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Come Meet My Family in VA This Weekend!

April 16, 2015 – 7:10 am

I’ll be in New Castle, VA this weekend (April 18th), teaching a Food Preservation Workshop and signing my DVDs at this year’s Prepper’s Festival. If you live in the area, I’d love to have you …

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Off Grid

The struggles and freedom of life without electricity.


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 »

Solar: Installing A Power Transfer Switch

April 2, 2015 – 8:13 pm

Our electrician neighbor came over last night to help us install a power transfer switch. We needed this switch to enable us to switch from solar power to generator power when we go off-grid. There will be times when we want to use more electricity than our solar can provide (like when I use the washing machine to wash quilts, when I need to vacuum, if we need to pump a large amount of water from the well, etc.), so the generator will be available for backup. We’ll also need a generator to charge the batteries if we experience prolonged cloudy conditions. If the batteries completely drain they’ll be dead, and will cost a fortune to replace. It’s important that we keep them topped off.

Until we completely disconnect from the grid, we can use the power transfer switch to alternate from grid power to solar power. We’ve been running our fridge, freezer, and computers off of solar power via a drop cord connected to the inverter. Now that the transfer switch is installed we can plug whatever we want directly into the wall outlet and it’ll run on solar.

We don’t really know what all the system can handle yet, ’cause we haven’t been able to connect the whole house to it up until now. This way we’ll be able to see what we can use with the solar, and what we still need to work on while remaining on the grid as backup until we’re all set to pull the plug for good.

Connecting A Power Transfer Switch For Solar

We went with a Reliance Power Transfer Kit, basically because it was the only option our local Home Depot had available to us. It was sufficient for our needs. I’ve gotta tell you the story behind this switch… it still makes me nauseous to think about.

The day we went to Home Depot to get this kit, we had several other things we were shopping for. It was me, my husband, and our four kids. I swear we walked up and down every single aisle of that store, and lapped it a hundred times. It felt like we were there for HOURS. The kids were antsy, I was losing my patience, and I wanted nothing more than to just be DONE.

When we finally checked out and left the store, I had only one thing on my mind: GET BACK HOME.

My husband loaded our trailer up with timbers and other stuff, and I unloaded the kids from the shopping cart and got them buckled into their carseats. The kids were in, the doors were shut, and the A/C was cranked. I settled into my seat and breathed a sigh of relief.

…this is where it gets sickening…

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13 Condiments You Can Make From Scratch

March 29, 2015 – 7:53 am
Barbecue Sauce

Here’s a list of the most popular condiments you can make from scratch, with simple recipes using ingredients you can grow and harvest yourself!

How To Can Chicken On The Bone: Hot Pack and Raw Pack Methods

March 27, 2015 – 2:42 pm
two ways to can chicken legs

Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on TWO ways to can chicken on the bone: hot pack and raw pack methods.

My Interview With Tammy Trayer

March 27, 2015 – 1:45 pm

I recently had the privilege of being interviewed by Tammy Trayer of Trayer Wilderness on her Mountain Woman Radio Show. We had a great time talking about life as homesteaders, what it’s like living off …

Seed Potatoes and How To Plant Potatoes In A Raised Bed

March 25, 2015 – 8:14 am
colorful seed potatoes

What’s A Seed Potato?
The first time I ever heard someone talking about planting potatoes from seed, I wondered to myself, “Where are the seeds in potatoes? I’ve never seen seeds.” I was completely serious. I …

March 2015: Garden

March 22, 2015 – 10:40 am
underneath row cover

The cold weather crops are planted. Here’s what the start of our 2015 garden looks like.

How To Can Ground Beef In A Pressure Canner

March 18, 2015 – 5:08 pm
How To Can Ground Beef

Learn how to can ground beef for longer storage than a freezer, and quick meal prep!

Testing Out The New Hand Pump on Our Well

March 11, 2015 – 10:20 am
Jerry using hand pump on well

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here yet, but a few months ago we were finally able to afford to get a hand pump installed on our well. We went with a Simple Pump, because …


February 27, 2015 – 5:52 pm

It’s not so bad being stuck at home. There are so many beautiful things to enjoy!

Old Fashioned Lemon Chess Pie

February 25, 2015 – 5:17 pm
Old Fashioned Lemon Chess Pie

From-scratch lemon chess pie uses simple ingredients you probably already have on hand. An old fashioned favorite you’re sure to love!

23 Things You Must Know To Can Meat Safely

February 25, 2015 – 10:49 am
23 Things You Must Know To Can Meat Safely

A detailed list of everything you need to know to can meat safely. Many of these precautions are never mentioned in canning recipes. Get familiar with them before beginning to can.

Homegrown Popcorn

February 19, 2015 – 11:05 am
Homegrown Popcorn- tips and experiences! via http://newlifeonahomestead.com

Homegrown popcorn is an excellent snack food you can grow yourself!

How I Helped My Speech Delayed Toddler

February 13, 2015 – 10:56 am
How I Helped My Speech Delayed Toddler With Essential Oils

My son was over 3 yrs old but still using one-word sentences. After one week of consistently applying this oil blend to the back of his neck, he said his first complete sentence!! We were in shock.

A Vegetarian Homestead?

February 4, 2015 – 8:37 am
garden produce

Could there actually be benefits to running a vegetarian homestead? This couple believes there are many. Maybe even for non-vegetarians.

Grow Your Own Tea Garden

January 30, 2015 – 6:33 pm
tea plant

Here are a few plants I’m growing in our tea garden, to provide us with a variety of herbal teas to enjoy hot or cold.

The Easiest Way To Clean Vomit From Carpet

January 25, 2015 – 1:52 am
easiest way to get vomit out of carpet

No more sopping and gagging. Here’s the absolute easiest way to clean throw-up from your floor.

Herb Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes

January 22, 2015 – 8:08 pm
jerusalem artichokes

A delicious recipe for roasted Jerusalem Artichokes (Sunchokes) and parsnips or carrots, tossed with fresh rosemary.