Homestead Projects

Getting Started with Shiitake Mushrooms

Mycelium Magic: Getting Started with Shiitake Mushrooms

Growing some of your own food is an important early step in homesteading: growing your own mushrooms puts you on an entirely different level of self sufficiency. For beginners, shiitakes are a simple mushroom to learn to cultivate. And they are delicious! Rich in 'umami' flavor, shiitakes have an outstanding meaty texture when sauteed, broiled, baked or grilled. Popular in ...
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The Incredible Soap Nut: A Sustainable Laundry Solution

"Soap nuts? What are those? How are broken bits of shell supposed to get my clothes clean?" All good questions you should be asking after your first exposure to this special nut. Technically a berry, soap nuts are lauded as one of the best environmentally conscious alternatives to chemical detergents and soaps. A highly prolific tree that can grow well in degraded environments, soap nut ...
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Building an Off-Grid Chicken Waterer From the Gutter Down

Rain barrel off the side of the house I have some very needy chickens. Almost every day their thirst demands that Ian or I refill their poultry waterer. Filling it is a simple enough process but made more complicated because our entire homestead runs on rainwater and all our livestock water comes from giant rain barrels off the side of our house ...
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DIY on a Dime: Rabbit Lawn Mower

Who actually likes mowing the lawn? Not me. Gas powered mowers are noisy, time-consuming, and belch more fossil fuels into the atmosphere per hour than the 11 cars. Yikes. Most of our yard can be allowed to grow wild and natural, but there are some portions, especially along the front patio that simply look better with trimmed grass. Because one of the primary ...
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late winter

Late Winter Homestead Projects

The quick thaw of all seventeen inches of snow jump started our lives out of snow day mode and into the mindset of spring projects. Though the warmer weather is fickle and likely to give way to at least one more big snowstorm, here is a quick look at where we are now on our homestead and what we hope ...
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DIY Seed Starting Table from Recycled Materials

One advantage of being snowed on the mountain for the past few days was that Ian had lots of time to work on some homestead improvement projects. First on his list was making the garden shed usable for me to start seeds in a few weeks by building a seed starting table. Yes, we could have bought a folding table from ...
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bake oven

Baking Bread with an Earth Oven

Baking in an earth oven is a wonderful culinary experience. Also called cob, an Old English term for lump, earth ovens are built with layers of clay, straw and mud that dry into a smooth brick-like substance. This style of architecture has been used throughout the world, from the adobe homes of the American southwest to 500 year old cob ...
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The Hawaiian Maggonator

Sunset view from my favorite Hawaiian beach Just about a year ago, I found myself with an open four months between my final college class and graduation in May. Instead of getting a job or planning my wedding like any reasonable person would do, I flew out to a tiny town on the Big Island of Hawaii to do work trade at a ten ...
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Make Stellar Compost in your Kitchen with Worms

Ian will forever hold it against me that he didn't have nearly as much luck with our wedding registry as I did. My kitchen is well stocked, but his tool shed is sadly bare. So it only made sense that he would have more control over the multitude of gift cards that we received. Little did I know he would ...
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