September Project List Begun-Countdown to Winter

My head cold is a little better today. I definitely feel that the fresh Elderberry tincture made by Burdock and Rose that I bought last weekend has truly made all the difference in the quick healing time for me. If you want to know more details about the fresh herbal wares and the books of herbalist Lisa Rose, please visit her blog and site burdockandrose.com.

Ladder oaganol going on USE

Fall is a very busy “shut down” time on our homestead. All of the garden perennial get cut back and composted, the vegetable garden gets cleaned out and put to bed for the 2015 season. I also store our various outdoor decorations, vignettes and furniture. Our hoses are drained and stored in the pool shack, our water containment totes are emptied and dismantled and the pump house is winterized and so on; you get the picture. And this does not take the chickens many needs into consideration!!

Drilling hook on USE

So I have to be very organized and through the years I have developed a month to month system I keep in the computer, print it off and then tick off chores as they get accomplished. I began working on my September project list today.

Snapbeans diaganol USE

I started my morning by turning on the sprinklers. It’s been very dry for the past two months on the homestead, so I am focusing on deep watering the shrubs, evergreen and fruit trees that all need to be moist when the winter snow begins to fall. Then I began cutting back the Brown Eyed Susan’s and throwing those seed plants in our roadside ditch. This way the seeds are available for the birds to eat and have a chance to germinate more flowers for next summer’s color and privacy. I’m not thrilled to have a wide ditch in front of our homestead but after serious groundwater flooding, it is a necessary evil.

Gene FS and beans USE

I also washed our bed quilt, blanket and pillows today and hung them out on the clothesline. Usually I try to air out or wash our pillows during the intense heat of the summer but that chore just got away from this season. But it is supposed to be in the 80’s this week so the sunshine and air should bake away the dust mites and air them out at the same time. The water-bed sheets received a 3 hour, hot water “sanitation” wash today as well. Sleeping with our Labrador Retriever is a sweet thing to do but I am just anal enough to need to sanitize our entire bedding from time to time.

Sheets and pillow all USE

I also picked the garden grape tomatoes and green beans and used some of those beans for our dinner today and we froze the rest of them.

Beans in strainer USE

Gene’s chores included hanging up the extension ladder on the side of the pole barn, hooked up the shop light in both chicken coops,  our freshly picked green beans, grilled the chicken for our main meal today and took Sassy for a good long swim.

This afternoon Gene and I started to inventory and boxing up all the decorative accents I had previously used as vintage decorations on our three season porch. Out goes the chicken egg baskets, the scales, the grain scoop, the crocks and much more as I have decided that not only do I want a cleaner and more tailored look on our porch I’m just plain tired of dusting, cleaning and maintenance.

Gene inventory stuff USE

We plan to have an auction sale next summer so these items will go in that sale. We agreed to use this auction money for a special trip for our 25th anniversary that occurs in 6 years. No decisions have been made at where we are going but I am hoping for something very special, like perhaps a cruise. Being divorced and starting over from the bottom up at age 50 and 55, we have never had the opportunity for a really nice (non-camping) vacation.

VERT pile on floor use

It was a small chores/bits and pieces kind of day today but I absolutely love ticking things off of my To Do list and today I did that a lot.

Small House Homesteader, Donna

 

Tieing up Loose Ends/Dynamite Flatbread Recipe

Redone stone bed diaganol USEA closer look at the newly refurbished stone bed.

Stone bed overview

The pea gravel corner at the studio building soon to be guest house.

I also polyurethaned Gene’s blacksmith forge sign as it had faded back to almost bare cedar over the past few years. That sign now looks better than new!

Forge sign newly poly USE

Gene loves his newly revamped forge sign.

Bag of flour

A page from the Country Gardens magazine with flatbread pictured.

Today I made a chicken pasta salad with vegetables for lunch and experiment with a new recipe for Ranch Flatbreads. This recipe was outstanding!

I adore this bread. I can also imagine it as the start of a wrap for a salmon and green “sandwich.” And if I leave out the savory herbs and add sweet ones like mint instead this would make a wonderful dessert wrap for homemade jam or sweetened fresh fruit.

7 chunks on cutting board

Ranch Flatbread

(Originally from Country Gardens magazine, Fall 2015)

Ingredients:

2 ½ cup of plain Greek yogurt

1 tsp salt

2 Tbsp. ground dehydrated chives

1 Tbsp. ground dehydrated onion

1 Tbsp. ground dehydrated garlic

½ tsp. ground dehydrated dill

2 ½ cups of self-rising flour/King Arthur’s Whole Wheat

Olive oil for cooking

  1. In a large bowl stir together yogurt, salt, chives, garlic and dill.
  2. Add flour, stirring with a wooden spoon until dough forms, adding more flour as needed.
  3. Transfer to a floured surface (I used a marble cutting board.)
  4. Knead dough by folding and gently pressing for 10-12 strokes or until dough is smooth.
  5. Divide dough into eight balls (about 3 inches wide.)
  6. Cover dough and let stand for 20 minutes.
  7. Using your hands pat the dough out into a flat pita bread shape.
  8. Heat a 12”cast iron skillet over medium heat, brushing on olive oil on the pan’s surface.
  9. Add a flat bread round and cook one to two minutes or until puffed and brown, turning once.
  10. It helps to press with a spatula after flipping this encourages it to puff with steam.
  11. Repeat with remaining rounds.
  12. Serve warm.

Bread pasta salad on plateI hope you like this flatbread recipe as much as I do!

Small House Homesteader, Donna

The Power of Native Plants – Photo Diary

Pineallple Welcome sign USE        Welcome to our flower garden!

It’s been a very dry summer at the Small House Homestead; our lawn is parched browns and yet today our homestead is being blessed by a life-giving rain. Our thirsty garden and property is soaking up this lovely rain water while our water containment totes are gathering additional water for our autumn transplanting. Thank you Rain Gods!

Pool shack back and burning bish USE FIRST

Grasses, hosta’s and a non-native burning bush behind the pool shack.

SW Michigan is often droughty in late summer and it is for this very reason that I plan mostly native plants. One of the best thing about native plants and grasses is that once established they don’t need much additional water to bloom and continue to look pretty all season long.

VERT Green birdhouse and climber USE

Black Eyed Susan’s add a splash of color and seeds in the bird bed.

I have been watering our newly planted fruit trees every other day using a trickle hose to keep the roots wet but our grass has pretty much gone brown and dormant. It’s pretty ugly now but I know that this is temporary and our lawn will green up nice again when the autumn rain arrives.

Black eyed susans in front of playhouse USE

 Black eyed Susan’s in front of the meadow playhouse.

The blooming flowers pretty much make up for the unpleasant brown grass as the meadow and the blooms of the native plants are absolutely outstanding right now. It’s hard to imaging the grass being so ugly and the garden flowers being so beautiful but that’s the power of natives!

Pool fencing long shot with black Eye Susans

Ornamental grasses and native obscure the required metal chain link fence around the pool.

meadow edge from pool corner USE

Native plants, ornamental grasses and burn out lawn at the meadow.

North Tree line and Black eyed Susans

Some color peeks out at the hardwood forest tree line.

I leave some of our native flowers and ornamental grasses standing in the garden leaving the seeds for the song bird to  eat. And others, like our many brown eyed Susan’s, I let them stand until they have gone to seed. Then once the seed heads are dried and the seeds ready to fall out I cut off the seeds heads and stems and toss them into our ditch and other sunny areas where I want more plants to grow. Our brown eyed Susan’s are just the perfect native plant for easy seed spreading this way.

HORZ crabapple tree bed early a.m.A bed under the crabapple tree is filled with hosta’s, day lilies and Brown Eyed Susan’s.

I hope you enjoy this August Photo Diary of native plants and I hope that you too can bloom where you are planted!

Small House homesteader, Donna

Drying Herbs for Winter Treats – Mint from the Meadow

This is a busy the time of year for those of us who are harvesting and drying herbs for winter treats for our hens. I have been busy drying sage, mint, basil, wormwood and more.

Drying mint one hald of round table

 Herbs on an outdoor wooden table at my art studio.

I do cut a nice bit of fresh herbs for my hens to eat every morning and put them in their food bowl. I use what I have in the garden which right now is; fennel fronds, basil, parsley, sage and mint.  I add in some dandelion greens most days as well.

I am also planning ahead and drying additional herbs now for winter eating. In Michigan we have a long period of few greens for our chickens to eat during our 6-month long cold spell. By drying and storing my herbs now while they are in their prime I can not only have plenty of herbs to give the chickens all winter long, I can increase their chances of my girls staying healthy and happy during a cold and often stressful time of year.

Mint in the meadow

Mint in flower with lovely purple blooms.

I am working on harvesting mints right now as they are ready to dry. I planted a few mint plants in the wildflower meadow about 10 years ago and they have spread. Prolific spreaders, albeit invasive, they are now growing everywhere in the meadows edge and working their way in towards the middle of the meadow. I let some of the morning dew dry off and then cut and harvest.

The simplest way to preserve herbs is to dry them and then use the dry part to make teas. I’ve been giving my chicks and hens fresh chopped herbs in season and air-dried or dehydrated herbs in the winter and they love them either way. I taught the Rhodies to eat them as tiny chicks from a week or so old and they still quickly nibble them up as soon as I put them out.

Some herbalists dry their herbs on outdoor drying screen under the shade of a porch but this summer I have been using a wooden table that sits under the overhang of my art studio. I cut the herbs and lay them down and a week or so later they are dry enough to put into jars. The porch overhang keeps them dry and the natural wind tunnel found there helps to dry out the natural oils.

Mint flower

herbs are known as both food and medicine; and mint in particular is known to be a digestive aid and to help with tummy troubles (in humans.)

These herbs can be used in cooked dishes, teas and in the chickens food. Herbs are the most perfect food for humans and chicken alike!

Small House Homesteaders, Donna

 

Chicken Condo Complex Update

Most summers in addition to our weekly gardening, mowing and general upkeep, we work on one large project on the homestead.

Chicken complex w tree slight mist

The early morning mist rising over the Small House’s Chicken Condo Complex

This summer we have been working on chicken coop number two and its enclosed run as well as created a netted run area to prevent the Cochins from flying out of the run a half-dozen times (or more!) a day.

Comlex from tree surve and house interesting

A second view of the complex; 2 coops, 2 runs and a netted run area.

This has ultimately developed into a rather advanced two-coop/two run project, so I have taken to calling it the Chicken Condo Complex when I describe it!

Entire complex shot from east side

We sited the covered run area under the shade of a large White Oak tree.

We are not contractors or even carpenters so projects like this are done slowly. We do a lot of Internet searching, we work step at a time and almost every day and often we are figuring things out as we go along. Gene and I work together as a team and usually I design, research options, source materials and paint while Gene does the actual building.

Cochin run not yet chicken wire but nice

Off the ground coop in covered run frame not yet covered with chicken wire.

Booth coops are built high off the ground in deference to our 2009-2012 high ground water flooding years. Our home was surrounded by a moat of 20″ deep water for months at a time and the lowest part of our property is where our vegetable garden and coops are located so we planned accordingly.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

High ground water sitting just outside the fenced in run area.

Hopefully with the expensive new ditch project and county drain extension we will never have to go through that kind of flooding again, but we decided to be safe rather than sorry.

Cochin run door north

The Rhodies coop and newly chicken wired door to their run.

The second coop design was nearly the same design as our first chicken coop, just bigger, so it was bit easier to build this time around. It had double doors that open on both sides for ease of cleaning and daily airing out and it has two chicken ladders; one the opened into the original covered run as well as into the soon-to-be-covered run number area.

Cochin coop photo from west side

The Rhodies coop nest box, door, ladder and screens for ventilation

Our first flock, four Cochin/Phoenix mix are just one year old. The second flock consists of four Rhode Island Reds that are about 4 months old now. Originally we had hoped that the two flocks would integrate well and share the same covered run area during our 6-month-long Michigan winters. But the flocks have not really gelled as one, so Gene decided to build a second covered run for the Rhodies.

3 Rhodies on roost bar one down USE

The Rhodies use their coop, roost bar and chicken ladder as a jungle gym!

Both flocks move in and out of both coops and the laying hens used their own laying boxes as well as the Rhodies boxes. So, I suspect that both flocks will eventually be able to live together and will move freely between both runs at some point; sleeping apart in their own coop. As with most fickle chickens….time will tell.

2 chickens at sandbox shared run

The Cochin and Phoenix layers coming out of their covered run after dusting.

In hindsight it probably would have been cheaper to build one large coop instead of two coops but at the time, we simply did not know we would be keeping 8 chickens. We were somewhat new to chicken keeping and had not yet developed a well-thought out plan for growth ahead of time. Live and learn, as they say.

Inside shared run east wall shows well

The view inside the shared chicken run. Both coops funnel into this area.

We have been working hard on these two projects all summer. The overall goal is to get them completed before the snow arrives.

Small House homesteader and chicken keeper, Donna

 

Hot and Muggy on the Homestead- July 13-20 Photo Diary

LOVE THIS flag and catmint bedIt’s been a hot and muggy week in SW Michigan. I’ve been under the weather this week with a painful bacterial infection so have done what needs to be done around the homestead and left the rest. We are also getting ready for our guests arrival.

VERT pick daylilies and brick bed interesting view USE

Studio sidgarden NICE

The homesteads flowers are at their peak right now – so lovely.

Sunflower straight on

Three sisters sunflower close

The Rhodies are going in and out of their new coop this week. last night three out of four of them went in when it was time to go to bed, leaving just one for me to catch and put in.

Rubeckis bed close

Snowball puzzled look

I picked and we ate our first Provider green beans, snow peas and yellow sweet peppers from that garden.

Rubeckis bed closeVERT pool shack garden USE

 

Traingle fruit trees BEST view

ROR on her soapbox USE

path from woods side

Eating and posing USETHIS ONE

I hope you enjoy some of the photographs from this week.

Small House homesteader Donna

 

Super Serious about our Predator Safe Chicken Coop

Gene on ladder looking and sunflowers

Hubby has finally begun the Rhodies coop addition roof.

We are super serious about building a completely “safe from predators” chicken coop. That’s why coop number two is taking us so long to complete. This is the 4 ft. X 8 ft. permanent coop home for our Rhode Island Red pullets.

Our chickens coop is definitely secure enough for them to sleep in right now but it still needs its corrugated plastic roof, hardware cloth on the bottom for winter dusting, two chicken ladders, window shutters and nest box. We are getting a bit closer every day.

These remaining parts are built and painted but await installation. We are focusing now on getting the roof done next because we have plenty of time before autumn when we will need the window shutters. Likewise we have a few months yet until the pullets begin to lay and we will need the nest box attached.

Our primary focus now is on building the roof truss support and then adding the corrugated white plastic roofing material. We intend to match the roofline of the covered run so this is a detailed endeavor.  After this roof is completed the temporary blue tarp will be removed. The tarp will eventually become just a rainy season cover.

VERT RIR Coop open doors USE

A coop this detailed take a long time to build right.

My husband is not a carpenter just a good guy trying to make his chicken keeper wife happy.

RIR New sand USE

I love using sand as coop litter. It clean up easily and stays cool.

Coop 2 window w hardware cloth USE

Hardware cloth and screwed-in frames makes these windows safe and secure.

Comple from west, coop barn, sunflower

The 2 X 4 wood frame lying on the ground is the east side wall of the new enclosed pen. This will be positioned against the existing fence and a roof truss will be fitted over it. The roof will hang over to make a narrow run area for outside winter activities. It will also funnel the rainwater off it to run into the grassy area and not into the run itself. This gives the pullets an option of their own small run since our Cochins have not taken well to the new pullets yet and continually chase them out of their coop and run area. They no longer peck them but just let them know that they are not welcome to hang out with the big girls.

Coop 2 ceiling hardware cloth

Hardware cloth on the ceiling of the coop also make for a secure from critter home and adds extra ventilation too. Once the white corrugated roofing material is in place this hardware cloth will allow for upper ventilation. This construction technique really made a huge difference in the coolness of coop one.

VERT RIR Coop open doors USE

In this photograph you can see that this coop can be cleaned out thru its double doors from either side of the coop, north or south. I will be able to access the coop inside from the outside run area during the spring/summer/fall months or from inside the covered run area during the 6-month-long Michigan winter. it is common to have 6 to 8 feet of snow here so we are thinking ahead.

We have learned a few important things from the last time we built a chicken coop and added those ideas to this one. And we are taking the time necessary to build this coop right. More to come!

Small House homesteader and chicken keeper, Donna

P.S. The broody girls are starting to lay eggs again at last. We are now getting on to two eggs a day. it’s a good thing as we have been having to buy them!!

The Privilege of an Afternoon at the Dentist

VERT mailbox bed house in rear interesting

The current street view of the Small House Homestead in its summer glory.

My days are beginning to blur….paint the coop, weed and spread bark chips, water fruit trees, cook a meal, and take care of the chickens. This is one of those day that I shake my head and when I remember that….is my l-i-f-e-and I chose it.

Pnik daylilies close Lupine greens show corner

Day lilies add beauty to the brick planter. If you don’t like it, hide it is my motto!

I am feeling a sense of urgency now that it is mid-July to get things done and projects wrapped up. Visitors are coming soon, I’ve offered to help a friend pack up her house and load the U-Haul for a long drive to the Northwest, the RIR chickens need to get into their new coop ASAP. I am sick of putting down bark chips and just want to that job to be done. And some days, like today, I feel like I am just spinning my wheels and going nowhere fast.

Yesterday we took the day off to drive to our dentist in a distant city. While the day was almost a loss work-wise, the older I get the more I am grateful for another good dental checkup and cleaning. I’ve had gum disease and gum surgery so any checkup where I get a gold star, is a good one.

We don’t have dental insurance but even so I know that being able to have access to a highly competent dentist is truly a privilege, because all too many people in my own community and in many other countries do not have access to dental care at all.  I know that I am indeed privileged.

I’ve been thinking a lot of privilege lately. Even though I left home at age 17 without any parental support or insurance coverage and have experienced hard times my life has been better than many. Divorced at age 45 and starting over again without any support or alimony I made it through creativity, hard work, German stubbornness and perseverance.  I took in renters, cleaned houses and did what had to be done.

VERT close trelli front garden and sidewalk

The entrance to our front door.

The fact that I am white, that I live in a safe, dry home that is paid for, have a car to drive, that I have been able to retire, enjoy affordable health insurance, dependable electricity, food to eat and clean water to drink…. all help me to remember every single day I am indeed a privileged person.

Living in a poor, agricultural county I could easily have a landfill or a fracking sit in my backyard…

fracking sign in whisket barrle close

I have a no more fracking sign in my front garden. I am totally opposed.

I did cook a healthy by scratch meal when we got home from the dentist so I accomplished something good yesterday. I made a baked sausage in fresh pepper meal that was delicious and picked enough greens from our garden to make a tossed salad. I don’t really have a recipe per see, I just make it up depending on experience and what I have on hand.

West side of house front fracking sign

 The July garden at the Homestead.

Stuffed peppers USE

Baked Stuffed Red, Orange and Yellow Peppers

1 lb. of Meijer’s mild sausage

3/4 of a medium onion, chopped

3/4 cup spinach, chopped

2 organic eggs

½ to ¾ cup of Italian bread crumbs

Garlic to taste

Ground black pepper to taste

Chopped oregano to taste

I also like to add cooked brown and wild rice to my meat mixture but I got a very late start today so skipped the rice.

Mix the sausage, onions, add the bread crumbs, and stir in the eggs. Mix well.

Cut off the top of the peppers and use a spoon to dig out the inside of the peppers (save the seeds and pulp for the chickens!)

Fill the peppers with the meat mix

Bake at 350 for 40 to 50 minutes until the peppers are cooked thru and browned on top.

I hope you had a productive day and a great dinner as well.

Small House homesteader, Donna

Another Rainy and Cool Day on the Homestead

Two days of rainstorms broke the intense heat we have been experiencing here on the homestead overnight but the high humidity remains. After all, I keep reminding myself this is humid Michigan so what else do I expect!

Fencing three rows show studio modestly shows USE THISI placed the metal garden edging at the under the tree beds at the studio.

Today chores included emptying and moving the hose trough water container. We had it in the RIR chicks run for daily water but it is now in the way of the new outside coop ladder. So we emptied it of its water, put that water into  our two 275 gallon water storage totes and moved the trough to the vegetable garden. It will now be available for water my vegetables in pots that dry out quickly.

VET shot low Grass path silver horse trough

I spent some time this morning picking up sticks – that is one downside of having so many large White Oaks. I finally got around to putting up the decorative metal fencing panels my neighbor gave to me just before she moved into assisted living. DC has just been gone a week and already I miss her. She was our one friendly neighbor and through the years we helped to look after her especially after her husband died. I call her our angel because she was my “go to” person when I needed a plumber or contractor especially when we first moved here. She taught me how to deal with our county septic systems, for which I am eternally grateful.

Corn in bowl and bags on chopping block

Today chicken coop chores included more never-ending painting, moving the water trough and adding the second chicken ladder. These RIR chicks are going to be able to enter and exit their coop from the out-of-doors or from the inside through the covered run. This is a “thinking ahead” to winter kind of thing and gives them options in case the hens do not give up their mean occasional girl actions.

gen on lader drying out the wet sand

Hubby dealing with the coop flooding.

The other big job we tackled today that came as a very nasty surprise was emptying the new coop of the sand I just hauled in two days ago. Monday’s huge rainstorm soaked the sand clear through we haven’t yet figured out just how the water got into the coop. That was not a happy discovery and basically set us back to ground zero on getting the chicks permanently settled in the new coop. Not a pleasant discovery to say the least…

Yesterday I bought a dozen ears of fresh, local sweet corn to eat and freeze so that is on today agenda as well. The sweet corn was our lunch today and was delicious. The rest that we did not eat was cooked, shaved off the cob and frozen for winter meals.

Corn in bowl and bags on chopping block

The first sweet corn of the season.

Red daylilies and artesmia USE

Day lilies and wormwood in the meadow.

Back of pool shack long row of grasses USE

Garden lushness around the pool shack.

Enjoy the fleeting summer. August is just around the corner.

Small House homesteader, Donna

Shifting Values into Actions

Curved sidewalk - trellis -trees USE

The view from our porch along the sidewalk I designed to the driveway.

A lot of what we do here on The Small House Homestead is about living the beliefs and values that we hold dear; Love of family, home, land, building and maintaining this small ecosystem for the birds, butterflies and other creatures, preserving the environment where we can and humane treatment of all people and animals. It is a purpose driven life.

Cast butterfly bath USE

A shallow bird bath used to provide water for butterflies and dragonflies.

In a very quiet way we live a near sustainable lifestyle as our small way of  campaigning for health, justice, sustainability, peace, and democracy.

Catmint across sidewalk USE

  Catmint softens the cement walkway.

Many of the day-to-day choices we make are about protecting ourselves, our environment and conserving our limited natural resources.

Chicken Fencing Area

An early view of what is now our vegetable garden and coop area.

On our 5-acres we have focused these past fifteen years on creating and protecting habitat, implementing organic gardening practices, building soil, capturing and reusing rainwater, recycling or repurposing what we can and buying less to keep them out of the waste stream. Each of these practices translates to using less energy to build them, less gasoline to transport them and less landfill land used for garbage when their useful life is done.

Butterfy weed no chainlink USE

Butterfly weeds are for the butterflies!

We choose non-toxic cleaning products, buy goods wholesale that come with no or less packaging and make green building choices when we can. We are not truly sustainable but we grow some of our food and keep chickens for eggs. What we cannot grow we buy locally and from socially responsible growers because we want to support them in their mutual practices.

Walking the plant!

Sweet and curious chickens are fun to watch.

We can’t change the world but we can change our world.

Totes abot 100 gallone

Our water containment system gathers water off the pole barn.

I’m sure that I won’t be the first to point out to you that money comes seriously into play in green building materials and green vehicles and on a limited income we haven’t always been able to make as many green choices as we wish we could. We know that while we strive for socially responsible actions and low impact living and we just do the best we can.

Catmint-trellis-garden gate USE

Welcome to our homestead!

Nontoxic paints are doable; a “green” linoleum floor throughout our home was possible and low-flow shower heads are in. We capture the rain water off of our pole barn roof and use it to water our shrubs and flowers. Vintage furniture has been refinished and painted with nontoxic paints, real river rock stone cover out hallway and three season porch. We use a lot of repurposed wood and gifted corrugated roofing materials in our various chicken coop projects.

Coop and run gate slightly open

Our mostly repurposed chicken coop.

Almost all of our landscaping shrubs was dug up hauled over in my garden cart and replanted on our property; no fossil fuels for shipping involved. Field stones and mulch were hauled in our truck from roadside and farmer field as we traveled to and from town, no middleman needed.

Gretas hostas and bird bath

Bird baths for the birds!

We made a conscious decision to keep many of the original materials in our home when we purchased it in 2000. We still use the living room drapes, the family room blinds and our bedroom shades. Yes, I would have loved to replace them but they still do their job and I would not put them in the landfill, so they remain. Old appliances were sold to a young family just starting out, old but serviceable carpet was taken by a man who keeps snakes and uses it for their bedding.

House and barn under the Oak Trees USE

 The 150-year-old White Oak Trees that shelter and cool our home.

Every spring we gather and use the rich horse manure from a friends  nearby farms and bring home the rich maple leaves from my sons yard to use as mulch in our garden. He saves a transfer fee and the leaves do not end up clogging a landfill. I have committed to using just one tank of gas per month…you get the picture.

Herb garden studio in distance USE

Our herb bed in the foreground and art studio in the background.

This is what a sustainable lifestyle looks like. I can’t live off grid but I do the best I can. That all anyone can do.

Additional Resources:

Great Green Projects www.lowimpactliving.com

Green Home Improvement; 65 Projects That Will Cut Utility Bills, Protect Your Health & Help the Environment a book by Daniel. D. Chiras

US Green Building Council http://www.usgbc.org

Happy Day to Thee USE

A happy day to thee!

Small House Homesteader, Donna