Wednesday, 13 December 2017

What Equipment Do You Duplicate?

I'm building some doors for the extension this week. 
It's a fairly enjoyable job and good to make something nice for us for a change, I'll do a post on the doors once they're all made and hung. I'm just making a batch of six 4 panel 1950's style doors at the moment and maybe some more when I start work on the downstairs. 
Routers and Squares
But one of the reasons it enjoyable is that I have the right kit for the job, I've been doing this sort of thing for 15 years now and have a fair selection of tools. 

I also have some duplicates of some important things as well and this can come in real handy. 

Like in the picture above, two big routers set up with the bits I need to make a door. Otherwise I'd have to change bits and reset each one for each door! This way is much quicker and not so frustrating! 

This got me thinking. Now I know the rule of prepping "three is two, two is one, one is none". 

What do you have multiples of that make your life easier? for example I have three wheelbarrows here, one is never enough!

What do you have to keep a spare just so you could carry on with your day to day life with? 

What do you keep a spare of for emergencies?

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Milk Carton Storage Dispenser

So we're still happily trapped at home. I could get the truck out quite easily but feel little need to leave the homestead! 

Looking at our food supplies the only thing that we're going to be short of (besides potatoes - but that's my own stupid fault) is milk. 

The kids drink 26 pints of milk a week on average, and there's no way we could store a huge amount, not much more than a week or so worth, unless I dedicated a freezer to it! We had a few stored in the the freezer anyhow but we're getting down it now. Maybe we need a cow...

We also keep a fair bit of soya milk in the house as well. I can't drink milk (but can have cheese and yogurt) so the soya is mainly for me. I do cook with it and use it on our porridge in the morning so it's useful to have around. Looking at our stock though we're down to the last three cartons. This is mainly because they get shoved on the floor in the pantry and we're never sure how many we've got as it's always so full of stuff. 
Well I decided it was time to get them organised. 

I love my tin can storage door and we use it daily, it makes everything easy to find and to see how much we've got of everything, so I decided something similar was in order. 

Measuring the space I had I could see I could make something to hold ten cartons of milk and ten tins of tuna (that sized tin isn't on my storage door). Whatever you do though, don't cook with the tuna and the milk, that wouldn't be nice! 

Knocking this up took me about three quarter of an hour with some scrap ply from the doors I'm making. I just glued and pinned everything together, nothing fancy. Slots cut on the front let you see what you've got and to slow down the speed that you drop things in there.
You could easily make this with hand tools but it might take you a bit longer, I used a jig saw, circular saw and a compressor with nail gun. All the measurements are just to suite the size of the carton and tin can.

There's a little ramp at the bottom to catch the tuna tins, check out this post to see what I made last time. 
Setting out the spacing for the carton and the tuna tins

Cutting the top, having slots in it means you can see how much of everything you've got. 

The completed rack

The rack in place in the pantry - just need to fill it now! 
I'm quite pleased with this little project, it doesn't take long to get organised, even if it doesn't look that pretty.

That's ten litres of soya milk that can be seen, checked and stored easily, with the oldest being used first every time, same with the tuna. I use a couple of litres of soya a week, so that's roughly five weeks worth.

This would also work great for UHT milk, or anything in a carton.

If you've any other food storage ideas then please let me know, I might end up building it!

What do you think?

Have you got anything like this in your house to keep you organised? I'd love to see it if you have! Send me a picture!

Monday, 11 December 2017

Don't Be That Idiot

Once I saw the amount of snow yesterday I went and did my morning chores then had a quick walk around my neighbours to make sure everyone was okay. 

My one set of neighbours, Ken and Liz, were properly sorted. Ken is in his 70's and there's certainly no flies on him, when the weather was good on the Saturday he'd moved all the firewood he'd need up to the house and garage, ready for the snow. I also know they'd have enough food in stock to last them any length of time needed. 

On the other end of the scale I read on someones Facebook yesterday that they'd been in a shop and heard a woman complaining that the store had run out of bread, apparently she'd said to the cashier (not the other way round!) "You knew there was a storm coming, so why didn't you stock up?"
Picture from google somewhere...
Now I know I'm preaching to the choir a little bit here, but please lets not be idiots. It costs very little to keep a bit of food in the house. And I'm not talking enough to see out a nuclear winter, just enough to see you through a snowy week if you can't get to the shops.

It doesn't cost much and I'd say you could probably kit yourself out with some emergency rations for a few days for about £20.

I keep long life bread here, it's called flour. 
We keep emergency cake, it's called flour, eggs and sugar.
A months worth of breakfast comes in the form a of big bag of oats.

None of this costs very much! Nor does it take up much storage space. A little camping stove would give you the ability to cook off grid....

I think you can see where I'm going with this! 

People are too quick to play the victim. People need to take control and do something for themselves. 

What I'll be doing after this snow storm is evaluating what we could have done with and making sure we have it for next time. 

Then I'll be thinking how would we have done without power and trying to make things more comfortable if that was the case as well. We can heat the house without power (or most of the house) and cook on top of the stove, but what else would have helped?

Are you stocked up for a snow storm?

Who do you know who plays the idiot but won't take any notice when you try to warn them?

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Snow Day!

None of the kids have had a good amount of snow that they can remember! 
Once I'd check and fed the animals we all had a bit of time outside to have a play, before they all got cold and wet! 
Everything is drying by the fire now! 

Chickens seem fine in their coop less pens! 

Untouched fields

Give the lambs some hay

Ready to fire snowballs at me!

Snow man

10 seconds later - the boy decided he didn't want him standing!

Friday, 8 December 2017

Chicken Processing Mk3

We managed to get the last of this years meat birds processed on Sunday afternoon. 

We'd gone on a disastrous shopping trip to a local city to try to choose some tiles for the bathroom. We should have known better than to take the three kids and think we could make any decisions! We left about two hours later, none the wiser but all of use with slightly shorter tempers! We called and had lunch at my brothers which was really good fun, then dragging the kids away, hurried home. 

I knew I had six chickens to butcher before it got dark! 
I got outside around three, the sun sets around four O'clock so I knew I'd have to work quite fast! 
The girls wanted to assist again so we got everything ready. Bowls of warm water and clothes to wipe down, knife and sharpening steel, chopping/rest boards, two buckets (feathers and guts) and a plastic bag to pluck them on so I wouldn't get soaked. Hot water on the BBQ as well so I could wet pluck them again.
The girls got involved straight away again, watching me work, then helping to pluck feathers. I let them spend time picking off the pin feathers once I'd finished the bulk of the main feathers. They loved helping and asking about a thousand questions and they both made me laugh lots - they can be so matter of fact at that age! 
My eldest stayed out with me the whole way through, my younger daughter couldn't quite manage it, but it was getting cold and dark. It was lovely just to have the company and to have her talking to me about anything she wanted. By the time I had plucked all six, it was just after four o'clock, gutting them didn't take long but light was failing. I then bagged them up and left them to rest in the shed.
I was speaking to my butcher the other day and I was saying how when I jointed some of the last lot up the skin didn't stay on that well. He told me that I hadn't let them set long enough and to leave them somewhere for a few days first.

So I'm taking his advice and before I do anything with these chickens I'm going to let them sit and settle first. I think I'll probably joint up four of these and leave two birds whole. It's far easier for me to grab a meal sized portion and cook it up that night rather than always having to rely on a roast and using the left overs (which we do as well!).

How do you store your chickens in the freezer - jointed up or whole for a roast?

Also I now have a big bag of chicken livers in the freezer and I'm wondering what to do with them - does anyone that read this blog make their own pate and do you have a good recipe? I'm totally in love with pate but have never made any myself before.
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