How to make a clothes pin bag

Quick & Easy Old Fashioned Clothes Pin Bag

If there’s any “luxury” in hanging clothes out to dry on the line, it’s got to be having something to make your clothes pins easily accessible as you work.  Bags for your clothes pins used to be pretty common and my grandmother had one that I always thought was easily one of the best creations ever.  (my mother and I clipped the clothes pins to the bottom of our shirt in a little line so you can see why I coveted the bag idea)  As an adult, I’ve made a couple of these bags for my own pins Read More

How to tell the sex of a rabbit, how to tell the gender of a rabbit

How To Determine The Gender Of A Rabbit And Why We Free-Range Ours

In this video we demonstrate how to determine the gender of a rabbit, commonly referred to as “sexing”. I also give a brief description of how and why we free range our colony.   If you want to skip ahead and view only how to sex the animal, that portion of the video begins at minute 6:03.  Please pardon our homemade video, my 7 year old videographer is still honing his skills.  I think he  did quite well, all things considered! 🙂



redbud edible uses

Redbud Blossom Tea Sandwiches

The beautiful Eastern Redbud, or Cercis canadensis, blooms in our region as one of the first flowering shrubs of spring.  It always blooms just before the Dogwood tree and is often referred to as the “Judas Tree”.  Some say the nickname was given because Judas was quick to lead the arrest of Jesus, thus the Redbud, or Judas Tree, blooms quickly before the Dogwood does.  Others say it is because Judas hung himself from a Redbud tree out of dismay at betraying his friend.  Later God dwarfed both trees, the Redbud and the Dogwood, so that their branches Read More

Learn to sew

Sewing 101 – Handy Sewing Tricks

Both my Mother and two Grandmothers were extraordinary seamstresses.  They sewed new clothes with or without patterns, reconstructed all varieties of used clothing to fit like it was tailor made and mended holes and seams on favorite stuffed toys and hand-me-down clothes.  Sadly, all three of them are gone now and with them went a wealth of knowledge.  It happens for not just this, but in so many other areas of life.  I was lucky enough to be Read More

how to make a vinegar mother

Make Your Own Vinegar “Mother”

As our website name eludes to, we work hard toward putting ourselves in a position where we are completely self sufficient. For regular readers of this site, I know you all have heard me say that a billion times already.  I’m sorry about that! 🙂 Anyway, of our self sufficiency efforts, fruit trees are a valuable (and enjoyable) piece because they provide food, medicine (peach tree leaves can be used as mild histamine blocker) and a source for making cider and vinegar that have a whole other separate list of uses.

Making vinegar is not very hard, as a jar of raw apple cider will eventually turn on its own, but it takes considerable time.  A “Mother” makes it much more expedient and once you have one in your possession, so to speak, you step into a new level of self sufficiency.  Several years ago we made Read More

9 Forgotten Hacks That Grandma Used

One of the things I’ve learned from starting this site is that there are way more people out there than I expected that still appreciate and practice the old way of living.  It’s been wonderful finding like minds and seeing the comradery among readers with similar interests.   Collectively, we’ve got all kinds of old timey life hacks that were handed down through our families.  Below is a list of 9 from my family that I think are worthy of sharing, some are probably common and some maybe are not.  There’s no way to know until they’re shared with others.  What are some of your old family hacks?  We’d love to know! Read More

how to make wood ash lye soap

Make Your Own Wood Ash Lye Soap

Almost two years have gone by since I originally set out to document our process of making soap from wood ash lye.  I’m not always sure where the time goes and I often don’t have anything tangible to show for it.  We burn wood as our only heating source in the living area of our house, so turning the buckets-full of ashes into something useful just makes sense.  Previously I shared how we make wood ash lye water for soap making and stripping fur from animal hides and finally I have our soap making process picture documented. Read More

pine pitch drawing salve

Pine Resin Drawing Salve

In the winter months there is nothing quite like the smell of conifers.  As the light of spring and summer shifts to the darker, dormant months, so does our need to focus on these fragrant and readily available resources.  The evergreen nature of conifers gives us a bounty of medicine in their greenery, bark and even their inner resin.  Some refer to this as “sap” but technically pitch and resin are the two correct descriptors.  Needles of several pine varieties make a tasty tea that is high in vitamin C and is useful as an immune system booster and cold fighter, but the inner resin, or pitch, is the real wonder medicine of the conifer.  One our favorite uses for the resin is as a salve.  This salve has a warming, stimulating/moving action that does wonders for drawing out splinters and it’s warming, stimulating nature makes it a sought after Read More

Acorn cap whistles, fall crafts

Acorn Cap Whistles – Fun Nature Activity

Everyone loves a fun kid’s activity, especially one that you can participate in and that sparks a child’s appreciation for simple pleasures.  We live in an area with gigantic chestnut oak trees and for us, these trees, a member of the white oak family, provide us with a variety of assets.  We use the shade provided by their leaves in the spring and summertime to help keep our passive-solar home cool, their acorns in the fall to process into flour for food and their wood in the wintertime to heat our home with our woodstove.  A couple of years ago, a friend of ours, Bart Miller, added another use by showing us how to whistle by blowing into the empty acorn caps.   It’s really easy, but in addition to a written description how to do it, we’ve made a quick, very awful, video.  🙂 Read More

Make A Coon Skin Hat – Easy, Start To Finish Instructions

Making a coon skin cap is not as difficult a project as it would seem and here we have it broken down step by step, starting with the animal to be skinned and ending with a finished cap.   You can even skip down to step #10 and use the pattern instructions if you choose to make a faux coon skin cap with “fur” from the fabric store.  Our skin came from a raccoon that had been hit by a car just down from our house.  He was really fresh for lack of a better term, so I stopped and picked him up to make use of his pelt.  We respect and make use of all the resources out here so this was a good way to turn the raccoons unfortunate encounter into something appreciated instead of letting his life be taken only to lay in waste. The rest of his remains were returned to the woods to feed his natural predators that live in our area.  For this project, I decided to go the easy route and use a store-bought tanning product instead of brain tanning.   Obviously store bought tanning solutions are super easy in comparison.  Here we go: Read More