Author Archives: Homesteader's Supply

Dealing With Ice Dams On The Roof


A few weeks ago, we were in the path of winter storm Draco. Our new little homestead was hit with 18 + inches of snow in a twenty four hour period. We spent all day the first day barely keeping up with the falling snow as far as driveways and access paths to the barn and pastures. We started the snow blower up at about 9 a.m. and finally went in to eat soup at about 6 p.m. that night. This photo is after the first 8 inches fell and was phase one of snow removal. The snow was a wet and heavy snow… with rain falling about mid day. Cookie and Do spent most of these two days in the barn. We had several extra barrels filled with water in their stalls just in case the electricity went out and the well couldn’t feed their automatic watering unit. We felt very prepared, knowing this storm was set to hit our area of Wisconsin especially hard. We had hay stacked up in the barn and plenty of supplies stocked to get through some time not knowing how snow removal would be up here on the ridge.

The planning and preparation were well worth the time! We were only snow bound for two days and never did lose electricity for more than a few fleeting seconds. Everyone did great. The horse’s blanket was soaked after the heavy wet snow, so we took it into the heated garage and draped it over some saw horses – by dinner time it was dry and ready for the single digit night time temps that were predicted for that evening.

The one thing we didn’t think of was how wet all of that snow was on the roof. Temps dropped so fast that night that by the next day the snow on the ground was light and fluffy. It was a week or so after the snow that we noticed the ice dam up on the roof of the house.  The snow on the shingles was so wet that when the temps dropped so quickly, the bottom layer created a thick blanket of ice over the roof.  This can cause all sorts of issues… damage to the shingles, water leaking into the attic space and with wet insulation there is the possibility of mold forming up in the attic space.  After some reading and research we went to Farm and Fleet and purchased a 22′ snow rake.

What a wonderful invention that is!!!

The pole extends to the length needed to remove snow built up on the roof. We set the length of the pole to remove 4′ of snow from the edge of each roof. Once that was done we realized the issue on the cabin. We had an ice dam of about 8″ thick at the edge of the roof line. The garage was just snow, same with the barn, but the cabin had quite the ice dam. The funny part was that it was only on the east side of the house. The west side was just snow and easily pulled down with the snow rake.

We have a spigot on the side of the cabin that is tied into the hot water heater and that was a blessing!!! Yesterday, after the snow was all raked down, we hooked up a hose to that hot water spigot and slowly worked at melting off the ice dam before it took down the gutter or started leaking into the roof of the cabin.

The first thing we had to do was thaw out the down spout, which was frozen solid. it took some time but soon was flowing freely and we were ready to start on melting the dam. The articles we read explained that all is needed is to get some shingle clear so the sun can melt off the rest of the ice. We raked up about four feet and then made sure to have 6″ of shingle completely melted  of ice. We took our time spraying off chunks of ice in about 2 foot sections. I cut through the sections with the hot water and Matt pulled them down carefully with the snow rake.  It was a very WET and cold job, but with insulated bibs and several changes of coats / gloves… I didn’t get too chilled. Be sure to spray the concrete with hot water to get a good grip with the ladder feet… it was slippery a bit until we sprayed down the concrete.

As of today, the snow up on the roof is still there, but what has melted is now flowing down into the gutter properly and draining off without issues.

I’m sure it was just so much snow and so wet that it created a perfect situation to create an ice dam!

Happy homesteading!

If you’d like to see more pictures from the storm… please visit our facebook page… there are tons of photos!
https://www.facebook.com/HomesteaderSupply

 

Top 5 Homestead Gift Ideas

I know we’ve all be overwhelmed with Black Friday deals…. Cyber Monday deals… and too many commercials and ads!!!! We aren’t a big department store and just can not do the huge sales that they offer simply because we keep our price are as low as possible all year around!!

So… I’d like to share our top five gift ideas for this holiday season!

#5 – Aluminum Folding Cart

The Collapsable Cart that is Big on Hauling and Small on Storage! 

*Free Shipping to the Lower 48 States only! This Cart will not ship to other areas!

  • Folds easily for convenient storage
  • Weighs only 33 lbs., but can haul up to 330 lbs.
  • Completely rust and corrosion resistant
  • Sturdy Marine Grade all-aluminum construction
  • Made with pride in the U.S.A.
We have some great deals on these carts due to being a new item. Check out the many varieties of carts available!!!!
Now available from Homesteaders Supply, starter culture for fermenting your raw vegetables!

Perfect for use with the Pickle Pro Fermenting Lids!! 

  • Manufactured by Homesteader’s Supply in Chino Valley, Arizona!
  • Ferments Vegetables for perfect pickles, kraut and anything you can imagine!

#3 – Cheese Cloth Drying Rack

This traditional Bamboo Pasta Drying Rack is perfect for drying your cheese cloth as well as your fresh homemade pastas before cooking or storing.  No more hanging cheese cloth on the knobs of your kitchen cabinet!

  • Made of high grade Bamboo
  • Stands 16” tall and 14” wide
  • Includes 5 cross bars to create 10 hanging arms
  • Easy to assemble
  • Disassembles for easy storage

And what an easy way to also dry small dish towels!

 #2 – Cheese Making Kit for Colby and Cheddar Cheese

Cheese Making Kit for making Colby or Cheddar Cheeses exclusively from Homesteader’s Supply!
 
This kit is the real deal, all the supplies you need for making real cheese just like the professionals, and there is enough culture to keep you going in your cheesemaking for a long time. And, who better to buy from than a company that does make cheese and will answer your questions! 
Add your favorite spices to create a variety of your favorite cheeses,  such as chilli peppers, dill, chives, cilantro, garlic, roasted red pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, etc.  And with this same culture you can even make delicious fresh butter!

Most important because cheese making really is a science as well as a culinary art, we have added to this kit the best book called The Cheesemaker’s Manual by Margaret Morris. At Homesteader’s Supply Farm we have used many of the books available, but this one is great by far for an all around  how-to, and why, and trouble-shooting, along with photos to help.

This kit includes:

  • One Tome Mold and Follower
  • 2 slips of Vegetarian Rennet Tablets (20 tabs)
  • Mesophillic MA4002 culture  25 DCU
  • Natural Sea Salt
  • One Thermometer
  • 2 sq yard 90 count Butter Muslin Cloth
  • The Cheese Makers Manual by Margaret Morris

  

AND THE NUMBER ONE HOLIDAY GIFT IDEA…..
 
 
 

Ultimate Cheese Press

Newly released on the market! This Hardwood Cheese Press was made for home cheese makers, designed and manufactured by Homesteaders Supply right here in the USA!
Special Sale continues… We even add in some 90 count cheese cloth… all you need to provide is the cheese to press!

  • Perfect to make all types of hard and semi-hard cheeses.
  • Ergonomically designed handles and followers to reduce the stress to your hands and fingers.
  • Comes with 2 hoops, now larger and taller than other presses, to prepare a 1 lb to 5 lb cheese!
  • Designed to accept the hoops in perfect position every time!
  • Hoops are made of food grade heavy duty water pipe. Professional cheese makers prefer this type of hoop over the metal hoop type, as it won’t cause too fast of cooling the cheese during pressing time.
  • Made with all food grade materials, will last a very long time, sturdy hardwood with stainless steel fasteners that are made in the USA!.
  • Easy to use; small enough to just place it into baking pan to allow for draining… therefore no mess, no fuss…
  • Finished wood with all natural 100% Tung Oil, no odor, no petro-chemicals, FDA approved for food contact… makes the wood water proof, will not turn rancid. We use real wood, not plastic.. latest research confirms that wood inhibits bacterial growth, which is not the case for plastics such as melamine. Now you know why everyone is going back to butcher block cutting boards!
 
 All of us from Homesteader’s Supply wish each and every one of you a Happy Holiday Season no matter your faith or celebration!!!

Happy Holidays!

A Homestead Must Have… Squeezo!

While the mid-west was battling the worst drought since the 1950’s, Arizona was catching the missing moisture! Jerri had a wonderful garden and a bumper crop of tomatoes. She really wanted to make some tomato sauce. We sell Squeezo’s on our website, so Jerri placed an order (she knows people)… She hooked it up on the counter with the built in clamp (as seen on the left) and set up a dish for the sauce and a bowl for the peels and seeds. To say she was thrilled is an understatement! The Squeezo couldn’t have done a more amazing job at creating the best tomato sauce Jerri had ever made! No seeds, no bits of skin, just amazing tomato sauce! In fact, everything she used it for reinforced the decision to purchase a Squeezo!

I know the garden season has wound down and time for putting up vegetables is over for the majority of the country. The Squeezo would make a great birthday gift, holiday gift or maybe just something you might want before the next gardening season gets into full swing. I certainly know that based on her raving reviews, it will be a must have for me before the garden starts producing! Squeezo is manufactured right here in the USA by some homesteading friends of ours… Homestead Helpers and Best Products. Like many other companies we work with, we’ve agreed long ago that companies with similar product lines can work together and even become friends!! Check out the history of the Squeezo at the link above!

Enjoy the pictures of Jerri’s sauce making venture with the last of her garden tomatoes. (Yes, I begged for pictures since she wouldn’t stop bragging about the Squeezo!!!)

Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving and as always… Happy Homesteading!!

Nance

When A Bull Comes to Visit…

We had to dry Cookie cow off for the move from Arizona to Wisconsin and now that we’re here… we are all going through milk withdrawal! Cookie has had over four months to acclimate and is doing very well. We decided it was time for her to have a friend come and visit. The man we bought hay from has a nice size herd of beef cattle and said he had a few too many bulls now that everyone has bred their cows. He offered to bring a young one over for a few months to visit Cookie in hopes that we’d keep him all winter.
As bulls go… he’s as sweet as can be! That being said… HE IS STILL A BULL! We are very mindful of where he is when we are feeding, mucking stalls and scooping poop in the pasture. We have two paddocks and a cross fence between the arena and the big pasture. If we are doing anything that requires focus… we lock up the bull first.

I wasn’t always so aware of bull behavior. About four years ago I had a bull come to visit the girls and one day when I let them in for milking, he darted in right with them. In the confusion of two hungry cows full of milk and a feisty bull, I was pinned up against a metal gate and couldn’t move out of the way. The bull had stepped on the toe of my boot and I was unable to move my foot at all, let alone get away from his head. Luckily he was naturally polled so he didn’t have the horns with which to skewer me, but he did pound me into that gate a few times before I was able to get a hold of a shovel and thump him in the head to back off! It took some time to heal my lower back from that pounding and I’m thankful it wasn’t a more serious injury. Bulls are necessary for those who choose not to go the artificial insemination route and an ounce of knowledge is worth it’s weight in gold!!!!
When it’s time to breed the cow, don’t be afraid of having a bull come to visit. Instead, I’d urge you to plan ahead. Have pens available to lock the bull into so you can spend time with your cow and clean up without having to have a ‘look out’. Being safe and planning ahead will make the process a fond experience. Now, it’s time for me to go and lock up our visiting bull and clean up some poop!!! Wishing you all a great Sunday.

Happy Homesteading !!!!

As A Homesteader… Are You Prepared??

Homesteader’s Supply focuses on the needs for those who wish to gain some self sufficiency from their land. While a lot of homesteader’s preserve food for winter… are you really prepared for something like Hurricane Sandy when it comes to feeding you and your family? I ask because a few months ago we brought a new product line into our mix.  I’m looking for your opinion since we aren’t getting many hits. We’ve added incentives on orders and even changed the entire line to free shipping and still not much interest.

OH…. What is the product you ask???

Wise Ready Eat Food Kits are the new item we brought into the mix and we really thought this would be something that folks would be excited about. The discussion we had was… “Do homesteader’s want prepackaged food or do we make our own prepackaged food by dehydrating, fermenting, canning, freezing, etc… and therefore, don’t need these prepared kits.” I’m sure there are those who consider themselves homesteaders, but also work full time jobs and while they do raise a good portion of their own food… they may also want something to turn to should disaster strike as it did recently in the Northeast.

Now, it’s your turn.  Please give us your thoughts, should we keep this product line or not? 

Making Cheese for the First Time!

Recently, Jerri was a guest on Wardeh’s podcast with the topic being Cheese Making 101. The event went really well and Wardeh sure enjoys the Ultimate Cheese Press designed and manufactured by Homesteader’s Supply! A few days ago we received the most wonderful email from a participant to the podcast…

“Hi. I was listening to your podcast interview with Wardeh, and heard you say please send pics.

Here is my new cheese press with my first batch of queso fresco made while watching Wardeh’s video. ( easier for me to watch and do than read and do).

This press is amazingly simple to use.  Couldn’t believe made cheese on the first try!  I was even baking bread while I did it–which I found out while listening to the podcast…

Thanks so much for all those wonderful features you highlighted–the easy turning gears, the follower with the notches, the compact simplicity of the design, the beautiful cheese cloth that I just can’t find where I live… The list goes on…  Oh, and another thing–the press washed up so beautifully and easily.  I couldn’t believe it.  Thought I’d be scraping gunk off it.  Nope.  Just rinse and wipe with a sponge.  Great design.

Cindy Landskron
Cottontown (Nashville area), TN  “

We were so excited to get such personal and wonderful feedback from a fellow homesteader and new cheese maker that we just had to share it..  Cindy and her family live about 30 miles from Nashville in farming country and enjoy the self sufficiency that homesteading offers. From the photo’s I’d say that her first attempt at cheese was a great success!!!!

Thank you Cindy for sharing your experience with us and for the wonderful feedback on the press!!!!

Happy Homesteading!!!

Sincerely,

The Folks at Homesteader’s Supply