So you think you want Goats?


Posted by kat | Posted in Our Goats, Sandy Creek Farm | Posted on 15-01-2010

I first got goat’s when, my push mower died on me, I did very little research and I should have known better.  I knew that there were several breeds of goats, I like goat’s milk cheese so I wanted something that I could try and make cheese with.    I knew that goat’s needed the same fencing as horses and cows, this type of fencing is usually called field fencing.   I did not know that they should be checked by a vet to make sure they were not carrying diseases, there are some that you have to cull your whole flock if they get it.    I thought I was getting the best of both worlds when I found a Nubian/Boer Female that was for sale, I bought her and the lady I bought her from also gave me her sister.  We named them Maggie and Lucy, Maggie ended up pregnant.  One of the other things that I did not figure on was the way my children would effect things.  We lost Lucy when she was hit by a car, because my kids left the gate open, I thought I had it shut well enough that they couldn’t get it open.   Just after Lucy was killed, Maggie had her babies.   She had a girl who we named Midnight( all black except for white on her hoof, and  a boy we named Snowman who was all white.

Both Maggie and Midnight learned to climb the fence and I have since had to tie them to a timber in order to keep them from climbing the fence.  This only slows them down,  they still climb the fence and I think short of putting them on some sort of zip line or tying them to a tree, they will always climb the fence.   If you have enough brambles and other things for them to eat, they should only need grain when pregnant and or when it’s winter.  I feed mine a all purpose grain, I make sure they have plenty of clean water and I also try and keep up on their feet trimming.

Coupon Challenge


Posted by kat | Posted in Money | Posted on 13-01-2010

How many of us think about the coupons we can or should use?   We might use the coupon that get’s a free cup of our favorite drink at Starbucks or Dunkin Doughnuts.   But what about the coupons we find in the newspapers or the ones we get in the mail?    Did you know you can even download coupons and then print them off?    It seems like when we are not strapped for cash, we don’t worry about saving money, and then when something comes a long that causes us to not have as much money as we would like, we then start looking for ways to save money.

We got the Sunday paper just so we could have the coupons, I saved over 100.00 one time just with the coupons and shopping sales.   I have a friend that recently took a coupon challenge that a friend challenged her to.  The challenge was that for a  whole month,they could only buy things they had coupons for or that were on sale.   This was to include anything from clothes, food and up keep of the car.   The first shopping trip my friend said she didn’t do so well, she only save 2.00, I suggested places to download coupons from as well as a site that will load the coupons on to your publix or kroger cards.   The next trip she saved 15.00, she started asking friends for the coupons out of their papers, as she wasn’t quite ready to buy the paper yet.   The next trip she ended up saving over 200.00.   The last trip she made, she only ended up having to pay 5.00 for the groceries.  I myself have saved over 200.00 in one trip, what with the coupons and the store sales.

Here is the challenge:  Were going to limit this to groceries.  Clip coupons, download and print coupons and keep track of your savings from now until March 13th.  Then add up all your savings, and if you want you can post a comment with how much you saved any given day or week.   On March 13th, I would like to see some comment’s on how much you saved and if you thought it was worth your time to clip, print and or download coupons.


So you think you want Chickens in the City or the Country?


Posted by kat | Posted in Our Chickens, Sandy Creek Farm | Posted on 12-01-2010

My first foray into chickens, was when my oldest was about 18 months old.  My mother in law who at the time worked as a detective for our town, brought me out a beat up looking chicken that had fallen off one of the many trucks that drive through carrying chickens.    I knew fairly little about chickens other than what I remember from the few friends that had them growing up.  I knew I did not want a rooster, they are mean and nasty when they are threatened or if they think your after their hens.   I didn’t have anything set up at all, so I was keeping the chicken in my garden compost area that I had built out of several wooden pallet and had covered with wire.  I knew that I had to have at least one more hen, as they like to be with others.  I also knew that if it was a hen, that I DID NOT NEED A ROOSTER, TO GET EGGS.  I did a search online and found a guy down the road that had some chickens for sale.  So for 10.00 I got two more hens that were already laying and thus began my little flock of chickens.   Now all parents from what I have seen, seem to start off with teaching their kids what each animal says, I was no different.  I used to take my oldest out the the coop and show her the chickens and tell her chickens say BOCK BOCK, seeing as I only had one chicken at that time, Bock Bock became the name of the first chicken we ever owned.  When I bought two more hens, we had Henrietta and Speck.  About this time I walked out one morning to find a Grey Fox or a coyote, checking out my chickens.  I thus built a better coop, I built it 10 x 15 ft.  I used Chain Link and then ran chicken wire around it.  I covered the top with garden wire and put tarps over that to keep the rain off but still make it airy for them.  I made nesting boxes: first out of old pickle buckets and then out of old broken milk crates, I put in six milk crates so that they would have plenty and not  break the eggs.   I tried several nesting materials before I found one they liked and could keep the eggs clean.  I tried Shredded newspapers, pine straw, wood shavings, straw and finally shredded mail and other paper.  It works great!!!! I put it both below the nesting boxes as well as in the nesting boxes.  They LOVE IT!!!!!!!  I have tried several ways to feed and water them.  The best so far is a old automatic dog feeder, that I can fill as full as I want.  I started out with using a Oil Pan, that I got from walmart of $2.00 for water, and then moved to an automatic dog water and let any extra water drip into the Oil Pan.  It still works great, or at least it did until this week when I broke it, I am back to using the Oil Pan.    So now that you have a bit of a background, let’s get to the meat(pun intended) of things.

I live in the city, I can possibly have chickens?

Well!  Most might not know that depending on your city’s rules, you can have chickens as long as there is NO ROOSTER.  I have a friend that lives in the city and has 6 hens, in her backyard.    Yes! you need to have a Large backyard for this, but it is possible.

How much space do I need?

Depending on if you want to free range( letting them out part of the day) Or keeping them in all the time, it is recommended that you give your birds at least 2-3 sq ft per bird(for Bantam to med sized breeds)  if your not able to range them you need more space more on the 3-6 sq ft per bird . This chart might help you, it comes from a good article from ( REMEMBER THIS IS PER BIRD, AND YOU NEED TO DOUBLE IT IF YOU CAN’T LET THEM OUT, EVEN IF YOU ADD A RUN.)

Minimum Space Requirements for Poultry
Type of Poultry Bird Sq Ft / Inside Coop Sq Ft / Outside in a Run
Bantam Chickens
Layer Hens
Large Chickens

If you plan on having a garden, putting the coop near by would be great.  When I clean out my coop, everything goes straight into the compost or on the garden itself.

What do I feed them?

I feed mine 16% Layer pellets, scraps from the house and in the winter they also get some scratch to help with their burning off energy in the winter.   I also try and let them out as much as possible so they can free range. Some supplement with catfood and other things, to make sure that the chickens are getting what they need.

What breeds should I get?

If you limited on the space go with bantams, I like the Old English Game and the Black tailed Buff Japanese.  Several of my friends like the silkies and the cochins, you want to keep the breeds to the small one if your tight on space.  I also like the Easter Egg chickens, they are small to medium birds and if you have kids they will love the colored eggs you get from them.

How many eggs will I get from my chickens?

That depends on the hours of daylight they get.   Most Chickens ONLY lay an egg  a day, sometimes when they first start laying you might get two, but once they start laying regularly they lay one egg.  You will when they first start laying get some very small eggs, almost the size you would get from a robin or other small bird.

What Color’s of eggs will I get?

Color varies from bred to bred.  I currently get a white egg, a green egg(mint colored) and I get a sandstone color.

Where can I get chickens?

Depending on if you want to raise them from chicks or if you want them mostly ready to lay, is what will define where you get them.  Any feed store with have the baby chicks, you want to pick from the container that says PULLETS( young hens), this will get you your biggest chance of getting hens.  You can also look on craigslist for your area.  You can also get them from hatchery’s, but remember most of them have a 25 chick minimum order.

What will it cost me?

Baby chicks at the feed stores, will run you anywhere from 1.75-3.00, this depends on the breed and if your getting pullets or not.

You then also have the cost of the feed.  It is usually called starter and growth, this runs from 5-6.00 for a few pounds up to 15 or 16.00 for 50 lbs.  If you get the 50 lbs it does last longer, unless you have lots of chicks.  When they are about 8-12 weeks, you can start mixing in the layer so that by the time they are 15- 18 week they are on the layer full time.

When will my chickens or chicks start to lay?

They usually lay at about 18-24 weeks old, this is roughly 6-8 months old.

Food Analyzer Food Storage Tool Review


Posted by kat | Posted in Emergancy Prep/ Food Storage | Posted on 10-01-2010

This is not the first Food Storage Calculator I have used, I have tried several one of which I got as a Christmas present a few years ago.

I do like that I can try it once  or I can make an account and it saves all my data.   In the try it once mode it basically tells me what my requirements are for my family size and then gives suggestions to items they sell that I might like.  In the account mode I can enter the food items I already have, as well as canned foods bought at the store.  I would like to see added to the features a way to tell how big the items were.  I sometimes by the big bag (25lbs)of flour and sugar at the store, I have no way to enter it this way.  One of the other tools I use does let me.   Over all for someone that is just starting out this is a great tool.

Preparedness Pantry Blog

Emergancy Preparedness


Posted by kat | Posted in Emergancy Prep/ Food Storage | Posted on 10-01-2010

For those of you who might not know me very well, I am a member of the Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints.   My parents started attending this church because it talked about family and other things that were important to them.  I was 15 when I got baptized a member, and have found many of the things they teach could be useful for anyone.  One of the big things in our church other than Family is to BE PREPARED.   As members we have been asked to have at least a two week worth of water stored, and that we really need a one years supply of food and of course a first aid kit as well as a 72 hour kit for the short emergencies. You should also have at least a 6 months of money saved up for the other type of emergencies.

Why Should I Have Food Storage?

Food Storage is important to have for all the emergencies that could and do come up.  Hurricane Katrina is a good Example.  I had a friend that lived there, and about 6 months before it hit, my friend felt like she needed to get more food storage together( this was on top of what she already had)  Her house was one of the few, that were left standing and had no damage.  She ended up taking in several of her neighbors and several others that had happened to be in the area.

So how do I start my food storage?

I do this in several ways: Any time there is a sale on items my family uses and will eat, I pick up just a few items extra.  I also buy food storage items from, they have some really good items and some of them are actually good tasting.   There are several other sites that sell food storage items, you get several results when doing a google search.

The first thing you need to do, is to find out what you use and then to plan a budget around that, as well as making sure you know how much of each item you need for your family.  For example:  For a family of 5, with ages ranging from 4-36, we need 23lbs of salt.    Salt is actually one of the easiest to pick up, it’s not that expensive and they are easy to store.   The best way to start out is to use a Food Storage Caculator.  You can find one here or I use their software and love it.  It also helps with rotating your food storage as well, which is very important this includes the water.  Be prepared also has one that you can try out

If you don’t start out small, then you will quickly get discouraged and you might give up, so start out with just getting a 2 weeks supply of both the water and the food.   Then move up to  2 months, a 6 months and then your year.

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