Monday, March 2, 2015

Menu Plan Monday

Here is what is on the dinner table this week.

Monday-Chili, green beans
Tuesday-Baked chicken legs, mashed potatoes, corn
Wednesday-Scrambled eggs with peppers and onions, bacon, peaches
Thursday-Turkey tacos, green beans and pineapple
Friday-Clean out the fridge

To see what others are having this week head over to I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Review Your Budget

It's the beginning of a new month which means it's time to review your budget. Can you believe it is March? Spring is just around the corner! Check out all your categories. Make sure you are staying within your budgeted amounts. Are you spending more in any areas?  Has your income changed? Maybe you need to do some adjusting.

Have you started planning that summer vacation?  You may want to add that category to your budget.  It makes it easier if you start setting a certain amount of money aside each month.

Take the time to sit down and go over your budget, it's there to help you know where your money is going and keep you on track.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Paying Off Debt

I am so happy to announce that we have finally gotten our credit card debt payed off!  We got our income tax refund back and we put the majority of it to our credit card.  It feels really good to not have to worry about that anymore.  We also got some medical bills paid.

It was tough.  We really wanted to go out and get or do something fun.  However, paying off those lingering bills feels so much better than any new gadget or fancy dinner!

Now our focus is on SAVING money.  We would love some day to move and buy some land out in the country.  It won't be anytime soon.  We have a LONG way to go, but it's a dream both me and my husband share.

I'm trying to find some new ways to earn and save some money. I'm planning on doing an eat from the pantry challenge in April.  I'll be planting more vegetables this year in hopes to put up a lot more food for the winter months.  All of these things I plan to share with you.

If you have any recommendations or suggestions I am always interested.

Raising Backyard Chickens-A Guide to Housing

You can be as simple or as fancy as you want to be when it comes to housing your chickens.  As for myself I ended up Googling lots of different chicken coop images and came up with a plan (ok my father in law did) with all the things I wanted for my house.  I went with a shed style chicken house.
Here is one site that offers plans for purchase.  Craigslist is another place you can look.If you feel like you can't come up with your own plans, there are ready made houses out there for sale.  Build your own chicken coop plans are also available for purchase.

A few "must haves" for your chicken house are listed below.

The most important thing you want to make sure your housing is predator proof.  Raccoon, fox, minx, and hawks are the main predators in our area.  Make sure you have secure walls as well as a roof over their heads.

Allow one nest box for every 4 to 5 hens.  Nesting boxes should be up off the ground and over to the side away from traffic.  Hens like to lay eggs in a safe, quiet area.

Allow at least 4-6 square feet per bird inside the house.  More if the birds are unable to free roam outside.

Provide your chickens with roosting polls.  They will prefer these when they sleep.  Round poles arranged in a staircase work best.

Allow a window or open area so that the house does not get too damp.  You will want a little airflow to prevent any respiratory disease.  Not too much though, you don't want it to be too drafty during the winter months.

If you decide to add a run to your chicken coop, its best to dig down 12 inches or so, and bury chicken wire all the way around to prevent vermin and predators from digging their way underneath.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Raising Backyard Chickens - Bringing Chicks Home

How exciting!  You've decided to purchase chickens!  Before bringing your chickens home you need to make sure you have everything you need. You need to set up their first home. A brooder is where you keep newly hatched chicks until they have enough feathers and are big enough to move outside.
The brooder needs to be warm and dry. You also need to supply clean water and adequate food.
LinkChoosing a brooder. You can choose from many different options for your brooder. You can use a large cardboard box, plastic tub, a ready made brooder from the store or build your own. You want to make sure that your chicks have enough space. It is recommended for chicks 0-4 weeks old you give them 1/2 square foot per bird. For our new little ones, I use a large rubber maid tote.

Bedding. You will want to line the bottom of the brooder with some sort of bedding. I use pine bedding. I have heard of people using pine bedding, shredded paper or both. For now I am sticking with just pine bedding. You don't need very much to cover the bottom.

Food and Water. Keep food and water available at all times. You can purchase a water bottle for chicks from your local farm store for a couple bucks. You will want to purchase chick starter food in either medicated or non-medicated formula. This is designed for chicks 0-6 weeks old. You can purchase a chick feeder that is specially designed to discourage chicks from soiling in their food.

Heat. Chicks need to be kept warm. When you bring them home the brooder should be a toasty 95 degrees. Place a thermometer in the brooder to keep track of the temperature. Another way to tell if your chicks are getting appropriate heating is to watch their behavior. If they are huddled under the lamp they are too cold. If they are along the outer edges, chances are they are too hot. As the chicks develop more feathers they will need less heat.

I was able to set up my first brooder for around $50. This year when I brought home our new baby chicks I spent about $20. I only had to purchase chick food and a bag of pine shavings. I had all the other items from the previous years.