Category Archives: In the Self-Reliant Home

An old-school cache to store food and supplies

By Setanta O’Ceillaigh

After two very productive gardens and two winters of dehydrating food, I found I had a substantial amount of dried goods in sealed jars. While I was filling my cabin with more jars than I could keep track of, I pondered the possibility of future crop failures — not just of my own garden but regional failures which were common historically. Before the advent of canning in the early 1800s it was not practical to store fruit and vegetables for long periods of time, as mold and insects would eventually spoil even the best laid provisions.… Read the rest

Little ones on the homestead

By Melissa Souza

Everywhere I go around the homestead I have four little ones following close behind me, two of which always have their boots on the wrong feet. Folks are always asking how we get it all done with four homeschooled children. It is true that I never have a stretch of time when children are gone at school, but that only means that I have helpers all of the time. Homesteading with children is a state of mind.… Read the rest

Laundry line tips from an old hat

By Amanda Woodlee

Nothing warms my pioneer blood like clothes hanging on a line to dry. For me it’s a chance to unwind while I take care of household business. It’s a wonderful basic country skill, but, after so many years of doing it, I have found ways to make it easier and avoid its pitfalls, such as dust and scratchy towels.

There are also monetary benefits to line-drying your clothes. The most obvious is how considerably it lowers your electric bill — twofold!… Read the rest

Working my way up — Part 1: Living in a storage shed

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.… Read the rest

A few tips for cutting firewood

Chuck Klein

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.… Read the rest

Practical prepping

By Melissa Souza

Sometimes when I drive into town I look around and think to myself, “One day this could all be different.” There have been countless zombie apocalypse, EMP blackout, and alien invasion television shows, but it’s doubtful that something like that would really happen. But what if it did? It’s difficult to imagine our familiar world with our convenient lives halted and radically altered. It seems like it could never happen, and the majority of folks live their lives telling themselves that it never will.… Read the rest

Confessions of a desert rat — Life in the boonies on $30 a week

By Joel Simon

I’m what some people call a Cedar Rat. I live alone with a couple of dogs in the Southwest high desert on less than $30 a week. I built my home and make my living largely on what other people cast off.

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And this is my back yard.

I’ve been a hermit out here a long time now. My reasons don’t matter and would be far too long a story anyway. If I’d waited until I had the money and circumstances to do it right, I’d still be waiting.… Read the rest

How we homeschool

By Melissa Souza

I have a degree in Early Childhood Education and taught in the public school system for three years. As soon as my husband and I had our first child, we knew that public school was not for us. We wanted to have control over what our children were taught, and when they were taught it. My husband and I felt it was our responsibility to raise hard-working, self-driven, self-disciplined, and imaginative human beings.… Read the rest

Storing food the right way

By Jackie Clay-Atkinson

My husband, Will, and I firmly believe that every family should have two years’ worth of food stocked up at all times. Just like our grandparents before us, we believe that it brings peace of mind and satisfaction to have enough food and supplies on hand that we can coast through any future hard times with ease.

One question about food storage keeps popping up: “How long is my stored food good for?” Folks are concerned with the safety of their families and don’t want to serve them food that has gone bad.… Read the rest

Basic long-term food storage

By James Kash

Long-term food storage has played a pivotal role in humanity’s survival. For thousands of years, foods have been preserved in some form for winter use. The Native Americans caught and dried fish each year to supply food to the tribe. On the eastern continents, people fermented grapes into wine, along with threshing and storing grains to be ground into flour during the winter. One hundred years ago, a house pantry was a common feature in the home and played a role in storing the family’s food supply.… Read the rest