Posted in Homestead

This is Why We Homestead (and how we will prep better this year)

Five pounds of smoky, rich local coffee beans are a comfort to have. We still have 3/4 of a fifty pound bag of organic, unbleached flour. We have lots of wheat gluten and jars upon jars of pulses, like barley, rice, and pinto beans. Did we know that there would be a worldwide pandemic? Yes and no. We knew there would be something, and it is just a smart way to live. To be prepared. It is as comforting as a big cup of hot coffee on a cool spring morning.

We homestead for many reasons. Everyone knows that the power can go out at any time. Job losses and lay offs happen. Natural disasters happen. People get sick. But we don’t just homestead for disaster preparedness; there are other reasons too.

We homestead to save money. A five pound bag of organic coffee is $60, recently roasted locally and the beans are sourced sustainably and fair trade. A fifty pound bag of flour is about fifty bucks. That is a stellar price for organic, unbleached flour. Organic is very important to us and we would like items that we can’t produce ourselves to be fairly and sustainably grown and sold.

We also save money by preserving our own food. I save scraps from vegetables, the ends of onions, carrots, celery, leeks, mushrooms, veggies that are just turning, and make them into savory jars of broth. I make fourteen jars at a time for free, basically. I guess the lids cost a couple of bucks. A quart of organic vegetable broth in the store is a minimum of five dollars. I have jars of broth at the ready for cheaper than a Walmart special.

By having pulses and foods on hand, we eat out a lot less because we have food here. It is all displayed in beautiful canning jars and is easy to see and be inspired by.

We homestead for better food. By growing our own food, we control what is used to produce it, how it is handled, when it is harvested, and its freshness. And to have food. I suppose a lot of y’all are going to have a garden this year after seeing so many empty grocery store shelves! We have fresh eggs (we are vegan outside of that), plenty of grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and vegetables canned and frozen.

We have candles, lamp fuel, water in jugs, cleaning products, a bag of homemade soap, and craft projects for days. But here is what I have learned from this quarantine.

We need to save more money. Well, we need to save money period. All our bills are paid and we have everything we need but in these situations, an emergency fund would be more of a comfort than a cup of coffee.

We need to preserve more food. Last year we moved before harvest time. The year before I started a shop that promptly closed, but took up all my time during harvest season. Luckily I had canned a lot before that, but geez, no more slacking! I usually put up a couple hundred jars of food a year. This year I have a lofty goal of over five hundred jars of food and several gallon bags of frozen vegetables. I am also growing and/or buying a lot of things to dry and dehydrate.

We need to figure out how to save more water. We will look into rain barrels and ways to save drinking water this year in case of emergency. Right now, with our animals, we have maybe two day’s worth saved. Not enough!

Homesteading is an adventure. One can do it from anywhere. Joining a community garden, buying produce from a farmer’s market, canning in an apartment, saving jugs of water under the bed, learning to sew, getting a few oil lamps, buying second hand; the ways are endless. We gradually improve our ways of homesteading by experience. This year will be our most ambitious farm yet and this quarantined time has showed us what we need to focus on. I hope something good will come out of this time for all of you out there. How are you homesteading? What skills will you learn this year?

Posted in Homestead

The Right to Homestead (and the ability to stop panicking)

In my mind, especially after watching the absolute chaos of this week unfold, I feel like old fashioned principals and homesteading practices have never been more important to incorporate into one’s life. Then one might not be so apt to wipe out the shelves of Walmart hoarding toilet paper over a cold that Oregon Grape Root and Elderberry can get rid of. This is a homesteading blog, so instead of being quiet (as I have been this last week and am in every day life so I don’t offend my friends who I love), I will write.

Image from internet

I want you to note what has happened this week. We as a society have placed all of our trust into a money driven medical system and have disregarded the use of plant medicines. A new virus will actually be more easily fought with western herbs because it hasn’t had a chance to adapt to anything. One of the primary goals of homesteading is to be self reliant. By having a good grasp on herbal knowledge, you will be better prepared for anything. I have half a gallon of antibiotic, a gallon of cold medicine, and several pints of lung specific herbs at the ready. I am not worried in the least. Plus I believe this virus has been going around for months; we just haven’t recognized it because it has the exact same symptoms as a regular cold!

I also want you to note the immense power that media has. The media has the ability to cause mass panic, chaos, every-man-for-themself terror. If you had no knowledge of this virus, you would just think you had a cold (which you would) and you would treat it with your herbs and get better and that is that. See how easily everyone is being manipulated? It is disconcerting.

Just some of our medicines.

Homesteading principals also lead us to being prepared. Not only for a cold outbreak, but for a natural disaster, or if the power or water was interrupted. It is really easy to have food, water, toilet paper, batteries, a flash light, and blankets on hand. This should be a no-brainer. Homesteading takes it further by saving money by growing our own food, canning and preserving our own food, having plenty of herbal remedies, food, water, and firewood on hand. When we empty a glass jar, we fill it with water and put it in the crawl space. We put money into getting a wood stove and have another cord of wood to heat the house and cook by if needed. We have oil lamps and candles. There is no panic here. (There is nothing to panic over anyway, but we aren’t panicking all the same.)

I also want you to note that this is an election year. Did you know that a mega-virus hits every election year? Isn’t that interesting? Homesteading principals also rally for our freedom. Freedom to treat ourselves. To not be forced to go to the doctor, have poisonous vaccinations, and to pay for everyone else’s medical bills through our own hard earned work. To not be forced to send our kids to public school. To have the freedom to teach our own. To teach our kids what we value and what history really looked like. To teach them skills that are actually necessary in life. Our taxes are really high and they go to fund abortions (don’t say the money goes to screenings, there is no separate fund), slaughterhouses, big AG, big Pharma, big Oil. To raise our taxes even higher…don’t get me started. If you value your rights and freedom at all, vote Republican. Seriously. I stay quiet when all my democrat friends go on and on about a president who tells it like it is but hasn’t done anything that prior administrations haven’t done (just more quietly) and have helped more Americans lead better lives. Folks, the Constitution is important. My rights, your rights, the rights of my daughter who homeschools and treats her children with natural remedies is important. The rights of my friends who have guns for protection is important. The right to work hard and actually keep what you made by working hard is important! Why would you want to take away rights?

So new mindset, let us teach and inspire everyone to grow their own food. What a difference a garden in everyone’s yard would make. Teach and inspire everyone to grow their own medicines. Teach people to have toilet paper on hand before panic hits. Teach people to utilize the library system and educate themselves always. My blog is intended to put the power of self reliance in the reader’s hands. I hope you see how a virus with a very low fatality rate can caused so much disorder around us. How we have let media cause us to panic and fear. Now let’s get our shit together and start leading with love, kindness, and generosity instead of fear, hoarding, and anxiety.

That is why we homestead. Preparation. Confidence in our own abilities. The option to laugh at the media. The ability to help others as needed. Let’s get our wits back and do a raid on library books and craft supplies instead. We are all going to be okay.

Posted in Homestead

Emergency Preparedness with Apple Juice Jugs (storing water)

Two dilemmas solved.

jug

This is the time of year for jugs of apple cider and apple juice.  I love apple juice and cider, but those glorious glass jugs in the recycling bin seem such a waste.  I will save a few for wine making next year but there will still be empty glass jugs.  Other glass containers make their way to the recycling bin too that could be reused for something.

There are a lot of natural disasters, big and small, when water is not available.  There could be issues with the water company; main breaks or other problems.  If you go and turn on the water and nothing comes out, well, you are going to panic.  That means no coffee, y’all, and that’s a real problem.  We want to be prepared for disasters.  We have lots of food put up, now we need water.

water

Now, I tend to think big or nothing which keeps me from doing anything.  I don’t have large barrels of water nor a well with a hand pump, but I do have glass jars.  I have half gallon Ball jars, I have gallon apple juice jugs, and I have other glass containers that pass through the kitchen.  If I just fill those cleaned containers with water I will have emergency water started.

Sources say we ought to put up a gallon of water per day per person to last three to fourteen days.  Just in case.  Most of the sources I have read say to put bleach in the water.  Gross.  I have no desire to add bleach to my water.  There is already chlorine in the tap water so you can store that and it will keep bacteria out and you won’t have to think about it!  (Ignorance is bliss.)  Make sure you start with real clean jars.  Water your trees with the water and refill every six months or so.

Having some emergency water stored will give you a little more peace of mind.  That is the whole point of homesteading, even urban homesteading, peace of mind.