Knife Safety For Children On The Homestead

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Kids will be kids.  Their little brains are always taking in vast amounts of information faster than they can process, and their curiosity leads to faster experimentation than can be safe at times.

When children get a chance to be around a knife, not all parents are comfortable that their child will make good decisions and handle it with the knowledge and skills to keep them (and anyone else around) safe.  It’s always been a new sense of nervousness each and every time we teach one of our children about knife safety.

Some parents choose to wait a really long time before letting their child handle a knife–even waiting until a home economics/cooking class is taken in junior high or high school.

Some parents simply tell their child “be careful, you could hurt yourself” and let their kids figure it out with dull, relatively harmless blade. Continue reading

Homestead Playland: The Country Kids’ Jungle Gym

Because of the length of time we spend in our garden during the growing season, we have to make sure our children (some of them very small) are well occupied while we work in the garden.

We do this with what our family lovingly calls “Playland.”  It’s attached to the garden, inside the deer fence.  Our Playland has to offer enough to keep the kids occupied for a couple of hours most days of the week.

This year, we decided it was time to update Playland.  Nearly all supplies used to build the new jungle gym were supplies found elsewhere on the homestead.

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How To Grow Kohlrabi: The Cold Weather Crop

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Kohlrabi might be a vegetable you’ve never heard of if you live in a warmer climate or have a long growing season.  If you are in a colder climate and have a shorter season, or you’re thinking of moving to one, then it’s an absolute must in your homestead garden.

This beautiful and tasty treat can be white, pale green, or purple.  The swollen part of the stem is the part most commonly eaten, although the leaves are also edible and can be cooked in the same way one would cook kale or collards.

In the German language, kohlrabi translates to “cabbage turnip,” and as the name implies is part of the cabbage family.  Relatives to the kohlrabi include arugula, broccoli, broccoli raab, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, collards, kale, horseradish, mustard, radishes, and turnips.

It is a very hardy biennial crop that is grown mostly as an annual.

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How To Make Cantaloupe Sorbet

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We have absolutely been loving all the cantaloupe we froze last year.  Most of it we have eaten just as it is after thawing, but this week I also made some cantaloupe sorbet after one of my children asked me if you can make cantaloupe ice cream.  It was such a great idea, I thought I’d try it out.

I don’t have an ice cream maker, so I turned to my treasured Vitamix instead. With a little mixing power, I was able to whip up a batch pretty quick.

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How To Dehydrate Strawberries

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Sweet, tasty goodness in a cute little package–and did I mention zero fat?  One serving–one cup–contains 160% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.  They are high in folate, potassium, iron, and calcium–and only 50 calories.

Who wouldn’t want these tasty little treats all year-round?

Unfortunately for us, strawberries abound in gardens or in the wild June through August.  In select areas, there is tiny window for fresh picking in early September.  After that, you better hope you’ve picked extra and preserved them.

Strawberries can be frozen, canned whole, as pie fillings, jams, or in salad dressings.  They also make a beautiful fruit leather, and if you have the right equipment, they do well freeze-dried as well.  Although we employ all of these techniques (except the freeze drying), we also do a great deal of dehydrating them with our counter-top dehydrator .

Anyone with a dehydrator can do this.

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Perfect Gifts For Homestead Mothers

*This post contains affiliate links to gifts I think are awesome and most of which I have purchased myself. *

 

We’ve all done it…waited until the last minute to get something for our mothers (or our wives if you’re a gent).  Sometimes we forget, and sometimes we just loose track of time.

Whatever our reason, there need not be a sense of panic–I’ve got you covered.

Here are 6 last minute Mother’s Day gift ideas that homestead mothers would love to help you out.  (You’re welcome)

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Building Our Own Mini Greenhouses

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With a 70 day growing season, we have to do all we can to extend our growing time.  While our ultimate dream is to have a high tunnel that would provide for all our needs, we know this is simply not feasible for us at this time.

Years ago our greenhouse burned down and we went a few miserable years without one.  Last year we finally had the finances to rebuild it.  Within a week of getting it done, we had some of our severe weather come through and render it unusable once again.

This year we are slowly gathering enough supplies to build a tougher one.  It probably won’t get done this spring.  In the meantime, we are making some mini greenhouses to plant directly into so we can plant sooner and harvest longer.

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Growing Rhubarb From Scratch: Two Different Ways

Rhubarb is definitely a versatile vegetable that proves to be quite valuable to a homesteader.  It is one of the top perennials I suggest to get started right away in a self-sufficient garden.

Once started, rhubarb will come back year after year, and is quite easy to take care of.  It can grow to be very large, and when treated well, will give you produce well into the summer in cool areas, and into the spring in milder areas.  Here, we can enjoy it fresh May through August, making it the longest giving crop in our area.

It’s the perfect vegetable for eating fresh, canning, dehydrating, or freezing.

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Starting Out With Fruit And Nut Trees: What To Consider

This article is part of the Gardening When You Are Unsure series for new and semi-new gardeners who want to start a garden, or step up their game.  There is a lot of information in this series for gardeners to consider, and other articles in this series can be read here:

Fruit and nut trees are important to discuss here.  Many new gardeners can get themselves in trouble setting up their garden and then placing big beautiful trees either along a border or right in the middle.  Often, the magnificence of their beauty deceives us into thinking they would be the perfect addition to our homestead garden, when really it just might be best if they have their own space.

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Make The Most Effective Fence To Keep Deer Out Of The Garden

The only sure-fire way to keep a deer from eating your garden or trampling it to pieces is to keep it out.  And the only sure-fire way to keep it out, is to build a fence–a really big one.  So which size is best?

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