Monday, February 28, 2011

Protection On Your Homestead

Whether or not you live in a secluded area as I do, you still need to protect your home. To tell the truth, I think you are in more danger of being broken into than I am out here. Living out in a secluded area means that I really have to worry if I leave for any length of time. I mean here, I have absolutely no neighbors in sight of my house. So someone can come here and break into my home or barn and who is to see? We have always arranged to have someone here if we have to be away for any reason. But it still seems as if people who live in neighborhoods get broken into more often.

Lately though, I have thought about protecting our home and how I should go about this. Some things you need to do now and I am going to be working on this myself, is to make a detailed inventory of all of your valuables. Jewelry, art, antiques, collections, whatever you have of value. Include the date you bought it, your receipts if possible, make, model, original price and a detailed description and photograph of each item. Make sure your valuable items are covered under your insurance policy and if not, get a special policy to cover it.

This got me to thinking about installing burglar alarms to protect us for those times when we aren't here. Just knowing your home is being monitored from burglars will give you peace of mind. To me, that makes it worth every cent. Nothing is worse than coming home to find your home vandalized or robbed. It will protect you in case of fire or just about any emergency that shows up on your monitoring system. So even though I am working on cutting expenses, this is one of those expenses that will save you money by protecting what you already own. Your home is the most valuable item you have. Protect it!

So are you ready to do the installation? If you buy a good DIY burglar alarm and follow the directions in the manual that should get you set up. You can always buy a system that will include your installation. It is up to you which you choose. Once it is all in place you will have that peace of mind. And that is what matters the most. Some home alarm buying tips include knowing what your system comes with. Know how it works and what to expect of it. Once you are comfortable with it, you will be glad to have it. Anything new takes a little bit of time to become familiar with it. After that it should work automatically and you won't have to worry about it anymore.

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Making Little Increases In Preparing

One of things I have been doing is adding to my preparations by buying extras when I go shopping. Sometimes it is canned evaporated milk, coffee, tuna or things I don't really use that often but might it I was in a bind. Like pasta, dried beans or rice. If you need one of something, add two. Like dish detergent or toothpaste. It is as easy to buy two of something as the one you need. I find that by adding some extras like that into my shopping cart seems to be easier to include it into my budget.

Since most of my vegetables are replenished in the summer and fall when I harvest my garden, you'd think I wouldn't be purchasing any other vegetables at all. But I do. I always buy if I see a good sale. Sometimes farms and farmers' markets will offer such a good deal that I can't turn it down. This year, especially, I will be taking everything I can get a good price for. Food is going up and I am not going to stop eating. So the best way to conquer that problem is to find sales and preserve what you can.

I shop often at a local restaurant supply store, Mainesource Food and Party Warehouse. Not only do they offer great deals on meat, but their produce, is more often than not, from local suppliers. So I buy in bulk some of those and can it for our winter supply. You could easily freeze it if that is how you preserve your food.

Remember though, only buy foods and supplies you use. If you buy some that you have never used or that you really don't like then you are not saving anything. Only buy what your family likes. I'll throw something new in every now and then for a treat. But I don't make a practice of that.

You can easily do this by just adding ten dollars to your grocery budget and spend that only on your extra supplies. Then put that away in your pantry and don't use it unless you have to. If you do, then replace it. Once you have your supplies built up, incorporate it into your every day use, then replace it when you shop. It's easy once you get the hang of it. Make use of sales as much as possible. That is the way to get the best prices at a variety of stores.

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Homesteading As A Way Of Life

When a person, or people, as in a couple or a family, decides once and for all, they are going to move to a piece of property. Build or buy a home and become modern homesteaders.......their life has changed. Even if they never move, just dream about and obsess about it..........they will never go back to the other lifestyle again. They will read the books and magazines. They will go to homesteaders' forums, homesteaders' blogs and attend homesteaders' get-togethers.

All of a sudden, they are talking about Jackie Clay and Carla Emery. They are subscribing to Backwoods Home Magazine, Countryside and Mother Earth News or any other magazines they can find. All of a sudden, solar and wind power are subjects being talked about during supper. Saving seeds and making bread is now a big part of their life. They are going out on the week-ends to garage sales and thrift stores hunting for butter churns, grain grinders and canning jars.

Family members and friends are saying, "Why would you want to do this? You can buy everything you need right at Walmart." Your girlfriends look at each other when they think you are not looking. They exchange that look that says, "it's a phase she's going through." Then when you don't get over it. Instead you move to your land. You build your house. Your gardens become bigger and bigger every year. Your pantry is full of home canned and dehydrated foods. Your family and friends are complaining about the cost of everything. Yet, you are becoming more and more self-sufficient and prepared for most any emergency.

They come from the city to visit. At first they may think of it as a novelty. As time goes by you start hearing statements such as, "How lucky you are!" "Solar really works?" "You grew all this food yourself?"  Pretty soon their spouses are talking to you too. They are asking questions and whining about how they can't do this. "You are just so lucky!" Luck had nothing to do with. You worked hard to get this property and build your house. Every morning when you get up, there is work to do. Could they do it? Probably not. It is not a lifestyle for everyone. Sometimes, especially in the long hard winters, it can be a test for even you, who loves it so much.

Is it worth it? In a split second, I say yes. It is worth it. I don't care what anyone says, living in your own off-the-grid homestead is definitely a different way of life. But a great way of life. That is why it is so much fun to share it with others who share those same ideas and lifestyle. We tend to make friends with each other because we understand each other.

I belong to a NY Homesteading forum. We are a pretty close group. Live close enough to each other to share or barter with each other. To learn from each other. Are all our homesteads exactly the same? Not even one of them. Having others to talk to who understand us really helps in tough or difficult times. Having others to ask questions of how to do something is a big help.

What about you? Are you thinking about becoming more self-sufficient? Why? Are the prices of every day things starting to scare you? Are you worried about what lies ahead? If you are thinking about changing your lifestyle to become a modern homesteader, read some of my older posts. Then keep coming back. It's a whole new world now and our homesteading lifestyle is fast becoming the only choice for most people living in these times. It is a choice to make now!

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole

Friday, February 25, 2011

Guess What My Day Was Like!

This is what we woke up to this morning!

Beautiful And Peaceful but so much work and stress.

Our backyard this morning!

Snow hung heavy in the trees.

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Plants Growing In My Compost Pile - What Is It?

Wild plants growing in the compost pile.

Have you ever seen these plants? Do they look familiar to you? This plant is growing in my compost pile pretty regular now. But I have no idea what it is. I looked through my wild plant field guides and could not find it. 

Close up view of the plants.

I almost think it could be Jerusalem artichokes, except that the flower, though being yellow, looks different. Their flower is like a yellow daisy or small sunflower with a yellow center. Does anyone looking at this know if it is in fact, a Jerusalem artichoke? 

Sunlight shining on the wild plants.

The reason I think that is what it could be is because a few years back my friend Hilltop Daisy gave me some to plant. I planted them and they grew out of site! My little round bed is under my clothesline and I could not even use the clothesline. My husband and I pulled them up and never harvested them. We threw them out in the berry patch which isn't far from our manure pile. So now as I write this it occurs to me that it is very possible that it is indeed, the Jerusalem artichoke. Does anyone reading this know if that is what it is? Or that it might be?

Close up of the yellow flower that grows on this plant.

See the yellow flower is completely different from the one I have seen on Jerusalem artichokes. So if you have some idea what it could please leave a comment so I can research it. Thank you so much!

NOTE: Thanks to my readers, I have found that my plant is Yellow Jewelweed. A plant my good friend, Jamie has posted about on her blog in the post, Jewelweed and Poison Ivy. Now I am looking forward to its return in the spring!

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Nature Of Horses

Enjoying A Beautiful Day!

This morning at our Peaceful Forest Homestead we woke up to -2 degrees. But NO SNOW! Usually if we have no snow it means cold temperatures. So -2 isn't that bad. One of the members of Homesteading Today who lives in North Dakota wrote how bad the winter was where she was. It sounded bad. So I am not going to complain!

I was able to leave for awhile and run to the store. It was such a pretty drive through the forest to town. I regretted that I did not bring my camera! There were more than a few areas where the wind over the last few days had knocked trees down and broke branches off.

Dark Shadow & Georgie Girl

I went outside to take pictures of the snow banks for tomorrow's Wordless Wednesday post and ended up taking these little girls' pictures. They were so cute and so interested in what I was doing. Ever since our neighbor Charlie has been riding by on the week-ends with his horses, they are VERY attentive to anything doing on the road! After all, his horses are geldings. Good thing they aren't stallions. I have a feeling these girls are going into heat soon if they aren't already.

Tawny hanging out in her spot in the sun!

Tawny has been banned from the barn for some reason. Why, I have no idea. As soon as the weather gets warmer, I am hoping to bring her back into it with the other girls. Dark Shadow is NOT the boss mare. But she really pushes Tawny around. I am going to find a way to stop that. If I yell at her about it from on the deck, Georgie Girl, who IS the boss mare, will stop whatever she is doing and go to where Dark Shadow is. Then she pushes Dark Shadow out of there and away from Tawny. She does things like that quite often. 

Dark Shadow

Dark Shadow is a Thoroughbred, though she has a bigger body, almost like a Quarter horse does. She is very aggressive, but the reason is that she was sort of neglected at the farm we got her from. For some reason they did not start training her for the track as they did all the others, including Georgie Girl. So she formed attachments to other horses and then they were separated. Over and over. So by the time we met her, she was like a stallion. In fact, she was harder to handle than the two stallions were. It wasn't long before she formed an attachment to my husband. She is a good girl, just needs some attention and work, which she doesn't get much of during the hard days of winter.

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole

Monday, February 21, 2011

My Grandmother Was An Urban Homesteader!

My mother and grandmother

I have written many times on this blog about my grandmother, Anna Leonard Neer. She was born on a farm but ended up living in the city of Binghamton, NY. My grandfather was not reliable as the breadwinner in the house. He'd work a job, but the day he got paid, he didn't come home. So my grandmother always worked. She raised 6 children and was a the most self-reliant woman I have ever known.

Living in the city, in the downstairs of her parent's duplex, she turned the lawn into a garden. She grew everything possible, canned it all and worked all day at The Endicott Johnson shoe factory. She came home from work, fed her family and worked in the garden. Raised chickens right there in the city along with rabbits. She knew how to butcher everything, from living on the farm where she grew up. When her father traded his job of hauling coal out of the coal mines in PA, he moved his family to Binghamton. There he used his work horses to help build the Endicott Johnson shoe factories.

My grandfather loved horses and animals in general. He frequented the various livestock auctions and would bring home all kinds of critters. In the city back then, there weren't all these laws about what animals you could keep in the city. I guess because there were a lot more urban homesteaders back in those days than there are now.

My grandmother was a survivor and she did what she had to in order to care for her family. She took good care of them, loved them and taught them to work and be independent. The kids went to work when they were old enough and handed their whole pay over to her. She gave them some cash out of it, bought whatever they needed and used the rest to run their home and pay the bills. She didn't believe that they should have not been contributing to their home when they lived there. Even my uncles sent their money home when they were in the service.

All during the depression, they ate well, dressed well and were better off than most others. My grandmother had a cellar and a pantry full of food. Even later when she moved out into the country on a 99 acre farm, her pantry and root cellar was full of food. She grew everything possible. Now she was a true urban homesteader!

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Working On My Novel Today

Source: Free Clip Art Now

I want to share with all my followers here on Homesteading On The Internet, something that has become very special to me. My blog, The Enduring Word, is a blog written by me and is a project that I started for fun. I have been changing it into another form as a novel, so I can publish it in the near future. This is the first chapter I wrote for the blog. I have had many people contact me about it and I guess that was when I realized it was interesting to others besides me. LOL Who would have thought? Of course, my husband and son also enjoyed when I proof read it aloud. But they are my family! Of course they are going to like it, right? So this is what I am working on today. Have a peek at it if you haven't been to the blog before.

My name is Rachel and I am fifteen years old going on sixteen in four months. Today my parents have told me that I will be getting married to Avery Longworth in six months. He is considered a good catch though I have only seen him twice. The first time was at a house party when I was about ten and he nineteen. He did not talk to me because he was with the men and I was still considered a child. I only remember him because I dropped my cake and he told his sister to pick it up for me and get another piece for me.

The next time was when he came to town to talk to my father last year. I didn't know what they were discussing and nobody told me, not even my mother! He ate supper with us and we used our best dishes during the week. I should have known something funny was going on becasue we never use our good dishes during the week. Only at Sunday dinner or holidays. He told us good bye and I didn't think anything more of his visit. That is until yesterday.

Mother took me to town and we went to Scriff's General Store. They had a new shipment of cloth come in and Mrs. Scriff told Mother she had the cloth she ordered. It was a beautiful satin white brocade. Mother said she'd take it and then she chose a red and white gingham, a yellow with white flowers cotton, a white silk for underclothes and a beautiful robin egg blue cotton. She also bought enough cloth for hankerchiefs and scarfs.

On the way home, I finally got up enough nerve to ask Mother who the cloth was for. She looked at me as she clucked to our horses, "Why you of course Rachel. You are getting married in six months. Gotta send you off with some nice duds."

I gulped, "Married?" I knew better than to tell Mother that I wasn't ready to get married or to tell her that I always hoped that Kent Osbourne would be the one asking for my hand in marriage. Mother always told us what we would be doing and we did it. No questions asked. So that is how I found out about my upcoming marriage to a man I did not know.

To read the next chapter, New Year's Eve 1830, please go here.

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Back To Modern Homesteading

Still snowing here...........

Things may be changing around my homestead. I am concentrating on making a business plan and gardening plan for the coming gardening season. I am going to look into growing some herbal plants for selling locally. Those are some of the plants that I have in my garden already, that come up every year. Adding some new types that may be of interest to others. In our area we have many places to sell as well as being able to sell right from our homestead.

I have spent the years from 2002 to present trying to make a go of our websites. I think I am burned out on it. So I am going to step back a bit from the internet and concentrate on my life here on my homestead. Networking and selling aren't really what I like to do. I like to write. And I would be lying if I said that I didn't enjoy writing my blogs. I will see if I can just do that along with gardening and homesteading. But the internet is big monthly payment for me and I don't know if it is really worth it since it has taken me away from what I was doing here to start with.

I hate to think that internet has become to me what television is to other people. Being a "mouse potato" is not something I want to become, or to stay, if I am one already. Need to think outside of  the computer and get on with other areas of my life. None of this is definite yet, but you may see that I will cut back on my posting and maybe make some changes on my other blogs. Life has been too tough and stressful this winter around here and I have to make sure it isn't like that next winter.

 Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole

Friday, February 18, 2011

Building Raised Beds Out Of Stone

One of the first raised beds built
I love raised beds. They are so easy to work in. Every year, before I had them I had to have my husband plow up the garden area. We don't use a rototiller because we don't like the gasoline fumes on our dirt or garden area. Plus, he doesn't like breathing it either. First he built the ones that were out of wood. And I loved them too. Of course, they were the first ones I had.

This raised bed, I built carrying rock from the paddock myself.

I can use our wheel hoe to plow it up. Then they are ready. Sometimes we add more compost to them. We have a huge pile of compost, but that is another post. I started building this rock raised bed in 2002. What I did wrong was to make it too wide. If it is too wide you can't plant, harvest or weed the center very easily. You really don't want to walk in them and pack the dirt down. This bed has produced very well whatever is grown in it. Just can't get to the center easily, so I don't fill it up there.

Some more beds made of rock.
These other ones my husband built while he was working on other things. He dug out the area for our battery room and hauled the rocks out of there to build these. The raised beds made of rock or cinder blocks hold the moisture or the heat all day, even during the night. These beds do very well too. In our area, our land is full of rock. There is definitely no shortage of rock here. We even have the stone walls all through our farmlands in the surrounding area. Many farmers though, in recent years, have been selling them off.

The Jurassic Bed named by my friend, Jamie

This bed, the Jurassic bed is so named because the plants that grow in it become HUGE! I am not kidding. I have been growing summer squash, zucchini and pumpkin in it. The plants have room to roam because it is in the back yard but further back than our house and lawn area. This bed is half rock and half cinder block. It is an awesome bed and I love it. 

The snake bed

This bed stretches out pretty far. It is slender enough that it is easy to reach across the whole bed to pick something or to weed. I have found this bed to be fun to work in. It is near the forest and we have some huge trees in the yard too. So it is shaded but gets plenty of sun too. 

Food growing everywhere!

This coming year, I hope to really increase my gardens. I plan on producing a lot of food. I feel that this is the best thing I can do for us. Especially with the prices of food in the stores. I will be doubly busy this year. What about you? You could easily build a raised bed out of something to raise some food in. Gardening is fun and if you have children, you need to teach them how to do it. They usually love it! And you are preparing them for the future. When they are grown and on their own, you never know what will happen and they might have to grow a garden to survive. Shouldn't that come from you?

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole