Hope you are doing well. I just wanted to pass along a few quick ideas for saving some money based on my experiences over the years. I’ve never wrote up something for a blog like this before, but if you see that it might be of interest to your readers please consider it an entry for your writing contest.
With the middle of August upon us, our harvesting has slowed down enough for us to catch our breath on the homestead. We have been blessed this year with so much that both my wife and I are thankful that its starting to slow down. Here over the next week, it will be time to start some of our late fall crops (cabbage & sweet peas) while we continue to keep up other fall crops such as Hickory King & ornamental corn (also used for flour – i.e. maseca), plus pumpkins & squash.
While it can be tempting at this time of the year to back off, its time to start planning for next year! Here in Alabama, our local co-op has seed on sale that was packaged for 2013. While most advocate non-hybrid varieties, keep in mind that with proper care these seeds are viable for at least two years. I have some seed that was seven years old that still had an 80% germination rate, but again, that is not the norm. Most of my seed saving involves dry-canning the seed in a Mason jar along with an oxygen absorber. Keep these jars in a cool, dark place.
I am fortunate that our local co-op carries not only hybrid but also non-hybrid corn varieties. Check out your local store for the same, & pick up some extra packages for long-term storage. This seed may become very valuable when the grid goes down as not only seed for your own garden but for barter as well. If you can spare the space, plant some extra for feed for chickens.
Which brings me to my other suggestion for saving some money. If you have ever even thought about getting some chickens for eggs or meat, do it NOW! Around our local flea markets, chicken prices have soared over the last few years. Full-grown laying hens are now going for around $25!! Ouch! To get a nice flock that will supply a family of four you would need to spend over $100. Baby chicks are going for around $1 to $1.50 each.
My suggestion would be to go the chick route, or if you are fortunate enough to know someone who has eggs for sale, learn to hatch them out yourself. I feel that this is a very important skill to learn. Just make sure that the person you get the eggs from is reputable, & that they have a rooster in with the hens. There is plenty of information for this on the web, so spend an evening or two researching it before you begin buying. Look for information on building your own incubator out of an old cooler instead of buying one. I was able to make a real nice incubator (without the egg turner) for less than $30.