Did you know that free food from Mother Nature is all around us? By learning how to forage, you can take advantage of nature’s bounty and even preserve it for future use and consumption!
If you are trying to stay away from chemical fertilizers, stack the functions of the plants and animals on your property and save money then these simple fertilizer teas are just for you. There are many different kinds of fertilizer “teas” and we will be covering three of them in this blog. We will talk about comfrey, rabbit manure and vermicompost tea!
In the case of hops, Humulus lupulus, there is too much goodness to not consider this addition to the homestead. The quick answer? Hops provide excellent shade, prolific forage for animals, superb medicinal benefits and, of course, they are great for home brewing beer and cider.
I used to think I needed a fancy juicer and special ingredients to make a smoothie. Not so. I pulled out my old blender that I hadn't used since my margarita days a decade ago. Then, I poked around in the fridge to see what kind of fruit was on hand. I clipped some lettuce from the garden, added water and cinnamon and — voila — a terrific smoothie, easier than pie.
When we arrived on our off-grid property, one of our first plans of action was to build our own cedar wood-fired hot tub. Here's how we did it.
Don't waste that fabulous watermelon rind! Here's what you can do with the best part of the melon.
What's it like to be a woman off the grid? Dirty? Chore-filled? Sacrificial? Modern day off-grid homesteading is a wonderful, empowering lifestyle for those women who choose to take this path. Yet, finding practical, reality-based feedback is getting harder! Media and networks are often misleading in their depiction of off-grid life, because they need to feed a audience who is thirsting for excitement. Here is on woman's reality check.
Living off the grid doesn't mean that you need to sacrifice the womanly comforts you may be accustomed to — you just need to provide for them slightly differently.
Starting a garden can be intimidating, especially when there are all sorts of guru-gardening methods on the internet, but we are choosing to take an extremely straightforward approach that we want to share with you all!
Water is the liquid-gold standard for off-grid sustainability. However, how does a new off-grid homesteader prepare for their water needs? Here are some simple tips from seasoned veterans on how to successfully have a backup plan for water.
If you have backyard chickens and you are not using them as composters and you have a garden, you are missing a valuable resource right at your fingertips. There are so many benefits to using your chickens, and it’s such a natural process for composting.
The answer to “What off-grid water system should I use?” is not always obvious. Here is what we’re considering for our newly purchased off-grid land.
There is much controversy over the health benefits of bone broth, you can find articles all over the web that fall into one of two camps: bone broth is another unscientifically supported health fad or bone broth is a health booster. I fall into the second camp. This type of broth is a fairly new phenomenon in the west, but it certainly isn’t a new thing.
Harvesting animals is not our favorite part of homesteading, but it is a necessary part. We think the aspect of harvesting, processing, slaughtering, and butchering provides the deepest connection with the land. It is the thing that makes a connection with food the most real.
Blessed with hard clay/rock soil, Jesse and Alyssa have a small list of improvements they are doing this year to get their soil veggie-friendly!
Last weekend I spent an afternoon studying different bushes, trees, and herbaceous plants in order to design the newest guild on our Permafarm.
This post covers the importance of having a comprehensive water plan for your property. Most homesteaders are simply dependent on their wells, which are predicated on cheap and reliable energy. Don’t misunderstand me: I love being able to flip a switch and get light and turn on a faucet and get water — it’s wonderful! However, we need to develop a resilient water plan that accounts for potential disruption in that system but also to develop other systems to increase the fertility of the land.
How we easily and affordably turn trees on our property into usable lumber with our Alaskan chainsaw mill.
Because our flock is now running around 40 birds, we are in dire need of an updated coop for our hens and their roosters.
Having a plan allows all our energy to go toward accomplishing the necessary tasks rather than having to prioritize and build objectives on a daily basis.
When we started our off grid homesteading adventure, we had all sorts of elaborate plans as to what we would accomplish our first year. Six months into our journey, it seems that we underestimated our workload, by a long shot!
A short video of the highlights of our first winter on our off-grid homestead in the Pacific Northwest. In short, we are hunkering down and trying to survive!
This blog is part of a homestead goal-setting series. Goal-setting for the homestead is so crucial it can’t be overstated. There is always a gap between a dream and reality. Goals are the glue that makes those two much closer together. This iteration is how to take your major goals and get them accomplished. You must support your major goals with mid-term and short-term goals. After that, you have to make a plan to get stuff done! It is geared toward homesteading but can and should be applied to all areas of life.
Goal setting for the homestead is so crucial it can’t be overstated. There is always a gap between a dream and reality. Goals are the glue that makes those two much closer together. This blog is about the nuts and bolts of goal setting. It starts with a dream, moves toward purpose and ends with goals. It is geared toward homesteading but can and should be applied to all areas of life.
In the military, we were taught combat first aid with these four life-saving steps: Stop the bleeding, start the breathing, protect the wound and treat for shock. I want to relate these life-saving steps to handling finances in preparing to homestead.
Before we started homesteading I would sit and imagine how idyllic and peaceful it would be. Reality is not prettier than what I imagined, but it’s better.
This young couple quit their lives in the city to start a homestead in the country 100% from scratch. They are documenting their expenses every step of the way in hopes of helping others that wish to embark on a similar adventure.
This last year I was able to preserve hops, apples, raspberries through making a puree and drying fruit leather, I made kale chips, dehydrated onions, dried mint and basil, zucchini, plums, and lavender. Yogurt was a common sight in my Excalibur up until our goats’ milk supply slowed down, we’re too busy drinking it to make yogurt right now. This is one of the appliances I really appreciate particularly in the summer/harvesting months. In addition to all of this, we even used the Excalibur to incubate chicks!
Integrate chickens and a greenhouse to provide a synergistic effect for the homestead.
While this young couple had dreams of buying land to start their homestead, they were still stuck in an apartment in the big city so they rented a community garden plot. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade! Find ways to accomplish your goals and do what you love!
For any prepared kitchen I think a hand grinder is an absolute must and my preference is the Family Grain Mill for its versatility, ease of cleaning, durability and convenience.
Over this last year my water bath canner has grown into a frequently used item. This time of year, it makes itself useful by simmering gallons of bone broth on our stove due to its generous size. In the summer and early fall, however, it is kept busy canning all the jams, jellies, and sauces I preserve for the coming winter months.
Losing power is a reality that homesteaders must prepare for. It is not a matter of if, but when, and for how long. As a homesteader/farmsteader we have a responsibility to keep the home running regardless of “power.” This series of blog posts discusses homestead preparedness for power outages, part 2 covers generator usage, communications, water strategies and dry-composting toilets.
This young couple moved from the city to start a homestead, and they decided to build an off-grid cabin using reclaimed materials to keep warm their first winter.
I’ve always enjoyed cooking — it’s something I’ve considered a serious hobby. One of the first goals I made when I moved here last year was to start baking all my own bread and other baked goods. Because we got through so many loaves a week (about eight) every day I am very grateful for my Bosch Universal Plus mixer. I would consider this one of the top five most-used appliances in my kitchen.
Losing power is a reality that homesteaders must prepare for. It is not a matter of if, but when, and for how long. As a homesteader/farmsteader we have a responsibility to keep the home running regardless of “power.” This series of blog posts discusses homestead preparedness for power outages, beginning with fuel storage, gas cooking and wood heat.
The past week we had the opportunity to collect thousands of dollars in reclaimed construction materials by being available when opportunity knocks. The best part is… there are many more opportunities like this to be taken advantage of by most anyone!
In a time where everything you could possibly want comes pre-packaged, pre-canned, filled with preservatives and is processed to last, why should we learn to can? Why should we use our valuable time and resources to learn a skill that has almost become obsolete? I think I can answer these questions in three simple words: to be prepared.
A young couple left behind their corporate jobs and purchased land in Idaho. They’re living on their homestead in a travel trailer while they build their home.
A young couple from Oregon leaves behind their corporate jobs and life in the city to move to a remote location in Idaho and start an off-grid homestead.
Thoughts that were inspired by my trip to Yellowstone National Park.
One of the wonderful aspects of permaculture is the mindset of integrating systems in ways that enhance each other. Composting is a great example of integrating systems in a synergistic manner. Learn how the "problem is the solution" in this post.
Emergency preparedness is a necessary part of any well-functioning homestead. Here's what an Idaho family learned when a fire started less than a 1/4 mile away.
Making corn relish and canning it in a water bath canner is an easy and delicious way to preserve end-of-the-season corn. Open these colorful jars for a taste of summer in the middle of winter.
If your tomato crop is like mine, right now you have just enough ripe fruit for salads and sandwiches with none left over for canning. Here’s a homemade barbecue recipe sauce you can make without waiting for the end-of-season tomato tsunami.
There are so many ways to dry herbs: in an oven on low heat, in a dehydrator, in the sun. However, overr time under well ventilated conditions, herbs will dry all by themselves with no additional encouragement.
This recipe is fun, easy, delicious and, because the ingredients are staples in your pantry, you can make it any time of year.
What could be better than these luscious preserves made from golden plums? Capture the taste of summer with this easy recipe.
Mint is the zucchini of herbs. When you have a bumper crop, here’s a fun and delicious way to tap your mint harvest.
We built a couple of ponds on our homestead and share the reasons why, how we did it and our lessons learned.
Nothing could be easier than growing a pot of mint for dozens of culinary uses, including brewing mint tea!
The particularly dry spring has prompted us to move up some of our water-harvesting strategies on the project list. Swales are an integral part of our overall water plan.
There are many reasons to raise meat rabbits: meat, fertilizer, breeding capacity, small space required, pelts and more.
This is a short video that shows some of the major highlights on the homestead during the month of February.
Avian Influenza has been detected in five western states. There are several steps you can take to protect your backyard chickens, and one simple way to find out if you, as an urban hen keeper, are at risk.
Livestock guardian dogs are renowned for their protective instincts. They have been bred for thousands of years to be aware, work independently and to protect their charges at all costs. But do they also break up fights between quarreling livestock?
This is the story of my family’s transition from a nomadic military lifestyle to one of rural homesteading. I talk about our preparation leading up to leaving the service and some of our current goals and projects for the property and our lives. I also talk about using permaculture as the design science methodology for our businesses and the development of the property.
After the chicken dinner and hot dish and salads, there is one free meal left in that bird!
How to make any fish tastier and moister with one simple ingredient.
Delight your host by taking one of these homemade treats.
Delicious and colorful roasted root vegetables melt in your mouth.
A pickled pepper recipe that packs quite a punch. Don't be discouraged by November's nine degrees in the sun weather. Now is a great time to pull out your water-bath canner and put up your late-fall harvest for winter month garden-fresh eating.
A philosophical look at the coming of winter, with ideas for preserving the summer after the end-of-the-season pepper harvest.
Beekeeping has its benefits: raw honey, beeswax and pollination. With a quick check, you can find out if your community offers a rent-a-bee program. For a fee, you'll get a queen bee, hive colony and a mentor to get you started.
The Fall garden is bursting and the canning kettle hot as we draw summer to a close in North Central Idaho.
The following are some helpful hints and tips to keep in mind while using a sourdough starter that can help you keep your sourdough culture in good condition.
Try your hand at this amazing sourdough crackers recipe.
The green of summer available right in your freezer year round!
This is the pita sourdough of the desert.
The terminal diagnoses and reality of dying reinforce our commitment to homesteading.
Looking for the perfect sourdough hamburger bun.
A basic sourdough bread recipe.
Basic sourdough bread recipe for those quick summer needs.
The garden is 58 by 112 feet and it's planted!
With the fence in (just barely), this rainy Wednesday looks just perfect for planting.
Sourdough waffle recipe.
The post office has called to say your bees have arrived! Now What? Step-by-step instructions on installing your hive.
Mother's Day weekend brought lilacs, bedding plants, pie and a nap.
Who knew how great whole-wheat sourdough bread can be.
My bees shipped early - here we go!
How is it May already? Our list of to do's grows daily as our workable days fly by.
Finally some sun, too bad it is during the work week!
A recipe for whole wheat sourdough baguettes.
Turkeys are surprisingly tough to raise, coop are remarkably simple to raise and thanksgiving a given.
An herb sourdough bread recipe.
Accepting your shortcomings, or short seedlings as it may be.
Here are some hints that can help you start, keep and bake with sourdough.
Chicks and kids growing right before our eyes this spring.
Cross-state travel, early chicks, a rescue rabbit and pork — all in one week!
Spring brings about manic bouts of project planning and completion, but at least there is pie!
Beekeeping supply arrived, it's light out and I have a fever!
Cooking pizza with sourdough starters.
It is officially spring at The Pomponio Homestead despite the icy drizzle and the date. I asked the universe, and it delivered - three hens.
Beyond the global, environmental and social impacts of eating local, feeding your organs healthy fuel buys you precious time on earth.
Dragging my feet to get spring started, afraid to fail and making the decision to jump in an succeed or fail already!
Short overnight trips are a great way to introduce your family to bicycle travel.
A proofing box is a critical tool in cooking sourdough bread; here is a simple way of making one.
The world of organic seed, delusional hope and insomniac online shopping collide.
When Jodi L. Wise started her new job with Sourdoughs International, she had no idea that she would be in the kitchen. She’s now wearing a new hat for her new role as bread baker.
Easy beginner breadbaking success with this simple and savory peasant loaf.
4 or 40, growing up isnt always straight up. Branches, bumpy outcroppings and the occasional low hanging fruit serve as speed bumps on the road of life.
The quiet low of January has broken, the promise of spring and its seedy optimism is evident in the pile of seed catalogs at my bedside.
A systematic approach to conquering what holds you back, and buttering your fresh warm victory.
That moment you realize contentment looks pretty good on you, but the ducks seem distant.
Fired up our smoker for the first time and made yummy use of our summer's Kokanee Fish Catch to smoke fish.
After two weeks amongst the poorest in India, how do I come home?
You have read every garden, homestead and back to the land book in your library system. Your dreams of coffee at sunrise set to the chatter of fowl made real. With hoe in hand and 914,760 square feet rolling out from your feet like a magic carpet; where do you start?