Fermented sauerkraut not only gives us digestive enzymes and probiotics, but the process itself makes all the vitamins and minerals present more bio-available. And it's delicious! We needn't eat a lot of it either. Condiments are vital go-alongs with our meals.
Honeybees have a number of pests and parasites that can weaken, damage, or even destroy the hive. This month we will focus on the most common pests in our beeyard — small hive beetles, wax moths, and varroa mites — as well as what we do to control them so we have the healthiest hives possible.
This cocktail makes use of honey simple syrup, and simple to make it is. It’s just a 50/50 concentration of honey and water, simmered together. (Regular simple syrup is just water and white sugar, same ratio. Try it for sweetening ice tea.) The recipe calls for Ungava gin, and if you can’t find it, use any high quality gin that’s readily available, although Ungava would be preferred for its unique flavor.
Buying certain foods in bulk is a great way to save money, packaging, and shopping time, while opening up new opportunities to support good farmers. Here are some tips and considerations for buying and handling bulk foods in a homestead setting.
Beekeeping is a fun yet rewarding experience. Not only you can produce a sustainable, nutritious natural sweetener, but you can also benefit the environment by keeping bees in your backyard. This post will help you get into beekeeping.
Did you know that you can tell a lot about the behavior of a honeybee by the sound of her buzz? Careful attention to the sound of the honeybee’s buzzing can alert the beekeeper to the mood of the bees.
It's another busy month at Bees of the Woods Apiary! Jennifer Ford will share what we have been up to in June 2016, including keeping up with honey supers and brood boxes — and the importance of knowing when you have enough hives.
Installing a Lock Top Chimney Damper is a common project among do-it-yourself homeowners. Many times the fireplace throat damper rusts apart and is non-functional, allowing heat and air from your home to escape through the chimney and vice versa. In today's chimney industry, we have top-locking chimney dampers that are easy to install, made of stainless steel, and completely seal a chimney flue when not in use.
An automatic gate opener is a great example of how simple and convenient it can be to use solar panels to power all of its tools and equipment. You can also get a 30% federal residential tax credit toward the cost of a new solar powered gate opener, accessories and installation, as long as you do it before December of this year.
Top bar hives are becoming increasingly popular with beekeepers as they help encourage bees to colonize in a more natural way than Langstroth beehives. Installing bees in a top-bar hive can be surprisingly easy if you take a few steps to ensure that your new colony is happy.
If you’re looking for an investment that will help to save you money as well as conserve fossil fuels, solar power is great option for many homeowners and businesses. With the continual drop in equipment prices, the advantages of solar energy just keep growing. Before undertaking such a project, you may be wondering how much can solar panels save exactly? Here are the basics.
In the Northeast, you never know what to expect in the beeyard in April. From snow to some very busy bees, Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary will share what has been going on in the apiary this past month.
Garlic mustard is the poster child of invasive species. Brought as a food crop for home gardens by settlers, this is a great wild food to pick with wild abandon. Eat it and ferment it while helping out local ecosystems.
People think building is difficult. It’s not. And in the hope of encouraging a few more wannabe natural builders, I’ve compiled the following list. Because in my experience, there are far harder things in life than building a house.
Who knew there were different breeds of honeybees? Choosing the best breed for you depends on your goals as a beekeeper. This post covers a few of the advantages and disadvantages of the most popular breeds of honeybees.
Installing a chimney chase cover is a common project among do-it-yourself homeowners. Many homes were built with galvanized chase covers which rust after a few years – causing leaks and rust stains. Homes that were built with a masonry chimney eventually end up with a cracked and weathered mortar crown, also causing leaks and damage to the home.
There are a lot of specific terms about poultry you might not be familair with. If you’re thinking about getting chickens, ducks, geese, or other fowl, it’s good to get used to these common terms. Here are some of the farmyard poultry terms you might come across.
Poultry expert Harvey Ussery describes how he breeds his heritage chickens. He relies on what he calls a “clan-mating system,” which reduces his time spent keeping written records but still maintains clean, genetically diverse breeding lines.
Winters can be brutal, especially on our homes when it comes to our energy costs. Winter tends to drive up energy costs but there is a way to prevent that from happening this winter including eliminating drafts, smart thermostats, and more.
So, the gals are on their way to New Hampshire to pick up heritage cows, and so far, it's going smoothly — but there are bumps in the road ahead, so hang on! (Spoiler alert: They all made it home fine: two cows, two pigs, and two galls.)
The farm hasn't had cows in 50 years — but Kara wanted cows. Not any old cows; no, a special heritage kind. nd where were these cows? In the mountains of New Hampshire, half a continent away! Time for a road trip to pick up and transport livestock in winter!
Less common, but proven, strategies for securing a child's college education can keep the child involved in the building and running of the homestead through their years of higher education while producing a more well rounded, responsible, mature, and competitive graduate, all at a fraction of the cost of more typical approaches.
Have you been wondering what it is like to raise honeybees? Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary will offer a peek into the life of a beekeeper in part one of a year long series. She will share what goes into maintaining a beeyard throughout the course of a year.
Home insulation can no longer be regarded as something homeowners simply put off as a vague way to be environmentally conscious. Insulating one’s home properly is the best way to cut down on those surging energy costs plaguing every homeowner.
As we enter into the cold and flu season, it is the perfect time to be thinking about your immune system and practical ways to help boost it. Here are 10 tips to stay your healthiest this season and all year round. These tips are our tried and true suggestions for increasing immunity and maintaining good health all year long.
Winter signals a retreating indoors for a slower speed in lifing — one filled with thoughtful reflection, the finishing up in processing of the foods my garden has gifted me, and returning to my arting. As a preview to my forthcoming cookbook, I have included my favorite, beer-infused honey mustard recipe below.
There are many ways to sell your extra honey and other products of the hive. Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary will explain a few easy ways to sell all of that extra honey, including how to sell honey online, at work, at a roadside stand and more!
In traditional Langstroth beehives, the honey is extracted via a centrifuge that spins the golden liquid out of the comb and allows it to run into your pot. In a top-bar hive, honey collection is quite different, as isthe rest of the top-bar hive beekeeping process.
Dairy animals such as goats produce milk in a seasonal cycle, requiring homesteaders to handle both an abundance and shortage of milk during the year. Freezing milk directly, and making & preserving cheese, are two ways to ensure a reliable supply of dairy year-round. Allowing your diet to change with the seasons can also reduce the impact of low-milk periods, replacing its nutrition with food crops or meat when milk isn’t convenient to produce.
Kale doesn't ferment as well as some of the other members of the brassica family but we still find ourselves wanting to preserve this delicious and nutritious green. Here are tips and a recipe to ensure success fermenting kale.
For a long time, the only beehive you tended to see would be the traditional Langstroth hive. In recent years, new styles have become popular including the Warre hive, and the top bar hive design. It is important to be familiar with the various styles of beehive in order to choose what is most appropriate for your colony.
Starting with gentle livestock breeds is key to success for new homesteaders. Scottish Highland cattle and Dorper/Katahdin cross sheep proved easy-to-handle and good producers for a retired Missouri couple.
Bees have nested in your home. How do you get rid of them humanely? There are no easy answers to this situation. The editor of Bee Culture magazine outlines your options for safe, non-lethal bee removal options that are available to you.
Fermentation goes against many rules that we have grown up with — don’t eat food from a can with a dented lid, that is frothing, or that has a bit of mold on top. Here is a a quick visual guide to common fermentation sights — but I don’t want to call it troubleshooting because often these things that look wrong are in fact fine.
Have you thought about selling your extra honey and beeswax products at a fair or festival? In Part 2 of a three-part series, Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary will discuss steps you can take to make your first fair or festival a success.
Small hive beetles are typically considered a secondary pest in the honeybee hive, paling in comparison to the Varroa mite. But they can be more than a nuisance. Left unchecked they may wreck the hive. There are ways to combat this secondary pest.
Have you thought about selling your extra honey and beeswax products at a fair or festival? In Part 1 of a three-part series, Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary will discuss how to get started in selling your products of the hive.
Most honeybee hives are calm and gentle. But every once in a while you may come across a hive that seems unusually aggressive. Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary will explain what steps they take to deal with an abnormally aggressive hive of bees.
Old trophies and medals are special reminders of triumphs in our past, but they can quickly pile up and become a large collection. Instead of discarding old medals, why not turn them into a keepsake that is both functional and practical?
Jostaberries are a cross between black currants and gooseberries, combing the best of both fruits to make a tasty berry and an even tastier jam. You can use a water bath canning method to preserve this productive perennial fruit.
During my time as a Polyface Farm intern, I never was able to grasp the turkeys as my personal responsibility. Now things are different. Get a glimpse through the eyes of a Polyface Apprentice as he raises Polyface Farm’s pastured turkeys.
Even though our goal is to be completely self-sufficient, one thing that I stress is that you don't have to be completely self-sufficient — just make it your goal to become more self-sufficient than you are right now. This blog will help people become more self-sufficient by leading by example, right or wrong. Here is your official invitation: Please come and join us!
Garlic scapes, the young flower stems of the garlic plant, have delightful flavor and can be preserved through lactic-acid fermentation in pickles, a convenient flavor paste, or as an ingredient to kraut or kimchi.
I started my first batch of mead after all these years back in October-November. You all may remember my post about the mead. Well, I had trouble with getting the damn thing to start. Here's what happened.
In order to save money, water and energy, one couple is building a new home that will incorporate a simple, gravity-run, household greywater system to divert and collect greywater, as well as rainwater from their roof, for landscape use.
Radishes are the red and white stars of my spring pickling classes. If you have more radishes in your garden than you can eat, or if you are just looking to try something new—I say pickle them! Not convinced? Here are five reasons radishes are to be fermented and a recipe for Spring Radish Kimchi to get you started.
In order to secure a building permit to construct a new home, many counties require a septic system inspection and approval. Here’s how one couple had a successful “perc” test done at their future home site, along with a quick explanation of what a perc test is.
My garden started out as just a need for feeding my family in the summer months. Over time, it not only needed to feed my family, but needed protection from various critters—including backyard chickens—that inhabit my yard. Learn how to construct raised beds, install shade cloth and build a fence to protect your plants.
These two structures for creating a sustainable homestead are not often associated, but with the right planning they can be integrated into a single multi-use structure that enhances both environments. A greenhouse/chicken coop becomes a year-round food-producing machine, giving you a bounty of fruits, vegetables and protein all in one.
Turn a collection of carpet-sample pieces into an eclectic rug for your kitchen or bathroom! This resourceful DIY project can be made with just four materials - some of which may already be in your home.
Ah, the fun begins for building a wood pallet guitar. In this post, we apply the following building steps: planning material, matching the right tools to the wood, shielding cavities, and basic electric guitar electronics assembly and testing.
Now it's time to gather your materials, thoughts, imagination, blend them together and your guitar plans. My plan is drawn out on old reversed-blue prints. I draw my plan in real size in case I have to scale for measurements.
This framed floral arrangement made with dried flowers and corsages is a lovely and sentimental art piece. It can be made with flowers saved and preserved from many occasions, or from this year’s Valentine’s Day flowers.
How can you create a lush naturally abundant indoor garden year-round? With these 7 simple principles, you can create a greenhouse that is completely self-sufficient, relying only on the sun to provide all of its heating needs. Moreover, solar greenhouses can grow much more than traditional greenhouses - citrus, avocados, guava - using less energy, water and resources.
This post is an overview of my wood pallet guitar. It explains the material sources, how they were obtained and preparation involved with little or no budget, along with the story of my life. Also, you’ll learn the benefits of recycling, repurposing, and reclaiming.
Whey is the liquid that remains after milk is curdled. Full of protein and nutrients, whey can be used to soak beans or grains, as a substitute in baking, and for lacto-fermented vegetables, such as sauerkraut.
It's important to keep indoor cats occupied to help them live long, healthy and happy lives. These homemade toys will do just the trick! The supplies are low cost and/or can be made by re-purposing items you already have at home.
This lentil-coconut soup recipe offers a rich and unique way to prepare protein-packed lentils using coconut milk and Indian spices. The masala and ginger will help cut the winter chill, transporting your taste buds to someplace warmer.
Being stung is the most often quoted reason for not keeping honeybees. This was also my fear before I started keeping bees. There are ways to reduce your chances of being stung. With just a few precautions, you don't have to let this keep you from a rewarding hobby.
This simple DIY project is a great way to display this seasons' holiday greetings, or to keep your mail organized. The materials are free or low-cost, depending on what’s in your recycling bin and craft or junk drawer!
What could be lurking in the commercial honey you buy? Maybe it’s not honey at all, and would you think honey is healthy if you knew it contained corn syrup? Let’s talk about how commercial honey is produced and why you might want to find a local source for raw honey.
This simple DIY project is a quick and easy way to repurpose a metal tray into a pretty place to display photos, notes, even holiday cards. The supplies needed may be found in your home or bought inexpensively at a local craft/home improvement store or found at a thrift shop.
Practical tips for transitioning through life's changes mindfully and healthfully. This will cover simple ways to get back on track and stay focused forward. Alex and Ashley share their own personal experience with picking back up and moving forward.
This year I took several liberties in developing a new version of salsa verde. I don't grow tomatillos so I use green tomatoes. I won't call it salsa verde (except on the lids of my jars), because it isn't authentic. But let me tell you, it is GOOD. Here is Annie’s Green Tomato Salsa Recipe good for use when water bath canning.
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.
Way back when, I made mead. I think it was back with Leif Erickson or some guy by that name. Of course, back then we had rotary phones, the Internet existed as ARPANET (look it up), and I was on the cutting edge when it came to computer development. I also stumbled across a USENET post for how to make mead.
"Folk Medicine" by D.C. Jarvis, M.D., written in 1958, explains how humans would do well to watch animals that know instinctively how to stay healthy. Jarvis advises drinking raw honey and apple cider vinegar for good health and vigor.
At the Mother Earth News Fair in Puyallup, Wash, I listened to lecturers cover topics from re-newable energy, small-scale farming, green building, organic gardening, simple living, and citizen solidarity building. While I listened, I pondered ways to weave these powerful themes into our children's lives.
Did you know that you can learn a lot about the condition of your beehives simply by watching the entrance of the hive? Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary will explain what to look for, and what it might mean. No smoke or hive tool necessary!
Propolis is becoming a very popular “bee product” in the natural health arena. The fact that it is produced in nature does not make a product sustainable. We must always be aware of the toll that the harvest of that product makes on the organism that creates it.
In previous posts, we have looked at how guard donkeys work and we’ve examined the pros and cons of using a donkey as a livestock guardian. If you are contemplating using a donkey, let’s look now at how to select a good candidate and how to integrate him or her into your stock.
On May 27, the Rachel Carson Homestead Association and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History are hosting the Celebrate Biodiversity Symposium in Pittsburgh, Penn., to celebrate the United Nations World Environment Day. Read to find out more and to register.
Reynaldo Ochoa, the subject of a new short film, grows with a goal of teaching and practicing permaculture unique to an individual's region, emphasizing sustainable farming as opposed to “slash and burn” agriculture.
The spirits industry is changing dramatically. However, owning and knowing how to use a still could be of great benefit to you. Knowing how to make a strong alcohol puts you in an immediate position of power.
The rich and diverse marine life of the Florida Keys can be experienced without ever getting wet: in a kayak, on a sailboat or at one of the many animal rescue or rehabilitation centers scattered along the Keys.
In 2014, I resolve to stay curious about the incredible world that we live in and continue to ask plenty of questions each day. I resolve to learn new things and stay informed and aware of global issues.
Summer fun gives way to windy, cold weather and before you know it, you've got winter dry skin – chapped, red and itchy hands. Use this easy-to-make DIY lotion; it’s a remarkable remedy for dry, cracked hands.
The Keystone Center, in partnership with the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center, is hosting a regional food workshop called “The Traditional Winter Garden: Fresh Food From December to March.”
Having guests visit your beeyard takes a lot of planning and preparation. Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary shares her experience having visitors in the beeyard, along with some tricks and tips to make the visit go more smoothly for everyone.
Although winter may seem a long way off, starting to prepare your beehives for winter now will pay off later. Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary will describe what they do to get their beehives ready for winter.
It was becoming pretty obvious the crowding and lack of light were real limitations to my mini garden. Then, the idea of a trough on the windowsill came to mind, combining a way to water all the plants uniformly and efficiently all at once. Great, now how to make this trough? Wood? Sheet metal? The choices all seemed expensive, clumsy, prone to leaking...then the light bulb went on in my head: gutters!
In this section you will find stories of real farmers across the country that made it work. You'll find their story, how they did it and who helped them. We hope these stories will inspire and educate new farmers, as well as land owners and community members to become involved in the new agrarian movement. A growing trust.
Ira Wallace explores good winter gardening reads, gives advice on how to use the winter lull wisely to plan and prepare, and shares an update in the ongoing court battle to protect family farmers from agri-giant Monsanto.
Grow calcium in your garden with collards, kale, and parsley. Suggestions are given for including these crops in your meals. Learn about companions to plant among your collards and kale to deter harmful insects.
Growing Local Food is a new book that encompasses all the needed basics to grow plants, keep heritage breed animals and bees. The author is a homesteader and physician who gives the readers the basic information to grow or find nutritious, local food
The factory farm creates the wealth for the doctors, lawyers, government regulators, and bankers … is it ironic that these same professionals will choose a Beechnut Turkey or an Oaknut Ham from Big Horn Ranch for their family gathering?