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

The Family Larder: Why It’s Still Important

canned food in jarsLarder may not be a familiar word in our modern times, but it was a very important thing in your great-great grandma’s day. It was the stash of food that families pickled, smoked, salted and preserved for the winter months ahead. A well stocked larder was often essential for survival for the pioneers since many times they lacked the luxury of a grocery store they could frequent if their supply ran short. 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

The (re)Rise of Victory Gardens

With local or regional shortages of fresh produce resulting from the current pause in the economy, there has been a new interest in an old classic: planting Victory Gardens.

A Victory Garden – sometimes called a crisis garden – is simply a small garden squeezed into any available spot of dirt to supplement food sources during times of national emergencies (such as world wars). Continue reading

The Benefits of a Prepared Lifestyle

 

i'm readyIn 2015, when a massive windstorm hit our region during a bitterly cold November, we expected to lose power. What we didn’t expect was the extreme damage the storm caused to our regional power grid. It was the worst disaster in the power company’s 100+ year history, and over a million people lost electricity for anywhere from three days to two weeks. Until it’s gone, it’s hard to fathom how much juice from a socket makes modern conveniences possible, from gasoline to cell phone communication to grocery store inventory to mail delivery.

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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