Saturday, August 20, 2011

Taking Stock and Learning New Skills

This week I have been taking stock of the children's clothing for the next season.  Having been blessed with seven children,  you can be sure that I save their used clothing to pass on to younger siblings!    I try to assess their clothing needs twice a year, usually in very early spring and in late summer.  First we go through their current clothes from the closet and dressers in the bedrooms.  We discard items that are too worn or soiled and items that are too small will either pass down immediately to the next youngest child or are stored in the attic in boxes marked according to size and gender.  I write everyone's name on the white board in our dining room and as I discover items that will be needed I write those things under that person's name.  I do generally try to pick up some new items for each child throughout the year from clearance sales.   Recently I found the older boys several polo shirts for less than $3 each at one of our nicer clothing stores.  The older boys both have jobs and do purchase items that they fact, Jordan pretty much purchases all of his clothes now with me adding in some that I find on clearance at times.  Devin has been purchasing her own clothing for several years.  Our next daughter is 11 years younger, but now is almost the same size.  Devin is one of those who wears something for one or two seasons and then is tired of she passes it on to Kaelan!  I still have a couple of the children's clothes to go through and then we will do our attic shopping before finishing up the list of items to be on the look out for.  It is good to know that, if necessary, our younger children could easily be clothed totally with hand-me-down clothing for the next several years.

This year we have also been learning how to preserve our own food without freezing.  In order to do that we purchased a pressure canner and a dehydrator to add to our water bath canner.  We purchased our dehydrator from The Sausage Maker after hubby did lots of research.  He got THIS ONE and I really like it.  These dehydrators have no plastic parts which was a huge factor in hubby's mind.  We have dehydrated onions, carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes, various herbs and even use it to make granola and yogurt.

We choose the Presto 23-quart canner, mainly because I got it free doing a review for an online shopping network.  We have been canning pinto beans, turkey and chicken broth, milk and more.  I can't wait to learn how to can more items.  I requested Growing and Canning Your Own Food by Jackie Clay for my birthday and it is jam-packed with lots of great information and recipes!  I hope to soon be canning meats and ready-to-eat meals using this book as a reference.

We also added another chicken tractor to our homestead this week and will be ordering meat chickens soon.  We have enjoyed learning about layers and meat birds and it's also fun to watch them.  Our children love to take out kitchen scraps for them to enjoy.  Yesterday we discovered the chickens love popcorn!

So much to learn on a homestead, but it's so much fun when you can learn and work together as a family.  What are you learning with your family these days?


Trixi said...

I am curious how many meat chickens are you getting. We are considering meat chickens, too. We have processed a few chickens at a time but are considering like 50. Will you be getting a chicken plucker like the whizbang? My husband is looking at building one of those too.

Celee said...

I've been reading Stocking UP and am anxious to try making yogurt and cream cheese. My goal for this weekend is to clean out my storage room so I'll some place to stock : ). I need to go into Big D's garden. I think I'll freeze bell peppers today since that's easy. He's going to have more beets and green beans and I would love to can those, but to do that I need to buy a pressure canner and won't have room until after I clean out my storage room. Ok, it's been a nice break. Now back to work.


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