Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Homestead Hacks

Okay, okay. The whole "hashtag life hack"-thing that's happening right now is totally obnoxious. Let's you and me use good old-fashioned word resourcefulness instead. Last month, Lauren posted about her awesome "free firewood in the city"-scheme using this very word. Reading about how this mom of three rambunctious boys, who not only makes up her own fun for them, but does stuff like take her youngest to help get said free firewood, inspired me to think of the small ways that we all create and use our resources.
Hacks are for folks looking to make something a little easier in their every day lives, shortcuts if you will. Nothing wrong with that. However, a lot of us though prefer the long road to making things flow more smoothly, to take our time instead. 
I thought it would be fun, if we could all trade some tips on how we make our own lives work better. Thoughts on saving money, making the most of all things wild and free whether we live in the country, or the city, health tricks, recipes...
I'll start.
Homemaker, homemaker:

1. Crockpot. 
I'll admit it; I was slow to warm up to the joys of the slow cooker. It seemed to me like something my aunt would have been into in the 80s. Kind of like the bread machines that everyone had in the 90s. However, a few years back my friend Julie totally convinced me that I should use the old crockpot I got for making soap for making soup instead, and I've never looked back. Soups, broth, stew, anything is possible, if you want to cook tomorrow's dinner tonight. I actually use mine to most for soaking beans. Before I put them in the slow cooker, I bring them to a boil on the stove, then get rid of the water and start with fresh water (this makes them more digestible), they cook over night and by the time I get home the next day, all there is to do is to put on the rice and cook some veggies. Housewife's delight.
2. Baking powder and baking soda work for almost everything, stain remover, cleaner, odor eliminator, these two little powders have so many uses (see below!). I like to use baking soda to scrub my sinks and counters mixed with super diluted Dr. Bronner's Magic soap (my all-time favorite cleaning product for everything). Which brings me to...

3. Dilute everything. Dr. Bronner's actually tells you to dilute it, but with most traditional and natural cleaning products you can use about half as much as the amount on the packaging. Or heck, make your own cleaning products for dirt cheap prices (see below).

4. Free food/ medicine. We talk about wild crafting a lot on this blog, but really it bears repeating: there's not better food than free food and even if you don't live in the country there's plenty of opportunities if you keep your eyes open. In fact, things like rosehips are sometimes better out of people's gardens, than in the wild (taste wise at least). My favorite free food things are: wild berries (how I miss the abundance of wild berries in Finland!), apples, or other fruit from abandoned orchards, or from neighbors who can't pick all of them, things that are abundant in season, in any forest, field, or roadside like spruce tips, rose hips and nettles up here.


5. A plan for leftovers. I think I may have been a matriarch of a large family in a past life, because frankly I always cook way too much and love feeding people. However, I always plan around the leftovers for the next day's meal.

Cooking big batches of something and preserving it, can also be a real boon. Things like pesto in the summer are so easy make in vast quantities, require relatively little freezer space and are so fun to pop out later in the year to make an instant meal, or be added to soups and things. When things are in season, it's fun to just bust our mad quantities of stuff for other days. Usually, I try to have ingredients around for at least one meal that I can just whip up if I don't feel like cooking, most often bulk pasta, canned tomato sauce and squash and greens or meat.
6. Our family loooves hot sauce. We go through so much of it. When I get bottles that are basically empty, with just the dregs that won't come out I put some olive oil in them and swish around: instant salad dressing/ flavored oil!

7. Toast your seeds, complimentary with every squash! This is actually my sister's recipe, but I was the one that put it to pumpkin seed. I put mine in a bowl of water and put it in the fridge. This makes it easier to get the string-y, flesh-y part of. After you've more or less cleaned your seeds toss them on a pan with some oil. Keep stirring every few minutes. Then when they start to brown toss in some soy sauce (or liquid aminos if you're a damn hippy like me) and brewer's yeast, stir vigorously until the seeds are totally crunchy to the taste. Ps. This seasoning also works great with Mali's original food, zucchinis.

Health and beauty:

1. A kitchen/ pantry has most everything you might need for your teeth, good immune system, glowing skin. All the oils, some of the spices, yogurt in your fridge, baking soda...what better way to treat your aches and pains than the stuff you can actually eat?

2. Honey's good for the skin. It is antiseptic and anti-fungal, and helps seal out bacteria. Chapped lips, eczema, scars, honey helps the skin mend in record time. It's also excellent for healing burns.

Turmeric is also excellent for most skin problems, I sometimes mix it in honey and apply topically. Taken internally before a meal it also has digestive aid properties. I sometimes take some against acid reflux.

3. Oils have many uses. I often use either olive oil, or coconut oil as a lotion, or to treat my hair. Rubbing coconut oil into the dry tips before shampoo is a good way to make them less coarse.

Another amazing thing about oils is oil pulling. This ancient Ayurvedic method for dental care, involves about a  teaspoon to a tablespoon of olive, sunflower, or coconut oil and swishing it in your mouth for up to twenty minutes and then spitting it out. You can start at three-five minutes and build up to a longer time.  Oil pulling not only helps your gums to stay cleaner, reduces plaque and thus improves the overall health of your teeth, but it's also thought to help clean out toxins (which why I started to do it in the first place) and improve one's skin. Brush your teeth afterwards though.

4. Speaking of brushing teeth. Ever made, or wanted to make your own toothpaste.? It's so easy. All you need is the mighty baking soda, water (preferably filtered, but whatever) and optionally salt and peppermint essential oil (or heck any other oil you'd like). I use 2/3 cups of baking soda, 1/2 tsp of finely ground sea salt and 20 drops of peppermint oil. Mix in water to get the desired consistence. Even with the oil this is about the cheapest toothpaste on earth and always on hand ($4 saved for the Philippines!). Make sure you rinse your toothbrush well, the baking soda makes it cement a little.
_DSC6551 5. Speaking of making your own anything with baking soda, or anything else for that matter, I highly recommend investing some dollars and buying this book. Raleigh Briggs is a domestic rebel goddess of epic proportions. (And this awesome publishing house has sliding scale prices!) I've had mine for quite a few years and it's the ultimate homestead hacking book. Easy entry to making your own cleaners, healthcare and even gardening. If you're considering entering the home-making sphere this here is a friendly, low-treshold, fun little zine to guide you along the way. Seriously.
6. Chamomile and black tea diluted in lukewarm water and dripped from above are better for eye infections and allergy-induced irritation than store-bought eye-drops. Short of breast-milk, black tea is the gentlest, fastest way to cure an eye-infection. Just make sure you dilute it.
7. Your kitchen can also double as your veterinary medicine cabinet. Apple cider vinegar is not only good for my hubs, who drinks it as a tonic, but it is excellent for livestock as well. I mix it in with my chicken's water, to boost their immunity. My boss' partner gives it to his goats and apparently it's good for cows, pigs and sheep too. It does not, however, work on cats. I believe the face they made is translated as "Bitch,you put this s*** in my drink again and I'll f*** you up while you sleep."

Also, that oatmeal there is for the chickens as well. During cold snaps in a climate where we don't get too many of those, I make them their own oat meal. Preferably you'd give it to them at night, but they'll appreciate a warm (not too hot) meal in the morning too. The warmth at night helps them bring their resting temperature up.
8. I could talk to the moon and back about feminine health tips, but I'll try to hold myself back. One of the posts I've meant to write many times, but have never gotten it together is on the Fertility Awareness Method. I know I've mentioned the topic before in passing and I think I mentioned that I've taught a few classes on it. In case anyone hasn't yet heard of it, it's a method based on monitoring one's body for the signs of fertility, through taking one's body temperature each morning and monitoring one's cervical fluid. How is this resourcefulness, you may ask?

If you're a woman of fertile age and in a steady (I only say this because if you're, you know, bed-hopping, use a condom. You can still practice FAM, just not use it as your sole birth control method) sexual relationship, you most likely are somewhat preoccupied with your fertility, either trying to achieve, or prevent a pregnancy (and even if you're not in a heterosexual relationship and are not trying to achieve a pregnancy, there's a lot in FAM that's purely helpful in terms of your women's health stuff).

 FAM is an affordable way to both avoid and achieve a pregnancy, as well as recognize and even diagnose many health concerns, including ones unrelated to your actual reproductive health. It's also a pretty big step towards self-care. I know it seems like a pain in the neck, but so are mood-swings and blood clots.

If you're at all interested in this stuff, I'd recommend reading either Taking Charge Of Your Fertility, Honoring Our Cycles, or The Garden Of Fertility, or taking one of Planned Parenthood's classes. (Sorry about the Amazon links, if you can't support your local bookstore, buy used on Amazon, 'cos you know, evil.)
At the very least, I think charting your moon is a simple way to track your overall health and gain a better understanding of the different internal and external forces that effect your body. If you're ambitious, you can also chart the secondary signs of ovulation without charting your basal body temperature.

Other favorite women's health tips of mine include the old stand-bys of raspberry leaf tea in the week before your moon (a great thing to harvest yourself, even if you don't have the plants you can always ask someone who does, people usually don't mind having the leaves trimmed a little), parsley during your actual time to replenish the iron, damiana and black cohosh for the libido, yogurt and tampon treatment for yeast infections and cranberry juice for UTIs (this works for dudes too).

 (Yogurt also neutralizes hot pepper sting. Really helpful if you like spices and end up rubbing your eyes afterwards.)
9. A clove or garlic in, or a wedge of onion behind your ear if you have an ear ache can help stymie and actual infection from developing.

A few cloves of garlic, mashed up with honey (to make it go down easier and not burn your stomach) always helps us nip colds in the bud, especially if they're not full-on yet. My stepdad eats a clove of garlic a day. But he's Hungarian. Garlic is magical medicine though.

Other Random Tips:

1. My other chicken trick is pretty simple. If you give the birds back their eggshells, thoroughly crushed, they can recoup some of the calcium they've lost making them in the first place. (I've also heard that if you clean the shells really well and run them through a coffee grinder or a food processor you can take the resulting powder instead of glucosamine for joint problems. Haven't tried it yet myself. A little intimidated. )
2. If you have a garden and use natural soaps, keep a five gallon bucket in the shower with you. Use the water that accumulates in it to water your plants. The trace amounts of soap with fight aphids and other predators (and will end up in the water-table regardless) and frankly I'm shocked by how much water one shower brings, especially since the bucket doesn't collect nearly all of it.

3. We heat with wood and I like to double the energy I'm burning by heating a big kettle of dishwater on it around dinner time. Don't leave it on though unless you live somewhere where you actually need to add moisture to the air. Also known as not the PNW.

4. Vinegar removes mildew smell, or body-odour from fabric. I sometimes soak our laundry in vinegar water just to add a little cleanness since we use such a short cycle to save water. In many, if not most, washing machines you can cheat and just have a the first wash use the water already in the drum, if your machine doesn't do that, you can just add a little vinegar in with the soap.

...or soapnuts. When I first moved back to the States I was super confused why no one I knew used them, even though I live in a pretty hippie-dippie environment. Minimal packaging, completely biodegradable, tens of washes from a small handful of the stuff, soapnuts are way better than even the earth/allergy-friendliest soap.

And if you, like my husband, think that the laundry smells like patchouli after soapnuts, you can always put a few drops of essential oil onto the lint-trap of the drier (We live in the PNW and recently had a horrific experience with mold so I don't line dry stuff indoors anymore.).

5. I know I just wrote about money and finances, but I thought I'd share a few more "saving/ scrimping"-tips I have. Frugality, after all, is just another way to be resourceful. However, this tip is actually not so much about being frugal as it is about being intentional with indulgences. Being a grown-up I find that it's hard to save for little things that you want, but don't necessarily absolutely need. What would be saving from for those? Household expenses? The already saved "bigger life-dreams and goals"-savings?

When I made a lot of tips, I would save half or a third of that money for fun frivolous expenses, because, well, it seemed like extra money, since we couldn't exactly figure it into our household budget, not knowing what it was going to be each day.

These days, though, I save from frivolous grocery purchases. Writing that down makes me feel so very old. But, it works. Each time I'm about to buy an unnecessary grocery item, I weight it's cost against saving that same money towards something I want, like a art print, or a book, or new tools or materials for crafting. Often just the thought of adding that money into my meagre fund, keeps me from buying a snack, or a drink, or a pastry, which mostly is all the better for my constitution as well. Sometimes I feel like the joy I'll get from a croissant is greater than the joy of saving that money. But more often than not, I save my dollars. It's like smoking, it actually adds up pretty quickly once you stop buying the stuff.

Another favorite financial thing that C. and do together is to take out the amount of cash we hope we'll manage with for the month, after bills, and then split it between us. He pays for the gas and propane and animal food and I pay for our food. We don't use our cards, making it so that the amount of money in our bank account remains the same throughout the month. It's taught us a lot about how we spend money and what we spend it on.
That's all I can come up with off the top of my head, but what I'm really curious about is how are you resourceful?


  1. I just bought all the stuff to make my own cleaners and laundry detergent; I'm excited to save some bread and avoid some toxins. Now I just need to pour and stir.
    I am learning everyday that apple cider vinegar and coconut oil are the two most important things in my kitchen/ bathroom.
    I love my crockpot.
    My best "hack" is ten minute family clean up. Turn on the timer- build up the excitement and get everyone in on ten minutes of cleaning, organizing, putting away. It gets the kids involved and it's super manageable. 4 people x 10 minutes each= a way better home.
    I also lather my kids in lavender oil when they go outside to help deter ticks, which are rampant in our neck of the woods.

    1. Oh my gosh I want ten minute clean-up now. Being two grown-ups with busy lives and artistic priorities (ie. rather make messes than clean them on our free time) we could really use this trick! Thanks! (Now we just need more people-hahah! ;)

  2. off the top of your head? do you feel lighter now, cuz that was a might big hat! girl, i think you used up all the hacks...i ain't got nothin' left to share! (no but seriously, can we all do hack posts and link to each other or something? SUCH an awesome idea).

    i get super squiggly and excited by stuff like this, i'm so glad you shared all your tricks and tips. i think its important to share secrets, even if they are similar, since most of this info is passed down through the grapevine of friends and/or friends via the internet, and some misinformation can happen along the way...like the old "telephone" game...a misinterpretation happens and you realize "oh...i'm not supposed to use the coconut oil all over my head, just on the tips. so THAT'S why i had greasy hair for two weeks" (um, yeah, this happened to me a few months ago. derr....).

    this post makes me want to cozy up with you in a kitchen and make stuff. so there's another idea...a monthly swap tree...you make hot sauce and send it to missa and she makes jam and sends it to me and i make body scrub and send it to teeny etc....yeah?

    one last thing...WHAT IS THAT LITTLE GREENHOUSE COTTAGE???? please tell me you take naps there...

    1. I agree... I must know where this place is... or how to build one?

    2. Mary, I would LOVE IT if folks wrote their own resourcefulness posts! I've learned so much from friends who are awesome homemakers with crazy tips. I have thought of at least four more since this post, there's so many things that make every day life easier. I'm SURE you have 10 000 to share, I've learned SO MUCH from you over the years.

      As for your and Lauren and Nicole's query, it's our friend's green house cabin by his mom's house where Lissa and I were picking rose hips. It was like his room you know. We have kind of a tradition out here of pushing kids into their own dwellings when they reach teenage-hood; barn apartments, yurts, little side cabins etc. My sister used to go out with the guy and said that it was infernally hot there on summer mornings, but it's pretty darn sweet, eh?

  3. Whoa, Soapnuts. Who knew?

    I've been trying to be more yin lately, as my body has seriously been telling me to slow the hell down. Winter is not my season, man. It's always been particularly tough on me.

    My most recent hack has been the eating of mung beans. I had been steadily breaking out, had weird aches and pains (depsite going to yoga class regularly...) and knew I needed to detox somehow, but had to go to work... so what to do... I discovered kitchari! That's the majority of what I've been eating for the last week and a half. That, along with fresh fruit and vegetables (and on occasion- eggs.) It has almost completely cleared up my skin and generally has me feeling back on track. I highly recommend it for any other busy ladies out there. Indian comfort food! It's delicious and easy to make.... and it also gives you a mental break from the preoccupation of what you're going to eat/make next. It's nice to be nourished and feel nourished and just have that.

    Another thing I've been trying is slowing down on my commute to work. Usually I bike and give myself plenty of time, but somehow always I felt rushed! So I've been loading up my basket with my lunch and stuff, then simply hopping off to walk on the way. It's been nice to just have that extra time to look at everyone's gardens while listening to my headphones. And I sure could use the extra sunlight these days. I've noticed I've been getting to work feeling calmer and more collected about starting my day.

    1. Thanks for the comment dear, I really recommend them. I'm excited for these new food ideas. Also, slow commute/ no driving the best time to think. I have a pretty long bike now ride and it always inspires me to think new thoughts and just zone out. And you get exercise and it's free!

  4. You have single-handedly put my resourcefulness to shame! (Not that it's a competition, of course) Thank you for the shout-out and holy moly what a lot of great ideas you have and have passed on to us!

    I have actually never cooked beans in my crock pot and now I feel like a total fool because hello! Why the heck haven't I? I do share your love of diluting everything, though. Including apple juice for the kids! But cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, etc.- they make everything 10 times stronger than it needs to be. I've actually stopped buying the products that seal their containers so that you can't add water to it- sneaky suckers.

    And thank you for mentioning frivolous grocery purchases. It does save an incredible amount of money. I find that when I go to the store with a very specific plan for each meal of the week (and lots of overlapping ingredients) I save more money and waste less food. I make an effort to never go on an empty stomach, and to always have a list... otherwise I do end up buying a bunch of random things that sound good but may not be economical or smart.

    I love this post, girlie! Thanks for your endless wealth of knowledge!

    1. Never! The stuff you do with the boys is so creative and resourceful, you should write a book on free/ easy/ amazing kid's activities! I mean it. Check out Nicole's additional tip on beans below. I dilute juice too sometime! (Though not my favorite: grapefruit). I'd be really interested in hearing more about your meal planning, or if you've already posted about it? It's kind of my achille's heel, because as a European from an urban area, I'm used to being able to just hop and skip to the store whenever I feel like.

      Thanks for your kind comment. You inspire me.

  5. Thank you for posting this! I am new to living a life of resourcefulness and am enjoying reading all the ways I can incorporate a more purposeful and simple style of living into my household. Sometime near the last winter solstice, you posted about the moon calendar for tracking menstrual cycles and I tried it out, to only reaffirm mine is completely erratic. I love the idea of knowing my cycle based on the lunar calendar.

    Thank you for writing! Your posts have touched many souls.

    1. And thank you for participating! I hope it's not presumptuous of me to ask if you know why your cycle is that way? There's a multitude of possible reasons and some might require more action than others (you can email me if you're not comfy writing about this for all the world to see). I love my moon calendar, that's a whole post and a half. I just worry that people are gonna be like "Another post about vaginas?!!!"
      Happy December!

    2. YES! Another post about vaginas!!!

  6. Awesome post! And hey, I have one of those 90's breadmakers, and I use it 2-3 times a week. I let the breadmaker make the dough and then I finish it off with one final kneading and form the dough into creative "artisan" shapes. MUCH healthier than store bought bread and MUCH cheaper. (We eat a lot of bread around here.)

    Your post has me going over my entire routine now, watching for the places I can make changes.

    1. Okay, 90s breadmaker-vindicated! I want more bread in my diet actually, hubs is not from a bread culture. Thanks for reading, participating and baking ;)

  7. Oh my gosh Milla, this is the most useful blog post I have ever read. Many kudos for sharing and hopefully passing on these tips n tricks. My mother brought my sisters and me up with a lot of these (we used vinegar to clean everything and every earache got me a garlic clove in the ear), and I try my best to carry them with me now that I live on my own.

    One of my favorite "hacks" (never thought of them that way) is related to your shower bucket one and also taken from my mother--she keeps a sink-shaped tub in our kitchen sink and lets water accumulate there instead of going down the drain, then she uses it to water the garden. Brilliance.

    Two questions: what is the blue stuff with the brown powder in the bowl, and yes please tell us about that greenhouse bedroom thang??

    1. Juliana! Thank you for your high compliments! My mom taught me many of these as well. And I used to think her crazy for it! I love your mom's dishes hack, might try that next spring if we get a garden going. We also used to flush our toiled with the gray water at times. (We don't have one any more so that's out the window)

      The stuff is actually white. It's a traditional Finnish christmas meal of rice porridge slow-cooked in milk with cinnamon and honey or sugar. And see above for the explanation on the greenhouse.

      Happy Winter Times!

  8. this is so awesome! you better believe i'm taking notes. i have never heard of the "hack" thing but dang these are useful. maybe it's pregnancy brain but i can't think of anything i am resourceful with....it can't be true! maybe my greatest resource is having a healthy immune system and helping build one for my daughter so we don't need everything to be too clean, haha! but truly, i do think that's important, which for us includes eating at least mostly seasonally, cutting down sugar, drinking lots of water, and getting lots of vitamin D straight from the sun. having a supportive community is another essential resource for me. i don't know...using up every bit of leftovers, doing some light composting, using old paper bags to wrap packages, etc....i wish we were more homesteady over here :) and perhaps compiling my list based on your ideas will get us pointed in the right direction.

    1. I'm glad you like it. I'm sure you've got all kinds of good tricks and tips. Everyone does and you're a resourceful mama. I think you're right about the cleanliness business, you don't want to be too clean. Kids need to eat dirt for all those good immunities. And you know, whatever works. Homesteadiness to me is just doing to good things, being self-reliant and enjoying food, life, friends, the stars!

  9. Fantastic post Milla! You've listed so many great suggestions. I have a few to add:
    - Whenever I'm done using my stove or toaster oven open the door to let the heat radiate into my kitchen (with it turned off of course!)
    - I can keep the thermostat down quite a bit with a nice hot-water bottle on my lap or in bed (usually I'll place the bottle in bed before I brush my teeth/wash my face, that way, by the time I get in bed, it's all nice and warm)
    - I've made fabric bowl covers instead of using plastic clingfilm: basically sew an elastic on the perimeter of a large fabric circle which can be placed over a bowl/pan of food to be put in the fridge (imagine a fabric "shower cap")
    - Sewing fabric "baggies" to bring sandwiches, snacks etc to work
    - Along the same vein, I want to learn how to make beeswaxed fabric food wrap for storing food.
    - For period stuff, I highly highly recommend a menstrual cup! Making your own fabric pads is another earth-friendly option
    - I put left-over tea or infusions (herbal and otherwise) in the fridge and use the liquid in soups, stews and smoothies.

    I also wanted to add that boiling your beans for 10 minutes before putting them in a crockpot is REALLY important, not just to improve digestibility as you mentionned, but more importantly because some beans can be the source of nasty food poisoning if not boiled first—ask me how I know... The crockpot is not hot enough to kill certain toxins, esp. with kidney beans.

    Btw, I ordered "Make your place" and I'm seriously excited to receive it!! It looks right up my alley!

    1. Also wanted to add that inspired by you, I made my own toothpaste today. I followed a Rosemary Gladstar recipe that calls for baking powder, salt, kaolin clay and essential oil (I used fennel). It was lovely to use, and my mouth feels so clean! Yay.

    2. Wow Nicole! These are some good tips. I sometimes leave the oven open too, but often I forget. I'm so interested and inspired to make some fabric food covers. We don't really use plastic wrap, but dont' really have any other solution either.

      Also, I'm so glad you brought up the moon cup! I was gonna talk about that and I was like "Damn I'm the crazy yoni lady!". That was another thing that really surprised me about moving here where everyone was just using natural tampons. Moon cups are the best ever! I've had mine for five years and it's saved a mint and I've learned a lot about my flow too.

      So excited you got Make Your Place, you'll love it! And congrats on your toothpaste, feels good eh? Thanks for being a reader and fellow "crazy yoni lady" ;)

  10. Ihan mahtava juttu! Kiitos kovasti! Yritän paremmalla ajalla miettiä olisiko mulla jotain vinkkejä. Monet on niin itsestäänselviä, ettei tule edes ajatelleeksi. Nyt pitää lähteä hakemaan pyykit ja sitten leffakerhoon! Täällä on leffateatteri :)

    1. Niin kateellinen tosta leffateatterista. Se mika meilta niin uupuu.

  11. I love seeing and sharing what others are doing :) I've employed baking soda in many of my beauty products and recently learned a few more such as a facial scrub and even dry shampoo! Two of my most recent projects have been making my own Kombucha-- I just finally got a mother starter and am fermenting my first batch this week, and using soapnuts. Believe it or not they grow here in our state. They were used for hundreds of years by Native Floridians. Last year D. and I were foraging and found a tree absolutely full of them. I still have a huge basket full of them, and since we've even produced seedlings from them. But, believe it or not I still have not used any of the batch we picked. A winter break goal is to finally start using them in the laundry!

    1. Whoa! I had no idea there's native soap trees! What a resource. I'd love to read more about Florida foraging, if you ever felt moved to write about it. It'd be so fascinating to hear about the exotic things you get to go out and find. Also, updates on your homestead pls. Love, craftiness and hugs!

  12. Well you covered everything I know and oh so much more. Thanks for the book recommendations, on my list of want now for sure! I feel I have so much to learn...

    1. Hope you enjoy some of those books. We all have so much to learn. A whole lifetime's worth ;)

  13. great post milla! now i'm actually bummed that my crock-pot broke a couple moves ago. i never used it but would have for beans. oh well! i'm not sure that i really have anything to add that hasn't already been said but i loved reading all this :)

    1. Thanks hon! My tips are pretty basic and I think they're widely used by crafty homemakers, I knew a lot of readers would probably already know them, especially the ones from whom I've learned so much ;). New crockpots await in the thrift stores of the world. It's kind of annoying to stash but I love the damn thing.

    2. yes, and i remembered that a lot of my friends also use it for bone broth. kinda need one now :)

      one thing i did think of is dryer lint stuffed inside an empty toilet paper roll for fire starters. works great!

    3. Having a dryer again, I've been discovering how flammable that lint is! Great tip!

  14. Kiitos inspiroivasta postauksesta taas!

    I am definitely going to try out those homemade toothpaste and oil pulling tips.

    Quite the same idea as the crock pot is food thermos for easier bean preparing. My vegetarian friends use that on winter"hikes" (ski-touring?), the beans will get soft enough for cooking at the camp or hut, even that the thermos lies on sledge where waterbottles get frozen.

    I also use edible products for skincare. With allergies and atopic skin I have got so much better results with coconut oil and shea butter and buckthorn oil than with pharmacy products (I guess I've got an overdose of parabens during my childhood and teens)

    What comes to resourcefullness, one thing to add is "garbage". When younger I lived in communities where most of our food was from grocerystore waste. I have lived two times with 8 people, in a first commune we had every weekend house even more full of people and all the guests were well nourished. At that time I did more some tomato preserving for sauces and such because there really was an abundance.
    Later when I have been growing my own tomatoes there has never been that much. Cucumbers have been easier, those I have had enough for preserving.
    I haven't been living in communes anymore and I really do prefer organically farmed food, even that former option would be more ecologic.

    My ex-landlord was quite a hoarder. Maybe it was you who sometimes used the word "resourcepile" and those we definitely had all over. There was big outbuilding which was totally full and the yard wasn't pretty. He was not able to leave anything, even that some (many) piles got rotten in the yard. He really was good finding stuff.
    Good thing was that we were allowed to use some of the stuff. I builded with my neighbours greenhouse from old windows and used some permaculture-based ideas. (Tehtiin siitä altakastelukasvihuone, multatilaan vanerinen muovitettu ja rei-itetty välipohja, katolle rännit ja ränneistä putket joita pitkin sadevesi valui kasvihuoneen alle ja nousi sitten kapillaarisesti froteepyyhkeen suikaleita pitkin mullan sekaan)
    Also we builded temporary sauna from his stuff and my neighbour built a food compost for us.
    And we collected firewood from construction sites near by.
    I moved away from there year ago after three lovely wood-heating years due to mold-issues :( I have been wandering since, I don't miss the mess but all the other things, the spirit and the light of the old beautiful house.

    I really want to start collecting stuff for building a house. Not as compulsively as he did, but the idea underneath is just great. There is lot of construction sites where old things are torn down and you really can get things free if you have a possibility to be there and pick it up (and have a place where to store it, that one I have to figure out somehow) Old bricks for example, actually almost anything.

    1. Thanks for your sweet comments! Hauska tavata! Resource pile! They're kind of indispensable, in my humble opinion. There's so much wonderful stuff you can have for free if need be. There's a really fine line between hoarding and resources, you know. And sometimes it's not determined by much. ;)

      That's a great tip on the bean soaking in a thermos.

  15. Milla! You are a wealth of knowledge! I was thinking to myself, "I HOPE SHE MENTIONS APPLE CIDER VINEGAR" which I sip with water all day, every day.

    Wonderful list of resources here, you clever betty.

    1. I wish I could drink it like you and my hub do. I just can't stomach the smell. I do put it in a lot of stuff. It's magic.

  16. Hello!
    I'm a new reader, and so glad I found you. We've slowly and steadily been working on doing/making/creating more of our own home, health and food, and it's good to find people with common interests.
    Thank you.

    1. I'm glad you're here too! Welcome! It's a long process for everyone, I don't think we'll ever be totally done.

  17. This is a little gross, but organic apple cider vinegar gets rid of the common wart! Before bed soak a cotton ball with acv, place a band aid over it, and go to sleep. Take the band aid off in the morning and let the wart breath during the day. Repeat the cotton ball, acv, and band aid procedure each night until the wart falls off. It will first turn whitish, then a tiny black spot will appear. The black spot means the "root" of the wart is dying, and that the acv is working. Once the wart is off, there will be a "crater" in the skin that will naturally heal itself. Gross, but it has been the only remedy that has worked for me, :) even over the counter medicine didn't do anything.

    1. Gross? Awesome! Apple cider vinegar is the nectar of the gods, apparently. That is some rad knowledge! Thanks for that dear.

  18. Hi my dear, I am so glad I found this post, and I know I'm going to keep referring back to it! x

  19. Wow Milla, so many great things you've shared here, many of which I do, too. One more I'll add: buy a pressure cooker. My fella and I were trying to figure out ways to cut back on the waste we create and realized that using a pressure cooker to cook beans would cut back on a whole lotta cans! Our routine for the past few years is to cook up a batch of beans about once a week and then use them for meals over the course of the next many days. We both love chickpeas, so for an example, a batch of those can make a tasty Indian meal, hummus, be added to a pot of minestrone, tossed on a salad, etc. (Don't cook up to much though, or you'll get really tired of the same beans over and over!)