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Nearly-Frozen Goats and Chickens

Here in Colorado, our high temp today was 4 degrees. F. That's not very high. Our low tonight is -6 degrees F but with wind child, is expected to be -20 degrees F. Bbbbbrrrrrr.

We have two dog houses that we've modified for the goats, added tarping and plastic to the roof to help keep snow and rain out, and stacked lots of hay inside. Each is on a pallet to keep it off the ground. They are pushed together to help keep the other warm. The three nigerian dwarf goats like the smaller green dog house, fitting tightly in there, which helps keep them warm. But the larger nubian milk goat can be really mean to the others so she is in the bigger dog house (purple!) by herself. (The goat choose, not use.) I've added lots of hay but still, she must be cold. And moans ... she's so sad! We have the gate to the goat pen open so the goats can come and go at will, going under the deck to get more hay to eat or a drink of cold but hopefully not-frozen water whenever they choose.

The pens we made for them and placed against our house weren't going to work in this bitter cold weather. So we moved a 6x10 dog kennel into the unheated but enclosed workshop and created a makeshift home for the 10 of the chickens. Three laying boxes (ok, small cat crates), water buckets, roosts and feeders. We also moved a smaller chicken "tractor" in there to hold 4 chickens (have to keep the roosters separate). Also hooked up two bright lights on a timer, and moved some chicken scratch in there, in rodent-proof tubs. We took a thermometer in there today and it read 15 degrees! Ouch! At least they are out of the wind and snow. They are all kept busy scratching for tossed-out cracked corn, and old goat hay to sift through.

So far everyone seems to be fairly ok. I'd chosen breeds of chickens known to be cold hardy, and the nigerian dwarf goats' coats are very thick and furry. I'm a little concerned about the nubian (whose hair didn't thicken up at all) and the goats' hooves. Our wether limped a little today until I rubbed his hooves to warm them up.

Everyone is checked on several times during the day, at the expense of our own health. Eggs collected are very cold but not frozen (they would be if we didn't check on the chickens as often as we did). We only got 2 eggs today, but that's expected and actually not bad.

Yep, for next winter, we're building a barn, with electricity to heat, and room for all of the chickens and goats. Or maybe we can convince our goats to stay under the deck behind our house, where it's not quite as cold, and is full of hay.

I'll have to give it some thought.

I hope we get through this cold snap ok. It's supposed to start warming up tomorrow. We sure could use it. I almost feel guilty sitting in my 62 degree home, with a roaring fire in the fireplace, and 2 pairs of pants on!


Happy new year, all!

Quick American Goulash

Recipe deleted for inclusion in ...

Kindle Book "Survival Cooking: Eating From Your Pantry and Backyard", published on in April 2013

Hard Copy available on, also in April 2013

New newsletter almost ready!

I am thinking about putting out a monthly newsletter "Survival Cooking and Living". This is for people interested in:

-raising chickens and quail
-raising dairy goats
-stocking your pantry for hard(er) times
-cooking from your stored foods
-gardening for self-reliance
-container gardening indoors
-preserving harvests
-and so much more

Many of the recipes are gluten-free, some are yeast-free and/or casein-free, and all are as easy as possible to make.

Don't let the word "Survival" fool you! It's not about being a militant or survivalist ... it's about being prepared for any eventuality. For instance, I have been storing food for years, and yes, using it. We hit a bad patch recently, and most of our grocery money had to go somewhere else. But we didn't worry! I just pulled out my tubs, and started making EVERY meal from stored food, instead just a few a week. I had plenty of stored dried fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds, powdered milk (cow, rice and goat), eggs, meat, and cans of tuna and so forth. Plus we had eggs from our chickens and quail, and milk from our goat to drink and make cheese. Not sure if we'd survived this rough patch without preparing for emergencies. NOW we want to pass along more information to YOU!



I don't know if anyone was interested in this. If you are, please comment below, or at the link at the top of this page. Thank you.

Writer Wanted

Do you store food for a worse-case scenario? Do you cook that stored food, maybe experimenting to not let stored-food boredom enter your kitchen? Do you have a list of staples you make sure you always have in the pantry, and create masterpieces with them? Do you do all of this while penny-pinching?

Good. I need you!

I'd like to see regular postings on this blog again; wouldn't you? And now I've got a monthly newsletter that I'm working on, so ... I NEED HELP!

If you like to write and you are a self-reliant / self-sufficient type of homestead or urban dweller, I'd love for you to contribute blog postings here, once a week.

What do you think? Interested? If so, please leave a comment here, or e-mail to vikkibooks (at) yahoo DOT com.


FlaxMeal should be an essential storage item

I'm sure you've heard about flaxseed and its benefits: omega-3, heart-healthy, fiber, etc. There's another three benefits:
-easy to store ground flaxmeal
-low carb

Two out of the three of us here are gluten-free. I needed to find a cheap-way to make a cracker or bread for me because I'm also on a diet (lost 84 pounds and counting) so I experimented. Here's a favorite base recipe for my "flaxbread" that I eat almost daily:

1/3 cup ground flaxmeal
1/3 cup hot water

Mix together in a wide shallow bowl. After a few seconds, you'll notice it is becoming gloppy and gloopy. That's exactly what's supposed to happen. Microwave on high for about 2 minutes, then again in 30 second increments until done. I usually use a spatula after 2 minutes to loosen the edges and again at 3 minutes to turn it over.

Yes, it tastes kinda blah, but you can add all kinds of things to the flaxmeal (before adding the water!) to make it taste better:

-a teaspoon of flavored gelatin
-onion/garlic powder
-basil, garlic and onion Mrs. Dash
-dill and onion powder (tastes like pickles!)
-cocoa powder and cinnamon (my fav)
-dried powdered blueberries and cinnamon
-bump up the protein by adding powdered whey or hemp

The list can go on. An unopened container (we buy it from Sam's Club) will last a couple of years. In the fridge, an opened container could last probably a year.

NOTE: if you were making this "flaxbread" in a sitution where you can't use a microwave, it's easy enough to do over a campfire or solar oven. Just be sure to use pan-spray on whatever you place it on (aluminum foil, etc).

SECOND NOTE: To make crackers, glop the mixture on a fruit roll tray and dehydrate until not tacky any more. Good way to eat "raw food" because it doesn't get cooked, and you're starting with cold-mill flaxseed (not cooked).


Livestock Grain MAY Equal Human Food

Pic of whole oats (groats) to the right:

Now that we have a farm (goats, chickens, rabbit, quail), we buy wholesale livestock "cleaned grains" like cracked corn, whole oats, and black oil sunflower seeds. Got to thinking ... can we eat these things too?

So I contacted the manufacturer/distributor: Nutrena. I felt kinda stupid asking if humans can eat horse food, so I fudged and acted like my little kid had just eaten some ... was she going to be ok? Was told of course, the oats and corn are just find for people food.

Just the other day, tho, I sent them an e-mail asking specifically if Nutrena livestock feed is ok for human consumption and was told emphatically not.

Of course, I have to encourage everyone to check this out for yourself. It's up to you. WARNING/DISCLAIMER: only YOU can decide whether to stock up on the whole oats and cracked corn as part of your human food storage. And absolutely NEVER store anything that is medicated or from an unknown source.

Nutrena 50 pound bag of whole oats was only $11.99

Nutrena 50 pound bag of clean cracked yellow corn was only $8.49

20 pound bag of black oil sunflower seeds was $14.99

It looked like there might be some grass in our oats bag, but that can easily be cleaned. Keep these in their original bags, in metal trash cans, until you're ready to open and use. Then store in smaller rodent/ant-proof containers.

Soak and cook whole oats (groats) for a long time. Or you can grind the oats to use in baking as oat flour. Same with the cracked corn. The sunflower seeds provide a nice protein for a little extra work (hulling the seeds).

Just something I wanted to pass on to you. Be sure to acknowledge the disclaimer.

Four days of food, family and fun

You know me ... always hungry and always thinking about food. So even tho I don't post regularly on this blog any more, thought this would be the right place (and time) to post this!

See... I'm already thinking ahead to November (Thanksgiving) of this year, planning a Family Fun Time for our little family. There are four whole days where Hubby won't need to go to work, and we won't have to do much more than daily chores (caring for the livestock, etc.). We all have our little quirks about food:

-I'm on a diet and doing great, plus I'm a picky eater and don't really like turkey or chicken. Don't really like cooked veggies, but enjoy them raw. Also found a great recipe for pecan bars (gluten-free and lactose-free) that we can all enjoy.

-Hubby will eat almost anything but he's doing good on his diet too. However, he's lactose intolerant.

-The Kid doesn't eat meat any more, except for bacon and eggs. Is also gluten-intolerant. Also has lots of "adverse reactions" to certain foods (like anything with preservatives, hormones, antibiotics, or chemicals). Likes raw veggies like squash and spinach, and LOVES fruit. Even tolerates (read: eats) my pork-n-beans. Oh, and this Kid hates Thanksgiving food (sweet potatoes, green been cassarole, etc.)

We have some fruits and veggies growing in an upstairs bedroom that should be ready by then: green beans, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers. Our outside garden got slammed already this year but we might have corn and some winter squash.

Our goats won't be producing milk (one is too young and one should be pregnant by then), so no homemade cheese, but in addition to our one laying hen, the other chicks will be big enough to be laying eggs regularly.... probably between 6-11 eggs a day.

BUT ... we don't want to just eat for four days. We have board games, card games, books, movies, music, karaoke machine, and more. Could take a couple of long walks. Long talks.