Our little piece of the world

A mother, wife, and teacher aims to make life simple

Archive for the tag “homesteading”

Blog recommendation

I forgot that I wanted to recommend a blog that I have been reading in an attempt to learn more about canning and preserving.

Heavenly Homemakers has a ton of great information, but I’ve really focused on the canning and preserving section. If you’re into gardening and find that you have too many veggies, this is a great place to start learning how to preserve it for your pantry.

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Earth Hour

This past Saturday was earth hour. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it (which is probably not many of you- but I digress), earth hour is an initiative that was created in order to raise awareness of climate change as well as to reduce energy consumption for a little while. It’s a very simple concept- everyone is asked to turn off the lights, tv, and other electronic devices at 8:30 pm local time.

It’s really too bad that it’s come to this… that asking people to turn off their lights and tvs for one day a year is actually asking anything at all.   My husband and I try to make it a goal to do this for a night at least once a week. We light up a couple candles, play a board game or just chat for the night with a glass of wine. I’ve heard of other families having a family board game night or a no-electronics night. Everyone has their own reason for doing this: some want to save electricity, some want to spend some time together with loved ones, some genuinely enjoy having less dependance on electricity in their lives.

For our family it’s a combination of all those reasons. We often talk (on our electricity free nights) about how nice it will be to someday have a firepit outside, or a bunch of lanterns in the house (we’re working on our collection), or a working masonry fireplace. We think fondly about the day that we’ll be able to have electricity-free days, and we’re genuinely excited about the prospect of this happening in the near future.

Did you celebrate earth hour? Did it inspire you to make a bigger change in your life?

Visualizing a plentitude economy

This is an absolutely amazing video about the ways our economy could change in a way that encourages homesteading, self-sufficiency, a shorter work week and a better economy. I would love to see this kind of society move into Canada and the United States.

Infographic: How big a backyard would you need to live off the land?

Source

I came across this on pinterest this weekend and was very surprised by it. I would be interested to hear if anyone reading this has any insight on this. My husband is a hunter, so we won’t be raising livestock for meat, but I do have it as a long term goal to try and raise chickens and goats in the future (for eggs and milk).

Book review : Country Wisdom and Know-How

Amazon link

This was the first book that my husband and I read about homesteading so it was only natural that it’s the first book review I do on this blog. My parents actually bought this book as a gag-gift for my husband, but it quickly became clear how useful it actually was. This book has so much information in it, it took us a few weeks to fully process all the information and figure out how we wanted to use it to improve our lives. The book contains information on raising livestock, quilting, gardening, training cats and dogs, home brewing and so much more.

There are countless tables, check lists, recipies, and step-by-step instructions for making even the most inexperienced (ie. me) would-be homesteader feel comfortable living a self-sustaining lifestyle.

The only problem that I encountered (and was mentioned over and over in the reviews on Amazon) is the physical size of the book. It’s far too big, and it’s a soft cover, so it’s difficult to hold and read. My copy also seemed to be missing a few pages… I’m not sure what that’s all about (but it could have been a problem with how my mom bought it).

Regardless of those problems I would recommend this book to anyone who was interested in homesteading, whether novice or experienced. There is so much varied information that I’m sure there is something that anyone could learn from it.

Why be self-sufficient?

Last week some collegues and I got to discussing the idea that solar flares could potentially knock out the power grid. This particular idea has been all over the news here over the past few days and has certainly got people talking. Despite the fact that the solar storm knocking out power is extremely unlikely, it’s one of many way that our dependance on the power grid could all come to a crashing halt.

The most uttered point from my colleagues was about how much we rely on technology and electricity, and how the majority of us would,essentially, be helpless without it. In the group that I was talking about, no one had a garden, no one had a means of heating their house other than an electric-furnace, and no one had a means of cooking food that didn’t rely on electricity. The general sentiment was that there would be chaos, but no one seemed all that concerned about it.

That’s when I realized what being self-sufficient is to me: not being helpless.

A long time ago I came across this great TED talk (if you haven’t seen the TED talks you should check them out when you have a spare couple… days… there is a ton of great ideas from some of the most brilliant minds in the world).

Obviously a toaster isn’t the most important thing in the world if the electricity goes out, but this serves as an excellent example of how helpless many would be when left to their own devices. We rely so much on other people and companies to help us live our day to day lives, and we rely on technology to link us together.

What would happen if the power went out? It’s hard to say. I’d like to think that people would band together and find a way to survive, but I’m sure that there would be panic, looting, chaos (just like there is in so many disasters throughout history and the world). I’m not advocating paranoia by any means, but I do think this is a great argument for being prepared and being capable of doing simple tasks like cooking, keeping yourself clean, and cultivating food without the help of electricity.

Gardening with my kiddo

One of our goals for this year was to expose our little one to gardening. I tried it on a long weekend in February (“Family Day” to all you Ontarians out there), and could never have predicted how well it would go.

We went to the grocery store and popped into a local garden centre on the way home. Right now they’re only selling seeds and seed-starting supplies because it’s still -20C out there and there’s no chance of planing anything in the ground. Kiddo picked out sunflower seeds and cactus seeds and we headed home. I’ll readily admit that I was very uncertain about the cactus seeds, but decided to give it a whirl. We headed home with our seeds, started tray, and potting soil, and began our planting adventure.

It was not long until the dirt was everywhere… but man did we have fun.

Kiddo had the time of his life putting the dirt into cut up toilet paper tubes in the starter tray. We managed to get them into some semblance of order, and then he had the time of his life squirting me with the spray bottle.

 

We took care to water every day, and my son quickly learned when the soil felt dry or wet. And a few weeks ago we were rewarded for our labour of love- the seeds actually sprouted! I have to admit I was a little bit dubious about the whole thing, never having been much of a gardener, but the look of excitement on my son’s face was worth it a million times over. The sunflowers have grown quickly and the cactii are even starting to grow (a huge shock to me). I’m looking forward to having some sunflowers in the house, and maybe even a few cactii to place around the place. I’d love to have one to bring to my classroom.

We have a very busy weekend coming up, but stay tuned for next week when we plan to repot the sunflowers and try some more green cleaning ideas!

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