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Paige's Highlights

1. Apple Sauce in Baking. This article in Mother Earth News reminded me of baking with applesauce instead of oil. Growing up, we normally would only do this in a pinch, but as Dan and I work towards growing more of our own foods, making the switch would nearly cut buying all oil out of our diet (other than olive oil, which we both love). We'd likely be replacing what cooking oil we needed with our home-grown butter--which has more good vitamins and less cholesterol as it would be from nearly completely grass-fed dairy cows. Also, I had some other posts about the benefits of home-raised lard from pigs--and that's even BETTER for you than the butter. I love the options. :)

2. Whizbang Applesauce With all this replacement of oils for home-made, healthier applesauce, we'll need an efficient way of making it. Mr. Kimball has recently been trying some experiments on using his Whizbang Apple Grinder to make apple sauce as well. He chronicles his experiences on his blog, here. I've talked with him some and we've discussed using his apple cider-making apparatus to make other sauces, chutneys, and juices. Certainly meritous of some experimentation. (Those are his jars of applesauce.) Check out his blog--The Deliberate Agrarian!


3. The Dinner Garden. Know someone who's struggling feeding their family? This website offers free seeds and gardening advice to American families who would like to do something to improve their lot in life. I love this idea because it fosters a work-ethic and puts people back into control of their lives, their finances, and their food. A little self-sufficiency goes a long way.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
~ Chinese proverb

4. The Modern Homestead. Last week, I mentioned some interesting article by this writer about providing food for your flock yourself--again a matter of self-sufficiency. Let's just say that I took some more time to look around the site and I was very impressed and excited. Dan and I are hoping to have a well-planned, coordinated farm and home. Our gardens and livestock was one area that I knew could potentially prove to have some tedious and difficult jobs--manure clean-up, and composting turning. Those are both things that I HATED doing as a kid, as much as I knew it was good for my garden. Harvey and Ellen have some wonderful ideas for better living for their chickens and allowing them to do the heavy work of clearing land, killing weeds, turning compost, and encouraging their wintering plants to flourish--and the chickens LOVE doing it! I highly recommend their writings on chickens, gardening, and vermiculture. They are wonderfully integrated and I'm excited to incorporate a chicken area in our green house. (Our more "tropical" green house for peppers, tomatoes, and tender fruits will be attached to the house.) This will save us from the added expense of another building for the chickens and we will likely not need a water heater as it would be in the green house. Additionally, they will be close to the source of winter greens and worms, cutting down on work. The large animals will keep our worms well fed, our worms will keep our chickens well fed, and our chickens will do the work of keeping our garden and us well fed! Now, to figure out good manure management for the big animals. Hmmm...

5. GRIT. This is the sister publication from Mother Earth News. For a while there, I thought that this was a magazine that they kept promoting, so I paid it little attention and didn't investigate-I'm so sad I didn't until now! This is a great resource on the nitty gritty (note the pun, haha) of actually doing the farming. Mother Earth News is a good basic resource to get your feet wet, but this one is chock full of article on everything homestead, natural, organic, integrated farming, and has links to TONS of blogs. Definitely check it out! (The other thing I enjoy is that they focus on the doing and leave some of the politicking out. Sometimes I like a break from everything and just enjoy hearing about the living the good life part. :) )

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