Wednesday, July 20, 2016

TIP: Save Money With Cloth Not Paper

It is rather amusing to me when I see tips, hacks and instructions on how to make reusable or un-paper towels. 
TIP: They are called rags, cleaning clothes, & napkins. Personally it is one of the ways I save a lot of money. As you see here, I use cloth napkins, dish clothes, dish towels and even handkerchiefs. Over the years I have collected some really cute ones and have some wonderful vintage ones from my mother in law. I had to learn how to restore some of the vintage linens.



Next, if you haven't discovered microfiber cleaning clothes, I highly recommend you try them. I have a supply of new ones and when they get ugly looking, I make them with an "X" and throw them in my cleaning basket. These are ones that I use in place of paper towels.  These are used for all sorts of dirty jobs like to mop up spills, I even use these clothes when I am cooking greasy foods like fried chicken. if they are used for a really dirty job, I pre-soak them with a little Charlies Laundry Soap before I place in the dirty clothes basket.

What I do here is simply share our journey of becoming debt free, teach vintage skills and living a new life on our farmette. We would love it if your joined our Perky Gramma Teaches community on Facebook, comment or share. Plus it would just make my day.


Your order is so very appreciated, because anything ordered through my Amazon Associate links helps me to be able to stay home and write for you.
Perky Gramma Teaches is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Vintage Skill: Map Reading

I love a road trip! Recently I was traveling the back roads of North Carolina and my GPS wasn't telling me what I needed to know. So, I stopped at a gas station to purchase a paper map. Low and behold, I was REALLY surprised they didn't carry one single map in the store.
Thankfully, I had couple east coast maps, including a book of maps in my vehicle. It dawned on me that we have become so dependent on technology, that paper maps are becoming extinct to a degree. I also realized that this is a skill that we aren't teaching to our children. Now I am determined to teach my grandchildren the art of map reading. 

Over the years, I have traveled by car to a lot of places. When my son was about 5, I started teaching him how to read a map. Actually it started out as a way to keep him occupied - this is way before children had Game Boys and phones. It also required him to figure out the answer to "are we there yet?". Because he was in charge of locating where we were AND how far it was to our destination. We made a game of map reading. 
North/South East/West: One of the first things he learned is that North/South roads were always designated by an odd number (I-95) and East/West roads are even numbers (I-70, I-66). Roads that circled around cities were roads like 295, 495, 395.
Mileage Markers: My son was always good at math. We would determine how many miles the road was across the state and then used the mileage markers to determine how far we had come or how far we were from the state border. he was way better at this than I was.
Name the States: This was a game he came up with. He would name a letter and I had to come up with the state names that began with the letter. Then I would give him a letter.

Biological GPS: Well,  we didn't have a GPS so I would have him determine what our next maneuver would be...like the next road was I-81, his job was to track that road by road signs and keep me posted on when it was coming up and when to get ready to turn off.
These are just a few ideas for games we actually played when traveling. It made our road trips go a lot faster and I don't think he ever asked me "Are we there yet?"
So, buy a road map and make traveling a fun learning experience. 


What I do here is simply share our journey of becoming debt free, teach vintage skills and living a new life on our farmette. We would love it if your joined our Perky Gramma Teaches community on Facebook, comment or share. Plus it would just make my day.
Items I have used this week:

        
Your order is so very appreciated, because anything ordered through my Amazon Associate links helps me to be able to stay home and write for you.

Perky Gramma Teaches is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Friday, June 24, 2016

SEX in the garden...

Well now, did that get your attention?
I like to say “there are questions a newbie doesn't even know to ask”. That is certainly true about gardening.
It's my second year gardening. As with most of the new things that I am learning & asking questions about, I just start researching.
I actually found this a little humorous, so gentle readers I hope you are not offended. Life on the farm is about sex. Life in the garden is about sex.
Mother nature has a sense of humor when it comes to sex in the garden. Take the yellow crook neck squash.
There are male flowers and female flowers both on the same plant. Sort of like Romeo & Juliet, they are so close, yet so far away.
How do you “sex” a flower? It is really easier than you think.
There are two ways to determine which is which. First we will start with the stem.
Boy stems are straight. Girl stems have a little bulge.



 

Gently pull the petals back and inside what do you see.

Well, check the inside if the inside matches you ah, down below...then that flower is the same sex as you are. A little boy flower looks like a male. The little girl flower looks more like a female.

 







Now, if you remember the birds and the bees talk from when you were younger, the boys have to pollinate the girls for there to be babies; I mean fruit.
There are more boy flowers than girls flowers. If you are having issues with squashes developing on your plant, you may need to assist mother nature.
You take just the inside of a boy flower and sort of jiggle it around inside the girl flower. That allows the pollen to drop inside and fertilize the female flower.

Well evidently my boys and girls have been playing well together, since I have been getting a lot of squash.
But, I certainly learned a valuable lesson today that will help me in my future gardening endeavors. Skills I didn't know I would need for gardening.


What I do here is simply share our journey of becoming debt free, teach vintage skills and living a new life on our farmette. We would love it if your joined our Perky Gramma Teaches community on Facebook, comment or share. Plus it would just make my day.
Irems  I have used this week:

   

Your order is so very appreciated, because anything ordered through my Amazon Associate links helps me to be able to stay home and write for you.
Perky Gramma Teaches is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.



Friday, June 10, 2016

Top 5 Reasons People Don't Pressure Can (what is your reason?)

I started canning in October of 2012, so I consider myself a “newbie” still. The first thing I pressure canned was meat. That's right, I jumped right in with both feet. 
Then I started hearing people expressing fears about canning...
Before I start, I want to emphasize: to can meat and other low acid foods, you HAVE to use a pressure “canner”
NOTE that is a pressure canner not a pressure cooker. They are two totally different animals.

TOP 5 Reasons People Don't Can #1: FEAR
I once heard that fear is “False Evidence Appearing Real”. Turn that FEAR into healthy respect. Learn how to use a pressure canner properly. Follow the rules of safety and sanitization. This one bears repeating; follow the rules of safety and sanitization. Never compromise. Find sources that you trust. Create more positive information about canning in your brain. Learn how many people are doing it successfully. And when in doubt ask questions.
Thankfully I didn't struggle with this one, since I trusted my resources.
TOP 5 Reasons People Don't Can #2: "KNOWLEDGE/HOW TO"
There are many resources for this. Start with the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving & don't forget the nifty guide that comes with your canner.

            


TOP 5 Reasons People Don't Can #3: LEARNING STYLE”.
Knowing your dominate learn is critical for some people. At lot of people are “visual” (need to watch it done) or “auditory” (listen to explanations) learners. For me this was the most critical element. While some are able to simply read something to learn it, I am a “kinesthetic” learner. I need to actually “do it” hands on, while someone guides me along. I learn best with this method. I knew I had a girlfriend that canned. I made a “date” and had her walk me through all the steps. Then I read my book that came with my canner.
So, figure out “how you learn” & start studying. Ask for help.

TOP 5 Reasons People Don't Can #4: "EQUIPMENT"
Just make a plan to get the equipment. Even if you have very little monetary resources, just start saving a little bit at a time.
While I was planning (dreaming) and saving for an All-American pressure canner, I went ahead a got a Presto pressure canner to get me started. 
Gather other equipment as needed.
You need a reliable pressure canner, a canning utensil kit & I would add you need clean dish towels. Oh, yes and canning jars....

  

TOP 5 Reasons People Don't Can #5: Time Consuming"
Only you are able to make the decision if you want to invest your time into canning.
If time is your issue, find other things to do (in the kitchen) when canning.
I have asked for a rocking chair for my kitchen, so that I am able to sit and relax (probably going to be reading). But, you could also check fb, e-mail. Do the dishes. Clean out a drawer. Organize the kitchen. Drag a little t.v in there and watch t.v. Or not...

There you have it the top 5 reasons. Hopefully this will help you. Now, feel free to go back to facebook and tell me what your fear is, if you have one. Are you ready to take that leap?


What I do here is simply share our journey of becoming debt free, teach vintage skills and living a new life on our farmette. We would love it if your joined our Perky Gramma Teaches community on Facebook, comment or share. Plus it would just make my day.

Your order is so very appreciated, because anything ordered through my Amazon Associate links helps me to be able to stay home and write for you.
Perky Gramma Teaches is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Just what do all those labels mean on your egg carton at the store?

Just what do all those labels mean on your egg carton at the store? The more I learn about raising and selling eggs, the more I realize the buyer needs to beware. I have always been leery of package labeling, since I realize that there are always loopholes. 




My sweet chickens & Dudley the rooster spend most of their day in the pasture (almost 8 acres, plus the neighbor's yard), at the least amount will be 4 hours a day running free. The rest of the time they have a decent sized chicken run to play around in. They are fed a soy-free & non-GMO feed, which is a label I have never seen personally, though I know it exists.  All their treats are items that are grown without chemicals. In fact I have planted sunflowers this year specifically for chicken treats.
I encourage people if they are interested in the best eggs, not to depend on just what a label tells you. Find a local farmer, you will be glad you did. And it will make their day.


First are brown eggs better for you than white eggs? Over the years, for some reason I think people have just assumed brown eggs are better for you than white eggs. There isn't a difference. Well, except the white egg is white and the brown egg is brown. 
The color of the egg is determined by the type of chicken. You do know there are even blue or green eggs. Those are fun. I do get a kick out of when the carton is labeled "brown eggs".
The main difference is what the chickens eat and that fresher eggs taste different and better. 

Farm Fresh – The interesting thing is in Virginia, if you are selling eggs from your farm you can't use the word "fresh". So I am not certain what it really means. 


Humanely Raised – This statement really doesn't mean a lot to me unless it is labeled Certified Humane. If you are buying my eggs, you are always welcome to drop by my farm to see my chickens.

Cage Free – This just means the chickens are not crammed into cages. It doesn't mean they run around free. They don't even have to have access to the outdoors at all. The chickens can still be housed in very cramped quarters. 

Free Range – To use this label the chickens have to be able to get outside access for at least 5 minutes a day. So it can be misleading. They could be squashed into crowded areas all day long.

Organic – If the product you’re purchasing is stamped with the USDA Organic seal, the chickens must be fed organic (read: non- GMO) feed, no antibiotics, no pesticides around their living or grazing areas, and “free range” (see above).

Hormone Free & Antibiotic Free– This technically means nothing. Why?  From my understanding hormones has been banned in food production since 1959. The FDA has more recently banned antibiotics 

Soy Free- This is really a specialty niche market, for people that want to cut more soy out of their diet. A lot of chicken feed uses soy beans as a protein.
I am trying to eliminate more soy from my diet (it seems like soy in EVERYTHING). I am not anti soy, it's just that soy is naturally high in estrogen. Yep, estrogen.

All Natural – This means absolutely nothing. Never heard of an unnatural egg. Fake eggs? Ha.

Vegetarian Fed –  These chickens were fed a strictly vegetarian diets. Now if the chickens are free range they WILL be eating bugs, grubs and more.

Perky Gramma Teaches
What I do here is simply share our journey of becoming debt free, teach vintage skills and living a new life on our farmette. We would love it if your joined our Perky Gramma Teaches community on Facebook, comment or share. Plus it would just make my day.
Items I have used this week, yes really. Except my FoodSaver is a larger version:

      
Your order is so very appreciated, because anything ordered through my Amazon Associate links helps me to be able to stay home and write for you.
Perky Gramma Teaches is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

What comes first the chicken or the coop?

What comes first the chicken or the coop? So when you want to start raising chickens for eggs there are a few basics things you want to think about, plan for ahead of time and then get your chickens. I had been planning for several years, so that when we moved from an area that wouldn't allow any farm animals to the country I was ready to rock and roll.
What type of chickens do you want? Yes, try to think ahead, Personally I knew I wanted chickens that laid large brown eggs, friendly temperament & cold weather hardy. I also knew I wanted pullets (chickens close to being ready to lay). Then when chickens were available to me, I checked the breed and knew if they were meeting my check list. Also I would caution you on getting chickens on Craig's List, Online yard sale posts and such. Simply because if you are specifically wanted to raise chickens for eggs, you want to insure that the chickens aren't over 3 or 4 years old, when they start dropping their egg production.
If you are able, find a local farm coop. They work with reputable farmers & are pretty reasonably priced. I got my pullets for $10 each & because of the breed they were all chickens. 
Before you bring any chickens home, it is really helpful to have someplace for the chickens to live. You can build your own coop or buy something pre-made. I suggest that you weigh out the costs, time, materials & labor. I have seen some really fine coops or tractors people have built. 
If purchasing a kit, read the reviews. Buying a inexpensive coop, may not be worth it if it falls apart within a few months. 
We opted for a fairly expensive, but extremely durable pre-fab chicken coop the 
Formex Snap Lock Large Chicken Coop Backyard Hen House. For us it was a great choice & I absolutely love how easy this is to use and clean. In fact we just bought another smaller version, since we are expanding our flock.


Know what you will feed them & have it on hand when you bring them home. Odd as that may seem, I see people leaving the Tractor Supply Store with their cute little impulse buy chicks and NO food. Now, I am not trying to be all judgy, I mean they may already have feed at home. 
personally I went with a soy-free, non-gmo feed. We travel a couple hours to get this from Sunrise Farm, Stuarts Draft, VA.


There are some other items that are helpful to have on hand when you start. Galvanized trash cans with a lid for feed & pine shavings (bedding). 


TIP: On the lids, where the handle is attached, we have found that there are two small holes that allow water to get in the cans if they sit outside exposed to the weather. Just this week, we sealed the holes with RTV (Room Tepurature Vulcanizer)
Water fount
Feeder
Also, it is nice to have a good chicken book(s) on hand. I have several. You are able to find this various items at your local coop or Tractor Supply Store. I have personally found that prices are often better online & are delivered, which is a bonus for me since driving to the city and hauling stuff home can be time consuming. 

Last, but not least...it is o.k. to have some fun items as you are beginning to raise chickens. My favorite fun item I have are Slogger Boots with a chickens on them. They just bring me great joy. Of course you don't have to have chickens for the fun boots!

What I do here is simply share our journey of becoming debt free, teach vintage skills and living a new life on our farmette. We would love it if your joined our Perky Gramma Teaches community on Facebook, comment or share. Plus it would just make my day.

  

  

Your order is so very appreciated, because anything ordered through my Amazon Associate links helps me to be able to stay home and write for you.

Perky Gramma Teaches is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Sweet Potato Treats for Furbabies..

The furbabies treat jar is getting low & dehydrated sweet potatoes is their favorite treat. These are my three furbabies & today is the day to make sweet potato treats for my puppies. As you are able to see, they really like sweet potato treat day.
Plus, the great bonus on this is; that if you need some sweet potatoes for dinner you could rehydrate the treats.





This is so simple. First, I slice the sweet potatoes: about a half inch slice and cut in half if needed.
I parboil (cooked until just soft) the sweet potatoes.
After they cooled, I squash them flat (skin and all) on a cutting board. Then place them on the dehydrator trays.



Set the temperature for 125 degrees and let them roll, until the are crisp.



Afterwards I simply tear them into smaller pieces. Now the treat jar is full again.

Just a couple extra tips:
I actually have both a Presto Dehydrator and an Excalibur 9 tray Dehydrator. 
1) I mostly use my Presto for smelly foods, which I make Mr. Perky take to the garage.  One of the neat things about the Presto is that you can purchase and add more trays that expands your capacity greatly.
2) The other items I have on hand and use frequently is the fruit roll up trays. But I use them in my Excalibur. The trays are thin, round, without holes in them and I actually have 8 & they just slide onto the Excalibur trays. Super helpful when you are doing liquid type dehydrating

   

What I do here is simply share our journey of becoming debt free, teach vintage skills and living a new life on our farmette. We would love it if your joined our Perky Gramma Teaches community on Facebook, comment or share. Plus it would just make my day.
Your order is so very appreciated, because anything ordered through my Amazon Associate links helps me to be able to stay home and write for you.
Perky Gramma Teaches is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

How to Count Change...

It is mystifying to some of us in the world as we watch people who don't know how to count change without a calculator or a pen and paper. Just this week, I watched at a big box store as two cashiers try to figure out how much change to give a man. They had to get out a pen and paper.
I realized several years ago that the problem is some people think that it is a subtraction problem. When they take out the paper, they write down how much cash they were given and then subtract the total cost of the purchase.
When in reality it is so much simpler than that.
What they haven't been taught it is really an addition problem, you simply count UP from the total cost, to the amount of the cash tendered.

That's it.
So for those of us who know, be patient because now you know the reason why. Be patient or teach others how to solve this baffling math problem.


What I do here is simply share our journey of becoming debt free, teach vintage skills and living a new life on our farmette. We would love it if your joined our Perky Gramma Teaches community on Facebook, comment or share. Plus it would just make my day. Here are some items I have used on the farm this week. 

   

Your order is so very appreciated, because anything ordered through my Amazon Associate links helps me to be able to stay home and write for you.
Perky Gramma Teaches is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.



Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Using Coconut Oil...

If listed out I could probably do "101 Ways to Use Coconut Oil", but long lists intimidate me. One of the great things about coconut oil is it doesn't get rancid, like so many oils. It will stay stable for years. Basically, since I started using coconut oil I use it for most anything. I use it as as a moisturizer. I keep a little tin with coconut oil in my bathroom or/or bedroom. I use it on my face, rough skin on feet & elbows, hands, I even use a dab for my hair in the winter.
I use it for cooking, for frying, even melt it down and substitute it for oil in recipes.
I use a small bit on my eggs, it extends the actual shelf life of eggs for months
You can use on it eggs you buy from the store or if you have chickens.
I use coconut oil to make hand creams, home made toothpaste and more like reconditioning wood items in the kitchen. 


 

 

What I do here is simply share our journey of becoming debt free, teach vintage skills and living a new life on our farmette. We would love it if your joined our Perky Gramma Teaches community on Facebook, comment or share. Plus it would just make my day.

Your order is so very appreciated, because anything ordered through my Amazon Associate links helps me to be able to stay home and write for you.



Perky Gramma Teaches is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.