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A Lesson in Wood Shavings

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On a cold February day,  my son Luke and I set out to make an ax handle. In the process, we received an unexpected lesson.  In a world with Home Depot and Amazon, we give little thought to buying the things we need.  The things we need are always at our fingertips, or at most a short drive or two days shipping away.  However, there are still a few things out there that you can’t get by just clicking a button and a handle for an old ax is one of them.  So we took a page out of our ancestors book, and when we needed something we made it from what was available.  The ax was special to us, as it had belonged to an older gentleman that had lived near us.  When he would walk by our house he would sometimes stop and talk and we always listened. …

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Firewood the story of the Holzhaufen

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Years ago when I was a kid, my parents installed a wood stove in our house.  We always had a fireplace but this was just a bit different. For one, it actually heated the house.  I’m sure it offset our heating bill in some way, but I was too young to care about that.  What I cared about was all the wood.  My dad would bring it home in the trunk of his car or we would have some logs dumped on the lawn if they were trimming trees in the area.  From the first strike of the sledge hammer onto the wedge I was hooked.  There was something about splitting wood that called to me.  Even when we were at my grandmother’s house in the country for the summer, I would look for opportunities to split wood.

When I finally bought my own home I knew I wanted to…

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Homesteading is more than growing things

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Many times when talking about the homestead we get so caught up in talking about gardening or our farm animals, that we forget about another way that we feed ourselves.  Hunting and fishing provide a wonderful way to provide extra meals for our family.  Every year my sons and I harvest deer and a fair amount of fish.  We are as passionate about hunting and fishing as we are about homesteading.  I don’t think a weekend goes by that we don’t hunt or fish.  Time spent with your family in any pursuit is always rewarding, but hunting and fishing provide moments that are unforgettable.  My son and I will tell stories about the deer we harvested or the fish we caught, but never about how many tomatoes we picked.  An adult deer will provide 50 lbs or more of high quality protein for your family.  When you fillet a fish…

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Glass gem corn happiness and beauty

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Every year when I look through the seed catalogs, I always come across a picture that grabs my attention.  A picture of a vegetable taken at peak ripeness and in perfect light.  Last year was no exception,  and it was Baker Creek’s catalog cover that drew me in.  It’s always the same. I look at the picture, turn to Tracy and say I’m gonna grow that.  So when the seed order for the year was placed glass gem was on the list.  Glass Gem corn is a beautiful native american flint corn that can be used for flour or popcorn, but it’s this corn’s amazing color that makes it prized. In our area, we plant corn on memorial day weekend, so it was a long wait to get our seeds in the ground.  We planted them away from our other corn to decrease the chance of cross pollination.  After 2…

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Keeping Honey Bees

The closer to spring we get the more I want to see my bees working

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getting started

A few years ago we decided to add honey bees to our homestead.  We had noticed that they were absent from our garden and small orchard.  And after a few years of poor apple crops we decided to take matters into our own hands.  After months of research we took the plunge and ordered our first package of bees. As soon as we placed the order we started getting ready for their arrival.  We picked a site close to the garden and orchard with access to water.  This spot receives sun throughout the day so we knew it would keep them active and also warm in the winter.  We have bears in the area so we built an electric fence with a solar charger, which we were later able to also utilize for our pigs. We then began construction of the hives.

 

We chose to build our…

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