10 Tips for Small Space Homesteading

10 Tips for Small Space Homesteading-www.nourishingsimplicity.org

Fields of grass tickling your bare feet as you walk to your large garden plot with the breeze running through your hair. A toddler is beside you and a baby on your back. That’s how my dream went anyway…

From the time I was little I knew that I was made to be a homesteader, only then I just called it “living in the country with all the fun extras”. My first two years were spent playing outside in a little garden plot near our double wide then life took a turn and my family packed up and moved to a city 2000 miles away.

10 Tips for Small Space Homesteading-www.nourishingsimplicity.org

Aren’t we cuties? ūüôā

We’d love back to the country they said, but God had other plans and in the city we stayed. When I was 19 I skipped the country (not the country side ūüėČ ) and moved to Mexico. I had a garden there but still my heart longer for a big, green patch of land to call it my own. I wanted to be a homesteader, not the Charle’s Ingalls¬†kind, though, there needed to be some limits. At least I had chickens because well chickens are the gateway to homesteading, don’t you know?

10 Tips for Small Space Homesteading-www.nourishingsimplicity.org

As God would have it I am sitting writing ¬†this back in the States in the city… Nothing like where I saw myself but somewhere along the way I realized that I was already a homesteader, a small space one.

You don’t need acres of land or even a yard to be a homesteader (though a yard is a nice perk). If you long for a “bit of earth” to call your own or even if you don’t you can be a homesteader. These¬†10 tips for small space homesteading are what I have done or currently do.

1. Grow your own food

Did you know you can grow herbs in a window seal? Or tomatoes on your tiny patio? I grow tomatoes, basil, echinacea, and cucumbers in a flower bed. I also have a few pots for my mint, parsley, calendula, and stevia.

Do I grow enough food to last us through the year? No, but I do find joy in the fact that there are some things I don’t have to buy at the store frequently. I recently made a batch of pesto with my home grown basil. It’s the little things.

2. Start a compost bin

I recently started a worm compost bin and put it in the backyard. You can also keep it on your patio or garage. I made my own, but you can also buy a kit online.

3. Line Dry Your Cloths (or Use a Wooden Drying Wrack)

There is something beautiful about clean cloths drying in the fresh air. I remember helping my paternal grandma hang cloths on the line, dashing back and forth through lines of cloths¬†while the grass tickled my feet. Then I moved to Mexico where you dried your cloths over concert slab with hot, dry, dusty winds… Not every day was like that. Some days there was no breeze and clothes came off the line nice and dry with not dirt. ūüėČ

If you don’t have lines or prefer not to use them you can hang your clothes in the shower like I do sometimes or you can buying a wooden drying rack.

4. Raise Chickens

Many cities allow you to raise 5 or less chickens in your backyard. Fresh eggs daily are wonderful. Plus most kids LOVE having chickens around. I miss it so much since the city I currently live in doesn’t allow for chickens.

5. Recycle and Repurpose

I grew up in the an area of California where recycling has been a big deal for almost 30 years. I don’t remember a time when at least some of our recycling¬†wasn’t picked up.

Recycling is great but not an option for everyone. I am a huge fan of repurposing. I add shredded paper, cardboard, and newspaper to my compost bin. The occasional glass jar is often used for storage.

6. Keep Records

Keeping records in important thing for any homesteader. You keep track of expenses, what you feed your animals, what you grew- what worked and what didn’t.

7. Preserve Your Food

I love pulling a jar of home canned peaches off my pantry shelf. There is something so satisfactory about preserving your own food. I can, dehydrate, and freeze.

8. Borrow Someone’s Land

Ask a friend or family that has a bit of land if you can borrow or lease land to grow a few raised beds.

9. Cook from Scratch

Fresh home cooked meals alway make me think of my Grandma Stanley or Ma Ingalls. I have a bit of “healthy” convenience food on hand like pasta and some canned goods, but overall I try to make simple nourishing meals from scratch.

10. Cook with “garbage”

Of course I don’t suggest cooking with actual garbage but instead I am referring to bones, a vegetable trimmings like radish tops and cilantro stems. Simple things like that often end up in the garbage or compost yet are part of creating flavorful, nutrient-dense foods.

10 Tips for Small Space Homesteading-www.nourishingsimplicity.org

Small space homesteading is a journey. You can’t do it all right away, that leads to burnout and disappointment. Take baby steps. Bit by bit you will find that you are able to take more things on. Will you be able to do and raise all the things that a homesteader with multiple acres is able to? No, but that’s okay. Embrace the small homestead you have give yourself grace, and if you have a¬†dream for a spacious homestead of your own someday don’t stop dreaming.

10 Uses for Peppermint Essential Oil

10 Uses for Peppermint Essential Oil-www.nourishingsimplicity.org

Peppermint, it is invigorating and refreshing while soothing at the same time. What’s not to love? It was my favourite herb as a child so it’s no wonder that it was one of the first essential oils I purchased.

Essential oils popping up in homes across the country. It seems that everywhere I look someone is buying essential oils. This is a good and negative thing in my option since essential oils are a much higher concentration than their herbal counterparts. That being said I love essential oils!

I always keep a bottle or two of peppermint on hand. I’m currently waving a bottle of it under my nose to keep me going as I write this.

(Note: Peppermint essential should be completely avoided under the age of two. Some are okay with cautious use until the age of 6. Do not use while breastfeeding as it is not safe for infants even through breast milk, it also can dry you up. For more essential oil safety tips check out these resources.)

10 Uses for Peppermint Essential Oil

1. Defuse to Improve Energy and Mood

When I am tired or stressed I find that defusing a few drops of peppermint essential oil to be just what I need.

2. Add to an Epsom Salt Foot Bath

Sore, achy feet feel so much better after you give them a soak in a foot bath of cool water, Epsom salt, and essential oil. I used to soak my feet every week and somehow forgot about it. I’m thinking it needs to become a weekly tradition agian.

3. Defuse with Lemon and Lavender for Allergies

Many have found that when a couple drops of peppermint are defused with lemon and lavender essential oil that it can help ease seasonal allergies. (Find out how to get all three for free.)

4. Use in Homemade Lip Balm

I am such a sucker for chocolate, add peppermint to it and I am on Cloud 9. Homemade lip balms is easy to make and is a great gift (think Christmas approaching). One of my favourite lip balms  to make and use cocoa butter and peppermint essential oil. Chocolate peppermint lovers will be delighted with this!

5. Use in Homemade Lotion

If you thought that chocolate peppermint lip balm was amazing how about a peppermint patty inspired hand lotion? It soothe tired and achy hands while leaving your hand temporarily smelling like my favourite treat!

6. Use in Cookie Recipes

I tend to be cautious when it comes to using essential oils internally. If I am making my favourite soaked and sprouted oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and I am out of extract I add a few drops of peppermint essential oil. It is extremely diluted and mixes right in.

7. Keep Ants and Spiders Out of Your Home

You can add a few drops of peppermint essential oil to a cotton ball and place in corners of the house or window frame where ants and spiders tend to get it to deter them.

8. To Ease a Headache

Mix peppermint essential oil with a carrier oil such as coconut oil to make a headache rub. Gently massage the temples, forehead, and back of the neck with the oil blend for a bit of releaf. You could add lavender to an additional boost.

9. Use in a Vapor Rub

I have been making vapor rub for years. The base is coconut or olive oil with congestion soothing herbs. For an extra boost, essential oils like peppermint can be added.

10. Use in Homemade Toothpaste or Tooth Powder

Who doesn’t love to have refreshing breath after brushing their teeth? I use peppermint essential oil in my coconut oil toothpaste, my squeezable bentonite clay toothpaste, and in my toothpowder.

 What are your favourite ways to use peppermint essential oil?

How to Grow Mint from Cuttings {2 Methods}

How to Grow Mint from Cuttings {2 Methods} -www.nourishingsimplicity.org

Mint is easy to grow and hard to kill ‚ÄĒ which makes it one of the best plants for a beginning gardener! You can buy a plant at the store or grow your own from cuttings.

Peppermint, spearmint, chocolate mint, pineapple mint… there are so many types of mint in the world! As a refreshing glass of cold tea, as a condiment in Middle Eastern and Thai dishes, in ice cream, mint is a worldwide favorite. It’s especially known for its soothing effect on the stomach.

Learn to grow your own mint at Traditional Cooking School. 

Do you want to learn to regrow more food you have around your kitchen? The Shoestring gardener is a great resource that I have been pouring over. I can’t wait to start regrowing ginger and lemongrass. Both are in my fridge right now! You can pick up this book along with many other healthy living resources for an amazing price!

Homemade Squeezable Bentonite Clay Toothpaste

Homemade Squeezable Bentonite Clay Toothpaste-www.nourishingsimplicity.org

Brush your teeth with dirt they say… it’s good for them!

Hum, ¬†dirt = clean, now that’s a thought.

When I first told people I make my own toothpaste they were surprised. Then I told them I now brush my teeth with dirt, oh they loved that one! Sometimes people think it’s cool but most of the time they think I’m nuts. Like I didn’t know that already….

I’ve been making my own toothpaste for many years now. I started with a coconut oil based one about 6 years ago. I have happy with it’s results overall, but I was looking for a little something more. As I started looking I read Bulk Herb Store’s Toothpaste recipe, I was intrigued. I immediately started experimenting with new recipes. I would think I found one I loved and then I would ditch it for another one. I was determined to create a blend with coconut oil and bentonite¬†clay. I even had a post all ready to go two years ago, but it didn’t save… Then my friend Liz told me that while she loved it, her hubby didn’t like using it. ¬†I was so frustrated that I took a step back.

 

That actually¬†ended up being a good thing. ¬†I got a couple tubes of Earthpaste in the mail for free and discovered a whole new world. ūüėČ Honestly, though, it made me realize that I was overthinking my¬†recipe and adding two many ingredients. Guess which was the first to go? My beloved coconut oil. I already oil pull most mornings, plus it just wasn’t blending right with the clay so I cut it out. It also gave me a chance to create a toothpowder.

I LOVE Earthpaste, but my budget doesn’t allow me to keep more than a tube or two on hand in case I run out of my homemade version.

Homemade Squeezable Bentonite Clay Toothpaste-www.nourishingsimplicity.org

I get chills when I think about using a tube of “Insert Name Here” toothpaste from the store. I used to love that beautiful swirl of white, green and red, ahem… no name calling. We use or at least should be using toothpaste twice a day 365(6) days a year. With something that we use as frequently as that we need to take care.

Really let’s be honest here, how many of swallowed toothpaste growing up? ¬†Yes, you over there get your hand up I just watched you ¬†squeeze some in and swallow. Life with kids right? There are warning labels on toothpaste telling you to call poison on control if swallowed. Which happens, every. single. day.¬†if you have kiddos.

Why not give them something that is safe to eat since it’s inevitable? That’s what is so great about this toothpaste, even though I don’t suggest eating it, you can. If you have concerns about using essential oils feel free to leave it out or use an organic extract. I personally am comfortable with the minimal amount used, they are high quality and extremely diluted.

Homemade Squeezable Bentonite Clay Toothpaste

  • 4-6 TBS purified or distilled water
  • 3 TBS bentonite clay
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp powdered stevia¬†(or about 10 drops of liquid stevia)
  • 1/4 tsp charcoal¬†(optional)
  • 1/8 tsp real salt
  • 5-10 drops essential oil (peppermint, clove, lemon, or orange) (ask me my favourite brands)
  • GoToob or small glass jar

Mix the dry ingredients in a small bowl using a plastic or wooden spoon. You never want your clay to touch metal.

Add the essential oils and stir again.

Add one tablespoon of water at a time, stir until you reach the consistency you desire. Spoon into a GoToob or small glass jar.

 

Homemade and Natural Bug Bite Stick

Homemade and Natural Bug Bite Stick- www.nourishingsimplicity.org

Summer days are here at last! There are lighting bugs to be caught, vegetables to be harvested, berries to be picked, and BBQs to attend.  Kids young and old have the itch to spend as much time outside as possible.

Speaking of itching, with summer comes hand-in-hand with bugs. Even with homemade bug repellent. Even with homemade bug repellent, somehow you still get a bite or two. To easily and inexpensively relieve the itch, pick a plantain leaf (one that you know has not been sprayed), chew it up, and place it on the bite. However, this is messy and not everyone has plantain around, so this only works for some people.

Let me introduce the ‚Äúbug bite stick‚ÄĚ. It is a simple salve made from¬†plantain, echinacea, and¬†lavender, stored in a chapstick tube. Join me at Traditional Cooking School to learn how to make it!