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"If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one." –Mother Teresa

Windmill in southern Holland.

by John Morgan


 

Edible Landscaping

Eat Your Environment

By Micah Janzen

 

     "For those of us who are forced to homestead in an urban environment, growing our own food can be a challenge.  We might prefer a productive plot to one that requires we waste our time and energy on a purely ornamental lawn; a lawn that produces nothing more than a never-ending demand for mowers, fertilizers, and herbicides.  But our neighbors may take issue with having a 'farm' next door.  The neat rows of corn and beans and small flock of chickens that we admire doesn't necessarily appeal to everyone else's aesthetic.  But never fear, there is a compromise: build a landscape that is both aesthetic and productive by using beautiful edible plants.

     ...

     With a little effort anyone can create a stunning landscape that is productive as well as beautiful.  All it takes is a willingness to think outside the box, something at which most homesteaders excel.  Soon, you will have a yard that is the envy of the neighborhood, providing you with beauty, a relaxing haven, and supper.  Who knows?  You might even inspire your neighbors to trade in their lawnmowers for tomatoes, too."


 

Jessica's New Homestead Cookbook

Veggie-Beer Chili

By Jessica Shelton

 

     "So, I’ll start by saying this isn’t your grand-momma’s chili.  That is, unless your visionary grand-momma, threw caution—and the everyday meat-chili recipes of normal folks—to the wind, and sought out to replace the savory flavor of meat (gasp!) with equally flavorful, herbivorous ingredients.  This recipe has a few surprising, secret ingredients that make it a fun alternative to the same ol’ chili you’ve had a hundred times.  The special ingredients (cashews and raisins… yes, raisins) provide just the right meaty texture, so you still feel like you’re getting a good, manly bite."

 

 

Inside a Sharecropper's Garden

Growing Food in the Inner-city

By Clare Brandt

   

     "Birgitt Evans has been gardening since she was a child.  Now a resident of Alameda—an eleven square mile island in Northern California’s San Francisco Bay—she’s transformed the 33- by 40-foot back yard of her urban home into a Master Garden and gourmet’s paradise.  At the peak of the season in Birgitt’s garden, it’s almost impossible to believe you’re in a city of 70,000 people, just a few miles from the mega-sprawl of the East Bay cities of Oakland and Berkeley, with San Francisco just across the bay to the west.  The birds, bees, and butterflies are abundant; and so is the produce.  

     Apples, figs, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, basil, beans, lemons, turnips, kohlrabi, parsley, onions, asparagus, rutabaga, fava beans, potatoes, tomatillos, sage, marjoram, thyme, oregano, and zucchini are just a few of the things she’s grown—and learned to cook and preserve over the years." 

 

 

Thyme is on Your Side

(Yes, it is!)

By Gay Ingram

 

     "Most herbal writers agree that thyme may be the oldest herb known to man.  To the Greeks, it was an emblem of activity, bravery and energy.  The Romans gave thyme as a sovereign remedy to people burdened with melancholy.  Virgil and Pliny both recorded the antiseptic properties of thyme.  The secret society of the Republicans in France once used branches of thyme to summon their members to its meetings.  Legends abound that thyme is the favorite herb of fairies and Shakespeare supported that assumption in his writings.  Anyone who has tasted the delicate flavor of thyme honey would be easy to convince that it was, indeed, fairy food.

     There is disagreement over the origination of this herb’s name.  Thyme is the derivative of a Greek word which means 'to fumigate' (alluding to its effectiveness as an antiseptic).  Or, it could come from the Greek word 'thumus' which signifies courage.  From ancient and mediaeval days, thyme has been considered a source of invigoration.  Also associated with funereal traditions, thyme was one of the fragrant flowers planted on graves."

 

 

Bridges Burned, Fingers Crossed

By Julie O'Neil

 

     "The bush-hogging is done.  The perimeter fence will go up next week, after I cash in a CD.  I’m rigging up a Quonset-hut shelter out of PVC pipe and a tarp for my dogs.  Tow in the camper and I’ll be ready to move.  My homesteading adventure begins!

     Well, I guess that’s not strictly true.  My homesteading adventure probably began on a small family farm in upstate New York.  My father was already sick when I was born, but my mother managed to keep a cow, a few chickens, and a vegetable garden going.  She had four kids and a dying husband to feed.  Emphysema finally claimed him when I was eight, and a year later we moved into a neighboring town.

     Since that time I’ve been a 'city kid', although 'suburban kid' might be a little more accurate.  My mother tried to have gardens wherever we lived, and I always felt an affinity for the rural life even when all I could manage was a potted tomato plant on an apartment balcony." 

 

 

Fergus the Red

By Sue Dick

 

    

     "He was 15 months old when we brought him home.  As he leapt from the trailer into his new paddock, shaking his curving horns and bellowing, I said a mental prayer that he wouldn’t go through the fence, which is precisely what he proceeded to do.  He ran non-stop and when reaching the border-fence with the cows’ paddock (our first planning error, giving him this flimsy barrier directly between him and much procreation) he gathered his large frame and gave a spectacular jump, clearing the whole affair.

     If I hadn’t seen it, I never would of believed it, although I’ve since read about a young Norwegian girl who’s parents wouldn’t buy her a horse so she trained a Hereford cow to jump. 

     Mouths agape we watched him lunging around, sniffing and pushing the cows, at a loss for words but even more importantly, ideas."

 

 

Highland Cattle

A Breed Apart

By Victoria Varga

 

   

     "At first sight, the shaggy, comical and toupee-like hair that tumbles down into their eyes and faces is the most notable distinguishing characteristic of the gentle and almost 'woolly' Highland Breed of Cattle. 

     These long-horned, stocky animals originated and were bred for centuries in the rugged, rocky climate of the Scottish Highlands. Harsh and severe weather conditions brought about the process of Mother Nature’s natural selection, allowing for only the most adaptable, strong, and genetically superior animals to survive and carry on this sturdy breed.

     ...

     Despite their long horns and shaggy, 'wild' looking appearance, both bulls and cows are notably mild-tempered.  The cows possess excellent mothering abilities and instincts, as well as a very low calf mortality and ease and independence of birthing, making them an excellent choice of breed for maintenance and range purposes." 

 

 

Rural Review: Chains I Love

By Neil Shelton

 

    "If you live in the woods, then you absolutely, positively gotta have chains. 

     I don’t mean the sort of chain you wear around your neck to hold your skate key, or the kind you use to propel your bicycle.  I’m talking serious, two-fisted all-beef log chains of the sort that loggers use to secure truck-loads of timber.  The kind that have thick, steel, torus links with enough strength to give you moving power limited only by the oomph of whatever sort of vehicle you have.  So that, whenever a tree falls across your driveway, you don’t have to spend an hour sawing it into manageable pieces before you can get to town.  You just wrap one end around the fallen tree, hook the other to your transportation-of-choice, and in seconds you have a clear path ahead of you.  

     Did a snowy ditch jump out and grab your wife’s car?  Can’t get your tractor to start?  These are only minor annoyances when you have the right equipment."

 

 

Housekeeping in 1879, by the Book

By Barbara Bamberger Scott

 

     "Sadly for us (and certainly for me as a writer with a nose for a good story) we will never know precisely how Marion put her book together.  Or why.  Did she feel that women had been neglected and deprived by the War, and wish to lift them up by offering them a ray of homey hope?  Possibly.  What is very clear is that she was educated (we have no biography to inform us, only her fluid prose), organized (the book is a masterpiece of what today might simply be a computer 'cut and paste' but in her time would have required hundreds of hours of laborious transcription, after as many hours of selection and collation).  She reached out (we do not know exactly how, because, darn it, there was no Facebook!) to 'two hundred fifty of Virginia’s noted housewives' and gathered their many recipes for foods, medicines and cleaning potions, (all names listed in the beginning of the book and each contribution meticulously attributed), and put these together in a large (530 page) hardbound book that was published (her work must have begun well before the publication year) by John P. Morton of Louisville, Kentucky (how did she know of the company?—today such a contact would be only a key tap away, but then…?).  Morton, who had once been a humble bookstore clerk, had built up his own business, with an entrepreneurship matched by Marion’s own, and printed 'textbooks' of which Housekeeping in Virginia was surely considered one. "

 


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