Echinacea: A Common Medicinal for a Variety of Ailments

Echinacea has a rich history, used by several Native American tribes of North America for different purposes, the chief one being as an analgesic (it relieved fever, headaches, and provided pain relief). Echinacea is a natural remedy to turn to the next time you or a family member come down with a cold.

Mullein: A Common Medicinal for Home Remedies

Cowboy’s Toilet Paper, Our Lady’s Candle, Bunny’s Ear, Beggar’s Blanket, & Quaker’s Rouge are just a few nicknames for Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus), a member of the snapdragon family. You will find this fuzzy, biennial plant growing on roadsides and in areas that have been disturbed in almost every state. A pioneer plant, it grows well in any type of soil, enhancing the soil as it grows (nitrogen fixer) which means it is a great plant to keep on your permaculture property for more than just an herbal remedy (or toilet paper emergency).

Locavores (Eating Local Food) and Preparedness

Here are The Prepared Homestead‘s top 5 reasons to become a locavore. By the way, you don’t need to join groups or pay membership fees to become a locavore, you can just do it. Now. Today. You can also call it whatever you like.

State Fair Strawberry Jam Recipe

Nothing is more delicious than jam made from fresh, sweet strawberries. This easy recipe uses strawberries and sugar. That's all!

3 Fertilizer Teas for Plants

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!

4 Reasons To Grow Hops In Your Backyard

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.

Easy Greens and Fruit Smoothie Recipe

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.

A Woman's Perspective on Off-Grid Living (with Video)

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.

Off-Grid Water Preparedness

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.

Use Your Chickens as Compost Workers

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.

Bone Broth Basics

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 Humanely

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.

Designing a Medicinal Guild

Last weekend I spent an afternoon studying different bushes, trees, and herbaceous plants in order to design the newest guild on our Permafarm.

Water Strategies for the Homestead

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.

Building a Hoop Coop

Because our flock is now running around 40 birds, we are in dire need of an updated coop for our hens and their roosters.

Homestead Planning

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.

Solemn Confession of a Rookie Off-Grid Homesteader

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!

Goal-Setting for the Homestead, Part 2

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, Part 1

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.

Preparing to Homestead, Part 2

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.

Preparing to Homestead, Part 1

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.

The Prepared Homestead Kitchen: Top Appliances, Part 4

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!

Our Summer with a Community Garden Plot

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!

The Prepared Homestead Kitchen: Top Appliances, Part 2

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.

Preparing for Power Outages on the Homestead, Part 2

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.

The Prepared Homestead Kitchen: Top Appliances, Part 1 (with Sandwich Bread Recipe)

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.

Preparing for Power Outages on the Homestead, Part 1

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.

Food Preservation Through Water Bath and Pressure Canning

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.

Homestead Composting

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.

Putting Up Corn Relish

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.

Quick Barbecue Sauce Recipe for Canning

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.

Drying Herbs to Savor the Flavor

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.

Sweet Summer Mustard Recipe

This recipe is fun, easy, delicious and, because the ingredients are staples in your pantry, you can make it any time of year.

Golden Plums Preserves Recipe

What could be better than these luscious preserves made from golden plums? Capture the taste of summer with this easy recipe.

Fresh-as-Summer Mint Jelly

Mint is the zucchini of herbs. When you have a bumper crop, here’s a fun and delicious way to tap your mint harvest.

Natural Mint Tea

Nothing could be easier than growing a pot of mint for dozens of culinary uses, including brewing mint tea!

The Amazing Instincts of Livestock Guardian Dogs

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?

From Nomadic Marine Corps Family to Rooted Modern Homesteaders

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.

Free Chicken Stock

After the chicken dinner and hot dish and salads, there is one free meal left in that bird!

Holiday Gift Bags

Delight your host by taking one of these homemade treats.

Pick and Pack a Peck of Pickled Peppers

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.

End of the Season

A philosophical look at the coming of winter, with ideas for preserving the summer after the end-of-the-season pepper harvest.

Beekeeping: Try Before You Buy

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.

Where Did Summer Go?

The Fall garden is bursting and the canning kettle hot as we draw summer to a close in North Central Idaho.

Pesto Pesto Pesto

The green of summer available right in your freezer year round!

Life Is Short

The terminal diagnoses and reality of dying reinforce our commitment to homesteading.

Beekeeping How-To: Day 1

The post office has called to say your bees have arrived! Now What? Step-by-step instructions on installing your hive.

Mother's Day Lilacs

Mother's Day weekend brought lilacs, bedding plants, pie and a nap.

April Showers

Finally some sun, too bad it is during the work week!

All Chicks Grow Up

Chicks and kids growing right before our eyes this spring.

Pie Crust Therapy

Spring brings about manic bouts of project planning and completion, but at least there is pie!

Spring Fever

Beekeeping supply arrived, it's light out and I have a fever!

Food as Local as Your Body

Beyond the global, environmental and social impacts of eating local, feeding your organs healthy fuel buys you precious time on earth.

Start the Seeds Already

Dragging my feet to get spring started, afraid to fail and making the decision to jump in an succeed or fail already!

What Is a Proofing Box

A proofing box is a critical tool in cooking sourdough bread; here is a simple way of making one.

The Nature of Growing Up

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.

Under the Covers with a Flashlight

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.

Do Ducks Wear Jeans?

That moment you realize contentment looks pretty good on you, but the ducks seem distant.

On Ducks and Water

After two weeks amongst the poorest in India, how do I come home?

So You Got Your Dream Homestead, Now What?

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?