As of December 1 2009... all new posts are at:

2012 December Update

I realize it's been a while since I've written here, but so much has happened.

My Tween has turned into a 16 year old with autism and epilepsy. He has some neurons that didn't form correctly in his brain (in utero) and some lesions and a small tumor.

We live out in the boonies, on a tiny 2 acres. Goats: 2 girls, 1 baby girl, 1 buck and 1 wether.  Chickens: about 50 ranging from 3 days old to 2 years old, bantams and standards. Chicken varieties: silkies, cuckoo marans, black australorps, red stars, eggers (standard size and bantam), and all kinds of crosses that we hatched ourselves. 

We grow as much of our food as possible but it'll be years before nut trees and some of our fruit trees bear. Loved the red raspberries and blueberries we ate this summer; we're adding even more plus yellow raspberries, purple raspberries, blackberries and currants in 2013.

Started a goat milk cheese share program in 2012 to help pay for my kid's expenses. Going well and have gotten egg and produce customers from it too.

We still have a LOT more to do but yes, we consider ourselves homesteaders.

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Check out our farm's website we just started: Rosemary Ridge

Pioneer Tips: tea, cheese and more

More tips from the pioneer people book (edited):

The first tender leaves of the ordinary currant-bush, gather as soon as they grow, and dried on tin, can taste the same as green tea. (No info as to whether it has the same antioxidant benefit).

Do you make your own cheese? Have too much? Cover them carefully with paper (assuming butcher paper, but not sure), and fasten with flour-paste (white wheat flour mixed with water and sometimes salt). This will keep out air and probably pests. Keep in a dry cool place, for possibly a year or two, or maybe more.

Save your bottles instead of recycling them. Then, when you go to make wine or beer or cider or vinegar, you'll have a good supply of them.

Do not wrap your steel flatware, knives or utensils in wool. Wrap them in good strong paper. Steel degrades when exposed to wool for a long period of time.

Keeping lard is easy: place it in a dry cool place. Pack in tin rather than earthen. (Wonder how plastic fares?!?)

Pack your butter in a clean scalded firkin (a fourth of a size of a barrell), cover it with strong brine, and spread a good cloth over the top. If you have a little bit of salt-peter, dissolve it with the brine.

That's it for now. I have to stop these tips for a while. I'll try to get to them in the next few weeks. Try! Pg14

Pioneer Tips: Cleaning

More tips from the book of pioneer people (edited):

If you wish to preserve healthy teeth, clean thoroughly after your last meal or snack of the day.

Never throw away rags just because they look dirty. Mop-rags, lamp-rags and all can be completely washed (use the last of dirty soapy water), then dry and place in a rag-bag. (Yes, it's time to bring back the rag-bag!). If rags are beyond repair or hope, scrape them into lint and use to make felt, or old-fashioned poultices.

If a favorite stark-white item becomes dingy, take it apart and thoroughly clean it. While it is still damp, wash it 2 or 3 times in strong and strained saffron tea (to stain it). You could also use marigold leaves or yellow onion peel to make a "dye". Repeat the applications until the item is the desired color. Put it back together, press it on the wrong side with a warm iron, and there you have it!

Moths will attack your woolens without hesitation. Anything with a very strong spicy smell can keep them away. Just brush out the clothing, pack them in a dark place covered with linen. Sprinkle around pepper, red-cedar chips, tobacco, and even cotton balls with camphor.

more another time!

Possible change to blog

I asked this yesterday at but asking here too ... Keeping up with these blogs is very time consuming ... not that I mind, usually! We're getting ready to embark on an intensive homesteading adventure, and may not be able to work on blogs daily.

So... I'm thinking about combining our blogs (cooking, gardening, homesteading, survival, storage, homeschooling, etc.) into one. I would eventually move posts to the new and combined blog.

We have a lot of readers, and I value your opinion. Thoughts?

Pioneer Tips: Bugs and Cleaning

More tips from my pioneer people book (edited):

Cockroaches and most vermin have an aversion to spirits of turpentine. Use it to take out spots of paint and to clean.

If vermin are in your walls, fill up the cracks with verdigris-green-paint. (The following is from wikipedia: Verdigris is the common name for the green coating or patina formed when copper, brass or bronze is weathered and exposed to air or seawater over a period of time. It is usually a basic copper carbonate, but near the sea will be a basic copper chloride. If acetic acid is present at the time of weathering, it may consist of copper(II) acetate.)

The more often your shake rugs and carpet, the longer they wear. When dirt collects in them, it wears down the thread.

Don't clean brass with vinegar. It makes them very clean at first but soon they will spot and tarnish. Use instead flannel and rum (!) or oil.

Never clean marble fireplaces with soap as this will destroy polish over time. Dust, or take spots off with an oiled cloth, then gently rub with a soft rag.

Feathers should be completely dried before using. After plucking, place immediately (lightly!) in baskets, then stir often. Keep them free from dirt and moisture. Place a light cheesecloth-type cloth over the top to keep them from being blown away. From time to time, dry in an oven (after it's been turned off from baking) to stand for several hours.

When you have a feather bed, change out the feathers regularly (at least once a year, during Spring Cleaning). Empty out the "tick" or mattress. Wash the feathers completely in a tub of suds. Spread out to dry thoroughly. That should make them as good as new.

Rum (especially "New England Rum") can be used to wash hair. It will keep it very clean and free from disease, and supposedly will help it grow in healthy. Brandy strengthens the roots of hair but has a hot drying tendency. (Hmmm... good for people with oily hair, huh?).

more another time!

Pioneer Tips:

More from pioneer people (edited):

Check your root cellar and pantry often. Make sure your vegetables and fruits are neither decaying, spoiling or sprouting. If so, remove them to a drier place and spread them.

Examine your preserves and other canned foods. Make sure they are not contracting mold, and that your pickles are not becoming soft and tasteless.

When bread becomes too stale to eat, chop it up and let it dry. Use it (pounded) for puddings or dry bread crumbs for breading meats. With proper care, even the smallest amounts of bread can and should be used. (Recipe for using dried bread bits at

Make your own bread and cake. It is NOT cheaper to buy mixes or to buy pre-made, plus you can control the ingredients in your own home.

Pioneer Tips: Clothing and Industry

Here's more tips from Pioneer people (edited):

Children can be taught early to take good care of their clothing. When they are dirty, toss them into the laundry. If they've been worn once or even twice, and aren't dirty or smelly, hang them up on a shower rod to air out, then replace into the closet to be worn again.

Reserve the good clothes (ones that haven't been mended) for school, church, meetings, store trips, etc. Have "play clothes" for chore-time or berry picking or gardening or etc. This will help them understand value. And if they wear their play clothes to do something like picking berries to sell, that will help them understand that sometimes tearing your clothes on brambles can mean using money made from the berries to replace what's been torn.

Did that make sense?

The same section of the book mentioned that children can also learn quickly to make things for the family, the home, or to sell.... weave straw into mats (for table or floor) or hats. Pick berries or cranberries and sell or preserve them. Weed the garden and harvest dinner.

More Economic Tips from Pioneer People

From my found old-timey book of hints for the pioneer household (edited and reworded to not infringe on copyright):

If you raise grain and therefore, hay, teach all members of your family how to weave and braid it, to make their own hats and hats for other family members.

If you keep turkeys and geese, keep the feathers, cleaned, and ready to make a fan. It's easy to do. The sooner kids can be taught this valuable skill, the better for the whole family.

In this country, kids are basically free to do as they please for most of their childhood. This is not good for the purses and patience of the parents (and surrounding people), and has worse effects on the morals and habits of the children. Begin early in making everything an education. A child even as young as six can be useful to the family, and can do a little something each and every day that adds value to the family.

More tomorrow.

Hints: Economy of the Household

From my found old-timey book of hints for the pioneer household (edited and reworded to not infringe on copyright):

True economy is gathering all fragments of not just stuff but time. Never throw anything out that could be repurposed, even if that new purpose is tiny and seemingly insignificant.

Whatever the size of the family, every person in it should either help earn or save money.

Make things instead of buying them. Learn knitting and crocheting and sewing. These skills could always lead to employment.

Along this same line of thinking, patchwork pieces are a good idea if you use scraps, but a horrible idea if you tear up perfectly good items to make scraps.

Idea about our next (and last!) homestead

If we can't find the perfect house, and I'll admit we have lots of requirements, then we'll build it. We have very definite ideas about what we want to do, how we want to live, rooms for us now and for our growing family, and possibly for a mom-in-law apartment.

So... I'm asking you, dear readers, for contact information on USA federal government grants (or even state level - Colorado) for land-owners to build a passive solar home. I figure, if there are lots of bad greedy companies getting lots of government money, wouldn't it be a good idea to help the average citizen build something that is good for the environment and could create jobs. Anyone?

Also... a friend told me this weekend that when she bought her 6 acre property 25+ years ago, she could classify it as a farm because she has walnuts trees. She doesn't sell the walnuts, but still, she is classified as a farm and it reduces her income tax rate. Anyone have any info on this?
We are searching for supplier of an oil extractor that works for both nuts and seeds - want to recommend to our readers. Must be reasonably priced for homesteaders, and USA made is preferred. Please e-mail: williams_et_al @ yahoo dot com.

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