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

Our Journey To A Simpler Life: Doug And Stacy’s Story

Doug & Stacy

Doug and Stacy standing on the front porch of their off grid cabin

Editor’s Note: Today we’re welcoming two very special guest bloggers, Doug and Stacy from the popular YouTube channel OFF GRID with DOUG and STACY. They’re sharing with us their journey to a simpler life. Enjoy! Continue reading

10 Ways To Prepare For A Storm And Power Outage

oil lamp in power outageAs I write this, the snow is coming down in a solid white sheet, obliterating everything more than 20 feet away. The snow is expected to be followed by sleet and then freezing rain. Will we lose power? Probably, but I feel well-prepared to manage for several days without it. How about your family? What steps should you take when you know a storm is bearing down? Here’s a check list to get you started. Continue reading

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

Heating With Wood: Choosing the Right Firewood

Patrick splitting wood

Photo courtesy of Sarah B. Gilliam

The first real step to heating with wood is to find the wood that is to be processed into fuel. Around half of my property is wooded in various hardwoods, from hickory, oak and locust to softer hardwoods like poplar, sycamore and sasafrass. There is lots of deadfall and lots of trees that can be cut and worked up into dandy stacks of firewood. However, I leave these woods be. I never cut a living tree with the sole purpose of making firewood. Although I heat with wood and have an impressive collection of tools that are made for turning living trees into firewood, I am a bit of a conservationist when it comes to the trees themselves, and feel like it’s much more responsible to plant trees. That means I must seek my fuel elsewhere. This isn’t a difficult task, and I encourage anyone that has ambitions to heat with wood, inside or out, to give it a try. Continue reading