The Homestead Cookbook

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"Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change." - Confucius

Hancock homestead, Sun River, Montana. June 23, 1910.


Show, Sport, or Squab

Choosing the Pigeon Breed for You

By Armani Tavares


     "Hopefully after reading my previous article, Pigeon Preliminaries, youíve been prompted to look further into these magnificent creatures called pigeons.  In this one, I would like to zone in a little more on the different breeds, their uses, and which may be the right one for you; where to attain some birds; and give you a few pointers for settling them into their new home. 

     There are thousands of different pigeon breeds.  Of course, I couldnít go through them all right now, so I will attempt to narrow it down to some of the most common and unique ones.


     I hope this was of help to many of you desiring more information on wonderful pigeons.  Despite many aspects seeming complicated, pigeons are very easy and adaptable animals, personalize your own care/training regime and I bet it will work out just fine.  The many breeds available can also be daunting, but remember, they indeed are all just pigeons; I had to learn that I didnít need and couldnít use 'one of each!'  If you know what you want to use them for, it makes things a whole lot easier, so focus on that first."


Jessica's New Homestead Cookbook

Cream of Asparagus Soup

By Jessica Shelton


     "Ninety.  Youíd never guess it from the taste, but thatís the number of calories in two satisfying cups of this velvety soup.  Packed with delicious asparagus flavor, and just a hint of lemon, this soup uses the natural fibrousness of the asparagus, low-fat cream cheese, and a blender to achieve the creaminess youíd expect from a soup made with loads of heavy cream, butter, and flour.  If you thought you had to give up thick, creamy soups just to cut back on fat and calories, Iíve got you covered."



Finding Your Way Back to the Garden

A Review of Neil Shelton's LandBook
Barbara Bamberger Scott



     "LandBook is a handbook (Iím sure this is not an accidental connection) of what it means to work land in the Biblical and Jeffersonian sense: from the work of acquiring it to the work of measuring it to the work of making it habitable for whatever folks or critters are going to occupy it.  It is an eminently practical book, but it has room for imagination as well.  After all, every homestead started as someoneís pipedream. 

     Beginning with the basic building block of all transactions, money, Shelton promises to assist people to buy land 'for as small an amount of money as is humanly possible,' and though this is not the central goal of Landbook, it certainly offers a great lure to get you out of your chair and start the land hunt in earnest." 



Going Bats!

The Benefits of Bat Houses on Your Homestead

By Patricia Halderman


     "One little brown mysotis, (little brown bat) can catch 1,000 or more mosquito-sized insects in an hour.  A colony of 150 big brown bats can catch enough cucumber beetles each summer to prevent the egg laying of 33 million rootworms.  Bats catch and eat cucumber and June beetles, stinkbugs, leafhoppers, cutworm and corn earworm moths.  Many garden and crop pests flee areas where they hear bat echolocation sounds.  According to Bat Conservation International, the 20 million Mexican free-tailed bats that spend summers in Bracken Cave, Texas, eat up to 200 tons of insects in a single night over the surrounding towns and croplands.

     If that isnít enough for the bats to take on, they are also very important pollinators and vital for seed dispersal in the tropics.  There are over 1,000 kinds of bats in all environments except in the most extreme desert and polar regions."



Noxious Weeds

 ...Or are They?

By Nicole H. Brauner


     "Being raised in a country that is one of the largest flower-producers in the world, I loved anything that bloomed, blossomed or simply grew out of a tiny seed; so as soon as the weather allowed, the dogs and I went exploring beyond that large strip of flower beds in the backyard to see what else was growing on our acreage.

     It had been several years since any livestock had lived on the property.  Both the pasture and the wooded area behind our house proved to contain an amazing wealth of new flowers and plants, many of which I had never seen before, but were oh-so-pretty!  Beautiful purple flowers on high spikes mingled with reeds on the side of the irrigation canal, lovely strands of white and pink morning glory covered large patches of pasture, and all along the driveway we had hardy green groundcovers with cute little yellow flowers.  As the days grew longer and the weather warmed up, more and more plants and flowers would appear, sporting the most interesting leaves, flowers and colors.  One of my desires was to create a butterfly garden on our property, and I was delighted to see nature had provided such a colorful and diverse start." 



Edible Flowers

A Rose by Any Other Name Just Might be Lunch

By Adrianne Masters



     "Iím confronted by a small lake and national forest outside the window behind my laptop as I write this now.  Thereís an orchid on my desk.  And a stained glass lamp.  I design my garden with aesthetics in mind as much as efficiency.  It helps that vegetables grow in such beautiful colors and interesting shapes, of course.  What beauty really inspires me though is the illuminating brilliance of flowering blossoms.  And in order to spend my valuable, limited time cultivating these stimulating blooms, I had to find a use for them other than just 'pretty' and 'good for pollination.' 

     How about, 'edible?'  That quality is pretty tough to argue with, even for a rough-around-the-edges country man who doesnít find beauty compelling and prefers function above all.  My country man in particular is a big fan of foraging.  He likes mushroom hunting; I canít help myself from picking flowers when we go.  I love finding mushrooms, too, but morels arenít really as pretty as they are tasty."



My Experience with Home Milking

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

By April Freeman



     "On our farm, we enjoy being as independent as possible.  To offset the ever-increasing costs of groceries, we have raised beef cattle, chickens for eggs, and a vegetable garden.  We've also planted an orchard for fruit.  Because the six of us consume large amounts of milk and milk products, the idea of owning a dairy animal has always intrigued me.  

     However, for many years, I was in a very busy season of life and could not take on any more work.  I was in the midst of pregnancies, nursing, and potty training and couldn't fathom any additional responsibilities.  I set the idea of a milk animal aside until a better time.  

     As my children grew older and more independent, and more of our money went toward dairy products, I began to revisit the idea of owning a dairy animal.  As milk prices neared $4.00 a gallon in 2011, my husband and I began to look for a dairy cow." 



Horse Sense Meets Street Smart

By Neil Shelton


    "Like the word 'awesome', 'horse sense' once meant something different, but today it frequently refers to someone like Ernest. 

     Ernest may be a third-grade drop-out who lives in an old truck bed and beats his wife, who in turn beats their 11 sticky-dirty-snotty children (especially when in the check-out lane at Wal-Mart) but, among his peers, he is said to have 'horse sense' because he never displays anything akin to generosity, sympathy, or open-mindedness.

     The opposite of having 'horse sense' is to be an 'educated fool'.  The term 'educated fool' is extremely popular among uneducated fools.  It describes someone, who, though literate, ambitious and well-schooled, does things with which the speaker disagrees.  Adlai Stevenson comes to mind."




Sylvester Graham and His Wonderful Cracker

By Barbara Bamberger Scott


     "Graham, a thin-faced man and rather the model of the humorless Presbyterian minister with his starched collar and dour frown, soon focused his zeal on the realm of general health. It is known that Graham suffered from poor health, one reason why he took to the ministry rather than any more vigorous occupation. 

     He had a lot of theories that we might today agree with, and others that, wellÖ we might argue with.  He believed, with some justification, that city-life was weakening Americans.  In his day, before the era of suffragettes and flappers, he ministered to young men who had moved to the cities for income, who were losing the hand skills and healthy habits of farm life, who kept unnatural hours and did unnatural, repetitive labor, and who lived in crowded slums where the lifestyle was wide-open and the occasions for sin were many."


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