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Eating Seasonally: Strawberry Spinach Salad

Strawberry Spinach Salad

May 14, 2015 – 10:53 am

Here’s a delicious seasonal salad we enjoy when spinach and strawberries are both ready to harvest in the garden.

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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.

Preparedness »

Emergency Preparedness: Personal Library Essentials

May 17, 2015 – 8:38 am

Building Your Survival Library: 40 plus books you'll want to have!

When people think about preparing for emergencies, they usually think about the obvious first: food storage, water, and guns. I’m afraid that often people forget how important it is to have a well established personal library comprised of different “how to” type books.

Today, I’d like to make some suggestions for books that would be very useful to have on hand in case the internet was lost and the only information you could access was what knowledge you’ve tucked away for a rainy day, and the books you have with you.

They say “Knowledge is power”, but in a survival situation it could mean more than that. It could mean life or death. The right kind of books can help you get through the hardest of times. Here are some titles you might consider putting on your wishlist this year. I can only comment on books that I personally own, but I’ll also share a few with you that I have on my wishlist (if I had all the money in the world, I’d have a massive library!).  I’d love to hear your recommendations if you don’t see one of your favorites mentioned.

There are so many good books out there, but here are a few I’m pleased to own:


Building Your Survival Library: 40 plus books you'll want to have!

Since I’ve begun using a variety of gardening methods, there are several different books I refer back to quite often. I find value in knowing various gardening techniques, so my library includes Lasagna Gardening, Square Foot Gardening, Organic Gardening, Hidden Survival Gardening, and traditional methods. I’m also interested in the French Intensive Method, Hugelkultur, and Permaculture. Here are a few of my most referenced gardening books…

Reader’s Digest Illustrated Guide To Gardening. This book is great because it covers almost every plant you can think of, including flowers, fruits, nuts, and berries. It gives lots of information on planting, propagating, fertilizing, pruning, and pest control.

Step by Step Organic Vegetable Gardening by Shepherd Ogden. We found this oldie but goodie in my husband’s grandpa’s house after he passed away. Lots of old fashioned gardening wisdom in this book.

The Frugal Gardener by Catriona Tudor Erler. This book is packed full of money saving tips to help you have the best garden for the least money.

All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. Learn how to make the best use of every square foot of your garden.

What’s Wrong With My Vegetable Garden by David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth. Diagnose disease and pest problems and learn organic solutions for your vegetable garden. Lots of great photos.

Secret Garden of Survival by Rick Austin. Learn how to plant edibles in such a way that it just looks like a bunch of wild plants to the average passerby.

Seed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth. Everything you’ll ever need to know about saving seeds for your garden.

I think you can find all of these books on Amazon. Some of them are out of print, but can still be purchased secondhand through Amazon sellers for just a few bucks.

Homesteading/Living Off The Land

Building Your Survival Library: 40 plus books you'll want to have!

I have a ton of homesteading books on my bookshelf, but if you’re looking for literature that covers everything you would need to survive using primitive skills, my suggestion boils down to two books and a great series.

The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery. The Bible of homesteading. Every serious homesteader should own a copy of this book.

Reader’s Digest Back To Basics. I LOVE this book. It’s packed full of pioneer skills with step-by-step instructions and lots of great pictures. I often flip through it just for fun and inspiration.

The Foxfire Series. Our set was also salvaged from my husband’s grandfather’s old house. They’re well worn, and thoroughly enjoyed. Each of these books follows a crew of students deep into the Appalachian mountains, where they interview old timers who have been living primitively in an off-grid cabin their whole lives. These folks teach us how they survive on whatever resources they have available to them. Fascinating stories.

You can find the entire Foxfire series available on Amazon, or you can buy the books one at a time.

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Natural Remedies For Motion Sickness

May 16, 2015 – 10:19 pm
Xia and wristbands

No more kids throwing up in the car! Here are three things I do to keep carsickness at bay.

How To Freeze Strawberries

May 15, 2015 – 12:23 pm
How To Freeze Strawberries

Freezing strawberries is a great way to quickly preserve an abundant harvest to enjoy for months ahead!

In The Garden: May 2015

May 11, 2015 – 8:31 pm
In The Garden May 2015

A lot has been growing since my last garden update in March!
For the past few weeks, we’ve been harvesting asparagus, spinach, lettuce, and a few herbs. Strawberries are just coming in now, which is super …

How To Make Ink From Huckleberries

May 6, 2015 – 8:20 am
how to make huckleberry ink

This was a fun one for the kids and I to do together. Step-by-step instructions on how to make ink at home from berries.

Emergency Preparedness: Food Storage

April 26, 2015 – 8:29 am
thrive food storage

What foods you should store, how much you should store, where you should store it, and so much more. All the info you need to start building your emergency food storage today.

16 Delicious Flower Jelly Recipes

April 22, 2015 – 7:28 am
16 Delicious Flower Jelly Recipes

You won’t believe how many edible flowers can be made into a delicious flower jelly. You just might have some of these growing in your yard right now!

Dandelion Greens Salad

April 21, 2015 – 8:54 am
Dandelion Greens Salad Recipe

Did you know there’s food right under your feet? You’ll never go hungry when you know how to find it! Dandelions are an easy wild food for beginner foragers. Here’s a yummy recipe to get you started with wild edibles.

Solar: Installing A Power Transfer Switch

April 2, 2015 – 8:13 pm
breaker box and transfer switch

Connecting a transfer switch to our breaker panel was one more thing we had to do before we could disconnect from the grid. It enables us to run our home on either a generator or solar power, alternating between the two forms of power as necessary.

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 …

In The Garden: March 2015

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!