Need to immediately and DRASTICALLY cut our food bills - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 105 Old 01-21-2006, 02:17 AM
 
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Most of the coupons in the paper are for junk. ITA.

I do see meat coupons for time to time, but for processed meats, like canned white chicken. For real fresh meats, you have to use winetags. Winetags usually have coupons for any kind of meat, cheese, or flowers and are hanging around the necks of wine bottles, usually for several dollars off any purchase. You don't have to buy the wine to take the tags, though each store has a different policy.

There are a few good coupons for stuff you actually use. Even Seventh Generation has coupons. You take them to a store like Albertsons that has double or triple or even quadruple coupons on sale days and you stock up on the stuff you actually use, within the limits of your budget. Then, gradually, there are all kinds of things that you don't ever pay full price for anymore. After a few months, your overall grocery bill is considerably reduced. Ours is about four hundred bucks less a month than it was a year ago, just from coupons. Our bill includes disposable diapers and pet food, though, so it was pretty easy to get big discounts on those sorts of items. We never pay full price for things like toothbrushes, in fact, toothbrushes are usually free.

Natural coupons are harder to come by, and usually are found on websites or in booklets handed out at natural grocery stores. Here are a few sites to get you started: http://www.thegrocerygame.com, http://www.dealagogo.com.
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#62 of 105 Old 01-21-2006, 02:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks! I'll check out those sites! Unfortunately the grocery stores can't sell wine around here so I don't think the wine tag thing will work. Ah well... I'll keep an eye out
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#63 of 105 Old 01-21-2006, 03:06 AM
 
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How friendly are you with your in-laws? You said you can do laundry at your MIL's sometime. Could you ask her if it's okay to do your laundry there once a week for a month or once every 2 weeks? That way you could save that money and apply it toward food or a washer/dryer. You could offer to clean her house or make her a meal or something in exchange. Maybe your in-laws know someone with a pickup you could borrow to get a Freecycled dryer from Colorado Springs? You could top off the tank as payment.

You could ask at your grocery stores when they put out their marked down items. I know ours do it at certain times of the day/week. Some of the "old" produce and meat is pretty deeply discounted. I've gotten organic bread and veggies for like half the price of non-organic and my mom is always getting deals on meat that way. The discount cart is sort of hidden away in a recess so if they do the same at your store you may not have noticed it before. It's definitely worth asking.

Where are your heaters in the house? Would it be possible to string a line across the walls/ceiling over the heaters (or under if they're those western kind up on the ceiling)? It would help the clothes dry. We have baseboard heating and if I suspend stuff over the heaters it dries wicked fast. When the things were done drying you could just take the line down.

I don't know what paper products you're using, but we only use toilet paper and just use washcloths for everything else. I get them at the dollar store for way cheap. I would definitely look for coupons (on and offline) if you're not already. For toiletry items, especially, because often if there's a sale and your store has double coupons, you can get things practically free.

ETA: I didn't catch whether or not you can eat beans. If so you could save money that way. Are you allergic to shellfish or ALL fish?
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#64 of 105 Old 01-21-2006, 01:05 PM
 
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You can line dry outside in the winter also. It's cold putting stuff up and taking it down, but clothes dry in the cold.

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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#65 of 105 Old 01-21-2006, 03:00 PM
 
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I have seeds! I'd be happy to send some! PM me if you are interested!

When we get low on grocery money (that's the first place we cut down when we need to!), I send dh into the woods for some rabbits and squirrels. Yup, I said squirrel. very healthy meat! I make "Wild Stew" w/whatever I happen to have on hand.

I've never done Freecycle (keep meaning to!), but could you post yourself on there? I mean, maybe you could barter a nice housecleaning for a chicken and some veggies? You just never know!

Do you have neighbors who need dog poo cleaned up?

You mentioned that you have a horse arena in the backyard....are there any horses in it? Horse poo composts pretty quickly if you spread it out in the sun (even in winter) and then you can work it into the soil pretty easily. We use it all the time! Plus we go to my moms to rake their goat barns and put that on the garden. Surely there's someone who'd LOVE for you to rake their poo for them!

I'll keep thinking.........

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#66 of 105 Old 01-21-2006, 03:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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No, we don't have any horses... our landlords did years ago, but nothing now. I wish we did, but that would just make money even tighter ~sighs~ Lots of free manure though! Hmm, my SIL has horses... maybe I could get some from her. Not sure how I'd get it home, but I'll take it one step at a time.

The Pueblo freecycle does let you advertise services unfortunately.
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#67 of 105 Old 01-21-2006, 03:30 PM
 
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Put it in a couple of layers of garbage bags. Horse poo isn't that smelly or anything. Shoot, all they eat is hay and grain anyway, lol.

Um, ask your landlord if you can dig up some of the dirt from the horse arena, and use it in your containers. I'd be willing to bet it's very fertile earth!!! Even if it's been years since he had horses.

I hear ya about the horse expense, btw! The only way we can 'have' a horse is because we have 5 acres, and we are boarding my SILs horse (and soon the foal, too!) for free. She pays the extra water, buys the hay and grain, and all other expenses are hers. I take care of Rainey each day, am the one here in emergencies (like she got a 4 inch long (big around as my finger) splinter stuck in her head last week), and we get to ride her each weekend. I LOVE the arrangement!!!! I couldn't afford the hay right now, as much as it costs w/this awful drought.

Btw, I really will have quite a few extra seeds this year. We aren't doing as big of a garden (3000 sq ft) this year because I'm afraid we'll have to haul our bathwater out there to water with!!!

Are there any salvage stores in your area? Or anywhere you could get to? I go to one once every other month or so. Last time I went, I filled 5-6 paper grocery bags full for $150. Lots of canned stuff (I use it to bake w/or make casseroles--yk, sweet potatoes, organic pumpkin, etc...) organic pastas (for your kids), organic bottled marinades, etc....Plus they sometimes have meat that I would consider buying, lol. Gotta watch that part, but they even will have some produce and dairy.

Oh, and to answer your question about chickens.....You could very easily purchase a couple of good layers (established layers you can find for $5-$8/ea, and the feed would last like forever if you only have, say, 4-6 chickens. YOu don't need a rooster to get eggs, but sometimes you can find free roosters in the paper. Of course, your dh would have to butcher them. I can even tell him how to do it. Anywhooo, the layer rations for the hens will cost ya about $6 for a huge bag (I buy one about once every 4-6 wks). And if they can scratch around your yard, they'll help themselves to some nice juicy bugs. 4 nice layers would provid. YOu just have to make sure they have a nice secure coop to go into at night w/a roost. That can easily be built out of scrap wood (we used pallets for one of ours), or a big wooden crate, etc....You can cut a branch off a tree for a roost. They can drink water out of a shallow bowl or pan if you can't afford a waterer. And you and the kids can just sprinkle the grain on the ground. No need for a fancy dish--they love to scratch anyway!

Do you have any edible herbs/roots in your yard? They need to have not been sprayed w/anything, though. I swear, with my oldest dd and my dh, we'd never starve. Dh will hunt small game, and dd knows all the edible plants on our land.

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#68 of 105 Old 01-21-2006, 03:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Even the horse arena is solid rocky soil. I'm hoping that when spring comes it'll soften up enough that I can scratch the surface. We tried hammering in a tie out stake and all the soil did was crumble away and about 3 inches under ground (everywhere we tried) it was so hard we couldn't hammer anything down further. It's pretty pathetic. So, right now all that's growing is tumbleweeds, no joke!

The chicken idea really appeals to me. My DH just reminded me though, our area has TONS of coyotes. Everynight we hear them howling, and they don't sound too far away. We do have a stall we could build a coop in, but would that be enough to keep them safe? The landlords left a bunch of 2X4's behind, and a couple pallets I think too... so we have lumbar we could use. No wire though, but I think my SIL might have some. How warm does it need to be for chickens though? It gets pretty cold here at night and I think DH would draw the line at bringing them in ~laughs~
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#69 of 105 Old 01-21-2006, 03:52 PM
 
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Research the cuisines of poverty stricken areas of the world, and use what applies to your diet. India has been mentioned- wonderful. Chickpeas are great and falafel and hummus are cheap to make from scratch. I remember a beautiful bean loaf my African friends used to make in college. Also, pureed vegetables can be used to thicken soups- just pull a ffew, puree, and reintroduce.
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#70 of 105 Old 01-21-2006, 04:35 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicky2
I've never done Freecycle (keep meaning to!), but could you post yourself on there? I mean, maybe you could barter a nice housecleaning for a chicken and some veggies? You just never know!
Nope, that's not allowed on any Freecycle Groups... it's only for keeping items out of the landfill

I would put that barter offer up on the bulliten board of a local coop, though.

As, for the chickens, just go to your library and they'll have good books on chicken raising. We did it in Ignacio (south of Durango - very similar environment to Pueblo, IMO) and the coyotes weren't a problem, you just have to pen them in well enough.. It was our dogs that were the menaces Anyhow, they are practically free to raise, since alot of their diet consists of your veggie compost. You can also get that free from natural food stores (maybe even mainstream ones?) of produce that is not looking good enough for display anymore (as an added bonus, you'll find some food in there that may not be pretty but is completely edible for you and the fam!)

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#71 of 105 Old 01-21-2006, 04:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by shelbean91
You can line dry outside in the winter also. It's cold putting stuff up and taking it down, but clothes dry in the cold.
In Colorado, wet clothes freeze outside.

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#72 of 105 Old 01-21-2006, 04:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by provocativa
Research the cuisines of poverty stricken areas of the world, and use what applies to your diet. India has been mentioned- wonderful. Chickpeas are great and falafel and hummus are cheap to make from scratch. I remember a beautiful bean loaf my African friends used to make in college. Also, pureed vegetables can be used to thicken soups- just pull a ffew, puree, and reintroduce.
Great idea! I'll do that!

I'm heading to the library right now actually... I'll look for books on chicken raising. I think we have a good space for it. I know a neighbor of ours down the street does it... I can hear them when I'm outside sometimes.
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#73 of 105 Old 01-21-2006, 05:46 PM
 
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amydidit,
Go to the MDC giving forum and post a list in the R.A.O.K list. Lot's of mamas have stuff to share, and would be happy to help.

Here's the link:

http://www.mothering.com/discussions...prune=-1&f=280
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#74 of 105 Old 01-21-2006, 10:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by root*children
In Colorado, wet clothes freeze outside.
They should dry. I learned about it in a science class- called sublimation, supposed to go right from liquid to gas. I learned about this when I lived in IL. I never tried it b/c I HATE the cold and didn't care enough to try.

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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#75 of 105 Old 01-21-2006, 10:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by root*children
In Colorado, wet clothes freeze outside.
Oh phooey , they partially dry first. Ask me how I know (grew up in MN and WI and hung out laundry all year round.... even -50 degrees). My friends used to make fun of me as they would come over and see my undies frozen on the line But, they were almost completely dry when picked in and the extra ammount of moisture would only take about an hour or two to dry completely once picked in.

Erika, mama to three beautiful kids (plus one gestating), and wife to one fantastic man.

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#76 of 105 Old 01-22-2006, 01:59 AM
 
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Originally Posted by amydidit
Eating meat isn't a problem, but I couldn't live with myself if I killed an innocent wild animal. Heck, I accidently ran over a bunny and cried for hours!
I'm sorry, but do you think that the animals that you currently eat at virtually every meal were NOT innocent somehow? This disconnect is very bizarre to me.
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#77 of 105 Old 01-22-2006, 02:12 AM
 
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Sorry, I haven't read every single post but had an idea that may suck/may work:

Wouldn't it be cheaper to cut out the middle man and buy some eggs/meat (the bulk of your diet) from a farm--also I don't know why you are not doing dairy but raw dairy is NOTHING like pasturized dairy and actually is so well tolereted by most people who are "allergic" that it was once (before meds came along) was used to treat many different illness and medical issues--especially gut issues. Again I don't know anything about your area but if you contacted nearby farms and told them your situation you could probably get meat/eggs/fresh milk for very cheap and even do some trade for farm hand work??

That's the way it used to be, before grocery stores and WIC!

Good luck in your struggle to make ends meet and in keeping your family healthy.

ps this may also ease your disconnect between the food you eat and the animals that provide that nourishment that is so crucial for you--not to mention the local farmers who work so hard to raise animals for food.
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#78 of 105 Old 01-22-2006, 04:53 AM
 
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I've been reading quietly because I can't really offer any suggestions on how to cut back so drastically on the cost of food AND formula. OMG, I can't imagine the stress you must be going through! But now I'm psyched, because I can indeed comment on saving money at the laundromat. My dh and I have recently hung a clothesline (with line purchased at the 99-cent store) inside our 1-bedroom apt. Dh drove a long nail into the top of the top of the molding outside the kitchen door. Then tied one end of the line to the top of the radiator pipe, anchored it around the nail, and tied the other end to the pipe, about 1 yd. further down. So, a double clothesline hanging diagonally across our kitchen. And I guess because they are hanging free and because heat gets produced in the kitchen from cooking...things actually dry! If not overnight, then within a night and a day. I highly recommend it. If I follow your laundry budget, it sounds like you are having to put a lot of money in to dry each load? If so, here is a quick way to home dry the clothes you need to wear immediately: Put them in the oven on the lowest setting and with the rack up high, making absolutely sure it does not touch any of the walls. Check regularly to see if they're dry. It can take very little time for something thin (e.g. 5 minutes for a flat diaper) or longer for something thick (e.g. 30+ minutes for grownup pants). But this would normally not be necessary: if we did laundry in the morning, clothes would almost certainly be dry for the next morning.

Hope your soup turned out well. Sounds yummy.

Oye Yemaya oloto
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#79 of 105 Old 01-22-2006, 04:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srain
I'm sorry, but do you think that the animals that you currently eat at virtually every meal were NOT innocent somehow? This disconnect is very bizarre to me.
The meat that I buy are from animals that were raised to be slaughtered. I'm okay with that. I raised animals for slaughter at school when I was in high school, I have no problem with that. But the idea of going out and shooting a free animal just is not something I can do. The animals roaming in the wild were not specifically raised for food.

May sound odd to some, but it's how I feel and I'm okay with that.

mama_nomad, the reason I can't have milk (cheese and cream are fine) is because milk is chocked full of natural sugar. My DD does have milk though so that's an idea. The only farms I currently know about are horse and llama farms, but there's got to be others too, somewhere.

eminer, that's for the drying tips. Do you have an electric or gas oven? Our oven is gas and with the cost of gas right now I'm not sure that would be cheaper, but the clothesline in the kitchen is a good idea. Thanks!
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#80 of 105 Old 01-22-2006, 06:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by amydidit
eminer, that's for the drying tips. Do you have an electric or gas oven?
We have gas, too. I haven't noticed any significant difference in what we pay, but that may be because we use our oven a fair amount anyway. Hanging is easier.

Oye Yemaya oloto
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#81 of 105 Old 01-23-2006, 12:50 AM
 
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what kind of doctor are you seeing? (just wondering, since i do nutritional consulting)

have you had your kidney function tested lately? 150 grams of protein every day is REALLY stressful on the kindneys.

"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift." -- Mary Olivercoolshine.gif

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#82 of 105 Old 01-23-2006, 05:20 AM
 
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I would seriously consider moving if I were in your situation. Most people would be able to get significant raises if they were willing to relocate.
Definately practice making lots of bone broth for soups! They are not only economical, but very nourishing as well.
Good luck to you mama!
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#83 of 105 Old 01-23-2006, 05:26 AM
 
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Originally Posted by amydidit
the reason I can't have milk (cheese and cream are fine) is because milk is chocked full of natural sugar. My DD does have milk though so that's an idea.
It's not too hard to make yogurt or kefir out of milk- and then there's virtually no natural sugar left.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 13(homeschooled)
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#84 of 105 Old 01-23-2006, 02:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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what kind of doctor are you seeing? (just wondering, since i do nutritional consulting)

have you had your kidney function tested lately? 150 grams of protein every day is REALLY stressful on the kindneys.
The diet was orginally suggested by my nephrologist that I was seeing since they suspected a kidney problem was causing my BP issues. It wasn't, and ever kidney test has come back perfect.

Quote:
I would seriously consider moving if I were in your situation. Most people would be able to get significant raises if they were willing to relocate.
Definately practice making lots of bone broth for soups! They are not only economical, but very nourishing as well.
Good luck to you mama!
We actually just relocated here to Pueblo from AZ back in September because our financial situation was even worse in AZ. We're in a lease until November so moving isn't an option until at least then. Unfortunately we won't have the money to do another major move for at least a few years. The only way we managed this one is because my mom felt guilty (long story) so she loaned us $2000 to move on.

Quote:
It's not too hard to make yogurt or kefir out of milk- and then there's virtually no natural sugar left.
I may have to try this again. I only tried making yogurt once and it was a disaster. So bitter no one could eat it, not even DH who loves yogurt. Thanks for reminding me about it... I'll give it another go.
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#85 of 105 Old 01-23-2006, 03:22 PM
 
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As far as keeping coyotes out of your chicken coop, just make sure you have a good strong latch on the door. How rural are you? That'll make a diff on the coyotes getting your chickens. We are out in the country, and I have been outside at night (I do moon rituals so I'm out alot at night by myself) and heard coyotes sooo close I could hear them growling at whatever it was they were chasing. They were just a few steps across my creek! Anyway, the thing I have the most trouble w/is stray dogs. I have literally gone out to find dead chickens and guineas everywhere. It was awful. I have had to shoot several strays because I caught them eating my chickens. Now, we let ours free range during the day, and now we don't actually have many chickens. We are eating guinea eggs. Anywhoo, we haven't been able to afford to fence all our property yet, so we just have to deal right now. We are about to start raising meat rabbits, 'cause they'll be more manageable as far as the stray dogs. (now, that's something else you could look into!) We'll get way more chickens after we secure things better and do more fencing.

So, as long as you have a fenced yard, you shouldn't have any problems. Just make sure to put them in the coop each night and lock it up tight. That is often too much trouble for coyotes, and they'd rather go chase a wild rabbit down. OH, and for very little cost, you can install a heat lamp (get one w/ a red heat bulb so chickens don't pick at each other) to turn on in the coop on cold nights. we even do that for our guineas (and they are wild birds). I have never noticed any extra cost on our electric bill due to the heat lamp. In the winter, if you want to encourage laying, just put up a regular light bulb along w/the red one. Keep it on for several hours after it gets dark. Then turn it off before you go to bed. Also, I would suggest looking for a breed called a White Rock, or a White Giant. They are great layers, and typically lay throughout the winter months.

Oh, and if you have a neighbor who has chickens, go ask them if they have any leftover chicken wire you could buy/barter for. If not, it really is cheap to buy. Or you can use a roll of hardware cloth, which is also pretty cheap. If you have any clothesline (again, cheap!) you can even weave your own!

And definitely do the compost thing! Can't believe I forgot that! They will love you for it! Just don't give them raw potato skins. YOu can cook them in the microwave and give to them like that, though.

Oh, and a great book for raising chickens is the Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens. I have that, plus the one for rabbits, and horses.

Happy Homesteading Homeschooling Homebirthing Beekeeping Dready (& a bit redneck even) Mama to 4 fab kids :  dd (23), dd (13), ds (11), dd (5)

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#86 of 105 Old 01-23-2006, 04:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by shelbean91
You can line dry outside in the winter also. It's cold putting stuff up and taking it down, but clothes dry in the cold.
I did not know that!

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#87 of 105 Old 01-23-2006, 05:00 PM
 
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Originally Posted by root*children
In Colorado, wet clothes freeze outside.
That is what I was thinking would happen....I am in MN.

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#88 of 105 Old 01-23-2006, 06:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Chicky2, thanks for all the info! Our arena is nearly all fenced in, only the gate section isn't fenced and the gate is missing. Wouldn't be too hard to string a wire fence across there. There are tons of wild rabbits around so it sounds like the coyotes have lots of easier prey and should leave the chickens alone since they'd be fenced in. I'm starting to feel really good about doing this. I have no idea where the neighbors with the chickens are though. I can hear them, but I've never SEEN any around anywhere ~laughs~

AngelBee, our clothes started to freeze outside when we were trying to dry them. That's when we gave up trying to dry them outside. They were solid... kinda funny, but when they thawed they were totally wet again.
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#89 of 105 Old 01-23-2006, 06:34 PM
 
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No prob at all, Amy! Feel free to ask me any ?s you wish about it! As far as your neighbors, if it were me, I'd start knocking on doors, but that's just me, lol.

I'm here, so I just have to post what I just saw! A real live wolf!!! Behind my house. Def. not a coyote or reg. dog! Soooo cool!

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#90 of 105 Old 01-23-2006, 06:34 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shelbean91
They should dry. I learned about it in a science class- called sublimation, supposed to go right from liquid to gas. I learned about this when I lived in IL. I never tried it b/c I HATE the cold and didn't care enough to try.
Hey shel! Sorry to have to geek out for a moment here You're thinking of evaporation. That's when liquid turns to gas. That is how clothes normally dry. Sublimation is when a solid turns straight to a gas and skips the liquid stage (such as dry ice). Drying clothes in temperatures where it freezes at night (and many days) is tricky because they don't warm up enough for total evaporation, so they are still wet when the freeze sets in at night... clothes freeze, thaw mid-morning, dry a little more before freeze sets in, etc. It takes several days for clothes to dry. Probably in AZ it is quite a bit warmer in the day so clothes have a chance to dry before freeze sets in.

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