Monday, August 07, 2017

Best Youtube Channels for Homesteaders?

I love youtube when my sister and I started Haunted Family Podcast I really wanted it to be Haunted Family Youtube. I turn to youtube a lot when trying to figure out the best ways to do certain things, for honest reviews on products, etc. Youtube can be a valuable asset to any homestead. Here are a few of my favorite channels.

Homesteading in SC
Rush Lane Farms hasn't posted a video to this channel in 2 years, but they have so many useful videos. In one video he walks you through building an incubator out of a cooler and a lightbulb. We followed this tutorial step by step to build 2 cooler-bators. We used a hard-sided plastic cooler instead of the styrofoam cooler. We get a nearly 100% hatch rate out of these cooler incubators. We have since upgraded to a cabinet incubator, but still, use these cooler incubators as our hatchers and sometimes as first step brooder for more sensitive birds.

Big Family Homestead
Okay, I seriously think that Brad from BFH my be a long lost brother to my niece's Dad. They look and act so much a like. My niece's dad was adopted so I guess anything is possible. I just seriously love this family and how real they are.  I love their meal plan videos, recipe videos, and look forward to seeing what the move has in store for them.

I am a new follower to Woodbrew, which follows an adorable young couple as they make cool, diy woodworking projects. Who couldn't use a few more woodworking skills on their homestead? Their hammock stand looks cool, maybe a little too small for our huge Mayan hammock, but we may see about expanding their hammock stand plans into something that will work for us.

You either love him, or you hate him, I personally love him. I also subscribe to his sister's channel The Fresh Princess. He often does side by side, real world test comparisons of products such as axes. His most recent series of videos is testing out the cheapest products you can find on Amazon, such as axes, knives, multi-tools, fishing poles, etc. If the need arises on a homestead, he probably has a video that deals with it.

MADE Everyday
Simply put everyone should know how to sew, in the long run being able to at least mend your clothing will save you money. MADE Everyday has some wonderful sewing projects for people of all skill levels.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Quilt Love

The Wanderer and I have a new hobby/income stream. Last year along with his mom we stripped an old building we had on the farm down to the studs and did a complete rebuild. Our local K-Mart was going out of business, which was lucky for us. We picked up pegboards, shelves, a clothing rack and a large table top for next to nothing. In the end, we created a crafters dream. the showpiece of this room is a new to us longarm quilter. A handi quilter Avanti 18.

Sewing machines use to intimidate me so much, but I am working my way through that fear. The quilter and the embroidery machines are less like sewing machines and more like computers. I can handle that. We have several projects going right now. We are about to list our first 2 quilts for sale, pieced by the Wanderers aunt, quilted by us. It is a family endeavor. We just finished a super secret project. A man commissioned us to make a labyrinth quilt as a present for his wife. He presented it to her on their 1st wedding anniversary. How unbelievably sweet. It took the Wanderer and me about 4 hours at the quilter to get this quilted. His mom did all the cutting and piecing on this while I was with my sister on our East Coast Tour of Pilot Truck Stops.

For over a year we worked on collecting T-Shirts from the high school we both graduated from. We turned them into an epic T-Shirt quilt which we donated to the band to use as a fundraiser. We were both band kids, so we know first hand the struggle that bands go through to get adequate funding.

We really enjoy working together on these projects. Homesteading as brought us closer together as a couple. Quilting has brought us closer.

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Best Homesteading Books You've Never Read

28% of the population of the US hasn't read a book in the past year. 25% have read 1-5 books in the last year. The fact is that most of us, post high school or college cease to read books. If we are not being forced to read then we don't carve out the time to settling in with a book.

I struggled to learn how to read. I have dyslexia. In 3rd grade, I found the perfect combination of a passionate Learning Disability teacher and a wonderful Literature teacher. Between the two of them, I finally learned to read, and caught a passion that continues to this day. I am rarely without a book. Currently, my interests are in books that further the podcast, and our homesteading journey. On my nightstand, you will find Social Media Marketing, Podcasting Bible, The Anatomy of Motive, right next to copies of the Foxfire books.

Full disclosure, I don't have an Amazon Affiliate account, and none of these links are Affiliate links.

We should all carve out a few minutes each day to read. Read while in the waiting room of the doctor's office, while waiting to get your oil changed, turn off your phone and read for 10-20 minutes before you fall asleep.

Living in the Appalachian Forest by Chris Bolgiano

Appalachian is one of the most diverse temperate forests in the world and it is also my home. I was born and raised in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Kentucky. In this book, the author explores sustainability in the use of our natural resources by interviewing those in the logging and mining industry. 

Appalachian Farming Life by Mary B. LaLone
 This is a delightful student lead research project that captured stories and oral traditions of farming communities in the New River Valley area of Virginia. 

Learning Native Wisdom by Gary Holthaus

Let's face is, sustainability, permaculture, self-sufficiency are buzz words to describe what indigenous cultures have been doing for eternity. Holthaus spend 25 years living in an indigenous community in Alaska. His book is well rounded drawing for multiple sources to provide a thought provoking reading on what it means to be sustainable in the modern world and why the modern mindset doesn't work long term. 

Five Acres and Independence by Maurice Grenville Kains

At least once a day on the numerous homesteading pages I belong to someone asked the question "How many acres do I need to homestead. How many acres do I need to live self sufficiently?" This book helps answer that question and provides the reader with tips, techniques, and advice on assessing your land, making improvements and making strides toward independence. This book is old, originally written in the 30's and 40's, much of the book advice was real life tested on Mr. Kains' farm. This is a gem. 

National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms

This is really a must read for anyone who wants to forage, or enjoys hunting, hiking, and being in nature. Over 700 mushrooms are cataloged, with full-color photos and detailed descriptions. The book is well organized making it quick and easy to look up mushrooms. The book even touches on various bits of folklore surrounding mushrooms. Don't eat a wild mushroom without referencing it here first. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

We Dove into Youtube

Initially, my sister and I debated whether we wanted to do a youtube channel or a podcast. Being the older sister she won out and we started a podcast. After the east coast tour of Pilot truck stops, we decided that it was time to dive into Youtube. We knew that Youtube was in the cards for us, eventually, and now is the time. 

Our first video is simple, with clips from our trip. We have so much more in store for the channel and plan to include some of our more popular podcast episodes on the channel. We have several film locations and stories lined up for the near future. 

I almost feel like we have bitten off more than we can chew, editing the podcast was a learning curve. Youtube was there to help us with that, and now we are using Youtube to learn how to edit and grow our very own Youtube channel. The channel will be my baby, the production will be left solely up to me. The Wanderer and I have kicked around the idea of doing a Youtube channel all of our own, although we can't decide if it should be homesteading related or sewing related. The sewing building really would make for a great studio to record in, as long as the race car neighbors are not 'tuning up' their cars. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Road Trip, New England Edition

Friday, June 30th the Wanderer dropped me off at my sister's house and just after midnight we loaded her car down with coolers, clothes and her 2 girls and off we went. We had big plans, an east coast tour to research for our podcast, Haunted Family Podcast and to have some fun. My oldest niece joked that every 2 years her and I somehow end up on a road trip together. It is always fun, and always exhausting.

For the most part, we just breezed through Maryland, with a brief stop in Hagerstown where I picked up a quilt from the 1800's as a present for the Wanderers mom. We also stopped off in Baltimore to wander around the Westminster burial ground, where Edgar Allan Poe is buried. I love Poe, and I have passed that love on to both of my nieces. I also just really love wandering around old cemeteries. I am a long time contributor to the website Find A Grave.

Our next stop was New Haven Connecticut and Yale University. Yale is one of the oldest colleges in the United States, having been founded in 1701. The campus is beautiful and picturesque.  I can totally see why F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote it into The Great Gatsby and why Rory Gilmore decided to attend Yale. Leaving New Haven I saw a sign for Mystic. I have never watched the movie Mystic Pizza. Mystic may be one of the most charming towns I have ever set foot in. I conquered a fear of mine and drove across a drawbridge. We wandered through shops and ate ice cream while looking out over a cove. Mystic is on the list of places I will go back to someday and spend more time exploring.

Bright and early the next day we were on the road toward Boston. I heard horror stories about driving in Boston. I found those horror stories to be completely unfounded. Driving through New York was much worse and so much more nerve racking. We parked in a parking garage on Beacon Street and spent the day wandering the city. Oh, how I love Boston. I don't think my sister or my nieces were as impressed with the city. This is very much a pedestrian-friendly city, and I found the people pleasant. Boston is a mix of old and new. Buildings and cemeteries from the 1600's nestled in between very modern buildings. It's an eclectic mix and is so works for this city. We stumbled across the site of the Boston Massacre which is marked by a large circle on a sidewalk on King Street. Boston Common was packed, as I imagine it always is with people enjoying the sunshine and street musicians. Boston smells like legal weed, patchouli oil, and freedom.

The next morning we woke up late, I hate waking up late on vacation but we were all exhausted and apparently slept through the alarms. We were excited for the day, today we were hitting Salem. The site of the witch trials. In towns like this, we try to avoid spending money on any of the touristy things because basically, they are making their money off the pain and suffering of someone else, even if that person did die over 300 years ago. We visited the old customs house, listened to the Park Ranger talk about what the job of a customs agent would have been like at the bustling seaport. Salem is also the birthplace of the US Coast Guard.

After Salem, we ended up having a blowout. We found it nearly impossible to find a place willing to squeeze us in and change the tire. We didn't have a full-size spare in the car, just one of those donut tires. Finally, the place directly across from where we had the blowout agreed to fit us in. To me, I really don't understand why it was such a big deal fitting us in. Here in my corner of Kentucky, someone would have rolled a jack out to the parking lot, jacked up the car and put a new tire on, it would have taken maybe 10 minutes max to change the tire and get us back on the road. After our last stop of the day, a visit with a dear old friend of mine we got back on the road and pushed toward home. We came back home through Pennsylvania because that route allowed us to avoid the state of New Jersey. New Jersey cost us nearly $50 in tolls, I may never step foot back in New Jersey again. Not a fan at all, New Jersey took a toll on me.

Monday, June 26, 2017


For the past couple years the desire to share my personal experiences with the paranormal has been growing. Little did I know my sister had also been experiencing the same feelings. When we finally sat down to talk to each other about this we discussed several options, a book, a podcast, maybe a youtube channel. I thought youtube would be the easiest way to get our stories to the masses, my sister was intent on having a podcast. She spends hours in her car driving for work each day and podcasts had become her obsession. She is the older sister so she won, Haunted Family Podcast was born.
We don't just share our personal stories, we talk about famous, and not so famous crimes, topics of paranormal interest, unexplained mysteries. It is a very cool podcast if I do say so myself. 

Over the past year, building this podcast with my sister has been so much fun and so much work. We have had to teach ourselves how to edit, how to publish podcasts, how to build a listening audience. We really struggled for several months with technical issues. 

We are about to go on our first podcasting research trip. Visiting Massachusetts, hitting several places of interest for upcoming episodes. Having a sit down with a world renown paranormal investigator/author. Be sure to check out our trip on Instagram. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Quack Quack Quack

Last spring our incubator died midway through incubation. It was a small, foam, tabletop incubator from Little Giant. We lost all of the eggs in that batch. Shortly thereafter we decided to build our own incubator. We picked up a couple coolers at thrift stores, searched through junk drawers to find a couple thermostats from hot water heaters. We pulled together 2 awesome homemade incubators that have close to 100% hatch rates. Late summer/early fall I found an ad on our local buy/sale/trade page for a cabinet style incubator. This Dickey's incubator was a steal at a couple hundred dollars. This allows us to do staggered hatches, using our homemade coolerbaters as hatchers.

Early this spring a neighbor asked us to hatch some eggs for her, duck and chicken. Over the course of a few months, we hatched out over a hundred eggs for her. As payment, she surprised us with baby ducks. We had talked about adding ducks to our little homestead but was uncertain. From everything we had been told ducks were super messy. Now here we are the proud owners of 12 ducks. We normally brood chicks in the house, after this spring I can honestly say I will never brood ducks in the house again. Oh, they are messy and smelly, it is nearly impossible to keep a brooder clean.

When we put the ducks outside I finally fell in love with them. Currently, they are in a dog run, with a large dog house as shelter, but they spend most of their time roaming the garden area, eating bucks and weeds.

Ducks have really grown on me. But we are at our limit, no more new ducks for quite a while. We need to work on proper shelter for winter. We are building a new quail shelter also, and working on expanding the fenced area for our goats. We experienced our first goat births this spring, most of the babies have already been sold, two little ones will be weaned and sold soon. I am a softy and get a little misty eyed letting my babies go.