Changes On Our Forest Homestead

Peaceful Forest Homestead

Peaceful Forest Homestead

Changes on our forest homestead, that we made this past spring and summer contributed to an easier life  Change is constant no matter where you live or what you do. On a homestead or farm it seems to be a daily happening. Some changes are hard and others are welcomed with open arms. As soon as spring showed up, which took longer than usual this past year, we got to work. There are many jobs on a homestead that are harder if you are living with an alternative energy system, but not impossible. We spend time researching and finding the best methods for making those jobs easier. Surprisingly, some are easier using older methods or tools of the past. Our main objective has been to use less fuels that we have to purchase. The more money we can save on that, we can put into our system to produce more energy. I am not saying that we do not use fuels. We do. We use less than we did, but still buy propane and gasoline.

Snow Wolf

Using the Snow Wolf

In the winter we bought a Snow Wolf from Amazon. It is a snow shovel that used to be called the Sno Wovel. We had been eyeing it for a number of years. Finally ordered it and my husband’s snow shoveling job became much easier and quicker. It is the job he hates the most around here. We do not use a snowblower because he doesn’t want the hassle of constant repairs and fuel usage. Another reason is that our driveway and paths are all dirt and I guess they don’t do such a good job on them. He says they are like lawnmowers, always having some kind of issue or repairs when you need them the most. Well I am happy to say the Snow Wolf took care of that job. 

DIY Generator Wagon

DIY Generator Wagon

To power our batteries when the weather has been rainy or cloudy for days, we have to use a generator. In the spring my husband put together a generator on a cart. That way he could move it back and forth from the barn to the house when it was needed. I used to worry about our generator sitting in front of the house in a little shed that covered it. It would have been easy to steal it after it was unhooked from the line going into the house. If we weren’t home, an easy job. He ordered a steel mesh garden wagon and attached the generator to that. The generator is a DC only type that works well for our off the grid system.

Green Works and Neuton Lawnmowers

Old and New electric lawnmowers

Another big job around here, though I admit, we made it that way, is lawn mowing. By clearing our land around the house, it meant more lawn to mow. If you do not mow your lawn, your pets will have a lot more fleas and ticks. They live in the grass and that is why if you go for a walk in meadows or pastures you need to take precautions not to get ticks on yourself. For years we had been using a Neuton lawnmower which is an electric model and it worked great. Lasted since 2006. It is still usable. The only problem was the batteries are outdated now and even with two battery chargers and four batteries, it was an all day job. Waiting for the batteries to charge gave my husband a break, but he likes to get the job done and not sit around waiting. He purchased the Green Works electric lawnmower with two battery chargers and four batteries. This lawnmower has newer batteries and works like a charm. He loves it. Since it is electric, unless we have to run the generator, the fuel is free. Most lawn mowing is done on a sunny day, so usually the generator is not running burning gasoline. Now the lawn is mowed in record time with no waiting around for a battery to charge.

All American Sun Oven

All American Sun Oven

Back in May, I wrote this post, Cooking With My New Sun Oven. I purchased the All American Sun Oven and started cooking with no fuel, except sunshine. I had my doubts about it. Even the directions that came with it didn’t make it sound that great. Well, let me tell you, this thing CAN COOK! It is now my favorite way to cook a roast. It is amazing how fast it cooks and you will really have to keep an eye on it or it will be overdone. Last winter, my friend, Susie, was showing off all kinds of things she cooked in her sun oven on Facebook. That made me determined to get one. There are some things I don’t like to cook on it, due to my cast iron skillets and Dutch oven being too big for it. I did cook bacon in it, but I like the oven of my propane stove best for that. I made a breakfast of sausage and eggs in it  which came out good.  I used two small cast iron skillets and they fit together real good in it. If you are going to cook roasts and meats, I suggest you get a good meat thermometer to test if it is done. My problem with it was not that anything was underdone, always the opposite. Always my fault for not paying attention to it. This is one the changes on our forest homestead that I am enjoying the most. 

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Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole

I write this blog based on my experience living an off-the-grid life as a modern homesteader. Some of the links you may click or products I recommend may or may not compensate me for including them in my post. Be sure to read my disclosure page if you are concerned about that.


Modern Homesteading Groundwork

Peaceful Forest Homestead

Peaceful Forest Homestead

Modern homesteading groundwork is more important now than ever. I laugh at comments on websites about modern homesteading that people make about how you can’t live that way. They mention you have to do this or you can’t do that. Then they might say they wish they could live that way but it is impossible. A word comes to mind, “legalization” (of the American people) which is normally used referencing various denominations of churches and religions. They rule you to death, till you get fed up with someone else telling you how to worship, what to believe or what you can do. I had my fill of those, believe me. They use Bible scriptures out of context to make you see their way. Instead of working on their own self-sufficiency in their own home, it is easier to blame it on the government’s strict rules (to keep you dependent on them) or some other reason why you cannot do it. I have a friend who badly wanted to be a “modern homesteader” and never could quite make it, due to her own rules of why she was not. She canned, gardened, was a spinner, raised goats, angora rabbits, chickens, sheep, had a few horses and a cow at different times. Did she think of herself as a “modern homesteader?” Nope, because she was not off the grid. She even used kerosene lights at night (which I do not do, since I have free solar electric) to try to fit her idea of what she thought she had to do to reach her goal.

Laundry on Line

Freedom to hang laundry on line

Well, I am here to tell you that there are no rules to start your modern homesteading groundwork or to live a self-sufficient or self-reliant lifestyle. None. Not even one. When I see people saying there are, I may not comment on it (why fight with ignorance?) but I laugh about them. Sorry, but that is what I do. You can live anywhere and just start doing it. Even in a high rise apartment in the middle of New York City or Los Angeles. Yes, imagine my surprise when I was selling my first eBook back in 2007, My Homesteading Journey, and had a famous person who living in LA purchase it! I still wonder about it, seeing she was a model and came from a very famous and powerful father.  Sorry, don’t mean to drift from my topic. People love rules and impose them on themselves and others. It holds them back from living the life they desire. Don’t do that. It is hard enough trying to remain free and independent in our country now with the way our government has been slowly steering us toward a socialist government over the years, but more so in the last eight year of this administration. It will get worse if the citizens don’t wake up and stand strong against it. This is why no matter what you do or want to do, than ever before, you are criticized for doing whatever you do or say. Wonder why people in other countries look down on Americans? Our attitude. Our ability of being proud regardless of how much money we have or what kind of job we may have. They are not allowed to feel that way so they hate us. Why can’t we all stick together? Because some people want that type of government and to be taken care of and not do anything for themselves. It keeps or makes them in a depressed state. How many times do you hear, “You can’t do that.” “You can’t live that way.” But you can.

To our house

To our house

I have never been one to follow others. Neither has my husband, so that is why this self-sufficient life fits us so well. We both lived in the other world, him having his own record company and meeting with officials of the recording industry in DC and NYC. For me, well I was involved in an accounting business and lived a pretty luxurious lifestyle while my son was growing up. We both had to fall back on our childhoods of being raised in the country by parents who taught us many of the skills we brought to this life.

Lilies

Lilies


Here is a list of things for you to think about and maybe get started on preparing in a  few different areas of your life. In case something does happen, you will feel like you have done something about it before the fact.

1. Stop being honest when filling out paperwork for anyone – not just the government, but schools, all medical, veterinarians, financial institutions, etc. Just give them what they need to know, bare bones information. If you have to lie on yes or no questions, then lie. It is a matter of survival. Don’t put the answer, “I’d rather not say” or skip the question. Don’t answer anything that makes them take a second glance at your form. Do not get mad at them and say anything that will bring attention to yourself and family. That is the way you would become a target.

2. Teach your children to be tough. Don’t make soft kids because they grow up to be babies as adults and are easy prey for others (including government and social programs). Teach them how to work and skills for survival. Make exercise a fun activity and do family outings together that are beneficial for their well being. Don’t count on school sports and activities because if you are not homeschooling your children, they are being programmed, and in group sports it is happening also. What activities do I recommend? Gardening, cooking, baking, preserving foods, animal care, hiking, foraging for wild edible and medicinal plants and how to use them, fishing, hunting, swimming, boating, primitive tent camping (no cell phones or convenience gadgets), etc. You get the idea. Make it fun with your whole family and include other families or relatives you are close to. Let your child take part, not just sit back and watch mom and dad set everything up and letting them do little safe, easy chores. “Oh no, she can’t cut up a zucchini with a knife! She might cut herself,” comes to mind. Instead TEACH her how to use a knife and how to cut up the vegetables. That is how they learn.

3. Privacy – This is one I struggle with. For me, it is hard due to my writing and being on Facebook. It has crossed my mind to regularly, like weekly or even daily, to take down all my posts and comments off my page and others that I comment on. Be selective of who you accept as a friend or what pages you like. Be especially careful of responding to private messages. I usually delete those. One sad thing is that you can put anyone’s name into Google and find out a lot of information about them. Many pages come up for me when I put my name in. Including past addresses, employers, anyone who has ever lived in your house (with you or before or after you moved), including how much your house is worth and what you paid for it and even how many bedrooms it has. Nothing is private any longer. Yes, my house comes up and I live in a very rural location in the middle of acres of state forest and most of my neighbors are hunting camps and farms. 

4. Live a minimalist life. Yes, get rid of everything in your house, barn or outbuildings that you do not use, is broken or does not belong to you. No more junk, knickknacks or things to be only used when company comes. Get rid of old toys, clothing or anything else you don’t need. Now you have room for the essential things you need to store, such as food, supplies, tools and equipment. The key here is to never have to run to a store because a storm is coming or some other major emergency (such as martial law???) or that you have lost one of your income steams and have no money to go to a store.

5. Extra Money – We always need extra money! Who doesn’t? Relying on a retirement check or a job is living too close to the wire. Not having to pay for things like electric, water, heat, television, an extra vehicle has been a situation that I am very thankful for. Paying off all debt and not running up more is the key to this. If you pay for heat, save to pay for it annually and you can usually get a good deal paying in advance. We have only paid for firewood about four times in 16 years that we have lived here. I am considering buying a piece of wooded land to use for our firewood. That would give us more independence.

Every bit of our work here has been toward the goal of laying our modern homesteading groundwork. Whatever you do, take little steps and do what you can. Do not stress about what you haven’t done yet. I have written many posts on how to get started, prepping, food preservation and storage and gardening. Look through my back posts and you will have much information. On my other blog, Solar Baby, I have written about setting up a small affordable alternative energy system. Reading is your most important way to learn. Keep learning, but start doing something and teach your family too. Good luck! 

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Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole


Preparedness Food List


Food preparedness list begins here

Food preparedness list begins here

I am working on my preparedness food list right now. I go to a lot of websites on homesteading, preparedness, prepping, self-sufficiency and self-reliance and I am usually disappointed. A good many are covered in ads and have that annoying pop up trying to catch my email address. Just trying to read an article on it is nearly impossible. I usually can’t make it though the whole article due to the ads. With my internet connection, a video or anything like that slows my computer down considerably and I end up leaving without reading their article. So I thought I’d write my own list and not concern myself with what someone else thinks. They usually aren’t accurate, considering I am not really a “prepper” but live this way all the time, regardless of power outages or storms. This is a way of life for me. Each individual family must have some idea of what they need without reading a huge of list of what others think you need or what they are trying to steer you to buy so you click on their affiliate links. 

This is my food list and how I prepare to have food stored in my kitchen, pantry and root cellar. Make changes where you see fit. Every family is different and you may have a family member who eats a special diet. In our house, we eat low carbs as much as possible. 

katlupe’s Preparedness Food List:

1. Food Needed – Figure out what you fix for meals. How much and how often.  I do this on a monthly basis and multiply it by 12 for the year.

2. List the ingredients you need to make each recipe. Be sure to include all seasonings, oils and condiments needed. Figure out how much of each needed.

3. Include some foods for quick meals that can be prepared without cooking or heating. For emergencies.

4. Don’t forget water storage! Go to Ready Water Storage, a government site to read their recommendations. Whatever you do, DO NOT store it in used milk containers. 

5. Snacks for everyone makes a bad situation bearable. Stock up ingredients to make those snacks your family enjoys. Be sure to include some ready made ones for when you are short on time.

6. Include desserts! Yes, everyone loves their desserts. Once again, I recommend some ready made ones that take no cooking or heating. Ingredients for your homemade desserts will a pleasant ending to meal on a bad day or for a special occasion. 

7. I mentioned having condiments stored, but if times get really tough and worse than they are right now (which I believe is happening presently), you may not be able to replenish your condiments stash. Be sure to include ingredients to make them yourself. Homemade ones are much better anyway, I do this all the time. 

8. Beverages – This is the hard one. It is best to get your family used to drinking water mainly. But what if water is in short supply? Even tea and coffee take water. Maybe some canned fruit juices, evaporated milk and dehydrated milk would be good to store. These milk products can be used for cooking too. Tea can be made from wild medicinal and/or edible plants around your home. Just be careful where you forage for them. Many homeowners use chemicals on their lawns and you don’t want to pick any from those areas. 

9. Storage of all. How or where do I store it all? This one I have problems with myself. As we work on our house, we keep adding more storage areas. making more room in your home by getting rid of all your excess stuff is essential. This is one area that I am presently working on, so I will be writing future posts and sharing how I overcome this obstacle.

10. A garden is essential to providing a large share of your food supply. I grow, can dehydrate and store a large amount of produce yearly. What I don’t grow, I buy locally. Do not rely on a freezer for storing your food. Even with my own power system something can go wrong with it and I would be without power for a period while we repair it. Same with your freezer. Many people have lost food due to a malfunction of their freezer. This is the reason why I can so much food. Can all the food you harvest in case the next year’s harvest fails. 

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Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole


Cats In My Garden

Rocks In Bed for Cat Protection

Rocks In Bed for Cat Protection

Cats in my garden! Yikes, they are my own too! Cats are my biggest pest in my raised beds. My own cats! I had to figure out what to do so I could replant them after the cats ruined most of the plants I planted earlier. I got a lot of ideas of what I could do. One of them that I really like is the idea of using hardware cloth laid down on the top of the bed. Then plant each seed in one of the little squares. That would work. But at this time I needed something I already have. What do I have plenty of? Rocks, of course! An unlimited supply. I knew my cats, being elderly, are quite lazy. They don’t want to have to go to a lot of trouble to dig. I put the small rocks around each plant so there wouldn’t be enough space for them. These cats dig DEEP holes! Even if you chase them out of it when you are out there or see them, they will come back to it later. It is a never ending battle with them.

Small Rocks Around Plants

Small Rocks Around Plants

It is not just the stone beds that they are attracted to. The wood beds they destroy too. I am fortunate when I have any plants coming up. Next year I will make sure to plant with the hardware cloth. This year though, I took smaller sizer rocks, but not too small, and put them around each plant. I wish I had done this before I planted another bed of bush beans. If I had, I would have made a circle of rocks and put the seed in the center. Anything else I plant from now on, I will do in that way. Trying to make it uncomfortable for Patches and Hobo to use it for a litter box. Cats in my garden is not a good thing at all. My biggest regret is that I allowed our cats, since we moved here in 1999, to be indoor outdoor cats. Before that my cats were always indoor only cats. It is okay until they get old and you feel it is safer for them to be inside only. They get stressed over you trying to change that status so late in their lives. I gave up on trying to make that change. So I end up living with a lot of stress caused by the choice of so many years ago.

Rocks Keep Plants Safe

Rocks Keep Plants Safe

Over the years, we have saved rocks and stones in a big pile. The paddock is full of rock, big ones too. Our three horses uncover them running around all the time. We try to pick up the rock often. Keeping it stored in one central place makes it easy to work with it when you need various sizes for a project. The cats in my garden is one project that I am hoping will be accomplished with our rocks. When my husband originally built the bed I call the “snake bed” (due to its shape and size, not that it had snakes, though it does), he took the rock out of the area on the house that he hand dug to add a room onto our cellar. These rocks were huge and he had to carry them up a ladder and all the way to our backyard. I should add, without me knowing what he was doing. I was right in the house and he did it without me ever seeing him do it. Then he built that bed and came in to get me to come outside to see it. I was amazed, to say the least.

Cats in my garden

Here comes Patches!

 

Hopefully, I have solved this problem of my cats in my garden and ruining all the new plants. Once the plants get to a larger size, they are pretty safe. We don’t even have wild life in our garden and to think the biggest problem is our own pets is unbelievable to me. My father always had wild animals destroying or stealing his plants and produce. I live in the state forest and don’t even have that problem with any wild critters. We’ll see how this works.

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Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole

I write this blog based on my experience living an off-the-grid life as a modern homesteader. Some of the links you may click or products I recommend may or may not compensate me for including them in my post. Be sure to read my disclosure page if you are concerned about that.


A Homesteader’s Insurance Policy

Peaceful Forest Homestead

Peaceful Forest Homestead

Do you have a homesteader’s insurance policy in place? Almost every time I get disgusted with this life because it is hard or so different from everyone else I know, something happens to reinforce that this lifestyle is the only way to survive. Especially in the times we are living in. News of terrorists attacking people in nightclubs, schools, movie theaters, churches, etc. What that tells me is that for some reason, something inside of me told me to live this lifestyle. To live on our homestead and work from home. To start doing most of our shopping online. I don’t even drive a car anymore, though I plan on getting one in the future. I do not go to crowded places very often. Sometimes I will go with my husband to a nearby city to do some shopping, but usually I go to stores in our area that is more country than city.

Wind Power Today

Wind Power Today


For sixteen years now, we have been building our homestead to be more technical than most homesteaders do. My husband loves new technology. He has always said, “Our homestead is not old fashioned, but the way of the future.” I like that sentiment. Using solar and wind, working online, shopping online, growing our own food, etc. it is all part of the modern technology that enables us to live the way we do. Some of the old technology that many mistakenly think is old fashioned, is just a better way. For instance, our pitcher pump. It was thought of as modern technology at one time. Still working after all this time. Now this year I added a solar oven to our modern technology list of items we use. Not only does it do the cooking, but it can be used to dehydrate food. Instead of using our system to power an electric dehydrator, I can use the sun. All of these tools or methods we use, old fashioned or high technology, are a part of our homesteader’s insurance policy.  

Canning Closet

Canning Closet in Kitchen

An interesting thought we have had is that many things that we did because of moving to an off-the-grid house, that others thought was silly, stupid or too hard to do, have turned out to be the way the general population is going now. Instead of paying an electric, fuel and water bill, we were purchasing more solar panels, more components for this system, a wind turbine to keep power coming in during storms and at night and being able to buy the most energy efficient refrigerator that is built presently. We have been gardening since 1996 and canning our harvests. Now canning has been making a comeback. I am glad to see that. When I purchased my first canning jars from an elderly woman who’s husband had died and she felt she had no need for so many jars, I was excited and looking forward to canning a lot of food. Which I did. I saw the price of the jars go up.  The huge amount of jars that I bought for thirty bucks is unheard of now. Now everyone wants to prepare. To have home canned food in their root cellars, pantries and cupboards. That IS the homesteader’s insurance policy! 

Garden

Food Supply


If you are wondering what exactly is the homesteader’s insurance policy anyway? Well, that is what I am telling you right now. It is when you no longer worry about having food and supplies in your house. It is when you do not have to run out to shop if a storm or other disaster is on the way. It is when you have ways to heat your house, cook your food, store your cold foods, take a shower, wash your clothes, etc. It is when you can be isolated at your home for days, weeks or months at a time and live comfortably and happily. It is when you can go pick up other family members and bring them to your home and it not be a hardship to feed them too. I do not have to read articles or books about prepping, because when I do, I usually know more than they do. We live it every day. If you consider yourself a prepper, start living this way every day, instead of just when there is an emergency. Start using your food supply and replenishing it as you use it. Start up that generator now, so you know how to use it. Cook on that solar oven you bought two years ago and never took out of the box, now. Learn to cook on it this summer by cooking on it daily, so that when you really do need it, you will know how to use it. Good food helps in an emergency!  

Planting a garden

Plant a garden!

Start working on your own homesteader’s insurance policy today! How? Basic needs first:

Water – Store some in food grade containers. Find a way to have a water source in case of an emergency and no power.

Heat – A wood stove will serve three purposes: heating, hot water and cooking.

Food – Plant a garden. Buy food locally in a farmer’s market or at a farm. Learn to can and get started building a pantry of food. Food in a freezer does not count as you can easily lose that in a power outage or a faulty freezer. Besides in an emergency canned food is easier to cook. Get to work on it today!

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Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole


Outhouse Is History Now

Old Outhouse

Old Outhouse

The old outhouse had become an eye sore. It had been falling down for a few years now. I think we were a bit sentimental about the thing. We had never really used it ourselves. At one time, I kept a pet goat in it for his house. It didn’t contain him very well, as he got out often. When we moved here in 1999, we brought with us a SunMar composting toilet. Walking outside at night in total darkness when nobody was home, but Nikita, our dog and me, was not something I had planned on doing. Before we moved in, I had located a composting toilet and we bought it and brought it home to wait for our moving day. So the old outhouse had become a storage shed after a short time of us living here.

Back of the Outhouse

Looking at the back of the outhouse

During the winters, I’d worry that the snow would cause the outhouse to collapse. We would have to remove the snow if it had accumulated too much on the roof. It turned into a good spot to store gasoline cans though. Since we weren’t using it, it had become quite neglected and it showed. This year my husband went to work on cleaning it out. Moving items he wanted to the barn and his work shed. He took a few loads of trash to the landfill. Saved parts of old motors and other items that he decided he did not need or want to keep. He could have sold those loads for scrap metal, but didn’t want to mess with it. Just get rid of it and do it quickly.  

Outhouse Pushed Over

Outhouse Pushed Over

Since the outhouse was built on a rock foundation, he was trying to push it over after he had emptied it out. It was a little too much for him alone. I contributed my strength to the effort and we did it. I was a little sad to see it go, but the time had come and gone for it. Every year we would have a huge amount of bees between the outhouse and the work shed. I’d run past them at times. Snakes lived underneath the outhouse. When you walked out past it, they would be in the grass and would surprise you. Not that snakes worry me. I am not afraid of them. It is just anything surprising you in the grass makes you jump. I am sure I surprised them too!

Outhouse is Down

Outhouse is Down

The stump next to the outhouse is another story. It has an iron bar, like from a bed frame, in it. The tree had grown around the bar. So it can’t be cut with a chainsaw like a normal stump. It is rotting. If I know my husband, he will figure out a way to get it down and out of there. I have been tracing the history of our house and believe it was a hunting camp from at least the thirties, maybe longer. So this outhouse may not have belonged to the original builder of our house, Daniel Loomis. I mean there was not even a hole dug under it. The hunters who used this property as a hunting camp were mostly city people and used hunting as an excuse to get away and party. They littered the whole property terrible with beer bottles and cans and liquor bottles. We have been cleaning it up ever since we moved here.

Cleared and Cleaned

Cleared and Cleaned

At first I did not want to take the old outhouse down because it gives us that ability to “grandfather in” having an outhouse. But does that really matter? It is just the two of us here and we do not have much company. If ever. So what did we really need an outhouse for? In the future, we may put a small outhouse building up and keep a sawdust toilet in it for convenience. Other than that, getting rid of the original outhouse was the right thing for us to do.

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Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole


Cooking With My New Sun Oven

All American Sun Oven

All American Sun Oven


Cooking with my new sun oven is a whole new experience for me. I had never seen one before I bought it. I have been experimenting with some different dishes to see what I can cook and what we really like cooked in it. I do not care for the way it cooks hamburgers, but it may be the cook’s error.  We will stick with cooking them on the stove in my cast iron griddle for the time being. The sun oven is great for most meats though, since I can put them in early and they cook really fast if the sun is out all day. The first food I cooked was hamburgers and they came out like little rocks, because I thought they could not be done that quickly. Indeed, they were. My poor husband, being a good sport ate them all. 

Better Browning Granite Ware

Better Browning Granite Ware

I highly recommend using the granite ware pans for cooking in it. Especially the new Better Browning variety. I ordered two of them and they are my favorite now, aside from my extensive collection of cast iron. Cast iron unfortunately is too big for the sun oven. My little frying skillets fit, but they are the only ones. Besides it is kind of tricky for me getting a pan out without spilling the grease. It has a moving rack inside, so that you can move the oven with the sun and not worry about dumping it inside while moving it. These new Granite Ware pans are so easy to wash! I loved them right after my first use. Not expensive either. I plan on getting a few more of them. They offer a set that includes pie and loaf pans also. So you might want to check them out, even if you are not cooking with a sun oven.

Breakfast In A Sun Oven

Breakfast In A Sun Oven

My plan is to try to use the sun oven as much as possible in the summer so I can cut down our use of the propane. The sun oven is the only way I can see of doing that. The nice thing about it is that I can put a piece of meat in early and we can have supper with hardly any fuss. The most I have to do is keep moving it with the sun. I have it right outside the front door on my porch so it is not a big problem. I am usually right here anyway. In the summer, of course, I am outside working in my garden most days. My favorite meal so far cooked in the sun oven was pork spare ribs. They were outstanding! 

Stackable Granite Ware

Stackable Granite Ware


Now my friend, Susie, (who is responsible for me buying this sun oven, after she kept posting pictures of the food she was cooking in her sun oven on Face Book!) likes the stackable pans. These pans came with the oven when I bought it. I tried them yesterday with the hamburgers, but will try something else to really test them. I think I need to do a casserole to really test this sun oven. We do not eat baked goods, so that is out. I am anxious to try some chicken recipes in it. As soon as I get some good recipes for the sun oven, I will post them here.

 

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Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole

I write this blog based on my experience living an off-the-grid life as a modern homesteader. Some of the links you may click or products I recommend may or may not compensate me for including them in my post. Be sure to read my disclosure page if you are concerned about that.


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Cat in the forest

Hobo in the forest.


No Spammers! No SEO writers! No content writers needed! To all the people trying to get me to pay them to write content for this blog……….FORGET IT! I am not interested. This is a personal blog and I may not write new posts as often as I should. That is because I live this life and it takes work. As you can see my blog is not being written to make money. It is my hope to connect with other people who are into homesteading, modern homesteading, living on off-the-grid homesteads or just want to prepare for the uncertain future ahead. I really doubt the people contacting me to write content have the experience I have living this way. There is more to it than writing a post full of spam advertisements and promoting products that you have never used yourself. I only promote products that I buy myself and use them in my home. I do not care about or would even consider paying for SEO content written by someone I do not know for my blog. It is, as I said, my personal blog! 

My life is very busy and sometimes I just do not have the time to write a blog post. I must admit, I have been disillusioned with writing my blogs lately. You may know my other blog, Solar Baby, disappeared one day. The whole thing. I know, it should have been backed up. I could never do that. Every time I tried to, it would say it failed. I have been attempting to rewrite it, but it will never be the same. I was writing it since 2008. On Solar Baby now, I am using different software than WordPress and I don’t really like it. But I never liked WordPress either. And I still don’t. Now my blog on blogger is my favorite. Never a problem with it. The only thing is that it is not self-hosted and is free to use. So somehow that makes it unstable. I guess because blogger can remove your blog on a whim. The best thing to do is to build your own site, which I have done with Solar Baby and this one, but you are still stuck with the software issue. Still I do not want any content writers for my blogs. They are my voice only and are going to stay that way.

I hope my regular blog readers will understand and I think they do, since most of the them are into this self-sufficient lifestyle and know it is hard work. Please all you spammers, content writers and SEO writers, go find someone who is interested in your work because I am not. Leaving a lame comment on this blog will never be seen, as I delete them all.

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Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole

I write this blog based on my experience living an off-the-grid life as a modern homesteader. Some of the links you may click or products I recommend may or may not compensate me for including them in my post. Be sure to read my disclosure page if you are concerned about that.


Taking Down A Big Tree

Big Cherry Tree

Our big cherry tree

Taking down a big tree near a house is a very critical job. I do not recommend doing it yourself unless you are experienced in cutting trees down. A tree can go down in any direction, even the opposite direction of where you want it to fall. Our big cherry tree was very close to our house. The roots were growing underneath our house for many years now. We had already done work on the foundation of the house, which was a lot of hard work for my husband. He decided that it would be best to get the tree out of there, before it caused more trouble for our house and maybe even our well. So after our apple tree had fallen down, he started on this tree as well. I was nervous about it, since it right near the house and because it was so heavy. I am always afraid of a big tree falling on him as he falls the trees. 

Thick Tree Trunks

Thick trunks!

I know many people will wonder about us taking a big tree like this down because of the shade it would give us in the summer. To tell you the truth, as big as it was, it did not provide much shade. When we sat outside, we usually sat under the old apple tree for shade. With that being gone already, we didn’t even consider this tree a source of shade. This made us think about how taking this tree and some others down would improve our garden. So we went outside to put this plan into action. My husband studied this tree and the area around it. To see what it might hit or if he could direct it in a particular direction. He is very careful when doing this type of work.  

 

Notched tree

Notched the tree

He made a notch on the tree that is essential in the way a big tree will go down. Then he worked from there. It took a long time to cut through this thick tree. I was off in the distance with my camera and our cat. I kept her distracted so she wouldn’t run in the area of the tree falling. 

First Half of Tree

First Half of Tree Down!

Standing off in the distance, I heard the familiar crack – then the tree falls over in slow motion. Then crash! It was down. Of course this was just half of this big tree. We decided to wait till this half is cut up and out of the way before doing the other half of it. 

Tree Down!

Tree Down!

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Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole

I write this blog based on my experience living an off-the-grid life as a modern homesteader. Some of the links you may click or products I recommend may or may not compensate me for including them in my post. Be sure to read my disclosure page if you are concerned about that.


Gasoline Powered Motors

Truck Loaded with Hay

Truck Needed on Homestead


Gasoline powered motors are on their way out on our homestead. We do not really want to use them. Just forced to at the present time. Not too long ago on a homesteading forum I belong to, when I mentioned hating gasoline powered vehicles, I had another member say to me that with proper maintenance those vehicles will work perfectly. Well, I know plenty about gasoline powered motors and vehicles. My father was an automobile mechanic and he loved to work on gasoline motors. Always fixing. Other people would give him their old motors that they had to replace and my father would of course, fix them up and use them. But it was an ongoing thing. Always fixing them. Our vehicles are properly maintained. Very well so, I might add! Always trouble with them no matter how well you take care of them.

2011 Nissan Titan

Our truck is needed!


Our 2011 Nissan Titan pick up truck is a perfect example. With only 36,000 miles it is a big sour lemon! Nissan doesn’t back up their warranties and makes sure they have an out on whatever goes wrong with it. Seems to me that if Nissan really built their vehicles well, they would gladly fix the ones that had issues without worrying about the details in the warranties. Just fix the hunk of junk! We can’t wait to get rid of this one. Even though it is a pretty truck, never will I consider a Nissan vehicle again. For the present time though, we are stuck with gasoline vehicles, I just hope that in the future, we will be driving and charging our own electric vehicles.

Driveway

Our Driveway


Winter time isn’t usually thought of as a really productive time of the year. After all, you are doing those winter chores that most people dread. Snow shoveling being one of them. Plowing a driveway is another one. We do not have a plow on our truck or any other type of equipment that would have a plow. Our driveway is hand shoveled by my husband. With all the winter time work he has to do, he wanted to make the snow removal easier. Why not buy a snowblower? Fuel. We have been challenging ourselves to eliminate fuels as much as possible. Not meaning to leave out the fact that gasoline powered motors of any kind, vehicles, lawnmowers. chainsaws, generators, rototillers and snowblowers, are well known for not starting or being broke down when you need to use them. That is why they are always being replaced and so many end up in the local junkyard. Another important fact that makes us not want to use gasoline powered machines and equipment is the fumes and smell. Why put yourself through the agony of breathing in those toxic fumes if you don’t have to? 

Snow Wolf

Clearing Snow!

In order to make the snow removal job easier this year, we purchased a new type of snow shovel called the Snow Wolf. It out performs snowblowers without the fumes or repairs that are always part of owning and using gasoline powered motors. My husband had to assemble it as it comes in a box. He used it on our driveway and on the paths we have to various areas of our homestead. It worked great and he likes it so far. Easier for him then regular snow shoveling, plus no fumes to breathe, fuel or parts to buy, as with a snowblower. We are very happy with it. It is easier on his back and maybe will not tire him out so bad as shoveling does. I believe it used to be called the “Wovel” and it has a new name and possibly the design might be different. I do not know if it was the exact same snow shovel or not. It has 447 reviews on Amazon and for the most part, it seems like everyone loves it. Time will tell. 

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Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole

I write this blog based on my experience living an off-the-grid life as a modern homesteader. Some of the links you may click or products I recommend may or may not compensate me for including them in my post. Be sure to read my disclosure page if you are concerned about that.