Monday, December 10, 2012

Run To My Facebook Page and Name My Dog For Free Soap

What is the name of my dog?
My Dogs Name... Post It Here!!!! GO!!

Go tell them!!!!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cyber Monday, Tree Standing, I Need Your Help!!

I hope you will take sometime out tomorrow and visit our Trading post and make some purchases there for this years Holidays. I have a few plans to use the money including building a website domain, and funding a couple DIY winter time projects. We have yet to do more than $75 in a single month, and opening the store I hope we can start generating some revenue to support more projects and giveaways.

All of the mods are friends of mine and have been working as volunteers as I do also. I depend on the two Company's I own to pay my personal bills, and I am booking for March of next year all ready. So as you now see, I am not looking to make a living from this blogging and teaching. Don't get me wrong if I could make a living at it, that would be wonderful, but that isn't in the plans right now.

It doesn't matter what you buy when you follow my links, you will still be contributing if you follow my links. I really would like more support in order to build the website well, so we can have our very own place. I own the domain already however I have to pay to have it built, and I want to have it built correctly.

I secured the deer stand the other day and also cleaned and bore sighted my weapon. I decided to hunt this year with my Winchester .270 Rifle. With a nice Scope, this is a very dependable weapon that kills with one shot. I got it in 2008 and killed my first doe that year with it.

As always, I will shot and kill the first legal buck I see, and I have done some scouting and located a nice area the deer have been bedding down in. I hope I get my kill in tomorrow...

Monday, November 12, 2012

Bartering.... Getting Clever For Wintertime

Dotted all over the countryside are little known wintertime hot spots that you can barter for wintertime space for your own gain. You can exchange labor for a 4x4 space or you could barter for a larger space.

Privately owned greenhouse owners are always eager to let one or two people hang out and have a space of their own with some fair labor exchanges. They will want to supply you your soil in which to grow your yummy food in, and with a little understanding will help you understand how greenhouses work. 

I have bartered my way into a local Greenhouse this year and have been given a 4x8 foot space this winter.

What should I grow?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Meet Your Host and Blogger

I was born in 1970 and found myself living on a farm in a small town in Pennsylvania with my Mom and Step Dad, Bob. I called Bob, Dad, as he was my Dad and was a driving force in my life.

Our farm was once a farm that produced its food to support a Hospital, and so they bought the 17 acre farm and leased the land around it from the state for cheap. From the start I was put into the barn where I raised chicks, kids, piglets, and calves.

I was also put into the garden, where I learned to grow food..... Mom and Dad were people who believed in harvesting earths wild food whenever they could find it. They also hunted animals for food off the land as well as fishing.

They taught me many things that I would not retain or remember later in life. Although, like all families, we had our ups and downs, I always felt loved. We never had a lot of clothes, we had school clothes and work clothes, school winter boots and barn boots. I never went without a meal, if I did it was my own fault.

As it would happen, one day we lost the farm.... I remember the man coming down the road and post a sign on the front door. At that moment, I felt as if my life was over.... I lost something that day, a part of me...

Looking around one day as my parents struggled with life issues, I would have to go live with my natural Father. He lived in Newport News Virginia. This big city is filled with military families and is an ever changing place so relationships can begin but not last. The whole area is military and the hustle of a growing place. I would live there until I went into the Army.

From the start I hated the city, sure it was a huge cultural shock, but the people seemed to be so disconnected from each other. They didn't share  small town family values like we did back home. I knew one day I was going to move back to the land and live like I was raised.

The Trigger...

I was living a good life, I decided to stop punching the mans time clock and start my own business. It took off and before I knew it I was making more money the I ever did. So we bought a house in the best area, best neighborhood, best school, and lived like yuppies with a hippie attitude.

As the news came on one evening, I saw a house down the street on the screen. A woman that I met a few times that lived down the street had been killed and other awful things. If it happened to her, we too were in danger or could be.

About that time we decided to go on vacation back home so I could visit family and the old farm. While here, we decided to look at properties... This place cried to me, it was run down, tired, over grown and neglected. As I looked deeper, I saw my own hope and transfer from those things to being my Homestead.

So as we arrived back in Newport News, we decided to give that all up, sell out, and walk away to a new more productive, responsible life...

After we settled in, I developed a five year plan, which now is the funniest joke around this home...

One of the biggest fan mail subjects is people that never followed their dream to get back to the land, or those that want to get back to the land.

You know your life, not me, but I say do it....

Be prepared to struggle, face the hard work, and own up to your own self. You will find yourself out here in the dirt. You will cry hundreds of tears, face things that you thought you would never encounter. You will grow respect for your land as much as you will yourself. One day, it will hit you like a ton of bricks,  and you will realize that you are doing it.....

Your land will shape you as much as you shape it. As your land changes, expect that changes will happen to you. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Cash Storm, Homesteaders Freedom...

With the warm coals from the hard wood fire, I sit in my warm house wearing my smiley faced pj bottoms and my traditional plain white T on. As the storm Sandy finally moves away, what is left in her path is beyond words, however lets take a closer look.

Held up by the force of wind, I once stood in the wind gale of a down graded category 3 Hurricane. As a natural entrepreneur minded man, I gather fuel, bar oil, sharpeners, chainsaws, straps and come along's,  timber jacks, ropes and cash. As I had already gathered basic 3 week supply of goods to take care of my family I was ready... As we sat in the eye for almost 15 minutes, I was already to get going.

Perhaps you might think that I was going to take advantage of people and charge outrageous prices to remove tree's from dwellings and other places... No, I was however using my money and skills to make money and provide people with a service. I made money after the hurricane moved through by having the tools and supplies on hand to get the job done right away as people wanted to get back to normal. I never charge to much and did dozens of jobs for what the people could afford or had on hand. I even bartered for some stuff....

As a young man, poor, I was always searching for new things to adventure into as long as I could benefit from it, and I enjoyed it, why not? I am positive this type of attitude of moving forward has helped me with running my own businesses as well as the risk of doing that. But Hurricanes and big storms always put a little green in my pocket. There was risk doing what I was doing, but I felt a need to take care of my family, money in my pocket insured I could buy supplies.

A few years ago we were hit by several big storms back to back. We had snow on top of snow on top of snow on top of snow... At one point, I had walls of snow that lined my driveway. But I didn't need to do as I had done before, nor was this storm any different. However perhaps my age now, maturity, knowing better, or just a more confident approach in getting through these types of natural events.

I remember sitting in the eye of that hurricane, in the dead still of air, looking at the coming wall, did I do the right thing and could we handle another 6 hours of this? We did in the end, but it sure was tough and scary. I thought I had 3 weeks of supplies, they lasted only a week.

As I sat here the other day while Sandy raged on, I thought about those days when I thought like that about money..... Today, I am just prepared for months if need be and I didn't go out of my way to do anything special. I don't feel like being in a panic to run to the store to buy supplies other than toilet paper. If I don't have a tin can of food, it doesn't bother me.

Being self sufficient has given me a confidence that I never knew it would. Sure you can say, well of coarse silly, but I can't explain the feelings of confidence I do have. I feel like we could be stuck here and we would survive and be okay. I know tons more about hunting, gathering, gardening and life skills. I feel like I could write a book and teach others the way I have adapted to this life of rewards and freedom. We that Homestead, step in and post a comment if you do, we have a sense of freedom others do not know or understand....

It compares to something like a right of passage, something you have learned and lived and now you can confidently execute the motions without thinking or worry...

By being self sufficient as I want to be, I think if the stuff hits the fan, we will be okay... That is a good feeling....

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The First Fire of The Season....

Getting ready for the storm was like getting ready for any winter storm...

Tonight as I write, the first fire of the season warms this space, and the rewards of my effort of gathering, splitting and stacking wood to build this fire, gives me great comfort and reward.

There is no other heat source here in this space, only a gentle fire that has hot burning coals to ignite the next layer of wood. The light smell of smoke fills the air and brings my mind to many other days.... I added a hickory log and the scent gives me so many feelings....

I look and stare at the fire as if the flames are talking to me and look away only to wonder why I was looking and staring at them any way....

It is 35 degrees outside and I sit here in my space that is 67 degrees...

As I sit here and type, in my own comfort, I am pleased to smell the smoke, and have a fire to warm this space because it makes me feel right at home...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Holding a Value System For Everything Homesteading

As a Homesteader, I find that there are many different challenges to life that are expected and there are the ones that people just don't think it is going to happen to them. When they do, they almost always catch us off guard. Sometimes when our plate is already filled, it piles a little higher. Just when you get the plate clean and everything seems to be going well, it hits us like a lead balloon.

Many years ago I adopted many ways of life that could be considered Pagan and perhaps a little Hippy and over the top with Earthly love of the world and for others. That word "others" pertained only to those who were my friends and swung my way. If you weren't in with me, than you weren't part of my life and so I didn't care about you.

As I got older, I started to understand more about my way of thinking of life and all that is in this world. I began to go back to church. As I live my life now, headed to whatever comes my way, I find that keeping a value system in place keeps a balance in my life.

Many things I do I work close to God and all that he has blessed me with. People might not understand this part of me. There are many others just like me, people who love others, love the earth, respect animals and humans alike, and love the Lord for many reasons.

There is a value system for me, everything has value. From weeds, plants, trees, insects, animals and other humans male and female alike. I do my best to start with a heart of love, a heart filled with understanding... At times this seems like the hardest thing for me to do, but I do try.

The reason I am mentioning this in a blog because while your riding with me, remember you are riding with me... I have a value system and a balance of love for everyone and everything including God.

If your here just for the pioneering self sufficient ideas your gonna have to take my love for the Lord as well or you might leave me like a bad habit. Either way you decide, I am not going to change who I am or anything about me for you. These are my pages and I am glad your here, but don't tell me to stop mentioning the Lord from time to time.

This is a package deal, take me as I am....

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Free Organic Materials, Labor Free...

Keeping up with the Jones, well that has benefits that I like...

Most suburbs have little trees, then comes country suburbs where they have trees but have a desire to keep their lawns spotless and perfect. In my neck of the woods, where the Deer Tick thrives, get rid of leaves has medical purposes.

Often along the side of the road of the country suburbs you will see a deer that was killed, so we know they travel there. So bagging up the leaves might get rid of a few ticks or more as well as keeping your lawn and house looking good.

I like those large, cheap paper leaf bags sold by stores... They are a good way to condition my eyes in the evenings while rolling through the local suburbs, makes me look for that color in the evening sun. So as I drive around looking for bags sat on the side I think about how easy it is to gather these bags up than to offer to rake other peoples yards to gather the compost material up.

Trailer in tow, I ride out to fill and stack it with these brown bags filled with others leaves. I get a few dog turds from time to time, but generally just leaves. I always knock on the door and ask, but if no answer, I gather them up.

The second load tonight....

I even have then doubled stacked in the back part of the trailer.....

Most people dispose of the bags and buy them knowing they are a one time use thing... However some people would rather hang onto them and think they have something on you and want you to rake their yard to fill the bags, hold your breathe on that one.. Nope I just roll on and keep finding the ones that people set out on the street, and smile and wave at the folks who think their leaves are so badly needed by me...

However, there is a way to reach out to folks that are filling those bags. There are people now that email me this time of year to give me their leaves that they didn't sit on the side of the road, but saved them for me.

So I give everyone a free bag with a MP card and a little note about why I took/needed their leaves. I find that giving something back is generally a very welcomed and surprise for those folks. It is good because it helps build relationships/friendships, and I like networking whenever I can.

It's also a kind gesture....

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Raw Milk Turns Into Many Homestead Products

As I sit here this evening, while the cool fall air swirls around the trees to pull off the dead leaves and floats them to the ground, today was a good productive day.

You might remember the other night I went to a secret location and got some raw, right from the cow, milk. Now before you start posting your thoughts of how bad raw milk is for you, I will not listen to your nonsense. Your wasting your time preaching to me about all the things bad with raw milk, and if I wanted to waste my time I would combat and debate the issue with you. But I am not going to do that.

As I used a method taught to me by my Mom, I had confirmed the technique of separating the cream from the top of the milk. So out of the milk I got I ended up with enough cream to make nearly three pounds of butter. You see I dodged that "how much cream did you get" bullet? I didn't measure my cream as I should have because I forgot to and just moved into butter production first thing this morning.

So, I know your ready to get into the whole butter production, but I wanted to let you know in my useful gadgets I have a Mixer Stand like the one I used to make my own butter. One of these days I am going to blog a list of stuff I make with my Kitchen Aid stand mixer.

So I started out by allowing my cream sit overnight and then just chilled it a couple hours. I added some into the stand mixing bowl, and kept adding until the mixer was going on high and I always make a foil bonnet around it to keep it full.

 So as it starts to churn, it will thicken up and the milk and as you can see in the photo below, the level of milk has dropped compared to the one above. Generally I just keep adding cream until I get enough where I know my machine can handle the butter.

So by adding foil around the edge, tucking it in, I can fill my mixer up pretty full without spreading milk all over the kitchen.

Taking a peek in, can you see the noticeable change it texture and color?

Well it won't be long until my butter starts to clump and balls together. When it is at this point it is time to take it out and strain it.

Now it is time to start cutting the butter, if you don't cut it, it will become rancid very soon and you have wasted all your cream, time and effort. Cutting the butter with a pastry cutter and cold water will clean out all the residue milk that has been collected during butter making process. Ice cold water added, than cut it for a couple minutes, strain add new cold water, and repeat until your butter cuts clean in water. I use 1/2 cup cold water during my first cut and mix that with my buttermilk. The remainder several batches after the first one I toss out.

This is my last cut, clearly from the first photo you can see the water color get much clearer.

Now I will strain the butter one last time and begin to press it into containers for long term storage. Notice the water coming out?

Don't be afraid to poke your fingers down into the butter to remove the air pockets and the water will also continue to come out. Now it is time to smooth it out for long term storage...

Some advice, never share your source for raw milk by bragging about it, share with people you know if the farmer allows it. Make sure to visit your farmer and make sure they are a clean milker. If your lucky as I am, mine doesn't use hormones and mine grazers and produce organic milk for the market.

So tomorrow for breakfast I will have homemade buttermilk (made from my by product from butter production) pancakes with my homemade butter covered in my homemade maple syrup.... I feel pretty proud to say all those homemade words in one sentence....

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Hunt, Pass The Powder Please....

The first season of black powder rifle hunting is now open. With a left handed 50 caliber in my hand I climb the hillside just feet away from my back porch to sit in or sometimes near my hunting stand to wait for the large herd of local deer to come around.

Because of the bear activity this year, I am cautious about entering into the woods so quietly, yet trying to be quiet enough not to spook the deer or it will be an all day wait. The damp nights have softened the leaves making my steps into the woods much quieter.So I offer up a few grunts not to draw in bucks because I can only kill Does right now. But rather startle a bear if they are near.. 

Out of all the different styles of hunting, I like the hunt using my black powder muzzle loader. Although it is a dieing style of hunting, no other style gives me the pleasure that I get when hunting. I often feel like it is a more even style of hunting rather than having a scope.

In years past, I had often toyed with the idea of tanning my hides without any direct action to do it and make it a practical self sufficient skill. However I am considering doing just that this year.

As the Crows have come back from the heat of summer, the smell of the morning fall is a welcomed smell as the cold morning air brings a chill to my bones as I tighten up my jacket. It is wonderful to see the sun rise from behind the mountains. These are just season reason why I have moved back to the country away from the big city.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Fall Colors and Seasons of Change Means Shifting Gears

I like Autumn, it does close Summer and puts a lid on the harvest season and opens a whole different mind set on the Homestead. I will be pulling down the solar water heater as the snow and temps no longer support it. The fall gathering of wild mushrooms, nuts and other free goods mother nature hands over is the final reward before hunting season opens.

Hunting season for me isn't about bagging the big buck, and so if he walks in front of my deer stand I will harvest him. I take no real reward in his rack, if it pleases the guy in the next stand over he can have him. I just want to get a buck that is legal and fill my other Doe tags for the food value. I always pass on smaller Does as I know there are plenty of older Does ready for canning. I also grind them up for Sausage, Bologna and Jerky. This year I am going to be keeping the Deer Liver for a Liver Sausage recipe that I found.

I look forward to small game hunting as well as fall turkey season with Joshua who just loves to bird hunt. This year he is excited to turkey hunt as I teach him to use a new turkey call. If I had dogs I would be shifting towards hunting more rabbits, but I am considering raising rabbits next year for food because having a beagle right now isn't on my list.

I will be priming the smoker this weekend for this years seasoning of food for me and my friends. Getting everything ready for winter means putting everything away and stored properly until next spring. I am considering setting up the Greenhouse but haven't decided to do it. I was thinking of putting it over the cold frame.

You have not heard me mention wood splitting as we did split some, but last year it was so warm, we have plenty of wood left over. We processed so much maple syrup, we will be selling off all of our goods this year. That money will sure up my SS fund pretty nice. I still have a few projects to wrap up for the season and do some clean-up and get ready for the holidays, hunting, and wintertime.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Winter Grains For Green Cropping in The Spring

As the weather gets cooler, the leaves start to die, the trees begin to fall asleep for the coming winter months. Daytime temps are a hit and miss as the weatherman tries to get us ready for the day ahead. The morning sun beams through the early morning fog as the dew drops from the blades of grass collect and drip.

The garden has given up the last of her bounty, and it is time to take down all that garden art that served to allow plants to grow and produce its food for collecting. Reflecting back to this years harvest, it has been a good year and the garden produced plenty of food as I had planned during the early spring.

It is time for me to get it cleaned up and till the soil over to turn in the skeletons and the last of the vegetable plants and the weeds that I allowed to finally win their space in the garden as it didn't seem important to pull out any more. A time does come, as a gardener, to just realize the garden is at a point where weeds can be allowed to grow.

A custom mixture of my own Grains and Legumes have been mix together and are now ready to be planted and allowed to grow before the winter snow comes. It is important to plant green crops so that in the spring it can be tilled in and nutrients from the green crop like nitrogen will be present. Side by side with my brown leaf compost that I will start building this fall, my garden will have a wide range of organic food to base my garden off of next year. Along with Chicken poo and cow manure, my garden will grow well again next year.

Here is a great mix that you can purchase already made for you. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Third Bear Encounter in a Week....

Tonight I had contact with the bears again, in fact there were four bears. I saw three clearly and heard one in the woods before I stepped out and they headed towards the wood line.

Last week, Sunday night from we came home from Bible Study and saw a Bear munching on our trash in the driveway. Friday night another bear made its way to my porch, and I noticed the dog got all weird and the next thing I heard was a bear moan. Well at the time I didn't know it was a bear, I went to the back door, it must have heard me too, and it headed back up the hill.

Don't get me wrong here, the dog always stays with the kids at the bus stop,  I am not to worried. It is concerning, why this year they have come closer than ever before. I suspect the drought and perhaps their food supply is very low as they search for food trying to fatten up for the winter.

Putting out the game camera to try to get some photo's and see how many more are around. My concern is the largest female, because we know what female bears will do to protect her cubs...

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Meal, Pioneering With Children....

As a child, we as a family would go camping and fishing along the river banks of many rivers in two states. As we traveled or stayed at camp, we had sandwiches during the day but we always had breakfast and dinner on a open fire cooked in cast iron pots and pans. Often these meals were one dish meals..

Sometimes during the day we had to gather firewood for the fire that needed to last through the night. We tried to always keep a clean camp, but you know how that goes. I remember sometimes rubbing dish soap on the bottoms of some aluminum pans before Mom would cook on them over the fire. But 90% of the time she cooked on cast iron. Fried taters were almost a staple for us as were many non meat meals.

We did have a cooler to cart stuff around and they would go to the store when needed to get stuff. I had many Dutch oven meals, chili and corn bread, stew and biscuits, pot pie, shepherds pie, cobblers the list goes on. Having a fireplace or a place in your backyard to build a fire, you can create a simple one dish pioneering meal with your children or even a relaxing date and change it up a little. But allowing your children or grandchildren to help out will create wonderful memories that they will carry with them all of their lives. After dinner, roast some marsh mellows or try my fav, roasted pineapple over an open fire....

 So the next time power goes out, even if comes back on. Don't travel to the next town over, have a fun time cooking on a fire with your family or friends.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Welcome Newbies...... Hey Followers!!!

Welcome if your just joining us..... Have a look around, tons of fun information, great photos of projects and my life homesteading.

In the future in honor of my sixth year of homesteading, I am giving away 6 awesome prizes to only my followers!!!

Some of you have laughed with me, cried with me, and have walked beside me along the way... Thanks for your love and friendship. I welcome the newbies with open arms...

Sharing My Resources To Help You Along The Way

After a few years of getting my homestead in order or to a place where I can spend more time on my blog and share my ideas and resources. I can finally sit down, start and play catch up.

My first goal was to start listing items that new homesteaders or people just moving into a more self sufficient life can use and identify with. We get so many emails, private messages and post a day about how to, what to use, and how to you find what you need. So I decided to sit down and put together a game plan. This approach has been thought out completely so that we can help you quickly and with the right stuff.

I decided to put the categories in a well defined order so that the first tab is the most important and the last not as much. I can't tell you how much reading can teach you. The gadgets are things you can use to help you process better, faster and with a more positive results than ever before. The seeds are from well trust sources that I have personally bought from in the past.

Starting out or continuing to move forward can sometimes lead to a road block, and we want to be able to help you up and get going again. We have a small, yet dedicated team that will share the correct information with you. There are times or circumstances that we get stumped as we know a little more than general information but not experts in any one subject.

With all the digital products coming out, we are working towards making sure this is a readable site to everyone. If your on a phone and want to see more options, click the down arrow to the right to see more options. Then the tabs will come up and go from there.

Feedback from our community is important so we want to be able keep communications open, and we listen to all suggestions and ideas.

When you use our resources and make purchases from Amazon when you follow our links, we get a small kick back which gets split three ways. I am on a 1099 so all taxes come out first, than we have a projects fund and then the giveaway fund. By supporting this page this way, your giving back to the whole community. After people started stepping forward telling me how much I am changing their lives for the better, I thought about the items we give away and how much they could help others live a better, more self sufficient life.

Supporting this community is important to everyone here, including myself and other moderators. All of our moderators are volunteers at this time. They are giving back because they love and enjoy sharing their lifestyles. We are also here to make sure that this is a friendly PG-13 level site.

Last but not least, Thank you for your financial support through the Amazon Program and a huge thank you for being a part of our community. Be sure to share us with your friends.... Peace and much Love Jason

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Great Disconnect.... The Propaganda Lie

I understand that posting and promoting ideas lead people to follow me in many ways. It is also a powerful tool and comes with rules on how to direct people and share with them, in my case it is about living a more self sufficient life at the level you want to.

Perhaps I am taking this more serous than I should? A man saved $300.00 dollars his first month dehydrating. He started using the food right away and stretched it out over a few months, while buying everything on sale at the peak freshness time he could get it at. With a few directions, my sound advice buy only what you will like and eat, and pick up Mary Bells book found in my recommended reads section. Tweek the recipes that fit your taste buds after you make it her way. He continues his approach and now is putting soups and casseroles up in Mason Jars for long term storage, easy one step meals, and for gifts.

There is a woman living in Houston that took clothes back and bought a dehydrator, started doing some of my recipes, and for the first time in 20 years slept the whole night without wakening up. Her sleep patterns have come back, as stress from feeling helpless herself went away and she found freedom. As she followed some of my recipes, her children liked the food so much that they jumped in and now it is a family event.

Another community member was brought back out of a long term depression when I inspired her to start gardening again this year. As she dug her garden, she had a sense that her lost loved one was there with her encouraging her to move forward with her life.

A second story row house owner in Baltimore Maryland, took her second story balcony that is 3x6 and has turned it into a urban garden. She produced enough tomatoes to can herself seven pints of stewed tomatoes. We know that seven pints isn't going to sustain her very long, but she mastered two skills. Now she has decided to sell her place and looking for a small house with a little bit of land.

Each one of these people have been disconnected, and through me, connected back to who they are. If I only helped these people I have done my job. This is about eating real food, getting close to your food source. Being independent with your own food and understanding how that food needs to be processed. 

People are miles away from their food today, I don't blame the people. I would be a fool to think like that, instead I blame the Government, big food, pharmaceutical, and advertising companies for their role.

Products that feature a family pulls at our idea of wholesome, close focused and caring. Words like Farm Fresh relate to the quality as if it were grown on a wholesome farm. Some people think meat is grown in soil, or it is all a product of the store or man made. Stop laughing at me, I am serous people really do think like this. They are so disconnected from their food that they are completely clueless.

I still use open sites as well as a scope, and I get up close and personal with my wild game food. I raise chickens and process them for food. They taste totally different than what you buy and eat. They are also a different breed other than "broilers". I have three coops, one is a retirement home, one is a laying coop, the last is for chickens that will be eaten for food.

All those pictures and photos of factory farmed food being from a healthy family owned farm are completely misleading. The pictures on packages, wording and commercials paint a obscure picture of how healthy their food is. In fact the very food you eat is sustaining you in the short term while adding pounds of chemicals into your body. In some cases the food you buy is "food like" and I can physically prove that to you. Buy Heirloom tomato seeds, grow a plant in a pot, harvest that fruit, and side by side do your own taste test with a store bought tomato.

Veggies that you eat look perfect and are HUGE due to GMO science, and your body is paying for it, look at how fat we are, look at how many products have corn syrup in them. Why is Juice called juice when it has only 3% concentrated juice? Why are people getting sicker, and for 2000 plus years we didn't have all these problems? What does real corn taste like?

I am not buying what their selling, and at some point I had to say no way, I have had enough. Today I ate a tomato that was organic seed and grown the same. My mind was happy, happy, happy...

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sentimental Self Sufficient Thoughts

As the cool crisp air of Fall returns, the gathering of nuts and hunting of mushrooms continues, my days in the garden and attention to canning shifts to a more Mountain Man attitude as hunting season approaches. But during this shift, a moment is taken to sit down and write about my thoughts to share with others.

This time of year is a very rewarding time, and perhaps it is this time of year that I look at all that I have done since I tilled in my winter green crop in the garden. This year has brought me many new and old challenges yet I was blessed with a bountiful harvest, a reward for my hard work and steady labor.

Looking at my cellar, I take in all the hard work that went into processing that food and growing it as well. There is a true freedom I feel in my heart that can't be stolen from me know matter what happens. The fact I did all that is a true sign of being self sufficient and shows that I just don't see this as an attitude or behavior. I see it as a choice of freedom that I have, a choice that I made myself, and the food that I feed my family.

Sure in days that have long since past, this wasn't a lifestyle choice, it was a way of survival. Today I can make a choice, their food or my own. The other side know one see's here are the folks that are living like me that can't make a choice because of many different reasons. I know your out there, hunched down trying to blend in feeling ashed because you aren't doing what the Jones are doing and every one else. Your carrots don't look like the ones at the store, and as you look at your green beans and some have spots on them. None of your produce has grown as big as the stuff at the store. Mine isn't perfect either, so take no notice.

I wonder how my Mom would feel about the whole food system today, I suspect that she would be on my side doing what she did so many times before. Grandpa always kept a garden, and a fine one at that. As a gentle farmer he had his own ways to raise his own meat.

As I get out my hunting gear, I am reminded of a conversation I had with a follower here. I could see in her eyes that she was excited about Archery Season opening up this week end. One of my son's favorite times is hitting the fields to hunt for birds. I know without him speaking the words, these will be the times he will tell his own children about our relationship. Hunting should be about working together to gain more meat as well as learning and fun. I don't pressure hunt with my son, I rather take time to teach and show him.

This year, 2012, from Sugar Season (maple syrup making) to now has been a good year. Plenty of syrup, food and I hope meat... Smoking Season is coming... and the holidays.... Here turkey turkey turkey.... 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Dutch Oven Contest

Here is a contest for you to have a chance to  win a free 8 Quart Dutch Oven..

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Chicken Strategy, Chickens are Smart!!

Do you remember the story of wrong way Whooten I told you about when I was a child? Basically it was about a duck that was born around our pond, I believe in the end he was left by his familyu and was the only little duck left. Well, the fellow had a bad sense of direction like most men. So he swam backwards but walked forward, yeah go figure right.

So, ok, now I have a new story to tell you happening here on the homestead... LOL... Pretty good one too.

So out of the old flock we have two hens, one is still laying and one continues to peck at the others eggs and breaks them open. I have supplemented their feed and have done everything I know to keep her from doing such a thing. But she continues to carry on her hate until the other day..

The hens were shouting their chicken alarms and so we checked in on them. When the door was opened, there she was in all her glory.......

So she has been pushing the lid off a few times, once we didn't put it back on because we never found any poo in there so figured we would keep it off.

She was safely removed from her troubled position being stuck in the top part of the feeder.... Then, to our amazement she was doing something pretty smart. She was protecting her eggs from the other hen that keeps breaking them open.

By laying her eggs down in the can, the other hen can't reach them to break them open. So, we decided to make a plan to test this theory to see if this was a self taught, survival of the species skill. Now a week later, she continues to lay eggs in there, but if filled up to much she will lay in the nesting box where the other hen continues to break them...... 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Dutch Oven Cooking... Bread Making

As I walk down my path in life, I find myself coming in contact with some real wonderful people. Some people like Stan, who does a lot of teaching others, has a passion for his work. He isn't in it for the money because he often volunteers his time for free. He doesn't lug around a case full of trinkets to sell or a selection of fancy cook books...

Instead, Stan carry's a couple of wooden boxes filled with a few pamphlets of bread recipes and tools to work his magical dutch ovens. A man that has walk down some rough roads in time, and has a humble attitude and is generally kind to every one. He enjoys speaking and answering questions and he really sets the tone for the class.

You can tell he is use to dealing with all different people from all walks of life... His steady teaching and answers really show off his teaching skills as every one stays focused on what he is sharing. Over the last two weekends I have spent time with him as a student. Even though I sometimes know what the task is and have mastered the task, it is always good to learn new skills from some one that has been doing it for 62 years like Stan has.

Stan is a regular volunteer at the Old Stone House in Slippy Rock PA  where he also dresses and performs time period dinners that include the correct period of dishes, cups, clothes, manners and food. When you stop by and visit there (a awesome historical place to visit with time period decor and people to explain everything) let him know you read about his awesome cooking skills here.

Here Stan is explaining the basics of no knead bread, the type of bread that we cooked in the dutch oven. As he explains, he shows samples that he made that students will start working with.

While Stan answers questions, he over watches his students repeat the technique of forming the bread to get ready to place on parchment paper.

Now that the bread doughs are formed, they sit waiting for the dutch ovens to warm up and get ready.

Adding the coals over and under the dutch of, and there are some rules as to how many coals to keep the dutch oven up to what temperature. But the hottest coals always go under the dutch oven when bread making. 

Some really hot coals that we started about a half an hour earlier in this quality chimney. Using a quality name brand charcoal ensures a more even burn when baking bread in a Dutch Oven. 

Using handles made made when cutting out the parchment paper, makes placing the bread dough into the 425 degree dutch oven quicl and simple.

As the bread cooks in the dutch ovens, Stan takes the time to explain the charcoal heating process and different times and approaches to baking it.

A QUICK PEEK, and I mean quick to see it baking, and hurry uo and place the lid back on the dutch oven so all the heat won't escape.

Now, it is ready to be removed from the oven as it shows browning, the smell is wonderful. Stan says if it smells like it isn't cooking, it isn't. If it smells like it is burning, it is burning. If it smells like it is cooking, it is.

How pretty is that!!! Perfection using primitive methods just shows you how luck we have it these days, but also how easy it really is. This loaf of white bread is hot and ready for butter and honey.

We also made this wheat bread, and I gotta tell ya, awesome.I do believe that Stan mention where he got these recipes, and I will share those with you later. He also said has made the Honey Wheat Bread recipe that Lewis and Clark used during their exploration

It was great and well worth the time to sit back and listen, I even learned a few things that I didn't know. I was in good company with like minded folks, and one couple that visited really found it a full on learning class. It was great watching them get excited and being amazed by a wonderful end product, by such a simple means..

I know that Stan took his 62 years of skill, trimmed off the fat and just taught us what is right. His cooking skills shined through the final end product. Every one left there more educated and amazed by his skills... 

Monday, September 17, 2012

So Your New To This and Your Looking Where To Begin?

Like Peddlers peddling all sorts of Elixirs for everything that is wrong with you, so are people blogging and giving the information they know or think to believe to be true.

Recently a community member said you didn't need to buy books, everything was on the internet for free.. So than I posted a photo of a home library with a quote from Cicero "If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need." I know there is a lot of bogus material out there, I know there is a lot of people not evening do what I am doing and sitting in their home just posting and not living the life they suggest they are living.

Here is the deal, I am a real person, with real idea's, that is living and sharing how to be more self sufficient as I desire to be. I am not going to tell you what level to live it on or where you need to be, that is up to you. If you just grow a tomato plant and that makes you happy, right on. If your sitting up in the middle of Canada's back country, off grid, in a Yurt  and your living your life they way you want, right on. My goal isn't to push any one more into being SS (self sufficient), my goal is to show you how you can do it if you want.

So am I going to do things wrong sometimes? Yes, although I strive to end my task to be fruitful and moving forward with my SS living, I make mistakes. When I make them, I admit that I made a mistake and try to move forward with a solution or take it as a lesson not to do what I did. Do you remember the anti-chicken rat traps I made? That was a flop and a costly mistake. Problem was I didn't think like a rat and so I solved the problem another way and now my coop is rat free.

So, what advice do I have for you on your first step? Decide to do it or not. If you decide to take it on (any level), remember a few things. Your going to have to get dirty and do some work. Your going to have to read, and a lot of it. Your going to have to understand, and not be afraid of failing, face it your going to make mistakes. The amount of tears that have made mud puddles in front of my knees are uncountable. You just have to roll with it and make your way through it. Remember what I said a few years ago? Making a mistake means that at least your trying to do something to change the out come of how your living your life right now.

Now make a plan and write it down, Danielle has a list that says "make a list for this" no kidding, but look write it down and hang it somewhere and look at it for a couple days.
1. What is your end goal?
2. At what level do you want to live SS
3. Are you willing to make small investments and gather materials from where ever to make stuff?
4. Are you willing to ignore the silly comments your family/friends might make?
5. Why do you want to change?
6. Can you see yourself working hard earning your way through hard work?
7. At what level are you willing to give things of comfort up, in exchange for less but more rewarding?

When you read these over and over, hang them by the can if you want, talk to yourself about them.

If you asked me some years ago about my proudest moment, and I have owned land and property before. But what I was most proud of, I would have told you it was buying my land. Today that question has a very different answer. Today I am proud of yesterday because I made a choice and I decided to stick with it through injures, tears, sweat, failures, property disputes, risk, and accomplishment. My land has shaped me as much as I have shaped it. It has given back to me what I have given to it.

When you step forward, I will suggest a book for you to start from. Why? Time tested methods of doing the task the way they explain it. It will teach you many different aspects of living more SS. Once you thumb through it a few times, start writing down some things you want to change, now you can begin.


Friday, September 14, 2012

The Birth Of The Smoothie

There are a few dishes that sit on my table today as did when I was a child. It is sometimes wonderful how we relate food today and the memories from our childhood, sometimes it isn't.

Traci, my sister can correct me on this one, however I am sure it was in October of 1978. We lived in a shanty in a small town in Clarksburg Pa. It was once a sturdy home, left to time and rented without up keep. The coal door still opened as we would feed the coal furnace from the basement and the coal truck put coal through that door. I doubt that at any time in life of that house was it ever warm during the winter.

I had returned from shoveling coal into the furnace as I was told to do, steam in the air, windows covered in condensation, the old brown TV with a fuzzy picture of the evening news was on. Traci and I often peeled potatoes as well as help Mom prep dinner as she had a full time job.

Dinner time in our house was that, all the family come together, sit, ask for people to pass around stuff. It was a Friday evening and Bobby's two children spent that weekend with us. So with 4 children, when Mom shouted dinner, the whole house seemed to rumble and shake as we made our way to our seats at the table. But this night it was a quiet "drag" to the table.

It isn't my fault if your having your own flashbacks by this time, perhaps, but let me tell you more.

Bobby and Mom thought a good meal was a meal where you would have to eat stuff that children think is gross. It doesn't matter how it was cooked, it was just nasty. Bobby's pick that Friday's meal, saute' liver and onions... with mashed taters...

I tried for an hour to climb my way through this meal, it was nothing smaller than Mt Everest, and almost no place to drive my fork in. It was cold and harsh, but Mom just kept pushing forward... Your not leaving that table till your plate is clean.. I remember listening to the clock tick as if minutes were hours...

As  time past, I was alone in the kitchen while every one else fought for a spot to watch TV. Mom went in and put her night gown on... I knew better to waste the food, that is the real reason I didn't try to out smart my way through it. I wasn't a very clever child either and knew I faced a spanking or worse if I did get caught. Then, with a sad face as I looked at her, she said right....

Mom was a War baby and was raised by her Mom and a nanny as the story was told to me. So she had some of that hard liner and dry humor about her that had been caste into her as a young child by a Brit Nanny.

The blender was pulled out, she grabbed my plate, scrapped it into the blender, she came back and grabbed my golden Tupperware plastic glass which was filled with whole milk. In it went like she was a master chef creating a master piece... The blender bogged a few times at the start... than it ran...

She filled that same glass up, placed it before me and ordered me to drink it. I did so in total fear that she was about to become a monster.. Than she filled it up again until the blender was empty, again she ordered me to drink it, but this time my gag reflexes were about to explode. I lifted it up slowly, and couldn't get that liver infused milk drink taste out of my mind. I was crying and begging my way out of it, but I was stuck...

So the birth of liver and onions smoothie was born... The taste test didn't do so well, so it never became a popular fade diet or smoothie...

PS Please look at the labels I have attached to this post....

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Stop By At Facebook When You Want.

Never miss one of our facebook posts again! Be in control of what you see and when you see it, all from your own facebook page.

Follow these 3 easy steps (screenshots below) to add the facebook page to your Interest groups so you can see our posts in one place with one click (and without timeline)

Why do this?
1) If you are busy at work, sleeping or just not on facebook, this gives you an easy non-intrusive way of letting you see posts quickly and easily.

2) If we post too much and we're filling your newsfeed, you can remove us from your feed at step 2 and just see us whenever you like

3) Our posts only go to about 25% of our members feeds, either due to facebook system or you weren't around to see them. This way you don't miss any but you decide when to view them.

 Step 1 

Click the "LIKED" button at the top of the page. 

Step 2 

Click to add to existing list 
or click +Add New List 

At the next screen, select the page and click NEXT.

  You will be asked what privacy settings you want. 
Select one and click DONE. 


Step 3 

 Go to your own newsfeed 

View the menu on the left 
At the bottom, see Interests 
Your new list is there

Hover your mouse over on the left to get the pencil 
 Click the pencil to edit Select "Add to Favorites" 

Now go to the top of the page,
See the list in your favorites on the left

That's it! Now when you visit your feed, 
you can see if you missed any posts from us. 

The number of posts will be shown.
Just  click that list and see the posts in one place!

Friday, September 7, 2012

How To Make Your Own Breakfast Sausage W/ Recipe

Memories of smelling bacon from downstairs always woke me up and made my tummy growl. At home on the farm, it was a frosting designed window as I looked out the window at the sun rising. At Grandpa's it was a cool morning in Hornsby Hollow, and the sun was up and the chickens were calling out to be let out. Isn't it funny how we can recall memories from smells?

Well, I am creating new smells for my children, and from my own recipes, local meat, and organic seasonings, so which I will add were grown right here on my homestead. Seasonings are troublesome for me as I can grow a lot, but some I can not and I rely on other suppliers, so I do the best I can to research my sources.

So lets talk about breakfast Sausage, why? Because I want to do something different and there is a very limited selection out there, and the ones that are out there that are links, some of them are so processed they aren't even sausages....

ΡΌ  How about a couple things found right on the Homestead? How about some Maple and Apple Breakfast Sausage links?

4 lbs of lean pork
1 1/4 pork fat
6 tsp. garlic powder
2 cloves fresh garlic
3 tsp. crushed Sage
3tsp black pepper
1 tsp of celery seed
2 tsp of smoked paprika
1 tsp marjoram
2 tbsp of dried parsley
1/2 apple sauce
1/3 cup apple juice
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 tbsp of lemon juice
 34-36 mm casings  ( I like New Zealand Lamb casings)

Cut and grind meat and pork fat to a fine texture together..

In another bowl, blend spices add apple sauce/juice and lemon, mix well. Add bowl ingredients and meat and mix at room temperature until well mixed. Put it in the fridge and let it set 12 hours.

Soak your casings and rinse them several times...

Stuff the meat into casings to 5 or 6 inch long links, or make into patties.... Freeze or use within a couple days.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Old Canning Jar Project, Be A Interesting Host

I want to get right into it, and I am willing to share the links after we stroll through the project so you can get those products if you want or bookmark this page to follow up on a later date.....

So I only had a few jars that I could no longer use for canning, I donated the other two to make this project practical and fun. I did this project outside....

I started out with a few different jar sizes, but they have to be widemouth in order to make this project work.

I know the original idea, no I didn't make this up, had said to spray the outside of the jars, but the flawed idea behind that is that you can only get Interior Frosted Paint...

So I decided to spray the inside after I tested it on the outside where it was exposed and scratch very easy. I jumped in and started spray and the runs showed up. So I lightly sprayed the inside a few times.

I let them dry and opened the lights, I got these on the fly from the Flea Market last week, but I discovered even cheaper ones that function even better and have more lights. Well that happens sometimes, and I will share that link with you.

So I opened them by twisting them apart to locate the two sided sticky tape and remove the pull tag so they will light up.

I pulled the tag, removed the double stick doughnut.... I twisted the light back together and applied the double sticky doughnut to the back, and removed the protective tape on the other side.

I took one lid and fastened the light to it....

I did this for the rest of my lights.... So I had to test them to see what they looked liked, even though it was daylight....

Pretty dang cool looking... So to save the photo by photo, let me explain, this is a great idea. You can Host a party and have these so people can see a path, see steps, use them to draw attention to a nice area on your property during a party, boundary lights, use any season and have one on the night sitting table....