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"Genius is eternal patience." –Michelangelo

Cabin with a mountain view in Adirondack Park, New York.

Photo by Andrew MacDonald


Raising Chickens for Eggs

By Kathy Bernier


     "The popularity of keeping chickens is undergoing a dramatic resurgence since the turn of the twenty-first century.  Laying hens are making appearances in astonishing numbers across the continent as ordinances are changed to allow backyard henhouses in suburbs and cities. 


     Beyond the basics of food, shelter, and protection, I am pretty hands-off with my chickens for most of their lives.  When they do die of natural causes, usually sickness or predation, I am sad for their demise, thankful for their service, and satisfied that I provided them with the best life I could. 

     By staying ahead of infrastructure needs, practicing some degree of diligence, and keeping things as simple as you can, you are sure to enjoy raising hens for laying for years to come."  Read more...


Jessica's New Homestead Cookbook

Roasted Mushrooms with Brown Butter, Garlic, & Thyme

By Jessica Shelton


     "I believe I've mentioned before that I was not a fan of mushrooms—at all—until I was nearly 30.  Now it seems I can't get enough of them.  I've grown to appreciate their meaty, rich flavor, plus they're practically calorie-free and are packed with nutrients.  This week’s recipe brings big mushroom flavor on a very small budget, both monetary and time-wise.  With only five simple ingredients, you can make a perfectly satisfying, rich side-dish that still remains to be wholesome and fresh.  I love mushrooms more and more as the years pass; and who can deny the deliciousness of brown butter & garlic, lemon & thyme? Read more...



Put Your Poultry in Your Pantry

City Folk Learn to Dispatch and Dress Chickens

By David Von Kroug


     "He says goodbye to his bird, finally gets it into the bag and slams the freezer door shut, vowing not to look inside until the next morning.

     But once the dawn begins the pet owner hears a startling noise.  He can't quite identify it.  He goes down to check and hears it coming from his kitchen.

     Fearing the worst, he opens the freezer door to a 'COCK-A-DOODLE DOO!' from his beloved and very much alive bird, as it sticks its icicle-encrusted beak and head out of the plastic bag.

     Thankfully, many urban chicken keepers don't have to relive that scenario and are now learning how to turn their stocks into food themselves. Read more...



Got the Blues?

It’s a Good Thing, if They're Blueberries!

By Ed Mashburn


   "I know somewhere there must be someone who doesn’t like blueberries.  I’ve never met this unfortunate soul, however.  Whether used fresh over ice cream or cereal, or cooked in whole-grain muffins, I love blueberries in my food.  Besides tasting so good, blueberries provide a number of health and nutrition related benefits.  Another great thing about blueberries is the fact that smallholders can successfully cultivate and produce blueberries in almost every part of the country.         

     Blueberries, perhaps more than any other fruit or berry, freeze very well, so a summer crop of blueberries will continue to serve the family table for months and months from the freezer. Read more...




Put a Little Wolf Song in Your Life

By Barbara Bamberger Scott


     "In much of the world, it’s just called muskmelon.  Its skin is like a snake, its fruit is not particularly sweet, its nutrient value is surprisingly high, and its family is large, including cousins cucumber, zucchini, and casaba. 

     So why do we call it Wolf Song?  

     Cantaloupe (song of the wolf), as we generally know it here in the US, is a cucurbit that sprang from the south and eastern side of the Mediterranean.  It sneaked into southern Europe and was adopted by Italians in the county of Cantalupo, near Rome.  As every schoolchild knows, Rome was built on seven hills by a family of wolves.  And wolves howl.  So the big hard ball with its strange creepy exterior and its welcoming orange interior became the Latin cantalupo, properly named for the area where it was grown, the place where the wolf sings."  Read more...



Barn Cats

Thugs of the Homestead

By Sheri Dixon


     "[They] Saunter around the corner just in time for dinner. 

     Saunter away with a mouse after a lightning quick hunt ends successfully. 

     Saunter purposefully after doing something embarrassing,  exuding 'I meant to do that' from every furry pore. 

     Saunter right in front of your legs while you are carting in 50-pound bags of feed, or better yet, groceries.  The sack with the breakables in it. 

     The fuzzy equivalent to the relation who comes to visit, and then stays long past his welcome, not with appreciation, but with the attitude that he’s doing you a big fat hairy favor by consuming YOUR food and using YOUR utilities, you know, of course, who I’m talking about. 

     The Barn Cat." 



Dumpster Diving

One Person's Trash Could Be Your Treasure.

By Sherrie Taylor


     "Dumpster diving has been around for years.  People have been diving in the dumpsters behind stores, near homes, in the neighbor's trash can and anywhere else that might be one person's trash, but another person’s way of making ends meet, or finding that perfect piece of art for the wall.  For many people it's a matter of survival and they depend on it for extra cash from the sales they make on the items they find.  For others, it's a way to recycle and create a more eco-friendly world by turning used goods new again. 

     Whatever reason you choose for dumpster diving, it's just fun!  It's fun to see what you can find that will make you happy, will become a gift for someone else, or it can be the thrill of the find that might be worth a small fortune to you or someone else.  As long as you want to dumpster dive, you may as well learn what it really is and how it can help you and many others."  Read more...



How to Buy Land Very Cheaply

Even in this day and age, unwanted land still exists, for those who know how to find it.

By Neil Shelton


     "After a time, we get the idea that, if we only have a limited amount of money to spend, we need to accept land which is deficient in some way; property adjacent to a land-fill perhaps, or without deeded access, or with some other aspect that we wouldn’t consider if we had other choices.  We feel that we must pay some other cost in lieu of the cash we don’t have to spend, in order to get an affordable deal.

     Or at least that’s what a lot of people think; it’s the Hair-shirt Theory, but it’s far from true.  In fact, the best way to save hot, steaming piles of cash on a land purchase is simply to find someone whose plans have changed because, even in this day and age, unwanted land still exists for those who know how to find it." Read more...



How the Ancients Farmed

By Catherine Lugo


     "Mrs. Cro-Magnon just got home with a basket of berries and tubers; she’s been foraging all day and has just enough food to feed her growing family.  The family has been waiting, with rumbling stomachs, inside their cold, uncomfortable cave for her return.  Mr. Cro-Magnon has been out hunting all day with his handmade spear; he’s weary and his feet are sore...

     Cro-Magnon people survived and thrived on hunting and gathering techniques; it was a tough hand-to-mouth existence.  Cro-Magnon man and woman were constantly on the hunt for sustainable edibles to keep them alive.  It must have been an exhausting and somewhat discouraging existence.  When they weren’t gathering wild plant foods, they were hunting wild game of all kinds with the use of their hands and crude tools.  This grueling routine was a daily one and I wonder if they ever sat in their caves at night, after a long day of barely surviving, scratching their heads and thinking, 'There must be a better way.'" Read more...


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