By Melissa Souza
I have become increasingly aware of the antibiotics, growth hormones, and unsanitary practices involved in getting those perfectly wrapped steaks on the super market shelves. For about five minutes I attempted to purchase all organic meats for my family of six, and quickly realized that those costs were not feasible for our grocery budget. We grow our own produce, we raise our own eggs, so why can’t we raise our own meat? For starters, we have an acre. As much as I would love to add pigs, goats, and beef cattle to our homestead, there simply isn’t enough land to support large livestock.
Continue reading Build a rabbit hutch and tractor
By Dave Duffy
A-frames make great huts for small animals. Inexpensive and easy to construct, the steep angle discourages goats from climbing on top. Two people can move the lightweight structures easily so you can experiment and find the spot that suits your critters.
Easy-to-build A-frame huts make fine shelters for small and medium-sized homestead animals. Just fasten together 2×6 (or 2×4) boards in the form of the letter “A” for the legs, making the joint at the peak secure by using a piece of plywood. Use a 2×6 as a cross-piece further down to make the leg assembly very strong. Then join two pairs of legs together at the peak with an 8-foot 2×6 acting as the roof ridge. Cover with galvanized corrugated roofing and you have a handy hut. We used “treated” 2x6s because they last longer when exposed to weather, especially if you place the feet on inexpensive concrete pavers.
Continue reading A-frame huts for small animals
By Setanta O’Ceillaigh
It was not my intention to live in such small housing, but necessity is the drive of all creation. I had lived most of my life as one of the rural poor, but then went to work where I was making so much compared to what I did before that it was like winning the lottery. I made some very poor financial choices and was forced to make significant changes to remove the worst elements from my life. I moved back to the countryside and got out of my mortgage and car loan by voluntarily surrendering them to the bank. I bought the best tract of land I could afford out of savings, got a dilapidated camper, and moved onto the lot almost the day the deed was in my hand. I was determined to make it work or die trying.
Continue reading Working my way up — Part 1: Living in a storage shed
By Karen M. House
In the middle of summertime, plants are producing. Berry plants produce berries, and flowering plants produce blossoms. The God-given purpose for the plants in producing the colorful display of fruit and flowers in the summer is to perpetuate itself — to produce young plants. The benefit to us humans is that the plants produce far more than they need for simple reproduction, and a lot of what they produce is beneficial to us. Most people, though, have no idea what is growing right around them, or how to use it.
Continue reading 7 plants to forage in summer
There are only two economical, exciting, expeditious, and fun methods of cutting firewood: one is with a chainsaw, the other is … we’ll get to that later.
I’ve picked up a bunch of tips by reading Popular Mechanics since I began sawing and splitting my own firewood over 50 years ago. Along the way, I’ve created and developed a few of my own tricks, methods, and means which I am pleased to share with fellow self-reliant types.
Continue reading A few tips for cutting firewood
By Miranda Rommel
Cheese: it’s delicious. Cheese making is a skill that’s been practiced for thousands of years, but for many home cooks it can seem mysterious and complicated. But it doesn’t have to be intimidating. Forget the special cultures, rennet, or dark caves. If you’re a newbie cheese maker, this is a great recipe for getting your feet wet and has lots of room for creativity.
Continue reading Farmer’s cheese
By David Goodman
As an utter cheapskate, I’ve spent much of my life finding ways to re-use and stretch everything I own. This definitely extends into the gardening realm.
If you’re like me, you can’t stand throwing away anything that might feed the soil. If you’ve been known to snag bags of leaves from beside the road, or take home coffee grounds from the office for your roses, keep reading, because I’ve got some ideas for you on composting almost everything without building a pile, buying a tumbler, tending worms, or measuring temperatures.
Continue reading Melon pits, sheet composting, and compost tea