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"It is difficult to get a man to  understand something when his salary depends on not understanding it." ĖUpton Sinclair


Maudís Magical Medicinal Manual

By Barbara Bamberger Scott


     "In addition to hoeing and sowing, all of us in the class had to learn tool maintenance.  Okay, I didnít want to.  Iím a female.  I donít like stuff made out of metal beyond cooking pots and scissors.  But I had to be a good sport, so I was learning how to hone the chisels or whatever, in order to hone the hoes or whatever.  You can see I wasnít paying a lot of attention.  But when I jammed a freshly sharpened chisel into my pinky, it got my attention.  I realized two things immediately: 1) I had done a good job sharpening the chisel, and 2) I was bleeding... a lot.  My teacher, Mark Feedman, barely glanced at the horrific wound, just saying, 'Oh yeah, better go see Chela.'  

     Chela Lightchild, Markís partner and co-instructor, was in the loom room, two buildings away.  Holding my hand in the air in hopes it would keep more blood from gushing out, and, well, kind of whimpering, I finally found Chela contentedly knitting something out of raw sheepís wool.  Like Mark, she glanced at the offending pinky gash without great dismay.  She put down her knitting, and said, 'Letís consult Mrs. Grieve.'  She walked me to her small, rather messy office and pulled a big book up from under a pile of papers, strands of wool and plant cuttings on her desk.  She turned a few pages, nodded with a slight frown, and said, 'We need comfrey.' Read more...


Jessica's New Homestead Cookbook

Coconut Poke Cake

By Jessica Shelton


     "I recently attended my eldest niece's 18th birthday party.  Surrounded by family, she opened gifts and we were all treated to ice cream and homemade cake.  Beforehand, my sister had told me that Hannah had requested a chocolate sheet cake, but what we were served was not the spongey, thick, bright-buttercream-flower covered 'sheet cake' like you'd see at the grocery store.  This was a totally different animal.  This kind of 'sheet' cake, also known as a 'poke' cake, is a thin, dense, moist cake baked in a large thin sheet-pan, then holes are poked into it and hot icing is poured over, soaking into the holes.  The resulting treat is sweet, velvety, and oh, so rich.  This cake is simple to make and is finished quite quickly since you don't have to wait for it to cool before icing.  Because it's a favorite flavor of mine, I decided to make a coconut poke cake and I think you're going to love the result. Read more...



The Magical World of Mycelium

By Jenny Flores


     "Not only do mushrooms improve your health, they improve and maintain the health of your soil.  Plants rely on the fungi and bacteria in soil to digest nutrients for them.  Oregon State University Extension Service explains how hyphae, the threadlike networks below the mushrooms, attach to plant roots and create filaments that reach deep into the soil.  Hyphae can increase the surface area of plant roots up to a thousand times.  This is great news for any land, but especially good for land that has experienced topsoil erosion.

     Now that you know the benefits of growing mushrooms, we can talk about how to grow them.  There are several different ways to grow mushrooms, but I am going to focus on growing them on cardboard.  Cardboard is cheap, easy to findand it retains moisture well, while the corrugations allow for good air flow.  Growing mushrooms on cardboard is accessible to anyone and you can grow a lot of spawn with a little work. Read more...



Quilting: Recycling Made Beautiful

By Bonnie Lavigne


     "We didnít invent recycling.  Our ancestors did it by necessity.  On the original homesteads across North America people re-jigged hard to obtain parts and materials and extended the life of things they needed with creative ingenuity.  Nothing was wasted.

     Despite our modern culture of planned redundancy, throwaways, and over consumption, recycling is finally becoming important again.  However itís still largely within the venue of the system.  Few are we individuals who tinker, sew, and transform things old into things once again useful.  Pretty much all reconfigurations are practical and frugal, but some can be beautiful as well.

     Nothing marries frugality, practicality, and beauty quite like a quilt.  Handmade quilts tell stories of family, friendship, and new beginnings. Read more...



Wooly Lawn Mowers for Fun and Profit

By Allena Jackson


     "For many part-time farmers, large barns, facilities and big expanses of pasture, with the equipment and other expenses, are not only unrealistic but undesirable.  The small farmer is looking for a good profit off of a small and easy to maintain area that does not require expensive equipment and out-buildings.  Many of todayís small farms and homesteads are run by people who are retired, or still working off the farm, so they need to be able to complete their chores easily after work and on weekends.  Sheep present a wonderful opportunity to do just that, and their potential is quite promising for any small place, from one acre to hundreds. 

     For many farmers, the potential to expand into other areas is exciting and rewarding.  Sheep are an economical animal to raise, with minimal hay and feed requirements.  Most breeds are inexpensive as an initial purchase, and are also easy to raise and care for.  Some breeds are more delicate than others, and a heritage breed might be the best way to start and learn the ropes with.  The ongoing myth that sheep are difficult to raise and prone to lambing problems is just not true, yet you will hear this from many people.  Breed, husbandry and good health care can eliminate most problems that occur, making sheep an easy and profitable alternative, even for the beginning shepherd. Read more...



The Four-season Garden

By Michael Nolan


     "I have been gardening since before I could walk without tripping over my own feet, having been blessed with grandparents on both sides with an affinity for growing their own food.  In the soft, loamy soil of suburban North Carolina and the unforgiving red clay of rural Alabama, I learned the basics of growing tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, corn, potatoes, and beans.  Having my hands in the dirt resonated with me even at that early age, and even after all these years, that experience remains one of the most treasured gifts I've ever received.

     My adult years found me in locations that are not widely known for being garden-friendly and I had to learn to make do on a Manhattan fire-escape and a single sunny window in my Air Force dorm-room.  While those years served to make me appreciate the two acres I call home today, they also forced me to look into ways to extend the typical growing season beyond the standard spring/summer dates.  What I learned was that with a bit of know-how and ingenuity it is possible to grow edibles through much of the year and thus began my quest for the four-season garden."  Read more...



Homesteading in the Backwoods

By Kate Marlowe


     "The property we live on is located in Southern Ohio.  It is surrounded by wooded area and borders Zaleski State Forest.  The homesteading life we have chosen consists of subsistence living through hunting, fishing, and foraging the land we have.  Resources from our backwoods allow us to make use of the dense, clay-packed soil we have by adding to it for better production of fertile ground to grow vegetable and herbs.  We arenít a picture of the previously mentioned vision of homesteaders, but we are living the lifestyle and utilizing the land to provide a self-sufficient life.

     The primary natural resources found here are trees, lots and lots of trees!  Trees offer many uses that keep our homestead thriving.  They offer ideal shading, food, and soil nourishment to create an abundant ecological system of wildlife and indigenous plants.  We utilize all these resources in our backwoods to provide for our living needs. Read more...



49 Ways to Save Money on Groceries

By Neil Shelton


     "It's hard to decide which is more infuriating, $4 gasoline or $4 milk, but whichever you personally find most appalling, one thing is for certain, someday a time will come where we look back with nostalgia for the good old days of $4 milk or gas.  

That is to say, we can count on prices always advancing.  Even when they do retreat a bit, like gas has done recently, you know it won't be for long, as it's already starting back up. 

     I suppose that's just part of the rhythm of modern life, but we don't have to like it, and we don't have to let ourselves be billowed by every inflationary breeze that comes wafting our way.  Like most anything else, there are ways to get by cheaper and better when you buy groceries.

     Here are forty-nine  ways to get more food and spend less cash: Read more...



Portable-building Homestead

By Anthony Okrongly


     "'Listen, Jackie, my brother's neighbor said he would let us buy five acres next to Tony for no money down and only $100 per month the first year, then $200 per month the second year and $300 per month after that.  He only wants $14,000 for the land, so it can be paid off in five years!'

     'Great, Mike!  What are we supposed to do, live in a tent?  I have a hard time getting out of a chair, I can't sleep on the ground!'

     Mike replied, 'We can get a portable building.  I'll fix it up.  It'll be fine.  Listen, at the rate rents are rising we won't be able to afford rent here in four years.  If we do this, then we can own our own land and our own house in five years.  We will never have to pay rent again.'

     So it began.  My 65-year-old brother and his wife began planning the last move of their lives.  They have always been an adventurous couple, fearlessly moving across the country numerous times in the past.  Only this move was going to be a high-wire act for sure: no money other than social-security checks, declining health, few resources, and moving to a raw piece of land in the piney woods of East Texas."  Read more...


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