Rosemary – that is great! Thanks for sharing! If you want to share any info about how you cook with them I’m sure a lot of us would be very interested 😊
Sweet potatoes will be new to me. I have not grown them yet and I still need to get an area prepared for them. Perhaps next year.
Thanks for the reply, Daron! I have to say, you always have very nice, kind things to say to people who reply to your threads. And you clearly take the extra time to read everyone's thoughts in detail. So thanks for that :-)
I would love to share some recipes, once we get our roots producing! Thanks for the idea! Cheers
I love the apology, but I also love all of the varied responses. This is my favorite quote from Holmgren's letter:
After having played with the privilege of free tertiary education, most of us fell for the propaganda and sent our children off to accumulate debts and doubtful benefits in the corporatised businesses that universities became. We convinced our children they needed more specialised knowledge poured down their throats rather than using their best years to build the skills and resilience for the challenges our generation was bequeathing to them. For this we must be truly sorry. - David Holmgren
I am a millenial (on the older side) but I cannot identify with any of the typical "characteristics" of millienials, so I sympathize with you, Judith. But I did grow up when there was an enormous pressure to go to University and specialize in something that made money. I have many peers who unfortunately are still deeply in debt from that push to conform. Through a series of fortunate/unfortunate events in my own life, I never signed up for the high-debt University education and ended up at community college. So I lucked out, and am daily grateful for that. At the time, though, I remember feeling like such a failure that I wasn't being brilliantly educated by a top-tier University.
Anyway, my point is that although my generation inherited these problems, it is really what we MAKE of them that matters. We know the predicament that we are in, so what are we going to do now? I try to shy away from focusing too much on world events, politics, etc. It makes me too angry and frustrated. Instead, I like to focus on my own life, my friends around me, my family, and try my best to cultivate a beautiful life that involves being frugal and considerate for the earth, plants, and animals. I am NOT perfect, but it feels easy to handle all of the stuff in my life, instead of trying to solve EVERYTHING like world hunger, poverty, etc. If I can make a difference there then I've won the battle and hopefully it contributes to winning the war. Perhaps you hear this as "sticking my head in the sand", but I see it differently.
Oh and since others have mentioned sweet potatoes, I'm going to try them this year too (using organic store-bought tubers and sprouting them). Does anyone in Canada have good experiences with growing Sweet potatoes? What have been your failures, lesssons?
Don't worry, I don't have any illusions about making them perennial in Canada, haha! But I love the taste and would like to grow them annually as a high-calorie crop for my family.
1. Arrowhead—Sagittaria latifolia
2. Egyptian Walking Onion—Allium x proliferum
3. Skirret—Sium sisarum
4. Sunchokes—Helianthus tuberosus
5. American Groundnut—Apios americana
6. Hog Peanut
7. Chinese Artichoke—Stachys affinis
8. Common Camas—Camassia quamash
11. Chinese Yam/Cinnamon Yam
It's a big list, but I wanted to focus on high-calorie perennial tubers, so these made the cut (other than the garlic, which is more for staying healthy, not high-calorie). I wish I could grow some of those gorgeous Andean tubers like Oca and I'm still going to dip my toe in that by growing Yacon...but I'm not overly optimistic about Yacon since it's a more mild climate plant.
Jay Angler wrote:Mini tomatoes are the one type I can manage to get to ripen in my climate. (I'm short on both sun and heat.) I know people who grow a variety of colours (red, yellow, orange) and shape (round and grape) and have an instant special treat to put out for guests. I try to grow a mini tomato plant in a 1/2 barrel by the front door so people can snack while waiting for me to answer - some of them look sooo... guilty when I get there and they've clearly been munching. They don't realize that's exactly why I plant them there. They are also great for drying. I cut them in half and put the cut side up on a tray and being small they dry faster than a full-sized tomato would.
Jay, I love this idea! That is hysterical that they look guilty :-) I'm going to steal this and put a cherry tom right outside my front door too!
Oh Pearl, I can't believe this happened to such a sweet kind lady like yourself.
I know this thread is old and people have made lots of great suggestions. So I just wanted to extend my good wishes for your house-building project. I hope you can make your dream happen. And you NEED to sell those feather shirts online! Digital market on permies maybe? They're beautiful!!
I've been robbed before too, it is so scary and takes months/years to recover emotionally from it. One cheap idea that I like is a combination of motion-detection flood lights and a radio blasting talk programs 24/7 inside the building. It might make someone wary that someone is working inside the barn and they'll go somewhere else. It's a cheap idea that is easy to try, anyway. I used it in a rental house that was empty for almost a year and never had a break-in. I also left the lights on in that house even in the middle of the night. But I'm not sure if that is feasible in your barn (and also that's a fire hazard, so maybe not the best idea).
I have lots of respect for you as a wiser woman who is working so hard to make your dream come true.
I love your response, Nicole! Thank you for sharing your tips :-) I was hoping you would weigh in.
You're right, a good farm cat would solve the mouse issue. But I've had cats that weren't good mousers, so we didn't want to risk getting overrun with mice. But farm cats are a definite asset and can be hard workers! Oh, and my son had eczema as a baby which was made worse by cat dander, so we're hesistant to add cats if it brings up his eczema issues again.
I totally agree about waiting to get animals. We're tenatively planning to get rabbits this year, but we will definitely wait for any bigger animals. I feel like it's irresponsible to take on animals if I'm not ready to go with shelters, water system, and lots of food and bedding stocked up for them.
It's funny, I actually have a pair of pruners in my purse, haha! I love my pruners. I always have them on hand in case I find some cool wild edibles on my walks. But I love your idea for bringing them out to the garden with the kids. I'm gonna start doing that, along with your wheelbarrow-stroller idea!
Love the tip about tools that you can use while standing and not bending. It's true that once a baby sleeps in the carrier or sling, they will wake up with one little bend-over or wrong move.
- Being in total wilderness, no noises from neighbors or gas mowers running at all hours
- Wild animals boldly walking up to my home, looking as if they've never seen a human in their life!
- Sharing this experience with my kids and watching them enjoy the wilds of nature
Are you interested in homesteading with young kids? Not sure if you can do it safely and without wearing yourself to the ground? Here are my tips and real life experiences homesteading with my young kids and husband. In my video, I talk a lot about how I cope with the lack of sleep and the all-consuming attention that it requires to parent young children. They are adorable and fun, but also exhausting at times. It's been a learning curve for me and I think there are those folks out there that have a similar experience. Hopefully my tips will help you accomplish as much as possible while still having little kids running around (or sleeping in a sling!). I've also written an article in MOTHER EARTH NEWS detailing some of the Health and Safety issues (hint: mice!) you can run into with homesteading + kids. I would love to post the whole article, but the magazine asks that we don't publish articles in two different places. Please comment and enjoy!
Anyone older and wiser who has some advice for what it was like growing up on a farm? What worked, what didn't work?
In this article, I want to cover some of the additional key things that a family needs to watch out for with young children. My husband is a total expert in keeping safety at the forefront of our minds at all times, so I try to take a page from his book as often as I can.
We like to take things slowly as a family. That means focusing on the super important critical projects and leaving everything else to sort itself out in time. So, the first projects we tackled when we moved to our farm included: fixing up the bathroom and setting up a really basic, functional kitchen (without running water). We left out projects that were more about prettiness, like putting laminate on the floors instead of the old carpet, or replacing a door that was damaged leading to the balcony (we simply screwed plywood over the opening).
How does all this relate to having young kids on the farm? Simply that when you go fast, you are more likely get injured or injure someone around you and make mistakes that cost more time and money. With young kids in your family, you have to have patience and take it slow so that everyone is safe and only the essential things are handled.
I had to get caught up with this thread, but wanted to offer my comments/praise:
Wow, you guys have accomplished a LOT and the book looks so interesting! I can't wait to read it. And give it away :-)
The video is neat, first of all. But I think it would really amp it up if there were intermingled clips of Paul doing talks or making faces at the camera, haha. Also any footage of Wheaton Labs would be cool too. The paper messages start to get a little old after about 3min, but it still gives the message well, and it's very clear and concise. I just wanted to see someone in real life, deomonstrating some of what y'all are talking about, while it's being narrated. Now, I know that making a pro video like that is really time consuming and hard to change up so leave the video the way it is if that keeps things simple. Just my 2 cents!
Also, you might want to think about doing a video of Shawn or Paul explaining the different levels and showing to the camera all of the goodies? Not sure if that's feasible, but it certainly would make it seem really tangible and AMAZING to the average person who is saying to themselves: "Wow, I get ALL of that if I just give this guy $x?", Maybe that would only work for the higher levels, not sure.
I also really like the #2 graphic with the hammock. I know it's not the most popular, but it reminds me of a lot of gardening book covers, permaculture books, like the hand-drawn graphics done inside those books like Jean-Martin's etc. Maybe add some color to different parts of the "hammock" picture, then it pops more. Sorry, not a big fan of the chosen graphic, the apple seems to overwhelm the pic.
I am planning on growing 4 trays that are standard nursery size: 11" x 22" and are only $2.49 each or if you buy 6 or more they are $2.24 each! The microgreen trays are sturdier than standard nursery trays and have optional holes in the bottom for drainage.
I've done microgreens before in pots and they are so easy to do. It's nice to hear that lots of people are trying this out, especially up in Canada where fresh produce comes from so far away in Winter!
I am sprouting seeds in jars (until my potting soil comes in at the local store- for my new microgreens "factory"), and I really love how fast bean and pea seeds sprout. They are second to none with speed and give you big sweet sprouts within 2-3 days depending on the temperature in your home.
I buy in massive bulk quantities from Mumms seeds and they ship both to Canada and US: https://sprouting.com/ You can buy 5kg, 25kg bags, etc. Super cheap and really beats the nutrition-less lettuce from the store shipped from Mexico and California!
If anyone wants an instructional video for sprouting in jars, check out my Youtube video here:
Summary of my sprouting (in jars) tips:
Don't use cheesecloth with jars = MOLD
Clean your jars with diluted apple cider vinegar every time you are done with a jar
Soak your seeds for between 4-8 hrs on the first "watering" (depending on seed type)
Smell your sprouts everytime you open the jar to water them your nose can tell if there is something funky growing
Also, I made a video of my favorite salad with sprouts:
Someone asked about grains and grinding your own flour. I've done this and still do it!
I don't experience my freshly milled flour turned into bread as "heavy whole wheat" bread, but it's hard to say since I haven't had a slice of pure white bread in many years. But the FLAVOR is out of this world. It is very complex, nutty, and sour (since I do sourdough with my flour)I would encourage anyone who is curious to try it out and don't be afraid of a heavy whole wheat bread. If you really hate it, you can always sift your flour to get most of the bran out of it, and maybe over time sift it less as you get used to the bran taste. But my bread is usually very moist, dark-colored but still smooth and delicious. It usually won't rise super high unless I ferment it for a miniumum of 24 hours, so if you're looking for that really high loaf, you might want to stick with 100% white flour from the store. Here's a picture of my breads:
Okay, I have to weigh in here as well since I wrote a book for beginner gardeners! But I'm not an expert (I hate that term and all of the associated ego-mania that goes along with it), just someone who has gardened for 8+ years and learned some things the hard way.
Here's my list of easy plants for beginners:
Cherry tomatoes - produce in spades and are so delicious to pop in!
Early Tomato varieties - they might be labeled “Early Girl”, or some such other name with Early in it. These will fruit sooner, just in case you get an early frost or plant too late.
Kale & Chard - can harvest in a month some baby greens
Fennel Arugula Lettuce (my favorite varieties are Pirat & Black Seeded Simpson, both heirlooms)
Mixed greens (sometimes called Mesclun Mix)
Dandelions (these are usually considered a weed but are super nutritious! Bulletproof plants)
Chicory, Sorrel, Radicchio, Frisee (all gourmet greens, but easy)
Nasturtium - this plant has gorgeous bright colored edible flowers and is a fast grower
Calendula (an edible flower, that you can also make salve from for cuts and wounds)
Parsley Chives (for a garlic-flavored salad dressing)
Strawberries (you can easily grow these in hanging planters or pots)
Dill Potatoes (very easy and grow well in deep containers)
Basil Runner Beans
This list is predicated on buying plants from a nursery...starting from seed is more for intermediate gardeners as there can be lots of loss and problems with leggy plants if growing indoors without lights. However, lettuce and other greens are really easy to grow from seed and you don't need to buy the plants. Same for chives and potatoes (using potato starts). It is also very rewarding for a beginner to have some plants from the nursery and they start producing almost immediately with very little assistance. In my first year of gardening I started from seed (with everything) and was disappointed when I didn't get as much reward and had a lot of loss.
One tip for beginner gardeners who have a slug infestation: start plants indoors and your slugs will be less likely to eat bigger, more established plants. I've had slugs eat every plant you can imagine when the seeds were put directly in the ground outside. But when I started those same plants inside or bought them from a nursery, the plants were probably too "tough" tasting for the slugs to eat. It seems like the plants need a bit of a head start before being put out into the garden. This tip is really for folks who have a VERY heavy slug infestation. Just wanted to share that since I went through a whole season being very frustrated about not being able to grow anything due to "slug predation", haha.
I'm re-reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable Miracle, which has some nice simple recipes in it + good local food discussions.
My newest favorite fiction book I just finished is The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill. Beautiful prose, gorgeous imagery, just a delicious book.
And if you read LONG books, I simply adore Circe by Madeline Miller, which I just finished (and also The Song of Achilles by the same author). Her characters will stay with me forever and I read an enormous amount of fiction!
Thanks for sharing your favorite books, I'm excited to try out The Stranger in the Woods!
Hello Permies! I make this stew every week for my family of 5. It is hearty and there are so many different ways of changing it up using whatever ingredients you have on hand. Feel free to use up pantry items in here like quinoa, millet, or any type of bean. I thought I would post it here for anyone who needs some Winter Inspiration for healthy meals.
The snow and fog wraps us in a cocoon. Stark winter in January. But Spring really is just around the corner. We had one day that felt more like Spring. Warm rays hitting our deck. I sunned myself like a cat blinking in the radiance.
Most people have very little time to spare, even those who don't have twins! We're all just trying to get through the week. Or maybe you're excited for that vacation coming up. So, if you're pressed for time and need a hearty meal that will feed everyone for many days + is healthy and delicious, here's my recipe for you.
You'll need a slow cooker/Crock Pot, I use a 6 Qt. size one. I absolutely love it and it makes soups and stews very easy. Set it & forget it!
1/2 head of cabbage chopped coarsely
1/2 bunch of celery sliced uniform (or coarsely chopped if you're short on time)
1 large onion or 1 bunch of Spring onions, chopped coarsely
2 pounds of frozen ground meat
1 bunch of kale, torn into small pieces
1 large can (796 ml) of chickpeas or kidney beans (for added fiber & bulk)
8 small potatoes chopped into medium cubes
1 can (500ml or 1 cup) of organic or free-range bone broth
1 jar of organic pasta sauce
1 small can of tomato paste
1-3 TB of Sriracha Sauce
1 TB Sea salt
1 TB spice mix (I use one with garlic, onion, basil, parsley, paprika, pepper, and thyme)
*Add (at the end of cooking, when cooled): 1/2 cup of olive oil for extra calories
Chop veggies and put into slow cooker first. Dump bone broth in. Then, put frozen meat patties on top and cover them with the spices. Put enough water in so that there is about 2 inches of room at the top. Turn slow cooker on high. After an hour or two, get a fork and break up the meat into smaller chunks. Continue cooking for about 8 hours on low or 5 hours on high.
Options to save time: you can cook the potatoes the next day separately (boil in salted water until they are soft). You can also use pasta instead of potatoes, but it's not as healthy. You will need to cook the pasta separately or otherwise it will turn to mush. No one likes mushy pasta!
Other veggies you can substitute, so you don't have to go to the store to get exactly what I suggest :-): broccoli, turnip, peas, zucchini, winter squash, carrots, bell pepper. etc.
Also, you can make it t with simply cabbage & onion if you're really short on time!
This lasts my family of 5 about 5 suppers. So, 15 hearty servings.
I stumbled on this thread and love it! Has anyone had experience growing (would love to hear from PNW folks!):
Dioscorea bulbifera or Cinnamon Yam (D. polystachya)? How is the taste compared to bulbifera? I'm really excited to grow either of them and am curious if anyone has experience other than Eric Toensmeier.
Ground nut (Apios americana) or Hog peanut (Amiphicarpa brachteata)?
Arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia)?
Five Finger Akebia (Chocolate Vine)?
These look like very productive and high-calorie foods, so that's why I'm especially interested in them.
Nicole, I know this thread is old..but knowing that you have two littles in the house, the general theme probably never leaves your mind!
Let me just say that having young kids + homesteading is really tough and I'm doing it too (off-grid, no less!). I totally understand your situation! And it is possible to make it work (don't all us Mamas just make it work somehow?). You just need to have infinite patience and ZERO expectations, haha!
Your situation with your husband having health issues is a huge stressor on top of all of that, so i hope that he is doing well at this point. And anyone else that is going thru that...my hats off to you. I cannot imagine having my partner out of commission and having to do everything myself. Most things simply would not get done. My husband and I have roles that work for us and some would consider them "traditional" but we trade off a lot in different times in our lives. At one point I was doing a lot of carpentry work for the family and he was watching the kids and doing online work to support us. So it sometimes switches off from traditional roles. Anyway, I'm digressing but what I mean to say is that homesteading, for me is still VERY inspiring, but also there have been lots of fantasy bubbles popped as well. For example, no running water is definitely not romantic, it's really not fun. But you can set up a shower and washing system that kind of works so that you can get other important stuff done in the meantime. We've had to get creative, and in the process we learn a lot about what's possible. I think it comes down to redefining what will work for your basic needs: Food, water, shelter, heat. Making sacrifices in overall aesthetic beauty (like in a shower set-up) in exchange for practical, simple solutions. My husband always has to keep reminding me that we can't tackle a million projects in our first year, we just have to focus on really basic stuff and then when those are handled, look at doing more complicated stuff. And I've had to accept that we might have to still buy lots of food at the store if our food-growing efforts get squashed (like with pests, disease, etc.). I really hate having to buy tomatoes and peppers from Mexico. But one step at a time we are moving towards our goals of producing a lot of our own food. Which reminds me, we always buy a 1/4 of a cow or a 1/2 of a pig (directly from a farmer) in fall and store that in a couple deep freezes. So in that way we are prepared for "doomsday" scenarios. I've also bought bulk amounts (i.e. 25 lb bags) of grain (wheat, oats) and raisins, rice, and sugar. I buy it from Grainworks Mill in Alberta, Canada if anyone is curious. That gives me a lot of satisfaction knowing that we have those things stored up. But maybe I just have a "Hoarding Food" mentality! Anyway, that's my two cents.
Rosemary Hansen wrote:
Would love to hear anyone's negative experiences with ducks/geese, as we live in a wet climate and I'm planning on raising mostly ducks. I would like to hear both sides of the coin in regards to raising them. Sounds like they're pretty easy, but maybe there are things that you only learn from experience.
I love my ducks! I've had them for 4 years, and find them a lot easier to manage than chickens. I could never really let my chicken free range because she'd get in my gardens and destroy them in a few short minutes. My ducks can be herded/lured around. They can't really fly and so don't usually get into raised beds or over a 1-2 foot fence unless they're really hungry. I love their eggs, too.
However, I wouldn't want a bunch of ducks in a small area. Chickens seem to do fine that way...but not ducks. Ducks poop wet messy poop. The poop of 15 ducks spread out over an acre isn't a problem. The poop of 15 ducks spread out over 1,000sqft kind of is. It's slimy and slippery. And, they really kind of need to take baths, which makes for lots of spashing. Again, a 2 foot by 2 foot dish of water is plenty for them if you empty it every day. And, it can be moved from tree to tree ti water/fertilize the fruit trees. But, that much water in a small area and all the poop soon turns into a mud slick!
I don't think I'll ever garden without ducks, because without ducks I'd have waaaay too many slugs. Now I only see one every other month or so. I do deep litter in their house, and that works great, and makes great mulch for my garden beds (when aged) or berries/fruit trees (unaged).
Ducks are not good for turning food scraps into compost like chickens are. Chickens scratch and rip up food. Ducks can only really nibble at soft things.
So, really, it comes down to what type of gardening you plan on doing, and how you want to incorporate poultry. If you want an animal to tear up compost and live in a small section away from your garden, you might want chickens. If you want a few birds that can roam around your whole property without destroying everything and eat all your slugs, ducks would probably be best. If you want to have a high stocking rate of birds per square foot, go for chickens. I LOVE my ducks and find them vital to my homestead. I don't have any chickens right now, but if I got them again, I'd probably have them in a chicken tractor or tearing up my compost, and not allowed to range freely, because I don't want them destroying all my gardens and I don't want to spend the money to fence off all my garden beds.
Thank you, Nicole! Great advice. I'm excited to try ducks this year!
Oh gosh Dave, how terrible that you cut yor fingers! Don't give up though (sounds like you're still excited!). Yes, we've all had lots of failures. I've made kombucha vinegar too many times to count. I would get busy and forget about it, and instead of enjoying a sweet tasty glass of kombucha...it was vinegar.
Make sure you burp your jars! I've never had a jar explode on me because I burp them 2-3 times a day. Your lid doesn't have to be tight, in fact I've fermented stuff with just the lid resting on the jar, and no lid sleeve on it. That way you never have an explosion. It might bubble/foam over the top if you fill it too full, but that's much easier to clean than broken glass!
Pearl, this is a great post! These are all things that any young person could easily do!
Just a tip, FYI I've cleaned my share of ovens in the past and the BEST method is spray with 50% vinegar water mix, let sit for 2 hrs with the oven door closed, then scrape everything off with a razor blade. It is soooo much faster than scrubbing away with a sponge. And better than using chemical cleaners.
For those of us who are middle-aged, childcare is a really big task that can be paying work. I have a friend who is 65+, very mobile and has made a good living being a nanny for families in her area. She tries to always be available whenever a mother calls, and that's how she's kept her best clients over the years. She's dependable and the mothers love that. That's a pretty obvious one, but still worth mentioning.
This is really good to hear from someone with experience raising quail. I've always been curious about how easy or difficult it is to raise them. Also good to know that they don't like being handled...I'm a cuddler with my animals, so that wouldn't work for me.
One question, though: If they have a good feed conversion rate, then why are chickens cheaper to feed? Is it because quail only eat certain seeds/greens whereas chickens will eat any of your scraps?
I love the idea of raising them as a high value cash crop (for meat and eggs) and then raising chickens/ducks for subsistence needs.
Would love to hear anyone's negative experiences with ducks/geese, as we live in a wet climate and I'm planning on raising mostly ducks. I would like to hear both sides of the coin in regards to raising them. Sounds like they're pretty easy, but maybe there are things that you only learn from experience.
Fresh foods straight from the garden still retain their highly-nutritious vitamins and enzymes versus store-bought produce. In most of the world’s cities, produce is shipped from half-way around the world to your local grocery stores. These highly-traveled foods have up to 30%-46% less nutrients in them because of travel time and from being picked green. You're losing key nutrients like lutein, beta carotene, lycopene, Vitamin C, and antioxidants. But, growing food in a city apartment seems impossible with no space, right? Not at all!
Rosemary Hansen, chef and city homesteader, grew salad greens and tomatoes on her city balcony for years! You’ll be calling yourself a city farmer in no time!
How to grow Juicy Tomatoes + Easy Varieties
Gleaning FREE Fruit in Your Neighborhood - Interview w/ Expert
Finding Wild Edibles
Growing Sprouts - My No-Fail Tips
Square Foot Gardening Interview w/ Expert
Extreme Weather Tips
Recycled Pot Ideas
How to Avoid Over-Watering
Delicious Borscht Recipe (for all of those beets and tomatoes you will grow!)
Mixed Veggie Salad Recipe
Gorgeous Garlic Vinaigrette Recipe
All the Beginner's Guidance you need!
"I read through Rosemary's book, and other than the gardening with lights I have had the joy of regular gardening for many years. I did enjoy The Square Foot Gardening Interview and I loved seeing her [the expert- Cassie's] garden flourishing. I think it is amazing how much you can yield from a small area. If I knew nothing about gardening of any kind this would be a very helpful guide to a person with no experience. And it does make me want to start some seeds!" Vicki, Experienced Gardener & Crafty Mom
"This book is well written and Rosemary makes it sound easy, like anyone can do it! My roomy and I love growing plants in our sunny little apartment and I think I want to try the sprouts for sure! I love to make salads and wraps!" - Desiree, 21, College Student
"Thoroughly engaging and a beautiful book. Mmmm, persimmons, figs, grapefruits, my mouth is watering! [Referring to the "Harvesting Free Fruit in Your Neighborhood" section] I never knew you could harvest so much fruit in the city!" - CM
Rosemary is an Author, Homesteading Mama, and a Chef. She has spent the last 10 years “homesteading” in the city. She and her family have just started their off-grid homestead in rural British Columbia, Canada. Her books, Grow a Salad In Your City Apartment and Rosemary’s Natural Cosmetic Guide are a great way to ease into a healthy, pure lifestyle. You can connect with Rosemary at her website: www.RosemaryPureLiving.com or on her YouTube Channel . Rosemary also writes for Mother Earth News.
A paperback version of Grow a Salad in Your City Apartment is available on Amazon .
Su, we can't rent, we're too remote. But good suggestion for others who have good neighbors or are close to a city! I agree, renting is definitely the smartest financial option. You're right that you wouldn't use the equipment as much as you think + you don't need to worry about repairs. Cheers!
I like your blog post. Thanks for getting this discussion up and running!
My family and I are starting out with our homestead right now, and we are finding just how expensive it can be to start.
Most people might think, "Oh, I'll buy a piece of raw land and save some money and then I can have my Permaculture farm and all of my dreams will come true!"...that might be true if you have $100-300k to burn (in cash)! A piece of raw land has no electricity, no running water, no FENCING, etc.
We have discovered that to fence a large part of our land (to keep bears out), it will cost about $15k to do ourselves (that's just the material costs: posts, electric fencing, little bits and bobs). That's being very optimistic and not accounting for the cost of a tractor or skidsteer to dig holes. We've found that if you want to buy a used tractor, it's about $15k for a good brand, less than 8,000hrs, in good condition and newer than 2000. Then, that tractor will most likely need repairs right away, to the tune of about $5k. This is all before getting a loader bucket put on, which is about $7k. Any attachments? $5k each. You can see how this all adds up! For a skidsteer (which is arguably a lot better for clearing brush and putting in a fence), the price starts at about $20-30k. Then attachments are a minimum of $7k and usually about $10k each. An excavator is our ultimate dream, but that's waaay out in the expensive spectrum.
So, our solution (we'll see how it goes!) is to build our own tractor. We found a man named Marchin who started something called Open Source Ecology. Marchin has published all of the plans for how to build your own tractor with a loader bucket. Pretty amazing! Has anyone on here done this yet? We figured out that the material costs to build it are about $10k still, so it's not a huge savings. But, if we build it ourselves, then we can easily fix it ourselves and even build 2 of them if we want! My husband is really the mastermind behind all of this...but you won't find him on this forum, he's too busy trying to get this up and running. If anyone has questions you can ask me and I'll see if I can get an answer from him. He's super smart and understands all about mechanics, hydraulic pumps, welding, etc, etc. I'm just doing my best to understand the basic idea. Anyway, I just wanted to put that out there for people who might be struggling to figure out how to afford all of these crazy expensive farm tools and want a better DIY answer.
How wonderful that garlic cured your burns, I didn't realize how effective it is for skin injuries.
In my family, we eat a fresh, raw (organic) clove of garlic at the slightest sign of a cold or flu. I have even felt a sore throat with a runny nose, and within hours of eating the garlic my throat & nose are back to normal! Allicin is mighty powerful. Thanks for posting all of your sources, it's great to be able to learn more about the power of garlic. Truly a wonderful plant medicine.
I have three cats that I don't want to let go of so my plan is to renovate an old bus and take them with me everywhere.. But now that I'm talking about it they might not like that life, and ill need to pray for someone who is willing to love them like I do to have them.. I love the idea of growing in my apartment, but I don't have much space as it is and my porch is pretty small and doesn't get any direct sun which is good for lettuce right? I'm really excited about building my rock roundhouse when I get home..
You know, lots of long-distance truckers have cats with them and they seem happy to go along for the ride. Something to think about.
If you can't grow much in your apartment, you can always sprout seeds in jars for fresh greens, I do it to reduce my grocery bill and then I only have to buy carrots to make a salad! Sprouting in mason jars is super easy and amazon sells straining lids (and even stands to hold them up with). You don't need light to do this.
Other things you can do to "homestead" in the city: bake sourdough from scratch, make your own sauerkraut/kimchi, make kombucha, make your own beer/wine/liquors, farm worms with your compost scraps and use the worm castings to grow a few herbs in pots. Herbs don't need a ton of light to thrive. You don't need grow lights for those. Especially if you buy the plants from the nursery (versus growing from seed). Buy a few parsley plants, mint, thyme, rosemary, and a kumquat tree (which are very small). You'll be surprised how easy and fun it is! You can also grow mushrooms inside, just get one of those kits to grow oyster mushrooms and you'll be harvesting them in no time! I totally sympathize with the feeling of wanting to grow stuff and not having the means/land to do it. So, you can do those things I mentioned to feel like you're dipping your toe in the pond.
Oh, and I love your bus idea! That is brilliant for a student just starting out in life. Perfect way to avoid rent payments, which probably eat up most of your wages every month, right? Rock on, Franak!
Don't forget, you can "homestead" in the city! You can grow a lot on an apartment balcony or in a small city lot. You can even grow microgreens inside with LED grow lights! Lots of people have done this successfully and I did it for years before we had any yard and were in an apartment. Create a beautiful oasis in your home with flowers, aloe, lemon trees, gardenias, herbs, and so much more! I commend you for taking the trade school route, that is by far the smartest choice in my opinion. As someone who did a liberal arts degree and then switched mid-way to a technology school, I had a much better time at the tech school. We learned practical, hands-on skills that I still use in my daily life. The education I got at a liberal arts college...well, I don't use most of it. I think it belongs in the past, personally. And if you ever want to run a business yourself, shadow a business person, don't do a degree! You'll learn so much more by shadowing someone. Anyway, good job asking the right questions and trying to do the best thing for your future. Everyone on here is totally right: a homestead takes an enormous amount of capitol. Take it slow, save up, and hopefully learn from other people's mistakes. Good luck!
Great question! From what I've read, the best way to eat beans is by soaking dry beans in acidulated water (with lemon juice, or whey from yogurt, or lime juice), then cooking them until they are falling apart (sometimes many hours). I love the texture and flavor of them when I do this process. Sprouting beans is a wonderful way to eat them as well! If you don't know how to sprout, I have a Sprouting Video you can watch, or there's lots of other ones out there. As we know, Asian cultures sprouted/fermented their soybeans, but also ate them fresh. I agree that adzuki sprouts are very tasty. I'm not an expert on Mexican traditional cooking, so I would listen to Ryan's thoughts about it. His point about including a rendered animal fat like lard is a good one, as it helps our body to utilize the nutrients when we have a fat with the beans. Our cells need fat to communicate with each other! So don't discount that part of the equation.