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Grow 53 Plants in 4 Square Feet (Video) Mon, 31 Aug 2020 07:03:53 +0000 Read More ]]> We’ve been talking a lot about urban homesteading here lately, and when you’re talking about gardening in an urban or suburban environment, space is always going to be an issue.

A lot of urban gardeners are turning to vertical gardening, which is an excellent way to maximize space and production when growing area is limited.

This is a very inspiring example of vertical gardening, in which a whopping 53 plants is grown in a four square foot area. Imagine how much you could grow on a single porch or patio! Check it out:

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Genius Ways to Use Lard Sat, 22 Aug 2020 21:46:47 +0000 Read More ]]> Lard is something many of us have considered unhealthy for years, but it’s making a comeback as nutritionists reveal the healthy, complex fats in  lard are actually pretty good for you! It’s way better for you than vegetable or seed oils, and definitely better than margarine or imitation butter.

If you fry bacon at all, you definitely want to collect the fat that builds up in the pan and keep it for cooking! I keep a small jar in my fridge and use it as I would oil or butter all the time.

But did you know you can render it on your stove just like you would tallow? It can be used in so many different ways and, if you’re lucky enough to find a butcher that will give pork fat away, you can do it entirely for free!

Here are just a few examples of the many ways in which you can use lard:

Seasoning cast iron skillet

This is my personal favorite. Nothing seasons my cast iron like lard, and it makes them truly non-stick. I don’t even have to use water to clean them out when they’re regularly seasoned with lard! Simply rub on the warm, dry pan after washing and the next time you use it, you’ll probably just have to wipe them out with a cloth and a little  more lard!


Use lard as a base to fry in, as you would any other cooking oil. With enough lard, you can deep fry, and nothing is quite as crisp or perfectly fried as when it’s fried in lard, trust me.


Lard makes a great fat for things like biscuits, breads, or tortillas. Simply use in the place of butter or oil for a smooth, buttery texture that is to die for!

Candle making

Lard actually makes a great base for candles! There are many different recipes out there, and while they definitely don’t have a fatty smell like you’d expect, you can still scent them however you want using essential oils. These make a great gift or emergency candle stockpile.

Soap making

If you’ve seen ‘Fight Club’, you’ll remember that animal fat is used as a base for soap, and lard makes a great one. It’s wonderfully moisturizing, and again, if you can get your pork fat for free and render your own lard, it serves as a very frugal base for soaps.

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Dehydrating Food: A Beginner’s Guide Mon, 17 Aug 2020 20:53:54 +0000 Read More ]]> Dehydrating is a great option for preserving food for the long term, especially for gardeners or homesteaders. But even if you’re just an urban homesteader, it might be an excellent way to get started with food preservation. If you like to shop sales, frequent farmer’s markets, or grow veggies or herbs in your own little urban homestead, dehydrating is a great way to maximize your finds and easily store food for the long term.

Here are some of the benefits to dehydrating vs. other food preservation methods:

  • it preserves the nutritional content of food
  • it condenses food and also makes it very lightweight, which is great for storage
  • it requires very little work to do
  • you can preserve a wide variety of foods with the same process

Getting started 

To get started, you will most likely want to purchase a dehydrator, but you can also dehydrate food using your oven. You simply put your oven on its lowest setting, crack the door, and let your food dehydrate for 6-24 hours, depending on what you are dehydrating.

There are many dehydrators on the market, that range in size and efficiency. You will want to consider how much food you want to dehydrate at once, the storage space you have for it in your kitchen, how well-reviewed the model you’re looking at is, etc.

What to dehydrate

Once you have purchased a dehydrator, the sky is the limit on what you can dehydrate! You’d be surprised how much you can do with a dehydrator, from making jerky and pemmican, to quicky rising dough and, of course, drying fruits, vegetables, and herbs. While there are many foods you can dry, here are some of the most popular and efficient foods to store by dehydration.

  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Bananas
  • Berries
  • Fruit leather
  • Tomato sauce
  • Herbs
  • Peppers
  • Meat (for jerky)
  • Eggs (for powdered eggs)

Most dehydrators will have a guide for what temperature to set for which type of food product you are drying, but you might need to adjust accordingly since not every food product will have the same level of moisture. Typically, you will dry stuff for a long period of time, from 6-24 and maybe even 48 hours.

This long drying time doesn’t require much at all, all you need to do is process what you’re drying and lay it out in an even, thin layer on the trays of your dehydrator. You’ll want to check occasionally to see what kind of progress is being made. Most commonly, people will set their dehydrator up in the evening and dry overnight.


Dehydrating is an age-old method of drying food that you might find becomes a staple method of food production and food preservation in your home. Just give it a try and see how you like it!

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3 Ways to Protect Your Dog With Neem Oil Tue, 11 Aug 2020 22:11:46 +0000 Read More ]]> We’re all looking forward to the return of summer’s warm weather, but nobody’s excited about flea and tick season! Whether your pet is your hiking trail buddy or the king of your homestead’s acreage, it’s unavoidable he’ll be exposed to fleas and ticks. Even dogs who spend most of their time indoors can become unwitting hosts for these parasites. Unless daily tick checks are your idea of fun, a good repellent is an absolute necessity.


However, the mainstream options for protecting your pet aren’t without risks of their own. Flea collars, sprays, and other products are often made with potent pesticides and chemicals that pose just as much risk to your pet as the flea or tick itself. If this conundrum has you feeling frustrated and wanting to keep your pet in a bubble, try neem oil, a natural alternative! Here are three simple recipes for safe and effective pet protection using neem oil:


Neem Oil Rub




2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon aloe vera gel

1.25 ml (20 drops) neem oil


Mix all ingredients together and put into a dropper bottle. Apply a few drops to your palms and rub through your dog’s entire coat, reapply oil to hands as needed until whole coat is treated.


Neem Oil Spray



2.5 ml (40 drops) neem oil

1-2 ml (about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon) of mild soap or detergent

2 cups warm water


Mix water and soap first and then slowly add neem oil. Add to spray bottle and use immediately. Discard after use as neem oil will break down and lose its potency after 8 hours. Be sure to protect your dog’s eyes when applying!


Neem Oil Shampoo


Add neem oil into your pet’s usual shampoo at a rate of 1-5 ml (about ¼-1 teaspoon) for every 100 ml (8 ounces) of shampoo. Use only 1 ml of neem oil for a preventative maintenance shampoo. For a pre-existing or severe infestation, use 5 ml neem oil. Massage shampoo thoroughly into the coat. It will leave an odor that will continue to repel unwanted pests. Treat weekly or more often for effective control and lasting protection.



Neem oil has a very strong smell, which is this natural alternative’s only drawback. For use on cats, use neem leaf tea as neem oil is considered unsafe for feline use. Make small, frequent batches of each treatment as their shelf life is very short.

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Why You Need a Pond on Your Homestead Fri, 07 Aug 2020 21:58:32 +0000 Read More ]]> Building a pond is immensely useful and beneficial for the homestead or garden. While there are a few points to consider, such as cost and labor, there is so much that a healthy pond brings to the table.


A Habitat for Wildlife


Providing your local pond-dwelling creatures with clean water for a home environment and breeding site is a great way to positively impact your region’s ecosystem. The following pond components are especially beneficial to animals:

  • A shallow portion for bathing/wading birds and migrating amphibians.
  • Native plants, which provide shade, food and cover for diverse pond life.
  • Large rocks, branches, or other materials along the pond’s edge for cover for small animals.


Potential for Aquatic Permaculture


Even a small pond can be incredibly useful when practicing aquaculture. Many edible plants can be grown in backyard ponds. Check your local gardening resource to see which varieties are best suited for your region. Some edible aquatic plants include:


  • Wapato – food for people and livestock, beneficial insect attractor
  • Wild Rice – food for people and livestock
  • Cattail – food, materials for crafts, water filtration, cover for small/young fish
  • Lotus- food for people, cover for fish, beneficial insect attractor
  • Pond Lily – food for people and livestock, cover for fish, beneficial insect attractor


Water Storage Preparedness


Among the many utilitarian benefits, a pond can act as your own personal reservoir in case of an emergency. With a good, powerful water filter, you can have complete peace of mind that you’ll never lack safe, clean drinking water.


Education and Recreation


Nothing adds to the visual appeal of a yard or garden like the idyllic view of a pond. If planned thoughtfully, the construction of a small pond can even be a solution for soggy spots or rain runoff in the backyard. With a couple of comfortable lawn chairs or a picnic table, it becomes a favorite gathering place. If you have children, a pond becomes an outdoor classroom with limitless hands-on learning opportunities about biology and ecology. The magic of watching water insects or tadpoles grow and transform beats a science textbook any day!


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The Easy Way to Make Milk Kefir Sat, 01 Aug 2020 11:49:47 +0000 Read More ]]> Kefir is a cultured dairy product made from milk which turns out similar in flavor to yogurt but with a thinner, drinkable consistency. Because of the culturing process, kefir is packed with beneficial bacteria and yeasts. To make kefir, you will need the starter culture (called “grains), which can be purchased online.



  1. Add a heaping tablespoon of kefir grains to a quart-sized glass jar and fill it up with milk. You can almost any type of dairy milk- cow, goat, pasteurized, unpasteurized, full fat, skim. If you wish to make more or less than a quart at a time, simply add grains in a 1 tablespoon-to-1 quart ratio.
  2. Loosely cover the jar and let sit on your kitchen counter 2-3 days. Shake or stir once a day or more (not mandatory, but helpful). Use an untightened mason jar lid and band, plastic lid, or cheesecloth secured with a rubber band (preferred).
  3. After a day or two (depending on the temperature in your kitchen), you should notice the milk starting to pull away from the walls of the jar with an almost gel-like consistency. Your kefir is ready to strain!
  4. With a slotted wooden spoon, sift the kefir grains from the top of the finished kefir. Once strained, your kefir is ready to use or refrigerate! Transfer the grains to a new jar, fill with fresh milk, and start a new batch! If you’re not re


As you make more batches of kefir, your grains will reproduce and grow, much like any starter culture. If you find yourself overrun with grains, you can give some away to friends, feed them to livestock, or compost them!

If you need a break from making kefir, just cover your sifted grains with milk, cover and label the jar, and place it in the fridge. Replace with fresh milk every week of “hibernation” to keep the grains alive, and use fresh milk again when you’re ready to make a new batch.


Kefir is a delicious, healthful alternative to plain milk and can be enjoyed plain, blended into a smoothie, or in any recipe that calls for milk!

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Maggot Dispenser=FREE Chicken Feed (Video) Wed, 29 Jul 2020 23:42:07 +0000 Read More ]]> Wait! Don’t get grossed out. This is the “circle of life” at it’s very finest, trust me!

I really love this YouTube channel, because not only is this family really rocking the homestead life, they’re doing it with all their kids, and posting it on YouTube for all of us to see.

And this idea they came up with to feed maggots to chickens is brilliant.
I think we’ve been programmed to think that chickens only want grains, but in reality, they’re carnivores who love bugs. Maggots are like juicy steaks to them!

Check out this super cool video of this brilliant plan for free chicken food and see how what we normally view as gross little bugs can be turned ultimately into sustainable food for everyone on the homestead. Enjoy!

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A Simple Guide to Dehydrating Mushrooms Wed, 15 Jul 2020 19:12:19 +0000 Read More ]]> We posted recently about foraging for wild mushrooms and how to identify them.

One great reason to forage for wild mushrooms is to stock up on them and keep them around for cooking or even as part of your survival food cache.

But how do you store them?

Dehydrating is the best method for mushrooms, and often, when you find them in the grocery store, this is how they have been processed.

It’s very simple and easy to dehydrate mushrooms, here’s how:

  1. Collect the mushrooms you’d like to process. Literally any variety will do, but of course, you’ll probably want to do this with large batches of whatever you’ve collected from foraging.
  2. Wash the mushrooms thoroughly; you might need to use a mushroom or vegetable brush to gently scrub the dirt off.
  3. Pat dry with a paper towel and spread out to dry on a dish towel.
  4. Once most of the excess moisture has dried off, slice your mushrooms into whatever size you’d like to preserve them. Thin slices will dehydrate quickest.
  5. Once they’re cut the way you’d like, spread them out on your dehydrator sheets.
  6. Set your dehydrator to 125 degrees (which is probably the “vegetable” setting) and leave for 4-6 hours. After 4 hours, check to see the progress.
  7. They’re done when they are completely crisp and will snap and break when you bend them, rather than flex.
  8. Store in an airtight container in your pantry or wherever you keep long-term storage. If stored in mylar or vacuum-sealed pouches, they can keep for up to 20 years on a cool, dry shelf!

Mushrooms are a great source of nutrients that can be foraged in many areas. Not only is it important to learn to identify them, but preserve them also! The next time you go out hunting for mushrooms, bring a load home and store some up in your food cache.

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Money Saving Tips for Homesteaders Thu, 09 Jul 2020 16:14:17 +0000 Read More ]]> Homesteaders tend to like to save money, and they are always on the lookout for new and easy ways to keep a few extra dollars in their pocket. It isn’t because they are cheap; they are smart. They know that in many cases, they are throwing away good money on things that they could instead do themselves. Here are a few very simple tips that could help you to save some money as a homesteader.

Take a moment to think about how much money you and your family spend on haircuts each year. Chances are, you spend several hundred dollars between everyone, even if you are going to a “cheap” place. You might want to invest in some tools to cut your own hair and your family’s hair and watch some videos on how to cut hair. You might make a few mistakes, but you will get the hang of it. You might want to practice on yourself though.

Many homesteaders also grow and dry herbs that can be used for medicinal purposes. They can use these when they are making tinctures or they can put them into medicinal teas. Doing this can help them to deal with headaches and a range of other issues, helping them to save some money on the cost of over the counter medications. Of course, if it is a serious medical issue, it is best to get professional medical care.

Another way to save money as a homesteader is to find free things to enjoy rather than spending money going out all the time. Going out on the town is fine on some occasions, but simply hiking, watching the stars and the like are free options that can be just as entertaining. You can find plenty of simple ways to save money as a homesteader.

Learn how to slash the cost of your groceries.

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