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....