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"I modeled my looks on the town tramp." - Dolly Parton

Pattypan Squash

by Mason Masteka


Been There, Done… What?

By Laura Negrón Valentín


     "Here’s the thing… we recently discovered we’re very rich.  Right now we are only lacking money.  Thankfully, we have pretty much everything else in abundance.  I can only say I am pretty shocked at my own reaction to this realization.  And it’s that reaction what I’d like to share with you, expecting to perhaps bring you a little bit of your sanity back should you relate with this scenario and think you have just lost your mind.

     The idea of not going after more money in a capitalistic society can make just about anybody’s skin crawl.  Feelings of incompetence, failure, and just plain stress used to fill my mind, too, when this idea came to me in the beginning.  Even saying I could do without money, or without some of the comforts it can bring to my life, would result in mean looks from some people.  I even had a close relative ask me with a look of disapproval, 'So… what does your mother think about you keeping a garden and raising animals?'  Given her tone, I believe she was expecting to hear how devastated my mom was that I had abandoned the money-making career I was supposed to have kept in exchange for this 'dead-end' way of living.  I just laughed it off; I could totally understand her point of view."


Jessica's New Homestead Cookbook

Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips

By Jessica Shelton


     "Ah, summer… wildflowers blooming; picnics with loved ones; hot days in the garden; cool evenings in the yard.  If you’re like me, one of the best parts of summer is all of the sweet, juicy fresh fruit.  This recipe takes all of your favorite summer fruits and combines them all in a bright, fresh salsa.  What I love about this recipe is that you can use your favorite fruits; as long as you have pineapple or some kind of citrus juice to keep the lighter fruits from browning, there are no other rules. Here, I’ve used pineapple, strawberries, raspberries, apple, and banana.  Other fantastic options are mango, kiwi, blackberries, peaches… the options are only limited to your tastes and what you have available.  Crispy, homemade cinnamon chips make the perfect utensil for this sweet twist on a savory classic."



Living Upscale, Downhome

By Sheri Dixon 


     "There are times that I am thrust into a social situation where what I do, and how I do it, down on the farm are just not considered normal.  Now, on most given days, I consider that an excellent gauge of whether I’m on the right track or not—the farther from 'socially normal' I am, the closer to my ideal.

     But there are those few times, luckily, no more than several a year, that I must, for whatever reason, pick out a Sunday-Go-To-Meetin’ dress (no pantyhose, I draw an indelible line there) that covers my tattoos, find a pair of shoes that has NOT seen the inside of a chicken house, paint on the L’Oreal Soft Fern eye shadow and the Naked Ambition lipstick (yep, got it just for the name), and break out the Dressy Velvet hair scrunchie.  Once all gussied and at whatever social event merited such foolishness, I then have to be SOCIAL.  With PEOPLE." 



Do I Really Need a.....?

By Mark Chenail


     "Congratulations on your new land and your decision to finally get out of the daily grind of urban life and retire to the peace and quiet of the country.  For months, you’ve been dreaming of the good life and now that you have finally taken the plunge, you are ready to pack your things and head for the open spaces.  But like your pioneer ancestors, you suddenly discover that you really do own A LOT OF STUFF and a great deal of it is probably not going to be very useful on your raw land. 

     It’s a good thing that you actually own an axe and a good gardening spade.  You know those will get plenty of use from day one.  But is it likely you will ever have a use for that waffle iron you got as a wedding present or Great Aunt Minnie’s silver chafing dish?  Do you really need the 6 frying pans languishing in the pantry, when the big black cast iron skillet is the only one you use with any regularity?"



What to do When Your Well Gets Sick

By Martina Kuhnert


     "Imagine that you are outside working in your garden.  You have been out since 6:30 a.m., and now that cool morning air is giving way to the stifling heat and humidity, causing you to break out in a sweat that soaks your shirt.  You decide to go inside and slake your mounting thirst with a wonderfully cold glass of crystal clear water.  Even before you get there you can imagine the beads of condensation rolling down the glass, and the moist coolness that meets your hand as you grab it.  The image is intensely inviting.  You grasp an empty glass from the cupboard with the knowledge that because of the miracle of modern plumbing, your thirst will be quenched in a matter of seconds.

     Placing your glass under the faucet you reach out and turn on the tap that will bring cold water from your well, holding your glass with expectation. 

     Now imagine that the water that comes out of your faucet is dingy, muddy brown." 



This Land is (Not) Your Land

Homesteading for Renters

By Gavin Shriver



     "Urban homesteading seems to attract passionate newcomers—people who are constantly making plans to conquer one form of 'doing-it-yourself' or another.  Commendable though this ambition may be, we do well to remember that homesteading is ultimately a way of life, not a hobby to be mastered.  This seemingly lofty notion has some very real consequences for renters in particular. 

     I first became excited about DIY homemaking while living in a yard-less, one-room rental in Chicago.  My initial seed of curiosity about canning quickly blossomed into a voracious interest in gardening, composting, rainwater collection, and even energy-saving electrical projects.  However, after a few humbling experiences washing clothes by hand without a drying line and trying to play plumber in a building with 100-year-old fixtures, I began to accept that self-reliance on the domestic front is always relative to your unique circumstances.  If you spend every second of free time fussing over a hydroponic tomato-garden in your studio apartment, you’re setting yourself up to neglect other, more common-sense, tasks and possibly even burn out altogether."



Right On, Sister!

Feminization of Farming in North America

By Bonnie Lavigne



     "There has always been a female face to agriculture: the tough homesteader pioneering the frontier; the milkmaid; the tender of the flocks; the manager of records; the daughters and wives who pitched in with every chore known to farming, and helped keep it all together.  Traditional attitudes however have undermined women’s contribution to the business of farming; ignored their history until it was virtually forgotten; restricted their access to resources; and have made them just about invisible. 

     This is now changing.  Many roles remain the same, but attitudes are evolving.  For female farm owners (or the throngs of would-like-to-be's), resources are opening up in the form of support groups, educational programs, and importantly, mainstream finance that has begun to recognize women’s impact, skills and reliability.  Two key factors that will influence new gender trends in agriculture are women’s past financial disadvantage, and their interest in producing healthy, ethically grown food." 



Why Don't Jukeboxes Offer "None of the Above"?

By Neil Shelton


    "You know, it's getting where music really ticks me off.

     Okay, I know what you're thinking already.  It's practically blasphemy to speak ill of music; music which 'has charms to soothe a savage breast'.

     Music, that which has been likened favorably to gold and diamonds, THAT ticks me off?


     Remember the old saying, 'Anybody who likes kids and animals can't be all bad'?  That's how people seem to feel about music.

     Well, that may be so, but give me a chance to explain myself on the subject.  (I'll get around to telling you what's wrong with kids and animals some other time.)  It's not as if I never listen to music, or even that there isn't a lot of it that I'd even admit to liking, but golly Moses! there's just so MUCH of it!"



Goat Milk Galore

By Jenny Flores


     "As with everything else you produce yourself, goat milk produced on your homestead is healthier than the dairy you generally purchase from the grocery store..

     ...     ...

     Because my family enjoys goat milk, and because of the health benefits it offers, I have looked for ways to extend the milking season.  Because of the possible negative effects of not breeding does annually, I choose not to just leave a doe or two in milk indefinitely.  I have found the best way to extend the production of milk is to stagger breedings.  A doe needs a dry period of about two months before being bred so I stagger breedings to accommodate those dry periods.  The kids are weaned from receiving milk at eight to twelve weeks of age and I maintain a regular milking schedule.  This has been enough to keep us in goat milk year-round.   

     Of course, there are more things you can do with goat milk than just drinking it.  Instead of dedicating a freezer to goat milk, I have discovered some great storage ideas and recipes.  Here are a few of my favorites."


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