Children and Chores: How to Enjoyably Work Together on the Homestead

On pileOn the homestead, everyone in the family needs to chip in to get things done. There are chores suitable for children of all ages from feeding chickens and taking out the compost to weeding the garden and harvesting fruit. Work doesn’t need to be drudgery but can be an enjoyable thing that the family works at together. Continue reading

Rediscovering Traditions: How Sustainable Living is a Trend, Again

young farmer with flowersSustainability, self-sufficiency, and environmental friendliness has recently hit the younger generations in a big way. All over the internet, thousands of young people are sharing their dreams of one day living a life filled with vegetable gardens, solar power, clotheslines, butter churns, bread baking, and farm animals. Continue reading

The Life-Changing Magic of Self-Sufficiency

preserving foodThe day we installed our brand-new Baker’s Choice wood cookstove was the day our lives changed dramatically for the better. I mean that literally.

Living in the far north, wintertime heat is no small matter. For the previous fifteen years, our sole source of heat was a small inefficient woodstove located in an inconvenient corner of our house, which left the rest of the house hovering in the low 50s during cold weather. For years, we’d fantasized about having a proper cookstove in a more central location. Continue reading

Secret to the BEST ice cream? Get crankin’

immergood amish ice cream freezerEditor’s Note: This article was originally posted in June 2015.

Our favorite foods and our best memories are inextricably linked. The flavor and aroma takes us back to those times of laughter, joy and camaraderie. And, what food is a better sweet memory starter than ice cream? What are your favorite ice cream memories? Running after the ice cream truck as its bell rings its way past your house? Sharing the cold sweetness with cousins at a summer family reunion?

Mine revolve around the ice cream freezer, because we always like to make our own. In fact, our hand-cranked ice cream freezer took on mythical importance to our family life. It was like an ice cream fount of goodness, the horn of plenty from which sprang sweet, creamy cold-on-a-hot-summer-day fun. Continue reading

Meet Farmer John Moody – An Expert on Elderberries, Soils and More

“I am not your typical farmer.” That’s the first thing John Moody says when he introduces himself.

In fact, Moody doesn’t consider himself typical in anything. The author of five books on the subject of farming and homesteading, Moody and his wife Jessica are determined to spread the news about the merits of real, honest food and the health benefits that result. (“One fun fact,” he adds. “I am a green belt in judo and performed multiple times in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.”) Continue reading

The Road Less Traveled

In 1916, the poet Robert Frost wrote a famous poem entitled “The Road Not Taken” in which a walker faces a forked path in the woods. One path is well-trod, the other path is overgrown. Which path should he take? The final stanza of the poem reads:

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

Nearly 30 years ago, my husband and I stood at that metaphorical fork in our lives, and we took the road less traveled. It has made all the difference. Continue reading

A Day on the Homestead

Doug and StacyEditor’s Note: Today we’re bringing the homestead to you! It’s our pleasure to welcome back our friends and guest bloggers, Doug and Stacy from popular YouTube channel Off Grid with Doug and Stacy. They’re giving us a glimpse into what a typical day is like on their homestead. Enjoy!

Hey ya’ll and thanks for stopping by our homestead. Some of you may have seen us on YouTube or Facebook. We are Off Grid with Doug and Stacy living the pioneer lifestyle in the 21st century. We live in a 600 sq. ft. 1800s style log cabin we built ourselves, collecting and living on rainwater, using a composting toilet, heating our home with wood, cooking on a Lehman’s Pioneer Princess wood cookstove and growing/harvesting our own food in Midwest, USA. This is a huge contrast from a dozen years ago where we had too many bills, too big of a house, getting all of our food from the store, being stressed, and spending too much time apart. We put the brakes on all that and now we live, as Lehman’s says, “for a simpler life.” Continue reading

Soil Tips for New Gardeners

planting seedlingsWhen life brings uncertainty, it motivates people to make their food supply as secure as possible. This was true when Victory Gardens sprang up during both World War I and World War II, where it is estimated up to 40% of the nation’s produce came from backyard gardens. We are seeing this trend playing out again in our current COVID-19 age with a huge influx of new gardeners and overwhelmed seed companies. With many folks staying at home, it is also a perfect time to be planting and tending a garden. Continue reading

Making It Yourself: Why Bother?

Kathy's homemade soap. Find the supplies you need to make yours at Lehmans.com and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

Kathy’s homemade soap. Find the supplies you need to make yours at Lehmans.com and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

I recently taught a workshop on soapmaking at our local folk school. I was telling a friend about it and she asked a pretty profound question: Why do you bother? Continue reading

6 Things to Know Before Raising Goats

goatFive years ago this month, I was bringing our family’s fifth baby into the world. We were living in a nice, suburban neighborhood with a big, fenced in yard and a fabulous wooden playset flanked with six raised bed gardens. My friends called me Martha because I liked to grow food and cook from scratch. I liked to sew and craft and just make things in general. Little did I know what that was about to become. Continue reading