After not having written a post since March, I wondered why I was not interested in doing so, or why I hadn’t. My conclusion was that the blog needed an update.
For those of you who follow us, you may notice that the blog address is different as well as the name of the blog. “Conserver Life” instead of homesteading 101.
We are still what we consider homesteaders. But our focus as homesteaders, I have been finding, has been leaning more towards not spending money and doing as many things as we can ourselves.
Actually, most of my past posts are about that, but I always felt I needed to stay true to the original idea for this blog so I tried to make it revolve around homesteading specifically. Now the blog will move even more towards not spending money as homesteaders and as non-homesteaders.
I really appreciate all of you! Thank you!
For my first post in 2017, again I will write about philosophical things. Instead of writing a “how-to” or describing what I have been doing on the homestead, I’m going to tell you about my “why”.
As some of you may know, in the last few month I have read a lot about productivity, motivation, making a contribution and success. The reason I have done that is because I have been contemplating everything I have been doing.
This thinking was initiated by the deaths of two of our dogs. Now, again I am writing about this because we put a third dog to sleep yesterday.
We have always had at least six dogs, partly because of my profession (dog training and grooming) and partly because I couldn’t say no to people who needed homes for their dogs, who then became my dogs. So dogs have been a big part of our lives.
I think I had so many dogs because it made me feel like I was connecting with the farm animals that I had wanted for so many years, but just can’t seem to get.
So in re-evaluating my life I find that all of these things – success, productivity, goals etc. – are useless and are likely not possible without a “why” or sense of purpose.
No matter what I think I might like to do in life, it always comes back to nature, animals and our environment. I can’t get away from that. It is what I loved as a child and teenager, what I studied in university and is reflected in choosing to live rurally.
This blog is already about being frugal, making your own stuff and growing your own food. but even more now I feel that it is crucial that I be more sensitive to nature and our environment.
I am even having a difficult time feeling good about driving a vehicle. I know that some driving in gas powered vehicles needs to be done for now but I don’t like it and I don’t care what other people do, I can barely do it.
Even though I feel I am “successful” in life because I am sticking to my values, I feel I could be more so.
So if any of you reading this can stand listening to more protecting nature or environment friendly blog posts, that’s great because that is exactly what you’re going to get.
I know I could use more of that.
Anything that we do here in our little urban homestead we try to do as eco-friendly and as frugal as possible. I know it’s difficult to be truly “eco-freindly” but one has to give it a good go anyway.
So for my new hobby, as I have said in a previous post, I have started learning to paint in both watercolour and acrylic. This requires some supplies like brushes, paint and some other tools. Not exactly your most eco-friendly stuff.
One of the things that I can use junk as a substitute for is my painting palettes. Right now I am using two different pieces of junk. One is half of an egg carton lid, which an be used over and over for acrylic paint. The other is a old plastic makeup kit box, likely from the 1960s, that Ernie found in the back shack. I pulled the mirror our of it and use it for mixing watercolours.
The third thing that I am using as canvases is scrap pine panelling cut into small pieces as a sort of canvas. Using acrylic paint, I am making scenes of local landmarks and plan on using them as tree ornaments. Rather than buying canvases I am making my own and produce unique, local art that has appeal to the local tourist market.
We also use thin sections of tree branches – maple, birch, even poplar as painting canvases. These are taken from either dead fall trees or trimmed branches both from our own property so nothing is wasted or cut down unnecessarily.
As a final canvas idea, which I can’t take credit for because it was my cousin’s, are smooth stones. Here are some of my cousin’s (who’s name is Rocky of course 😎 – seriously it IS), creations. I have started doing this as well but I’m not as good as this yet.
So there you have it. Several ways to save money, reduce waste and be creative at the same time.
Just a quick update on our container onions. Shown below are the onions planted in a plastic container along with some of our onions from our 2013 harvest. This year our large onions are not rotting in our cellar, likely due to the cooler weather he have had all winter. This has never happened before, but it is nice so we will probably have onions until late spring.
A few weeks ago the power went out for a couple of hours so I decided to make coffee on the propane burner in the garage – with the door open!
No need to worry about running out of coffee filters or not having a coffee maker. Yes we have propane in a can, but for emergencies like this one…used very seldom.
Here is a link to our latest how to video – making coffee.
The point of making coffee this way is not to get rid of your current coffee maker but to demonstrate that you don’t need anything complicated or expensive to make excellent coffee. Just a pot, coffee and a spoon. Oh and water and a heat source!
OLD 45 & Shanty Gallery
Here is a link to our new short soapmaking video.
We made soap at the end of August from the fat of a pig that fed us for over a year. This is our first soap making attempt in over ten years.
Even though there was fat on the surface after curing for 3 weeks, it is still usable soap. As it says in the video, there is almost never a complete
failure in soap-making.
Our garlic is being harvested and hung to dry. The crop is smaller this year due to the lack of rain and many heads are small.
The garlic will be ready for purchase in a month.
Basil is ready to go as well.