Saturday, December 31, 2016

Our Accidental Trash Free Life

While I always admired people who filled like one mason jar a year with trash, I have to admit that they seemed a bit obsessive about it and so I never set out to try it myself. A couple of weeks ago, I realized that I’ve come pretty close to accomplishing this seemingly miraculous feat without even trying or noticing. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Rewild Your Spice Cabinet: 17 Seasonings to Forage For

Many people these days are trying to “rewild” their diet, foraging for their own or purchasing wild harvested food, or even buying wild plants grown in an agricultural setting from reputable sources. Wild meats, such as bison, salmon, venison, and duck are as popular as ever. Even wild mushrooms and root vegetables, such as sunchokes, seem to be popping up all over the country in farmers markets, food co-ops, and specialty grocery stores. While it is wonderful to see this movement back towards our local flavors and ingredients, it has been my experience that they are often prepared with traditionally Western methods and recipes, including common seasonings found in the Western diet. I think it is time that we experience the true taste of our local fields and forests and incorporate wild seasonings as well! 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Use Your Wood Stove As a Dehydrator

While I would do a lot to get my hands on an excalibur dehydrator, they are expensive and use a lot of electricity. Until I have the means to get one, I’ve been experimenting with alternative methods of dehydrating food and herbs. I haven’t had much luck simply air drying many herbs, so I’m always looking for ways to add just a little heat into the mixture. You’ve seen how I turned a pickup truck into a dehydrator to dry mushrooms and homemade noodles, but now we are classing it up a little by using a wood stove to get the job done. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Cutting Our Own Firewood

As I sit here next to the wood stove sipping my nettle tea, I wonder why anyone would ever heat their home with anything other than wood. 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Dressing For Subzero Temperatures: Never Be Cold Outside Again

When I moved to Vermont from Illinois, I had no idea what I was in for when winter rolled around. There was no way that I wasn’t going to go outside, but with temperatures commonly dropping to -20 degrees or lower, I froze my butt off, literally. I swear, after one winter camping trip, my butt didn’t thaw for several days. Eventually, I gave myself hypothermia one too many times and I just couldn’t take being cold any longer! I was sick of not being able to do what I wanted when outside, my poor clothing choices were dragging me down and the winter blues set in.  When spring finally rolled around, I raided every clothing swap and free box I could find, and built up my vast collection of cold weather clothing. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Gleaning Free Supplies For Your Homestead Projects

There’s an old saying that I learned in Vermont that goes “use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without”. So you’ve used it up, you’ve worn it out, now we are on to the make do stage. Sure, you could just go to the store and buy it, but if you’re like me, that isn’t always an option. Besides, what fun would that be anyway? 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Flying North for The Winter

We’ve been living on an island in Northern Wisconsin for a little over a week now, and although there are a little over two hundred winter inhabitants on this 13 mile long rock, we have only interacted with a small handful of people. Almost every single person who has found out that we moved here for the winter has said something along the lines of “Why in the hell would you do that?”. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

How to Make Hemlock Kombucha

Kombucha! This fizzy, fermented beverage seems to be popping up everywhere these days. From individual bottles sold at convenient stores to entire kombucha bars with many flavors on tap, it is hard to go anywhere without seeing this popular drink, especially if you are a health foodie like me! While all of these commercially sold kombuchas are equally healthy and delicious, they are very expensive (especially when you drink as much as Zak and I do), which is why I brew my own at home. Brewing my own “booch” also gives me the option to experiment with other ingredients, including my new favorite, hemlock.