10 Ways to Make Money on Your Homestead

Man, I love this farming lifestyle. If it were up to me, I’d have some huge ranch and make lots of money and live happily ever after…doing what I love. But then reality slaps me upside the head like a wet fish out of water, and I remember that homesteading and farming aren’t cheap, and it’s certainly not free. There is no endless supply of feed and “dolla-dolla bills, ya’ll” rolling into my hands. Don’t think too hard about that dolla bill reference.
So, we must find ways to make money to feed our homesteading habit.
Mind blown, I know. The entire romanticism around farmsteading is just crazy. While it truly is a romantic lifestyle (really, it is!), it’s not always easy on the pocket.
For this very reason, homesteaders try to find ways to offset costs and make money off of their lifestyle. In fact, there are many homesteaders who actually farm and homestead for a living, and it’s absolutely possible.
But how? Let’s go through some of the top 10 ways that you can make money, efficiently, off of your homestead, all while doing the things you love to do.

Keeping in mind that each homestead is different and has different limitations, you may need to expand or decrease your homestead, based on your needs and limitations. If you live on an acre, some of these won’t work for you. But many of these options still can. In the same respect, you can absolutely take on too much, depending on your age and health conditions, in which case, you may actually save more money by doing less, than more.
Through it all, always remember to be kind to yourself. Work within your limitations and remember to keep things simple. The minute it becomes overwhelming, take a step back and re-prioritize.
Otherwise, here are some top ways you can make a decent amount of money—through hard work and diligence—on your homestead.

 

Egg Sales

Every homestead has eggs. Or, most do, at least. Some of us have just 6 eggs a day, other’s get hundreds. Depending on your space and needs, you can make quite a bit of money off of egg sales. You certainly won’t get rich, but you’ll make enough to cover the cost of feed, and it opens an entirely new door to a group of people that may be willing to buy other homestead products from you, like jams, produce, homemade goods, and meat.

How do you run a successful egg business? Well, there are some things to consider. You’ll first need to do your research on your local market. Some rural areas are already saturated with egg sales, but here are a few ways you can be successful.

Start With the Eggs
 

Your eggs must be clean and beautiful if you plan on attracting customers. Believe it or not, your average customer that will purchase a dozen eggs for $5 isn’t going to be a farmer. It may be someone who is in to homesteading and living a more natural life, but they certainly aren’t farmers. They will want clean and pretty eggs. In fact, I’ve had people tell me straight to my face that they don’t want white eggs because they aren’t as “good” as brown and colored eggs. There’s not much you can do about the falsities that run a muck, but you can offer quality products to your customers either way.

Also, keep in mind that most states require you wash and refrigerate your eggs. There is also a limit to the amount of eggs you can sell in certain states before you require a permit.

Next Comes the Packaging
 

Packaging your eggs in fresh, new cartons with a label will help customers feel like they’re special. Tie a piece of twine around it with a sprig of rosemary, and you’ve really got yourself a prize winner, there! People like to feel special. When they feel like they are getting an impeccable product that others rarely get, they will continue to buy it. It also helps with branding your business.

Here are some products to consider to help you:

 

  • SubstationPaperie egg carton stamps and labels (shown above)
  • Brown blank egg cartons  — it’s always best to use brand new cartons for each sale, but I do reuse most of my lightly used cartons over and over again.
  • Mini Egg Stamp — this stamp is super cute to put on one of the eggs in the center of your carton.
  • Fresh herbs and twine — because adding extra love really helps your customer feel special

Knowing & Choosing Your Egg Market

Who are you going to sell these eggs to now that they are all prettied up? Choosing and knowing your market is going to be your best marketing strategy through it all. If you’re just selling to common friends, family, and a few co-workers, you could probably skip the prettifying stage. However, if you’re looking for hardcore customers,  you’re going to have to travel into the city once a week, every other week, or once a month. You can also tag team city farmer’s markets with a friend, or add on to a farmer already going to market and just commission them to sell your eggs for you.

Here are ways to do exactly that —

  • Sell eggs to your family, friends, and co-workers: This is just plain common sense. You already see them and spend time with them, they are your first immediate plan of action to sell your eggs.
  • Understand that your market are city folk:  while your rural friends will buy eggs from you too, especially the Mayberry friends, most of your egg sales will only bring in money if you market to city people. This is where the prettifying comes in.
  • Place your eggs on local farm sale websites: Social media, local newspapers, online groups and forums are all great places to market your eggs.
  • Tag team a farmers market with a friend: or a farmer that’s already going. Chances are, they will gladly take your eggs for you at their table. Barter with eggs or other homestead items in return, or offer to go watch his stand once a month, and you’ve got yourself a sweet set up.

Livestock Breeding + Selling

I truly love breeding livestock to conformation, standard, or just for good health and meat production. There’s something about bettering a breed that really takes hold of me and makes me excited. This is what we love doing on our homestead, and what we hope to do more extensively in the near future.

Whether it’s rare or sought after chicken breeds, jersey cows, Nigerian dwarf milk goats, or meat rabbits—if you have livestock, you have a potential business.

This portion of homestead money-making can be a money drainer when you first get started. In order to offer quality livestock, you must have quality livestock. Let me give you an example.

When we first got started in meat rabbits, I wanted a breed that I could not only eat, but that I could sell well. This is why I chose the Standard Rex rabbit. I sought out good quality, pedigreed rabbits from meat and show lines. I raised them, bred them, and held back the best of the best, and sold the others off (or send them to freezer camp).

After my first year of breeding, I had quality rabbits of my own to sell—selling pedigreed rabbits for $85 to $100 each. This seemed outrageous to me, but it wasn’t at all outrageous considering the breed was hard to find in most states.

However, I spent well over $300-$400 on my breeding stock.

Read that again. Because it’s not cheap…yo.

The larger the livestock, the more expensive they will be. But if you are serious about it, and you are willing to make the investment, you will certainly come out on top in the end.

It was a win-win with us on the rabbits, because what we didn’t sell, we could eat. Plain and simple!

The same went for us when we decided to sell hatching eggs and chicks. We chose quality breeds, kept healthy birds, and were able to make a decent amount of income.

 

 

Milk Shares

Sharing your extra milk, whether it’s from a cow or a goat, is a great way to make an income on your homestead. You’ll make the most efficient money from a Jersey cow, more than likely. Two Jersey cows will give you more than enough for multiple milk shares, and you can take turns drying off cows as needed.
Keep in mind that there are hoops you’ll need to jump through according to your state. Some states allow the sale of raw milk, other states require you to have a milk share in place. This simply means that customers sign a contract and give you a one time deposit for a portion of the cows sale price. This means they technically “own” a portion of the cow. This price also goes toward feed, production, etc.
You then, in return, offer them a gallon of milk for your set price each week—typically between $8 and $15, it truly just depends on the farm and location. The most common price seems to be between $8 and $12. Customers can buy more than one gallon a week, the price will still be per gallon.
Here are some things to consider:
  • Store your milk in sterilized half gallon mason jars for your customers—making sure they have plastic screw on lids, not the canning lids.
  • Have a set time for customers to pick up each week—this way people aren’t in the way of each other all at one time, you can set up different days and times for them to come and pick up every week.
  • Store your milk in its own refrigerator. This will make it so much easier on you to keep track of. This is also great if you choose to put the fridge in a garage or barn where your customers can just walk in, leave the money, and take their milk. You’ll get to know most of your customers this well, I promise.
  • Make it a point to let them know far in advance when you’ll be drying off a cow. Most of your customers will understand, but some customers may need the milk for health reasons.

Sell Meat: Chickens, Beef, & More

With the scurry of the independent homesteading movement, meat is a brand new thing that homesteaders and farmers are offering to the general public. Actually, the market in many places is already completely saturated with farmers offering grass-fed beef, pasture raised chicken, and even quail and rabbit. But don’t let that discourage you just yet.

When you have multiple things and products on a homestead, especially if you’re already selling eggs and dairy, you now have a market base. You have people that already trust you and your product, and this is how you’ll begin to reel them in with the larger products, like meat.

Keep in mind, however, that this isn’t just about making money—this is about helping people change their lives and live a better lifestyle.

Whatever meat you choose to sell, make sure you’re abiding by the guidelines in your state. For most states you can sell small livestock, like chicken and rabbit, with limitations on how much you can sell.

With larger livestock, they must be processed in an FDA certified facility.

There are two main ways to sell meat—

Process the meat, pay for it (if done at a facility), and then sell to markets, stores, and directly to the customer either with meat shares (quarter, half, whole) or portioned out meat.

The second way is to simply sell the meat before butcher. This is best for larger livestock. The customer would put a deposit down on the portion of the cow they want (quarter, half, or whole). Then they would pay you per pound on final hanging weight, and then pay the butcher directly for the butcher fees.

Homemade Goods + Products

You’re a homesteader, which means you have talents beyond belief. Maybe you make soaps or knit hats. Or maybe you have honey to sell from your bee hives. Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to mesh it all together with the other services and products you can offer from your homestead.

Be sure to market during the proper times of year, and offering a quality product will set you out from the rest. Start an Etsy shop, or a website where you can sell your products. And network with local groups, events, and farmers.

You can also sell products like essential oils or other products through companies that you love. I love selling my essential oils—they pay for the cost of the oils and the livestock feed every month! If not more.

Again, you can also consider selling things like canned goods, breads, and yummy goodies that you make at home with your loving hands!

Handyman Services + Skills

This one is mostly for the fellas, though I know some ladies that have awesome handyman skills too.
For people like my husband, it’s easy for him to say “let me cut your grass, do your landscaping, build that deck, put that fence up…” He’s just skilled beyond belief. And you might be too! Use those skills to your advantage, and you  may just get enough work to start a side business.
Here are some things to consider offering if you have the skills:
 
Landscaping & Mowing
Basic Handyman Skills (electrical, carpentry, fixing things)
Fence Building
Deck and Patio Building
Fall Clean Up
Garden Prepping
Tree Services
Mulch/Wood Chip Hauling and Spreading
Wood Cutting and Hauling
Heavy Lifting
…and so much more!

Sell Plants + Produce

Enough said.

When you begin your new season of planting, and you have all of these extra plants that you don’t know what to do with—don’t toss them to the side or force them into the ground….sell them!

In fact, many homesteaders purposefully plant extra plants just to sell each spring. This is a fabulous way to market organic, non-gmo, or home grown and raised plants to gardeners in the Spring. There is especially a market for herbs!

Make + Sell Herbal Remedies

As an herbal homesteader, I tend to have a lot of herbs on hand at all times. In the winter months, I’m constantly creating some type of concoction for a family member or friend. One year, I posted my Elderberry Syrup recipe on a local social media group and told members that I was getting ready to make a batch if they wanted to buy a bottle. I made over $200 that weekend alone. Call me crazy, but I think I was on to something!

If you’re into herbal remedies, try making salves, lotions, syrups, tinctures, and more. Sell them locally within your community, or even only in your Etsy shop or on your website. Just make sure you label them properly to protect yourself.

 

Boarding + Pet Sitting

If you have an extra field, paddock, or extra room in your home, boarding farm animals and regular pet sitting are all options for you on your homestead. You already have a farm, what’s a few more animals? This might even be your way to get your “new animal” fix without ever actually getting a new animal of your own.

Set standards in place and put things in order so that your market knows you aren’t just there to be at their every beckon call. Setting a standard makes people understand that you’re organized, and the real deal. And that you take pride in your work.

Teach Other People

I think every homesteader has a desire to teach others, and that’s a fabulous thing. We often like to say that we hate charging for this knowledge, but sometimes,  you just have to. Your time and energy is just as precious as any other teacher in the world, and you’re offering information that is invaluable to others. They want to learn, so why not teach?
You can do this many ways: starting a blog, maintaining a youtube channel with tutorials and vlogs, or by hosting classes on your homestead or through your local extension office.
You can also teach through webinars and may even be able to create courses, ebooks, and published books as you excel in your teaching ability.
Whatever it is, never treat it like a job. There is a satisfaction that comes from teaching and sharing knowledge. Watching people’s eyes light up, knowing that they just learned something new and amazing that can help them take control of their lives—it’s priceless.
While you’re teaching, consider adding Affiliate Advertising (like Amazon, Google Ads, and more) to your website and other online outlets. People can click on these links (much like the ones on this blog), and you receive a commission for the amount of times that the ad as been clicked or bought. This is at absolutely no cost to the customer or student, it’s just a great way for you to support your farmstead while teaching others!
There are plenty of ways to make money on, and off, your homestead and farm. These opportunities present themselves often, and if you’ll simply take note, you  may just see a need in your community that you can offer directly from your homestead.
There is absolutely no guilt in selling product or items from your homestead. In fact, it is the American way. Our ancestors did it as their full time jobs…and by golly, I think it’s time to bring it back.

How to Make Plantain Leaf Herbal Soap

I’m not a soapmaker. Let’s just start with that. However, I love homemade soap, and I have some amazing friends who are awesome soapmakers.

Soap making is one of those lost skills that truly does take a few tries to learn and get right. Thankfully, it’s really not a hard or complicated process, it just looks a little scary when it comes to using certain ingredients.

Lye, specifically, scares the bejeezus out of me. However, when I got Jan Berry’s book, Simple & Natural Soapmaking, a brand new sense of confidence welled up within me. This book is absolutely incredible and takes all the “scary” out of it! It’s perfect for the beginner soap maker, and even the experienced one.

The photos alone are gorgeous to flip through, and Jan’s ease of instructions are so inviting to the homesteader.

Here’s one of my favorite recipes from her new book, which you can find here.

Plantain is a common leafy green weed found throughout the world that soothes, cools and moisturizes. This soap recipe features nourishing plantain infused olive oil, but for an extra dose of herbal goodness, you could also use cooled plantain tea in place of the water.
Before you make this recipe, you’ll first need to make plantain infused oil. To do so, fill a canning jar about half-way with dried plantain leaves. Pour olive oil over the dried herb until completely covered by several extra inches of oil. Cover with a lid and infuse for several weeks, then strain. For a quicker infusion, set the uncovered jar into a saucepan filled with a few inches of water. Heat the pan over very low heat for 2 to 3 hours. Cool and strain. Use in place of regular olive oil in soap recipes.

Plantain Leaf Herbal Soap

Makes 7 to 8 bars (2.5 lbs/1.13 kg)
Lye Solution
3.95 oz (112 g) Sodium Hydroxide (also called Lye or Caustic Soda)
8.75 oz (248 g) Distilled Water or Plantain Tea
1 tsp French Green Clay (optional, for pale green color)
Solid Oils
7.5 oz (213 g) Coconut Oil
4 oz (113 g) Mango or Shea Butter
Liquid Oils
13 oz (369 g) Plantain Infused Olive Oil
3.5 oz (99 g) Hemp or Avocado Oil
Extras
1.05 oz (30 g) lavender essential oil (optional, for scent)
Notes & Tips
If you don’t have mango or shea butter, try using cocoa or kokum butter, tallow or lard for a similar effect.
To further enhance the recipe, you could add 1 tbsp ground oats and/or 1.5 tsp honey (diluted with 1.5 tsp water) at trace.
All oils, butters, water and lye should be measured by weight. You need an accurate scale to make soap.
Step 1: Make the Lye Solution
Wearing protective gloves and eyewear, carefully stir the lye (sodium hydroxide) into the distilled water or plantain tea until dissolved. Stir in the French green clay, if using, for added color. Work in an area with good ventilation and be careful not to breathe in the fumes. Set the lye solution aside to cool for about 30 or 40 minutes or until the temperature drops to around 100 to 110°F (38 to 43°C).
Step 2: Prepare the Oils
Gently heat the coconut oil and mango or shea butter on low heat until melted. When the solid oils are melted, take the pan off the heat and pour in the liquid oils. This helps cool down the melted oils, while warming up the room temperature oils.
Step 3: Mixing
Pour the cooled lye solution into the warm oils. Using a combination of hand stirring and an immersion blender, stir the soap batter until it thickens and reaches trace. Trace is when the soap has thickened enough so when you drizzle a small amount of the batter across the surface, it will leave a fleeting, but visible imprint or “trace” before sinking back in.
Step 4: Add Essential Oils
If using, stir in the lavender essential oil.
Step 5: Pour in Mold
Pour the soap batter into a soap mold. Cover lightly with wax or freezer paper, then a towel or light blanket. Peek at the soap every so often; if it starts developing a crack, uncover and move to a cooler location.
Step 6: Cut & Cure
Keep the soap in the mold for 1 to 2 days, or until it’s easy to remove, then slice it into bars when it’s firm enough not to stick to your cutting tool. Cure on coated cooling racks or sheets of wax paper for about 4 weeks before using. The soap is safe to touch 48 hours after making it but it needs the extra time to allow the excess moisture to evaporate out.
You’re done!
Enjoy your soap!

What Happens When I Fail at Homesteading?

We’ve been on this homesteading journey for a few years now. And let me just say, I have failed more times than I can count. In fact, I’ve just stopped counting for the sake of my sanity. It’s moments like these when I tell myself that the good Lord forgets all of my failures, so I should too.
During my first few years here, I failed a lot. I failed at eating healthy (I still do). I failed at keeping chickens healthy. I failed at homemaking. I failed at being a good mom. And I massively failed at gardening. Thank goodness for grace.
What happens when people fail? What happens when I fail? It’s probably one of the major reasons why people don’t start living a healthier lifestyle or start their own farm journey. Failure…it’s a scary thing.

Read the Post

How to Make An Herbal Salve

Herbal salves use to intimidate the bejeezus out of me. But when I started making them, I wondered what on earth took me so long to take this next step into herbalism. Salves are extremely easy to make, and equally as beneficial to the homesteading herbalist’s medicine cabinet.
Let me show you just how easy it is….

We make herbal salves to heal irritated skin, soothe sore muscles, speed up the healing process of cuts and wounds, and we can even make salves to help with respiratory distress—like homemade vapo rub.
But today I’m going to give you one of my go to herbal salve recipes. You can adapt this recipe with whatever herbs you see fit. Find the recipe below, and watch the video too!
Use this salve on bumps and bruises, sore muscles, bug bites, and more!

Soothing Chamomile Salve

1 oz calendula infused oil

1 oz chamomile infused oil

1 oz arnica infused oil

.5 to 1 oz beeswax

Method:

  1. In a double boiler (a mason jar setting in a saucepan with water in it), combine all ingredients (in the jar) until completely melted.
  2. Quickly pour into tins and allow to cool completely.
  3. Cap tightly, label, and store for up to 1 year.

Watch the video here:

Buy Organic herbs here:

Bulk Herb Store
Mountain Rose Herbs

Products I use to make salves:

She Intimidates Me…

It was probably the fourth time in the last year that I’ve heard the phrase—by four different women. Man, what did I do to deserve this? Of course, we could laugh it off now, but as she told me how much I use to intimidate her, I’ll admit, I felt a bit of offense. Me? Intimidating?
 
There’s always that chance to ask her why. Why did she think I was so intimidating? Why did she feel she couldn’t approach me and stood back in a distance silently judging me? Now, she’s loving all of this girl right here but, not always.

You just seem like you have it all together. 
 
You’re so confident.
 
You know who you are in Christ, and that’s intimidating for a woman like me.
 
I’ve heard it all. I get it often…
Confidence isn’t something that is easily understood. On one hand you’re a leader, someone people respect and look up to. Someone that people can count on. On the other hand, you’re judged…called obscene words that normally start with a giant “B”, and you’re inapproachable.
There’s a fine line between confidence, arrogance, and insecurity.
But, if we’re being honest, I don’t have it all together…at all.
If we’re being honest, this girl you think I am, she intimidates me too.
I’m messy.
I have 100 things that have to get done and I often find that I choose the things that bring me joy or feelings of accomplishments first.
I hate my body—my chin, my arms, my mom stomach, my jiggles everywhere.
I typed in “mom” stomach to make myself feel better, realizing that it’s just an excuse I use.
I’m insecure. I’m terrified people won’t like me when I meet them. First impressions are everything, right?
I care a little too much about what people think about me, and I’m one of the  biggest introverts that you’ll ever meet, and yet, I won’t seem much like one.
I can be mean, but I can be the kindest person you’ll ever meet.
I can be selfish, immature, and rude.
But I can be loving, a saving grace, and eloquent.
I can be bad ass but I’m scared to death.
And I miss the girl I use to be. But, that girl has come a long way in life. A long, long way.
PHOTO
A man once told me, when I was young and naive, that I wasn’t like “all the other girls”. That I was cool. That I was like “one of the guys”. I smirked because, back then, it seemed rare. But the reality is that I was exactly like every other girl.
I was imperfect.
There’s nothing quite like embracing imperfection.
There’s nothing quite like owning it.
There’s nothing quite as satisfying as knowing absolutely nothing about anything and yet determined to know anything about everything.
And this is her…this is me…
I’m confident because I’ve been less than confident.
I’m confident because I’ve been walked all over, taken advantage of, and whispered sweet nothings to with nothing but heartache in return.
I’m confident because I know what I want in life, who I want in life, and how I want life to be. Because I’ve had the rest…the other…the settled for.
I’m confident because not a single person in this world is going to be able to tell you all the things you need to hear that you are…not until you believe them yourself. 
I’m confident because I’m insecure. I’m shaking on the inside but I can’t dare let it show on the outside because, well, I know how that turns out…and it goes absolutely no where.
I’m confident…but I am exactly like every other woman out there….
I’m vulnerable, insecure, contagiously zealous, unknowingly jealous, comparative, and sassy.
But I am kind, I am quiet, and I am undoubtedly in love with the only Being in the entire universe who knows the depths of my heart, the good and the ugly, and what my confidence really is—Jesus.
If not for Him, and knowing my worth within His hands of warmth and love, I’d wear my insecurities on my sleeve, and my heart would certainly be one of stone.
This woman you think I am…she scares me. This is so true.
The woman I actually am…she wants to love you, laugh with you, be goofy with you.
She wants the fun and chaos, but she wants the depth of meaningful conversations.
She hates small talk and no, it doesn’t mean she knows more than you, it simply means she feels deeply, thinks widely, and her horizons are limitless.
This woman, she is confident. But never, ever, forget that she is exactly like you.
She’s just a woman trying to make it in a sea of people, with little hands that tug on her shirt, dirt under her fingernails, and the world, literally, at her fingertips.
She intimidates me…she intimidates you…and it’s only because we wish we were exactly like her…the thought of her.
The reality, however, is that we are exactly her…at exactly the right time…in exactly the right space. And the rest of the time, when we’re a mess of runny mascara, broken hearts, lost battles, and spilled sippy cup chaos…in the middle of imperfection? Well, that’s where my sweet Jesus takes the front seat, and whispers softly, “you are the daughter of a King…”
Embrace it, sweet girl. And next time, when you see her—that friend, that co-worker, that blogger—don’t judge her….smile at her. Because after the confidence, she’s a puddle of mush just waiting for the next saving grace to scoop her up and love her to pieces. She’s waiting for the reminder that she’s just like everyone else…she’s exactly like you…

Why I Don’t Use the Folk Method For Making Tinctures

Out of all the things I teach people when it comes to herbalism, this is the one thing that I teach the most. Some days I get a stank eye and get told I have no idea what I’m talking about. Other days, I see the light bulb come on, and it makes complete and total sense. And, honestly, why wouldn’t it?
What am I talking about?

Glad you asked.

Let’s rip the band-aid off, because there’s no other way.

I don’t use the folk method for making herbal tinctures. 

 
That’s right. Gasps everywhere. The holy grail and 90% of the internet tell us to make tinctures by using the folk method, but I simply don’t find it as reliable as the method that I use. And honestly, my family isn’t a guinea pig for me to guess how much, or how little, is needed in a tincture.
As I study to become a Master Herbalist, the courses I’ve chosen are scientific and evidence based learning structures. We go through real life clinical studies done by doctors that believe in herbalism, and even doctors that don’t. Even the great James Green himself admits that the folk method isn’t as reliable. And here’s why…

Let me first start by saying that using the folk method isn’t wrong. Yes, absolutely, it has its uses. It’s the most widely used method for a reason. But I fear that reason is simply because it’s the most commonly known from a “folk” standard. Its easy and referred to by herbalists that have grown into herbalism through wild crafted schools. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, sometimes we have to challenge what we’ve always done if we want to achieve greater results.
Because herblism isn’t monitored by any government entity, it means that just about anyone can become an herbalist. But I wanted more when I started this journey. I didn’t just want to hope something worked, I wanted to know it would work.
Enter side stage: science…
 
Yes, science. Sorry to burst your bubble. Believe it or not, if the Egyptians can create an entire materia medica journal (and more) in 1535 B.C. with detailed anatomy of the human body far advanced for their civilization, then we most certainly can take advantage of our God given brains that allow us to do research and expand our knowledge about the human body and botany from a scientific standpoint.
Right? Right…
When making a tincture with the folk method, you are often times instructed to fill a jar 1/4 of the way with your choice of herb, and then fill the jar the rest of the way up with your alcohol of choice (typically vodka), or glycerin. You leave a headspace, voila, you’re done. Your tincture will set for 4-6 weeks, shake it a couple times a day, leave it in a dark place (poor tincture)….you get it.
While these types of tinctures can be highly effective, and have been for centuries,  there’s no way to tell how much of the herb is actually being extracted.
You see, the issue is that dense herbs look like a lot less than herbs that aren’t as dense. Take the above photo, for instance. All of these herbs have been weighed out to 1 ounce, and yet, they all look like completely different measurements.

This is why I prefer the weight to volume ratio of making a tincture.

This isn’t something new. Making tinctures using the weight to volume method has always been quite common, but for some reason, not as quick to rise to fame and glory. This is most likely because many wild foragers had to make their tinctures in the field using fresh herbs. We don’t do that much anymore either, because it’s best to use dried or wilted herbs (less water extraction).
Using a weight to volume ratio allows me to know what, exactly, is in this tincture, and the exact amount that I should be giving to my family and friends when it comes to medicinal compounds that have been extracted.
Often times, we make herbal remedies and become discouraged because they simply don’t work. Could it be that it’s actually us that is the issue?
When we choose not to measure out our herbs and liquids, we will consistently get a different extraction each time. Not only that, but we can severely overdose, or under dose, with the folk method as well—causing bad reactions, or no reaction at all.
So, how do we make a tincture using the weight to volume method? Very easily…
A typical tincture of dried herbs is used with a 1:5 or (up to) 1:10 ratio (herb:liquid) and 80-100 proof vodka, or glycerin.
A tincture using fresh herbs is used with a 1:2 or up to 1:5 ratio and 100 proof vodka. This is because fresh herbs will release more moisture, causing a risk of your tincture to go rancid. The higher proof vodka and a smaller ratio will even out your moisture that is released.

Tincture measurement examples:

1 ounce of dried herb to 5 ounces of liquid (1:5).
3 ounces of dried herb to 15 ounces of liquid (because 3×5 [1:5] is 15 — therefore 1:5 = 3:15)
3 ounces of fresh herb to 6 ounces of liquid (because 3×2 [1:2] is 6 — 1:2 = 3:6)
Once you have made your tincture mixture, cap it tightly, place it in a cool dark place (without much temperature fluctuation) for 4-6 weeks, shaking a couple of times each day. When your tincture is ready, strain the herbs out, bottle the remaining liquid into a brown glass eyedropper bottle, and store it in your medicine cabinet (dark place) or refrigerator for 18-24 months or more. If kept in your fridge, it can last much longer. It all depends on the environment around you. Some tinctures can last 5+ years.
Because we know the exact ratio of herb that was extracted, we can now confidently dose our loved ones, knowing that more likely than not, our creation will work. The only thing you have to worry about now is upping the dosage if you need to combat an issue more aggressively, rather than making an entirely new tincture because it simply wasn’t strong enough to begin with.
Herbal medicine really is so much fun to learn about. I encourage you to seek out all kinds of information while doing so. And don’t be afraid to look past the folk norm in order to seek out a better one.
We were blessed with knowledge so that we could exceed what we’ve known in the past. Some people use that for bad big-pharma creations, while others use it to further explore the lost art of herbalism and how nature and botany collide with the human body to make beautiful things.
In everything, we must remember that in the end, herbalism isn’t God. But we sure can strive to do things in the most efficient ways with one of the most amazing tools that He’s given us—herbs.

Spicy Eggs, Bacon and Kale

Our chickens lay consistently throughout the Spring and Summer. I am so happy to have those glorious dark yellow/orange yolks back in our lives again each and every Spring. I’ll admit, I’m a pretty simple soul when it comes to eggs. Give me a little seasoning and hot sauce and I’m good to go.
But sometimes I’ll get a little more down in the nitty gritty and throw together some actual recipes. One of my personal favorites is spicy eggs, bacon, and kale.
This recipe is all over the internet, but it’s something that has been in my life for years. No recipe is really required, it’s all by taste!

SPICY EGGS, BACON AND KALE

6 slices of thick cut bacon, roughly chopped (we use homegrown! No nitrates added)

1 small sweet onion, roughly chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

2 bunches kale, de-stemmed and roughly chopped

1 ½ cup chicken stock

4 farm fresh eggs (aka, chicken butt nuggets)

2 tsp. black pepper

Red pepper flakes, to taste

Juice of 1 lemon

  1. Fry bacon pieces in a large skillet (cast iron preferred) until crispy. Remove from skillet, leaving drippings.
  2. Cook onions and garlic in bacon grease until opaque. Add additional oil if necessary.
  3. Add bunches of kale, half at a time as space in skillet allows.
  4. Add chicken stock and let simmer until kale is soft; about 5 minutes.
  5. Create four small wells in the kale and crack one egg into each well.
  6. Season entire mixture with black pepper, red pepper flakes, and lemon juice.
  7. Cover pan and allow eggs to cook until desired doneness. Turn off heat immediately, sprinkle on bacon, and serve.
And that, my friends, is how you have an incredible breakfast.

This recipe and article originally appeared in a 2016 issue of The Piedmont Virginian Magazine, written by Amy Fewell.

Weekly Devotion | Words & Passions

We are quick to use our words when we are annoyed, disappointed, and angered. We also use our words worse when we’ve lost our passion or lack goals. In today’s devotional, we’re going to talk about all of that! From homemaking, work, and friendships…finding your passion in Christ is the best answer!

Watch today’s devotional …

Don’t Leave Your Family Behind…

I love gardening. I love my chickens and the warm egg in my pocket on a crisp fall day. I love picking tomatoes off of a dew dripping vine. I love the process of adding new and exciting animals to our homestead, hopefully soon to include a dairy cow. All in good time. We’ll see.

My brain goes 100 mph each and every day.

I love this life. But you know what I love more?

my family…

I am absolutely in love with my family.

I am absolutely nothing without them. I couldn’t do this without them and their support. I would literally have no real reason to want to be here without them. Homestead in one hand, family in the other….I’d choose family every single time.

I love the little boy giggles in the morning, when he crawls into my bed with just his cute little boy underwear on because, well, I just can’t keep clothes on him most days. That white skin, though. It sure is bright first thing in the morning.

I love the touch of my husband, when he wraps his arms around me and kisses my shoulder while I’m washing dishes. I love how boyishly playful he can still be when he expresses his love to this woman that he married over a decade ago. I love how hard working he is, how dedicated he is, how strong he is.

But there are days when I become distracted. This or that needs to be done, or my life revolves around a farm animal or project, writing a book, researching until my heart is content. And, my family goes to the wayside.

And it’s then that I remind myself of these words…don’t leave your family behind for homesteading.

 

You have 18 summers with your children. Only 18 summers. In my case, I only have 10 more left. Just 10 more summers left. My heart aches.

There’s no telling how long your spouse will be around. You may only have 3 more years, or maybe it’s 30. But who can tell? Though, I pray mine lives for at least 60 more years.

Take the vacation…

Take a weekend and camp at the river…

Take a day trip and enjoy quality time with your family…

There will always be animals to feed, milk, and care for.  There will always be a garden that needs weeding and vegetables that need canning, bread that needs baking and a house that needs cleaning. But there will not always be a family that needs tending to.

In the homesteading world, you make connections with people locally, even family, that can tend to your farm while you’re away. People who would gladly barter for the milk they milk, the eggs they collect, and the vegetables they pick while you’re way. The farm will be fine, if you can let go of the reins a bit. It will all be ok.

And if you can’t financially make it happen, then the amount of quality time you spend with your family is equally as important, even if it’s right in your own home. Play the game. Tell the jokes. Roast the marshmallows.

As homesteaders, we believe in a better quality of life. We believe in living a natural lifestyle. That doesn’t mean we believe in leaving our family behind while we go and live it.

Love your babies. Love your husband. Make them feel special. Because you have a limited amount of time with your family. Make the pancakes your kids want in the morning. Stretch your time a bit and play that card game they’ve been begging you to play. Instead of rushing out to do chores, sit a little longer with your husband who’s just come in from a long day of work. And when he says, “let’s get away”, smile and say, without hesitation “ok”.

And we did…we went right down to that river right behind our house. And we loved being a family…

Don’t leave your family behind for homesteading. Because your family needs you more than anything else in the world. You, mama. Just you.

The Announcement You’ve Been Waiting For

When I was in high school I had multiple research papers and book reports that were due. They were normally the most in depth and horrid thing for a teenager, but I absolutely loved them. Back then, you wrote your book report with a pencil and paper. You’d erase your mistakes by hand, bringing your pencil up to your chin, wondering how to replace that sentence with a better one full of imagery. Or, maybe that was just me. Maybe I was the only teenager who did that.
None-the-less, I remember handing in a book report one day, and shortly after I’d handed it in, it had already been scored. I went to a small Christian school in high school—only about 30 kids in total. So when someone got called up to the front, you’d hear just about everything that teacher had to say.
It was one of the very last book reports I’d ever do in high school, and I really wanted it to be done well.
As I walked up to the front to collect my graded paper, she peered over her glasses and quietly said, “Amy, you have a gift for writing, you’re going to be an author one day.”
She smiled.
I had a blank stare.
She had a way of building us kids up. The head of all teachers, the woman who would let you know you were out of line in a heartbeat, but who was gentle enough to cheer you on in love and grace.
At first I believed every word that flowed from her lips, but soon doubt crept in and the instant gratification high was gone.
Her words have stayed with me ever since…and that brings me to that big announcement you’ve all been waiting for…

This week, I signed my very first book contract with a real publisher.
A publisher who is well known in the world of outdoor living and homesteading books. A publisher that I connected with instantly. A publisher that my best friend, when hearing me talk about them, said, “I don’t know, Amy, something about this just feels right.”
It helps to have friends who are logical enough to tell you when something is just a bad deal or a good deal, but who are absolutely there to pray for you and with you, and who heed the Holy Spirit…that still small voice inside.
I can’t tell you, in detail, what the book is about just yet. That will come in the next month or so when we release the cover and begin pre-sale and marketing. But I can absolutely tell you that it’s about homesteading, real life modern homesteading, and herbs. You know how much I love my herbs. This is the book I wish I could’ve read when I first started my journey.
It is so much more than just homesteading and herbs…
But, that’s all I can tell you for now!
More than anything, however, I want to tell you how this came about. Because honestly, it happened so quickly that if I would’ve blinked, I would have missed it all.
If you’ve been following my journey for any amount of time, you know that back at the beginning of the year I was offered a book deal for this book. Actually, I had pitched a generational family cookbook, but no one was interested in that. Failure number one.
A publisher asked me if I had another book rolling around inside, and so I sent the beginning stages of this book. They immediately approved it and made an offer. Unfortunately, I just wasn’t connecting with them. Even though friends of mine had published through them successfully, I just didn’t feel like it was a good deal for me. Not to sound snobbish, but, I knew there was more out there. I knew I brought value to the table through my experience of more than a decade in the media industry, and through Homesteaders of America, and so, I declined the deal.
Yep, you read that right, I declined it. I said I’m sorry and I walked away from it.
The things people said to me were just, well, most of them weren’t nice or said with good intention.
I had people ask why I thought so highly of myself not to take the deal. I had others tell me I’d never get a better deal being a first time author with no experience. That no experience thing always got me. I’ve been writing, professionally, not just a blog, for years.
I had others mock me, call me a liar (they didn’t think the offer was actually made), and more.
This happens online. Honestly, you must have some type of thick enough skin to not let it get to you, but be gentle enough to love people right where they are.
To  be honest, after that experience of the first deal going wrong, I had talked myself out of that book. I didn’t think it was right for me because I didn’t get what I was expecting from that experience. Also, I was simply just too busy to worry with it.
I ended up connecting with an agency for Christian living publications and began working on a book proposal about homemaking. But still, the herb book was in the back of my mind. As I would cut my herbs to feed to the chickens, or roast potatoes with fresh herbs from the garden this Spring, still, the book was there.
So imagine my surprise when I opened my email at the beginning of June (that’s how recent this all went down!), and noticed an email from two different publishers—the publisher that I chose, and Storey Publishing. That’s right, you read that right, Storey Publishing. But you also read it right that I did not choose Storey Publishing.
I still wonder if I’m crazy for that. I still wonder if I should’ve thought about it more, but sometimes you just can’t over think it. You have to go with where you feel the Lord leading you. And He was leading me to someone else…the second publisher…and here’s why…
I was holding onto the truth that there was more out there for me, someone I could connect with. I had made a decision not to go with the first publisher that came my way. And don’t you know, I got a better deal…and I connected with this publisher on so many levels.
Because I waited patiently, I got exactly what I wanted, what I knew I was worth.
I didn’t even know these two new publishers were interested in my book. I had sent them the proposal quite a long time ago, and now suddenly, here they were, ready to pitch it and make offers. And I was over here like, uhhh.
Just as quickly as I received the emails, I received an offer from the publisher that I signed on with. We spoke by phone. We connected. We laughed. And when I asked her what set them apart from other publishers, she answered…We like to tell stories. We like to educate people on a personal level, from real life experiences, not just a long research paper. We want someone to feel something when they read our books.
 
Bam. Sold. Just like that. That’s what I had been waiting for. Story tellers…Depth…Feeling…
Everything in between was blurry, but I know that it’s a good move. And I’m excited beyond belief. But also, I’m about to become a hermit. And I tell you that so that you know I haven’t disappeared, I’m simply consumed until September!
Ya’ll, I have so many words to write before my manuscript is turned in by SEPTEMBER! That’s right, I only have about 8 weeks to create an entire handbook—words and photographs. But I believe I’m up for the challenge. And I know you’ll enjoy it so much, and the pretty photos too!
The book will be launching in Spring 2018, just in time for gardening season! So make sure you keep checking back to see when pre-sales are up. If you aren’t already subscribed to my e-newsletter, that’s a fabulous way to get reminders about what’s happening over here.
Thank you for following my journey. Thank you for cheering me on as I go. Thank you for your love and inspiration.
Thank you…
I’m still working on my Christian living book proposals! Don’t worry. Maybe we’ll tackle that next year 😉
But for now, I write!

He Justifies Us

When we walk through struggles like divorce, loss of friendships, financial distress, death of a loved one, and more, we are often quick to ask “why me” or “why is this happening?” We are quick to justify ourselves, telling others how good we are, how things like these shouldn’t happen. But what does scripture say about it all? Today, we’ll talk about it and discover exactly what God may be showing us in the midst of our struggles.

Watch it here

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