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"Beauty surrounds us, but usually we need to be walking in a garden to know it." – Rumi

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Photo by Odda Kommune


The Basics of Biodynamic Gardening

By Jenny Flores


     "Is this the year you plan on growing healthier food, taking better care of your land, and cultivating a deeper understanding of nature?  As homesteaders, these are values that are important to us all.  Even when we think we are finally doing the best we possibly can, we are always eager to learn new (and old) techniques that could benefit our families and our farms.  Biodynamic farming is one of the old techniques that offers those benefits to anyone who wants them.

     Biodynamics is both a philosophy and a method of agriculture developed by Rudolph Steiner, a researcher who saw a connection between science, nature, universal laws and spiritual concerns.  The agricultural principals at work in biodynamics help people work with nature in order to grow healthier food with minimal environmental impact."  Read more...


Jessica's New Homestead Cookbook

Lemon Poppy-seed Bread

By Jessica Shelton


     "I don't know about you, but lemons are one of my very favorite foods/flavors.  I love how very versatile they are, bringing brightness to heavy, savory dishes, and a wonderful pucker to sweets.  The modest lemon brings a lot to the party, and this week’s recipe is a perfect example.  I've always been a fan of lemon-poppy-seed bread.  It's sweet and tart and creamy and has a fun little crunch from the poppy seeds.  Those seeds, by the way, aren't just there for a nutty-flavored good time… they even bring the gift of nutritional value. Read more...



Getting Started With Chicks

By Jan Hoadley


     "Have you considered chickens as a means of producing your own food?  Have you looked at the stores and seen the price of eggs, the price of chicken and wondered aloud why you don't raise your own?  Have you ordered poultry catalogs, but never ordered poultry because it seemed too difficult and complicated, or too time consuming?   Along with rabbits, poultry is one of the most kept food production animals on the homesteads across America. 

     Chickens can offer good, home-grown food in a short amount of time.  Fresh eggs are much different than what is in the stores!   For the creative, feathers can be used in many crafts as well.   You have thought about it for some time.  You think you have room.  It's time to decide and take the plunge!"   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."   Read more...



Razor's Edge Extreme Knife Sharpening

By Doug Smith


     "It only took me about 40 years to learn how to really sharpen a knife.  I mean really sharp... as in arm-hair shaving, paper-splitting, precision-whittling sharp.  Like so many skills there's a lot more to knife (and tool) sharpening that one might think... but it's a skill that can be mastered with attention to detail and some basic equipment. 

     Anyone living in the country has to possess and maintain knives and other sharp tools.  For that matter, anybody who spends time outside a cubicle in a high rise building needs to know how to use and maintain at least a pocketknife.  For someone living in a rural area, or hoping to in the future, learning how to sharpen and maintain working knives and tools is a perfect skill to add to the arsenal of self-sufficiency know-how."  Read more...



Basket-making Basics

By Catherine Lugo


     "Basketry: possibly the oldest of human crafts.  It is time-honored, it is revered, it is respected, and still, it has the power to excite and involve us today.  Our ancestors fashioned their baskets out of whatever natural materials they found at hand: trees, bushes, vines, and grasses all went into the making of their baskets.  Don't you want to try your hand at this ancient art practiced the world over?

      Baskets made work and play possible in villages and towns; these handmade appliances were used to carry everything from food to water.  By using resources found in their homeland, the ancients let Mother Nature know of their respect for her.  Vital connections were thus strengthened.  When you fashion a basket, you embrace the past of all humankind and you encourage its future.  You are letting the forces that be know that you won't give up on the beauty of nature.  You will be writing your name in Mother Nature's book of life.  I guarantee it's worth the effort."  Read more...



Soup's On!

By Laurie Holcomb


     "Soup.  Ahhh, warming, comforting, nourishing, left-over using ... Soup.  Not a week goes by that I don't factor in soup as a meal.  No, I'm not talking about that can of soup in the cabinet.  It's a great staple to have on hand, but it's not by any means what I consider soup.  Homemade, from scratch with the freshest ingredients, now that's soup.  Soup is what transforms the simplest and plainest ingredients into something grand. 

     Yes, soup excites the natural urges within to cook a meal that rejuvenates the soul.  When I'm planning for the week ahead, I don't think so much about the chicken dinner on my list.  Nor do I fancy the crudités presentation of broccoli from the garden.  They'll both be good, but my focus is really on  the delicious soups that I'll make on the following day.  It can be quite a satisfying day when you've made soup from scratch with ingredients on hand."  Read more...



Grub in a Tub

By Neil Shelton


   "The truth is however, that anyone, even a television personality, can produce an economical and productive garden in a hurry more easily than may have been thought possible.  You could have one tomorrow if you really tried.

     I’ll show you how.

     My conversion to this new technique that I'm going to tell you about began a few years back, when I decided to move my garden.

     I should have known better than to have put it where it was in the first place..."  Read more...



Adapt, Overcome, Move On

By Christine WolfSong Cunningham


     "When the warmer winds begin to blow and the snow starts showing signs of melting, that’s when things get real.  Everyone, from the humans all the way down to the barn cats, can feel it coming, can taste the impending spring.  Usually that happens around mid-to end-of-March.  It’s right about then that we start the tomato seeds for the garden.  As the melt continues, we spend more and more time outside, just enjoying what we couldn’t with our frigid winters.  But then, something more begins to happen... the snow melts faster, and the waters start to rise.

     Our property is right in the middle of, what’s known in the community as, 'The Bog.'  Huh.  Might have been nice to know that when we bought the place!  What that means is Spring gives us the gift of water.  Lots and lots of water."  Read more...


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