If you’re planning on putting your homestead on the market anytime soon, you’re most likely going to be looking at a few renovation projects before you sell. Besides adding value to your property, improvement projects are an amazing way to gain new skills and deepen the pride you feel for your home. However, if you’re planning on staying put for a while, renovating serves another purpose — it allows you to make your home better fit your lifestyle. Luckily for DIYers everywhere, there are a number of home improvement projects that can can do both at once.
Home Improvement Projects
1. Boosting Curb Appeal
When considering curb appeal, we tend to think of suburban homes. You know…homes that actually have curbs in front of them. That being said, it’s just as important for homesteads — curbs be damned. Most buyers associate the condition of the exterior with that of the interior, thereby forming an opinion of the house before setting foot inside. If you are planning on selling your homestead (either now or in the future), increasing curb appeal is the first thing you should focus on.
There are a number of factors that go into curb appeal, including:
- The condition of the grass, landscaping, trees and bushes near the front of the property
- Condition of the roof
- The condition of the siding
- The condition/presence of patios and decks
Improving the curb appeal of your property may be more costly than you imagined, but it’s definitely worth it. Not only can it have a huge impact on the sale price, it will also give your homestead a glow that will have you beaming for years to come.
Start by tackling the landscaping. Put plants on the porch, flowers in the garden, and dark or redwood mulch around freshly trimmed trees and shrubs. If you have overgrown evergreen shrubs, rip them out and replace them with leafy plants and colorful annuals. Pull weeds and cut down invasive vines. Once you’re done, put a crisp edge on the garden beds to give everything a clean look. Baby your lawn by starting and maintaining a fertilizer and watering regimen. Cover any bare spots with seeds or sod, and be sure to get rid of crab grass and thistles.
Next comes your fencing. As any homesteader knows, the most important part about fencing is whether or not it keeps the animals in (and the predators out.) Aesthetic rarely plays much of a part. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make sure it’s clean and in good condition. Replace any broken slats, panels, and electric wiring, gates and tighten loose latches. A sturdy fence won’t necessarily give extra value to your property, but it will attract buyers who are bringing animals with them.
Roof in disrepair? It’s time to replace it. If you’ll be staying in your homestead for a while, this will serve you well — and if you’re selling, you’ll be able to sell increase the asking price. Power wash the outside of the house to brighten it up. If you notice any damaged siding or peeling paint, you’ll need to replace and repaint. Do all of this for barns, outbuildings, and animal housing as well. Freshly painted trim, new shutters, and updated gutters can make your house look brand new. And if you really want to make things pop, paint your front door in a bright tone that compliments the trim. It doesn’t hurt to update the house numbers and mailbox, as well.
Finally, you’ll want to create an outdoor living area. Repair, paint/stain, and seal your porch, patio, and/or deck. If space allows, furnish these areas with chairs, tables, benches, fire pits, lighting, decor, etc. To create an inviting and relaxing atmosphere, consider building a pergola or installing a water feature. Outdoor living spaces are in very high demand as most Americans find them a necessity for throwing parties, socializing, and spending time with friends and family. Not only do they add a ton of value to the home, they’re a great way to get your family outdoors for more than just doing farm chores.
2. A Wow-Worthy Kitchen
Since the kitchen is the popular room in the house, upgrading it is a sure-fire way to add value to your home. You can update an old-fashioned design, add and island to enhance your kitchen’s functionality, install energy efficient appliances, or simply remodel your kitchen to suit your family’s needs. No matter what reason you decide to do it, it’s important to remember that a kitchen remodel is a big deal. It can be surprisingly expensive and should be well thought out. To avoid blowing your budget, consider doing the following:
- Stick with your current layout. While taking out walls, moving gas lines, plumbing connections, and electrical wiring doesn’t seem like too much work, the cost can add up really quickly.
- If your cabinets are in good shape and you like the style, give them a few coats of paint and fresh hardware for a whole new look. If you need new cabinets, buy ready to assemble or in stock cabinets, as custom cabinets will cost thousands more.
- Though granite has been king for the past few years, it can be quite expensive. There is a wide range of affordable countertop options to choose from — butcher block, concrete, tile, and even laminate can look equally as beautiful for a lot less dough.
Don’t forget to make space for the utilitarian things as well. Oven hoods aren’t overrated — they work hard to vent smoke, heat, and humidity, and smells to the outside world. Create a hidden space for trash cans, whether it be under the sink or in it’s own dedicated pull-out drawer. Wall outlets are your friend; make sure to install a few extra so you always have room to plug in your countertop appliances.
3. Making the Most of Your Bathroom
It might surprise you to know that bathrooms rarely have proper lighting. Light your bathroom in a series of layers. For general lighting, a ceiling fixture works well; but when it comes to your vanity you’ll want sconces or other vertical fixtures mounted on either side of the mirror to reduce shadows and light your face evenly. Use decorative light fixtures over tubs or showers to enhance the overall mood of the room.
Bathroom storage can be a real challenge — especially when you have a full size shower and pedestal sink. If you have room, a closet, armoire, or even just a simple chest is ideal for handling the essentials. Install shelving anywhere there is blank wall space, such as above the toilet or over towel bars. You can even use the spaces between wall studs to create built in niches for holding soaps and toiletries. There are also a multitude of ways to store the small stuff, including magnetic strips and undercabinet caddies.
If you’re doing a full bathroom remodel, there are a few simple ways to avoid overspending. Consider refinishing your bathtub, shower, sink, or tile rather than replacing it — you’ll end paying a fraction of the price. You can also update your bathroom cheaply and easily by changing hardware, such as drawer pulls, faucet handles, and showerheads. And just like the kitchen, if you really want to save money, keep your current layout. Leave the sink and toilet where they are or you’ll find yourself hemorrhaging money to move the plumbing.
4. One Thing at a Time
If you simply don’t have the budget for full on room renovations, there are smaller projects you can take on one at a time to add value and interest to your home. For instance, interior doors are a key part of a home’s overall decor, and replacing them with flat or raised panel doors adds fresh style, character, and personality. In many homes, interior doors are hollow core. Switching them out with solid core doors will not only add weight, it will also significantly reduce noise.
Poor lighting and outdated fixtures take attention away from your home’s true beauty. Install new fixtures with higher wattage bulbs to give your house a modern feel and friends and buyers alike focused on its best features. Something as simple as changing candle shaped bulbs to round ones in a chandelier can make a huge style difference!
Staircases are often a focal point in homes, so keeping them in tip top shape is incredibly important. Repair broken treads, fill gouges, and fasten railings and carpeting securely. If you want to change the look of your stairs, you can replace the balusters, refinish/paint the wood, or add runners. There are tons of fun and easy ways to dress up staircases on a budget.
If you live in an older house, you may find yourself lacking storage space. That’s why it’s absolutely essential to make the most of the closets you do have. Update your closets by installing multilevel rods, shelves, and pullout drawers. Not only will this leave you with a far more functional closet, your home will look more customized to potential buyers when you’re ready to sell.
5. Hiring Smart
When it comes to home improvement projects, you’ll want to honestly assess which projects you can do yourself, and which are better left to professionals. Trust me, it’s far cheaper to have a contractor do the project from the get-go than having to call them in to fix your mess. Of course, choosing the right contractor is the key to a successful home renovation project — and it’s not the easiest thing to do.
Start by gathering referrals from friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors. Then, search the National Association of the Remodeling Industry for a list of contractors available in your area. Once you have a list of three to five, you can start collecting bids. Be wary of the lowest bidder as this may indicate that a contractor is cutting corners or using subpar materials. You’re most likely safest with the bid that falls somewhere in the middle.
Once you’ve chosen a contractor, ask for a copy of both their license and that of the major subcontractors who will work on the project. You absolutely must hire a licensed, bonded, and insured contractor. Otherwise, you’ll be liable if a member of the work crew gets injured on the job. Before you make your final decision, check disciplinary boards, the Better Business Bureau, and local court records for any claims.
Finally, draw up a contract that details:
- Start and projected completion date
- Project description
- Specific materials and products to be used
- Total cost
- Payment schedule
- Contractor’s license number and that of all subcontractors
- Proof of liability insurance and worker’s compensation payments
- A requirement that the contractor obtain lien releases from all subcontractors and suppliers
Hiring a contractor means putting a lot of trust in a total stranger — not to mention welcoming them into your home. It’s important to do your due diligence in order to find the right person. You’ll find your thoroughness and patience was well worth it in the end when you’re left with an amazing finished product.
Did you find this post on home improvement projects useful and informational? Let us know in the comments section below!
This Article Was Found On pioneersettler.com Read the Original Article
NYC Adds Nearly 4,000 People Who Never Tested Positive To Coronavirus Death Tolls
New York City added nearly 4,000 people who never tested positive for the coronavirus to its death toll Tuesday, bringing coronavirus-related deaths in the city to around 10,000 people.
The city decided to add 3,700 people to its death tolls, who they “presumed” to have died from the virus, according to a report from The New York Times. The additions increased the death toll in the U.S. by 17%, according to the Times report, and included people who were suffering from symptoms of the virus, such as intense coughing and a fever.
The report stated that Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio decided over the weekend to change the way the city is counting deaths.
“In the heat of battle, our primary focus has been on saving lives,” de Blasio press secretary Freddi Goldstein told the Times.“As soon as the issue was raised, the mayor immediately moved to release the data.”
How To Make Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut In A Mason Jar
The thing about homesteading is you get to create your own ingredient right from scratch! Cheese, yogurt, butter and now sauerkraut, a delightfully sour and crunchy ingredient you can use on your meals — or consume by itself — while on a homestead, or while facing this health crisis!
This homemade sauerkraut is a great meal because it has a long shelf life. You can either make plain sauerkraut or mix it with herbs and spices. In this tutorial let us make Lacto-fermented sauerkraut that preserves all the good probiotics in a jar, good for your guts.
So how to make sauerkraut in a mason jar?
Delicious Sauerkraut Recipe Every Homesteader Should Know
Why Make Sauerkraut?
Not only does sauerkraut spoil a long time, but it is also a meal in itself, and it is also easy to make! You don’t need to be an expert cook, all you need to do is follow these simple steps.
So let us get started. Here are the steps in making sauerkraut in a mason jar.
- 1 head of cabbage or 2 1/2 lbs cabbage
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- mason jar
- smaller jar
- rubber band
Step 1: Wash & Clean the Tools & Ingredients
Wash all the equipment and utensils you need. Wash your hands too.
You don’t want to mix your sauerkraut with bad bacteria, anything that is going to make you sick.
Next, remove the faded leaves from your cabbage. Cut off the roots and the parts that don’t seem fresh.
Step 2: Cut the Cabbage Into Quarters & Slice Into Strips
Cut your cabbage into quarters and remove the core. Then, slice it into strips.
Step 3: Place in a Bowl & Sprinkle With Salt
Put the stripped cabbage into a bowl. Sprinkle the cabbage with 1 tablespoon of salt.
TIP: Use canning salt or sea salt. Iodized salt will make it taste different and may not ferment the cabbage.
RELATED: Homemade Yogurt Recipe
Step 4: Massage the Cabbage
Massage the cabbage for five minutes or more to get the juice out.
TIP: You’ll know it’s ready when you see a bit of juice at the bottom of the bowl and will look similar to coleslaw.
Step 5: Press Cabbage Into the Mason Jar
Add the cabbage to the mason jar gradually. Press it in hard to allow the juice to come out. Do this every time you add about a handful of cabbage.
IMPORTANT: Food should be covered by the liquid to promote fermentation. Add any excess liquid from the bowl to the jar.
Step 6: Press a Smaller Jar Into the Mason Jar
You want to squeeze every ounce of that juice from the cabbage. To do this place the mason jar in a bowl and get a smaller jar.
Fill it with water or marble to make it heavy. Press it into the bigger mason jar. Allow any juices to rise to the surface.
Step 7: Cover the Jars With Cloth & Tie With Rubber Band
Leave the small jar on. To keep your jars clean from annoying insects and irritating debris, cover your jars with a clean cloth. Then, use a rubber band to tie the cloth and the jars together, putting them in place.
Step 8: Set Aside & Check Daily
Set it aside in a cool dry place, away from direct sunlight. Check the water level daily. It should always be above the cabbage.
Step 9: Taste Your Sauerkraut & Keep at Cool Temperatures
After about five days, you can taste your sauerkraut. If the taste is to your liking, tightly cover it with the lid and store in the fridge or cellar.
NOTE: If after five days it’s still not your desired taste, leave it for a few more days. This will allow the fermentation process to continue.
You can now enjoy your sauerkraut in a mason jar. Enjoy its goodness! You can use it as a side dish or mix it with your favorite sandwich.
Things to Remember in Making Sauerkraut
- Store away from direct sunlight and drafts.
- Colder weather will make the process longer. Spring is the best time to make them since the warmth helps activate the fermentation.
- Always make sure that the cabbage is below the water level during the entire fermentation process.
- If the water level decreases during the fermentation process, you can make a brine and add it.
Let us watch this video from Kristina Seleshanko on how to make delicious Lacto-fermented sauerkraut in a mason jar!
So there you have it! Making Lacto-fermented sauerkraut in a mason jar is as easy as slicing the cabbage into strips. Remember that as long it remains unopened, your sauerkraut can last for months. Best of all, you can partner this sauerkraut in many recipes.
What do you think of this homemade recipe? Share your best sauerkraut recipe in the comments section below!
Fellow homesteaders, do you want to help others learn from your journey by becoming one of our original contributors? Write for us!
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This Article Was Found On pioneersettler.com Read the Original Article
9 SPRING VEGETABLES FOR YOUR GARDEN
Having plants in the house will bring peace to people. Having a little garden with vegetables is even better! You can grow these vegetables in your backyard garden easily as well!
RELATED: Microgreens Growing Guide
In this article:
Growing veggies in your garden will give you an opportunity to understand what you eat and value it more. Early spring is when most vegetables are being planted. Keep reading to learn about 9 spring vegetables that anyone can grow in their garden!
Tomato is the most popular garden vegetable in the States! There are different varieties to choose from. Tomatoes need to be planted in early spring because they won’t survive a frost.
Because tomatoes are consumed daily, try adding them to your garden! They’re not difficult to grow either.
Eggplants are known to have low-calorie, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Plus, they are delicious! So why not plant them in your garden?
Eggplants shouldn’t be planted too early because they won’t be able to survive a frost. So you could consult an expert in your area before you plant your eggplants.
Beets are known to be a superfood for its various health benefits. They’re easier to grow in the garden, usually around late March or early April.
If the weather is always cool, beets will keep getting bigger and bigger. Once the weather starts to warm up, you’ll need to harvest them, or they’ll go to waste.
Spinach is a delicious early spring veggie, and it’s also very beneficial for health. And it’s not difficult to grow spinach in your garden!
Spinach needs cold weather to grow. Getting spinach to grow is easy, but keeping it growing will require some extra care.
Peas are usually planted in late April. Peas will die in freezing temperatures, but they also won’t survive the heat either. So make sure you plant your peas in early spring.
Peas are widely used in many different ways, and there are different types of peas. The soil you’ll be planting your peas should be suitable for them, so make sure you ask while buying seeds.
There are different types of carrots, but regardless of their size and color, it’s a fact that carrots are both delicious and rich in vitamins.
They’re root vegetables, so with proper sun and watering, they can be picked up as baby carrots as well.
A radish is an excellent option for beginners because it doesn’t require too much care. Radish is easy to harvest.
Radish grows fast, so it’s better to keep an eye on it after a few weeks. Radish usually is grown pest-free, but there’s always the chance of unwanted guests, so watch out for worms. Radish can be eaten raw or can be added to garnish recipes.
Cauliflower isn’t the easiest vegetable to grow at home, but it is very popular.
Cauliflower grows better in colder weather, so before you plant it, consider the climate of your garden. Cauliflower can be eaten raw or cooked, and it is known to be very beneficial for health.
Freshly picked, tender asparagus is very delicious!
Asparagus plants get more productive with each harvest, and mature asparagus harvest can last for months! Make sure you plant them at the correct time, or else they might go to waste.
All the vegetables listed above are great for your healthy diet, and it’s fun to watch them grow. So don’t miss out on the opportunity to grow your own veggies and eat healthy this spring!
So tell us which veggies will you be growing this spring? Tell us in the comments section!
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This Article Was Found On pioneersettler.com Read the Original Article
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