"Enjoy the LITTLE THINGS in life for one day you will look back and realize they were the big things."


What blog is about Intro

Come on in and sit awhile while I talk about the "Little Things" in life. I will share my journey of everyday life.... homeschooling, raising my children, homesteading, gardening, health and wellness, and real life.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Frugal Farming Solutions

Well, I was about to write a post about my little feeder I made and when I started looking for a pic I needed I realized I had quite a few "frugal farming solutions".  Wow!  I am even more frugal than I realized!  Ha!  ;)

First, I want to start with heat lamps and such.  My husband purchased a few large heat lamp bulbs for
 about $5 each and I grimace with pain at the very thought.  Especially, since all you have to do is bump those things and they blow out.  Yikes!  A simple cheap light bulb will do the trick in most circumstances and you can pick a 4-pack up at Wal-Mart for under $1.  And while I am on that topic a simple clamp style shop light for about $5 will do the trick to screw that ligt bulb into.  We use these indoors and out, but do take precautions regarding safety.  Don't let cords dangle unsafely on the ground or in water.  Point the shop light downward, so water does not go into it. 

 It was cool and flooding when we got these little gals, so they got to live in our house for a couple of weeks.  I am sure it stunk a bit, but nothing some bleach and a mop couldn't fix.  Again I say, thank God for tile floors!  ;)  If you look closely you will see three baby food jars in the bottom left corner of the cage.  At this time we had an older set of chicks outdoors that had our chick feeder and waterer occupied.  These little baby food jars work perfect for holding feed.  Do NOT use them for water, though.  I learned the hard way after we found a drown chick that a baby chick can drown itself quite easily.  After losing one of my sweet little Aracaunas I used a plastic peanut butter jar lid for their water dish.

As these gals began to grow they became more and more MESSY... and for some reason this little flock liked to EAT their newspaper.  I think it was because the newspaper was getting wet with the Chick Starter on it and they started eating the paper and all.  I had to come up with a solution to keep them from making as big of a mess.  I did not really succeed fully, but I did come up with the idea to use a milk jug as a feeder (shown in pic) and that is what they are using now still (about 3 week old).  Also, the bottom of plastic soda bottles, juice bottles, etc. can be cut off and used as water dishes.  If you look closely in this pic you will see one and a red peanut butter jar lid as well.  It is not glamorous, but it has saved us money and been a great way to re-purpose some garbage. 

Milk jugs can serve as great little baskets for gathering eggs or holding feed.  Simply cut away the top as shown in this pic:
As we empty a milk carton instead of putting it in the trash I do a quick rinse and cut the top off.  If I have one in the kitchen I also collect scraps from mealtime in these sometimes.  When we head outdoors we have a nice way to carry our scraps to the chickens.  We mostly use them for carrying feed or gathering eggs, though.  When working in the garden they are perfect for using as a little carry-along to hold set packets and tagging supplies.  And I am certaion they are going to be great for harvesting food from the garden.  You can see where there are endless uses for these little milk jug totes

And I am not done with those milk jugs just yet... They can be used as scoopers, also. Simply cut away the bottom as shown in this pic (leave the cap ON):
Flip it over and you have a milk jug Scooper !  This works pretty well for scooping feed from our large feed containers into smaller feed containers.  They are kind of flimsy, but useable.  The best homemade scooper I have made has been from a plastic vinegar bottle because it is sturdier plastic.
Cutting at an angle makes a wonderful little vinegar jug Scooper.  And my latest discovery is large Vegetable Oil jug Scoopers!  You cut away at an angle just like the vingar jugs:

I also made our chicken feeders from potting pots that plants come in.  You know... the black plastic temporary pots.  We had some that are probably about three gallon size.  They originally look like this:
Ours were like the larger ones, but about twice the depth.  I used a jigsaw to make the drain holes on the sides about three times as wide and they need to be about 1 1/4 inches in heighth, also.  I purchased galvanized dog feeding pans at Wal-Mart.  Yikes!  I actually spent some money on this project.  Ha!  But spending under $3 a piece on 2 pans for each feeder is way less than buying a commercially made feeder at over $50.  After you have your planter pot ready set it into one galvanaized dog pan and fill with feed.  The other pan will be your lid.  You may have to use your jigsaw to cut away the edge of the planter pot to make the "lid"(pan) fit.  The only other thing to note is that this feeder needs to be set somewhere that stays dry.  If it is in a henhouse you will have no problems.  Ours sits on the ground in the chicken yard and I had to add a concrete pad under it to keep water out during super heavy rain.  If anyone needs better instructions on the feeders, let me know.  I can take some more pics if this does not make sense. 

Also, I use empty plastic ice cream buckets in my refrigerator for egg storage.  The rectangular ones work well.  Other plastic containers are great for this.  I do not use egg cartons because they take up way too much space. 

For tagging my plants and seeds I use large yogurt containers.  I cut down the container in strips about 1 1/2 inches wide and cut across the bottom.  I just trash the bottom piece and sometimes use the lids for paint pallettes.  On the unprinted side of my plastic plant tag I write the name of the plant and date with a permanent marker.  I am uncertain how well the marker holds up and I will try to update that later.
 For now that is all I can think of.  Being frugal comes quite natural to me, so I do not even realize I do this stuff.  I also keep the little containers my tomato plants and such come in and re-use those.  Old cups and yogurt containers make great shoveling cups for dirt

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