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
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!
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?
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!
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 www.survival-cooking.com.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
The ad has wrong information. It says bayberry wax can't burn by itself. Really? I guess all of those colonial people did it wrong, or just imagined the flame that came from the candles they made. Silly colonial and pioneer people!
The e-bay ad also said that since bayberry wax can't burn by itself, he "thinned" it with 30% "green candle wax". First, bayberry wax is naturally a light pine green (the top pic is the pic he had on his ad - obviously not green, even with his addition of "green candle wax" ... ... the second pic with this posting is real bayberry wax with the real natural light pine green color). Second, I've already pointed out that bayberry wax WILL burn by itself. Third, he has the wax listed as "pure" but pure is 100%, and therefore, he lied. Fourth, he said he thinned it with "green candle wax" ... uh, what kind of wax? Paraffin? Soybean? Beeswax? Stearic Acid? Geez. Again, she lied. She. He. Whatever. Mike Fleming is the seller.
Please be careful when buying candle wax. Don't trust sources who obviously don't know what they're talking about, and don't get sucked into lies. When in doubt, ask someone who makes LOTS of candles and has LOTS of experience.
I'll admit, that's not me. It's been years since I've made candles regularly, but I've kept up with info, and do my research.
We're making regular candles this weekend (from a candle-making kit using wax crystals). I'll try to remember to take pix.
The berries of both American bayberry and English bog myrtle, when boiled in water, produce myrtle wax, which is composed of stearic, palmitic, myristic, and oleaic acids. This is used in making bayberry-scented soaps and bayberry candles, which are fragrant, more brittle than bees' wax candles, and are virtually smokeless. Four pounds of berries produce approximately one pound of wax. A briskly stimulating shaving cream was also made from this bayberry wax.
Updated Feb 2011: Understand the above pic is NOT bayberry, it's BARberry so I'm adding the following pic to this posting. Thanks Brighid!
The wax's modern medicinal uses were first discovered and came into use in 1722, and included the making of surgeon's soap plasters. The water that the berries were boiled in during wax extraction, when boiled down to an extract, has been used in the North Country of England and Scotland for centuries as a treatment for dysentery. Narcotic properties are also attributed to bayberry wax. Note: It can also cause miscarriages so be careful and completely research if you decide to take in bayberry.
Here are 2 good links about using bayberry for candles:
When making bayberry candles, be sure to keep the candle small, like the size of a tea-light or votive. OR dip a cotton wick in to make tapers. Making jar candles is really not a good idea, unless you have a LOT of practice! Bayberry wax can be a bit more brittle, and burns differently than most candles people are used to. Get samples of pre-made bayberry candles to get the gist.
Once we get our homestead found and bought, and us moved, we'll be planting lots of bayberry bushes. Can't wait!
I bought a kit to re-learn how last Winter. I did take it out of the box, but never did anything with it. A few months ago, I bought more supplies, including a big block of wax, some scents and colors. With our moving upheaval, I never got around to it.
This Winter, as we search for our permanent mini-farm/homestead, I WILL make candles. I'll start out with that big ole block of wax, but when we get settled on our mini-farm and get things going, I'll be harvesting bayberries and beeswax for wax, fiber from our angora bunny or from cotton plants for wicks, and natural scents and colors.
Any tips for making functional (not necessarily decorative) candles from home-grown and home-harvested products would be very much appreciated!
I'd been giving our bunny 1 or 2 dried slices a day. This morning, I gave her a handful. Do NOT ever do that! I'm gonna repeat that... DO NOT give a bunny more than 1 or 2 dried banana slices. Why?
Because it made her very VERY hyper! Before long, she was running circles around in her cage and panting heavily. I gave her a big bowl of water, talked calmly to her, let her out to thump and run around our home, and gave her space and time. And hay. Lots of hay.
It took about an hour (maybe a little more) before she stopped panting heavily and running around. She's calm now, but I can tell she remembers how she was feeling because of the bananas. Unfortunately, she would still eat some if I gave them to her.
We're holding back carrots, her usual evening treat, and just giving her spinach in addition to her pellets and hay. We'll return to fresh apple and banana slices tomorrow morning. I don't ever want to go through that again.
Basically, she said start with wool, because the fibers are more forgiving and angora is a little more slippery.
Second, one should try all different kinds of spinning, from the drop spindle to different spinning wheels.
When I can afford it, I think I'll take one of her classes.
We call her Blanca because she's pure write, a "ruby-eyed white French Angora". Blanca is Spanish for white.
She was born June 14 2009 so she was about 3 months old when we brought her home. Very scared and nervous, having never been away from other rabbits before, and not out of her crate-home very often.
Angora rabbits need a higher protein than most rabbits because the protein helps to make better fiber (fur) which will be good for spinning into yarn. We feed her "Manapro Grow" rabbit pellets and hay (just bought a year's supply, costing only $27!). She also gets ABC-S (apples, bananas, carrots, spinach), and gets a papaya tablet every other day to prevent woolblock.
I'm learning everything I can about raising Angora bunnies so that when we move to our actual homestead, we can have a small herd of them. I plan to spin the fiber into yarn, and either use the yarn to crochet or knit, or sell the yarn. It's not easy, tho. I still have a lot to learn, especially about handling her and removing her fiber (which is done WITHOUT killing her!).
BTW... I've made a test "wick" using some of her fiber, and it is definitely possible to make a candle-wick with angora fiber. It's an expensive situation but would do in a pinch if I were to run out of wicks.
p.s. I'll add a picture of the bunny when I can!
- Crack the walnuts.
- Grind the walnut meats in a standard meat grinder. Be sure to have a clean bucket or bowl underneath to catch the walnut meats after the first grinding.
- Using a big cast iron pot, cook the walnut meat with a little bit of water. Over a fire is fine. Takes about 30 minutes, constantly stirring, with a big wooden spoon or wooden paddle.
- Place the cooked hot walnut meat in a press.
- Here's the tricky part - you need to set up some kind of a press, with LOTS of strength and force with gentleness. You don't actually pound the walnut meats, just press them. Have a strong tray to hold the walnut meats, and a way to drain the oil from there to a waiting jar or bucket. NOTE: I've seen car jack hydraulic systems being used but I don't think I could do that.
- Seal and store in the fridge.
Sorry - this is the best I can come up with ... so far! I'm still searching for a nut/seed oil extractor. Anyone?
Anyone have a form they want to share? Am I missing any important info I should track?
Meanwhile, we're also learning about farming cotton - not a lot but enough to make fabric. Will plant next Spring, assuming we're at our new homestead by then. Anyway, at first I thought I'd combine half cotton with half angora, but from what I understand the resulting yarn frays and never becomes soft and fun again.
So... I've been looking online to figure out how to go from a cotton boll (ball with seeds and oil, plucked from the cotton plant) to weaving a simple fabric, and am at a loss. Do you first make yarn? Thread? Can you use a drop spindle for that? Is it possible to practice with the cosmetic cotton balls purchased at the store? Is there a cheap (inexpensive) table loom to make the fabric? How many cotton plants would be needed to make a yard of fabric? Would it be more cost effective to spin the cotton into yarn for crocheting, knitting and tapestry?
Our goal is to be very self-reliant... that's why all the questions. Can anyone point me to this info?
We have indoor grow lights, and two places to grow things indoors, so we're moving the rest of our potted tomatoes there this weekend, and we'll start other plants.
We have small buckets, water catch-trays, fresh potting soil, and a trellis, so next weekend (once we're moved in), we'll be planting vining string beans, vining garden peas, and vining cucumbers. We've arranged it so they will be able to go all the way to the ceiling. Three potted and baring tomatoes will be located right beside that, and one yellow squash.
We also have a good long windowsill that faces south and gets about 4-6 hours of strong sunlight a way. There we'll have small windowboxes with carrots and greens (like lettuce and spinach) and green onions.
On a small patio we have a small greenhouse that can be open or covered, and we'll put the rest of our potting plants (tomatoes, blackberries, blueberries, etc.) out there.
We are also getting our first angora rabbit, probably this weekend. Just to get back into the groove of taking care of an animal, so only one. These can be combed regularly, and when they shed (2-4 times a year), I'll hand-card their angora wool, and teach myself to spin into yarn. I'm also going to experiment with their wool to see if it can be made into candle-wicking. We'll increase our livestock, room permitting.
See? Just because our plans changed, doesn't mean we have to give up all hope of being homesteaders. We can do it in a tiny rental place too!
I did a little experiment tho. I gathered some of the cottonwood tree fuzz that flies around, and started twisting it. While I didn't dip it in wax and light it, I'm sure if that's all I had, I could make a fine candle wick from it. Just didn't have enough to make a decent-thickness wick. The nearest cottonwood tree is several blocks away. Just wondering.. has anyone else tried this?
It's a very foresty-area. This is a corner lot with houses within viewing distance, through the trees. Nice and cool, and very peaceful. I really like it.
The only thing is ... this county doesn't allow bees in a residential area - we'd have to request a rezoning, but for 1 acre, I doubt we could get this to happen.
We need bees. We don't expect to have a lot - just enough for wax and honey for our own personal use, but we go through about half-a-gallon of honey a month. So here's my question. Is it possible to hide a hive of bees in a little (maybe 1/4 acre) of a forest? Perhaps attached to a tree? Or closer/right up against the house? Are there beehives that look like something else? Do they HAVE to be out in the open for bees to find their way to and fro?
Er, hypothetically, of course.
I'm sorry I've neglected reading blogs and writing here. I promise when I can breathe again, I'll start again. Promise.
Our real estate agent told us today that it was under contract. Bummer. But it's a short sale so it may fall through. I believe, strongly, that if it's meant to be ours, it will be ours.
Besides, we're still 2 weeks away from putting OUR house on the market. I just can't move any faster than I am!
"MOM! You gotta see this! Come out here!"
Of course, being used to his theatrics, I said, "Whatdayawant?"
I throw on some clothes, hair still wet from shower, and trudge down to see a black mound in front of our newly installed garage door. A moving mass of black. Ants. Ugh. They were all alives, and there's no trace of whatever they were subsisting on.
Quickly I move my butt in gear, up the stairs to google "how to naturally kill ants". First, pipe tobacco. Nope, don't want to go to the store. Second, soapy water kills on contact.
I tromp back downstairs and grab a sprayer, put about 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid in there, fill with water, and screw the top back on as I walk back outside. The squirter doesn't work. Back inside, hunt for another sprayer, find one, fill it up with another tablespoon of dishwashing liquid and more water, and test it in the kitchen sink. It works.
And, it worked. Kills those suckers on contact. We used the entire bottle because there were so many. Luckily they hadn't wandered into the garage. Still have no clue what drew the 4,000,000 black ants to that one spot!
Sorry, PETA. It's the ants, or me.
Note: My source was: http://www.wikihow.com/Kill-Ants-Without-Pesticides .. funny AND serious alternatives!
I want to know how to make the following oils, and this is the info I have so far.
- Avocado - ??
- Filbert/Hazelnut - ??
- Olive - ??
- Soybean - ??
- Sunflower - it takes 2500 square feet of sunflowers to make 3 gallons of oil with some leftover for snacking. Reference: http://journeytoforever.org/biofuel_library/oilpress.html. Sure looks complicated tho.
- Walnut - Gather, dry and crack the walnuts. Then grind them finely and 'cook' them. After cooking they're pressed and filtered and are ready. Click here: http://frenchfoodfocus.blogspot.com/2006/12/walnut-oil-real-stuff.html
Any other oils we can make from things we can grow? Your input will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
- 3 teaspoons grated unbleached beeswax
- 5 teaspoons carrier oil (i.e. sunflower, jojoba, calendula, even olive)
- 5-7 drops of essential oil (lime, lemon, grapefruit, peppermint, etc.)
- 1/2 teaspoon honey (for flavor, but I don't use this unless we have really badly chapped lips)
Never more reinforced as it has been this week.
We're in the Denver, Colorado area. In the past week, less, since Sunday, we've had three tornadoes.
- Major damage on Sunday to a mall at Southlands where we used to visit when we lived in the area. Not just there - surrounding areas too.
- On Tuesday several large funnel clouds passed within a mile of our home. Tween and I were home alone and made great use of our basement, reading books and having a regular chit-chat.
- Today's tornado warning is happening as I type this and is slightly south of where Hubby's office and his mom's home is. Accompanied by major hail, and the storm system is moving quickly.
I don't remember this part of Colorado being prone to tornados but suddenly, here they are. We will, without a doubt, have a basement and/or root cellar in our new home. We found a house we kinda like but doesn't have a basement. We'd definitely built on - 2 more bedrooms and 1 bath on ground level, and a huge basement under all of that. We'll see.
Of course, I love having a basement here for storage purposes. We had a good harvest last year, and I dehydrated much of it. As for the winter squash, we still have several cushaw squash and pumpkins that are left from 2008 harvest, and they are still good! Can't imagine trying to store those in just a ground-level home. Not cool enough.
Be safe, everyone!
Wonderful! Another double (triple? quadruple?) duty plant. So... from what I understand, make a wash by steeping the flower heads and leaves in boiling water, probably for several hours. Dab on with fresh cotton balls, or make a poultice by soaking clean linen or cloth and leaving directly on the wound. Probably not for deep gashes.
- I wonder if using the nasturtium-wash would help heal mosquito bites or sunburns?
- I wonder if drinking the nasturtium-wash would disinfect our innards? Perhaps ridding intestinal parasites?
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For recipes, go to: http://www.survival-cooking.com/2009/06/using-nasturtiums-flowers-and-leaves.html
For growing info, go to: http://backyardgrocerygardening.blogspot.com/2009/06/grow-nasturtiums-for-beauty-and-food.html
Add ¼ cup honey to warm-to-hot bath water for a moisturizing bath. Good for a baby's bath, although use less honey!
Hair Leave-In Conditioner
Add 1 teaspoon of honey into 4 cups of warm water. After shampooing, pour mixture over hair, and leave in / don't rinse out. Dry as usual.
Mix 2 teaspoons of milk to 2 tablespoons of honey. Smooth over face and throat. Leave on for 10 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.
Combine 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon honey and 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice. Rub into your body parts that feel dry: elbows, heels, hands, etc. Leave on for about 10 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.
Grind enough almonds to make 2 tablespoons (almond meal - finely ground almonds). Add 1 tablespoon of honey and 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice. Rub gently onto face for about a minute. Rinse face with warm water.
Toning Face Mask
Whisk 1 egg white until fluffy. Add 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 teaspoon glycerin and about 1/4 cup of flour - enough to make a paste. Apply to face and throat, and leave on for about 10 minutes. Rinse it off with warm water. Once a week would work fine.
- Loosen the fibers of three cotton balls by unraveling the cotton fibers to stretch the cotton to an elongated shape.
- Place the elongated cotton balls on a flat surface.
- Connect the ends of the three elongated cotton balls by overlapping ½ inch of the bottom part of the first cotton ball to ½ inch of top part of the second one.
- Repeat for the third cotton ball.
- Then, using your fingers, roll them up together tightly to produce a long wick.
Usually I buy a bag of cotton balls a month for storage purposes. I did a little more research, and growing our cotton won't be too difficult if we follow information carefully. Then, we'll harvest the cotton, save the seeds, and keep the cotton separate. It can be used to make wicks, or to spin into cloth.
Which means, sigh, more research.
1 egg white
1/2 cup instant oatmeal, cooked
- plain cotton string
- plain cotton twine
I'm at a loss.
At our next homestead, I plan to plant some cotton. I'll pick the cotton then twist it into string to use as wicks. Meanwhile...
- Please.... if you have an idea of what we can use for wicks to make wax candles and beeswax candles and even bayberry candles, please leave your information as a comment here. We're looking for something that we can make from what we can grow.
- Is there a book or website or anything that shows how to twist or otherwise manipulate raw cotton into wicks? Please comment.
Thanks. When I've gathered the information and tried it out, I'll put up a separate posting.
Mix all ingredients, allow to cool, then store in a spray bottle. (Mark the bottle.)
So I got to looking for stain treatments that I can make at home and that actually work. Found it!
What You'll Need:
- Pieces and leftover slivers of bar soaps
- Boiling Water
Collect the pieces and leftover slivers of bar soaps in a jar set aside for just that purpose. You have soaps leftover from the hotels while on vacation? Add those too (cut into small chunks). When the jar is about half-way filled with small soap chunks, add enough boiling water to 1/2 inch from the top. I use a craft stick to stir to mix the soap cunks with the water until the soap is melted. Once this cools, it won't harden; instead, it'll become like jelly. Place a cap on it when not in use.
Gob (er, dab) onto the stain and mix in a little. If you can't wash it right away, just toss the stained piece back into the laundry hamper with the gob on it.
- 2 cups distilled water (boiled water is fine)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dried soapwort root, chopped
- 2 teaspoons dried lemon verbena (for fragrance)
- 2 teaspoons dried catnip (to promote healthy hair growth - for shampoo)
Boil the water in a medium-sized pan you keep for just such projects. Add the soapwort and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the herbs, and allow the mixture to cool. Strain the herbs using cheesecloth or a coffee filter, pouring just the liquid into a bottle.
Makes enough for 6-7 shampoos or 20+ hand washings (more if used sparingly). Massage into skin before adding warm water. Note that it doesn't lather up quite like store-bought soap and shampoo. Use within a week or so. Store in a cool, dark place.
Use the same bottle of soap to add to your laundry's wash water.
Note: Since the herbs are dried, all year long you can make a fresh batch weekly. Change up the scent - instead of using lemon verbena, try peppermint or rose petals.
- research the different kinds of home-schooling: unschooling, child-led education, homeschooling, schooling at home... there are differences (yes, some are very slight) in these terms and how they may affect your process
- check the home-education laws in your state
- follow the laws in your state regarding reporting, subjects to cover, testing, etc.
- do the minimum to follow the laws in your state, while creating or following a curriculum that imparts the exact knowledge of what YOU believe your children should learn.
Here's a simplification of our Tween's curriculum:
- writing (including reports, letters, business forms, essays, poems, short stories and journals)
- speaking (giving oral reports, making videos, reciting poems and other memorizations)
- reading (including classic literature - including The Hobbit, 1994, Hamlet, The Iliad, Moby Dick, Kidnapped, Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone - poems, reports, instructions, etc.)
- language arts (grammar, spelling, vocabulary, greek and latin roots, and mythology
- math (basics of addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, geometry, pre-algebra, and also balancing a checkbook, "consumer math", calculating interest and sales tax, etc.)
- history, civics/government, social studies, geography
- life science, physical science, space/astronomy, anatomy, earth science, etc.
- music (music appreciation, reading and playing an instrument)
- language (spanish, french, american sign language, etc.)
- art (art appreciation, fibers, painting, ceramics, basket-making, candle-making, etc)
- health (hygiene, nutrition, sexual reproduction, diseases, drugs, liquor, prescriptions, holistic healing) and physical education (sports, swimming, team events, exercising, jogging, marathon-prep)
- life skills (manners/etiquette, dating/courtship, marriage, family, your role as a father, frugal living, self-reliance, leadership, gardening, cooking, sewing, laundry, preserving harvests, auto and machinery repair, carpentry, construction, etc.)
- religion (if it applies)
- extra-curricular activities (cpr, first aid, volunteering at soup kitchens, coaching little league, political campaigns, etc. - these are very important to document when preparing for higher education like college)
This is just what's planned for our kid through high school years. He is averaging 6th grade at present, with the exception of math (lower grade levels there), so we still have another 6 grades (years) to complete our list.
Be sure to check out the above-mentioned website for more curriculum and schooling-at-home information.
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Hey! I found the following information so...
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Of course you could in theory take clippings from hedgerows, although it would be wise to ask permission of the landowner first, and ensure only a few whips per plant are taken to avoid making the hedge livestock proof! It also takes an awful long time and a long long lane in which to collect 1.500 whips. Goat willow isn't suitable for willow or biofuel, it has a slow growth rate giving short whips and lots of branching.
Left to grow willow will take on the form of a tree, or if clipped, a bush. When coppiced (this means pruning it down to near a few centimeters above ground level in winter) it will then throw up multiple shoots (whips) ideal for basket weaving. Leave them grow five years or so and the straight whips have thickened enough to harvest for firewood.
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A tip is to cut the willow right back after the first year and they grow more vigorously the subsequent year. One person trimmed back a golden willow after year one and a year later the cutting had 20 whips growing, an inch thick in some cases and over 8 feet long!
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So here's the plan... when we get to our new homestead, we'll purchase (or find a free source - Colorado friends?) of willow cuttings (whips) and plant about 6 feet apart or so, and allow them to grow. We'll also plant some in a circular pattern to make a living teepee. Others we'll allow to grow into trees, and some into bushes.
- living teepee
- supplies for making baskets and hats
- living large border which could afford a LOT of privacy
- grown up trees can be chopped for firewood
Muhammed Bah Abba is credited with reviving (some say inventing) use of the zeer and has his own instructions on theory, application and making one. I am going to make one of these myself and see how long basic vegetables will keep at room temp. You can see from the picture how easy it would be to improvise a zeer with regular flower pots. I will then give it a taste test after one week.
- will any clay pot in a clay pot work this way?
- will any kind of sand work in the bottom pot?
- just a wet cloth on top? does that keep much coolness in? what if you can't re-wet the cloth twice a day?
- as an alternate, what kind of top would you put on... and would it be on both or just the inner pot?
I once read a permaculture book, whose title I forget, that had pictures of her south-facing room. In there, she grew much of her fruit and veggies that she preferred to eat fresh. This included, amazingly enough, a tomato plant that was several years old, and so tall it reached her ceiling and curved along it.
We have two small windows facing the south in our current home. One of the conditions of our next home is that it have an entire room with windows on the southside, even if we have to build it ourselves. Whether it be that room, or a seperate building (greenhouse), we'll be growing:
- miniature columnar apple
- miniature columnar peach
- carrots, carrots and more carrots
- yellow crookneck squash
- string beans
- herbs (many kinds)
I recently saw (I think on PBS) a professional greenhouse for tomatoes. The tomatoes started on the ground and wound all the way up to the ceiling. This was a professional situation so I'm quite sure their storage area was somewhere else. As a homesteader, it's advised to keep your supplies closest to where you use them the most. We're opting for benches (pictured here) in our greenhouse, and probably something similar in our sunroom.
Keeping the Greenhouse Warm in Winter:
Winters here get very cold, sometimes below zero and sometimes snowed in. If there isn't a means of heating the greenhouse, any plants in there will freeze. Beyond what you may read in books or on the internet, this is our plan...
We will be surrounding the greenhouse: barn to left and garage to the right. That will give the greenhouse lots of heat. If you can't do that, you could heat with space heaters, but those are a little dicey and need attention in hopes that they won't burn down the building during the night.
You could also provide heat via animals! Yep... chickens or rabbits or other small animals. There's math involved (calculating BTU's, body mass, etc.), and you have to provide adequate summer housing, watering, etc., but I've heard of people very successfully using this method.
Consider not only extending your fresh-produce season, but increasing it! Make use of your south-facing (or north-facing in the southern hemisphere) windows to grow many fresh veggies and fruits in your home.
Meanwhile, here's a list of perennial trees that bear edible food. Source: http://garden.lovetoknow.com/wiki/Perennial_Foods
- American wild plum, Prunus americana
- Apple, Malus domestica
- Avocado, Persea americana
- Black cherry, Prunus serotina
- Chestnut crab, Malus sp.
- Choke cherry, Prunus virginiana
- Citrus, Citrus sp.
- Cornelian cherry, Cornus mas
- Eastern Redbud, Cercis occidentalis
- Fig, Ficus carica
- Glossy black chokeberry, Aronia melanocarpa
- Hawthorn, Cratagus sp.
- Hazel nut, Corylus americana, C. cornuta, C. avellana
- Loquat, Eriobotrya japonica
- Maidenhair tree, Ginkgo, Ginkgo biloba
- Monkey puzzle, Araucaria araucana
- Pear, Pyrus sp.
- Persimmon, Diospyros sp.
- Pin cherry, Prunus pensylvanica
- Plum, Prunus sp.
- Quince, Cydonia oblonga
- Serviceberry, Juneberry, Amelanchier sp.
- Sweet Chestnut, Castanea sativa
- Tart cherry, Prunus sp
Actually, very few tree nuts are listed here. We'll have lots of walnuts, pecans, almonds, butternut, chestnut and filberts. Some of these come in miniature size, making it easy to harvest.
We have a cherry tree at our current homestead but if we don't get the cherries the moment they are ready, the birds get to them. We're planning on planting cherry bushes at the next homestead, because they will grow closer to the ground, allowing us to cover them with a netting. They will also be easier to pick.
We have read about many different kinds of apple trees. If we plan it right, we could have several different kinds of apples, each bearing at different times, allowing us to have freshly-picked apples practically all year round!
There's also something called a "Fruit Cocktail" tree, "Fruit Salad" or also known as a "5-in-One" tree - apricots, plums, nectarines, etc. How exciting!
We love bananas, avocados and citrus like lime and lemon, but we'll grow those in our future greenhouse or sunroom. I love thinking about going into the sunroom in my jammies, blizzard going on outside, and picking a couple of bananas for my breakfast.
- Grape, River or Frost, Vitis riparia
- Grape, Table or Wine, Vitis sp.
- Kiwi, Actinidia sp
Last installment of this list of perennial plants that provide food is: Perennial Trees. Tomorrow!
We have about 12 strawberry plants and 2 raspberries and 5 blackberries right now. Unfortunately we can't really take them with us when we leave. So we'll have a lot of them to buy when we get to our next (and last, please god) homestead. We'll also have a greenhouse as soon as possible so that we can grow blueberries and strawberries year-round.
Here's the list of perennial shrubs and berries (mostly fruits!) found at http://garden.lovetoknow.com/wiki/Perennial_Foods:
Shrubs and Berries
- American elderberry, Sambucus canadensis
- American highbush cranberry, Viburnum trilobatum
- Blackberry, Rubus allegheniensis
- Black raspberries, Rubus occidentalis
- Blueberry, Vaccinium angustifolium, V. corybosium
- Cranberry, Vaccinium macrocarpon
- Elderberry, Sambucus nigra
- Golden currants, Ribes aureum
- Golden raspberries, Rubus sp.
- Gooseberries, Ribes spp.
- Hobblebush, Viburnum alnifolium
- Honeyberry, Lonicera caerule
- Huckberry, Vaccinium sp.
- Huckleberry, Gaylussacia baccata
- Lingonberry, Vaccinium vitis-idaea
- Nannyberry, Viburnum lentago
- Red raspberries, Rubus idaeus
- Regent Serviceberry Amelanchier alnifolia 'Regent'
- Sa berry, Hippophae rhamnoides
- Silverbuffalo berry, Sheperdia argentea
- Smooth sumac, Rhus glabra
- Staghorn sumac, Rhus typhina
- Strawberry, alpine, Fragaria vesca
- Srawberry, Fragaria virginiana
- Timbleberry, Rubus parviflorus
- Wild rose, Rosa blanda or sp
Tomorrow: Perennial Vines
Herbs are very necessary for a homesteader. They are great for spicing up foods, to make toiletries, for general home use, and for a home apothecary. These are just the herbs listed at http://garden.lovetoknow.com/wiki/Perennial_Foods.
- Anise hyssop, Agastache foeniculum
- Basil, Ocimum basilicum
- Catnip, Nepeta cataria
- Chives, Allium schoenoprasum
- Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare
- Feverfew, Chrysanthemum parthenium
- French tarragon, Artemisia dranunculus
- Garlic chives, Allium tuberosum
- Lavender, Lavandula angustifolia
- Lovage, Levisticum officinale
- Mint, Mentha sp.
- Oregano, Origanum vulgare
- Parsley, Petroselinum crispum
- Rosemary, Rosemarinus officinalis
- Sage, Salvia
- Shiso, Japanese Red Mint, Perilla frutescens
- Thyme, Thymus vulgaris
Note: We planted borage last year, which is supposed to be an annual. It grew huge, with large fuzzy leaves. We left it in the ground and it got brown, so we assumed the worst. We had a few days of sub-zero temperature, and several days of snow. On a warm day this past February, we notice it was greening a little bit. We waited. This weekend we noticed not only had it survived but it was getting all big and bushy again! I'm not saying it will do that for everyone, but it did it for us! Could we have gotten a perennial strain of borage? Or maybe I got the seeds mixed up and it wasn't borage at all? (Borage pictured above.)
Tomorrow... perennial shrubs and berries
Okay, I'll admit it. We're a three-person family of which the 2 adults (er hum) are, well, lazy. The kid just wants to play, so he grumbles (a little) doing chores. We never get to sleep in on weekends, but want to. We're procrastinators. Hubby will do hard work but only if prodded (read: nagged). I am physically disabled so hard work is very limited.
So we're working on a plan for our next homestead. Part of that plan is to have as many perennial vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, etc. as possible. This posting will deal with perennial vegetables.
We live near Denver, Colorado in USA so we get very cold weather. So here goes:
- Asparagus: We already have 6 plants. We planted two first-year plants per trash can (bucket) last year, so a total of 3 buckets and 6 plants. They really ferned out last summer, had a few stalks (which we didn't eat), then wintered in our family room under grow lights. We moved them outside in April, watered them, and last weekend notice 4 of the 6 are growing stalks! Hubby is really the only one in our little family who likes asparagus, but I have found that dehydrated and pulverized into a powder... it works well hidden in pizza sauce. Very high in vitamins and minerals, and dries well.
- Rhubarb: It's used as a fruit, but is actually a vegetable. My mother-in-law has rhubarb growing in her backyard, so she split a plant and gave us some last Spring (2008). It grew pretty well last year, but thought we'd lost it because we saw lots of holes in the leaves. We thought insects had gotten to it. It was dead by August. We never moved it because, well, we're lazy! About 3 weeks ago, we noticed new green leaves where there was only dead brown ones from last year. Today, there are about 25 huge healthy stalks and lots of green leaves. Again, Hubby is the only one who likes this but doesn't know how to cook it. I think when it turns cool out on Thursday, I'll go cut some stalks and place them in the dehydrator. After they've dried, I'll turn them into a powder and add them to a homemade strawberry syrup. Yum! Rhubarb is very high in vitamins and minerals, and dries well.
The following list is from http://garden.lovetoknow.com/wiki/Perennial_Foods. I'm going to have to do some more research to find out which of these will actually grow in cold weather. I don't even know what many of these are!Perennial Vegetables and Greens:
- Arrowhead, Sagittaria sagittifolia
- Arugula, rocket, Diplotaxis erucoides
- Asparagus, Asparagus officinalis
- Chicory, Cichorium sp.
- Comfrey, Symphytum sp.
- Earth Pea, Lathyrus tuberosa
- Elephant Garlic, Allium ampeloprasum
- Galangal, Thai ginger, Alpinia galangal
- Garlic, Allium sativum
- Ginger, Zingiber officinale
- Globe artichoke, Cynara scolymus
- Golden shallots, Allium cepa var. aggregatum
- Ground nut, Agrios americana
- Horseradish, Amoracia sp.
- Jerusalem artichokes, sunchoke, Helianthus tuberosus
- New Zealand Spinach, Tetragonia
- Oca, New Zealand yam, Oxalis tuberosa
- Peruvian parsnip, Arracacia xanthorrhiza
- Rhubarb, Rhuem rhabarbarum
- Sea beet, Beta vulgaris ssp.maritima
- Sea kale, Crambe maritima
- Sorrel, Rumex acetosa
- Sweet potato, Ipomoea batatas
- Taro, Colocasia esculenta
- Turmeric, Indian saffron, Curcuma domestica
- Waterchestnuts, Eleocharis dulcis
- Welsh onion, Allium sp.
- Yacon, Smallanthus sonchifolius
- Yam, Dioscorea batata
It is so important for people to decide how far to go - a backyard grocery garden or 40 acres of productive farm? A corner of an apartment's living room or 5 acres of permacultured land?
We're still discussing, and will come to a decision when we get closer to selling our current home. Have YOU discussed this with YOUR family?
When I worked as a nanny (over the last 4 years), the main family I cared for used fabric diapers. The mother bought them on e-bay and through friends who'd outgrown their use. The fabrics ranged from tiger stripes to plain blue or green to cute animals. Most had an insert that was cute useful, especially for these boys!
Whether or not I get pregnant again (I'm quite old!), I recommend families with young children to use something that will not harm the Earth further. Here's a bit of information on making your own diapers:
- Fabric - anything made from cotton will do just fine. Look around your home to re-purpose clothing, receiving blankets, shirts, old flannel sheets, towels, etc. You could also browse yard sales and remnant sections at fabric stores. I once found some great flannel material at the $1.00 table at Wal-Mart, but since Wal-Mart closed the fabric section in our neighboring stores, it will be difficult to find such deals again.
- Notions - thread (various colors), sew-on velcro (1.5") or elastic and buttons, and 3/8" elastic.
- Sewing Machine - you could do it by hand, but it would take longer. Be sure to have bobbins and extra needles for your machine, and keep it well oiled. Keep in mind, when sewing stitches for diapers (which get washed very often so tend to fall apart), be sure to stitch, and then back-stitch by going back over your stitches. This will help stop it from coming apart.
Her instructions give the velcro-closure. I'm using 1-2" buttons and thin elastic loops to close the diaper. I don't like the sound of velcro in the middle of the night!
Also, for the soaker pads (insert to absorb the most liquid), I bought a lot of very cheap washcloths, and insert those. They are easy to change out and wash.
You can make your own outside covers by using water-proof material, and making them a "just-a-bit" bigger than the inside diaper so they'll fit over nice and snug. When in doubt, ask for help from the fabric store person.
To measure for sizing the cloth for the diapers, try: http://www.diapersewing.com/measurements.htm
The main things about using cloth diapers are:
- Check them often
- Cover with something that won't allow leakage
- Get rid of the poop down the toilet immediately, and
- As soon as the diaper is off the baby and the poo is down the toilet, throw it in your bathroom diaper pail immediately to start soaking!
Note: I hate to bring this up, but this pattern could be used to make adult diapers. Just a thought.
We are somewhat a musical family. Well, two out of three! I was quite the accomplished musician when I was young. I played the flute in high school, took piano lessons for 13 years and accompanied friends, and sang mezzo-soprano for packed houses. I even performed in dinner theater for a while!
My Tween was destined to be musical, and he does love beats and sounds. And Hubby loves to listen, but couldn't carry a tune in a bucket if his life depended on it.
We have an assortment of musical instruments: an electronic keyboard (yes, we'd prefer a good ole piano), drums, recorders (kinda like a flute), maracas, tamborines, and more. From time to time, for family fun time, we get out the karaoke machine and jam along with our instruments. Who cares what we sound like, right? We're having fun.
Do you have any musical instruments on your homestead? Remember, it's not the quality of the music - it's the fun!
Farmers Markets are on our mind because we're really wanting some fresh produce. Our own Summer plants are still just seeds waiting to sprout, or 3 inch tomato seedlings. The carrots, radishes, bunching onions and greens will go in the raised bed this week, but couldn't do it before now with all of the weird weather and last week's blizzard.