Brighter Planet's 350 challenge Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket
(used with permission from Jordanne Dervais)

Counting it down, are you prepared??

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Prepping for Spring - Soil prep & Choosing seed

A good friend shared some advice on facebook this morning and I think it is worth sharing here.  I know in some places gardening year round isn't feasible without a green house but that doesn't mean there isn't work to be done.

Get ready!!!!! We are about to have a few days of dry weather. It will be a perfect time for some old fashioned weed and insect control practices. When the soil firms enough, either turn or till it. 1-This will bust up the insect beds where they are hibernating for the winter and freeze a lot to death. 2-it will expose the young tender roots of the grass and kill a lot back. Grass puts on new root growth during the winter if you did not know. For better weed control turn every two to three weeks if able to expose more new root growth to freezing temperatures. 3- This will also allow for better water infiltration to build your subsoil moister. Subsoil moisture is your plants reserve drinking supply in the dry months. For those of you who attended my garden workshops and learned to use a probe, winter is a great time to use it to increase your subsoil moisture and work off some of that Christmas candy too. 4- The best part about doing this is that it gets you out into the garden making winter a LOT less gloomy!!!   ~Tim from Oleo Acres Farm 

Everytime I turn soil, I try to work in compost or any other organic fertilizer so I have nice rich soil ready for spring planting.  Also an important step in the planning category is to know what you are planting.  If you took notes last year, they will be of great help in deciding what is worth planting this year or what you need to plant more/less of. (I highly suggest taking detailed notes  Next, order your seed catalogs, I recommend ordering from a company that sells heirloom non-GMO seed, that way you can harvest and save your own seeds for next year.

Sustainable Seed Co.
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
Seed Savers Exchange

How to save seeds

Once I plan what I am planting, I map out my planting space on paper and draw very basic blueprints, noting which sides of the yard get full sun or shade.  Most veggies take full sun (6+ hours a day), so keep this in mind when choosing seed.

What do you do to prep for spring or do you garden year-round?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Whats growing right now?

Right now we are doing more prepping and planning than growing, but I do have a few things going right now.  I have 2 broccoli plants that are growing good and have baby broc on them, 2 cauliflower plants which are growing big but no cauli yet.  I lost all the bean plants to the frost we got a couple weeks ago (guess they aren't as winter hardy as they said they were).  The nagoya kale looks beautiful and is ready to eat. I'm gonna pick some leaves off and cook them for lunch and if its good dinner too.  The only herb I have left is the rosemary and its growing big; planning on using some to infuse olive oil.

(insert pics)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Today on the Homestead...

We are getting new windows and a new sliding door to the patio.  It's a wee bit drafty while the are switching over, but well worth it!  Thankfully its over 50 degrees right now, with a high expected to be almost 70 before the storms roll in tonight.  Still crazy its that warm in mid-December and I'm sticking to my gut that this doesn't bode well for the winter to come.

Adding to the stash today:  1 quart dill green tomato relish, a couple quarts bread and butter green tomato relish, 2 quarts pickled banana peppers.  Also changing out some of the water supply today.  Might do some cranberries in syrup later, really love using the old-time method of inversion canning!!!  So far, i haven't lost a seal yet and I've been doing it this way all summer (with my high acid foods).  Hoping to get a pressure canner for Christmas, it's top priority on my list.  And a Aeropress.  Google it, you will thank my later. (that is if yo u are a coffee drinker like me).

Monday, December 12, 2011

Long Overdue Updates

Sorry y'all for not updating sooner, I've had a ton going on.  My garden right now consists of 2 broccoli plants, 2 cauliflower plants, rosemary & nagoya red kale.  I'm hoping to get a greenhouse setup for christmas so that I can add some more and start some seeds for spring.

Forecast says its gonna be almost 70 degrees later this week.  It's mid-December y'all, this ain't normal.  Today I have been busy clearing out clutter and added 13 litres of water to my emergency stash.  My gut tells me a storm's a coming, and I'm gonna be prepared.  Got about 10 more litres i need to take out and rotate with fresh.

I've been doing a ton of reading lately and wanted to share some stuff with y'all.

Generation Organic

This is one inspiring moved me to tears y'all.

Town trying to grow all its own veg

Companion planting

Monday, October 10, 2011

Whats your barter list?

I saw this on Facebook and thought it would make for an interesting post.

"What would you consider the top 10 things valuable for 

bartering if there was no system of living like we know of 


1. fuel sources
2. medical supplies
3. foodstuffs/spices
4. metals
5. tobacco/alcohol/coffee
6. drinkable water/water filter
7. soap
8. rope/building materials
9. duct tape
10. fabric

what would your list look like?

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Fall Garden

Prep for the fall garden is well underway!  We have planted some spinach and lettuce that is sprouting now and will be moved to a coldframe later.  The coldframe is currently being "lasagna composted" and we will use clear plastic or a tarp to cover.  I am also inheriting 2 of each broccoli and cauliflower plants from a friend.  One of the roma bush beans failed to thrive and I have 3 more that are sprouting nicely.  Hopefully the fall garden will lead to a more bountiful harvest than the summer one did.

My yellow plum tomatoes are still producing and little clusters of tomatoes are hanging like grapes. Hopefully they all ripen at the same instead of one at a time.  I have 1 eggplant that is still producing, they other 2 have stopped and 1 pepper plant that is still trying.  The herbs are doing great, still have peppermint, chocolate mint, rosemary, basil and lemon thyme.

Summer Garden Summary:

Reasons for conclusion:
Definitely not self sustaining, most of the veggies failed to produce, were eaten by the hen or destroyed by the dogs.  

Notes for next year:
Utilize space in front yard, fence off chicken run, barriers around garden, plant more

Monday, September 12, 2011

Preparedness 101: Food Storage

Long Term food storage tips:

  • if storing glass containers (such as canning jars) stoe in the jar box with the partitions in it. this keeps the jars out of the light and keeps them from knocking together as much in the event of an earthquake.  Also can be stored in a box with vaccuum sealed bags of stuff (tea bags, sugar, etc) in between jars
  • keep bags of dried beans or rice (or any grains, sugar, etc) in metal popcorn tins. this keeps the critters out
  • always rotate your stock!  home bottled water should be drained and refilled every 6 months.  put oldest cans up front with newest in the back that way you use the older stuff first.

September is National Preparedness Month.  Check out Survival Doc for more info on preparedness skills!  Be ready for the Zombie Apocolypse, economic collapse, natural disasters, etc.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Preparedness Challenge - Week 1

When it comes to preparedness, it isn't all or nothing, you can do it one task at a time. Although I would say the more you can do the better.  It doesn't matter what you are preparing for - whether it be a natural disaster or zombie apoolypse - the prep is the same. This week, I challenge you to begin  just one thing or add to what you are currently doing.  Examples include but are not limited to:
  • saving water
  • canning/saving bulk food
  • making a first aid kit
  • planting a garden
  • living without electricity/off grid
  • educating others on being prepared

This week, I started seeds for the garden:  lettuce, spinach & broccoli. Also I added quite a few things to the "disaster closet" (where we keep our bottled water and extra food) and researched herbal remedies for burns.

Join the Challenge

To join the Preparedness Challenge, just write a post on something you did this week to prepare and then link up below or leave a comment. Even one thing a week adds up and it will encourage you to do even more! And by participating in the challenge, it will get you thinking about prepping on a regular basis. 

Please only post on preparedness topics. And be sure to take the Preparedness Challenge picture and add it to your blog so others know you're participating and hopefully they'll join up, too!

challenge taken from: Homestead Revival

Thursday, September 1, 2011

National Preparedness Month

In honor of Sept 11, 2001 September was made National Preparedness Month.  While I think we need to be focused on being prepared year round, bringing this into the spotlight is a good thing.  With the recent earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes & floods, we need to come to grips with the fact we may need to fend for ourselves for more than a couple days - maybe a couple weeks.  I know everyone thinks of stocking food and water, but what about your medications?  If you know of a storm coming your way, go refill your prescription, you do not want to run out of heart meds or insulin during an emergency situation.  Do you have bandaids or ace bandages?  Do you have aspirin or ibuprofen?  Betadine, alcohol & peroxide?  Do you need to check your kit?

Here's links to some sites that have a wealth of info:

And also a store that sells bulk and emergency preparedness items:

What do you have in your preparedness kit?  What items do you recommend that aren't listed?  Are you prepared for a natural or manmade disaster?  What did you/are you doing to prepare?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Updates & a Giveaway!!

Well, updates are few and far between as I think my plants are hibernating from the heat.  I have gotten a couple very small cucumbers, a handful of yellow plum tomatoes and 1 patio tomato.  All quite delicious but not enough for this homesteader!

In the quest to being closer to self sufficient, I am planning a fall garden of spinach, lettuces, beets, beans (all in pots) & herbs (indoors in the dining room). I am also totally open to suggestions as to what to plant and when, year round gardening is new to me!

On a good note, the okra is going crazy!!  The eggplants are all flowering like madness but just not producing; makes for a pretty garden though!

Garden Shots Summer 2011

I have also found a great seed company I will be ordering from for spring, Sustainable Seed Co..  They have a whole section of non-gmo open pollinated organic seeds.  This is exactly what I want (figured I would drop that hint in case anyone felt the need to make a donation).

I have also been canning up a storm and have at least 30 jars under my counter, not to mention what I have given away/bartered.  It is so satisfying to look down there and see homepacked jars of organic veggies seasoned without all the yucky stuff of store bought veggies.  They taste so much better too!!

My favorites so far have been the ginger-peach butter (which all my friends love and are requesting more of), the dill green tomato relish (a new recipe for me) and the sriracha (Mance's favorite!)

I am also very excited about the fig preserves (figs foraged off tree next door), pickled watermelon rind (waste not, want not, right?), and the marinated mushrooms!

Now if we could get the hookup on deer & rabbit meat, Mance would be set!  I also need to send him fishing more often. LOL  (Oh, and a note to self:  get rid of dogs and get more chickens)

And now on to the giveaway:
The Permaculture Media Blog (which you should totally subscribe to) is giving away a copy of The Quarter Acre Farm by Spring Warren; so click the book title, check it out and enter!  I did!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

How Does the Garden Grow?

Well, this past month has been full of.....waiting!  we did add 8 sweet potato vines, 3 corn plants and transplanted a few more mystery vines. we lost 1 watermelon vine, 2 eggplants, and 2 yellow squash.  we also lost a huge crop of tomatoes to the squirrels.

Added 3 new chickens - 1 buff orpington (now deceased, thank my dogs), 1 rhode island red (happily freeranging in the back yard), and 1  ariconda (freeranging in the neighbors bushes till I catch it). I do plan on getting a couple more at teh next workshop July 23rd.

this morning it was delighted to see progress and smal veggies on my plants - jalapenos, cucumbers & ichiban eggplants!  have a few baby tomatoes left, but definitely need some netting or something.

I also want to take a minute to rant - and you wont see this often - but all the raids on raw milk companies and farms and herb companies are making me crazy.  i'm going to start putting together all the docs i need for a passport and move my family to Canada...I swear it!!!!!  I feel so bad for the woman facing 93 days in jail for gardening in her front yard...

So how is your garden growing?  And what scares you most about the Food Safety Modernazation Act?   If alcohol is legal to buy, why cant we buy raw milk???

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

garden updates

well its been a crazy week around here, sorry for the lack of updates.  Here's what's going on in my backyard, will update with some pics later.

all 5 of my plants are blossoming profusely and I have about 20 tomatoes that are getting bigger everyday.

out of the 3 types of peppers I have, they are all flowering but not producing...not sure whats going on there.

I finally have some baby yellow squash on my plants!!  and the zucchini is making a comeback from the funk it went through when I transplanted it.

both white eggplants are doing well and fruiting.  my ichiban are just growing bigger with no fruit or flowers...

The herbs:
all are doing well, i had to buy a new cilantro plant (my other died after flowering) and added curled parsley to the mix.

the cucumber vines are taking good, the okra thankfully didnt go through transplant shock and i have 10-12 corn stalks sprouting up that need transplanted! 

Also, i have 9 sweet potato pvines that need put in, trying to figure out if I am going to try the tower method or just stick them in the ground.  still have a few more things i want to add, oh I did start 4 more garlic sprouts, my other died thanks to the kids...

Friday, May 27, 2011

Kimchi: take 2

I tweeked my normal recipe to include less salt and threw in some broccoli to make a 2nd full jar.  We will see how that turns out in about a week.  Looks good though, i just hope there is enough liquid in the jars for them to properly ferment.

(left: regular kimchi, right: broccoli kimchi)

I have to say, i kinda like fermenting over canning at the moment, no boiling water, the jars arent required to be sterilized, its a LOT less effort.  Not sure what types of veggies would ferment ok, but I have heard of apples and onions together and squash & pumpkin together.  May try this with squash and onions.

I will keep you updated with what combos I try and how I succeed or how I bomb.

 Until then, happy Homesteading!!

Monday, May 23, 2011


Apparently the Powers that Be have decided my garden isnt going to do well this year.  I got my pepper plants in the ground, only to go outside an hour later to see that my chicken had eaten all th leaves off the plants.  They aren't dead, but really?!

Also, this morning, my 2 year old thought it would be helpful to pick the "green strawberry" (my tomato that was still growing) off the plant and bring it to me.  I just can't win.

On a happier note, I think we are finally getting drier weather so I can finally start hanging the laundry again.  I have hated having to use the dryer, I can always tel a difference in the utility bill and it makes the kitchen sooooo  hot.

In the process of gathering materials for a woodstove for the patio.  It would be nice to do more cooking outside to keep the heat out of the house.  Also looking into plans for a homemade solar oven.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

garden updates and random stuff

According to Facebook,  the apocolypse is this weekend, Saturday to be exact.  So I thought I better take stock of the garden..not so good.

Yesterday I put 2 tomato plants in the ground and the 2 that are still in pots (the black prince and patio varieties) are doing well.  They are both flowering like crazy and I even have a tomato on the black prince.  I have quite a few pepper plants, the banana are flowering profusely but no peppers yet.  The jalapeno and bells seem to be struggling, I need to get them in the ground today.  It seems I have lost my zucchini and watermelon and 3 of my eggplant.  Also, the squash that was blooming so beautifully appears to be dying....not sure why.  All of my herbs are doing great and have been providing their yummy goodness to many dishes over the past couple weeks.

I do hope to be able to replace some of the lost plants soon.  Again, donations are accepted.  (just joking, or am I?)

The apple tree seems to be doing great!  I can't wait to get another one and also a peach tree.  Fresh peaches are amazing.  In the meantime, I will have to deal with picking my own at Jones Orchard when they are ready.

Well, my mother in law confirmed that my first batch of blackberry preserves were a success!  I can't wait to make more for us.  The apple butter was also a success; in addition to the  jar I gave my mom I have some in the fridge and in the cabinet.

I will be starting another batch of kimchi today and making more sweet and spicy slaw (see Veg'n In the 'burbs for recipes).  Still looking for a place to buy scobys so I can try my hand at Kombucha making.

Until next time, be safe, avoid the apocalypse riots and don't touch that mail truck, I have already claimed it!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

a few random updates

The No-Shampoo Experiment:
Today was wash #2 with just baking soda, and I must say I am pleasantly surprised.  The first wash was Wednesday and I didn't get oily, itchy or overly sweaty.  I had Mance do a smell test before and after shower and he said I came out smelling clean (and believe me he would tell me if I wasn't so fresh).  So, I am happy with this outcome and have noticed all my scalp problems (dry, itchy, oily and breakouts) have disappeared since I started the baking soda wash.  Is this for everyone?  Probably not, but it works for me.  My hair has never felt this healthy and soft.

Project:  Kimchi
The 2 jars of kimchi that now gracemy refridgerator shelf are quite yummy!!  I admit I used way too much salt (thats what I get for actually following a recipe, huh?) but other than that, it goes geat on Tofurky kielbasa!

And much to my surprise, I was asked to demonstrate the process at a local farm's survival workshop.  Oleo Acres, June 25, 2011 in the AM.  I want to see all you locals there!!!!!  Hell, I might even give you some free kimchi. LOL

Garden Updates:
My Black Prince tomatoes are flowering & fruiting, the patio tomatoes are flowering like madness as are the banana peppers.  The squash that is so beautifully flowering is not fruiting.  Not quite sure whats going on there.  Still need to get more zucchini & eggplant and some cucumbers.  And need some peat pots to start some bean and corn seeds I have.  Donations of plants or cash are happily accepted. LOL

I did lose my raspberry bush to the flooded backyard, but that can be replaced.  Oh and Scarlett has not started laying again, or if she has Ariel(my dog) beats me to the eggs.  Its sad too cuz ain't no egg better than a backyard egg!!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

cleaning tips and the no-shampoo experiment

I am trying to clean my house to the point where I can just do upkeep during the week and more heavy duty stuff maybe once a month.  So far, I am off to a good start, but it seems like my arch nemesis will always defeat me....laundry.  Although, now that the weather is dry and hot, I can fill my clothesline to capacity and it only takes about 30 minutes for a load to dry, so I am getting it done a bit faster.

So, my questions to you are, what are your cleaning tips to make it go smoother?

Do you use any natural/homemade cleaners?  If so, what works for you?

Now, on to the no-shampoo experiment...
Before you call me a crazy dirty hippie, hear me out.  Shampoo, while smelling good, is made to strip the oil out of your hair.  Your hair actually needs a certain amount to be healthy.  So in the days after shampooing your hair becomes more oily causing you to shampoo again.  It's a vicious cycle, thank you corporate America for getting us addicted to yet one more thing.

Well, in this experiment, you still wash your hair, but use a baking soda paste, scented with essential oils if you just have to have yummy smelling hair.  The baking soda will cleanse your hair and neutralize the odors while leaving the oils alone.

Today was day 4 with no shampoo and my first day trying the baking soda.  Y'all, I'm being honest here, I  was skeptical.  But after vigorously rinsing my hair, it came out so soft and passed Mance's sniff test.  I'm going to be shampoo free and try the baking soda again on Saturday.

Has anyone else ever tried this?  Would yo be willing to try  it?  Tell me what you think!!

Monday, May 9, 2011


As you know (or may not know) we have had aweful weather reacently including tornadoes and floods.  I thought my garden would be a loss and while I did lose a couple plants, to my surprise I found this when I walked outside this morning:

My squash is blossoming!  Not only that, but the zucchini is loaded with buds, and my tomatoes are too.  Seem to be having problems with the tomatoes though, as much as they flower, they don't fruit.  I have 3 varieties and am having the same problem with all of them.
Even though it is small, my raspberry bush seems to be blossoming also.  I thought it was a goner for sure, after the storms it stood in about 6 inches of water for quite a few days.  I'm not really expecting any berries this summer, but it is an everbearing, so maybe this fall.

As for the reast of the plants, they are doing well, the herbs are producing like madness.  The cilantro and basil are making great additions to the cooking and the pineapple sage is getting big.  Still havent figured out what to use it in...maybe a sweet and sour stirfry type dish.  Had to transplant the lemon thyme today, they were getting too big for their tiny pots and are now sharing a planter.  That stuff is a great addition to any dish that needs a citrus touch.

Other than that, not much going on here at the homestead.  Praying Scarlett starts laying again soon (I thinks he stopped because of the storms) and looking in to buying some chicks.  Stinks I can only have 6 hens at a time.

Oh, I am experimenting with fermenting and have 2 jars of yummy looking kimchi fermenting on the counter.  I really can't wait to try it!!! And if it turns out, I have been asked by a local farm, Oleo Acres to show off my fermenting skills at one of their survival workshops in June! (exact date and details to be announced when we cement hte plans)  I couldn't be more thrilled!!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Apple butter take 1

So I have about 25 apples on my counter right now, just calling me to do something with them.  Hmmm....what to do?  The kids don't like applesauce, and while the hubby would live it, I don't have enough crust ingredients for that many apple pies.  So, apple butter it is.  Besides. it is really hard to find a good apple butter in the grocery store, and the one from the Farmers Market last summer was way too sweet and expensive.

I am following the instructions here with the exception of cook time. I am trying it stovetop until they are tender as it is too hot to have the crockpot on for that long.  I am quite excited, I get to use my new canner for the first time!  Jars are in the dishwasher now.

Update coming as soon as its cooked....

Ok, it's cooked and I must admit I deviated from that recipe.  Here is what I did:
I took 6 granny smiths, peeled, cored and cut them into small chunks.  I added them to a saucepan and covered with water.  to this i added enough water to cover them, 1 cup splenda, 1 cup sugar, lots of cinnamon and some ground ginger.  I brought this  to a boil for 10 minutes before reducing the heat and letting simmer for almost 2 hours. (You want the apples to be mushy). 

Being the cheapskate I am, I don't have a foodmill or sieve, but I do have a colander.  I placed my colander over another pot and poured the apple in the colander, letting the liquid drain into the pot.  I then took a large spoon and pressed the mixture to get all the liquid out.  What remains in the colander is what goes into the jar.

It is now in the canner and my whole house smells of apples and cinnamon. WIN!!!!

Companion blog

Most people who know me know that I am not the most tech saavy person in the world.  In light of this, I created a companion blog to this one, Veg'n in the 'burbs to house my many recipes and to keep this one more focused on homesteading.  So please, follow that one also for all the yummy updates!!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cinco de Mayo: Vegan spicy black bean soup

So everytime I make a pot of beans - any beans - I turn at least 2 bowls worth into soup.  Here's today's lunch fare:

1 can or 2 cups cooked black beans
1/2 onion, sauteed
jalapeno, diced to taste
1/2 avocado cut into chunks

In a food processor, combine 1/2 of beans, and all of onion, jalapeno and avocado. Pulse till smooth.  Combine in a pot with remaining beans, stir to incorporate and heat till piping hot.  Serve topped with whatever youlike, my personal favs are avocado, salsa and tofutti sour cream and some shredded daiya goodness!

oh the things you find when not looking.....

So driving around the neighborhood the other day to assess storm damage (to be nosy really) I noticed I was not the only one in the 'hood with chickens!  Just a couple streets over there is a nice family that has some, I have yet to talk to them, but it is on my list.  On this same trip, I noticed my neighbor that had solar panels had taken them down.  (Note to self: go pick their brains about solar energy).  And then, as I turned the corner to come home, I saw something I haven't seen since my childhood growing up in rural IL - my neighbor has a manual lawnmower, you know the kind you push that has no motor just a roll of blades.  I WANT ONE!!!!

This has been a good week for discoveries.  I found out one of my high school friends, who I am back in touch with thanks to facebook, just got a beehive and is now beekeeping.  He is also an avid veggie gardener and home brews his own beer.  (Note to self:  talk to him about bartering!).  It really warms my heart to see so many people trying to be more conscious of their impact on Mother Earth and more self sustaining.

So I was playing in the backyard yesterday with the kids (read: getting horribly sunburned) and noticed some plants with large leaves growing by my patio.  Upon furthur inspection, I noticed they have blossoms on my surprise I had canteloupe or watermelon growing from where we had spit out seeds last summer!!  I quickly and carefully pulled them up and potted them and fertilized them, I pray they make it, I am so excited to see which type of melon they are!!

On the agenda for this weekend:  Replace lost plants, go grocery shopping at farmers market, and hopefully find time to pick strawberries at the Agricenter and make preserves and sugar free preserves for Cory!  (Expect a post about preserves coming soon)

Oh, I almost forgot, Zombie Apoc. survival tip #1 - cardio

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

what a crazy week

Sorry it has been a bit, this last week has been filled with tornadoes and flooding rains.  My poor little plants didn't stand a chance.  After surveying the garden, it seems the only things that I definitely lost are 5 sugar snap pea vines (I a blaming the rains and Scarlett the hen - they seemed a tasty treat for her), & the blackberry bush.  Overall not bad.  We will see if anything else goes over the next couple days; 3 of the eggplant aren't looking so good.  the other casualty of these storms - my hen quit laying.  hopefully now that we are back in what seems to be a normal weather pattern she will start laying again.  I sure do miss her fresh eggs!!

Other than that, we came through ok; no property damage from wind, hail, debris or flood waters.  We are still under flood warnings for about 2 weeks as the Mighty Mississippi continues to rise, but I am sure we will be ok.  But don't get me wrong, we re prepared for floods or power outages.

What we have on hand "just in case":

bottled water - you want enough for each person to have a 2 liter per day. 
We have 9 2 liter bottles that we bottled ourselves, plus 2 gallons store bought

Canned provisions - canned tuna, chicken, vienna sausages, fruits (canned and fresh) & veggies (canned and fresh)  Canned meats may not be the healthiest thing on earth, but they don't need cooked and you need protein.  Don't forget a manual can opener or you will be screwed and hungry.

Candles & extra lighters - I always keep plenty of candles anyway, but now I have more and a stash of lighters my dear husband doesn't know about so I don't have to wrry about them disappearing.  We also have at least 1 working flashlight with extra batteries.

A stocked first aid kit - FEMA

We have a few more things together too, like a packed backpack of clothes and meds for each member of the family, but a full list an be found on the FEMA site listed above.

It felt so good to wake up this morning and see the sun peeking through the clouds!  It is still really cloudy, but the sun sure is trying to break through.  Hopefully things will dry out a bit over the next few days.  I still have quite a few plants that need to go in the ground.  The zucchini and squash are flowering now and I need to get them staked before they start bearing.

Anywy, I hope the sun is shining in your neck of the woods, enjoy the day Mother Earth gave you!!  And please check out FEMA's site and be prepared for a flood, earthquake, another natural disaster or the zombie apocalypse!!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Why the Zombie Apocolypse could happen...

doctor studies zombies

And you ask what homesteading has to do with the zombie apocolypse?  Well, think  about it, in all the zombie movies, they end up with out power and fuel eventually runs out.  you need to be prepared to survive without electricity and fuel.  And that is relative to the goal of homesteading: living off the grid. 

So here I will take a minute to recommend some reading material for you:
Surviving the Apocolypse in the Suburbs by Wendy Brown
Where There is no Doctor

And depending on how far you wanna take it, I suggest learning how to make your own candles and soap.  My friends and I are working on amassing a library of how-to books on subjects like blacksmithing, preserving meats, and tanning hides, and making bows and arrows, anything we might ever need and then some and maybe some things we don't.  But better to be prepared right??

So, we are preparing for the apocolypse; are you??

Many of the skills needed for the ZA are also common disaster preparedness/homesteading skills.

Preserving water:
Always wondered how to bottle your own water?  Well, I can tell you, because I do it.
Only use empty sterilized soda bottles.  Milk jugs and juice bottles are not usable because they don't fully come clean. 
Once you are done drinking the soda, rinse the bottle.  Then wash it with hot, soapy water making sure you  cover every surface of the bottle and rim.  Rinse till there is no soap residue.  Next, pour in one capful of bleach and fill the bottle about half way (for a 2 or 3 liter bottle, less bleach for a 20oz). Put the lid on tight and shake making sure the bleach  water touches every surface of the bottle. Drain (when I do this I pour the bleach water over the inside of the cap to sterilize it also).  Rinse bottle till you can  no longer smell the bleach.  Fill bottle with clean water and close lid tight, making sure not to touch rim of bottle or lid with your fingers.  dry the bottle and write the date on it.  Shelf life = 6 mos.

Monday, April 25, 2011

So I finally did it

I finally did it, after months of promising I was going to, I started a blog.  Here it is, I hope it doesn't disappoint.

I hate to have negativity in my first post, but I  am gonna jump right in with what's going on here.  The weather...enough said.  for the past couple weeks we have had strong storms with tornadoes and hail.  Not good conditions for little seedlings.  my sugar snap peas drowned.  Thankfully my raspberry bush made it through and my trooper of an apple tree survived the straightline and tornadic winds.  Not sure if my blackberry bush is gonna make it through though.  Everything else is still in pots and doing well inside.  With more storms predicted for the next few days, there is no telling when I can get them in the ground!  GRRRR

Now then to the more pleasant stuff.  For those that aren't quite sure what homesteading means, here's what wiki had to say.

We are doing this to get back in touch with nature and save some money on our utility bills while we are at it.  That is definitely an added bonus; as it lots of home-canned summer veggies and jams in the winter time. It will also prove useful when the zombie apocolypse comes LOL

Saving rain water is also a good change for us.  We don't have a rain barrel yet, but it is in the works.  We use the saved rainwater to water the plants and man do they prefer that to tap water!! 

Let me close with a few tips to get you started:
1.start a veggie garden.  Not only will this save on your grocery bill, but fresh food tastes so much better and usually has more nutritional value.

2.conserve energy by turning off lights and appliances when not in use.  Also take advantage of natural light when you can.  My house usually doesn't use lights till around 7pm in the summer time.

3.If you are crafty and have the time, try making your own clothes.  Start simple with a skirt or halter top (ladies) and a basic tshirt or shorts (guys).  There are many very simple patterns on the net.  Not only is this fun and a stress reliever, it's very rewarding when complimented to tell teh person you made it yourself.

4.canning and preserving.  Whether this be with homegrown veggies or farmers market specials, you are guaranteed have yummy healthy food year round.

Now these tips aren't for everyone, but remember these are just a few changes you can make and there are many more not listed.  Figure out the time and resources you have to commit and figure out what homesteading practices you can incorporate.

thanks for stopping by and happy homesteadin'