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How To Plant Potatoes In A Raised Bed | http://newlifeonahomestead.com

Seed Potatoes and How To Plant Potatoes In A Raised Bed

March 25, 2015 – 8:14 am

New to planting potatoes? Here’s a step by step tutorial on how to plant potatoes in a raised bed. PLUS… what’s a seed potato? The answers you need!

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Off Grid Living

The struggles and freedom of life without electricity.

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How-to’s for beginners, and lots of good tips on raising food to sustain your family.

Canning Recipes

Canning Recipes to help you put up all your favorite foods!


Food storage, emergency preparedness, survival skills, and more.

Natural Remedies

Herbal recipes, essential oils, and old-fashioned remedies for supporting your family's health naturally.

Off Grid Living »

Heating With a Wood Stove vs. a Water Stove

October 26, 2016 – 8:17 pm

Heating with a wood stove vs. a water stove. Pros and cons of each.

The other day I was sweeping up all of the wood chips and debris that have fallen on the living room floor near the wood stove that sits in our fireplace, and I thought to myself all of the reasons why an outdoor water stove would be so much nicer for heating our home. We used to have one several years ago, something we’d picked up off Craigslist, but we couldn’t afford to have it installed so we ended up selling it.

There are definitely things that I love about having a wood stove in the house that I would surely miss if we had an outdoor water stove. Like the smell of wood burning. And cooking over the hot cast iron stove. But it would definitely be much cleaner to keep the wood burning mess out of the house.

If you’re considering how you’d like to invest in heating your on- or off-grid home, here’s a list of pros and cons (off the top of my head) to think about before making your decision…

Wood Stove Pros

  • Wood stoves can be purchased fairly inexpensively, especially if you buy one used.
  • Easy to install yourself if you’re at all handy.
  • Nothing beats the smell of wood burning in your home on a cold winter day.
  • Wet laundry (or wet shoes) dries quickly on a floor rack when placed near a warm fire.
  • It always feels good to warm your hands by the fire when you come inside from being out in the freezing cold.
  • You can feed the fire conveniently at any time of the day or night.
  • No electricity is needed to heat your home.
  • The top of a wood stove can be used for cooking or boiling water.


Wood Stove Cons

  • The stove gets hot to touch, which is dangerous with little ones around.
  • Soot settles on the fireplace mantle, the ceiling (especially popcorn ceiling!), and anything else within range. This makes it difficult to keep things clean during wood burning season.
  • Wood chips get tracked in the house with every load. Lots of sweeping up dirt and bark.
  • Bugs and spiders come in the house with the wood. We’ve had a problem with big black ants (carpenter ants?) hiding inside unsplit logs and coming out once they’re in the house.
  • Need somewhere to stack the wood in the house, to keep it convenient to the fireplace.
  • Greater chance of a house fire.
  • You might need several box fans to help circulate the warm air from the stove into other rooms, depending on the layout of your house.
  • Wood stoves pull humidity out of the air in your home and cause everything to get very dry. House plants need constant watering, and even skin and hair gets dried out if you aren’t careful to drink extra water throughout the day.
  • It’s not as easy to use the stove to heat water for your hot water tank as a water stove is.


Water Stove Pros

  • Hot air is circulated through air ducts into every room of the house, heating it evenly.
  • Water stoves heat the air in your home, but also heat the water that fills your hot water tank, which is convenient and saves money over heating with electricity.
  • Smoke, soot, wood chips and hitch-hiking bugs are kept outdoors.
  • The air in the house doesn’t get as dry as it would with a wood stove.
  • No need to make a place to stack wood in the house.
  • The fire is outside so there’s less chance of the home catching on fire (like a chimney fire).


Water Stove Cons

  • They’re definitely more expensive to get installed than a wood stove.
  • You might have to hire professionals to help you get it installed.
  • You have to go outside in all weather to feed them. Unless you have one installed in an attached building.
  • Some sort of electricity is required to run the pumps. This can be solar power or grid electricity.


If I could go back and do it all over again, I’d strongly consider installing an outdoor water stove as our primary heat source over the wood stove in the fireplace. The way our house is laid out (long ranch style) isn’t conducive to wood stove heating. However, if I had an opportunity to build a home from scratch, especially if it was to be 100% off grid, I’d likely stick with a wood stove. I’d position the stove in the center of the home where it could heat the entire space, and the bedrooms would be open lofts above the living area making the best use of that rising heat. This would be the cheapest option, after all.

For now, I’ll be content with the free heat we get from our well-used wood stove. If you come to visit me this fall and winter, kindly overlook the fine layer of black dust on the white mantel and the trail of wood chips across the floor. Perhaps the aroma of warm spices simmering in a pot of water on the stove will ease you back into a cozy chair and you’ll forget all about the mess.

I’m sure I’ll think of more pros and cons as the wood burning season progresses. Can you think of anything you’d add to this list? Which do you think you’d prefer?

Raising Freedom Ranger Chickens For Meat

October 24, 2016 – 12:48 pm
Freedom Ranger Chickens For Meat | www.newlifeonahomestead.com

Our experience raising Freedom Ranger chickens for meat, and why I would recommend them for your homestead.

From Gangs To Goats

October 14, 2016 – 10:43 am
Podcast Interview

I recently did an interview with Tim Young from The Self Sufficient Life, which I must say was my absolute favorite interview of all time- hands down. He touched on things I’ve never talked about …

How To Install A Permanent Clothesline. Metal vs Wood.

September 9, 2016 – 8:35 am
How To Install A Permanent Clothesline

An easy, step-by-step guide to installing a permanent clothesline. Plus, why we like metal t-posts better than wood. (Disaster story to follow!)

Garden Bad Guy: The Hammerhead Worm

September 9, 2016 – 5:50 am


My youngest daughter was playing outside, rolling over logs and railroad ties trying to find bugs to catch, when she discovered a funny looking worm. She studied it for a minute, and then brought it …

A Lesson About Contentment From The Fir Tree

August 11, 2016 – 5:25 am

I read a bedtime story to my children the other day, and felt that its lesson was meant more for me in that moment than for the kids. In this imperfect and often uncertain journey …

Living with Grandpa and Alzheimer’s

July 7, 2016 – 10:29 pm
snuggling dada

Being a full time caregiver to a loved one with Alzheimer’s can be challenging for sure. But there are many blessings to be had as well. Life is fragile, and ever changing. Sometimes you just have to hang on for the ride and look for the good in everything.

Hot Ash Stove Review and Giveaway!

June 28, 2016 – 8:15 am
Hot Ash Stove Review

Looking for a portable, wood burning stove? Check out my field review of the Hot Ash Stove and see if it might be exactly what you need! Great for camping, off grid cooking, and emergency preparedness.

The Pie Cherry Tree

June 7, 2016 – 9:02 pm
Montmorency Cherries

Harvesting cherries from our Montmorency Cherry Tree. These tart little fruits are perfect for canning or making yummy desserts!

Condensed Tomato Soup Canning Recipe

June 3, 2016 – 9:29 am
condensed tomato soup canning recipe 1

A simple and delicious condensed tomato soup canning recipe made from fresh ingredients.

Edible Landscaping: Nanking Cherry Bushes

June 2, 2016 – 7:47 am
Edible Landscaping: Nanking Cherry Bushes

Nanking Cherry Bushes make a beautiful ornamental shrub or hedge, and are loaded with little edible cherries delicious straight off the bush.

How To Peel Chicken Feet, and Prepare Them To Cook

May 26, 2016 – 2:26 pm
How To Prepare Chicken Feet For Cooking | www.newlifeonahomestead.com

Chicken feet make an excellent addition to soup stock, and are full of rich, nutritious gelatin. If you can get over the yuck factor, they’re totally worth learning how to use!

Saying Goodbye To My Dear Friend

May 24, 2016 – 9:13 am

This past weekend we said our final goodbyes to my beloved friend and mentor, Ms. Addy. Those of you who have followed me from the beginning know that this blog was conceived eight years ago …

Bread Machine Braided Challah Recipe Tutorial

May 19, 2016 – 8:36 am
Braided Challah Bread Machine Recipe

I can honestly say that to date I have never tasted bread better than this homemade challah recipe I’m going to share with you. I’ve been making this bread for several years now, and it …

Big Changes for Us.

April 26, 2016 – 6:55 am

Hi guys,
I wanted to give a quick update since it has been a while since I’ve posted anything on my blog.
Earlier this month my grandfather was released from the hospital after two weeks of battling …

How To Avoid Getting Dry Hands in the Garden

March 18, 2016 – 9:05 am
How To Avoid Getting Dry Hands in the Garden | http://newlifeonahomestead.com

Two surefire ways to get dry hands in the garden, and tips on how to avoid suffering from cracked, splitting fingertips.

Milky Spore for Natural Japanese Beetle and June Bug Control

March 14, 2016 – 7:23 am
Milky Spore Powder for Natural Japanese Beetle and June Bug Control | newlifeonahomestead.com

Japanese Beetles and June Bugs destroying your garden? Here’s a safe and organic way to kill them naturally!