Saturday, June 25, 2011

Preparedness Challenge June 25

Several weeks ago someone posted on FB about how some folks were turning old trampolines into chicken tractors.  Chicken tractors are chicken coops that can be moved to a different area each day which keeps the chickens contained and protected while allowing them to get some free-range benefits as well.

As I tend to be a tightwad  frugal when it comes to our homesteading expenditures I was quickly in love with this idea.  Now where on earth could I find a used trampoline or at least the frame?  I asked around on FB and no one had a trampoline to part with.  I did get some comments of disbelief regarding my request for a trampoline as many of my family and friends know that I do mot care for trampolines.   I know of many children who have broken limbs while playing on them and Kaelan needs no additional encouragement to break her arms.  At three she broke one arm falling from our slide in the front yard.  At 7-ish (is it bad that I can't remember how old she was?  I can remember we were studying the Cooperation unit from KONOS--the human body specifically) we were at our KONOS co-op meeting and she was playing on the swings and fell/jump out and, yes, broke her other arm.  And it was no coincidence that the following week we would be studying the skeletal system.  At age 12 she still sees the bone doctor once or twice a year for evaluation.

Lo, and behold, this week a local contact alerted everyone on FB that she had a trampoline to get rid of....I jumped in quickly (no pun intended!) and committed Jeff and the boys to an evening of trampoline retrieval.    It is now in our front yard.  And I think I am going to have a hard time getting it converted into a chicken tractor.  The head man is not too sure it will be easy to do and he had already obtained some chicken tractor plans from a co-worker on the same day that the trampoline came into our lives.  He and the children seem to think the trampoline is too nice to become a chicken tractor any time soon and it should remain as it was intended to be.  I, on the other hand, think this free trampoline may prove much too costly if and when one of my children breaks a limb.

Trampoline or chicken tractor?

Whether the conversion takes place or not, today has been deemed chicken tractor supply gathering day.  We hope to order about 50 meat birds in the next couple of weeks and will need to get things ready quickly!

The past couple of weeks have been full of canning!!  I have also been freezing a few items.  I can see that the freezers will have to be cleaned out very soon and we need to eat or can what we have in there so that we will have room for the chickens!  This is what we have done in the last few weeks.

  • 2 quarts turkey stock
  • 12 quarts beef stock
  • 17 pints applesauce
  • 9 quarts frozen blueberries
  • 12 half pints peach butter
  • 6 quart bags of peaches
  • 5 quarts frozen strawberries
  • 4 8 oz containers of pesto for the freezer
  • 36 pints of milk
  • 26 quarts canned pinto beans
  • 19 half pints strawberry jam
  • 12 pints canned blueberries
  • 12 pint jars of peaches
  • 1 quart pureed strawberries for fruit leathers
  • 1 pint dehydrated carrots
  • 1 gallon dehydrated onions
  • 1 gallon dehydrated mushrooms
  • And several pounds of butter in the freezer as well!
Empty tomato, apple and peach boxes!!

For years I prepared frozen meals for the freezer, but I have recently become convinced that I should can as many meals as possible.  We've been enjoyed the canned pinto beans which can quickly be combined with ground beef for beef and bean tostados or can be put in the blender with seasonings to become refried beans.  I hope to can a variety of beans, soups, pasta sauce, pizza sauce, meatballs, stews and more for quick and easy meals!

I have realized, though, why canning became a dying art form!  It is so much easier and less time consuming to freeze your produce!!  I do think that the upfront work that is involved with canning will be beneficial in the long run due to the convenience of not having to thaw the foods and being prepared with foods that can easily be used in case of power outages.  And, I have to admit that seeing all the beautiful foods prepared in jars brings a smile to my face.  Now, if I just had a good place to store them!

Making peach butter

Add the rings

Yummy looking and ready for the canner

In the water bath canner

We'll be  adding another 100 pounds of pinto beans and another 100 pounds of oats to our pantry next week along with two cases of rice milk for my dairy free little man.  We've discovered an oil shortage in the pantry this week, so it's off to Sam's I am today with a shopping list that contains much more than oil.  When I return I have a dozen cucumbers to turn into pickles.  Like so much else we are currently doing around here, this will be a first.  I am eager to see how this turns out.

In the amount of time it took me to start and finish this post I have become aware that the trampoline WILL remain as intended.  It was a 7:1 decision and you know who that lone one is...


Cindy said...

Just establish rules for it..and if they break them..bye bye turn on the trampoline..if they do it again..many turns gone..and 3 times the trampboline...I was like the nazti police when mine were on it..and it was off imits when company came over.It made life so much easier.Our dearest friends were ortho dr.s...the way he said it made sense..would you put your 4 yr old behind a stering wheel in a car and on a go cart with no rules are meant for trampolines..he saw lots of injuries on them.

Love all you have done.What recipe did you use for the pintos and how did you do it?

And how did you dehydrate the carrots?

Hugs ..Cindy from Rick-Rack and Gingham

Miranda said...

What a lovely blog. I am just starting on my homesteading journey. Your blog was very encouraging!

Miriam said...

I'm curious about your peach butter. Is your recipe here on your blog? I have ordered 4 bu. of peaches for this summer and would love to try making peach butter with some of them.

Amy @ Homestead Revival said...

The trampoline makes a nice chicken run, but I didn't move it around like a tractor. Too much work. I just took a roll of chicken wire, ran it around the bottom, and left an opening that we used clamps on to keep it closed. When I was done, we just rolled up the wire and used it somewhere else later. Hope it works out for you - without the broken bones!

April said...

i hope they all have fun and there are no injuries. i'm scared to death of trampolines myself!

you have been SO busy with the food preparations! i am impressed.

just hopping by to say "hello" personally!

Erin S said...

We're not a trampoline family but my oldest broke his arm on one when he was about 11. He and his best friend were on it together when the friend fell on my son. That's all it took. The doctor said that it was a common occurrence when more than one person was on at a time. Several people in our neighborhood sink them into the ground. That would require a backhoe or a good amount of digging though.

I'd love to know how you plan to can meatballs. In pasta sauce?

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