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February 2019 Update

I can’t believe we’ll have a 4-year-old on our hands after this weekend! It can’t have possibly been that long? But… it has. Time sure knows how to sneak by. On that note, it’s been a whole month since we’ve posted anything here, too. I promise we are all still alive!

The weather here in northern Indiana has been crazy. Not only that, but with Jeff working over-time, traveling to the old house and to work daily, me in school, both of us caring for the kids, and unexpected interruptions (such as, but not limited to, working around a problem with our washer and its frozen hose), it can be hard to catch a moment to get things done around here. We did a rough measurement and marked the area for the chicken enclosure, moved chopped wood out of the way (when it wasn’t frozen to the ground), placed the frame for the goat shed, and got more fencing moved to the new property. It’s not much, but it’s something.

I guess it goes without saying, but the next steps are to finish the chicken and goat enclosures (coop and shed in place and all) and get the animals the heck over here. Jeff travels 38 miles down to the old place and another 35 or so back up to work on a daily basis. As you can imagine, that adds up to a lot of valuable time and money that could be much better spent.

What about me? Well, I’m in school full-time (online, at the moment) and 100% stuck at home with the kids because I currently lack transportation. It’s hilarious when I’m not crying about it. Really, though, I am just glad to be in a nice house with happy and healthy children. (Having said that, can I just give a huge shout-out to Jeff for working so hard to get us where we are today?)

While I’m here, I want to start making gardening plans for the nicer weather headed our way (hopefully soon). I need to figure out which plants we want and when they can be planted, which ones are companions or combative, a layout for them in the yard, and more. I will be posting all about it when I am done, so stay tuned!

What will you be doing this month, season, or even year? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page!

Why We Don’t Make New Year’s Resolutions

You probably hear the question every year– what is your new year’s resolution? Maybe, like many people, you do participate in this tradition. I decided I’m not that into it, and I will explain why.

I worked at a gym for a little while and, unsurprisingly, gym memberships spiked with the new year. Attendance from these newly-devoted, fitness fiends would dwindle as the months went on. A few months prior, these people were willing to sign a contract that obligated them to pay a monthly fee for their gym membership, only to let it go to waste. That’s like laying the foundation and buying supplies, but not building the house. What happened?

New year’s resolutions, though they can be vague, are really just statements of goals. There’s not much point in making a resolution if you don’t have the determination to reach the goals set. The thing is, a lot of people think they are ready to make that commitment but lose sight of their goal as time goes on. So how does one avoid becoming discouraged or losing interest?

The first thing you need to do is make a plan to reach your goal. If you don’t make a plan you are planning to fail. Planning involves creating smaller goals as the framework for big goals. Taking the steps necessary to reach smaller goals will seem less overwhelming and much more manageable. Reaching a number of set milestones can give you a greater sense of achievement, which keeps you motivated.

Another big influence to your success is being realistic about your goals. For example, don’t expect a year’s worth of progress to happen overnight. In addition, don’t set your sights on something you aren’t physically, mentally, or even financially ready for.

It is equally important to remember not to expect too much of ourselves in situations where we don’t necessarily have full control. While you will sometimes reach a speed bump or obstacle which requires you to slow down or take another route, remind yourself that you will still reach your destination in due time.

All that said, I don’t really commit to new year’s resolutions quite simply because I believe we should always be actively pursuing a better version of ourselves. Don’t get me wrong, I think goals are important and it is equally valuable to leave the past behind you, accepting it as lessons learned, but don’t limit yourself to setting goals because it’s a new year. Instead, commit to making improvements for yourself on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis.

Apple & Sausage Breakfast Pizza

Sometimes it can be fun to experiment in the kitchen. I consider myself a decent cook but that doesn’t mean every attempt at a new creation is a success. Even so, this recipe is definitely a winner as far as my family is concerned. We often use it as a breakfast dish but it is tasty any time of day.

What you’ll need:

  • 4-6 Whole Wheat Tortilla Shells
  • 1 Package Cream Cheese
  • 1 Pound Ground Sausage (Or Diced Bacon)
  • 3 Tablespoons of Maple Syrup (or to taste)
  • 2 Apples, Any Variety
  • 1 Vidalia onion
  • Shredded Cheese, Any Variety (I like an Italian Blend)

Step 1: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, remove cream cheese from fridge to soften. Dice apple and onion, then set aside.

Step 2: Begin to brown sausage on medium-high heat (or medium low for bacon, started in a cold pan).

Step 2: When it is nearly done, drain some of the excess liquid if necessary and add apple and onion. Cook until sausage is browned and onion and apples are soft.

Step 3: Remove from flame and stir in maple syrup.

Step 4: Place tortilla shells on a baking sheet and spread cream cheese onto shells. Add a layer of the sausage mixture and cover with shredded cheese of choice.

Step 5: Bake for around 10-15 minutes. Enjoy!

Tips:

-If you have a wood stove, use it to your advantage. We have successfully used our wood stove instead of an oven to make these breakfast pizzas. Simply place them on top of your clean stove and put foil over it to trap the heat.

What is Homesteading?

While the definition of homesteading has changed over the years, homesteading today is, at its core, a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines self-sufficiency as the quality or state of being self-sufficient. More specifically, to be self-sufficient is defined as [being] able to maintain oneself or itself without outside aid.

Homesteading is encompassed by a variety of skills which enable a family to live with limited assistance from the outside world. That being said, there is not one proper way to commit to homesteading. While the resulting goal is generally the same, you’ll find that many people who claim this lifestyle have differing ideas of what it means to them. Their objectives could entail one or more of the following:

  1. Growing vegetables and fruits
  2. Raising animals for meat, dairy, eggs, etc.
  3. Preserving food by canning, dehydrating, curing, smoking, etc.
  4. Producing electricity by means of solar, wind or water
  5. Building shelters
  6. Collecting rain water
  7. Hunting and foraging
  8. Making clothing or supplies
  9. Storing food or other necessities
  10. …And much more!

Why commit to this lifestyle?

1. Emergency Preparedness

What would you do if these displays were empty?

Life in society as we know it today might not be sustainable under certain conditions. Many families would lack proper knowledge of how to care for themselves outside of the current model of living. Unexpected events can leave us without access to things and places we are accustomed to having at our disposal. Even if you aren’t facing a societal crisis, a personal emergency can come up at any time. Having extra supplies and food on hand can make all the difference.

Here are some scenarios to consider:

  • Natural Disasters
  • Unemployment
  • Power Outage
  • Medical Emergency
  • Vehicle Trouble
  • Violent Crime
  • Terrorist Attacks

In an ideal world you would never be forced to experience such a thing, but our world and our lives are imperfect and the best you can do is to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

2. Financial Security

What if you didn’t have to worry about affording groceries each week?

Admittedly, you aren’t going to start saving money overnight. In fact, the initial cost of starting up a homestead can seem burdensome at the time, but you need to consider the rewards that you reap after you sow the seeds. Ultimately, you will reduce your need to spend outside of the home to maintain your lifestyle. The tasks that you decide you are capable and willing to undertake will determine how much you rely on external sources. If you have a surplus of certain items, such as produce or eggs, you can also generate income. The more you are willing to commit to, the more control you have over your situation, which will likely allow you to feel more ease and less stress about your financial situation. 

3. Health

Food plays a significant role in your overall health.

Generally speaking, if you are in control of your food, you are in control of your health. There are exceptions to that rule, but healthy dietary habits can be a crucial step in paving the way to a healthy life. One important thing to consider is what is in the food you are eating. What better way to stay familiar with your food than to grow or raise it yourself? By growing your own food you can avoid:

  • Questionable herbicides and pesticides
  • Added hormones and antibiotics
  • Foods stripped of nutrients with artificial vitamins added
  • Excessive amounts of sodium and sugar 
  • Dangerous bacteria exposure

Additionally, you get the health benefits of being outdoors, such as the production of vitamin D. A 2010 Harvard Health Letter highlights the reasons why time outdoors can be good for the human body.

You may or may not be convinced that homesteading is the right choice for you. Maybe you do have an interest in such a lifestyle but don’t know where or how to start. Just remember that progress is progress, no matter how small (definitely not a “Horton Hears a Who” reference).