The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands theaprint of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
 26¶And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
 27Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and athrust it into my side: and be not bfaithless, but cbelieving.
 28And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
 29Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast aseen me, thou hast believed: bblessed are they that have not seen, and yethave cbelieved.
 30¶And many other asigns truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not bwritten in this book:
 31But these are awritten, that ye might bbelieve that Jesus is thecChrist, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have dlifethrough his ename.


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