Hootenanny Homestead

A Homesteading Journey

Month: December 2016 (page 1 of 2)

5 Ways to Recycle Your Christmas Tree

So this year you decided to get a real live, until the point they cut it down, tree instead of an artificial one?  I’ve heard some interesting arguments for both sides on which is more environmentally friendly, so I’m not going to look at that here.  If you got a live tree you might be looking at it drying out and thinking that it may be about time to do something with it, before it drops all its needles on your floor.  While many push to keep their tree up until the Epiphany, if you must take down your live tree, just don’t leave it for the trash company to toss in a landfill. Continue reading

Winter time (One of the Four Best Seasons for Smoking Meat)

I hope that everyone was able to enjoy their Christmas day (and the continuing season of Christmas).  While Christmas is truly more than about presents, those presents can be pretty cool to discuss and enjoy.  I hope that you have all been able to enjoy time with your families to celebrate whatever customs that make the season special for you. Continue reading

Merry Christmas To All

Let me wish you all a Merry Christmas!! I hope you are having a good time with your family and enjoying the day and the season.
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Wigilia: A Polish Tradition Brought to the Homestead

Culturally my family is Polish, among a mess of other things.  So being an American mutt, I get the fun of being able to pick various things from the range of backgrounds that will form the traditions and customs of my family.  As such there are bits of this and bits of that tempered with a little seasoning from our travels along the way.  One thing that we do eat year for Christmas is we share a special meal together on Christmas Eve called Wigilia.  (It is pronounced vi’ gila, well, that’s how wikipedia wrote out the pronunciation).
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Using Leftover Spent Grain: Dog Biscuits and Bread

The other day I brewed up a batch of beer.  Homebrew allows you to use either extract or grains and by using grains you have a lot more control over your finished project.  It also means that you have what is called spent grains at the end of the process.  The brewing process converts most of the starch to sugar and then extracts most of that sugar out.   When it first comes out of the mash it will be somewhere between 150 and 170 degrees.  Now some brewers might wonder just what is to be done with this.  It is a left over product and some may just toss it out after it has cooled.  But being in the homesteading mindset one can easily come up with a number of things to do with this spent grain.
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Mason Bees: Solitary Native Bees for the Homestead

A few days back I got a guest post put up on another great homesteading website, Small Town Homestead.  The owner does the Modern Homesteading Podcast that I had mentioned back in my podcast post.   I wrote a bit on mason bees and thought I would share a bit more information here.  Now I don’t think that I will be giving up on honeybees and I would still recommend that if you have the space and the inclination it is worth trying your hand at keeping bees.  So let’s compare honeybees with their native counterparts…the mason bee.
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Winter Time Greens

As a quick update, my garden is still kicking.  I planted some kale, swiss chard and spinach as well as some turnips and radishes in the fall and I am happy to say that they are still coming up well.  We have been enjoying fresh salads picked right from the garden many nights.  I have some row covers over some of them.  As it turns out my row covers where not as long as my raised beds, so not everything is getting covered. Continue reading

Time to Prepare for Spring Bees

If you have been considering getting bees, now is a good time to do some prep work.  I’ve written in the past about reasons to keep bees.  As a short recap, honey bees make honey and pollinate crops.  Is it the easiest thing to do, no, it does take work.  It isn’t exactly hard or challenging.  You will need to lift some boxes, some that are full of honey can be rather heavy, but there are ways to work with smaller boxes that will be less weight per box.
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