Going Through The Seasons

Going Through The Seasons

Have you ever considered all that is required Going Through The Seasons?  With each season we experience different aspects of mother nature and God’s beauty, but we also experience the unpredictable aspect of mother nature as well. The same is true of the seasons in our lives. So much beauty and blessings in our lives and with each season of life come the hills and valleys.

One of the beautiful things about seasons is they come and they go. They are not permanent and the challenges that they bring depart with them and they leave behind the sweet and sometimes not so sweet memories and lessons learned.

Each season educates us, builds and shapes us and creates warriors in each of us if we allow.

It is important to be prepared for both types of seasons. With each season of the year, we need to be prepared for what mother nature can dish out. Being prepared for these seasons requires thought, tools, labor, and energy.

Season Of The Year

Because we all live in different locations around the globe we all experience different aspects of Mother Nature.  First and foremost, it is important to recognize what threats you have from Mother Nature and be prepared for them.  Our biggest threat is wildfires.

What You Should Consider When Fire Is A Threat?

Our main necessities such as food, water, shelter and warmth come first and may require you to be proactive in having a good supply at all times.  Backup water, a full woodshed, a full food cache and pantry, seasonal clothing, and a roof over your head.

Being prepared for something as simple as a power outage is a great place to start in your preparedness efforts.  Sometimes it can be hard to get your spouse or family onboard when it comes to preparedness and a power outage could be a great place to start getting them onboard.  Having everything on hand that you need to be comfortable as well as some creature comforts such as a favorite candy bar, toiletries, a movie downloaded to a charged iPad, etc.  Once they see the benefits of thinking ahead they may be more apt to support you and join you in your efforts.

Depending on how you live and if you are homesteading with animals, each season may bring on new tasks to care for your animals.  Having all the necessary tools and the know-how is important.  We have chickens, homestead mouser cats, homestead dogs, had honey bees, meat rabbits, milk goats, and a horse.  Each had its own needs seasonally and they depend on us for their care and protection.

If you are gardening, container gardening or have a greenhouse there are things to consider in each season.  Your spring and fall planting, harvesting and preserving not to mention all the tasks in between such as planning your garden, purchasing your seeds, preparing your soil, etc.

In the vast location that we share with many predators, it is important to have homestead protection.  Each of us not only carry, but have on our person tools to assist us in our day to day chores, but also if we ended up in a pickle of sorts we are able to protect ourselves, light a fire, gain warmth, build a shelter and sustain ourselves.  We think of these things and we want you to do the same.

We keep all our homestead equipment maintenanced and ready for whatever season they are needed.  Lawn mowers, weedeaters, chainsaws and manual saws, all our manual traditional outdoor tools, etc.  Maintaining your equipment will help them to last and they will be on the ready and waiting for their next use.

Each season in our location means carrying different items in our vehicles in the event of a breakdown.  We live in a vast location so always having our vehicles well maintenanced and stocked with the appropriate seasonal items adds a great level of comfort and a lot less to think about every time we are out and about.  We know when we get in a vehicle that if something happens EVERYTHING we need is onboard.

Seasons Of Life

The seasons of our lives require us to be prepared in thought, tools, labor and energy as well only our arsenal of tools are going to look very different. For me my tools for the seasons of life are my Bible, Bible.com app on my phone, encouraging music, podcasts, inspiring books, movies, and people, strong faithful family and friends and a very deep relationship with God.

Through each season of life, other powerful tools are a deep faith and trust, perseverance and an extreme eye for gratitude. Regardless if we are walking through a valley or climbing a tall mountain, a close relationship with God and seeing daily all that we should be grateful for makes the season so much sweeter.  The biggest thing in our arsenal is knowing how to step away into the still quiet places to spend time with God.  This still quiet place is the best part of the journey – it allows us to grow closer to God, to hear him speak to us, to gain inspiration and direction and to regroup, be refilled with hope and to grow our faith muscles!

Dealing with the unexpected is stressful and can cause great anxiety which in turn can create poor health.  By learning how to be prepared for the seasons of life you will have better health and if you are already healing you will keep from interrupting your healing process by having protocols in place that work for you and your family and will make the process so much more enjoyable and healthy!

Our seasons of life do not need to be dreaded – you can enjoy the journey through the valleys if your perspective and arsenal are aligned!

It is important that we are prepared for both types of seasons.

What are some ways that you have gotten yourself prepared for both types of seasons?

Taking On The Impossible And…

Taking On The Impossible And…

Sometimes in life, we need to “Take On The Impossible”, or at least that is how it feels, but remember in EVERY situation we have choices and we are CHOOSING to be #UNSTOPPABLE!

We’ve decided this year we are going to be totally transparent in our situation in an effort to help others. We are on a slippery slope that is not kind nor pleasant, but we have been working extremely hard to move things in a positive direction with no prevail.

In 2016, we traveled from Idaho to GA for my life-saving surgery, stayed in GA for 17 days, returned home to embark on a healing journey that I am still traveling today and went 6 1/2 months without an income during that time. Our medical bills were adding up and we were behind on EVERYTHING.

In 2017, we had the illusion that we were catching up. Going into winter we had 4 nice construction jobs lined up for December that would carry us into the new year, but in November of 2017 those jobs fell apart due to the homeowner’s finances. SOOO we ended up going 4 months without work and an income despite our best effort while seeking, searching and being resourceful.

Fast forward to today, June 13, we went too long without an income and catching up is no longer an option without a miracle.

Over the weekend our family made a very radical decision to spend the next month and a half getting rid of all the unnecessary things on our homestead by selling things on an online yard sale and having a physical yard sale in July. The best time in my life was spent in the canvas wall tent while building this homestead. The simplicity is what I crave and that is what we are heading toward not that we don’t live simply, but we want to live simpler.

Additionally, we are pushing to finish the cosmetic work in the interior of our home, organize the outside and prepare our home for sale by the end of August, all while still doing our normal day to day of working construction jobs, writing and maintaining our online businesses and keeping the homestead running.

We can not make any concrete decisions on our future until this house sells so we are putting all our energy into making this happen and trusting that God will meet us halfway. I know that Trayer Wilderness, Trayer Wilderness Academy, and our family will remain in the wilderness of Idaho, we just don’t know where and how!

When you take extreme leaps of faith we enable God to open the doors – our parachute may not open right away, but I fully trust that it will open and God will guide and be with us on this whole journey. He has been with us all this time – “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT .

These were the two choices we had:
1. Sit, mope and watch the ship sink or file bankruptcy.
2. Take the leap of faith that we have and decide to put a positive and very aggressive plan in place.

What is the worst that will happen? Well, we will fail, but we will fail knowing that we did EVERYTHING in our power to change our circumstance and make a difference not only in our lives but the lives of others through our steadfast trust and faith in God.

He has a plan for us that is bigger and better than we could ever imagine or envision so regardless of the outcome I know we will be ok and well cared for and loved!

One important aspect for us during this journey is to be sure we are listening to that still, small voice so that we are not steering this ship in the wrong direction and that we are following his plan and not ours!

Something else I would like to point out is the importance of strong family bonds!  We are one very STRONG family and we will conquer this new journey together.  It is also important for you to truly realize what is most important in your life.  Materials things will never hold value in our home compared to the relationships we have, our love for one another and our love for Christ.  We are blessed beyond measure even in our circumstances and our LIFESTYLE has enabled us to be comfortable in a very uncomfortable place.   We have not gone without food or shelter.  We live a life of preparedness and are able to feed our family, give to those that are in need and still have some left over.  This is all because we live daily preparing for tomorrow!  You never know what will come your way and being prepared is SO extremely important!

So join us on this journey as we step into yet another adventure in the lives of the Trayer Family!

You can follow the step by step video journey (behind the scenes) here.

If you are walking a similar journey right now, remember to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus versus allowing depression to set in or seeking a quick fix or an end all avenue!   This is not the end of the world, it may actually be the start of something very exciting and new!  God is good!

If you missed me on Facebook Live sharing our story, you can watch below:

If you would rather listen to the podcast – you can do so here on our website or on iTunes or Stitcher.

Off-Grid Solar Homestead For Sale

 

One Quarter Can Save You Hundreds

One Quarter Can Save You Hundreds

Simple Easy Preparedness Tip Everyone Should Know When The Power Goes Out

How often do you lose grid power? I know it happens often around here and we are thankful to be unaffected by grid power loss because we are utilizing solar power on our homestead, BUT this particular circumstance could also affect us…

Have you ever lost power while you were away from home and wondered how long the power was out and if the contents of your freezer are still good? We utilize propane for our freezer and refrigerator and we could very easily get something in our line that would cause it to clog (thankfully in 8 years we have never experienced this or power loss), BUT this is one thing that can cause GREAT loss.

Today, I have a simple, easy trick that can take the guesswork out of how long the electric was off and also whether all may be lost.

You simply fill a canning jar or container 3/4 of the way full and allow it to freeze. Once frozen you simply add a quarter to the top of the ice and place back in your freezer.

If you ever lose power while away from home you will now have a gauge as to what happened in your freezer. If the quarter is still on top of the ice the power must not have been out long and things did not even thaw at all. If the quarter is partially through the ice it is likely that your foods may have thawed a bit, but refroze which would indicate that your food should still be fine. If the quarter is at the bottom of the container it is likely that everything thawed and refroze in which case dependent on the contents things may be questionable and it is likely that if you had meats in paper you will see the telltale signs of thaw with blood that has leaked out of the packages from the thaw.

My sweet friend Mona found this tip sometime over the years and wasn’t quite sure where she found it but knew that I would love to know this trick(and she was right) and she also knew that I would LOVE to share it with you all!

What a great way to add peace of mind and a gauge that may eliminate you throwing a whole freezer full of food away out of fear!

So be sure to take a few minutes and safeguard your freezers!

What did you think of this tip? Pretty simple and smart, huh? We LOVE hearing from you all so share your thoughts below in the comments…

Do you have any tips similar to this one that you would like to share? If so please share in the comments below…

Best Places To Find Homestead & Off-Grid Tools

Best Places To Find Homestead & Off-Grid Tools

Yardsaling, flea markets, estate sales, antique and thrift stores, the locations are endless…  As most of you know, I am NOT a shopper, despise being in town more than I need to be BUT I love looking for treasures! This is the perfect time of year to get out and find the things you need for your home or homestead.

Last Friday, on Mountain Woman Radio I spoke about Yardsaling in Podcast #149.

We live very frugally by choice and also by choice we have eliminated most of today’s modern day conveniences. Using antiques in our home is just part of the romance and often the items we are using are family heirlooms used by our grandparents or great grandparents.

They are 50+ years old and are quality products that were durably made. They have stood the test of time and still decorate my home and are used often daily.

We don’t live with worry in regard to our future, but we do take our future greatly into consideration with everything we do. We envision life totally without power and strive to be sure that we have every tool we need on our homestead to survive and thrive if that were ever to happen. So that means that we need to have the antique counterpart to many of today’s modern day conveniences to be able to move forward.

When we are out and about and see a yard sale, flea market, auction, thrift store or antique store and have a couple extra minutes we pop in and take a look. You never know what you will find and even better yet – have a list of the items you are looking for so you can even be more strategic!

On my podcast last week I spoke about getting canning supplies at yard sales and this week while I was running errands I stopped at a thrift store to find big bins with canning jars and rings for $6.60 per dozen. I walked away with 14 wide mouth jars and rings. I could have gained a LOT more jars, but I was being a bit of a snob that day in that we can a LOT of meat and it is SO much easier to fill, empty and clean the wide mouth jars so I am working on only stocking up on the wide mouths that fit our needs the best.

As I also mentioned in the podcast on Friday how I found an Excalibur dehydrator at a yard sale last year for $20 which actually retailed for over $300. These are the kind of treasures you can find when you take the time to look.

This is truly how I enjoy finding our homestead & off-grid tools!

Some people feel that this kind of shopping is beneath them, but I regularly purchase clothes that still have the tags on them. It is an amazing feeling when you get yourself to a place that you don’t feel you have to purchase every great deal you see or you find that you are able to limit yourself to only the things you actually need and will use. I hate clutter and there are often things that catch my eye when I am out, but if it does not have a useful place in our home, I am to a place in my life that I will not waste the money on it just for pure pleasure.  By living this way, it truly affords me to live this life!

Additionally, it is very important to do your due diligence and research the items you are looking for and price them because you will find stores that have great prices and you will find others that have insane prices. Knowing your prices and knowing also what you are willing to pay for something is important or it could end up being highway robbery and you really didn’t save yourself any money.

I often see things that make me want to jump up and down with excitement, but when the price tag is way out of my price range I have to walk away. This is my theory – if I walk away from something that is nicely priced because I just can’t afford it that day – if I return to the store when I can afford it and it is still there – it was clearly meant to be. With the items that are hideously priced – you might return to find the price has been brought down to something you can now afford. Another little trick – if the price is out of your price range, but not by much – you might try asking the store clerk or the person running the yard sale if they would be willing to take a lesser amount. I have even asked if they could take what I was able to afford and to my surprise – sometimes they will accept your offer to make the sale. I learned early in life to ask – the worst thing they will say is no, BUT they may also very well say YES! Take the chance – be bold – step out of your comfort zone….

Something else I have found in shopping this way, my son no longer thinks money is endless and that you just swipe that little plastic card…. He understands the value of money, budgeting, risk taking and only spending within his means. It is also good for our children to see us not purchase something we obviously love, but just can’t afford or don’t need.  Being a good role model is truly in everything we do and say. These are perfect teaching moments.

Shopping this way has been something that my son and I enjoy doing together – not just for the treasures we find, but for the priceless gift of time spent together.

Have fun this summer and find yourself some quality treasures….

What is something you are looking for?

 

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Are You Really Prepared For Medical Emergencies?

Are You Really Prepared For Medical Emergencies?

Are You Really Prepared For Medical EmergenciesIt is really easy to think we are prepared for anything, but are we really?

It is important to live without fear as it is a waste of time and precious energy and to focus on being prepared.   You will find great comfort in times of turmoil when you have already rehearsed things in your brain many times, practiced them as a family or have protocols in place.

May 11th on our homestead is not a day I wish to relive. We were having a nice evening enjoy a good Christian movie and just having a quiet night. All was good and God certainly had this night specially orchestrated.

Normally I am a few minutes later heading to bed than the Mountain Man, but THANKFULLY this night I was ahead of him and getting settled in prior to him lying down. He took a natural over the counter sleep aid which was 100% valerian root, BUT he chewed it when he should have swallowed it. Was it the coating? Did he actually take two and not one? That will always be a mystery because after he chewed the pill EVERYTHING was forgotten.

He headed out of the bedroom filled his water container and returned to the bedroom. He shut off the light, laid down and was no longer really communicating with me. Had I come to bed even two minutes after him that evening like I normally do I would have assumed he was just exhausted, I would have left him sleep and morning would have come and he would have been with Jesus‼

I asked him if he was ok, because he just seemed off… Usually, we will chat before we sleep about our day and we would do so with the light on so when he turned the light off that was a BIG indicator that something was off and then he did not communicate well with me. I asked him if he was ok and in a dreamy voice he said “I am fine… I love you?.” So I rattled him (shook him) and a normal response to that would have been, “What the heck are you doing to me‼ “. When he didn’t even react I knew something was up so I turned on the light to find his pupils HUGE and extremely dilated… and he wasn’t very responsive…

911 here we come… I’ve played this out many times in my mind… Was I freaked out? SURE, but I knew I needed to stay calm and roll with what was happening…

911 would not go through when I tried. The direct line to the sheriff’s told me it was the wrong number when indeed it was correct and on a ditch effort, I tried a friend of ours that on occasion runs with the ambulance and Praise The Lord I was connected…

I told him our gate would be unlocked and to please call the ambulance and got them in route, the Mountain Boy headed and opened the gate while my dear friend Rhonda and I kept the Mountain Man breathing. It was getting harder and harder to do so. Shortly after calling my friend, another friend reached out via FB messenger to tell me that 911 needed more information so while rattling my man to keep him awake, I was also messaging my friend Jaque to keep the EMT and ambulance up to date on his condition. He literally stopped breathing 7 or 8 times before the ambulance arrived.

We also have a Life Flight plan so that we can quickly call and have a helicopter dispatched to our location. Having these things in place, numbers by the phone and a plan in place will make these experiences much less stressful, but living in the wilds of Idaho, off-grid, things can happen and we knew this stepping into this lifestyle.

We do not live in fear, fear is debilitating and a waste of priceless energy, but we do live prepared. We discuss these things as a family and as a family we have protocols in place for many different things such as these types of situations, fires, intruders, etc… Being prepared keeps us a step ahead and in this case, ALL ALIVE!!

As soon as the EMT arrived and saw the Mountain Man’s condition, they got him into the ambulance and in route to the hospital. He did not have an anthralactic shock experience, but more just a reaction to the pill(s) – the pills caused his side of the brain that tells you to breath to basically stop working. We arrived at the hospital at about 11:20 on the evening of the 11th and it wasn’t until 3 am after sedating him and putting a breathing tube in that they got him settled. Blood work, cat scans and many chest x-rays were taken and nothing else appeared to be causing his issues.

I just thank the good Lord that he orchestrated things that evening the way he did or I would have awoke on Thursday as a widow! Selfishly, I am thankful that God has further purpose for him here on earth and was not ready to take him!

This is not something I ever wish to relive, but I am thankful we had plans in place and that in experiencing this we have all grown in our knowledge and are proud of how we handled things and that we were prepared. This was a good experience for the Mountain Boy as well. It has matured him in ways I could have never prepared him for and he learned that he is capable of reacting properly in such situations. When the Mountain Man fell 16 feet from the ladder that started to fall while building our house in 2010, the Mountain Boy was paralyzed by the event and didn’t react nor knew how to react. Good can always come from bad experiences and there is always something to learn from each experience we go through.

I can’t encourage you enough to have plans in place, discuss things as a family, numbers by the phone and protocols together for all scenarios that may affect you in your neck of the woods. Whether it is hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, wildfires, health emergencies, bug out plans, bug in plans, etc…, discuss it, be prepared and be ready!

Our families are our most valuable possessions and if you don’t take time now to be prepared you may be putting one of them or yourself at risk!

Know who to call for whatever needs you may have and have backup plans if you can’t get through. Being proactive and having things such as Benadryl, and Epipens available for those with allergies and things on hand for known varying needs. In this case, had we not been able to get help and attention for the Mountain Man the next step would have been to get him in the truck and get him to the hospital as quickly as we could. Thankfully we did not have to take matters into our own hands, but knowing what to do is important.

Here are three resources I feel are very important to have on hand or to participate in:

The Survival Doctor’s Complete Handbook by James HUbbard, MD, MPH

The Survival Doctor’s Lifesaver Course

The Survival Doctor’s Master Course

If you are considering a jump to off-grid and remote living, please take into consideration that you will most likely be in a location that will have definite delays in varying services such as fire, ambulance, police, etc… And all the more reason we need to be extra prepared living this lifestyle.

Do you have protocols in place?? What scary situations have you experienced?

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Goals vs. Reality – Gardening, Canning, and Building

Goals vs. Reality – Gardening, Canning, and Building

[guestpost]This is a guest post by Michelle Hedgcock. Be sure to read more about Michelle at the bottom of this post![/guestpost]

Goals vs Reality Gardening Canning BuildingIn my previous post, MORE Was My Catalyst,  you read about how I got started on my journey and the progress made.  Now that I have another year under my belt I still feel like there is so much to do.  Initially, I thought that we’d be able to get everything how we wanted it within three years.  Yeah, not so much!  So let me tell you about our goals for 2015.

Our plan was to get chickens in the spring, put up a pole barn or update our garage, put in a greenhouse, start seedlings for the garden, add to the orchard to include some nut trees, plant grapes, hardy kiwi, rhubarb, blueberries, strawberries, and cranberries, as well as expand the garden with raised beds and in ground.  Additionally, I wanted to increase the amount of canning to be put up to not only include things like fruits, veggies, and broth but meat as well.  And the plan was to do all of this in addition to our normal everyday things, stock up on wood for the winter to keep our heating bill down, and a couple week long vacations (we don’t usually take more than one so this was an exception for 2015).

Pretty aggressive right? Do you think we accomplished everything?  Nope.  Not a chance.  What do you think was our set-back?

Our set-backs were money and time.  So typical right? The year started out well for the most part.  The garden plan was created with the knowledge that the raised beds would be finished in the spring (hubby started in the fall but with getting firewood ready for winter he wasn’t able to complete that particular project).  The seeds were planted during the correct time according to the garden planning calculator from Seeds for Generations. Finally, when the weather cooperated, the raised beds were completed.  We put in two 4X12, two 4X8, one 4×24 and one 4×4.  The 4X4 was claimed by my daughter so she had a hand in every step of the building of it.

Now, can you imagine filling those darn things with soil?  It was back breaking work using the wheelbarrow but I did it with a little help from the family.  But before I did that I put some wire down in the bottom to prevent moles and such from disrupting the plants during growing season.  Next I threw in some small branches (my version of hugelkultur) with the soil/compost mixture on top.

goals vs reality building

Around the time that the raised beds were being finished a friend of ours contacted us and asked if we wanted a free pole barn.  Who can say no to that??  The catch was that we had to dismantle it. So we made a trip out to the farm where it was and found that there was a small shed with some damage to the roof and sides that needed to be removed as well.  And we could have that for free too.  My husband worked tirelessly to get everything taken apart and brought home.  The only problem is that it took away from his time to find and cut wood for the winter.

2015 was also the year that my best friend got married so I made a trip out to Nebraska during prime planting season, over Memorial Weekend, to spend a week with her.  Because of this trip, several plants were delayed getting into the ground.  And then there were nutrient deficiencies in a section of the garden.  And come to think of it, the seeds that I planted in that section in 2014 never took off.  So that may be why.  I normally don’t buy anything to add to my soil but I had to make an exception in this case because my tomatoes were severely stunted and sickly looking.  After a quick internet search to figure out exactly what the deficiencies were, I used a combination of things for this area: bone meal for phosphorus, crushed egg shells for calcium, and an Epsom salt water spray for magnesium.  My tomatoes started doing better but my harvest still wasn’t very good due to the combination of late planting and then having to fix the nutrient deficiency.

Goals Vs Reality Gardening

One of the best parts of the summer was spending time with my daughter picking strawberries and then preserving them by canning, dehydrating, and freezing.  While we planted both 4×8 raised beds with strawberries and they filled out nicely from the runners I’m not convinced that we have enough for this family.  I may have to find a spot to put in a big patch.  Good thing is that I won’t have to purchase strawberry plants anymore.  Those plants send out a ton of runners!

goal vs reality canning

August was extremely busy with canning new things.  I never knew that when processing corn that it smelled like buttered popcorn.  And no butter was used!  It took a bit of time because there were so many pints filled.  And trying to remove the pit from peaches was a difficult task for me.  I’m sure it was user error though as that was my first attempt at that.  One of the jams that I made using the peaches was the Maple Vanilla Peach Jam found in the Preserving with Pamona’s Pectin book which is great on waffles!

We have an apple tree on our property that was there when we moved into this house in 98 which we always thought was a crabapple tree.  It wasn’t until a few years ago that we realized that it wasn’t!  I took the plunge and decided to make applesauce with the windfall apples from it and was pleasantly surprised at how good it was and how little sugar had to be added.  Those apples are absolutely perfect for applesauce.  I’ll be making applesauce every year from now on.  And the apple butter from those apples? Delicious!

My daughter’s little garden did really well.  She had decided to grow onions, carrots, cucumber, and a small pumpkin.  The pumpkin seeds never germinated but everything else grew well.  The onions were huge!  The carrots were a cool purple color (Purple Dragon from Baker Creek Heirlooms (rareseeds.com)) and grew big.  In fact, we used them on the veggie tray for my husband’s 40th birthday party and everyone loved them.

goals vs reality gardening carrots

In November, I picked up my order from Zaycon Fresh which I had heard about from Tammy in this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwyQxdq22JA).  Her How to Can Chicken videos gave me the courage to try it myself.  I’ve included the links here so you can watch yourself either in another browser by clicking the links below or you can watch the same videos directly below.  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCe6IIOVX28 & https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUpfGMu8fOA)


Canning chicken is a long process due to the processing time and with the amount I had it took me well into the early morning hours (like 3 AM early).  After having this experience as well when I canned the corn, I decided I needed to have two pressure canners. I can’t fit two on my stove side by side but I can remove one and put the other on to get it going while the first one is depressurizing which still saves time. I love having Amazon Prime and being able to get my order within two days.  I now have two Presto canners . Since I have a glass-top stove the All American Pressure canner can’t be used.  Always refer to your user manual to verify if the Presto canner can be used on your glass-top stove.  Whatever you do, don’t slide the canner across the top of the stove.  Unless you like the scratched look.

Wondering how we’re doing on the chicken coop and pole barn?  Well, we have the pieces here except the big metal siding as we need to borrow a flatbed trailer for that.  And everyone’s schedule just hasn’t worked out to make that a reality.  So nothing has been built.  And how did we do in gathering wood?  Well, if it hadn’t been for my brother-in-law, it would have been a cold winter.  He gave us at least 4 face cords even delivering some of it himself.  And a co-worker of my husband’s knew of someone who needed a tree removed.  The best part was that it was already felled and mostly cut up.  We’re very fortunate to have others looking out for us.

Here’s a list of what we did accomplish in 2015:

  • get chickens in the spring put up a pole barn or update our garage
  • put up a pole barn or update our garage
  • put in a greenhouse
  • start seedlings for the garden √
  • add to the orchard to included some nut trees √
  • grapes
    hardy kiwi √
    rhubarb
    blueberries √
    strawberries √
    cranberries √
  • expand the garden with raised beds and in ground √
  • increase the amount of canning to be put up √

We ended the year with a road trip to Hilton Head Island, SC where we enjoyed some unusually warm weather and got to see dolphins.  It was awesome!  There’s nothing like spending that week between Christmas and New Year on vacation (we left Christmas night and returned on Jan 3rd).  During the trip I reflected on how the year went and what’s ahead.  I’m happy to say that I TRIPLED the amount of food put up!  In 2014 it was 106 jars and 2015 was 320!  It truly was a busy year of learning and growth from starting seedlings effectively for the first time out of several prior attempts, making food from scratch, preserving enough to feed my family to being more realistic in our goals. While we didn’t get the pole barn built or the garage fixed up we did have to get a small inexpensive shed out of necessity.

I hope 2015 was a good year for you and am really looking forward to all the good things to come in 2016.

What is on your list for 2016?

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#TrayerWilderness  #Gardening  #Preserving  #Inspiration