Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Life on a homestead can be very expensive at times. But I don't want that to hinder your sight of how possible homesteading with minimal funds really is.

The money was never a worry to me, I know that sounds cliche, that I don't need money for happiness or we don't need money to feel secure. But honestly, I knew I wanted to expand my homesteading dreams and I was not going to let a trivial thing like money stop me. 

Frequently I am asked, "How the heck can you afford that?!" I just want you all to keep in mind that this lifestyle is possible on a budget, and I'm here to show you how. Here's a two-part peak into our homestead life and how we make it work.

Before I begin let me preface this by saying when we first began this venture last fall I was boarding 6 horses, not including my own mare. This was our start up (though we already had 6 laying hens). That money paid to feed my horse and all the other animals including our dogs, so we could then invest in other necessities.

I'm not saying to need to go out and find some horses or go gambling, I am simply setting the scene of our transformation. Don't mistake, we love this life and we chose it again everyday. That being said, what I am about to share with you is just a few things we do in our day to day life to live with a smaller foot print and afford to supervise the growth of our food. 

1. Don't let the money scare you!!!

Never let it stop you either, work hard, and your dream will be attainable. DON'T focus on what you can't afford, start with something sustainable that you CAN afford. I am confident that with time and determination, anyone can be a homesteader. 

Maybe your first sustainable act as a homesteader is a savings account, or starting your own sourdough. If you already have a garden save seeds from your harvest for next year. Go berry picking and preserve your loot. Maybe you do have a pasture and are entertaining the thought of boarders.

I know I know, not everyone can board horses. 

And that's ok. This is just one example of how we make extra money.

2. Create new streams of income wherever you can.

It doesn't matter what it is. The possibilities are endless. Here are a few things we do to make extra money on the homestead:

- We sell chicken and duck eggs

- Boarding horses 

- Spencer has numerous professional skills that he uses often for side jobs when we need extra income. Some include painting, landscaping, wood cutting, manual labor, auto mechanics and small engine repair etc..

- I sell Certified Therapeutic Grade Essential oils through my DoTERRA business for supplementary income. More about that to follow. Learn more or join my team here!

3. Don't spend unnecessary cash! 

If you don't absolutely need it, don't bother. Minimize purchases. Cut down clutter.

Personally I would rather dig through a thousand thrift stores and goodwills to find a hidden treasure, but I'm just a nerd like that. We also don't buy anything on credit. All large purchases are made in cash. Yes, it may take longer to save the money but the piece of mind is worth every minute in the long run. 

Never buy things brand new unless ABSOLUTELY necessary. And believe me there are necessary times, but when you save for it you can prepare to buy something of QUALITY. 

Try Craigslist.. there's always a plethora of farm essential and people with tons of it! Animals, tractors, tools, vehicles, you name it.

But Quincy I really have no money but want to do anything possible to change our diet, lifestyle, anything!? Help?

Yes I hear you. I to was in panic mode when we began and there was no way in sight to afford this life!!! 

But peeps... There totally is, which brings me to this...

4. Barter when ever possible! 

I love the barter system, countless exchanges with no paper green anywhere in sight. Its a beautiful thing people. Trading someone for something I already have? Heck yes I will! Like eggs, organic free-range chicken, organic pork, organic vegetable starts, babysitting, a hen and a rooster, or even beer... no really. 

I am a big supporter of giving something when you get something in the farm community. It just feels like the homestead way, and that fills my cup. So, occasionally I provide beer and food for garden/weeding help. Maybe you'll get some cuts of our homegrown pork for manual labor. When a friend brings me a plant for my garden, I send them with a dozen eggs.  

I even got my hanging rabbit cage and 2 nest boxes from a friend's landlord, left behind by previous tenants! And for free? Score!! Just because you have no money doesn't mean you can't find it for free or maybe find something of yours you can trade. Its totally Dancing the Wolves, you should try it sometime. You can even come barter with me, I would love to help your farm ventures.

You can even become members of bartering groups that are looking to expand their contacts. This is a great way to find things you need on the homestead. I know some folks that trade fresh produce for farm fresh eggs. If you think long enough I bet there is a skill or something that you can create from within the home to barter with. 

We came to own our riding lawn mower, weed whacker, leaf blower, and chain saw from bartering auto mechanics and small engine repair. Even a free mower rental to cut our field. Boom. Barter baby! Everyone has some thing they can barter with. What is yours? 

When it's all said and don't we do this because this is how the homestead life calls to us. This is how I feel the Lord would want us to live. Of our own hand and of our own heart. And just because we don't make 6 figures in a year does not mean we don't deserve this life. 

We want more than anything to provide a healthy wholesome lifestyle and attitude for our children. To respect and feel secure in where their food came from. After all, this is why we do what we do, for the love of the food. 

I know I'm throwing a lot of words around. Like minimize, barter... sustainable...healthy 

I'm not asking you to change your life, unless you want to. Food for thought. 

Stay tuned for Part Two

Peace, Q

Thursday, September 24, 2015


As many of you know our dog had puppies on the homestead a few weeks ago. As many of you don't know, this was not planned.

I had wanted to breed her in the future, coincidentally the dog who performed the act was in fact the sire I already had in mind! Lucky me huh? 

 Miss Panda

Or not. At least they are full breed so they can be sold to help pay for mama to be spayed. And hopeful;;y begin the savings for an ACL surgery our other dod badly needs. Here are my girls.. Mama is Dollie (left) and my older girl, Dixie Mae (right) who is the one needing surgery.

Don't get me wrong I love puppies, but since my female dog is quite young to be having a litter, I was scared for her. And she is proving to be a realitely attentive mother. Although she does sit on them from time to time.... I can only imagine what's it's like to have seven babies.. Yeesh. 

Anyway, as this wasn't planned and I hadn't much time to think ahead. It was hard to tell if she was pregnant originally. Taking her to a vet for an X-ray seemed an unnecessary intervention for something she can instinctually handle. Nonetheless the last few days of her pregnancy were slightly stressful.

She was bred twice. I know you're probably wondering how the heck this was an accident, and I'll touch on that story later. But I will say this, if you've ever had to wrangle two, prime aged pit bulls, you are in for a chore my friend. 

The first time the two were found stuck together was June 30th. Shortly after, I believe only 5 days later it happened again. Since the average gestation for this size dog is 63 days, I assumed we would see puppies by August 31st. They came on the 29th. Seven fat and noisy puppies. 

Unfortunately the last puppy to arrive, number eight, didn't make it. She got stuck with what remained of the after birth, and mama being so tired couldn't gather anymore strength to push. 

Dogs are very intuitive, being so I, believe Dollie knew the pup had already passed away. She didn't show much interest in her or our attempts to revive her. She simply went on tending to the other seven. 

At least next time I'll have already done this. I'll have already learned how to help birth a pup and felt their first breaths. Next time a puppy gets stuck, I'll have a more direct route to a resolution, instead of a shot in the dark. 

If we ever breed dogs on purpose.. There are a few things I would do differently.

First I would create a birthing kit. Being equipped with some medical essentials to help mama throughout birth was very helpful. Granted, I had the things I needed, they just weren't properly organized... so yes there was a little scrambling after I had noticed she'd already dropped the first pup.

Second, creating a better whelping box may have helped. She had just enough room in her oversized kennel (with the top removed) but as more puppies came it started to seem cramped. After all the mess was cleaned she was happy in there for a bit. Now it is even more cramped than before, since these puppies are growing like weeds, we have to either make mama get in or just bring the puppies out on a blanket to her. Its simply too hot to nurse 7 pups all confined like that.

Thirdly.... babies stink. Especially puppies. We have a relatively small house, luckily its still warm enough to have windows open. But they need a better place to grow...that is not in my house. At almost 3 weeks old they are beginning to go everywhere! I am in the process of buying a large round play pen for them to have outside. Having the luxury of planning your litters is better in regards to weather since its far too cold to have them in our separated garage at night. For now they are fine, as some have already found their forever homes, so I won't have tons of puppies for much longer.

I'm cherishing their fat, adorable yet stinky butts while I can. I love babies, what can I say? And watching them nurse with mama? Gah, my heart melts every time. I'm in love.

Savoring the puppy breath..


Tuesday, September 22, 2015


If you were to ever come to my house, you would be greeted by my noisy and nosy herd of birds. That was, until this last week. Ok ok save the ducks, but they really are much better behaved than the chickens..

You see I used to love letting my birds free-range. Its better for them in so many ways, that just made it feel like a no brainer. Only, its totally NOT a no brainer. There is more trial, error, hair-pulling out work, that goes into free-range than I ever thought there would be than if the birds are simply penned up. YES, if they are penned it may cost more in the long run with feed and such but it is so worth it versus the mental anguish I've experienced otherwise. So heres a few points that made us choose to pen up the gangster birds.

See Mr. Huey and his girl friend here..? Making a dust bath in our "yard"... Grrr

1. They poo er'where

I swear, its all over. And if you've ever had chickens before you know that a roosting chicken, is a pooping chicken, oddly enough they poo while they sleep. So hopefully you're lucky enough to not have yours drop all over your outdoor dining set. Or your car. Deck. Rabbits.. oh ya its happened...Driveway. Don't even get me started on everytime the garage door being accidentally left open... You name it, and they pood on it. Remember that time I told ya'll about the birds getting into the house creating a literal sh** storm? Yeesh, that was a rough one.

2. They are ALWAYS hungry

No matter if they just ate or not, if my flower beds or garden gate was left open... All bets are off. I spent more time and money trying to block them out of places, when I could have just blocked them in.  Looking back to the times I would stand looking out the window on summer morning, coffee in hand and so peaceful, only to discover what terror rained down on my poor veggies. I won't lie, these birds now how to make me cry. Ive built structures,fences, hung netting but those little buggers are crafty suns a guns! Oh ya they also love cat food... 

3. So.. where are the eggs?

Once given free reign of the yard it is impossible to find cozy places they lay eggs. Yes the coop training helped, in the beginning... As they spent more and more time outdoors, the more comfortable they were to wander and find a nice little cranny to lay all your glorious eggs. I began seeing less and less eggs in the coop, but would randomly pass them as I did my chores. In the hay barn. On top of one rabbit hutch (hence the first point in the case of the rabbit who was pood on) Under neath the hanging rabbit cages. In the flower beds. Under the deck. In the garage.mWe even found one in one of the kids' play push cars.

4. They are the neighbors you hate.

After I had let my birds to free range for a few weeks, I had thought they'd settle into a good routine. Coming out in the morning, then roosting themselves back up at night in the coop. At first I would go close to door after dark, but since they grew so good at roost training, I found that unnecessary. Until, my neighbors trudged over and expressed their opinion of my menacing and rude birds. Unaware they had started to venture out at the crack of dawn with early summer sunlight, while everyone was still sleeping mind you, and scratch the neighbors lawns and beds to high heaven. I apologized and promised it would continue no more. In some spots they even scratched down to the roots on some ponderosa and aspen trees. Naughty hoodlum birds. Nice job Q, tick off the neighbors. After a few dozen eggs restitution, penned up birds, and a little work with a rake things are right as rain. 

5. The owls/hawks love them. Oh and dogs.

Last year I lost half a dozen free-range birds to owls in the night and hawks during the day. Owls being nocturnal see well in the night, chickens however, can barely see at all at night. If not properly coop trained, a young chicken will just go to sleep on the ground, leaving it vulnerable, so running to shelter may not be an option. Aside from that, having friends with dogs can, at times prove difficult if the owner isn't consistent or the dog likes to chase/kill small prey. We lost 3 birds to friends' dogs in the last year. This is extremely unfortunate since we have to then tell a friend their dog is no longer welcome if the birds are out. We love dogs but we also cannot tolerate nor welcome a dog who kills our farm animals. We cannot always trust our property either as a neighbor dog could come over just as easily as a coyote. Thus, we penned them up.

There you have it. Choosing to keep the birds inside was a decision that took me months to decide. Watching my birds peck and scratch around in the yard used to bring me so much happiness.. But you know what also makes me happy? Going bare foot on occasion. Guess what doesn't make me happy? Stepping my bare foot in poo. Yuck. 

There are so many great ways to use these annoying traits to your advantage though. So stop sharpening your butcher knife like I did and use these clever birds to your advantage. Their droppings are invaluable as fertilizer if composted, they do wonders if put to work tilling the garden, and can even assist you in turning your compost pile. Some where recently I read about the tilling power of 1 chicken, it is positively amazing the different ways you can use the birds. Just imagine what could be done with our whole flock.

We're enjoying fresh eggs every day and we're not stepping in poop anymore. I feel a sense of cleanliness, even in our outside environment, finally. Having poop all over really starts to wear on you. Yes, I choose to have many animals, so, poop is a given responsibility. Only now all we have to do is clean the coop. Save the ducks... blueprints for their winter shelter are stilling being drawn. Luckily they spend all their time away from the house, out in the fields, under the irrigation. And that is a post for another day ;)


Friday, September 11, 2015


It's been a tough day. A mixture of emotions flooded over me as I recalled what day it actually is. It's become so regular, so ordinary to hear people slanderize about 9/11. It's become so normal for the anniversary to come and go. 

I'm sure it's not the same for everyone. But a lot of sadness rushed over me. About the state of our great country. About the way we reacted initially to the attack, and how we still react to it today. 

I was in 5th grade when I awoke on a normal day just like any other. I remember waking up on my own, which wasn't usual, mom always came to rouse me. 

As I walked from my room through the house and down to moms room I heard her gasp, and dad trying to get ahold of my oldest brother Zak by phone, who had only two years before joined the U.S. Army. 

I turned to the TV and there it was.. The first tower a blaze. I didn't much understand at first but I was scared just the same. I stood there in shock as we watched the second plane hit... 




All of these emotions flooded my small childhood body. Unsure of what had actually happened. Mom said there had been an accident, although it wasn't, I'm sure she didn't know what better to say. 

In a moment like that what can you say....

What questions can you ask?

What am I seeing?

Who would do this?


What emotions should you feel?




I remember watching the news in school. It was far from a normal day at our small elementary school in a tiny Oregon town. What could we do BUT watch, as our country looked for justice and sought revenge almost instantly. 

The lives lost on that day are remembered in the hearts of our many citizens. They won't be forgotten. 

In the midst of all that was lost we looked to our leaders, and what did they give, but a call to mor death and sadness. 

Though we all have our theories as to what happened on that day, it matters not. That day that will forever live in infamy in all our hearts. 

I wish not to debate.. not to compare thoughts and opinions. I can simply search google and find every conspiracy theory known to man. Maybe one of them is true. Maybe none. 

On this day I wish to dedicate thoughts and prayers to the family members who are still grieving. 

I ask everyone of you to take a moment of silence to pray and remember the souls lost 14 years ago. 

I chose to be happy. To think of all those souls, happy. Peaceful and at rest, not vengeful. I chose happiness. For what I have and for the promise of what is to come. 

This is how we honor them. This is how their spirits will live on. How we can keep moving forward. How we live another day, as a legacy to those who are no longer. 

For those who can no longer, we shall carry them in our hearts. Praying and trusting in the possibility of a more peaceful tomorrow. 


Friday, September 4, 2015


Transforming old jeans into my new floor decor. That's what I did this month folks. 

Ok, maybe it took me a little longer than a month...

So, my lastest time killer during kiddo nap times and other such down times. I made a rag rug from old blue jeans to fulfill a serious bathroom rug absence.  

I worked out my "homestead muscle" basically I chosing the longer, harder, but cheaper and more encironmentally friendly route. Recycling something we no longer needed and some seriously torn up pants. 

After watching a video blogger from one of my favorite YouTube channels, Julia Dreads, make a rag rug from old t-shirts I knew I could figure out something similar for my cold bathroom floor. I researched and found I didn't have the materials I needed for that sort of rug. What I did have was a surplus of denim. Plus I already had a chunky crochet hook on hand. Thus I began this bad boy.

This type of rug is normally made out of strips of old sheets, though I'm glad that all I had was denim. It's so us, Spencer and I love denim! 

Very durable. Easy to clean. Warm-ish...

Thursday, September 3, 2015


Just the other day I was reading an article from a fellow homestead blogger, Jill Winger, at The Prairie Homestead. When she mentioned she puts herbs in her hens nest boxes I was a little surprised. 

But then I imagined how I love to smell fresh herbs around me, and how nice some of the herbal essential oils were for me during labor. 

That must be similar to a chicken laying an egg right? 

Ahem.. So I figured, heck I have more mint than I know what to do with... Maybe Ill let the girls have a taste? I gathered it up during the early evening while they were still out scratching, and placed in the the boxes so they would have nice nests to come back to. 

I don't know about ya'll but my laying hens are divas. If their nests aren't properly clean and bedded, they just don't lay as well. They prefer a clean, good smelling environment for peak production, and I am happy to give them that. 

On a side note this was a great helping activity for my toddler. She loved picking the mint and taking it off to the coop. Trying to involve her in as much fun animal related chores as possible is really important at her age. She wants so badly to help, in times she can't, but this time she could and was proud of herself for doing so. Narrating herself all the while, and making mummy's heart happy. Involving her now while she's interested will only help later fuel her own feeling of responsibility for the farm animals. 

So I digress...

To say the least the mint was a hit with the girls. They absolutely loved it. I only wish I hadn't figured this out so late in the season so my girls could have enjoyed all my other herbs. But there will always be next year.  

Or this winter... While I experiment with growing indoors.. under light.. Or maybe some DIY green houses. Wouldn't it be great to incorporate auquapinics into the homestead? Talk about self sustainability people! Just food for thought of course.