how to tell if canned food is bad

Home Canning – Signs of Spoiled Food

Read this and others like it on this week’s Homestead Blog Hop  at SimpleLifeMom.com

Home canning has really made a comeback and if you do a lot of it, chances are you’ll run into the situation at least once, where you question the edibility of something you’ve just pulled out of the pantry.  Whether it’s because it didn’t seal correctly to begin with, or that it came unsealed while in storage, if you know what to look (and smell) for it makes decision making easier.  I tend to err on the side of caution if I find myself questioning a jar of something that I’ve canned, but most of the time the signs your canned food has gone bad are pretty obvious.  The one exception Read More

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how to can homemade tea

Canning Iced Tea – An Old Fashioned Trick For Making Homemade Tea “Instant”

Browse similar articles on this week’s Homestead Blog Hop hosted by Simplelifemom.com!

Recently someone from a canning group I’m in shared their “Instant” Iced Tea method.  It’s basically making a concentrate that is canned in pint portions so that it keeps in your pantry like a jar of the instant granules do.   Then, when you need to make a pitcher of tea in a hurry, you just add water.  For me, there are plenty of times a pitcher of tea winds up being a picnic afterthought for one reason or another and this is a fantastic way to make it easy to grab a jar of concentrate, add water, and instantly have good, homemade sweet tea.  The recipe below will produce enough concentrate to Read More

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Making The Switch – Electric to Wood Cooking

Click here to see this article and others like it on the Homestead Blog Hop!

We caught a lot of flack online when I shared the first picture of our “new” wood cook stove that took the place of our electric range.  So much so that I started deleting the followers that left comments like “Bad installation”; “I hope their house burns down”; “No help for dumb rednecks” and my favorite; “There’s one bunch of hillbillies we’ll be rid of when *there* house burns to the ground with them in it”.  I had to laugh out loud… it’s probably a good idea to check your spelling if you’re going to put something like that out there.  It’s ok to have an opinion, and I’m ok with someone expressing it, but I just can’t grasp being hateful about it.  For the sometimes mean spirited flaw the internet has, the up side is that it allowed us to do extensive research for our stove installation and have access to a cache of information that would’ve been impossible just 10 or 15 years ago.  Also thanks to the internet and Craigslist, the stove we ultimately chose just happened to get listed in a town about 3 hours from where we live.  We got on Google to find specs for it before making the commitment for such a long trip and turned every dimension inside and out.  Ultimately we arranged to go look at it and decided that it was indeed  the right one.   All in all, we took almost 3 years doing our research and making our decision.  The driving force is our desire to get off grid.  Not just off grid with solar panels, but off grid without Read More

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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! 🙂

 

 

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Predator Safe Homemade Poultry Cages

Predator proof cage pen

These wire cages are really easy to make and completely enclose poultry or small livestock that you want to keep safe from predators.  A smaller version filled with chicken supplies also makes a great gift for a fellow chicken lover or someone who is just getting started.  We usually let our hens sit and hatch out chicks this time of year, but every few years we purchase a few from the feed store to re-fresh our flock.  When we do that though, the chicks don’t have a mother hen to help keep them safe.  The threat source can range from our own grown hens and roosters to foxes, coyotes and even our own gigantic dog who is just curious and wants to move them back to wherever she thinks they “should” be.  To remedy this, we enclose them in fully enclosed cages like this one that is portable and even sometimes small make-shift areas that we put up and take down as needed.  By far, these portable ones are much easier. Read More

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