The Homestead Cookbook

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"Instead of being presented with stereotypes by age, sex, color, class, or religion, children must have the opportunity to learn that within each range, some people are loathsome and some are delightful." - Margaret Mead

Seaweed Farmhouses of Læsø Island, Denmark, c. 1600

by seier+seier


Goat Milk Galore

By Jenny Flores


     "As with everything else you produce yourself, goat milk produced on your homestead is healthier than the dairy you generally purchase from the grocery store.


     Because my family enjoys goat milk, and because of the health benefits it offers, I have looked for ways to extend the milking season.  Because of the possible negative effects of not breeding does annually, I choose not to just leave a doe or two in milk indefinitely.  I have found the best way to extend the production of milk is to stagger breedings.  A doe needs a dry period of about two months before being bred so I stagger breedings to accommodate those dry periods.  The kids are weaned from receiving milk at eight to twelve weeks of age and I maintain a regular milking schedule.  This has been enough to keep us in goat milk year-round.   

     Of course, there are more things you can do with goat milk than just drinking it.  Instead of dedicating a freezer to goat milk, I have discovered some great storage ideas and recipes.  Here are a few of my favorites."


Jessica's New Homestead Cookbook

Whole-wheat Irish Soda Bread

By Jessica Shelton


     "While editing an article on goat-milk products this week, and I got a serious a craving for some nice, creamy goat cheese.  I wanted something healthy, fresh, and simple to go with it and decided this whole-wheat Irish soda bread was the perfect canvas for my cheese.  This hearty loaf is dense and moist in the middle and crispy on the outside.  It has only six ingredients, most of which are probably in your kitchen right now, and you can have it in the oven in about 10 minutes."



Goats: The Diversified Farm Stock

By Regina Anneler 


     "Anyone who has started or managed a homestead knows the many hours spent trying to decide what type of livestock that they want to invest their time, money and energy into producing.  This means that each species and breed type must be considered for their usefulness and productivity as related to the current homesteading plans.  Versatility in a species is a very important part of production, and one of the most versatile species chosen each and every day for the farming homestead is the goat.  The goat can offer more for the dollar than nearly any other animal ever raised.  Goats come in many shapes, types and colors, while being easier and cheaper to manage than cattle or other, larger types of livestock.  Goats are most often used for brush and shrub clean up, fiber, milk, cheese, soap, meat, driving, packing, and even as personal companions.  They have been the livestock species of choice for thousands of years and their popularity continues to grow." 



A Farm-Hand's Life

Shearing Sheep

By Matthew Surabian


     "Currently, the farm I live on has about 25 sheep and several lambs.  Years ago there were a few hundred and and it was the largest sheep farm in the area.  In times past, shearing was easily a multi-day affair.  This year it would only take the better part of the morning and early afternoon. 

     We called in the help of a local sheep shearer named Kevin.  He makes his living traveling around the state and shearing people's sheep for a modest wage.  Kevin is a kind looking thin man, with grey hair and wool shoes.  Most of all, Kevin is the real deal. 

     I'd never experienced sheep-shearing day before.  I had this idea in my head... there would be some kind of contraption that the sheep would stand in and be held still, similar to a goat milking/medicating stand I'd seen somewhere.  Maybe pieces of wood could slide around the head and legs like in the stockade, so that the shearer could have an easier time moving around them with big electric hair clippers.  Maybe this daydream is the case somewhere, but what I experienced was nothing like that."



The Lazy Harvest

Start Saving Water and Money in Just a Few Hours

By Karyn Sweet


     "Want a quick but very useful and effective homesteading project you can knock-out this weekend? Consider installing a rain-harvesting system. A diverter runs about $35.00 and in less than hour, you can have a supplemental system for your water needs.

     We all have so many projects on our to-do lists but installing some rain barrels is a project you can check-off pretty quickly.  There are many benefits that come with this project: having an emergency water source, saving money, making gardening easier, just to name a few.  So add this to your list and then sit back and enjoy the next rainstorm.



The Actively Passive Home

New Construction Using Old Rules

By Sheri Dixon



     "I wanted to see if a comfortable home could be built without using any (really spendy) new-fangled technology AND without conventional 'gotta have' heating and cooling apparatuses that cost money to run and use a ton of resources that this planet is running short on. 

     If the electricity turned off tomorrow, we could still heat and cook with wood (which we have plenty of), and while it would be some sweatier without fans, the summer would be tolerable.  We have our own well, which we had dug to accommodate a hand pump (also on The List) as well as the electric pump, and our home is full of oil lamps, our closet filled with cases of oil. 


     A home that breathes with the seasons and shelters its humans in an actively passive old-fashioned way, is more than a house—it’s a member of the family."



Traditional Homestead Construction

By D. Glenn Miller



     "The word 'simply' would seem to describe traditional homestead construction perfectly. At the same time, it is completely inadequate. There's an intriguing mix of simplicity and sophistication, pragmatism and elegance-not to mention downright hard work-in these old structures.

     That the early craftsmen could look out on a wild landscape and see their way to building a complete house from the materials at hand, with a collection of hand tools, is compelling. The craftsmanship was superb and it endures, still serving its basic purpose for the modern occupants generations later." 



Build and Maintain Your Own Trails, Roads, and Driveways

By Neil Shelton


    "Without question, one of the very handiest things you can own when you live in a rural area is a four-wheel-drive pickup. Your livestock, your income, even your health and safety can all depend on your ability to stay mobile in all weather, so having at least one 4WD vehicle can relieve you of a lot of unnecessary stress.

     Having said that, you'll find that after a few weeks of enjoying your omnipotence over all sorts of terrain, you'll probably come to the conclusion that it is often nice NOT to need 4WD, especially for everyday events like trips to town, or up to the highway to get your mail."



Make Your Own Fermented Drinks

By Karyn Sweet


     "After waging war on all the germs and bacteria we know are lurking around us, people are finally beginning to understand that some bacteria is actually beneficial.  In fact, bacteria help in everything from digestion and maintaining a healthy immune system to producing neurotransmitters and keeping depression at bay.  Ninety-percent of our cells are actually bacteria!  As people learn more about the importance of maintaining healthy bacteria, they begin to understand the importance of eating and drinking traditional, fermented foods and beverages.  We have discussed fermented food before but now let’s look at the beverages.  Unfortunately, buying fermented drinks at the store can set you back $5.00 a bottle or more, but making your own fermented drinks is a very cost effective way to improve your health and to avoid sticker shock at the grocery store! 


     Long life, an end to all health ailments, great physical beauty... perhaps even the chance to become a millionaire?  Okay, perhaps kombucha can’t deliver on all of these wild claims but it does offer myriad health benefits and a yummy, fizzy taste!"


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