Friday, July 29, 2016

State-by-State Homestead Resource Guide

Taylor Made Homestead is a NE Texas blog
where a reader can find great recipes, gardening ideas
and lots of fantastic information about what homesteaders want to know.
She recently compiled a list of over 30 homesteading blogs,
to make it easier to find what you're looking for.
With her permission, the list is reprinted here.
We appreciate learning about what folks are doing
throughout the country at different times of the year.
Thanks to her hard work, 
we have a quick and easy resource guide.
Summertime is the perfect season to sit back 
with a cold glass of lemonade or sweet tea 
and do some perusing.
You never know just what you'll find!


Idlewild Alaska – Central Alaska
  • – Our little homestead is located in south central Alaska, which plays a huge part in daily life in everything we do. We have two chicken coops, a 2000 sq. ft garden, and a greenhouse, along with a ever-growing orchard. Growing veggies and fruits is a special task with our long, cold winters and long summer days!


Making Our Sustainable Life – Northern California, in the Sierra Nevada Mountains
Thyme To Embrace Herbs – California


Willow Creek Farm – Rocky Mountains of Colorado
  • – We are a small, backyard homestead located in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Topics include high-altitude homesteading; raising sheep for wool, meat, and milk; chickens for meat and eggs; rabbits for wool and meat; dairy cows; multi-purpose backyard farm collies; growing, harvesting, and preserving fruits and vegetables; hunting and foraging in the Rockies; and more.


The Civilized Homesteader – Gulf coast of south central Florida – Sarasota County
  • – My definition of an edible landscape and self-sufficiency is – an edible landscape feeds me, the birds, the bees, the butterflies, and my soul; and self-sufficiency is creating a healthy, thoughtful, meaningful lifestyle where we take care of ourselves, our homes, and each other by learning useful skills and engaging in activities that create a better community
Maple Hill 101 – Central Florida
  • – We currently live in Central Florida, with plans to move to Central North Carolina as soon as our home sells. We are suburban homesteaders moving to a more rural landscape where we will continue to homeschool, make our own bread, scratch cook, repurpose everything we can, and live a pragmatic and simple life.
Countin The Days –   (Florida but will be moving to the country in Georgia)
  • – We live in the city & have a country house about 3 hours away. We plan on moving to the country once my husband retires (I retired last year). My blog is about that transition


Mountain Top Spice – Northern Idaho


HomesteadDad – Michigan
  • – My blog chronicles my journey to move my family to to more self sufficient state. In includes blogs on chickens, cows, sheep, quail, turkeys, and rabbits, gardening, building, orcharding, grafting, and anything else I can find to do.


Living Intentionally Simple – New Hampshire


The Messy Organic Mum – Upstate New York
  • – Our site covers a range of topics including homesteading and living an organic life style. Or recipes are sugar free and use ingredients that are unprocessed.


Better Hens and Gardens – Northeast Ohio
  • – A blog about chickens, gardens, goats, honey bees and DIY. We’re on 10 acres, are trying to do things all naturally, and I occasionally consider getting organic certification.
LL Farm – Ohio
  • – We share a splash of HOME, a dash of GARDEN, a sprinkling of RECIPES, all mixed together with some DIY, and a few ANIMALS.


Oak Hill Homestead – Central Oklahoma


The Locust Blossom – Mountains of NE Oregon
  • – Producing &/or sourcing most of our food locally, while being good stewards of the land and producing as little waste as possible. Our goal is to make this look aesthetically pleasing as well.


Feathers In The Woods – Western Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

Our New England Home – Rhode Island (Soon to be Connecticut)


Taylor-Made Homestead – Northeast Texas
  • – I share a glimpse into daily life on a NE Texas ranch whether it’s spending time in the garden, canning that excess produce or puttering in the kitchen whipping up simple yet delicious meals.
Pickle Creek Ranch  Northeast Texas located in Fannin County
  • – Post topics include the ranch and activities there, such as catching rainwater to sustain water needs. Other articles include cooking, gardening and do it yourself projects. Usually my posts will reveal ways to use essential oils in a practical manner.
Pasture Deficit Disorder – Austin, Texas
  • http://www.pasturedeficitdisorder.comWriting, blogging and photographing life on a Texas homestead. We are learning to build, grow, cook and preserve as much for ourselves as we can.
Faithful Homesteader – North Texas
MMM Homestead – SE Texas
  • – We blog about various livestock, DIY home projects, Canning and various recipes. Our goal is to share our venture into the homesteading life and supply tips that work for us along the way.


Feeding My Family – Middle Tennessee


Practicing Resurrection  Southern Virginia
Seeing The Lovely – Northern VA – I write about simple living and seeing the beauty in the everyday. I’m passionate about living simply, and my husband and I currently rent a 700sq ft. apartment on a farm and hope to garden in the coming months


Life at Willeth Farm – Northeast Washington State
  • – Learning to live sustainably, self-sufficiently and in harmony with nature. I post information about gardening, recipes, DIY projects, sharing the land with wildlife and observations about rural life.


Common Sense Homesteading – Northeast Wisconsin
  • – Posts about using sound judgment to be more self-reliant.  It means doing what you can, where you are, with what you have. We’ll cover topics such as: Gardening, Food Storage, Recipes and much more


Anna Pearl’s Attic – Wyoming
  • – We are part owners in a small cattle/sheep ranch that was homesteaded by my husband’s family in the early 1900’s. We garden and can some of our own food, hunt and process our own meat, etc.


Just Plain Marie – Nova Scotia, Canada
  •  – I write about anything that improves your life and is green, sustainable and frugal: chemical-free gardening, simple homemaking, food preservation, developing new healthy habits and much more.
Growing Wild Roots – Southern BC (just a few minutes north of northern Idaho)
Powell River Books – Coastal BC
  • – We live in an off-the-grid float cabin on a lake in Coastal BC.  I blog about gardening, cooking, exploring the backcountry, and everyday living in this unique environment.
Around The Fire Pit – Canada, Manitoba
  • – I am a city girl from The Netherlands who has been living in Canada for 30 years now.  I love to garden and I also am an enthusiastic crafter and share my projects on my blog.
Just Another Day On The Farm – Ontario, Canada

So there ya go, what do you think?  It’s a list of great blogs and being broken down by region is a great resource, no??  I’m asking all those who have been included on this list to publish it on their own blogs as well, hopefully as a separate tab so it’s easily accessible whether next week or next year.

***Update-Taylor Made has created a separate tab just under her header to make it even easier to find!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Thrifty Thursday-Drying Herbs

One weekend at Farm School,
we were transplanting lavender sprigs.
In that process, we had to trim the branches
in order to plant them in their new pots.
Not wanting all of that lovely aroma go to waste,
I brought some home to dry.

Nothing fancy here.
No dehydrator, not even a microwave.
Leaves were laid on some newsprint,
spread out, and left alone.

Several layers were completed
and they nestled there in an old open, wooden crate.
Keeping them covered with another piece of paper
will keep the dust away.
You could use any box or other container,
as long as it is out of direct sunlight.

A week or two is all it takes.
Crumbling the leaves creates quite a treat for the senses.

Pretty much every herb works this way.
Just check them every couple of days to see how they are coming along.

I plan to make sachets with the lavender.
Sprinkling a bit on the carpet before vacuuming is another use.
However you decide to use your dried herbs,
no complicated equipment is necessary.
Just a little time and effort
will reward you with a simple pleasure.

What's your favorite way to dry herbs?

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Maple Hill Hop 143

Maple Hill Hop

Welcome to 
The Maple Hill Hop.
This is a hop for folks who love the outdoors.
Feel free to post about anything that's going on
in your neck of the woods,
no matter the season.
(Please share only outdoor posts.)
*Grab the button above to link back to Maple Hill 101.*

One of our tasks at Farm School this weekend,
was to divide this elkhorn fern that Faye & Lynn have growing in their
"rain forest" area close to the house.
We hope to do a feature on this area soon.

Having the best tool for the job is vital.
It makes the job go smoother,
and causes less stress to the plants as well.
A nice, sharp knife is the chosen instrument.

This particular specimen hangs in a large camphor tree,
housed in a wire basket.
Like staghorn ferns, this plant needs no soil to sustain itself.
This cutting is a gift to a friend.
With plenty of root structure to support it,
the future looks bright for this distinctive plant.

A closer look at the leaves shows the derivation of the name.
This cutting is sure to be enjoyed for years to come.

Have you ever heard of a didgeridoo? (di-jur-ee-do)
It's an ancient wind instrument developed by the Aboriginal Australian people.
Also known as a drone pipe,
it creates a deep, low tone when blown into.

One of the most interesting things I learned about this instrument
is that the tube is hollowed out by termites, who feast on the eucalyptus branches.
Each pipe has unique carvings, and creates its own sound.
Faye & Lynn have many unusual possessions like this.

Faye  & Lynn gifted us with something a couple of weeks ago.
We recycled this water jug to give them a temporary home.

So far, these tadpoles are still just hanging out.
We are researching their life cycle
and looking forward to seeing them morph into summer hoppers!

That's some of what's going on where we are.
What's happening outside in your neck of the woods?
HOP on!


Friday, July 22, 2016

Ant Invasion! (And our homemade solution)

We've been overrun by these six-legged creatures.
We get ants seasonally,
but this was the worst invasion I've ever seen
since I've lived in Florida.

They showed up about 2 weeks ago
mostly in the kitchen.
We're fairly vigilant about keeping the counters wiped down,
so we couldn't figure out what they were after.
They also hung out around the sink.

Even in the bathroom, where no food is found,
they were making themselves at home.
The third spot they seemed to like
was on our son's bedroom window sill. 
No food or water there,
but there they were, taking over. 

Since we make a conscious effort to keep the toxins out of our home,
we looked for a homemade solution
using common ingredients that would be harmful
only to the critters trying to overthrow the locals.

 First, I tried a dry mixture of borax and powdered sugar.
I left it in strategic places for a few days.
Nothing happened.
So, I researched other solutions.
This time, I added water to the same combination.

The mixture was placed in the locations 
 the ants frequented.  


At first, just to test the concoction out,
we placed it directly on the countertops.
The ants came scurrying within an hour...

and surrounded the sweet slurry.

 We also tried using it on a piece of cotton,
and it worked well.

Since we knew they were attracted,
we decided to use bottlecaps instead.
(This stuff dries after a few hours,
so it made it easier than scraping it up off the counter.)  

Although the ants were quite a nuisance for a few days,
they slowly became less noticeable. 
The idea is that they bring the solution back to the nest
and eventually, they all die off.

Now, two weeks later, there's hardly an ant to be found.
I can't tell you how impressed I am with this stuff.

We also made up a spray solution
that is more of a bug repellant,
which can be used at the first sighting of unwanted critters.

Here are the two recipes we used and their resources.
(The names are our own creations.)


Ant B Gone
1 C sugar
1/2 C water
1 T borax

Let solution sit until sugar is fully dissolved.
Place directly where ants have been seen
(we spooned it into plastic bottlecaps).
Repeat as necessary.

Ant Away
Using a small spray bottle,
fill 3/4 full with water.
Add 2 T witch hazel and
12 drops of peppermint essential oil.
Shake and spray.
Not only does this spray repel ants,
your house will smell fresh.

The next time you get unwanted visitors,
(and I'm not talking about your crazy Uncle Bert),
try one or both of these concoctions.


***Update:  Since posting this, we haven't seen one stray ant!
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