Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Country Homemaker Hop #35

Life is Good
Our weather has been cooling down at night and plants are starting to pull chlorophyll down to the roots for winter storage.  I am a little concerned about this.  It's a little early to start this and the days are still HOT.  I am starting to think we may have an early winter.  We'll see.

In the Hen House- Today I found a nice little surprise in the nestbox...  my first GREEN egg.   I now have eight laying hens and one of them is an Easter Egger.  Only seven more hens to go...

The next time my grandson wants to eat some green eggs and ham, he will sure be surprised...

I got another welcome surprise when I opened the mailbox yesterday...  

I won a prize from the amazing blog Fresh Eggs Daily last week.  They're chicken saddles.  Aren't they too cute?  My wonderful package arrived full of several of the cutest little chicken saddles all decked out in chick fabric and nicely lined.  My girls are going to look so sweet wearing these little saddles.  The saddles were well made made by Louise's Country Closet  and I expect they'll last a long time.  Though my rooster's spurs haven't become a problem yet since he's so young, but eventually these saddles will be just the thing to protect my girls and their backs from an overzealous Queenie.  Thank you Lisa and Louise!

In the kitchen- I canned my heart out over the weekend.  I put up a few dozen more jars of grape juice cocktail and pizza sauce. I am making bread too and I love the aroma as it bakes...  It fills the air.

I picked a box full of unripe peaches at my parents place at their request because the birds are already attacking them, even green.  I don't know if they'll ripen any, but I hope so.  If they do, I plan to make them into fruit leathers.

My next project will be apple butter, but first I have to find my crock pot. I misplaced it somewhere in storage in my garage...  I hope I find it soon because I have atleast five of these 5 gallon buckets of apples to pick still...

In the garden-  I fertilized all my veggies today.  I am working raised beds.  Removing spent plants and preparing the soil for new fall seeds.  I hope to get my fall garden planted by week's end.

Miscellaneous... We completed a plan today for solar energy power conversion.  We cannot afford to spend $20,500 to buy the system right now, but there were a few choices.  

We chose to enter a contract for a Power Purchase Agreement or (PPA).  There were no up front costs.  The solar company owns and maintains the equipment, though we can always change our minds and decide to buy it at fair market value anytime.  Our contract guarantees that they will sell us 97% of our electricity for the same kWh rate for the duration of the contract.  In our case that is 240 months.  So, even though the local power company will be charging us whatever their going rate will be for the 3% of our power the solar contract does not cover, we will be paying August 2012 rates for the other 97% of our energy each month for the next 240 months.  I thought that was pretty cool. Plus, we will be opting out of coal and nuclear energy for 97% of our energy needs from now on.  Many folks don't realize it but nuclear power is the second largest consumer of water in America today, right behind agriculture.  

As long as our energy needs stay relatively the same over the next twenty years, and they should since we demanded a system that would meet 97% of our PEAK energy levels, we stand to save a minimum of $14,000 during the term of our contract.  I can think of a lot of things I'd rather do with my money than spend it unnecessarily on electricity.  

Well, thanks for reading and I hope you have a fun and productive week around your homestead.  Please feel free to share as many homemaking, homesteading, crafting, baking, preparedness etc. posts as you like.  Remember, we can't learn something if you didn't post it and share your experience.  Thank you.



  1. Your grape juice looks wonderful. I've made it that way before and it is so good!

    The chicken saddles are adorable :) Congrats on winning them!

    Thanks for hosting!

  2. That's very interesting about the solar contract. We looked into panels and can't afford them either, but I didn't know there were alternatives

  3. Thanks Heidi for that shoutout! I'm linking up now! Lisa

  4. Thanks Lisa Lynn. I like the saddles too.

    Kathy, I hope you can speak to a solar company that offers lots of options. Our provider is called Solar City and they're supposed to be national, though I'm not really sure.

    I look forward to reading your post.

    have a GREAT day ladies.

  5. Hi and thanks for hosting! This is my first post to your hop :). I’m sharing my post Ratatouille: The Solution for Summer’s Abundant Harvest. Ratatouille is my solution to feeding my family yummy comfort food with whatever my farmers’ summer bounties bring.
    Have a great weekend!

  6. Thanks for hosting! I linked up my post on chicken broth for GAPS: