Simplicity by Choice

Off-Grid Living & Self-Reliance

Spring…….Finally March 23, 2015

Filed under: family,homesteading,off grid — ourprairiehome @ 5:33 am
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I was beginning to wonder if Mother Nature was ever going to get over her PMS and allow spring to arrive.  It seems that she finally got the idea and has allowed our weather to turn into it’s typical rainy self.  Each spring, I am eager to start planting the garden but have to wait.  You see, we live in a wonderful little area that has a week of nasty weather every year sometime in the week before or after Easter.  Never fails.  Plant the garden before Easter and you end up with a garden that either freezes or gets flooded out.  So, I have learned to be more patient over the years.  I wait until after Easter has passed by before I start planting anything.

We woke up early Sunday morning, about 4:30am, so that we could fumigate the attic.  We live in a state that has a lot of problems with red wasps.  So, it is not uncommon to see people load up on the cans of wasp spray or the fumigating foggers to use in attic spaces and other areas that the wasps might try to set up their nests.  We got the kids up and had a quick breakfast before loading them up into the car.  Hubby set off the foggers in our attic and we headed to town.  We ended up taking our laundry to the laundromat and ran a few errands afterward.  The foggers don’t seep down into the rest of the house, so we don’t have to cover anything ahead of time.

By the time we get home, the foggers have done their job.  This ritual is one that we repeat every 3-4 weeks throughout the warm months to control the wasps.  Another item that we began using last year that works great is to set out around the known wasp areas outdoors the TrapStik by a company called Rescue.

Trapstik

Trapstik for Wasps

This is probably the one thing that has been the most effective.  It is a sticky green trap that you hang up.  The wasps are drawn to it and within a couple of days, we have a full trap.  If you set these out early enough, you have a good chance of trapping the queen.  A wasp queen will leave the nest area early in the season.  If you can get her, the wasp colony will collapse.   What I loved about this trap is that it is pesticide free and we also never caught a honey bee on it.  The trap works to catch all types of wasps and carpenter bees.  We hang them in areas near their nests or anywhere they you notice a lot of wasp activity.  These really are effective in reducing the wasp population.  Some stores, such as Lowes, carries these but we also buy them online.

I am looking forward to getting out outdoor laundry and kitchen set up again.  Now that Mother Nature got over her winter mood, we will soon be getting those areas ready for summer.  During the warm months, we spend a lot of our time outdoors.  The kids have their pool and play area to enjoy.  Lots of shade trees are a bonus as well.  One thing that I typically stop doing in summer is baking.  I don’t like to heat up the house by using the oven unless it is necessary.  If I do choose to bake something, it is in the late evening or very early in the morning when the cook night breezes are present.  We are looking at designs for building an outdoor bread oven but haven’t chosen one yet.  In the long term plans for the homestead, we want to have a permanent area designated and set up as our outdoor kitchen.  So far, the plan is to build the oven and an outdoor grill from brick or stone.  Having it set up in a sheltered area will make it easy to use during rainy days.  I still love the idea of having a screened kitchen.  Basically, it is a room that is built with half-height walls.  The top half of the wall areas are completely screened in so that you can use the room during wet weather as well as keeping flies and such out.  I can easily see this as being one of the most used spaces during the warm months.  The kids can homeschool at a table while enjoying the cooling breeze.  Having the kitchen in there will allow me to be able to prepare meals and do my canning without heating up the kitchen in the house.   An outdoor kitchen with the screened area will make a nice place to have BBQs and entertain as well.

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Homestead Projects November 2, 2014

Filed under: family,homesteading,simplicity — ourprairiehome @ 7:35 am
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Some of what I am about to write may seem a bit opposite of what I have written previously, but actually isn’t.  Our homestead goals haven’t changed.  The primary focus of our goals has been to become as self-reliant as possible.  To live a simple life that is as uncluttered by worldly demands as possible.  In doing so, we have found that our family bond has been strengthened. More importantly, our faith in the Lord has grown as well.

Recently, we have been taking stock of where we are at in reaching our goals.  It has been a very enlightening time for us.  One issue that came up is that of being able to hunt during turkey and deer seasons.  We also have considered raising our own meat.  In raising our own meat, we would grass-feed the animals only.  We would raise the animals from spring through autumn, then have them butchered before winter sets in.  This would save the costs of feed during the winter season when grazing is not available.  Some of the livestock we have considered are a lamb, dairy/meat goats, chickens, turkeys, and possibly a pig.  This will all take a bit of time to put together since we need to update the fencing and animal enclosures.  The main idea is that we would not over-winter the animals.  Any that we purchase in early spring would be butchered before winter sets in.

With that goal in mind, we have to consider buying a chest freezer.  There is no way I can home can and store that amount of meat in our pantry.  We simply do not have the space for it.  Also, there are meats that are not good for home canning.  One example is pork.  If we were to butcher a pig, the pork chops, bacon, and ham roasts would need to be frozen.  Yes, some people have home canned pork, but there are cuts of meat that cannot be home canned.  Two examples are the ham roasts and pork chops.  With the rising cost of meat, raising our own seems to be the way to go.  Having the amount of land that we do, there is no reason why we can’t raise our own meat.

The question has been how to do this.  Having a small solar power system, there is no way that we can use an electric freezer.  Propane freezers are costly and difficult to find in our area.  So, we are making an alteration to our homestead.  In the coming months, we are building a shed that will be approximately 12’x12′ in size.  The shed will be insulated and have a small propane heater for winter months.  The shed will also have electricity from a power company.  We are going to have a utility pole set up with a meter and an outdoor circuit box placed on the land between our house and the dirt road.  The shed will be built near that pole so that we can have the electricity run from the pole to the shed.  We will be using the shed as a multi-purpose building.  It will contain a chest freezer, washer, dryer, and a home office area.  Having the laundry in that room will make life much easier on me.  I have found that having an autistic son makes doing laundry by hand just too time consuming.  I need to be able to focus on homeschooling and home therapy activities.  We have been using a laundromat for the laundry lately and will have to through the winter when it is far to cold outdoors to hang the laundry out on the line.  There is no place to hang up the clothes in the house, so the laundromat is the only option.  We currently average spending about $80 per month at the laundromat.  Buying secondhand machines and doing the laundry at home will cost far less than that.  This shed will be a great asset to the homestead.

For the house, we still plan to add a wind turbine and more solar panels to provide for the household energy needs.  We have been 6 years now without being on the power grid.  In that time, we have learned much.  We have found ways to work around the lack of electrical conveniences.  In having a shed on grid, we are not taking a step backward in our goals, but a leap forward.

Last night, another goal was met.  We installed a new woodstove in our home to provide heat.  Last year, we used a propane heater and it was not efficient at all.  In fact, we used about $48 per week  in propane just for the heater alone.  That was $192 per month in propane for heat!  Way too much!  Then, in the middle of winter, the cost shot up from $1.99 per pound of LP to a cost of $5.00 per pound.  It seemed that there was a bit of a shortage due to farmers using propane heaters to save crops stored in silos.  With that shortage came the higher heating costs.  The stove we purchased puts out a lot of radiant heat and needs no blower to circulate it.  This is a very welcome addition to our homestead.  We have plenty of trees that need to be thinned from our woods and are already seasoned.  We have already started to buy some firewood, but are also harvesting some of our own.

Another outdoor building we are designing is a shed a bit smaller than the multi-purpose shed mentioned above.  The one will be insulated and have a propane heater as well.  The purpose for this particular shed is to be a shower house.  It will contain everything that a typical bathroom has.  Easiest to think of it as a detached bathroom.  It will be located near the house.  We will still have the bathroom in the house, but this will be another option for us to use.  Just as with the multi-purpose shed, this one will be within the fenced area of the yard.  We will be able to use that bathroom whenever we are outdoors working or the kids are playing.  The detached bathroom will also come in really handy when we go about remodeling the bathroom in the house.

We are really excited about the changes we are making.  The focus is still on simplicity and self-reliance, but with small alterations in how we go about that.  As we begin making the changes, I will try to post pictures.  We will be doing as much of the work ourselves as possible.  Living as rural as we do, that is always an option that we have.  We can do much of the work ourselves and only have professionals come in to advise or to do the final details, such as hooking up the electrical wiring to the circuit box.  Between my husband and I, we have experience in doing most of the other work involved.

Saturday, we started the process of downing an old tree that was not thriving.  The tree also happens to be in the path of where the electric line will have to be run from the utility pole at the road and where the new pole on our property will be placed.  Just stepping on one of the branches that was large enough to hold my husband’s weight, caused the dead branch to snap and break off. Our daughter loved to climb that tree but it was no longer safe.  The wood of that tree, though freshly cut, is already dry enough to be used in the woodstove.  We have three more trees in the north side of the house that also will be cut down over the coming months.

The cutting down of these trees will solve a few problems, such as risks of branches breaking in ice storms due to the branches being weak from insect damage.  It will also clear that entire yard so that we can plant new trees and a butterfly garden.  This is the first portion of the property that a person sees when they drive up our driveway and we want it to be pretty.

Last project we will be beginning once the weather has remained cold enough for snakes to be underground is to completely clear the garden area.  It was unused this past summer and needs much work to prepare for spring.  One goal that I have is to buy cinder blocks to frame some raised beds.  Over the winter, I can put the blocks in place and start filling them about halfway with soil and mulch.  In early spring, the boxes can have more soil mix added to finish filling the beds.  Garlic, onions, and other root crops can be planted in them right away as soon as the ground is thawed.  By Easter, the green beans, sugar peas, and leafy greens can be planted as well.  This will give the garden a great head start.  About Thanksgiving, I will be buying a couple of sweet potatoes to use for growing slips.  These will also be planted in a raised bed if I have one put together for them.  I will write how to grow slips for the garden when we start ours.

It is a lot that we have going on over the next few months.  I feel so grateful to have my husband home every night and on weekends.  When he was on the truck and gone for up to 7 weeks at a time, it was hard to get the homestead in the position we wanted it to be going.  I simply couldn’t do the work on my own when I have two young children and no extra hands to help.  Now that he is home so much, Joe is able to help get a lot of the harder work dealt with and we are making faster progress as we go along.

 

Ready for the Cold Season? September 6, 2014

Filed under: home remedy,homesteading — ourprairiehome @ 10:46 pm
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With summer break over, it is time to start thinking about the upcoming cold season. Not just the temperatures, but the illnesses as well. Have you started preparing? If your family is like ours, there are certain remedies that you like to have on hand during the cold weather. Simple items like soothing cough drops, teas, and even basic over the counter cold remedies.

In looking ahead, I have been taking stock of what we have in our supply shelves. In the pantry room, I have one set of shelving that is strictly for non-food items. I am reorganizing it this next week, so this is the perfect time to check the inventory. Are there any cold remedies still left from last year? If they are opened, I toss them out. If they are unopened, I check the expiration date. It is so easy to overlook this. The reason that I toss the opened bottles is due to the fact that some medications can begin to lose their potency after they have been opened. Just to be safe, I never keep an opened bottle from one cold season to use the following year. I write an inventory list of what we have so that I know what is still needed.

This year, I am doing things a little differently from previous years. We have been wanting to go the more natural route for quite some time. Over the years, I have used home remedies if the store bought over the counter types had run out. We had good results with the home remedies. With that fact in mind, we will be going the natural route more fully this season. There are certain herbal teas which we find more effective than over the counter products. One of the things that I like about home remedies is that they have been around for generation. Unfortunately, our society has become so accustomed to the pharmaceutical options that the old ways seem odd to many. Yet, these remedies are often better for you. Let me give you a simple example. It is very common to try and use a cough suppressant when you get a cold. That cough, in most cases, is actually benefiting you. It clears mucus and such from your throat and lungs. The problem is that coughing irritates the throat, which is why people grab up the cough suppressants. Instead of grabbing up the cough suppressant, why not simply treat the throat irritation? Another classic example is the sheer lack of options for cough only. Most over the counter cough meds contain ingredients to treat symptoms that you may not have, such as fever or congestion. We don’t like taking meds that have the extra ingredients. We want only what is actually needed. By using home remedies, we can take only what is needed.

Now, before I go further, let me state the obvious. We DO go to a doctor when the situation warrants it. Having home remedies is simply a way to treat the things that do not require a doctor, such as a common cold. We watch for fevers or other indicators that may suggest a necessity for a doctor, especially with the kids. We have been looking for a local homeopath or doctor who believes in the use of herbal remedies before writing a prescription whenever possible. Thankfully, we may ave found one within a half hour drive from the homestead.

As like most families, there are specific things that we keep on hand. The following list is very basic, but effective for us.

1. an herbal rub (similar to the menthol vapor rubs)
2. lemon juice & honey for a throat soothing remedy (hubby & kids favorite)
3. peppermint tea for stomach ailments
4. chamomile tea (to aid in sleeping)
5. homemade cold remedy (recipe for the Amish Cough Remedy at The Milkman’s Wife blog)
6. cayenne pepper (a pinch added to a favorite herb tea is a natural pain reliever)

There are other simple things that I am adding as the season progresses. One of the main things is that I will make sure to have on hand the ingredients to make any remedies that we may need. Essential oils, herbs for the teas, and tinctures.

In planning out the remedies, I am taking note of the most used herbs and essential oils so that I can plan to add them to my herb garden in the spring. Making my own essential oils has been on my list of tings to do for quite some time now. I keep researching and have been collecting old recipes to add to my notebook.

As you find and try home remedies, keep track in a journal how they work out for you. Buy a blank book or journal just for recording the recipes that your family finds to be the most beneficial. You never know when you will be needing that recipe again. My home remedies journal is becoming one of my most treasured books. I wish that I had my great-grandmother’s recipes. She was a very knowledgeable woman in that area. My father talked to me often about having to go out and find various plants for her. Some plants required that he dig up the roots, while others required the leaves or flowers. I still remember as a kid digging up what he called a blood root plant from the woods, cutting open the bulb on the root to wipe the cut end onto a scrape. It worked really well to prevent infection. There were so many remedies that he knew his grandma made, but unfortunately he didn’t know how she made all of them. This is why my book is so important to me. The remedies that we find effective are recipes that I can hand down to my children. If you are new to home remedies, play it safe and try ones that are well known to someone you know. Another option is to use the herbal remedies found at health food stores or online stores. Best option, if you have no experience with herbal remedies is to go through a homeopath or other doctor who prefers taking a natural treatment method over sending you to a pharmacy for prescription meds.

Whatever you choice, now is the time to start preparing your supplies for the upcoming season. You don’t want to have to make a special trip to the store when you are sick. Nor do you want to go to several stores to get a single medication because other stores ran out. For some reason, THAT is a popular scenario with children’s medications. Been there, done that way too many times over the years especially with children’s cold medicine.

 

Homestead Critter Humor August 23, 2014

Filed under: homesteading,humor — ourprairiehome @ 6:06 am
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There are some moments in life where you just have to step back and not take life too seriously. Tonight was one of those times. During the early afternoon, I had handwashed my favorite sundress so that I could wear it when I went out to town for the day tomorrow. I love this dress. It is a Bohemian styled, light, gauzy, tie-dyed dress with pretty flowers embroidered on the front bodice. Very girly for me when compared to some of my other clothes. So, I gently handwashed the dress and hung it on a hanger to dry. It was a nice warm afternoon with a gentle breeze, so I took it outdoors to hang it on a nail along the porch roof.

This evening, after the kids were asleep, I remembered that I hadn’t brought my dress back into the house. Knowing that we have huge spiders and other creepy crawlies out here in the country, I wanted to make sure my dress was safely inside. We have also been known to have a bird make a little nest in my darling husband’s jeans pocket when a pair hung out on the clothesline too long during the daytime. So, I took the flashlight and went to retrieve the sundress. It was gone! I looked all over the ground in case the breeze had blown it off the nail it had hung from. No dress! I went into freak out mode. I came back inside to see if I may have brought it in and forgotten. Nope! No sundress to be found.

Back outside again, I widened my search for the dress. The kids were playing out there when I took it outside. Maybe our son had pulled it down and drug it off into the yard – or worse yet, put it into their wading pool. Nope! The dress was not in the pool or in the areas where Pookie plays. I came back in the house and woke up our daughter to ask where the dress was. By this time I was feeling a bit frantic. She sleepily stared at me with a blank look on her face as I told her my dilemma and asked if she knew where the dress was. After a few minutes, I realized that getting a coherent reply from an 8 yr old who is groggy from being awaken from a sound sleep is not likely to happen.

Again, I went outdoors and checked where I had hung the dress. Why I thought that the fates would be merciful and allow me to find my sundress where I had hung it is a mystery even to me, I did sort of hope that karma would stop having such fun with her wicked sense of humor though.

As I began walking the entire fenced yard to look for the dress, I caught a glimpse of some movement near our large apple tree. There, under the tree was a big opossum running across the yard towards the woods. Bouncing along behind the opossum was MY SUNDRESS!!!!! The cheeky little rodent had somehow got my sundress, hanger and all, and was running away with it! I ran after the little rascal, yelling for it to drop my dress. It stopped and looked towards me and hissed at me! The nerve of that little thief! In the heat of the moment, I totally lost all sense of decorum. I stood there in the yard pointing at that opossum and told it, “Oh no! Don’t you get a hissy attitude with me. If anyone had a right to be hissy, its ME because you have my dress!” (Yes, folks. I actually went there.) I tossed a small stick towards her, not anywhere close enough to hit her, but a couple feet away just to startle her. She turned and ran off into the woods – leaving the dress behind to the victor and rightful owner of said dress. Thank you very much!

Feeling quite pleased with myself, I brought the dress into the house. I checked it over carefully to be certain that the opossum hadn’t damaged it. The dress had come through totally unscathed. I even checked it for ticks since the opossums are known to get ticks just as a dog or cat do. Again, the dress was clear of any problems. Not even one stitch of the embroidered design was snagged. I handwashed the dress again. This time it is hanging up inside the house where it is safe from cheeky little critters who may share that opossum’s interest in sundresses.

I am so glad that I got the sundress back in good condition. The thing that really has me going tonight though is that I don’t know which bothered me more. Was it the fact that my dress had come up missing for a while? Or was it the fact that the opossum actually looked so cute in it? There is just something totally messed up in that thought.

I am just happy that my darling husband was not home. He laughed when I told him about it. He admitted that if something like this happened in the daytime when he was home, it would have been on YouTube soon after. Oh the horrors!

 

Frugal Remodeling July 21, 2014

Filed under: homesteading,off grid,simplicity — ourprairiehome @ 4:08 am
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One of the aspects of living in on old home that we are very aware of is that the old homestead house needs remodeling.  Not necessarily a total updating of the home, but simple cosmetic upgrades.  Some of the plans that we have are more involved than others.  Our home was built about 1890 and is the oldest inhabited structure still standing in our small rural community.  With that age, there are definite changes that need to be made.  Here is a list of some of the upcoming projects.

First, we will be lowering the tall ceilings.  This is to help lower costs of heating the home in winter as well as to allow us to better insulate the ceiling.  We will only be lowering the ceilings by about 1 foot, but it will make quite a difference once winter comes.

Next, we are putting down new flooring.  When my husband served in the Navy, the ships her served on had a rubberized material as flooring.  This material indulated the floors very well and was easy to maintain.  We checked at the home improvement centers and a similar product can be purchased there.  We plan to put it in nearly every room.  The house was built with a crawl space under it.  Each year, the floor becomes cold from the winter winds blowing under the house.  This flooring will help to prevent that.  It will also give the kids a warmer and more cushioned surface to play on.

For lighting, we are looking at buying the old fashioned propane gas lights.  These work in a similar way as the camp lanterns in that you burn a mantle.  The gas lights are very safe and modern versions of the old lights are readily sold for use in Amish or other off-grid homes.  These lights are mounted as sconces on the wall, so will be well out of the children’s reach.  Because they give off heat, we will likely use them more in the winter.  Summer months, the daylight lasts plenty long enough to meet out needs without much additional lighting needed.  As they do now, the kids will still have battery operated lanterns for lighting their bedrooms.  This has proven to be the safest option.  Small decorative lights can be found even at the Dollar Tree type stores.  These usually take 2 of the AAA batteries.  For each child’s lantern, I find myself changing batteries only about once every week or two, depending on the time of year.  The batteries are also purchased at Dollar Tree, so the cost for their lighting is very low.   I have tried the solar lights for them, but the small ones only give out enough light to be used as a nightlight.  Never enough to illuminate the bedroom sufficiently for them to play in the room on early winter evenings before bedtime.  My husband and I still use oil lamps on high shelves.  Currently, we go through a 5 gallon container of kerosene once every 2-3 months if used for lighting the lamps alone.  In winter when lamps are lit for longer amounts of time, the usage is about 5 gallons every 4-6 weeks.

One of the main resources that we are planning to use with our remodeling are businesses that sell reclaimed or factory seconds lumber and building supplies.  Just by using the factory seconds in lumber, we can save over 50% of the cost for building materials.  We found a business that sells this type of product up in Tulsa.  It will be a long drive (nearly 80 miles) to reach the business, but the savings will make the trip worth while.

I found the business by doing an internet search for “recycled reclaimed construction lumber Oklahoma”.  Yeah, it was quite a long search topic but it gave the results we were looking for.  There are many such businesses across the USA.  This one happens to sell not just the lumber, but flooring and roofing materials as well.

We are still planning to build our own wind turbine and expand our solar panel system.  Harbor Freight sells solar panels for far less than many other retailers.  Being as we do not have a house full of electricity using appliances and such, the systems from Harbor Freight will be more than sufficient.

In short, the remodel is more cosmetic than anything.  We are going to relay the plumbing to get rid of the PVC pipes which easily can freeze during an Oklahoma winter.  A subzero outdoor faucet will also be installed at the water faucet near the porch.  A new bathroom is being designed by my darling husband.  Putting in new insulation and more efficient windows is also in the plans.  The house, once done, will be far easier to heat in winter and keep cool in summer.

I can’t wait to get started.  Soon, we will be heading out and buying the first of many trailer loads of supplies to get started.  In the meantime, I am going to be sorting out more things to donate.  There are boxes that have not been looked into for several months upwards to a year or more.  Those are easily going to be donated since we have had no need for the items in those boxes in all this time.  End goal is to have less stuff and keep only what is necessary.  That particular goal has never changed.  Only my definitions of what is needed has undergone adjustments.

 

Planting for Autumn Harvest July 9, 2014

Filed under: gardening,green living,homesteading,simplicity — ourprairiehome @ 6:59 am
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July is well underway and today I started new garden seeds for autumn harvest. Here on the homestead, the northern side of the house gets the most shade. Though the days are quite warm and humid, the shaded areas feel a little cooler.

I started the seeds for green beans, peas, yellow squash, acorn squash, butternut squash, pumpkin, and sugar snow peas in the seed starting tray. Once the seedlings are grown large enough, I can plant them along the northern side of the house. The afternoon shade will protect the plants during the hot afternoon, yet they will get plenty of morning sunlight.

Some may wonder why I am planting these so late in the growing season. Our first frost doesn’t occur until late November. Even the pumpkin, which typically has a growing season of about 115 days before harvest can be grown and will be ready to harvest about October 25th. The earlier plants, such as the green beans and peas, will be ready in about 55 days to begin harvesting. That means they will be ready about September 1st. Plenty of time to get more harvest for winter.

An easy garden plant to start just about anytime are your leafy greens. The only trouble that you may have is that they will want to bolt, or go to seed, if they get too much of the hot summer sun. So, to combat that, you can plant in an area that gets shade in the afternoon or plant in window boxes that can be moved from place to place. Harvesting from the greens often is another way to help prevent the plants from going to seed.

If you happen to not have enough shaded areas for planting a second round of seeds, consider using old bedsheets to make shade cloths to protect the plants. Place long sticks to be used as poles along the edges of the plant rows. Drape and use cable ties or twine to tie the shade cloth onto the tops of the poles. Make sure that the tops of the plants do not touch the shade cloth. This simple method will provide enough shade to help tender plants to continue producing during the hottest portion of summer.

I love planting this time of year. We completely miss the wet season which always seems to wash away our garden seeds or drown the young plants. Using plenty of mulch or other weed barrier methods eliminates the worse of the weeding. If you plan well, you don’t have to worry much about the plants drying up. A good watering first thing in the morning usually does the best. Never water in the early evening as it will encourage insects to come into the garden. The insects come for the moisture as much as the plants.

As you probably noticed, most of the seeds I planted are for a variety of winter squash. These store very well in a root cellar or an unheated room through the winter. These also are being harvested right up until first frost. If the first frost comes in late November as it usually does, then we will be harvesting pumpkins for a month before that frost arrives. The green beans, sugar snow peas, and regular green peas will be nearly done producing by mid-October.

I am looking forward to seeing how these do. Tomorrow, I am going to start seeds for buttercrunch leaf lettuce, swiss chard, and spinach to plant in containers or along the porch on the north side of the house. These grow quickly, so I should do good with them. We love the fresh greens!

If you are planting for an autumn harvest, what do you have started? What have you had success with and what has been a struggle?

 

Finding Local Farms & Farmers’ Markets July 3, 2014

Filed under: green living,homesteading,simplicity — ourprairiehome @ 2:34 am

As a part of preparing to take the No Grocery Store for a Year challenge, I am in the process of searching out local farms and Farmers’ Markets where we can purchase locally grown produce, eggs, and raw milk.  

Tonight I wanted to share a few resources that may be of benefit to others who are wanting to buy locally instead of the GMO and chemical laden produce at the grocery stores.

Local Harvest is a searchable online directory for the United States.  By searching using your zip code, you are given a listing of the farms and markets in your immediate area.

Farmers Markets Online contains a searchable directory for markets in the United States.  An added feature that I like is that you can search for specific items.

OK Grown is a listing of farmers markets here in Oklahoma.  

Real Milk Finder is a searchable directory for locating farms which sell raw milk.

Some dairy farms will give you a lower price on the milk if you supply your own gallon containers.  I have found that it is easiest to use the gallon size glass jars.  Unlike plastic, these will never get an “off” odor from storing milk in them.  I have never purchased the glass jars.  Instead, I found a deli shop in town that throws away the gallon jars the sandwich condiments come in.  The jalapeno peppers, for example, always come in the glass gallon size jars.  Once washed, the jalapeno scent is completely removed from the jar and lid.  These work great for the raw milk.

For those wondering about the safety of drinking raw milk, here is an article by Dr. Mercola about the US government’s study results regarding raw milk safety.  It is interesting to note that one of the biggest voices against raw milk happened to be a lawyer who represents Monsanto.

For those interested in raw farm milk but undecided about the “to pasteurize or not to pasteurize” issue, here is a great article from Backwoods Home Magazine that gives the history of pasteurization, the benefits and drawbacks, and instructions on how to pasteurize milk at home.

Hopefully the above links will help give you ideas on where you can find locally grown/produced foods near you.