[How-To] Make Old-Fashioned Refrigerated Dill Pickles

It absolutely amazes me sometimes how far removed people are from our food...

I was talking with someone today who legitimately thought pickles grew from a pickle plant...reallllly!?

As I write this, it is mid-summer and my cucumber vine is fruiting like crazy!   I  have to start thinking of how to preserve this years harvest...


Pickles are super easy to make at home, on your own, from cucumbers you've bought at the farmers market or grown in your own backyard.  Its important not to use cucumbers you buy from the typical grocery store as they are coated with a waxy preservative substance that inhibits the pickling process...

Using cucumbers you've grown yourself is a very rewarding process!   There is no need to be intimidated by growing cucumbers...they are one of that simplest things to grow besides tomatoes and peppers...

Almost as simple ... is the actual pickling process.  Check it out here:

How to Make Old-Fashioned Refrigerated Dill Pickles


This Amazing Waste-to-Resources System Uses A Simple Bucket To Turn Your Trash Into Black Gold.

This Amazing Waste-to-Resources System Uses A Simple Bucket To Turn Your Trash Into Black Gold.

Check out the article and instructions I wrote for Marjory Wildcraft of the GROW Network on how to construct this very vermicompost system. 


For those who are having a hard time finding the materials needed, I have included Amazon links to the left: (Full Disclosure: I earn a very small commission from Amazon if you choose to click the links provided -there is no additional cost to you).  Try getting free five gallon buckets at your local bakery (frosting buckets), hamburger joints (pickle buckets), and Car Washes (Soap Buckets).  Make sure the buckets are "food grade" and didn't once contain some nasty chemical.  The PVC pipe can be found at any hardware store.

UPDATE:  "Grit Guards" can be quite expensive so I devised a $1 alternative.  I've thoroughly tested it and it holds its structural integrity. 

I went to the local Dollar Store and purchased a thin plastic cutting board (pack of 2).

You'll need to cut out the following pieces from the flimsy plastic cutting board:

(2) - 2.5" x 10"

(4) - 2.5" x 8"

 Cut notches at the 2", 5", and 8" marks on the two 10" pieces.  (don't cut past the "halfway" point)

Cut notches at the 2", 5", and 8" marks on the two 10" pieces.  (don't cut past the "halfway" point)

 Cut notches at the 1", 4", and 7" marks on the four 8" pieces. (don't cut past the "halfway" point)

Cut notches at the 1", 4", and 7" marks on the four 8" pieces. (don't cut past the "halfway" point)

 Put the four 8" pieces together, and then add the two 10" pieces to the center.  

Put the four 8" pieces together, and then add the two 10" pieces to the center.  

 Kind of hard to see, but the grid has been placed on the bottom of the bucket (the spigot fits between the walls of the grid).   The window mesh is then placed on top of the grid to prevent the worms from falling down into the liquid.

Kind of hard to see, but the grid has been placed on the bottom of the bucket (the spigot fits between the walls of the grid).   The window mesh is then placed on top of the grid to prevent the worms from falling down into the liquid.

Remember, Good Planets Are Hard To Find!

Top Bar BeeHive - The Homesteaders Choice

Beekeeping is a great hobby, whether you keep bees for pollination, honey, profit, medicinal uses, or all of the above. But getting started with bees can be expensive if you use conventional hives. A basic setup with bees can cost more than $200, and building conventional hives and frames is time-consuming. But there’s a simpler, less-expensive and more natural option: top-bar hives. The top-bar beekeeping method allows you to make simpler, inexpensive hives. Build them now and you can start keeping bees next spring.

Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/keeping-bees-top-bar-beekeeping-zmaz09onzraw.aspx#ixzz2yDFPXglM

Click the below link for detailed plans on building your own!

Top Bar Hive Plans


Location is Everything - Sitting Beehives

If you want to successfully keep bees and produce honey and beeswax, it is important that you select the proper location. Placing the bee hives in the right place will lead to more harvest, as well as a safer environment for both the bees and people. There are a number of locations that can be ideal for your goals. It is equally important that you understand the nature and characteristics of your own bees to know the exact site.


Here is a video from Wranglerstar, a kindred spirit.  His well shot videos demonstrate the tools of the trade. 

Back To Basics. My heart breaks when I think of skills that have been lost to my generation. It's time to get back to what is real. It's time to get back to basics. - Wranglerstar

Amish Money: 10 Frugal Lessons from the Amish



Amish people and communities are unique in many ways. To most outsiders, they’re known mostly as soft-spoken people who live a simple life, don’t use electricity and don’t drive cars. They’ve also had just enough bad press to make some people wary. No matter what your opinion of their beliefs, the traditional Amish lifestyle offers some financial advantages that anyone might consider adopting. Obviously, some adjustments involve sacrifices and commitments that not everyone is going to want to make, but the principles can still help you find ways to save. Here are some lessons to be learned from these “plain people”:




Sometimes “Need” Really Means “Want”


Most people cultivate a sense of need for things they could live without. Since most aren’t driven by a culture that abhors amenities, it can take a financial crisis to help a person realize what he or she can give up. How many times have you said, or heard said something like, “A person has to have some comforts.” to justify that second television, or a luxury car, or something similar? If saving money is your goal, take a look around and figure out what the real necessities are.

Simple is Good

In many ways, the things we spend extra money on either complicate our lives or end up costing more in the long run. A self-propelled lawnmower doesn’t cut grass any better; it’s just easier and has more moving parts to replace. A brisk hike in the fresh air is just as effective as that 30 minute stroll on an expensive treadmill and you’ll enjoy it more. Manual hedge clippers are half as expensive as electric, less noisy and give your arms some exercise.

Grow Your Own

I know, not everyone can raise livestock or big crops, but most of us can grow a few vegetables or herbs, even if they’re of the miniature, indoor variety. You’ll save some money and get better tasting, healthier produce, too.

Many Hands Make Light Work – and Less Expense

When big projects arise in an Amish community, family and neighbors pitch in to get it done. Granted, if you live in the city, a barn raising is pretty much out of the question, but that doesn’t mean that family and friends can’t pitch in to mend that back fence or build a deck. Building codes in most cities will allow a homeowner to do their own home improvements and “employ” someone to help. You’ll need a permit for most work, and there will be inspections, but if you can’t afford a contractor, some free meals and maybe a case of beer might go a long way toward paying your friends.

Craftsmanship Isn’t About Expensive Tools

The reputation of Amish woodworkers is based on attention to detail, patience and secrets handed down through generations. Many of their tools are hand-made. You’re probably wondering what that has to do with saving money. It’s simple. Photographers can create awesome images without the top-of-the-line DSLR. Web developers can create great sites without owning the latest computer or software. Whatever you do, don’t get caught up in needing the biggest and best. Be the master of the tools you own and save some money.

Take Care of Your Tools

Keeping the tools of your trade longer doesn’t mean letting them fall apart. Any skilled craftsman knows that without proper maintenance, tools fail. Keeping your equipment in shape means it will perform better, longer. Having to replace them because of premature failure isn’t cost-effective.

Quality is Worth the Investment

One of the reasons Amish furniture is in such high demand is that it lasts. Because of the meticulous construction methods and hand-selected materials, many Amish pieces become heirlooms. Sometimes saving money means paying a little more for something that you’re not going to be throwing away soon. Naturally, this applies to much more than furniture.

Make the Most of Resources

To an Amish farmer, a cow is a source of dairy products and fertilizer. A grove of trees can provide building materials, but needs to be managed well, because it also produces game for the dinner table, as well as other natural foods. Crops are rotated carefully to optimize soil condition and help control crop disease. Careful resource management helps Amish communities sustain themselves with little help from the outside. We can all save money by learning to manage, recycle and repurpose what we have.

Get the Most Out of What You Have

Those horse-drawn prams the Amish are so well known for are also handed down, and repaired or reconditioned many times over. So it is with their other possessions. The basic principle is that if something serves its purpose, it doesn’t need to be replaced. Imagine how much money you can save by keeping your car a few years after it’s paid off. How about refinishing the dining table instead of replacing it? Make what you own last a little longer and you’ll save.

Gifts Don’t Have to Break the Bank

Traditional Amish gifts for birthdays, etc. are simple, practical items and usually singular. A tool or an item of clothing is typical. While there’s no need to adjust your gift giving quite that radically, it wouldn’t hurt to consider buying one very thoughtful gift instead of a dozen expensive ones.

When it comes to surviving hard times, the Amish have sustained their culture and communities in North America for centuries, while relying mostly on themselves. What better example for those of us trying to provide for ourselves and our families in today’s economy?

More at: http://www.savingadvice.com/articles/2012/06/12/1010910_amish-money-10-frugal-lessons-from-the-amish.html

Living off the Grid - Back to Basics Style!


Check out this couple who lives off grid in Idaho.   They are super creative and make some amazing things to sell.  Melody spins yarn, makes clothes and weaves willow to make baskets.  Jim scavenges lumber waste from mills, animal scraps, bones, and horns from hunters and uses material to make gothic style books from scratch complete with handmade paper!

Living off the grid quietly and creatively

How To Make Kombucha

Kombucha 101


Ok.  First off.  What the heck is Kombucha?   It is a fermented tea drink that the ancient Chinese called the “Immortal Health Elixir.” It’s been around for more than 2,000 years and has a rich anecdotal history of health benefits like preventing and fighting cancer, arthritis, and other degenerative diseases.

Made from sweetened tea that’s been fermented by a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (a SCOBY, a.k.a. “mother” because of its ability to reproduce, or “mushroom” because of its appearance), Kombucha didn’t gain prominence in the West until recently.

Learn how to make it below!

How To Locate and Drill A Well

Water is Life.   We put too much faith that next time we go to the faucets, water will flow freely from it...  Having alternative sources of water is imperative to abundance and security.

How To Grow Asparagus For Years To Come


Asparagus is a perennial vegetable (plant it once and it grows back every growing season). To me, there is nothing better than fresh asparagus in the spring and early summer.  I have asparagus growing in a 5 gallon bucket my container garden. 

Because asparagus is a perennial, you need to do some planning ahead to make sure that you are doing everything right from the beginning.  Learn how below.

How To Find Your Lost Dog


There may be a time when man's best friend gets a little too adventurous and wonders off.  My grandmother has a story of a cat that showed up at her doorstep 6 weeks later her father had dropped off miles away in the woods to fend for itself.   Animals are far smarter than we often give them credit for.   Here is a proven way to find Fido.

Never Buy Hotsauce Again!

I love spicy food and I love my hot sauce...on everything!   Come to find out Hot Sauce is actually good for you too! Consuming spicy foods purportedly speeds up your metabolism. Hot sauce not only reduces levels of hunger-causing ghrelin but also raises GLP-1, an appetite-suppressing hormone, says new research in the European Journal of Nutrition. Other scientists found that people who drank capsaicin-spiced tomato juice before each meal over 2 days ingested 16 percent fewer calories than those who drank it plain. 

Peppers are one of the easiest plants to grow next to tomatoes so there is no excuse why you can't plant a few plants this Spring and make enough Hot Sauce to last until the next growing season!  I have so many Kung Pao Hybrid peppers that not only am I making some hot sauce with them,  I will also be making my own Defensive Pepper Spray (keep a look out on the Preparedness blog for that!)

Check out this amazing recipe to make your own hot sauce.  It is ridiculously easy!