Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Extra Homestead Income

Making money from working at home would be a great addition to any homestead. Eric and I have some dreams of things we can sell in the future, but we also have some homemade items now.

But I wonder if we could start to sell items now. We are not experts in the items we make, so is it fair to sell those items that aren’t perfect yet? What do you think? We have thought about selling our deer tallow candles, upcycled plastic pouches, and maybe knitted or sewn items.

In this day and age there are many options to getting homemade stuff sold: craft fairs, artist stores, and online stores like Etsy. Where should we start?

Coin purse made with plastic cat food bag and scrap fabric.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Haircut for the Angora Rabbits

Our new Angora rabbits, Socks and Mittens, have a new look.  There are a few different ways to harvest the wool from angora rabbits.  One way is "plucking" the shedding hair.  Have you ever pulled tuffs of hair off your dog?  It is the same way for the rabbits and plucking doesn't hurt the rabbits.

This was my first time harvesting the wool, and I learned how from YouTube videos.  Plucking the hair leaves the hair longer and therefore higher quality for spinning.  I started plucking Socks, but he has a bit of an attitude.  I spent days trying to harvest his wool, but got frustrated each time.  I ended up skipping Socks and began plucking Mittens.  Mittens was soooo much different.  His hair came out easier and I could see where I plucked because his brown undercoat shown through.

Another way to harvest angora wool is cutting off the hair.  I decided to shear Socks to save a headache.  Shearing is a little more nerve-racking because one could possibly cut the skin.  I think Socks is half the size now that his hair is gone.  He doesn't look so tough now.

Mitten's brown undercoat is reveiled while plucking.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sprouting Greens

It has been a long cold spring.  Last year Eric and I had seeds outside by the end of March.  This year we are hoping to get the peas planted by next week...maybe.  But even during the cold, gloomy days we still have a green beauty in the basement.

Kale, brocolli, swiss chard
Roma Tomato
This is our second year starting seeds inside.  Some things we greatly improved on and some things we are still learning from.  We can't wait to plant these sprouts outside!


Saturday, April 2, 2011

More Wild Edibles

Last fall Eric and I harvest hickory nuts from a nearby park.  Hickory nuts taste amazing but the nuts are not sold in stores.  I was very excited when I spotted the nuts in a fallen tree, which provided perfect drying conditions and a safe spot away from squirrels.

In our area, Shagbark Hickory trees have the edible nuts.  Don't eat the Bitternut Hickory nuts.  I didn't realize at first that there was a hickory nut that wasn't tasty.  From experience your mouth will go dry if you eat a bitternut.  Thankfully it is easy to tell the two types of nuts apart.

Shagbark Hickory Nut
(photo credit)
I spent the past week cracking open the nuts.  It takes a lot of patience, but it is worth it.  I can't wait to put them into a recipe!