April 2009 - Posts - Surviving on Shoestrings by Donna Miller
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Surviving on Shoestrings by Donna Miller

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April 2009 - Posts

  • Today's Homesteader: What type are you?

    So maybe you don't live on a farm or out in the back woods of the rural country side, but you may be one of today's homesteaders and just not even know it yet!  Now, let me be honest and give credit where it is due, they die-hard homesteader really does live out in the middle of 'no-where' and is quite self-reliant, but, there is a little homesteader in many of us and it may just help you to define your own style to know what types of homesteaders there are.

    The "Pioneer" Homesteader: You are someone who is fascinated with the life of the pioneer. From making soap from rendered fat to striking out to new territories, this homesteader is ready for the adventure of hard work. You also to look at how things were done, back in the day, and renew the lost arts that modern day conveniences have made virtually obsolete, like spinning yarn or candle-making.

    The 'Neighborhood" Homesteader: Your homesteading ideals show up all over the home and yard. You're  not letting the fact that you may live in the burbs or in town dissuade you from setting up a little homestead in the neighborhood. You have a clothes line that you prefer over your dryer and you even can the produce that you find on sale at the weekend farmers' market.

    The 'Mad-Scientist/Inventor" Homesteader: Oh, you know who you are.  You can't look at a piece of 'trash' without thinking of another use for it, or make up a better deodorant formula made with all natural ingredients. You are always looking for the best way to do something at the least cost or like it's never been done before.

    The 'Hippy" Homesteader: You are the 'back-to-nature' poster child! I'm not talking free love and the sexual revolution, but the thoughts of eating more from the earth and living off the land in harmony with nature rather than overpowering it appeals to you. Your decor is made up of more natural items and you would rather use glass than plastic, and learn what foods grow wild in your area that you could forage for fun! Also the very thought of having a group of homesteaders living and working together appeals greatly to your heart.

    The 'Farm/Farmette" Homesteader: You love your crops and critters! Chickens, for meat or eggs, goats for milk or meat, a huge family garden or acres of row crops, no matter how you slice it, you like to use the land! If it needs tending to, you're just the one to do it.

    The 'Die-Hard" Homesteader: You are the one who read this list and said: "Wait! I'm all of these!" There's good and bad news. The good news is, it's great to mix and mold all of this together. You'll never get bored on your homestead! The bad news, well, guess what? You may never be completely happy living in an apartment.  (o:

    Donna Miller is a work-from-home wife and mother. She delighted to share her trials and triumphs of learning to homestead anywhere. The Millers own and operate Millers Grain House  which offers Organic and Chemical-free Whole Grains, Bosch Mixers, the NutriMill, instructional tutorials, recipes and more.

  • What to do when no income comes in.

    Well folks, this is where the rubber hits the road and we've lived it off and on for a while.

    Hubby's new job (although having the potential to be wonderful) has yet to cut him a real check for 2 months. So, while we either wait to see if the payroll gets on schedule or while he is looking elsewhere (or both) we are doing some creative cash flow.  We've been here before. We may be here again. It's not as big a deal when I think we have a healthy happy family that will pull through together almost any thing that life tosses at us...so off we go.

    You may be in the same situation, so I thought I'd share:

    Closet cleaning for Cash - This is two -old.  Do it yourself and have a garage sale. Even when the belt is tight, you and I both know there is clutter we can rid ourselves of, so now is the time to do it and get a little cash on hand. Second, do it for someone else. We all hate to do this. So offer that service to someone who hates it. You can in turn ask for payment or any items they do not want, you sell at your garage sale.

    Bake for Bucks - I sold 4 loaves of bread this week that paid for all the gas I will use next week. Hey, toss in some cupcakes or coffee and coffee cake at that garage sale....hungry early birds just might tripple what it cost to make it!

    Ebay everything - Cloths (believe it or not) go on eBay. Old books and antiques that may mean nothing to you, are someone's final addition to a collection.

    Miserly menu plan - eat as cheaply as you can. This doesn't make more money come in, but it does slow the flow of it going out!

    This next week I will be focusing on #1, to have a HUGE garage sale. I'll keep you posted on the 'finds' and 'funds' as it goes!

    Best Blessings!



  • Better to be five minutes early than one minute late - be prepared.

    This saying is more than just a  reminder of good manners for arriving to a destination on time; it is a moto of many a homesteader.

    Did you know that in the Great Depression, one (1) out of three (3) families were in agriculture. That's 33%! Many people that we know in our area remember growing huge gardens as children and never going hungry, while most people in the cities were in soup lines. They worked hard, but found joy in it. The tables were always full of homegrown goodies with plenty to spare for the occassional 'drifting guest'.

    Now, less than 3% of Americans have a home garden. This speaks volumes to me on the state of our union. Without getting political, how do we expect to provide for our children if we are not providing for ourselves and letting the stores, media or government do it for us?

    Maybe we won't ever have to worry about a food shortage, but maybe our children will. Why not be prepared early so they won't be unprepared when it's too late? Seems to make good sense to me.

    If you are thinking of planting a garden, buy heirloom seeds. They will produce seeds that grow with each crop (unlike GMO or hybrid seeds that are 'sterile' and produce for one season only. Seeds from those will not produce anything but foliage the next year).

    Below is a link/picture to click and check out a very reasonably priced heirloom seed company.

    Be prepared, or at least prepare our children. Better to be five minutes early than one minute late.

  • A Homesteading Housewife's view: "Lost Sock Economics"

    Somewhere in the universe are all of our missing mates to a sock, right? Sucked out through the dryer into the vortex of a sock planet orbiting an unknown sun in an undiscovered system....right? Isn't that where they are? No....even though when we move or (really) clean we often find some of those missing socks, some simply never re-appear. But, they ARE somewhere, even if the dog ate them. We just don't see them.

    It's no secret that as even the most of simple minds (let's say, mine...) reads the news and listens to the 'plans' of government to 'fix' our fiscal situation something is askew...or, 'off' somewhere. Hold on and roll with me if you will....I'm a simple home-maker and even I know there is no validity in 'Lost Sock Economics'.

    Where has all the money GONE? It has to be somewhere, right? I mean, if it were in a company, that company did pay someone until they went out of business. Those people had to buy something. Houses have been purchased in the past for what was a secured amount and payments have been made so, where IS all the money?

    Money, backed by gold or backed by fictional credit simply does not vanish like a lost sock. Somewhere - someone is either hiding it or feeding it to their dog. Which could explain why soon the dollar may not be worth, well, much more than dog poo? (Sorry, sad attempt at a joke).

    I know, my mind is somewhat warped and I don't even care to 'get it' when someone tries to explain it to me because it sounds like so much 'spin' anyway.  What can these following 'proposals' do to locate what was already in circulation at some point:

    • · The new Global Currency.
    • · Printing new (pretty, shiny and clean) money.
    • · Cutting consumer spending, yet taxing some elements of it.
    • · 'Stimulating' our economy with 'surprise' money from...(somewhere? where did they get it, no really....is it real? Did they find the sock planet too?)

    To simplify it - to make the old set of socks usable again, I cannot go out and get a new ONE to match the old one. I have to get a pair; this is leaving a spare, yet again. The only way to fix the whole dilemma is to find the lost sock. Potentially wash and mend it and put it back into circulation with its mate, otherwise even the mate becomes obsolete.

    The way I see our current economic situation being handled is that we ARE headed for a "Lost Sock Economy" with no real answer and a lot of missing elements to function properly.

    But if the term "Lost Sock Economics" gets coined - I want some royalties Big Smile - uh, no really....my idea...Idea my phrase.....Yes....send cash when you say/use it....EmailWinkand then, I'll go buy stuff and the cashier, manufacturer, retail store and gas station will get paid because of what I purchased with the money you send me and we can send these 'socks' back into circulation.

    Donna Miller is a work-from-home wife and mother with three home-school graduates. She delighted to share her trials and triumphs of learning to homestead anywhere. The Millers own and operate Millers Grain House  which offers Organic and Chemical-free Whole Grains, Bosch Mixers, the NutriMill, instructional tutorials, recipes and more. She also has a Preparation Blog called Grain Store House

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