Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Homesteading Homeschoolers--Meet the Beachy's

As part of my focus on the homesteading homeschooler, I want to introduce you to a few families that actually make it work. Today, I want to introduce you to the Beachy’s.

Alvin and Karen Beachy have four daughters and live in Northwestern Virginia. Two of the daughters are in middle school and two are in high school—all at home. Most of what the Beachy’s raise on their place is for their own provision, although they have exchanged some products via word-of-mouth and the Internet.

Enough of my rambling. Let me share what Karen has to say about their homesteading/homeschooling lifestyle.

What comprises your homestead? Animals, gardens, etc.?

We have what we call a McDonald Farm. We have just a few cattle, goats, chickens, rabbits, and of course the cats and our dog. We grow most of our vegetables and some of our fruit (what nature alone produces from several fruit trees). We get our milk from the cow and goats and eggs from the chickens. We put a bull into the freezer every year or two and we raise our own poultry which has been from ducks, geese, chickens and turkeys. We process the meat here at home and our oldest daughter took it upon herself to learn to slaughter the poultry.

I understand you use Bob Jones University’s Homesat program for your basic curriculum, but do you ever pull assignments or lessons out of your homesteading lifestyle? Can you give me an example?

The girls have learned to marvel at what all God has created, not only different types of animals, plants, etc. but how the weather can affect all of it and how things have to be in balance to work.

The girls have learned a lot about Science through the farming and gardening. They have learned nutrition as well.

The farm has taught them to learn about the health of animals and how to use nutrition to heal. It has taught them reproduction from start to finish as one daughter needed to assist one of our goats with a birth once and they have witnessed the birthing of goats several times.

Raising our own meat and through butchering it here, they have seen many aspects of anatomy and with that we have taught some physiology.

They have learned the quality of nutrition of the different types of vegetables and of course with the cooking and canning they have learned fractions, multiplication, measurements and so much more that I start taking what all they learn for granted.

What are the biggest challenges you face with trying to homeschool and homestead at the same time?

The biggest challenge is maintaining a Godly attitude at all times. Some of the other challenges are balancing work and play, and then maintaining relationships outside of family and church.

Is there anything else you’d like to share along these lines?

I feel that, although my daughters have very little free time, they are learning more about nature and Home Ec than most girls do in their first 30 years of life. My daughters actually ran our homestead for nine months when I unexpectedly went back to work due to my husband’s back problems. The only thing I did not allow them to do was use the pressure canner and totally plan their day’s work.

The girls are content with life being busy with homesteading. When asked what they would eliminate in regards to the homestead one daughter mentioned selling several goats. Other than that, they would expand before they would cut back!

I praise the Lord for daughters who enjoy entering womanhood and being a provider of the family’s nutrition. They have learned not only how to milk a goat, but to plan its nutrition, monitor its health, and administer the proper herbs or supplements.

The girls see Proverbs 27:23-27 in action. "Be you diligent to know the state of your flocks, and look well to your herds. They have learned to monitor their health, shelter, and safety. For riches are not for ever: and does the crown endure to every generation? We need to do our share of management in order to be blessed – it doesn't all just come... The hay appears, and the tender grass shows itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered. Here is a verse that shows that herbs are beneficial in the management of animals and that things do need to be harvested for later use. The lambs are for your clothing, and the goats are the price of the field. We haven't gotten into lambs and making our own cloth but we do realize the benefits of goats. And you shall have goats' milk enough for your food, for the food of your household, and for the maintenance for your maidens." We have found the more we work with nature and what nature intends for the certain species, the more we are rewarded with the health and products of our animals. We are able to bless many households with our animals as well as our household.

Karen, I want to thank you for your honest, heartfelt sharing with Everything Home readers. I admire what your family accomplishes. You are an example to us all.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Follow Me On Twitter


I know I've had a Twitter button on the sidebar for some time now but now I have finally organized my thoughts about using Twitter and want to share with you what I'm doing. Each day I will be posting Tips for you to help make life simpler and easier for your homeschooling, homesteading, and homemaking.

Of course, I will still be posting here as usual. Except, until further notice, my blog posts will be on Wednesdays. Not Monday and Thursday as they used to be.

I will also try to put the Tips of the Day on Facebook. So, if you are not on Twitter, you can follow them on Facebook.

What kind of Tips am I talking about? Well, here are yesterday's tips:

#homesteading tip of the day-If you want to take a gardening class now is the time. Call local Cooperative Extension Service for ideas.

#homeschooling tip of the day-My favorite phonics/reading manipulative is Scrabble tiles.

#homemaking tip of the day-Plan your weekly menus the day before you shop. Write them down and post on the refrigerator.

If you want to follow me on Twitter, and read the Tips of the Day, click on the little bird in this post or on the sidebar.

If you want to friend me on Facebook, and read the Tips of the Day, click here.


The best to you,

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Making an Herbal Tincture

Today I decanted my Echinacea tincture. Making your own herbal tinctures is easy and saves you a tremendous amount of money. Let me share with you how I do it.

1. Place chopped herbs (fresh or dried) in a canning jar about half full.

2. Cover the herbs with your extractant. [That is the solution that you are using to extract the medicinal properties from the herbs. The best would be alcohol. You want at least 80 proof vodka, whiskey, or brandy. Half of the proof number is your percentage of alcohol. So, 80 proof vodka would be 40% alcohol. If you have a problem with using alcohol, you can use food-grade vegetable glycerin (mixed with equal part water) or apple cider vinegar; although they do not produce as strong a medicine as the alcohol.] Pour in enough to cover the herbs by a few inches. They need to be completely submerged as they will soak up quite a bit of the liquid.

3. Cover with a tight-fitting lid with a rubber seal.

4. Place the jar in a warm location. The one I just did stayed on my stove top. In the summer I place it in a sunny window. Let the herbs soak for at least 10 days. Some books say 4-6 weeks, but I have let it go too long so I am more careful now. You can tell it’s been too long when it starts to grow mold. If that happens, throw it out. I use a Sharpie to write the date I started the mixture so that now there is no question.

5. Shake the jar whenever you think of it.

6. When the time is up, strain out the herbs. I line a funnel with a piece of muslin and let it drip into a measuring cup. After it is done dripping, I have a strong son squeeze and squeeze and squeeze every last drop of medicine out of that bunch of herbs.

7. I then put the liquid into a dark bottle and label.

That's it. If you grow your own herbs, this is a wonderful way to use them. Have you ever made your own herbal medicines? I'd love to hear what you've done.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Making Herbal Salve and Foraging for Salad

Remember this post where I talked about making herbal salves? Well, now you can read step by step instructions on how to do it for yourself in the newest issue of BackHome Magazine. On page 24, you will find everything I have to offer on making healing salves and ointments for your family.

Also, since the season is at hand for foraging for wild greens, you can read another of my articles, "Produce in Your Own Back Yard" on page 20.

BackHome is one of my favorite sustainable living magazines. You can purchase it at Tractor Supply, Books-A-Million, or other newsstands. And, of course, you can order a subscription online at their website. If you order online, they will send you a free PDF booklet of wind turbine plans.

Hope this helps,

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Giant List of Seed Catalogs

I know...I'm supposed to be on break and I post twice in one day. I guess I'm back :).

The newest issue of Mother Earth News magazine has a giant list of 42 seed catalogs on pages 76-77. If you are interested in my Seed Catalog Curriculum, but didn't know where to get a seed catalog, this is the place to look.

Just thought you'd like to know.


Cheap Dates

I recently wrote a column for our local weekly paper, the North Fork Journal, called "More Love for Less Cash." It highlighted a number of ideas for going out with the love of your life without spending a week’s salary. I’ve had the idea of writing a post on that topic for some time, but just haven’t gotten to it. Now, with Valentine's Day just around the corner, I thought it was about time.

So, if you want the best I have to offer on cheap dates, click here and read my column.

And, as always, if you have any other ideas to share, please let us hear from you.