Sunday, December 30, 2012

"Trailersteading" Makes Beginning Homesteading Easier

1969 Detroiter Mobile Home with addition

"Trailersteading" is a new term, I believed coined by Anna Hess in her "Modern Simplicity" series.When most people start turning the idea around in their head to get into homesteading, they picture a large acreage with a farm house and a barn. Sounds great doesn't it? Large acreage sounds good to me too, but it also means a high purchase price and high taxes. Especially in the state I live in! New York state. I remember back in 1971, when my parents purchased their trailer. They put it on my grandmother's land, and after a dispute caused by my mother's brother, they moved it. I think that was in 1975 or a year later. 

The trailer and addition now

My mother found a 1.66 acre piece of land on a main road. Not too far to Binghamton, NY, so she could easily get to and from work. At first my father did not want it. He was a hunter and wanted more land. But my mother worked on him, because she wanted badly to move from my grandmother's land. So they bought it and had a well and septic put in. Eventually my father added a three car garage and wired electric into it, so he could use lights and tools in it. Then he added a shed with an underground root cellar that also housed the water pump. Over the years, my father covered the trailer with wood, then painted it to match the garage and shed. He added a chimney for a wood stove, that he later changed to a kerosene space heater. 

Trailersteading: Voluntary Simplicity In A Mobile Home (Modern Simplicity)

I recently bought this book, Trailersteading by Anna Hess, from the Kindle store on Amazon. It is amazing! It opened my eyes to the possibilities. There are more than a few "want-to-be" homesteaders, who already live in a trailer and are trying desperately to get out of it. But they don't have to! You can easily homestead in a trailer with no mortgage payment and fix it up to suit your lifestyle. Learn how to fire proof it, so you aren't worried about a fire in it. Install a wood stove to cut your heating cost. Add insulation to the thin walls, then change the windows and doors over to energy efficient ones. 

Keep your property clean and neat!

Most of the older mobile homes will need a roof update. That is usually the norm. I know on my parents' trailer that is the first thing that needs to be done. Along with updating with a new septic tank. An addition of energy star appliances is a good idea too. The important thing is that if you still want to build a house, you can live on your land while you do so. Or instead of spending that money on building, update and upgrade the mobile home. Then you can concentrate on the other aspects of homesteading. Such as gardens and livestock (if you plan on having livestock, I do not). It may be what is called "downsizing," but in this economy, it may help you to have your own homestead. When others are losing their homes due to high mortgages and losing their jobs, you will not be affected so much. I know it sounds like a good idea to me! 

Even though I am an Amazon affiliate, the eBook on this post is  one that I have purchased myself and used. In no way is my post made up about this eBook. Amazon did not ask me write this post about their eBooks. I buy from them and read the eBooks and post my honest opinion to help my readers.

Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2012  Kathleen G. Lupole

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Went To A Wedding Yesterday!

Mr. and Mrs. Michael J. Dran

Yesterday, my brother, Mickey, married his long time girlfriend, Cindy. My husband and I stood up for them at the Justice of the Peace office. It was very nice and the judge did a wonderful job. I know my father liked Cindy a lot and if my mother knew her, she'd have loved her very much. I know I do!

Mimi's in Greene, NY

Afterwards, the happy couple, their friend, Pete, and my husband and I, went to a local restaurant and had pizza. It was nice and simple. A special end to a year that was especially hard on us. I am happy to see 2012 end, but now I have one happy memory of the year.

This morning........

This morning we woke up to a major snow storm. It just keeps snowing more. My husband and son go out and shovel and then a little bit later it is all back again. A never ending job!

Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2012  Kathleen G. Lupole

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas Wishes

Have a great Christmas!!!!

Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2012  Kathleen G. Lupole

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Changes Can Be A Good Thing

What makes someone decide to change their life? Could be money. Or a relationship. Maybe health issues. Your children or elderly parents. Even a job or financial issues. A number of factors figure into it. Sometimes, you just get bored with what is going on in your life.  You want to make some changes. For me, it is not so much that I don't want to be a homesteader or self-sufficient anymore. But I want CHANGE! I am 60 now, and want life a bit easier and a bit more interesting. It's now or never, as far as I am concerned.

Living off-the-grid has been an interesting way to live. No electric bills, other than gas for a generator. No heating bills, except that this year we purchased firewood logs for the first time. Probably will have to do that from now on. Don't want to take all our trees down. Everyone who does not live off-the-grid makes it sound like a wonderful dream. Well, it COULD be that way, if we had a lot of money and could have finished our house the way we planned. And built our alternative energy system larger to handle more power. Life happens.

This year my husband has started rebuilding his motorcycle. He said if he doesn't do it now, he never will. He wants to ride it, but wants it to run better and look awesome. So he has been working on that. Him doing that has made me think about what I want to do. What I want is a different place to live. A more modern house with more conveniences. Grid-tied would be great!

So I am working on my life, since he started working on his bike. Fair exchange, I think. I think he is also working on his relationship with his grown son. Moving from this homestead is part of the change in the future.. What nobody knows is that our house is pretty close to the road. The road is a dirt road through the state forest, but has become busier and busier since we moved here thirteen and a half years ago. Houses are sprouting up in the area, and more people have moved here from NJ and Long Island areas. Not that it is bad, just they are from the big city and bring that with them. Driving in a hurry down a little dirt road for no reason, other than they are used to being in a hurry.

With the death of my father this year, it has brought my life into focus for me. I need to change things I am not happy with. I can keep the things I am happy with. Make life easier and try to develop the ties with my family and friends, that I haven't seen much of in the last thirteen and a half years. Become my own person again. These are my goals for the coming year. I hope it is better.

Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2012  Kathleen G. Lupole

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Home Canner's Christmas List

Christmas Wreath made by my late mother-in-law

These are my top picks for Christmas gifts this year for the home canners in your life. I'd like any or all of them and think your special canners would also. With the cost of everything in the stores, this is one gift that helps anyone who cans food to save money. If they garden or buy from a local farmer, they will always need more canning supplies. Believe me, I KNOW! Enjoy!

This is the exact canner I bought a couple of years ago. I love it! It comes in handy having two pressure canners to use at the same time. I do not like to stack the jars, because I did have some burst by doing so even though they were on a rack. If you are comfortable stacking jars, you can do that with this canner. It is much easier for me using two. This canner can be cooked in like a pressure cooker and it can also be used as a water bath canner. Wonderful gift for anyone on your list who likes to can or wants to learn how.

This gift is small, but can be stuck in the toe of the Christmas stocking. I ordered two of these, for each of my canners when I bought my new canner. It is so much easier to regulate the pressure without having to watch the canner the whole time. When I hear it "rocking" then I know my canner is up to the proper pressure and I can just listen. If it slows down or stops, I rush in to check the flame on the stove. Love it!

Ball Mouth Lids

A gift that all canners would welcome would be MORE canning lids! I know, we are always on the look out for good prices. I always buy a package or two at the store every time I go. It is a constant need for a homesteader (or anyone really) who is canning her/his food. This is a gift that even a child can afford to buy for the canner in their life. I find I never have enough on hand. Always have a need for them!

Another good choice would be a package or two of the lids with the bands. The bands are used when you are in the process of canning to secure the lid to the jar. After the jars are taken out of the canner, and have been sitting for 24 hours without being disturbed, you remove the bands. If they are left on, they may rust to the jar. Or if the lid did not seal for some reason, you may not know until you go to use that jar, which could be years. Bands are a very important item in a canner's kitchen.

67000 Ball Qt Mason Jar WM 12-pack

A box of new canning jars is a welcome gift to all canners. If you are canning food regularly, you may be limited by how much you can do due to not having enough jars. I bought most of my jars used, but nowadays, they are hard to come by. I have seen them selling used for $3.00 a jar! That is very high, but when people think you want something bad enough........they raise the price! So buying new would be much cheaper. A box of jars under the Christmas tree would be awesome, don't you think?

Canning Jar Lifter

Then there is the equally important jar lifter. It is a must for putting the jars into the canner as well as taking those hot, newly canned jars out of the canner. They hold up pretty well and this is the only one I have ever owned. I would be lost without it. 

Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

Last, but not least, is the most important thing to start home canning with..........a canning book! Every now and then it is a good thing to buy a new one to keep up with the updates made from year to year. Canning practices change and what was safe may not be considered safe this year. I like the Ball books and those are the ones I rely on. I am planning on purchasing the newest one this coming year. 

Even though I am an Amazon affiliate, the items on this post are products that I have purchased myself and used. In no way is my post made up about these products. Amazon did not ask me write this post about their products. I buy from them and use the products and post my honest opinion to help my readers.

Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2012  Kathleen G. Lupole

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Today Is My Mother's Birthday

Mom & Daddy

Today would have been my mother's birthday. Last year I wrote this post as a tribute to her, On My Mother's Birthday - Remembering Her. So much has happened in this last year, that I wish I could talk to her. She always would think and study your problem and come up with the solution. For her whole married life, she kept those green bookkeeping pages of her and my father's budget. She went over every single penny that was spent. They stuck to a strict budget and sometimes it seemed they did not have a lot when we were growing up, but actually we did. I think I was comparing our life with my friends. We always had a good, comfortable house with my brother and I each having our own rooms. Not all my friends had that.

The docks at Lake Stella, Crescent City, FL 

Our family did things together, like swimming, boating and fishing..........oh yeah, did we ever do that! You wouldn't catch my mother laying in the sun on the beach or the dock like the other mothers. She was always out in the deep water swimming back and forth between the docks at Lake Stella in Crescent City, FL where we lived at the time. I'd often see her out in the water teaching some child how to swim. In fact, many years later, she taught my own son how to swim in the cold waters of NY state at Cole Park. Another post I did about her was a Mother's Day Tribute To A Wonderful Mother.

Mom & her catch

Same with fishing. My father loved to fish! He found the perfect fishing partner with her. She was very competitive and would try her hardest to get more fish than the rest of us. Just because we were kids, didn't mean she give up that number one spot! She instead, taught me to strive to be the best at whatever I did. An example is that my brother and I used to shoot baskets in our hoop and try to get the most. Pretty soon our mother was joining us, and beating the tar out of us! Then I discovered that when we weren't home, she practiced a lot so she could beat us. She told me this in her later years. She said she liked to shoot the baskets because it helped her keep her weight down and her body toned.

Mom, Mickey, Me & Cousin Debbie

When I was pretty young and we lived along a creek in Harpursville, NY, her and I would go mushroom picking. It was fun. At that time, I was not that crazy about mushrooms. But I loved doing something like that with my mother, so I pretended that I did. She knew all about the different kinds since she grew up with a mother who was very self-sufficient, and knew how to find food in the wild.

Me & Mom

Her and I shared many wonderful times. We did so many things together that I will never forget. I remember the day she took me to see the movie, Gone With The Wind, for the first time. She said her mother took her to see it, and it was the only time my grandmother took her to a movie alone. Not with her sisters and brothers. A stolen shared time, with her mother, that she never forgot. She wanted to do the same with her daughter, me.  When it came to the theaters near us at Belair Plaza in Daytona Beach, FL, we had a special day. Locked in my memory forever!

Mickey & Mom

My brother, Mickey and I were very fortunate to have two wonderful parents who loved each other and us. They showed their love to us in many ways. We were never rich, never lived in fancy houses, drove luxury cars or went on luxurious vacations.........we had more than that. Much more! Thank you Mom & Daddy!

Happy Birthday, Mom! We love you forever!!!!

Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2012  Kathleen G. Lupole

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Happy Relationships Depend On The People In Them

Did you ever listen to someone who talked like they were VERY successful and knew everything about everything? Yet, they were not successful? In fact, they had nothing and was in their mid thirties. Had no home of their own and going from one job to another. One bad relationship after another. Which was always the other person's fault. Oh, of course, NOTHING was their fault! Then when they stated their views on relationships you could certainly see why.

I have been around someone who talked and thought this way recently. Believe me, it is very hard for me not to say something and end up in a fight with this person. It has made me so thankful for my wonderful husband and son. They are both men, REAL men and nothing like that. I have a special friendship with both of them. The men in my family too, my father was a strong, but caring man. He was tough when the situation warranted it. My brother too, though he comes across as a rough character, he has a gentle, caring side as well. Just because you don't let people walk all over you, does not mean you have to be abusive.

Being abusive for no reason other than selfishness and wanting to use someone else, does not give you a license to torment and be cruel to someone else. I often wonder WHY does someone like this have to involve their life with another's? Why don't they just pay a prostitute for sex and leave the good women alone? Life would be so much better for all involved and it would limit them having children. A person like that does not deserve to have even one child........yet most of the time they have a few by different women. Shows their lack of intelligence, don't you think so?

My view on marriage is shared in this post that I wrote in 2010, Marriage Is A Complex Subject. On Oprah's website she has a list of signs of abusive partners/spouses. I can see these signs in a people who have problems dealing with people in general, not just as a spouse, but even a grown child or family member. Be careful how much you give in to them, as you may live to regret it. Tough love is a must in dealing with people of this sort, as well as addicts, and I mean alcohol as well as drugs. Get help from someone if you need it. I was married to an alcoholic and went to Al-anon for help, though they help any type of addiction. Get the help you need now!

Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2012  Kathleen G. Lupole