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Raw Wool: How To Find And Pick The Best Fleece For Your Off-Grid Needs

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Spring is one of the best times to start sourcing wool to bring to your homestead. Shepherds will often shear sheep once or twice per year, and most will do it after lambing, to shed the sheep of their warm winter coats. Look for a shepherd near your homestead. The more local the wool, the better suited it will be to your climate. Once you’ve located a shepherd, make inquiries about the fleece.

Breed Matters

Most sheep in North America are not raised specifically for fiber, as it is not a profitable commodity in many markets. Therefore, wool is often considered a byproduct. Farmers raise sheep with dual (meat and wool) or triple (meat, wool, and milk) purposes, so they can sell the other products.

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When considering what breeds of sheep to look for, consider the wool’s eventual purpose. The breed of a sheep will give you a general idea of its fleece characteristics: staple length (the length of the individual locks), micron count (how fine and soft each fiber is), and crimp (how curly the fiber is). The categories below illustrate the different kinds of fleece, and popular breeds.

1. Hair sheep

Hair sheep produce very heavy fiber and hair, which can be used in some rug applications. Breeds: Katahdin, Barbados and Dorper.

2. Specialty sheep

Many of these sheep are double coated, which means they have a heavy guard hair mixed with the wool. The fleece will need to be carded by hand to remove the hair, or both coats can be used to produce a very heavy weight yarn. The undercoat can be very fine, such as with Shetland sheep. Breeds: Scottish Blackface, California Variegated Mutant, Icelandic, Jacob and Shetland.

3. Down sheep

Raw Wool: How To Find And Pick The Best Fleece For Your Off-Grid Needs

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These sheep have fleece with short staples that can range from fine to medium weight. They are difficult to felt and harder to spin, but they make excellent batting and insulation. Breeds: Dorset, Hampshire, North Country Cheviot, Southdown and Suffolk.

4. Long wool

These breeds have long staples and are excellent for spinning; most will felt. They range in softness from medium to fine. Breeds: Cotswold, Border Leicester, Romney, Lincoln, Targhee, Columbia and Corriedale.

5. Fine wool

Sheep with fine wool will have the softest fiber; these will also be the most expensive fleeces. Excellent for garments and felting. Breeds: Cormo, Merino, Rambouillet and Polwarth

Selecting a Fleece

Pay your local farmer or shepherd a visit. If the wool is still on the sheep, determine if there is a lot of dirt or vegetable matter (VM) in the wool. Most dirt can be removed with gentle scouring before you use the wool, but examine the fleece to ensure it isn’t full of VM, heavy soiling or impurities like dye. There does come a point where a fleece is not worth the trouble to wash. VM is worse than dirt, because it will have to be carded out. Some sheep wear coats to protect the fleece from too much VM, but this adds to the cost of production. Ask the shepherd about the wool and how it’s been used in the past, and whether the sheep have had a good year. Healthy, happy sheep produce better wool with no breaks in the staple; stress causes the wool to weaken while growing. If you like the look of the wool and the price, find out when the farm is shearing. If you can help on shearing day, you will often get first pick of the fleeces, sometimes get a lower price, and usually make a friend.

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When buying shorn fleece, look for it to be “skirted,” which means the bottom edges and rump area have been removed. This portion of the fleece is too dirty to be worth the effort needed to scour it. Look for “second cuts,” short pieces of fleece that indicate the shearer passed over an area more than once and didn’t cut the full length of fiber. These become waste during carding. Lastly, test the strength of the fiber by gently snapping a staple between the thumb and forefingers of both hands. If you snap the fiber and hear a crackling sound, there may be a break in the fleece. Most shepherds know how to price their wool so it will be competitive. Pay top dollar only for very fine, very clean fleeces with strong fibers and even staple length.

With all of this information, you should be able to find wool to suit your needs; don’t be afraid to talk to a local spinning group or wool cooperative if you’re having trouble. When you find a good shepherd in your area, see if you can help out at lambing time or shearing, or even to sheep-sit while the shepherd is on vacation. A shepherd is a great friend to have, because you’ll find yourself quickly with enough wool for all the needs of your homestead.

What advice would you add on looking for wool? Share your tips in the section below:

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Self Sufficiency

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.”

The post New York City added nearly 4,000 people who never tested positive for the coronavirus to its death toll appeared first on Daily Caller

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Self Sufficiency

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?

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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

Tools Needed:

  • knife
  • bowl
  • 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

Homemade Sauerkraut Cumin Juniper | How To Make Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut In A Mason Jar

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!

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Self Sufficiency


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:

  1. Tomato
  2. Eggplant
  3. Beet
  4. Spinach
  5. Pea
  6. Carrot
  7. Radish
  8. Cauliflower
  9. Asparagus

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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