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10 Things A Homestead Kitchen Needs To Be Self Sufficient

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If for some reason the grid went down tomorrow and stayed down for an extended period of time, would your kitchen meet the needs of your new self-sufficient life?  Perhaps your kitchen would keep functioning just the same way it always has.  Maybe you’d get by, but it’d be a bit uncomfortable.  Or possibly, your kitchen wouldn’t be much use at all.

If you’re looking to increase your self-sufficiency, or decrease your footprint (or both), then your kitchen may need some of the following items.

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Making And Canning Homemade Pink Grapefruit Marmalade

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One thing I love about winter is when citrus season comes around.  Once a year all citrus goes on sale for a low, low price, and that’s when we get ours.  There’s a flurry of preserving zests, fruits, curds, and marmalades.  This week, I’m making grapefruit marmalade, and I’m sharing with you just how I do it.

An especially good thing about making grapefruit marmalade is that it uses nearly the entire grapefruit–peel and all.  Of course grapefruit is naturally sour, so it does take quite a bit of sugar, but it’s not your everyday jam, so it only gets used for special times anyway.

Moving on.  Let’s make some marmalade, shall we?

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How To Make Your Own Foaming Hand Soap Cheap And Easily

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Homestead’s are dirty–there’s no way around it.  When you live on a homestead, you’ll find that you are washing your hands every chance you get.

You can spend a lot of money making multiple trips to the store to purchase your own soap, or you can make your own.  If you are anything like me, you prefer to make your own.

Once a year I make all the goat’s milk soap our family will use during baths and showers.  The rest of the time, we use foaming hand soap for it’s convenience–and I make that too.  I make foaming hand soap about twice a week.  Around here, it sells for $2.50-$3.00 a bottle, so that means I’m saving $25.00 a month on this one essential household item.

In less than one minute, you can also make your own foaming hand soap with just a few ingredients you probably already have on hand.

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How To Grow Cucumbers: The Warm Weather Vegetable

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Cucumbers are an annual warm weather crop that are easy for some gardeners to grow, yet others find nearly impossible to work with.  They require only a short growing season of usually 55-65 days from planting to harvest, and can be harvested for a month or more.  This makes them ideal for our 70 day growing season.

If the right variety is picked, cucumbers can be grown in just about any part of the United States.  For specific planting dates in your area, check with your local extension office.  They should also be able to suggest a good variety for your area, and if you have a longer growing season, they can help you with a schedule for succession planting if you wish.

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How To Make Candied Grapefruit Peels

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Thanks to the citrus that goes on sale this time of year, we were able to preserve a lot of curd, marmalades, juices and fruits recently.  One thing I always try to do is reduce the waste if I can.

When it comes to the peels, this means I preserve a lot of the zest for future use, and that we make some candied grapefruit peels with a bit of it as well.  These aren’t the kind of candy you’d want to eat every day, but once a year they are a wonderful treat.

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7 Thoughtful Valentine’s Day Gifts For The Farmer’s Wife

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Each year men everywhere wonder what to get for their wives as gifts.  Be it their birthday or Valentines Day, many men get flustered at the idea of trying to find the perfect gift for their wife.

While chocolate and flowers are the standard, the farmer’s wife may be a bit more picky–and thus easier to shop for, really.

Here are some ideas to help you farmers out there find the perfect gift for your wife this year.

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10+ Homemade Valentines To Make For Your Farmer This Year

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I don’t know about you, but I love making little tokens of appreciation for my Farmer–especially for Valentines Day.  And wouldn’t you know it, my homemade Valentines generally always have a farm theme–because farming isn’t just a day-job, it’s life.

So many of my Valentines to him over the years have had a farmer theme–although finding farmer Valentine inspiration is a bit hard to do.

Here are some Valentines I’ve made for the Farmer.  Feel free to copy my ideas for your own farmer.

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Resolve To Grow An Abundant Garden This Year

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If you’ve never had a garden, or you have but don’t feel successful when you have, then you may be yearning to not only grow a garden, but grow a successful and abundant garden this year—and I think that’s exciting!

So what has stopped you in the past?  Time?  Knowledge?  A plan?

Relax future gardener, there’s help.  There are seven simple steps to take to help you grow your best garden yet this year.  And—they aren’t that hard—I promise.

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Resolve To Take Control Of Your Family’s Food Supply

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It’s easy with our modern conveniences to forget that there are very real dangers and threats to our food system. At present time, most of us can travel but a short distance, purchase food, and bring it home to serve our families without worrying about what’s in it.

We forget that in the blink of an eye, this modern convenience could be gone. When Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, nearly 90% of New Orleans was left underwater—as much as 20 feet under in some areas. Those who were left to ride out the storm had their food taken from them almost overnight.

In more recent news, the city of Flint, Michigan received the devastating news in April of 2014 that the entire city’s water supply was found to be full of lead and other toxins. Inhabitants had been drinking this water for years, and a solution is still in the process.

In less publicized stories, food sources all over the place are experiencing recalls due to contamination or some current study suggesting the foods we’ve all been eating haven’t been as safe as we thought they were. The biggest problem? Damage has already been done.

What about you? Is your food supply secure? Your water supply? Do you have a back-up plan? How do you know you’re providing your family with the safest foods and water possible?

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How I’m Preparing For A New Baby On The Homestead

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Baby’s coming soon, and preparations are coming to a close.  This one was a surprise.  We had finally entered the stage in our life where babies had stopped coming, and we thought we were done.  You can imagine our surprise (and joy) when we found out another little farmer (or farm-her) was on the way.

When we had our first child, I was still working and my preparation consisted of filling the pantry for my 3 month maternity leave and having everything we would need for the baby for at least the first 4 months.  I didn’t really need to do much else.

After my first couple children, I eventually stayed home and helped my husband with the homestead full-time.  Beginning with my third pregnancy, I realized preparing for a new baby on the homestead took on a whole new meaning.

So what do I do to prepare for the birth of our next child now that we are all living a mostly self-sufficient life?

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