Frugal Happenings on the Homestead: Week of 02/16-02/22/14

I would like to start writing a weekly post about what we’ve been doing to help save money, how we’ve stretched something to make it last longer, used up something that would have otherwise gone to waste, etc.  This will also include what we’re doing to help save us money in the future, such as gardening.  I will admit that I’ve not kept a great record this week, but I plan to try to do so in the future.  It will be good for me to have a record of things, especially of things that are not working for us.  So, let me see what I can remember from last week.

Tuesday:  I cooked some chicken in the Crock Pot to make BBQ chicken.  I saved the stock to can, as well as half the chicken.  This was my first time canning chicken, but it’s so easy & it’s going to come in really handy on busy days!  I ended up with 6 pints of chicken stock & 2 pints of chicken.

Wednesday:  I began the process of slicing & dehydrating 25 lbs of carrots!  I had ordered these through Azure Standard at a great price knowing that I would be dehydrating them.  I filled all 9 trays of my dehydrator up Wednesday morning.  I usually love doing things the “old-fashioned way”  (aka by hand, using a knife & cutting board), but I did use my food processor this time.  It sure does make short work of slicing all those carrots!

Thursday:  Emptied and refilled my dehydrator with more carrots.  I also filled two 20-quart roasters will the ingredients to make chicken stock using 6 of the carcasses from some of the chickens that we culled last fall.  This will be ready to strain last Friday evening.

Friday: I emptied & refilled 5 of my trays with the last of carrots.  I filled the remaining 4 trays with some frozen peas & corn that I had. Once they were done, I had a few more bags of peas & corn left to dehydrate, so I went ahead & reloaded 4 trays.  Once I was completely done with my dehydrating, I ended up with 5 quarts of carrots, 2 quarts of corn & 2 quarts of peas.

We ordered a box blade for our farm.  It will be delivered tomorrow.  We desperately need one since the bottom of our driveway is on an incline and tends to want to wash out if we have a lot of rain, which we have had for the last several months!  This costs us a pretty penny up front, but it will save us money in the future because we can keep the driveway smooth & not have to order gravel more often.

I strained all of the chicken stock, reserving the cooked veggies for the chickens & setting the bones & any meat that had fallen off aside to be picked through.  The bones were discarded as they had given all they were going to give, & the meat was reserved to be canned. Once the stock was strained, I poured it back into the roasters, filled them the rest of the way up with fresh water, & let them simmer overnight.

I also cleaned out the last of my old basil plants & planted some more seeds.  These are on my back porch out of direct weather.  If we do get below freezing temps or snow again after they start growing, I’ll bring the pot inside.

Saturday:  My parents came to visit for a little while, so I fixed “Poor Man’s Soup” for lunch using all ingredients from my pantry – tomatoes I had canned, dehydrated veggies & carrots, potatoes from the freezer that needed to be used.  I also put out fresh fruits & veggies along with lettuce for those that would like a salad with their lunch.

With my mom’s help, I canned up 58 pints of chicken stock, 5 pints of chicken (1 seal failed & I had to discard it since it fell into my sink of soapy water), and 1 pint of water.  My supply of chicken stock is now nicely replenished!  It took us all day to get this done, but it was so worth it!

I know there are a lot of little things that I do throughout the week that I’m not thinking about, so I’m going to try to do better this week so I can see what I’m doing & maybe where I could make some improvements.

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