The Homestead Cookbook

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"Happiness depends more on how life strikes you than on what happens." - Andy Rooney

Gesser Prairie Chicken

Photo courtesy USFWS Mountain-Prairie


Sylvester Graham and His Wonderful Cracker

By Barbara Bamberger Scott


     "Graham, a thin-faced man and rather the model of the humorless Presbyterian minister with his starched collar and dour frown, soon focused his zeal on the realm of general health. It is known that Graham suffered from poor health, one reason why he took to the ministry rather than any more vigorous occupation. 

     He had a lot of theories that we might today agree with, and others that, well… we might argue with.  He believed, with some justification, that city-life was weakening Americans.  In his day, before the era of suffragettes and flappers, he ministered to young men who had moved to the cities for income, who were losing the hand skills and healthy habits of farm life, who kept unnatural hours and did unnatural, repetitive labor, and who lived in crowded slums where the lifestyle was wide-open and the occasions for sin were many."


Jessica's New Homestead Cookbook

Mini Breakfast Casseroles

By Jessica Shelton


     "These little casseroles are great for a quick, wholesome breakfast on the go.  Completely portable and customizable, they’re simple to make and are fun for kids and adults alike.  Make a large batch and freeze them for a fast easy meal on those mornings where you just don’t think you have the time for a good breakfast.  This version stars ham and cheese, but you can easily change it up to fit everyone’s tastes.  Broccoli, tomato, scallions, turkey sausage, and Parmesan are just a few possibilities for these tasty little 'muffins'."



Weston A. Price

Introducing the “Real” Way of Eating

By Karyn Sweet



     "Homesteaders often enjoy looking back and learning how the old-timers did things.  We look back at their lives as not necessarily easier, but more simple and wholesome.  We look to our ancestors to learn how they survived, how they built their homes, raised their animals, maintained their gardens, and how they raised their families.  So, can we also learn from them how to best feed ourselves?  Indeed we can.


     The diet recommended by Weston Price and WAPF is based on good science but also on good old common sense.  Avoid processed food and nourish your body with whole, natural foods.  If you are not raising your own animals and growing your own produce, look for sources for pastured, humanely-raised animals free of antibiotics and growth hormones and enjoy fresh meat and raw dairy.  Find a local farm that sells produce free of pesticides and artificial fertilizers and prepare some fermented dishes for the best absorption of those nutrients.  Experiment with 'alternative' grains such as millet and amaranth and enjoy old favorites with a new flavor lent from soaking in yogurt or whey.  You have looked to your ancestors to learn how to garden in the traditional way, how to preserve the harvest, and how to live a simpler life.  Now follow your ancestors' traditions of feeding the body and soul in a nourishing way." 



But Eating Healthy is So Darn Expensive

... Isn't it?

By Mallorie Flynn


     "Eating healthy nowadays does not have to be expensive.  In fact, it can be cheaper and far less complicated than preparing food out of a box.  By keeping your refrigerator and pantry stocked with a few inexpensive, basic ingredients, you can save yourself a lot of heartache in the kitchen (not to mention saving a few bucks, too), and at the same time, become a healthier, more self-sufficient individual.

     Let’s begin by looking at the alternative to cooking your meals from scratch.  Or, what I like to call: 'Why boxed food stinks.'  There are three main reasons 'why boxed food stinks.'  The first reason to consider is the health factor.  When was the last time you read the ingredients on a package of food you bought?  Okay, when was the last time you could actually pronounce the ingredients on that package, or for that matter, had any idea what those seemingly foreign words meant?"



The Three Sisters Legacy

 The Science Behind Companion Planting

By Clare Brandt


     "There’s nothing quite as frustrating as having some know-it-all tell you why your cucumbers aren’t getting bigger than pickles, or why your tomatoes look like tomatillos.  But when that reason seems like some old wives tale that has no obvious logical basis in science, well, that’s just annoying.

     I’m a scientist at heart, and I spent the better part of three years sitting in lectures and labs learning all about horticulture and landscape design.  I know which plants attract the same pests and which will suck the ground dry of water or nutrients.  I know how to identify and treat verticillum wilt, and what to do with a slug/caterpillar/aphid infestation.  

     But now, here I was being told by an older neighbor—someone who I’ll be the first to admit has more than five times my experience at growing veggies, even if he is a know-it-all—that I shouldn’t have planted my tomatoes anywhere near the sunflowers standing sentry against the back fence.  

     'Why?' I ask, which is a big mistake because forty-five minutes later I’m none the wiser and my head is swimming with age-old adages." 



Raising Backyard Chickens

The Basics

By Michael Schneider



     "Chickens are one of the easiest forms of livestock to raise and can be raised in many areas, including dense suburbs.  Chickens can be very productive too: they give you eggs for breakfast, they can give you meat to eat, you can breed them to make more profit (or just have more chickens).  Not to mention they also make great pets.  

     You may ask, 'Why would I raise my own chickens when I can buy eggs for $1.72 a dozen, or just get a roasted chicken at the store?'  I won’t get into too much, but the main reason to raise your own chickens would be life on 'factory' farms.  You can just do some quick research online about commercial chicken farms, and learn all about the bad conditions on these farms, and the negative effects they have on the chickens’ health.  It is a fact that free-range eggs are more nutritious for people, and a lot more humane for chickens.  If you buy 'free-range' eggs at the store, you’ve still got to watch out because 'free-range' doesn’t necessarily mean that the chickens are running free through green fields.  Research that, too.  The other overall benefits are that you know what you’re eating and the joy you get from raising your own chickens."



Enslaved by Ducks

By Bob Tarte

Review by Sheri Dixon


     "Poor Bob. 

     Although he and his wife live in the country on a few acres, they have no intention of being farmers. 

     In fact, Bob had no intention of having animals in his life at all, much less having intimate relations with the various and odd assortment of creatures his wife Linda slipped onto the property. 

     Starting innocently enough with what are clearly pets: bunnies, kitties and small hook-bill parrots; the real trouble began with a phone call from Linda’s sister concerning a rescue duck."



Pit Vipers Need Love, Too

By Neil Shelton


    "This story was about my father’s pal, Fred.  Among many other failings, Fred was terrified of snakes, but, like a lot of people, he didn’t really have the good judgment to just stay away from them.   Instead, like a lot of people, Fred hated things that he was afraid of, and saw it as his job to see that anything he was afraid of didn’t live very long.

     On the occasion of this story, my father and Fred had been doing some work in our upper meadow and were headed back to the house for lunch.  It was one of those wonderful, early-spring days when life is at it’s finest; when every living creature wants to be out enjoying it, even those that normally prefer the cool dampness under a large rock or an old piece of barn roofing.

     The birds were singing, the squirrels were frolicking, God was in his heaven and my father and Fred were driving the truck through the Old Mahan Field when suddenly, Fred’s plump and normally quite pliable body went rigid.

     'Stop the truck!' he demanded in a tense, angry voice."



The Learned Burn

Prescribed Burns to Prevent Wildfires

By Lily Herndon Weaks


     "A tall, determined man strode purposefully down the dusty farm road, half-hidden in a mysterious haze and smelling of sweat, smoke, and a peculiar mix of gasoline and diesel.  As he approached, I watched in fascination as he repeatedly tilted a shiny metallic torch—literally dripping livid flames along the forest border.  It was my husband.  And he was setting our woods on fire!  Thus began one of our most important—and meaningful—experiences in our homesteading and land-ownership endeavors.  Fire, since time immemorial, a symbol of purification, power, and destruction, became our most powerful weapon, harnessed in order to protect, preserve, and enhance a small portion of this miraculous planet Earth that has been entrusted to us.  While the smoky figure spewing flames might have, to others, appeared as a villain in the above scenario, he was actually the hero."


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