The Medicine Person’s Guide to Herbalism (my newly released book!)

My first herbal remedy book was released over five years ago when I closed my first apothecary to become a full time farmer (three months later we opened a new apothecary!). Homesteader’s Pharmacy has been my best seller ever since. I am grateful that I have been able to share my knowledge and the many recipes I have developed over the years as a Master Herbalist. I am grateful because I have been able to write and homestead and there are folks out there that support my work by reading my books. Wado, Tapadh leat, Thank you.

The funny thing about being a writer is, one cannot just sit down and write a book. It just comes. As if I am not writing the book at all. My cousin calls it the Writing Witch. Once it hits, the dishes don’t get done, the house goes to the wayside, and the writer is consumed with words, writing as fast as they can before the precious prose vanishes. Well, around here, the dishes weren’t getting done.

My new book has just been released and I am so excited to share it. It follows up Homesteader’s Pharmacy with over fifty new recipes and new ways to create and brew medicines with detailed instructions. This book goes a step further and teaches many things that I have learned from studying with medicine people, and my experiences as a medicine woman.

The Medicine Person’s Guide to Herbalism; Healing with Plant Medicines, Stones, Animal Spirits, and Ceremony draws from my own work. It is important to have a knowledge base of plant medicine. It is essential on a homestead, in my opinion. Most folks also understand, however, that there are many ailments that manifest as physical, but are often emotional, stemmed from trauma, or are purely spiritual in nature. This book covers different ways to blend modalities in order to achieve true healing. I am honored to share it with you now!

To celebrate the release of my new book, my other books have been newly edited and have lower prices. I hope you enjoy my books and thank you for allowing me to teach, write, and follow my calling!

Click HERE to order your copy of my new book today!

You can see all of my books at AuthorKatieSanders.com

How to Make Dandelion Wine (and any other you can think of!)

“Honey, you want to harvest these dandelions before I mow?” my husband called out.  Why, I didn’t even know the dandelions were here yet, and there they were in lovely carpets of gold; their lion manes of spring feeding the bees and dotting the yard with color.  I love dandelions.

Using my thumbnail, I simply pop off the tops of the flowers.  Like a little bee myself, I flit from flower to flower.  I filled a quart jar and a half and still left some in the garden beds for the honey gatherers.  The next thing you want to do is to pour the golden flowers into a paper bag and leave it on the porch on its side.  This allows the stragglers to escape.  No one wants ant wine.

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Wine is, in its essence, fermented sweet tea or juice with yeast that feeds off the sugars turning it into a delightful and medicinal drink.

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Bring flowers, one peeled orange, and 16 cups (1 gallon) of water to boil.  Turn off heat and cover with lid and let sit for 15 minutes.

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Strain into a gallon container used for wine making.  Leave a few inches headspace. You will have some tea left over.  Add 4 cups of sugar (I prefer organic, unbleached, raw sugar) and 2 cups of brown sugar (molasses is what makes it brown).  Stir to dissolve.

Dandelions taste particularly good with orange and caramel notes.  I like to add orange extract and butterscotch extracts when making dandelion jelly.  In this case, we are using fresh orange and brown sugar to create those notes.

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Let cool to 90 degrees then add 1/4 teaspoon of white wine yeast.  Stir.  Replace lid and carboy.  Pour a smidge of vodka into carboy to specified lines.  Let sit in a cool corner and bubble away.  It will bubble (the yeast is eating the sugar) for 10 days to 3 weeks depending on what kind of wine you are making.

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When the bubbling stops then it is time to siphon the wine (all but the bottom 1/2 inch of sediment) into super clean bottles.  Place in root cellar for 6 months to a year or more.

You can use any fruit or herb to make wine.  If there is enough juice and sugars in the fruit (like in grapes) then you just add yeast to the juice.  Most things will be made into a strong tea like the above recipe as well as my chokecherry wine and rosehip/lavender mead.  Have fun and experiment.  Use 4-8 cups of sugar.  Use 1/4 or 1/5 of a teaspoon of wine yeast, red or white.

My chokecherry wine was pretty dang strong after a year, but after two years, lord it was smooth, and I highly wished that I hadn’t given away all of the bottles!

Become a Certified Herbalist with my Online Course

Do you have the same love for herbs as I do?  Do you imagine an apothecary within your home filled with jars of beautiful dried herbs that you grew yourself and vats of brewing medicines to heal anything and everything?  Do you wish to know how to heal?  Do you imagine your own apothecary on the main street?  Greeting customers with a cup of tea and a smile and a ready cure for their dog’s arthritis or maybe their own lingering cough?  If you are tired of doling out money to others for things that you can heal yourself, maybe it is time to consider becoming a certified herbalist!

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I have been an herbalist for a long time.  I have seen nearly every ailment you can think of.  I have successfully helped heal thousands of people and animals.  I grow dozens and dozens of medicinal herbs and can identify many more.  I know Native American herbs like the back of my hand.  It is a part of my very heart.

I remember the fear of holding my newborn son, his fever raging, his lungs tired from screaming.  I remember not knowing what to do.  I remember.

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I don’t want any mother (or father) or farmgirl to not know what to do when your chicken sneezes, or your horse colics, or your baby has a fever.  Knowing how to work with herbs takes away so much fear in life.  So much worry is dispelled with knowledge.  I am not talking about essential oils here, I am talking about the whole herbs and what to do with them.  The plants are our medicine.  Let me teach you.

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My online certified herbalism study course is back and better than ever.  I have purposely set my price considerably lower than any other school because this is knowledge that is so very important.  $250 includes your text book, my recipe book, and ongoing study with me.  Take all the time you need.  We will keep in touch through email.  You can call or text me if you have questions.  Even after you complete the course.  Now is the time.  Spring is a great time to embark on a new hobby, career, lifestyle.

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Email me to register.  Katie@Pumpkinhollowfarm.net

The Spiritual Tea Garden (and letting go)

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The community came together and helped save our shop.  An interest free loan from a customer helped smooth out stress.  The beautiful shop in Elizabeth will remain nurtured and cared for as Shyanne’s.  I am trying to release the need to control and know every outcome.  Maybe we will make it until the lease is up, maybe for many years to come, I must release what I cannot see.  For now, it is a lovely testament to a community who came together and helped us remain open.

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I am not sure when it began but what started as divine inspiration turned into stalking the bottom line.  Ideas became web domains and joy became stress.  I am trying to quiet my mind and listen and not plan out every detail of my next chapter.  I am letting it fall together in pieces of timely thoughts and guiding purpose.  I am not rushing to choose a name.  I am not getting the website. I am not plotting every detail as I have in the past.  The idea of jumping back into a full blown business defeats me at present.  Farmer’s markets, shows, promotion, packaging…it all exhausts me to think of it.  I want to serve and to be more generous.  I want to extend my wisdom and my heart to those around me and that gets lost when I am trying to reach a financial goal.  I don’t want a business, I want a purpose.

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Three years ago sitting in the prairie grasses beneath ancient cottonwoods with five owls perched around me, the names of herbs popped in my head that I had not heard of and I jotted them down.  I researched them and was astonished to learn their spiritual uses and properties.  My love affair with herbs as spiritual medicine ignited.

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As I worked with Native American elders I learned the uses of cedar, sage, tobacco, sweetgrass, lobelia, and others to help purify and bless spaces and people.  I found that I innately knew what herbs healed what spiritually.

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I am a medical intuitive and I see physical illnesses like tumors and breaks but I also see spiritual wounds and heartbreak.  The herbs that are used to heal physical ailments also work on the same system of the body for spiritual health.  Heartbreak, rejection, trauma, dementia, stress can all be healed by herbs, as well as manifesting love, clarity, inspiration, grounding, or connection with the divine to increase joy and purpose in every day.  I am fascinated by the medicinal and soul empowering aspect of herbs.

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I am listening.  I am not moving quickly.  I have a dream of many gardens filled with herbs and flowers.  I grew dozens of varieties last year and this year I hope to double that.  I had a feeling that I should purchase some organic base teas to blend with my spirit teas.  Organic Assam, Yerba Mate, Rooibos, smoky Lapsang Souchong, along with the Jasmine I grow will act as carriers for my herbal blends.  There is sacredness in tea.

I had a dream last night of raised garden beds of herbs with fairy lights around them.  I hadn’t thought of that. I always put the herbs along fence lines or along the house.  To designate space for specific herbs is a beautiful idea.

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The universe is my marketing director and those that need me will find me.  I can give back and heal and be generous and trust.  I stay quiet and listen to the plant spirits.  There is nothing to do right now but learn and be grateful.  And maybe have a cup of tea.

How to Respectfully Wildcraft (and the enchantment of medicinal plants)

 

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It is wild crafting time.  We have a very short growing season here and a year’s worth of herbs to gather in a short time, sustainably, and respectfully.

I love wild crafting.  I am in my element when outdoors.  Even now, I am on my balcony surrounded by plants.  I am outside every moment I can and being around plants is even better.  I gather wherever I go, friends’ houses, great aunt’s house, sides of barely trodden roads.  (Never in polluted areas and never on private property without permission.)

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There is a special way to properly wild craft.  When I was younger I foolishly thought that you could just gather what was in the yard and put them in alcohol and make a medicine.  There is so much more to that including the plants choosing to help you, full moon cycles, various transports, and intuition.  Wild crafting requires patience, quiet, and listening.

One must approach the plant humbly.  Ask permission of the plant spirits.  If a twig or leaf or root or flower will not come off easily it is saying no.  You can also see parts of the plants moving.  That is where they are agreeing to be taken.  It is really quite enchanting and I am afraid that we have been lost in our modern world and have forgotten these things.  We do not take roots if we do not need to.  The Oregon Grape Root, dalonigei, has a large underground network of roots and will be alright if one harvests the roots.  Echinacea, sochani, is not so easy or prolific and the leaves and flowers contain as much of the medicine within them as the root.  Always leave tobacco to thank the plant spirits.

Only take a third.  A third each for nature, for regrowth, and for your medicine.  It should look as if the area has been undisturbed.  No one should notice that you have wild crafted there.  Having gratitude for the plants and the availability of the medicines is important and humbly taking only what you need is to be remembered.

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There are few true medicine keepers today and it is imperative for the average herbalist (and large herb companies) to understand the importance of maintaining a respectful and ceremonial way of gathering in order to get the plants’ help in making medicines as well as keeping the energy of the medicine.

These things really cannot be adequately explained in print but it should be noted so that we can take care of our natural medicines (including dandelions!) and Mother Earth, Etsia Eloheno.

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Today I was blessed to gather sumac, spruce, cedar, mullein, calendula, Echinacea, and Oregon grape root from Aunt Donna’s.  Yesterday I gathered maple and dandelion from Rodney and Pat’s.  Tomorrow I gather roses, yucca, purslane, and lady sage.  I do love this time of year.

Farmgirl Gardening Series-Week 3 (Herbs and Roses)

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I see you!  Don’t you dare plant those tomatoes yet!  For every person in Colorado that plants their tomatoes near Mother’s Day we get a snowstorm.  Don’t jinx us all.

Now what can you plant this week?  Herbs.  Hardy ones.  Basil has to wait but most herbs are sturdy and anxious to grow making right now a fine time to stick them in the ground snuggled in straw.  The best collection of medicinal herbs that I know of is at Tagawa Gardens on Parker Road and Broncos Parkway.  That is our first stop.

The fine folks at Tagawa will not divulge what various herbs do medicinally.  Liability, they say. But armed with your herb books from the library you can make a fine wish list.  I picked up lobelia for asthma, valerian for sleep and pain, sage for hot flashes, thyme for lungs and cooking, lemon balm and mint for digestion, oregano for cooking and colds, catnip for a million things, angelica for hormones, dill for pickles, chamomile for heartburn, cilantro…yum, no explanation necessary, and roses.  I picked up chives and basil and lavender too.  And roses.  My goodness I love roses.

Back at the garden I decided where I wanted the herb garden.  I would like an arbor and small café table and chairs in front of it (as soon as I get the cash…).  The roses will frame the space.  Roses are medicinal as well.  The petals make delicious tea and are good for heartbreak and the nervous system.  I planted herb seeds as well, California poppies for nerve pain, calendula for skin conditions, and purple coneflower, better known as Echinacea, for everything from cancer to wounds.

Let’s make this easy.  Dig a hole, place rose or herb in, fill with organic garden soil, water, top with straw.  No need to till.

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I planted one tall herb, one short and spready, one tall, one short and spready, until I got to the other side where the climbing rose will magically cascade over the arbor (in one season?  Hey, why not?  A girl can dream.), my saved heirloom morning glories will be planted on the other side.

Such a surprising little corner this section will be amongst the rows of beautiful food crops.  I will have herbs to snip for making medicine and for cooking and a magnet for honey bees, butterflies, and birds.  They will pollinate the crops and bring joy to the garden.

I also planted a few bare root, just starting to leaf, roses in big pots on the porch.  The herbs that are too, too crazy, like nettles and catnip, are going in pots on the porch as well to keep them in check.

Don’t forget to water every single day unless it rains or snows.  The seeds we planted last week need to stay constantly hydrated in order to germinate.  Have fun planting this week, Friends, and we’ll see you in the garden!

Our New Home

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We rambled up the long driveway in our old truck and took in the view of the alpaca farm down the hill and the glorious eastern horizon where the sunrises will glint down upon the plants and through the numerous trees that reside on his property.

“I really feel that the sage is here to welcome you,” he said.  I was struck and honored at his words.  The sage is prolific there.  It grows rampant this year among the many Cherokee roses.  The prickly pear and the mullein are all there.  Pines so tall they can recall when the Kiowa Indians roamed these hills and called them home.

The owner of this property is well respected, a friend of mine, who works in an emotionally challenging job helping the ill and passing.  He lives in this large home alone.  He needs help here.  It is a glorious home that holds the spirits of his parents that built it.  Sparkling ceilings and medicine bags in the foundations.  The property has a retreat-like property and vortexes abound.  It is a special place. We will live here for a year.  We will help him sort and get ready to let this beautiful house go as he moves on to his next journey next autumn.

In the meantime we will have acres of medicinal herbs and trees to use and protect.  Sunrises that greet us through the walk out basement doors.  Three more cats to add to our menagerie.  One of his chickens approached me in greeting.  A wood cook stove and wood stove to help supplement heat.  A kitchen upstairs for me to make sure everyone has sustenance.  I feel quite well received here among his mother’s things and the spirit of the house and land.  I found Doug in a recliner with one of the house cats on his lap.  I think we’ll be real happy here.

It is two miles from my shop so a brisk morning walk will take place each day but that, perhaps, is a part of the hidden blessings.  Since becoming homeless and losing everything three months ago we have been swimming several times with our granddaughter and friends, to Utah, to a winery, in an airplane, sang on our son’s album, have visited, and made friends.  We have dreamed, comforted, and become fiercely grateful for everything.  We are more flexible and need less.  We will be content with a bed and two chairs before a roaring fire as the snow drops silently outside the window upon the world of peace and quiet.  Cats curled up near us.  A table.  A bookshelf.  Cups of hot coffee.  That is all.  That is all we really need anyway.  Each other and an enjoyment of this life right here and now is what we’ll thrive on.

The White Wolf Medicine Shop

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This is the view facing out from my soon-to-be shop.  I am so looking forward to it.  Our first shop opened October 15, 2010.  It was a lovely little old building from the turn of the century with crooked wooden floors and a view of Main street.  That first summer after Doug had his nervous breakdown and left his job and as we both decided to leave our house we were going to end up losing in 2009 along with a whole lot of other people out there, we were really scared.  We had three teenagers and no work.  We did eight farmers markets a week and really hustled.  That fall we were getting nervous as to how we were going to make it and it was a beautiful sight to see that building come up for rent.  I felt bad for the jeweler that was leaving just as the antique store owner felt bad for me as I was leaving but we were all happy to have that little shop!

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Now the dream begins again.  Doug has a steady job now and our children have grown.  The shop represents a central place for me.  I attempted to be a community herbalist from home but folks don’t always know where I live!  Every day the community will need to retrieve their mail from the post office, grab their cups of coffee, get their dogs groomed, pick up their healthy food, and visit the Mexican restaurant for margaritas.  In that same central location the White Wolf Medicine shop will welcome the community.

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When I was on Main street there was a shop down the street called the Karma Cottage.  The proprietor’s name was Katie, which in a small town did cause a bit of confusion.  Folks came in to my shop to sign up for palm reading classes and into hers for hormone medicine.  She moved to Florida and her shop was missed, just as mine was.  I hope to incorporate a little of both of our shops to meet the needs of the community.  I will be putting together little bags of specially blended smudging herbs that I have harvested for praying and ceremony.  I will invite a few folks in to do readings that I KNOW are not quacks.  No woohoo scams here.  I will have my friend who makes the most beautiful dream catchers and handmade Native inspired jewelry to make his work in the shop.  I would love to have a community artist wall.  I will hold my herbalist classes there.  I will customize every single medicine to the person asking for it.  We will carry Margie and Ursula’s Garden Fairy Apothecary.

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Margie had the brilliant idea for me to have available samples of various herbal tea blends.  So each week I will have a pot of tea that helps with a physical ailment or tonic, one that helps with spiritual needs, like a broken heart, and one that is just for fun, say like Chai.  We need comfy chairs and places to read so that people feel comfortable coming in for a cup of complimentary tea and a visit.

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Each herb will have its English name as well as its Cherokee name.  I want this to be a lesson for homeschoolers as well.  I dream of parents bringing their kids in and see the various plants, how they are made into medicine, let them blend their own teas, see the Cherokee language and how to pronounce the words, color a picture, or sign up for a class.  I truly want to meet the needs of the community here.  And when I say community, I mean anyone that feels the desire to come visit the store.  I have learned from this blog that my community expands pretty far!

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There is an office in back to make products.  There is everything I need.  The medicines will be done October 13th so that will be my first day open.  I will have a huge grand opening party Saturday, October 17th.

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My little shop is without furniture or money for paint or décor.  Anyone that has a bookshelf, small hutch, a dresser, a few comfy chairs, a side table, a counter, a small round table, or long folding tables, or money for paint or time to help me paint will be rewarded with a huge holiday party and dinner thrown in their honor!

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I know this will all come together beautifully.  Every door has just flown open on this venture.  I look forward to sharing a cup of tea with you!

A Summer Herb Walk (and soothing liniment recipe)

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Now is a great time to take a summer herb walk.  Your first aid herbs await.  The skies have been so bright blue and warm and the evenings chilled with rain that the plants are overflowing with medicine and vigor.

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Our first stop is at the mullein plants.  This is one of our favorite herbs.  Every few days Doug and I head out to gather the yellow flowers from the top of the stalk which easily pop out in your fingers.  These are put in a paper lunch bag with a few holes punched in it that is clearly marked Mullein.  Herbs do tend to look alike once dried!

We use the mullein flowers for a couple of different things.  They are excellent for lungs.  They are anti-viral as well as soothing to the bronchial tract and the lining of the lungs.  They are invaluable in asthma remedies and in cold medicine.

They are also a mild pain reliever, especially excellent for animals and children.

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The leaves are very soft and when put in an extract or tea form it becomes gelatinous.  This effect is called demulcent and acts like a blanket, if you will.  Once consumed it helps cover nerve endings that are misfiring for pain (so a great supporting actor in pain medicines), used to settle the stomach and help with ulcers since it creates a covering over the lining of the stomach.  Similarly, it also creates a soothing lining on the lungs when a hacking cough arises.

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The humble Christmas pine tree holds in its boughs a myriad of medicines.  It is a strong pain reliever for strains, sprains, and breaks used topically and also speeds healing.

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Yarrow=Blood.  Should one fall whilst running through the woods on a fine summer day and obtains a wound will find yarrow to be most helpful.  Simply crush the flowers in the hand and apply to the wound to stop bleeding.

Yarrow stops bleeding externally whereas it keeps blood from clotting internally making it a fine heart medicine and ally in varicose vein and other blood related extracts including blood cleansing remedies.

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Yucca abounds and is a much desired component in any pain relieving remedy for internal or external use.  Yucca root is a wonderful anti-inflammatory.

The leaves and roots can be boiled to release the saponin which is essentially soap.  Taken internally as a tea or when used in extracts the saponin cleanses the organs and acts as a tonic while decreasing inflammation and pain from arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.

A Summer  Herb Liniment (for strains, sprains, and other aches and pains externally)

Combine in a one quart canning jar a piece of pine 4-6 inches long, 3-4 inches wide.  Just shove it in there.

Add a 3 inch long chunk of yucca root

Add 2 Tablespoons of mullein flowers and two smaller mullein leaves.

Add one head of yarrow

And one cup of mint.

These herbs can be dried or fresh.

Fill jar leaving one inch head space with vodka.  Replace lid and mark jar with ingredients and date.  Place in sunny window.  Liniment will be ready in 2 weeks.  Should you come across comfrey you can add that too and the liniment will help heal breaks in record time!  I do not strain the liniment.  The stronger the better.  The shelf life is forever thanks for the vodka!  Apply with a cotton ball or flat strips of an old cotton t-shirt.  This remedy can be used for animals as well as children and adults.

 

5 Steps To Becoming a Homesteader (or just simplifying your life)

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1.Write down your goals. 

Do you want to quit your job?  Move to the country?  Have an urban farm?  Homestead on the weekends?  Live a more peaceful, mindful life? 

We have been on the path to simplicity and homesteading for about seven years now.  It started with reading books like “Animal, Vegetable, Mineral” by Barbara Kingsolver and wanting to learn to can and grow all of our own food.  I started canning (badly) and started a sad little garden in the city.  I got better!

Our goals were to leave our corporate world and busy suburban lifestyle.  When Doug had a nervous breakdown our timeline sped up.  Our goals constantly change and morph each year.  We have a pretty extreme list of homesteading goals right now.  I have no way of knowing if they will work, but I have written them down and am working towards them.  Ask and you shall receive!

  • Find a place with a small house that has a wood stove.  Wood cook stove?  Even better.  Said house should be around $850 a month.  Don’t laugh, it could happen.
  • Small house would be on a bit of land.  I need a full acre of garden.  A quarter acre at the moment provides us with 90% of our vegetables during the summer and early fall, and 80% of the medicinal herbs I use.  Another quarter acre could be the remaining herbs I need to grow, and additional fresh eating vegetables, plus a pond.  A green house and hoop houses could inhabit part of the remaining half acre and a large preservation garden (everything I need to can) and a spice garden (Lord, do I spend a lot on spices!) could round out this menagerie of growing Eden.  An orchard would be added as well and then of course we need room to walk about, have our goats, chickens, and ducks, and be able to ride our bikes to town.
  • A composting toilet and gray water systems could be in place.  We will use as little electricity as possible.
  • This will be a haven for our friends, children, grandchildren, and wildlife.

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2. Learn two skills. 

There was a vast amount of information about homesteading lost with our past generations.  We just don’t know how to do many of the basic skills and farmstead chores anymore.  Find a mentor or a class or a great book and make a goal to learn two things.  Two things a month, or two things a year, whatever works for you.   

A few years ago on this homestead I wanted chickens and to preserve almost all of our food for winter.  The next year I wanted goats and alpacas and to learn to spin.  I learned to spin, didn’t like it, didn’t care for the alpacas, gave away the alpacas, fell in love with goats, got more chickens, and canned over 500 items.  Homesteading is constant rearranging of goals.  This year we got bees and ducks and started growing almost all of our medicinal herbs.  We dug up the driveway to make more space to garden.  Last year we dug up the front and side yards.  Last year I learned to make soft cheese, this year hard cheese.  Doug has learned fencing methods and how to milk a goat.

We have learned what we enjoy, what we don’t, what’s a waste of time, what’s imperative to our homesteading journey.  Learning everything at once is not possible and would be overwhelming.  Just pick two skills.  What do you want to learn?

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3. Get Money Savvy    

Rethink your finances.  Get out of debt.  Stay out of debt.  But don’t wait for pristine credit before you make the jump.

Our BIGGEST mistake that will continue to haunt us for years to come was getting into debt.  We had fourteen credit cards, owned our house (or the bank did), had two car payments and had amazing, perfect credit.  Ironic, isn’t it?  We took the Dave Ramsey program at our church six years ago and it changed our lives.  We paid off and cut up all of our credit cards.  We do not have any still.  We paid off a lot of debt.  We then lost our house and one of our cars in the crash and our credit went to crap.  Which didn’t matter at the time because we were content renting for half the price of our house in Parker.  We have everything we need but there is the little matter of $50 grand from the second mortgage that still says it is an open account and $25,000 for the student loans we still owe.  There should be a money back guarantee.  If you don’t use your degree you should get a refund.  I do not see, with the interest rates the way they are, how we would ever in this lifetime pay these off.  If you are in debt, get out.  If you are not, do not venture into that pitfall.

Save a hundred dollars a month.  Pay yourself first.  Put it in a coffee can or the bank.

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4.  Simplify.  REALLY Simplify!

Every hour you work is money spent on something.  How many hours do you have to work to make enough to pay for the car?  Gas?  The house?  Cable?  Cell phones?  Restaurants?  Is it worth it?  What do you need?  How much time would you like?

It goes against every grain of our society to make less.  The mantra is make more, spend more, the more you make the more you can give, the more you can have, the more secure you will be.  Wrong.  I highly recommend you read “Radical Simplicity” by Jim Merkel.  It outlines our footprint on this planet as well as radically simplifying your life.  If you work less, you leave more work for others.  If you consume less, you leave more for others.  If you have less, you have to work less (this does not include the good kind of work on your own time on a farmstead).  The less you consume, the less resources you take from the planet, less pollution, less animal habitat loss, less unfairness.  Do you need a huge house?  Do you need to buy all of that packaged stuff?  Does it really bring happiness?

My goals are to lessen even more.  We are stressing over bills still and have too much stuff.  What is it with the seven sets of (gorgeous) antique dishes in my cupboards?  All the clothes I don’t wear?  The jewelry I don’t wear?  Where is our money going?  I am now writing it all down, the spending for each day.  See where the leaks are.  See what we don’t need.  What we don’t need to buy.  How much is everything really costing us?

And despite the stressing of leaching money, I want to make less.  No, I have not lost my mind.  I want to stay beneath the poverty line.  I have all the food I need, I am looking at lessening my rent, getting rid of my water bill and most of the electric bill, driving less, less gas money and wear and tear.  High taxes?  Don’t have them.  Where is your money going?

I am ready to simplify even more.  Make less money.  Offer medicines on a donation basis so that everyone can afford them.  Does cable television make us happy?  We don’t really watch it, so no.  That glass of wine in the evenings?  Yes, I don’t have to give that up.  By freeing up your money and where you spend it, you have only what you need and love.  And lots of time to watch the sunset and play with baby goats.

SAM_0209

5. Just Do It!

No more five year plan, maybe next year, only if he gets a raise, or when the kids move out.  There are no guarantees you will live long enough to live the life you really want.  Now is the time to act!

What can I say?  I have friends my age in their forties heading on to the Great Beyond and ones in their eighties who are too tired to do any more.  What is the best time to pursue your goals, cut your spending drastically, move to the place of your dreams, and start living self sufficiently?  Now is a real good time.  And if you cannot move yet or don’t want to, if you don’t want to quit your job or change much at all, just learn a few skills.  Cheese making?  Crocheting?  And urban garden?  Simplifying and homesteading can be done on many levels.