Homesteading skills

Don’t Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch–and other lessons on raising chicks

When we first started raising chickens nearly 5 years ago, our local municipal limit of 30 birds seemed like a very large number. Not anymore. This summer we’ve hatched 3 batches of chicks, 20 new babies in total, adding to the 2 dozen adults we already had. After taking our oldest hens out to a friend in the country, we’ve currently got…..29 chickens. Just barely under the maximum allowed. Some time back, we decided to keep chickens to be more …

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8 Reasons to Support Local Farmers

Think about all the items you put in your cart at the supermarket or mega-store. Do you feel you paid a fair price for that product? If you have questions about a particular item, would you know who you could speak to for answers? Where did those potatoes come from, how old is that carton of eggs, and who is being supported by your hard earned dollars? Probably not local farmers. Chances are, it would be difficult, if not impossible, …

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backyard farming

Backward Ideas About Backyard Farming

Starting your own backyard farm or suburban homestead can be fun and rewarding. You can have fresh eggs, fruits and vegetables that come straight from your own backyard, raise bees, and develop your own personal food oasis. If you want a backyard farm you may have put it on the back burner for a number of reasons. You may feel it’s not possible where you live or that buying all the supplies and gear necessary will break the bank. You …

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How to Make Coffee from Chicory Root

Here’s my story of how I discovered a simple, common weed can be used to make coffee from chicory! For several years, I’ve noticed a beautiful blue wildflower lining the road during the summer. It starts out looking like a weed, but when it blooms, the flower is the color of a Tanzanite gemstone. I’ve noticed that it also grows well along sidewalks, in gravel, or any other harsh environment you can think of. The plant is a dark green and …

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beekeeping for beginners

Beekeeping For Beginners

For some time, I’ve been wanting to start a beehive. I really enjoy the local honey and use it in many recipes. I also use it medicinally for soothing a sore throat and applying over cuts and scrapes. So, in preparation for this new venture, I joined the local Beekeeping chapter in Northwest Indiana. I began attending meetings to learn more about what I was getting myself into. I was very impressed with how helpful everyone was and they really …

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How to tap maple trees.

Learn to Tap Your Maple Trees

Just before spring arrives, the snow melts, ice disappears, and we start getting multiple days over 32 degrees. You know what that means??? At my house that means it’s Maple Syrup Time, and I’m so glad I learned how to tap maple trees! After living on my current property about 18 years, I realized I had untapped resources right out in my own yard. Really. My maple trees. I could have kicked myself, thinking, “Why didn’t I ever take advantage …

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6 Simple Tips for Developing a Natural Spring

One of my favorite childhood memories was venturing into the woods with my late grandfather to fill up gallon jugs with water from a spring he found and tapped himself. I never thought much about it back then; walking a quarter mile or so into the wooded hills to obtain the family’s drinking water was just something that was routine. Years later, when I moved down the road from my grandparents and experienced the rural fun of having to haul …

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Ponds as Emergency Water Sources

In many parts of the United States, ponds are as common as bees. Often the results of periodic flooding in river basins, ponds are an important part of local ecosystems. Many an adult can recall a pleasant childhood memory of chasing frogs or fishing in a local pond. A pond’s ability to sustain wildlife extends to sustaining us as well if you learn how to use ponds as emergency water sources. Man has tamed the pond, as he has many …

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