Whole Grain Yogurt Herb Bread

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  Yogurt herb bread is moist and delicious, and so easy to make! Double the recipe and freeze a loaf for later. This is a great recipe using yogurt to help break down the phytic acid found in grains. Phytic … Continue reading

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Homesteading Lifestyle – Community

 

Why homestead? For modern homesteaders, the homesteading lifestyle is a choice that supports their values. Choosing a simple homesteading life can be about self-sufficiency, spending more time with family, using fewer resources, growing healthy food, connecting with nature and much more.

Homesteading requires consistent hard work, and in a world that often values luxury and convenience, I was curious why so many of us are choosing the homesteading lifestyle. What I discovered is that homesteading is much more than gardening, preserving food and raising farm animals.

This homesteading lifestyle series was created to share the motivations, rewards, and challenges faced by different homesteaders and to answer the question – Why Homestead? Each Wednesday will feature a homesteader sharing their experiences.

You can read the first in the series – Homesteading Lifestyle – Off Grid Homesteading

Do you want to live a homesteading lifestyle but don’t know where to start? Or perhaps you are already on the path but want to do more. These homesteaders share the challenges and rewards of the homesteading lifestyle

Today we welcome Jordan and Scotty from

Rabbit Ridge Farm

How do you define ‘homesteading’ and how does it influence your lifestyle choices?

Homesteading for me perhaps has a bit of an odd meaning. As many people do I imagine, I think of homesteading as getting back to a simpler way of life and providing for as many of our needs as possible. However my personal definition also includes a few other components.

I believe that homesteading is also largely about getting closer to nature, “re-wilding” as I’ve heard many people call it. I also think that through cultivating this relationship with nature it is important for us to learn to live in ways that have as little negative affects on nature as possible.

Lastly I think that homesteading has a lot to do with gratitude, that to be homesteaders we must learn to be grateful for our families, our lives, and the land.  Through living the simple life we learn to make do and be happy with what we’ve got whether its a tiny apartment or a 100 acre farm.

Why do you homestead?

Well there’s a lot of reasons I guess. A lot of really good reasons actually. I think we’re healthier, we save loads of money, it’s good for the environment, we generally enjoy it, and it just feels right.

I have long held the belief that each and everyday we should all try to do the best we can for ourselves and the world. For me homesteading seems to perfectly combine keeping me happy and doing good. I know that since starting my homesteading journey I have not only found more happiness and peace in life but also lessened my impact on the world.

What are the greatest rewards of homesteading?

Hmmm, for me personally I would say that the greatest rewards are the ones that aren’t really tangible. Sure I love seeing new animals and eating spaghetti sauce from tomatoes I grew and put up all summer long but there’s just this homesteading feeling I get that’s the real reward.

It’s feeling accomplished and satisfied. It’s that feeling at the end of the day when you’re dog tired from building a new chicken coop and you know that the hard work you did matters. You weren’t just making money for some company. The hard work you put makes a difference to your livestock that depends on you and your family.

What are your greatest challenges?

My greatest challenge is definitely dealing with myself. I am the type to take on way too many projects way too fast. This summer we’ve been clearing land, building a house, digging a well, caring for the largest gardens we’ve ever had, and I added three angora rabbits to the mix.

By now you’d think I’d know better but somehow I doubt I’ll ever learn I just get excited and want to do so much on our homestead right now!

What are your long-term goals?

As I never really know what exactly we’ll get to even on a daily basis I’m not sure what to call a long-term goal. Our goals that I think about a lot lately include:

  • Finishing our new home (hopefully within the year)
  • Equipping our new home with solar panels
  • Expanding our gardens and farming operation
  • Grow more of our staple crops (we’re planting wheat this fall!)
  • Clearing pastures and adding sheep to the homestead
  • Expanding our homestead business enough that both Scott (my partner) and I can work on the homestead full-time

What do you recommend for others starting out?

I know everyone says the “don’t bite off more than you can chew” advice and I used to but at this point I’d say just jump in. Homesteading is, to me, one of those sink or swim deals. I always take on more than I can handle at first but things work out. Sometimes things run a little inefficiently for awhile but we adjust and regroup and it doesn’t make me want to stop homesteading.

Homesteads are ever growing and expanding. There will always be new projects to work on and new skills to learn. In the beginning I would always say that “I’m not going to get in over my head again. I’ll just take small steps.” Yeah you know how that went but I did get used to the chaos. I have learned to just work as hard as I can everyday and let the rest slide.

So jump in and work hard at whatever you can and don’t worry about the rest. You’ll keep reaching your goals if you just keep chipping away at them.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us?

Scotty reminded me to add that homesteading is not all about self sufficiency.

First of all community can be a really good thing. The community since moving to West Virginia has been amazing! Neighbors have given us egg cartons, canning jars, a laying hen, blackberries, blackberry bushes, an english walnut tree, hay, and lent their hands on the farm and supported our farm through purchases at our farm stand. We’ve shared with them too and all of our interactions have helped our souls and our homestead.

Secondly you may be able to survive living a completely self sufficient lifestyle but I don’t believe you can thrive. Think about it. Whether it’s help with haying, a good conversation, or the axe in your hands life is easier (and often better) with a little help from others.

creative-homesteading-series-jordan

Rabbit Ridge Farm is a small farm and homestead run by Jordan and Scotty in rural West Virginia. Together they’re working to build a home, live off the grid, and scrap together a living from a steep and rocky 75 acres. They make things by hand, grow, sell, and put up organic vegetables, care for chickens, ducks, and rabbits, and gather wild edibles and medicinals. Follow along as learn more traditional skills and further their homestead dreams.

You can connect with Jordan and Scotty at:

https://www.facebook.com/rabbitridgefarm/

https://twitter.com/RabbitRidgeFarm

https://www.pinterest.com/rabbitridgefarm/

 

We would love to learn from you!

Please join the conversation by commenting on the post or visiting our Facebook page: Seeking Joyful Simplicity – Willow Trees Farm and answer any of the following questions:

1. Do you think homesteading is a fad, or part of a cultural shift?
2. What about homesteading does or does not appeal to you? 
3. How does homesteading influence your lifestyle choices?

~ Michelle

 

 

Posted in Homesteading, Living With Less, Self-sufficiency | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Simple Hearty Winter Breakfast – Crockpot Barley with Apple

If we are forced to drag ourselves from bed, especially on a cold and dark winter morning, wouldn’t it be nice to rise to the smell of apples and cinnamon? Entering the kitchen with a wholesome, healthy, tasty meal all ready to warm and energize you for the day ahead?
This simple hearty winter breakfast with barley and apple might be the recipe for you. Simply toss everything into the Crockpot the night before and wake up to the delicious aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg.

I admit to being a morning person. There is something about early mornings, the slanting light of the sunrise, and the feeling of optimism. Well, OK, not every day is like that, there are mornings where all I want is to pull the covers over my head and enjoy more blissful sleep. But this recipe is a great way to enjoy waking up.

If we have to drag ourselves from bed on a cold and dark winter morning, wouldn’t it be nice to rise to the smell of apples and cinnamon? Entering the kitchen with a wholesome, healthy, tasty meal all ready to warm and energize you for the day ahead? This might be the recipe for you. Simply toss everything into the Crockpot the night before and wake up to a delicious and nourishing breakfast.

 

Crockpot

Crockpot Barley and Apple Breakfast

Click here for PDF recipe to print: Simple Hearty Winter Breakfast
Ingredients:
2 cups barley
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon nutmegApple Season 2
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cardamom (optional)
10 cups water
1 ½ cup raisins
2 apples or pears, cored, peeled and chopped

 

Directions:
Place all the ingredients in the Crockpot and cook on low for about 8 hours. I enjoy topped with nuts and milk.

I hope you are enjoying your season,
~ Michelle


Posted in Family Meals, seasonal foods, Simple Food, Simple Living | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Autumn Gold Tea Blend – Make Your Own Nourishing Herbal Infusion

The herbs in this tea blend are nourishing and warming. Perfect for supporting our immune systems as we transition to the new season. This DIY fall tea blend contains the anti-inflammatory turmeric, providing health benefits and a delightful golden glow as embrace the brisk fall season. Make your own nourishing herbal infusion and stay healthy this fall and winter.

Food and nutrition is the foundation of good health. Herbalists always start with nourishing herbal infusions, and I drink one nearly every day. The herb combinations I use change with the seasons, and with the arrival of fall weather, I am choosing warming and immune boosting herbs. Here are the herbs for my autumn gold tea blend and some of their benefits.

 

Food and nutrition is the foundation of good health. Herbalists always start with nourishing herbal infusions, and I drink one nearly every day. The herb combinations I use change with the seasons, and with the arrival of fall weather, I am choosing warming and immune boosting herbs. Here are the herbs for my autumn gold tea blend and some of their benefits.

 

The Herbs

Nettle (Urtica dioica)

Nettle packs a lot of nutrition and forms the base of this nourishing tea blend. Nettle leaves are high in minerals including iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. Also high in vitamin A, vitamin K and many trace minerals, nettle is used both as food and medicine.

Spearmint (Mentha spicata)

Spearmint adds flavor, supports the digestive system and lungs, has antimicrobial properties, and increases circulation.

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

Lemon balm is a lovely aromatic herb with many health benefits. Studies show lemon balm has strong antiviral and antibacterial properties, offering protection from colds and flu. Lemon balm helps increase alertness, relieves anxiety, and adds a delicate lemon flavor to the blend.

Rose Hips (Rosa spp.)

Rose hips are the fruit of the rose, containing the seed. They contain more vitamin C than oranges and are believed to stimulate white blood cells, an important part of the immune response.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa)

There is a lot of research confirming the health benefits of turmeric, including: antibacterial and antiviral properties, powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant properties, and more. Studies show turmeric to be more effective than many common prescription medications.

In addition to its amazing health benefits, turmeric adds a lovely autumn gold to our tea blend, and because it stimulates the circulation, is a warming herb.

Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

Mild and sweet, the flavor of dried licorice root is nothing like the licorice candy. Licorice root is underappreciated for its well-documented and powerful medicinal properties, including: adaptogen, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and expectorant.

*Licorice root can cause adverse side effects and interfere with some prescription medications. It is recommended to limit the use of licorice root to small amounts for short periods to avoid side effects. (Do not use licorice root daily for more than four weeks duration).

Assembling Your Tea

These dried herbs can often be purchased in bulk through at a good health food store. Or you can order online through Mountain Rose Herbs, The Bulk Herb Store, or Amazon Sellers.

Autumn Gold Tonic Tea Blend

This tonic tea blend is a beautiful autumn gold and offers nourishing and warming herbs to keep you warm and healthy.

“Parts” can be whatever measurement you prefer – teaspoon, tablespoon, ounces, or grams. I made 1/2 quart of dried tea mix with this recipe using Tablespoons as my measurement. I then use 1 tablespoon of tea combined with 8-ounces of water for tea making.

Ingredients:

4 parts nettle leaf
3 parts spearmint leaf
3 parts lemon balm
1 part rose hips
1 part dried turmeric
1/2 part dried licorice root

Directions:

To make your tea blend, combine the dried herbs in a glass mason jar with a lid and store. To brew, add 1 tablespoon of tea blend and steep with 8 ounces of water for 10 minutes.

This would make a lovely homemade gift to share with friends and family.

~ Michelle

For more on staying healthy using food as medicine:

Simple Foods For Cold and Flu – Sage, Ginger, Garlic and Honey

Health Benefits of Turmeric

Four Herbs for Managing Stress

*This post contains affiliate links to herbal producers I use and trust. If you purchase by clicking on these links, I may receive a small compensation, at no additional cost to you. I participate in the Amazon Services Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Thank you for supporting Seeking Joyful Simplicity.

 

Posted in Complemetary Health, Healing Herbs, Health and Wellness | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Homesteading Lifestyle – Off-Grid Homesteading

Why homestead? For modern homesteaders, the homesteading lifestyle is a choice that supports their values. Choosing a simple homesteading life can be about self-sufficiency, spending more time with family, using fewer resources, growing healthy food, connecting with nature and much more.

Homesteading requires consistent hard work, and in a world that often values luxury and convenience, I was curious why so many of us are choosing the homesteading lifestyle. What I discovered is that homesteading is much more than gardening, preserving food, and raising farm animals.

This homesteading lifestyle series was created to share the motivations, rewards, and challenges faced by different homesteaders and to answer the question – Why Homestead? Each Wednesday will feature a homesteader sharing their experiences.

You can read the second in the series – Homesteading Lifestyle – Community

Do you want to live a homesteading lifestyle but don’t know where to start? Or perhaps you are already on the path but want to do more. These homesteaders share the challenges and rewards of the homesteading lifestyle

 

Today we welcome Emily from

 Accidental Hippies.

How do you define ‘homesteading’ and how does it influence your lifestyle choices?

Homesteading for us is making and doing as much as we can in order to live a healthier and more self-sufficient life. Right now, our homesteading efforts largely revolve around building our off grid house, but we have grand visions to expand that to gardening, foraging, and who knows…maybe one of these days I’ll actually learn to sew (I’m way behind the curve on that one)!

Why do you homestead?

We homestead so that we can feel fulfilled and independent right where we are. When we lived in the suburbs that included gardening and preserving much of our harvest, making natural cleaners, and trying to get rid of the “stuff” that was plaguing our lives. Homesteading makes us feel healthier and like we’re having a positive impact on the world around us.

What are the greatest rewards of homesteading?

Being able to have what you need and feel content right on your own property is the biggest one for me. We’re also very outdoorsy and love to hike, garden, and hunt. Our land provides ample opportunities for all of those things, not to mention foraging all the awesome berries we have scattered across our acreage. The other big reward for us is financial. By building our own home using cash we’ll free ourselves up later to save and give generously. Financial freedom is fantastic!

What are your greatest challenges?

Time and patience. Right now, we’re both still working as teachers full-time, so being able to work on the house is limited to nights, weekends, and holidays. My hope is that we can both slow down a little bit when the house is finished, but homesteads are always a work in progress!

What are your long-term goals?

Our long-term goals are to finish our cordwood house, pay off the land loan early, and save aggressively (50% or more, which is what we’re actually using for the build now, so it wouldn’t be a problem). We’ll see what God has in store after that!

What do you recommend for others starting out?

Research and start small right where you are. Even if you’re in an efficiency apartment, you can grow pots of tomatoes or make your own natural cleaners. If your goal is to find some land and make your forever home, do some research and try making some hypothetical budgets to see what it would take to really get you there. Oh, and if you have any debt, GET RID OF IT! Your money can’t work for your homestead if it’s working for your loans!

Is there anything else you would like to tell us?

I still feel kind of weird calling myself a “homesteader” because for most of my life I was your typical suburban consumer. My parents always thought there was a product that could fix anything. The cure for everything was to buy something, but when my husband and I first got married we were still college students with a college student budget. We learned to stretch a dollar and be frugal while still being healthy. As we’ve grown professionally and have gone through this process of purging stuff/debt, buying land, and building an off-grid house, those skills we learned as broke newlyweds have carried us through. Our values changed dramatically, so while I don’t yet can my own produce or have chickens, I’m starting to feel comfortable calling myself a “homesteader”. Building a cordwood house was just a dream for years and now we’re finally doing it! We’re just normal people. If we can do it, ANYONE can!

 

Emily, her husband Mark, and three-year-old son are building an off-grid cordwood house on 16 beautiful acres in Kentucky. She writes about not only building a house, but also building a sustainable lifestyle including debt-free personal finance, self-reliance, and eco-friendly options for the home.

Emily at Accidental Hippies

Connect with Emily and follow their adventures:

www.accidentalhippies.com

www.facebook.com/accidentalhippies

www.pinterest.com/accihippies

www.instagram.com/accidentalhippies

www.twitter.com/accihippies

 

We would love to learn from you!

Please join the conversation by commenting on the post or visiting our Facebook page: Seeking Joyful Simplicity – Willow Trees Farm and answer any of the following questions:

1. Do you think homesteading is a fad, or part of a cultural shift?
2. What about homesteading does or does not appeal to you? 
3. How does homesteading influence your lifestyle choices?

~ Michelle

 

Posted in Homesteading, Living With Less, Self-sufficiency, Simple Living | Tagged , , | 4 Comments