Ray's Homesteading Ideas

A Gathering of Homesteading & Prepping Ideas

Buying Foods in Bulk January 28, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — rbansey @ 8:28 pm

Usually I grow most of the food that I put up. But sometimes a harvest doesn’t turn out as well as you had hoped, or you didn’t have time to garden. But whatever the reason, a remedy for this situation can be purchasing foods in bulk.

So why should a person buy bulk foods?

Bulk foods cost less. This is great for those of us who are on a strict budget. But even if your budget isn’t tight, it is nice to be able to save money. Organic bulk foods can cost up to 89% less than their non-bulk counterparts.

Bulk foods help the environment. When you purchase a bulk food there is less packaging involved. Packaging that usually gets thrown away.

Have food on hand during emergencies. If  you buy food in bulk then if there is an emergency that leaves you stuck at home, you will not starve as your pantry will be stocked with food for you to eat until the emergency is cleared up.



Tree Stump Grill? January 25, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — rbansey @ 3:48 pm

I have found the neatest thing through pinterest! (If you are on pinterest find me here: http://pinterest.com/raybansey/)

It is a tree stump grill. The link took me over to http://www.eatliver.com/i.php?n=8502

Which then showed a visual process of creating your own tree stump grill.

My personal translation of the photos:

Start with a stump (looks more like a thick chunk of firewood to me, but hey we’ll call it a stump to not argue)

Use a chain saw to cut most of the way through the stump in wedge shapes. Leave the bottom intact so that your stump stays together.

Not sure what they used, I’m going to guess charcoal, but light and place in middle of stump wedges.

Heat your cast iron pan and start cooking your food of choice using the top of the stump as a mini stove top.

Be VERY careful not to get burned as the stump continues to catch on fire…

When done, be sure to put your stump fire out well so not to catch the yard, woods, field, etc. on fire.

Okay, so I definitely want to try this over the summer. I think I will keep a huge bucket of water nearby since I do tend to be accident prone.

to do log grill


Snow on the Modern Newbie Homestead January 22, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — rbansey @ 4:03 pm

We had 12 inches of snow in my neck of the woods last Thursday. The roads were bad, the power went out, and everything grew quiet and peaceful.

snow day

I had to be sure the wood stove stayed well stoked through the night, but alas, our water pipes still wound up freezing at one point. Luckily, I save my old water jugs and keep water in them for flushing toilets and such for occasions like this.  I also had to get the snow shovel out and dig my car out in order to make it into work on Saturday. On the rest of the driveway and sidewalk I shoveled off the majority of the snow before getting out my ice melt spreader to apply salt.

I was so glad to have some food that I had canned during the fall available to eat. We got out the cast iron dutch oven and made some vegetable soup using mixed vegetables, beef tips, and some tomato stew that I had canned. It was the perfect meal for a cold winter day. I’m so grateful that I was able to have a garden last summer and enough food for us to put up.

We still don’t have any animals on our land. So there wasn’t anyone other than us and the cat to feed and keep warm. Our homestead is still new, but next year I’m hoping to have some chickens, so I will report back on how that goes.

Hope everyone stayed safe and warm during this bad weather.


Modern Day Homesteading January 15, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — rbansey @ 7:50 pm

One of my favorite blogs to read is Modern Homesteading, a no fluff look at rural living for newbies. There is a post on there today that I think deserves a read, it is called: What is ‘Modern Homesteading’, Anyway?

There are more than 15 different definitions, all from different people, on the subject. Going to prove what I believe about homesteading in general. It depends on who you are as to what it it means to you.

My favorite definition from the blog?
“It is a journey, a process, not an event or a place. Homesteading to me indicates action. Trying and learning all the time… expanding what one knows how to do on your own. We are all headed the same direction. Some take different roads but we are all going the same direction.”

So, in light of this awesome blog post by Modern Homesteading, how do you define the term?

modern homesteading

In case you missed the last blog, it was about Homesteading Kitchen tools. My favorite place to purchase homesteading kitchen supplies? Pressure Cooker Outlet


Homestead Kitchen Tools January 10, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — rbansey @ 5:02 pm

Now that I’ve finally gotten through all the tools that you may possibly need on your homestead (and still I didn’t hit them all). We can talk about what you need in your kitchen. There are some great blogs with advice out there already, but I want to collect this info here on my own blog so I can be sure to be able to find it again. The best blogs that I’ve found with information and the ones that I used to help me write this article are: Homestead Anywhere’s Essential Cooking Tools and Homestead.org’s Equip Your Homestead’s Kitchen.

The lists that I’ve been making are just lists to get you started. You will find that each Homestead is different and you will have different needs than I do or than any other homesteader. Please don’t feel that anything I share with you is written in stone or is a must for you to do or purchase.

My favorite tip from Christopher Fotta on Homestead.org is: “When buying things that will be used almost daily, buy the best that you can afford.  This doesn’t mean you have to take out a loan, but the better quality you buy the longer it will last.”

Now onto the kitchen tools for your homestead:

  1. Pots and Pans: Aluminum and non-stick is not advised. It is better to invest in stainless steel (copper or aluminum core is fine) or cast iron. If you have metal sensitivities you may want to invest in glass cookware.
    I personally love cast iron, you can use cast iron cookware on wood stoves, in an oven, or on a campfire.
    The type, size, and number of pots and pans you will need depends on your personal situation. A single person will need fewer pieces and smaller pieces than a couple with several children.
  2. Knives: Every kitchen needs knives for food prep work. A set of good knives that is able to be cared for and sharpened will last you a long time if you care for them. I like the Rada Knives since they have a stainless steel handle that is made with the knife so you don’t have to worry about plastic or wood handles that can loosen over time. If you can only afford to invest in one or two good knives the most important knives are: chef’s knife, paring knife, bread knife, boning knife, and/or cleaver. Of course these knives also depend upon your lifestyle, if you don’t like breads or don’t cook them often, then you may not want to invest in a good bread knife, also if you are a vegetarian, then you probably won’t be using a boning knife or a cleaver. My personal favorite knife and one that I will always use is the santoku knife. I find it easier to use when chopping and dicing vegetables. However, I don’t know many people personally who use the santoku. So if you aren’t a fan of that type of knife I wouldn’t recommend it to you. Again, each person is different in what they prefer to use.
  3. Food Prep & Kitchen Utensils: There are tons of tools that can be used for food prep, and the majority of these tools are also ones that you may find come in handy during canning season.
    Assorted Funnels
    Bottle Opener
    Cutting Board – Type of material is up to your preferences, but my current favorite cutting board is bamboo.
    Ice Cream Scoop
    Kitchen Thermometer
    Manual Can Opener
    Measuring Spoons & Cups
    Mesh Strainer
    Metal Spatula
    Mixing Bowls
    Potato Masher
    Rolling Pin
    Slotted Spoons
    Vegetable Peeler
    Wooden Spatula
    Wooden Spoons
    Of course the list of kitchen utensils that can be used is nearly endless, just use the above list as a starting point, if there are things that you won’t use, don’t invest in them, if something is not listed that you find you need in your kitchen, go for it.
  4. Bakeware: I recommend bakeware that is going to be long lasting, a lot of my bakeware are “antiques”. They are Pyrex dishes that I’ve found at yard sales and thrift shops from the 50’s through the 70’s. I use these dishes for baking all the time, they were made to last and they are also appealing to me visually. Just find some that is good quality and fits what you need. If you do a lot of casseroles then you will want a good variety of casserole dishes. If you use cookie sheets a lot then you’ll need a few different sizes of those, etc. You get the idea. Just invest in bakeware that is made from good material so that you don’t have to worry about replacing it in a year or so. Recently I made the mistake of making a whim purchase and bought a 3 piece set of cookie sheets on sale for a low low low price. They are so thin, that they warped with just one use in the oven and the oven temp was not above what the instructions said. *sigh*.
    Some other bakeware items that you may want to consider are: pie plates, cake pans, muffin tins, loaf pans, roasting pan/rack, wire cooling rack. Again these are just what you will need/use in your kitchen. Don’t purchase an item if you aren’t going to use it. <- at this point you may be wondering why I keep repeating this sentiment, I am one who is distracted by shiny things and have had to go through and get rid of things keeping up cabinet space that I used maybe once if that. I am terrible for buying things knowing that I won’t use them, just because they are pretty or because someone else uses it a lot.
  5. Small Kitchen Appliances: Some people find that need or will use these appliances frequently:
    Toaster/Toaster Oven
    Blender/Immersion Blender
    Coffee Maker
    Coffee Grinder (some can also be used for spices)
    Crock Pot
    Food Dehydrator
    Popcorn Popper <-not something that I would use, but I have a neighbor that uses hers almost daily
  6. Storage Containers:
    These are great for leftovers. I use various sized mason jars to store foods in the fridge and for dry goods in the pantry. However, what you use is up to you, I just recommend that you stay away from  any plastic with BPA in it.

There are also many, many specialty kitchen items out there that you may be interested in. I just do not have the time or background with some of those items to go over them here. But please share your thoughts on what is needed in a Homesteading kitchen in the comments!

homesteading kitchen tools


Basic Tools for Homesteading Part 5 January 8, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — rbansey @ 5:11 pm

I’m back with Part 5 on the Homesteading Tools Series posts. If you are new to my blog you may want to check out the first four posts at:Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4. Let’s continue the list with the help of the following blogs/articles: 100 Basic Homestead ToolsHomestead Toolkit Part 1,Homestead Tool Kit Part 2, I now bring you some of the tools that were overlooked in earlier posts:

  1. Wire Brush Set
  2. Caulking Gun
  3. Measuring Calipers
  4. Center PunchPunch Set
  5. Tap and Die Set
  6. Screw Extractor Set
  7. Nut Splitter
  8. Bungee Cords
  9. Ratchet Straps
  10. Propane Torch
  11. Wheel Barrow
  12. Tool Chest or Tool Bag

Some of the uses of the tools are obvious, but some you will need just for certain tasks. If a tool is mentioned in a later blog that I feel is one that isn’t quite obvious I will try to do a good explanation of why that type of tool is needed. But until then our next post will be on kitchen tools and accessories that can help with putting up food and cooking food from the garden.

home steading tools blogs 5


Basic Tools for Homesteading Part 4 January 4, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — rbansey @ 7:29 pm

I’m back with Part 4 on the Homesteading Tools Series posts. If you are new to my blog you may want to check out the first three posts at:Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. Let’s continue the list with the help of the following blogs/articles: 100 Basic Homestead ToolsHomestead Toolkit Part 1,Homestead Tool Kit Part 2, I now bring you some more Homesteading Basic Tools:

  1. Electrical Tools:
    Electrical multi-meter
    Test Light
    Extension Cord Assortment
    Wire Strippers
    Electrical Crimping Tool
    Electrical Tape
  2. Work Lights
  3. Dust Masks
  4. Painting Tools:
    Paint Brush Set
    Paint Roller Set
    Wood Filler
  5. Plumbing Tools:Pipe Snake
    Tubing Cutter
    Pipe Reamer
  6. Bungee Cords
  7. Wheel Barrow
  8. Tool Chest
  9. Tool Belt

These lists are not exhausted, as I stated in one of the earlier articles in this series, each homestead will be different and have different needs as far as tools go etc. As well as some people may opt to have a compost heap that is built by them and others may decide to invest in a commercially made composter. It is okay to be different. In my opinion no homestead is perfect to everyone. So long as it is right for you, that is all that matters.

home steading tools blogs 4


Basic Tools for Homesteading Part 3 January 3, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — rbansey @ 6:05 pm

I’m sorry that this series has been broken up into so many parts, but I hate to just sling a huge 100+ list of tools at you without you having time to break everything down and do the needed research needed to determine what tools will fit your homesteading lifestyle. If you are new to my blog you may want to check out the first two posts at: Part 1 and Part 2. Let’s continue the list with the help of the following blogs/articles: 100 Basic Homestead Tools, Homestead Toolkit Part 1, Homestead Tool Kit Part 2, I now bring you some more Homesteading Basic Tools:

  1. Wood Cutting Supplies:Axe or Hatchet
    Splitting Maul
    Splitting Wedge Assortment
  2. Ratchets & Sockets:
    1/4″, 3/8″, 1/2″ drive ratchets
    Metric & Standard Sockets
    Deep Well Metric & Standard Sockets
  3. Pop Rivet Tool
  4. Jacks: (and a breaker bar)
    Floor Jack
    Bottle Jack
    Jack Stands
  5. Staple Gun
  6. Garden Tools:
    Hand Pruners
    Pruning Loppers
    Hand Cultivator
    Hand Transplanter
    Hand Trowel
    Dandelion Puller
    Bulb Planter
  7. Broom:
    Flat Broom
    Push Broom
    Dust Pan
  8. Wood Clamps
    Anvil Vise
  9. Come Along Tool
  10. Sharpening Stone

home steading tools blogs 3


Basic Tools for Homesteading Part 2 January 2, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — rbansey @ 7:47 pm

Last year (really only 2 days ago, Happy 2013 btw), we talked about the Basic Tools for Homesteading, but we only covered a few of the tools that you would truly need and use on a fairly regular basis on your homestead. So with the help of the following blogs/articles: 100 Basic Homestead Tools, Homestead Toolkit Part 1, Homestead Tool Kit Part 2, I now bring you some more Homesteading Basic Tools:

  1. Tape Measure
  2. Carpenter’s Triangle – also called a square layout tool
    T square
  3. Saws:
    Hand Saw
    Coping Saw
    Miter box/saw
    Hack Saw
    Keyhole Saw
    Pole Saw
    Bow Saw
    Circular Saw
  4. Drills:Drill Bit Set
    Hand Drill
    3/8″ Drill
  5. C-clamps
  6. Post Hole Digger
  7. Shovel:
    Spade Shovel
    Square Shovel
    Trenching Shovel
    Scoop Shovel
  8. Ladders:
    Extension Ladder
    Step Ladder
  9. Rakes/Hoes:
    Garden Hoe
    Onion Hoe
    Stirrup Hoe
    Spring Tine Rake
    Garden Rake
  10. Flat Hand Tools:
    Putty Knife Assortment

There are still even more tools that are useful on the homestead, but I will finish this list later, I do not want to put too much on you at once. And our Homesteading Tools series will end with a post on kitchen tools as well.

home steading tools blogs 2