Ways to Simplify Your Life – Part Two

mom & daughter gardeningEditor’s Note: Here’s the second installment of Glenda’s Simplify Your Life series. If you missed the first part, you can read it here. And feel free to share with us your journey to a simpler life in the comments below.

A simpler life is about taking another step forward on your journey to an intentional, fulfilling life. But why live a simpler life? Continue reading

Ways to Simplify Your Life – Part One

baking bread“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
– Leonardo Da Vinci, brilliant Renaissance artist

I am not a fan of New Year’s Resolutions. Why should there be only one day a year when you are encouraged to make a fresh start?

That said, the beginning of a new year does make me think of ways to improve myself and the world in which I take up space. Because we stand for a simpler life, allow me to share some simple living thoughts running around my already-crowded brain this January. Continue reading

Winter Is A Homesteader’s Time To Plan

winter gardeningWinter is a time of sleep and rest. The work is still there, and it’s not easier…in fact, it’s often harder when you’re dealing with ice and extra shelter and bedding, and worrying about animals being warm enough. (Note: They are…Mother Nature gives them a natural winter coat. It’s not uncommon to see my Great Pyrenees out in 0 degree weather lying in the snow!) Continue reading

Illuminating Tips for Non-Electric Lighting

Oil lamps at Lehman's

Oil lamps are not only a sustainable source of light, but they also provide a tranquil glow to your home.

Living simply begins with making sustainable choices, from the food you eat to the light you use. A staple in our Amish community, oil lamps and lanterns are a dependable, sustainable source of light that never need an outlet. It’s no wonder that after all these years, folks around the world still use them – from remote, off-the-grid areas to suburban power outages. Continue reading

A Wish List for Advanced Homesteaders

diamant grain millWe hear all kinds of advice for novice homesteaders, those brave souls just venturing into the exciting world of self-sufficiency. But eventually novice homesteaders become experienced homesteaders. Through a combination of book learning and trial-and-error, people learn the intricacies of country skills and lead lives of great independence. Continue reading

Splitting Wood By Hand

Splitting firewood

Photo courtesy of Sarah B. Gilliam

When I have procured my firewood and get it back to the woodlot at my farm, the fun really begins. Despite their necessity in working up a truck load of firewood, I really don’t like using chainsaws. They are loud, heavy, smelly and even in the most skilled and experienced of hands, supremely dangerous. Some people enjoy revving them up and feeling powerful with that big ole saw in their hands, but not me. The saw has the juice, not the worker. However, when I have an axe in my hand and pile of wood, I know that I will be the one powering through this stuff and turning it into a nice neat stack of fuel. Continue reading

Why Heat with Wood

woodlot

Photo courtesy of Sarah B. Gilliam

Since childhood, I’ve always felt burning wood was a cherished pastime. There are few things I place as much importance in on our farm as I do the cutting, hauling, splitting and stacking of firewood. The entire process is sacred and rewarding to me. Walking out to the woodlot during a warm summer evening as the fireflies begin their nightly show and taking stock of what I have ready for this winter, for next, and beyond, brings great satisfaction. There the firewood is stacked on pallets in rows fifty feet long and as I walk around the woodlot, I know I will have no trouble keeping my family warm, no matter how cold winter will get. Continue reading

Backpacking for Beginners: Part One

backpackingAs a 23-year-old whose friends are getting married, working full-time jobs, and having kids, it can be difficult to plan time to see each other. So when my college roommate and best friend, Santina, said that her husband, Brendon was going out of town on an extended-weekend backpacking trip with his friends, we immediately planned a girls’ weekend of our own. When she came to visit, she mentioned that Brendon had been trying to convince her to go backpacking with him, but she wasn’t really sure she wanted to. I mean, I don’t blame her…the guys were roughing it out in the woods. My idea of spending time outdoors includes a hammock, a cozy blanket and several good books; their idea of spending time outdoors included a rainstorm, a soggy hammock and no running water for 4 days. However, during our conversation, I suddenly found myself saying “Well, if you do decide to go, I’ll go with you!” And from there, the adventure started taking shape. Continue reading

Sustainable Living At College

recycleI just started my first year of college, and my new apartment space is very different than the bigger areas I’m used to living in. I didn’t know if leaving my parents’ house to live with a roommate in a one-bedroom apartment would mean sacrificing the things I love to do for a sustainable lifestyle, but luckily this hasn’t been the case! I have been pleasantly surprised at how many opportunities are around me to live in a way that’s consistent with my values, despite being limited in space. Here are some ways I have learned to live sustainably while in college. Continue reading

Prepping 101 Giveaway: Win a Family Preparedness Kit!

Prepping 101 SweepstakesThere is a lot of crossover between the worlds of family preparedness, resiliency, homesteading and off-grid living. Add in gardening and living lighter on the planet and you end up with a group of wonderful people who have a lot in common. This makes a marriage between Storey Publishing, the people who put out the best books on all of these subjects, and Lehman’s, the people who sell the best tools and equipment to accomplish the tasks necessary to achieve these lifestyles, something special. As a way to celebrate that connection, we’re having a giveaway! Continue reading