4 Reasons to Homestead For Your Health

Sorry I missed posting yesterday, my son had a severe allergic reaction that resulted in using his epi pen and spending the afternoon in the ER!   Today health is on my mind and I wanted to share 4 reasons to homestead for your health. 

Reason 1: Homesteading is physical work

Forget the gym when you live on a homestead!  The natural rhythm of life on a homestead or farm is to haul feed and water to animals and plants.  Feed sacks, straw bales, buckets filled with water are a load! When building fence or shoveling manure you’re likely to discover muscles you forgot you had.  With more to do there is less time to lay around in front of the TV.  Studies have shown that physical activity is good for you.  Aside from the benefits of building muscle and helping to manage weight, physical activity can actually improve your sleep.  

Reason 2: You know what went into your food

One of the best benefits of homesteading is growing or raising  your own food.  When you garden you can control everything from the seeds you plant to the type of fertilizer and pesticide you apply.  Personally I choose heirloom seeds so that I know my food is non-gmo.  I try to use as many natural practices as possible to manage pests.   

Monsanto, a giant in the food production business, is currently on trial for a possible link between their product Round Up and cancer.  You can read an article about that on the Natural News.  Monsanto has a wide reach and there is a good chance any commercially produced food you purchase has been touched in some way by a Monsanto product, whether it started with a gmo seed, was treated with a fertilizer, or was sprayed by a pesticide.  I prefer to eliminate any doubt and grow my own healthy food! 

When you raise animals you can control the type of feed they consume as well as the hormones and antibiotics injected into them.  Humane treatment both during life and the butchering process results in healthier, better tasting meat.  

Reason 3: Homesteading re-connects us to the natural rhythms of life 

I’ve noticed a huge difference in myself and my children as we’ve began to spend more time outside.  Our attitudes improve, we feel better, and we have more energy.  As we see the signs of spring we seem to experience a renewal within ourselves too.   Homesteading connects us with the life cycle through the renewal of plant life in Spring and through the birth and death of animals we may raise.  I think that we have spent so much time in artificial environments with constant light and controlled temperature that our bodies have lost part of their vital natural connection.  Being barefoot outside helps reconnect us with the Earth and provides so many benefits.  According to an article published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health: 

“The research suggests that this disconnect [lack of direct barefoot Earth contact] may be a major contributor to physiological dysfunction and unwellness.”

They call the process of connecting with the ground barefoot “Earthing” or “Grounding”.  

Reason 4: More face time and less screen time

I don’t know about your house but at mine screen time is a constant battle.  My guys love video games and Little Miss loves You Tube.  Even Little Miss knows her way around an iPhone and I confess I ask my son for help figuring out how to use my phone.  The more we get into homesteading the less time we spend with electronics. My kids are learning to connect in person with living beings and to communicate outside of texts.  Studies show that screen time can lead to vision problems in kids (and adults).  This vision problem is called Computer Vision Syndrome or CVS.  All About Vision shares these startling statistics:

“A large study conducted by the National Eye Institute and published in the December 2009 issue of Archives of Ophthalmology found that the prevalence of nearsightedness among Americans has increased from 25 percent to 41.6 percent of the population over the past 30 years — an increase of more than 66 percent.”.

There are so many other wonderful health benefits to homesteading but those are the big four for me.  Leave me a comment below and share some health benefits you’ve found from homesteading! 

Chicken Math is Real

I laughed the first time I heard someone talking about “chicken math”.  She was talking about how chicken people start doing chicken math, like justifying buying 5 extra chicks “because half are probably roosters anyway, so I’ll still only end up with the 5 we planned for”.   Or you go in the feed store and see the adorable chicks and bring home 3 more “because what difference will 3 chicks make anyway?”  I shouldn’t have laughed but I was naive and thought I was too smart to fall into the chicken math trap.  (Wrong!)

We started planning our coop and selecting chickens weeks ago.  The chickens are actually my son’s, he’s going to be learning about running a egg business and raising chickens.  We were firmly agreed that we were getting two chickens and two only.  A couple chicken friends actually laughed at me when I told them!  

 A great friend has been fostering our two adorable silkies for a couple weeks while we finished the coop and endured a March snow.  We went to pick them up today and somehow 1+1=3!   My friend had fallen victim to chicken math and found herself with an extra chickie and so we did the chicken math and brought home 3 silkies instead of 2!  


I’ll post more later about how we turned a shed into a coop, building our chicken run, and why we chose silkies.  

Bale Yeah! Straw Bale Gardening: Day 1

I’m super excited, today is day one of my attempt at straw bale gardening!  What is straw bale gardening you ask?  Let me tell you about this gardening magic…  According to everything I’ve read, straw bale gardening is the easiest thing you may ever do in the garden.  Here are some of the books and websites I’ve read to get ready for this new gardening adventure.  Just click on the picture to be taken to the website.

 

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All you need to start a straw bale garden is a straw bale, some high nitrogen fertilizer, and water.  That’s it!  It has all the perks of a raised bed garden with a much smaller price tag and NO WEEDING.  One other great thing is that you can put a straw bale garden pretty much anywhere! It can sit on grass, on rock, or on concrete- the ground underneath it has no bearing on it.  Once you are done with a growing season or two you just compost the remaining bale and start over.

Before you start planting you must “condition” the bales.  Straw bale gardening works because the fertilizer causes the interior of the bale to begin composting, creating new soil.  I began conditioning my bales today by covering each one with a half cup of a high nitrogen fertilizer and soaking them with water.   I followed the method of sprinkling the fertilizer directly on the bale and then watering but it did not seem to dissolve well.  I think I will switch to dissolving my fertilizer in a bucket of water and then using that to water the plants two days from now when it is time to fertilize again.  I’ll be posting several updates as I finish the 10 day conditioning cycle.

 

Homeschool Highlight

We ❤️ homeschooling!  Every week looks a little bit different at our house when it comes to homeschooling so I thought it might be fun to do a series of highlights every Saturday of some really fun or interesting things we did that week.  

My little guy has been requesting a shelf for his DS games.  It’s important me that my kids not only are book smart but have practical knowledge too.  I told him if he wanted a shelf we’d work together to build one.  We had a piece of leftover board from building game shelves in the basement and we bought a couple “L” brackets at Lowes.   We talked about choosing the correct size and kind of screws and then he got to work.  I helped him get the screws started but he used the screw driver to finish securing them.  (I didn’t get any pics of him actually building the shelf because I was busy fixing lunch.)  After he got it built he used the level and mounted it on his bedroom wall. Once again I only helped him start the screws.  He chose an item box as a bookend which is perfect because it holds his loose DS games safely too!  


He’s also been taking both an Art class and a Pottery class. He loves both of them and made some really fun things out of clay- like a wrestling mat! (Pictures to come when it’s been fired!)

Science was a blast!  A little balloon experiment showed us how yeast and sugar produce carbon dioxide (and make dough rise). 


To round out our lessons about yeast and Jesus being “the bread of life”, we took a fieldtrip to a local baker.  We got to go into the kitchen to see where all the yumminess is created.  Of course we celebrated by getting a Pot O’Gold cupcake!  

Planting Potatoes on St. Patrick’s 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!! Where we live people go a little bit crazy for St. Pat’s.  The college closes for a week of St. Pat’s festivities including a huge parade and concert.  This year we decided to embrace a wee bit more Irish tradition and plant potatoes on St. Patrick’s Day.   According to Burpee Garden Company in 2011:

“St. Patrick’s Day remains one of the nation’s most celebrated holidays nearly 250 years after the first American celebration took place in Boston in 1762. While a few traditions have changed, the ceremonial planting of potatoes around St. Patty’s Day remains strong, according to Burpee Chairman and CEO George Ball.”  

I’ve never planted potatoes before in my life but I had a few old potatoes that I found sprouting eyes and have been holding onto with the thought  that I might plant them this spring.  When I saw this Pin 

from Preparedness Mama I decided to give potato growing a try.  We had an old laundry type basket that would be perfect.   My biggest kiddo helped me drill a couple drain holes in the bottom then ran off to swing.  My Little Miss was thrilled to get her hands dirty helping.  


I used regular red potatoes from the grocery store that had sprouted eyes.  I’ve read mixed reviews about whether they’ll work but I figured it didn’t hurt to try!  I’ll update when and if they start growing!   


You may have noticed on my Home page that there is a Google calendar.  If you have interest in following along with when things were planted or sprouted or harvested you can find that information there.  

Trash to Treasure

On the back side of the property, hiding behind the pond, we found this big eye sore of a pile when we moved in.  It had hunks of concrete with poles sticking out and a huge mound of one to two foot pieces of railroad ties.  All fall I had it in my mind to burn it and get rid of the mess. Then one day when I was starting to plan my garden beds it occurred to me that those really expensive railroad ties I was pricing at Lowes were already in my backyard!  They were two foot sections instead of six or eight but they still worked the same way.  When the weather warmed up in February I got out there and started sorting and hauling pieces out of that pile.   I was super thankful that my husband picked up a little trailer to go behind our riding lawn mower at a yardsale last summer!  That made my life so much easier.   It didn’t take long to turn that pile into a decent sized raised bed.  I threw in some partially composted straw from the rabbit hutch and topped it off with miracle grow potting soil.  Since it’s going to be my greens bed I had to come up with something to keep the rabbits and critters out.  After looking around some more I drug the old very ugly door off chicken coop over and laid it on top of the bed.  I planted my seeds in 70 degree sunshine, then went in and read that the weekend forecast was calling for a hard freeze and snow!  I’m crossing my fingers they survive the cold. 

TIMBER! The Farmer turns Lumberjack

We had a huge old Walnut tree that was located in the middle of our septic drain field,  but sadly it was dying and dropping huge limbs left and right.   So my husband and his friend got out Sunday and brought her down.   I was gone grocery shopping with Little Miss but I got to see a video of it coming down and you can hear my Little Man yelling “TIMBER!”.  It was so cute!  You can see that video over on my Instagram rfwife.  Our friend got a couple truck loads of firewood and we got rid of a disaster waiting to happen.

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Our tiny pond
Once the guys finished up with the walnut in the front they headed back to our tiny pond to do some much needed clean up.  They took out a dozen or more little trees and culled out a couple dead ones to let some sunlight in around our tiny pond.   When we moved in it was wet weather only pond so we had a friend come do a little dirt work to try to enlarge it and make it a true pond.  Sadly he hit solid rock so it’s not very deep but he did get it holding water full time!   We’ll see once we get a big rain how big it truly is!

Little Man is hoping for deep enough for some perch or blue gill.  No matter what it’ll at least make a fine little duck pond!   Now we just need to burn the underbrush and years worth of fallen leaves out from around the pond and sow some clover and we’ll have a lovely little area.  This momma will be happy when something is growing down there, that Missouri mud has already ruined 3 pairs of shoes!  If you’ve got any tips on how to get red clay mud off shoes please leave them in the comments below!

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