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New World Training Center
- Bethany's horse training site.
TLiving without Electricity

First Year on the Ranch   Countryside Magazine article 1995 and 1997

~ Cooling in the Summer Heat ~ Water ~ Freezer ~ Books ~ Wringer Washer  ~  Pellet Stoves  ~ Heating with Wood ~ Recipes ~ Canning ~ Solar Cooking ~ Homesteading Letters ~ Farm Animals ~ Fluoride Alert

PET SHOPS ON-LINEI am writing a book on our experiences the first year living here. The book also includes how we built our block house without electricity.

PET SHOPS ON-LINE 15 years ago, I fed my family of 5 (3 children ages 3, 5 and 7) for $20 a week. With the prices today, I can still do it on $50 a week... I am putting together a recipe book with advice on how I did it, with recipes and grocery lists. If you are interested in being on the waiting list for the book, let me know.

If you are interested in either book, email me and I will put you on the waiting list.

Want to learn how to raise chickens? Check out my blog
There is more than just chickens written there too! Check it out!

Find us on FACEBOOK (we are now LillyWhite Farm)

Our new website with information on quail and quail eggs, pastured ducks and chickens - eggs and meat available
Our adorable potbelly pigs.  New litter arriving March 2014! Pop over and get your deposit in!


If you have any ideas to add for future homesteaders, please email me so I can add it! We all learn something new everyday! Check out these plans for a 14X14 cabin with loft - adorable, easy and free! Free Cabin Plans

Living without electricity is actually a lot easier than most people think.  How can I not have TV.? or the blender, mixer, lights???? Well, many people still choose to live without all the hassle, electric bills, etc. And life actually becomes easier, slower, even more serene. You go to bed earlier, so you get up earlier in the morning. You are more in tune to the sun, the seasons and your life. Do you know what the weather is today? Look outside! What time is it? Time to get up because it is dawn. Do you need to stay up until midnight to watch TV? Nope - just to sit outside around a fire and watch the stars...
We lived for over 5 years without electricity, and had very little adjustment. We never  missed TV.  It will probably take a week before the habit of switching it on, diminishes. Just think of the silence... sometimes that takes getting used to!

We felt that if the Amish people can still live a basically simple life, then why couldn't we?  We began to study different books on living without electricity, and decided we could also live more simply. This began in 1993 when our children were 7, 5 and 3. In the 70's this was called the "Back to the Land" movement. Today it is referred to as "homesteading", and there are magazines, books and even web pages devoted to helping people find their own style of homesteading. Some go back to the basics, others create their own electricity using wind, solar or electric power.  We went to the basics. I have gotten e-mails complaining that I have  a PC.  A PC can be run with solar, wind, water power,  with a generator, or using batteries and an inverter. Just because you are saving money and living off the grid does not mean you are not "in touch" with the world. As it stands right now, we are "on-the-grid" as we get prepared to add solar and wind power to our homestead. 

 The place to find things for living with out electricity is Lehmans. This store caters to the Amish and is located in the heart of Amish Country in Ohio. It is truly an amazing store to wander through. It is worth it to get their catalog to browse!

 For more information on the Amish: http://www.shawcreekamishstore.com/amish_old_order.htm

I won't say there aren't any adjustments to make. During the winter when it gets dark early it is sometimes hard to see the food you are cooking on the stove to make sure it is done, or not too done. I have been known to stand over the stove with a flashlight in my hand! But an Aladdin lamp helps a lot with the darkness. And it doesn't smell like other lamps.

A lot of what you need to homestead is a feeling of wanting to live as frugally as you can. This sometimes can be a tough thing to succeed at. Before we decided to homestead, we lived in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio. I began practicing frugal ideas there. I subscribed to the Tightwad Gazette newsletter by Amy Dacyczan. She no longer has a newsletter as after a few years she realized she was just repeating herself. But you can still find the newsletters compiled into books called  The Tightwad Gazette I, II, and III. These books have a ton of information to help you live a frugally as you feel comfortable. I still use many ideas from here, and refer back!

Jim worked and I stayed home with the 3 children, so being frugal was a necessity. I learned to can vegetables, meat, jams. I counted every penny and kept a small notebook with prices. I "nickel and dimed" it. Every penny was pinched, every quarter squeezed until it cried.  I could cook for the 5 of us on $20.00 a week! I do have some recipes that will stretch the budget, including beans and bread recipes.  I still buy a lot of clothes at the thrift stores, and the children love to find great bargains. They don't have the peer pressure to "dress' like some kids, and part of that is because we homeschool, and part of that is because they have been taught to be frugal. It is a lot of fun to find a gorgeous sweater for $1.50, or a pair of jeans for $2.00. Many people put beautiful clothes in the thrift store bins, either because they out-grew them, or they got tired of them, or they bought them on a whim.
I am not a good yard sale person, although I know a lot of good buys can be found at  yard and garage sales.

Canning is a great way to save food normally frozen if you haven't the electricity for a refrigerator. (Although you can get propane refrigerators and freezers, they are a little expensive.) You can "can" just about anything, from jellies, vegetables, stews, soups, and meats. My favorite recipe  I call Road Kill Stew. In West Virginia, it is now legal to take home meat that was accidentally killed on the highway - I am not kidding! Anyway, Jim was coming home from work when he came across a couple of young women that had just hit a young deer. "What an opportunity", thought my husband, and he assured the young women he would dispose of the deer and not to be upset about it. He brought the deer home, and we processed it into a stew I dubbed "Road Kill Stew". We gave some away for Christmas presents that year. It was one of our more unusual Christmas gifts.

I used a solar cooker during the summer months. It takes longer to cook, but it helps keep the house cool and needs no gas, electric or fire.  I used 2  cardboard boxes. One fits inside the other with stiff insulation between the two. The inside of the smaller box is made out of metal - we used flashing. You could paint the inside of the second box black.  The top is a window. And a mirror reflects the sun's rays into the window. You must have a black pot to cook in, as black absorbs the heat better.  There are better plans to make a solar oven at Solar Cooking.org or go to Knowledge Hound - there are lots of plans there.

You can bake bread, make casseroles, cook stews, or even barbeque chicken in a solar oven. It takes all day, but once it is in the cooker you don't have to worry about it. Temperatures will be about 300 - 350 on a hot, sunny day.

To replace that electric toaster, take a large coffee can. Using a large screwdriver poke holes in a circular manner all over the bottom of the can. This will sit on your cook stove and disperse heat. Using a thick wire, form and X across the open top of the can, attaching it through holes along the rim. This is where your bread sits. The heat comes up through the can and toasts the bread. When it is the color that you want, turn the slice over and toast the other side. As you use it, the toaster will heat up and the next slices won't take as long to toast. This toaster will last for years, and can be used on a stove, grill or even a campfire. As a child, we used one my father made ~ we would camp all summer near our town and my father would commute to work.

Start listening to the radio instead of watching TV. You can get radios that run on man-power, or buy batteries.  Read a lot of books.

Hang your laundry outside instead of using a dryer. In the winter it just freeze-dries. You can finish up the drying on a line in the house. In fact, I have even washed clothes in a large bucket, and hung them outside on the line. A wringer washer is a big help. (top)

Heat with a wood stove, and use it to cook on.

Get a propane cook stove instead of an electric one. Collect you water in rain barrels.

To keep your money with you and not spending it unwisely, stay away from disposable items - Instead of using disposable diapers, buy cloth. Instead of paper napkins, use cloth, or washcloths, can your own food and buy less food from the grocery store.


Think of it as camping long term. Unless you are camping in a trailer or motor home, that is basically what it is all about. Collecting rain water can be as simple as you want it to be. Because we had found an undeveloped piece of land, and were going to build our home by hand, we camped for many months.  We placed a tarp over our eating area, with one corner slightly lower than the others and when it rained it fell into a large bucket that we called a muck bucket. (It also made a dandy tub for the children). When we got the house "under roof", we put up a gutter and had the rain water flow into a 50 gal. barrel. Two years later, we added on a small landscape timber addition and put a water holding tank ("cistern") under the floor. The gutter was then placed so the water fell into the cistern. This was under the temporary kitchen and we pumped the water out with a hand pump we bought at Lehmans in Ohio. (The largest Amish community lives in this area so we figured that anything we bought there was probably tested with experts)!  We still use this system, 10 years later!.
The biggest problem we have found with this system is keeping leaves and bugs out, so we use a screen.
In the barn we built in 1998, we also have a 1500 gal. cistern under the floor, and the water goes through a barrel and screen before it gets to the cistern.

Rain water is extremely soft. If you bathe in it you will find yourself rinsing and rinsing yourself in order to get the slicky soapy feeling off. However, the soft water gives you a slick feeling. You will use less soap, shampoo, and laundry detergent - so it ends up being another frugal investment. (top)

: Let me also add that water found in a lot of communities contain fluoride. While we have been told that fluoride is good for preventing cavities, what we haven't been told is that it is very toxic. You should not be ingesting fluoride. Toothpaste companies have it on their product not to swallow... there is a reason. Read this:  "Hydrofluorosilicic acid is recovered from the smokestack scrubbers during the production of phosphate fertilizer and sold to most of the major cities in North America, which use this industrial grade source of fluoride to fluoridate drinking water, rather than the more expensive pharmaceutical grade sodium fluoride salt. Fluorosilicates have never been tested for safety in humans. Furthermore, these industrial-grade chemicals are contaminated with trace amounts of heavy metals such as lead, arsenic and radium that accumulate in humans. Increased lead levels have been found in children living in fluoridated communities. Osteosarcoma (bone cancer) has been shown to be associated with radium in the drinking water. Long-term ingestion of these harmful elements should be avoided altogether."
To learn more about this toxin go to www.fluoridealert.org 
FLUORIDE... Making Toothpaste a Toxic Drug  
Fluoride - Friend or Foe?
Respected Medical Professionals and Scientists are warning of long-term health consequences.


Most people realize that one way to save money is to heat your home with wood from some sort of woodstove or pellet stove. When we lived in Ohio our house was heated with gas. There was already one woodstove there, so we added another one at the back of the house. We kept those two stoves going all winter and saved enough money on our gas bill that we didn't have to pay the following year. How did we do that? Our gas bill was on a "budget" meaning the company took the usage from the year before, divided the total into 12 months and budgeted it into 12 payments. The first year we were there we paid the budgeted amount, but we used the woodstove to heat the house. The only gas we used was for the cook stove.  Twice that winter the gas company came out to see if we were tampering with the meter. I explained we were using 2 woodstoves, but that answer wasn't good enough for them. However, by the end of the winter, I had sent them so much money, that they needed to pay me back in gas for over a year!  My budgeted gas had dropped that low! The next residents were probably shocked when they used gas to heat the house and their budget tripled the next year!

On our homestead we have a woodstove to heat our house. Originally when we built the house we built a wood box into the side of the house. From the outside, you could open the little door and put wood directly into the wood box.  However, we have put a landscape addition on and it covered up the door.  The woodstove is great for keeping moisture in the air during the winter, heating water up to do dishes, and cooking or just keeping food warm.  We built a little shelf over top of the woodstove and put an old screen window over the brackets to place wet mittens and hats to warm and dry during the winter. Plus it makes a grand place to keep new chicks warm and toasty!

We have also put in an outdoor water stove. It is a little more high tech, but it heats without the mess. The fire is outside of the house, and the fear of a house fire is gone. We put it in because with the little animals we have from all over the world, we needed to heat a room in the office with something that wasn't going to cost a lot (like gas) and  was reliable. So, the woodstove is 1/2 way between the house and the barn and heats both.

Typical Pellet Stove

(Please note: We do not use a wood pellet stove. This section is just for your information)

Some people like the idea of a . This will cost you for the pellets, so if you are being frugal, the cost effectiveness isn't as good as harvesting your own firewood, or even buying your own firewood in most places. Pellet-burning appliances are simpler to operate and more convenient than other wood-burning appliances. In fact, they are almost as easy to use as gas, oil, or electric heaters. These stoves and inserts burn wood pellets--compressed wood which resembles rabbit food.
Pellet-burning appliances rely on sophisticated computers and circuit boards to determine how much pellet fuel should be burned. Most models have at least two burn settings and some use thermostats to control the fire. They also use a forced-air system to distribute heat. Pellet-burning appliances are highly efficient and pollute very little. Depending on the model, they may furnish between 10,000 and 50,000 Btu per hour.

Wood Pellets

Because these appliances burn wood so efficiently, some do not even need chimneys. Rather, they exhaust fumes through a small hole in the wall to the outdoors. Pellet-burning appliances need to be refueled less frequently than most other wood-burning appliances. Refueling varies from once a day to twice a week, depending on the model and your heating needs. To refuel, you simply pour the pellets into a hopper, which holds between 35 and 130 pounds of pellets and they are transferred to the fire chamber to be burned as needed. A corkscrew-shaped device called an auger transfer pellets to the fire chamber. There are two types of auger feed systems, bottom-fed and top-fed loading systems. Unlike other wood-burning appliances, pellet stoves and inserts rely on mechanical air-supply systems (usually a forced-draft or induced-draft system) to vent air from the home. the forced-draft system uses a fan to force air up the vent into the combustion chamber. The induced-draft system, sometimes called the negative pressure system, uses a fan to draw air from the combustion area through the exhaust system.
Burning wood with a pellet stove or insert is usually convenient, neat and safe. These devices usually don't require refueling more than once a day and the fuel is compressed and bagged for clean and easy storage and handling. Pellet stoves produce virtually no smoke, and produce less odor than other wood-burning appliances. Moreover, the exteriors of these appliances are not used for radiating heat and stay relatively cool, preventing you from burning yourself if you accidentally touch the stove.
Pellet-burning appliances, however, have disadvantages. Because using pellets is a relatively new way to burn wood, you may have difficulty finding a dealer who sells the fuel. Before purchasing a pellet-burning appliance, make sure that a reliable supplier sells pellets in your area. Many of the pellet fuel and pellet stove manufacturers are located in the Northwest and the Rocky Mountain region. There are however, retailers throughout the nation. To find a pellet fuel distributor in your area, ask a local wood stove dealer or check for a listing in your local telephone directory under Fuel or Pellet Fuel. Pellet-burning appliances also use several internal fans, which require about 100 KWH of electricity each month. The need for electricity will add to your total energy bill and will also prevent you from using your stove or insert if the power goes out (unless your appliance has a battery pack). Moreover, there are restrictions on where you can place a pellet-burning appliance to allow proper combustion and air exchange. For example, you may not install a pellet stove in a new manufactured (mobile) home according to regulations of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Most pellet-burning appliances cost between $1,200 and $2,100. If you are comparing the price of a pellet stove or insert with another wood-burning appliance , you should compare the total installed cost of both systems. If the pellet-burning appliance doesn't need a chimney, the cost of the entire system may be less than that of another stove. Wood pellets are usually available in 40 pound bags at about $3.00 each. Tractor Supply sells this. 

Even though we don't have the heat here that many of you do, we do have 90* weather and high humidity. So, keeping cool has always been a problem.  many of us grew up without air conditioning and our ancestors survived just fine without it. Years ago, Jim and i lived in an apartment building and had air conditioning. We found that during the hottest time of the summer we spent all of our time inside because going out into the heat was like walking into an oven. However, that was the last time we had air conditioning and as your body acclimates itself to the heat, you will find that it isn't too awful if you just follow these tricks:

1. Use a solar cooker, grill or microwave to cook all your foods. Once you cook or bake in the house it will take all night to cool again.
2. At night open your windows to let the night air in - it isn't always "cool" but there may be a breeze to move the air around. Take a cool shower before bed and that will help you sleep. Keep them open until the sun rises, then close them off for the day.
3. Take a cool shower before bed and that will help you sleep. Or go swimming - Which is my favorite solution
4. Keep lights and computer off as they put out heat. In the hottest time of the day, put your insulated window covering up to deflect the heat coming in the windows. I have mine up year 'round. When the sun isn't directly on the windows, I open them up to let the light in.
5. For a homemade �air conditioning� system, sit in the path of a box fan that is aimed at an open cooler, or pan filled with ice. Purchase a commercial bag of ice cubes. Empty the entire bag into a wide, shallow container (to contain the water as the ice melts) such as a roasting pan. Place the container of ice right in front of the fan. The ice-cooled air will be noticeably cooler than the room air for the amount of time it takes for the ice to melt -- (Or try the towel method. Hang a wet towel from two chairs to hold the ice. The melting ice will wet and chill the towel and the fan will blow that cold air on you. Place a container under the towel to catch the melting ice water. You can use a thread to connect the bottom of the towel with the container to avoid the annoying dripping sound.)
6. Sometimes you can run the blower on your furnace without any heat.
7. This low-fi air-conditioning technique actually works: 1) Place a medium-sized box-fan in a small window facing out. Seal up any remaining open areas in the window with cardboard. 2)Close every other window in your house except for one, left open just a crack... This will actually blow all of the stagnant hot air out of your house and significantly cool down the overall temperature.
8. Sleep in a hammock
8. Build underground.


Washing clothes by hand isn't as difficult as it is time consuming. The first year that we lived on the homestead I did wash our clothes in a muck bucket and hung them around the house to dry. The following year Jim's sister, Sue, was remodeling her bathroom and laundry room and we were given a claw foot bathtub and an old wringer washer. We had a generator and we powered the washer with the generator. Be very careful that you don't get your fingers caught in the wringer. Jim's granny lost a finger in the wringer! These machines can be very dangerous. Make sure you know where the quick release is.

To use the wringer washer, fill the tub with water. Start with your cleanest clothes - usually the whites, and then work toward the dirtiest - probably the jeans, or grease covered clothes, etc. Wash the cleanest first. Wring them out, saving the water, then add the next dirtiest clothes. When all have been washed and wrung, empty water and refill the tub. Now you will begin the rinsing. I have found that I will wash the dirtiest clothes again in the rinse water, then rinse them for a final step. What is great about wringer washers is they clean the clothes better, using less detergent by letting them agitate longer.

There are tricks to buying and using a wringer washer, but first let me give you the reasons you should consider one:

If you've never used a wringer washer, though, those same safety features would be of value to you. You'll soon learn to not put your fingers through any wringer, but a touchy one will release quickly, whether it's spitting out your fingers or your denim jacket.

Years ago an Alabama grandmother gave the new bride the following recipe: This is an exact copy as written and found in an old scrapbook - with spelling errors and all.
Build fire in backyard to heat kettle of rain water. Set tubs so smoke wont blow in eyes if wind is pert. Shave one hole cake of lie soap in boilin water.
Sort things, make 3 piles
1 pile white,
1 pile colored,
1 pile work britches and rags.
To make starch, stir flour in cool water to smooth, then thin down with boiling water.
Take white things, rub dirty spots on board, scrub hard, and boil, then rub colored don't boil just wrench and starch.
Take things out of kettle with broom stick handle, then wrench, and starch.
Hang old rags on fence.
Spread tea towels on grass.
Pore wrench water in flower bed. Scrub porch with hot soapy water. Turn tubs upside down.
Go put on clean dress, smooth hair with hair combs. Brew cup of tea, sit and rock a spell and count your blessings.
Paste this over your washer and dryer. Next time when you think things are bleak, read it again, kiss that washing machine and dryer, and give thanks. First thing each morning you should run and hug your washer and dryer, also your toilet---those two-holers used to get mighty cold!
(For you non-southerners -wrench means rinse)

Maytag is the name to look for if you decide to go scrounging around garage sales looking for a used one. Sometimes, depending on the area you're in, you can find a wringer washer in the back room of a used appliance dealer. Believe him if he tells you the motor is burned out. Believe him if he tells you the pump won't work. But don't let that stop you. The motors are easily changed from washer to another, since they are outside the washer body. Pumps are extras... you can empty a tub with gravitation if you simply put the hose lower than the washtub where the water is. Use a bucket to catch the water. Never believe a used appliance salesman who tells you it isn't worth fixing.

What to look for:


Where can you buy one? If you would like a brand new one, you can find a Speed Queen at  Lehmans. It is drained by gravity and has no pump.

Some clothes are harder to wring than others. Jeans need to be folded in a way the machine will allow them to go through the wringer without having the safety switch kick on. Buttons will break if not folded carefully between layers of clothes.  It takes practice to master the wringer washer. (top)

Hi, I looked at your article on wringer washers, I am 55, and still use one, have all my life, now I never wring out shirts, pants, jackets, I take these out of the washer and squeeze out, then into rinse water, then squeeze out by hand to a 5 gal. pail and drip dry on the line in the wind, no wrinkles, or broken buttons, or zippers, this has always worked for me, even in winter on the line and freeze dry, if they need more drying by evening, I put them on hangers overnite till dried, Just a thought for you, Thanks,Dave


I ran across your website and decided to write to you.  I have lived up in Alaska for some time. One of the tricks that some people in the bush (remote) country  is to build their own freezers. A couple of ways to do this. In the flats people would dig a pit. Big enough to climb down into an move around. Build a structure that will not collapse with snow load, like a box. Cover the top with a waterproof material and cover the whole unit with dirt and whatever else,
making sure you leave a way to enter the structure easily. Line the inside with blocks of ice. Can use one gallon milk jugs to freeze water in. Easiest in the winter. Another way is to dig into a hillside and make a direct walk in freezer. Back issues of Alaska Magazine will have many ideas and photos of ways to live in the country without plugging into the grid. 



Some things to consider before your move: Do a lot of reading - I can't stress this enough... Besides, it is a good habit to get into for those long evenings in the winter.


The Modern Homestead Manual, a book that was written specifically to tell what it really takes to make it beyond the sidewalks and powerlines. It tells the reader a lot of the essentials they won't find in most other publications and is written by two people who lived the life and did it well.

Jim feels that this book is an excellent example of what you need to do for
electricity on a homestead when you are not using wind or solar power:

More Power to You! is a complete, step-by-step manual on how to build a wilderness home electrical-power system that will run a house and a good-sized shop.  It's specifically for those who do not have the sun, wind or water resources necessary to produce the kind of power they need. The system described was time-tested and evolved over a ten year period at the owner's home and woodworking shop where he earned the family's living.

One of the best books to get is Carla Emory's "Encyclopedia of Country Living", a an old fashioned recipe book."  I call this book my "country bible". It has everything in it to get you started and keep you going -  gardening, growing feed for animals, poultry, animals, fencing, food preparation, bee keeping, etc! It is expensive, but I think Amazon.com has it on sale for $20 or something like that. This is my absolute favorite book

 Another book that I enjoyed before we moved off the grid is Readers Digest's "Back To Basics". This book gets the imagination juices going! It has hundreds of projects and illustrated step-by-step sequences to help you learn to live more self-sufficiently, with sections on shelter, alternative energy sources, growing and preserving food, home crafts, and even recreation. Includes over 2,000 photos, diagrams and drawings.

The Tightwad Gazette   A newsletter published from May 1990 to December 1996 made into a book packed with humor, creativity, and insight, The Complete Tightwad Gazette includes hundreds of tips and topics, such as:� Travel for tightwads� How to transform old blue jeans into potholders and quilts� Ten painless ways to save $100 this year� Picture-framing for pennies, A comparison of painting versus re-siding your house � Halloween costumes from scrounged materials� Thrifty window treatments � Ways to dry up dry-cleaning costs  Inexpensive gifts� Creative fundraisers for kids� Slashing your electric bill� Frugal fix-its� Cutting the cost of college,  Moving for less  Saving on groceries� Gift-wrapping for tightwads � Furniture-fusion fundamentals� Cheap breakfast cereals� Avoiding credit card debt  Using items you were about to throw away (milk jugs, plastic meat trays, and more!) � Recipes galore, from penny-pinching pizza to toaster pastries� And much much more . . .
I subscribed to this newsletter and learned so much from it... Frugality is the only way to live off the grid...

If you want to raise your own animals for food, a good book is "Backyard Livestock Raising Good Natural Food for Your Family" by Stephen Thomas.  In a world where hormones for growth are given regularly to the animals we eat, and the fear of e-coli and salmonella,  it would make a family feel a little better if they knew where their food was raised, and how it was prepared. Not only with the meats, but with fruits and vegetables also!

Living Without Electricity by Steven Scott and Kenneth Pellman - This book introduces the reader to the philosophy and lifestyle of the Amish people. It shows how they live a life of voluntary simplicity. It is an interesting book to read, but it will not give you specifics on how to do things.

Simple Living: One Couples Search for a Better Life by Frank Levering, Wanda Urbanska. In L.A., Frank was a hot young screenwriter and Wanda was a rising young journalist. They had yearned for life in the fast lane--yet the psychic cost of it was killing them. Finally they decided to give it all up to run a family orchard in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Now comes their memoir and guide for finding a better life (Out of print, but Amazon.com has some used ones - or you may be able to get their book from them) These people are writers and Levering Orchard farmers. Their webpage is Levering Orchard

Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship With Money and Achieving Financial Independence -- by Joe Dominguez, Vicki Robin From this inspiring book, learn how to
1. get out of debt and develop savings 2. reorder material priorities and live well for less 3. resolve inner conflicts between values and lifestyles 4. convert problems into opportunities to learn new skills 5. attain a wholeness of livelihood and lifestyle 6. save the planet while saving money
and much more

The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey
His seven-step plan includes paying off all debts except the home mortgage at an accelerated speed, creating a financial safety net that covers three to six months' expenses, investing 15 percent of income in a retirement fund, and saving for children's college expenses. He effectively shows how regular people can rid themselves of debt and grow their wealth using current income.

The Little House Cookbook  by Barbara M. Walker I read all of Laura Ingalls' books to my children when we started out as homesteaders. When I found this cookbook, I was thrilled. The recipes were fun to try, and when we had our own "long hard winter", the books kept our spirits up! I never thought apples 'n onions would taste so good, or had fun watching the beans bubble up when the baking soda was added (good science lesson for homeschoolers). Really enjoy the book. A fun book to use with kids that are homesteading.


I just wanted to let you know about a book for homesteaders that your readers might be interested in. It is called Deliberate Life: The Ultimate Homesteading Guide. It has step-by-step information on almost anything to do with self-reliance, survival, organic
agriculture, lost arts, and more. Take a look:http://www.lulu.com/content/452515
There is also a website that could be listed on your Links page that is a wonderful source of information, with hundreds of articles, a busy forum and lots of free tools for members: www.deliberatelife.com  Thanks!   Nicole Faires  deliberatelife.com

(top)    To help you out, there are more links on our Favorite Homesteading Links

Articles on our experiences appeared in Countryside Magazine in Nov/Dec 1995 and Nov/Dec 1997                 Our First Year on the Ranch


I don't do windows because .
I love birds and don't want one to run into a clean window and get hurt.
I don't wax floors because I am terrified a guest will slip and get hurt then I'll feel terrible ( plus they may sue me.)
I don't mind the dust bunnies because:
  They are very good company,
I have named most of them, and they agree with everything I say.
I don't disturb cobwebs because ..
I want every creature to have a home of their own.
I don't Spring Clean because ..
I love all the seasons and don't want the others to get jealous.
I don't pull weeds in the garden because ... I don't want to get in God's way,
HE is an excellent designer!
I don't put things away because ... My husband will never be able to find them again.
I don't do gourmet meals when I entertain because ...
I don't want my guests to stress out over what to make when they invite me over for dinner.
I don't iron because...
I choose to believe them when they say "Permanent Press".
I don't stress much on anything because:
"A type" personalities die young and I want to stick around and become a wrinkled up crusty ol' woman!!
(Actually I'm doing pretty well in that category.)

email us! We would love to hear from you and share ideas!(TOP)

Old Homesteader

The fancy SUV pulled up in front of the old homesteaders cabin and out
stepped a young city kid. "Hello old timer" he yells. "I sure like
your cabin." The old man rocking on the front porch nods suspiciously
and goes back to whittling. "I've always wanted to to live like you."
the young man goes on "I'd love to give up my 9 to 5 rat race and get
back to my homesteader roots." The old man spits and says "Well come
on up here and sit a spell and I'll tell you what yer in for."
"You see, this cabin was built with my own two hands. No power tools
or chainsaws, every log, every nail, and every cuss word was put here
by me. You see that smoke out of the chimney there ? Well that don't
come free. Each morning I have to lug in wood that I chopped the day
before. Sometimes the fire starts and sometimes it don't. If it don't
then I'll be cold and so will my coffee and porridge".
You see that little shack out there in the toolies, well that's my
outhouse. No indoors plumbing here now son. In the night its a mighty
cold run from the cabin to the john and in the summer always check the
seat for spiders. Its put down there so's the smell don't drive away
the skunks. Over yonder you see my trickle well. That's my sink and
tub. Each day I haul in buckets of water to wash my dishes and my
face. If you want it hot well you better bring in more wood. Now back
behind the cabin is my garden full of taters, corn, and squash. To
tell the truth, I hanker for one of them big mac sandwiches I heard
about. Those rows get mighty hard to hoe and the weeds get tougher
every year. there's no fridge or freezer so things spoil 'fore there
et'. In that shed over there is my tractor that won't run 'cuz lack of
gas. There's wild chickens running round and if I find there stash I
can have an egg. I've raised cows but they take pasture and hay which
I aint got. Hogs are easier but you gotta have good pens or they'll be
gone one morning. In the winter I survive off what I put away in the
season. In good years I get by and in bad years I go hungry. I can't
afford a car no more 'cuz nothing left to sell and I haven't seen the
town in 20 years now. There's no lights 'cept for candles and the sun
when it shines. No tv or radio and no newspapers come my way".
"So if your really interested- I'll gladly make a deal. You trade me
your house in town and you can have this cabin today ?"
The old man stops talking to see the dust flying from the rear of
the SUV tearing down his old dirt lane.

"Well I'll be damned!" he says, and goes back to whittling with a
smile on his face.

If you like the story come check out my lil cabin and other folk songs
and cowboy poetry here:


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