SmithFarmsWest.com

OUR JOURNEY FROM CITY TO COUNTRY

I'm by no means an expert and still have some learning to do in the area of feeding and giving animals water, but I've found that anything that makes feeding and watering the animals easier is a good thing! I still have more to learn in this area and would love to put a better watering system into the donkey pen, but for now, I'm happy to give them fresh water one or two times a day because that means I'm making sure to check in with them and give them the attention they need. I've had a lot of comments and questions on the chicken feeder I made and have used for over a year now. It has been very helpful. Connor and his grandpa made a pig waterer that has made keeping clean water in the pig pen a lot easier. Chicken Feeder As soon as we got chicks I recognized a major food and water waste issue even in the brooder boxes. Once the chicks were old enough to send outside, I knew I wanted to use a feeder that would help with this issue and a waterer that wouldn't allow the water to spill or get dirty. I searched and searched online for chicken feeders and came across someone who made their own out of a plastic storage bin. I was a little skeptical because I wasn't sure the chickens would figure it out, but they caught on immediately. The first feeder I made required a lot of help from my father-in-law. I didn't have the drill attachment to cut the holes into the box. Since it was a clear, plastic storage bin it became brittle quickly after one summer worth of sun. Once it cracked and started spilling feed I made a replacement. This time my father-in-law offered to give me the drill attachment, he's a smart guy! Now I can make feeders whenever I need one. hole saw drill attachment So the process is pretty easy: Get a plastic storage bin with a removable lid. Clear is nice because you can see how much feed you have left, but it gets brittle quickly from the sun. Using a hole saw, make holes in the sides. Be sure to check out the link to the specific measurements so that your holes are easily accessible for the chickens. Buy PVC elbows and attach to box with caulking/sealant that is waterproof and appropriate for outdoor projects. Allow a day of drying time.Fill up with feed and spend your time talking to your chickens instead of filling up feed containers! I have 8 hens and I only have to fill up the feed box every 3-4 weeks. The feed also stays dry with the box out in the rain! https://blog.mypetchicken.com/2015/10/05/diy-no-waste-feeder/ This is the link I used for materials and directions to make the chicken feeder. Chicken Waterer My favorite chicken waterer is the Little Giant Hen Hydrator! Many stores carry them, but I love Tractor Supply, so here's…

Elderberry Pancake MuffinsElderberry Pancake MuffinBlackberry CobblerElderberry Jam (syrup) making- skimming off the unwanted "stuff"Boiling elderberries, mashing with potato masher to juice.Straining JuiceInversion Canning MethodElderberry syrup on yogurt with walnuts.Lucky chickens devoured the juiced elderberries and leftover oatmeal. I am lucky to be able to pick elderberries and blackberries along the edge of a neighbor's orchard. My friend came along and we had a blast walking and picking berries on a cool-ish summer morning. We set out with the essentials for berry picking: gloves, scissors/clippers (to snip off clusters of elderberries), bags and buckets, paper towels, and hats. http://www.talesfromthekitchenshed.com/2016/09/harvesting-elderberries-picking-preserving-recipes/ When I was researching elderberries, I found this link helpful! After picking, I couldn't wait to get home and decide what to do with all of these berries. After washing and laying them all out to dry, my kids were begging me for breakfast. Deliciously ripe and sweet blackberries are amazing and they became really tasty when put into homemade buttermilk pancakes! I was having a major crush on these berries, it's no surprise when the pancake batter made itself into a heart and shared the love. My kids were in awe and my son kept saying, "Mom, it tastes just like cake!" https://lilluna.com/buttermilk-pancake-recipe/ Here is the buttermilk pancake recipe I used. After eating way too many blackberry pancakes, I had batter leftover. I whipped up a batch of elderberry pancake muffins! Yum! Elderberries having amazing nutritional and medicinal uses, but they are also tasty and juicy! Just last year a neighbor introduced them to me, I didn't even realize they grew in my area! They must be picked when they are dark, not green and are easily snipped from the tree in clusters. I wash them while gently pulling them from the stem into a colander. I end up doing a few washes to be sure they are clean and all bugs and other unwanted items are out of the mix! Now completely stuffed with blackberry pancakes, I set out to find the ideal elderberry jelly recipe. I found one and began the work of sanitizing jars and boiling/juicing the berries. I have yet to invest in a canning set so I used the inversion method of canning. Basically, all items need to be hot and when jars are filled and closed up, flipped upside down and left for 20 minutes or so, you end up with sealed jars. The unfortunate part was that I made a big OOPS and didn't use enough pectin, so I now have some really delicious elderberry syrup. I give away most of what I make, but also plan to eat it with my yogurt and oatmeal on a regular basis! A friend also suggested adding it to sparkling water (I might add some vodka as well). Here is the recipe I used for the elderberry jam (syrup in my case): https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/elderberry_jelly/ At the end of the jelly/syrup making, I had one more berry task: blackberry cobbler! Still completely stuffed from pancakes, it was difficult to…

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