100 Days of Useful Homesteading Skills: Day 56 – Foraging for Wild Edibles

nature-plant-fruit-berry-sweet-flower-566085-pxhere.comAs a family, we enjoy collecting wild grapes, fennel, blackberries, dandelion, chicory, chickweed, miner’s lettuce, mushrooms, elderberries, and more to augment our own supply of fresh and preserved foods. Foraged foods are free, and they are fun to collect.

We usually spend a day doing it, take a packed breakfast, snacks, and a picnic lunch. Bringing swimming clothes in the summer is also a good choice because you never know when you might come across a nice, cool body of water to wade in.

You don’t have to live on a farm to enjoy foraging. You can do it now, wherever you live. Continue reading

100 Days of Useful Homesteading Skills: Day 49 – How to Use a Sewing Machine

Sewing has a multitude of uses on the homestead. You can darn socks, fix zippers, repair rips in seems, hem up pants that are too long, patch a too worn pair of favorite dungarees, make something altogether new, or make a quilt out of worn out favorite pieces as we’ve discussed before.

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100 Days of Useful Homesteading Skills: Day 48 – How to Make Mosquito Repellent

Mosquitos are more than a nuisance they are a constant threat on the homestead. They can carry serious disease and many people are very reactive to them.

The science behind who they chose as victims and why is complicated. Some species are drawn to bacteria and sweat, others to hand odors and carbon dioxide.

While it is agreed in the medical community that DEET is effective at keeping them at bay it is also agreed that it is harmful to your health and environment. Many choose to turn to alternative, natural methods instead. Continue reading

100 Days of Useful Homesteading Skills: Day 47 – How to Quilt

One of my earliest memories is of snuggling into my mother’s handmade quilt. It was a giant Texas Star made in muted earthy tones and it smelled just like her, warm sunshine and good dark earth.

We were homesteaders then, living in a little farm house in Oklahoma and I wanted nothing more than to be just like her when I grew up. To have a little farm with a huge garden, lots of land, a good nanny goat, and lots of warm, snuggly, handmade quilts.

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100 Days of Useful Homesteading Skills: Day 46 – How to Knit or Crochet

One of my favorite items was a heavy, warm crocheted wool sweater made by my grandmother. It was tough, warm, and outlasted me, eventually needing to be handed down to younger siblings, sigh! There will never be another like it.

Why do we say that knitting or crocheting is a useful homesteading skill? Does it really save you money, make money, or help out on the homestead?

That depends on who you talk to and how you do it.

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100 Days of Useful Homesteading Skills: Day 45 – How to Dry Herbs

Drying herbs is an art that is often needed on the homestead. Not just to preserve the harvest for future use but also to preserve them as a useful bartering tool, for gifting to family or friends, or as a valuable income producing item.

There are many ways to dry and preserve herbs. The way shown in the picture here, bunching and drying upside down from the kitchen rafters, is the method most people think of. Yet, it is not the only way to do it. Continue reading

100 Days of Useful Homesteading Skills: Day 44 – How to Make Cleaning Supplies

vinegar-768948Many household cleaners contain toxic chemicals. Some of those have been linked to asthma, cancer, and neurotoxicity.

This isn’t healthy for yourself, your children, or your pets. How can you tell which ones are safe and which aren’t? Very few actually tell you on the label if they are unsafe for pets or if they are known to cause cancer and even when they do, the warnings are so small that it is difficult to take notice.

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100 Days of Useful Homesteading Skills: Day 43 – How to Dry Laundry on a Clothesline

clothesline-1478439Drying clothes on a clothesline saves you money, whether you have a clothes dryer or not. It can also be an excellent way to make your whites even whiter.

It seems like a simple process but there are a few tricks to it that an inexperienced line dryer might not be aware of.

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100 Days of Useful Homesteading Skills: Day 42 – How to Use Herbs as Medicine

herbs-2523119When homesteading, you are often very remote. This makes access to conventional Western medicine and doctors very difficult.

Some of us don’t mind that at all and prefer to treat with herbal remedies before resorting to conventional treatments. Some of us use herbal medicine out of necessity. Regardless of your reasons, knowing which herbs can help and which might hurt in certain situations is very helpful, if not a necessity on the remote homestead.

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100 Days of Useful Homesteading Skills: Day 41 – How to Wash Clothes Without a Machine

laundry-963150Being a homesteader is dirty work and when you live off grid it becomes increasingly more difficult to launder your clothing. Dirt, mud, and compost goes EVERYWHERE!

Many choose to take their clothing to town and get it done at a laundry mat but there are many other methods for washing your laundry at home, even if you don’t have a washing machine.

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