The Homestead Cookbook

Homesteaders You Should Know

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"No man can be happy without a friend, nor be sure of his friend till he is unhappy. " ~Thomas Fuller

Photo by Jim Devleer


Hunting for Marvelous Morels

By Martina Kuhnert


     "Where I come from there are three topics that it are impossible for the locals to tell the truth about:  buck, trout, and merkels.  The bucks that are now in the freezer had at least sixteen points and were as big as a full-grown Angus.  The native trout that were eaten last night were all at least eighteen inches long.  The merkels were so plentiful last week, they pulled ten gallons off the mountain in one day.  Now, ask where any of these miraculous examples of nature occurred, and the conversation becomes vague.  Terms like 'over yonder' and 'up past Spruce Nob Point a piece'  are about as exact as you are going to get, and even this information is suspect.  Pushing for more details will often get you the classic reply, 'Well, I could tell you, but I’d have to kill you.'   After you live here a while, you realize this behavior is not a lack of morals but is probably genetically linked to some hunter gatherer strand of DNA designed to keep the organism alive during times of scarcity.   

     But wait...there is something that many people who are not from my neck of the woods may be confused about.  What is a merkel?  A merkel is the local name for the morel mushroom.  The story behind this name is that a mountain family was saved from starvation by eating these miracles or 'merkels'.  Call it a merkel, a Molly moocher, a hickory chicken, a hay stack, a conehead brain, or any other of a dozen different nicknames depending on your locality; it doesn’t matter.  What does matter is that spring is upon us, and the season for the morel mushroom is about to open."



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.

...I’ve described in great detail all of my supermarket research, methods, mantras, and recipes, I hope I’ve inspired some people to become healthier, do-it-yourselfers in the kitchen, who get the added bonus of saving a little green.  Homesteading is about self-sufficiency and simple living.  What better way to live out these principles in your home, than taking food in its most basic forms, and learning how to prepare it yourself?  I believe this to be true for both the full-time homesteader who grows all of their own food and the homesteader at heart, like me, who leaves their cramped city apartment and walks to the nearby grocery store to buy some fresh produce."



What I Learned From Poultry

By Diana Barker


     "Remember that old commercial, it’s not nice to fool Mother Nature?'  Well, as a young child of about 12, I found out first-hand why you shouldn’t fool Mother Nature.  We had chickens, turkeys, geese, and ducks; one of my jobs was to gather the eggs except for the ones that my parents wanted to be left to sit and hatch out babies.  I, being 12 and easily bored, decided it would be interesting to do a little egg switching.  Dumb birds, they couldn’t tell the difference between their eggs and any of the other birds’ eggs, so I put a turkey egg under the momma goose, a duck egg under a momma chicken, snickering to myself everyday how dumb these birds were, I mean the momma chicken didn’t notice that the duck egg was three times bigger than hers!

     Well, I laughed then, but I got a big pay back from Mother Nature after the eggs hatched.  At first, it was just so hilarious to see Momma Chicken with her brood of baby chicks and one baby duck and Momma Goose with her babies including one turkey… but it wasn’t hilarious for long.  I soon discovered that the joke was on me."



A Goose and Its Golden Eggs

By Megan Kutchman


     "A homestead can always use another source of income.  So when you are ready to search for a new source of money, an animal that is easy to care for and an all around producer is the perfect choice.  Geese are great little pets, cook into a good meat, and the eggs can be used in a variety of ways.  Each one produces an income and this bird is a tasty treat at any time of the year.  If you haven’t had much experience with a goose, you are in for a treat.  They can be amusing to watch and can be trained to attack friends and family to your amusement.  A goose’s personality is just plain fun and you will find yourself laughing a lot as you spend time watching them... 

     Start with a few large geese in the yard.  They will begin to lay eggs right away.  As each egg drops you can assume your income is on its way.  You can let them free range or place them in a yard surrounded with a six-foot chicken-wire fence.  If you are going to be hatching out the eggs then cover the top with chicken wire too, because other predator birds love the baby goslings for food.  Hawks can make off with a baby gosling before the mother goose can turn around, so protect the babies if you are going to hatch eggs.  They will lay and hatch anywhere from three to five eggs at a time."



Sunny or Windy

By Casey Calouette


     "Each homesteader reaches a point in his research where it is decided that an alternate energy source is necessary due to location, thrift, or the need to get off the grid.  However choosing between the available options can be a daunting challenge, especially when tens of thousands of dollars may be spent.  Our two major options are solar power in the form of photovoltaics, and wind power.

     Solar power, also known as photovoltaics (PV), is one of the most prevalent forms of alternate energy.  Photovoltaic panels can be installed relatively easily, are non-polluting (at least in use), quiet, and most importantly, very reliable if the weather cooperates.  However they require controllers, batteries, inverters, or specialized appliances, and for the price, they don’t generate nearly as much power as wind. 

     Wind power is also a very common form today.  Wind generators generally produce more power for the price, a higher level of power, day and night, even in inclement weather, and generally produce four times as much power as PV—but it must be windy.  If you live in an area where a light breeze only pops in once a month, it will not be your best choice.  Most wind turbines achieve maximum power at around 24 - 28 miles per hour of wind.  They also require a tower that can be quite high, depending on local ordinances and propeller diameter."



Roof-top Wind Farms

The Symphonic Sounds of a Lifestyle

By Chris Devaney


     "Is a roof-top wind farm for you?  They’re not for everybody, but it could very well be, for some, the first step toward a greener lifestyle and energy independence.  This article will supply some groundwork to help you decide.  Along the way, I’ll debunk some common myths surrounding roof-top wind generators (RTGs) and describe some features built in to most units that further enhance the sleepability and general pleasure of experiencing life with a roof-top wind generator, or two, or three, or...

     First off, though, RTGs make noise.  It’s a fact, as it is true, more or less, for all rotating machinery.  Like people, some noise is just more pleasing, more interesting, and overall more fun to be around.  Take music, for example.  In regards to nature sounds, you’d be hard-pressed to read a novel and not find a reference to some specific nerve-calming sound derived from the wind.  Wind sounds seem a nice part of the human experience.  Except perhaps for Hilda. 

     With a slightly increased beat of my heart, still, even after 25 years, I recall with a strange fondness when I was secretly in love with Hateful Hilda the Widowed Waitress."



Throwing in the Towel

How to Move to the Country Fast and Cheap

By Neil Shelton


     "Gia was working for the City Hall of Cincinnati, Ohio as a clerk and typist.  She made enough money to almost stay up with the bills and she had a little free time on the weekends to engage in the things that she really cared about, but overall, she thought she was just treading water: getting up every morning to perform pretty much the same tasks as the day before and duplicate for the thousandth time the day she’d duplicated yesterday.

     She was making a living, but she wasn’t living all that much, and the only career advancement going on around her were the careers of the politicians she was working for. 

     'I hated my life', she says simply.

     Once, on a whim, she’d started a contract to buy five acres of land out in the Missouri woods, which she had paid off over ten years, but she’d never really had a plan of what she wanted to do with it.

     Still, she and her son, Anthony, always made a joke about someday running off to the Ozarks even though her whole life’s experience and that of everyone in her family had been decidedly urban—that is, there wasn't a farmer or a forester in the bunch.

     Then one particularly bad day, it just all got to be more than she wanted to tolerate any longer."



Garden Therapy

Getting in Touch with Your Roots

By Laurie Charpentier


     "The ancients knew this secret.  They knew about the everyday benefits of using herbs in cooking and healing.  They knew just being in and around gardens can literally lower blood pressure, alleviate depression, and decrease physical pain.  They knew it was the perfect place to connect with spirit.  If you’ve ever plucked basil from its stem and held it to your nose or rubbed a tomato vine and then inhaled its earthy aroma on your hands, you know the secret I’m referring to.  It’s the secret of enjoying Heaven on Earth.  It means celebrating the miracles of everyday life and of finding the Divine in the smallest seed or grain of sand.  More importantly, it is the act of recognizing your Self in that aspect of the Divine—in that smallest seed and in that grain of sand.  It is the ability to see the tree inside the acorn—the potential held inside of you. 

     The cornerstone of Garden Therapy is intention.  Anyone who has ever taken one of my classes knows this by heart because I drill it into them.  Intention, intention, intention!  What do you hope to get out of your garden space?  Do you want to make it a Sacred Garden?  A Healing Garden?  A Memorial Garden?  What sets those different types of gardens apart?  Sure, you may choose specific plants because you’re interested in traditional plant meanings and their symbolism, et cetera, but mostly it will be the intention you bring to your garden, and thus, the intention you bring to your own journey."


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