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Backyard Farming • Homestead Living • Animal Husbandry • Homeschooling

From Scratch {Life on the Homestead}

December 2013/ January 2014

The digital magazine for the sustainable lifestyle.

Handmade Holidays

Homestead Resolutions

Down on the Christmas Tree Farm

Special Holiday Issue


Letter from the Editor and Publisher W

elcome to our holiday issue! Inside you’ll find all sorts of recipes and gift ideas, along with information on how to organize your homestead and an interview with the godfather of fermentation, Sandor Katz. We have an article on the rush and buzz at a Christmas tree farm, which is gearing up for its busiest time of the year. And, while we are very excited to bring our readers excellent content once again and to have a chance to sit down and celebrate the holidays with our family, we have to admit, we’re more excited to know this issue marks the end of our first full year of publishing From Scratch magazine. It seems like we just started the year and now its coming to a close. As we look back on what we managed to accomplish, we cannot help but be grateful and humbled by the response we’ve received from our readers, the homesteading community at large and everyone who has been a part of this journey. We made tons of new friends, some close to home, like Colleen Ann of Maple Hill, NC; and Khristi Nunnally, the administrator of the Colored Egg Homestead blog; both of whom live just down the road from our own homestead and HQ. We have worked closely with people we admire, like Lisa Steele, of Fresh Eggs Daily, and Chris McGlaughlin, our gardening editor. We met tons of people interested in living fuller, better lives through organic and sustainable agriculture at our first conference, the Sustainable Agriculture Conference hosted by the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, including Anna


McDonald Dobbs and Rochelle Sparko, both of the CFSA. We’ve gotten the chance to interview some amazing people, including Joel Salatin, Cody Lundin, Dr. Pol and Theresa Lowe (and in this issue, Sandor Katz). We’ve gotten the chance to get to know some truly amazing people, like Terry Baker, of B&B Tractors; Willie Justice of Justice Christmas Tree Farm; and Julian Helms of Selma, AL. Through it all we have been supported by our amazing readers and fans on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, as well as this website. And we cannot forget our advertisers, who help keep our publication free and open to readers all over the world. Don’t forget, you can find out more about our advertisers by clicking on any ad shown in our pages. So, as we come to the end of our first year of publication, Thank You, from all of us here at From Scratch magazine. We have big plans for next year, with even more comprehensive coverage of all things related to sustainable living, homesteading and organic agriculture and more. We hope to expand into new formats soon as well, giving our readers even more ways to read our magazine. If you have not subscribed already, go ahead and do it now. Our first year has gone great, and our readers and advertisers have inspired us to do even more in the coming years!

Melissa and Steven Jones


In this Issue

Down on the - p. 14 Christmas Tree Farm

Make an Advent Calendar - p. 24

Gingerbread Barn Raising- p. 8

Homestead Resource Inventory - p. 80

The Colored Egg Homestead - p. 76

Fiber Arts - p. 62

DIY Hypertufa Sink - p. 68

Handmade Homeschool Holiday - p. 38

Simple Ways to Enjoy the Holiday Season - p. 28

The Fermentation Artist - p. 52



Meet our Contributors Chris McLaughlin Gardening Editor A suburban farmer

Carol Alexander Homeschool Columnist Lessons From the Homestead

Jennifer Burcke Farm Food Columnist 1840 Farm

Jennifer Cazzola Black Fox Homestead

Emily McGrath Our Little Coop

Karen Beaty

Bianca Neill Lark Hollow

Lisa Steele Chicken Columnist FreshEggs-Daily


Scratch and Peck Feeds 5

you are what your animals Organic Chicken Feed Locally Sourced GMO Free Soy Free



Reader Photos Do you have photos that you would like to share? Send them to and your homestead could be in the next issue.


1. 3.

1. Allyson Young built this adorable chicken coop about a month ago.2. Joanna and Carl Shepherd sent us this photo of their Berkshire pig on Cobblestone Farm. 3. Rose Meister put up some peach jam this year.






4. Kathy Hope sent us this picture of a garden shed built from “pre-used” materials. She liked it so much it became the start of a new business: Ritzy Rust 5. Christine Thill sent us this photo of a praying mantis sunning itself in her garden. 6. This image was submitted by Michelle of White’s Farm in Winterport, Maine. It shows Red, a red wattle sow, spending a little time on the farm. FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


Gift Guide for the Modern Homesteader

Classic wooden blocks • My Favorite Toy Box.

Hand powered corn grinder • Premier 1

Hand butter churn • Vat Pastuerizers


Scale • Homesteader’s Supply

Basic Beginner Outfit • Kelley Beekeeping

Incubator • Randall Burkey

Single Wheel Hoe • Hoss Tools


Winter Cabin

Pendleton Blanket • Amazon • $96

Primitive Country Plate Rack Kitchen Cupboard • redroosterbab • $159.99

Lodge 5-Piece Cast Iron Cookware Set • Amazon • $65


Canvas Log Carrier • Amazon • $9.95


Elk Bookends • EQUINEbyLauren • $159.99

WeatherRite LED Lantern • Amazon • $12.78 Distressed Box Sign • Amazon • $9.95

Hooked Wool Homecoming Cupboard • Amazon • $36.99

Pleasant Hearth 2,200 Square Feet Wood Burning Stove • Amazon • $1142.09 FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


Trim the Tree

Rooster & Weather Vane Clay Tag • SimpleHomeLife • $5

Rooster Ornament • Amazon • $2.99

Wreath • WillowgaleDesigns • $39.99 FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE

Crochet Christmas Star • SlumberSpun • $10

Pomander ornament • florasense • $35


Felt the Halls

Perfect Pets (Dogs) Needle Felting Kit • Halcyon Yarn • $32.50

Mama Goat and Baby Goat Kid Ornament Duo • BossysFeltworks • $32

Pin cushion / pillow - Christmas needle felted ornament • Agnes Felt • $23 FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


GINGERBREAD BARN RAISING Nothing says the holidays more than the smell of gingerbread in the oven.




othing says Christmas like a gingerbread house. These sweet creations often appear too beautiful to eat, but edible varieties can be made and are very popular. Gingerbread dates back to the 10th Century in Europe. It quickly spread across the continent, where it was believed to have medicinal properties. The gingerbread used to make houses is a hard variety. Originally baked in Germany, bakers there created decorative molds, often depicting major events of the time (coronations, battles, etc.). It quickly became a building material for miniature houses and delighted children and adults alike. Since then, people have been building gingerbread houses (and sometimes the little gingerbread men to go with them) regularly around Christmas. Gingerbread houses are easy to make, but can be built more complicated for those inclined to put some work into them. This versatility makes it a popular activity for parents to do with their children. This recipe comes to From Scratch magazine from Kelley Marcaccio of Jacksonville, N.C., by way of Michigan. Kelley used to make gingerbread houses with her mother while growing up. She’s continued the tradition and we’re pleased to share her recipe and technique with our readers. Enjoy! FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE




Gingerbread Recipe:

light cardboard and cut again.

In a medium microwave-safe bowl, heat corn syrup, brown sugar and margarine until the margarine has melted and sugar has dissolved completely. Stir until While edible, this gingerbread house smooth. dough recipe is “structural.” It has no leaveners that would make it puff up and Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine distort the shapes, and it’s firm so it can flour and salt. Add syrup-sugar-marsupport lots of decorations. garine mixture, making sure it’s cool enough for the kids to squish the dough This recipe is economical. It uses no ex- until it’s smooth and comes away from pensive spices and has only five ingredi- the sides of the bowl. ents. Kids can use their hands to smoosh the dough together. Cover dough with Wrap the dough in plastic and let it rest plastic wrap and let rest at room tem- at least 30 minutes at room temperature. perature for at least 30 minutes before This is a good time to wash up the dishes rolling. It’s a good idea to bake the pieces and get your baking pans, rolling pin and one day and assemble the next day. pattern pieces ready.


If the dough is too hard or unmanageable, you can microwave it for 20-30 seconds. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll • 2 cups dark corn syrup • 1 1/2 cups firmly packed dark brown out the dough 1/4-inch thick onto a sheet of parchment cut to fit your baking pan. sugar Edgeless pans or those with only one • 1 1/4 cups margarine edge are the best.

• 9 cups all-purpose flour • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Lightly flour the cardboard patterns and place them on the rolled-out dough, leaving a 1-inch space between pieces. Try to fit as many as you can without crowding. Note: This recipe can easily be increased, For clean edges, cut with a pizza wheel. if you want to make it a project for sev- Remove and reserve excess dough. eral kids by doubling or even tripling the ingredients. Instead of measuring out the Grab the opposite edges of the parchment flour, for a double recipe, use 1 (5-pound) paper and transfer to the baking sheet. bag plus 1 cup flour. For a triple recipe, Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until pieces use two (5-pound) bags plus 2 cups flour. are firm and lightly browned around the Before you begin the actual recipe, print edges. Cool completely before removing out a pattern (patterns are widely avail- from pans. Reroll dough scraps for the able online). Cut it out and transfer to remainder of the pieces.




Royal Icing

Royal icing is the glue or mortar that holds a gingerbread house together, among other uses. I prefer using pasteurized egg whites (now available at grocery stores in cartons) instead of meringue powder because the result is smoother and it has better “stickability.” Be careful not to overwhip your royal icing, or it will crack as it dries and your house will collapse. Makes enough for 1 decorated Gingerbread House

Ingredients: • 1 pound sifted confectioners’ sugar or more as needed • 1/2 cup pasteurized egg whites (3 large egg whites) • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar


Preparation: Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and combine. Scrape down sides. Turn the mixer to high and beat until thick and very white. Mixture will hold a peak. This should take at least 7-10 minutes. When finished, cover with plastic wrap, making sure it touches the royal icing so a crust doesn’t form. Royal icing dries out quickly, so make sure it is covered all the time. Otherwise there will be lumps in the icing and they will never pass through an icing tip. I prefer white icing, but you may tint it by using a small amount of paste food color. For 1/4 cup tinted icing, dip the tip of a toothpick into desired color, then into the icing, and stir well. Repeat until desired color is achieved. For strong colors, such as red, royal blue and dark purple, use 1/8 teaspoon color to 1/4 cup icing.


Decorating and Assembly:

2. Allow for house to set and dry for 12-24 hours, before decorating. 3. Combine Royal Icing and can of store bought to form a thicker consistency for the decorations (It should be a half to half ratio for each icing). Stir until completely blended. 4. Use food coloring to change icing for • Sugar cones specific parts of barn (red to adhere the • Sprinkles (Green) licorice, green for the sugar cone trees, • Peel-A-Part Licorice (30-35 bundles) brown for cereal pieces). • Coconut Flakes 5. Use green frosting mixture to cover • Cereal (Chex, Life, etc.) sugar cones. • Assorted Food Coloring While frosting is still moist, pour green • 1-2 cans white frosting (Any brand) sprinkles over to coat the trees and give a • Assorted Candies (gums, morsels, sparkle effect. beads, etc.) 6. Mix green food coloring directly with • Toothpicks, piping bags coconut flakes to use as grass (Do not mix frosting with coconut flakes). 1. Assemble gingerbread barn, using the royal icing. Be patient and allow each After each of the pieces of the barn are piece to fully dry before assembling the covered with candy, use icing mixture to next. This is crucial for the structure to assemble on tray. hold throughout the decorating process. You may want to dust the barn with pow(Don’t use the can of frosting for the barn dered sugar to give a snow effect. assembly).




Down on the Christmas Tree Farm By Steven Jones FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE



ll around the world, people are decorating their homes, putting up Christmas trees and getting ready to spend some much needed time with family. Willie Justice and his family are doing the exact same thing, except they will enjoy it differently. They will be decorating their business with handmade wreaths, putting up dozens of Christmas trees and gathering family, friends and neighbors to help them unload tractor trailers full of trees. The Justice family owns and operates the Justice Christmas Tree farm, and every year, they sell nearly a thousand Christmas Trees. The season is so busy, that often upwards of 40 family members, neighbors and volunteers are on hand to keep up with the annual holiday

crush. It is such a busy time, they even bring in a crew of Marines. Most of them have no family nearby to visit for the holidays, so it gives them a chance to celebrate Christmas, even though they are away from home. When a truck arrives every year filled with Douglas Firs — the Douglas Firs do not grow in the coastal climate in Jacksonville — everyone pitches in. The Justice Christmas Tree farm opened in 1990, but the family started the business 7 years earlier, planting hundreds of trees on 5 acres. “The first year, you just hope (the trees) will live,” Mr. Justice said. The family got into the business when an extension agent suggested it to them. “We didn’t have large enough fields FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


JUSTICE CHRISTMAS TREE FARM Not having large enough fields to warrant planting corn or soybeans, the family got into the business when an extension agent suggested it to them. FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


to warrant planting corn or soybeans,” Mr. Justice said. Since starting the farm, it has grown. Each year, they sell nearly 1,000 trees. Last year, the tree farm even sold trees in the summer, when the Iron Man 3 movie filmed in Wilmington, about 45 minutes down the coast. The film production company bought a lot of trees to set a scene in the movie. Ivy Hinson, Willie Justice’s granddaughter, helped load the trees. “It was very cool,” she said. “Normally we don’t cut trees in the summer. We were worried they would dry out.” Each year, they plant in a three to five ratio. For every three trees they sell, they plant 5. Currently, on the five acres the farm covers, they have about 4,000 trees growing. While they buy Douglas Firs from a

farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina, about a five hour drive away, they grow every other variety, including: White Pines, Colorado Blue Spruce, Leland Cyprus and Blue Ice Cedar. The farm is also working with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Agency as a test farm for grafted trees, to see if tree farmers all over the state can grow even more types of trees. And while Christmas is their busiest time of the year, the Justice family is working hard on Christmas all year long. To sell about 1,000 trees, nearly 1,500 have to be planted every year. The trees are planted in a grid pattern in a field and spaced in such a way so a mower can cut between the rows in two different directions. During the growth process, the Justice family has to fight aphids, bag FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE




worms, fungus and blight, among any other things that could go wrong. The trees are sheared twice a year, using three different types of shearers: A 10 feet long shearer, an 8 feet long shearer and a 6 feet long shearer. “I gave up the 10-foot one years ago. I gave up the 8-foot one this year,” Mr. Justice, a 75-year-old retiree, said. While shearing the trees, Mr. Justice said you had to watch out for wild animals. “When we’re out here shearing and we find a nest with little birds in it, we leave it,” he said. The more you shear a tree, the tighter it gets. But, if a shearer is not careful, Mr. Justice said, the shearing process can cause voids in the foliage, which reduces the value of the tree when it comes time to

sell it. Then, every year, just before Christmas, the family gets together and gets the farm ready for sales. They open officially on Thanksgiving, but they will not turn away anyone who shows up before then. The week before Thanksgiving, a tractor trailer arrives, trees are unloaded and set up begins. All the trees bought in are hung on a frame work built at the edge of the fields specifically for that purpose. The wreath barn is stocked with freshly cut, hand-made wreaths and the farms gift store is cleaned up and stocked. Mr. Justice makes sure the tree shaker is working properly, the “tree-wheelers” (wheeled carriers built to haul trees after they’ve been cut) are ready to roll and his tractor with a train made from old barrels is brought around. FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


Mr. Justice tries to make sure children who show up at the farm have something to do while there. “If you make the kids happy (people will keep) coming back,” Mr. Justice said. “They (children) can run and play. There’s nothing to hurt them.” After the farm is set up and open to the public people can come out to the farm, walk the fields with their children or their dogs and make a day out of it. Customers can pick out a live tree growing in the field, or one of the firs the farm brings in. Then, if they like, they can cut it down themselves or get one of Mr. Justice’s helpers to cut it down for them. After hauling the tree back on the tree-wheeler, farm hands put the FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE

tree on the shaker to shake out any debris in the trees, including bird’s nests (the birds move out long before the tree gets shaken). Then, the tree is netted and loaded on the tops of cars and taken home to be decorated. While at the farm, you can buy lights, ornaments and anything else you need for a Christmas tree. Mr. Justice said his trees are a little more expensive than what you might buy at a big box store, but it does not bother him much. “I’m not in competition with (big box stores),” Mr. Justice said. In fact, he classifies his business as much “agri-tourism” as he does a Christmas tree farm. “I’m selling services as much as I am merchandise.”


Mr. Justice is 75. He retired from his “day job” at a funeral home about two years ago. Since then, he’s been so busy he has trouble finishing all the projects around the farm. Of course, it doesn’t help that his grandchildren are always trying to drag him off to do something. His grandson always wants to take him fishing with him. Mr. Justice shrugs. “You can’t say “no” to that,” he said.

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All About Poinsettias

Poinsettias are making their annual trek to American households. The traditional Christmas potted plant is inescapable this time of year. The plant produces beautiful leaves which are used by many people as centerpieces, house plants and offer people a chance to add a splash of brightness to their sometimes white winters. Did you know the plants were named for the first United States minister to Mexico? Or that it was used medicinally by the Aztecs? Here’s more facts about the traditional Christmas plants: • Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first minister to Mexico, introduced the plant to the United States in 1825. The plant is native to the tropical climate of Mexico. • Cuitlaxochitl is the name of the plant in the Aztec language. It was valued by the Aztecs as a fever reducer and used to produce a reddish, purple dye. • Poinsettias were first used in the 16th Century as Christmas decorations in Mexico by Franciscan monks. • National Poinsettia Day is held on Dec. 12 every year, and marks the death of Joel Poinsett, in 1851. • Poinsettias are toxic, but only mildly so. The sap of the plant can induce vomiting in pets and children, but their have been no reported deaths from consuming the plant, its leaves or its sap. Most cases do not require treatment. • Poinsettias are perennials and can bloom every year, if the right circumstances are provided for the plant. • Most of the growth and distribution of Poinsettias in the United States (about 70 percent) is controlled by the Ecke family. In the 1990’s, the family discovered a grafting method that allowed for bushier, more marketable plants. The process was later replicated by a University lab. • The University of Iowa reports the plants must experience “shortdays” starting in October, where they receive fewer than 12 hours of sunlight per day. The plants will bloom by Christmas, if shortdayed properly. After Christmas, the plants can be put outside after temperatures rise above 60 degrees but must return indoors all other times. FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE




Make Your Own

Advent Calendar By: Emily McGrath





What you will need:

-Twine or rope to hang your bags from. -24 burlap bags. These can be pur- -Clothespins to hang your bags with. chased online or sewn at home. Size is of no importance unless you plan on packing the bags with larger objects such as ornaments. Keep in 1. Lay your number stencil on top of mind that you will be hanging them your burlap bag. and if you plan on doing so above 2. Using your stencil brush, apply a your fireplace or other small area, small amount of paint to the inside you may want to keep them on the of the stencil until you have achieved smaller size. the desired amount of coverage. -Red and Green fabric paint. *Take note that the paint will prob-Number stencils 0-9 ably soak through the bag and onto -Two stencil brushes the other side. If this is bothersome





ne of my favorite holiday memories as a child is waking up in the morning, running to my advent calendar, prying open the tiny little doors and seeing what surprise awaited me. The last door was always the largest which meant one thing, Christmas was only a sleep away! Today, with two children of my own, I wanted to create an advent calendar that would bring the same excitement to their holiday season mornings that I felt as a child. With this simple DIY, you too can create a tradition for your family that will last for years and years to come. Stuff the bags with ornaments to hang on the tree, little pieces of candy, notes, or create homemade coupons for adventures that you will take. The possibilities are endless, the memories will last forever.

to you, you may want to put a plastic bag inside to prevent the paint from soaking through. 3. As you paint your bags, alternate between the red and green paint. 4. Paint your bags 1-24. 5. Allow your bags at least a few hours to dry before hanging. 6. When hanging your bags, begin with the number 24, counting backwards. Don’t forget to remove each bag after it has been opened to allow your children to see how many days are left until Christmas!

Follow Emily McGrath with Our Little Coop. FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE




Simple Ways to Celebrate the Holiday Season... without breaking the bank By: Jennifer Cazzola The holidays are a time to celebrate with our family and close friends but often times our schedule is so overloaded with holiday parties, shopping, and entertaining, that the season can pass by without spending quality time with our loved ones. Not to mention the fact that gift giving can be more of a financial burden than a blessing.

Have a pre-holiday tea

Begin the Christmas season with an intimate afternoon tea. Tea fare need not be fancy or expensive. It can be as elaborate as scones and finger sandwiches, or as simple as a single tea cake. In addition to an assortment of teas, provide coffee, and perhaps punch or sparkling cranberry juice for the non-tea drinkers among your With that in mind, here are a guests. Light lots of scented few ways that will give the gift candles, play some soft music of quality time together, that (Thomas Newman’s Little Women Soundtrack is a good one) shouldn’t break your budget. and provide an atmosphere of peace and tranquility where guests can visit and reconnect before the holiday rush sets in.

Follow Jennifer Cazzola at Black Fox Homestead





If schedules are already beginning to Christmas baking load while enjoying fill, consider allowing guests to come a nice visit with friends. However, it and go at their leisure. can be the gateway to a sugar overload at a time when neighbors are already bequeathing you with tins of Organize a Skating Party holiday fudge. If you feel you might Whether you are fortunate to live be cookie-ed out over the holidays near a picturesque pond, or an out- consider a soup exchange or even a door rink, invite your guests for an casserole exchange instead. afternoon of skating together. Bring along a basket of scarves and mit- Invite a small, intimate gathering of tens to keep warm, as well as a ther- friends to bring a batch of favorite mos (or two) of hot cocoa. Extend soups or casseroles and a visit over the afternoon by inviting everyone a cup of coffee or cocoa. Allow eveback to your home for chili or beef ryone to leave with enough healthy stew and old fashioned board games food to get them (and you) through such as Yahtzee, Monopoly, or Sorry. the rest of the holiday season. Don’t

Host a Cookie Exchange Cookie exchanges are the most popular and obvious way to lighten the

forget to ask everyone to include a hand written recipe with their offering.



Host a Gift Wrapping Party Some Things to Consider in A gift wrapping party is another Advance way to lighten what can be a heavy load while getting in a visit. Provide a large table, a few snacks, and a marathon of classic Christmas flicks. You and your friends can enjoy the time together while accomplishing a mammoth task that is often put off until the last minute.


Holiday schedules begin to fill quickly. Schedule your event and contact your guests as soon as possible. In an era of email and Facebook a handwritten invitation sent by post can be a gift in and of itself. To lighten your load and expense, allow guests to pitch in with the food.


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1840 Farm Chocolate Crinkle Cookies By Jennifer Burcke


hen I think back to the holidays of my childhood, I have wonderfully warm memories of time spent in the kitchen with the women that helped shape my life. As a very young child, I recall sitting on the kitchen counter watching as my Mom made fudge each Christmas season. It seemed like magic to watch as the butter melted with the chocolate and then gradually became rich and thick. Years later, my Grandmother took the lead role in our family’s holiday baking and turned out beautiful cookies. They ranged from light, airy meringues to hand rolled Rugelach. Each cookie was different and when gathered together, they were an impressive display for the eyes and taste buds. We have continued the tradition here at 1840 Farm. We make fudge, candies, and cookies to mark the holidays. Each recipe sparks a memo-

ry from my childhood or my husband’s. As my children grow older, each bite helps to strengthen a memory that they are continuing to write with each passing year. When it comes to the chocolate crinkle cookies that we make each season, I reach for my grandmother’s recipe card box. I can walk through the memories of my childhood by simply reading the recipes stored inside.  When I reach the handwritten recipe for her chocolate crinkles, it is as if I have welcomed her into our farmhouse kitchen. As my children roll each cookie in its powdered sugar coating, I find it impossible to repress a smile.  I know that decade earlier, my grandmother had stood in her kitchen carefully rolling each cookie in powdered sugar before sliding the baking sheet into the oven.  Three generations later, her grandchildren are visiting her memory by doing the same. FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


Holiday Treat from 1840 Farm


’ve made no secret that this recipe brings back a flood of childhood memories for me. I substitute Ovaltine chocolate malt powder for half of the cocoa called for in the original recipe.  The malt adds a depth of flavor that my family enjoys even if the malt flavor itself is very understated.  If you prefer, you may omit the Ovaltine and double the amount of coco powder.  If you do, I would add another 1/4 cup of granulated sugar to the dough in order to balance out the increase in bitterness from the unsweetened cocoa powder.


1840 Farm Chocolate Crinkle Cookies makes 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients: • 1/2 cup (60 grams) powdered sugar • 1 stick (4 ounces) butter, softened • 1 cup (192 grams) granulated sugar • 6 Tablespoons (30 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder • 6 Tablespoons (33 grams) Ovaltine chocolate malt powder


• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract • 2 large eggs • 1 2/3 cup (200 grams) All-purpose flour • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Add the flour, baking powder and salt in one addition and mix just until combined. If time allows, the dough may be chilled in order to make forming the balls of dough a less messy task.


Form approximately 1 Tablespoon of dough into a ball, repeating until all Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahr- of the dough has been formed into enheit. Line two baking sheets with balls.  nonstick liners or parchment paper.  Roll each ball in powdered sugar Place powdered sugar in a shallow and place on a cookie sheet spacing pie plate or casserole dish.  Set aside cookies about 2 inches apart from as you prepare the cookie dough. each other.  Cream the butter and sugar togeth- Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes er using a mixer or food processor.  or until the surface of the cookie is puffed and cracked.  Remove the Add the cocoa, Ovaltine powder and cookies from the oven and set aside vanilla and blend before adding the to cool for 15 minutes.  eggs and mixing until fully incorporated.  Remove from the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool completely.  Enjoy!

Follow Jennifer Burcke at 1840 Farm



Handmade Homescho By: Carol Alexander FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE

ool Holiday



hen it comes to making Christmas gifts, homeschooling on the homestead provides all kinds of perks. After all, we have the means to create lovely food gifts while we are putting up our own food. Homesteaders tend to accumulate more craft materials than non-homesteaders (or at least the ones I know do). And as homeschoolers, our children have more time to create those gifts than those that go off to school. So this year, start now, and help your kids create some fabulous gifts for their friends and family— homestead style.

Jams and Jellies I’m going to assume that when you put up your jams and jellies this year you did some in half-pint jars. That is the perfect size for gift giving. If you didn’t, try making some now with apples, pears, persimmons, or citrus. Or, use some berries that you put in the freezer. Once you have the jams made, have your child create labels on the computer, decorate the lids with fabric circles tied on with ribbon, and package in bags or baskets.





Jerky As I write this, hunting season is in full swing. The guys on my Christmas list like nothing more than venison jerky in their stockings. Package the gift with a picture of the child and the deer he got. Grandpas and uncles, especially, will like this.

Mixes in a Jar Put the dry ingredients to your favorite baked good in a jar. Write the recipe out on a decorative card and tie to the jar. Give as “Brownie Mix” or “Chocolate Chip Cookies.”

Seeds For the gardener in your life, nothing speaks love more than seeds saved from your favorite heirloom varieties. Gift a jar of your prized canned peppers with a little envelope of the seeds tied on. Cut out a photo and description from a seed catalog and paste on a card.

Corn Husk Dolls This may have been the only doll your great-grandmother owned, but today it is no less special. Look up the directions in a craft book or online and help your little girls make a few for their friends.

Needlework Items Whether you knit, crochet, embroidery, or cross-stitch, any handmade item makes a wonderful gift. With scarves the new fashion statement, any novice can knit a beautiful gift for teen or adult.

Home Video Have relatives that live in a far-away city? What better gift than a glimpse into life on the farm. Make short movies of normal farm life—collecting eggs, hog butchering, milking, making cheese, splitting firewood, and the like. Combine them on a DVD with other movies of the kids doing the things kids do—playing instruments, acting out skits, making crafts, or playing games.

Greeting Cards Using leaves, pressed flowers, seeds, or potato stencils, create a set of greeting cards. Combine in a basket with a nice pen, a book of stamps, and a rubber stamp monogram for a complete gift.



Fire Starters

as gifts to the mushroom lovers in your family. The spawn can be purCollect a bunch of pine cones. Driz- chased online. zle them with melted wax and sprinkle with glitter. Let dry. Arrange in a basket and give to the friend or rela- Garden Stakes tive with a woodstove or fireplace. Collect wooden strips from a building project and paint with the words: Tomato, cucumber, green bean, Buy some shiitake mushroom spores pumpkin, etc. Give to your gardenand inoculate a few logs. Give them ing friend.

Shiitake Mushrooms



Herbal Products

Coupon Book

Make herbal salves, lip balm, tinc- The coupons can be handmade works ture, vinegar, or tea bags to give for of art, or done on the computer. EiChristmas. ther way, make at least 10 coupons for things like homemade bread, a dozen eggs, a quart of raw milk, Play Dough homemade butter, a basket of tomaFor the children on your list, or toes, or other things you produce on for your children to make for their the homestead. Staple the coupons friends, make a big batch of home- together to make a little booklet. Put made play dough. Divide up and the booklet into a canning jar and color it in different colors. Package surround with nuts, beans, candies, in discarded baby food jars. or something else equally delicious. While creating all these wonderful gifts, don’t forget the decorations Have any vintage tea towels lying and wrappings. Nothing highlights a around? Sew a wide ribbon on the homestead Christmas like creative side to make a waistband and tie wrapping or homemade ornaments. and you have an apron. Of course, you can do this with any dish towel, if you want to buy new ones.





A BEGINNERS GUIDE TO HOMESCHOOLING Many homesteaders homeschool their children. The reasons vary, but primarily,homeschooling parents want the same as every other parent, a chance to educate their children in order to make them happy, well-rounded, productive adults. A lot of parents want to homeschool their children, but feel the process is too daunting. We recently spoke with Jack Hatfield of the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools (SCAIHS) — one of the few government agencies in the country dealing directly and primarily with homeschooling — who answered some questions for us and helped demystify the process. Send your questions about homeschooling to and we will do our best to answer them in our homeschooling column. FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE

Why do parents choose to home school their children? This, in my opinion, is the most understood area of homeschooling. What was once seen as a pariah is now becoming the norm. Homeschooling is the fastest growing segment of education today. The reasons are going to vary — religious (or not taught enough about their religion), not getting enough teaching, or simply desiring a new approach to topics than presented in schools. Children all over the world learn differently and when you can give them the approach that they desire to learn, it changes everything. Also, if the child has any learning differences or hindrances. We are seeing a MASSIVE growth in homeschooling for the reason to opt out of the common core curriculum.


Is homeschooling expensive? Ah, the wonderful exposure of this is needed. The average public or government school child costs $9963 per year. The average homeschooler costs the parent $500 per year. This should strike a major chord with every concerned citizen. Homeschoolers are usually far and above (their publicly schooled peers) in most categories yet this mark is achieved with far less dollars thrown at the solution. When you realize that, it really creates a paradigm shift in the public school argument — Where does all the money really go? Now, don’t get me wrong, a parent can spend as much as they wish, and if they have the means and can enrich the lives of their own children — perfect!

Homeschool Fact: Dr. Gary Knowles (1991) studied more than 1,000 Michigan adults who had been homeschooled. A full 94% said that homeschool helped prepare them to be independent persons, and 79% said that it helped them to interact with those from other levels of society. FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE




What is the workload like for home school teachers and students?

Do you know of any resources parents can use to create a curriculum?

This is going to vary depending on how much the parent wants to work the student and of course, how much the student will be able to handle. They can work as little as 4 hours a day 5 days a week, or go 3 hours a day non-stop. The parent and child can also decide what days to work or work double time to have some time off.

If by create, you mean compile, there are hundred’s of websites that can help you with this. We, here at SCAIHS, actually have counselors that will help put the best curricula in your hands that will get your child on the path he/she has chosen. A lot of homeschoolers do what is called eclectic, whereas, they have one company for math and another for English. They get to choose the one All of the scheduling options for they like and is the most effective. schooling are there, whereas in the public school, cars line up at a cer- What is the biggest tain time, and miss a day requires misconception about catch-up. You get sick one day in hohomeschooling? meschooling, you just start the next SOCIALIZATION! (The belief that) day where you were. only in public school are you ever sorted by age and learn only the social aspects of that age group.

Bring Learning Home with Oak Meadow Exploring educational alternatives for your child? Let Oak Meadow help you bring the heart of learning back home. Since 1975, Oak Meadow has crafted imaginative, experiential homeschooling curriculum for children in kindergarten to grade 12. Rekindle your child’s spark for learning with: a wealth of learning options to fit your child’s interests, • talents, and style the flexibility to create a self-paced, joyful education at •home (or on the road!) • a treasure’s worth of homeschooling resources and an extensive web of support through our multiple social media channels

• beautiful, accessible, and affordable materials

Oak Meadow’s curriculum can be used independently or through our fully accredited, teacher-supported distance learning school. Visit or call 802-251-7250 to speak with one of our friendly and knowledgeable educational counselors. Bring the heart of learning back home today.



Homeschoolers are now doing co- §59-65-47. Home School Associaops, field trips, choir, sports and all tions (“Third Option”) This gives hokinds of socialization. meschoolers a wide variety of home school associations under which to conduct their schooling. What about the legal

aspects? Are there general requirements for homeschooling parents should be aware of?

This will vary from state to state. The laws of South Carolina are as follows: §59-65-40: The Local School District (“First Option”): This option provides protection to homeschoolers under the auspices of their local school district. §59-65-45. South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools (Second Option): SCAIHS was the first legal alternative to district approval to home school. FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE

You also must possess a GED or high school diploma as a parent, generally.

How many days a week should parents home school their children? Can you elaborate on your answer please? Again, this is answered inside the scheduling mindset of the parent and the child. The law (in South Carolina) is 180 days, 4 hours average instruction. It is up to the parent and the child to fit that in any way they desire!


Outside of childcare concerns, does one parent have to stay at home for homeschooling, or can both parents work? Why or why not?

This is becoming more of a life decision parents are making. They are changing their lifestyles in sacrifice for the education of their children versus accepting the role of the public school system as a majority caretaker. Many families do in fact, have dual working roles, but sometimes they change shifts and sometimes they just put off the instruction until later in the evening. When you really want something, you find a way to make it work.

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about homeschooling or is new to homeschooling?

Other bits of advice: Do not compare your child with any others (in your own family or outside it), and do not compare yourself with other home schooling parents. Your child, your children, are totally unique, and so are you. Teach each child as the individual he/she is. The beauty of home schooling is that you can do just that. My advice to home schooling parents would be to enjoy this time with your children. Make learning fun and exciting. Your children will thank you some day for home schooling them. You are teaching your students much more than academics. Academic achievements are temporal; the spiritual life is eternal. Major on the spiritual, but do an honorable job of teaching academics.” The piece of advice I offer more than any other is to take the time to enjoy this opportunity, to get to know your child, and to appreciate him or her for who they are. Take the time to develop a clear reason that you are homeschooling and a vision for where you are headed (hopefully in the direction God is leading), and then never lose sight of those things. It can be very easy to become distracted or sidetracked along the way, but periodically stepping back to see the big picture will help you to stay the course in the difficult times. Give your children words of encouragement every day.

Generally – anyone can homeschool. Before you make that leap, however, make a good assessment as to the why’s and the how’s. Are you a parent who needs strict oversight? Are you ready to make the sacrifices necessary? It is best to write your reasons and goals down so that you have a great reference on those days when you are quietly screaming at the world – “No more, I can’t take it”. Prepare and understand those days may come, but the love of your child and the fact that you get to witness their growth and learning processes For more information about SCAIHS will make every bit of the journey visit their website here. sweeter! FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


Off the Grid Kids By: Bianca Neill

Homesteading and homeschooling work well together FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


rowing up a homeschool student myself, I understand all the benefits of homeschooling from a child’s perspective.


Being outdoors makes you more focused, keeps you more peaceful

Now that I am teaching my own, my Most kids today spend 7 hours more understanding of its benefits is on academics and 2 hours less on complete. outdoor activities per week than they It is especially wonderful to have did 20 years ago. We spend several them as part of our growing home- hours of our day, and do most of our stead plans, with so much work to schooling outdoors. This keeps kids be done and so much opportunity engaged, regulated and — most imfor learning. It is neat to see the in- portantly — happy to learn! tricate role the kids will play in its success, for a “grid-less” kid there Everyone has a role is no “someday when I’m done with Before the industrial revolution, most school, I will learn to be a farmer/ children had a real and vital role in gardener/thinker.” there family and farm. Homeschooling on any sized homestead — urInstead they become what most ban or rural — gives kids a sense kids have to wait until adulthood to of belonging and develops maturity experience: Responsibility, freedom and responsibility. and hands-on learning. Here are my top reasons Homesteading and homeschooling work well together:

Cultivating self reliant kids

We are the information age, yet, very few children today know how Learning by doing to be self reliant, and by that, I don’t A homestead provides so many natu- just mean the ability to grow someral learning experiences for children, thing or raise an animal. and — with a little creativity — it is its own kind of curriculum. A garden I mean simply being alone in nature plot my need to be measured and with their own ideas, without a smart plotted for a math lesson. Perhaps phone or friends or a TV program to that would spark a study of how na- watch. Very few children can just tive Americans grew and harvested “be.” Today it is a practice that not food for a history lesson. Identifying only balances a child’s stress levels a sick animal from the flock allows but also allows them time for creafor a quick science lesson. It is a ho- tive thought and innovations of their listic style of learning which uses life own. applications. FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE



Sandor Katz:

THE FERMENTATION ARTIST Sandor Katz, author of The Art of Fermentation, which has become the bible for home fermenters all over the world.

Bestselling book on fermentation

Sandor Katz spent the first years of his professional life first as a school teacher, a community organizer and as a municipal policy consultant in New York city. Then, in 1993, he moved to the wilds of Tennessee and became a member of an off-theFROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE

grid extended community in Canon County. But first, he had a major life upheaval. “The moment everything shifted was in August 1991. I tested positive for HIV,” he said. After that, he knew he had to make a change. “I had this year of feeling something huge had

to change in my life,” he said. He visited the community in Canon County a few times and just went with it. “It was a complete surprise,” he said. After that, Mr. Katz started milking goats and gardening. Suddenly, he was faced


with an abundance of fresh food from his garden. “I wasn’t practicing any fermentation until then,” he said. So he started fermenting his food. He started making sauerkraut and sour pickles and yogurt and all manner of fermented foods. He got so into it, his friends named him Sanderkraut. He started teaching classes on fermentation. The first one was held in 1998. It was called Food for Life. “From the first time I did it, there was a sense of finding my calling,” he said. He published his first book on fermentation, Wild Fermentation, in 2003. Then he published The Art of Fermentation, which has become the bible for home fermenters all over the world and a best seller. Since beginning his admittedly long journey into becoming a best selling author and a teacher, Mr. Katz ha reintroduced fermentation to people all over the world, giving them a chance to bring back a tradition that left West-



Kefir is a fermented milk drink that is easily digested and made with kefir grains. It originated in the Caucasus Mountains and is slightly alcoholic. The kefir grains are a symbiotic culture of yeast and beneficial bacteria.

ern kitchens in the 20th Century. His classes and workshops are simple and dynamic, allowing students and attendees a glimpse into a process that used to be part of everyday life.

“I’ve always been interested in how you explain things to people in a way they can understand,” he said. During his classes, he gives students a glimpse into the microscopic life of ferFROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


mentation. Through the years he’s managed to put together an extensive knowledge of the microbiology behind fermented foods and at the same time he’s able to give students an “easy in.” He teaches the basics of fermentation, his book goes into greater detail and students walk away prepared to at least make a little sauerkraut and maybe even more. “During the 20th Century, certainly food production moved further and further away from the kitchen,” he said. “Most people were pretty content not to have to do that stuff.” For him, bringing fermentation back to the kitchen is a way to bring a deeper connection to people and their food, hopefully making them healthier in the process. “Food is the embodiment of a web of relationships,” he said. Mr. Katz said fermented foods have a lot of benefits for people. “Preservation is a practical benefit of fermentation. Cheddar cheese is exactly the kind of food you could eat off of for months without refrigeration.” In addition, fermentation “pre-digests” food, making it easy to absorb nutrients, helps make some nutrition more available, introduces beneficial bacteria to the body and helps remove toxins from food. And, Mr. Katz says, it’s surprising easy and safe. “You don’t have to be fearful,” he said. “You don’t have to buy anything special to make this food.” Whether people know it or not, many of the foods people enjoy now are fermented. “Chocolate is fermented, coffee is fermented, vanilla is fermented,” FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE

he said. “what fills the shelves and cases of gourmet food stores are the products of fermentation.” Sandor Katz no longer lives in an offthe-grid community, but he is still in Tennessee. He still travels the world, preaching the gospel of fermentation. And he’s still fascinated with the process. Currently, he’s got fermented foods working at his home, including a 55 gallon drum of fermented vegetables. He shows no signs of stopping, having taken a long, winding journey to find his calling/ ““I haven’t had too many regrets in the whole thing,” he said.

How to get started fermenting Sandor Katz teaches people how to make sauerkraut during his classes. The recipe is almost too easy. At its basic level, there are only two ingredients: A head of cabbage and about 1 and a half tablespoons of salt. Shred the cabbage, stir in the salt and then squeeze it, until you get enough liquid that a hand full of cabbage acts like a wet sponge, dripping liquid as you press it. Then, pack the mix into a mason jar. Cap it off and let it sit on the counter, Mr. Katz says and every morning, “burp” the jar, cracking the lid just enough to release gas — a natural by-product of fermentation. Mr. Katz is always asked when its done. For him, it starts being done soon. He’s eaten sauerkraut three days after packing it and months after packing it. It really depends on a


person’s individual taste. To find out what your limit is, when you make it, start tasting it a few days after starting. If it tastes good, then stick it in the fridge. The low temperatures will halt the fermentation process and the product will last for months. Then, as soon as you’re hooked on the process (and you’ll probably get at least a little bit hooked) you can start experimenting. “There’s no vegetable you couldn’t incorporate,” Katz said. The process lends itself to beets, onions, carrots — any number of vegetables. Each one will add its own unique taste to the final product. You can also expand to other fermented foods — kimchi, kefir and kombucha — to name a few. As you get more into fermenting, you

can purchase a fermenting crock, which can produce liters of product at a time. Or you can make your own. Many containers lend themselves to fermentation, but Mr. Katz says to avoid metal. The acids produced during fermentation can cause rust and oxidation, creating bad flavors. Keep the material covered. Many fermenting crocks come with special lids to keep out oxygen. You can also cover it with a cloth, which keeps insects and dust out of the mixture. If you find any white material on top of the mix, don’t worry. Mr. Katz said it was just a sign of healthy bacterial culture growth. Just scoop it off when you see it or before you put it in the refrigerator. For more information on Sandor Katz visit



Sandor Katz’s Sauerkraut Ingredients: • 1 cabbage (about 3 pounds) • 2 carrots • 1 red onion • 1 and ½ to 2 tablespoons of salt (any kind) Directions: Chop or shred the vegetables. Add the salt. Press or squeeze the mixture until soaking wet. Pack into a jar or crock and set aside for several days to several months, depending upon taste.





A LETTER TO MY SON ON THE DEATH OF HIS DOG Steven Jones, lives with his family on a homestead in North Carolina. He records his experiences in this column Dear Son, its fleshy prison and moves into another Recently, your dog, Fred, a Mountain existence, sometimes better, sometimes Feist, was run over and killed. He was a worse and sometimes, according to some beautiful dog and utterly devoted to you belief systems, an existence which apin a way that only happens with an animal pears to be pretty much the same. a few times in a person’s life. In some belief systems, the idea is this I am more sorry for your loss than you aspect is able to return to earth, clothed may ever know. It was of great comfort in a new body, born again to right wrongs to me to know a sensitive and lovely boy or try to do life a little bit better than last such as yourself would find companion- time. This is a personal favorite of mine, ship with such a worthy animal, an honor as there is something workmanlike in the I felt you both deserved and needed. idea that our immortal selves are just tryBecause of this loss, your mother asked ing to get a job done and are determined me to write a column about death. to come back and complete the task. I suspect, since she was present when Scientifically speaking -- and you must we found Fred’s body, she wanted me to write this col- I am more sorry for your loss than you may ever umn as much for her benefit know. It was of great comfort to me to know a as for yours. sensitive and lovely boy such as yourself would find Death is difficult to define, companionship with such a worthy animal, an honor as dependent on philosophy I felt you both deserved and needed. and religion as it is on medical science. But, essentially, all three disciplines seem know I am a fan of science, generally – to believe that death is the end of this life. basically life is a series of seemingly magiWhat happens next is entirely dependent cal systems which work together to create on whom you ask. an organism which is considered “alive” Most of the world’s religions believe in (which is a concept that is probably more some unending portion of existence: The difficult to define than death). soul, the atman, the essence, etc. The basic When these functions cease, life then concept being, that upon death, this im- ceases, resulting in death. mortal aspect of living things transcends At that point, science tells us the atoms FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE



e was a beautiful dog and utterly devoted to you in a way that only happens with an animal a few times in a person’s life.

and molecules which compose our existence, and the systems which support that existence, become part of other systems: Bacterial systems, fungal systems and even the ecosystems of vertebrates and invertebrates that feed on our remains. Both viewpoints – religious and scientific – pretty much agree that in some ways death is the end, and in some ways, death is a beginning. Religiously speaking, death is the beginning of an afterlife. Scientifically speaking, death is the beginning of the disbursement of the atomic “stuff” which makes up our bodies and consciousness. It may be of some comfort to know that death, in many ways is a transition, no matter your belief system. Unfortunately, however, it does not change the fact that death, especially for creatures such as ourselves, who know of the impending end of our life and the lives of our loved ones, is a hard and irrefutable fact.

Everything – people, animals, plants, the planet, even the sun and the universe itself – will someday die, that is, come to an irrefutable end. This fact seems particularly cruel when we are in mourning, or faced with our own demise. And, whether you ultimately choose science, religion or a combination of the two, it cannot change the fact that at some point in time (perhaps very recently in your case) you will wonder why living things must die. Again, there are religious and scientific answers for this question. I’m sure you have some passing knowledge of why: Because thousands of years ago, the first humans in existence did something (in a supernatural sense) to cause death to come upon us or because the genetic material which defines our makeup determines that it must be so, in order to allow changes which account for the existence of our species to occur. FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


For me, and I suspect for just about anyone who thinks long enough about this question, these answers are ultimately unsatisfying. ****** I didn’t fear death, truly fear death, until you were born. The very second I held your tiny, squalling body in my arms, I looked down upon you and knew I would never love anything as much as I loved my children. The second life altering realization I had was that I would someday die and that irrefutable fact would take me from my children. As that fear and joy settled uncomfortably and welcome on my shoulders, like a stranger’s coat, I looked down at your bloody, wrinkled body and I wept. Since then, I watched you grow, and I tried to become a better person to be a better father. During that time, after thinking about my death, I came to a conclusion: Although I may never know why I – and everything else that lives – must die, it really does not matter. This is something I simply accept. Death is ultimately unimportant. Well, maybe not unimportant, but much less important than living.

The insignificance of our death pales in comparison to the things we do: Plant gardens, raise children, love each other, have some fun, do good work and care about things that matter to us. Even though, ultimately, our lives, and the universe, grind to and end, nothing about death changes what we do when we are alive. Religiously speaking, what we do when we are alive determines, to some extent, what happens when we are dead. Scientifically speaking, everything we come in contact with, from the photons of light which bounce off our bodies to the heat generated as we breath, continues on, in some form or another, forever altered by our existence. And that may be some comfort to you, maybe not right now, but maybe later: The time we spend on this earth, and everything we do with it, matters on a truly cosmic level. So while our time with each other, the world and devoted little dogs must come to an end, please know, this time is important, special and to be cherished. When it does end, mourn it and remember it fondly. If you do these things then, hopefully, someday, you will understand why death is just an insignificant part of life and can act accordingly.

No matter what the belief systems, be they scientific or religious, everyone pret- I love you. ty much agrees life, and what we do with it, matters. Your father FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


from scratch magazine • 81 FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE






couple years ago when arctic northern NY where we live). we bought the farm, the Their small height makes them a intention was never to great size to work with and feed is have sheep. I am a veg- minimal which is great while grain

etarian and dreamt of large gardens prices are always on the rise. Our with plump tomatoes and squash- sheep graze and only eat grain from es. Never in my wildest dreams did our hands as a treat, which makes I think I would find myself a shep- them inexpensive keepers! herd! When my husband brought up After the sheep moved in I started the idea of getting sheep I started my journey in trying to spin wool. researching breeds ( My father had been an avid spinwas very helpful). I came across the ner for as long as I can remember, profile for the Olde English South- coincidentally. He was very generdown Babydoll sheep and instantly ous, lending me a wheel and wool fell in love. They are a small, herit- to work with, and offering up help in age breed of sheep originating from getting started. Spinning is a wonEngland with teddy bear faces and derful way to start in fiber arts, it is very soft and warm wool (great for the gateway from sheep to sweatFROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


er and offers endless capabilities to eos online and before I knew it I was turn your fleece into beautiful wear- hooked! My children loved putting in ables! I did not have the patience their requests for a bunny, or peaor free time — with a new baby — cock, or teddy bear. The more you to master spinning right of the bat. work with the wool the more enjoyI started doing some research and able it becomes. The only danger is found needle felting.

poking yourself with the very sharp

Needle felting is the art of using and barbed needles. You can needle a small barbed needle to felt and felt figures such as birds, or snowsculpt fibers into shapes. It is a fun men on their own by rolling the wool craft with endless possibilities. You into shapes and poking the wool in can begin a project with less than a place, the more you poke the neefive dollar investment. The needles dle into the wool the more dense it are easily found online or in local becomes in that area. You can neecraft stores for a small cost, aside dle felt items as appliqués on other from the needle and wool of course, felt, sweaters, or coats by placing you need a sponge to hold under the the wool in the area you would like project and protect your work sur- and poking through the wool into face. I started watching how to vid- the surface where you would like it FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE

to stay. I found needle felting to be very therapeutic and I love that I can take it anywhere. I bring roving and my felt gear to every farmer’s market and craft fair I do. I began needle felting when my youngest daughter was tiny, I would take her out at nap time in her stroller and sit in the pasture with the sheep and needle felt. This helped them get used to me being around, and trust me, plus it provided great inspiration for what I could felt next! Basically anywhere you are sitting or standing still you can be needle felting! Some projects are started by wet felting an item, dryer balls, purses, head bands etc. and then needle felted on for decoration. Wet felting is another fun process using soap, hot, and cold water, and some elbow grease to felt the fibers together. This process works great for larger pro


Click here to find out more about Michelle Stephens and Sweet Pea Farm. jects. We shear, wash, and card our for their fiber. On any scale, urban or own wool here on the farm which rural there are options for you to be helps keep the cost of our projects able to raise your own fiber animals very low.

to produce your very own fiber arts.

After the wool is washed, dried, and It is such a rewarding feeling to be carded it can be dyed easily in your a part of the process from start to own kitchen with Kool Aid, Rit dye, finish! and natural dyes — such as berries Even if you do not have the time to and beets — to give you a fun color care for fiber animals there are nupalette to work with.

merous woolen mills out there that

Aside from wool there are a number offer wool roving and bats to work of fibers you can work with. Alpaca with. is a wonderful fiber that people can The cooler winter months are a great work with often even if they are al- time to try your hand at a new fiber lergic to wool!

art. I love making Christmas orna-

Angora goats produce a wonderful ments and custom holiday gifts for lustrous fiber, and there are a num- those hard to buy for people on my ber of rabbit breeds that are raised Christmas list. FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE




DIY HYPERTUFA SINK Chris McLaughlin A perfect DIY gift for the holidays

Hypertufa sinks or troughs made of faux rock are interesting and natural-looking containers. If your heart is with food gardens, they make excellent herb containers for your yard or patio. But they’re probably at their best when they’re showing off succulents, cacti, small alpines, and dwarf conifers. Hypertufa is meant to imitate real tufa, which is a naturally occurring


porous rock. It’s not easy to find, and when you do — it’s expensive. While there are some lovely ones on the market, I think that making your own sink design is worthwhile. Plus, if get the kids in on the action with this project they can become holiday gifts. There are many versions of the hypertufa recipe, but this one is easy and straightforward.




{MATERIALS LIST} For Safety: • Thick disposable gloves • Dust mask • Goggles For the Project: • Dishpan or another tub for mixing • Cardboard box for the primary mold • Smaller cardboard box for the center of the mold • Dowels • Hand trowel • Cotton fabric • Wire brush • Water • 1 part Portland cement • 1 part perlite • 1 part dry peat (finely sieved) Optional Items: • 1 part fine builder’s (concreting) sand (you can add the sand if you’d like to make the sink a little heavier and more durable) • Fiber mesh bonding agent (again, this will help prevent the sink from cracking or braking in areas that reach extremely low winter temperatures)



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{DIRECTIONS} Please put on your goggles, dust mask, and gloves so you won’t irritate your skin, eyes, or lungs. Mix one part each of the Portland cement, perlite, and peat (and the sand if you’re adding it). Also, if you’re adding the fiber mesh, do that now.

5. Once the sides have been filled to the top, make the piece of fabric wet and cover the project. 6. After 36 hours, dig your fingernail into the trough. If you can make a dent, leave the trough alone for several more hours and try again. When it takes something as strong as a screwdriver to scrape it, then you can remove the sink from its cardboard mold.

1. First blend the dry ingredients well with your hands. Get all around 7. At this point, you want to use the the sides to be sure that everything wire brush on the sides to give it is blended as evenly as possible. texture. 2. Add enough water to the dry mix so that when it’s squeezed, it holds its shape and yet doesn’t drip water; it should look like cottage cheese. Your hand trowel can help mix at first, but most people end up using their hands.

8. Now place the trough in a shady area for two-and-a-half to three weeks.

9. After this final curing time, be sure that the lime from the Portland cement is leached fairly well from the sink. Fill it for the next week or so 3. Fill the bottom of the larger box and let the water drain out, and it’ll with 1[dp] to 2[dp] of the mix. take the lime with it. Spread it out evenly and then take the dowels and make a couple of You can make your trough(s) under drainage holes at the bottom. a protected area during the winter. Leave them there to harden for 4. Take the smaller box and center it a week or so. After they’ve cured inside the larger one. You can pour completely, place them outside until some sand in the smaller box for the spring. This will let the rain can weight and stability if you’d like. Add leach the lime out of them before the hypertufa mix into the crevices they’re planted. A stand-alone hybetween the first box and the sec- pertufa garden is great all by itself, ond to build the sides of the trough. but they’re really special in a group setting, so feel free to make several.





Chicken Scratch with Lisa Steele Ask the Chicken Expert


I’ve noticed recently that my younger hens that I just hatched this past spring have started crouching down when I come near them. Do you know why they are doing this? FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE

A: What you’re seeing is the Sub-

missive Squat. Pullets (hens under a year old) who are just about ready to start laying will freeze in place, bend their legs and flatten their wings and backs to show their submission to a rooster, alpha hen, or in this case,


you, because they view you as dominant. This is a sign of their sexual maturity, and a sign that you should start seeing eggs from them pretty soon. First year layers generally lay well through their first winter even without adding light to the coop to increase the hours of daylight.


The guy at the feed store told me that I should be feeding my chickens scratch over the winter. What exactly is scratch?

A: Scratch, or scratch grains, is a

blend of various grains usually including oats, cracked corn and barley. Not to be confused as a substitute for your regular layer feed,

instead you can supplement your flock’s diet in the winter months with some scratch grains just before dark. Digesting the grains overnight helps to keep them warm on cold nights, plus they love them. The grains are not nutritionally balanced or complete though, so should only be considered at treat and comprise no more than 10% of your chickens’ daily food allowance. To help you judge the amount to feed, a laying hen eats approximately half a cup of food a day, more in winter, less in summer and less if they are allowed to free range. You can buy commercial scratch or make your own blend using various seeds and grains including millet, sunflower seeds unsalted peanuts or other nuts, raisins or flax seed.

Happy Hen Treats Premium Treats for Chickens Visit us online to find a dealer near you! FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


The Colored Egg Homestead Tell us about the Colored Egg Homestead:

Why did you start homesteading?

Our journey into homesteading slowly snowballed into what it is today. A few plants in a small garden that continued to get a little bit larger with each passWhat do you grow? ing season. I enjoy digging in the dirt with my children, We grow a little of everywatching their eyes light thing. This year we grew Lettuce, Spinach, Eggplant, up with wonder when we harvest something that we Bell Peppers, Banana Pephave nurtured from a seed. pers, Jalapeños, Cucumbers, Squash, Green Beans, Then came the chickens. Its and 5 varieties of tomatoes. true what they say, chickens are indeed the gateway to a We also have a small bed farming lifestyle. I’ll never of strawberries and various forget the day my son, who herbs around the property was about 5 at the time including basil, dill, rosemary, mint and lemon balm. said, “You know Mom, with our garden and chickens I enjoy growing flowers we almost have all the food alongside our vegetables. we need right here in our Marigolds, Nasturtiums, backyard, maybe one day Cone flowers and Sunflowwe won’t even need to go to ers are some of my fathe grocery store anymore.” vorites. Colored Egg Homestead is our little farm in the city. We are located in Jacksonville, NC.





What kind of animals do you raise? We have a mixed flock of laying hens who lay various colored eggs — hence the name, Colored Egg Homestead. We also have a pet mini Rex rabbit, a couple cats and a 70lb lap dog. We would love to have a few goats but unfortunately we are restricted from doing so by city ordinances. Do you have a day job? What do you do? Raising kids and chickens and tending our little farm is my day job. I work evenings and weekends at a veterinary emergency hospital. I am a Certified Veterinary Assistant FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE

and have been working in the veterinary field since 2000. When did you start blogging? Why? I created the Colored Egg Homestead Facebook page in February 2013 to give friends and family a break from the constant onslaught of chicken, egg and plant pictures I was posting on a daily basis. The page also allowed for new friends and acquaintances from various online forums and local classes/events to be able to keep in touch with what we are doing here at Colored Egg Homestead. I was totally amazed by the amount of interest the page received. Around the same time I began writing regularly for a local magazine about our homestead and decided that maybe writing a blog was another way to


be able to share and connect with more folks who are interested in the same things that we are. The blog launched in July 2013.

I dream of a few rural acres where we can have goats, more chickens, and more space to grow vegetables & fruit trees.

What are your favorite things about homesteading and blogging?

Tell us about the jewelry you make and how you got started:

I started making jewelry when my I think its pretty clear that I have a daughter was just a baby. I began creating pretty little things for her slight obsession with the chickens. They are such wonderful little crea- and myself to wear. tures. Homesteading though, brings At the suggestion of my friends and family I opened an etsy store in about a unique satisfaction in pro2009. Ktnunna (pronounced “kayducing more and consuming less. tee-none-ah”) has now grown to I enjoy sharing our experiences here at Colored Egg Homestead on carry a wide variety of handmade jewelry and accessories. the blog in hopes to inspire others I have been surprised and humbled to do the same. What are your plans for the future? at the support and encouragement We would love to be able to expand I have received since beginning this little business. Click here to find out Colored Egg Homestead in the fumore. ture and leave the city.

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Creating a Resource Inventory for your Homestead Karen Beaty A resource inventory is a great way to recycle, reuse and upcycle materials to save money and make your homestead more sustainable.


ne of the most invaluable resources I have on my homestead is junk. Useful junk. Have you ever looked inside an old barn? Farmers and ranchers are ex-

perts at holding on to what appears to be junk just in case it someday becomes useful for repairing something else. When the nearest Home Depot is thirty miles away, you don’t just jump in your truck every time you need a two by four or a door hinge. Those of us who homestead in the city or in the suburbs shouldn’t have to make those trips, either. Instead, we can accumulate a nice little resource inventory at home that will provide us with a constant, convenient source of materials for solving problems on the fly at little to no cost.



Click here to learn more about Karen Beaty at FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


What exactly is a resource inventory? A resource inventory is merely a more or less organized accumulation of salvaged materials intended for some future use. Useful materials for homestead use include: food-quality containers,



wire, bricks, stones, gravel, screens, lumber, plywood, pipes, wood pallets, tires, and large sheets of cardboard. You may already have some of these items at home and merely need to organize and/or move them to a more accessible or appropriate FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE

location in order to make them a functional resource inventory.

Why would I want to have these piles of junk a resource inventory? Because, simply put, a resource inventory is going to save you time and money. The more items you salvage and the better you organize them, the more time and money you will save. As Peter Bane explains in The Permaculture Handbook, “a supply of useful material enables many small repair, retrofit or adaptive pro-


jects to be done in odd bits of time with little cost”. Like many folks, my own homestead is maintained and improved almost exclusively in odd bits of time. I make a quick repair to the chicken coop after dinner, I shovel some compost between other chores, or I build tomato cages in my kitchen after the kids go to bed. I have saved many trips to Home Depot by using the materials I have on hand to make repairs. I would always much rather spend an hour at home, in my garden, with my family, or puttering in the yard, than shopping at a big box store (or really any store for that matter).

How do I stock my resource inventory? There are two main sources for stocking your inventory: Your trash and other people’s trash. By “trash” I mean discarded items that you can salvage, wherever they may be found. Recycling bins, curbside trash collection, hand-me-down networks, Freecycle, the Craigslist free listings, and even dumpsters can all provide you with items at no cost. Garage sales, swap meets, thrift stores, and the other Craigslist listings can supply you with items at low cost. I stock my own resource



inventories almost exclusively with them and use them to store food. free salvaged items. I live just out- I save large plastic containers with side the city of Austin, which pro- lids for storing animal feed or carryvides curbside bulky trash pickup ing scraps to the chicken coop. Small twice yearly to all city residents. plastic containers are used to proWhen the neighborhoods nearest me vide water for the cats, store small are scheduled for bulky trash pickup hardware pieces, or hold grit for the I make the rounds in my minivan to chickens. scavenge materials for my homestead. I have picked up hundreds of dollars worth of materials this way

Where do I put my resource inventory?

and I keep all of that “trash” out of When choosing a location for your the landfill. (The “trash” I pick up is resource inventory keep the followperfectly usable building material.)

ing in mind: Organization, accessi-

Don’t forget to salvage items out of bility, protection, and aesthetics. your own trash, too. Instead of recy- In order to be useful your salvaged cling those glass jars with lids, wash junk must be organized in such a FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


treated wood will rot, plastic will get brittle, metal will rust, and rubber will crack.) Finally, you may want to consider the aesthetics of your junk pile, if only to appease those who live with you. Indoor resource inventories can occupy closets, drawers, sheds, or garages. Outdoor inventories can be protected from view by trees, trellises, other buildings, or the garden itself. In the suburbs those useless strips of yard at the sides of every house can make great locations for outdoor inventories. way that you can find pieces when needed. Store items where you can organize them easily, whether that be on shelves, in boxes, or stacked in a yard. Also, store items where they are accessible for future use. Heavy, bulky items should be stored where you can load and unload them by car. If given a choice, store heavy items uphill from their future use. It is easier to move gravel/mulch/ bricks downhill in a wheelbarrow rather than uphill, for example. Keep in mind that some items will need to be protected from the elements in order to maintain their usefulness. (If left unprotected un-

My own homestead’s resource inventory I have several areas on my homestead that qualify as resource inventories. A few examples are:

The Materials Yard-

This is

a fairly large outdoor space adjacent to the vegetable garden and the driveway where I store large materials for future projects. Nearly all of these large materials were salvaged from the trash and brought home in my van. For that reason I located the materials yard adjacent to the driveway where I could easily unload heavy, bulky items. These maFROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


terials include dimensional lumber, port. Because these items are either landscaping


landscaping damaged by rain or are frequently

borders, metal fencing posts, wire needed closer to home, they stay in cattle panels, concrete blocks, rolls the covered carport attached to the of chicken and garden wire, a plas- house. tic pond liner, a salvaged chicken tractor, several dog houses, a rab-

The Workshop-

This is an

bit hutch, and several wooden pal- outdoor room with more protection lets. This is all big, bulky stuff that from the elements than the carport. I don’t want to store directly next to I keep tools and hardware here. I ofthe house because I don’t want to ten salvage hardware such as latchlook at it on a daily basis. Most of es, hinges, and other metal pieces this area is hidden from view of the and then organize them in clear house by trees.

The Carport-

plastic drawers for later use. I keep plywood,

wooden shelving, buckets, old chick-

The Utility Room-

The util-

en feed bags, cans of paint, and small ity room is located inside the house wood scraps under the covered car- adjacent to the kitchen. In addition FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


to serving as the pantry (which is a magnet, or a paper clip. Many small fabulous example of a resource in- homestead problems are solved with ventory), the utility room stores a such small and humble materials. large collection of canning jars, oth- (My husband once repaired a speaker recycled glass jars, recycled plas- er in his car with a twist tie from the tic food containers, and the recycling junk drawer and a twig.) bin itself. I visit the recycling bin when I need a bit of cardboard for Most of us who are hard at work the garden path, a plastic milk jug creating a homestead have already to serve as a killing cone when we begun to collect useful materials in slaughter chickens, or a cardboard one way or another. By changing box to serve as a soap mold.

the way we view the already existing resource inventories around our

The Kitchen Junk Drawer-

homesteads, and by better organiz-

Like I mentioned above, the junk ing them, we can turn what previdrawer is a great place to find some- ously looked like junk or clutter into thing small and helpful like a bit of a valuable stockpile of materials for wire, a rubber band, a clothespin, a future growth. FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


Homestead Resolutions By Steven Jones








just it a lot of behaviors that are fun to

around the corner, which watch and even participate in (try means it is time to make crowing, it will make you feel better, promises to ourselves and I promise). Just be careful: Chickens

then, probably break them.

are so addictive, it is easy to become

People all over the world will vow the crazy chicken keeper. to quit smoking, lose weight, be healthier and more.

Buy more local food

At From Scratch magazine, we con- Unless all of the food you eat is losulted with our staff and put together cally produced, you cannot buy too a list of resolutions that are perfect much. This year, promise yourself for homesteaders, urban farmers and your family you will eat more and anyone who wants to live a little locally grown and produced food. bit better.

You can visit your farmer’s market,

Bonus: These resolutions will prob- join a CSA or even grow it yourself, ably be easier and more fun to keep. if your budget does not allow buying more local food. Even if it is not

Get some chickens

certified organic, buying from local

If you do not already have chickens, farmers and producers is just a good get some. Just about everyone in- idea. It promotes a greater sense of terested in homesteading or small community, will probably be healthscale agriculture can afford a couple ier and helps encourage and supor three chickens. Chickens are the port local growers, leading to an imgateway drug to farming. They re- proved food supply for everyone. It quire very little room, comparative- is almost guaranteed to taste better, ly, do not cost much to feed and pro- too. vide eggs! Just about everyone has chickens (check your local zoning

Visit your extension office



enough space to keep two or three



They are also very entertaining. As sion offices exist in every state in highly social creatures, they exhib- the United States. The Cooperative FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


Extension System is an education

Take a class

program designed to help people The extension offices always have improve their lives. As part of the a variety of classes for individuals USDA, the service is provided by in- to take, usually provided at low or dividual states’ land-grant universi- no cost. The classes can be intenties. The educational offerings are sive as a Master Gardener program usually agricultural, food, home and to as noncommittal as a few hours. family, environmental, community Which means anyone can go and economic development, youth and learn something new about sustain4H.

able agriculture, raising flowers and

Chances are, no matter where you vegetables and pest control. live, there is an extension office If the extension office does not ofnearby that can offer information on fer anything that catches your fancy, a wide variety of subjects, including check out a nearby college or comcrops, pest control and more. They munity college. Take a veterinaralso offer classes, which leads to the ian tech class and learn more about next item...

those chickens you bought. Take a


Call or Order TODAY! 602-568-5191 Copyright © 2013 Roast ‘Em Up!




cooking class and learn how to prepare all that delicious,



food you’re buying now. No matter what, just take a





about the world around you. You’ll fell better about yourself for it.

Plant some herbs Even if you only have a window sill of space available, it is still enough to grow some wonderful medicinal and culinary herbs on (many times they can be the same herbs). You will not believe the difference cooking and using fresh herbs can make in your life. Just knowing that with a little bit of sunshine, soil and water, you can harness the alchemy of nature to make your food taste better is a huge boost in confidence. Soon, you’ll be growing your own vegetables and looking for land out in the country (don’t say we didn’t warn you). FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE




Plant a new vegetable

Start composting

Again, even if you don’t have a lot of Designate a space, either with a few room available, it doesn’t mean you pallets nailed together, or a comcan’t experiment some. This year, mercially available rotating drum, instead of putting tomatoes out on and start composting. Not only does the patio, why not try a new veggie all that great compost make for to try out? We tried rutabagas this wonderful fertilizer, it also helps cut year, and while we’re still unsure of down on the trash you might otherthe success, we do know a lot more wise send off to a landfill. about the brightly-colored plant.

Don’t just throw everything in your

Check with the Extension Office compost bin. Your local extension ofwhen you visit and see if they have ficer, and this website can give you some suggestions. Don’t be afraid some idea of what to do. to be adventurous. The worst that could happen is you don’t like it. If No matter what your homesteading you don’t, you learned something New Year’s Resolutions are, just renew and you have something to add member to engage with your world to your compost bin. Which brings and community and everything will us to...

work out fine. Happy New Year, from everyone here at From Scratch magazine.



Herbal First Aid Kit By Steven Jones




f you are reading this, you prob- ist, she has found hundreds of ways ably worry about chemicals in to treat common ailments, from your food and water and how headaches to scrapes. that impacts your health.

“I don’t use any chemicals,” she said.

So, you grow some of your own food, “I have a menagerie of things in my herbs for cooking, maybe even live- bathroom.” stock for eggs, milk or meat.

Dial put together a short list of some

But what do you do about your medi- of her favorite remedies. You can use cine cabinet?

it to create your own herbal first aid

You may believe when something kit at home. goes wrong — a little ache or minor injury — there is no way to avoid


reaching for the familiar box with the Peppermint has been historically used red cross, grabbing an aspirin or an- at least since the Greek empire. The other drug to deal with your every- plant, which grows easily in most cliday health need.

mates, can be used to treat naseau,

But you’d be wrong.

indigestion and bloating.

There exists a body of knowledge that It can be used as a fresh herb, dried stretches back generations on how to or as an oil use the plants and natural substances “Peppermint oil in my pocket all the to live a healthy life, including treat- time,” Dial said. ing the ailments that strike suddenly She uses it topically to treat headand without warning.

aches resulting from sinus pressure.

And it is not just about avoiding Peppermint creates a cooling sensamodern medicine, it’s about getting tion when applied to the skin. Bein touch with what your body needs, cause of this, peppermint oil can be according to herbalist and radio host used to treat hot flashes. Dial sugRhonda Dial.

gests using 10 drops in two ounces of

“You feed the body the food it needs,” water. The mixture is applied with a she said. “it has the god given ability fine spray mister for hot flashes. to heal itself.”

For stomach issues, take peppermint

After spending 20 years as an herbal- oil capsules orally, or gather some FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


mint from your garden and make neck and shoulders. tea with it. Boil sprigs of mint in two Magnesium, Dial said, can be taken cups of water. Use more or less mint in tablet form or can be absorbed to suit your own taste. After the wa- through magnesium rich foods. ter boils, let the tea steep for about “Dark chocolate is naturally rich in three minutes. Strain out the leaves magnesium,” Dial said. (they can be composted). If you Other foods rich in magnesium inwant to sweeten the tea, try local clude kale, chard, pumpkin seeds honey and a little lemon juice.

and avocado. Magnesium, Dial said, is also good


for menstrual pain and cramps.

“Magnesium is a muscle relaxer,” Dial said.

Activated charcoal

Dial said some headaches can be Activated charcoal, which can be caused by a magnesium deficiency taken in capsule form, can be used which causes stiff muscles in the to rid the body of toxins or poisons. FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


Dial suggests travelers carry it when Add three teaspoons of dried elderthey leave the country to treat di- berry flowers into a half a cup of arrhea, excessive gas or stomach boiling water. Simmer for about ten aches.

minutes, strain and allow it to cool.

Black Elderberry

Pro Biotics

Black Elderberry can be found in “70 percent of your immune system warmer parts of Europe and North is in your large intestine,” Dial said. America. It can be used preventa- As such, she suggests consuming tive, Dial said, to prevent colds and probiotics — either purchased in pill flu.

form, or through foods rich in pro bi-

“That can be taken all winter,” Dial otic material — to help support gensaid.

eral as well as digestive health.

Elderberry can be consumed in con- “You can eat foods that can help with centrated capsules and pills, but you good bacteria: Yogurt, kefir, sauercan also make tea from wild elder- kraut.” she said. berry. FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


Comfrey “That’s




said. Comfrey is an herb that can be cultivated nearly anywhere. Also know as “knitbone” comfrey is used topically to treat bruises, sprains and minor scrapes. The leaves, which are fuzzy, can be applied directly to the skin to promote healing and reduce inflammation. FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE

Most of the time, Dial said, it sticks to the skin, but it can also be held in place with a bandage.

Water Dial said staying hydrated is one of the most important things you can do to promote good health. Staying hydrated helps the bodies mucus membranes do their job, Dial


said, and allows the body’s natural healing process to work.

Bee pollen and “plain old vitamin C” Both these substances can be taken daily to help promote good health and support a healthy immune system Dial said. Editor’s note: As with any health advice, consult a professional before using any treatment which could cause adverse side effects. Remember,



common sense. About Rhonda Dial:

Over 50 ways to study math, science, language, art, home economics, with the chickens, ducks, geese, or turkeys on your homestead.

Rhonda Dial is a Master Herbalist, with over three decades of experience who lives and works in Hoover, Alabama. She teaches classes at Go Natural Herbs weekly, hosts a local television show on an ABC affiliate in Alabama as well as a weekly radio show. FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE

THANK YOU FOR READING FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE. The next issue is February/March 2014


From Scratch Magazine - December 2013/January 2014  

From Scratch Magazine - the online magazine for the modern homesteader.

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