What Is Homesteading?
If you go to an online dictionary for a definition of ‘homestead’ or ‘homesteading’, you will mostly find
references to the Homesteading Acts, as illustrated below in this excerpt from Merriam-Webster online:
noun ˈhōm-ˌsted, -stid
: a house and the farmland it is on
:a piece of government land that a person could acquire by living on it and farming it when the western part of the U.S. was being settled
The word has since come to be expanded to include the act of small-scale farming, usually along the lines of a family aiming towards greater self-sufficiency, with less reliance on grocery stores for providing food and lesser dependence on public water and electricity.
In recent years, food has been the center of so much attention in the media and healthy eating circles. The garbage served at fast food restaurants and passed off as ‘burgers’, has been shown to contain a very small percentage of actual meat, and instead consist mainly of the substance dubbed ‘pink slime‘, a culinary atrocity barely fit for human consumption and bound to put even the most ardent supporter of window food off their appetite. Then there’s the EWGs ‘dirty dozen’, a list which details the produce found at stores which contain the greatest number of pesticides. Most of the produce you buy and consume without a second thought features high levels of pesticides. Hasn’t everyone grabbed an unwashed apple from the bowl and bitten in to it without a second thought? You’re getting more than fruit in that bite – and don’t get me started on the glue used to affix the product label.
image via ecomom.com
Then there’s issues with GMOs, and studies which show them to cause tumors and cancers in lab animals. Avoiding genetically modified ingredients is virtually impossible and sent me into a proverbial tailspin when I tried to get a handle on what we were really putting on our table at meal times. I wasn’t sure what to avoid, how to avoid it, and whether substances that I felt may be harmful – and I’m talking long term, the products where the long term risk hasn’t even yet been evaluated – might be concealed in things I was unwittingly feeding to my family. I’m a ’round the edges’ shopper, meaning that I rarely, if ever, venture into the center aisles of the supermarket for processed and pre-packaged products, preferring instead to stay on the outer sides of the store for fresh food and basic ingredients. I began questioning everything. This spurred me to provide even more for my family than I do already, to truly bring us closer and closer to absolute self-sufficiency.
Even milk, the supposedly most pure of substances, essential for nutrients and bone growth, the quintessential children’s drink, has come under the microscope. rBST, or recombinant bovine somatotropin, is a growth hormone fed to cows, which causes a significant increase in milk production. It has been alleged that it is passed through into the cows’ milk and, when consumed by a pregnant mother, can pass from her to the child she carries, causing birth defects and higher birth rate babies. The fact that it is already banned in several countries is enough to place a large question mark over it for me.
Pregnant mothers are further concerned by Monsanto’s RoundUp contaminations, the key ingredient of which, glyphosate, has been found in breast milk, causing mothers to lobby the EPA to have the key ingredient of RoundUp recalled. In light of these issues, which are increasingly appearing in the mainstream media, people the world over are questioning the origins of their food, and what makes its way into their systems, and that of their children, ‘under the radar’. Even the most dedicated and vigilant parent is hard-pressed to protect their families and children from the effects of chemicals, hormones and genetically modified produce and ingredients when purchasing at the store.
More and more people are taking charge of their food, taking charge of the sources of their food, taking charge of providing for themselves. And that’s where homesteading comes in. As if you needed further convincing, it’s not just what’s IN your food. It’s the price of the food. Just in the last 12 months, from April 2013-2014, food prices have increased 1.9%, putting a further squeeze on families already struggling in a spiraling economy. With judicious management, investment in your own food, grown at home, need only be done once.
Heirloom seeds are an absolute must-have for serious homesteaders. They’re not significantly more expensive than the kind you buy at the store, which are usually hybrids, selectively designed and bred for productivity and hardiness. However, unlike the hybrids, the seeds of the resulting fruit or flowers can be harvested, saved and stored, and then used to grow the subsequent years’ crops. Hybrid seeds are often designed to be sterile, or will simply not ‘breed true’, for example, they are the result of crossing plant A with plant B, in order to obtain plant C. Therefore, should you retain seeds from plant C, you will actually end up with plant D.
Some stores are beginning to stock heirloom seeds, but the range was very limited. Online is the best place to get a great selection, and some of the varieties are really funky and interesting. Try Renee’s seeds, Baker Creek, or Seed Saver’s Exchange, as just a couple of examples. Even on smaller homesteads, such as those characterized as ‘urban homesteads’ by British self- sufficiency author, John Seymour, the drive to provide doesn’t have to stop at a small backyard garden, be it in-ground, in raised beds, or simply in pots or hanging baskets on a patio. Check your local ordinances, but most allow for a small number of rabbits to be kept, and these can be a great source of sustainable, all-natural meat. Breeds such as the New Zealand, Chinchilla or Californian produce a good number of kits per litter, and grow up fast to fryer weight. They will happily consume all spare vegetables from the garden, with only a small quantity of rabbit grain to supplement.
As the homesteading trend has really gained momentum, many townships and cities are allowing for the keeping of backyard chickens. While you may only be allowed to keep hens, they will provide a good number of eggs for your family, whether there is a rooster present or not. In places where a rooster is permitted, encouraging a broody hen to hatch her eggs, or purchasing an incubator and hatching them yourself, will allow for a self-sustaining flock, extra roosters for the pot, and a few spare eggs and chicks to sell to cover the modest feed bill for your birds.
Many people have an income from their homestead, be it in the form of selling excess produce, birds or livestock, or perhaps some form of craft or foodstuff created from the items on the farm. Eggs for eating or hatching, chicks, baby animals, yarn and raw fleeces are just a few examples. A small income is a useful thing even if you practically never need to buy anything in; feed bills and vet bills will accumulate all the same, and unless you have found a way to self-manufacture toilet paper and other mundane life essentials, you’ll still need cold hard cash for that!
On larger homesteads in rural areas, where there are few to no ordinances and restrictions on land use, people often opt to keep livestock to provide their families with milk and meat. These two products are often the most expensive at the store, and have the potential to be the most laden with hormones and steroids. Buying organic from farmers markets and stores such as Whole Foods is an option, but the price per pound can be staggering.
Keeping a cow for milk is one option, goats are a smaller and – many believe – easier to handle animal for a family on a small farm. The larger breed does give in excess of a gallon of milk a day, which can then be enjoyed as milk, or crafted into a variety of cheeses and ice cream. There are even breeds of goat which will be dual purpose, with extra wethers (castrated males) filling the freezer nicely for meat for the family. Milking sheep is a less attractive option, as sheep can be a squirrelly species and give less milk than your average goat. But for meat and fiber they are excellent, and grow to a reasonable size for culling in a relatively short space of time.
Even if you feel you don’t need one of the ‘extra’ products that your chosen species or breed offers, don’t overlook it. There will more than likely be people in your area who do want it, and who perhaps don’t have the time, space or capacity to produce it for themselves. Learn to trade and barter, the chances are they have something that can be useful to you. Be bold and ask – the worst they can say is no. In this climate of less available money, people are so much more willing to look for alternative ways to provide – even if all they have to offer you is a few hours’ labor fixing something you don’t have the skill to mend.
Part of the joy and strength in homesteading is the ability to look beyond the box, and step back to move forward, as in times gone by. Recall times spoken of by your grandparents, how people did more things for each other, how money was less of an essential currency and more of a by-product, and you will start to understand how homesteading works. The degree of independence that you attain on your homestead is a matter of ability and preference. Anything is better than nothing, and every little step you take towards providing a tiny bit more of your own food is a step towards true independence from the issues surrounding a modern-day trip to the grocery store. Don’t ever feel like a step is too small to make, because you know what they say about a journey of a thousand miles
For me, a homestead is a place where there is awareness of the issues, and action is being taken. It’s where a family comes together to create and provide, it’s where responsibility for food and provisions is part of everyday life. Big or small, urban or rural, there’s room in virtually everyone’s life for a few pots of tomatoes and cage of meat rabbits. And that right there, that’s a homestead.
Originally posted on June 27, 2014 @ 2:51 PM
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.”
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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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
- 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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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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