Tag Archives: DIY

Sprouts: easy DIY winter greens

sprouts-easy-diy-winter-greens

I’ve been eating sprouts during the winter for a number of years now. Sprouts are a quick and easy way to provide the family with fresh veg all year long regardless of where you live. They’re pure, fresh, and nutrient-rich food that can be produced easily whether you’re 3 or 103. I like to use the jar method because I… Read more »

8 tips for growing your own seedlings

tips-for-growing-your-own-seedlings

Growing your own seedlings is not hard to do and opens the door to new opportunities for the home gardener, homesteader or small farmer. You’ll have a vast number of varieties available to choose from, more control over the amount of seed you purchase, and you’ll save money by growing your plants yourself. Starting your own plants gives you the chance… Read more »

Putting the buzz in Johnny’s catalog

2017-johnny's-selected-seeds-catalog

It’s at this time of year─when the growing season for most farmers and gardeners is behind us and the world has become brown and drab, the days are short and the dark of night stretches long as winter descends upon us in full force─that we look forward to receiving all of the vibrant seed catalogs in our mailboxes. Those catalogs generate… Read more »

DIY mouse-guards: how and when to install them on your beehive

mouse-invasion_fi

Harvest is now past, the leaves are falling from the trees to blanket the Earth as we move deeper into the darker half of the year, and things are cooling down here in Maine. Now that I have 7 seasons of beekeeping behind me I know that I prefer to have all of my winter hive preparations finalized by no later than… Read more »

Butchering Meat Rabbits

Butchering Meat Rabbits

**WARNING** This article discusses the slaughtering and butchering of livestock. The images below may not be appropriate for all audiences. On principle I firmly believe that as a homesteader and farmer I need to know how to manage my livestock from beginning to end. When my chickens reach the end of their egg-laying life it only makes sense to me that… Read more »

DIY screened bottom board “sticky-stuff”

diy screened bottom board sticky-stuff

The beginning of August signifies the end of the spring nectar flow here in Maine. At this point in the season there is a nectar dearth, meaning we experience a period of time when there is a scarcity of available nectar. In my neck of the woods the dearth usually lasts 2-3 weeks on average. Beekeepers in Maine take advantage… Read more »

Zipties on a weed-whacker: an experiment

weed-whacker experiment

Maybe you’ve seen the post going around facebook that shows a homesteader using zipties on his weed-whacker instead of the spool of weed-eater line? This post came across my facebook feed last week and seemed like an ingenious idea, so this weekend as I worked in the garden I gave it a try to see if it really works. I… Read more »

Garden Update

Blanching Peas_FI

With the sowing of green beans on Friday, the garden is finally complete. If I weren’t moving this fall it wouldn’t be “done”, I would continue with succession sowings, planning for fall crops and cold-frames to carry us into the winter with hardy greens. But things being what they are, the green beans are it for this year. The garden… Read more »

Conducting a SWOT analysis of your farm

SWOT_FI

No one gets into farming because they want to get rich, lol. But at the same time a farm is still a business, and a business needs to at least break even–if not earn a profit. Conducting a SWOT analysis of your farm-business annually can help you to determine what’s working for you and what’s not.   What is SWOT?… Read more »

Companion planting made easy

plant companions in the garden

It was my father in-law who first introduced me to the concept of companion planting, as we discussed gardening, and he sagely shared the secret of planting marigolds with tomatoes in order to repel nematodes.  I remember wondering what other plants could be grown among my crops to aid in the health of the garden, and then I wondered why… Read more »

How To Set Up Your First Beehive

how to set up your 1st beehive

Imagine you’re sitting at a four-way intersection, a red stop light hanging above you, while the hum of buzzing comes from a pair of rectangular wooden boxes strapped into the passenger’s seat next to you. The Nuc boxes–or nucleus colonies–contain more than 10,000 bees each.  Bees cling to, and crawl across the wire mesh stapled over the openings that prevents… Read more »

Challenges new farmers face

overcoming the challenges of establishing a new farm

“Determination gives you the resolve to keep going in spite of the roadblocks that lay before you.”  –Denis Waitley. Farmers are a ruggedly determined lot.  The farmers whom I know personally, are full of vim and vigor, and while obstacles may sometimes get them down on occasion, typically these challenges do not hold them back for long. Even so, farming… Read more »

Establishing a new farm: Where to start & how to prioritize

establishing a new farm

These days nothing is more enticing than the concept of living a life sustained by the land and nature.  Folks from all walks are turning away from the mainstream and it’s commercialized lifestyle.  For some it is a mission to provide a healthy atmosphere for raising their family; for others a desire to live more lightly upon the Earth–to protect… Read more »

Garden planning for beginners

garden planning for beginners

An expression of art and science, gardening is a practice that dates back to the start of civilization, and is both creative and economical.  With the ever-increasing trend towards green and sustainable living, gardening is enjoying a resurgence–if you’ve been considering taking up the habit, I hope this is your year!  If you’ve been toying with the idea of gardening… Read more »

Baking to stretch the food budget

baking to stretch the food budget

Now that we’re all settled in at the new Runamuk homestead, I’ve finally been able to unpack my kitchen and cook-wares and get back to my regular baking routines.  With a new mortgage, maintaining our budget is more imperative than ever before, so I spend time each month to plan out meals ahead of time, then on Sundays I make… Read more »

DIY broths from kitchen scraps

finished diy vegetable broth

I’m one of those people who really loves soups and stews.  A good soup simmering on the stove makes a house feel like home, it offers comfort during stressful times, and it warms you through and through when it’s bitterly cold outside.  In addition to all that–soups offer lots of health benefits since they’re typically made with fresh, low-fat ingredients,… Read more »

7 foods you can easily grow indoors this winter

kitchen windowsill herb garden

Now that the balmy days of summer are behind us, and the time to tuck in for the long cold of winter has come–I like to play around with growing different foods inside my house.  The gardening season may be over, but providing fresh and nutritious foods for family meals is a never-ending task, and though I am not yet… Read more »

Harvesting garlic

curing garlic

Since this was my first time growing garlic, I was pretty stoked to go and dig up the bulbs earlier this week.  I’d planted the garlic cloves back in October (you can read about that endeavor here).  I mulched them heavily with dry leaves and watched over them all winter. This spring I pulled up about two-thirds of the mulch,… Read more »

Do NOT buy ladybugs; attract native species to your garden instead

ladybugs as predators

Ladybugs are often touted as a safe solution to aphid problems in the garden because their use doesn’t involve harmful pesticides.  The little spotted beetles are popular all over the world, and in ancient times they were thought to be indicators of good fortune and a bountiful harvest. However commercially available ladybugs are not native to the US, and pose… Read more »

3 reasons to go foundationless in your Langstroth beehive

3 reasons to go foundationless in your langstroth beehive

When I first began keeping bees, I managed my hives in the mainstream fashion.  I fed them sugar-syrup, I painted my boxes, and I used foundation in my frames.  As I’ve learned more about bees and how to take care of them, some of my methods have changed.  I’m much more reluctant to feed my bees sugar, I stopped painting… Read more »

How and why to make your own apiary splits & nucs

how to make your own apiary splits and nucs

Swarming is a natural tendency for bees in the spring and early summer, and making splits and nucs is just another part of good management of your hives.  Whether you want to grow your apiary, or just insure against winter hive losses, making your own splits and nucs is an ideal way to grow or maintain your apiary.  It’s easy… Read more »

What is sustainable living?

You hear it everywhere these days–businesses and families alike are striving to lead a more sustainable existence.  I’ve mentioned it many times myself in various posts─but what is sustainable living really? Surprisingly enough─a Google search does not produce many results to define sustainable living.  From what I found I was able to ascertain that sustainable living is a lifestyle that… Read more »

Home gardeners beware of pesticides in potting soils & nursery plants

This past Tuesday at the monthly meeting of the Somerset Beekeepers, we hosted Gary Fish from the Maine Board of Pesticide Control to talk with us about “Pesticides and Pollinators”.  We are a small group, so I’m always grateful that any knowledgeable speaker should come to Skowhegan to share their knowledge with us, and I know that our beekeepers are… Read more »

Hardening seedlings in a mini hoop-house

After the devastation of last year’s seedling fiasco (read about that here), I was more than a little anxious about hardening off my seedlings this year. My mini hoop-houses (more about that here) have been working so well this spring that I decided to construct something similar to protect my tender tomato and pepper seedlings during their hardening off period. … Read more »

Sustainability through the family garden

I managed to set up 2 mini hoop-houses and planted a number of lettuce seedlings, yet April was a cold and windy start to the gardening season that left me longing for more.  So far May has made up for it in spades!  I’ve been out in the garden practically every day for the last week, working on preparing one… Read more »