A very happy March to you, my friends! (You know, March- that month when spring officially comes even if the weather doesn’t want to consent. I don’t care what the mercury is reading, you can feel it coming in the rays of the sun!)
It’s about this time each month that I share a handful or two of articles I’ve come across the past month and think you might enjoy as well.
If nothing else, read this article and especially listen to the correlating podcast on pretty much the same subject. There has been quite a bit of food for thought for us there and we feel that our homestead just might be on the path of destruction.
• 5 Reasons Homesteaders Fail
Having spent my life in the rural areas, making a living farming and homesteading, I have seen many people come to the country with big dreams of living the homesteader’s life. Some people make a go of it and some don’t. I’ve watched enough people fail at it that I thought it might be helpful to share some observations I’ve made. Here is an opportunity to learn from other people’s mistakes.
•Homesteading vs. Small Scale Farming
• 2015 Born Again Farm Prayer Day
As born-again farmers we are very aware of our dependence upon God for our provision and livelihood. We can’t make seeds sprout, cause rain to fall, enable animals to conceive and give birth, or make people buy our produce. God is the only one who can grant us success. One of the primary ways we can show our dependence on God is by praying and asking for His blessing and provision upon our farms. And I believe that God listens to the prayers of His people.
• Homesteading with Purpose: Making a Home Wherever You Are
Thus, I declare that the new homesteading requires a new definition. Here’s my definition — please share YOUR definition in the comments below!
Homesteading (v): the intentional act of creating a sustainable life wherever you may be and celebrating a simple, wholesome, intentional way of life.
By this definition, things like intentionally not buying vegetables that have been shipped from around the globe, growing your own food (be it a kitchen pot of basil or a one-acre garden), purchasing locally produced food, making or using eco-friendly personal care products and household cleaners, canning or fermenting summer bounty, or even choosing to line dry your laundry are all acts of homesteading.
Whether you’re on 100 acres in Montana or living in a walk-up in Brooklyn, you’re creating a meaningful, intentional way of life right where you are.
•Why Moms Should Do It With A Smile!
They are more than dirty diapers and spilled milk; they are gifts that keep on giving, even beyond our lives on this earth.
Truth is, when we limit children, we don’t insure our own happiness, but we limit God’s finest way to bring about His ends in our lives.
• Why Your Children Annoy You and Homemaking is Boring
But something looms dangerously familiar, now, even in homes where for a time, women had returned as stout, home-builders. I’m seeing it over the Internet, I’m hearing it from young mothers around me: “This job is hard. Too hard, in fact, and I don’t think I’m where I’m supposed to be. And Jesus would want me to be happy, so that settles it.”
We have an old problem with a new enemy.
•How Growing a Garden Nourishes the Soul
I’m reminded of all that God created when I’m outside, with the rush of air over my skin, the warmth of the sun, the chill of the rain, the sharp jut of mountains against the sky. All of these wonders came to be by His word. It leaves me in awe.
This can be applied to many areas of life besides motherhood… including homesteading!
• I Signed Up for This
Everything that I was whining about was something I had plunged into with my eyes wide — okay, mostly wide — open. I chose to pursue motherhood. I chose to forego a career and become a stay-at-home wife and mom. I chose to homeschool.
So why in the world was I acting surprised every time my kids ate and the kitchen table was covered with food and sticky fingerprints? Why did I sigh every time we decided to go somewhere and I had to pack diaper bags and load car seats? When was I going to stop talking about how many (or how few) hours of sleep I had received the night before? How long was I planning on exclaiming over how many times a day I had to sweep the kitchen floor?
•8 Ways to Use Chickens in the Garden
In this article, I’ll explore eight different ways you can use chickens in the garden. You’ll discover how you can put chickens to work by providing nitrogen for your compost pile, replacing machine tillers, fertilizing your garden, turning compost, spreading mulch, disposing of your garbage, controlling pests and sanitizing your orchard. Let’s go…
What about you? Found any good reading on the internet lately?
Abby Jo says
Hello Quinn. If you could spare a few minutes, do you mind telling me what you do with your pig meat while you’re butchering? How do you handle it all at once? What I mean is do you freeze it, and take out the hams and cure them as you have time? Or do you cure it all at once? In the past, I have had our butcher do the hams, bacon, and sausage, not anymore! So, I have your recipes, elliott homestead, river cottage and the awesome meat smith Brandon for recipes and knowledge. I’m kinda lost though, on what order to start all this wonderful homestead chaos 🙂 I feel good about bacon, however do you freeze yours or hang it like Shaye? Hams? Help! You can email me if you like at Vanhoutans at AOL .com
Thank you, Abby Jo
Well this year we were able to break it down and get it packaged all in a day because we’re increasing in confidence & speed (plus there was only one pig). In years past, we’ve done one in one day, 2nd the next. We butcher when the weather is suitable, around fridge temps and let the 2nd pig hang, much like you see folks doing with a deer. If there was something we couldn’t get to part way through, we have an old floral cooler we picked up on Craigslist for $30. Plug that in and store there. We air chill our chickens in that thing too. Best $30 I’ve spent!
So obviously the exception, like you mentioned is the hams/bacon. We don’t get to them that day, but pop them in that floral cooler and get to them in 1-2 days. Cure them and put them back in for the appropriate length of time. Bacon is usually a few days, hams a week or two depending on their size. Then the bacon is smoked, sliced, packaged, and frozen. We did run out of totes for curing the bacon last year and froze some belly, thawed it and cured it later and it turned out fine. We haven’t tried that with ham. It would probably be fine, but I’d be a bit more worried about it than bacon because a large round ham will defrost differently and more slowly than an even slab of belly.
Honestly, I don’t dare risk it with hanging the bacon. I loved to try it someday, but I know that it will run out long before I can raise another hog to replace it. Of course, I remember Shaye lost a boatload of chickens to a faulty freezer so maybe she sees it the same way because of her different experience. I hope I was able to answer your questions Abby! Let me know if I left you with any & I’ll do my best 🙂 Take care!!
Abby Jo says
Thank you, thank you! I feel so much better after reading this! I might try to hang one belly to air dry, a little nervous about that too. I LOVE bacon, and really want to get it right