Your Guide To The Self Reliance Challenge ~ Week 2

My Self Reliance Steps ~ Week 2

This week was about spending time with family and helping friends. It is a reminder for me that true self reliance is not really my goal. We all need our community, family, and friends to be there for us and we need to be there for them too!

Apple blossoms
The fruit trees began to blossom this week…a sign of good things to come!

I’m so happy to have my son home from college this week…just in time for Mother’s Day! My husband is starting a new career writing about engineering. This week is really a time of transitions for our family.ย  We’ve taken some time to celebrate and spend time together as a family.

Plus, it’s rained almost every single day this week. So the garden has to dry out before I can turn the soil or plant any more beds.

The peas, onion sets, spinach, kale, Swiss chard, collards, and potatoes are up and enjoying all the rain. My rhubarb is ready to harvest now and I’d like to get some jam sessions going. ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope you had a wonderful week too!

asparagus, sorrel, and onions
Asparagus, French sorrel, and Egyptian walking onions from the garden.

 

What Did I Do This Week?

I wasn’t as productive this week as I had hoped. Thunderstorms have soaked the ground, making it difficult to work in the garden. I did manage to get some of my plans accomplished, in spite of the rain.

 

Stinging nettles in a pot
More stinging nettles!

 

Day 1

  • Took care of chicks – they are 2 weeks old now!
  • Made bread with bread maker (I remembered the yeast!)
  • Harvested asparagus, French sorrel, and Egyptian walking onions from the garden
  • Went for a walk and harvested a large bag of stinging nettle
  • Washed stinging nettle, blanched some for the freezer
  • Made stinging nettle vegetable rennet from directions I found online
  • Attempted to make ricotta cheese with the vegetable rennet
  • Salvaged cheese making project by making a batch of Queso Fresco
  • Had stinging nettles, eggs with walking onions, and homemade bread for dinner
  • Soaked mung beans and alfalfa seeds and put in sprout trays

I’ve read about using stinging nettle to make cheese in the past and I’ve wanted to try it. Although I don’t have my own dairy goats anymore, I did find milk marked down at the store and bought 2 extra gallons to make cheese. My attempt using homemade vegetable rennet didn’t work. The milk never curdled and I ended up using vinegar to salvage the project and make more of a queso fresco cheese. I want to try again using another set of directions I found online.

 

Alpaca
Alpaca shearing day is a real learning experience!

Day 2

  • Took care of chicks
  • Rinsed sprouting seeds
  • Turned heat lamp on over turkey brooder box,ย  mixed up water with probiotics & electrolytes
  • Drove to farm to pick up turkey poults and game bird feed
  • Brought poults home, moved them into brooder box, filled feeder with game bird feed
  • Alpaca shearing day!

Today involved a lot of driving. I ordered my turkey poults from a farmer in Wisconsin and it takes about 40 minutes one way to pick them up. After I made sure that the turkeys were comfortable and drinking on their own, I left to help out a friend who has an alpaca ranch. Today was shearing day and they hire a crew to come and do the actual shearing. My part is to be a back up person.The first quality fiber blankets are wrapped up in a plastic sheet. I put the blanket in a bag, then bag the seconds separately, fill out a card of information, and put everything into another bag to keep it clean until it goes to the fiber mill. It is all very interesting and I enjoy being a part of the process. However, I don’t think I would raise alpacas for fiber!

Chicks under heat lamp
The chicks are getting big!

Day 3

  • Took care of chicks and poults
  • Make fresh hummingbird nectar & filled feeder
  • Rinsed sprouting seeds
  • Packed lunch, reusable bottles of water, and snacks
  • Drove 4 hours (one way) to pick our son up from college, clean out his dorm room, and move him home for the summer!

Today wasn’t so much about self reliance or homesteading. It was, however, a wonderful feeling to have our son coming home for the summer. He will be interviewing for jobs soon to help pay for the cost of his education. The past year has brought about a lot of transitions for our family. Having our son go off to college last fall was difficult, to say the least. In addition, my husband is leaving his full time position to take on a career writing about engineering and sustainable energy. Cutting down on our expenses and producing more of our food and other resources is a challenge we are taking on partly out of necessity, and partly because we don’t want to be so dependent on society for all of our needs.

turkey poults
The turkey poults have adjusted to the brooder box and are doing well.

Day 4

  • Took my dog, Rocky, in for surgery
  • Took care of chicks and poults
  • Rinsed sprouting seeds
  • Started sour cream culture in yogurt maker (this is a new project)
  • Picked Rocky up from surgery, administered pain meds, and tried to make him comfortable. He looks awful.

It was a tough day. My dogs are part of my pack. They mean a lot to me. And seeing my 4 year old rescue dog, Rocky, coming out of surgery was so hard for me. He was sick from the anesthesia, unsteady, and in a lot of pain. I can’t believe the pain meds are optional at my vet’s office…that’s just a given for me. ๐Ÿ™

 

alfalfa sprouts
Homegrown sprouts, ready to eat.

Day 5

  • Took care of chicks and turkey poults
  • Rinsed sprouting seeds, ready to eat!
  • Finished sour cream, drained off extra whey
  • Made a loaf of bread in bread maker

Rocky is doing much better today! He is still a bit unsteady, but he is getting back to his happy-go-lucky self.

It’s still raining and I’m wondering when the garden will dry out enough to turn over a new bed for planting. Unfortunately, the best spot for my garden is also the lowest spot in the yard. It doesn’t drain very well and it is the first spot hit by frost. Sigh…and there’s a rabbit hopping around the edge of the garden in the rain.

The sour cream project came out looking more like cheese, I separated the ‘whey’ from the sour cream and put it all in the refrigerator. I’d like to try again and see if it works better using actual cream instead of whole milk and powdered milk. I probably should have followed instructions. ๐Ÿ™‚

rhubarb stalks
Rhubarb season!

Day 6

  • Took care of chicks and poults
  • Harvested rhubarb and Egyptian walking onions
  • Made rhubarb muffins, used the sour cream ‘whey’ in place of buttermilk
  • Happy Mother’s Day!

I tried a new recipe for rhubarb muffins and they came out very tasty, but the tops flattened out and spread across the tin. I’ll need to try tweaking this recipe before sharing it. The guys mowed the lawn and cleaned up sticks in the yard, made breakfast for me, and my son gave me some very nice Mother’s Day gifts! I’m so glad to have my family all together under one roof for the summer!

 

Carduni
We’ve been eagerly awaiting burdock harvests so we can make Carduni!

Day 7

  • Took care of chicks and poults
  • Took my son shopping for interview clothes
  • Went to the grocery store – Monday is a good day to find marked down items!
  • Began second attempt at making sour cream
  • Harvested burdock stems, cleaned, chopped, and cooked in water
  • My husband made Carduni – first of the season, yum!
  • Gave chicks some finely chopped greens from the yard.
  • Took some extra steps to Save Money on Chick Starter Feed
  • Soaked seeds to sprout for salads

We finally have burdock ready to make Carduni! Between thunderstorms today, I went around the yard and harvested all of the burdock ready to use. The fruit trees are in blossom and hopefully we’ll have some fruit from them this year. I put heavy cream in my yogurt maker to warm it up for making sour cream…the last batch tasted really good, but it was very watery. I’ll share the results when I figure this out!

Pear tree in blossom
Pear tree in blossom.

My Goals for Week 3

I’d like to accomplish the goals I set last week and wasn’t able to complete..and a few other goals too!

  • Fishing license & trip to the lake
  • Make healing hand salve
  • Foraging for more goodies (burdock, nettles, morels)
  • Freeze burdock for winter carduni making
  • Make rhubarb jam
  • Transplant those strawberry plants
  • Work in garden – dig new beds
  • Clean out greenhouse and move seedlings from lights to greenhouse
  • Try stinging nettle rennet and new batch of cheese?
Plum tree in blossom
Plum tree in blossom.

What Is This Self Reliance Challenge Of Which You Speak?

Starting May 1st, a group of bloggers (including me) started a challenge to be more self reliant for the month of May. We are each doing our own thing and then sharing our posts about self reliance each week. Read some wonderful self reliance posts by my blogging friends:

AnnMarie โ€“ย 15 Acre Homestead

Nancy โ€“ย Nancy On The Homefront

Kathi โ€“ย Oak Hill Homestead

Robin โ€“ย A Life in the Wild

Candy โ€“ย Candyโ€™s Farm House Pantry

Farmgal โ€“ย Just another Day on the Farm

Ashley โ€“ย Practical Self Reliance

ShawnaLee โ€“ย Homegrown Self Reliance

Frank โ€“ย My Green Terra

Maria โ€“ย Maria Zannini

And, of course, yours truly, Lisa Lynn!

We are writing about a wide range of topics to help you become more self reliant too! You will find topics to help youโ€ฆ

  • Save money and energy
  • Raise animals for meat, eggs, and dairy
  • Grow fresh food in your own garden and orchard
  • Cook healthy meals from scratch
  • Hunt and fish to provide for your table
  • Create your own bath and body products
  • Preserve the bounty of your homestead
  • Forage for wild edibles and medicinal plants
  • Provide a healthy life for your family and pets
  • Take on DIY and home craft projects
  • Prepare for emergencies
  • Conserve water and energy
  • Live an abundantly simple life!

Did you complete self reliance projects this week? I enjoy reading about your tips, tricks, goals, dreams, and experiences in homesteading and self reliance. Leave a comment and tell us what you did!

 

I shared this post on the Simple Homestead Blog Hop. ๐Ÿ™‚

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