LIVING OFF GRID

This blog is about our travels in our solar powered "Airstream" and living off grid, in our passive solar home, near Bancroft, Ontario, Canada.

If you have any questions send us a comment; we love to hear from our readers.
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Monday, 29 August 2016

FERMENTED

Mary has been busy fermenting carrots. It's an easy process without having to boil and sterilize jars.


The trick is to keep the contents submerged at all times.


This is the egg holder Mary uses to push the carrots below the surface of the brine. Seems to work just fine.

In a few days we will be enjoying fermented carrots with our meals.

Safe travels and thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

25th Garden Day


We planted our raised garden bed 25 days ago and couldn't be happier.

All our plants are doing well and we've had very few weeds.


We should be able to start picking spinach this week and hope to do so right through to the end of November.

Half the garden is in carrots and we will protect them with leaves and a cover once the cold weather arrives.

The white tank holds rainwater we use to water the garden. Next year we will replace it with a 250 gallon tank which should easily take us through any summer dry spells.

The deer netting which covers the garden has kept out the squirrels, deer and birds. We also lined the box with landscape fabric hoping this might slow down any rotting of the box over the years.

I'll post again in 25 days to update the garden progress and highlight the produce we are enjoying.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by.

Friday, 26 August 2016

CHICKENS IN THE FREEZER

Yesterday was a busy day getting our birds into the freezer.

We set up three work stations early in the morning and got started when Annie and Marvin arrived.


Mary worked under the shade of the canopy, cleaning the birds and putting them on ice. She had an excellent work station thanks to the double sink and plastic counter top. She disinfected the counter after each bird was done and I kept her knives sharpened throughout the day.


Marvin looked after the plucking. He brought his propane burner so we had lots of hot water and the feathers were relatively easy to remove. If you are thinking of doing your own chickens it is critical that the water be kept at the right temperature so the feathers are easily removed but not so hot that the meat starts to cook. We found success if we kept the temperature between 155*F and 160*F and simply dunked the bird for 3 seconds until the wing feathers were easy to pull out. (Best to experiment and see what works best for you.)

It took us 6 hours to do 20 birds this way. We were all glad to see the last bird go into the freezer and get everything cleaned up and put away. We will do this again on Monday when Durl and Linda come over to help us with the last 20 birds.

Next year we plan to keep the birds for 10 - 11 weeks. We were surprised that our birds yesterday averaged 3 lbs. and think another couple of week would give us birds in the 4-5 lbs range. The feed we used produced clean healthy birds free of disease or other health issues. We will do the same in the future but have a bag of ready mix feed available for those days when we are away from home for more than 24 hours.

In conclusion, meat birds are an easy backyard animal to keep, giving you excellent food  with minimum work.  With an automatic water system, several food bins and a secure coop, they can look after themselves for 2 or 3 days. Our birds had plenty of room for movement, dry wood chips to sleep on and sunshine to sit in if they so desired. They were well cared for and ate an excellent diet of fermented soy, wheat, rye, milo and corn along with greens from our garden and any bugs they could catch.

In a few weeks our layers will arrive giving us fresh eggs throughout the winter. I will do a post on them once they are settled and delivering eggs every day.

Thanks for stopping by and have a safe trip.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

GETTING ORGANIZED

Still no baby. We are hoping this little girl or boy will wait until the 30th or later before making the grand entrance. Until then we have been busy organizing. Not for the baby but for the chickens.

Today I built this outdoor cleaning table for Mary. Thanks to Marvin and Annie we now have a double sink which will make the process so much easier.


It's complete with running water which is easily controlled with one hand.


Maybe next year we will have a foot controlled faucet but for now this will work just fine. The double sinks are connected to a drain so all the water will be sent far from the work area.


Here is a better view of the drain line which will take the water to the side of our hill. Chicken parts will go in plastic bags for disposal and this time next week all the chickens will be in the freezer.

If I don't write for a while it's because I'm patiently waiting for that new grandchild to arrive.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

HIATUS

Life here by the pond as slipped into a comfortable routine. We are taking a little hiatus and will return once our newest grandchild has arrived; ....... sometime in September.  Is it a boy or is it a girl? ..............  Sherri won't say.

Until then drive safely.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

HUMMINGBIRDS


We've enjoyed watching the hummingbirds coming to our feeder this summer.

Yesterday for some reason it was very busy.


The one on the feeder keeps a close watch on the one flying. They are very territorial and aggressively protect their area.



Can you see 3 hummingbirds in the picture to the right? Remember they are moving at incredible speeds and agility for their size. The one bottom left looks to be flying upside down.



Click on this picture to enlarge it. This guy is actually dive bombing the one sitting on the feeder and pushing him away with his claws.

They are extremely aggressive towards each other.

Friday, 12 August 2016

CHICKEN FEED


Our girls are always waiting patiently for breakfast. They start to squawk as soon as the see us coming down the hill. It's quite a sight.


Mary likes to hose out their feeding trays before starting a new day. We use eavestroughs to hold their food. Works fine although some still climb inside.

We keep the dry food in containers so the mice and chipmunks can't get at it. The day before we use it Mary mixes the different varieties in the orange bucket and covers it with water. This helps the mix to start to ferment which aids the digestion and increases the nutrient content of the mix. Today we added sunflower seeds for the first time.

Forty birds happily enjoying breakfast.


Of course there's always one who can't find a place at the trough.

Another scorcher of a day here. Yesterday we saw 35*C and today will be the same although rain is in the forecast.

Time to feed the chickens and get our day started.