Friday, September 25, 2015

Trash Tossing and Shopping

Yup, just pick a day and start somewhere. Preferably a small space so you don't give up easily. I personally started in our small bathroom. Did I mention before that we are building a Tiny house? I do mean tiny, 650 square feet so yes the bathroom is small but mighty.

Other than the kitchen I believe it is the worst offender for plastics and consumables. I started making our own toothpaste, body scrubs and facial cleansers so no more plastic items there to toss! We also use Castille soap for washing our bodies, hair and dishes which really cuts down on the number of consumables. So far and we love it all. No more harsh chemicals. You can find some of my recipes here.

I had to go shopping for items like vitamins, mouthwash, toilet paper and some OTC medications so I decided to go to Costco. I don't go very often, but they do have some good buys on those kinds of items. I try to reuse, reduce, recycle or buy used but not these items obviously. I found myself really searching for products that we needed in the right containers.

It is very hard if not impossible to get them in anything other than plastic that is why mouthwash will be on my next recipe list of things to make at home. After finishing there with a lot fewer items than I used to leave with I stopped at Krogers for the food items I needed. After tossing the bathroom of all plastic consumables like toothbrushes, plastic pump cleanser bottles and throw away razors, I now use my hubby's safety razor and mason jars for everything else.

I did find a sale on a wooden set of cutting boards for the kitchen so as soon as I got home I happily tossed the old plastic one away! It was only $11 for three. It's amazing how differently we think now when looking for products that we need. I don't buy anywhere near what I used to and our trash bag size has gone down considerably. 

What have you tossed today?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

7 Places To Buy Bulk Food and Grains, Regular and Organic

1. Azure Standard
They specialize in natural, organic, earth-friendly foods and products. We deliver directly to customers, buying clubs and retailers by semi truck and UPS. 

Eden is the oldest natural and organic food company in North America and the largest independent manufacturer of dry grocery organic foods.

We order fresh natural foods by the truckload….…but you don’t have to buy a truckload! We order the freshest natural foods from across America – apples and oranges, whole grains and nuts, and lots of other good things in between. A few weeks before we receive a shipment, we send out an email to the members in our group.

I love this company. I use quite a few of their products for our horses like the Grape Balm hoof support and the all natural worm check. I'm going to try the vitamins for people with my next order. They are very nice and even added a free wormer to my first order when I mentioned the cost of shipping. 

5. Freeze Dry Guy
Commit resources to your survival plan, acquire and maintain necessary safety equipment, train your family in how to react to all manner of global or personal disasters and conduct and assess drills to verify your family is prepared. Check out their Medical Kits.

Not food right now but will provide for the future either by producing fruit, shade for your livestock or by adding to your Permaculture.

International Foodsource is dedicated to supplying quality wholesale grains. If you are a restaurant, grocery store, or any other volume buyer, we are your one stop shop for all your grain needs. Our selection of grains include (but are not limited to) Barley, Bulgur Wheat, Millet, Quinoa, and Farro. Our grains are provided in a multitude of different colors and sizes.

Whether you are looking for Red Quinoa or Steel-Cut Oats, IFS Bulk can provide you with your wholesale needs. We specialize in high quality products at the lowest prices around. All of our grains are sold as 25 lb boxes, and we also provide the per-pound price so you can see your savings. Our devotion lies in helping you acquire the grain you are looking for.

These are just a few places to find bulk food to feed your family and livestock now or for long term emergency storage. What items do you currently buy in bulk?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Fun In The Great Smokies

Good friends, silliness, awesome scenery, wonderful weather until the rain and finally the dancing fountain. No better way to spend a Sunday. How was your day?

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Living History at John Sevier Days

Talk about living a no plastic lifestyle. Well back then there wasn't any plastic to be found. Everything was hand made and sustainable. Great craftsmanship, lots of knowledge, games that don't require electronics and good food.

We were planning on going to a fall festival but it turned out to be to far to drive so we along with some friends decided to find something else to do. We love these kinds of fairs so settled on going to the Marble Springs State Historic Site for John Sevier Days.

Born in Virginia in 1745, John Sevier made a name for himself as a Revolutionary War Hero during the Battle of Kings Mountain (1780), a key player & Governor of the short-lived State of Franklin (1784-1788), and ultimately was elected to serve as the first Governor of the State of Tennessee (1796).

Marble Springs was the approximate 350-acre farm that Sevier lived on from 1801-1815, the last years of his life. Sevier named his farm Marble Springs because of the Tennessee Rose Marble that was quarried on site and the natural springs that flowed on the property.

We enjoyed 18th century demonstrations such as spinning and weaving; blacksmithing; weapons demonstrations, which showcased period-appropriate firearms; 18th century style militia drills; regional craft demonstrations; historic lectures and more!

I learned a lot of interesting things like how to brain tan our rabbit hides and that Pennyroyal is very good to place around your home to keep fleas out. I've been wanting to learn how to tan hides and found that this method is the best and easiest. It makes the hides stay very soft. Can't wait to try it. 

What did you learn today? Something new to help on your homesteading journey I hope. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Homestead Happenings, Babies, Snakes and Birds

Lots of excitement around here lately. It's fair time in quite a few states this time of year and Tennessee is no exception. Bruce goes to college but only had one class on Monday so we headed to the fairgrounds for some good food and fun.

 We got there pretty early so the crowds were small. First place we headed for was the rabbit barn. I needed to find a buck that is old enough to breed to my girls because my guy is too young yet. Well I found a nice one for only $10 so went ahead and paid for him. We left him in the rabbit barn until we got ready to leave.

 That is not him but is what his breed looks like. After taking care of that business we went to see the poultry. After checking out all the different birds we found a set of four hens and a rooster that we really liked so they joined our ever growing livestock family.


The food was spectacular as usual. What's not to like about fair food? Greek Gyros, huge baskets of spiral fries with whatever toppings you like and of course the funnel cake with fresh strawberries! After all that we decided to walk it off by visiting the exhibit hall. Lots of fun stuff to see there.

On the way out we picked up our new critters then had a nice drive home. We set up two quarantine pens for the birds and rabbit then went to check on Betty as she was due anytime. I found her eating away contentedly and saw movement in her nest box. I of course had to take a peek. There were 5 babies! All looked healthy and happy so I left her to enjoy her new family.

Betty is an English Spot rabbit and a very good mom. Can't wait to see them grow. It looks like 2 spotted like her, a blue, a black and one red like the buck Fred!

Yesterday when I went out to do evening chores and collect eggs there was a snake in one of the hen houses! Eeeck! I hate them so backed out of the pen and screamed for Bruce. He knew by that tone that something was wrong and came running. My hero got it out and checked everything to make sure all was well.

This morning I started the day by getting kisses from our two horses. No better way to get going in the morning or anytime.

I decided to head for the garden where I gathered fresh veggies for my lunch. A caprese salad. Yum!

Lots of exciting things going on around here. I love fall! How about you? What is your favorite time of year and why?

Monday, September 14, 2015

6 Ways To Feed Livestock Naturally

We try to feed our whole family naturally. No packaged food, farm fresh, sometimes organic but mostly healthy with no preservatives. The biggest way we do that is by raising our own animals as naturally as we can.

1, All livestock is pasture raised or fed our own grass and weeds that is maintained all naturally. We don't use chemicals of any kind. We believe in letting mother nature do her thing and try our best to live in harmony with her. We let them unto one area at a time while the others rest. We use a wood pallet pulled behind the tractor to spread out the piles they leave behind for fertilizer.

2. Grown a garden. Raised beds, in ground rows which I really don't like as it hurts the land way more than it does any good but if that is all you have, go for it. A few containers at least. Then you control the type of fertilizers and bug prevention to use. We use our own rabbit manure which is the best for plants. It is not a hot type so you can put it on your beds right away and not have to wait to compost it. For bugs I use a different methods. Companion Planting, Picking bugs off by hand and homemade Pepper spray.

3. Grow both food and medicinal herbs. A lot of your animals can benefit from the different kinds and of course they are great for yourself as well. Please do your research to make sure they are safe for the livestock to eat. Here is a good list.

4. Make your own grain mixes. We do this for our rabbits, poultry and horses. There are many good ones out there but here is the one we like for rabbits. This one is for your goats. For poultry visit Stone Family Farmstead Here. For horses we feed whole oats, fresh grass hay in the winter and pasture. They all have access to fresh clean water and minerals.

5. Do lots of research. Here are some places I like to visit regularly.
One Acre Farm
Rise and Shine Rabbitry
DIY Naturally
Land Of Havilah

6. Use natural methods for healthcare. Medicinal herbs and essential oils can do a lot instead of store bought chemicals. I use the wormer from Dr Dan for our horses.

How do you feed?

How To Store More In Your Tiny Kitchen

We are in the process of building our tiny cabin. It is mostly finished. All the important stuff is done like the bathroom and kitchen except for the two small end walls. They need either paint or wood. I'm thinking about going with pallet wood to reuse some old ones that are laying around outside.

I found quite a few ideas on Pinterest that I like. This one is my favorite. After doing the walls this way I may put up decorative hooks for storing items I don't use often. Another place to do that is on any cabinet sides that aren't up against a wall.

Another thing we did is use the space above the cabinets to store pots and big bowls. I have quite a collection of dutch ovens and don't use them every day so the smaller ones went up there.

Pegboards are great too. I use them everywhere especially in my tiny craft room. Yes I have enough space for one. I have to be able to do my art quilts.

I had hubby put up lots of hooks under the cabinets that hold everything from coffee cups to my mixer paddles. They are great and you can find combo packages in most home stores that contain all different sizes.

Visit The Kitchn for more ideas. How do find more space to store things?