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  1. #1
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    Default The Backyard Homestead

    I've been reading this book here:

    http://www.amazon.com/Little-House-S...=1RYNM5EEJAS6N

    Little House in the Suburbs

    For a while now and last year we gave it a try--and I LOVED the results. Everything pulled our family together, even just for a little bit, and now I can't imagine us NOT starting a garden in the spring. The process of it made us want to venture into farming just as a hobby--a cow, a goat, a couple pigs, and chickens with a small orchard and garden.

    I don't know if I'll venture into all of that by myself, or making things like my own cheese or honey yet.. but this is something exciting and new.

    If you don't already do any of this stuff, would you be willing to give it a try? If not, is it scary to try something new, or does it simply seem daunting to learn a new trade?

    Did you just need a push or some support? If you DO do this stuff, show off some pictures and talk about what you do!
    Kantgirl: Just say "I'm feminine and I'll punch anyone who says otherwise!"
    Halla74: Think your way through the world. Feel your way through life.

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  2. #2
    Senior Member ceecee's Avatar
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    Default

    I've read this book. I also have a subscription to Mother Earth News, which is probably the best homesteading/self-sufficiency resource there is. A year subscription is $10, I highly recommend it. The only thing that limits me is the size of our property. We live on a good sized inland lake and lot size is fairly small so I stick to container gardening but we also have wild raspberry bushes, blueberries and I grow strawberries too. I have rain barrels to collect water, I can, buy meat and dairy from local farms and buy local produce almost exclusively. These are some pics I have from last year. I also make ricotta and mozzarella from time to time.









    I like to rock n' roll all night and *part* of every day. I usually have errands... I can only rock from like 1-3.

  3. #3
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    Those pickles look so amazing!! I attempted to pickle cucumbers and the recipe I used from a book was much too bitter and vinegar-like. How do you get them so crisp looking?
    Kantgirl: Just say "I'm feminine and I'll punch anyone who says otherwise!"
    Halla74: Think your way through the world. Feel your way through life.

    Cimarron: maybe Prpl will be your girl-bud
    prplchknz: i don't like it

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  4. #4
    Senior Member ceecee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyuuei View Post
    Those pickles look so amazing!! I attempted to pickle cucumbers and the recipe I used from a book was much too bitter and vinegar-like. How do you get them so crisp looking?


    Keep in mind, any processed food is going to be somewhat less crisp than ones that are strictly refrigerator pickles or any uncooked/unprocessed ones. The pickle crisp really cuts down on that. As far as taste, keep looking at recipes. I like dill, with garlic, no sweetness but some sugar is beneficial to some recipes.

    Here's a refrigerator type and it's good. The beans too - I love dilly green beans.

    http://dlynz.com/?p=344
    I like to rock n' roll all night and *part* of every day. I usually have errands... I can only rock from like 1-3.

  5. #5
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    ^ Noted! <3 <3
    Kantgirl: Just say "I'm feminine and I'll punch anyone who says otherwise!"
    Halla74: Think your way through the world. Feel your way through life.

    Cimarron: maybe Prpl will be your girl-bud
    prplchknz: i don't like it

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  6. #6
    Member WheresRocket's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ceecee View Post
    I also have a subscription to Mother Earth News, which is probably the best homesteading/self-sufficiency resource there is. A year subscription is $10, I highly recommend it.
    Mother Earth News has been so useful to me in learning about self-sufficiency. Many of the things I've tried along these lines would have seemed completely daunting if Mother Earth News hadn't been there to break it all down for me.

    One of my favorite articles was an excerpt from Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, in which she takes you through the process of making fresh mozzarella. I tried it with my mom and got great results. It was nowhere near as intimidating as I expected.

    I've since also read the book - the premise is that Kingsolver's family decides to live for a year only on what they grow or can buy locally (with a few exceptions such as spices and coffee), and how they accomplish that. It makes the whole deal seem so accessible. My garden is still small - I'm in my mid-twenties and have yet to live in one place more than two years, so I can't go all-out like I could if I owned land - but I love being able to at least grow my own herbs.

    My husband and I are also fledgling beekeepers (currently on hiatus, with the bees living at a relative's farm, because of a change in our living situation), and enjoy learning about it. We have three hives. The first year, we got a good bit of honey and it was phenomenal, without that bitter back-of-the-mouth taste like storebought. Year 2 didn't deliver much. This is Year 3 and the bees are doing well at the farm, although we won't be the ones to harvest any honey this year.

    Y'all's pickles are inspiring me! I recently tried my first canning experiment: strawberry jam. The canning went great; my jam skills need work.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member ceecee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WheresRocket View Post
    Mother Earth News has been so useful to me in learning about self-sufficiency. Many of the things I've tried along these lines would have seemed completely daunting if Mother Earth News hadn't been there to break it all down for me.

    One of my favorite articles was an excerpt from Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, in which she takes you through the process of making fresh mozzarella. I tried it with my mom and got great results. It was nowhere near as intimidating as I expected.

    I've since also read the book - the premise is that Kingsolver's family decides to live for a year only on what they grow or can buy locally (with a few exceptions such as spices and coffee), and how they accomplish that. It makes the whole deal seem so accessible. My garden is still small - I'm in my mid-twenties and have yet to live in one place more than two years, so I can't go all-out like I could if I owned land - but I love being able to at least grow my own herbs.

    My husband and I are also fledgling beekeepers (currently on hiatus, with the bees living at a relative's farm, because of a change in our living situation), and enjoy learning about it. We have three hives. The first year, we got a good bit of honey and it was phenomenal, without that bitter back-of-the-mouth taste like storebought. Year 2 didn't deliver much. This is Year 3 and the bees are doing well at the farm, although we won't be the ones to harvest any honey this year.

    Y'all's pickles are inspiring me! I recently tried my first canning experiment: strawberry jam. The canning went great; my jam skills need work.
    That's great! I know canning takes a little practice, especially the timing. I read a lot of books and just started with the simple things and moved on. Last summer I made a bunch but I entered strawberry margarita jam and peach bellini jam at the county fair. I won 2 ribbons for taste and new and creative. I wish I had made more because I am on the last jar of both.



    I'm also going to go with this idea for herbs, instead of a long plant box. I can set this right outside my kitchen and it gets almost a full day of sun.

    I like to rock n' roll all night and *part* of every day. I usually have errands... I can only rock from like 1-3.

  8. #8
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WheresRocket View Post
    My husband and I are also fledgling beekeepers...
    I just read a long chapter regarding this subject. I'm sad to say I'm terrified of bees, annoyingly and really unnecessarily so. They're so sweet, and they just buzz around, but I can't help locking up, panicking, and fearing for my life when they're around, even though I'm fairly sure I'm not allergic to them.

    It sounds so lovely, though, having fresh honey. I may just have to stick to buying it from someone else braver than I though.

    I do, however, intend to build a bat house on my property. I'd love nothing more.

    Y'all's pickles are inspiring me! I recently tried my first canning experiment: strawberry jam. The canning went great; my jam skills need work.
    We've had mixed results with fig jam. Even the 'bad' batches still taste really good to me, and we're fairly lazy about canning. A lot of tomatoes get canned for us every summer, and we use the spaghetti sauces, tomato pastes, salsas, and marinades we make out of everything throughout the autumn and winter, and find we STILL have a ton of jars left over.

    I'm trying to work out some different recipes and systems of making the cans more multi-tasking for different meals so we can start actually utilizing the things we create and organizing them.

    My heart is also dead set on buying two baby dwarf goats instead of dogs.
    Kantgirl: Just say "I'm feminine and I'll punch anyone who says otherwise!"
    Halla74: Think your way through the world. Feel your way through life.

    Cimarron: maybe Prpl will be your girl-bud
    prplchknz: i don't like it

    In Search Of... ... Kiwi Sketch Art ... Dream Journal ... Kyuuei's Cook book ... Kyu's Tiny House Blog ... Minimalist Challenge ... Kyu's Savings Challenge

  9. #9
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ceecee View Post
    That's great! ... insert stuff here..

    Picture of awesome fresh herbs here.
    OMG Peach bellini jam?? I'm fairly sure I melt at the taste of a crisp frozen bellini on a hot day. I used to serve a very very divine one at my shop at the Ren Faire. The thought of having that sort of taste on a piece of toast first thing in the morning.. *Swooooon*
    Kantgirl: Just say "I'm feminine and I'll punch anyone who says otherwise!"
    Halla74: Think your way through the world. Feel your way through life.

    Cimarron: maybe Prpl will be your girl-bud
    prplchknz: i don't like it

    In Search Of... ... Kiwi Sketch Art ... Dream Journal ... Kyuuei's Cook book ... Kyu's Tiny House Blog ... Minimalist Challenge ... Kyu's Savings Challenge

  10. #10
    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    I love the idea of it, but that kind of living requires a lot of attention. I did break out a bar of soap and a bucket and hand washed some of my laundry yesterday just to give it a try, and because I didn't want to go to the laundromat. I must have not rinsed my shirt out as well as I should, because I smell lightly of Ivory soap, which is not a bad thing.

    Make sure to check your city codes before buying livestock. Most towns in Nebraska have laws that restrict keeping goats unless they are kept X feet from the street, X being much bigger than any city lot size.

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