Being a homesteader, whether it's natural or otherwise, is generally a means of becoming self sufficient or a means of living a "better" life by eating or living healthier. Also included in many homesteaders definition of what they do you will find "Lessening our impact on the world around us." Recycling, reusing or repurposing accomplishes many things towards both lessening our impact on the world around us and saving money at the same time.
Here are some of our repurposed items we have made (and how we made them) along with some that I found to be quite interesting and would like to try someday.
Goat feeders from an old baby crib
Goat feeders from barrels
Kid (the Goat kind) sweaters from old human sweaters
Mittens From an old sweater
Thermal Curtains from old blankets and sheets
Rabbit Cages from a discarded wooden display rack
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I used sheets and blankets purchased VERY inexpensively at the thrift stores to make these. This can also be used to repurpose frayed, holey, stained or threadbare sheets and blankets. (PICTURES COMING SOON)
NOTE: There are a multitude of ways you can then hang your curtain. I decided I would just put nails into the fabric and nailed it right up. But remember I have log walls!! I think you could very easily make loops in a way similar to the way the tiebacks were made. But instead of placing your strips (which could be made much shorter than the tiebacks) with the fold at the top, put the fold facing "down". Perhaps one loop every 4-6" would suffice? I might have to try that myself. I have seen some tutorials have shade draws, but I'm just not that creative or talented so went as simple as possible.
We found this metal baby crib at the thrift store. All four sides (but NOT the bottom which had "dangerous" size holes) make great feeders. We used a type of conduit clamp on the bottom and used wire (2x4 hole size garden fence) cut to size to keep hay falling out the sides. A wire attached to the top rail and then to the mounting surface (i.e. the wall) hold the feeder at the angle that works best for us. It also helps to reduce waste if you use the same 2x4 garden fencing to line the inside of the feeder.
Scroll through....we made a few attempts here.
This was our first attempt making a keyhole barrel feeder. We have horned goats so I thought using a 55 gallon barrel would work the best (besides it was what we had on hand!) We still have this feeder mounted and in use in the barn, well at the time of this posting anyway. It works well but there is still waste since we made the hole quite large. I tend to hyper alert to "possible" injuries when it comes to the goats.
Second attempt at goat feeders made from barrels. These were actually my 2013 birthday present from my wonderful husband. This time we used a 30 gallon barrel. I like these much better since I don't fill them up to the top anyway, the 55 gallon barrels just seem to waste a bit more space.
And attempt three....... I used cut down 2x4 fencing. This size fencing does seem to be a common theme when it comes to our goat feeders and this size works well to help reduce hay waste. There are actually three cut-out openings in the barrel. I cut down a piece of fencing to size and then drilled tiny holes to allow me to run scrap pieces of electric fence wire through them and then twisted the two ends of this piece of wire on the inside of the barrel to hold on the fencing. (Picture tying off the back and front of a quilt together with the little snipets of yarn.) So far this is my favorite. I think we will be adding wire to all the keyhole feeders as well. It is harder to reach in this feeder though and clean out the debris they won't eat, but I'll find a way to make it easy soon I'm sure!
Attempt four......We really like the size of these white barrels along with their sturdiness and how inexpensive they are. Our next attempt just l entails putting nose size holes in the barrel itself. Imagine: large round laundry basket?
We added to "attempt four" and made it even better. (We will be offering the style pictured below for sale)
I had a chance to get a rose display rack from our local Tractor Supply. I had hoped to put my current wire rabbit cages ON the shelves which would allow me to put them in a sheltered area outside during the hotter summer months. Well when I started to put a cage on it (which barely fit) I realized there would be no place for trays. So that idea was out. I then realized I coud make the entire rack INTO cages. This is what we ended up with.
We used scrap plywood and in the little nesting area there are leftover ceramic tiles for them to "rest" on. I did buy some of the wire and hardware (hinges, hooks and staples) but many of the boards we used were scraps.
Sometimes I find it necessary to put a warm dry sweater on a few of our newborn goats. What I have found to be the best is the sleeves from wool or wool blend sweaters. I have also seen people use sweatshirts the same way. They would probably fray less, but I like to wicking and warmth properties of wool personally. Wool or high content wool sweaters are becoming harder and harder to find at the thrift stores unfortunately. With the "left-over" sweater you can make a set of mittens!!