Friday, November 25, 2011

Frugal Friday–Leftover Turkey

This Thanksgiving we had a 30lb. turkey, which meant a lot of leftover meat. There are numerous recipes and suggestions online for leftover turkey. My uses this year for my turkey are: turkey soup, turkey stock and freezing it for later use. Simple and easy.

Turkey Soup.
Turkey Stock. 
This year was the first time I made turkey soup. I didn't follow any recipes, just made up my own.

Julia's Turkey Soup

Turkey drippings
Water-to finish filling your pot.
3 cups of turkey
1/2 bag of frozen carrots (I really like carrots.)
1/2 bag of frozen mixed vegetables
2 tsp of poultry seasonings
2 tsp salt
1/3-1/2 uncooked barley

Mix all together, cook until barley is soft. Add more poultry seasonings and salt as needed. Many recipes I read used celery.

We served the soup with corn bread and homemade canned peaches. Yummy!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Frugal Friday-Freebies

I enjoy receiving freebies. Freebies in the mail are my newest and fun way to get free stuff. I always get excited when I see one of those little boxes in the mail from a company I received a promotional incentive from.

In the past most of my freebies came from gift bags at stores I shopped from on Black Friday. Samples or rebates I receive from these stores, job and health fair giveaways or Doctor's Offices are great. Many times the samples from the Doctor's office are most helpful. The medicine samples they give, instead of writing a prescription, can save you money at the pharmacy.

The newest place, I get my free and frugal samples are from the internet. You can find blogs which focus on free stuff, coupons and store sales. My most favorite freebie blog is If you haven't checked it out you need to.

One of my new freebies. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Extra! Extra! Turkey Eggs

Today, as usual I went to gather chicken eggs. My girls are notorious for hiding their eggs, causing me to search different spots in order to find them all. I was making my circle and stopped to check the unused old dog house. I didn't find any chicken eggs, but to my surprise, were two turkey eggs! My husband's pet turkey, which was supposed to be Christmas dinner, had laid them.

She must be productive, I'd checked the dog house yesterday more than once for chicken eggs and the turkey eggs weren't there. This leaves me to believe she laid both of them today. The eggs are cream colored and covered in brown speckles. They are larger then chicken eggs and more oval shaped. Not sure how they taste yet. Guess I will have to find out for breakfast tomorrow.

I just had to share my new find with you because I'm just so excited!

Turkey eggs in old dog house.  
Turkey egg
Turkey egg next to chicken egg. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

How to Start a Fire

I enjoy having a wood stove for heat. The heat penetrates and keeps me warmer than other forms of heat.
The supplies I use throughout the winter to start and maintain fires are; seasoned wood (usually Juniper), newspaper, kindling and lighters. Items I use occasionally are: lint, toilet paper rolls, cardboard, junk mail and magazines.

When I start a fire, I crumple up newspaper or other forms of paper i.e. junk mail, and place on the floor of the stove. I crumple it to allow little pockets of air which the fire needs to burn. If the paper is not crumpled it won't burn well and will burnout quickly. Sometimes I add lint which I stuffed into empty toilet paper rolls to give it a boost. Lint burns easily and quickly.

Crumpled paper.
Next I place dry, thin pieces of kindling; twigs, splintered pieces of wood from spliting wood, pieces of board from projects and even leaves. I place them in a criss-cross style to allow air to circulate through. After they are in place, I set a piece of wood on top ensuring space between it and the kindling to give the fire air. 
Wood on kindling.
Lastly, I start the paper on fire with a lighter. I leave the vent door open slightly to allow enough air to get the fire going. Then I sit back with my hot chocolate and relax. 
Fire. Wood will shift as fire burns kindling. 
Safety precautions when heating with wood:
  • Each year the chimney needs to be cleaned professionally to ensure repairs aren't needed and to prevent fires caused from collected soot. 
  • Have a working fire extinguisher handy at all times. Not next to the fire though just nearby. 
  • Do not leave lighter near fire. It can heat up and explode. 
  • Having working smoke detectors. 
  • Keep children away from the stove and all supplies, especially the lighters. 
  • Ensure the door and vent is closed to stove before you leave it unattended. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Winter Routine

Each year I go through the same tasks to prepare our home, family and myself for the winter. This particular year we've been busy with building projects and food preservation, leaving me behind in my pre-winter routine. Some tasks are done, others not so much. Another problem which has caused delays, is my list keeps growing as I find other things to add.

Home Preparations:
  • Have wood stove cleaned.
  • Trimming of trees and blackberry bushes.
  • Draining of all hoses and outside water pipes at each animal home site.
  • Have new fire extinguishers if others are old or don't work.
  • Put all gardening tools in storage.
  • Wrap outside faucet to prevent freezing.
  • Have working non-electric can opener.
  • Indoor-Outdoor thermometer. 
  • Change batteries in smoke and CO2 detectors.
  • Boards or plastic to cover back porch screened areas.
  • Air conditioners out of bedrooms and into storage.
  • Plastic on windows, inside and out
  • Wood for heat.
  • Small eco-friendly electric heaters for bathroom and kitchen to prevent frozen pipes. The electric bill is cheaper than repairing broken pipes. (Which happens all too frequently in this area.)
  • Winter clothes pulled from storage.
  • Summer clothes put in storage.
  • Material for sewing projects and yarn for crocheting projects.
  • Food preserved and breakfast breads baked and put in freezer.
  • Stockpiling of food, personal care products including over the counter meds and cleaning supplies. 
  • Stored water. Just in case pipes do freeze. 
  • Ensuring flashlights are working, extra batteries, working radio (preferably crank or solar). Electricity goes out frequently in our area.
  • Lighters for starting fires.
  • Extra blankets available.
  • Electric mattress pad.
  • Stockpiled food for animals.
  • Heated water bowls for outside animals.
  • Eight to ten inches of hay on chicken house floor for insulation.
  • Mulching of trees, shrubs and plants. 
  • Extra hay for bunny. 
  • Extra water for bunny to change out when other is frozen.
  • Snow shovels.
  • Boots
Car preparations:
  • Ensuring up-to-date on maintenance and re-check all fluids.
  • Inflate and rotate tires.
  • Water in car for drinking and to clean windshield if needed.
  • Food in car.
  • Sleeping bags in car.
  • First aid kit in car and other supplies in bathroom cabinet.
  • Extra gloves and hats in car.
  • Ice scrapers in car.
  • Extra winter coats in car.
  • Supplies for animals for times of travel; food, water, treats, dog sweaters, extra leashes, copy of shot records. 
  • Flashlight and batteries.
  • Tire chains.
  • Jumper cables.
  • Flashers.
  • Maps.
  • Shovel
  • Kitty litter to provide traction if you get stuck in the snow or ditch.
What do you do for winter preparation?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Reasons Why I Grow Food

A growing number of individuals, families and neighborhoods are becoming more interested in gardening and growing their own food. The reasons vary but include: desire to save money, concern over pesticides and food-borne illnesses, sense of community (community gardens) are all just a few of the reasons.

 My list of reasons I grow our family's food are;
  •  My love of nature. I enjoy watching nature grow and produce.
  •  The feeling of accomplishment and pride from growing food.
  •  Saving money on groceries.
  •  Relaxation. I feel like I'm in another world when I garden, freeing my mind of everyday life situations.
  •  Knowing the food I cook and place on the table is free of pesticides and contamination of food-borne illnesses. 
  • Sharing what I've grown with friends, extended family and the homeless shelter. 
  • Knowing if a wide spread disaster occurred, I have a little knowledge which could keep us fed during it. 
  • I get to try new food items I've never eaten before, without spending a lot of money. 
  • After the growing season the plants become compost for my soil. Providing me with rich dirt, better in appearance and good for next season's plants. 
  • I grow food my animals like to eat too: lettuce cabbage, tomatoes, squash etc. Helps save on pet food bills.
  • Gift giving. I can some of my fruit and use for Christmas gifts. 
  • I like the way my canned goods look on my pantry and cabinet shelves. Edible home decor!
  • I get exercise when I garden. Pulling weeds, pushing a wheel barrel full of dirt or compost all add up to calories burned. 
  • The food is always fresh.
  • I also use home grown food for trade for other garden items from friends I didn't grow. 
  • And of course just for the sheer beauty of it.
What are some of the reasons you garden?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Frugal Friday–Cheap Dates

All married couples need time to focus on each other, away from other responsibilities. My husband enjoys  the movies. When there is a movie we both want to see, we go to a matinee and don't buy snacks to keep the cost down.

Our favorite date is hiking. We have numerous trails within walking distance of our home, making the cost free.

A day of hiking.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Daddy's Girl

We recently had two of our turkeys butchered, Thanksgiving Dinner and Turkey Girl. Thanksgiving Dinner was our male and he is in our freezer, all 30 LBS of him. Turkey Girl stayed with the butcher in his freezer. That left us with Christmas Dinner, who has ended up becoming my husband's pet.

Christmas Dinner ended up being a great watch "dog" turkey. She always lets us know if something is going on outside. She likes to eat out of our hand and is always interested in what we're doing outside. Notice the green paint on her chest. She got a little to close to the shed when she was watching me paint.

When she wants attention she gets pouty, drops her wings and lies down waiting for us to take notice and pet her.

Getting pouty.  
Daddy's girl getting attention, as jealous checkers watches. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Custom Chicken House and Shed Projects

My husband and I have been diligently working on getting "his" outside projects done. He is trying to finish before it gets too cold or the snow begins to fall. The temperatures are starting to drop down to 26˚ at night and presently it is only 52˚ outside. Still warm enough to work but not for long.

The chickens don't understand what is going on. They watch my husband build and me painting and staining. They also like to examine the tools and dig around in the screws, which they end up scattering everywhere. I think it's funny, but it frustrates my husband.

Even with the curious chickens, progress is being made on the projects. The shed has shelves, walls, a roof and is painted. It lacks the finishing on the roof, doors and the touch up painting. The chicken house roof has to be finished, inside walls, electricity installed and staining to be finished. But what is done, is very attractive in my opinion and the neighbors, (they like to visit to see what else we have going on).

New shed. 
New shed.
The chickens were curious about the shed one day and knocked over all our little yellow bins of hardware. I had to reorganize everything, and in the process found eggs on a narrow shelf and behind some garden tools. Since I've reorganized and picked up the eggs, they haven't been back. I guess they realize the shed is not a good hiding place for eggs.

New coat of paint on rabbit hutch. 
I almost forgot about our rabbit hutch. I put a new coat of paint on it for Knuckles (the rabbit) and her new roommate (a field mouse), who just recently took up residence with her. They get along well burrowing in the hay and eating out of the same dish. With the nights getting colder we will be putting more grass hay in the hutch to keep them warm.

Chicken house project.
Opening of nest boxes for cleaning and gathering eggs.
Open nest boxes. 
Roosts with a view.
Inside shot of nest boxes. 
As you can see, we still have work to do on the chicken house, but it is coming along. It is far enough along for Checkers at least.
Checkers trying out one of the new nest boxes. 
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