Monday, April 30, 2012

My Preparedness Challenge Progress

Photo from Homestead Revival
This month, I have been really working hard to meet a few preparedness goals.  I have been focusing on food storage and sustainability.  To meet those goals I want to increase my pantry storage, add some animals to my property for protein, and increase my garden space.  I believe I have a good start toward meeting these goals and here's how.
This month I took an old television cabinet and refinished it.  My handy husband Jerry drilled a few holes for shelves and here it is... my new pantry for storage.
Today, I picked up my first co-op order to start filling it up with pantry staples.   
I am really looking forward to the improved quality of these GMO free, organic items.   I have been working toward eliminating all processed foods from our diet for a while and this helps.

This month we also purchased food grade 5 gallon buckets for food storage and we bought a 250 gallon food grade water storage tank.  

Jerry plans to install the tank inside a storage area for garden water storage.
On the sustainable living front, my favorite chore this month has been taking care of the adorable baby chicks we brought home for future egg production.  
To save money we are re-purposing an old shed/lean to for the hen house and night time chicken run.
They grow so fast, they seem to grow every time I blink my eyes...  
A kind local homesteader showed me how to slaughter and butcher poultry, just in case I need to know that sometime in the future for meat production.  It looks like I may have a few too many roosters, so that lesson will probably come in handy soon.  Thank you Debbie.  The white cornish cross chickens above are hers.  They were eight weeks old and about ten pounds each.  Wow!  That's ten pounds at eight weeks... amazing.
 My garden is growing.  These sweet peas are laying in apple wood mulch that I mulched myself after fruit tree pruning in January.
It's warming up around here so I have begun directly planting seeds in my new garden areas.  
 My potatoes somehow managed to keep hanging in there through some cold and snowy storms.  I am hoping for a big harvest to dehydrate and can.
 I am testing the micro-climate on my new garden terrace.  It seems warmer than the front yard, so I started planting a few tender summer crops like zucchini and yellow squash.  So far, so good. 
 I have tomato plants coming out of my ears in the greenhouse and they're quickly outgrowing their pots, but I dare not plant them yet. If I do, it will freeze again.  It happens every year. Lol.
There are herbs, flowers and more summer crop seedlings waking up in the house.  Poor Jerry.  His "parking lot" has been shrinking as I grab up more and more of our land for plantings... My next BIG garden project will be gardens for the chickens and honey bees.  

I almost forgot to mention that I now have honey bees.  

I am hoping that they will impact my vegetable crops in a good way.  According to a professor of mine, honey bees on site can increase vegetable yields by up to 50%.  I'll be happy with any noticeable improvement, and I am really looking forward to raw local honey in my front yard someday. 

I want to point out too that we buy everything we can, used.  We are not wealthy.  The way we get so many things done is by either making it ourselves, finding good things at yard sales or used through commercial sources.  

The tv cabinet came from a yard sale for $20 a few years ago.  The water storage tank and 5 gallon food grade buckets were used, they came from a boy scout group that buys them full of product for a regional fair booth.  They use the syrup, clean and disinfect the buckets, and resell them.  We still have to buy some of those pricey gamma lids eventually to top them with.  If you have a good priced source, please share.  

Beyond that, we grow everything we can ourselves and we make a huge investment of sweat equity in all of our projects.  Like many of you in this online community, we work hard to stretch our dollars without creating debt.  It can be done, it just takes time and creativity.
So, that's what we have been working on this month.  It feels good to see some progress.  What are you working on now?


  1. WoW! You have been very busy this month. Great job.

  2. Just look how much you have accomplished ..hats off to you! I love your pantry; looks just beautiful.

  3. Wow, you have been busy!! Good work! The greenhouse plants look great!

  4. Thank you for your kind words ladies. It feels like I am finally getting ahead of my food storage needs. It's exciting to see some progress.

  5. That is awesome, I agree you look like you have been very vusy!

  6. Thanks Clint. We have been busy

  7. Heidi,
    You never cease to amaze me..I am going to try to catch up with you one day..Love all of the posts and your chicks are really growing fast. I love your storage building it is so cute. I know you are glad that Jerry is so handy. Busy little friend I love it.

  8. You're doing great! Nice coop, I like that it's interesting looking. Ours just looks like a storage shed (because we had to hide it since we're not supposed to have chickens!) Everyone knows now and it hasn't been a problem, sometimes they want eggs though! LOL

  9. I am glad your neighbors enjoy your eggs and chickens Kathy. I'm not sure how my neighbors will feel about my chicks, but they are allowed per my local codes so I hope they are not a bother to anyone around here.

    Thanks Dolly. I am trying to slim down some... all this running around is bound to help with that. Lol.

  10. ~ these folks have some gamma lids starting at $3.95 (white). I haven't ordered from them but the price is better than others I have seen.

  11. Looks like you have done great to me. What a lovely place you have!

  12. Thanks a million Donna. I am going to go over and check the lids out. That seems like a really great deal.

    Thank you Becky, I am sure trying. I love our little micro-farm. Have a nice day.

  13. Looks like you have lots of good stuff going on at your place!
    I hope your beekeeping goes well. We kept bees for the first time last summer and God blessed us with a wonderful honey harvest and we truly enjoyed the process of taking care of them. We didn't overwinter them as we are in a quite cold climate but we got new ones again last Saturday and I am excited to bee caring for bees again!

  14. Great job on all fronts Heidi!
    Love the cabinet up-do too!
    How did you paint it? I love it! Looks rustic!

  15. Thanks Abbi. I hope the bees hang in there. We get cold too. I am glad you got some more bees too.

  16. Thanks Deb. I am keeping busy. For the cabinet I painted one coat of barn red with a dry brush. Then I stained it gunstock oak. It was sealed with verathane although it's way too shiny for me. I am considering scuffing it.

  17. Great homestead you have there! I've been getting my gamma lids through Azure Standard. They run $6.75 each but no shipping. The individual ones through are $5.99 for individual ones plus shipping.

  18. You've done an amazing job, Heidi! Not only prepping, but with your homestead! And having seen if first hand, it's even more beautiful than these lovely pictures! If only all our blog friends could see it up close and live! You certainly inspire me!

  19. Amy,
    Thank you for your kind words. Coming from you it means so much. You are a great inspiration to me.