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  • outhouse flower close up

    Homestead Stories: The Outhouse Flower

    I have fond memories of the outhouse at the family cottage. Years ago. When I was a youngster. Dad had built it far enough from the cottage that it didn’t project its noxious odors into the place where we ate and slept. Mom planted tall, bushy flowers around the outhouse in an attempt to beautify […] More

  • bee balms

    Bee Balms Or Bee Bums?

    “Mom,” my six-year-old called from the front walk where he had been riding his bike back and forth. He had paused in front of my display of red and purple, firework-like flowers and admired them. At an age where he wanted to know everything, it wasn’t unexpected that he would ask about the different flowers […] More

  • the holly and the ivy

    Homestead Stories: The Holly And The Ivy

    “The holly and the ivy, when they are both full grown. Of all the trees that are in the wood, the holly bears the crown.” I hummed the tune happily as I dialed my parents’ number. I would be going home in a few days to spend Christmas with the family. I was excited and […] More

  • bulk food in jars

    Frugal Living: Everything You Need To Know

    It’s no secret that modern living is a bit of a morass of consumerism, waste, and debt. In a world where the latest smartphone debuts less than a year after its previous iteration, where the Joneses are always one step ahead of you, and where mountains of plastic are clogging up waterways and oceans, the […] More

  • jack-in-the-pulpit

    Jack-In-The-Pulpit: A Beautiful Flower With A Weird Name

    Growing up in the 1960s, just about everyone in my class at school went to church, and most churches were similar in layout, including, at the front by the choir, a pulpit. So, when the lessons turned to studying the wildflowers of Ontario, the one plant which captured our attention was the Jack-in-the-pulpit. The teacher […] More

  • false solomon's seal

    Homestead Stories: What’s False About False Solomon’s Seal?

    “False Solomon’s seal? What’s that? And why is it false? What’s the real thing?” Questions. Always lots of questions. Each new discovery on my country property opened up a new page of learning, understanding, and appreciating. I had been studying the knee-tall foliage that arched over my flower beds. With oval-shaped leaves draping along the […] More

  • trout lily

    Homestead Stories: How I Accidentally Grew Trout Lilies

    When I first moved to the country, I was amazed at the bounty of both wildlife and wildflowers. I had a big job ahead of me—tidying the forested part of our property. I wanted to clear out the brambles and remove the garbage that had been randomly dumped in a place the previous owners believed […] More

  • soap made with hops

    Making Homemade Soap

    I started making my own soap out of necessity, but eventually it became one of our farm products. Around 2000, I started having severe rashes. I had combination allergies, which made me allergic to soaps, shampoos, laundry detergent and even toothpaste! I started out making my soaps with melt-and-pour glycerin, but that proved to be […] More

  • dandelions

    Why You Should Keep Your Dandelions

    Yellow, yellow everywhere. Interspersed with the yellow, were just as plentiful white puffballs of fluff. Hardly any green. It was a dandelion haven. As a child, I recall picking dandelions as a flower bouquet for Mom or Gran. They loved them, or so they claimed, and made a big deal of placing them in water […] More

  • black and white lighthouse on the beach

    Lighthouses For Sale

    Buying a lighthouse is more than a real estate transaction. It’s a lifestyle change that links you to a proud American tradition. The best way to find lighthouses for sale is via a US Government lighthouse “property disposal”. These happen sporadically. When one is going on, the General Services Administration lists available lighthouses on this […] More

  • maple trees tapped for sap

    Homesteading Stories: Maple Sugaring

    There are a lot of different types of maple trees – at least 128 species. Some grow better than others. Some are a harder wood, making them ideal for use on bowling alley floors, while others are considered a weed maple because they grow too big, too fast and too soft. There’s the silver maple, […] More

  • white orchid in winter

    How To Care For Orchids

    “You should be advised, sir,” the clerk advised my husband, “that when the blossoms die, it doesn’t mean the plant is dead. It does go through a dormant stage. And don’t over-water.” My husband smiled as he paid for the purchase and accepted the carefully wrapped plant to bring home. “Not to worry. My wife […] More

  • rhubarb garden

    Homestead Stories: Great Grandpa’s Rhubarb

    The first heavy frost has just hit and the temperature has taken a nose dive well below freezing. The gardens are all tucked in their beds, well covered with leaves. Little nobs still poke their heads above the frozen earth, but the remnants of my great grandfather’s rhubarb are well blanketed with a thick layer […] More

  • jerusalem artichoke tubers

    Jerusalem Artichokes

    I first discovered Jerusalem artichokes about four years ago in Arkansas. I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me when I saw the 5-foot stalk with a yellow flower that looked like a miniature sunflower without the seeds. I flipped through my edible plants book, surfed the web, did some research and was pleased […] More

  • chickens drinking water

    Lessons From Facing Death On The Homestead

    As a small girl in my suburban neighborhood, dealing with death was something unusual. So when my pet fish died, tears were shed and a solemn, toilet-side funeral was held, complete with speeches! Any time I found a dead baby bird in the spring, my long-suffering father would kindly wrap it in tissues and bury […] More

  • Homestead Stories: Memories Of Carving Pumpkins

    The shape isn’t perfect – it never is. It’s rather flat on one side since that’s the way it laid on the ground while it grew. Its shape adds character. At least, one can imagine that it does. Washed and then dried, it sits on the kitchen table awaiting its demise. Or, perhaps, its re-creation […] More

  • copperhead snake laying in woods

    Homestead Stories: Dealing With A Copperhead Den

    I knew before making the move to Arkansas several years ago that I would get to see a lot of snakes, especially since Central Arkansas is hot, humid, and rocky. The climate in combination with the rocky terrain makes the area perfect for snakes. I’ve encountered beautiful queen snakes, king snakes, garter snakes, and many […] More

  • shovel and compost bin

    What I Did When My Compost Got Smelly

    “Ugh! What’s that smell?” I still remember the exclamations that came from our next door neighbor, back in the day when we lived nestled way too close together in not-so-blissful suburbia. Over time the exclamations continued, “I can’t sit out here. It positively reeks.” After that came the pointing and glaring. The Source Of The […] More

  • Our Dead Trees Became Living Fungal Art

    Fungi are remarkable, and after many trees fell in our yard we discovered the beauty of living fungal art. Trees–they’re beautiful when healthy, but even long-living, solid trees can meet an untimely end. When we moved onto our one-acre country lot, we were thrilled with the bits of forest that surrounded our house. Not only […] More

  • My Chickens Survived A Montana Winter Because I Broke The Rules

    One of the most pressing concerns for me, when I began raising chickens, was what to do with them in winter. Living in northwest Montana, I’m accustomed to plenty of snow, some nice arctic wind, and temperatures ranging from the high 20s to below zero. If we have a chinook in January or February, then […] More

  • How To Make A Healing Salve From Backyard “Weeds”

    Before I was interested in natural ways of healing, I had no problem reaching for the common OTC cough syrups, ointments, and multi-syllabic pills available at my local big box store. However, as I learned more about the side effects of synthetic additives, petroleum-based ointments, and hormone-disrupting chemicals, I started wondering about the safety and […] More

  • How To Make Money Growing Trees

    Planting trees can help the environment, and your wallet. Agro-farming methods incorporate trees into the homestead landscape. In turn, the trees provide food and shelter for wildlife, and help control erosion. Additionally, the methods serve as a windbreak and offer shade and shelter to people, plants, and animals. From a homesteading standpoint, agro-farming helps to […] More

  • the completed garden full of spring flowers

    English Garden Inspiration For Your Yard

    As homes become more condensed, an English garden may be the perfect solution to a homeowner’s planting needs. Twenty years ago, we moved into a small, two-story, three-bedroom house in the suburbs. The front yard consisted of a large driveway leading to the garage, a path to the front porch, and a small ground space […] More

  • Earthbag Dome House

    How To Build An Earthbag House For $6,164

    In this post, guest author Jay Eisenberg details how he and his wife built their earthbag house for $6,164, completed on Oahu recently in 2017. For years I had dreamed of building my own home and not being enslaved with a mortgage. While living in New Zealand I was connected with Shaye Boddington of DIY […] More

  • How To Make Maple Syrup

    It’s February in Minnesota, and we’ve already tapped our maple trees! We typically do this in March, when the temperatures are above freezing during the day and below freezing at night—this is when maple trees typically begin to fill with sap. This year we’ve gotten a taste of spring quite early! Hopefully, this will mean […] More

  • oats for making fodder

    Growing Fodder

    Most people feed their animals commercial feed. But I’m not like most people. I know that our diets play a huge role in determining our health and wellness. The same is true for animals. So instead of commercial feed, my livestock eats fodder. In farming, grains that are allowed to sprout are called fodder. Fodder is similar […] More

  • Beekeeping For Beginners

    Today’s Homestead Story on Beekeeping for Beginners was written by Melissa Hartner of Black Sheep and Honeybees. Melissa lives with her family on their half-acre homestead in Minnesota. In this post, Melissa walks us through her beginner beekeeping experience during year one. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that our honeybees are in […] More