Monday, June 3, 2013

Processing the Processing...

Our first day of chicken processing is over and it could not have gone any better!  We had so many amazing friends and family who came, eager to learn and help!  What a blessing!  Friends helped in the processing, provided childcare, brought meals, and encouraged us with their fellowship!  It was a really fun day!  

We processed 88 chickens in about 5 hours!  The packaging, however, took an additional few more hours than we had not expected!

We had such a great response from our community!  Several people came to pick up their chicken and were able to get a tour of the process.  

We got back so much positive feedback and it was uplifting to hear how many people have been wanting healthier chicken, raised with integrity!

We did find out there is some room for improvement on our packaging, so we'll need to practice the shrink wrapping some more, but other than that it was a truly successful day! 

The two best discoveries of the day were that we have so many amazing friends, with big servant hearts.  The second best discovery was that we really, really love chicken farming!!!

*Our chickens arrive when they are 1-2 days old.  We raise them in a brooder for the first 2 weeks, after which they are moved to a portable outdoor pen. We then move them to fresh grass daily so they get a new "salad bar" along with their daily ration of non-medicated feed.  They enjoy the sunshine, exercise and fresh, clean air! We butcher and process here on site so that from chick to bag, we know that the chicken we are providing is top quality.  If you are interested in ordering, please e-mail us at

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Getting Rid of Ants NATURALLY

A few days ago, I opened our kitchen cabinet to find a swarm of ants.  I was so upset because I pride myself on a clean kitchen!  I decided to try some natural methods and the first one I tried worked like a charm!

According to most articles on the internet, Borox is what most store-bought ant killers use as their primary ingredient.  So I read a few different "recipes" on line and here is what I did:

-1 cup of warm water 
-3/4 cup of sugar
-2 tablespoons of Borax

Mix together.  Soak Cotton balls in the mixture and place them in the path of the ants.
 It's sweet enough to attract the ants but the Borox is the poison that they can't taste.

Everything I read said they will be gone within 24 hours...and they were RIGHT!  I did this around lunchtime on day 1 and when I woke up in the morning on day 2 there was not a single sign of an ant!

I tend to be skeptical about things like this, so I waited a few days to see if they'd return.  Nope...I have seen another ant (and trust me, I've searched the cabinet for them)!

This works for me!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Moving Day!

Don't worry!  Our family didn't move..just the chickens did!

We've moved them from their brooder...

To their new outdoor home with a fresh salad bar provided daily!

 Moving Day was a success!  All 103 chickens got moved and they are happy to have more room and fresh forage!

This is MY chick.  I named her Ginger (Samuel added Snap, so Ginger Snap it is)
We noticed at 2 weeks she had Splayed Legs.  I took on this challenge and was determined to fix her.  For the first week I wrapped her legs in gauze and taped her legs in.
The next week we had noticed a significant difference, so I used a rubber band to keep her legs in but allow her to walk.  
On "Moving Day" we removed the rubber bands and she was completely healed!  She was walking, able to reach the waterer and feed!
I  marked her head to keep an eye on her.  She's my first patient and a success story!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Easter and Chicks...

Easter this year was filled with precious talks of our Savior and sweet fellowship with family!

The Girls..

The Boys...

The Cousins...
(Most of them!)

The Sisters...

And just a few days after Easter, we got our long awaited package in the mail...

The Chicks!!!

104 Baby Chicks...

Our family has been praying, planning and dreaming about this day for almost 2 years!


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

More Homemade Sauce and Dip Recipes!

After posting my Homemade Ranch Dressing, I decided to post my two other favorite "sauce" recipes!  Most store-bought syrups are loaded with high fructose corn syrup, so these recipes are a much smarter choice! (and they are pretty easy too!)

Berry Sauce
3/4 Cup Frozen Berries
2 Tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup
1/4 Cup Water

Combine all ingredients in small saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring to a light simmer.

Cook until the berries are soft 
(I cook them for about 10-15 minutes).

 Remove from heat and blend 
(I use a mini food processor).

Store in fridge.
Yummy on yogurt or oatmeal!

Chocolate Syrup
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 Cup Water
2 Cups Organic Sugar
1/8 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla

Combine all ingedients in medium saucepan and whisk until smooth.
Cook over medium heat stirring frequently till sugar is well blended in and dissolved.
Turn heat up to medium-high and bring to a boil.  Boil for about 3 minutes until mixutre is smooth BUT watch it and stir fequently because it tends to boil over easily!
Remove from heat and cool before putting it in storage jar.

This mixture lasts 3 months and is great in milk, as a topping or as a dip!

This post is linked to Works For Me Wednesday!


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

My Best (and quick) "House Showing" Tips for Selling A House!

Recently someone asked me about moving tips...

Since my husband and I have been married, we've moved quite a bit!  We've moved 6 times in the past 10 years (and have only lived in 2 different cities)!  I know that's not much compared to others, but it was enough for me!  Especially when you consider that I've always had a newborn every time we've moved.  

This last move, I had 4 little kids and a 2 week old baby.  Showing the house was always a stressful even to say the least!

I managed to come up with some good strategies for getting the house ready in a jiffy!  Now, there were times I had a day (or a few days) notice and I could clean and confine the kids to one room for playing to keep the rest of the house nice and tidy.  But when a realtor calls and asks if they can show your house in 15 minutes, you've gotta work FAST.  Especially when you know 10 of those minutes will be spent getting loaded in the car!

So here are my quick tips for getting your house ready to show with a house full of littles:

-Laundry baskets are you best friend.  Look at thrift stores for laundry baskets of all sizes.  Keep these easily accessible and when you get "the call", throw everything that is on the floors into the baskets and load them up in your vehicle.  The kids think this is great fun and you can even have practice drills so they learn how to "play the game" quickly!  You can always throw stuff in the washer and dryer too if they aren't already full...people don't usually look there! :)

-Bleach works wonders.  At the time of our last move, I had three little boys so cleaning the bathroom had to happen DAILY although I couldn't always make it happen.  So when I would get a "can we show your house right this second?" call, I would run for the bleach.  If I could do nothing else, I would pour a little bleach in the toilet and in the shower.  Because if a bathroom smells sterile, the eye tends to not look so critically.  

-Let the sunshine in!  Humans love natural light.  So be sure to open every curtain and blind you can!  Then go the extra step and turn on every light and lamp in the house!  Maybe even light a candle.  I know some people say not to do this because certain people don't like certain smells, but I'd go for something delicate ("fresh linen" for example).  The point is, a bright place always seems like a cheery place! 

-Give it to the Lord.  Each time before I stepped out of the house I would just say something to the Father like "It's yours, you are here.  Speak and move.  And have your way."  And as I drive off I continue to pray for the right people to fall in love with not only the home, but the Spirit in the home too!

What are some of your favorite tips for moving or showing a house when you have a lot of littles? 

Linked to Works For Me Wednesday!


Monday, March 11, 2013

Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix

In an attempt for our family to eat smarter, I've been making our own sauces, dips, syrups, etc. (and we've made some other pretty drastic changes to our family diet, but that's for another post!)

In order to stay away from high fructose corn syrup, food coloring, unnecessary soy, (etc.) it just seems you have to make most condiments yourself!  So I've been doing a lot of experimenting!

So far, I've made a yummy chocolate syrup, a berry sauce (to put on yogurt and oatmeal), barbeque sauce, a coffee creamer, and a ranch dip/dressing that is our new family favorite!

For the ranch sauce I've combined 2 recipes I found and now have the perfect mix!

Ranch Dressing/Dip
First, put these ingredients in a bowl or bag and get them all good and mixed up:

-  1 1/4 cup  Parsley Flakes (finely chopped)
-  3/4 cup Granulated Onion 
-  1/2  cup Garlic Salt
-  1/4 cup Garlic 
-  1/4 cup Pepper
-  2 Tablespoons Dill Weed 
-  2 Tablespoons Salt

Then, I transferred the mix into a large mason jar.

Whenever we want ranch dip, I take 1 Tablespoon of the above mixture and combine it with:
 - 1 cup (natural) Sour Cream
 - 1/2 cup (real) Mayonnaise

So, the dry mix lasts FOREVER since you are only using a tablespoon full when you make it!  I'm not sure how long the mixture lasts once it's made with the wet ingredients...maybe 2 weeks?  Ours gets eaten up long before then, so it's hard to tell!

This mix is great on salad (you can add a little water if you like it to be more runny) or as a dip!

Enjoy!  And let me know if you have some homemade recipes for dips or sauces!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Our kids joined 4H this year, which means we've been super busy but we've also been having a lot of fun!  We had "4H Days" recently and each of the boys signed up to give presentations.  I was really surprised when they all said they wanted to do it!  

Trusten spoke on Samuel Morse (inventor of morse code)

 Brahm did a presentation on how a guitar makes noise

Samuel talked about his favorite super heros

Trusten also acted in a skit and sang in a chorus
(both of which got Top Blue!)

4H offers so many awesome opportunities that we wouldn't get otherwise!  My boys were able to conquer some common fears that many adults still struggle with!  Plus, giving these presentations encourages them to learn more about something they love...which I love!


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Chickens: Ready...Set...

We are now getting ready to dive into the hobby of chicken farming!  That's right...the Wheelers are going to be farmers (of some sort)!

When we got married ten years ago, we never would have guessed we'd be raising our family in this small rural town with a passion growing inside us for pasture raised poultry.  We were both city kids, tried and true.  All the conveniences of the big city had us saying "We could never live in the country"!

As our family has grown and changed, so have our desires.  Once the Lord called us to this little city, we quickly began to long for a home in the country, so we moved out from the city limits to a 5 acre "fix-me-up" farm outside of town.    

Here we are...and we are absolutely loving it!  Let me tell you, the simple life is quite addicting!  Watching my boys work along side their dad and seeing our whole family involved in projects is such a sweet blessing!

As we have worked, studied and prepared to be chicken farmers, the kids have been included in it all and they are just as excited as we are!

Our passion for pasture raised poultry began with a simple goal: to feed our family better food.  For over a year and a half we read and studied about how to produce our own healthy, organic food.  Chickens seemed like the easiest "meat" to start with so we began reading what the expert in raising quality chicken had to sayJoel Salatins methods have been a HUGE inspiration and guide on our journey!

So with his plans in hand, we got started this weekend!

We are using special pens that we have constructed ourselves.  These pens allow for mobility, as we will move our chickens to fresh grass every day, which will also mean new insects and seeds in their crisp "salad bar".  The pens also provide the perfect balanced temperature for the heat of our mid-west days and the cool of the night.

We will even be butchering the chickens ourselves, on site, following Salatins technique. Butchering on site guarantees that our methods remain humane and clean as we strive from beginning to end to gain the healthiest chicken possible.

So the construction has begun!!  Stay tuned for (what I'm sure will be) our crazy adventure with all it's failures and successes!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

It's been awhile...

Some exciting things have happened in the last few months...

We had our sixth baby, Hope

She's almost 2 months old now and the rock star of our house...
All the kids adore her!

And Ryan and I just celebrated 10 incredibly blessed years together



 And the adventures have just begun!!!  More to come on our next adventure soon!

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