Welcome!

Hello and welcome to our website. We are 3 people in pursuit of self-sufficiency and happiness in life. We want more than the normal “9-5 workday with weekends off.” For now we all 3 have full time jobs, but we still find plenty of time for our little homestead. Home is where we grow, farm, raise, and hand-make all we can. The biggest part of getting our homestead up and running is learning to enjoy the process and not just the finished product. So check out our Blog for neat things, our Products to buy stuff from us, and our How-tos to learn something new. Feel free to contact us with questions, cool stories, or just to chat about life.
Thanks for stopping by and Happy Homesteading.

What is Homesteading

Homesteading is a way of life that embraces the concept of self-sufficient living to some degree. How far you are able to progress your homestead is up to you and your time, creativity, willingness to learn, interests, talents, location, and patience. No two homesteads are the same. We all do things a little different, and we are all at a different place in our homestead lifespan. Many hope to create something that will last generations. A homestead is something to be proud of and they are so much fun to live and learn on.

**Some states have special laws or regulations, both good and restricting, regarding homesteading. Be sure you check your up on your state before getting started**

There are three main categories your homestead can fall under, but remember not to limit yourself.

At one end we have THE HARDCORES. This is a family or small group (rarely an individual) that is completely self-sufficient and independent. They are often “off grid” and found in rural areas. They harvest things right from the farm like: livestock, hunted animal, eggs, dairy products, grain, vegetables, fruits, and much more. Some practice living the simplest life they can when it comes to modern technologies and conveniences by cutting out all they can. Many store food and other survival equipment by canning, dehydrating, and preserving to support them year round. Almost all income is sourced from something on or from the homestead. Much work goes into being a HARDCORE, but it is very rewarding.

Then there are in THE BLENDED. *The most broad category* This is a family, small group, or individual that loves some parts of homesteading but will never fully commit to the whole package. They can be found in urban, suburban, and rural areas. One family may grow a garden and have no interest in livestock or alternate energy sources (or vice versa). Another example is raising animals but buying their feed at a store. Many homesteads that fall into this category are beautiful and rewarding even if they aren’t a HARDCORE.

Lastly we have THE URBANER. These homesteads can be found right in the middle of the city. This is a family or individual generally practicing only one or two self-sufficient ideals. Like canning jam, but with fruit from the farmers market instead of your back yard. Or growing a few small herbs and vegetables on an apartment balcony. The best part is not much is needed in the financial area for this one and it is still very rewarding.

Your homestead can but as big or as small as you like. The first step we suggest is gaining some knowledge. Learn all you can. Not only from those thriving, but also those making mistakes. Next get organized! Grab a notebook or some paper and write out your homestead goals. It doesn’t matter how many goals you have, but you want to know we had you are aiming for. Then get a plan together. After you have figured out what you will grow, raise, or produce, it is time to mark the calendar with the optimal time to buy, plant, or start your projects so you be as successful as you can. Now just get out there and try it. It doesn’t take much effort or money to try a few homestead practices to simplify your life.

Where we are now with our homestead is not what we want or final homestead to be. We will be growing and ever changing. Our goal is to run our homestead and send owner business instead of working an hourly job. We are still very new and learning all the time. Always remember it is okay to change and re-imagine your homestead vision.

Homesteading is such a wonderful way of life that can teach you so much about yourself and those around you. There is no WRONG HOMESTEAD. If you are doing even one thing in there direction of self-sufficientness, then by-golly you are a HOMESTEADER!

We will be posting lots of pictures and stories, both dos and don’ts, and lots of toys and tricks her on our website. Click HERE to check out our Blog and HERE to check out our Instagram page. Feel free to show us your Homestead progress via Facebook. Click HERE to head to our page. BE SURE TO FOLLOW US AND SUBSCRIBE! We also sell some of the things we create and produce here on our little (for now) homestead. Check out our products HERE.

Thanks so much for reading and Happy Homesteading!

Be sure to leave us a comment and check back next week for our latest HOMESTEAD ADVENTURE!!!

Spray Paint Art

The life of a Blueberry

Blueberries are perennial flowering plants that grow in mostly bush form. This delicious fruit contains: high antioxidants, low calories, fiber, vitamin c and k, and magnesium. It also has many properties that include: fighting cancer, lowering blood pressure, fight heart disease, protect cholesterol, anti-diabetic, fight urinary tract infection, and reduce muscle damage after strenuous workouts. This year we added a few plants to our ever growing homestead. In total we have 12 blueberry plants, a few different kinds for pollination, but 2 or 3 of those plants may have been lost. The number one thing we learn with gardening and homesteading is that you are always learning, did and don’ts. So here are a few of those we have learned, but by doing and reading. Enjoy 😀

The blueberry bush is best planted or transplanted when it is dormant. In my zone, zone 7, that is November- February. They LOVE acidic soil, pH 4-5.8. It is best to plant them in rows, 4-5 feet apart with rows 9-10 feet apart. They like for their roots to be well spread when planting them in their hole. When growing blueberries it is best to be patient. Most bushes produce good edible fruit in year 4 of it’s life. If you are getting a first year bush, it is suggested to clip all blooms off that year in order to stimulate hardy new growth next year.

Before you send your soil, ALWAYS TEST IT. Never guess. With that said, below are ways to lower the pH of your soils for your Blueberry Bushes.

  • Peat moss
  • Pine needles (best when still greenish)
  • Shredded leaves
  • Sulfur
  • Vinegar
  • Fertilizers containing: ammonium nitrate, ammonium sulfate, or sulfur-coated urea (note these are usually strong, use with caution!)
  • Elemental sulfur (this is slow acting)

How to plant your Blueberry Bushes. Pick a nice sunny spot for best growth, although they will still produce with some shade. Make sure to test your soil and get your pH to 4-5.8 (see above list for assistance). They have shallow roots, therefore soil needs to retain moisture, but drain well enough to not stay too wet. Dig your hole about 20 inches deep and 18 inches wide, for a 1-3 year old bush. We also mix some of our homemade compost into every thing we plant. See our Composting Blog to help you get started with your own money saving compost bin.

We mainly eat our blueberries fresh or after being chilled in the fridge on a warm day. They are sometimes called a Superfood because they kick some serious ass, as far as being a healthy food goes. Plus they are freaking delicious! They are easy to grow and they produce year after year as long as you take good care of them. Below are a few pictures of our Blueberry Bushes and harvest.

Thanks for reading 🤘

The Wonderful Dandelion Flower

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So many people view dandelions as a nuisance that ruins the appearance of their yards when they can be used as powerful medicinal herbs. True, dandelions might not be the most beautiful flower, but they are pretty in their own simple way. More than that, they’re valuable for their healing properties. In times simpler than our own, many took to nature more often to find yummy or helpful plants to aid them. Dandelions are one such plant.
Here are some of Dandelion’s great qualities:
The leaves bitter flavor stimulates healthy digestion
The roots, stems, and leaves of the dandelion exude a white sticky resin when injured. Applied directly to warts daily or, preferably, several times a day, this resin slowly dissolves them.
The roots contain choline, a liver stimulant. They make wonderful colon cleansing and detoxifying medications because any time digestion is improved, the absorption of nutrients and the removal of wastes from the body improves as well — Rough dry skin and acne, constipation, gas and bloating, frequent headaches, and premenstrual syndrome are all potential symptoms of an overburdened liver.
One of the many ancient practices involved gathering dandelions early, after the spring’s first warm spell, the leaves and roots are used as a spring tonic and to stimulate digestion and vitality after a long winter. Many health website will offer dandelion tea as a digestion aid or a well being booster, but there is no need to buy these flowers. As long as you grow a non-toxic, pesticide free yard, then you can harvest these amazing flowers for free every year. There are many ways to prepare these flowers. Check them out below 👍
1. Dandelion Infused Oil
Dandelion flower infused oil is often used in recipes designed to soothe and heal chapped or cracked skin. It’s also helpful for sore muscles and other aches and pains. Shelf life of strained infused oil is around 1 year. To make it, fill a canning jar about half-way with dried dandelion flowers. Cover with about twice as much as your favorite carrier oil, or to the top of the jar. (Suggested oils include sunflower, olive, sweet almond, apricot kernel, avocado, hemp and so forth.) For a quick infusion: Set the uncovered jar down into a small saucepan filled with a few inches of water. Heat over a low burner for a few hours, keeping a close eye that the water doesn’t evaporate out. Remove from heat and strain. The quick infusion is the best way to infuse coconut oil. For a slower, more traditional infusion: Cap the jar of dried dandelion flowers and oil and tuck away in a cabinet for around 4 to 6 weeks, shaking occasionally as you remember to. When the infusing time has passed, strain. For an alternative option: You could also set the jar of dandelion flowers and oil in a sunny windowsill for several days to a week to jump-start the infusion. (Don’t store for long periods in sunlight though, as it tends to fade flowers and herbs over time.
2. Dandelion Flower Salve
Dandelion flower infused oil makes this salve extra soothing for:sore muscles, achy & arthritic joints, and rough, chapped skin. Dandelion salve is especially ideal for those who work outdoors and with their hands a lot!
3. Dandelion Vinegar
Dandelions are full of minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron and and one of the best ways to extract those is via vinegar. For this project, you’ll use fresh dandelion flowers mixed with leaves and stems. To make: Gather fresh dandelion blossoms and leaves, rinse them well, and fill a jar quite full of them, but don’t pack too tightly. Pour apple cider vinegar over the fresh plant matter until the jar is filled. Cover the top of the jar with wax paper or plastic wrap and then a lid. (This added layer keeps the acidity of the vinegar from eating away at metal lids.) Place the covered jar in a dark cabinet and store for 4 to 6 weeks, shaking occasionally. Strain and it’s ready to use!
Here are a few ideas for using dandelion vinegar:
-dilute with equal parts water and use as a hair rinse
-make an oxymel, or sweet & sour herbal syrup
-dilute with water and dab on itchy bug bites
-pour 1 cup of vinegar into a bath along with 1 cup of Epsom salts for achy tired muscles
-make a homemade vinaigrette: Combine 3 tablespoons oil, 2 tablespoons dandelion vinegar, 1 tablespoon crumbled bacon, 1/2 tablespoon chopped onion, 1 teaspoon maple syrup and salt and pepper to taste. Shake together in a jar and let stand for twenty or thirty minutes so the flavors meld together. Shake again and pour over your salad. Yum! (Use white wine vinegar for a milder taste.)
4. Traditional Scandinavian Dandelion Syrup with Green Apples
you will need:
-about 50 dandelion flowers (only the yellow petals, use scissors to cut the green off)
-500 grams of chopped green apples (this equaled almost 3 apples for me)
-optional: 1 stalk of chopped rhubarb (I didn’t have any, so left out)
-1 liter of water (1 quart)
-about 500 grams of sugar
-juice of one lemon
If you use organic apples, you don’t have to peel them. Put the apples, dandelion flowers, rhubarb, juice of lemon and water in a pot and let it simmer for half an hour. Pour the mass through linen (strain), so the juice is clear, it’s beautifully yellow. Weigh the juice and pour it back into the pot. Use the same amount of sugar as the juice weighs.(*One cup of sugar is about 200 grams.) Bring it to a boil, until it thickens. Be careful not to let it boil for too long, it must not change color. Pour the syrup into scalded glasses and voila, the syrup is done. It’s perfect on yogurt or pancakes. You can also use it for oven baked beetroot, carrots, potatoes or so, just pour some syrup over the vegetables and into the oven, it tastes awesome!!
5.Dandelion Lotion
Spread the dandelions out on a clean or paper towels in a single layer to air dry. Ten fill a canning jar halfway with dandelions, then fill the rest of the way up with oil. I like using sunflower oil since it’s especially helpful for damaged skin. You can also use olive, sweet almond, avocado, hemp, and other such light oils. For a faster infusion: Set the oil and dandelion filled jar down into a pan of gently warmed water. Let the jar stay in the heated water, with the burner set to low, for a few hours then remove, cool, and strain. Keep a close eye on things to make sure the oil doesn’t overheat. For the longer method: Cover the jar and set in a warm place for about four weeks before straining. A sunny windowsill works well. (NOTE: While dandelion infused oil is wonderful for making your own DIY body care projects, it’s not meant to be used as a food source or for cooking purposes.) Once your oil is finished, you’re ready to make your dandelion lotion bars! They are super simple to make. If you can melt chocolate, you can make these. Now to make the Lotion Bars:
-1 part beeswax</span
-1 part shea butter (or mango butter)
-1 part dandelion infused oil
-a few drops of lavender essential oil, optional
Measure out the beeswax, shea butter, and dandelion oil into a canning jar or heatproof container. I use a recycled tin can for this project for ease of cleanup.
Set the container of ingredients down into a pan containing an inch or two of almost simmering water, creating a makeshift double boiler.
Allow the water to indirectly heat the contents until the beeswax is melted. Overheated shea butter can get grainy, so keep a close eye on the mixture and remove from heat as soon as it appears melted.
Optional: add a few drops of lavender or other skin safe essential oil, but I often just leave these plain.
6. Dandelion Tea
Dandelion tea can be made by packing fresh flowers and leaves into a mason jar and pouring simmering water over them. Let the tea infuse until it’s cool enough to drink then strain. It is a classic spring herbal tonic. It helps purify and detox the blood and and is useful for helping the secondary symptoms of a sluggish system such as acne and constipation. While it can be helpful for some digestive issues, use caution if you have ulcers or chronic health issues and consult a medical professional before using. Dosage for the tea is one to three cups per day, starting with a low amount and working your way up since it has laxative and diuretic properties your body may need to adjust to.
7. Dandelion Tincture
Tinctures are one of the best ways to preserve the benefits of dandelions. While this form does contain alcohol, it’s so concentrated that the end dose is similar to the alcohol content of some cough syrups. The dosage is counted in drops instead of cups. If you don’t consume alcohol, use dandelion vinegar for similar properties. To make a tincture, dig up a dandelion plant – root, leaves, flower, stem… the whole thing! Rinse it well then chop it as finely as you can. Place the pieces in a mason jar (jar size depends on how much plant you’ve gathered up) then cover with an 80 proof or higher alcohol like vodka. It’s a good idea to keep a layer of plastic wrap or wax paper between the tincture and the lid, if it’s metallic. Cap and store in a cool dark place for 2 to 3 weeks before straining, making sure you shake the jar every so often. While traditional herbalists recommend a dosage of up to 30 to 40 drops, three or four times per day, I dose my family in much smaller amounts, never more than 4 or 5 drops at a time. (Tinctures are powerful things!) Use this tincture to help with constipation or a sluggish liver that leads to poor digestion and acne.
8. Dandelion Cupcakes
Pick a handful or two of dandelions then wash and dry them thoroughly. Pull off just the yellow petals (the green has a stronger bitter taste you don’t really want in a cupcake.) Mix up your favorite cupcake recipe, stir in the yellow petals, then bake like normal. Let cool, frost and add an edible flower or two on top for decoration. Some flower ideas for topping: pansies, violets, violas, dianthus, lilac, bachelor buttons, hollyhocks and roses.
There are many other uses of Dandelions and I do not claim to know all of them, but you have a few uses now. Go out and pick you some Dandelion flowers and be sure to share all of your awesome projects you try with them. Feel free to comment pictures of your attempts.
-Thanks for reading 🙂

The Art of Trellising

Trellises can be built and used in many different sizes and with many different materials and they are oh so simple. The concept is: two end post, followed by other posts spaced out as needed, and some sort of connecting material to support the vining plants. So depending on the size of the plant you are taking care of, you can ultimately be creative with your building materials. We have planted quite a few things system. We have kiwis, 3 kinds of grapes, muscadines, and blackberries so far. We crafted ours out of t-posts (that we already had) and rolled wire fencing. We plan to let our plants get pretty large so we wanted to make sure we had support through the years. This picture was a few months ago. We will post recent pictures on our Instagram page @mineralworks_homestead.

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Like I said above , you can use many different materials for many different plants. Below is a few material examples 🙂

  • bamboo stakes
  • t-posts
  • rebar
  • wood posts
  • sticks
  • pvc pipes (filled with dirt or sand for extra strength)
  • wood lathing
  • and so many more

Not all plants will grow well on all of the options listed above. It is also a good idea to keep in mind what zone you live in (Blog post topic coming soon!) and what plants can survive being outdoors year round. You could make a green house cover to put on your trellis to give it a double use!

And before you go out and buy something, take a look around your place and see what you have. And always be creative. You can learn something from both a success and a fail. So get out there and grow your own!!

Composting

Composting can be an amazing alternative to buying soil each year, given you have the space and a little time. We have seen composting done in many different containers from: buckets, to trash cans, to under tarps, and wooden walled containment(pallets are a good choice). It is so enjoyable to know exactly what is in our soil and what is feeding our plants. We plan to use 7 pallets to build our 3 slotted compost station. for now we have 2 slots. this gives us plenty of space to turn the compost within its own slot and then turn it into the next opening so that we can produce more and more compost. We really love this stuff and it makes our plants do AMAZING!

As I said before, you will need space to do this. With that said, you only need as much space as you want. You can compost on your apartment balcony or use a huge part of your yard. You will also need time. A few of the ingredients that you can add to your compost need a little pre-prep before just tossing them in. It is also best to wet and turn your compost periodically to assist with the decomposition process. There are SO MANY things you can put in your compost to build organic soil that will help make your plants super healthy. A good rule of thumb is to try and balance your brown (carbon) and green (nitrogen) matter. So, here is a list of a few things you can and can’t put in your compost:

  • newspaper, office/school paper, non-glossy junk mail (shredded) — brown
  • straw/ hay — brown
  • animal bedding (rabbits, chicken, rodents, caged birds) — brown
  • green or brown leaves
  • sticks and small branches — brown
  • pine cones and pine needles –brown
  • nut shells — brown
  • used paper napkins/ tissues — brown
  • paper towels — brown
  • used coffee filters with coffee grounds — green
  • saw dust — brown
  • wood chips — brown
  • fruit and vegetable peels — green
  • citrus and melon rinds — green
  • tea leaves/ tea bags — green
  • grass clippings/ weeds with no roots — green
  • house plant trimmings — green
  • dead heads from flowers — green
  • sea weed — green
  • cooked plain rice or pasta — brown
  • corn husks — green
  • emptied corn cobs — green
  • trimmings from the garden — green
  • stale bread/ crackers — green
  • broccoli stalks — green
  • unwanted sod (cut up) — green
  • old vegetables — green
  • egg shells (crushed) — neutral
  • cardboard — brown
  • wood ash — neutral
  • pet/ human hair — brown
  • dirty water from fish tank — green
  • manure — brown
  • old jam/ jelly — green
  • water left over from boiling — neutral
  • dryer lint — brown
  • cotton/ wool clothes (cut up) — brown
  • beer/ wine — brown
  • peat moss — brown
  • clover — green
  • feathers — green
  • spoiled tomato sauce — green
  • old herbs/ spices — green
  • cowpeas — green
  • kelp — green
  • matches/ toothpicks/ bamboo skewers — brown

Never use the following:

  • dairy
  • yogurt
  • pet/ human waste
  • fats/ oils
  • meat or fish/ bones
  • coal/ charcoal
  • anything with chemicals/ pesticides
  • salt
  • colored paper
  • seeds that aren’t broken down (they may still come up)
  • limes
  • plastics/ metals/ foils
  • synthetic fibers

Below is two pictures of our compost bin. First in spring and then in fall. Then below that is a video of how to turn your compost bin. If you have any questions or any items that should be added to the lists just leave a comment to let us know. Thanks and get out there and COMPOST!!

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