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“Because of their size, parents may be difficult to discipline properly.” – P. J. O'Rourke

Autumn in the Molalla River corridor in Oregon's Cascade Mountains.

Photo by Bureau of Land Management


Check Out These Seeds!

Grow Hardy Plants and Preserve the Food Chain with a Seed Library

By Kathy Kish


     "Winter may be just around the corner, but many gardeners are already ordering seeds and planning for spring.  And still others are allowing a few of their plants from each crop go to seed instead of picking the fruits or veggies from them, then saving those seeds for next year.  Why bother when it might be easier to simply buy more seeds in the spring?  Well, other than saving money and a trip to the store, many feel there is more guarantee that seeds collected from plants that they already have and know are healthy, will also be healthier, and seeds adapted to their soil and climate, not to mention area pests, will be even more robust.    

     Our local library has taken this idea one step further by helping patrons share those healthy acclimated seeds.  Now the 'book' library also contains a seed library made up of heirloom seeds that can be 'checked out' by anybody who has a library card and signs up."  Read more...


Jessica's New Homestead Cookbook

Make-ahead Breakfast Casserole

By Jessica Shelton


     "We're right in the thick of one of the busiest times of the year for many folks.  Holiday parties, out-of-town guests, family gatherings—not to mention the regular goings-on of everyday life—have many of us stretched pretty thin.  This week's recipe is a great way to alleviate some of that pressure and still have a fabulous dish to serve your weekend houseguests, or take along your aunt's pot-luck holiday brunch, or just to satisfy you and your family for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  It's packed with everything you need to please the crowd from savory sausage, to fresh veggies, to fluffy eggs.  You can even substitute or omit ingredients to make it meatless, gluten free, or dairy free.  And because it is made up to a day in advance, you won't be clamoring around the kitchen while everyone else is sipping hot beverages and relaxing with the company.  Everyone wins with this casserole. Read more...



Dutch-oven Cooking

By Catherine Lugo


     "A well seasoned Dutch oven is a beautiful thing.  An Englishman by the name of Abraham Darby saw them being made in the Netherlands, had the process patented and began manufacturing them for the new American colonies.  As pioneers of all sorts trekked across the new American frontier, they took these practical pieces of American with them, and developed 'leather glove cuisine' into a fine art.  Today, Dutch ovens are still holding their own.  

     A Dutch oven has personality and it’s one of the most versatile cooking implements you’ll ever use.  Hence it’s enduring popularity.  Even today it basks in the reflected glory of such famous patrons as Lewis and Clark, who traveled with their Dutch oven as they canoed down rivers and tramped through forests and fields in the early 1800’s."   Read more...



Fiscal Fowl Alignment for the Potential Homesteader

Five Tips to Get Your Financial Ducks in a Row

By Andrew Mueller


     "Despite decent wages, there always seemed to be too much month left over at the end of our money.  Buying land, creating a homestead, and leaving our corporate jobs looked about as realistic as flapping our arms and flying to Venus.      

     It hasn’t been quick or easy, but we’re now on the verge of making the break.  Over the last five years, we’ve managed to get rid of most of our debt (the last little bit will be gone this year), and we’ve managed to buy ten acres of lovely Ozark woodsland, free and clear.  Construction on the barn and the cottage is set to begin as soon as the last of the debt is paid off.   

     How did we do it?  How can YOU do it?   Well, everybody’s situation is a little different, but here are five basic things to that apply to everybody."   Read more...



Too Close for Comfort

One Woman's Misadventures in Pasture Creation

By Sue Dick


     "'We can both fit,' Abe said, gesturing to the cab.  I had my doubts, but I knew I could neither lead him the remaining way in front through the bush nor could I continue to follow over the unnavigable terrain, and so I shrugged and climbed up. 

     I felt sorry for Abe as I was filthy, with bits of bark and mud clinging to my sweaty face and clothes as well as boots caked in muck, and once in the cab I saw there was really no place for me to sit.  After some embarrassed shufflings I managed to perch myself in a corner just off his seat, but with no place at all for my legs to go, I had to drape them across his lap.  I was certain it must only be me that felt strange about it, because after all, there was nothing alluring about me after my now eight-hour ordeal in the bush, but it seemed Abe shared the thread of my thought and, holding himself as stiffly away from my legs as possible, we continued on."  Read more...



Homesteaders from Across the Waves

By Barbara Bamberger Scott


     "The early part of Rachel’s life, in Russia, was miserable. Her straightforward description of the hardships she endured as a child make one wonder if children in the nineteenth century ever had a decent chance to survive, whether in the country or in the city.  Later, her own children would experience extreme deprivation, but none of them would ever be abandoned, demeaned, or punished in the way that Rachel herself was.  The punishment began when Rachel’s mother died.  She was four, with an older brother and two younger siblings.  Her father hired a Jewish servant girl who ate her employer’s food or gave it away to her own family, and fed the children starvation rations.  Once he figured out what was going on, her father married in haste, so the children had a stepmother with two children of her own.  She, too, gave Rachel and her siblings short shrift, and endlessly complained about them, provoking their father to punish his own son so harshly that the boy nearly died.  Rachel spent much of her childhood in tears and fear.  When she was old enough, around age 17, she took a job as a maid in the city where her brother lived.  Though the work was hard, the hours long, it was the most liberated situation Rachel had experienced since the death of her mother."  Read more...



The “Swiss Army Knife” of Homestead Tractors

By John Molloy


     "An old Ford 8N or 9N, perhaps even a Massey-Ferguson 35, a Ford Jubilee or maybe one of those sweet 861's.  If blessed with good fortune, you go buy a new Kubota or a Deere.  All is well. 

     Not exactly.   

     It doesn't take long to figure out that as 'compact' as some of these tractors are, there is simply a whole bunch of stuff they just cannot do.  They are a bit too big in practical terms.  Of course they can go cut down the tall grasses and the smaller shrubbery with the old Bush Hog, run the post-hole digger, do some plowing, and scrape some snow away.  If you have one with a loader, well, you wonder how you ever got along without it.  But in real terms, size matters, and sometimes they're just 'too much gun', and not nearly as versatile as one would hope.  

     So something smaller, much smaller, is in order..." 




By Neil Shelton


   "Like most Americans, I find it very relaxing on occasion to take time away from my regular work to do something at which I’m not really competent.

     That’s why I haven’t been in the office too much lately, and why I have been out in the back meadow on a tractor.

     This is an annual ritual.  After it starts to frost regularly each year, I begin bush-hogging the place.  A bush-hog, for those of you from New York, Los Angeles or Jupiter, is the term used for a large mower pulled behind a farm tractor.  With it, you can rid your property of brush and weeds up to the thickness of your forearm. 

     Like most farm equipment, they’re not especially safe, so you can also rid your place of your forearms and other appendages if you’re not careful, but that’s another story all together."  Read more...



From Beets to Beef

A Vegetarian’s Journey to

Raising Beef Cattle

By Kelsi Cunniff


     "While I wasn’t eating meat, the vast majority of my food was produced from industrialized agriculture and I was therefore promoting an institution that kills thousands, if not millions of animals every year.  While I was not directly consuming any large mammals, what about the other creatures affected by industrialized agriculture?  What about the insects, the field mice, the birds, the snakes, the moles, and the birds of prey that eat the mice and moles and snakes that are all wiped out by agricultural monocultures?  Or the fish, beavers, otters, and entire complex river-ecosystems that are being destroyed by runoff from pesticide use and soil erosion?  What about all of the species that have gone extinct (or are nearly there) because of the millions of acres of prairie that have been continually plowed and tilled?  What about all of the processed and packaged food I would blindly consume, that while may not 'directly contain' any animal byproducts, was still full of mysterious chemicals, was wrapped in plastic (which would eventually end up in the ocean or landfill), and moved across the country by diesel-powered trucks which emit carcinogenic fumes?"  Read more...


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