DIY – Homemade Chicken Stock

Hello everyone hope this summer is finding you all keeping yourselves & your chickens cool!  I know lately with these extremely hot days our egg production has deceased but that’s a subject for another day.  Today I had to make some homemade chicken stock.  I’ve used most of my reserves, so into the kitchen I go.   After I cleaned the garden…Boy that was a chore!  Today my #1 goal for today was to get the garden cleaned out of weeds & dead plants no longer producing to allow for the next round of plants.  Got our seedlings maturing waiting for the day we can put them into the freshly turned soil.

So, I came into the house to prepare tonight’s  dinner & realized I have no more chicken stock.  I pulled some chicken out this morning to make Baked Chicken with Rice & Broccoli.  I always pull out more than is needed for this small family, now to make some chicken stock.  Here is my very simple recipe for making homemade chicken stock.  I guarantee this recipe is Easy Peasy!   Start with cleaning, skinning & cooking the 4 chicken thighs, 2 carrots (peeled & sliced), 1/2 chopped onion & 1/4 cup of parsley, 1/4 tablespoon of crushed garlic.   All goes into the huge pot full of water (about 6-8 cups) ready to boil.  Bring the chicken mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer & simmer for about 2 hours.

Get your sterile mason jars ready to pour your homemade delicious chicken stock & ready to store.   Now  you are ready for your next recipe that calls for fresh chicken stock.   No reason to buy store bought chicken stock in this house.  Saving $$ this is one of  our personal goals.   This recipe yields about 6-8 pint jars of  yummy homemade chicken stock.  Once the mason jar lid “pops” they are safe to place in the pantry, the freezer or frig, depending on how often it will be used.  I know I run through this stuff as if it were liquid gold.  I put chicken stock in just about every thing that requires water to cook.  This adds so much more flavor to our menu.   Thanks to all reading our pots.  We love sharing our little short cuts in life & our path to being self – sustainable.   Angela

Back Porch Hydroponics – Part 1

From the moment Angela and I decided to pull up our suburban stakes and embrace the homesteading lifestyle, one of the projects we wanted to do was set up a hydroponics system.  I have been fascinated by them since the first time I saw a system online and researched the benefits of growing plants in a water based system.  We have watched thousands of videos, seen some of the most elaborate set up’s you could possibly dream of and some ingenious DIY cost effective systems.  Although we have plans for a more permanent hydroponics system with even the potential of integrating fish to make it a true aquaponic’s operation, we decided to start small, work out the kinks and then progress from there.

With all of the variations you can go with, we chose to go with a variation of the Floating Mat System.  We wanted something which would be cost effective, easy to set up and maintain but yet capable of producing an abundance of veggies in a short period of time.  Here’s how we did it!

There are countless mediums you can use with the floating mat system, we decided to go with 4 18-Gallon Rubbermaid Totes due to their compact size and the depth needed to allow room for the roots to grow.  One of the concerns you will face with hydroponic systems is algae growth.  Since we went with the floating mat system, we do not have pumps aerating the water.  So to assist in slowing this down, we chose to utilize the black totes which will block the UV rays from affecting the water.  About a month or so ago Angela had ordered some Hydroponic Soilless Pots in anticipation of our system.  While looking for a good medium for the pots we came across the Extra Large Foam Noodles and immediately knew this is what we needed.  The inside diameter of the noodle was the perfect size for the pots and would provide enough buoyancy to keep the pots from being submerged once the plants began to mature.

We cut the noodles into roughly 1 inch pieces, allowing enough of the cup to be exposed to the water and afford the roots ample room to grow.  Obviously this system is not one you would use for your root type vegetables such as carrots and radishes,  but is perfect for the leafy goodness of lettuces and such.  We went through our sees and decided on Rocky Top Lettuce Mix, Roughwood Improved Green Glaze Collards, Ridgeline Organic Romaine Lettuce and European Mesclun Salad to start off our hydroponics planting session.  Once all of the disks were cut, we filled each of the cups roughly 2/3 with Premier Peat Moss added our seeds and covered to the top of the pot.


Now comes the moment of truth!  We guesstimated on how big we felt the plants were going to get, so for the 3 lettuce containers we went with 9 pots in each and for the collards we went with 6.  Planting hydroponics is somewhat like planting in a traditional garden.  You have the option to do a direct seed into the ground or to start your plants inside and plant once they are ready to transplant.  For our first crop we went with the seeds directly into the hydroponics system.  One of the wonderful aspects of growing hydroponically is the quick turn around from seed to harvest.  If all goes well, we will have harvest-able crops within 5 weeks, which means starting at about week 3 we will start our next round in the house allowing the seedlings to begin growing and then transfer them to the totes as we harvest.  If all goes as planned we will quickly be over run with lettuce and collards. To maintain good nutrients and pH balance within the totes, we are armed with a Hydroponic Nutrient TDS Meter and Blue Gold Hydro Organic Liquid Mineral & Nutrient  to ensure our crops stay extremely happy!

Well, there you have it.  Hidden Truth Farms is officially in the hydroponics business!  Be on the look out for updates over the next couple weeks to see our progress.