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Showing posts with the label homestead

"Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make Do, or Do Without": The Need to Learn Skills and Learn How to Make Do

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We talk a lot about what we need to acquire and purchase as people who live the various lifestyles of prepping, homesteading, and the combination of the two. We talk about what we shouldn't buy as frugal people and sustainability learners. Somewhere in the middle though, we need to understand that we need to get back the phrase that most of us should live by.

"Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without."
That phrase hangs on the wall of my office in the form of a printable. I look at it almost every day and sometimes I still forget to apply it. However, the kids were gone for two and a half weeks on vacation with their father's side of the family this summer. I found myself unconsciously living that phrase.

I only bought groceries once while they were gone. I went back to the store the day they came back. Otherwise, I was going through our food stores and seeing what needed to be eaten. I would set those items on the kitchen counter in an effort to remember to make …

Is Propane (And Other Fuels) A Good Idea For Your Preps?

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Many preppers have some kind of fuel as part of their short-term and long-term preps. For many short-term situations and crisis, fuel can be a good idea to include in your preps. A fuel like propane can last longer than other refined fuels due to its nature of being used a vapor in some applications and a liquid in other applications.

I deal with propane every day. I work for an agricultural cooperative, but my primary responsibility is dealing with propane and other refined fuels. We advise customers every day on uses of propane, safety procedures, and general maintenance. We set tanks, deliver fuel, service systems, perform leak checks, and install some heaters and small appliances. We all have to take classes on handling propane safely as well as being able to respond to emergencies. We are not only accountable to our customers, but insurance companies as well.

For this post, I am concentrating heavily on propane. However, this advice and information can be applied to other refined f…

What Happens When You Have A Bad Gardening Year?

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This spring's weather conditions have been anything but ideal. The weather is too hot already in some areas, too cool in other areas, and the rain has been unrelenting. Many, many conventional crops are not being planted due to flooding and unworkable fields. Many experts are already predicting food shortages due to flooding, livestock lost, and crops not being planted.

While all of that is pretty bad, gardens are taking a hit this year too. The naysayers will say that gardens aren't as important as crops because you can just buy your food at the grocery store. However, many of us rely on our gardens for reducing our food bills, putting nutritious food on our tables, and providing food with no chemicals and bacteria. For most of us, gardening is not a hobby but part of our overall food plan to provide for ourselves and to know where our food comes from.

Therefore, what happens when you have a bad gardening year and how can you plan around that?

Bad gardening years can happen to a…

30+ Cookbooks and Manuals You Should Have on Your Reference Shelf for Your Homestead and Your Preps

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Cookbooks are invaluable. They teach us so much about cooking, baking, canning, butchering, and more. They give specific instructions on how to do anything with cooking and the kitchen. They can really help the experiences and the novice alike.

While nothing really replaces the experience you get by doing and learning, having resources like cookbooks and cooking manuals is very important. You should have a good variety of cookbooks and manuals. Whether you are a canner, a preserver, a carnivore, a vegetarian, a hunter, or a gardener, you need to be well-rounded about you keep on your shelf.

In a crisis or a disaster, you may like to eat meat but meat may be scarce. Having some vegetarian recipes may mean you can have a filling meal with what you have on hand. You may not be a hunter, but you may need to know how to butcher your own meat. You may have a lot of produce from the garden or from gleaning and need to preserve it in a variety of ways.

You will notice that not all of these are c…

16 Reusable Practical Items You Should Always Have In Your Home and In Your Preps

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Being a prepper and being way more interested in self-reliance, I have become a lot more interested in items that can be reused time and time again. I would not have bought most of these things fifteen years ago, but now? I couldn't imagine life without them.

These things I think are important for home and possibly your survival. They are things that should stand the test of time, but we all know that can't always be true. You should be able to use these things over and over again. They are the most basic things that I think should be in every home, but I have found out that they are not.

16 Reusable Practical Items You Should Always Have:

1. Hand Tools. While I love my battery powered drill, hand tools can be used anytime and anywhere. If you keep them clean and in good condition, they will last you a very long time. Besides that, can you think a time when you will not be fixing or building something? I can't.

2. Clothespins. Clothespins are just handy to have. Besides hangin…

The Case For Why You Need To Become Self-Sufficient & Self-Reliant Now

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I am going to preface this post today for you. I wrote this about four months ago. I have sat on this post since then. I am usually a pretty positive, fairly practical person. Not much really gets me down on a normal day. However, the state of our economy along with the financial situations of a good deal of Americans have gotten me fairly worried with a good dose of being angry.

This is me being angry after receiving my paycheck one day and realizing that between bills and groceries, there would be very little left over for anything else. I don't blame my employer for this. I consider them a fair employer who pays me fairly for my level of work. I actually enjoy my job, but enough is enough.

You have all heard the phrase, "Every day you can get up, go to work, and pay your bills is a good day" (or something like that). I suppose that is true, but wouldn't it be nice if we didn't have to pay bills or work incredibly hard just to pay them?

Most people with a family…

55 Ways To Save Money on Your Utility and Water Bills

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The single biggest expense most households have are their utility and water bills. Sometimes those two bills combined are more expensive than the mortgage. Sometimes those two bills are the same as the mortgage and monthly groceries. In other words, they are just expensive.

In the twenty plus years of paying for a utility bill and growing up in a house that was very conscious of its water and electrical use, I have learned some tips and tricks to drive down the costs of those bills. Some of these tips will not cost you a thing and will provide immediate results. Some results will not be immediately seen. For some of these tips, you will need to pay to save. You will need to purchase items will that will pay for themselves in the future.

I realize some towns/cities/companies have minimum usages for utilities and water. If you are above the minimum usages, you want to get down to those if you can. You can also call and try to negotiate the minimum usage amount, but most places do not allo…

What Direction Should You Take In Prepping?

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I am at a little bit of a crossroads in my preparedness journey. I know which way I lean in prepping, but I am now in a bit of a indecision. I know what I want to accomplish, but how far do I want to go?

I have spent (or wasted depending on your viewpoint) a fair amount of time on prepping groups and forums. For the most part, people just want to be prepared for everyday life and the craziness that can happen. They want to know they have the supplies on hand and the knowledge to survive 1-6 months without suffering much. They want to be able to handle natural disasters, some manmade disasters, job loss, financial impacts, and health scares. They want the comfort and the knowledge that they will be fine if something happens.

Most people will stop there in preparedness. There is nothing wrong with that. Actually, if all people wanted to be prepared to that level, the world would be a better place. Agencies like FEMA would be used for their true purpose in disasters and not to save and fee…

Small Batch Canning: Saving Time, Money, and Sanity!

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Wouldn't it be wonderful if you had time during the garden harvest to can all day, every day? When you see super awesome deals on produce at the store, you could purchase them and can them right away when you get home?

You don't have that kind of time? Me neither.

A lot of people ask how I get so much canning done when I am busy with a full-time job and kids. I have a good sized garden and we like to eat fresh produce from it. However, I plant tomatoes and cucumbers with the sole purpose of canning them. I like to take the extra garden bounty and preserve it so we aren't wasting food. However, I don't have time for marathon canning sessions. Even on the weekends, I have plenty of other things on my to-do list besides canning.

I practice the time-saving practice of small batch canning. If I can preserve something every day or night, I can get a lot of canning done. I can keep up with my garden better by small batch canning.  I am not waiting for a lot of tomatoes to be don…