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?

signature

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


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! 

signature (1)

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. 

signature (1)

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


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!

signature (1)

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


Increasing Your Food Supply

Growing Food

Growing Food

Increasing your food supply is not impossible. The very first thing to do is to make a list of the foods your family eats regularly. These are foods you will begin with. Since I grow a lot of vegetables, that is where I start. I grow only what we like to eat. If I try something new, I only grow one plant to see if we like it and if we eat it. Then the next year, I grow more. I like to eat many vegetables that my husband will not touch. It doesn’t seem fair to me that I can’t eat them because he won’t. So I grow enough for me. If I have enough stored the next year, I can skip growing them that year. 

Alternative Energy System

Our Alternative Energy System


Living with our own alternative energy system means I do not freeze foods. Right now we do not have a freezer But even when we do have one, I will not be doing that. I want to use it for certain foods that do not can well, like berries, steaks, roasts, ice cream, etc. We do not raise any animals for food. We have found that animals increase your expenses and work load. For us, this is the best choice. As I always says, “there are no rules to modern homesteading.” You can do as you please, whatever works for you. Increasing your food supply simply means you should have enough stored for the future, regardless of how you do it. Instead of freezing foods, I can them. I buy produce that I do not grow or that did not do well in my garden that year. I buy it locally and bring it home to can it immediately. As I have gotten older, I only buy enough to fill two pressure canners. It has become too much work for me to do more than that in one day. When I was younger, I canned nonstop, staying up quite late at night. Not now.

Home Canned Meat

My Canned Meat

Meat is easily bought locally from farmers. In recent years, organic meat has become quite easy to locate. Google “pasture raised organic meat in your city or county.” I still buy meat in the grocery stores if I can get a good deal on it. I can mine cooked, as I find it has a better flavor and texture that way. You can do it either way, raw or cooked. The recipes are in any canning book, I use the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. I pour the leftover juice and fat from the pan it was cooked in, into the water that I am boiling the chunks of meat to can in. It gives it more flavor. After canning the meat, any leftover water that I did not use in the jars of meat, I now can as a rich broth. This broth can be used for gravy or soups. 

Food In Cupboard

Some of my food supply

I realize it sounds expensive to be increasing your food supply, but it really isn’t. I use some of the produce and some of the meat for two nights of meals and can the rest. By doing this weekly or monthly, or however often you can afford, it is a good way to stock up your home canned food. Future meals that are fast to prepare. After I have stocked my shelves with meats, broths, vegetables and fruits, I start canning soups, stews, chili and sauces. Those are easy to do and I make a big double batch and keep out enough for two nights of meals and can the rest. Fast food that is really good! 

signature (1)

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


Home Canning Is Essential To A Self-Sufficient Life

Canning With 2 Canners

Canning With 2 Canners

Home canning is essential to my homesteading life. It appears as if home canning is becoming the in thing now. Do you think it has anything to do with GMO foods? Maybe it has to do with so much sugar and related products in everything we buy. Then again, it could have something to do with the economy. I have noticed, and I am sure you have too, that food packaging has been getting smaller and smaller. Pretty soon, we will be paying for an empty package! 

Ball Wide Mouth LidsFor over 125 years, Ball® and Kerr® canning jars have been made in the USA. Whether you are new to canning or a seasoned preserver, shop for the tools you need.

The link above will take you to Ball’s Fresh Preserving store. I am thrilled to have just become associated with Ball’s Fresh Preserving Store as an affiliate. I use their products, so I may as well promote them to my readers. Canning as much as I do, I have come to rely on products that do what they are supposed to do. Nothing is worse than spending my money on canning products that cause me to lose my harvest!  

Right out of the canner!

Right out of the canner!

I have been  home canning for years. Ever since I got interested in being self-sufficient. Canning is a big part of that life. In the beginning, I was scared to do it. My father taught me how to make grape jelly and to can grape juice. Then he showed me how to do pickles. That is basically what he and my mother canned. They froze everything else from their garden. I took to canning very quickly. I loved it and still do. There are some days, that canning is all I do. If it can be canned, then I will try to do it. 

Green beans In garden.

Green beans In garden.

One last point I’d like make about canning your food, is that if you put all your food up in your freezer, you can lose it. Not only if the power goes out, but if your freezer malfunctions or someone leaves the door open accidentally. In the case of an emergency, believe me, you are not going to stop what you are doing to can all the food in your freezer. You may not even be home to attend to it. Please consider learning to can if you don’t know how. It can mean the difference in how your family will survive in the future. 

katlupe

Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole