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Peaceful Country Living: Why You Should Make the Move

Peaceful Country Living: Why You Should Make the Move

Peaceful Country Living

 

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Peaceful country living? Why are more and more people making the big move from fast paced city life to quiet, slow-paced peaceful country living? I think I know the answer to that, since that is exactly what we did! We didn’t move to the suburbs outside of a city or even to an urban area. We moved to a rural area and haven’t looked back since. We found our peaceful country living.

I used to be just like you.

I drove 120 miles round trip in bumper to bumper traffic to and from work before and after a 12 to 14 hour shift as a Registered Nurse. We had neighbors so close to us that we could literally hear them flush their toilet and see inside their front room when their curtains were open. We could hear every conversation they had and, of course, vice versa. We learned to talk quietly and keep the curtains closed when we were home.

We missed football games and dance recitals because we had to work. We missed parent-teacher conferences because we had to work. We had bills to pay, food to buy, brand name clothes to purchase.  We had to keep up with the lifestyle of a middle class city family, right?

I would find myself grinding my teeth at night, having nightmares, getting headaches, more depressed, especially when I had to miss something for the kids, and overall just miserable living where we were. Can you relate? If so, continue reading.

Why did we work so hard for so many years? Because we had a plan..a dream. We were getting outta town! When my husband retired from his job, and the children moved out on their own, we knew it was time. Student loans were paid off in full. Car payments paid off. Credit cards cut up and thrown away. I just couldn’t make one more round trip drive to work. I just couldn’t deal with one more near miss on the freeway of crazy fast paced drivers around me. It was time. Now or never. We took the plunge.

The home and property we chose was at 8, 200 feet high in the Colorado mountains on a steep grade, winding dirt road. I would not be able to drive that road in winter to go to work everyday when there was 3 feet of snow on the ground. I had to find a work at home job that gave me extra income.

I am blessed to be a nurse and even more blessed that I found a part-time telecommute job as a nurse educator that I can do from home on the comfort of my computer. I only have to drive into the city once or twice a month for meetings and it is a 4 hour round trip for me now that we live in the mountains.  I can handle once or twice a month.

I also make extra income with multiple streams of online work at home sites and survey sites. You can read my blog post How To Make Money and Save Money When You Live In A Rural Area to learn even more ways to add income while working from home.  You won’t get rich, but you sure will have fun and have a few extra bucks each week to add to your bank.

Some of my favorites are:

Swagbucks

Mypoints

Inbox Dollars

Bluehost

Pros and Cons of country living

Pro: I have chickens!my chickens

The Pros

There is nothing that says country living than having lots of chickens! In the country we can raise as many animals as we want and not have to worry about our neighbors complaining about the noise and smells of the animals. We get fresh organic eggs and protein also.

We purchased 18 acres and a fixer upper home and spent half of what we would have paid to live in the suburbs or urban areas. Our closest neighbor is almost a mile away with very few other neighbors scattered over the mountain area we are at. We love it that way. Little by little we fixed up the home and property through literal blood, sweat and tears until we were able to make our final move.

I have never felt such peace in my heart than sitting on my deck overlooking the mountains sipping my cup of coffee in the morning and watching the chickens scratch and peck and watching the deer graze in the field. I hear total silence. No flushing toilets. No cars speeding by. No sirens from ambulances or police cars. No neighbors radios or TV’s blaring. Total silence.

By total silence I mean birds chirping, a gentle breeze blowing, a tractor plowing a field down the dirt road, deer running across the field, dogs playing. That is what I mean by silence. Peaceful, calm, serene silence. The kind of silence where you never want to leave. The kind of silence when you are thanking the good Lord everyday for giving you such a beautiful, and what you once thought of as an unreachable blessing. Yes, after moving from the city to the country, you can hear total silence.

Deer in fieldColorado mountains peaceful country living

We have large family bar-b-queues on the front deck. The children and grandchildren bring 4-wheelers and bicycles and have a blast riding and hiking around the mountains. It is the ultimate playground for our grandchildren. You learn the value of family, friends and nature and forget the value of objects and things.

The Cons

It is not easy to get to peaceful country living. It took me and my husband several years of frugal living and carefully planning to make our dream come true. We made sacrifices to get to our paradise on the mountain.

It is hard work living in the mountains on 18 acres. There is always work to be done. Wood needs to be chopped, animals fed and taken care, car tires and car maintenance in tip top shape. The nearest hospital is about an hour away. Common sense and being careful in day to day activities takes first place.

It snows..A LOT in the Colorado mountains . Not just inches, but feet. It is very common for us to get 2 -3 feet of snow during the winter months. On those days we light a fire in the wood stove and settle in for the days ahead.

snow
10 inches and counting!

snow

Forest fires are common. Last summer we had an extremely dangerous forest fire near our newly purchased home. The winds were 80 miles an hour, no rain for weeks and the wildfire took off like a bullet. Below are actual picture I took off my front deck. When I saw this fire and how close it was to us, I came this close to packing my bags and heading back to the city.

wildfirewildfire1

Making The Decision

Now is time for you to make your decision. My husband and I went to the extreme side of rural living, but not everyone has to do that. Even moving to the suburbs outside of a city can make all the difference in the world to your peace of mind and put calmness in your life.

First step is to just planning. Just grab a piece of paper and pen and write down the area you are looking at. Nothing specific, just the general area you would like to be.

Second step. What can you afford and how can you afford it. What are your income sources? Do you work from home? Do you have retirement income? Write down all your income sources and all potential income sources such as raising chickens and selling the eggs, raising goats and making soap and cheese for added profits. Do you want a move in ready property or can you handle a fixer upper? Can you save and put aside a certain amount each paycheck to put towards your new home?

Third step. Thoroughly investigate the area you want to move to. Do you have water? Can you have animals? Are there any schools nearby if you have children? Where is the closest shopping market? How far is the nearest hospital? Make several trips to the area you are most interested and get to know your potential neighbors before you put good money down on a property.

Fourth step. Follow steps 1, 2 & 3 over and over again until you are ready for the big move! As I have stated, it is not easy. It takes time and a lot of planning, but to me and my husband it has been worth every drop of sweat we have put in over the years. It is challenging and not easy. If someone tells you that moving to be in the country is easy they are not being truthful. It takes time, money and determination to make your new property into your new home.

So, take your time, put your ideas and plans down on paper,  save your money, investigate several potential areas and then make the move! It’s all about peaceful country living.

 

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Raise Chickens? Here’s What To Do With ALL Those Eggs

 

chcickens

Raise Chickens? Here’s What To Do With ALL Those Eggs

If you raise chickens like I do, I know for a fact you are constantly trying to figure out “Where can I find another recipe that uses LOTS of eggs!” I am here to help! After years of raising chickens just for eggs and like most people who raise chickens, my chicken math is always way more chickens than I had originally intended to get.  This year I had planned on only adding 8 hens to my flock and “accidently” ordered 14 (there’s that chicken math!) I also ended up with 2 roosters who were suppose to be hens, but definitely are not!

roosters

First, you can go to my Pinterest site by clicking here and seeing my board that is All About Eggs. As you can see I have been busy trying to explore any and everything about eggs that I can and how best to use all the surplus I have, including gardening, recipes and feeding them back to my chickens.

Feel free to join my Facebook site also here. Homemade The Natural and Organic Way and I will occasionally post all things eggs there also so feel free to follow along. So sit back, relax and eggjoy yourself!

Egg Recipes

fresh eggs

These are some of my favorite recipes that use eggs, LOTS of eggs in some of the recipes. That’s the goal of this post. How To Use The Eggs!

Hard Boiled Eggs

Perfectly Peeled hard Boiled Eggs

Deviled Eggs

Food Network Classic Deviled Eggs

The BEST EVER Deviled Eggs

Creme Brulee

Creme Brulee Three Ways

Egg Salad

Deluxe Egg Salad

Avocado Egg Salad

Eggs For Dinner

25 Ways To Eat Eggs For Dinner

Pickled Eggs

Quick Pickled Eggs & Beets

Pickled Eggs 4 Ways

Quiche

Top 10 Quiche recipes

Pasta

Egg Pasta

Homemade Pasta

Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie            

Custard Pie

I also slice a hard boiled egg in my chicken noodle soup. Yum! try it!

Eggs In The Garden

5 Ways To Use Egg Shells In The Garden

Grow Seedlings In Eggshells

30 Things To Do With Eggshells

Crush eggshells and place around your garden plants for wonderful pest control.

Add crushed eggshells to your compost bin

Grind your eggshells into powder and sprinkle around your garden for an added calcium boost.

Feeding Chickens Eggs and Eggshells

crushed eggshells

I always share my hard boiled eggs with my chickens for added protein and calcium. I crush the entire egg, including shell, into small pieces and they go crazy over the yummy treat.

I save all my eggshells by washing them and then making sure they are thoroughly dry. I then crush them and store them in a glass jar and add in a separate container in their coop mixed with oyster shell. They will eat what they want out of the container.

Freeze Them for Later

I also freeze extra eggs for later use. I will scramble 4 or 5 eggs, add a pinch of salt, put them in a freezer bag with the date and toss them in the freezer for later use for my cakes or scrambled eggs.

Share! Share! Share!

My family, friends and neighbors rarely leave my home without taking at least a dozen eggs with them! Everyone in my dentist office asks for them. Sharing your over abundance of eggs with people is the best way to lower your extra egg supply to a manageable level, especially in the spring time. Food banks and charities will also accept eggs.

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Bluehost June Special! Start Your Blog Now! Make Extra $$$!

 

This post contains affiliate links.

Bluehost is giving another fabulous deal for the month of June and I don’t want anyone to miss out! From June 26th to June 28th you can get your own website and domain name for just $2.95 for 36 months! Click here now to get this special offer! You can also click on the banner above. The banner will say a different amount, but when you click my special link, you will be given the discount rate of $2.95 for 36 month sign up. This offer doesn’t come around very often, so take advantage while it last!

This is a great way to get your blog or business website started at a discounted rate. Join Bluehost’s affiliate program after you sign up and watch the extra income come in. I make most of my extra income from the bluehost affiliate program and they deposit right into my paypal account.

Bluehost is a trusted name with the support you need to start your website. Did I mention a FREE domain name too! Why wait? Start today!

 

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The Best Chickens for Homesteading. Why I chose the Breeds I Did For My Homestead.

 

baby chick

The Best Chickens for Homesteading. Why I chose the Breeds I Did For My Homestead

My baby chicks have finally arrived! Yes, I got a late start in my ordering of the chickens since we have been remodeling 2 homes, but they are here now! I have never ordered chicks online before, so it was a bit nerve racking for me waiting for my babies to arrive safely..and alive! I ordered 14 beauties from Ideal Poultry and they ALL arrived healthy, happy and chirping excitedly to go into their new coop!

It took me several weeks to finally decide on the “perfect” chicken breed for my homestead. The chickens we have are for eggs only and they had to be a very hardy breed since we live over 8,000 feet in the Colorado mountains. I do not want to heat my coop and really have no need to heat the coop since it is insulated, solid and very sturdy.

We live on 18 acres in the Colorado mountains, 40 minutes from any town or grocery store. I need to rely on my chickens for fresh eggs, and I need the security of knowing they are hardy enough to survive our cold, sometimes brutal Colorado winters. I usually choose chickens breeds that have smaller combs and wattles, since the combs and wattles are where the chickens release their heat. The smaller the combs and wattles the less heat will be released.

I raise my own chickens because I KNOW what I feed them and what I will be eating. A must read article about store bought eggs from Living Traditionally can be read here. Even buying organic eggs from the store can be hazardous to your health! I buy my chicken feed online at Scratch and Peck Feeds. It is organic and a trusted brand. I can easily ferment it or give it as is.



Below are the breeds I chose and why I chose them for my homestead. All are considered good dual purpose birds meaning they are good egg layers and good meat birds.

 

  1. Black Australorp- Australorp

black australorp hen

The Black Australorps are excellent layers of brown eggs. They are calm, friendly and considered a heavy weight breed that can tolerate very cold climates. The smaller pea comb it well suited for cold climates for minimal chance of frost bite. They are a heritage poultry breed not a hybrid and are good winter egg layers. These chickens are very docile and don’t mind staying in a coop.
2.  Ameraucana – Buff ameraucanaThe Ameraucana is another small pea comb chicken and has muffs and beards. They are very winter hardy and lay beautiful blue eggs. They are known for a very good lay rate and the eggs can be from medium to large size. I have to admit, I did purchase the Ameraucana for purely selfish reasons. I want blue eggs! Plus, as I stated, they are a very winter hardy breed.
Buff Orpingtons –  buff orpington hen
The Orpington chicken is probably the most popular chicken breed for farms, ranches, homestead ect, since it is a heavy weight cold hardy ,dual purpose chicken that is the most docile and family friendly. It is also a heritage breed. This breed will go broody more often than other breeds and are wonderful at raising baby chicks. They lay a cream colored to light brown eggs.
Cuckoo Marans- marans henCuckoo Marans are known as the “dark chocolate” egg layers. The are considered very winter hardy, a heavy weight breed and look very much like a barred rock breed. I have to admit, once again, I purchased the Cuckoo Marans, just as I did the Ameraucanas, for the color of the egg and the winter hardiness of the breed.
marans eggs
cuckoo marans eggs
Barred Rock- barred rock henBarred rocks are considered heavy weight heritage breeds that are excellent layers of brown eggs. Considered to be very docile and a popular breed for homesteaders.

My chickens will not be free rangers outside of my fenced in yard and their large pen, since where I live they will be “easy meals” for all the fox, coyotes, mountain lions, bears, raccoons, chicken hawks..well you get the idea!

If you choose to free range your chickens on a large and open homestead, I suggest you look into some of the lighter weight breeds that will be able to fly away from any predators.

I also keep chickens for the rich compost they provide for my garden. They are the perfect insect control on our homestead in my garden. It seems they know the harder they work, the more yummy treats they will get from the garden bounty!

UPDATE!

Just wanted to add new photos of the chickens now that they are 3 months old. I did get 2 roosters out of the batch of 14.

 

my chickenschickensThey are super friendly and very spoiled! I will keep one of the roosters and give one to a friend. The Buff Orpingtons are probably the sweetest and always run up to me when they see me. The cuckoo marans rooster is sweet, gentle and quiet, while the black astralorp rooster is loud and very protective of his girls. I will be giving him to a friend who free ranges and will keep the cuckoo marans rooster.

 

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How To Make Money and Save Money When You Live In A Rural Area

How To Make Money and Save Money When You Live In A Rural Area

 

Disclosure: I am compensated for purchases/sign-ups made via the referral and affiliate links in this post.

rural living

Do you live off grid or in an extremely rural area where you just can’t hop in the car and run down the street to the grocery store? Me too. I live 40 minutes away from any store period let alone a grocery store. If I hop in my car to run to the store, I have to drive straight down a very steep, very winding mountain road that is not paved. So before I just hop in that car to go grocery shopping, I have to plan very carefully. I have to watch the weather pattern. I have to watch the gas tank. I have to watch the sales..I get tired just watching before I even head out the door! Yet I have to make money and, as always, I want to save money.

I have learned a few tricks and will share some tips on how I save money and make money living in my rural mountaintop paradise. It has been trial and error for me since we moved out of the city and into the country, but my goal has been to NOT leave my mountain home if I don’t have to! I despise traffic, congestion, smog, pollution and everyday loud irritating noises that come with city living. I want peace, quite and tranquility at this point in my life, so I have searched high and low to make very attempt possible to stay right here on my mountain paradise!

Over the years we have learned to live on less and learn the DIY (do it yourself) lifestyle. We eat our meals by what we produced in the garden that year and by what we canned, froze or dehydrated. Staple items are purchased only when they are on sale. The simpler life is the happier we are. Instead of being glued to the tv, we sit on our deck and watch the deer play in the fields and forest. We budget around our income. Bills no longer control our lives. We control our bills.

Let’s Make Money!

My husband and I began planning our move 10 years prior to moving to our new homestead in the Colorado mountains. Yes, that is correct. TEN years of planning and preparing our finances for the big move!

My husband finally retired from his job and now I am comfortably able to work part-time from home. I am a Registered Nurse and searching for just the right job online for my profession was easier than I thought it would be. I was hired within 3 days of beginning my new online career search and feel beyond blessed that I am now able to stay home all the time and still produce a nice income.

I have also found websites that have given me even more added income that I do in my spare time. The most fun way I make extra income is writing this blog. If you live in a rural area and have not started a blog yet, you can go to Bluehost.com and get steeply discounted prices on a host site and you also get a free WordPress site! Not only that, but if you sign up with Bluehost affiliate program, they will give you $65 per referral! And that, my friends, can add up to a very nice supplemental income each month!


After you have built your new blog site, you can then add your affiliate links from trusted companies you use frequently. Here are my blogs that go into affiliates and web sites in a bit more detail.

Build Your Blog And Then Monetize It In These Simple Steps

Why Add Affiliates To Your Blog For Income?

I use Shareasale for almost all of my affiliate programs and choose only the companies I trust with the products I use and can give my readers an honest opinion on.

There are numerous ways to make money online while living in a rural area. Some of my favorite sites to go to are:

The Work At Home Wife

Pinterest

Building A Framework

The Busy Budgeter

The Penny Hoarder

I also go to Mintvine everday and take surveys. This is the easiest survey site I have found that is 100% legit! The surveys are easy and the points build quickly. You can opt for a cash payout via paypal or get gift cards from multiple stores such as Amazon.

Vindale Research pays you cash to take surveys and it goes directly into your paypal account. Just for signing up and filling out your profile and tutorial viewing (less than 5 minutes) Vindale will put $2 in your account.

Ways to Both Make and Save Money Online

I have also figured out how I can both make money and  save money at the same time online. Below are several sites I use almost on a daily basis and this keeps the extra income flowing in and also saves me lots of money.

Ibotta: I love this app! After I finish shopping, either online or at the grocery store, I add the receipt to Ibotta and all the savings I get goes into my PayPal account. I cannot tell you how crazy I am about this app. I have already had hundreds of dollars added to PayPal from my savings with this site, plus they have an excellent affiliate program also. For each person you refer to Ibotta, they will give you $5 and your friend will get $10!

Must Use Swagbucks Folks!

Swagbucks is 100% legitimate and 100% free to join. Swagbucks has never failed me in the several years I have been using the site and they offer multiple ways to earn points. They also have an A+ rating with the BBB! I always shop on Swagbucks and do my Internet searches on Swagbucks.

Next, I will go into detail on how I both make money and save money by using Swagbucks and Amazon together. I use Swagbucks every single day for my search engine. For watching videos. for getting my news and information. Everything. Everyday! The reason why? FREE products! LOTS of FREE products! Every single month FREE products!

With the points I get from Swagbucks with my searches, I earn Amazon gift cards. I cannot even count how many free Amazon gift cards I have gotten over the years by using Swagbucks. With those FREE Amazon gift cards, I use Amazon’s subscribe and save offers on the products I want which equals FREE shipping along with FREE products that I got with my FREE Amazon gift card. Simple right?! PLUS When you refer friends to Swagbucks, you get 10% of whatever they earn for life! For example: When they earn 500 SB, you get 50 SB! Win Win!

Mypoints  is also a nice money maker for me. I do surveys, buy products, watch videos and get all my money deposited right into my paypal account each month.  The same with Inboxdollars. Everything right into my paypal account or a check sent to me.

I also use Listia on a daily basis. Listia is all about giving and getting. For a limited time, get 10,000 credits for every friend who joins and successfully completes their first listing.
Your friends also get 1,000 bonus credits as a special gift when they join! This is a site where I will list some of my homemade products, get points, and turn around and get my soy or beeswax for candles. No money is exchanged. it is all based on a point (credit) system.

How To Save On Everyday Items

sale

One way I save big bucks on everyday essentials is that I make my own products when I am able. A simple box of baking soda has multiple uses for cleaning and laundry needs and will cost up to 4 times less than chemical laden store brands.

Making your own cleaning products is easier than you think and much more cost effective. If you live on property with a septic tank (I do) you will also figure out very quickly that using store bought products are not good for your septic system and that can add up to a very costly repair.

Doing a quick Internet search can give you easy to follow instructions on how to make your own products. Even searching throughout my website you will find valuable information on creating your own cost effective, safe cleaning products such as 15 All Natural Green Kitchen and Bath Cleaning Solutions

 

I save the most money by making my own beauty products. This has been the greatest discovery I have found and all my products are safe, chemical free and all natural. I will never go back to store bought! Read here: Essential Oils and Herbs: The Best Homemade Recipes! You will find numerous recipes to easily create your own products that are cost effective.

I also save money by growing my own medicinal herb garden and all my vegetables, some fruits, and cooking herbs. I dehydrate, can and freeze my garden bounty to last all year long. The money we save on food and medicine is huge and I don’t have to jump in the car and rush to the store because I am missing a jar of tomato sauce or need a soothing balm for a mosquito bite. Read here: How To Start Your Own Medicinal Herb Garden The Easy Way! And Why You Should and here: Organic Gardening Colorado Style! Cold Weather Crops and here: Best Herbal Teas To Make At Home

I have also found a new favorite site called Jet.com to safe even more money. So far it is everything they say it was going to be and they ship the items in 2 days free! They do not have an affiliate or referral program that I can see at this time, but I am keeping my eyes open for that added money maker when they add the affiliate. You also get 15% off your first 3 orders with the code TRIPLE15. Each item you add to your cart the more discounts they give you. I am at this time very impressed with this site and have racked up huge savings on my groceries. They ship right to my door in 2 days and have everything..and I mean everything that I need!

I have learned many ways to save and earn so I don’t have to drive down that windy mountain road, and I am still learning. The more I learn the more I will share with you!

Now that you have learned some ways to make money and save money while living in a rural setting, I leave you to explore and enjoy to your hearts content and will see you next time! Enjoy your beautiful rural property while saving money and bringing in some extra cash.

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15 All Natural Green Kitchen and Bath Cleaning Solutions

vinegarbaking soda

15 All Natural Green Kitchen and Bath Cleaning Solutions

Disclosure: I am compensated for purchases/sign-ups made via the referral and affiliate links in this post

Do you like using commercial cleaning products that are full of poisonous chemicals, harsh fumes, and potentially deadly ingredients? No? I didn’t think so and neither do I. Over the past several years I have been using all natural ingredients (that actually work) to clean my home. Baking soda, essential oils, and plain white vinegar have become my new best friends.

Many commercially made cleaning products contain so many hazardous chemicals, that they can cause skin irritation, even burns,and  respiratory problems that could potentially be life threatening. Why would anyone want to use those ingredients in their home with their family and pets when they have cheap healthy natural alternatives?

Essential Oils are highly concentrated oils extracted from aromatic plants. When using essential oils make sure that it is therapeutic grade and 100% pure organic essential oil and a brand you can trust. Two brands that I use and trust for purity are DoTerra and Young Living. Keep in mind that it only takes a few drops of this highly concentrated liquid to add into your natural beauty products or cleaning solutions.

   It is advised to never use strong-smelling essential oils topically on young children or infants close to the air passage and general lung area. Due to their greater sensitivity, they could react among other things with bronchial spasm and even apnea (respiratory arrest).

Best disinfecting essential oils for your kitchen and bath

Lemon

Rosemary

Grapefruit

Cinnamon

Cloves

Eucalyptus

Tea Tree Oil

Lavender

Lemongrass

Thyme

Cinnamon

Cedarwood

Below are my favorite combinations to clean my kitchen and bath using baking soda, vinegar and essential oils: Always spot test an area first before using any  products. You should not combine vinegar and hydrogen peroxide inside the same container or mix together since it can cause skin and eye irritation. Keep in mind that castile soap mixed with vinegar equals an unusable wad of gunk!

Don’t want to make your own? Grove.co formerly ePantry has everything you need to keep your home all natural and green!  Grove.co is a site I trust completely to order all natural products that I don’t have time to make myself. They have numerous products, fair prices and VIP members get free shipping and free products! Win win here!

Natural Kitchen Disinfectant

In a clean spray bottle add 2 cups of water and up to 20 drops of tea tree oil ( or oil of choice from above list). I use tea tree oil because Tea tree oil is a naturally-occurring essential oil with anti-fungal properties that can kill staphylococcus, e-coli, shigella, and salmonella. It can be easily found online or in most stores. Add a small amount of liquid dish soap, approximately ½ teaspoon or less ( I use Ivory or castile soap) and then add approximately 1 ½ tablespoons of white vinegar. Shake bottle to mix well before each use and now you have a very cost effective powerhouse cleaning and disinfecting spray!

Cleaning  Floors With Lemon Oil

Hardwood floors need special care and conditioning. This simple, inexpensive recipe will keep your floors looking clean and fresh.

Mix 10-15 drops of lemon oil with approximately 1 cup water and 1/4 cup white vinegar into a bucket and mop away! Add more lemon oil, water and white vinegar as needed for larger amounts

Cleaning Wood: Homemade Wood Polish

Add ¾ cup olive oil, ¼ cup white vinegar, 10 drops lemon essential oil, and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Mix thoroughly before each use. Apply small amount to cloth and apply to wood furniture.

Chemical Free Carpet Freshener

Mix 1 cup baking soda with 10 drops lavender essential oil. Mix and sprinkle over carpet area. Let set for 30 minutes or more and vacuum as usual.

All Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Only three simple ingredients. Sometimes the most basic ingredients work the best.

Mix 1 cup baking soda with 40-50 drops of at least 2 or more of the following essential oils (Rosemary, tea tree, lemongrass, lemon or Lavender) in a glass bowl. (you will need a larger amount of essential oils in this recipe since you want to disinfect the toilet bowl.

Add 2-3 Tablespoons of the mixture into toilet bowl, scrub with toilet brush and then add 4 tablespoons of white vinegar to the toilet bowl.

The mixture will fizz and foam up as the baking soda and vinegar meet, and the vinegar will kill any remaining mold and bacteria.

Keep Your Fridge Fresh!

               Mix 1 cup baking soda and 10 drops lemon or grapefruit essential oil (or                your favorite  scent) in a glass bowl and set in fridge. That’s it! The baking soda will absorb the smelly orders and the essential oil will leave behind a clean, fresh scent.

Clean Fresh Shower Curtain and shower

To keep your shower curtains and inside your shower/tub free of mold and mildew add a mixture of 1 cup vinegar, 10 drops tea tree oil and 1/2 cup water to a spray bottle and spray shower curtain each time after you shower.

Keep the Coffee Pot Going

Once a month a will run a small bottle of white vinegar through my coffee pot to remove all the coffee stain buildup. Once I discard the vinegar I will run a pot of just water through the pot to rinse out the vinegar. You will be amazed at how much coffee residue sticks to the inside of your coffee pot!

Scrub-A-Dub That Tub

I will use straight baking soda to clean my bathtub. If I have an especially dirty tub I will sprinkle coarse salt around the grimy areas and scrub with half a fresh lemon or half a fresh grapefruit for extra clean and shiny tub

Bonus- another amazing tub and toilet cleaner is to combine Dawn dish liquid and vinegar in a spray bottle to clean toilet bowl and tub. Let sit 5-10 minutes and then scrub. works even better if you heat the vinegar in the microwave before adding to spray bottle.

Clean Those Drains

Use a wire hook to first remove any clumps of hair.

An easy drain cleaner and declogger recipe: First pour 1 cup salt down the drain. Bring a pot of water to a full boil. Remove from heat. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of dishwashing detergent to hot water. Stir and pour down the drain.

Salt is abrasive and is used as a scouring agent. The dishwashing liquid and hot water will melt and degrease the pipes.

Adding vinegar and baking soda just will not work effectively at degreasing and unclogging drains.

Bleach Alternative

We have a septic tank at our home, so we have to be very careful what is placed down the drains and bleach is one thing that will kill the good bacteria that is keeping our septic system running so below is the alternative I use for whitening my laundry whites and for over all household cleaning spray. I found the recipe at One Good Thing.

  • 12 cups water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup hydrogen peroxide

Mix well and add 2 cups per wash load or put in spray bottle and use as a household cleaner for bathroom countertop and around toilet area

Bonus

To whiten whites spray lemon juice on your whites and hang the whites in the sunshine on a clothesline. Nothing whitens better than the sun! Then run through the washer as usual. Below is a DIY linen spray for whiter whites

Fill a pint jar with lemon peels, add 2oz vodka and 1-2 cups of water. Let sit for 3 weeks. Drain and pour mixture into a spray bottle.

Window with a View

To keep windows sparkling clean, mix 2 cups water, 2 tablespoons white vinegar, and 2 tablespoons rubbing alcohol together in a spray bottle and shake to mix well before each use.

Deep clean that cutting board

To get a nice deep clean on your well used cutting board, cut a fresh lemon in half, pour a generous amount of salt on your board and begin a nice deep scrub with the lemon halves. Rinse well when done and it will look like a new cutting board!

Bonus

Rub  olive oil to cutting board after cleaning to condition it. You can do this about once a month.

Dishwasher tune-up

This is an excellent site to visit to see how to keep that dishwasher fine-tuned and running smoothly! Green dishwasher cleaning

Countertop cleaning wipes for quick disinfecting

Use recycled wash or dish cloths or any soft cloth and place in a glass jar. Glass jar should be large enough to fit at least several smaller pieces of cloth. In a separate container mix 2 cups water, 1/2 cup white vinegar, 10 drops tea tree oil and 10 drops lemon essential oil. You can increase or decrease the ingredients depending on the size of jar you are using. Pour mixture over cloths in jar and cover with lid. Grab a cloth as needed for quick clean up and disinfecting and reuse and recycle!

Have fun with your DIY cleaning!

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How To Start Your Own Medicinal Herb Garden The Easy Way! And Why You Should

chamomille

our fumbling homestead

How To Start Your Own Medicinal Herb Garden The Easy Way! And Why You Should

This post may contain affiliate links. Ordering a product through this link may result in a commission, which helps pay for the cost of running this site and keeps the content free. All opinions are 100% my own. Likewise, the health advice that may have been shared in this post has not been evaluated by the FDA. The products and methods recommended are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease, nor is it intended to replace proper medical help. See disclosures

Have you ever wanted to start your own medicinal herb garden, but you just weren’t quite sure how to start or wondered what medicinal herbs and flowers you needed for your family? Do you have a small yard or small garden area and wondered where you would even put a medicinal garden.  Well, I have good news! It’s easy to begin and the best part is that you don’t need a huge garden area to for your medicinal plants.

Most herbs and flowers are very forgiving and very hardy. I live in Colorado where our winters can be quite brutal with below freezing temperatures, flooding rains in spring and brutally hot and dry summers. We have it all here in Southern Colorado!

I have been growing my own medicinal herbs and flowers for many years and they have all done quite well in all temperatures. As long as I have a rich, healthy soil, I have found out I can grow just about anything I plant. I plant both in my greenhouse and in my garden area. I also plant in containers.

I buy pretty much all my garden seeds at Botanical Interests. They are a brand I trust and know that their seeds never fail my expectations.

Your garden design can be simple homemade raised beds by using wood, rocks, concrete, the sky is really the limit here. Be creative and use your imagination! You can add the medicinal herbs all over your landscape as long as you can keep them manageable. For larger plants, you can space them between shade loving vegetables.

raised garden bed
Raised Garden Bed

Here are 18 DIY Raised Beds That Are Just Beautiful. Click Here to get your ideas going!

Why You Should Start A Medicinal Herb Garden

It is my own personal and humble opinion, that everyone should have their own medicinal herb garden. The herbs preserve easily and in case of an emergency, you will have them readily available. Dried herbs are perfect for emergency or survival packs for easy use. Herbs, fresh or dried, are extremely expensive if store- bought and their freshness cannot be guaranteed. How long have they sat on the shelf in the store? What fillers do they add to their commercially made product other than 100% product?

The herbs and flowers

First of all, figure out what you want your medicinal herbs and flowers for. Do you want to make salves and lotions for wound care, burns or minor cuts and dry skin? Or do you want to make your own all natural, organic beauty products with your freshly picked herbs and flowers? Do you want to make soothing, delicious teas? As for me, I do all of the above with my medicinal herbs and have them creatively spread throughout my entire garden area.

If you are just beginning a medicinal herb garden, it is best to start small and easy and then work your way up to more complicated plantings as you gain your new found knowledge of each plant, how big they will grow, and what is the best medicinal use for them.

Take Calendula for instance. This is a fast growing, very hardy, annual flower that you can use for salve making for wound healing. You can make a wonderful beauty lotion for your face or you can make a cream for your baby. And yes, you can eat it! Calendula is popular in most baby lotions because of it’s mild and gentle moisturizing effect. It grows in small spaces and is not finicky about the soil it grows in.

Below is a list of the easiest and fastest growing medicinal herbs and medicinal flowers. They are hardy and will grow in almost any condition. If you are a first time grower of these herbs, and a first time user of making your own medicinal medicine and beauty products then you should start with these:

Medicinal Herbs

Peppermint– Needs to be in a container! It spreads very quickly and will overtake your garden if not contained. For hundreds of years peppermint has been used to treat stomach upset, nausea, indigestion and bloating. It is wonderful to use in soaps and beauty products for it’s scent. You can use a starter plant or direct sow the seeds. It is tolerant of most soil conditions, even poor soil conditions.

lemon balm– perfect for container planting. Grows rapidly. Smells heavenly! Lemon balm is always used as an insect repellent and works well in sprays. This is my favorite herbal tea and tincture. It can been started by seed or by starter plant. It is wonderful for easing an upset tummy.

Lemon balm
Lemon Balm

sage– needs to be trimmed to be kept in a small space. Will grow very large if not carefully watched. It can be placed in a container. Sage has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and astringent properties. It is very popular to use as a gargle for sore throats and for sore gums. And delicious to cook with! It is great to help with dandruff. Just steep several large leaves in hot water for approximately 15-30 minutes. Let sit until cool and add small amounts to your regular shampoo with each use.

sage
Sage

 

Rosemary – can grow very large if not trimmed regularly. I plant mine in a large container and bring it indoors in winter and have fresh Rosemary all year long for my medicinal creations and beauty products (great hair rinse!) and for cooking. Beautiful rosemary is said to sharpen memory and stimulate brain function. It is also known for supporting the circulatory and nervous systems. It is antibacterial and antiviral and is perfect for adding to your homemade cleaning products or making a nice herbal tea for a natural pain killer and anti-inflammatory.

rosemary
rosemary bush

thyme– perfect for container planting. It spreads quickly if not contained. Thyme has been used for centuries to help with colds, flu and respiratory issues. It is wonderful as a tea and can be liberally spread on any dishes after cooking. It has also been used as an appetite stimulant and as an expectorant. Can easily sow with seeds or as a small starter plant. Try Lemon Thyme for a delicious herbal tea!

broad leaf thyme
thyme

Medicinal Flowers homeopathy

Calendula– also known as pot marigold, needs only a small section of space. Can interplant between vegetables. Tolerant of even poor soil conditions. Easy to direct sow seeds or can use a starter plant. makes wonderful salves. Can be taken internally by adding petals to salads or making a tea. Easy to dry in a dehydrator and store for future use. Has anti-inflammatory benefits. Here is a great and very easy to do recipe for calendula salve: How to Make Calendula Salve  from A Delightful Home website.

calendula
Calendula

Echinacea– Needs only a small space. Can interplant between vegetables. Drought tolerant and will grow well in most soil types. Echinacea will usually grow it’s flowers in the second year of growth, but you can use the entire plant, especially the roots for your medicinal remedies. Roots, leaves and flowers can all be put into a tincture for year round cold and flu fighting capabilities. How To Make a Tincture

Lavender– Will grow fairly large if not trimmed. I put my lavender bushes in the corners of my garden and just let them go right up the fence. They take very little space in my garden and they do not interfere with any other plants. Lavender has so many wonderful benefits that this is a must have plant for your garden. It is very easy to start by either direct sow of seeds or by using a starter plant.

Lavender uses: add flowers and leaves to your tea. Steep in hot water for several minutes and ..YUM! Add crushed dried lavender flowers to your homemade soap for a wonderful fresh smell in the morning. Lavender essential oil is also a disinfectant to add to your homemade cleaning needs. Read my Blog post Essential Oils and Herbs: The Best Homemade Recipes! to find wonderful herbal creations that I make myself and from many other creative bloggers who share their own herbal products. And my post Best Herbal Teas To Make At Home.

German Chamomile – small and delicate these flowers can be placed in a small space and do very well. If you want to gather and preserve chamomile easily, it is best to keep them bunched together in a small space. If you spread them throughout your garden, it will be more difficulty gathering the very small delicate flowers. Chamomile tea is famous for a before bedtime relaxant to help give a sound sleep. It delicate flowers are wonderful and very fragrant added to soaps and salves to help moisturize and sooth skin. Caution: German chamomile is also a blood thinner and should not be taken with certain medications. Consult your doctor if pregnant before taking

Yarrow- yarrow will grow very fast and will be quite happy anywhere in your garden area. You can reserve a small corner of your garden for a few plants and spread them around your entire garden between your vegetables. For best medicinal benefit, make sure to get wild White yarrow. The yellow and red do not have the same health benefits as the white yarrow. Here in Colorado wild white yarrow grows wild everywhere. Yarrow is a very powerful herb that is known to stop minor bleeding  when crushed and applied to a wound. It has diuretic properties and is a vasodilator. Prefers well drained soil and sunlight but is not finicky.

 

yarrow
wild white yarrow

Did you know that you can grow your own organic ginger and turmeric in a container in a sunny corner of your home. Neither of these medicinal roots grow fast. In fact they are very slow growing, both taking approximately nine months to produce more roots, but I mention them, since they are so very easy to grow and you can just stick them in a corner out of the way. Once ready, just wipe away some of the compost and pull off a small plug of ginger or turmeric to use in your culinary creations or as a wonderful medicinal tea. Both have anti-inflammatory properties and the medical research of turmeric is proving to be a medicinal herb gardeners dream!

ginger
Ginger

Try this Yummy Creamy Turmeric tea here. This recipe also has ginger root in it for extra immune boosting benefits.




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Remodeling Begins On The Homestead!

Remodeling Begins On The Homestead!

Disclosure: I am compensated for purchases/sign-ups made via the referral and affiliate links in this post.

I have added some before photos of our chaos in the works! Let the work begin! Remodeling Begins On The Homestead! Chicken coops, carpet and paint..Oh My! Keep in mind that this is a 1996 mobile home on 10 acres that we bought for a “steal”, so we came in knowing we would have to do a lot of remodeling.

Also keep in mind this homestead is in the Colorado mountains at over 8,000 feet elevation and we just had a spring snow storm that completely halted our remodel for a few (ok, several) days. We had 27 inches of snow fall on us! Not 2-7 inches but TWENTYSEVEN! After digging out of the snow, we will resume the remodeling.

10 inches and counting!
10 inches and counting!
snow
finally stopped snowing
guest bath
Guest bathroom before
fireplace
fireplace room before
tv room
Main living room before
fireplace room warm carmel
Fireplace room wall warm Carmel the rest of the room in Dapper Tan

 

And Here We Go!

As you can see we have a lot of work ahead of us on the new homestead. I will show you all the before photos in this part 1 series and then add extra series as the projects are being completed. I will also give reviews on Rust-Oleum countertop paint (hint: LOVE IT!) I ordered the Rust-Oleum countertop transformation kit for my kitchen countertops and will also be giving a review on that once we have applied it.

The Rust-Oleum paint and Rust-Oleum transformation kit are two completely separate items. I have used the Rust-Oleum paint, which you simply brush on the countertop (I did the master bathroom) and let dry. The Rust-Oleum transformation kit is more in depth with more steps (and work) involved. I ordered the transformation kit for my kitchen countertops in charcoal. I used grey mist in the master bathroom for the brush on paint and a dark brown for the guest bathroom. (which will be a themed bathroom) You can choose 12 different colors for the counter top paint.

guest bath
Guest bath countertop before
Rust-oleum paint
Guest Bath countertop After Rust-Oleum

Below are the Rust-Oleum kits I purchased off Amazon:

deck
Front Deck Before

We purchased this 10 acre property at least $40,000 below cost of the other properties in our area with the same or less acres than our homestead, so we knew full well that we would be going in with a full remodel in our minds, even a remodel of my beloved front deck.

deck
front deck before

This beat up and abused front deck was the selling point for me on this homestead. The first time I stood on this wounded old deck and looked out at the beautiful mountains surrounding us, I felt a peace in my heart that simply cannot be explained in words and I knew immediately I HAD to live here and I HAD to remodel this beloved old deck into a my sanctuary. I simply had to bring this deck back to life, which means a complete over- haul with rich, beautiful stain and lots of reinforcements.

Whoever added this deck before we purchased the property, did an extremely poor job and now we will have to go in and reinforce everything.

All the carpet will be coming out and new floors will be put in. Everything will be painted and all new light fixtures will be added. We installed new bathroom sinks and I am going to try the Rust-Oleum Tub and Tile paint on the bathroom tubs.

kitchen

 

We have been very busy trying to put our new home in order and updated. We will complete the inside first and then start work on the outside. We will begin by building a nice, new and large chicken and duck area, add fence around the property to keep the deer out, build my garden area (I’m doing only raised beds here) and we will build a functional outdoor cooking area.

Rust-Oleum Countertop Paint

I completed the master bathroom countertop with Rust-Oleum countertop paint in Grey Mist. So beautiful and extremely easy to do! When I complete the guest bathroom countertops (espresso) I will add the photos of both countertops.

If you ever decide to use the Rust-Oleum countertop paint (not the transformation kit, just the can of paint) make sure you understand that it dries quickly! so you will have to work fairly fast.

Make sure you sand down your countertop and then wipe it down thoroughly.  I made the mistake of not double checking the countertops before I began painting for any added dust from sanding and now I have tiny little bumps over some of the dust where I had painted. They are extremely hard to see, but I know they are there. So, I cannot stress enough, after you sand the countertop, wipe wipe and wipe again! Then run your hands over the countertop to feel if there are still any dust pieces, wipe again and then begin your painting.

Second mistake: Take the sink out! I left the new sink in, because my husband had installed it before I could tell him I was going to paint the countertops and I didn’t have the heart to make him disassemble everything and remove the sink and then reassemble it and put it back in. Lesson learned: Take The Sink Out! It was very difficult taping off the sink and getting the paint into the tiny corners around the sink. I had to use a tiny paint brush to go around the sink.

I did the countertop by myself and had no problems, but I will incorporate my husbands help when we do the kitchen countertops with the Rust-Oleum Transformation kit. If the paint dries as fast as the bathroom one did, I am going to need some extra hands!

I watched this YouTube video several times and will watch it again before I start on my kitchen countertops with the Rust-Oleum Transformation kit.

Color Schemes and Bathroom Themes

bear switch plates
Bear switch plates in guest bathroom

For the main living area I chose Glidden paint in Dapper Tan with an accent wall of warm caramel. For the fireplace room I am as yet undecided on the colors.

For the guest bathroom, it took me several weeks to decided on a wildlife theme or just a bear theme. We live in the mountains. We have bears. We have deer and elk. We have coyotes, fox and all sorts of other critters that I will soon become acquainted with as they try to invade my garden beds. So I decided I should at least dedicate a bathroom to them! I found a bear vanity light online at Black Forest Decor and cute bear light switch plates on eBay and that sealed the deal. Bear theme it will be!

You can see the black bear vanity light that I ordered Here and the same bear light plate switch cover Here.

I will also paint the guest bathroom in light tan with white molding to offset the dark bears.

The master bath I have claimed as MINE! It will be a soft mint green and white and have a spa like feel to it. As stated above the countertops have already been painted a soft grey mist and now the big challenge is choosing what flooring to add in there.

Rust-Oleum countertop paint
Grey Mist Rust-Oleum countertop paint main bathroom

 

The Chicken Coop!

I have ordered my new chicken coop and it should arrive in the next 2 weeks. The colors I have chosen, which are not in the pictures below yet since I still have to paint it, are shaded fern for the building and country white for all the trim.

chicken coop
chicken coop
coop
Hubby checking out the coop for delivery
chicken coop
nesting boxes
nesting box

nesting boxes
coop door
coop door

20150205_103131-1080x608

The coop is made with 6 nesting boxes and is 6’x8′ and very sturdy and solid. We have already laid the 6’x8′ cement slab to place the coop on when it finally arrive at the homestead and will begin building the “Fort Knox” of security fencing around the coop, including laying wire on the ground and covering it up so “critters” don’t dig under and then we will bury hardwire all around the parameters of the coop 12″ deep. Once the chicken coop is in place on the homestead, then I will begin painting and sealing it and show the after pictures. We purchased and had the coop designed by a local company in our town and they have worked with us every step of the way to make sure the coop is to our specification.

Stay Tuned

Stay tuned for my updated photos coming soon as we complete the projects. We are at this time of posting painting every single room in the home. What is on the walls now is a very slick coating, so we first have to put on a flat white paint and then we will be able to paint over the flat paint easily. We decided it would be wise to invest in a small paint sprayer since we have to paint all the walls and ceilings. It has been well worth the investment!

At the time of this posting, we have had all the cement laid around the front porch and around the back deck. The front deck has been completely taken down and is ready for it’s beautiful transformation. The cement pad near the back deck is ready for me to build my outdoor cooking area on it, once all the chaos is completed on the inside of the home.

We will then order the new carpet and kitchen flooring. My husband has decided he will tear out the old carpet himself to save money, so we can add the Pergo flooring to the kitchen. We have 3 large dogs, so we have to choose wisely (and pay more) to make sure our kitchen floor can stand up to the abuse our beloved pets will likely put it through. Please stay tuned and sign up for my blogs so you don’t miss the updates!

outside
Getting ready to pour the cement

 

 

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Food Storage Solutions: Prepare for tomorrow!

canning

our fumbling homestead

Food Storage Solutions: Prepare for tomorrow

Disclosure: I am compensated for purchases/sign-ups made via the referral and affiliate links in this post.

Are you the type of person who keeps just the bare minimum essentials in your pantry? Do you prepare for tomorrow if there is a crippling blizzard? A tornado? A flood? Are you the type that has one can of soup on the shelf to share with 4 people in your family because you didn’t prepare for tomorrow? If this is you, then you should definitely keep reading!

The following information is for a person such as yourself. It is a basic guide to build your food supply and life saving essentials… just in case.

Disasters Happen

Disasters happen, and sometimes on a frequent basis such as fires, floods, and blizzards. Do you want to depend on the kindness of your neighbors to feed your family during these tough times, or do you want to be the one saying, “Me and my family are ok. We have plenty to get us through this?” and have enough to also help your neighbor? Even the government recommends you have emergency supplies on hand…just in case.

Make A Plan  notebook

Even our grandparents had a plan. They put items up “for a rainy day”. Grandpa planted extra potato plants for grandma to can or store in the root cellar for a rainy day. Prepping isn’t a new term. it has been around for hundreds of years. You don’t have to be extreme and bury entire storage buildings in the ground or purchase 50 cans of beans all in one day. Write your plan down and adjust it as needed.

Start with a week by week plan and add to your storage as you can. For example: Week 1 you will build your extra water supply. Week 2 you can work on your food supply and Week 3 can be adding extra batteries, flashlights  or emergency essentials such as extra bandages, medication ect. However you do it, just do it!

How To Calculate Your Food Storage Needs = This site has an excellent food storage tracker and calculator

Water Storage

water

You should have on hand one gallon of water per person per day for at least 3 days. (hopefully you have room for more than that) but we will begin here.

First, you should definitely invest in a filtration system or you can pre-treat your stored water. If pre-treating, you can add approximately 6-8 drops of bleach per gallon container and let it sit for 20 to 25 minutes. You should use only regular bleach without any scents. You can also boil your water for a minimum of 3 minutes or you can pressure can mason jars of water to add to your water storage.

Water filtration 

Using bleach and boiling are good option. LifeStraw has a personal water purifier and a larger family size water purifier. Berkey makes several different size water filters that you can choose from depending on the size of your family.

Rocks, sand, gravel and pulverized charcoal can all be used to set up a homemade water filtration system by layering them in a makeshift container and pouring the water through the layers until it runs clear. This should be your last solution for obtaining water. Your best solution is to already have water on hand that is ready to drink at a moment’s notice.

filter

Water storage ideas: Use BPA free plastic and date your bottles. Store in a cool, dark area.

Build a cistern. Rain barrels. Gallon milk jugs. Boxed water kits from any survival store or emergency preparedness store. Mason jars. Large plastic barrels. Bottled water you buy at the store.

 

Storing Your Food    canning

There are several ways to prepare your food for storage. Do you have a garden? Then you can dehydrate, ferment, and can your garden bounty easily and safely store it away for your rainy day. Keep in mind that food will spoil if exposed to heat, air or light. Make sure you are rotating your food items also and putting dates on the lids or jars so you know what needs to be eaten first.

Properly storing your food will prevent food-borne illnesses and bacteria and premature spoiling of food. If properly stored and prepared, you will have yourself and your family a large supply of healthy homemade food storage for those rainy days.

Keep your food in dark, cool and dry areas of your home. Throw out any cans that are outdated, swollen, rusty or dented. Know the lifespan of each item you have prepared.

Dehydrating:

jerkeyapple

You can dehydrate almost anything you want now a days with all the new high tech dehydrators they have on the market. You can go as cheap as you want or you can purchase the top of the line. The skies the limit when it comes to your choice of dehydrators!

 

Foods You Should NOT Dehydrate:

Some foods are simply too high in fat content and will go rancid very quickly no matter how hard you try to carefully preserve them.

Avocados–  very high fat content, super long dry time and turn rancid quickly

Fatty meats– if you are dehydrating meats say for jerky, trim all the fat off first and slice very thin.

Store bought condiments– it is much better to make your own ketchup from fresh organic tomatoes than to try and dehydrate store bought ketchup that is filled with sugar ad unnecessary chemicals they add for coloring and preserving!

Cheese– the high fat content makes it go rancid quickly and is not good for long term storage.

Nuts- high fat contents make them good for only short term storage.

 

The best part of dehydrating your food is that you are able to take it camping, hiking, on road trips or pack it in a lunch bag. Some foods can simply be tossed in a bag and eaten right out of the bag such as fruits, vegetables and jerky. Some dehydrated foods can simply have boiling water added to them to make an entire meals such as spaghetti (yes, you can dehydrate spaghetti and spaghetti sauce!) The amount of meal preparation for dehydrating your food is only limited by your imagination! Most stores now have dehydrated meals in either bags or cans and can be easily purchased for future use in case of an emergency and will have a very long shelf life.

Make sure you use oxygen absorbers in your dry canned storage. For example, if you have dehydrated your garden herbs and placed them in a glass jar, be sure to add an oxygen absorber before closing the lid. Here is a great article  about oxygen absorbers and how to use them.

Dehydrated Pasta Sauce

Dehydrating pasta

Dehydrating Recipes

Dehydrated Tomato Powder

Beef Jerky

Vegetable Chips

Reconstituting Dehydrated Foods

Canning Your Food

You can store almost any food item by canning it. Canning is wonderful for winter storage of your garden bounty or the for the “big sale” items you purchased at the farmer’s market of peaches, cherries or cucumbers.

Before you can, make sure you are well versed on what can be water bath canned (high acid foods) and what will need to be placed in a pressure canner (low acid foods). Below is a list of both water bath and pressure canned recipes. You can find thousands of these recipes online or in books

Water Bath Recipes:

Crisp Dill Pickles

How To Can Tomatoes

Spicy Dilly Beans

Water Bath Canning Recipes

Pickled Vegetables

Pressure Canned Recipes:

Green Beans

Dry Beans

Pressure canning recipes

 

Root Cellar:

You do not need a lot of room to make a root cellar to store your garden produce or smoked meats. You can very easily make a small corner of your basement into a root cellar. Keep in mind that you will need a ventilated area. Without ventilation, your produce will spoil rapidly. Also try to choose a damp spot since most produce need high humidity to keep at their best.

You will need to build in an area that is cool, damp, dark, and well ventilated with good drainage. You can be as creative or as low budget as you like to create your root cellar. Something as simple as a large trash can and some straw or sand and you have a nice place to store your root crops safely away from critters and weather.

Build a Backyard Root Cellar– This is a great site for simple DIY root cellar

Root Cellars 101- Root Cellar Design and Use

Root Cellars on a Budget

6 Low-Budget DIY Root Cellar Ideas

 

Ready To Eat Meals

There are many sites that offer you ready to eat meals where you would just add boiling water and the meal is ready to eat. I have tried a variety of different brands and some taste much better than others. Of course, it depends on your meal choice and taste preference, but below is a list of a few sites where you can purchase these ready to eat meals.  Buying and storing your emergency food this way will be a bit more expensive, but if you find the right sales at the right time, you can really score a good bargain.

Thrive Food Storage

Be Prepared Emergency Essentials

The Ready Store

Since you are ready to prepare for tomorrow and are ready to make your plans, remember that water storage and amounts you will need should be your first priority! Then food, emergency supplies, flash lights, batteries, can opener ect. Sit down with your family and discuss what your needs will be if you are stuck inside your home in a blizzard or flood and have no way to get to a store.

While you are solving your food storage solutions with your new plan, keep in mind that you may not have any heat or electricity to cook the food you are storing unless you have added the extra cooking source to your emergency supply such as Coleman stoves and extra propane. Make your food storage emergency stash as simple as able for quick preparation. So sit down and begin making your plans and prepare for tomorrow!

Emergency Essentials

Emergency Preparedness

Basic Disaster Supplies Kit

 

 

 

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Build Your Blog And Then Monetize It In These Simple Steps

blog

Build Your Blog And Then Monetize It For Income

Disclosure: I am compensated for purchases/sign-ups made via the referral and affiliate links in this post. See Disclosures

 

I am going to show you simple steps to  help you build your blog  by giving you some ideas so you can start making money. The first goal I want from my blog is to show my followers how to make wonderful organic and natural creations in their own home that are easy, healthy and inexpensive. My second goal I want from my blog, is to be able to work from home and produce a comfortable income. Don’t we all! Even if you are creating a blog just to be creative, share your thoughts and tell of your talents, why not monetize it also with a few simple clicks?

I recently had a comment on one of my blog posts that asked if I could make my blogs longer in length. On some of the blogs I may extend them depending on the information I am giving, but I am going to assume that my blog followers and visitors to my site are just like me. They lead a very busy life and want information that is easy for them to do at home in their free time and they want something to be inexpensive. If you read my blog I’m Cheap! How I Live A Frugal Life And Stay Happy you will know I am very busy and I am also cheap. When I read an article online, I don’t want it to drag on and on, or I will just stop reading it eventually. I want it to get straight to the point  “this is how I make it, this is where I get it” and it better be easy and inexpensive or it probably won’t get done in my home. We are also in a full remodeling of our home we recently purchased and you can read about the total chaos here Remodeling Begins On The Homestead! Part 1. So time is very precious to me since I also work part-time outside of the home.

Build your blog today, create your personal goals and set rules and boundaries for yourself. You will find your niche and what you are comfortable writing about quickly. As soon as your fingers touch the keyboard, you will share your knowledge of what you know, what you want your blog followers to learn from you, and you will make it come alive on the pages!

What you need first:
  1. A host site
  2. A domain Name
  3. Finding your niche. Who will be your followers?
  4. Social Media Strategies: How to bring visitors to your new blog
  5.  How to monetize your blog

 

A host site:

I highly recommend Bluehost. It just doesn’t get any easier that making your host site with Bluehost. I chose Bluehost because they were easy to start and inexpensive. They have the best of everything and they make sure you are satisfied with their product. Plus they pay you for any referrals you send their way and that is why we will build your blog today and start making money! I call that a win win situation! Also, if you sign up with Bluehost, you get a free WordPress site! WordPress is the building block of your blog and free is always good in my book! And you will get a free domain


You will be spending a majority of your time in WordPress and discovering all the creative settings you can use. It took me several days to finally be able to figure out where I wanted to be in WordPress. It can be intimidating at first when you just start WordPress, but I played around and explored all the options offered to me and finally found my comfort zone. I quickly learned how to use the UNDO button! Building your website can be intimidating at first and also very scary and frustrating and filled with words you have never heard of (Plugins and Widgets. Really!?  You can read my post Blog Building Blues to get a basic idea of some of my frustrations.

I YouTubed, googled, and scoured the Internet for help with understanding WordPress and how to best set up my website. I found several websites that I kept going back to for guidance and clarification; WordPress.org and wpbeginner.com and here. I found myself continuously going to the Glossary sections so I could better understand the terms of WordPress.  Both were extremely helpful to me and of course, You Tube just rocks when looking for information and how to’s.!



There will be many days where you are not happy with your site, appearance or article and you will change everything and edit and re-edit again. I am constantly changing and updating on my blog and finding ways to build it better. It takes time. Be patient. This isn’t going to happen overnight. Have fun while exploring your new site and new appearance of the blog.

Create Your Domain Name:

Once you sign up for Bluehost, they will ask you for a domain name, which will be the name of your website that you will eventually direct visitors to go.  A great place to check if you have an available domain name is bustaname.com. It’s free, simple and fun to play around with. Just type in words that you would like your domain name to be, and bust a name will show you several different ways you can set up your domain name. You can also check for a domain name  on Bluehost  domain checker below.

 

 

Finding your niche. Who will be your followers?

What is your passion? Do you have ideas in your head that you are bursting at the seams to tell others about? Why not write it down and start sharing with others? Have you created something that you know others will want to purchase and use themselves? Tell us about your creation in words on your very own blog!

Some writers prefer conversational writing where they are more personable and get to know their readers well, while others prefer academic writing where their blog is used mainly as a step by step teaching tool. I use more of a conversation writing style, simply because I love to talk, chat and meet people. I want to know what my readers want and I want to interact with them.

Why is finding your niche so important?

It boils down to keeping your followers, earning their trust, and sharing ideas and creations with like minded readers. It also boils down to money. If you add trusted affiliates on products you have tried and tested and tell your followers about how well the product worked for you, more than likely your followers will want to try that product also and will click on your affiliate link.

If you have an idea, a product or a story you are passionate about, it will come alive on the pages of your blog. Your readers will know you are passionate and experienced in this topic and will want to come back and read more of your posts. Showing flexibility in your writing styles and discussing topics readers are interested in will help bring in added income to your blog and draw you a larger audience.

My main niche is homemade, organic and natural living on a homestead, but I also add extra posts such as monetizing blogs and using affiliates links to tell my readers how to avoid the mistakes I have made, and here is the way you can do it that is much easier. These posts will also draw a larger crowd to my site, including my regular followers.

 

Social Media Strategies: How to bring visitors to your new blog

Social media is the BEST tool to bring visitors to your blog post! You need to advertise your skills and tell people that you have a blog website that is up and running and ready for a multitude of readers to gain the knowledge you are sharing right?

Add your Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to your blog and any other social media outlets you may use. Then add your blog posts and website to all those media outlets you use and tell people “Hey! Come check out my new blog! I have some awesome ideas to tell you about!” Below you can see some of my social media that I use:

Facebook

Twitter

StumbleUpon

Pinterest

These are just a few samples of where you can start with social media. There are a multitude of social media outlets that you can try out to see where the majority of your niche are hanging out. Try Instagram and the new MeWe that looks like it will be a fun and popular site. I haven’t posted anything at MeWe yet and I am still getting the feel of the website, but I see some of my favorite bloggers are already on the site and posting.

Giving your readers a free item such as free printables or giveaways is just a nice added touch to tell them thank you for visiting your site and please come again and see what else is new. You don’t have to be artistic and start trying to create your own printables, you can share other bloggers printables with your readers and it’s a nice way to send some followers to your fellow bloggers.

 

How to monetize your blog : Lets Talk $$$cash

So now you have your website set up just how you want it. You have written down brilliant ideas to share with your followers and have posted several articles to keep your readers coming back. You have announced to social media that you are open for business, now what? How about making some extra money for doing what you absolutely love to do?

I recently wrote a post Why Add Affiliates To Your Blog For Income? because I wanted my readers to know how easy it was with just a few simple clicks you are able to share the brands you trust and love and that you can also generate an income when your followers purchase one of those brands.

The amount of time and resources you commit to your blog and how to monetize it will determine your success. Some very famous bloggers state that it took them 6 months to a year of blogging and building their website before they made a dime. So keep plugging away and perfecting your site and articles and add your income makers into your sidebar and footers.

If you choose Bluehost as your host site, you should join their affiliate program from the start.  Bluehost pays you $65 for each referral that you send them that signs up. A win win situation for you with a simple click of the mouse!



Google Adsense is simple to set up and 100% FREE! I only place 2 banner from Google AdSense on my site; one in the sidebar and one in the footer. I feel that is more than adequate. When visitors click on your banner, you get paid a small amount. More visitors, more clicks, more $$$!

I use ShareASale for most of my affiliates. Visit my Trusted Sponsors and my favorite products under Amazon Favorites to see how I categorize my affiliates and sponsors. Just mouse over Trusted Sponsors and you will see subpages that I added for my affiliates. One of the first affiliates you should join is Amazon affiliates. Sign up is simple and easy if you are already signed up with Amazon.

Other affiliate programs include Link Share and Commission Junction. I love ShareASale and how easy it is to use, so I will stay with them.

Advertising and selling your own product has never been easier since you now have your own website and are now on multiple media outlets which is free advertising for you! I am currently working on an EBook and plan to sell and advertise it via my blog when it’s completed.

If you sell products on Etsy, why not add a link and banner on your blog site to show your followers where to go? Sell on Ebay? Same thing applies. Link your items on your blog and tell your visitors about the wonderful things you have to offer. The same goes for Amazon and so on. The skies the limit and now you have the power of sharing, showing and telling your visitors what you have been bursting at the seams to say! So be patient, explore, have fun and create to your hearts content!

I always add my referral code for Grove.com formerly called Epantry. It is a site I use frequently and trust and has paid off very well for me.  Each person I refer to Grove.com I get $10 in free products. That quickly adds up! Plus, I love their all natural, amazing products. if I can’t make it myself, I Grove it!

 

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