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This post will teach you how to grow peppers in containers. When it comes to gardening and growing your own food there really aren’t any rules. No more is it required for you to have acres of land or even a huge backyard so you can give your family a kitchen full of fresh veggies.

All you need is some dirt, a bucket, and a few seeds.

Yep, it’s true you can grow just about anything anywhere and that is great news.

The most important thing to remember when you grow your produce in containers is water. With limited space, things can dry out pretty quickly. Get yourself on a good schedule to ensure your plants never dry out. I prefer to water in the morning. This will encourage a healthier plant and avoid the evaporation that the sun can do wif you water in the afternoon. Try to avoid watering in the evening unless you have to. Watering at night will encourage disease and even pests. This is why I prefer morning watering. 

If you are a lover of all things hot then peppers must be an item that can always be found in your kitchen. Adding a few varieties of this wonderful veggie is a great way to round out your patio garden. Since their characteristics are very similar to tomatoes they pair nicely and even look great on any porch. 

READ: HOW TO GROW TOMATOES IN POTS

Grow Peppers in Containers – The Jalapeno Pepper

This hot pepper is a great addition to any patio. It is perfect for salsas, tacos, chili, and omelets. Even though most people consider this a hot pepper it is actually considered a mild to medium heat. The heat you get all depends on the amount of membrane you use since that is where the majority of the heat is held.

Sun

With these peppers, the most important thing to remember is they love to be warm. Make sure your soil is 70 degrees and your plant is in full sun.

Water

Water often to prevent the soil from drying out. When you are watering try to keep the water off of the fruit and leaves. This will deter any diseases from forming. Adding a layer of mulch will help to keep your plants from drying out too quickly.

READ: MULCHING YOUR GARDEN – THE WHY AND THE HOW

Harvest

Harvest your peppers when they are firm and bright green. If left on too long they will turn red. Red jalapenos are sweeter and not quite as hot but perfectly fine to eat.  

Grow Peppers in Containers – Bell Peppers

A wonderfully sweet pepper this is by far my favorite one to grow, freeze, and to cook with. When choosing a spot pick an area that is at least partially protected from the winds. As fruits begin to develop you may want to add support to your plant to help reduce strain on the base of the plant.

READ: HOW TO FREEZE PEPPERS

A good tip for Bell’s is to pinch new growth regularly to promote a bushier plant that will do well in a pot.

Sun

Bell peppers also like it warm but not as much as Jalapenos. 60 degrees is a good temp to grow a nice healthy plant along with at least 6 hours of direct sun.

Water

Keep your plants watered regularly so they do not dry out. Since they are in pots you will need to water more often but a layer of mulch will help to keep things moist.

Harvest

When your peppers are a nice shiny green they are ready to harvest. If you leave the peppers on the plant longer the colors will change to red, orange and even yellow.

Grow Peppers in Containers – The Banana Pepper

The banana pepper is a yellow and medium-sized pepper and a member of the chili pepper family. It is a long, slender fruit that resembles a banana with waxy skin and minimal seeds.

This pepper has a nice mild yet tangy taste with some varieties that offer a nice level of heat. I love to use these in omelets, sauces, on pizzas or in our homemade hotdog relish. If you like pepper rings this is a great variety to use for that.

Sun

These plants also enjoy warmer weather and require at least 8 hours of sun. Again you will want to keep them protected from heavy winds.

Water

Keep your soil consistently moist throughout the growing season. Using mulch will allow that soil to keep from drying out too quickly in the hot summer sun. 

Harvest

The most common color for these peppers is yellow but if left on the plant they will turn orange or even red. The sooner you harvest the more heat you will have. If you want a sweeter pepper orange or red is your color.

Grow Peppers in Containers – The Red Chili

This is a great hot pepper that is perfect for many dishes that require a kick of heat that you might not get from the jalapeno. These peppers come in a long range of heat so pick the best level of hot when you are choosing your plants. I like the long red chili and find it is easy to freeze or dry to use throughout the year.

This variety can fill up completely with peppers so you may want to stake it for extra support. If a plant has enough room you can easily expect 100 peppers or even more!

Since these plants can grow quite large you may have to transplant into a larger container so be aware of that.

Sun

Since these plants hate cooler weather I would suggest keeping them indoors at night until the normal overnight temperatures are over 60 degrees. During the day a good 6 hours or more of sunlight is best for this plant. Again keep it sheltered from high winds.

Water

Make sure you have really good drainage and water often especially when the days are really hot. To keep things moist you will want to add a nice layer of mulch and replace throughout the growing season as needed. Chili’s do well with dry/wet times so you do not have to water every single day unless the plant is completely dried out.

I read this tip online but have yet to test it out to see if it actually works. If you are looking for a hotter pepper hold back on the water just a bit and that is just what you will get.

Harvest

You can harvest at green, red, or yellow each giving its own distinct flavor and level of heat. 

How To Grow Peppers In Containers – Patio Gardening 101 Step#1  Choose the best pot

Choose a pot that is at least 15” wide and deep enough to allow those roots to grow. Anything can be used as a pot. A bucket, tote, washtub, feed sack, even a very large bowl. If it’s big enough and has good drainage you can grow a pepper in it!

Here are few ideas just in case you are short on the above redneck options!!


Step #2  Drainage

Make sure you have ample drainage in whichever pot you choose. If you are using a bucket you will want to drill a few holes in the bottom to ensure water does not gather risking possible rot to the roots.

Step #2  Soil

Put in a nice layer of organic potting soil. I like to use Burpee’s Organic Soil for my plants especially with my vegetables. This soil is perfect and even works great in containers. Using as much organic matter as possible is important to ensure I am growing the best peppers I can.

Step #3  Compost

Add in some compost if you have any available. Compost is the black gold of any homestead but if you are a city dweller you may not have any on hand. Now composting is easy to do no matter where you live and I encourage you to give it a try.

I am absolutely in love with this adjustable compost bin by Geobin. It is super lightweight, will work just about anywhere and it’s a great way to create your own compost even in the city.

READ: COMPOST 101- THE BLACK GOLD OF THE GARDEN

Step #6  Fertilizer

When you grow peppers in containers you will want to add some organic fertilizer at this point. Again I really love Burpee’s Organic Fertilizer since it is long lasting and begins working immediately. Pepper plants are heavy feeders and really do require some type of fertilizer to grow well.

Step #4  Planting

Gently remove the plant from its pot and loosen up the roots a bit to encourage rapid growth. To do this just rub your hands over the roots and gently give a squeeze or two. This will allow those roots to grab on quickly to the new soil and create a nice strong plant. 

Step #5  Positioning

Place the plant into the center of the pot and add more of the organic potting mix until. Press lightly to secure the plant into place. Don’t worry if the soil covers a few of the small lower leaves, this will not hurt the plant at all.

Step #7  Support

As the plant grows you may want to provide additional support. A tomato cage or wooden stake will work perfectly. Be sure to secure the plant gently and loosely to allow for more growth. 

I absolutely love how more and more folks are moving their gardens up onto their patios. Learning to grow peppers in containers is perfect if you want a patio garden too. Even though I still have my larger garden down below by having a few of these wonderful plants close by will help me to use more of my produce before it goes bag.

Front porches, back porches, pathways, and patios are all perfect areas for growing many types of vegetables.

Get yourself a pot and get planting today!

The post How to Grow Peppers in Containers – The City Garden appeared first on Simple Living Country Gal.

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This article contains my top decluttering tips for beginners. Decluttering your home can be a pretty monumental task. Nothing can be more frightening than the thought of going through every one of your things and deciding whether to keep or remove them. When faced with your home and all the drawers and closets and cabinets and shelves ….sometimes it is easier to turn a blind eye, close the door, and just continue on with your day.

If you are a frequent visitor to Simple Living Country Gal then you know how much I love decluttering and simplifying. It is my goal to help anyone who wants to remove the excess so they can live a peaceful satisfying life without the noise or the chaos.

I am also aware that the getting started part can be half the battle. That is why I created the 2018 Decluttering Calendar. This calendar will give you simple actionable tasks that you can complete in 10 minutes or less. Even little steps can move a mountain when they are allowed to build on one another.

You can get your very own copy of the D&S Decluttering Calendar just by clicking the box below.

Now before we go any further I understand there are different levels of clutter and not every post will help you to make progress.

If you have your home pretty well cleaned out and you just need a little help with the finishing touches you can jump to this post and get started now!

READ: MY BEST DECLUTTERING TIP!

For the rest of you, we are going to come up with a game plan that will get you on your way to “wanting” to declutter your home.

Well, maybe not quite as excited as my friend right here but pretty darn close!

You see, I used to HATE decluttering. I hated the tediousness of it all. But then something happened. I finally finished my first room. And once I saw that room, once I FELT that room, I was hooked.

That’s because when you declutter a home it is contagious. Once that very first room is cleaned out and set up in a way that makes sense to you and your family you will be hooked too.

Now, notice I did not say a cleaned out and decluttered home. That is not what this post is about.

This post is meant to be more than that. This post is meant to be a tool. A tool to help you get started. To take that first step even when you simply don’t want to.

Whether you have one room that needs your attention or an entire house that needs a full-on overhaul you can get control of your things with one simple and easy rule.

Remove the clutter one item at a time.

The problem with decluttering or any cleaning task really is we tend to look at the whole picture. When you picture your entire home when you are getting ready to begin you can quickly lose any motivation and fast. You see, you are setting your sights too big. You are only picturing and planning for the finish line rather than the journey.

I want you to only think of your journey.

And with any journey, it all happens just one step at a time.

Just like with a marathon you need to train yourself to look at decluttering differently.

It isn’t a “show up for the long strenuous race and be done with it forever” project. You are going to work on this every single day. But it’s more than that. You are going to instead change your daily and weekly habits to incorporate decluttering and cleaning out into your schedule.

As you remove things slowly and intentionally you will, in turn, teach your mind to look at your things as just that.

THINGS.

These things are NOT people we love. They are NOT friends we cherish They are NOT events in our lives.

Sure they may represent those things but they are not and never will be replacements for those things.

Okay, so I know what you are thinking. This is all well and good but HOW do we do it then?

I am so glad you asked because I am going to show you.

Right now.

Decluttering Tips For Beginners. Tips you can use when you are stuck.  Step #1  Plan and Schedule

I want you to look at this as part of your daily routine. Eventually you will make this weekly but for now daily is how we are going to approach this. Remember we are training for a marathon and to do that we need to introduce things nice and slow.

As you begin to see how purging makes you feel. How it frees you from the stress that too much stuff naturally brings, you will, in turn, train your mind to WANT to remove the extra.

To start I want you to plan on spending just 20 minutes every single day working on your clutter. I even want you to take it one step further and put that 20 minutes onto your calendar. 

In PEN. Yep, set that baby in stone so you can’t ignore it.

20 minutes? Well that’s is easy enough, right?

Heck when you think about it, you can do just about anything for 20 minutes.

Get a root canal. Watch a painfully boring presentation at work. Walk on a treadmill. Get your oil changed. Yes, when you know you just have 20 minutes committed it is much easier to get through it.

Set that time and get your head in the game! My partner in crime, my decluttering BFF is my Echo Show. 

All I have to do is say, “Alexa, set the timer for 20 minutes” and it’s done and I can get to work. Better yet I can have her play my Timer Playlist. My top songs that take, you guessed it, 21 minutes to play! Winner-Winner!

Step #2  Get up and Get Going

Yep, it really is that simple. You need to get up off of your duff and get moving.

It’s just 20 minutes.

It’s for your own happiness. It’s for your family’s happiness. And….it’s NOT GOING TO KILL YOU.

Get out of your head where you are surrounded by excuses and just get up and move.

Like cooking dinner, approach this task as something you MUST do in order to eat.

It is as simple as that.

Step #3  Set the Timer

I love a good motivator and a timer is just that. A motivator. Maybe not at first but as you begin to find your groove you will see that time ticking away is a great motivator and a perfect way to get more done faster.

That timer will force you to focus. To zero in on what needs to be done and work quickly at doing just that.

Getting it done.

I want you to set that timer and as soon as it begins to count down get busy. Get focused. Get to work.

Do you need more than that? Okey dokey….here you go.

  1. Set the timer for 20 minutes
  2. Grab a bag or a box that you can fill in that time frame
  3. Start selecting things that you can easily and without emotion remove from your home.
  4. Move quickly choosing items walking randomly around the room.
  5. The object is to fill your box or your bag before the timer goes off. Don’t think. Just do.
  6. When the timer goes off take the box and put it right now into the trunk of your car.
  7. Next time you out drop all the items off to the donation center.
  8.  Repeat this process every single day.

Step #4  Save the hard stuff for later

Hey, I get it. Sometimes there are items in those piles that have meaning. That bring with them a pleasant memory or is a reminder of a time you simply don’t want to forget.

Here is a little tip for you. 

Save those items for later.  They deserve your time and attention so if letting them go is not something you can deal with instantly set it aside to deal with it later.

This list is to help you GET STARTED. As you declutter and learn how to declutter you will train your mind to better handle those difficult items you have saved for later.

For now, just set those items off to the side and focus on the simple. The easy.

Step #5  Declutter as you go

For me, this was the easiest way to handle all that clutter in my home. When I decided to weave decluttering throughout my day I was not hit in the face with the hardness of it. The difficulty of removing all those things from my home.

I simply removed my clutter as I came across them while simply living out my day. So, when I was cooking and I needed to reach for a spatula I would take just a few seconds to go through my cooking utensils and remove those that I knew I no longer needed.

This way of decluttering was so incredibly simple it was almost funny.

  • When I dressed in the morning I took 20 seconds (yes I said seconds) to sort through my socks.
  • As I put the dishes away I would remove excess Tupperware and mismatched containers without lids.
  • When I cleaned up the bathroom I would remove torn sheets and pillowcases from the linen closet.
  • As I picked up the kids toys I filled a bag of random toys at the bottom of the toybox that the kids hadn’t touched in a long while.

By decluttering this way I was not started this monumental task of cleaning out my home I was simply removing a few random things here and there as I came across them.

I turned this huge job into a simple chore that I tackled without much effort at all.

Pretty amazing isn’t it!

Step #6  Nothing comes in unless something goes out

Okay, I really can’t take credit for this decluttering tip for beginners. But the brilliance behind it is so crazy I can’t help but love it. By adopting this one tip you can assure yourself that your home will never get any worse than it is right now. Right, this very minute.

If you go out shopping for new clothes then before those clothes can go into your closet you will need to remove the same amount of items and give them away.

If you purchase a new kitchen item you will need to remove an item from your drawer before you can put this new item in.

Did you buy new toys for your kiddos? Great! But first, you need to gather up the same amount and send them off to your donation of choice.

Step #7  Declutter as you clean

Another of my favorite ways to remove the clutter and one I still use to this day. It is a great way to stay on top of your things and to ensure they never get out of hand again. When I dust specifically I will take the time to go through my nick nacks. I will remove those items that no longer bring me joy. Now, don’t panic. I am not telling you to toss that souvenir from a trip you took 10 years ago, but why not give it to your son or another family member so they can carry on the tradition of its memory in their own home.

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This blog post is all about creating an irresistible email opt-in! When I first began blogging I was completely clueless as to what things were important and what things were not. I mean I was doing just fine in the beginning. I was focused on all the right things and working along and a pretty good pace.

Then I got that very first taste of ad revenue and my path suddenly veered off to the right.

Before I knew it I was spending most of my blogging time doing what all the big bloggers warned me not to do.

I was chasing page views.

In my head, anything that was going to bring me quick money was worth all of my attention and I totally skipped over those things that take time to develop.

Things like an email list or SEO just to name a few.

This was a big time should’a, would’a, could’a moment right there. Make no mistake.

Little did I know I was taking the slowest possible path to blogging success. People told me to stop. To focus on my list and other long-term money makers. But I would hear none of it. I had gotten that taste of ad revenue.

I am talking viral pin ad revenue and there was no stopping me.

(Note: Viral pin ad revenue is my ever so sophisticated term for a Pinterest pin that goes viral and sends loads of temporary traffic to your blog resulting in a surge in ad revenue. Notice the word “temporary”. Ya, that one. I didn’t see it. And boy do I wish I had now.)

So there I was 18 months later and my biggest income was still my ad revenue which was not increasing mind you because my pageviews had stalled.

They were good pageviews but they had stopped growing which meant so had my income.

That was about the time I woke up and decided I needed a backup plan. A way to bring in income that didn’t depend on my pageviews at all. A steady stream of money that no matter want my finicky friend Pinterest decided to do it would not affect me nearly as much.

How crazy awesome would that be??

I had finally decided to put my focus on building my email list. My plan was simple. I would spend 1 hour every single day working on building a strong dedicated list of raving fans that wanted to hear what I had to say and wanted to buy what I had to sell.

I started that very day and have made that my goal every single day since.

And you know what?

It worked!

It totally and completely worked!!!

My list began to grow fast.

(Let me please jump in here and tell you that my list did not grow by 10K a month or something crazy like that. I am talking fast FOR ME. I am talking 1 thousand new subscribers every single month.)

That my friends come out to be 12K subscribers every single year.

All from just changing my focus and rearranging my game plan.

Now before you leave here in a panic this is NOT a sales page.

Nope. It’s not.

(Although it would be an awesome one! Haha)

This is a blog post with actionable steps you can do to grow your list. Right now. Today.

Not just a random email list but a list of dedicated focused raving fans that love you and want to be your BFF.

Creating an Irresistible Email Opt-In Step #1 From this day forward make your email list your top priority.

Sure working on your list is a great idea, but why? Well, let me just say this, if you want to make money selling not only your products but other people’s too. Your biggest and best audience will always ALWAYS be your email list. These people already know you and trust you. They are your target audience!!

What do you spend your time on? Creating new opt-ins, testing to see if they work, tweaking things and trying them again.

Ninja tip: If you happen to find an opt-in that works…..DUPLICATE IT! Yep, that’s right. Usually, if it worked once it will work twice and sometimes (sometimes) even three times.

This is especially helpful if you are a multi-niche blogger like I am.

READ: HOW TO CHOOSE THE PERFECT NICHE 

Step #2  Find the perfect opt-in and give it away for FREE.

Look at it this way. In a world of hackers and stolen identities giving away your email address isn’t easy. So in exchange, it is only fair to offer something irresistible. Something so amazing that folks won’t think twice about giving you their coveted email address.

Okay, that sounds simple enough, but HOW do you find the perfect opt-in?

You take off your shoes and put your feet into your reader’s shoes. Picture a brand new reader. Someone who stumbled onto your site from Pinterest looking for help or information. What one tool would help them take your information and implement it into their lives?

Whatever that item is….. MAKE IT!

Yep, it really is that simple.

Think of what questions your readers might have an answer it with a freebie.

Step #3  Wrap it all up in an attention-getting pretty package.

Some folks might not think this is an important part of getting subscribers but actually, it is. if your sign-up box doesn’t stick out. Doesn’t pop. Readers simply will not see it. Make it bright using colors different from your blog colors. 

Choose a font that stands out as well in big bold letters.

Still stuck? Visit other bloggers in your niche. Bigger bloggers that have been at this a while and are ones you love and admire. See how they are using colors and fonts to stop you in your tracks and click to subscribe.

Please, PLEASE use this tips for inspiration only. It is never okay to copy but it is fine to learn from others that are killing it. Look, learn, create your own. 

Step #4  LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION.

When creating an irresistible email opt-in, location matters much more than you think. Sure you can go to all the trouble of the perfect FREEBIE and pick the best colors you can think of. But then you stick it in your footer or sidebar and you hear crickets. Yep, nothing.

That’s when you realize location really DOES matter. 

The best place to put your offer is where your reader’s eyes already are. Right in the middle of your blog post. And even better, right where it is needed most.

When you are writing your post that is the best time to be in your reader’s shoes. As those ideas flow and you are typing away you think, hmmm, this is a lot of information to give them. I bet they would LOVE a checklist to help them when they are ready to implement these steps on their own.

VOILA!

The perfect spot for your irresistible email opt-in.

Then just to make sure you get even the skimmers (those folks that skip to the bottom for the good stuff) I would put an opt-in box at the end as well.

Now, let me just jump in here and say I am not a fan of obtrusive opt-in boxes. I know they annoy me when I reading a blog post. They drive me NUTS actually. If I don’t like them then I am sure my readers don’t either so I chose not to use them. Instead, I like to use a Hello Bar. It is a ribbon that you place at the top of your blog and you can have it follow your reader or stay where it is. It is a non-obtrusive way to politely tap them on the shoulder and ask them to join your crew.

The best part is they have a FREE version that works great and who doesn’t love free!

Step #5  Choose your words carefully. 

Just like when you are creating a title for your blog post this is where you need to spend quite a bit of time. You have a very small space to win over your brand new reader so you need to make the most of it.

Choose words that draw them in. That grab their attention quickly and get them to stop reading your awesome blog post and click.

How do you do this?

You try something out. Test it. Tweak it. Test it. Tweak it again.

Until you see subscriber numbers that match the popularity of your post you will want to keep trying things until you find a title that works.

I know you are looking for a specific answer here and the truth is there simply isn’t one.

What works for me will not work for you.

Let me repeat that.

WHAT WORKS FOR ME WILL NOT WORK FOR YOU.

That is just how this blogging thing goes. My audience is different than your audience. My audience is tailor-made for ME and your audience is tailor-made for YOU. So the words that grab your readers attention will naturally be different words that grab mine.

So, yes even though I hate to say it. You will need to find those words that work for your audience specifically and in order to do that you need to just start trying things out until you find what works.

Then…

When you find those words that DO work. What do you do next? (yes, this IS a test!)

YOU DUPLICATE IT, MY FRIEND! 

You write those words down and use them again and again.

Because in this case what works once really will work again and again,

As bloggers, it is important to remember that we are teachers and our niche is our subject. Our students are our readers and we want them to hang with us and learn more. Give them good usable information in your post and back it up with an opt-in that will help them implement that new information in their own lives.

Don’t over think it. You will drive yourself crazy if you do. Just simply take a few minutes to get into your reader’s head and figure out what material will help them the most. At first, it will take some time but after a while, you will be coming up with so many ideas you could fill a store.

Hmmm, see where I am going with this?

YES!

Fill that store and sell those amazing products to that dedicated list you just spent the last few months growing. That is, after all why we are blogging. To help others and make money to support ourselves and our families.

And just in case you missed it above.

Here is my irresistible email opt-in!

The post Creating an Irresistible Email Opt-In appeared first on Simple Living Country Gal.

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One of the perks that come along with living in the country is you are surrounded by Amish. There is just something about a buggy heading down the road that takes me to a place of peace. That slow way of life that is free from distractions and wasted moments is something I would love to be a part of. An Amish lifestyle is something I have always been in awe of. 

Another part of the Amish life I love is their work ethic.

The Amish homes that are near us always have neat and tidy lawns. Gardens are free of weeds and there are very few veggies left to rot. Clotheslines are always full no matter what the weather and men are always working in the fields.

It amazes me at just now much they are able to get done without the use of modern conveniences. But then I remember they are also free from most of the distractions that haunt us.

READ:  13 Tips For Slowing Down

Facebook, television, smartphones, even radios can keep us from focusing on the task at hand. Without that focus, we tend to take a bit longer to accomplish items on our to-do list.

I decided to try things out for part of a day just to see if I was able to get more done.

I shut everything off.

The phone, TV, radio, computer. I let my mind be in the moment and kept my focus on the tasks at hand.

At first, it was kind of creepy. All that silence.

Then something pretty amazing happened.

I got busy. I just started doing things. I grabbed my list and just went from item to item checking things off like a mad woman.

Before I knew it had completed most of my weekly to-do list in less than a day.

How crazy is that?

I was so incredibly surprised at the amount of distraction-free work I accomplished that I kept right on going. Killing that entire list in one day.

Boom.

The Amish are onto something here. By living like the Amish lifestyle and being present in the moment I was able to do all the things in less time.

Without all the distractions the Amish have their minds focused on what is being done and they are able to do things in a less stressed manner. They are not jumping from job to job because they are easily distracted. They are focused and productive. Two things very few Englisher’s are able to be for more than 10 minutes at a time.

So, this is all well and good, but how do we implement these tips into our own lives?

Simple….

Cue the checklist, please!

How To Live Like The Amish lifestyle And Get More Done Step #1  It all begins with a list

As with anything I teach, you will not get too far without a good list. Grab a piece of paper and write down everything that needs to be accomplished this week. I like to sort things out a bit to make them easier.

Ninja tip: You will not have ALL of these items on your list. This is just a guide to help you pull the top 3 things in each section that need your attention this week.

  1. House cleaning-any and all things that need to be cleaned
  2. Laundry-gather clothes, wash, dry, iron, put away.
  3. Food prep-weekly menu, shopping list, baking, lunches
  4. Errands-current lists, budgeted money, Dr. appts/misc appts.
  5. Outside-flower beds, gardens, lawn care
  6. Paperwork-bill paying, budget, mail, filing
  7. Homestead/Farming-animal care, crop care, vehicle maintenance, outbuilding care.
  8. Misc-home repairs, crafts, sewing/mending, decluttering, organizing.
  9. Job/work-I would suggest a separate list here and a separate time frame to work on it.
Step #2  Pick a day

Choose a full day or several partial days that you will be able to work on your top items from your list. Put this date on your calendar right now….IN INK. This date/s is now set in stone and cannot be moved.

Yep, this will be your Amish lifestyle day!

Step #3  Unplug and focus

Remember we are taking a cue from our Amish friends and the Amish lifestyle.

Shut those phones off! No computer, radio, or television. 

Keep your focus on the project at hand and keep your head in the game. When you are paying attention to only what is in front of you, you will be amazed at how much you can get done. So much so in fact that you may just keep on going doing more than you even thought possible.

A made bed can quickly end up in a completely decluttered room!

Step #4  Dress the part

I find that if I am in sneakers and dressed to work I will do much better at getting things done. Don’t trick yourself into thinking you can be just as productive in slippers and PJs.

Dress without distractions. Dress the part and get more done. 

Step #5  Just do it

Grab your list and a highlighter and get busy. You know how much time you have and no excuses…you need to get it done. Get your head into the game and work on one item at a time.

You will be amazed at how focused you will be adopting an Amish lifestyle and without any distractions at all. I used to jump from job to job, from chore to chore never getting anything done. Now that I have shut it all off I am able to stay on task and get things done much more efficiently.

Step #6  Don’t get distracted

If you see something else that needs to be done while you are working then stop and jot it down on a new list for next week. This will keep that new job from nagging you because you now know the focus will be paid later and you can keep going on the task at hand.

Step #7  Work smarter not harder

Do the toughest job first when your motivation and energy are at its peak. Nothing keeps me moving more than checking a tough job off of my list. By getting the biggest chores out of the way and working your way down the list from hard to simple you will keep from losing your mojo.

There is this great book called Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy that I highly recommend. This one book has completely changed things for me. I now am getting so much more done simply because I am doing the hardest most important jobs first.

Step #8  Keep things realistic

Now I am not saying this system will help you to declutter your entire home in an hour. What I am saying is that by unplugging and focusing you will get more done in less time. As you are getting more done you will see where bigger projects will need to be taken care of. Like cleaning out your kitchen cabinets. Yes, it can be tempting to dive right in while you are unloading the dishwasher, but I caution against that. 

Instead, save big projects like this for big days.

You can tackle one large project a weekend until you are all caught up or even just one project a month. As you get better at working this way you will find bigger jobs less overwhelming and easier to accomplish in less time.

READ: Lessons Learned From An Amish Visit

Step #9  Lead by example

The best part about living like the Amish is your family. As they see the change in your home and in you they will begin to see the benefits of unplugging. You can begin helping your family unplug by the no-tech dinner rule. Do a complete unplug for every dinnertime meal and talk more. 

Ninja Tip: Place a pretty basket like this one on your kitchen counter. Have family members place all electronics inside until dinner is over.

Still having trouble getting the kids to unplug for dinner? Try playing High-Low.

Each person tells the low for their day. Something that upset them or made them sad. Discuss what would have made the situation better or how they could handle things next time.

After everyone has spoken, each person then tells the high for their day. Something that made them smile or made someone else smile. This is much more fun and a great way to end the meal.

The best part about this game is hearing about everyone’s day without getting the old “nothing” response when you ask. By making it a routine and fun dinner time game your family will actually take more notice of their day and what is happening around them just so they will have something awesome to report on at dinner.

Step #10  Unplug to sleep better

Another tip from the Amish lifestyle is to read every evening. They spend time as a family or by themselves reading something fun or informative. This is a great way to calm and quiet your mind so you can get to sleep quicker and stay asleep longer.

It is a proven fact that those that fall asleep with their phones or with the television on getting a less restful sleep. Those folks are also the ones that tend to wake up tired and never fully rested.

I rarely see the Anish yawn. Have you ever noticed that?

They wake up in the middle of the night start working right away and go full board most of the day long. Whenever I come in contact with them they are wide away and quite pleasant. It is obvious they are sleeping better. That alone is worth it to me to shut off and unplug before bed.

It amazes me how much we have to learn from those that do it all by hand. Where some folks think the Amish are behind and out of touch I believe they have found the key to a happy life.

Shut it off and be present in your day. Get more done with less effort. Own less so you are cluttered less. Eat better so you live healthier. All of these things are what I want in my own life. By having an “Amish” day or two every week I am hoping I can do just that.

The post Adopt an Amish Lifestyle – Get More Done In Less Time appeared first on Simple Living Country Gal.

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If you have ever gone into a chicken coop at night you will see that chickens are very sound sleepers. You can walk around and even pick your birds up much easier than you can during the day. For that reason, they like to be off the ground while they are snoozing to keep away from any predators. To help provide a safe sleeping area for your girls you can and should add a chicken roost to your hen house.

What is a chicken roost?

A chicken roost is a place for chickens to perch on that is off of the ground.  A ledge, a ladder or even sticks will do the trick. Chickens like to be up off of the ground at night and it helps them to feel safe from predators.

I realized just out how important this is one night when we could not find one of our hens. We spent quite a bit of time searching for her. After a bit, we and finally found our escaped beloved hen perched in our apple tree.

Don’t worry, we rescued her and returned her to the coop with her gal pals.

Ninja tip:  If you free range your birds teach them to come when called. By calling your chickens every time you feed they will learn to associate food with that call. Now you can. call your girls in at night ensuring everyone is present and accounted for. However, you may want to go one step further and do a head count when you close them up for the night. 

For years we used a ladder roost with smaller boards to roost on, but I knew I needed to fix what we had. Those ladders although nice took up quite a bit of room in our coop and the rungs were not the correct size for the birds. We needed to find a way for the hens to roost that would not take up so much space in our coop.

It was also difficult to clean under the roosts which is important if you want a cleaner coop. By placing a board under a ladder roost that you can remove and clean daily you will eliminate the smell and mess. However, when using a ladder roost it requires a bit of tricky maneuvering to get the board out without spilling it’s contents.

Chicken Roosts – Building a better Chicken Roost What size is best for the rungs?

Chicken roost bars should be at least 2″ wide, but 4″ is better.  Chickens are not like most birds. They do not like to grip their roosts. They prefer to sleep flat-footed rather than wrapping their feet around the bar. If you have a small number of birds, a ladder will work just fine, however, make sure it is secure and there is no risk of toppling over.

For our latest roost, Handy Man Hubby used a newly purchased 2×4 for one side and a scrap wood from the frame of our old chicken roost for the other.

How high can your roost be? 

You can make your roosts any height, but if you choose to build a tall roost it is important to have steps like a ladder. Try to leave enough headroom for your hens, 15″ should be good but this will vary depending on your breed.

Eventually, your hens will fly up to the roost and jump back down but there will still be a few hens that prefer the ladder.

For our ladder, we used scrap pieces of wood from the old roost to create “rungs” for the girls to walkup easier.

Each rung was screwd on to the main board and trimmed off so there was nothing hanging over.

Once finished, we had a ladder that the girls can use to gain access to the new chicken roost. 

Ninja tip: To get my girls to use the ladder I sprinkled scratch onto the steps. This taught a few to walk up pecking at treats along the way. Eventually, as with most flocks, the other hens followed the leaders and know use the ladder without my having to leave treats on the steps. 

Finally, the ladder needed to have a landing. The reason Hubs did this was to make it easier for the hens to move around once at the top. Since we have quite a few chickens in our coop it was important to ensure we had plenty of room for everyone.

To do this we needed the roost to span two sides of our coop. With the little landing, the hens can now climb to the top and choose which way to head off and roost.

How much spacing do you need? 

You should try for at least 8″ per hen. In the winter you will be amazed at how they like to snuggle up. In the summer my gals will spread out and use most of the space available. If you are housing a lot of chickens in your coop you will need a roost that allows for plenty of space for each hen.

If you find some of your hens sleeping on the ground and not on the chicken roost you will want to find out why. It is either because there is not enough room on the roost or your chickens do not like the set up you have. In that case, you will either need to add a second roost to allow for enough room or another type of roost for the chickens to use.

For our newest chicken roost, we found 1 hen that refused to use it. Rather than try to force her I simply placed an old step ladder inside. She now prefers to roost on the ladder and is no longer on the ground where she is not safe.

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One of the perks that come along with living in the country is you are surrounded by Amish. There is just something about a buggy heading down the road that takes me to a place of peace. That slow way of life that is free from distractions and wasted moments is something I would love to be a part of. To learn to live like the Amish. 

Another part of the Amish life I love is their work ethic.

The Amish homes that are near us always have neat and tidy lawns. Gardens are free of weeds and there are very few veggies left to rot. Clotheslines are always full no matter what the weather and men are always working in the fields.

It amazes me at just now much they are able to get done without the use of modern conveniences. But then I remember they are also free from most of the distractions that haunt us.

READ:  13 Tips For Slowing Down

Facebook, television, smartphones, even radios can keep us from focusing on the task at hand. Without that focus, we tend to take a bit longer to accomplish items on our to-do list.

I decided to try things out for part of a day just to see if I was able to get more done.

I shut everything off.

The phone, TV, radio, computer. I let my mind be in the moment and kept my focus on the tasks at hand.

At first, it was kind of creepy. All that silence.

Then something pretty amazing happened.

I got busy. I just started doing things. I grabbed my list and just went from item to item checking things off like a mad woman.

Before I knew it had completed most of my weekly to-do list in less than a day.

How crazy is that?

I was so incredibly surprised at the amount of distraction free work I accomplished that I kept right on going. Killing that entire list in one day.

Boom.

The Amish are onto something here. By living like the Amish and being present in the moment I was able to do all the things in less time.

Without all the distractions the Amish have their minds focused on what is being done and they are able to do things in a less stressed manner. They are not jumping from job to job because they are easily distracted. They are focused and productive. Two things very few Englisher’s are able to be for more than 10 minutes at a time.

So, this is all well and good, but how do we implement these tips into our own lives?

Simple….

Cue the checklist, please!

How To Live Like The Amish And Get More Done Step #1  It all begins with a list

As with anything I teach, you will not get too far without a good list. Grab a piece of paper and write down everything that needs to be accomplished this week. I like to sort things out a bit to make them easier.

Ninja tip: You will not have ALL of these items on your list. This is just a guide to help you pull the top 3 things in each section that need your attention this week.

  1. House cleaning-any and all things that need to be cleaned
  2. Laundry-gather clothes, wash, dry, iron, put away.
  3. Food prep-weekly menu, shopping list, baking, lunches
  4. Errands-current lists, budgeted money, Dr. appts/misc appts.
  5. Outside-flower beds, gardens, lawn care
  6. Paperwork-bill paying, budget, mail, filing
  7. Homestead/Farming-animal care, crop care, vehicle maintenance, outbuilding care.
  8. Misc-home repairs, crafts, sewing/mending, decluttering, organizing.
  9. Job/work-I would suggest a separate list here and a separate time frame to work on it.
Step #2  Pick a day

Choose a full day or several partial days that you will be able to work on your top items from your list. Put this date on your calendar right now….IN INK. This date/s is now set in stone and cannot be moved.

Step #3  Unplug and focus

Remember we are taking a cue from our Amish friends. Shut those phones off! No computer, radio, or television.

Step #4  Dress the part

I find that if I am in sneakers and dressed to work I will do much better getting things done. Don’t think you can be productive in slippers and PJs. Dress without distractions.

Step #5  Just do it

Grab your list and a highlighter and get busy. You know how much time you have and no excuses…you need to get it done. Get your head into the game and work on one item at a time.

You will be amazed at how focused you will be without any distractions at all. I used to jump from job to job, from chore to chore never getting anything done. Now that I have shut it all off I am able to stay on task and get things done much more efficiently.

Step #6  Don’t get distracted

If you see something else that needs to be done while you are working then stop and jot it down on a new list for next week. This will keep that new job from nagging you because you now know focus will be paid later and you can keep going on the task at hand.

Step #7  Work smarter not harder

Do the toughest job first when your motivation and energy are at its peak. Nothing keeps me moving more than checking a tough job off of my list. By getting the biggest chores out of the way and working your way down the list from hard to simple you will keep from losing your mojo.

There is this great book called Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy that I highly recommend. This one book has completely changed things for me. I now am getting so much more done simply because I am doing the hardest most important jobs first.

Step #8  Keep things realistic

Now I am not saying this system will help you to declutter your entire home in an hour. What I am saying is that by unplugging and focusing you will get more done in less time. As you are getting more done you will see where bigger projects will need to be taken care of. Like cleaning out your kitchen cabinets. Yes, it can be tempting to dive right in while you are unloading the dishwasher, but I caution against that. 

Instead, save big projects like this for big days.

You can tackle one large project a weekend until you are all caught up or even just one project a month. As you get better at working this way you will find bigger jobs less overwhelming and easier to accomplish in less time.

READ: Lessons Learned From An Amish Visit

Step #9  Lead by example

The best part about living like the Amish is your family. As they see the change in your home and in you they will begin to see the benefits of unplugging. You can begin helping your family unplug by the no-tech dinner rule. Do a complete unplug for every dinnertime meal and talk more. 

Ninja Tip: Place a pretty basket like this one on your kitchen counter. Have family members place all electronics inside until dinner is over.

Still having trouble getting the kids to unplug for dinner? Try playing High-Low.

Each person tells the low for their day. Something that upset them or made them sad. Discuss what would have made the situation better or how they could handle things next time.

After everyone has spoken, each person then tells the high for their day. Something that made them smile or made someone else smile. This is much more fun and a great way to end the meal.

The best part about this game is hearing about everyone’s day without getting the old “nothing” response when you ask. By making it a routine and fun dinner time game your family will actually take more notice of their day and what is happening around them just so they will have something awesome to report on at dinner.

Step #10  Unplug to sleep better

Another thing the Amish do every single evening is read. They spend time as a family or by themselves reading something fun or informative. This is a great way to calm and quiet your mind so you can get to sleep quicker and stay asleep longer.

It is a proven fact that those that fall asleep with their phones or with the television on get a less restful sleep. Those folks are also the ones that tend to wake up tired and never fully rested.

I rarely see the Anish yawn. Have you ever noticed that?

They wake up in the middle of the night start working right away and go full board most of the day long. Whenever I come in contact with them they are wide away and quite pleasant. It is obvious they are sleeping better. That alone is worth it to me to shut off and unplug before bed.

It amazes me how much we have to learn from those that do it all by hand. Where some folks think the Amish are behind and out of touch I believe they have found the key to a happy life.

Shut it off and be present in your day. Get more done with less effort. Own less so you are cluttered less. Eat better so you live healthier. All of these things are what I want in my own life. By having an “Amish” day or two every week I am hoping I can do just that.

The post Live Like The Amish – Get More Done In Less Time appeared first on Simple Living Country Gal.

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This post will help you to know the goat kidding signs.

I once asked a goat farmer; how do you know if your goat is pregnant. He replied, “If kids hit the ground in 5 months…then you know your goat is pregnant.”

Not much help I know. I sure didn’t think so either.

Those first few seasons I pretty much stumbled along with my herd. Guessing on due dates and hoping for the best.

READ: GOAT KIDDING 101 GETTING STARTED

To be honest when it comes to kidding that really isn’t a bad way to go about things. Goats have been having babies for thousands of years and if they can get along without a clue as to when those kids are coming then we can too.

The problem is most of us goat farmers also have lives. We have families and kids. Soccer practice and girl scout meetings. Things we need to plan for and places we need to be.

So, having a basic idea of when your goats are going to have their babies will be a bit more than helpful.


After 6 years of kidding seasons, I have found there are quite a few signs that will warn you that your goats are getting ready to kid. This list is pretty much my own experiences with my own herd. It is not even close to scientific or even a strict rule of thumb. But it is my go-to list for what to look for as kidding season approaches so I can at the very least have my kidding kit and birthing pens all set up and ready to go.

READ: HOW TO SET UP A BIRTHING KIT FOR YOUR GOATS

READ: HOW TO SET UP BIRTHING PENS FOR YOUR GOATS

Signs Your Goats Are Close To Kidding Goat kidding signs – the beginning

Sign #1  Tail ligaments become lose

To find the goat’s tail ligaments you want to run your hand down over her spine. As you get close to the tail you will be able to “pinch” the ligaments at the base of the tail. These will soften and continue doing so as kidding approaches. At this point, you should be able to feel them. It should feel like a chord of sorts.

You will want to check each doe’s ligaments daily. Just do this whenever you feed, run your hand down squeezing as you go. Just make a mental note of how thin things are.

Sign#2  Your goat begins to form an udder

Your goats can begin to form an udder as long as a few weeks out from kidding or just a few hours before. This is where experience comes in handy. The first year you kid, your goat will set the stage for each year following. Keep a good log so you know how soon your doe forms her udder.

This log will come in quite handy as a comparison in following years.

Sign #3  Swollen vulva

This is a tell-tale sign for me. Most of my girls if not all tend to swell up in the back end. The closer the due date is the more swollen they get. This is how their body prepares for labor and the size of the babies to come. The puffier they get the closer they are to kidding.

Sign #4   Babies drop

As your doe approaches her due date her babies will drop. You can see this by a slight indentation of their upper belly close to their spine. Just like we do before we have our own children the doe’s kids will drop into position prior to labor.

Ninja tip:  It is important as time goes on that you watch your herd constantly for any changes in their bodies. I suggest taking monthly or even weekly pictures beginning before you breed. This was a lifesaver for me when I first began breeding my goats. When your girls grow slowly sometimes those changes are hard to catch. With just a few photographs you will know for sure when bellies grow, babies drop, and lady parts get puffy.

The next few signs are clues labor is really close and you need to be on high alert.

Goat kidding signs – the next stage

Sign #5   Talking to her belly, biting or nibbling her belly

This is mama’s way of talking to her kids. Instinct tells her something is going to happen even if she is not aware what. Nibbling at her side or humming to her belly is a good sign things are getting close.

Sign #6   Tail ligaments are completely gone

I like to check my doe’s tail ligaments every day. This is just another way for me to be aware of any changes. When your fingers/thumb can just about touch that means those ligaments are gone and babies are close!

Sign #7   Udders get hard

Another sign kids are close is a hard and sometimes shiny udder. Another place you want to check often is your goat’s udder. This will do two things. 1. Let you know of any changes in firmness and 2. prepare your goat for milking which can be quite helpful if your goat is a first freshener or skittish.

Sign #8   Vulva’s get swollen, red, and very puffy

So, before we talked about a swollen back end, now we are talking about very puffy and very swollen and sometimes even red. This again is your doe preparing for the birth and her body doing all that it can to be ready for those kids.

At this point, things will be so puffy that it will stick out and will be fully noticeable from the side.

These final signs usually happen just hours or even minutes before kidding. If you see any of these signs get your goat into a birthing pen so she can have a calm private place to kid where she feels safe and secure.

Goat kidding signs – the final stage

Sign #9   Discharge

Not everyone sees this sign because you really need to be there when it happens. However, a wet tail can also let you know as well. A long thin white string of discharge, a wet or damp tail or even a puddle in your goat’s pen all mean kids will be here very very soon.

Sign #10   Pawing at the ground

If your doe is pawing or scuffing the ground, she is just preparing a bed for her and her babies. If you have not moved your doe to a private area now is the time. There is nothing worse than moving after labor begins so better to be a little early than upsetting your doe by moving her after the fact.

At the very least have a pen cleaned and ready to go.

Sign #11   Stargazing 

You know when I heard about this sign I never really understood what it meant. After having goats I totally get it now. My gals will just stare off into space chewing their cud and humming a bit. I relate it to a sort of meditation. Another way they are preparing for what is about to happen.

Not all of my does do this but surprisingly most of them do.

Sign #12   Heads against the wall

If your does has her head against the wall you know you are minutes away from kids. This is just a way that they brace themselves during a contraction. I have only had a few does do this so I do not consider this sign a common one, however, I do want you to be aware of it.

Heads on the wall mean babies right now.

Sign #13   Pushing

The most obvious sign is when your doe is pushing. This will begin as a low grunt sound that she may do while standing or laying down.  As her labor progresses the grunt will get longer and louder. More often than not labor will happen with your doe lying down but this is not now always the case. There will always be a doe or two that prefers to kid standing up, so listen for the intensity of the push to know just how close things are.

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This article it a step by step guide that is all about tethered feeding goats.

Raising goats is a lot like raising a herd of toddlers. They are loving, easily distracted, determined (oh boy are they determined!), curious, and ALWAYS ALWAYS HUNGRY. Whenever I went into the main pen to feed my little herd, I was pummeled by hungry goats that were understandably excited by the food I was carrying. I realized very early on that by feeding this way certain goats got most of the food as they ran from bowl to bowl gobbling things up just as quickly as they could. This was an even bigger problem if I needed to add herbs or other medications to a certain goat’s feed. 

I knew I needed to find a way to feed better.

One day while playing on the internet I stumbled across the site called Fiasco Farm. As I was reading through some of their articles I saw their unique feeding system. They actually pulled all of their goats out of the main pen, hooked them to a rail and fed them each separately. Each goat stood patiently and politely tethered in their spot waiting for their food.

It was just a photograph however and without a step by step guide on HOW to do this system I quickly left and forgot about it.

As I began to rely more and more on herbal nutrition for my animals it was important for me to find a way to feed my goats independently. This year I revisited that site and told myself I needed to figure out how to feed this way and teach my goats to eat this way.

Little did I know that it would be so much easier to do that I thought!

READ: HOW TO NATURALLY PREPARE YOUR GOAT’S HEALTH FOR BREEDING

Tethered Goat Feeding – A Step By Step Guide Step 1  Pick a spot to feed

The most important part of this tethered goat feeding system is to choose a spot that will work for feeding this way. Understandably it will be different depending on your set up but I do think you can make pretty much any arrangement work.

Our barn is a shed that we converted into a fully functioning barn with a center section of stalls and two communal herd pens on each side. I use the center area for birthing, kidding, quarantine, and sick care. It is on concrete and easy to keep neat and clear from obstacles.

I found that the fewer distractions when training your goats the easier it is to acclimate them to a new routine or system.

READ:  HOW TO EASILY TRAIN YOUR GOATS

Step 2  Tethers or leads

I was able to find leads like these for a good price through Jeffers.com. Each lead is 12 inches long with a spring loaded clasp on the end. I believe I paid less than 4 dollars for each.

No matter what tether you choose make sure it is made of a durable material so it will safely and securely hold your goats.

Step #3  Eyebolts

I knew I wanted and needed something pretty secure and stable. I wasn’t sure how my goats would react to being tethered since they had never been tied in any way before. I had to make sure I had a way to do this without risking injury to me or my goats. A steel eyebolt of 1”  worked perfectly.

We chose a height that was comfortable for each of our goats and spaced the leads far enough apart so that one goat couldn’t bother another while they were eating. 

To make screwing in the eye bolt easier we drilled a small starter hole at each site first.

Our eye hooks needed to be stretched just a bit to allow us to fit the canvas trap of the tether into the hook. This we easily did using a vice and a steel grow bar. Make sure you only move the opening enough to fit the lead in. If you open it too much you risk the lead coming out during feeding. 

Step #4  Attach the leads and eye bolts

Continue drilling holes, screwing in eye bolts, and attaching all your leads. Remember when tethered goat feeding is to be aware of your spacing in both your height and distance. You do not want any tension on your leads that will in any way frighten your goats. Once you lose your goat’s trust it will be tricky getting it back.

Hubs being the perfectionist that he insisted that all eye bolts face the same way so we needed to use a crowbar to do it.

Step #5  Practice, Practice, Practice

If you do not normally work with your goats then they will naturally be a bit hesitant the first time you walk them out. Do not lose your patience or your cool. If you keep calm; then your goats will do the same.

Fill each feed bowl and label it so you know which bowl goes with whom.

Set up your first feed bowl and go get your goat. Walk them calmly to the first station. Once they are there and have settled in to eat you may then attach the lead to their collar.

Ninja tip: If you don’t use collars on your goats you can find safe break-away collars like the ones I use here. These are surprisingly heavy duty yet will break if a goat is caught in a dangerous situation.

After your first goat is settled you can place the next feed bowl in place and go get your second goat. Notice I did not put all the feed bowls out at once. This will keep your goats from getting confused and distracted. Continue retrieving goats and setting them in the correct spot until all of your goats are eating.

Once everyone is settled and calm, do not leave. Stay with your goats for at least the first few days. If someone gets spooked you will want to step in right away so a dangerous chain reaction does not begin. I just walk over pet and sooth the goat until they are back to eating again.

Step #6  Put everyone back

Now, for me and my stinker goats, this is the tricky part of tethered feeding goats. They are curious things and want to stay out and explore this new area of the barn. I have a small number of treats (for my crew it’s banana peels) that I give them in once they are back in the main pen.

Now they know if they want a treat….they must go back.

And that is all there is to it! You will be surprised at how quickly your goats will learn what is expected of them. If food is involved they will more often than not listen.

If you find your goats are not quite getting it, don’t give up. Keep leading, keep working, and keep encouraging. Before you know it they will walk themselves right on over to their feed bowl with no issues.

The post Tethered Feeding Goats – A Step By Step Guide appeared first on Simple Living Country Gal.

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I love to talk to folks about how to declutter their homes. It’s my jam, my something to geek out over. I can spend hours writing about it and talking about it. Today I am going to share with you my super effective decluttering hack. One that is perfect for you if you are completely stuck on how to declutter your home. 

However, not everyone is like me and when you are facing a home full of clutter trying to tackle a mountain can be a bit overwhelming.

So, instead of talking about how to conquer that mountain let’s instead talk about the power of expectation.

It’s Saturday morning and tonight at promptly 7 pm you are expecting company. That means you will be spending this morning frantically preparing your home. No excuses you need to get it done so you are going to get it done.

Cleaning and tidying up. Removing a few items to clear off the couch for more seating and cleaning off the kitchen table for eating. You are motivated to get things done because you have a deadline, the time when your company will be arriving.

It is amazing how the thought of company can get us up and moving, up and doing.

This is all fine and good but what if instead, we expect company all the time? Instead of a mad dash of a cleaning frenzie, we do a quick prep of a few rooms that anyone would see if they showed up at our door.

It’s my super effective decluttering hack.

By always having a few rooms tidy and neat we will never be caught off guard by unexpected guests. Also, those few rooms will cut us some slack. Let us know that no matter how bad the rest of the house is we have those few rooms where things look okay. Things look unchaotic.

Ninja tip. Since these rooms are the first we see when we arrive home and the last we see when we leave, our own sense of inner chaos will be just a dull ache rather than a full-blown migraine.

Also, those rooms would mean our home would always ready for that company.

Neat, tidy, welcoming. By always being prepared for guests our homes….well at least those first few rooms, will be picked up and ready for anything.

And in order to have those rooms ready for anything we would need to remove all the extra and all the excess. It’s much better and easier to be ready for anything so we are not caught off guard.

Try this, rather than live with the wait and see attitude and never doing anything about our clutter let’s instead live as if we are expecting our best friends to show up at our home any minute and be ready.

Sure, this sounds good in theory but how do we actually go about going it?

Well, before we do anything you need to make a call. I want you to invite a few friends over one week from today. This is that expectation I was talking about earlier. Knowing you have a strict deadline and a real consequence if you don’t follow through is enough to light a motivational fire under your butt and get you moving.

Now, let’s get to that step by step list.

How to get your home company ready with this super effective decluttering hack Step #1  Choose your rooms

For me, my first 3 rooms are my mudroom, my kitchen, and my family room. Your rooms will, of course, be different depending on the layout of your home. Pick your three rooms so you know just exactly what is expected and you can come up with your plan of attack.

Step #2  Pick your days

I suggest choosing a weekend for this project. You will be amazed at how much you can get done in a single weekend. Wake up early, put on your sneakers and sweats and keep your eye on the ball. Keep going until it is all done and ready for company reminding yourself you only have 2 days to get it completed.

Step #3  As with all things you want to start out easy

When you are decluttering a room, any room your first step is always to remove the trash. Take a bag and walk your room. Start at the door and make your way around the room covering every spot. Gather up anything and everything that you can toss right this minute. Newspapers, water bottles, paper plates, junk mail, scrap paper, wrappers, and magazines. Step it up a notch and also grab any recyclable. Pop cans, water bottles, catalogs, empty boxes. While you at it if it’s broken toss it. We have no time for fixing things. We are getting ready for company!

Step #4  If it doesn’t belong put it away
  • Put all papers in your office or whichever room you pay your bills.
  • Once every single paper you can find is gone move on to dishes. Gather them up and put them into your kitchen sink.
  • Blankets and pillows? Put them in the bedroom or a basket in the family room.
  • Toys, games, and stuffed animals. Put them in the playroom or your child’s bedroom.
  • Socks, shoes, or clothing goes into the laundry room or mudroom.
  • Pet toys are stored in a basket off to the side.
  • Books and magazines you want to keep can go on your nightstand in your bedroom.
  • Pens, pencils, and other office supplies belong in your desk or another designated area.
Step #5  Let’s deal with the excess

NickNacks are a wonderful way to add charm to a room. The problem is when you have more trinkets than you have room to display them. Rather than 100 statues that get lost in the clutter choose your favorite few and display them for guests to admire. Now you can share the stories behind your collections and regard them as true treasures rather than clutter.

Step #6  Choose a specific purpose for your room

I know I have said this before but if you have a purpose for each and every room and hold fast to that purpose then you will never have items end up in this room that does not belong. Clothes will stay in the bedroom. Toys in the playroom. Dishes in the kitchen. Papers in the office. DVDs in the family room. Coats and shoes in the mudroom or entryway. Tools in the garage. Craft supplies in the hobby room. Towels in the bathroom. I could go on and on but you see how this simple tip will keep items just exactly where they belong.

Step #7  Go big or go home

Take a look at the furniture in the room and decide what can stay and what needs to go. Short on cash? Here is your chance to make a little money with this project. Take a few pictures of what you plan to remove and post it on Craigslist or Facebook.

Step #8  Clean and tidy up

Now that you have the clutter removed let’s clean up what’s left. Dust, sweep, straighten, wipe down. With the excess gone this step should be relatively quick.

Step #9  Create a full proof system

When I was a kid and I would do a complete cleaning of my room I would remember showing my parents. They would always say, “It looks great! Now keep it that way!”. Yep, sometimes that was easier said than done but I never knew why. Well, it was because I did not have a system in place for keeping my room neat and tidy. I would start out keeping things nice but within just a few days I was back to clothes on my floor and drawers left open and disheveled.

Now, I create a system for a newly purged room. A step by step process for what happens in a room that I force myself to follow to the “T” until it is engraved in my head. I even write my systems down on paper so my family will also know what is expected in a room.

This simple tip is what keeps my rooms tidy at all times. When I cook a meal I know I will immediately after eating put all the food away, clean up the dishes, and check the meal plan for the next day for any early morning prep work that needs to be done. Since I am now used to this system and following it is second nature for me, my kitchen is more often than not pretty neat and company ready at all times.

This step is not required, but I can promise you that if you implement and follow it you will not be doing another full purge and clean a few months from now.

Step #10  Keep on top of things 

Finally, you will need to do a little daily or weekly maintenance to ensure your rooms remain company ready with little or no effort. I spend just 15 minutes a day doing a rotational cleaning plan that keeps my house neat at most times. (notice I did not say all.) I used to do a full clean every weekend, but that quickly got old. I would much rather spend a few minutes each day cleaning than 8 hours on my precious weekends.

READ: How to Keep Your House Clean in Under 20 Minutes a Day

By coming up with a game plan, using the power of expectation, and creating simple systems to “keep it that way” you will have a home that is always ready for company and surprise visits.

I hope this simple weekend project and this super effective decluttering hack will inspire you top declutter a few more rooms in your home.

The post My Super Effective Decluttering Hack appeared first on Simple Living Country Gal.

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