Saturday, January 24, 2015

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent with 2 Ingredients!

A quick and easy recipe that really does the job in cleaning your dishes! If you are looking for an affordable and easy way to make your own, look no further! I have found this to be very effective and another example of how you can make many wonderful things to help you around the home with just a few key ingredients. Hope you try it because I know you're gonna love it! xo


   - 2 cups Baking soda
   - 2 cup Super Washing soda
* - 5-10 drops essential oil (I used Thieves, but I think lemon or orange would be great, too!)

    -Mix all ingredients and store in an air tight container. Add 2 tablespoons per one load of dishes.

*Optional ingredient

Recipe adapted from

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Spectacular Speckled Sussex ~

The Spectacular Speckled Sussex

I want to talk to you about a special Heritage breed that I never expected to appreciate the way that I do. When we started adding new chickens to our flock, I honestly had zero experience with this breed. I find that to be the case with everyone that visits our homestead. They have never seen them and instantly fall in love with our Speckled Sussex! Not only do they have the friendliest disposition, but they have an amazing and brilliant look! Their feathering is best described as having a rich reddish brown and black color with white tips. A striking appearance combined with the fact they are a wonderful dual purpose bird and lay beautiful slightly tinted eggs, makes this a bonus for any chicken connoisseur.

We have two sweetheart hens that are the best of buddies. They are always together and they absolutely adore my husband. They are “his girls.” They love to follow him and always fly up to the top of the hay bales to greet him and giving longing looks for a treat or two. They’re smart. They’re spoiled. They know it. Make no mistake, they are sweet as honey even though they are colored like spice. They are very curious and understand their place in the flock. They stand clear of the more forward birds and flow so easy with everyone. 


This breed originated from England at the time of the Roman Empire and comes in many colors. It is known to be a great dual purpose bird, a good egg layer, and also cold hardy. We have found them to be good foragers, yet they have no problem when being confined to our barn if there is bad weather. What I love the most about this breed is their eggs! They may lay up to 260 per year and the color is exquisite. They are a soft vanilla hue and make for a wonderful omelet!

So, I say to you… if you are looking for a special variety with unique beauty, a calm disposition, and gorgeous eggs, look no further… a Speckled Sussex is perfect for you!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Long Winter On A Homestead

The Long Winter On A Homestead

There are many things to consider in preparation for winter on a homestead. We certainly found that out our first winter here up on the mountain. Many of these things are simple, but many can easily be taken for granted until you are looking at a thermometer well below freezing. After a few incidences that we encountered, we vowed we would be more prepared the next time. That is the key in all realms of homesteading… always be thinking ahead and always expect the unexpected. Therefore, the more you have planned for, the easier it will be.

When you live in a rural community, jumping in your vehicle and grabbing what you need because of bad weather approaching is not realistic. There always needs to be a back up plan. I remember one time being told by one of my favorite teachers that a good shepherd always puts his sheep up when he sees a storm on the horizon and that logic certainly applies here.


Here is list of basic considerations every homesteader should think about for the winter months.

1. Fuel: How do you heat your home? If it is by wood heat, make sure to have a large supply of well seasoned wood ready to go. Make sure your propane tank is topped off in the late summer when the rates are low. If you have electric heat, do you have a back up plan? How will you heat water and food or wash clothing should the power go out?


2. Food Supplies: In case of an emergency, or in case you can not leave your home, do you have a basic and easy food supply that you can easily utilize and heat? Canned and dehydrated foods are a great source for back up. Bottled and a stored water is critical for the hydration of your family and animals should your pipes freeze.


3. Winterizing Your Pipes: This is huge. Be sure to be aware of falling temperatures at all times. If you need to run your faucets at night or turn off the water in your barn/garage, remember to do so. Also, be sure to cover all outdoor spigots. The repair to fix any burst pipes could be a major expense for a homesteader.

4. Power: Even though many homesteaders love to have wood stoves in their homes for heat and cooking, losing electricity is still a major inconvenience. We often lose power. Therefore, if we know that bad weather or extreme temperature drops are coming, I work very hard in making sure my laundry, dishes and basic chores are completely caught up. We also make sure we have extra batteries for flashlights, oil for lamps, and candles for light. It may be an expense to work towards, but a generator can really help! These small details makes times much easier on this homestead.

5. Clothing: This may sound silly, but if you are working out in the barn or coop in 5 degree weather, you will quickly understand the value in coveralls, great boots and thick gloves. The amount of work multiplies for a homesteader in extreme weather when caring for the basic needs of farm animals. Look for deals in the warm months for clothing that will make cold temperatures tolerable when the time comes.


6. Animal Needs: This is a broad topic depending on exactly what animals you have on your homestead. For us, we discovered a large stock of hay, many back up buckets for hauling and switching out frozen water and extra feed go a long way. You may need extra straw bales to insulate your coops or shelters and extra pine shavings for fresh nesting boxes. Always think ahead for the essentials that will make the cold days go much easier and keep your animals warm and healthy. Also, don’t forget about extra feed for your domestic pets as well!


These are just a few suggestions or recommendations that should be considered in order to get through the hard winter months on a homestead. There is one thing for sure, once you encounter a hardship in any of these categories, you will quickly understand how important it is to always think ahead.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Mayonnaise Rolls

 Mayonnaise Rolls        

The first time I ever had Mayonnaise rolls was at my Nana’s house. I can’t remember what all we were eating that day, but I do recall being amazed at watching her just whip up a batch. I had never heard of such a thing. Mayonnaise? Is she serious? Oh. She was and I was so grateful because they were delicious! Nana, for most of her recipes, never has a set recipe for anything. It’s a scoop of this, a dash of that, and a pinch of so and so. She speaks endlessly of her love for mayonnaise in recipes that she would whip up for special occasions in her little farmhouse during her post Great Depression childhood. That’s where she learned to cook… you had to improvise with what you had which is of course, where some of the greatest recipes are born. Like these rolls, they lie somewhere in the midst of a sweet sour dough and unforgettable biscuits. So sweet and soft…mayonnaise rolls. Be sure to whip up a batch and try them.



2 cups All Purpose Flour (We use King Arthur)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar 
1 cup milk
4 heaping tablespoons mayonnaise

Mix all dry ingredients. Then, add milk and mayonnaise. After mixing, place one large dollop into a well greased/buttered muffin tin. This easily makes 12 rolls. 

Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes or until firm and golden brown. Enjoy!

*Always use organic or chemical free when possible! 

Recipe adapted from Paula Deen’s “Easy Rolls” for simple proportions.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Lovely Lavender Orpingtons ~

Whether you have an established farm or are considering adding poultry to you backyard homestead, I have a breed just for you. I have several recommendations. However, I have found a special love for Orpingtons and especially our new Lavender Orpingtons. 

I wasn’t too sure what I thought about them at first. Orpingtons are known to be a docile breed and very affectionate. The most popular known are the Buff Orpingtons. They are not very flighty, excellent for both eggs and meat (dual purpose) and the bonus feature, in our experience, is that they do go broody. In my opinion, my Buff Orpington hens we bought as chicks last March truly fit the description as potentially “The Best For Backyard Homesteaders.” 

It can be tricky to find Lavender Orpingtons unless you are making a large chick order from a hatchery. We are  fortunate to have a wonderful local breeder that had a few in addition to Black Copper Marans. So, I grabbed what she had left one day. They sell fast! Buying a straight run (meaning it could be a pullet or a rooster!), I certainly took my chances on whether I was going to have any hens, but it was worth it.

Every chicken has a totally different personality and they can develop at different rates. I found my Lavender Orpingtons to be a bit aloof in comparison to my Buffs. Being such a hands on chicken lover, I have to admit, I was a little discouraged until now. I have found out that they just needed a little bit more time to settle in with the dynamics of our barn and get used to the farmer that talks to them. 


We, for now, have two Lavender Orpingtons but have full intention to buy more pullets or hatch our own since we lucked out in having a rooster and a hen. I adore them. Not only are they stunning, but “Luna” has evolved into one of the friendliest hens in the barn. While I find her to have an eccentric personality, she certainly lets you know when she wants attention and treats. At 7 months, she has also finally started laying small brown eggs and she is certainly proud of them. Her eggs will grow bigger and become more regular and I can’t wait for that! “Sterling” fits in great in the barn for a rooster. He is not our flock lead by any means, but he gets along with all of our flock and is no threat to any of our other roosters so far. That, my friends, is a very good thing!

                                             ~  Luna dust bathing ~

So if you are looking for a striking bird with everything you could ever want in terms of sweetness and production, be sure to explore Lavender Orpintons. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

Here is a breakdown of their characteristics:
Origin: England
Comb Type: Single
Egg Color: Brown
Egg Size: Medium-Large
Production: Good
Size: 7-8 lbs.
Broody: Yes
Hardiness: Cold hardy
Personality: Docile

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Why We Homestead ~

Oh, the burning question that we have heard time and time again. “Why do you homestead?” The curiosity that seems to be never-ending. The question that many families are now exploring, but the question is “Why?” The answer will vary from family to family, but the answer that I always find that is a common bond amongst all homesteaders is… independence.


That would be our reasoning. Independence is something that man has strived to have and to keep for thousands of years. The freedom to choose where we live, how we live, how we raise our children, and how we grow our foods. Homesteading allows for the freedom to express the rugged individualism that beats in every heart.

I found mine one day, that rugged individualism, when I stepped out in my own backyard and suddenly felt I had nothing to show for it. Sure, we had a beautiful home in “the burbs” close to all the conveniences anyone could ever want, but what was that teaching us? What were my children learning? They were being taught to continue the status quo, locking them into a cycle that just kept returning them back to the same starting point. I looked around at my beautifully landscaped yard but suddenly realized I couldn’t grow a tomato plant if my life depended on it. That had to change. It was going to change. And so it did…


Many folks somehow believe it is impossible to “homestead” in the suburbs. Well, I am here to tell you not to believe it. Up until just a few generations ago, it was not unusual at all for folks to have large gardens and even poultry to help sustain their families. Somehow, that connection was lost and now seems like a distant memory. We must not let it. We must be determined to revive it. During our first spring of our new found determination in getting back to our roots, we tilled just over a 1,000 square foot garden and researched everything we possibly could about gardening. I sought out every gardener I knew, spent time with them, and learned their ways. If they could do it, why couldn’t we? I even explored container gardening and gutter gardening. We were absolutely amazed at the amount of food we grew. I was ecstatic to have a reason to learn to can my bounty!


The following spring, we expanded the garden as far as we could stretch it. We added fruit trees, a compost, berry bushes, more herbs, and, my now forever passion, poultry. I quickly found how easy it is to love four sweet hens, and that if properly cared for and maintained, I realized they were less trouble than any backyard dog could be. Plus, we were given fresh, delicious eggs!


It was not long after that second year and all the new skills we were acquiring in gardening, canning, cooking, bread making, and animal husbandry, that God called us to a new life on a full farm. We were quickly outgrowing our urban paradise. After an extensive search for land and many prayers for God’s lead, we found the property we had been waiting for. We were fortunate to sell our home and “The Urban Farm” was actually an attractive selling point. We now live in the mountains in an old farmhouse with a new barn and a large flock of chickens, dairy goats, and a sweet, bred Dairy cow! We look forward to adding more animals in the coming seasons. This past season we worked two large gardens over 3,000 square feet and fully intend to double that in the coming spring. We grew corn, beans, tomatoes, potatoes, okra, squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, peppers, edible flowers and many herbs. We are currently looking into adding bees to our homestead.


Homesteading is certainly not a glamorous life, but is extremely rewarding. When we left the suburbs to live out on a farm, the first thing we quickly discovered was the amount of work. It takes us back to a time where the fruits of one’s labor are truly determined by constant dedicated hard work and  prayers. We have been taught that the key to homesteading is many daily and seasonal chores and being prepared for the unexpected. After all we can’t control the weather. Failed crops will happen despite all efforts. Animals will pass. The circle of life speaks very loudly and clearly on the farm. However, the love that we put forth comes back ten fold… nothing beats watching your children gather fresh eggs from the hens they raised, opening that quart of canned green beans you grew last season, or cutting bread fresh from the oven and lathering it with your own homemade butter!


Homesteading is a calling. It is whispering to many people. It is a love and a labor that built this land and raised our previous generations, the greatest generations. Homesteading is a journey and an endless classroom constantly teaching it’s most dedicated pupils. It is the road my family has chosen and loves to share. So, embrace it. Take on the adventure if you hear the calling and enjoy a return to days gone by…

Friday, January 2, 2015

Crock Pot Cabbage Rolls by Appalachia's Homestead ~

Crock Pot Cabbage Rolls
By Appalachia's Homestead

  • 2 medium Cabbage heads
  • 2 cans Sauerkraut (14 oz)
  • 1 lb. Ground beef 
  • 1 lb. mild Sausage
  • 3-4 strips Bacon (uncooked & cut into small bits)
  • 1/2 cup Uncooked rice (not quick cook)
  • 1 can Tomato paste (6 oz)
  • 1 can Tomato sauce (15 oz)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Black pepper
  • 1 tbsp Garlic powder
  • Pinch of Cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of Turmeric


-Wash and core cabbage heads. 

-Carefully blanch each head in boiling water till leaves begin  to turn tender. Remove whole cabbage and let slightly cool. Tenderly peel away each leaf.

-Separate cans of sauerkraut from all ingredients as they are *not* used in the meat mix.

    -Combine all other ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well.

-Remove thick bottom vein portion of each cabbage leaf and fill with approximately 2 tablespoons or so of meat mixture. 


 -Carefully roll each leaf. Each will roll differently as no two leaves are the exact same.

  -Spray Crock Pot lightly with cooking spray (I prefer Organic Coconut Oil spray).     

  - Layer bottom of Crock Pot with one can of sauerkraut.  

  -Carefully place each cabbage roll seem side down into Crock Pot and layer them. 

   -Cover entire top of cabbage rolls with 2nd can of sauerkraut.

  -Place lid and cook on high for approximately 4 hours.

  -Recipe makes 25-30 cabbage rolls.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

My Love For Liberty ~

My Love For Liberty

   For anyone that has ever had a wood stove, you know exactly what I am talking about. That's right, a wood stove. We just made a huge step in the direction of self-reliance by adding one to The Old Farmhouse 1870. 1870 as in built in 1870 and so, it doesn't take much to realize there is no standard in this old house. Oh yes, it's built like a tank and insulated, but when the wind rips over the bluff of this mountain... you feel it. You feel it in your bones. And because of that wind, we often have power outages. We already knew last year that we needed a wood stove. Electric is just not enough or reliable all the time and propane is incredibly expensive.

  And so the search for the perfect wood stove began. We looked at several brands and sizes and by far, The Lopi Liberty was the stove for us. The size, the efficiency, the ability to cook on it's sleek top was exactly what we wanted. Since our installation and 6 break in fires are now completed, we are enjoying this stove every single day. If you have never had one, the heat that it puts out in your home is astonishing. Our power has already gone out once since the installment and it just happen to be one morning during our break in period. No fire had been built and oh, how different that morning could have been if a fire had been going. Heat, hot water for coffee or tea, and fresh eggs cooking in cast iron would have been heaven sent. I shouldn't say that... it *was* heaven sent. The absence made us realize how much we appreciate that stove and just how important they were to folks of generations ago. They were vital for families to exist!

   So I say to you... if  a wood stove is calling your name in the cold of winter, listen to that voice. Do your homework for what your home needs and go for it. A wood stove will not only warm your home and essentials, but they will forever warm your heart! 


Homemade Biscuits ~

Homemade Biscuits

          Who doesn't love fresh, homemade biscuits? For many Appalachian folk, life just wouldn't be so without biscuits, homemade butter and molasses. They are a time honored treasure you too can enjoy with this simple and delicious recipe! ~


  • 2 cups All Purpose flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 - 6 tbsp real butter or lard
  • 1 cup whole or buttermilk


Thoroughly mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. Add in cold butter/lard and crumble into the dry flour mix. Mix until coarse and very crumbly. Then add 1 cup of cold milk. Mix and knead. Place dough onto floured surface and roll 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Cut biscuits with cutter, or jar or ring. Be sure to straight cut and not twist the biscuits out as that will seal the dough. 

Bake in baking pan or cast iron skillet for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.

Have the gravy, butter, and molasses ready! Enjoy!~