Our Mission

To live a self-sufficient and organic lifestyle for the next half century. With the Grace of God and the power of prayer, we will succeed. Nothing is impossible with His help. It wouldn't be us without laughter and joy at the Cockeyed Homestead.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Amish Store Purchases and Plans for Growth

Thirty cases of pint canning jars that I went to North Carolina to get a couple of weeks ago are now washed, put back in their boxes, and stacked into their respective spots in the storage building.

Plus, the food grade three-gallon buckets are washed, and filled with the GMO-free flour, wheat, and raw sugar I bought at the Amish store also from my trip to North Carolina. My van was packed coming home, but not as packed as last time when I brought home sixty cases of jars, but I did buy more flour and sugar this trip.

All thanks to one of our Cockeyed Homestead YouTube subscribers. Who lives near the Amish store. She opened her house to me and let me stay. Thank you, Ellen! Another subscriber I tried to meet on this trip had a family emergency. Maybe next year, Marie. I'd really love to see your homestead operation.

In a year, we used 40 lbs of sugar. It was used in baking, canning, and wine making. So I bought ten extra pounds to make even more wine with. At $0.88 a pound, I thought it was a bargain.

By picking up my Clear-jel also, I have all I need except for the produce to make my cream of chicken and mushroom soups for the coming year with plenty of Clear-jel for my pie fillings too. The base ingredient (thickener) for all my canned goodies that are yummy in our tummies. I'm still hitting the reduced price section for mushrooms and dehydrating them. If there is a lot of them, six# or more, I'll can my cream of mushroom soup. The chickens for the cream of chicken soup are awaiting slaughter. They'll be pressure cooked to make them tender. Now, all I have to do is wait until my onions and celery are ready to harvest for both.

I still may have to buy more sugar for the wine making though. It all depends on our Muscadine and Catawba grape harvests. I plan on setting aside a few pounds for fresh eating and jellies. I might even try canning some for winter munching. The rest will go into the 5-gallon recycled water jugs for wine. It might make an interesting flavored vinegar if the wine turns too. We've been saving Mel's wine empty wine bottles for a year now to put the wine in once it's finished. I may play with blueberry, apple, blackberry, and raspberry flavored wines also. It all depends on the harvest. I missed the dandelion harvest due to rains and busyness of planting the garden this spring. There's always next year.

In the store, I went up and down each aisle as usual. But as I expected, there wasn't much "new" or exciting to pick up. Not that I was shopping for anything else. So now I've checked off three items that I'd need for a year of baking, cooking, and canning.

No trip would be complete without a trip to their version of thrift stores. I love a good bargain, don't you? I told Ellen that I was looking for another fermenting crock. A good size crockpot bottom is what I normally use. While I had two, and bountiful harvest would overwhelm them. We found one without a lid ($3). I put in my basket and traveled down the aisle. I saw another crock on the top shelf. I thought it was a cookie jar. It was too heavy for me to lift one handed so I pulled off the lid preparing to lift it by the rim. Ellen came to my rescue and lowered it down for me to get a better look. It was a complete German fermenting pot. The same one pictured. Brand new it sell on Amazon for $59 plus shipping. My price at the second hand shop...$10.

Now, if I just had a solution for our milk consumption, we'd be set. Yes, I know we need goats. A cow, even a miniature one, is an impossibility. I've researched it. We are still not set up for housing and caring for goats. I refuse to buy any animal unless we are knowledgeable about the animal, had everything in place for the animal, and an outlet for any extra production (like milk, cheese, butter) from that animal. It's just a smart way to do it.

I'm still a firm believer that an animal pay it's own way on our homestead. Either in production we can use to replace a grocery item, or for straight cash sales in babies, or products like our rabbits and chicken do. On such a small homestead with a limited resources, this is an important consideration. The fact that we'd need multiples because they are herd animals is also part of this consideration. They will also be a huge outlay of initial cash for them and creating a habitat for them. It isn't in the budget for this year even though it was on my 5-year plan for this year. I'm running at least a year behind schedule with Mel being out of work.

I'm also still researching mini angora goats (Nygora or Pygora). They would give us triple bang for our dollars in meat/for sale, milk and fiber. So long as I'm in research mode, there won't be a purchase.

Well, that's it for this week.

Y'all have a blessed day!

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