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Weekend Homesteader Resources

As of November 2012, the monthly Weekend Homesteader series has been updated to a second edition.  The projects below are no longer in the proper order for the second edition, but I've left this page in place in case you're reading the first version.  For more information on the more current edition (and the paperback), visit Weekend Homesteader's webpage.

Weekend Homesteader paperbackWelcome to the resources page for the March edition of Weekend Homesteader!  Feel free to leave comments on this page to let me know what you loved or hated about the ebook, or to share your experiences with others.  I hope you'll also take a minute to write a review on Amazon so that more readers will consider giving our ebook a try.


Spring planning
Weekend Homesteader May --- Learn the basics of no-till gardening.

Weekend Homesteader: October --- Build a quick hoop to extend your gardening season.

Weekend Homesteader: November --- Rotate crops in your garden to keep diseases and insects at bay.

Biochar --- Read my tips for why and how to use biochar in your garden.


Growing edible mushrooms
Mushroom spawn sources:

Growing your own oyster mushroom spawn --- Oyster mushrooms can be propagated at home using hot water and corrugated cardboard.

Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms --- If you choose to delve deeper into homegrown mushrooms, this book by Paul Stamets is the best reference.


Compost
Weekend Homesteader: July - In depth information about the C:N ratio.

Compost calculator --- Estimate how much of each material to add to your compost pile using this calculator.


Bees
Native pollinators --- For more information about wildflower meadows, larger nest blocks, and identifying native pollinators, check out:


Beekeeping --- If you decide to start a hive of honeybees, you'll want to explore:

  • Extension service --- Check with your local extension agent to see if your state has beekeeping grants available.
  • Top bar hives --- Download free plans to make your own top bar hive, and consider paying $10 for the excellent ebook "The Barefoot Beekeeper", which delves into why modern beekeeping produces sick bees and how you can fix the problems.
  • Warre hives --- The Warre hive uses some of the same natural beekeeping theories as the top bar hive.  The link sends you to a free download of the translated book.
  • Modified Langstroth --- If you're interested in using the same equipment as your neighbors while managing bees in a more natural fashion, you should read everything Michael Bush has written.  Most of his information is free on his website, and you can also buy it in the form of a book.
Posted Sun Feb 19 15:33:43 2012 Tags:

Weekend Homesteader paperbackWelcome to the resources page for the February edition of Weekend Homesteader!  Feel free to leave comments on this page to let me know what you loved or hated about the ebook, or to share your experiences with others.  I hope you'll also take a minute to write a review on Amazon so that more readers will consider giving our ebook a try.


Stocking up on dried goods
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints food warehouses --- Some people report that anyone is welcome to buy bulk goods at the low prices offered at these church facilities while others say you need to come with a member of the church.  Your best bet is to follow the link to find out if there is a warehouse in your area, then call ahead to determine their policies.


Planting berries
Extension Service --- Visit your state's extension service website for variety recommendations and information on local disease and pest problems.

Weekend Homesteader: May --- Learn to make a kill mulch to start a no-till garden in minutes.

Weekend Homesteader: August --- Sun-dried fruit leather is a low tech project that requires only a blender, cookie sheet, and hot car.

Strawberry freezer jam --- This recipe doesn't require you to cook your fruit, so they come out of the freezer just as fresh and brimming with flavor as they were when you picked them.

Chocolate strawberry shortcake --- If you ever get sick of eating your homegrown strawberries fresh, you can turn them into a gourmet dessert with the addition of some rich brownies and whipped cream.

Weekend Homesteader: July --- Learn the chemistry and biology of mulch so you'll know which type of mulch to use in each part of your garden.


Apprenticeships
WWOOF --- This organization matches up people interested in learning about agriculture with organic farmers world-wide.

ATTRA has a list of sustainable farming internships and apprenticeships in the U.S.


Bringing your chickens home
Weekend Homsteader: January --- Last month's ebook walked you through building a chicken tractor or coop and pasture. 

Resources for comparing chicken breeds include:

Alternative chicken feed options:

  • My experiments with homegrown feed --- If you want to make your birds even healthier, check out some of these ways of growing nutritious food for your flock.
  • The Small-Scale Poultry Flock --- Harvery Ussery's book is the best source for in depth information about raising earthworms and black soldier fly larvae for your crop as well as providing them food from the vegetable garden.

Avian Aqua Miser --- Our poop-free chicken waterer.

Craigs List --- This is a good source for finding locals selling chickens.

How to introduce your dog to chickens --- Make sure your dog gets off on the right foot by learning to protect your new flock.

Posted Fri Jan 13 11:09:22 2012 Tags:

Weekend Homesteader paperbackWelcome to the resources page for the January edition of Weekend Homesteader!  Feel free to leave comments on this page to let me know what you loved or hated about the ebook, or to share your experiences with others.  I hope you'll also take a minute to write a review on Amazon so that more readers will consider giving our ebook a try.


Backup lighting
Solar flashlight --- We have a slightly different version than this, but anything in this ballpark seems to be cheap and durable.

Weekend Homesteader: November --- Ensure you have water during extended power outages.

Weekend Homesteader: December
--- Learn how to stay warm without electricity on a budget.


Building a chicken coop or tractor
Chicken blog --- My chicken blog includes in-depth information about rotational chicken pastures as well as lots of photos of coops and tractors.

The Small-Scale Poultry Flock --- Harvery Ussery's book is the best source you'll find about utilizing chickens in a permaculture homestead.

Greener Pastures on Your Side of the Fence --- This book will make you an instant expert on rotational pasturing.

Getting started with rotational chicken pastures --- A summary of the mistakes I made during my first year pasturing chickens.

RDG's chicken tractor
--- RDG put up a supply list on his blog to make it easier to recreate his tractor.


Soil test
Web soil survey --- Find the texture of your soil online

Soil testing labs --- Information on a few of the best soil testing labs in the U.S.


Baking bread

Whole wheat bread --- This recipe is complex but makes 100% whole wheat bread so fluffy even my husband will eat it.

Posted Fri Dec 16 18:00:26 2011 Tags:

Weekend Homesteader paperbackWelcome to the resources page for the December edition of Weekend Homesteader!  Feel free to leave comments on this page to let me know what you loved or hated about the ebook, or to share your experiences with others.  I hope you'll also take a minute to write a review on Amazon so that more readers will consider giving our ebook a try.


Plant a fruit tree
Extension Service --- Visit your state's extension service website for variety recommendations and information on local disease and pest problems.

Nurseries.  There are hundreds of nurseries out there, and I can only speak for the few I've used.  In my immediate area (southwest Virginia), Urban Homestead has a diverse array of heirloom apples that they'll sell to you in person or through the mail.  I've also had good luck ordering plants from Hidden Springs Nursery (another small operation nearby) and Grandpa's Orchard (I know nothing about them, but the peaches I ordered had amazing roots.)

Weekend Homesteader: May.  Read more about how and why to make kill mulches.

Weekend Homesteader: July.  Find out why the mulch you use for your vegetable garden isn't the right mulch for your fruit trees.

Forest gardening.  You can mimic a natural ecosystem by including smaller plants amid your fruit trees.  Just be sure to understand limiting factors before you get too excited.


Stay warm without electricity
If you decide to go beyond the Weekend Homesteader level and install a wood stove, here is some useful information:



Essential tools
Telescoping multi-ladder --- This ladder serves the function of both a stepladder and extension ladder.

Trake --- This combination trowel and miniature rake is the only tool the established no-till gardener really needs.

Pressure canner --- This pressure canner costs $200, but doesn't need rings, so it should last for your lifetime and beyond without requiring spare parts.

Chopper 1 --- This inventive twist on a regular maul includes spring-loaded levers that make firewood splitting a breeze.


Turning trash into treasures

Freecycle --- Freecycle is "a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns."  Other organizations that follow the same model include: ReUseIt Network, Full Circles (Canada), and Freegle (UK)Recycling Group Finder allows you to type in your zipcode and find freecycling groups near you while Trashnothing turns those pesky emails from multiple freecycling groups into an easily browsable website.

Craigslist --- Craigslist is like an online yard sale or free classified ad for your local area.

Weekend Homesteader: October --- Learn where to find the highest quality, free sources of compost and mulch for your garden.

Posted Wed Nov 16 11:47:33 2011 Tags:

Weekend Homesteader paperbackWelcome to the resources page for the November edition of Weekend Homesteader!  Feel free to leave comments on this page to let me know what you loved or hated about the ebook, or to share your experiences with others.  I hope you'll also take a minute to write a review on Amazon so that more readers will consider giving our ebook a try.


Garden bed rotation
Tomato fungal diseases --- We live in one of the worst climates for tomato blights, but we always get a moderate to good crop by planting our tomatoes in the sunniest spot, pruning the tomatoes for blight prevention, and dealing with the first signs of blight as soon as they hit.

Weekend Homesteader: May.  The whys and hows of no-till gardening and tips on when and how to plant your spring garden.

My garden spreadsheet.  Click on the link to download my garden spreadsheet from 2011.

Weekend Homesteader: June.  Figure out how to survey your property to find the best spot for each part of your homestead.


Storing water
Weekend Homesteader: May.  Build a rain barrel to store water for washing.


Roast a chicken
Weekend Homesteader: July.  Use the stock from your chicken to make a tasty pot of soup.

Garlic and thyme chicken leg.  A delicious way to cook the cheapest part of a chicken.

Traditional way to cook an old chicken.  Old hens can be turned into delicious meat and stock as long as you cook them slowly at a low heat.

Buying a whole lamb.  What to expect if you buy a whole lamb.


Diversify your income

Weekend Homesteader: June.  Figure out your real hourly wage to discover if your job is worth your time.

Microbusiness Independence.  This ebook walks you through creating a tiny business that will pay all of your bills with just a few hours of work per week.

Posted Thu Oct 27 16:12:51 2011 Tags:

Weekend Homesteader paperbackWelcome to the resources page for the October edition of Weekend Homesteader!  Feel free to leave comments on this page to let me know what you loved or hated about the ebook, or to share your experiences with others.  I hope you'll also take a minute to write a review on Amazon so that more readers will consider giving our ebook a try.


Quick hoops
Soil temperature.  Buy a soil thermometer for under $10, learn what temperature seeds need for germination, and start to garden scientifically.

Succession planting for an extended harvest.  If you're reading our ebook in summer instead of fall, you can plant winter crops at various times for an even longer harvest.

Winter Harvest Handbook.  Eliot Coleman's book initiated my experiments with quick hoops and is a must-read for the serious winter gardener.

Weekend Homesteader: July.  This volume walks you through planting a quick and easy fall garden.


Storing vegetables on the shelf
Weekend Homesteader: August.  If you don't have storage vegetables in your garden, this ebook will help you find local sources.

Potato storage mounds.  If you have too many potatoes to store inside, you might want to check out this low cost option.  To be honest, though, I had several frozen potatoes using outside storage mounds in zone 6.


Scavenging biomass
Weekend Homesteader: May.  Learn to lay down a kill mulch to start a no-till garden in no time.

Weekend Homesteader: June.  Step by step instructions for building a small worm bin.

Weekend Homesteader: July.  This volume has a more in-depth explanation of carbon to nitrogen ratios and information on mulching.

Home-propagated oyster mushroom spawn.  Increase your supply of this edible mushroom using cardboard.

Fellowes PS-60 Shredder
.  This high quality shredder is perfect for making worm bin bedding or turning waste paper into mulch.

Biochar.  The charcoal screened out of the ashes in the bottom of your wood stove can be mixed into your garden soil and provide astonishing benefits.


Living at the poverty line
First and most important, I hope you'll leave a comment here sharing your experience with life at the poverty line.  Was it harder or easier than you thought?  Why?

Microbusiness Independence.  Our ebook walks you through creating a microbusiness that pays the bills in just a few hours per week.

Simple living healthcare options.  Ways to stay healthy without breaking the bank.

Simple living housing options.  The average American spends 20% of his income on housing, but you don't have to pay a penny.

Posted Sat Sep 24 19:22:08 2011 Tags:

Weekend Homesteader paperbackWelcome to the resources page for the September edition of Weekend Homesteader!  Feel free to leave comments on this page to let me know what you loved or hated about the ebook, or to share your experiences with others.  I hope you'll also take a minute to write a review on Amazon so that more readers will consider giving our ebook a try.


Seed saving
Seed germination test.  Don't throw away those old seeds --- use this simple test to determine whether they're still viable.

How many plants do I need to save vegetable seeds?  Read more about outbreeders and inbreeders in the vegetable garden.

Threshing and winnowing.  If you want to save larger quantities of seeds, check out some of the easy methods I've used to thresh and winnow Asian greens, wheat, and amaranth (thresh and winnow.)


Canning
Find a community cannery in your area.


Teamwork
Meetup.com is the most localized social networking site around.  If you live close to a major metropolitan area, you'll have very good luck finding likeminded souls here.

Craigslist is a better choice for those of us in rural areas.  You'll have to post want ads rather than just join an existing community, but you'll also reach a wider spectrum of people in your area.

WWOOF is an international organization that hooks up people interested in working on organic farms with folks who have farms and need helpers.  Our personal experience with WWOOF has been negative --- since no money changes hands, our WWOOFers seemed to think it was okay to change their plans without notice at the last minute.  However, you might have better luck.


Seasoning
Sauteed summer squash with basil.  These two recipes will help you use up your bountiful zucchini or crookneck squash.

Sweet corn, bean, and tomato salad.  This cold summer salad is a meal by itself or the perfect addition to burrito night.

Green bean and potato salad.  Another cold salad, this one a healthier and more delicious replacement for mayonnaise-based potato salads.

Spaghetti sauce.  Learn how to make homemade tomato sauces that are creamy instead of watery.

Homemade ketchup.  Do you have more tomatoes than you know what to do with?  Why not make ketchup without all that corn syrup?

Easy and delicious cooked greens.  Looking ahead to the fall garden, this recipe will help you find the beauty in kale, swiss chard, and other leafy greens.

Posted Tue Aug 23 16:54:55 2011 Tags:

Weekend Homesteader paperbackWelcome to the resources page for the August edition of Weekend Homesteader!  Feel free to leave comments on this page to let me know what you loved or hated about the ebook, or to share your experiences with others.  I hope you'll also take a minute to write a review on Amazon so that more readers will consider giving our ebook a try.


Fall planting
How to make a pea trellis.  The same low cost trellis you made in May for your beans can be moved to a new location to hold up your fall peas.

Egyptian onions.  These easy perennials are a great addition to any vegetable garden.  While supplies last, we're selling our top bulbs at a steep discount to ebook readers.

Fall planting charts.  If you want to print out the fall planting charts included in the ebook, click here for the unmarked chart and here for the example chart.

Frost free date.  Look up your first frost date by zip code.

Eliot Coleman's Winter Harvest Handbook.  This book is worth reading for those of you interested in going beyond the basics with your fall garden.  You might be especially interested in how to tweak your fall planting dates to work with quick hoops, a project that will be covered in a later volume of Weekend Homesteader.

How to prevent pet damage in the garden
.  If your cats and dogs scratch up and mash down your fall plantings, these tips might help.


Buying food when it's cheap

Epicurious.  Don't know what to do with that unusual vegetable?  Search this website for delicious recipes.

Find local food.  Many websites will allow you to search for farmer's markets, CSAs, and more.  The most inclusive sites for farmer's markets (at least in my area) seem to be LocalHarvest (which also allows you to search for other types of local food) and the USDA's Agricultural Marketing ServiceEatwellguide had a more comprehensive listing of CSAs in my area (along with many other sources of local food.)


Drying food
How to Dry Foods.  This book offers a wealth of information for those who want to go beyond the basics.

DIY solar dehydrator.   If you live in a hot, dry climate, this design will help you make a dehydrator that dries food using the power of the sun.

Best electric dehydrator.  If you want to spend the cash for a food dryer that really works, this model is the way to go.


Hanging your clothes out to dry

Ditch the disposables.  Explore some more options for environmentally and fiscally friendly householding.

Wringer washer tips.  Once you start hanging your clothes on the line, you begin to wonder if you can do more of your chores in the pleasant outdoors.  A wringer wash can sit out in all weather and can be repaired easily by the beginning DIYer, so it makes a good homesteading tool.  Follow the link to learn more about the lost art of doing your laundry in a wringer washer.

Posted Sun Jul 24 21:45:46 2011 Tags:

Weekend Homesteader paperbackWelcome to the resources page for the July edition of Weekend Homesteader!  Feel free to leave comments on this page to let me know what you loved or hated about the ebook, or to share your experiences with others.  I hope you'll also take a minute to write a review on Amazon so that more readers will consider giving our ebook a try.

Budget

Gnucash.  Free accounting software.


Freezing food
Strawberry freezer jam.  Fruit often doesn't taste as good frozen, but this lower sugar recipe makes the grade.

Garlic green beans
.  This simple dish is a good way to make so-so frozen beans great again.


Mulching
C:N calculator.  The Klickitack County website has a handy form where you can plug in mixtures of various types of organic matter and learn the resulting C:N.

Chemistry of the fungi to bacteria ratio.  A more in depth analysis of why certain mulches and composts promote fungi while others promote bacteria.

Different mulches for bacteria and fungi.  The C:N isn't the only characteristic of mulch that determines whether bacteria or fungi will move in.

Comfrey.  Learn about using comfrey for compost and mulch, choosing the best comfrey variety, and growing comfrey.


Soup
Harvest catch-all soup.  A basic vegetable soup that varies through the seasons.

Butternut squash and Eqyptian onion soup
.  Simply delicious.

Butternut pie.  Speaking of substitutions, here's a "pumpkin pie" recipe that's even better using a different winter squash.

Please leave a comment with your own favorite recipes and substitutions.

Posted Sat Jun 18 18:02:52 2011

Weekend Homesteader paperbackWelcome to the resources page for the June installment of Weekend Homesteader!  Feel free to leave comments on this page to let me know what you loved or hated about the ebook, or to share your experiences with others.

Worms
Worm bin bedding
.  Pros and cons of various free sources of bedding for your worms.

Worm bin bedding shredder.  Which shredder we chose and why.

Vermicomposters.com.  Find worm enthusiasts near you offering starter worms or wisdom.

Fungi to bacteria ratio.  What the term means literally and for your garden.

To learn more about our large-scale worm bin project, collecting scraps from a local school, check out these links:



Survey your site
Google Maps.  Print out a map of your neighborhood by searching for your address and playing with the scale.


Nutrition
Recipe calorie calculators.  This site has the simplest form for calculating the nutritional value of your custom recipes, while this site tends to have information about more ingredients (but requires a bit more time to input your recipe.)

Healthier desserts.  Our butternut squash pie and dark chocolate cocoa muffins are two standbys.

Health of farmers and hunter-gatherers.  Can a non-Western diet be healthier?

Politically Incorrect Nutrition
.  This book walks you through many nutritional misconceptions.

Weston A. Price Foundation.  A good source for scientific but alternative dietary advice.


Your real hourly wage
Your Money or Your Life.  This book is the source of the real hourly wage exercise.

Financial Integrity.  The sister website to the book above walks you through all of the exercises.  If you enjoyed the real hourly wage exercise, many of the other worksheets on the website will also be right up your alley.

Posted Tue May 17 20:21:30 2011 Tags:

Weekend Homesteader paperbackWelcome to the resources page for the May installment of Weekend Homesteader!  In addition to perusing the resources below, I hope you'll leave a comment to let us know about your experiences with the projects in our ebook.


Planning your summer garden

Good seed companies.  Before you buy your seeds, check out this post about what makes a seed company good for the backyard gardener and which ones are recommended.

Finding space to homestead in the city.  These tips, excerpted from Rachel Kaplan and K. Ruby Blume's Urban Homesteading, will help even apartment dwellers find a bit of earth.

How to make a pea trellis.  You can use my pea trellis technique to make a low cost and easy to move trellis for your pole beans.

Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew has a lot of good information for beginning gardeners working on a small scale.  Bartholomew's system is a bit different from mine, but is beloved by many beginners with little space.


Kill mulch

What's living in your soil?  This series of posts will introduce you to the world of useful critters in your dirt.

How to plan permanent paths
.  Are you sick of your dog running straight through your tomato plants?  Plan permanent paths that are so intuitive that people (and animals) follow them without thinking about it.

Hugelkultur.  Learn to add rotting wood to your kill mulch to increase the organic matter, drainage, and water holding capacity.
Teaming with Microbes by Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis.  This easy to read book is a great way to learn more about your soil microorganisms.  As usual, the link will give you my rundown on the top tips from the book.

Weedless Gardening by Lee Reich.  This book is very much worth reading for more information on the whys and hows of no-till gardening.  Or just follow the link to see my summary of the most important information in the book.


Planting your summer garden

Frost free date.  Look up your last frost date by zip code.

Cooperative extension service offices.  Find your local extension agent.

Pruning tomatoes for blight prevention.  The title says it all.

Summer planting chart
.  If you want to branch out beyond the simple vegetables and herbs listed in my ebook, you'll want to check planting dates against this chart.


Turn off the TV

Television addiction and identification self-help guide.  A fascinating peek into the psychology of television.

Kill your television.  More anti-TV commentary.


Rain barrel

Rutger's Extension Service.  More information on rain barrels.

Posted Sun Apr 24 13:48:35 2011 Tags:


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