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
Growing your own Ginger and Turmeric is actually quite easy. We’ve been growing and replanting “child” sprouts from our ONE original Ginger root for about 5 years now and this year decided to give Turmeric a try. Ginger and Turmeric have such a wide array of uses, both medicinal and culinary, we felt like they were something we didn’t want to have to do without or depend on the grocery store for. It’s so easy that I’ve just laid out the quick and dirty for you below, nothing fancy. There are probably a billion other methods, but this is the way we do it, and with very good success. Read More
One of the main staples of our diet is eggs from the chickens on our farm. In addition to food in the form of eggs and meat, the chickens provide an odd relaxing sensation with their soft sounds of clucking and scratching. We enjoy every aspect of having them… well almost every aspect as evidenced by the sign on our front door that reads “Check Your Shoe For Chicken Poo”. Then there’s the Read More
At the request of one of my readers, here is a quick run down on Beets, starting with ones fresh from the garden or farmer’s market. It just so happens that I took pictures a few weeks ago as I canned some of ours, but like so many other things I put off writing about it. 🙂 You can also use store bought canned beets for pickling and I’ll give proportions and a recipe for that method along with the fresh, toward the bottom of this post. Beets are high in potassium and are a natural source of Iron, Magnesium and Vitamin C. Generally, people who like beets really, really like them and the ones that don’t, hate them with a passion. There never seems to be any in between. To me, they have a wonderful earthy flavor and I could eat them with every meal. They’re super for aiding digestion and stimulating the liver’s detoxification process. That said, … let’s see, how do I put this tactfully? If you eat a plateful every day for several days in a row, don’t be surprised if Read More
This time of year is filled with spring buds, sprouting tree leaves and the reemergence of bountiful wild edibles. One of my favorites that isn’t necessarily “wild” is Daylily greens. I tend to include them in the wild edibles category simply because once they’re planted, they take care of themselves and produce, produce, produce. Daylily is an easy one to put into the favorites category because it provides an edible part during just about every season. You can eat the Read More
Turning hardwood ashes into homemade lye for soap or stripping animal hides is really easy and is just as effective as the commercially produced product. There is a difference in the two; homemade lye is Potassium Hydroxide (KOH) while commercial lye is Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) and you’ll need to keep that in mind if you are converting a soap recipe or making up a new one. Potassium Hydroxide, homemade lye, typically makes Read More
I LOVE Zinnias. My love affair with them goes back much further than just planting them here on our land. We always had Zinnias. My parents had Zinnias, my grandparents had Zinnias and as far as I know, their parents had Zinnias. We welcomed the time of year that we could start them and enjoy their beauty all summer and into late fall. Needless to say, my parents and grandparents saved Zinnia seeds from year to year (that’s just what you did back then) so several years ago when I planted the first Zinnias at our new homestead, I started saving the seeds. Seed saving has many benefits ranging from the $1.50 you’ll save every year, haha, to the more important fact that, over time, plants adapt to local conditions. Please check out http://www.mnn.com/your-home/organic-farming-gardening/stories/save-seeds-to-save-money-and-improve-your-garden for the whole story behind how plant generations adapt and optimize to soil over time. I’d do far worse trying to describe the biology behind this, they say it much better.
The last of the Zinnias for this year:
To save Zinnia seed (or other flower seed) I usually leave the spent flowers on the stems until they are dry, or pretty close to it. You will get much better flower production during the season if you immediately clip spent flowers, but I go somewhere in between to get the best of both. Once clipped, I store them for another month or two in a brown paper bag and then shake to loosen the seeds and other plant matter. The “other plant matter” in that mix are petal and leaf bits that I view as a helpful spreader when planting next year. Instead of systematically placing seeds, I can sprinkle the whole mix in the bed I want planted and feel reasonably certain they are well spaced because of the “other matter”. This is similar to what people do with very tiny seeds like carrot or celery. Below is the pic of packaged ones and partially dried ones, in a pretty keeper basin, that I’ve clipped but haven’t gotten around to yet. If you are saving during summer months, an excellent and quick way to dry them is to put them in a brown paper bag and leave them in a car that is sitting in the sun. This will do the trick in just an afternoon. However, when cool weather hits, it’s better to just bring them inside and wait for them to dry the slow way.