Category: Homestead Chores (page 2 of 4)

How To Render Tallow

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Rendering tallow is a basic and easy skill all homesteaders should have.  To begin with, homesteaders try to use every part of the animal.  Furthermore, there are just so many things to do with tallow that it would be a shame to throw it all away.

On the homestead, tallow can be used for cooking, making soaps, shaving bars, candles, leather conditioning, and even a lubrication for certain things in your barn.

Commercially, companies use the fatty acids in tallow to make detergents, cosmetics, certain plastics, and also automobile tires.  Who knew?

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Avoiding Injury On The Farm And Homestead

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*This list by itself is not a guarantee for your safety.  Always use all safety measures available to you engaging in farm and homestead work.*


It was like any other weekday at work.  A steady stream of patients were coming in and out of the tiny rural hospital and I headed over to answer the ringing phone.  “Emergency Room, this is Deborah.”

“Um…Honey?  How long does my hand have to bleed before I should think about getting some help?”

I recognized the voice immediately.  “Come on in Honey, I’ll stitch you up…again.”


Injuries on the homestead—any homestead—are inevitable.  We read stories all the time about our ancestors loosing hands, fingers, or children to various accidents.  With some proper safety guidelines many can be avoided.

Here is a list of basic safety measure to follow and build upon.  (This is only a basic list.  You and you alone are responsible for your own safety.)

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Cleaning A Wood Stove Without Losing The Fire Source

Inevitably, your woodstove is going to need cleaned out from time to time.  For us, it never fails that it needs to be cleaned out during our stormiest and coldest days.

While starting a new fire might not be too hard for some people, letting the fire go out and stove completely cool down to clean it out means losing your heat not only in your stove, but in your house as well.

December and January around our home means temperatures between teens and close to negative 30.  Even if you aren’t in an area as cold as ours, letting a fire go out (when that is your only source of heat) is not always what you want to do every couple weeks.  It can get very cold very fast.

So what do you do?  Let the ash build up?  Try to carry out hot coals and hope for a safe place to put them so you can start a new fire?

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Grocery Shopping Twice A Year: How We Do It

Shopping is 60 miles away.  I have a large family.  When we go shopping, it takes all day—sun up to sun down.  Oh, and one more thing—neither the Farmer nor I has ever particularly liked shopping.

So what’s a family to do when town is so far away?

As my regular readers know, we live in a homesteaded community.  Most of the families who live here are the original families who homesteaded this land over 150 years ago.  Most of them are in the same situation as we are.

I’ll tell you what we don’t do:  we don’t shop that often.

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9 Ways To Get Back To Your Roots

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Are you a homesteader?  Working on it?  Dreaming of being there one day?

It’s a different journey for all of us.  Some of us are born living off the land (like my husband).  Some of us jump right in (like I did when I got married).  Others make dreams, set goals, and work away as they make a way for themselves.

And some people just dream.  Perhaps they like the fantasy, but don’t believe in themselves.  Perhaps they just don’t know where to start.

If you’re one of those people making plans, setting goals, or even that person who’s lost and doesn’t know where to start, here are 9 areas to work into your goals, and resources to help you get there.  I suggest taking notes on areas of interest.

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DIY Fabric Softener

The temperature outside is a balmy 5 degrees here at noon.  What could be better than standing by the fire for a little while?  And as long as I’m there, I think I’ll mix up a bottle of fabric softener.

I’ve been all summer and spring without any, and it’s time to make some up.  I should probably make about 4 bottles, but really I’ve only got one vinegar jug empty right now, so I’ll have to make it last.

Many people just use a little bit of straight vinegar for fabric softener.  In fact, if you hang your clothes to dry like we do, then you probably use a splash of vinegar in your last bucket/load to keep your towels and washcloths from drying so stiff.

But I like a little more softness and some good smell to mine as well, so I change it up a little.

Here’s what you’ll need:

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December Prepping Report

December is nearly gone Friends.  I hope it brought joy to you.

For us, it brought cold, cold weather.  Most our days started with a negative number on the thermometer (Fahrenheit).  And I’d say only a couple days ever got above 10 degrees.  As you can imagine, we were very happy to have our large stash of firewood, as it’s our sole source of heat.

We took a day to take the kids to a birthday party a couple towns away, and brought home a nasty stomach bug.  Needless to say, our family was down and out for about half of December.  So…not a ton of stuff got done, but I’ll be happy to share what did.

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DIY Toilet Bowl Refresher Recipe

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This is my favorite DIY toilet bowl recipe to make.   Surprisingly, people don’t mind receiving it as a gift either!  If you are on well water on your own water system (not on city sewer), this is totally friendly for that too!

You can use oils to scent it in anyway you want, and yes, I do add 2 drops of food coloring to the entire batch–and no, it doesn’t stain the bowl.


Here’s what you need:

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What’s In Our Survival Packs

Do you have a survival pack?  If not, you should be putting one together.

What’s in a pack?  That depends on where you are, what your skill sets are, and what resources you have available to you.  Everyone’s survival pack is different–and it should be.  Because no one in our family ever goes out by themselves, we don’t have individual survival packs.  Our family has opted instead to have family survival packs, which are planned differently than individual packs.

We are a very active outdoor family–especially in the winter.  We hike around in our local mountains, explore the (outsides of the) volcanoes, the ice-caves and snow-shoe whenever and wherever we can.  It would not be unusual for our family to be on outdoor trips multiple times every week.

For this reason, our packs have everything that we would need to do these activities all winter plus what we would need should we get separated, lost, stuck out after dark, or find ourselves in any other survival scenario.  (Some links on this page are affiliate links.)

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DIY Dishwasher Tablets

One way you can save quite a bit of money and time at the grocery store is to make you own dishwasher tablets in lieu of purchasing them.

Don’t worry, if you’ve never done this before I assure you it’s pretty stinking easy.  In fact, once you make them, you won’t want to ever go back.  The smell alone screams clean.

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