Spring Cleaning

Spring… to me it means to start anew. For me, I want to do some spring cleaning to revitalize my blog and myself. I spent a long time wondering whether or not to pick back up with my blog or let it go. To be honest, I don’t know how good I am at this but I always like to succeed at what I do, so, I have decided to push myself out of my comfort zone and share more of what’s going on with me and my homestead/hobby farm.

As I have shared before, moving to Pennsylvania from Florida created large amounts of change in my life. I never thought I’d have a large garden and chickens and eventually prepping for other animals like goats and pigs. All of this requires patience, which I don’t have very much of, but have learned to have it because having everything all at once on a homestead is next to impossible. It takes time to build your dream.

An update to my progress is that we have six chickens laying an abundance of eggs and have twelve more that will be laying by June. I decided to start selling eggs, with a couple of days notice until the others are laying, and I took my first step–giving flyers to my neighbors for advertising. Next, I will give flyers to circles of people I know and, finally, when the other hens are in laying mode, I plan to advertise on Craig’s List and Facebook for more business. This is exciting, but scary!

In addition, I planted A LOT of garlic this year (fall 2018)….around 400 plants! I am hoping the garlic does well because, as you can guess, I’d like to start selling it too. Eventually, I’d like to have enough to supply a local restaurant and I am even thinking about selling at the local farmer’s market. Again, exciting, but scary!

My hope is to start having my homestead pay for itself, if not, earn a little extra money. I would love to take the weight a bit off of my husband’s shoulders for income so he is free pursue some of his goals. Of course, part of that is him helping with everything here, as always!

This is my spring cleaning goal for this year and I humbly ask for your support by following me on my blog and sharing in my experiences!

Parmesean Crusted Chicken with Pasta

I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for new, tasty ways to make chicken. Well, I found a great one a few years ago and, like always, put my own spin on things. You can make this with chicken breast, but I like to use chicken tenderloins because it takes a little less time and the portions are smaller. This will feed a family of 4-5, usually with some leftovers.

INGREDIENTS:
1-2 lbs. chicken tenderloins
¾ c mayonnaise
½ c shredded parmesean cheese
Italian bread crumbs
8oz angel hair pasta (you can use whichever type of noodle you prefer)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp Italian herb mix
1 tsp parsley
½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1-2 Tbsp butter

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees farenheit.
2. Lightly grease the bottom of your pan and place the chicken on it.


3. In a small bowl, mix the mayo and shredded parmesean. Then coat the top of the chicken with the mixture.
4. Now, generously sprinkle the bread crumbs on top of the chicken.
5. Bake in the oven for about 30-45 minutes depending on the amount and type of chicken you’re using. (More chicken will take a little longer, as well as breast pieces because they are larger in size).
6. While the chicken is baking (I usually wait about 10 minutes then start this step), start boiling your water as per the instructions for the pasta.
7. In a microwaveable bowl, put the butter in and melt it…about 30 seconds in the microwave ought to do it. Then, mix in the oil, herb mix, lemon juice, parsley, salt, pepper, and minced garlic and set aside until the noodles are done.
8. Once you have drained the noodles, pour in the butter mixture and mix well.
9. EAT AND ENJOY!

Please, let me know what you think when you try this recipe!

Messy….Messy…Messy…

Have you ever noticed how MESSY this homesteading thing is??? If you are fairly new at it then you probably haven’t realized it yet but let me tell you, it’s a crazy hot mess when you get into trying to be more self sufficient.
Right now we have had about four or so projects going on at once…we really need to focus in on one and complete it but weather and life doesn’t always allow for such things!


To begin, we just “finished” our rabbit hutch…we still have a few minor details to take care of but it is housing the bunnies now, so they are out of the house! Thank goodness! They are cute and I love ‘em and their fertilizer, but I don’t love their stink!


Of course, I have my garden which is MUCH bigger this year and takes a lot more to prep and plan. BUT I know it will be worth it when we’re reaping what’s been sown! I already have our broccoli, garlic, lettuce, and peas in and plan on getting to the rest VERY soon!

In the mean time, the tiller is out, so is the loader machine, there are tire tracks all through my back yard because it’s been so wet this year and I have to finish my garden fence! Phew! I’m tired just thinking about it and the mess is driving me crazy!


We have LOADS of fire wood to process. By that I mean, cut, split, stack and repeat until it’s all on pallets and out of the way!
Speaking of pallets, we’ve gotten a bunch for free…so, like everything else right now, they need a home too.

Our newest chickens are doing well and could even start laying in the next couple of weeks….we still have to finish a few things on their coop as well…like the lay boxes!!!

Did I say four or so projects??? Well, obviously, it’s the “or so” with a few extra things added on!
Tell me, how messy is your homestead?

 

A Mother’s Day Gift for the Avid Gardener

DISCLOSURE: This post may contain affiliate links from which I will earn a commission which is of no extra cost to you.

Looking for a great gift for your gardening mom, wife, or mother-in-law? Sometimes this can be a tough decision. I know there are a lot of great gifts like gloves, seeds, a tool kit, etc., but sometimes these things can be overdone. Well, I found one that is really useful and she can use it for years to come.

We got my mother-in-law, who is an avid garden with three very large vegetable gardens and flowers everywhere, this Tractor Scoot.

She uses it when she’s working with her flower beds and weeding flowers and gardens. It helps her back because she’s able to keep it straight when weeding instead of hunch over from her feet. Not to mention, she’s not on her knees when using it either.

The tractor scoot we got for her came with a handle for pulling it around and a basket in the back which will hold a large bucket and/or supplies. There is also storage space under the seat. The seat also swivels to turn the direction you need to work in.

Here’s another that is similar…

You can get one on Amazon just in time for Mother’s Day! I know I’m hoping for one of my own! What are you getting for the gardener in your life on Mother’s Day?

FOIL?!? In the GARDEN?!?! One Way to Plant Broccoli

So, let’s be honest…my broccoli plants did NOT do well last year. As I’ve explained in my homesteading story, my garden was maybe half as successful as I would have liked it to have been. But, I digress…

Broccoli is a good cool-weather crop, so it helped ease my gardening bug a bit to get it into my garden and planning is everything. So, I have made better plans for my garden this year.

My mother-in-law has been growing broccoli pretty successfully for years now and I am taking a cue from her. So, here’s what I’m doing this year…

I found a spot in my garden that is shaded some in the morning but gets plenty of sun as the day goes on. I tilled (adding in some garden soil and compost) this year, since I moved my garden in hopes of a more bountiful harvest. This also should help with the drainage since our ground can be wet.

Before planting my seedlings, I took them out of their containers and wrapped them with…wait for it…FOIL! Yes, I mean aluminum foil! My mother-in-law does it to help keep these nasty things away…

They’re called cabbage root worms and they will kill your plant.

I pinch the very bottom couple of leaves off of the seedling and wrap a bit of the stem and try to leave a collar at the base to keep these pesky worms from ruining my broccoli harvest. Old Farmer’s Almanac also says you can use cardboard collars to do the same. I like the idea of the foil because it covers some of the stem as well.

 

I spaced my plants about 18 inches apart and rows about 12 inches apart. I planted three rows of six plants, made a two foot walkway and planted another three rows. Yes, I broke out the measuring tape and even a rope line to try to keep things straight and even…

When planting, it is also a good idea to add compost or manure to each plant. Once my seedlings were planted, I surrounded them with newspaper, three layers thick and straw mulch. This will help keep the ground cool and moist. Here’s how it looked when I was finished…

Once the plant has a good stalk, the foil can be removed.

Happy planting! Let me know how you do your broccoli!

My Chicken Saga…

We got our first flock about a year and a half ago. Six chicks is what my husband brought home. Six Rhode Island White chicks to be exact.

We had six, that is, until our dog got ahold of them. Poor babies…and lesson learned.

So, we were down to four, which we raised successfully. And then we realized…one of those chicks was a rooster. We weren’t expecting it, but we rolled with it.

Everything was good, and then we decided to add to our flock. This time four Rhode Island Reds. They were about 10 months old and laying.

It took some time for them to get used to each other but things finally worked out.

And, then, it happened…I saw cuts on my white hens. Where did they come from?

Turns out, Puff Daddy the rooster (lovingly named because he would puff out his feathers) was the culprit. In fact, I saw it with my own eyes. He mounted, then his “feet” slipped, and his claws cut my hens.

Not long before this discovery, Puff Daddy made his first step toward the freezer when we were cleaning the coop one day. My husband went in to get the chickens out so we could give the coop a good once over, and that dang rooster jumped on top of his head…luckily he was wearing a hat.

Needless to say, between the two events, Puff Daddy had sealed his fate.
Yep…chicken dinner…

Life was good again, for a little while. Then my smallest white hen passed on. I’m still not quite sure if it was the Reds picking on her or if something else happened. I was sad. But, we moved on and life was back to normal.

We have since decided to start trying to make some money off our land and animals. With that in mind, we got more chicks and decided to build second a coop from pallets.

Eight chicks is what we ended up with. When I got them, the breeds were mixed together, but I ended up with mostly Black Astralorps and one of which I am unsure of its breed. After some research, I was pleased to see Astralorps are supposed to be excellent producers, so I can’t wait until they start laying!

Never thinking I would ever own chickens or be starting a farm/homestead life, I have truly enjoyed my hens and am excited about our new flock, too!

What kind of experiences have you had with your chickens? Please, share!

 

 

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All About Me

Welcome to Back Yard Farm Life! I’m PennyFlo, a Florida girl, born and raised, and I love the beach. When I married my husband of over ten years now, I never imagined I would be living in Pennsylvania starting a homestead and hobby farm!

We always talked about having a house with some land but never really discussed what we would do with it. His mother is into gardening with three or so large garden areas, but that was never something I saw myself doing.

Well…here I am with my husband and kids, in western Pennsylvania, embarking on a farm life journey. We’ve been here about a year and a half now and I already have the homesteading/farming fever.

As I continue down my new path, my goal with this blog is to share my experiences (good and bad) in the different areas of farming and homesteading. These areas include gardening, livestock, recipes, and DIY. I would also love to here from you about any tips and ideas you have. I will do my best to try them out and write about my experiences with those too!

Thank you for joining me on my adventure! I hope to learn and grow with you on my journey into farming and homesteading.