Injury and Illness on the Homestead

Injury and Illness on the Homestead

You’re fine one moment and the next you find yourself in a heap at the bottom of the cellar stairs. There’s a stomach bug going around and try as you might, the only thing you can accomplish for the next five days is sleep and maybe a shower. One minute you’re stacking hay and the next the hay is stacked onto of you. Injury and illness on the homestead are a fact of life.  Injury and illness on the homestead

Injury and illness on the homestead are scary thoughts . We try to be careful, especially when we live in a remote area or away from people, but accidents happen. We don’t plan on accidents but we can plan ahead of time for how we’ll deal with the consequences of injury and illness.

First Aid

Injury and Illness on the Homestead

Keep at least a basic First Aid Kit

Do you have a first aid kit? Everyone should have a small first aid kit with bandages, tweezers, and antibacterial soap. Please do follow the first aid kit link. It has a long list of items for injuries as well as illness. Adjust your kit accordingly. Injury and illness on the homestead

Frozen Meals

Chicken soup freezes well, and who doesn’t want a bowl of chicken soup when you’re not up to par. Soup, stew, cooked meats and vegetables – they all freeze well and are easy to warm up. Keep these meals simple. Simple allows kids and other busy adults to prepare a meal and eat well. If you’re the healthy person in a house full of sick people you’ll be busy enough without having to cook from scratch. After a while we’re usually willing to make whatever someone is willing to eat as their appetite returns. Having several frozen meals as options is a blessing.

Remember tv dinners? You can make them yourself with leftovers. Pie plates work well. You can freeze the entire meal in a pie plate covered in foil. Pull the meal from the freezer, pop it into the hot oven and rest while the meal warms.

Make sure your meds are refilled before you’re down to your last few doses. If you don’t let yourself get below a week’s worth of meds you’ll likely feel well enough to get to the pharmacy before you run out. Otherwise, give the person who’ll take care of your refills a few days to get to the pharmacy. Injury and illness on the homestead

Keep important phone numbers in an obvious place. Back in the day we kept phone numbers written on a piece of paper and taped to the wall beside the phone. Few of us have a phone on the wall these days. And of course, everyone who is old enough to use a phone (by age four) should know how to dial 911 and know when and when not to call 911.

Keep your cell phone with you if you’re at home alone or working away from people. You don’t want to sit at the bottom of the stairs without help, be unable to call someone when you are seriously ill, or unable to dial 911 when you’ve had an accident. Homesteading tends to push modern conveniences like cell phones off to the side but don’t dismiss this important tool.

Social Media Options – Join Us!

Social Media Options

Hello?  Hello?  Anyone here? Can you hear the echo at Facebook? Oh my gosh, it is quiet there. It’s like walking into an empty room. If you stop in would you please give us a like, forward something (especially blog posts!) or somehow let us know we’re not alone? Facebook is allowing only 4% of our followers to see our posts. Social media should be social, right?

Pinterest is very friendly when it comes to social media. We had a big rush of followers in November and we’re still working to catch up on following back. A good storm and a pot of coffee or tea will give us plenty of time to browse everyone’s boards, pin and follow back. Our community board, Homesteading with Homesteader’s Supply, is growing nicely. Wouldn’t you like to join us? social media

social media, homesteading newsletter

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You’ll find us on Google+, though honestly, we aren’t active enough there. Now that winter is here we’ll spend more time developing our circles.

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And of course, we blog! Homesteader’s Supply Blog. We’re working on a series on homestead planning. If you’re planning to homestead or already homesteading and looking for more information you should be able to find useful information in the series. We share recipes, tips, details on new items, homestead happenings and more. We participate in [NeighborWoods] with other homesteaders on Tuesdays. Would you like to guest blog or reblog? Get in touch! And please leave a link to your blog in our comments. We want to visit your blog, comment and build community.

[NeighborWoods] Old Man’s Beard

[NeighborWoods] Old Man’s Beard

[NeighborWoods] Neighbors in or out of the woods but always outdoors. Created by Robin’s Outdoors. Please leave a comment and include the link to your [NeighborWoods] blog.

Old Man’s Beard (a lichen) grows on a lot of the old and dying trees in our woodlotol. Whitetail deer eat it in winter and birds use it as nesting material.

lichen, old man's beard, neighborwoods

Homestead Planning – Will you want a garden?

Homestead Planning – Will you want a garden?

Gardening seems like a given on a homestead, but it isn’t. Not everyone likes to garden, or knows how to garden. None of us were born with everything we need to know about growing food. Don’t let that stop you!

If you’re starting from scratch I suggest you call your county’s Cooperative Extension and ask to speak to a Master Gardener. The local garden club and neighbors are also helpful. In the meantime, here are some things to think about when you’re considering a garden.

First things first. Be sure you are allowed to have a garden. As silly as that sounds, some home owners associations and subdivisions don’t allow vegetable gardening. Or, they might limit the garden to the back yard behind a fence. It’s considerate to ask a neighbor about their preferences to how close you garden to the shared property line. It’s possible that your town has a zoning law regarding how close you are allowed to be to the property line and sidewalk.

butternut squash, planning a garden, garden planning, gardening, homesteading

Butternut Squash

Is there room for a garden? You might be surprised at how little space it takes to grow a respectful amount of food. One tomato plant in a five gallon bucket may produce upwards of 20 pounds of tomatoes. That’s about $60 worth of tomatoes in exchange for a few dollars in the plant and soil. You can reuse the bucket from year to year. From container gardens to lining the sidewalk with vegetables to a full acre out back, you have options.

Are there large trees or buildings casting shade on the spot you’d have to use for a garden? The trees can probably be felled but moving a building probably won’t happen. You can use some shade to your advantage but there’s only so much you can do.

Is the garden spot convenient? We like to think we’ll be so excited about the garden that we’ll be there with bells on no matter where it is but let’s be honest – that’s not usually true. When it’s inconvenient we probably won’t make the time to walk the extra distance (let’s say a few hundred yards) to pull weeds for ten minutes. I don’t want to walk a few hundred yards for a cucumber.

How about water? Is it available? And convenient? You can run a hose just about anywhere if you have an outside faucet. The hose has to be moved out of the way to mow the lawn. It’s really not a big deal until it’s 90 degrees and you’ve had a long day.

Will you need to fence in the garden to keep out the pests? Deer and other large animals can do a lot of damage in a few minutes. Groundhogs and rabbits dig under fencing, deer jump over, squirrels squeeze through. If you’re going to need fencing I suggest having it ready to go sooner than later. You don’t want to lose your hard work to marauding bunnies over night.

Don’t be discouraged. Plan for the problem so it doesn’t become a problem! The taste of a warm, juicy, really ripe tomato from your garden makes it all worth it.

[NeighborWoods] Black Capped Chickadee

Black Capped Chickadee

[NeighborWoods] Neighbors in or out of the woods but always outdoors.
Created by Robin’s Outdoors.
Please leave a comment and include the link to your [NeighborWoods] blog.

We are feeding the birds again now that winter is here. This is a black capped chickadee.

Black Capped Chickadee, [NeighborWoods], neighborwoods

Black Capped Chickadee

Homestead Planning – Poultry?

Poultry

Are you planning a new homestead? Or adding to what you already do on your homestead? We’ve been talking about planning.

Where do you want to live?

Cooking & Heat

Let’s talk about poultry. Will you want to raise birds? When I first got chicks nearly 20 years ago someone made a point I’ll never forget. He said, “Chickens are as simple or difficult as you want to make them.”

Buff orpington, layers, laying hen

Buff Orpington

He’s right. Chickens, ducks, turkeys, quail, pheasant, geese – whatever birds you want to raise, really don’t need a lot. Food, water, shelter and safety outdoors make up their short list of needs.

Food is simple. You can buy commercial food, usually in pellet form, by the bag. A 50 pound bag of layer pellets starts around $12 a bag. Exact prices varies from area to area and $12 is a starting point. A quick phone call the feed store will give you the current price in your area. There are foods available for all birds you might consider keeping. I keep the poultry feeder inside the coop so that weather and pests don’t ruin the food.

poultry feeder, chicken feeder

Poultry Feeder

If you have lawn or pasture you can let the birds out onto you’ll decrease your food costs. They’ll eat grass, weeds, seeds and other plant matter. Food scraps from your kitchen are like candy to poultry. With a few exceptions your birds can eat most unprocessed foods. Fruit peels, leftover vegetables, stale bread – all appreciated by the birds.

poultry water, heater base

Poultry water heater base

Water is essential, of course. It can be tricky to keep enough water thawed for the birds in winter. They need to stay well hydrated to be able to keep themselves warm. A heated base for the water makes it simpler. If you’re in the planning stages I suggest considering electricity to the coop. I wish I had it running to mine. Being able to plug in the heater base without running an extension cord would be a blessing.

In warmer areas and seasons I recommend poultry nipples. Birds adapt to this method of watering easily and it keeps the water clean. Even chickens and turkeys will walk in their water if you’re using a pan on the floor or ground.

Shelter will probably be your largest expense. It’s money well spent. You want your coop to allow good air circulation without creating too much wind. You’ll need to keep predators such as snakes, weasels and raccoons out so it needs to be sturdy. A full-size “people” door will let you in to gather eggs, tend to the birds’ food and water, and clean the coop. A poultry door is much smaller and usually opens into a pen. The birds walk up and down a ramp to go in and out. Your nest boxes will be inside or attached to the outside of the coop and accessible to the birds from inside. I prefer them to be attached to the outside because it makes collecting eggs and cleaning simpler. Waterfowl will want to nest on the ground.

Safety is vitally important. If you have room to let your poultry roam you’ll need to keep them safe. You have options. A livestock guardian dog is a wonderful addition to a homestead. Some breeds will herd as well as guard.

Electronet is portable electric fencing that allows you to move the birds to fresh ground as often as necessary without a lot of hassle. I like to fence my birds into an area around the coop. I break it up into thirds to give the grass and clover time to recover before the birds return. Electronet has a downfall – it doesn’t keep birds of prey out.

Permanent fencing is great, especially in winter if the grass is covered in snow. Once it’s built it’s low maintenance. Wear and tear on the pen’s ground is the biggest downfall of permanent fencing.

Occasionally a bird might get hurt or sick. There are dozens of online forums and thousands of websites full of information. And don’t forget your vet. Some of them treat poultry. Learn what you can and before long you’ll be taking care of poultry like a pro.