Using Cast Iron Cookware

Cast Iron Cookware

A few of my cast iron pieces

Using cast iron cookware is not as hard as many people make it sound. I use mine daily. Rarely do I use other pans, unless I need to use a stockpot or a sauce pan. The only type of skillets I own are the cast iron ones. I have various sizes and use certain ones for particular foods I am cooking. When I see the prices of cast iron on eBay, I am grateful that none of mine cost that much. In fact, most of mine were purchased at bargain prices in thrift or antique stores. Some were very rusty and were priced very low because nobody took the time to bring them back into good cooking shape. I could see the possibilities of my three favorite 6″ skillets that were sitting on a shelf in the bargain basement of a thrift shop. They were priced at a dollar each and I bought all of them. I use these more than anything else. Since there is only two of us to cook for, I can easily make our breakfast using these skillets.

Cast Iron 6 Inch Skillet

I have 3 of these 6″ skillets

Over the years, I have learned how to clean and season my cast iron cookware. Some people wash them in soap and water and some people swear not to do that. I am of the latter group. It will cause you to have to re-season them every time you wash them with soap and water. If food has stuck to the skillet, I pour hot water into it and let it soak for a few minutes. Then the food will scrap off easily. After I have scrapped it off, sometimes I will scrub it a little with a “tuffy” type of thing I use for washing pots and pans. Rinse with hot water, then dry it out good with a paper towel. I set it back on the stove to make sure it is completely dry, then I wipe it with a thin layer of bacon grease. I will store it in my gas oven which has a pilot light that is on all the time. When I use the oven, I normally will leave the cast iron skillet that I just washed in the oven. Maybe adding a little more grease (or what ever you use, you can use cooking oil as well). After it has been seasoned well, I will put it in the cupboard with the other ones.

Cast Iron Skillets in Oven

Seasoning in oven

If there is no food stuck on the skillet, you can just wipe it out with a paper towel. Well seasoned cast iron cookware, usually will not have anything stuck to it. The small skillets and a round griddle that I use almost daily, I store in my oven most of the time. I leave them in the oven when I am using it, unless I need both shelves, as it keeps these skillets well seasoned. Cast iron is known for the flaky crud that accumulates on the outside of the sides. I usually just scrap it off with my “tuffy” thing. The best way to remove it is to put in your wood stove fire (yes, right inside the stove when there is a fire going) and let it burn off.  That is if your stove is big enough for your cookware (mine is). Even better, is to put it in an outdoor fire. It burns all that crud off. Then wash the ashes off with hot water, apply whatever type of grease you like (I only use bacon grease because it is never sticky and that is what my grandmother used), then put it in your oven for an hour or so to let it season.

Cooking Eggs

Cooking Eggs


I cook eggs almost daily in one of my small 6″ cast iron skillets. I flip the eggs over to cook the other side and it slides across the surface. If I make an omelet instead, I can slide the omelet right out of the skillet onto a plate. That is the sign of a well seasoned skillet! Biscuits too, which I bake in the oven in a large cast iron skillet and they come out perfect every time. If you do not have any cast iron cookware, buy a small skillet first to get the feel for cooking with it. See how you like it first. If you are purchasing a new one, I’d suggest buying one made by The Lodge manufacturer. They are excellent quality and I have several of their pieces and am quite happy with them. There will be a waxy coating on a new one that is applied in the factory to protect it. You will have to remove that coating, then wash and season it a few times before you use it for cooking. Happy Cooking!


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Copyright © 2017 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 201
7 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 on, 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. I am currently an Amazon Associate and have placed links to an Amazon product in this post that I will be compensated for it you click the link and purchase this or any other product on Amazon today. Thank you if you do!


Updating Your Lifestyle

Peaceful Forest 1999

Peaceful Forest 1999

Updating your lifestyle of modern homesteading is a very simple thing to do. My title of this blog was chosen long ago in 2005 when blogs were just getting started. I first wrote it on Yahoo360. Then moved it to Blogger, finally here on my own server. Everyone was interested in my off the grid life back then. I had many people sending me messages through my eBay seller account wanting to know how to do this stuff. So I figured I’d just write it on a blog and they could read it there or ask questions, that I could answer on the blog for everyone. At that time, I loved this lifestyle and couldn’t imagine living any other way. Funny thing about life and people, is that things change. People change. Life changes.

A Farm

A Farm


Maybe due to getting older and things about this lifestyle got harder? Maybe. It reminds me of a woman I once knew. Her second husband and her met at their church. They already knew each other, but had both lost their spouses. One day she shows up at his apartment bearing homemade baked goods for him as a gift. Soon they were spending time together which eventually led to their marriage. A few weeks after their wedding, she tells him that she is not cooking anymore. She said she raised her children on a dairy farm and had cooked and worked hard all those years. Now she was done with cooking, baking and all that clean up work involved. Yes, she knew her new husband had not lived that type of life at all. In fact, his wife had not been a very good cook at all. He was looking forward to all the food he was going to be enjoying made by his new wife. What a shocker that was to him! He says to her, “What about all those homemade meals and baked goods you made for me before we got married?” She just smiled.

My Road

My Road

Life is constantly changing. If you are not, then you are just surviving, not living. Look at how many times you have changed through out your life so far. From a newborn infant, to where you are at the present moment. So with that said, let us embrace the changes going on in our lives and explore new goals. Updating your lifestyle is not that difficult or expensive. In fact, it can and should be fun. Live your life by feeling passionate about your true interests. Even if it is not what you planned to do in the first place. It is possible to not have any interest in something at one age, then become very interested in it some years later.

Raising Livestock

Raising Livestock

Modern homesteading basically means to live a self-sufficient life. Providing your family with food and necessities of life. In 2017, I really don’t think you can live totally that way, even on your own homestead. There are always going to be things that need to be bought and paid for. If you are raising livestock for food, there are many costs associated with that endeavor too. Even something like providing your own heat through harvesting firewood from your own woods would cost you if you were using a chainsaw, you would need the new chains, gas mix, gas, file, etc.. Canning foods will cost you in the jars and the lids you will need to complete that process. I am not saying you couldn’t live that way. A family I know has lived that way for many years. Even as far as cooking on a hearth and using a horse and wagon for transportation. But I noticed when I was at their homestead, that they did not make their own clothing and they hitched rides with people.  As I always say, there are no rules. Just do what you can or want and don’t let others imply that you have to do things their way. You don’t.

Rural Land Search

Rural Land Search

As many other homesteaders have shown over the years, you can live anywhere, even in a big city like New York or Los Angeles. Rural land is very expensive as more and more people expand the cities’ borders. Over population with no concern for the rural areas anymore is normal now. Just keep filling every spot with more people and then complain due to no rural land available. That’s what you get folks. Basically you can live a fairly self-sufficient life wherever you are right now. You may not have 40 acres and a mule (can you tell, I have been re-reading my Gone with the Wind book for the hundredth time?) but you can plant a garden if you have a small yard. You can purchase fresh produce and meat from local farms. Instead of buying small amounts, buy in bulk to get a better deal and then can it instead of freezing it. Tastes better that way and will keep forever. Turn a closet or an extra room in your house into a pantry.

Spots the cat

Spots Does What He Wants

For myself, now into my sixties, I am looking forward to maybe another thirty years of living my life the way I picture it. Not what someone else pictures or says I should do. Just because you have gotten older it doesn’t mean you are resigned to a rocking chair or recliner in front of a television. It means you better get busy living the life you want. Now! That is just what I intend on doing. It is time for ME! What about you? Are you ready to start updating your lifestyle?

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Copyright © 2017 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 201
7 Kathleen G. Lupole


A Homesteading Snob?

Homesteading on the Internet

A homesteading snob? Are you one? What do I mean by that term? How dare I accuse of that when I don’t even know you? No need to get your feathers ruffled! Writing about the modern homesteading lifestyle since 2002, I am sure I have been guilty of being a homesteading snob myself. Now that I have experienced the ups and downs that life has presented me, I have more of an open mind. I want to encourage people in all walks of life to become more self-sufficient. At least as much as they are able, depending on their own situation and life. We are all different……….yet so much alike.The biggest expense we have is usually housing, whether you pay for an apartment or a mortgage on a house you are buying. Even if your house is paid for, the cost of owning one and maintaining it can be costly. Add in the utilities and there goes your paycheck. Most people take from their food budget as the other bills go up. What else can you do? Can’t tell the propane company that you can’t pay such a big bill because your income does not go up. No, instead your food budget has to be cut. Another fact of life is that some people don’t even have a food budget! Probably more than you know.

Homesteading on the Internet

It is easy for you who grow and raise all your own vegetables, fruits, meat and dairy to look down your noses at the ones who do not. Or for others who shop for locally grown organic foods and wouldn’t touch a processed food with a ten foot pole. But you know, not all people can afford to shop for those foods because along with the label of organic comes the status of higher prices. If you are shopping with a low budget or no budget, you just can’t afford that food no matter how much healthier and safer it is for you and your family. These people need your support and encouragement. Maybe you could share some food from your garden with someone who is struggling? Or offer to show someone how to start their first garden? Trade some produce for some assistance in your garden. Plant extra for that purpose. Who couldn’t use help in planting and weeding and later on with the harvest? Teach someone how to can while having their help during your busy canning season and sharing the bounty. Instead of being a homesteading snob, excite someone!

Homesteading on the Internet

Many families live from food pantries. Probably more than from food stamps, because the people in the middle are lost. They make too much money to qualify for any type of benefits and too little to pay all their bills and still buy food. Their basic expenses such as housing, utilities, insurance and transportation lowers their income to levels way below the poverty guidelines. So what can they do? It doesn’t matter. No food this month. Try telling that to your children or a husband that has a physically demanding job and is living on low nutritional foods. Even though I live off the grid and raise a huge garden every year, I still have to buy food from the grocery stores. I tried buying organic and locally grown, but just didn’t have a budget to support that food. I have seen other homesteaders complain about people not wanting to pay $3-$5. for a dozen of homegrown organic eggs. I can’t pay that much myself. I can buy them much cheaper at the local grocery store and I usually buy two cartons of 18 eggs each for less than $3.00. We go through a lot of eggs here, my husband having four a day and myself having two. I don’t even use them for baking, instead using powdered eggs for that so we have the fresh for breakfast. If all eggs were sold at the higher prices I wouldn’t be able to afford them at all, organic or not. It all comes down to shopping within your budget. Some people have a smaller budget than others. So I do what I can to put food on my table. 

Homesteading on the Internet

Instead of being a homesteading snob and complaining about others, put forth an effort to encourage, help and teach them. Food prices keep going up. Packaging keeps getting smaller. Young people may not have been taught how to provide food for themselves and their families by their parents. When they are broke, sharing your seeds and showing them how to plant a garden is a great start. Many young people have grown up in a family where both parents worked, as I did too. My mother left a written paper with instructions of what I was supposed to do when I got home from school to get our supper started. So when she came home she just had some basic things to complete for our home made supper. We never ate in restaurants or had any type of fast foods when I was growing up. In fact, my father made our breakfast every morning before he left for work. We could have whatever we wanted, usually eggs cooked a variety of ways, pancakes or cereal, hot or cold. Sometimes he’d throw a hot dog in there for a treat since he liked having one for his breakfast on some mornings. Help someone and it helps you too. Not only do you have the feeling of helping someone, but you have encouraged them to help someone else like you did. Try it!

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Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 201
6 Kathleen G. Lupole


No Content Writers No SEO Wanted

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.


Preparing For Winter

Peaceful Forest

Peaceful Forest


Preparing for winter is always on a homesteader’s mind. Summer is officially over for me on the Labor Day holiday. It already felt like fall here in upstate New York anyway. The trees surrounding our homestead have been steadily falling and turning color. Fall always means a time to set goals and get to work. Must be my brain associates it with the back to school time period from my youth. Normally, I’d be canning up a storm right now, but our garden didn’t produce as much as it normally does. The weather was the culprit, not I! Does that mean I do not have much food in my pantry this year? No! It doesn’t. Every year, I can as much as I possibly can. The years my garden has produced a lot of vegetables, I did not give them away or throw them out. I canned them. Even when I had summer squash coming out of my ears. I saw it in my sleep……I swear, I did. 

Preparing for Winter

Home Canned Pantry

If you took a look at my cupboard of home canned vegetables, you would see quite a variety. Right now the one thing I am low on is meat and fruit. Soon I will be at my local markets to pick up some to can and that will round out our food supply in no time. Fall is the best time for those delicious NY apples, grapes and pears. Fall is also the best time to purchase local meat from farmers. This is the time they send livestock to market so they don’t have to feed it over the winter. Having a cupboard full of fast food, which is what I call it, makes winter easier, so when preparing for winter, keep that in mind. Especially if you have power outages where you live. I am fortunate not to have any, but that is another story.

Gathering Kindling

Gathering Kindling

My list for preparing for winter this year includes:

  • Firewood – a good size pile to start with. We get more all winter.
  • Kindling – we still have a supply of that, but will get more anyway.
  • Wood Stove – cleaning out the wood stove, if it needs it and the chimney. The chimney my husband cleans all winter long as needed.
  • Gasoline – for our generator and chainsaw. 
  • Fuel Mix & Extra Chains – for chainsaw. 
  • Windows – they are not energy efficient, still have wavy glass. Cover them with clear plastic for extra protection.
  • Wood Cook Stove – take the whole stove apart, piece by piece and thoroughly clean it. The chimney on this stove never needs cleaning.
  • Vehicles – they have been worked on a lot this summer, so should be good to go, unless something else happens to them.
  • Horses – no worry there! Winter is their season………..they live for it!
  • Food & Supplies – always adding more and replenishing what we have used. Lots of home canned foods.
  • Griswold Bolo Oven – Bring it downstairs near the wood stove. We will be baking and roasting in it all winter.
  • Warm Clothing – this is what we need this year. Both of us are lacking in the shoe department. So new boots, shoes, slippers (for me), gloves, jacket and socks and jeans for my husband.

This is about it for us. Preparing for winter gets easier the more years you have done it. It seems to be easier for homesteaders living off the grid. Whatever you do, plan for it and work on it during the summer. Winter will arrive no matter what. In NY, winter is hard so we do what we must.

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Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole

 


Homestead Planning is the Key

Georgie Girl

Georgie Girl

Homestead planning is the key!  As our year comes to a close, I wonder what things we can accomplish in the coming new year. Every year, we do more and more and our home becomes easier to manage. Some years in the past, we have not gotten nearly as much done as we would have liked. This past year was very productive for us in many ways. I would have to say the last two years were a success. We have made changes in our homestead that has made our life much easier in many ways. As we get older that is a good thing. I know when you are young, you think you will never get old. If you are lucky, you will.

Our raised beds

Some of our raised beds

This is the first year that I have had to buy more canning jars, since I filled up all the ones I had. That means part of my homesteading planning always takes place in the garden and the kitchen. Our garden was very successful and that makes me want to make it even better next summer. We have plans for planting some fruit trees and berry bushes. Fruit is something we are sadly lacking. The seed catalogs have been coming in very quickly this year. I have picked out the varieties I want to plant. We are really excited about the next gardening season! I am going to take the bull by the horn, so to speak, and take a chance on planting tomatoes once again. I am armed with information now, on how to fight the Late Blight. We shall see. I have to try.

Inside the rood cellar

Inside the root cellar

Our root cellar will be usable by next year. Actually it is usable this year, but I haven’t cleaned it out and organized it yet. That will be one of the first things I will do as part of my homestead planning in the spring. All our canned foods, hopefully, will be able to go downstairs. In the kitchen canning cupboard, I keep a number of each kind of food that I canned. When I use it up, I will go downstairs and replenish it. That way it is convenient for me when I am in the process of fixing a meal. Right now, all those jars are in Rubbermaid containers upstairs. 

House

House

All spring, summer and fall, firewood work is a major part of our homestead planning. Gathering kindling and stacking it for the next winter. Cutting and splitting firewood. This year, hopefully, we will be changing the chimney on our wood stove in the living room from 6″ to 8″. Changing the elbow upstairs to no elbow and fixing the rain cap and putting on a new roof on that portion of the house. The hearth too, will be improved and designed for efficiency. It will be much better and will use less wood. It will improve our homestead’s efficiency and keep our house even warmer. Making a plan for your homestead will always increase the improvements you make to it. Write it down! Pay attention to it. Then when spring rolls around, start to work on it! Good luck!

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Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole


Fall is in the Garden!

Fresh Vegetables

Just picked!

Fall is in the garden! Gardening time for us is winding down. Fall is definitely on the horizon. The leaves are changing colors and some are falling. Our plants in the garden are still producing, but they are almost done. The leaves of my best producers this year have turned color and are wimpy now. I am sad to see them go. They have given us an endless supply of yellow squash, cucumbers, bush beans, and soon to be harvested, winter squash and pumpkins. I can’t complain. Even the robins have abandoned us and are in the forest behind us now. Blue Jays are making noise all day long with the chickadees. That is a sure sign to me that fall is almost here. I am not sad about it. I enjoy fall and the cooler weather.  

Squash plants dying

One of my best producers this year!

The squash plants I planted this year were all non-GMO heirlooms and they provided so much for us, and for my son. I carried bags of squash and cucumbers to him. He loved it and so did the others who live in his apartment building. I’d rather give it to him to share, than for it to go bad because we can’t eat it all. This summer was a strange summer. I think we watered our garden only once. There were no bugs or pests in the garden at all. Even the one rabbit who visited the garden, only grazed on the clover in the grass surrounding the raised beds. He never once crossed that line. 

Bee in Squash Flower

Still have bees in my garden!

We had an abundance of bees in the garden this year. Not only there, but around the wild plants surrounding our property. Plenty of bumble bees, as well as, the hated yellow jackets. The yellow jackets made a nest in a stack of firewood, and my husband and one of the cats, I think, got stung by them. My husband was stung twice at the same time.

Always one more basket full!

Always one more basket full!

Every morning I go out to the garden with the intention of pulling up the plants that look like they are done. Instead, I see baby squash and cucumbers all over them. I end up lugging a basket full of squash and cucumbers, that I just picked. Not complaining at all. My cupboard is full of home canned squash and beans, ready for winter meals. Now I am getting prepared for tomato canning this week. What about you? How did your garden do?

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Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 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.


Wild Edible Plants On Our Homestead

Outdoor Fire Place

Outdoor Fire Place


Wild edible plants surround our Peaceful Forest Homestead! That fact amazes me every year. There are so many plants growing in the forest around us that I couldn’t begin to know them all. I carry my worn copy of  A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and central North America (Peterson Field Guides) with me, when I want to learn about a plant I have seen. I usually bring back one of the plants, the stalk, the flower or berry and some leaves. I will go online and check more than one website that has actual photographs of this plant. I study it carefully, before I decide to indulge in a taste. One taste of a poisonous plant could be your last! I am NOT kidding!

Wild Grape Vines

Wild Grape Vines


That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t sample the wild edible plants growing near you. I like the fact that I can pick them fresh all season, and not have to dry or can them. When the season is done, we go on to other food. These plants will be back in our diet next year. Eating food in that way means that we never get tired of them. We can eat dandelion greens all spring and summer, and then when they are gone, I can dream about eating them again next spring. Berries are abundant in the forests of NY. I think this must be the way early settlers got a supply of fruit for their families. Not only do we have berries to harvest, but plenty of wild apple trees and grapes. 

Wild Berries

Wild Berries


When we first moved here, I didn’t know the first thing about wild edible plants. I learned fast. Our house had the woods growing right up to the back door. What was growing in that area? Wild edible plants of course! Mainly blackberries. Everywhere you could see around our house was blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, Hawthorne berries, choke cherries, raspberries and at least a dozen, old heirloom apple trees. I have the idea that whoever first built this house in 1850, may have planted those old apple trees. He built a wood bin in the root cellar that is attached to the ceiling with no legs to the floor. I think they stored the apples that they harvested from the trees here in that bin. It is one of my favorite things about this house. I made so many berry cobblers and apple crisps and applesauce those first few  years. Eventually we had to clear those areas for the garden and yard.  Then the area to build our barn and paddock had to be cleared too. It didn’t matter, we still have enough.

Wild Edible Plants

Wild Edible Plants


If you plan right, you can make use of the wild edible plants while they are at their peak. I admit to canning and drying many of them, though I don’t really have to. Making juice from the fruits is something I have done and still do quite often. One year you might get a huge harvest and the next two, hardly anything. I have to fight the birds and bees every year for the berries and grapes. They feed off the sweet fruits and they harvest them before they are ready. That is why they usually beat me to it. It is a good way to add to your food supply, since these foods are free, except for the work of picking and cleaning them (maybe fighting the bees too). Do you have any edible wild foods on your homestead? What do you do with them?

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Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 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.


Stretching The Food Budget

Grocery Shopping

Grocery Shopping


Stretching the food budget is an essential skill today. People now have to pay for obamacare, when they couldn’t afford health insurance to begin with. Readers contact me all the time, asking what can they do? Where do they find that money, plus all the other bills that have gone up? Making cuts to the household budget when there is nothing left to cut, is a common dilemma today. What do most people cut? Their food budget, of course!  Groceries is always the first thing that is cut. Yet eating nutritional foods would improve their families’ health, so they wouldn’t get sick and/or run down to begin with. Build up your health in bad times, so you don’t have to spend money at the doctor’s office. 

Wendy's in Binghamton, NY

Fast food is quick & easy!


If you tend to grab food on the run, or go out to eat because it is less trouble, that is a very costly mistake. Not only money wise, but time wise too. I know the tendency to say, “what the heck, I can buy it already made for less.” That is not true though. It means that you get only one meal for that money. No leftovers unless you bring home a doggie bag unless you are buying Chinese food (I always get three meals out of my order. My husband only gets one, and he doesn’t like what I order). One package of meat can give you two or more different meals. One large package of hamburger can be chili, meatballs in gravy and hamburger patties.One chicken can be roast chicken, chicken salad and chicken soup. Making my food dollars go farther is always on my mind, even though there are only two of us here. Those fast food meals will always affect your food budget.

Squash Casserole

Squash Casserole

To make meals healthy, good and keeping to your food budget, these are some if the things I do:

1. Keep your meals simple.

2. Plan your menus before you shop. ALWAYS shop with a list!

3. Organize your kitchen so it is easy to cook in.

4. Plan what you are going to cook the day before.

5. If you need to thaw something out, do it the evening before.

6. While you are cleaning up the kitchen from supper, prepare some of the ingredients for the next day’s meal. Or at least, do it the next morning if you have more time. If you work, you might have to do it the evening before.

Crock Pot

Crock Pot

7. If you have a crock pot…….USE IT! Especially if you work or are busy during the day. With a crock pot, you can prepare the food and have it already in the crock and just take it out of the refrigerator and plug it in the next morning. They are great!

8. Clean the kitchen as you prepare and cook. Keep it as uncluttered as possible. Clear counters make cooking easier.

9. Collect recipes for making your salad dressings, condiments and soups (especially cream soups which are used as an ingredient in so many recipes.). Just those few items can save you a bundle!

10. Stock your pantry with items you use on regular basis. Make a stock up list and buy something on that list every single time you go to the store. Even if it is only 1 of something. Keep adding to it little by little.

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Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 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.


Homestead Projects In the Springtime

Wood raised beds

Wood beds on side of house.

Homestead projects for the springtime are being worked on and some, even finished. I transplanted my seedlings into the garden the past couple of weeks. We have been having a tough time around our homestead these last couple of months. I was so excited that I could finally plant my garden, but there have been other things raining on my parade, so to speak. For one thing our electric lawn mower broke and it appears it needs replacing. I think my husband wore it out. He mows a lot of lawn here and most people use these for a small area. I keep telling him I can add more raised beds…………the more the better!

Tomato Plants in containers

Tomato Plants in containers.

Another homestead project is how I can grow tomatoes this year to produce. We need them! I planted my tomatoes in containers last year, but didn’t use deep enough containers. They need to be really deep. As deep as you can get. I am using the ones you see here. If I had access to 50 gallon drums, I’d use them. These will do, I hope. Ever since we started getting the Late Blight, I have not grown any tomatoes except for cherry ones. I used to grow two or three rows of tomatoes in the wood beds along the side of the house. I remember having bushels of them. We even brought in the last of them in the fall, before a hard frost was coming, and packed them in two big bushel baskets covered up with newspapers. I always had jars of home canned tomatoes and sauce. Now I haven’t had my own home grown tomato in a few years. What happened? Is this a result of GMO spores in the air? Seems fishy to me.

Bush Beans

Bush Beans

My hubby worked hard last fall taking down two trees that shaded this area of our backyard. Now the raised beds he rebuilt back there look awesome. I love it and hopefully, our garden will take off soon. It is really nice to have more room to plant in. The raised beds weren’t producing as well due to the trees’ roots in the beds, and the shading, of course. We still have shade back there, but not over the bed. I have moved the bush beans to this area to give the other beds a rest from beans this year. It is not good to plant the same plants over and over in the same area or raised bed.

Transplants

Ready to plant in the garden!

How is your garden doing this year? Hopefully, everyone can get a garden in. Not only is the food in the stores expensive, but now it is all GMO  and not safe to live on. Kind of scary times we live in. My list of homestead projects never gets shorter though, the more I do, the more I think of do. What about you? How are your homestead projects coming along? 

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Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole