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

When The Lights Go Out

evening lampEditor’s Note: Shorter days, longer nights? It’s that time of the year! With the time change happening this weekend, we’re sharing with you the importance of having reliable light – not only for the winter season, but for all year long.*

My first experience with an oil lamp was at my grandparents’ house several years ago. We were sitting in the basement playing Scrabble (my grandpa’s favorite game) when suddenly the lights went out. Poof.
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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

Give The Gift Of A Simpler Life

giving a giftGift giving is a language of love. It is one of my favorite ways to show the people in my life that they are important to me. Giving gifts not only shows affection and appreciation, but also shows that someone was thinking of you during their day. It is an all-around selfless act that makes everyone involved feel good.
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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

A Guide To Eco-Friendly Lawn Care

USA reel mowerEditor’s Note: Please welcome our guest blogger today, Rachael Baihn. She is sharing with us tips on how to make our lawns a little “greener.” Enjoy!

There are many lawn care products available for those homeowners who want to keep a lawn in tip top shape. However, how many of those products are actually doing more harm than good to the environment? Check out the following tips to help make your lawn care eco-friendly. Continue reading

Building Off The Grid? We Want To Hear From You!

off grid cabinDo you dream of building your home off the grid, miles from power lines? Would you love to live off the land, planting, harvesting and preserving your home-grown food?  Do you want to escape the chaos of the modern world and live a simpler, more satisfying life? Continue reading