What’s Happening On The Homestead: The Battle In The Garden

Mulching

Organic mulching is one way we help control weeds in our garden. (Photo by Elizabeth Geiser)

Around here, the busiest months in the garden for me are May, June and September. May is a planting flurry, September is a harvest and preservation marathon, and June is the month where we win or lose the battle against the weeds. Thankfully, long days are in our favor and I am often out working in the garden till dusk. This year in much of our area, gardeners and farmers are all out working anytime that raindrops aren’t falling. A few things are behind schedule but most of my plants are benefiting from the good moisture, however, the weeds are enjoying it too. Continue reading

Meet Homesteader Jill Winger (Coming to Lehman’s July 13th!)

Jill WingerWhat’s wrong with Jill Winger? Did she take Laura Ingalls Wilder a bit too seriously? It’s a question worth examining when considering the lifestyle of this modern pioneer. Continue reading

4 Ways to Make Better Butter

Butter from molds

Go beyond the basics with these easy butter making tips. (Read on to find out how to make molded butter, like pictured above. Photo by Elizabeth Geiser.)

Editor’s Note: June is National Dairy Month, so in celebration, we’ve asked local homesteader and butter expert Karen Geiser to give us tips for making better butter. So, get ready to churn – it’s going to be delicious!

If you come by the Lehman’s store on a Thursday, you likely have seen my son and me churning butter. It is amazing how many butter stories I hear each week, from reminiscing about churning with grandma to folks who do it on an industrial scale. The grandpas often comment to my 10-year-old son, “When I was your age, that was my job” while others jokingly remind me, “Honey, you know they sell butter in the store these days.” Besides being a great conversation starter during my demos and giving our arms a nice workout, making fresh butter for my family is definitely an act of love and we savor the taste and nutrition from our fresh butter. Continue reading

Living Off Grid 101: Food

Doug & Stacy with pumpkins

Doug and Stacy from YouTube Channel, OFF GRID with DOUG & STACY

Editor’s Note: Welcome back our special guest bloggers, Doug and Stacy. Today they conclude their four-part series of living off grid with one very important topic – food. 

“Get closer to your food.” For eight years, we have been on the quest to do just that. Now when we say “quest”, we mean that we sold everything, left the city life and built a log cabin from scratch. We decided that we wanted to slow down and be more intentional with our time and our health. On our 11 acres in the Midwest, we have begun the journey. In this day and age of toxic food sources, we wanted actions to speak louder than words. We wanted to be in charge of where their food came from, how it was treated, and what went in it. Continue reading

What’s Happening on the Homestead: Fresh Rhubarb and Baby Chicks

baby chick with flowers

Spring is in full force on our homestead this month…baby chicks have arrived! (Photo by Elizabeth Geiser)

May has brought plenty of rain to Ohio but just enough sunshine for some productive days of working outdoors and we are enjoying the extended daylight. The lettuce seedlings, spinach, radishes and Japanese turnips are growing rapidly in the misty rain but as we wait on them to get to harvest size, we are relying heavily on our perennial vegetables at the supper table. Some of our favorite spring flavors are asparagus, rhubarb and winter onions (aka Egyptian walking onions.) It is nice to have numerous perennials in the garden that don’t require planting each year, just some light maintenance and harvesting. Several take a few years to get established but if you are planning to stay on your property long term, getting these perennial crops started is a worthy investment. Continue reading

Living Off Grid 101: Water

Stacy watering the gardenEditor’s Note: They’re back! Our guest bloggers Doug and Stacy are sharing with us today their journey of providing water for their off-grid home.

The one thing we cannot live without is WATER. Somehow that thought escaped us when we bought our 11 acres in the Midwest. We, being Doug and Stacy who homestead off grid on YouTube and other social media, came straight from city life. The property we found had a little of everything except the most important thing which was a water source. The pond on the property was the only source for water, and we thought putting in a well could be a good option. What we didn’t realize was the average cost of a well in our area is $10,000 and up. This is with no guarantee that you will even hit water! We came to our property with no debt and so spending that kind of money was not in the plan. We knew that this lifestyle was going to require being solution focused and patient.
Continue reading

Living Off Grid 101: Lighting

Stacy with oil lamp

Stacy with oil lamp

Editor’s Note: Please welcome back our special guest bloggers Doug and Stacy from popular YouTube channel OFF GRID with DOUG & STACY!  Eight years ago, they decided to leave the rat race, cut that average $100 a month electric bill, and live a much more simpler life. Today they’re sharing with us how they light their home without electricity.

One of the biggest things people take for granted is electricity. The ability to flip a switch and turn a light on is rarely thought about or questioned. When you live off the grid like we do and embrace the pioneer lifestyle, turning the lights on takes a bit more thought and effort. Continue reading

What’s Happening On The Homestead: Garden Prep and Daffodils

seedlings

Gardening has begun here on our homestead. (Photo by Elizabeth Geiser)

After a slow and chilly start, we are excited for spring to appear in Ohio and it is luring the whole family outdoors to tackle spring chores around the farm. We are a homeschooling family so I consider many of our outdoor tasks as part of our learning experience and no one objects to abandoning books for a few hours to spend time in the sunshine. The teen boys are in charge of pruning fruit trees, our 10-year-old son is helping start seedlings and everyone pitches in to get the garden rolling. Continue reading

Living Off Grid 101: Heating

Doug & Stacy with Cook Stove

Doug and Stacy from popular YouTube channel OFF GRID with DOUG and Stacy

Editor’s Note: Doug and Stacy left the city life to live off grid like the pioneers. Today they’re their experience with us of how they heat their home.

After living off grid for eight years, it’s funny now to reflect back on how we thought we could heat our home with a small pot belly stove we found in an ad in the newspaper. We had sold our home and moved into a small one bedroom apartment getting ready for our new off-grid life together. Lots of ideas and ways of going off grid were discussed during our transition time. In the end, both of us decided to live without public utilities such as electricity, water, sewer services and even a few modern conveniences like a refrigerator and air conditioning. Besides, a good challenge would do us good! Continue reading

Sugarmaking Makes Thirst Take a Hike

Homemade Maple SyrupWho would have thought that making maple syrup could quench your thirst? And I’m not just talking about your thirst to learn something new, or your thirst to do a Grisly Adams sort of thing. No, I’m talking about literally quenching your thirst folks, with two drinks that are nutritious as well as delicious. Continue reading