Tuesday, December 21, 2010

One project down...

Woohoo! We finally have one project done! Mostly. My hubby finished the storage shed a few weeks ago although it's still not very pretty to look at. We still have to put shingles on the roof and some kind of siding on it but at least it's functional. We spent all day Sunday cleaning out the tent where we have been storing several boxes that we didn't have room for in storage. We ended up throwing a good bit of stuff away and condensed down how many boxes we had. I'm happy to have that stuff in the storage shed but we still have to get everything else out of our paid storage. Hopefully by the end of next month we'll have all of that stuff here.


The great thing about this shed is that almost all of it came from salvaged lumber. We bought the door at a Habitat for Humanity store for $15 and it's solid wood. We also got the felt paper there for the roof. We did have to buy a few 2x4's but that's about it. It is 8x10 feet with 8 foot walls. We also put in two small lofts on either side for storing smaller items.

Now that this is functional the husbandly unit has started on the floor for the bathroom. He has gotten some framing done and dug some of the holes for the support posts for the floor. Hopefully it won't take as long as the shed did but at least we've gotten started on it.



I also forgot to tell you guys about the great potato harvest! A few weeks ago when we got first couple of hard freezes the potato plant started to die so we decided it was time to dig it up. It did make two small potatoes but that was it. I was impressed it did anything at all! Ah well, it was an experiment and a learning experience. We will probably use the tire method again in the spring and hopefully with some good seed potatoes.



The Great Potato Harvest
We have almost finished putting up the drywall. It stays pretty warm with our two little heaters so we have been pretty comfortable. I wish we had the chimney for the wood stove because I hate running the heaters all the time but we are having to do things in baby steps. That may be our next big purchase and then I hope to start putting money back for the pump for the well. I'm hoping that by spring or summer at the latest to have that in. Bringing water home has become an everyday task and I don't think I'd know what to do to not have to do it anymore!

Next on the project list is the bathroom of course, building the raised garden beds and a chicken coop. There are several other projects but those are the top ones for now. Until next time I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

TPH Episode 12

Happy Yule everyone! In this episode I give an update on Senate Bill 510 and discuss some of the current goings on with oil. I also look at what Yule means to me, Christmas customs from around the world, and I share a Christmas tale in the Folktale segment.


Oil Links

http://www.firstenercastfinancial.com/e_news.php?cont=40776

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-12-10/iea-raises-2011-global-oil-demand-forecast-for-a-third-month-citing-china.html

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-12-10/iea-may-be-overestimating-2011-non-opec-crude-supply-outlook-nomura-says.html

Songs

Christmas in the Country by Codie Prevost

Grown up Christmas List by Ayla Brown on American Christmas

I Believe in Santa Clause on Christmas Eve by Atomsplit

Deck the Halls by Jim Goodrich from With a voice like this Christmas

Christmas Customs

http://www.santas.net/aroundtheworld.htm

TPH Episode 11

Happy Thanksgiving! Today we learn how to de-stink a dog after a skunk encounter and how to cook a turkey in a box. We'll also discuss Senate bill S 510, homemade gifts, this week's Ancestral Animal, Gardening by the Moon, and this week's Folktale.


Box Oven


http://safelygatheredin.blogspot.com/2008/10/how-to-make-cardboard-box-oven.html

Senate Bill

http://www.prisonplanet.com/senate-bill-s-510-vote-imminent-procedural-vote-passes-74-25.html

http://www.infowars.com/senate-bill-s510-makes-it-illegal-to-grow-share-trade-or-sell-homegrown-food/


Song

Gary Sundblad Ya You Betcha Christmas from Me and My Drum

Homemade gifts


Apple Spice

3 tbsp dried apple slices (see note) 1/2 cup pink and red carnation petals 1/4 cup dried sweet woodruff leaves 2 tbsp crumbled cinnamon or one 3" cinnamon stick 1 whole nutmeg, grated (1 1/2 tsps) 1 tbsp whole cloves 1 tbsp julienne orange peel 3 drops of cinnamon or vanilla scented oil

Note: To dry apples, slice paper thin and place slices in a single layer on a baking sheet in 150 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Mix dried apple slices with remaining ingredients. Store in a tightly covered glass jar.

For simmering potpourri, use a teaspoon potpourri per one cup of water. Place potpourri in water, bring to a boil and simmer on low until the whole house is perfumed; turn off heat. Strain and let dry if you wish to save and reuse the potpourri.

http://notmadeofmoney.com/blog/2006/11/50-homemade-gift-ideas-from-around-the-web.html

Stepping Stones - http://familycrafts.about.com/cs/steppingstones/a/040201a.htm

Fleece Blanket - http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/62838/fleece_blanket_craft_project.html

Altered Lunch Box -http://reviews.ebay.com/How-to-Make-an-Altered-Lunch-Box_W0QQugidZ10000000000729818



Gifts in a jar -http://familycrafts.about.com/od/giftsinajar/GiftsInAJar.htm

Bronze Turkey


American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, PO Box 477, Pittsboro, NC 27312, (919) 542-5704, email albc@albc-usa.org, www.albc-usa.org

All American Turkey Growers Association, Danny Williamson, secretary-treasurer, 3441 Mustang, Tampa, KS 67483, (785)-965-2628, email brahmabrahma@hotmail.com

American Poultry Association, PO Box 306, Burgettstown, PA15021, email secretaryapa@yahoo.com, www.amerpoultryassn.com

Society for the Preservation of Poultry Antiquities, Dr. Charles R.H. Everett, secretary, 122 Magnolia Lane, Lugoff, SC 29078, email crheverett@bellsouth.net

Book Review

Magical Crafts by Kristin Madden and Liz Roberts

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Great Turkey Experiment of 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well, the holiday season is upon us and we are getting ready to celebrate our first Thanksgiving on our homestead. We planned on having a traditional dinner but as you may or may not know, we haven't had an oven since we moved. This hasn't been to much of an issue because we have been making do with the camp stove, microwave, and grill. Unfortunately, none of these are very conducive to cooking a turkey.

Originally we thought about getting a spit and cooking it over an open fire. The cheapest one I could find was around $50 dollars and used a motor to turn the food. We actually wanted something that we could turn manually and I really didn't want to spend $50 on this thing, so we went back to the drawing board. As I thought about it I finally came up with a plan B.

Recently I saw a blog that talked about making an oven out of a box. The instructions said to get a box like the type that office paper comes in. Line the box with tinfoil and poke holes in the side of the box for ventilation and to place straightened coat hangers through. This will make your rack. Prepare your charcoal and place it in a pie tin. This goes underneath your rack. Place whatever you are going to bake on the rack and then put the lid in place. Here is a link to the site for those who may want to try this method. http://safelygatheredin.blogspot.com/2008/10/how-to-make-cardboard-box-oven.html

I actually brought a box home to do this, but as I was thinking about it, I didn't think this box would be big enough for a turkey or that the wire coat hangers would be strong enough to hold it so I decided to make a different one. We bought a sheet of foam insulation that is used behind drywall. We bought this kind because it has a shiny surface on one side and apparently this could also be used in making a solar oven. I figured if you could use it for that I could use it to make an oven.

We measured the turkey pan to be sure we cut it large enough and set to work. I cut the sides to be 2 feet tall to be sure it would be tall enough for the turkey. Once I had all of the pieces cut, I covered one side of each piece with tin foil. Then we used small nails to put all of the pieces together.


The finished oven
For our oven rack we used a camp grill that is designed to go over an open fire pit. It has fold out legs and was perfect for placing the coals underneath. Of course because it's metal we also knew it would hold the turkey.



Our first experiment was to try baking some cookies. It took longer than baking them in a real oven but it worked! We also discovered where we were losing heat and used some duct tape to give it a better seal. Since we weren't sure how long it would take to cook the turkey we decided to cook it yesterday. My hubby put it in around 8 AM and by lunch it was done! It took about 4 1/2 - 5 hours to cook. Below is a picture of the turkey in the oven bag while it was still in the oven and one after we had taken it out and placed it on a platter.






As far as preparation, this has to be our most original Thanksgiving. Hopefully next year most, if not all, of our Thanksgiving meal will come from what we grow or from local growers. Below is a picture of the oven while I was baking brownies in it. You can see the duct tape that we added to it and the bricks were placed on top so the lid would get a better seal. The bricks were put underneath to give it a fireproof surface to sit on. I don't expect this to be a permanent fix but it works in a pinch!


So that was the Great Turkey Experiment and I hope everyone has a Happy Homesteading Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Episode 10

Today I talk about gas prices....again. Homeschool, the creepy critter of the day and lots of talking issues.




IEA articles

http://nextbigfuture.com/2010/11/iea-world-energy-outlook-2010-2035.html IEA Link

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703848204575608310204939950.html OPEC increases world demand forecast

Homeschool Resources

http://www.homeschool.com/

http://www.hslda.org/default.asp

http://www.brainpop.com/


http://www.easygrammar.com/index2.html

http://www.internet4classrooms.com/

http://www.spellingcity.com/

http://www.aleks.com/

http://www.starfall.com/ For early readers

Song


Pagan Ways by Damh the Bard from The Cauldron Born

Correction

http://www.ravelry.com/


Books

































                                 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

First Aid

It is inevitable that we get hurt on occassion. A misplaced slice of the knife in the kitchen or a stumble outside and out comes the bandaids and Neosporin. But should we have more on hand than just these basics? Several years ago after a major tornado, I decided that I wanted to have more than your basic first aid kit on hand. Fortunately I was not involved this particular storm, but given the level of destruction I felt it would be foolish to not have more than bandaids sitting around in case of an emergency. Now that we are homesteading and it would take us a nice little drive to get to a hospital, I think it's more important that ever to keep a well supplied First Aid kit.

First, I felt that your standard little First Aid box wasn't going to do. Nope, I wanted a Super First Aid kit. So, I went out and bought a large tackle box. As you can see in the picture, the box has a clear lid and small compartments where you can place smaller items such as Q-tips, antibiotic ointments, and small bottles of medicine.


One of the things I liked about this tackle box was that it opens in the center and has large compartments instead of the trays that lift out. This is where I keep the bulk of my first aid supplies. In here I keep gloves, bandage tape, bandage scissors, saline wound wash, bandaids in various sizes, ace wraps, Kerlix bandage rolls, tourniqets, and gauze pads in a couple of different sizes. We also have a snake bite kit but it's too big to fit in the box.



You can get all of these things at your local store on the first aid aisle. The snake bit kit is with the camping supplies. These are just basics and of course you can add anything that you might need for your own personal needs in a pinch. We take this kit with us whenever we go on a trip so in those cases I will add any medicines that we might need such as pain relievers, Pepto, allergy medicine, etc. Of course you could always leave this stuff in there for a take and go situation.

Anytime I come across something useful I may add it to my kit. Hopefully this will give you some ideas of how you can put together your own kit.

TPH Episode 9

Happy Samhain! In this episode I go on a little rant about CNN and I discuss being prepared and what you need to think about storing for that rainy day. Today's Ancestral Animal is the Lincoln Sheep and there are two folk tales for your enjoyment.


Being Prepared

http://pgward.org/ep/ The Latter Day Saints site

http://www.providentliving.org/location/display/1,12568,2026-1-4-39315,00.html Another LDS site to locations where you can buy and can certain dry goods

http://www.providentliving.org/location/map/0,12566,2026-1-1,00.html Same site but for the Western US

Song

Gerard Smith The Ghost of the Irish Brigade


Ancestral Animals

http://www.lincolnsheep.com/ - The National Lincoln Sheep Breeders Association

http://www.lincolnlongwools.co.uk/ - Lincoln Longwool Sheep Breeders Association (UK)




Book Review














Hesperian Foundation http://www.hesperian.org/index.php

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

TPH Episode 8

Happy Halloween homesteaders! Welcome to The Pagan Homesteader Halloween Special! In this episode I have some music for you as well as a couple of Halloween stories. I also talk about a couple of more serious topics in addition to all this fun.


Intro Music - Ghost Town by Adventures of Leonid

Beer, Beer, Beer by Brobdingnagian Bards from The Holy Grail of Irish Drinking Songs

Halloween by Fishing for Comets from Scattered Among the Archipelago

PC Halloween by Devo Spice

Links

http://rivenfae-wolfwoods.blogspot.com/ RivenFae’s Blog

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msw6jWhJocw Victorian Farm

Submitted by Amethyst Star
about.quilting.com - learn to quilt
www.threadbanger.com - sewing and crafts with quite a few vids featuring recycled materials and repurposing
www.knittyspin.com - learn how to spin wool www.raverly.com - social site plus bazillions of free kntting and crochet patterns. spinners and tatters are welcome
www.theanticraft.net - crafting for the slightly sinister - I love their books
 www.knittinghelp.com - a website with vids on how to knit.

TPH Episode 7

In this episode I will discuss current gas prices, hyperinflation, my thoughts on fall, disappearing skills, the ground beetle, and I have another Halloween folktale for you.
Creepy Critters

The Ground Beetle



News

http://digitaljournal.com/article/299030 Man who lived without money for 18 months to start community

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11542840 Iran to hold OPEC presidency

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-10-16/china-says-its-medium-heavy-rare-earth-reserves-may-last-only-15-20-years.html Limited Rare Earth Minerals

http://digitaljournal.com/article/298981 Households in UK live in fuel poverty

http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article23522.html Mortgagate could crush economy

http://www.wired.com/inspiredbyyou/2010/10/peak-everything/?ibypid=13 Peak Everything

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704300604575554210569885910.html Increased Cotton Prices

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/10/is-the-us-already-past-the-point-of-peak-water.php?campaign=daily_nl Peak water?

http://www.red-alerts.com/ Dollar collapse accelerating
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-10-15/opec-members-seek-100-oil-to-counter-dollar-weakness.html OPEC seeks $100 oil

Monday, October 11, 2010

Making adjustments

Life is full of adjustments and that is never more evident than when you are attempting to make a change in lifestyle. So far we have had to downsize, give up a lot of privacy, and try to learn a little more patience. Overall however, we do not regret our decision. Making adjustments has also meant becoming a little more creative. I have mentioned before about the outside shower situation. Well, as you can tell by looking outside, fall has arrived so now it's a little too cold in the mornings for me to take a shower outside. Once again an adjustment has to be made and here is the solution we have come up with so far.

Since the bathroom isn't built yet we had to come up with another solution to the shower situation. I was thinking about it one day and it occured to me that if we could find some sort of basin we could stand in that to catch the water. So we headed over to the farm store and bought a 16.5 gallon galvanized tub. We plan on placing a board between two of the rafters to suspend the solar shower from and place tarps behind and under the basin. This way we can take a shower, catch the water, and protect the wall. It's not the ultimate solution but it will do for now.


The kids have already had the privelge of taking a bath in it. Hopefully we can get the shower set up inside soon so that I can actually use it.

We also got some worms for the worm bin. We went to a local bait shop and bought some red wigglers. So far they seem to be doing well and the bin doesn't smell. We have been slowly adding food so we don't overwhelm them. Below is a picture of the worms before we put them in the bin.


We shredded some newspaper to make a bed for them and then added them to the bin. Initially we gave them some coffee grounds, tea bags, and a chopped up potato to eat. The potatoes seem to be slowly disapearing and they haven't died on me yet so we must be doing something right!



Our neighbor was also nice enough to give us a bathtub! Ok, so it's not much to look at now but I think it will clean up fairly well. I'm not going to complain because it didn't cost us anything and it's one less thing we have to worry about for now.


It's baby steps but we are making progress. Slow progress is better than no progress and for now it keeps life from getting boring!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

TPH Episode 6

This week I have some listener feedback, a shoutout to my Podkin and some updates from the homestead. I discuss some herbs used for the treatment of colds and flu and the featured animal on Ancestral Animals is the Buckeye chicken. And this month will feature Halloween folktales.


Worm Bin Instructions - http://whatcom.wsu.edu/ag/compost/Easywormbin.htm

Prince Valiant Comic Strip - http://www.kingfeatures.com/features/comics/pvaliant/about.htm

Fabric Softner

4 cups water
2 cups white vinegar
2 cups baking soda

Place water and vinegar in a container. Slowly add the baking soda being careful not to let the mixture overflow. Stir when finished. Use about a 1/4 cup per load. The baking soda will settle at the bottom but just give it a good shake and it will be ready in no time.



Buckeye Chicken


The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, Box 477, Pittsboro, NC 27312, (919) 542-5704, email albc@albc-usa.org, www.albc-usa.org

American Buckeye Poultry Club, Laura Haggarty Secretary/Treasurer P.O. Box 35 Williamstown, KY 41097 (859) 801-6081, laura@americanbuckeyepoultryclub.com, www.americanbuckeyepoultryclub.com

American Poultry Association, PO Box 306, Burgettstown, PA15021, email secretaryapa@yahoo.com, www.amerpoultryassn.com


Society for the Preservation of Poultry Antiquities, Dr. Charles R.H. Everett, Secretary, 122 Magnolia Lane, Lugoff, SC, 29078, email crheverett@bellsouth.net

The American Buckeye Club, Jeffrey Lay, 4686 Crains Run Rd, Miamisburg, OH 45342, (937) 470-2888, jefflay@woh.rr.com, www.americanbuckeyeclub.org.

Books






    

Friday, September 24, 2010

Worms, worms, worms!

Happy belated Mabon! I hope everyone had a great Mabon and got to spend some time with those you love. We had a nice evening here at home. My hubby built a small fire in the firepit and we sat around drumming for a bit while the kids played. It was nice to just be outside and observe the moon and stars while spending a little quality time together.

Things have been a little busy for us lately. Last weekend we took the kids to the State Fair. Even though they didn't get to ride as many rides as they would have liked, they still had a good time. We took them through the petting zoo and through an exhibit where they got to see live farm animals and learn about them. I told them we may have to start a Fair Fund for next year so we can get the wrist bands and stuff.


The husbandly unit has been working on building a shed so we can eventually get our stuff out of storage. He has managed to get the framing up for three of the walls so he is making some progress. I will take some pictures as we go along and get them up at some point. So far we have used reclaimed wood that we have gotten off of Craigslist. We will eventually have to buy some OSB and perhaps some more 4x4's to get it finished but so far we are trying reclaim as much as possible.

So one of our latest projects was building a worm bin. I found the directions for this at http://whatcom.wsu.edu/ag/compost/Easywormbin.htm. It was very easy to do but now we have to get some worms! I haven't been able to find any locally so it looks like I will have to order them from online. We bought two 10 gallon containers for about $5 each.




We followed the directions and drilled the holes in the bottoms of the containers and one of the lids.

With this system, once the first container is full of compost you set the second directly on top. The worms will work their way up through the holes to get to the new food. Once most of the worms have moved into the second bin you can harvest the compost. I like this system because the containers are not that big so they can be kept pretty easily inside. Also, the cost is minimal for the supplies. The worms will be the biggest expense. Once we get some worms I'll let you guys know how it goes.


We haven't started construction on the bathroom yet and the low's are supposed to get down into the 50's this next week. I get the feeling that's where they are going to stay for a while so I may have to resort to sponge baths again. Ah well, hopefully soon I'll have a somewhat real bathroom.

Stay tuned and I'll try to post a little more often than what I have been!


Monday, September 20, 2010

TPH Episode 5

First let me apologize for the audio quality. Hopefully it will be better next week. This week I will give a brief introduction to Permaculture and how it can be used in human landscapes. Here are some links that you may find useful.


http://permaculture.org.au/what-is-permaculture/

http://sacredearthinstitute.org/

http://dfwnetmall.com/earth/permaculture-classes.htm

http://www.permaculture.org/nm/index.php/site/index/

http://www.oaec.org/permaculture-design

http://omvalleypermaculture.wordpress.com/category/permaculture-classes/

Arcus Arcanum Tarot



Foktales



http://americanfolklore.net/

Blogs

http://blog.greenearthstones.com/

    

Sunday, September 5, 2010

TPH Episode 4

In this episode I ramble about cold showers, growing potatoes, and fall gardens. I also introduce a new segment titled Ancestral Animals where I discuss the American Mammoth Jackstock. As always, there is the Gardening by the Moon segment. I also review a new to me blog and a great little film titled Farms of the Future.


Article: http://theemergencyfoodsupply.com/archives/the-coming-global-food-shortage


Fall Garden: http://www.humeseeds.com/falwint.htm

American Mammoth Jackstock:
American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, PO Box 477, Pittsboro, NC 27312, (919) 542-5704, email albc@albc-usa.org, www.albc-usa.org

American Mammoth Jackstock Registry, Linda Coffman, Registrar, PO Box 1723, Johnson City, TN 78013, (830) 330-0499, email register@amjr.us

American Donkey and Mule Society, PO Box 1210, Lewisville TX 75067, (972) 219-0781, email adms@juno.com, www.lovelongears.com

Homesteading Pagan Style - http://angelg5159.wordpress.com/

Farms of the Future: http://www.thetinylife.com/farms-of-the-future/

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Cold showers and recycled tires

The thing I have always marveled about the changing of the seasons is how one day you can fry an egg on the hood of your car and then suddenly the switch is flipped and the 100 degree temps go away. Well, last week that switch was flipped.

I had told my husband that when the low temperatuers dipped into the 60's I was NOT taking a shower outside. Last week we had a couple of nights where the temperatures got down into the low 60's so we had to figure out something else. I ended up taking a sponge bath inside and my hubby was gracious enough to help me wash my hair. I hung my head over the side of the bed while he washed it. I can't see us doing this everyday so things are going to have to get under way quickly to build a bathroom that is enclosed.

Things have warmed back up for now, but we have entered the cycle of cooling trends and from here on out we will gradually see the signs of fall.

In other news, my husband  and the kids planted a potato a few weeks ago. It was one of those that we let sit for too long and it started to sprout. Well, to my surprise, it's growing! It likes the compost we have been  putting on it so well, we have actually seen it grow a half inch in one day. We had it planted in a 5 gallon bucket that we had turned into a planter but since it is doing so well we decided we needed to do something a little different.

The other day I had stopped at a gas station and noticed some used tires behind a tire business next door. There were two that were the same size so I picked them up and tossed them in the back of the van. I brought them home and we put down some weed barrier and transferred the plant to its new home. As you can see in the pics, the plant had gotten fairly tall. We covered it mostly with dirt and put on the second tire to give it more room to grow. I've got two more tires to add as it grows and hopefully we'll have some potates soon! We've got several weeks before first frost so hopefully we'll have something to harvest by then. If not, it has been a fun experiment.













Despite the fact that everything has not gone as we would have liked, there are certain things that I really like about living in the country. This evening we have a cold front pushing through and there are some impressive storms. We have't really gotten any rain, but we did get a spectacular sunset. I walked outside to check the skies and I was greeted by a brilliant gold sky. The clouds were in such a position that the sun was reflecting off of them to create a sky of pure gold. It was absolutely breathtaking. Even the kids were impressed. Then the wind started to pick up and we were greeted by the first cool breezes of the cold front.

It's for moments like this that we came to the country. Well, one of the reasons anyway. These are the things that can't be traded or bought and unfortunately so many people just don't understand. But for those of us that do, we know how wonderful it is.

TPH Episode 3

I'm a slacker...I know. I forgot to post the show notes here! Sorry! I plan on putting out a show this weekend and I'm adding some stuff to the show so stay tuned!


Today I discuss Peak Oil some more and I go on a bit of rant. I'll try to control myself a little more next time.



http://lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/

http://oilcrashmovie.com/index2.html

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Things that are just on my mind.

I had thought about writing about fall gardens but my mind keeps coming back around to another issue so I think I will save that for later. When I get stuck on something, I tend to be a little obessive compulsive so perhaps if I share what I am thinking with you, it will help me to turn my thoughts somewhere else.

As I'm sure many of you know, Isaac Bonewits passed away recently. Right after his death, I listened to a lecture that he gave, probably his last, on a podcast by Brendan Myers. If you haven't listened to Standing Stone and Garden Gate, you really should. Anyway, Isaac was talking about magical ethics, the Law of Three, and that sort of thing. Toward the end of the lecture he made some statements about how many Pagans use these magical ethics as an excuse to not do anything to take care of the environment.

Now, I'm not going to debate magical ethics. I personally do not follow the Law of Three. If it works for someone else, then great. But for me, it just really doesn't fit. My concern is this, if we are going to call ourselves Pagan, then why are Pagans not at the forefront of environmental activisim? What are we doing?

If you are reading this blog, then I am going to assume that it is because you have an interest in living off the land, getting back to nature, and are probably aware of the many problems we are facing. For those of us who understand and realize the magnitiude of our problems, why are we not shouting it from the rooftops within our Pagan communities? Now, I'm as guilty as anyone else. I suffer the same problems as everyone else of worrying about how I'm going to pay all the bills, spending time with my family, trying to find some quiet time for myself, much less trying to work in a little activisim here and there.

We are only human and we all have fininacial and time constraints. We do what we can right? I recycle, use CFL light bulbs, and try to educate my children in how we should take care of the earth. But at some point I began to think, is that really enough? Am I really doing everything I can for the Mother? In my head I hear a resounding, No. But I rationalize why I cannot do more.

Lately, I have been giving some serious thought to what it means to be Pagan and why do I feel so strongly about environmental issues. If we say we are Pagan, then we are saying that we worship the Earth and everything that is in it. We hold everything around us as sacred. If we hold the world around us as sacred, then should we not treat it with reverence even when we are not in Circle? Shouldn't we be saying, "Hey! The world is my church! Don't trash it!" But I sit here and wonder, where are all the Pagans? Why are there not more Pagans working diligently to help create a world that will be tolerable for our children? 

Now, don't get me wrong. I know there are many Pagans out there who are doing everything they can to foster awareness and work in programs that are trying to make things better. But for the rest of us, for those who think it is someone else's problem. That someone else will fix it, here's what I have to say to you. You  have a responsibility to the Mother. She is not here to baby you and protect you. She provides for your needs yes, but it is our responisiblity to take care of Her. Without Her, we do not exist. So what is your excuse for not doing what you know is right? Are you afraid that the Law of Three is going to bite you in the butt for doing a spell to protect what needs to be protected? Stop using excuses! You have no right to call yourself a Pagan if you are not willing to be a warrior, a protector, a guardian for what you claim to hold dear. Our time is now and if you are not willing to help then get out of the way.

If the influence of the Pagan community was ever needed it is now. We are running out of time and the Mother is calling for those who are willing to fight for Her cause. Personally, I do not feel I am doing enough. I am trying to remedy that. I am not perfect nor do I claim to be. But I feel that I have been called. What my role will be I still do not know. What I do know is this, if I do not answer her call, if I do not do everything I can to create a better world for my children, how can I possibly go into the next life knowing that I failed to honor my promise to the Mother. To love Her, to worship Her, and most importantly, to take care of all that She is. So now the question is this, where does everyone else stand?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

TPH-Episode 2

In this episode I share a present we got for my oldest for his birthday since he is showing more interest in spell work and I share my thoughts on simple living. There is also a book review of the “All New Square Foot Gardening” book by Mel Bartholomew and the Gardening by the Moon segment. 

www.tumbleweedhouses.com
www.tinyhouseblog.com
www.coolspringspress.com

Thursday, August 12, 2010

TPH Episode 1

I just wanted to let everyone know I took the plunge and created a podcast! It is availabe on iTunes under The Pagan Homesteader. The website is http://www.thepaganhomesteader.podbean.com/. I will have to see if there is a way to add the podcast to the blog. If I can't you can go to the website to download if you don't have iTunes.

So take a listen and let me know what you think! I hope to improve the show as I go along but I'm always interested in what others have to say. Have a good rest of the week!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Store for the winter

This may be a short post but I wanted to bring something to everyone's attention. Today on Collapsenet.com Michael Ruppert put up a video update about the possibility of food prices taking a significant jump in the next week or so. He says this because in the last 24-36 hours there have been several news articles from major news outlets about Russia and the Ukraine not having enough wheat. These countries have been major exporters of wheat and if they are not able to export then we will feel the effects in our pocket books. There is also a fungus that has been devestating wheat crops in China. This is a brief of synopsis of what he said but he is encouraging everyone to begin stockpiling a 3 month supply of food for everyone in your home.

This may sound alarmist but this man is often right and if the major news outlets are talking about it then there is probably something to it. If nothing else keep a close eye on the food prices in your area. If you see prices suddenly starting to rise then I would take that as a sign that food prices are going to continue to go up. Also, be thinking about what you can store that will get you through in a pinch. If you can buy some things in bulk, now may be the time to start shopping with that friend who has a Sam's or Costco card.

On a lighter note, I am giving some serious thought to starting a podcast based on the homesteader theme. If and when I get an episode out I will let you guys know. I would love to hear some of your thoughts on topics for this podcast so feel free to let me know! I will try to post again soon with a lighter subject next time!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Making Progress


I promised I would put up another post about the progress we have made so far and here it is! Thus far we have gotten the flooring down and it actually looks pretty good. We used peel and stick tile that we found for 29 cents a square foot. It was cheap and it actually turned out great. Hubby did a good job putting it down. It's a wood grain pattern and improves the looks of the shed greatly.


Here's hubby with a little helper putting down the flooring. As you can see we are still dealing with bare walls but hopefully we will be able to start buying the insulation for the walls in a few weeks. So far we have put up reflective barrier insulation against the ceiling which has helped. It looks kind of like we have tin foil over our heads but if it works I don't care.

I don't believe I mentioned this before but when we first moved it had rained right before we got here. Did I also mention that Oklahoma is made of nothing but red clay? Well, our red clay has a good bit of sand in it so it gets very mushy when it rains. To say the least, when we drove up the truck we made some nice ruts in the yard. Fortunately, it also dries quickly and the ruts can be fixed later.



We also have put together a make shift shower. There isn't exactly a lot of privacy right now but it works. Hubby fixed up a pulley system so we can raise and lower the shower to fill it. We have also discovered that even though the solar shower works very well when the sun it out, it can actually get too warm. When it's pushing 100 degrees outside and you would like a cool shower, having to use 100+ degree water isn't the greatest thing in the world. So we have figured out that if we lower the shower during the day it gets to just the right temperature. Now that I am working during the day again I have taken to heating water in a tea kettle in the morning and adding this to the shower so the water is at least luke warm. Taking a cold shower first thing in the morning isn't exactly my idea of a good time.



Hubby didn't square it up so we will probably take it apart and redo it so it looks a little better. There is also something liberating about taking a shower outside and if you've never done so I encourage anyone to give it a try just once.

We have also acquired two new fur babies. We now have an English Shepard named Indy after Indiana Jones. I let the kids name him and they are stuck on the Indiana Jones movies right now. We also have a new kitty named Sabrina. She's a little shy but very loving.


And now for the latest news and then I'll shut up. See, this is what happens when I don't get to post for a month. Anyway, the hubby recently got the idea that we needed to have a path back to the pond. Now after working on this for most of the week we finally have a fairly clear path to the pond. Of course now the kids want to go fishing every day. We honestly didn't think anything was in there since it is a man made pond but low and behold we have baby Big Mouth Bass! The kids both caught their first fish the other day and were so excited! We may still need to stock the pond with a few fish but at least we know there's something back there!




And last but not least I have to brag about my Craigslist find today. At some point we plan on building a green house and I want to find some old windows that we can use. While looking over the free section I saw where a listing had been made for a picture window. He simply wanted to get rid of it and was giving it away. To say the least I jumped on it! As you can see in the picture the side windows open and the frame is made of metal. I can't wait until we build a greenhouse so we can put this in place. It's going to look great and this was just the type of window I was hoping to find.



So this should pretty much have us caught up to date. Now that I have internet again I will try to get back to posting on a regular basis. Everyone try to stay cool in these baking temps and I'll be back soon!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The longest move in history

Finally! I'm back online and connected to the civilized world again!

Outside of when we crossed the land bridge, this has to have been the longest move in history. I will attempt to give you the short version. Originally the plan was we would pick up the truck on Saturday and leave on Sunday. Well, on the Saturday of our move we picked up the truck as planned and began loading. We loaded all afternoon and realized we weren't going to get everything loaded that day. So bright and early Sunday morning we got up and resumed the process of finishing packing and loading. About mid day we realized that we had underestimated the size of the truck and needed to get a trailer. The only thing I could find on a Sunday was a 4x8 trailer so we got it and packed it as full as possible as well as the cars. Unfortunately, we still couldn't get everything.

Monday morning we get up before sunrise and hit the road. We get here around lunch time and began to unload and my hubby starts working on getting the electricity hooked up. Yes, we had not power yet. We end up staying in a hotel that night simply because it is too hot and we still don't have power. The next morning I go to a job interview while my hubby finishes unloading what we are going to keep here. After I change clothes we head back into town to get a storage building and turn in the truck and trailer. We finally get back on the road late that afternoon to head back to Texas to get the rest of our stuff. We arrive around 1:30 in the morning and stay in a hotel yet again. The next morning we get a larger trailer, get the rest of our stuff and head back. We get back home around 10 PM and finish unloading the next day. To say the least, we were all exhausted.

Since then we have gotten a little better organized and gotten the flooring down. Slowly things are beginning to come together. When I have more time this weekend I will try to put up another post with some pics of what we have gotten done. Thank you all for being patient while we got this move over with. Hopefully now I will be able to post regularly again. Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Quick update

Just wanted to put up a quick update. We have moved in the sense that all of our stuff is out of our old place. Right now we still have a few things sitting on a trailer and I haven't been able to make heads or tails out of the stuff that we didn't put in storage. We are still trying to get the power on so hopefully that will happen today. Otherwise it will be another warm night with no AC. At this point I think all of the food has gone bad.

I don't know when we will be getting phone and internet. The phone company came out the other day and couldn't hook up the phone because a new box needs to be put in. Ah, the joys of living in the country. The engineer was by today so hopefully in no longer than two weeks we'll be in business. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will take less time than that.

No one ever said that achieving your dreams was easy but does it have to be so hot?? I guess I shouldn't complain too much. I am convinced that the Goddess loves me now. Lately it has been well into the high 90's but this week we are looking at highs in the upper 80's here and when we went back down to Texas to get the rest of our stuff it was overcast with a nice breeze. Much better than the almost 100 degree temps we've been having. It's still hot but at least I don't quite feel like I may die of a heat stroke. Anyway, there is more to tell to this story but I will have to save that for later. Everyone have a great Fourth of July and I will try to post soon!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Getting closer!

So this weekend was fairly productive even if it was unbearably hot. We managed to get the wiring done and my neighbor was kind enough to call today and let us know that the meter has been put in. Now all we have to do is hook up to it!






It's amazing how much heat these buildings hold with  no insulation. Here is my poor hubby tolerating the heat to get the wiring done. The kids of course wanted to help to so he let them use the drill to make the holes bigger. I'm not sure how I feel about them using power tools already but we all know how boys are with their toys.





We also bought a reel mower so we could mow some of the grass. This one cost us about $120 at Lowe's. It has an 18 inch mowing width and comes with a bag to catch the grass which is nice if want to try and compost some of it. Of course I wouldn't try to mow a very large area with this, but it does mow pretty well even if it is slow. The nice thing is it doesn't use any gas. We may invest in a gas mower later but for now this will do the job. Our neighbor was also nice enough to come over before we left and used his riding mower to finish mowing the grass for us. We have such nice neighbors!





The funny thing is the kids were actually arguing over who got to mow. I'm sure this is something that will never happen again but it was fun to watch. The mower is easy enough to push that even Baby Bit could do it. Overall the kids actually did pretty well with it.


So as of now the move is on for this weekend. I will post as soon as I can after the move so you guys stay tuned!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Pieces of the puzzle

Every move has its challenges and this one has been no exception. We have hit plenty of hiccups in our plans, but slowly things may be coming together.

As much as I don't want to be on the grid, that is what we have to do for now. Hopefully the meter will be in before we move. If not, well, that's another issue that will have to be dealt with. Arrangements have been made for the phone and internet to be hooked up and this weekend we hope to get the wiring done.

Even though I am doing things I never thought I would do, I also realize that we are facing issues that we never thought would come. At least I didn't. Sometimes I think about what the future may be like for the generations to come and what are they going to think about us? There is no chance that those who come after us will enjoy the same level of comfort that we have. Will they think we were arrogant? Foolish? Conceited? I don't know, only history can be the judge. What I hope, is that the choices that we make from here on out are what we will truly be judged on.

I keep hoping that when the public realizes that the chips are down, that the American grit and ingenuity that we have become known for will kick in.  That, as we have done in the past, we will dig in and do what must be done. My concern however, is that the apathy and need for instant gratification that has been developed will hamper people's ability to function in a meaningful way.


The answers to the problems that we are facing are at our fingertips, we just have to be willing to change and embrace what needs to be done. Change is never easy and many of us don't like change, especially when things are changing in a way we don't like. Unfortunately, change is coming. This is why I strongly support the use of permaculture and relocalizing our communities. Start preparing your lifeboat and thinking of ways that you might deal with changes that may be coming. Also, keep an eye on what is happening in the world. We are connected to everyone else and events that may seem remote from us could have impacts that we can't even imagine now. Talk to your friends and family. Try to make as many people aware as possible. The more people that understand what is happening, the better prepared our society will be. Let's face it, we can't count on the government to do anything useful.


As Pagans, we know change is a part of nature and like anything else in nature, if we want to survive we must learn how to change with it.