Old Fashioned Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls. My goodness, you can make them so many ways. Regular, raspberry, blackberry, peach….help  me, Jesus.

These are my go to cinnamon rolls. I’ve tried so many other recipes (even the Pioneer Woman’s, *gasp*), but this one, this one takes the trophy every.single.time.

I never measure things, and neither do the old-fashioned Mennonites. This recipe was actually adapted from an old recipe that a beautiful Mennonite woman gave to me. I had to learn, quite often, how to adapt recipes that I tried at home when trying to replicate Mennonite recipes from the cute little Mennonite store I used to work at. But, it has made me a better cook and baker because of it!

Old Fashioned Cinnamon Rolls

Dough Ingredients:

1/2 cup warm water
2 Tbs of yeast
  • Stir together in small bowl (or your stand mixer) and let sit while mixing the rest of the ingredients.
1/2 cup salted butter
2 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
6-7 cups flour
  1. Heat butter, milk, and sugar in a saucepan until butter is melted and sugar and salt are dissolved. Let rest until lukewarm. I actually just let it set for about 5 mins and then go ahead and use it.
  2. In a stand mixer, combine butter/milk mixture and yeast mixture.
  3. Add 6 cups of all purpose flour, slowly. Your dough should be a little sticky, but still firm. You can also knead by hand. If dough is still too sticky, then add up to another cup of flour in half cup increments. Knead until smooth and elastic
  4. Put dough in a greased bowl and lightly grease top of dough. Let rise for about 45 mins or until doubled. I like to use a heating pad to speed up the process, or I put the bowl on top of a towel over the burner that I was using to melt the butter mixture. Makes it rise quicker.
While the dough is rising….

FILLING:
1 stick butter
sugar
cinnamon

  1. Set out 1/2 to 1 stick of butter to soften while dough rises.
Once dough has risen….
  1. Once dough is risen, divide dough in half and roll each half out into a ½” to 1″ thick rectangle. If you’ve done it right, you’ll notice that your dough is very light and airy feeling as you roll it out.
  2. Spread 1/2 of the stick of butter onto the dough.
  3. Sprinkle a thin layer of sugar and cinnamon across the butter layer.
  4. Starting from a long side, begin rolling your dough tightly into a long cinnamon roll log.
  5. Once rolled, take a piece of thread (or use a sharp knife) and cut ¾” to 1” cinnamon rolls, depending on what size you’d like. Place in a buttered pan (I use 4+ round cake or pie pans, but you could use a rectangle baking dish). Let rise for approx. 15 minutes and then bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes OR until tops are start to color around edges. You do not want your cinnamon rolls brown on top. As soon as they start to turn, take them out. This keeps them extra moist. Allow to cool until warm to the touch, then add frosting while still warm.
  6. You can use the other half of the dough to make more cinnamon rolls, or you can use them as dinner rolls.Now comes the best part…the frosting!

Frosting. It’s the best part of cinnamon rolls, isn’t it? This frosting is super simple and easy.

FROSTING:
3 Tbs soft butter
4-6 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2-3 tbsp milk

  1. Stir together all ingredients, starting with just 4 cups of p. sugar.
  2. Add sugar gradually until frosting is “spreadable”.
  3. Frost rolls when they are still warm but not too hot. This allows the frosting to start melting, but still keeps frosting on top of rolls.

I hope that you and your family enjoy this recipe as much as my little family has!!

 

How to Treat Ear Infections with Herbs

Ear infections are one of the most common ailments in children under the age of 8. Even teenagers and adults can get ear infections, though it’s less common. Unfortunately, not only are ear infections the most popular ailments in our younger generations, but they are also one of the main causes of overuse of antibiotics. In fact, most ear infections will clear up within 24-72 hours after the first symptoms. Parents who take their children to the doctor to get an antibiotic often believe that the antibiotic is what cured their child, when the reality is that the ear infection, more likely than not, began clearing on its own. It takes 24-48 hours for an antibiotic to begin working. It can take the same amount of time for the symptoms of an ear infection to begin subsideing on its own.

I get it, though. I’m a mom. I think I ran to the doctor for almost every single ear infection that my son had when he was little. There were a few times that I didn’t, but other times, I was just worried. Worried moms, that’s never a good thing!

Back then, I wasn’t confident enough in my herbal knowledge to help the issue, and so, I turned to modern medicine. But that’s the beauty of modern medicine—peace of mind. And when in doubt, I encourage you to heed your instincts, even now!

However, there are plenty of other ways to heal an ear infection and help ease symptoms. We’ll go over a few of those right after we understand why and how we get ear infections.

Preventing Ear Infections

Before we can treat an ear infection at home, there are some important things we have to take into consideration. Prevention is the number one place we need to begin.

Most children who have an ear infection get one because of immature Eustachian tubes. Little ones have the smallest tubes, and when they become inflamed during a cold or teething, fluid and/or bacteria can get trapped in the Eustachian tubes and cause pain, inflammation, and ultimately, an ear infection.

Most little ones get ear infections from inflammation and blocked tubes, and during (or right after) having a cold or an allergen inflammation. We can prevent ear infections during this time by first trying to prevent the cold and flu. You can do this by secondarily administering herbal remedies and supplements through your breast milk if you are a nursing mom. Try making an elderberry and astragalus syrup to not only help prevent you from getting a cold, but baby as well. Never give the syrup to infants, however, the syrup is safe for most toddlers.

You can also prevent an ear infection by aiding the draining process of fluid in the middle ear.

These practices may include:
  • Making sure your baby or little one is angled upright (when sick) while taking a bottle or nursing, as well as when they are sleeping, if at all possible. For older kids, propping pillows underneath of them while napping or sleeping is a must. For infants, allowing them to nap and sleep in a swing will be greatly beneficial.
  • Taking your children for chiropractic care. Chiropractic care allows the lymph nodes and channels throughout the body to drain more easily. It can also reduce inflammation and swelling. Find a trusted pediatric practitioner in your area.
  • Massage Therapy, focused around the lymph node areas, will help the body relax and drain the system of any excess fluid and sinus build up and blockage during colds and flus.

Prevention is your first step to helping your child with an ear infection. These simple methods can help rid the possibility of ear infection for your child, and even for yourself.

Different Types of Ear Infections

Let’s face it. Sometimes we forget to prop our kids up. Sometimes we forget to prevent cold and flu with herbs and vitamins. So now, our kid has an ear infection, and that’s ok! But what type of ear infection do they have? You may never know just by watching your child, but in many cases, especially when we practice the “wait”, we can know exactly what type of ear infection our child has…if it’s even an ear infection at all.

Here are the different types of common ear infections, and one other possibility:

  • It’s not an ear infection at all. Yep, that’s right. I could just be swelling and inflammation that will work itself out. The actual presence of puss and fluid never happens. Your child is just uncomfortable from inflammation in the sinuses and ear canal. This is a major cause for children pulling at their ears and never having an ear infection.
  • Acute otitis media (AOM)—this is the most common ear infection. This infection affects part of the middle ear and causes fluid to be trapped behind the eardrum. It can cause an earache and a fever, but it will typically resolve in a matter of 2-3 days.
  • Otitis media with effusion (OME)—this can be seen as an ear infection, but sometimes it’s just trapped fluid. The fluid never goes away after the original ear infection has subsided. Some children never have any symptoms with it. Or, they may just have discomfort on a regular basis because the fluid is trapped. We often think it’s a reoccurring ear infection, when in actuality, it’s just fluid build up.
  • Chronic otitis media with effusion (COME)—this ear infection is the most dramatic and may require medical attention. COME makes it harder for children to fight off other infections that may be lurking in the body because they are in a constant state of having an ear infection. Reoccurring infections can happen every couple of weeks due to fluid build up over an extended period of time. This type of infection needs medical attention.

I always encourage parents to practice the wait. Give your child 3-4 days after symptoms begin to see if they begin to subside on their own if you don’t want to take the herbal route. If the child isn’t better after a few days, it’s time to got to the doctor.

However, treating the ear inflammation or infection from the very beginning with herbal remedies is your best bet, and can prevent further, more dramatic, types of ear infections from occurring and reoccurring.

Whatever you do, I encourage you to hold off on antibiotics as long as possible.

The overuse of antibiotics truly takes hold of our children and their future generations when we overuse complicated medicines for simplistic ailments. Five in every six children in the United States will experience an ear infection during their childhood. According to Healthy People 2020, 77.8% of pediatric visits for ear infections result in antibiotic prescriptions. The overuse of antibiotics creates superbugs and antibiotic resistance in our communities.

Why are we consistently prescribing antibiotics for an ailment that will more than likely resolve itself in the same amount of time it takes for an antibiotic to begin working?

Besides the fact that we’re abusing antibiotics, let’s consider that antibiotics still do relieve pain or the stress of an ear infection. Only herbal remedies or pain relievers can do that. So why not kill treat the ailment and give natural pain and inflammation relief all at once?

Herbal Treatment for Ear Infections

There are a few different ways we can treat ear infections at home, and all of them are completely healthy and beneficial to your little one. The best way to treat efficiently and effectively is at the first sign of symptoms. Once you know, for sure, that your child (or you!) has an ear infection, immediate treatment methods should begin.

One of the best ways to treat an ear infection is with garlic, mullein, calendula, St. John’s Wort, lavender, and other anti-inflammatory and antibacterial herbs. You can create an herbal oil remedy (recipes below) to place inside of the ear. However, if the ear drum is ruptured do not use this oil inside of the ear. Rub it on the outside of the ear and behind the ear.

Basil Essential Oil is also a great remedy when placing the diluted oil around the outside of the ear canal and behind the ear. You can also put it in an ear oil recipe. Never place essential oils inside of the ear canal undiluted or without being in a recipe (like the one below).

You can certainly give pain reliever, like tylenol or advil, and offset the liver toxicity by offering milk thistle (dose according to weight). But you’ll find that the herbal oil itself will help relieve a lot of that pain.

Use one of these simple recipes for earaches and infections. You can make it in advance and store it in a cool, dark place for 6-8 months, or you can make it on demand when needed.

Again, do NOT place these remedies inside of the ear if there is a ruptured ear drum.

Infant and Pediatric Ear Infection Oil

Dose: 3-5 drops per application (in or around ear) every 2-3 hours until symptoms resolve
Age: 2 months and older

Ingredients:
7 grams chamomile flowers, dried
7 grams garlic, dried
2/3 cup avocado oil

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees. Once it reaches 250 degrees, turn it off and keep the door closed.
  2. Place herbs in a mason jar and cover with avocado oil. Immediately place in oven once oven has been turned off.
  3. Leave the jar of herbs and oil in the oven for 2-3 hours, infusing the oil with the medicinal herbs.
  4. Remove the jar from the oven and strain the oil into a sterile 4 oz dropper bottle. Make sure you squeeze all of the oil out of the herbs!

 

Child and Adult Ear Infection Oil

Dose: 3-5 drops per application (in or around ear) every 2-4 hours until symptoms resolve
Age: 9 months and older
This oil is great for older children and is more efficient because of the addition of basil essential oil.

Ingredients:

7 grams chamomile flowers, dried
9 grams garlic, dried
4 grams calendula flowers, dried
1 cup avocado oil
48 drops sweet basil essential oil
2 tsp raw or manuka honey (*optional)

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees. Once it reaches 250 degrees, turn it off and keep the door closed.
  2. Place herbs in a mason jar and cover with avocado oil. Do not add basil essential oil. Immediately place in oven once oven has been turned off.
  3. Leave the jar of herbs and oil in the oven for 2-3 hours, infusing the oil with the medicinal herbs.
  4. Remove the jar from the oven and strain the oil into two sterile 4 oz dropper bottles. Make sure you squeeze all of the oil out of the herbs!
  5. Add basil essential oil to the strained oil liquid and mix well. if using honey, add while mixture is still warm. Stir until completely mixed.
  6. Shake well before using.

*Additions: Raw honey and manuka honey are great additions to this remedy. You can

 

*These recipes and more can be found in the Vintage Remedies Confident Family Herbalist course.

 

 

Resources:

Healthy People 2020. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

Kristinsson, K., Magnusdottir, A., Petersen, H., & Hermansson, A., (2005). Effective treatment of experimental acute otitis media by application of volatile fluids into ear canal. The Journal of Infectious Disease. 191:1876-1880.

Lieberthal, A. S., Carroll, A. E., Chonmaitree, T., Ganiats, T. G., Hoberman, A., Jackson, M. A., … & Schwartz, R. H. (2013). The diagnosis and management of acute otitis media. Pediatrics131(3), e964-e999.

Rosenfeld, R. M., Vertrees, J. E., Carr, J., Cipolle, R. J., Uden, D. L., Giebink, G. S., & Canafax, D. M. (1994). Clinical efficacy of antimicrobial drugs for acute otitis media: metaanalysis of 5400 children from thirty-three randomized trials. The Journal of Pediatrics124(3), 355-367.

Soni, A. (2008).Ear Infections (Otitis Media) in Children (0-17): Use and Expenditures, 2006. Statistical Brief #228. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.

Dr’s Urged to Stop Using Antibiotics for Ear Infections — https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2013/02/25/172588359/pediatricians-urged-to-treat-ear-infections-more-cautiously

Antibiotics are often ineffective for ear infections — https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072563/

Homestead Fixer-Upper | Small Farmhouse Style Living Room

We set out on a journey to buy our first home in 2008, two years after we got married. We were ambitious little things, but we knew that the only home we could afford would be a “fixer upper”. The housing market had almost completely bottomed out, and almost every single house we put a contract on was snatched up right before we could get to it, or shortly thereafter. But in March of 2008, we bought our very first home. A quaint little rambler nestled in a wooded subdivision on a steep hillside. At the bottom of the hill, back in the woods, sets a little creek that runs through and hosts minnow catching children all summer long.

Back then I had no idea what I wanted our fixer upper to look like or be like. I was young, had never had to think about home decor, and wasn’t even a great housewife. Back then, the thought of a farmhouse style home didn’t really make much sense to me. But I also didn’t know that we would soon have chickens in the backyard and various other farm animals running around.

We’ve put a lot of sweat and muscle into our little home since 2008, and today I want to share with you one of our most recent projects that we’ve just about completed—our farmhouse style living room. Now, it’s  not quite a living room anymore, but it’s definitely a wonderful sitting room. It’s small and quaint, and finally, I’m in love with it!

Before I go any further, these pillows above. My goodness, how I love them. I love all things from The Rustic Mod home decor! They have the best items for farmhouse decor, too.

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Easy Sourdough Starter and Bread Recipe

I would tell a lie if I told you I eat a lot of bread. I actually eat very little bread since discovering that I have a gluten intolerance. However, when I have it, and when I make it, I devour it in a heartbeat. Eat now, suffer later. You could say that bread is my weakness when it’s available. But it must be fresh, hot out of the oven bread. And when it’s sourdough? Well, the gloves come off!

It’s only natural that my very first job was working in a little Mennonite store in Remington, Virginia. I’ve always said that my cooking and baking skills came from that stage in life rather than from my mother or grandmother. I never got many opportunities to cook “with” my mom or grandma, or maybe I simply wasn’t interested in it at the time.

A few years ago a friend of my mothers sent me a sourdough starter through the mail. I was terrified that the white powdery substance would be inspected as some chemical war of terror, but it made it safely to my mailbox in just a few short days — from North Carolina to good ol’ Virginia.

Sourdough was a brand new thing to me. I loved eating sourdough, but I never understood the complex science behind it. I’m a fermenting queen now, but back then? No way.

The history of sourdough is simple. People needed an option to preserve and make something on a regular basis with a yeast they could capture naturally from the air. Fermentation was one of the very first ways of preserving food for our ancestors. Yes, it came long before canning. And sourdough was born out of a need instead of a want for delicious soury bread.

Unfortunately, with something so simple, I failed. I failed miserably the first time. I even had to ask for more suspicious white powdery mailed substance so that I could start all over again — and then I failed again. Eventually I gave up because I didn’t have the time for this complex science. Recently, however, I discovered it’s not science at all, but an art.

I began with my very own sourdough starter this time. Not that I didn’t admire my friends shared starter, but I wanted a legacy. I wanted a starter that could be passed down to my son’s wife or, if we ever have one, our own daughter. Of course, the starter would be 20 years or more old by then, but that’s the beauty of it. Isn’t this something every mom thinks of? No? Yeah I’m weird…

I thought I had failed again, oh my word, my future daughter-in-law in the year of 2035 won’t have a family generational sourdough starter of her own. How silly. But by the fifth day the smell of fermented grains filled my kitchen. If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought my husband had a hops binge the night before…without me….how rude.

I had not failed. My 2035 daughter-in-law would have a sourdough starter of her own…bless her heart. And I would now have fresh sourdough for my family every 3 days.

It’s simple and easy. The starter stays on your counter. You feed it everyday. And then you use it when it comes time to make bread. You should know that it takes about 12 hours for your bread to rise completely. So you’ll want to make sure you start it the night before or early that morning of cooking.

 

Sourdough Starter

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 – 1 cup cold water
1 quart size mason jar

Day 1: Combine flour and water into quart size mason jar, or large crock, until consistency is a thick pancake batter like consistency. Cover top tightly with a cloth or paper towel, secured with a rubber band. Set in warm place on counter out of direct sunlight. Consistency is the key in this recipe, not the amount of flour and water.

Day 2 and 3: Stir mixture daily. Add 3/4 cup all purpose flour and 1/2 cup cold water every 12 hours (or twice a day). Make sure that your starter is less than halfway full in the jar. If it is more than half full, it could spill over during fermentation. Simply pour off excess. In fact, I always take a cup of starter out before adding the flour and water. Again, consistency (thick pancake batter) is more important than amount of flour and water.

Day 4 through 5: Stir mixture daily. Add 3/4 cup all purpose flour and 1/2 cup cold water once a day. Again, pouring off any excess. You will continue doing this every single day from this point on. Transfer your starter to a permanent home such as a sourdough crock or larger jar. Do not use plastic or metal. Again, consistency (thick pancake batter) is more important than amount of flour and water.

Your starter will begin smelling very fragrant after day 5. Before day 5 it might smell very sour and musty. Don’t fret yet. As long as there’s no mold and you’re keeping up with feeding it properly,  you’ll be fine.

After it has successfully fermented, it will have a very lovely yeast smell to it, almost vinegary, and it will be full of bubbles. It can take up to 7 days of feeding your starter before it is ready to use. It will become very bubbly and active. Once it is ready to use, you’ll take out what you need and add flour and water back into the mixture every single day. If you are not going to make bread every week, then you can refrigerate the mixture and feed it once a week. However, it does much better just staying on the counter and feeding it daily.

Here’s a great Sourdough Bread recipe for you! If you want a more Artisan Sourdough Bread, you’ll want to click here for a previous recipe.

Sourdough Bread

1/2 cup to 1 cup sourdough starter
1/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp. oil
2 cups warm water
1 tbsp. salt
6 cups flour

Method:

1. Add all ingredients, holding back two cups of flour, into a mixer or large bowl. Knead until smooth, adding enough flour until the bread forms into a soft ball.

2. Turn out onto floured surface and knead for ten minutes (or do so in your stand mixer), until dough is elastic and smooth.

3. Put dough into greased bowl, cover with towel, and leave in a warm place to rise for 6 hours.

4. Punch down dough and knead again for 3 minutes. Divide into buttered loaf pans and let rise again for 4 hours.

5. Bake at 375* for 45 minutes or until top is brown. Loaves will sound hollow when tapped.

 

 

“Trust” in the New Year || and a 2017 recap

I had one of the most interesting years of my life in 2017. The year was full of every kind of craziness—success, excitement, frustration, fear, anxiety, joy, grief, and love. It was a whirlwind of emotions all wrapped tightly into a package, then dropped into my lap at the end of the year so that I can finally unwrap it and, in return, wrap my head around it all.

I expect 2018 to be equally as crazy, but maybe in different ways.
Each and every year I choose a word that I feel God is allowing to stir around inside of me. My 2017 word was “shift”, and my goodness, did my life shift in 2017, in big and major ways.
Here’s how…

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(Video) The Lehman’s Chicken Coop and Brooder

We were in the market for a new outdoor chick brooder and decided to try out the chicken coop from Lehman’s! We really enjoy this coop as our outdoor brooder. It also works amazingly well as a rabbit hutch and for just a couple of chickens as a breeding pen. You can watch the full length video here. Let us know what you think about it, and be sure to check out Lehman’s online!

Using Astragalus to Boost Your Chicken’s Immune System

When you first begin your homesteading adventure, you typically begin with the gateway animal—chickens. Chickens are some of the most entertaining of livestock that you can have. They offer eggs each day (or almost each day), a cute egg song, and a beautiful scene across your landscape when, and if, they free range. There’s nothing quite as beautiful as chickens in their free ranging element.
But what happens when you start realizing that chickens can also be the most complex animal on the homestead, especially when it comes to their health?
Joel Salatin often says that he’s not in the business of treating animals because his animals typically don’t get sick. Through the efficiency of rotational grazing, including his chickens, it leaves little room for bacteria and diseases to take hold of his animals. We believe in this method as well.
But there can be times when you simply can’t help the situation. It can be due to genetics, compromised immune systems, or migrating birds that carry diseases….sometimes you might not be able to avoid a situation completely.
This is where the world of herbalism comes into play on the holistic homestead.
We use herbs as a way to prevent, not just treat. In fact, using herbs to prevent can be much more effective for livestock than the act of treating with herbs. Anyone can prevent illnesses with herbs, but it takes education and knowledge to treat livestock properly with herbs. You can learn about that in my new book, The Homesteader’s Herbal Companion
 
Thankfully, through good genetics and herbal prevention, we haven’t had a sick chicken on this homestead in years. We believe this is due to good immune system and immune stimulating herbs. The chicken’s immune system is much like any other immune system, and therefore, we confidently know that it can be stimulated just like a human’s immune system.
A good herbalist knows that it isn’t just folk methods that create good remedies and prevention. Confidently preventing and treating with herbs begins with scientific knowledge and proven clinical studies in the modern world.
Let’s begin with the herb of choice when it comes to immunity boosting, and then we’ll dive into the scientific specifics of it.
 

Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) is a fairly new herb to many people. It’s widely popular in Chinese and Eastern medicine. Much like their love for ginseng, eastern herblists simply adore Astragalus root. It has been traditionally used for over 5,000 years to help boost the immune system and cure many common ailments. But did you know we can use this herb for our livestock too?

Uses of Astragalus: immune support, adaptogenic, helps body adapt to stress, antibacterial, antiviral, reduces the common cold and flu, increases white blood cell count, anti-inflammatory, protects cardiovascular system

 

So we know that Astragalus not only supports the immune system, but it also helps the body adapt to stress, which plays a major role in a healthy immune system. Boosting the white blood cell count is also a highly effective way to fight off illness and diseases. It is also antibacterial, and we all know bacteria are the worst when it comes to the wonderful world of chickens.

In a clinical study done by the South China Agricultural University, hundreds of chicks were infected with Avian Flu, both in the egg (in vitro) and once hatched (in vivo). Scientists studied the effects of several different treatments, including astragalus root, in a controlled environment. This is the only way to properly study treatments as there are so many factors that play a role.

 

From this study, the following conclusions were derived:

1. At an appropriate concentration (231.25μg/mL) APS (astragalus root) can drastically reduce the proliferation of H9N2 virus (avian influenza).
2. APS enhanced the proliferation of CEF cells when used at concentrations > 9.766μg/mL. The exception, the simultaneous addition of APS and virus at APS concentrations of 2,500μg/mL and 1,250μg/mL.
3. APS effectively increases the expression of IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-10, LITAF and IL-12, promotes cell growth, and enhances anti-H9N2 activity.
4. APS promoted a rapid humoral response following H9N2 vaccine immunization or H9N2 AIV infection.
5. The appropriate dose of APS (5 and 10mg/kg) significantly enhanced the specific immune response in chickens, and improved vaccine effectiveness; promoting an earlier peak that increased rapidly and was sustained for a longer period of time.
6. The CD4+, CD8+ T lymphocyte content and CD4+/CD8+ values for all the APS treatment groups were higher than those for the untreated (no APS) control group. The values for the 5 and 20mg/kg APS dose groups were significantly higher than the control group, which indicated that the appropriate dose of polysaccharide can promote the production of peripheral CD4+ and CD8+ lymphocytes in chickens, thereby enhancing cellular immunity.
7. APS inhibited H9N2 both in vitro and in vivo.

The precise mechanisms responsible for the response to APS require further examination. On the whole, APS has the potential to diminish disease progression in H9N2 infected chickens, and its use could provide alternative strategies for the control of H9N2 AIV infection. [NCBI]

 

I know, it’s a lot of information, but I think for those of you who aren’t proficient in scientific talk, you can read enough in between the lines to know that astragalus root was a win. A major win.While the study concludes that more trials need to be run, it was very confident in the findings that astragalus has the potential to diminish disease progression in avian influenza infected chickens, and could provide alternative strategies for the control of avian influenza as a whole.The most surprising part, however, is that this clinical trial was done in 2013. And here we are in 2017 (at the writing of this blog), and we’ve yet to hear anything about this in the United States. Unless, of course, you’re a researching and studying herbalist like myself.All we’ve heard are the detrimental effects of avian flu on our chickens—in backyards, in poultry warehouses, on farms large and small. But we’ve not been informed that there can be a better way. That avian flu can be beat.My friends, that starts with you, and me, and all of the mini, full time, and hardcore farmers and homesteaders across the globe.

 
 

So how to we use astragalus to prevent bacterial outbreaks and viruses?

It’s simple, really.

Make an Astragalus Tincture

First things first. If you go and read this study, and I encourage you to do so, you’ll find that the way they administered the astragalus root was typically by an extraction. Scientists do this much more efficiently than we can do at home. They literally pin point the exact medicinal qualities that they want to extract, and do exactly that on fancy machines. But we can mimic this very well by creating a tincture at home.
 

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. It is best to use dried astragalus root for this tincture.

—————————
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)
—————————-

Begin by measuring out your dried root and vodka in separate containers. Next, add your dried root to a mason or glass jar, then cover completely with your pre-measured vodka.

Cap tightly and shake well. Don’t forget to label your tincture!

Leave your mason jar in a temperature controlled area, like a cabinet or pantry, out of direct sunlight. Shake once or twice each day to keep the tincture mixed and the herbs saturated.
Your tincture will be ready after 4-6 weeks, depending on the time period you wish to allow it to extract.
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 in a medicine cabinet.
Administer 2-3 drops directly into the bird’s mouth every 6-12 hours once symptoms occur. Or add 3-5 drops to chicken waterer every few days to help boost the immune system as a preventative.
You can read why I use this method of making a tincture instead of the folk method here.

 

Offer Astragalus as a Decoction

One of my favorite ways to offer astragalus to my chickens as a preventative is to offer it as a decoction. A decoction is much like a tea, but different. An infusion is the way we make a tea, by putting our herbs into a cup and pouring boiling water over them. But a decoction is actually the process of boiling the herb, mostly roots and berries, for an extended period of time in order to extract the medicinal benefits of it.
 
Do this by placing your dried herbs into a pot on your stovetop, and cover the herbs with water.
 
Bring your water to a boil, then turn down to a medium heat rolling simmer and cover your pot. Maintain this level of simmer until your mixture has reduced by half, or for about 30-40 minutes.
 
Once complete, strain your mixture into a glass jar for future use, and store in the refridgerator. Keep in mind that the medicinal benefits in the decoction only last for about 12-24 hours, so it’s best to make smaller batches as needed. Sometimes I push it to 48 hours if I’m feeling confident.
 
As you offer new water to your chicken’s waterer, offer 1-2 tablespoons of decoction per gallon of water. I often do this once in the morning and once in the evening. If I stretch the decoction for two days, this means they’ll be treated 4 times.
 
Doing this once a week is really all that’s needed. If an outbreak should occur, or you are feeling suspicious of symptoms, offer it daily for 14 days.
 
 
Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) comes with no safety warnings, which means, within reason, there are no known side effects on your livestock. The only time astragalus should be avoided is when grow in the wild and is available for livestock to graze off of. The root of the plant is perfectly fine.
 
Astragalus can also be used with your other livestock to help boost the immune system, treat viruses and bacterial issues, and as a natural anti-parasitic.
 
This herb can especially be used in your home for your family. You can find out how to make an elderberry and astragalus syrup here, which helps boost the immune system and rid the body of the flu.
 
Want to learn more about herbs on the homestead? Order my new book, The Homesteader’s Herbal Companion, now, and look for future books coming soon!
 
 

Purchase the products mentioned in this blog:

 
 
 
 

Elderberry + Astragalus Herbal Syrup for Colds and Immunity

We read blog after blog claiming things like elderberry syrup, fire cider, and some type of tonic all help to reduce cold and flu symptoms. My favorite misconception is that echinacea is a preventative to catching the common cold and flu. while in reality, clinical studies have been shown that echinacea does not, at all, prevent anything. However, it is a great herb once you get sick, and helps lessen the symptoms and length of the cold or flu. Just make sure you don’t take it if you have a ragweed allergy, because you’ll make yourself ten times worse.

So what happens when you spend hundreds of dollars in all of these herbs and then, they don’t work? Well, I’ll tell you what—your husband looks at you and bans you from ordering herbs off the internet for the next 6 months.

I kid…kind of.

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What Living A Simple Life Has Taught me

I get to wake up to a rooster crowing every single morning. How amazing is that? Not many people are rewarded that luxury in life. Some would argue that it’s even a luxury at all. But there are many areas and places that don’t even allow backyard chickens anymore. I’m thankful for my rooster, even when he’s crowing at 4 a.m.
I get to wake up and make lunch for my husband, even when I don’t feel like getting up early. I get to send him off to work knowing he’ll have food to eat if he gets stuck on a job site. I make breakfast for my son, get a little work done, clean my home (though I so lack at this), make a hearty farm fresh dinner in the Summertime, and say prayers at night.
I know how to crochet, bake bread, cook from scratch, start a fire in the woodstove, cook over wood heat, put up a chicken run, butcher livestock, plant and preserve a garden, make herbal remedies, and take time to enjoy the good Lord in the quiet moments…coffee not optional.
The simple life. It’s not always so simple, but my goodness, does it teach us things beyond skill-sets and how to cook. It teaches us lifetime character traits and to leave nonsense behind. Here’s what living a simple life has taught me, and is still teaching me.

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The Lost Skill of Parenting

I felt strongly that this post needed to be written. I fully expect adverse reactions, guilt, rudeness, and insensitivity to transpire, but my prayer is that all would take a step back and understand what state our country is in right now. My intention isn’t to start an uproar, but to cause a fire to stir in your heart.

We don’t talk about this topic often enough, and I was terrified to publish it. I had at least 6 colleagues and friends look over it before even considering to share it.

Please know that my heart on this subject is not to talk about medicating ourselves and our children, but making our society realize that there is something very wrong in our country right now, and I truly believe it starts at home.

With that said….let’s begin….

I recently read a report that alerted the reader to the declining fertility rate in the United States. I don’t like that term, “fertility rate”. It makes it sound as though some of us are choosing not to have children. I think I’d be more concerned with the infertility rate, meaning, how many women can’t have children because they are infertile due to genetics, chemicals, free radicals, toxins, and more.

But that’s not what this blog is about…
I went on to read about how women are choosing not to have babies, and how the country is in distress, scrambling to find an answer, because they are afraid there won’t be enough children in the next generations to help take over the workforce when their elderly parents can no longer work. Also known as, “we’re headed for economic collapse because we have a smaller population”.
But that’s just one part to this story….
The issue at hand here is something greater, I believe.
Could it be that we’ve simply forgotten how to parent?
In this same report it talks about how teenagers and women in their 20’s aren’t having as many babies as they used to be. Now, if you ask me, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It simply means women are realizing they are worth more, and they are choosing to wait until they are comfortable with themselves to choose a spouse and have children. What a wonderful gift to give to a child—a steadfast family.
Here’s what the report said:

According to provisional 2016 population data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday, the number of births fell 1 percent from a year earlier, bringing the general fertility rate to 62.0 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44. The trend is being driven by a decline in birthrates for teens and 20-somethings. The birthrate for women in their 30s and 40s increased — but not enough to make up for the lower numbers in their younger peers. 

A country’s birthrate is among the most important measures of demographic health. The number needs to be within a certain range, called the “replacement level,” to keep a population stable so that it neither grows nor shrinks. If too low, there’s a danger that we wouldn’t be able to replace the aging workforce and have enough tax revenue to keep the economy stable. Countries such as France and Japan that have low birthrates have put pro-family policies into place to try to encourage couples to have babies. The flip side can also be a problem. Birthrates that are too high can strain resources such as clean water, food, shelter and social services, problems faced by India, where the fertility rate has fallen over the past few decades but still remains high. — The Washington Post

And yet, I still think there’s something more….

Our school systems are riddled with children who have been diagnosed time and time again with behavioral issues. Certainly, some of them have a rightful cause and diagnosis. I know plenty of children, first hand, who very seriously have conditions that need to be addressed. They can’t help it. Truly, they can’t. They have doctors that work endlessly to help them and their families, and for that I am truly grateful. These families don’t apply in the situations I’m about to share with you.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, consider this….

In 2011, 6.4 million children (1 in 10) received a diagnosis of ADHD, and were treated with therapy and/or medication. In just 10 years we saw a 42 percent rise in this diagnosis, and in that same year, 1 in every 25 children were prescribed an anti-depressant.

Read that again…

1 in every 25 elementary school students is on an anti-depressant.

Before we go any further, let me once again reiterate that there are certainly people who need medication, therapy, and treatment for these conditions. These are very real conditions. You wouldn’t decline treatment for your child who has diabetes or a chronic illness, right? It’s the same exact thing. However, in many cases, we’ve become a generation who depends on modern medicine more often than not. We depend on a diagnosis when what we should really be thinking about is the crisis our children are currently in.

Why?

Why are 6 year old children taking anti-depressants? Why are children lashing out and acting out?

And then I stop and wonder, what is their home life like?

We haven’t excelled in science….we’ve failed at parenting. We’ve failed at raising the “village”.

The thing that struck me the most in this report, however, wasn’t just the rise in numbers or the amount of children on anti-depressants. What struck me most was this…

Others noted Dr. Visser’s observation that “one out of five children had a diagnosing provider who relied only on information collected from family members.” This goes against American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines that information should be collected from multiple sources, such as teachers, coaches, and other adults involved in the child’s care. It indicates that one-in-five ADHD diagnoses in school-age children are heavily reliant on the way family members interpret that behavior. —psychologytoday.com

I know this isn’t something we want to hear, but I believe it’s something that we need to hear. 

I believe that we need to get real with ourselves, because that’s the only way a society grows.

I believe it’s something that not enough people are saying, and so, well, I’m going to say it. 

We’ve forgotten how to parent. 

We’ve forgotten how to raise children.

We’ve forgotten how to have a family.

We’ve reached an era where we are relying on doctors to hand us reports that tell us how to be good parents.

In many reports and suggestions that parents receive from therapists and doctors for their children, they are often told to do these things:

 

  • Remain calm when your child has an outburst, your reaction will be the deciding factor on how well your child responds to correction.
  • Decide which behaviors are acceptable and which behaviors are not. Setting a standard will help your child.
  • Define household rules but allow for flexibility. Sometimes your child will just have a bad day.
  • Manage your child’s aggression by using time out. If they have a public outburst, remove them from the area and correct them away from the public eye as not to embarrass them.
  • Create structure and stick to a routine. Routines and schedules help your child know what’s planned for each day and causes less stress.
  • Limit distractions. Television, video games, and the computer encourage impulsive behavior and should be regulated.
  • Simplify your child’s life. Over-socialization can be hard. Encourage quiet time and reading. Mind stimulation will do wonders, imaginations are amazing.
  • Believe in your child and encourage them. Praising your child for all of the good things they do, instead of constantly focusing on the bad, will create good moral and encourage a sense of appreciation and need.
  • Don’t be negative or derogatory. You are your child’s rock. When you’re negative towards them simply because you are annoyed or rushed, it can cause hard feelings and a sense of being unwanted.
In the 1950’s, these things were just common parenting skills. Today, you have to get a doctor’s report and note on how to parent your children.
I’m really sorry. I know that made so many of you mad. But let’s get real here.
Have we lost it? I mean, have we lost our flipping minds? Have we forgotten?
 
Instead of taking the time to talk to our children, make time for them to release frustrations, or even sit down to dinner at the family table, we’ve decided to ignore them, let social media and the TV babysit them, and they have no structure in the home whatsoever.
They don’t exercise.
They don’t eat right.
They aren’t given alternatives.
We don’t talk them through their emotions anymore.
They don’t have to lift a finger.
In fact, the newest trend is to try and belittle your children into submission so that you don’t have to deal with them….yeah, that never works.
Our grandparents lived hard lives, raised us differently than our parents, and they will tell you just how easy we have it now.
Could it be that our children now days don’t have enough to do? Are they bored? Are they lonely?

Could it be that if we parented differently and involved our kids more, that we’d see a decline in such need of these medications?
Just as we’ve lost the skill of serving our families, practicing mutual submission in marriages, and loving like Christ does—we’ve lost the skill of parenting our children well. Be it because of our societal changes, the working family where both parent’s aren’t home (and usually both have no other choice but to work), or the simple fact that we are just too busy for our children. 
The decline of birthrates in the United States isn’t because people are educated and making decisions on their own. Let’s call it for what it is. 
The decline of birth rates in the United States is because people don’t want to be parents. 
 
We are choosing careers and ourselves over raising a family. And that’s absolutely ok. But the greatest concern, as a mother and Christian, is that we aren’t just losing children….we’re losing the backbone of our country—the core values and existence of the American Christian family. We are, essentially, what holds our country together.
Families that influence their children positively are the families that we need more of. Parenting through the Lord. Raising children that are hardworking and contribute well to society. Creating a family that knows the meaning of good work and bad work, good character traits and bad character traits.
One of Satan’s greatest tasks is to devour the Christian family. Why? Because when there is division in the family, or no family at all, then there is no structure. We’re all on our own…self-absorbed.
In today’s world, terrorists are having more children than Christians. Let that sink in for a minute.
Christianity rates are dwindling because people of different religions are having more children than Christians. What? Is this for real? Aren’t we supposed to be raising our family in Christ? Aren’t we supposed to be taking care of the orphans and widows?
I get it. 
There are people who can’t have children (or more children)….uh, hello. Raising my hand over here. 
There are people who feel that they can’t afford children.
There are certainly people who aren’t in their right mind and have no business having children (yet seem to be the ones who have them the most).
But what about the rest of us?

 

Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him.  Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.  Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court. —Psalm 127:3-5

 

The Bible talks extensively about raising a family, about having children, about being a good parent. In fact, many of the things therapists and doctors advise as good parenting skills are actually in the Bible.
Did you read that?
The ultimate doctor told you how to parent long ago.

He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them,“Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.” —Mark 9:36-37

I don’t know what the future holds for our country, or our world.

I don’t know what people’s situations are and I won’t even pretend to know.

But I do know this—we’ve lost the skill of parenting. Something is wrong. We’ve lost the ability, the want, the need, to raise a family efficiently. We’ve lost the desire to raise them properly and in the ways of the Lord.

And more than anything, we’re losing our children that are already here. 

WE, the American family, need to start raising our children differently.

We need to get our hands dirty.

We need to plant gardens.

We need to eat better and exercise.

We need to teach our kids the meaning of hard work.

We need to put them to work!

We need to teach responsibility…actions and reactions.

We need to be more kind and gentle, and less harsh and demanding.

We need to sit down at the family dinner table again.

We need to guide our children, not just expect them to know how to live.

We need to be less social and more intent on raising mini-adults.

We need to keep ourselves in check before we can ever expect our kids to be kept in check.

We need to respect our kids so that they respect us.

We need to stop losing our cool. We’re parents! Stop arguing with your kids and trying to reason with them and start being the adult! 

We need to stop having pity parties and temper tantrums if we ever expect our children to act appropriately.

We have to stop this…or else we’ll die from it…we will surely devour ourselves if we don’t start stepping up to the plate.

So wherever you are in life, and whatever you do, consider these things…

Am I kind?

Am I raising my family in the image of Christ?

Are my children acting out because I’m acting out?

Could I show myself and my child a little more grace that I normally do?

Could parenthood not be as scary as everyone says it is?

Have we lost the joy of parenting and raising a family?

Could it be that our children are suffering because our society ignores them?

I think as an American, and certainly as a Christian, these are very real question that we have to ask ourselves. At some point we have to stop it with all the rainbows and butterflies and really get real with ourselves.

I fail as a parent each and everyday. I don’t have it altogether. But each and everyday I learn more and more that our actions and reactions as parents cause our child to be better or worse. Each and everyday I hope my growth blocks out my failures.

We forget that children need to be trained. They aren’t born knowing how to act. They aren’t born knowing how to deal with their emotions. And when we are a society that is an emotional train wreck….can we really expect more from our children?

Today I encourage you to take some quiet time and ask God to search your heart as a parent, as a spouse, as a future parent, or as a single person who just has an interest in the American family.

And as He works in you, be open to the dark spots in your life that He wants to reveal.

I haven’t given up hope on the American family…the Christian family…and neither should you. But in order to bring it back, we must spend more time on our knees, and less times with rectangles in our hands.

And instead of a doctors note and pills, maybe the ultimate Doctor just calls for laying in the grass and looking at the clouds with your  kids more often….and opening the Bible after a family dinner.

Don’t forget your children….

 

How To Make Spinach & Cheese Quiche

Quiche is probably one of the easiest things in the world to make. And better yet, you can swap out vegetables and herbs for whatever is in season. Once you have your egg base recipe perfected, you can add in whatever veggies you want. And voila, your farmstead quiche is divine.

Here’s a quick and simple quiche recipe just for you!

Our newly added White Leghorns just started laying, and they are egg laying machines, let me tell you. So with the abundance of eggs, spinach, onions, garlic, and herbs, quiche was absolutely on the menu recently.

It’s simple really—you make an egg base of 6-7 farm fresh eggs, 1 cup of milk, 1 cup of cream.

After that, you throw in whatever veggies you want—wilted or cooked, preferably.

Make your pie crust (I’ll give you that recipe too!), pour the mixture in, bake it at 350 until it’s not jiggly, and BAM, you’ve made a quiche.

You know me, I really don’t have time to measure, but this recipe is so darn easy to eyeball and measure that I was able to create the recipe for you in no time.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Spinach and Cheese Quiche

Pie Crust:

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 lb cold butter

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup cold water

1 egg

 

Egg Base:

6-7 fresh eggs

1 cup milk

1 cup cream

salt & pepper to taste

1 tbsp fresh oregano

1-2 cups shredded cheese of choice

 

Veggie Mix:

1-2 large handfuls fresh spinach

1/2 onion, diced

1/2 tbsp thyme

bacon grease (or butter or oil)

 

Pie Crust Method:

  1. With a grater, shred in cold butter to 3 cups flour. Toss shredded butter in flour. Mix with utensil until it creates a sandy like texture.
  2. Add vinegar, water, and egg. Mix well.
  3. Do not add more liquid. Simply use your hands to finish mixing the crust until it is completely kneaded and soft.
  4. Form into a ball. Split in half. Flatten into thick discs and freeze until ready to use.
Make Egg Base:
  1. In large bowl, mix eggs, milk, cream, and herbs.
  2. Add in cheese and mix well. Set aside.
Make Veggie Mix:
  1. In a skillet, add bacon grease and onions. Cook until translucent.
  2. Add in handfuls of fresh spinach, add thyme. Cook until wilted.
  3. Allow to cool in a separate bowl, then add to egg mixture.
Combine:
  1. Take out pie crust and place on a floured surface. Roll out with rolling pin in a circle, like a pie crust. Place in prepared tart dish or pie pan.
  2. Add quiche mixture.
  3. Cook at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until no longer jiggly in the center.
  4. Cool for 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm.
  5. Store in air tight container in the refrigerator if you have any leftovers.

 

Devotional || Be Fearlessly and Recklessly You

 

It’s Monday. It’s the beginning of a brand new week. And this week, I want to encourage you as you begin.

Today, I encourage you to be fearlessly and recklessly YOU.

Throughout my life, I’ve watched people do things one way or another. I often thought, “well if they have been successful this way, then so can I.”

The reality, however, is that just because someone is successful in something, doesn’t mean you’ll be. The other reality, which we don’t often think about, is how much those people MESS UP.

Every single time I tried to mimic success, I failed. I didn’t succeed. I didn’t succeed until I started becoming fearlessly and recklessly “myself”.

When I started a photography business years ago, I tried to mimic other photographers’ styles. I struggled, until one day a client said, “you know, I just hate all those props and frills that people use, can we just do this session naturally?” I hated those props and frills too. And it was in that moment that I realized, my business didn’t have to look like everyone elses business.

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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.

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*Disclaimer: While I am an herbalist, and herbalism is not regulated by the FDA, I am not a medical doctor. The recipes and tips on this website are geared towards those who want to live a more natural lifestyle.
Please use all herbal remedy recipes on this website only after doing thorough research in regard to your own health needs, and after seeking medical attention if necessary. 
*Affiliate links: I may receive a commission on some of the links on this website. It is of no additional cost to you.

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