Real Homesteader Stories Episode 1

Real Homesteader Stories Episode 1

Real Homesteader Stories Episode 1

Updates from the homestead, y’all.

 

I’ve started something new, which is live streaming from my truck as I’m doing farm chores – and I’m giving y’all the straight poop about what it’s like on our homestead. I’m calling this series Real Homesteader Stories – and I hope you enjoy it.

 

This will probably come out once a week as I have time to download and slap the stories together. This week, I tell you all about:

  • The tornado that got my brand new shed
  • What it’s like gelding horses in the field & the umm…compliment? the vet gave us
  • Why breeding rabbits isn’t for the faint of heart & why one doe gets a lifetime pass on the farm

You can’t make this stuff up, I swear. I hope you enjoy it & I would like to hear your thoughts on it!

 

I’d like to hear from you!

Do you have any crazy farm stories? Leave a comment below!

Homesteading Hacks: Make Healthy Products With These 5 Items You Usually Toss (Plus Frugal Ways To Do It)

Homesteading Hacks: Make Healthy Products With These 5 Items You Usually Toss (Plus Frugal Ways To Do It)

Using every bit of something is satisfying, rather than letting it go to waste, isn’t it?

 

On our homestead, we try to use every bit of an item or find an alternative use for it before tossing it in the trash. We’re frugal like that.

 

Here’s 5 items you might otherwise throw away that you can recycle in very useful ways if that’s part of your homesteading goals.

 

It’s free and oh so frugal, and reduces the amount of trash you have to dump!

 

And who doesn’t feel better and more independent after finding an alternative use for something that will benefit your homestead?

 

Don't throw these 5 items away! Create something healthy with them instead! Here's 5 homesteading hacks to turn items you usually toss into something frugal you'll use every day! From FrugalChicken

 

1. Make bone broth with leftover roast chicken

 

Don't throw these 5 items away! Create something healthy with them instead! Here's 5 homesteading hacks to turn items you usually toss into something frugal you'll use every day! From FrugalChicken

 

Have roast chicken for dinner? Don’t just dump the leftovers – make bone broth!

 

Bone broth is one of the healthiest foods out there – when you make it, all the minerals from the bones are extracted.

 

You’re left with a liquid that the French call a “restoratif,” or “restorative” in English.

 

Why? Because for weary travelers, it helped restore their health from dusty and long trips.

Don't throw these 5 items away! Create something healthy with them instead! Here's 5 homesteading hacks to turn items you usually toss into something frugal you'll use every day! From FrugalChicken

 

 

It’s also incredibly frugal – after all, you’d likely just throw the leftovers away. But now you have the basis for a whole other meal.

 

Eat it alone, or use it in your favorite savory recipe in place of water.

 

Not sure how to make bone broth?

 

Once you boil the bones the first time, you can boil them again for a secondary broth – perfect for adding to rice to enrich a risotto or use it in place of water when baking bread.

 

If you have leftover bones, use them to increase the collagen in your broth – some people consider it a great restorative for all kinds of ailments, including making your skin glow.

 

You can use pork, beef, or fish bones (some people even use shellfish leftovers!).

 

Don't throw these 5 items away! Create something healthy with them instead! Here's 5 homesteading hacks to turn items you usually toss into something frugal you'll use every day! From FrugalChicken

 

2. Use leftover cores and peels to make apple cider vinegar

 

Making apple pie or cobbler? Don’t throw away the peels and cores – make apple cider vinegar instead!

 

Don't throw these 5 items away! Create something healthy with them instead! Here's 5 homesteading hacks to turn items you usually toss into something frugal you'll use every day! From FrugalChicken

 

It’s much easier and less mysterious than you’d imagine – if I can do it, I promise so can you. It’s a great way to make use of leftover bits.

 

Making vinegar is the act of fermenting the peels and cores until they turn into cider, then into vinegar.

 

It’s something our homesteading ancestors did (I don’t really think they just tossed those cores), and you can do it too.

 

It seems like you’re taking a chance (I was there once too!), but it’s better than just tossing the peels into the trash, and you might find you have a knack for it.

 

And believe me when I say that the taste of homemade ACV completely smokes the taste of store bought vinegar. It’s potent stuff that has more flavor, bite, and tang than anything you can get at the grocery.

 

If you use ACV in your salad dressings, or even when you have a cold, you will want to save some coin and make your own.

 

3. Use leftover egg shells to add calcium to your chickens’ diet

 

Don't throw these 5 items away! Create something healthy with them instead! Here's 5 homesteading hacks to turn items you usually toss into something frugal you'll use every day! From FrugalChicken

 

If your chickens have weak eggshells (the shells crack easily), you need to pump up the calcium to their diet. One way to do that is to give them egg shells, which are chock full of calcium, to their diet.

 

To include egg shells to her diet, just crush them up and toss into their run, or add to their feed. Be sure to incorporate only to that day’s ration so the shells don’t rot the entire bag of feed.

 

It’s a great way to boost her calcium intake without spending a dime!

 

(Don’t have chickens? Grind the eggshells and throw into to your coffee for a less bitter brew! Get this hack here!)

 

4. Make a cherry stone bed warmer

 

Cherry stone bed warmers were one way, back in old homesteading days when every bit of something had a purpose, families would keep warm during the winter.

 

Don't throw these 5 items away! Create something healthy with them instead! Here's 5 homesteading hacks to turn items you usually toss into something frugal you'll use every day! From FrugalChicken

 

Swiss children used to collect the stones, which were then washed, sanitized, placed into a cloth sack, and heated over hot coals.

 

If you can sew in the least bit (any homesteading guy or gal can), you can make a cherry stone bed warmer.

 

Before you put the stones into the sack, though, be sure to boil them for 5 minutes to ward off any moldy nasties.

 

Dry them in an oven, spreading them into a single layer on a baking sheet. You’ll know the stones are done when they’re evenly colored.

 

Don't throw these 5 items away! Create something healthy with them instead! Here's 5 homesteading hacks to turn items you usually toss into something frugal you'll use every day! From FrugalChicken

 

If you don’t have too many cherries, but still want to try making a small warmer, it’s an alternative to disposable heat packs.

 

5. Use leftover whey to add protein and flavor to meals

 

Yes, this is the same stuff Little Miss Muffet ate.

Don't throw these 5 items away! Create something healthy with them instead! Here's 5 homesteading hacks to turn items you usually toss into something frugal you'll use every day! From FrugalChicken

If you make cheese (if you don’t, you need to learn this easy homesteading skill), you’ll be left with a lot of leftover whey.

 

This isn’t the same as the powdered stuff you buy at health food stores (that’s filled with who knows what since that industry isn’t regulated).

 

This is honest-to-goodness real food that has excellent nourishing properties.

 

Use for whey in place of water when cooking or baking. You’ll give a protein punch to any meal, and you’ll be using something you’d otherwise trash or compost.

 

Don't throw these 5 items away! Create something healthy with them instead! Here's 5 homesteading hacks to turn items you usually toss into something frugal you'll use every day! From FrugalChicken

 

It’s a great addition to bread, and it gives dough a tangy taste, as well as adding extra protein and probiotics. This is one way I personally use whey (full disclosure: my kids like to drink it, and since it’s full of good stuff, I let them).

 

Use it in place of water when making rice, or pour it into soups for extra nutrition. It’s just another way to make meals more nourishing than they would be otherwise.

 

And whey from different cheeses tastes slightly different, and each adds it’s own special blend of proteins and nutrients to your meal.

 

Hopefully these 5 frugal homesteading tips have jogged your thinking! What are your favorite items to reuse? 

 

40 Homesteading Skills You Can Learn By Video (Essential AND Easy!)

40 Homesteading Skills You Can Learn By Video (Essential AND Easy!)

One way I’ve increased my independence is by learning new homesteading skills.

And what’s an easier way to learn than by video?

 

Here’s 40 essential (and easy) homesteading skills for you to master!

40 Homesteading Skills You Can Learn By Video From FrugalChicken

Make laundry detergent

Making your own laundry detergent is probably one of the easiest homesteading skills to master on this list.

 

All it takes is a few ingredients to master this homesteading task. These ingredients are safe, and it’s exactly how I make my detergent.

 

 

If you’re a reader, check out my article about this homesteading must!

 

Snag them on Amazon here:

 

Graft fruit trees

 

When you graft trees, you increase your yield (over time) without having to wait for new trees to grow and produce fruits.

 

You can also graft your best trees on to healthy and hearty root stock for healthy trees that will last.

 

It’s one of many traditional skills our ancestors used to survive!

Kill a chicken humanely

Warning: This video is graphic.

 

She’s humane and very kind and her method is simple and straight forward without need for any specialized equipment.

 

To learn how to kill your own chickens to improve your homesteading skills, I recommend this guide. But fair warning.

 

Here’s a great article on 9 Knives for Homesteading Women. My favorite in the article is the Kershaw Chive.

Dehydrate vegetables off-grid

When you have too many peppers, you’ll wish to start preserving them. Learning how to dehydrate them off-grid is one of the best skills to learn – you can do it without any special equipment!

 

Can food

Canning food is one of the most essential homesteading skills to learn, and when your up to your ears in squash, it becomes pretty important.

 

Why?

 

Because you’ll want a way to save all that produce you harvest.  

 

Here’s the exact mason jars I use!

 

Milk a goat

Milking a goat isn’t hard as far as homesteading skills go, but it can be tricky if you haven’t done it before.

 

The key is to not pull, but squeeze.

 

Be sure to use a stainless steel milking pail – much easier to sanitize!

 

Milk a cow

Milking a cow versus milking a goat are slightly different skills – but equally important.

 

Be sure to be safe as you practice. Like any large animal, cows can do a lot of damage to a person accidentally simply because of their size (speaking as a person who gets kicked by wayward colts a lot).

 

Light a fire in the rain

If you plan to preserve your produce by canning outside over a fire, knowing how to light a flame in the rain is one of those homesteading skills you should learn.

 

You don’t always get to choose the days you have available to preserve your harvest! 

 

This is essential if you live off-grid as well.

Make butter

Making butter is one of those essential homesteading skills that’s super easy to try and master.

 

I don’t use a blender when making butter, but if you want to speed up the process, a blender will do that in a snap.

Make yogurt

I’m going to be honest, I use a Yogotherm to make yogurt, but learning to do it without a yogurt maker is one of those frugal homesteading skills to have.

 

Of course, using a yogurt maker is perfectly fine too.

 

When you have a dairy animal, you’ll want to find new ways to preserve all that milk!

 

Here’s the exact yogurt maker I use:

Make beeswax candles

One of the simplest skills to learn!

 

If you’re electricity goes out, or if you’re off grid, you’ll be glad to have this homesteading skill.

 

You can order beeswax and other candle-making supplies:

 

Make tallow candles

Using tallow is another way to produce candles for your homestead, and to use up the extra fat if you raise and butcher your own cattle (great skills to learn too!).

 

It’s easy, and way to use the whole animal, which is important when homesteading.

 

Here’s where to snag supplies:

Hatch chicks

If you want a sustainable chicken population, consider incubating eggs. It’s not one of the more difficult skills to learn, but it does take some knowledge and experience.

 

If you’re shopping for an incubator, I recommend one with a turner. It’s a little more pricey, but it pays off over time.

 

If you work all day, or if you have children, you don’t always have the time to turn eggs 3 times a day.

 

This is the exact model I use, and I’ve had great success.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGTaUIe-GZ4

Make soap using all-natural ingredients

Making soap safely is one of the easiest skills you can try at home, no matter where you are.

 

I do recommend using molds, since it will make the process smoother. 

 

Be sure to take safety precautions – you will have to use lye, since it’s essential to this homesteading activity, but plenty of people successfully use it.

 

Use your best judgement.

 

Make a quilt

Once you decide on fabric and a pattern, quilt-making is a snap – it just takes time and patience. 

 

Given the prices of quilts these days, if you have even a smidgen of sewing talent, you can put together a quilt, learning how to block and sew it, and save a ton with these homesteading skills.

 

 

Candle an egg

Candling and incubating are homesteading skills that take some experience to master, but once you get it, it’s super simple. 

 

This video is on Day 10 of the incubation process – the day when you start to know pretty much which eggs are developing, and which are duds. 

 

You can use any flashlight, but this is one I’ve had success with:

Save seeds

Seed saving is one of those skills essential to building a sustainable homestead.

 

You’ll produce fruits and vegetables that work well for your particular soil and year after year, your harvest will be better and better. 

 

Ferment foods

For centuries, our homesteading ancestors fermented foods to preserve them, and get the most nutrition possible from their harvest.

 

It seems intimidating, but it’s one of those skills that will make you proud to be a homesteader. If I can do it, so can you. You just have to be sensible, and if anything looks or smells off, toss it. 

 

Here’s 2 books I like:

 

Make sauerkraut

As an introduction to fermenting, consider sauerkraut. It’s pretty foolproof – and an easy homesteading skill to start with!

 

This kit is one I use, and it makes fermenting simple. 

Sprout seeds to check viability

Let’s say you come across a packet of seeds, but they look pretty old. You don’t want to toss them, but you can’t waste garden space either (been there, done that!). 

 

 

Here’s how to test those seeds for viability.

Grow fodder

If you’re looking for an easy way to reduce your feed expenses while raising the nutritional value of your grain, try to growing fodder.

 

 

This is one of those homesteading skills that’s easy to learn, and it increases the nutritional value of your feed up to 600%.

 

 

Preserve foods by making jams

You don’t just have to preserve strawberries, you can preserve any sort of fruit.

 

I have a guide about these homesteading skills, too, and this video is a great introduction.

 

If you plan to use pectin, consider finding a deal and buying in bulk – some recipes call for a whole packet. This is the brand I use:

 

Render lard

You’ll need to know how to render lard if you’re big into baking or have purchased a pig (or half a pig) to butcher.

 

Rendering lard is one of those homesteading skills that you can learn anywhere.

Make homemade apple cider vinegar

Homemade apple cider vinegar completely smokes store bought vinegar. When you taste the difference, you won’t go back. 

 

Read my step-by-step guide about this essential homesteading skills!

Make organic lip balm

This is one of many very frugal homesteading skills that’s simple to master.

 

It’s pretty luxurious, being able to concoct a year’s worth of delicious, organic lip balm in the span of an afternoon.

 

Here’s what to buy:

Make lotion bars

Interested in another easy DIY project made with organic ingredients? Lotion bars are an easy option!

 

Although not specifically homesteading skills, these are still frugal options for beauty products (and a great way to spend an afternoon!). Here’s what to buy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ofcAyXbkBE

Butcher a pig

If you’re going to have livestock, butchering them is one of those skills that will save you a ton of money.

 

This video is graphic (although you don’t see them actually killing the pig in this video), so be warned.

Build a compost bin

If you decide to save money on fertilizer, or want to use your manure productively, building a compost bin is a must. You don’t need specialized tools, either. 

 

You can build a compost bin with pallets (make sure they’re safe for this kind of homesteading project!) or you can use new wood (make sure it’s heat treated, and not treated with chemicals).

Pasteurize milk

There’s lots of reasons to pasteurize your milk. Here’s an easy guide to doing it without any specialized (or expensive!) equipment.

Make cheese

Making cheese is a simple homesteading skill to master, and one that will increase your independence.

 

Try mozzarella first – it’s easy and requires few ingredients.

 

Right now, you can snag my free ebook about making cheese! Be sure to hop on my mailing list!

Clean a fish

Now that we’re building an aquaponic system, these are homesteading skills I need to get better at!

 

Whether you fish or raise fish to harvest, this tutorial is for you.

Give a goat an injection

When my goat was attacked by my dog, I relied on this homesteading tutorial to give her antibiotics, since I didn’t even know where on my goat to give an injection! 

 

Before doing anything, though, I would talk to a vet (which is what I did).

Give a chicken an injection

Chickens are actually very easy to give injections to if you’ve never done it. I’m able to do it with my chickens without using the towel, but if you have a scared, flighty chicken, then you’ll definitely want to use a towel.

Break new ground for a garden

We established several new gardens this year, and breaking ground can be tough! Follow these steps to make it easier.

Make sausage

Just like anything homemade, sausage from scratch tastes so much better than anything store bought. Freshness just can’t be competed with. You can use any recipe, but here is a basic step-by-step guide.

Use a pressure cooker

You can use a pressure cooker to can homesteading goods such as bone broth, and you can use it to cook as well. While pressure cookers might have blown up a few years ago, now they’re pretty safe, as long as you use good judgement.

 

I’d love to hear from you!

Which homesteading skills are you working on? Which do you want to learn? Email me at [email protected] or comment below!

 

Easy Homesteading Skills

 

5 Things I Won’t Do on the Homestead

5 Things I Won’t Do on the Homestead


Call me yellow. Call me decisive. Call me whatever you like (I’m sure this crowd won’t call me anything!), but there are certain things I won’t do on the homestead.

Why not? Well, in part it boils down to time management, and living the good life without overwhelming myself.

  1. Go without a washer and dryer.

I 100% applaud those who, with more industry than I possess, wash and dry their clothes by hand. It’s a satisfying experience to know you can be self-sufficient with washing your clothes if you lose electricity.

While I would certainly do it if I had to, I tried washing and drying my clothes by hand for a while in the interest of being a purist, but it wasn’t for me. When my husband brought me a big stack of quilts…umm…yeah…I ran for the washer. (more…)

Go-To Guide: How to Make Bone Broth in 5 Easy Steps

Go-To Guide: How to Make Bone Broth in 5 Easy Steps


You need to make this.
Repeat. You need to make this.

If there’s anything you should learn as a homesteader, it’s how to make bone broth. Why? Bone marrow is one of the most nutrient-dense food available, and when you make bone broth, you release those locked-up vitamins. If you’re sick, you eat chicken soup, right? This is that chicken soup times a thousand. (more…)