Lots of Information

Hey guys! I just wanted to say that I have much more information on my Patreon page. The link is  https://www.patreon.com/Jenlynn401

I post a lot over there. I sometimes bring the subject over to wordpress but I am trying to transition over there from here. Anyway, I will still be posting here, but wanted to share my main page with anyone who is interested. Thanks!

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A Few Of My Favorites

OK, I admit it…I am a fan of several really knowledgeable you tube channels for a variety of different topics and such. I wanted to share a couple today. I will share more in the near future too. So, on to the folks I watch and why.

As someone who is homesteading, I find the experience of others who are doing the same thing invaluable. Each family does their own brand of homesteading but there are endless bits I can glean and use in our family. So, I enjoy “Big Family Homestead” because they are honest people who do not sugar coat the truths of good times and not so good times. They have 7 children, homeschooled most of them, Christa is as major cook with simple recipes to follow, and Brad is a hard working dad and husband on their homestead.  They are very informative and share many gems I have used. I really do follow them daily.

For gardening information, I love the “MIGardener” channel. This guy is devoted to not only helping new gardeners but he shares his mistakes too. He will plant new things just to see how it works out. He also sells seeds of his plants. This is my go-to garden channel. If you have questions he will answer you. If you need information on gardening, check his channel out!

As for canning and other methods of food storage, I can recommend two pages. One is “The Kneady Homesteader” and the other is “Homesteading Family”. Both are knowledgeable and they not only give you recipes but they also take you step by step through the preserving process. These two are my top two food folks.

OK, so I have many more channels I watch as well but these are a few starters. These are the ones I check daily. I hope you can mine the nuggets you need from them too. Also, share any channels you enjoy! Have a great day!

Learning Every Day

Each new day brings something new to learn. It can be quite simple or complicated. For example, if your cat battery is dead could you jump it? I couldn’t until I had to. A new skill is learned.

If you think about it, learning is a wonderful thing. It keeps your brain active. It opens you up to new experiences. It keeps you young. There are so many people that want to close their minds to new things. Why?

One reason may be fear, fear of failure, fear of changing their opinion. Fear can motivate you or shut you down. The choice is yours. For example, are you afraid of using a pressure canner because you have heard stories of the danger? Do you allow yourself to miss out on the joy of preserving your foods? Or, do you learn about it, take a class, and face your fear?

Another reason may be you think you are too old. Too old? Um, OK, roll in the coffin then. Too old? The day I am too old to learn something new is the day I die. So many use this excuse and it drives me crazy!

Learning new skills means you want to improve yourself, your skill set. It means finding a way of living differently than you knew before you learned your new skill.

I would love to learn to sew. My grandmother was a highly skilled seamstress, yet I am not. I do quilt and make crafts and can do rudimentary sewing. I am not a seamstress by any means, but I can repair a shirt. I learned how to quilt though, something my grandmother didn’t do. I found my niche.

I love cooking, and since I have been gardening for a few years, I wanted to see methods of preserving that food. I am dehydrating things I cannot can. I am new to dehydrating and in process of learning so much about this skill. I get excited about it. New skill set.

So, do you learn new things when the opportunity arises? Or, do you not want to learn more? In the end, the choice is yours.

Have a great day!

Lactofermentation

 

 

I know, it is a long word. Pronounced lack toe fer men tashun. So what does it mean?

People years ago had to preserve their food without refridgeration, or modern food preservation techniques. They had to be able to preserve the food in other ways. How? The process we call lactofermentation.

So what is it?The term is used to describe a microbial process using beneficial bacteria including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium spp. and other lactic acid bacteria (LAB) (commonly known as probiotics), which thrive in an anaerobic fermenting environment.

Now, to make it simpler to understand, lactofermentation is when you ferment vegetables and fruits in a salt brine, allowing good bacteria to form which you ingest when you eat the food. Seriously. I know, some folks, like me, take daily probiotics in capsule form to help repair the gut to a more natural state. Balanced. However, to truly get the best benefits of probiotics, it is best to eat them in food. Remember, food is medicine.

An important ingredient that is formed is LACTIC BACTERIA. … Lactic acid is a natural preservative that inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria.  Beyond preservation advantageslactofermentation also increases or preserves the vitamin and enzyme levels, as well as digestibility, of the fermented food. In other words, it keeps the high levels of nutrients and adds good bacteria into the mix.

Most people are familiar with one food that is lactofermented. What food? Sauerkraut! Yes, sauerkraut is cabbage that has been fermented to form one of the best superfoods you can eat. So when you eat sauerkraut, you are doing good work for your gut.

You can ferment most any vegetable or fruit. There are recipes all over the internet. The easiest one is actually sauerkraut. I am planning on trying to make it this next week. It is simple. I will not bore you with the recipe but I recommend watching videos on you tube to get recipes.

What are the advantages of fermented foods?

  • Makes food more digestible.
  • Fermented foods have more nutrients.
  • Chock full of good bacteria (probiotics).
  • Helps keep your immune system healthy.
  • Helps curb sugar cravings.
  • Lactic acid promotes growth of healthy bacteria in the gut.
  • Increases flavor of foods.

For those of us with autoimmune diseases, our gut health is extremely important. We cannot cure lupus, however we can make it easier to live with it. By using various foods that are fermented, and eating at least a serving a day, we are giving our body the chance to heal some of the things that can cause us to flare up and have pain.

I have used probiotics for years now, because of my gastrointestinal issues. My doctor put me on them because of issues with colitis and diverticulitis. The truth is that it has helped me with my issues, but I had not heard of fermentation until recently. Now I can try this method and see if it helps me more.

The problem with taking probiotic capsules is that they are not regulated and can make claims that may or may not be true. Plus, they can be expensive as well. Now, think of how much a head of cabbage costs, and the salt to make the brine. The hardest thing about making it is the time factor, typically several days to weeks, and the relative cost is actually very minimal.

So, cheaper cost, and you control the ingredients, and you get the maximum health benefits too! I really am excited to start making my own things for my nutritional probiotics, and I hope to reap the benefits too. I will update on this part of my wellness journey as it is occurring. You will be in on the results.

I hope you are all well.

Bone Broth

 I like to research and find alternative treatments for lupus that line up with my “food is medicine” and “natural versus medications” philosophy. I am off all but two of my medications now and using natural alternatives for treating my lupus (with my doctor’s knowledge and support). So in line with my philosophy, and after cross referencing this subject of bone broth, I feel inclined to put this out there for others to explore as well.

I am an avid canner. I can most of my garden foods meats, and make my own bread and jellies. Yes, I do all of this and have lupus. As this garden season winded down, one of my canning groups I belong to started showing pictures of this bone broth stuff. I got curious. What is this stuff and why can it? Funny, I heard about this remarkable thing from my canning groups and not my doctor, but I digress.

I researched bone broth online and watched many you tube videos about this as well. Imagine, if you will, my amazement when I found that lupus is mentioned as something that can be helped with this broth. All autoimmune diseases actually can be helped with this substance. I did not see one bad thing about this stuff.

I know that many of us realize that broth itself is good for colds and flu. Good old chicken and beef broth are the home recipe for many who get colds and flu. My granny used to make chicken soup when we were sick. I make it now when I am sick. For generations this broth, made from stock, is what was used. There must be a reason why.

There is a difference between regular beef or chicken broth and bone broth. You can purchase most regular broths in the supermarket, although making it yourself reduces the additives involved and is better for you. Bone broth is available as well, but is much better for you if you make it yourself.

Let us start with the basics: What is bone broth? Bone broth is the broth created when you cook the bones or carcass of beef, chicken, turkey and and fish even.  You put your turkey bones, for example, in a big soup stock pot, cover with one and a half gallons of filtered water. Filtered water is any water you purchase that has been filtered free of additives. Do not use your tap water. You can add seasonings if you like at this point, such as garlic or celery or any other things you want in your broth. Root veggies are great. You will need to add about 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar to help the bones release their precious things into the broth. You will not taste it in the final product. Once you have all things in the pot, simmer on low for one to two days. Yes, days.

Once it is done, you will strain it through cheese cloth or muslin to remove all things except the broth. Your broth should be clear. Next, you can can the broth in canning jars in your pressure canner or pour into ice cube trays and freeze. You can use this broth in any recipe calling for broth. You can also drink this warm. It will become gelatinous as it cools. You can freeze the carcass until you are ready to make your broth too.

This is just a brief tutorial on making it. With many cooking turkeys this week, this is the perfect time to post this so you can benefit from the bone broth. I will post on the benefits for drinking it or using it in the next post. Trust me, I am amazed! Stay tuned for the hows and whys as to how it helps those of us with lupus.

A Simpler Life?

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Many folks are thinking of becoming a homesteader these days for a variety of reasons. Some want to simplify their lives and get back to basics. Some want to downsize and live within their means. Some just want to enjoy more out of life than the 9 to 5 daily life they lead now. However, is homesteading a simpler life?

The answer is yes and no both. It is simpler in that whatever form of homesteading you choose, if you are doing what you like to do versus working for someone else, then yes, your life is simpler. Do you want to control your food and what is in it? You can if you grow your own food. No additives unless you add them, nothing is hidden in the ingredients with long words that you need a degree in chemistry to figure out. Just do a little homework on gardening and get started. Do more homework, plan ahead and go for it.

If you want to go off grid, that involves more homework. To live off grid gives you many more choices, such as solar power, wind power, generator power, water power or no power. The choice is yours and you need to do your homework to find what works best for you. If you want to stay on grid, then you need to decide if you want all electric, a combination of electric and gas, propane, and water options such as city water or well water. The choices you make determine how much you need to learn. Find mentors. Get advice from someone living the way you want to live. Build a community of like minded folks you can talk to about your plans, find the pitfalls, learn from their mistakes and grow on your skill sets.

Homesteading is also very complicated too as you can see just by the choices you make in how you want to live as a homesteader. Do you build a home, buy one, look at garden sheds for tiny homes, I mean, the list is endless in how you can make your own personal homestead. You can homestead in an apartment, suburban home, rental home or any variety of home. Some things are harder if you do not own your land but it can still be done.

Do you want farm animals? A cow? Pigs? Goats? More planning. Trust me, you need to plan. Some people make the mistake of thinking they will just magically move onto a property and build their home and make a lovely garden and have all these animals and life will be grand. If that is your mind set, then you will find out the hard way. Unless you have the money to just get a home built, buy animals, hire someone to care for them, and you want to just hang out on the front porch, sipping lemonade or sweet tea, then work is involved.

How can it get easier? As you learn and adjust your goals to what you actually can do, you will find that some things do get easier. Proper planning, hard work and goals will see you get what you want out of a homestead.

For example, during the winter you order your seeds for the spring, plan your garden layout, compost your soil for winter, and get supplies for spring. Come spring, you become a massive doer of many things, plowing, planting, weeding, organizing, and all sorts of tasks. In fall, you get ready for winter and reap your foods and preserve them. It truly has seasons of hard work. However, the joy and satisfaction of using your hands to grow your food is something that is amazing.

So, homesteading is what YOU make it. Fond your strengths and go for it!

What is a Homesteader?

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What is a homesteader? If you ask a hundred people you will likely get a hundred different answers. Homesteading is as varied as people. Each person views it in their own way. Some see it as a family farm, with tractors and cows while others see a tiny log cabin off grid, gardening and living a simpler lifestyle, while another may think of it as learning how to leave a smaller footprint on the world by becoming more self sufficient and self reliant. The truth is that homesteading and homesteaders are as different as snowflakes. That is the beauty of being a homesteader.

I admit that my view of a homesteader is nothing like my goals. The idea of homesteading evokes in me the simpler times of my grandparents era. If you didn’t grow it, shoot it, raise it or make it then you didn’t have it. It was that simple. The simplicity though, is deceiving. You see, their time was involved in doing the things they needed to to survive life. They were busy every day doing chores and living life. They didn’t drive a new car to a job (until later in their era) to pay for a house that sat empty all day. It was later that they moved away from their home and set up house in another state, working in the steel mills and auto industry to pay for a house. But I digress.

Even though they moved away, they had skills they brought with them. My grandmother could sew anything, and I mean anything! She was a highly talented seamstress and her skills were in demand in the city. She made wedding dresses, draperies, and even made the curtains in my high school drama class. People hired her to make all manner of things. I remember seeing her sitting at her sewing machine, making some new thing for someone. I remember having some of the best outfits around because we got a lot of her time making our clothing.

My grandfather worked in a steel mill until he got a job at general motors. He worked there until his retirement. He brought skills with him too. One I remember is making homemade wine. Another was making intricate chairs, tables and other items out of a soda can or beer can. He also was the one who made my bridal veil when I got married. My grandmother made my gown, and my grandfather made my veil. Both were beautiful.

I admire them for what they knew. I only wish I had sat and learned how to do those things but they are gone now. Yes, I can sew, but not like my grandmother. Yes, I craft items but nothing as magnificent as my grandpa could. Oh the loss of time and education that I could have had if only.

My homesteading goals have changed through the years. I used to work full time as did my husband. We both ended up medically retired, for different reasons, and only in the last ten years have we started embracing the skills of old. We both enjoy a variety of skills and we are learning new ones all the time. Our early homesteading type of goals were basically building a log cabin in the country so that when we retired we could live a simple life. Nothing fancy. The goals have changed now.

For one thing, since we both got sick and had to retire, our income if nothing like we thought it would be at retirement. The truth is that our retirement was used up while waiting for me to get on social security, which took three years. Our savings too. I was forty at the time and we thought we still had time to put away those funds for the golden years to come. Life has a funny way of showing you different. So, no seed money. We actually live on what we used to make in a week, except we have to use it for living a month instead now.

We simplified our life. We sold what we could, took inventory on what was important, and set up new goals. Those goals do not resemble the old ones with one exception…we wanted to live in the country in Kentucky or Tennessee. We live in Kentucky now but we are renting. Otherwise, our goals are completely different now.

Our goals today are to find some land, if it has a house, yay, but if not, put a mobile home on it. We no longer care about a big house. Simple is better. Living within our means. We cannot build a cabin because of our different health problems. We had to improvise then, so we decided as long as it is a roof, and warm in winter, we are ok with it. We do not need a big chunk of land either. A couple of acres will do. We can plant a garden and raise as much food as we can. No farm animals though. Well, maybe chickens at some point but nothing else because if we get down with our illnesses, the animals still need care. Revised plans. My husband would like a garage with a concrete floor, electricity and the ability to make himself a “man cave” where he can play music and draw and paint. He is wonderful at both things plus a bunch more. I want a craft area.

Homesteading can be whatever you want it to be. We wanted to try solar before, now, it is ok not to if we cannot. We wanted a log cabin before, now a trailer is fine. Keep it simple. Growing a garden, which is very therapeutic for me, is something I am doing now at our rental house. Our landlord told me to make the whole yard a garden if I want. I put our food up too, by canning and dehydrating. I try to stay away from freezing because if power goes out (here in eastern Kentucky it can be out for a long while) because of a storm or something, I do not want to waste food that spoils if frozen. We are composting now, which is a new learned thing for us. We have a front porch with a swing which we love to use.

So, until we find that land to use, we are content here, in our little four square rental home, becoming homesteaders. We are always learning, always growing in our skill sets. Learning how to use what is in nature to help us in life. Simplifying, changing, and growing. Are we homesteaders? Not to some, but to us, we are. We are not relying on others, but rather, on ourselves, to live a quality life. It doesn’t matter that our goals changed over time due to circumstances we cannot control, it matters that we rolled with the changes and keep revising our goals to suit the present, the now. Are we unhappy with the changes? A little, but truthfully, as long as we are happy, doing things we love, what are a few changes?

My question then is, what do YOU think a homesteader is?