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

Are You Prepared Should Disaster Strike????

I’m sitting here watching the coverage of Hurricane Sandy and I’m in awe of the power of this storm! A friend of mine on FaceBook just posted this photo and it gave me some perspective when the weather folks talk about Sandy as compared to Irene… This storm is massive and that’s an understatement!!! I know it’s not expected to hit Wisconsin, but I tell you… it’s got me thinking about being a bit more prepared!!! Do we have oil for the oil lamps??? Do we have enough oil lamps? How about a store of water for the livestock until electricity is restored to run the well? What about a generator to power the well, the freezer full of beef, essentials that need to run until power is restored. What about a snow storm or an ice storm that took out the power in the winter? How would we heat this house without power to run the fans on the furnace or the blower on the gas fireplace? I certainly know it’s time to consider a wood stove to replace the gas insert in the fireplace! So many thoughts are twirling around in my mind. So many thoughts and prayers being sent out to those in the throws of the storm this very evening!

So, what do you have set up for preparedness? Do you have a way to care for your homestead should disaster strike? Whether it is a hurricane, an ice storm or the snow storm of the century… how will you ensure your homestead survives safely???

More on Turning a New House into a Homestead

It is a beautiful fall day on the new homestead out here in Wisconsin. Rain has been falling for the last two days and the temperatures are cooling down to the mid 50’s during the day and mid 30’s at night. The leaves are now brilliant shades of yellow, orange, red and browns. I took these pictures about an hour ago to share how the barn floors are working out and had to share this one of Do out in his pasture.  Now, about the barn floors. We kept the sand we’d ordered in and moved over 7 yards of sand to build up the two big box stalls and a center stall between the two box stalls. The stall that the horse uses needed much more build up and was like walking on a beach. Each step was quite a bit of effort so we talked to some folks, did some research and finally decided to go with a friend’s advice to add shavings to the sand. This firmed up the footing tremendously!!! It’s super easy to keep clean too. We bought a 10 tine manure fork and the sand / shavings drop through and the manure, whether cow or horse, stays on the fork. Clean up takes minutes per evening, especially when they spend so much time in there on these rainy days! We added a total of four bags of shavings to the horse stall and two bags of shavings to Cookie cow’s stall. Her stall required about half the sand as what was needed in the horse stall. We have less than half of the sand pile left and when it dries out a bit after these rains, we’ll bag up 2500 pounds into sand bags (we bought 50 bags which will hold 50 pounds each) We plan to hang onto this for future projects and will toss a few in the back of the truck for traction this winter. I do believe we will call this sandy learning experience a success. The urine drains down well and dries up quickly while the barn still smells of pine bedding. We’ve done some other small projects over the past few weeks. We trimmed up several trees that were weighed down by heavy, low level limbs. We also got our hands dirty with some plumbing projects. My brother is out visiting from Arizona and showed us how to sweat copper fittings with flux and soldering. We had two valves that wouldn’t completely turn off and he gave us a DIY plumbing lesson on changing out the valves to a better type of water valve. The project was a leak free success! Now, we are all ready to enjoy a home made pot of chili that I made earlier today along with some fresh corn bread!
Happy Homesteading and I hope you enjoy the pictures below!
Nance
The horse stall with shavings mixed into the deep sand base.
Here is the other end of the horse stall. We have rubber mats down for him to eat his grain on.

This is Cookie Cow’s stall. It didn’t need quite as much sand (about half)

Here is the other end of Cookie’s box stall. She’s been bedding down in here at night now that it’s cooler.

Here is Cookie in Do’s stall (they were both in here) waiting out the rain today.