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"Anger is never without a reason, but seldom with a good one."–Benjamin Franklin

Ha Ha Tonka, at Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, is one of America's 10,234 state parks.

Photo by Christi Sweaney


Food Forests

Sustainable Food Production

By Benjamin Coffman


     "When we were searching around for our perfect homestead I was doing a lot of research on permaculture and unconventional gardening techniques.  My idea was to build the landscape around us to be productive, beautiful, sustainable, and hopefully require very little work to get going.  Many people, including myself, thought the idea of a 'no-work' approach seemed pretty farfetched.  I’m happy to reports that not only were they wrong, but so was I.  After almost two years of research and experimentation on our new homestead, I’ve found a few systems that are undeniably excellent. 

     The first and foremost being the food forest garden.  Nothing I’ve come across yet is more exciting or has more potential than food forests...  Once begun, a food forest can be self-sustaining for decades past human involvement.  Humans become the stewards and do minimal upkeep to maintain maximum production.  This method is renowned for its low-input, high-output standard."  Read more...


Jessica's New Homestead Cookbook

Parmesan Zucchini & Corn

By Jessica Shelton


     "Well, it's the middle of October, but it's hard to tell by the temperatures around most of the country.  The good thing about this Indian summer is that many of our gardens are still producing.  In fact, a friend of mine can't seem to use up, or give away, his zucchini fast enough.  I told him I could put some to good use, and took home an arm-load.  One of the first dishes I made was a simple, yet delicious, dish that can be a wonderful side-dish, or a satisfying, vegetarian meal.  I've recently fallen in love with zucchini noodles, or 'zoodles', and a Vegetti—a simple, but fun, little kitchen gadget found online and at many stores these days—makes creating them a breeze.  If you don't have one, or a Spiralizer, or other similar gadget, you can still slice up those zukes any way you like for an equally delicious dish.  And did I mention how simple it is?  You'll only need two other ingredients, a couple staples, and about 10 minutes to make a healthy dish anyone would happily dig into. Read more...



Ruth Stout

The No-Dig Duchess

By Barbara Bamberger Scott


     "In the early 1980s I went to Sussex, England to study small-scale agriculture at a Rudolf Steiner center called Emerson College.  The course trained people to demonstrate good gardening methods in third world villages.  I learned three ways to garden: the right way, the wrong way, and the easy way.  The easy way was Ruth Stout's way.

     The wrong way was obvious: industrialized farming, including the use of chemical fertilizers and poisonous pesticides, leading to the de-naturing of the precious soil.  Everyone knew that this was destructive, and had been the downfall of many a third world village project.  It was a given that a better method was required."   Read more...



Manna From On High

The High-Altitude Homesteader Bakes

By Gin Getz


   "My favorite oven is my old wood cook stove.  This beauty is in my kitchen at the heart of our cabin, and is fired up every morning, all year long.  In this high country, one rarely gets too warm.  Baking in, or cooking on, the old stove is almost always a comfort.  Each wood stove is just a little bit different, and all I can say here is give it a try.  Learn how your cook-stove works.  Different types of wood, different quantities of wood, different drafts and air flows—all will have an impact on the heat produced in your stove.  I don’t believe there is one right method that will work for all stoves, all the time.  This is really a personal matter.  Just fire your stove up and get to know it.  And hopefully you’ll have a patient family who will forgive you for your mistakes in the beginning."   Read more... 



Helpful Homesteading Apps

By Jenny Flores


     "Of all the names people call homesteaders—come on, you know we are easy to talk about— there is one that really gets my goat: old-fashioned.  It doesn't bother me when it is used in place of quaint.  In fact it makes me laugh when I hear how quaint and old-fashioned our laundry-hanging, scrap-composting, food-growing lifestyle is.  That old-fashioned behavior is now cutting edge!  I don't like it when old-fashioned is used for out of touch.  You will never find me shaking my fist in the air, yelling, 'Get off my lawn you darn kids!'  I'm not that lady.  I'm cool, hip, cutting edge.  And yet, I have been reluctant to merge technology with homesteading.  I decided to find out what all the fuss was about.  Through research and trial and error I have discovered many great resources for the homesteader."  Read more...



Homestead Prepping

Bug Out!

By Doug Smith


     "About two years ago, while selling real estate for a broker who specialized in rural properties, I was contacted by a local business man on behalf of a group of his friends.  It seemed the small group of business and professional men were searching for a secluded acreage with year-round running water, one ingress and egress, and located less than two hours from St. Louis.  I was real familiar with farms, rural home sites, hunting property or unimproved land.  But this was my first request for a B.O.L. … a 'Bug Out Location'.

     In the time since that unusual request, I’ve come to realize that it wasn’t that unusual after all.  I was just behind the curve in discovering the growing popularity of 'prepping'."  Read more...



Living in the Sticks

(and the Single Girl)

By Sheri Dixon


     "Sometimes a single male, perhaps after a divorce, will take off into the wilds to 'find himself'.   This is accepted, even encouraged self-therapy.   'Do the boy some good to get a little dirt under his nails.  Build up a few muscles.  Work out of the emotional doldrums.' etc., etc., etc.

     Here’s where it gets weird...

     Say you are a single FEMALE, perhaps after a divorce.   If you announce to your family and friends that you are going to move out to the sticks and apply yourself to the pursuit of a simpler life, they will be coming after you brandishing anti-depressants and a straight jacket. 

     How will you live?

     Won’t you be lonely??

     Who will take care of you???

     Just smile sweetly and tell them it will do you good to get a little dirt under your nails, build up a few muscles, and work out of the emotional doldrums."  Read more...



Super Tuber!

 The Amazing Sweet Potato

By Neil Shelton


   "Sometimes we Americans can have some pretty lame attitudes toward food.

     We insist that tomatoes are a fruit, but nobody ever puts one in a fruit salad; we don’t seem to be able to flavor anything with just apple, it always has to be apple-cinnamon; and you can, as I did, grow to adult-hood (and then some) before learning that sweet potatoes don’t always have to be smothered in a cloying sweet sauce and marshmallows.

     In fact, it wasn’t until I did learn that last truth that I became a fan of one of the world’s most versatile and nutritious plants."  Read more...



Adding Ducks To The Homestead

By Melissa Hartner


     "Is any homestead complete without ducks?  I don’t believe so; we've been raising six ducks since this spring and we sure enjoy them!  I must admit raising ducks was not a well thought out plan, in fact it was a spur of the moment decision.  The kids and I went to our local farm-supply store because Mama, (yours truly) wanted to buy a beginner honeybee-hive kit, which were strategically placed near all the adorable chicks, goslings, baby turkeys, and ducklings.  I don’t know who wanted the ducklings more, the kids or myself!  Knowing next to nothing about ducks at the time, I asked the lady working in that area which ducks were best for laying eggs.  She advised me to go with the Pekin ducks so the kids chose two adorable, fuzzy, yellow ducklings, I grabbed some non-medicated chick-starter food, some pine shavings, and home we went."  Read more...


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