March 09, 2012

Secrets of Homesteading - Survival Homestead - Living off the Land - SHTF 2012

There are words than are very seldom said about homesteading.  As with most relationships in life, there is a secret truth  to why it works so well.  In this case I think homesteaders don't want to admit our nay sayers are correct when they say our endeavor is fool hardy.  But like the joys of parenthood far override the sacrifice, a homesteader paradoxically lives in peaceful satisfaction.

It cost more to raise your own food than it does to buy it from the grocery store.  

Take  turkeys for example, one of course could argue than organic natural rare breed meat is very expensive. Here is a link to buying what I grow on-line, turkey for sale.  But the farmer will tell you that organic grain is equally expensive.  This year chicks cost $16, plus shipping, plus vaccinations, a heated pen, and processing labors are expenses without including everyday care or attrition.  It could be easily calculated today to break even at $4.50 a pound.  Most of my turkeys are 20 pounds.  Who can afford $100 for a dead turkey, or like the link above for  $199..

Here my cost are cut as we usually incubate our own eggs.  I collect seeds and greens,and  grow fruits and berries for them to supplement the feed.  But this is only possible from paying for land, setting up irrigation and years of nurturing and sustaining plants not native to my place, I could buy cheap factory birds but I won't.  Almost all chickens, and most turkey breeds are now extinct, this is the truth.

Milk is wonderful, the homemade ice cream and cheese are outstanding bonuses.  To have milk you must be able to help deliver the baby from the mother you will take the milk from.  To procure this milk from one, you must feed, house and protect a herd of animals.  They all  need to be be fed or milked at least once a day, 365 days a year.

This scenario of step by step development is duplicated in every aspect of a homestead.  The larger the return the bigger the expense up front.  It costs very little to buy led lights to grow vegetables in the house, even less to sprout beans on the counter, even less to pick weeds.  To save vegetables you need a sunny yard and a freezer.  To have eggs all you need is a protected run and 2 chickens.  It is easy to feed 2 chickens with house scraps and worm bins.

Cooking at home is a form of homesteading too.   You can easily see the benefit and pleasure of the food, unless it is your job, it is not so easy to see the acquisition,  preparation and clean up efforts for that meal.  Gradually, meal after meal, day after day, with devoted effort, the kitchen will  begin to runs like a well greased machine allowing the cook to expand like an artist.  Expanding what could be drudgery to pleasure, shared to all with love.  Magic somehow, perfectly natural somehow too.

My day is full of meaningful toil and natural activity. What is presented to me by nature is my labour, my food, my exercise, my bounty, my tithe, my security. I would choose to spend my hours in my garden raising food for the year rather than making money to buy my food, it is as simple as that. I would rather raise my own so I know the meat and eggs I eat are not from a poisoned tortured animal, it is as simple as that. I want healthy home cooked meals, so I stay home an cook them. It is what I choose to do with my time, my choice.


Homesteading is expensive, a huge amount of work and personal time commitment, including 24 hours of guard duty, and offers little chance of cash return.  You will always have to bring in cash from somewhere else to pay the shylock banks and the extortionist bureaucracies like insurance companies.

This news would be devastating if not for the fact a homestead has nothing to do with cash return.  What homesteaders quietly know is the cash they have to  earn is spent to pay their way out of consumer slavery.  From a homestead, one can perpetually suckle from nature, creating health and joyful existence rarely experienced in these modern times.  My labor I freely give, following the chores of the seasons, rooted as my trees and free.  There is no price that replaces the security of making an agreement with nature to cater to her needs so she will cater to yours.

You don't need a farm for a homestead.  You can start in your kitchen, then to your backyard, any where you can begin to enjoy these pleasures for yourself. 

March 08, 2012

Solar Storm - Magnetic Field Affected - SHTF

Biggest solar storm in years hits earth

flower planting chart

Downloadable flower chart - including starting schedule

Jet Stream Split - Wacky Weather - SHTF

I have been mentioning this, the wacky weather possibly caused by the under reported jet stream split.  Now, here is an actual scientist reporting the same thing.

Why Much of North America Skipped Winter

January ranked as the fourth-warmest for the 48 U.S. states on record since 1895. December, too, was above average, although not as significantly. The final analysis for February is not yet in, but weather watchers expect last month to rank above average temperature-wise as well.
Of course, this year hasn't brought early beach weather for everyone; just ask residents of Alaska and Europe, where a frigid cold snap is blamed for hundreds of deaths. And the warmth has been blamed for contributing to the slew of devastating tornadoes that hit the Midwest and southern U.S. on Friday (March 2).
While scientists have said that global warming willcause an uptick in extreme weather, they are hesitant to link any one event or even an unusual season to climate change. Even so, they say, global warming may play a role in the weird winter weather.
The jet stream
The key to understanding the unusually warm winter lies in the jet stream. It is made up of high-altitude, westerly winds. Its polar branch, the one important for determining winter weather, travels over the mid-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere in winter, according to Jeff Masters, director of meteorology at the weather service and news site Weather Underground.

March 03, 2012

Poppy's Money Tree House: Easy Homemade Egg Noodles

Poppy's Money Tree House: Easy Homemade Egg Noodles

Excellent tutorial here, with pictures, take a look, it is amazing!  Peace

Free Food - Preserving Food - Save Money - Eat Local - Frugal Living - Survival Homestead

Our first year was so lean, with 2 extra mouths to feed, that it was necessary to learn about the wild food available. I would search for them then put them in paper lunch bags and staple it to the wall of our shack to dry. I was amazed over 50 different plants we identified and preserved to the winter. I truly believe that the medicinal properties of these plants and mushrooms help sustain us through the tough winter.

It is not natural to buy nutrition from countries far away.
I bought some cinnamon the other day, it was such a bargain. I threw it out as soon as I got home, compared to my other cinnamon, it was cut without a light coloured substance. I am not a paranoid person, but I wonder if a country can put white poison in baby formula, what is stopping them from slipping it into food destined for unknown privileged tables.

Herbs and seeds dried for spices, are the perfect example of how easy and free preserving food can be. Parsley, sage, thyme, oregano, and mint should be grown and dried in every household. They grow like weeds and pound per pound more nutritious than vegetables. Their flavors enhance any recipe. It is my job to save money and I do it at all costs. This time of year money is particularly tight as winter stores of rice, coffee, sugar, flour and the like are purchased. We buy in bulk at wholesale saving 80% of store prices. We also buy a beef and pork from other farmers in the fall. At just over $2 a pound for both steak and hamburger, clean meat is a bargain. Mostly we grow the only vegetables and fruit consumed during the summer for the winter. All our meals our whole foods as fresh as possible, cooked at home.

After 10 years, the farm produces without needing money or bringing money in. Of course one could argue that it is part of my mortgage cost. Money was also used to pay for the infrastructure and upgrades here. Fencing, pens, raised beds, soil, energy efficiency upgrades costs eventually pay for themselves in returned savings.

I could tell you we have 10 mature nut trees, 30 mature fruit trees, 12 mature grape vines, a large raised garden and all the food they provide and you could be all impressed. I wouldn't tell you of the hazelnut orchard with 100s of trees growing wild on the hill (no doubt the work of squirrels), or how easy it is to grow a new grape from a cutting, or how one of the biggest jobs in the orchard is to keep the self-seeded saplings cut down. Packed away is 5 pounds of seed saved for planting. We have vinegar and too much wine. Wild herb and mushrooms fill my apothecary cabinet. This time of year clean lake fish fill the smoker. The wood grows here that heats our home. The cats get the rodents and the dog the predators. There is enough weed seeds and worms to feed enough chickens to keep us in eggs and crispy fried all winter. I haven't bought a chick in 7 years. This year alone more than 30 chicks were born and raised without intervention from me. (No really, free ranged in the yard with the mom I didn't even need to feed or water them.) All this is available every year, with variance but without fail.

We used to raise our own pigs and goats too. It is impossible to do this for only one family. A family will eat a couple of pigs a year. A mother pig can have a dozen piglets 3 times a year! A good goat will present over 2 litres of milk twice a day. Even if one makes cheese it is far more milk than can be used in one kitchen. The goat only has milk after pregnant. To maintain these animals you must keep a male and female. They are herd animals and thrive best if you can keep a little herd. They must be fenced always and monitored to protect them from predators. They must have fresh feed available all year all year and their health maintained daily. You can see where the expense of time and money would make total sustainability prohibitive for a single family. I don't have the time or the money to feed, raise, process and market this many animals.

You can see this patch of nature we've nurtured for years can produce enough for 3 or 4 families. Nature certainly does her part and I do mine by reaping what was sown.
I am shocked to finally realize, without a doubt, what is missing to make this farm self-sufficient is people. If only I had the seed to grow a community, hmmm . . . . .

March 01, 2012

Spices - Fried Rice Recipe - Frugal Living - Secret of Cooking at Home

Do not underestimate the impact and nutrition of spice.  Store them very close to the stove so they will be convenient to use.  The spices you need are garlic, and/or tumeric, pepper, cumin, ginger, oregano, rosemary, parsley, sage, thyme, cinnamon, and dry mustard.  Salt, sugar, soya sauce, apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar and/or balsamic vinegar are also value components of appetizing meals. Use spices liberally, except for sage and pepper, it is very hard to use too much.  Start with a teaspoon per meal of each spice, then remember to add or reduce to suit your taste the next time you use that combination.  You won’t use all the spices everyday, but each imparts unique flavors which allow you to have a an appetizing, exciting menu.

Fried rice is an excellent nutrient dense entrée.  Put one and one half cups of rice and three cups of cold water in pot with lid.  Cook on high until steams, without taking off the lid, turn the burner down to low and let cook for twenty minutes.  In a large frypan, on medium put dry spices like tumeric or curry, when warmed add one quarter cup of olive oil, garlic, ginger, mushrooms and fresh or frozen vegetables cut fine.  Turn temperature to high and stir vigorously.  When the vegetables are hot add hot or leftover rice.  Make three holes in the rice, and fill with raw eggs.  Quickly stir into the rice, letting the heat of the rice cook the egg.  Then turn down to medium and let cook without stirring for a few minutes.  Add soya sauce, a pinch of sugar, pepper and salt to taste, then stir vigorously with fork.  Turn off heat.

We don't buy rice anymore.  It takes so much water to produce and has to come so far to our house.  I use various beans and lentils for this recipe.  In our house this recipe is always made with leftovers.

Easy Soup Recipes - How to Make Soup - Frugal Living - Survival Homestead

To make soup stock cover a whole chicken with water, add a few bay leaves and a tablespoon of salt to a large pot.  Cook on high until the water boils and turn the heat down to one quarter; cook until all the meat falls from the bone.  Let cool, then remove fat off the top, bay leaves and the bones.  You will see the soup is a jelly, a concentrate of soup.  Use three or four cup of the concentrate of soup to make a full soup by adding rice or potatoes, and any other vegetable available.

It is very convenient to freeze a meal serving size in a bag.  Use a cup of food per person per bag as your general guide; it is better to have a little more than a little less.  A bag is easier to fill if it is sitting open in a cup when it is filled.  Press the seal of the bag until only a small airhole is left, then roll the bag up from the bottom rolling the extra plastic around the soup and pushing all the air out of the bag.  Never put warm food in the freezer.  

Cream soups don’t freeze well but they are easy to make and a hit with picky eaters.  Melt two tablespoons of olive oil and/or butter over medium heat.  Add two potatoes and/or broccoli, asparagus, celery, onions, cauliflower, add portion of soup stock.   Put a lid on pot.  Bring to a boil on high, then turn down and cook at quarter heat until all vegetables are soft when pierced with a fork.  The trick is then to use a handheld blender to puree the soup until velvety smooth.  If it is too thick add some water.  While not really necessary but if you want to add it milk do it here, while adding salt, sugar and pepper to taste.

With basic cooking, milk, butter, cheese and cream should added to the recipe at the end of the cooking time.  Not cooked but rather melted into the dish like a condiment.  A grater is excellent on cheese because cutting cheese with a knife is hard on your hands and it makes little bits that melt quickly reducing the amount of cheese needed.  Avoiding heating yogurt at all as it destroys the friendly bacteria it contains. 

Sustainability and Self-Sufficient Living Off the Land SHTF Survivial Homestead

The post of a blog friend has been on my mind since I read it.  Because  of careful planning and major life changes she was fortunate to set up a farm and throw herself 100% into farming, gardening and homemaking.  Unfortunately she now sees what we, her brothers and sisters in sustainability and self-sufficiency also have learned from years of experience, these are not viable ways to procure cash.  Nature will always fill your belly but you can never count on her to fill your purse.  One will only burn out trying to prove otherwise.

I feel partially responsible for not exposing the cold hard truths of living like this, off  grid so to speak,  that newbies and daydreamers can't know.  The truth is cooking, gardening and farming are excellent ways to save money and feed your family.  The truth is to maintain and secure the necessary infrastructure for these activities  requires the labour of at least one more person and other resources including a cash flow.

I blog about my successes and each picture carefully taken to show a  sense of perfection.   Are there any dishes, can you hear me panting, do you see my dirty nails or the weeds, or the unswept floor?  The truth is I never have time to make my house or my yard look pretty.  I am too tired from keeping enough food growing to fill my freezer for the winter and the wolf from the door.

Anyone who is serious about sustainable living encounters feelings of inadequacy and overwhelming everyday.  We just live with it and keep trudging down the path.  Each day too we take our eyes from our obsession and to see how beautiful the journey really is.  The rewards far outshine the losses,  never posh and frilly but always an exciting adventure.