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From Scratch Everything beekeeping





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Some people are always grumbling because Roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have Roses. -Alphonse Karr FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


Contributors CHRIS MCLAUGHLIN Associate Editor Laughing Crow Company

Steven Jones Editor



CAROL J. ALEXANDER Homeschool Editor/ Everything with Carol

Melissa Jones Publisher

Click here for more info The 1550 SPORTSMAN HATCHER incubator is designed to provide optimal hatching conditions. Unlike setting incubators, hatchers usually operate at slightly different temperature and humidity settings to obtain optimum hatch. With five hatching drawers, the 1550 Hatcher will hold the complete setting of the 1500 incubator. For expanding operations, the 1550 can be matched with up to three 1500 incubators. The 1550 can be used to set eggs, but each egg will have to be turned by hand.



Letter from the Editor I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing now. While summer is still a ways away -- officially -- at my house and farmstead, it’s full on. Right now I’ve got about a hundred or so eggplants to transplant, Lord knows how much squash and I am currently trying to increase the amount of land we farm, like some sort of simpleton, I might add.

On top of farm related tasks, I have the work I do for this magazine, the work I do for my local farmer’s market, attempt to keep a home with my wife (and help from my wonderful inlaws, who we are blessed to have with us) and homeschool the children. These are the times that try men’s souls. Or something like that. I cannot remember the line and am honestly too busy to look it up.

If you decide to try and live your life with some sort of awareness of the rhythms of nature, you’re in the same boat. This is the time of year when the flowers start blooming, the bees start buzzing and the harvests start coming in.

That means there’s canning and freezing coming down the tracks like a freight train of work, it’s time to start fighting the insects and diseases that hit your garden and you’ve probably got a ton of work in the household that languishes because of all that other stuff you’re dealing with. On top of all this, Summer is the time when things just HAPPEN: Babies get born, festivals are underway, Farmer’s Markets are hopping, pastures are being expanded, life is just going nuts! But, here’s the secret: It’s all going to be OK.

Do not mistake this as a call for sympathy: It’s not. It’s just a Fact is, for us, and I’m pretty statement of fact. sure for most of you, being overFROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE



Steven and Oliver FATHER AND SON TEAM So enjoy it. Don’t worry. Winter will be here before you know it, and then you will be itching to get something going and won’t know what to do with all that time you have because the snow Sure, it’d be easy to have a 9-to- and ice are keeping you cooped 5 life and nothing more, but up. who wants that? We got into this lifestyle because we wanted This Summer, just try and do more, and while all of us have good, productive work, take day jobs -- and sometimes night good care of yourself and your jobs -- we all dream of doing family and don’t get stressed something a little bit different. because you aren’t the next And that means summer time is Joel Salatin (or Martha Stewart, going to be hectic and stressful or whatever). and busy and more than a little You don’t have to be. You’re doing fine, I promise. fun. whelmed in the summer time, where all that extra daylight gets put to good and proper use, is just part of the fun of homesteading.



the bee issue That which is not good for the bee-hive cannot be good for the bees. - Marcus Aurelius FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE




IN THIS what to do with ISSUE all that honey

top hive beekeeping farmhouse 38 kitchen reno



trayer wilderness

heart opening rose

raising chickens Carol’s Canning Tips

hugelkultur dad germanhomestead raised beds FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


photos from our readers

Photos from Lizzy Lou’s Family Farm FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE




farm house


kate richards












fter six years, eleven months, and a few days, the Farmhouse38 kitchen is officially finished. Finished, except for a range hood, but that’s just me splitting hairs.

107-year-old houses weren’t really built with ‘open-concept’ in mind.

It was immediately apparent to us that we wanted to take it down, not only for better flow, but also for general aesthetics. Imagine our surprise when, while figuring out whether the wall was load bearing or not, we discovered that it was actuOh, the memories…Originally, ally nothing more than a sheet the kitchen was separated from of plywood covered in wallpathe dining room/living room per. It was essentially a prop wall from a middle school play. area by a wall, seeing as how FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE




The kitchen itself wasn’t built much better. What it lacked in counter and cabinet space, it more than made up for in copious amounts of faux brick paneling. Seriously, whoever thought faux brick was a good look? And because the kitchen was built in pre-refrigerator days, the fridge just kind of hung out awkwardly in the middle of the room in everybody’s way.

We were so excited for demolition day. Tearing down unwanted walls is nothing short of a revelation. It was our first real look at how the space was going to end up. It was also the moment when we looked around and wondered how we, or the house, were ever going to be clean again. Drywall followed shortly. So did the moment when we stopped worrying about the house ever being clean, and started worrying FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE




specifically about never being able to rid the place of drywall dust. We are still finding it. The new kitchen, obviously, needed some reconfiguring. First, and foremost, it needed to be bigger, and so we absorbed the bleak room beyond it (maybe it was a dining room? We are still scratching our heads), and vaulted the ceilings. We gained a lot more storage and counter space overall, but most especially on the wall opposite the new sink. Now, not only is there room for a nice, shiny, fridge, but a range, microwave, multiple pantries, and even an appliance garage (I didn’t even know this was a thing, but, oh yes, yes I do adore having a place to park my small appliances). And let’s talk about that sink for a moment…my glorious, humongous, beautifully functional farmhouse sink. It is straight out of my farmhouse dreams.

placed with happy beadboard cut on the diagonal and pieced together to form a zig-zag/ chevron pattern. I was pining for soapstone countertops, but since our budget was having no part of it, our contractor buddy helped us pour concrete ones to look like soapstone. We tinted it dark and left it pretty imperfect with a honed finish. It wound up looking pretty soapstoney, if I do say so myself. Light was an issue in the old space, so we added double French doors to the end of the new kitchen. Not only do they brighten the space, they lead out to a deck that houses our ten foot long farmhouse dining table. Since our house is small and we don’t have a real dining room (or since we…er…might have removed it), our deck serves as our Southern California-approved al-fresco dining room.

Suffice it to say, we are loving I had always wanted a bright, having a nice, big, open, airy, white kitchen, and so, of FINISHED kitchen. It only took course, we upgraded all the just shy of seven years to get finishes in the room. The dark here! Now, if I could just find a pink faux brick is long gone, re- darned range hood. FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


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the homestead father He is the rock. The carpenter. The cowboy. The Animal wrangler. The farmer. the botanist. The harvester. He is the mechanic. He lights the fire and chops the wood. His never leaves the house without his pocket knife. He is committed to providing a different way of living for his family. He is eager to learn and try new things. He is the love of his wife’s life and a shining example for his children. He is the first person that people go to when they need help. He is the first one there and the last one to leave. HIs heart and determination is what keeps the homestead going. FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE




Melissa’s Picks bee happy

Honeybees hold a special place in my heart - it helps that “Melissa” is the Greek word for honeybe.


Wax seals! Honey Bee Ring HappyGoLicky - $58

Vintage Honey Bee Watch10northcreative - $14 FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE

I love embroidery. I love jewlery. This is both! - bstudio $35

Save the bees! - hairbrainedschemes- $15


Handmade Goat Milk BeeswaxArtisanBathandBody - $7.50 Reclaimed Glass Honeybeewesternartglass - $78

Queen Bee (that’s me) coffee spoon- MilkandHoneyLuxuries $14 No more losing needles, Needle Minder- thecottageneedle - $4.75

You’ll be my Sunny Day I’ll be your Shade Tree You be my honey suckle I’ll be your honey bee FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


Save the Bees by: steven jones




ees are arguably the most important insect to humans.

One of the only two insects domesticated by humans (the other is the silkworm), bees have been part of human history since the beginning of civilization. Hieroglyphs and images from Egypt and Babylon depict beekeepers at work. And while most of those early beekeepers raised bees primarily for honey, their help in pollinating crops was quickly realized and utilized. As of now, bees are responsible for creating millions of tons of food for humans all over the world. But, now, with heavy pesticide use and genetic dead ends threatening bees with extinction, beekeepers and bees need our help. Here’s the Top 5 ways anyone can pitch in and help protect these precious insects: FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


1-Plant a garden

Really, any kind of garden will do. Bees collect pollen and nectar from flowers to make honey and beeswax. The more diverse the better. Rodale has a great list of plants that bees will love. And considering that bees travel for miles for a good food source, even a few containers can help. And you can grow some great flowers and veggies in the process, which will help brighten your life immensely.

2- Buy food free from pesticides

By buying local, organic food, you’ll support the farmers that don’t use pesticides. Pesticides have been flagged as a killer of bees and a probable cause of colony collapse disorder. By supporting those farmers who avoid pesticides, you help reduce the chance of bees inadvertently ingesting those deadly chemicals.

3-Don’t use pesticides

While you’re at it, why not cut back on your own pesticide use as well? In your garden, in your home, wherever, look for natuFROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE

ral ways to fight insect pests: Companion planting, essential oils, etc. Many natural remedies are just as effective, some more so, as “mainstream” solutions for pest problems in the garden and home. If you have to use pesticides, look for organic pesticides with a low risk of harming beneficial insects. And use them at dusk. By spraying your garden at dusk, you reduce the chance of bees (which bed down for the night in the late afternoon) of coming into contact with the chemicals.

4-Buy local honey

Buying local honey means you’re supporting local beekeepers, the very people working to keep bees alive. Local honey means you’ll have more beekeepers in more parts of the world, which reduces the impact of disease epidemics on bee populations. It helps with allergies, too!

5-Keep bees

Even a small backyard hive will add to the overall bee population. The more bees in the world, the less of a chance a disease or environmental


disaster will wipe out bees. Think about it: If -- God forbid -- an event kills 90 percent of the world’s bees, there’s a better chance of a recovery if you kill 90 percent of a million bees, versus 90 percent of a

thousand bees. Bottom line, the more bees we have in the world, the better we’ll be able to keep them around. You’ll wind up with a great hobby with a great payoff -- honey!





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Beekeeping Everything you need to know to get started by:Amber Bradshaw



10 Questions to ask BEFORE you get started If you are remotely interested in sustainable living or homesteading, chances are you have toyed with the idea of beekeeping. And why wouldn’t you? You love honey, you need bees to pollinate your plants in order to grow food, and who doesn’t appreciate making a little Do-Re-Mi on the side? If you ask me, it would be silly NOT to want to be a bee keeper. BUT (and this is a large BUT) there are, in fact, many reasons why you shouldn’t keep bees and many things to consider before you grab your butterfly net and start climbing trees to catch a swarm.

1. Is it legal in your city/town to own bees? Do you live in a HOA? If it’s against the law, research ways you can make an appeal, educate others, start a petition, and see if you can get the law changed for your area. I see too many people that buy bees regardless of the laws then end up being forced to re-home them, fined, and even sued. Avoid this by knowing your rights beforehand. FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


2. Is any member in your family allergic to bees? It is still possible to own bees if you have allergies but extra safety precautions need to be taken.

3. Does your homeowners insurance allow it? Ask before getting bees and inquire about adding additional liability in case of accidental stings.

4. Do you have a location out of high traffic areas? Bees like to stay high and dry with a wind break and protection from the elements; boggy, wet areas should be avoided.

5. Can you provide a water source? A beehive can drink up to a liter of water a day. FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


6. How close are your neighbors? Will the bees bother them? You always want to keep your neighbors in mind when pursuing your homesteading dreams.

7. Is there a nectar source within 3 miles? Bees will fly up to 3-5 miles away in search of nectar but will visit thousands of nectar sources in order to make that liquid gold. Chances are, you will not be able to provide enough nectar/pollen on your property to provide the bee with what they require.

8. Will you have time? Bees are relativity low maintenance but they do require monthly inspection & check-ups, several hours during honey extraction, regular feeding, watering and adding frames/boxes.



9. Can you afford it? There are ways to become a frugal beekeeper, However, the average person will not have access to, or the ability to, go the frugal route and the start-up cost can be pretty hefty, so this may be something you will want to save for

10. How Many Hives Do you Want? I ‘thought’ I wanted one; I was informed I wanted two. Why two? So you have something to compare your hive to. If you’ve never seen a failing hive how would you know when to recognize the warning signs unless you had a healthy hive to compare it to? • If your queen dies and you need to merge hives. Accidents happen and life happens, or in this case death. Ordering a queen bee is not always easy or affordable ($30.00 and up + shipping for one queen) and combining colonies may be the best choice for you at the moment to avoid losing a hive altogether • Weak colonies. Combining a weak colony with a strong colony is sometimes needed for the survival of your hive. • Double the honey. With all of the beekeepers in the beekeeping course and the hundreds of years of combined experience, not once did I ever hear “I have too much honey”, you will never have too much honey FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


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everything you need to start a dairy

Stainless Steel Pail Milkplan Chillers / Holding Tanks

Cream Separator

Butter Churn

Stainless Steel Pasteurizer

Hand Butter Churn

Jaybee Precision produces products that are perfect for your farm based business. If you have a larger dairy you can go big by buying a machine that can handle 30 gallons of milk or juice, or you can purchase a four gallon machine perfect for small farmsteads. That doesn’t include the other products: Cream separators, butter churns, chillers -- even buckets. All of these products are high quality and built to last. Vat Pasteurizer allows any size farm to produce dairy products up to the USDA specifications, which means every farmer or homesteader can compete in just about every market. Buying products from this company is an investment in the future of your dairy, creamery or farm related business. FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


harvestin honey without a extracto

by: Ashley hetric



an or




s a small scale beekepper, you’ve already made a sizable investment in equipment to be used throughout the growing season. From hives and frames to bees and protective equipment your first year has already set you back a few hundred dollars. Honey extractors, used only once per year, can add several more hundred to that total. There are other ways to enjoy the fruits of your and your bee’s labor without adding extra cost. The first option is un-extracted or cut comb honey. Comb honey was popular around the turn of the century (1900) before commercial honey extraction equipment became widely available, and before 1906 when the Pure Food and Drug Act came into effect. Consumers worried that extracted honey would have been diluted with some other sugar syrup, and comb honey was a way to ensure that it had come direct from the source. With adulterated honey coming in China starting in 2011, it’s clear that the Pure Food Act isn’t a one stop cure for honey tampering, and being a beekeeper or knowing your beekeeper is a better option. These days, people are confused as to what to do with cut comb honey. Old timers will tell you it’s best eaten on toast or straight off the spoon like candy, wax and all. The wax imparts a unique flavor to the honey, absorbing and holding different flavors from the flowers in the region just like the honey itself. Modern cooks get more adventurous with it. According to the Food Network article on how to use comb honey: FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


spring honey harvest



“Honeycomb can go places honey can’t. While drizzling honey over a salad seems odd, topping a salad with crumbled goat cheese and hunks of honeycomb is a simply heavenly way to eat more vegetables. Honeycomb also has a completely different texture than liquid honey. It’s nothing like chewing on a candle. Rather, the wax gives the honey a pleasant body, transforming it from something merely absorbed by the other ingredients into something that stands on its own to contrast and enliven the rest of the dish.” (Source: FoodNetwork)


ands down, cut comb honey is the least labor intensive way of enjoying honey. All you’ll need is a knife to cut the comb. Keep in mind though, this can only be done with wax foundation or foundation less frames, no plastic allowed. For those of you who are stuck on liquid honey, there is another way. Crushing and draining the comb is remarkable effective, and results in clean pure raw honey with minimal equipment.

You’ll need a large bowl, colander, fine mesh strainer, wooden spoon and large pot. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can also use cheesecloth to do a final strain, but it’s not strictly necessary. Start by cutting the comb into chunks into the colander over a large bowl. Use the wooden spoon to crush the comb, stirring to make sure every cell is broken. At this point you’ll already see honey pouring out through the colander, and within an hour the comb will be FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


Chunk honey

strained chunk honey FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


filtering honey virtually empty. The warmer the space, the better your results. Around 90 degrees is optimal to allow the honey to flow, but is not so warm as to destroy the honey enzymes. After the first strain, pour the honey through a fine mesh strainer and then optionally cheesecloth before filling honey containers (mason jars work well). The wax that remains once you’ve extracted all your frames can be placed into a pot and slowly heated. Above 150 degrees the wax will melt and float to the top of the pot, leaving honey below. Be careful not to heat above 185 degrees, as the wax will discolor. Once the wax is melted, remove the pot from heat and allow it

to cool before removing your wax brick. The honey below will have lost some of its flavor complexity and enzymes in the heating process, but is still perfectly fine for cooking. There are downsides to extractorless extracting, both cut comb and crush and strain. While an extractor will allow you to uncap the cells and save the comb for the bees to reuse, the crush and strain method does not. You will have to clean your frames and install new foundation after extraction. This cost is minimal, however, when you compare it to the purchase cost of an extractor and the storage space a specialized piece of equipment will require 364 days per year. FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


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Victory Garden Starter Kit™ Includes everything you need to start your own Victory Garden. Throughout history, Victory Gardens have been sown during times of war as a way for folks to both feed their families and to aide in the war effort. Planting a “Victory Garden” has more personal significance in our time. Whatever your reason may be – stretching your grocery budget and saving money, growing pure food for your family’s table or declaring independence from the corporate food chain – planting a garden makes sense. Contained in a decorative gift bag are tried and true varieties suitable for planting a Victory Garden in a wide range of climates.



Bee tips for kids by: Tessa Zundel FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE



ncluding children in your bee keeping efforts is a worthy goal for any homesteader. The more children know about the world of bees and why they’re important to our food supply, the more likely they are to respect the bees and their habitat. The child whose been taught how to be a good steward of the bees is less likely to throw rocks at a hive; a child who has been involved in the honey harvest is less likely to grow up and spray noxious, bee-killing chemicals in their own gardens. All the same, the idea of how to involve children in your bee keeping tasks can seem daunting at first. Rest assured, there are some simple ways to have even young children be active little apiculturists. Tips for successful bee keeping with kids: Go to the library and check out every picture book you can find on bees and bee keeping. Put together a bee puzzle, create a bee lapbook, write a bee report together – in short, make a family study of the beautiful bee

before you ever step foot into the bee yard. The more children know about bees, the less they will fear them. Education will also increase respect for bee behavior in children and better help them to control their own. Be sensitive to children who are just plain afraid of bees and don’t force them to participate in hive maintenance, if they’re too nervous at first. Over time, the fear of 70,000 stinging insects should abate and they’ll become more comfortable with the idea of bees. There are plenty of bee keeping jobs that don’t involve interacting directly with the bees; tasks such as cleaning and storing equipment, finding smoker fuel, helping to process the honey and counting all the pollinators in the garden. Each child should have their own bee keeping clothing. There are a few bee keeping supply companies that sell child sized gear now. You can supply your children with appropriately sized hat and veil, gloves and even jackets or suits. Do not skip this step and assume that you’ll just FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


kids in bee gear keep your young children back and away from the hive. They’ll want to be in on the action and that means being close to the bees. Unless each child has their own full body bee suit, along with the hat and veil, see that they wear a thick, long sleeve shirt and pants, as well as socks and closed toe shoes. The socks should be pulled up over the bottom of the pants. FYI, Crocs do NOT count as closed toed shoes. Ask me how I know. Each child should have a preassigned job. Entering the hive is work for the people and the bees involved so be as organized as you can before you FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE

open the hive. Never, ever, ever, ever work the hive with your children without at least one other adult being present. Not only are children unpredictable in their needs and actions, so are the bees. This rule applies to your bee keeping work without children, too; if you can, always have another person with you or nearby as you work the hives for safety’s sake. Have one large tote or one shelf for everyone’s gear and all the bee keeping equipment. This will make it easy for children to get dressed themselves and get the tools they’ll need for their bee job all on their own.


Nature’s reward

(Always double check your children’s clothing, though. If they can get their own gear on, that’s great, but an adult should always check veils are tight, zippers are zipped and socks are tucked over pant cuffs.) Having one place to store all the bee keeping equipment will also make clean up easier as everyone will know where everything goes. Always have your favorite sting remedy of choice on hand. I suggest you keep an Epinephrine Auto Injector or Epi Pen on hand, just in case. It’s a tiny fraction of the population that has a truly deathly reaction to bee stings but often bee sting allergies develop

over time and you don’t want to be caught off guard. Be sure to fasten on your good attitude and a take a healthy dose of patience those days you work the hive with children. More than anything our children need to know that they’re valued members of our family team. They need to hear our generous praise for quality effort. We needn’t worry too much if the tasks aren’t accomplished the exact way we would accomplish them – the important thing is that our children share in these experiences with us. It’s the best way to learn!



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Top Bar Be







ur first start in beekeeping was a complete failure. We bought two packages of bees and installed them in two top bar hives that my husband built. We would walk down in the pasture and look at them every day. After a couple of days, we opened up the hives to see if the queens had been released in FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE

each hive. Everything seemed to be going well. And then, at the end of that first week, they were all gone. Both hives absconded and we were utterly devastated. There were no more bees to buy at that time of year, so we were out of the bee business. We decided to try again the next year. Our new supplier advised that with top bar hives,


For us, working with bees provides such a euphoric feeling. we should close up the screened bottom of the hive if it had one (ours did). Bees like small, dark spaces - after all they build nests in hollowed trees and such in nature. This time we went with one package of bees and left them completely alone for over a week. This time they stayed! We decided early on to use top bar hives rather than a

Langstroth (Lang) hive. For one, we could easily build the top bar hive ourselves with inexpensive materials. This was a pretty big factor considering we had just moved on to our land. And as anyone who has developed a homestead from scratch knows, the upfront expenses are all big and all cash dependent. There was also no need to buy any FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


other special equipment and no keeping up with and storing multiple sizes of boxes, frames, etc. For us, top bar hives were a more natural option for our bees – they kind of mimic a hollowed out log that bees would use in nature.The structure and shape of the comb built in a top bar hive is very similar to what bees build in a hollow log.Because bees in a top bar hive build their comb from scratch, they are free to adjust the size of the cells to their own specifications, not those of the pre-formed FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE

foundation. This reportedly also helps with issues of mites or other diseases. We were also interested in having natural honeycomb, as opposed to using artificial foundation in frames. And we didn’t want the expense of buying an extractor to harvest the honey. Another consideration was having to lift the heavy boxes of a Lang hive down the road – we aren’t getting any younger after all. The leftover wax from harvesting honey was also a bonus. We want our own natural wax to use for other things, such as


making candles, beauty products or for use in woodworking. When doing a hive inspection, you lift out one bar at a time, leaving the rest of the colony to go about their business. They all have jobs to do (you really should read more about this topic – it is infinitely fascinating!) and stay busy doing what they were doing while you conduct your inspection. With top bars, you do need to take care in how you handle the bars when they are full and heavy with comb. You don’t want to turn a bar with comb sideways, but rather rotate it in the same plane so that the filled comb does not snap off of the bar – especially in very warm weather when the wax is softer. Top bar hives do require a little more management. Mostly regarding how the bees build their comb on each bar. If not watched carefully, they will build comb that connects bars to each other. I have to admit, ours started out beautifully, but we did not manage this aspect as well this last year. When it was time to harvest honey, we had somewhat of a mess on our hands because we had to cut

off some little pieces of what I referred to as “satellite” combs between two bars in order to lift a bar out of the hive. Well, as soon as I cut it loose, that satellite piece fell inside the hive, and of course it had to be retrieved. I have to say, it’s more than a little disconcerting to stick your arm down into a hive full of bees – but I didn’t need to worry. They didn’t say a word. We managed to work through it and everything turned out fine. It was just a little messier than necessary. The next time we harvested honey, I was better prepared and had a large kitchen spoon with me to more easily retrieve any broken pieces of comb from the bottom of the hive. You will want to keep top bar hives where they are readily accessible in order to have regular access to your hives. Although harvesting honey from a top bar hive can be a messy endeavor – you know how honey is, it just gets everywhere – harvesting from a top bar hive is relatively simple. We cut comb off the top bar and put it into a clean bucket. We do need a better way to get all the bees off the comb so that FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


we don’t spend so much time fishing them out of the bucket full of comb and honey. Next time, we’ll try a soft brush and brush them off into the hive. Back inside, we “processed” our honey by crushing the honeycomb and straining it through a clean old t-shirt – that’s what my husband’s great-grandma used. We also cut off several pieces of comb and put it in jars for gift giving. People love comb honey! This is our hive’s second full year in our pasture. The hive is completely full and we are researching doing a hive split since they don’t have any more room to expand. For some, this could be a disadvantage to top bar hives because with a Lang hive, you could just add another box of frames (called “supers”) on top to expand. But to us, the more boxes you stack on top equals more heavy boxes to lift in order to inspect the hive or harvest honey.Our hive is also full because as new beekeepers, we have been very conservative with our harvesting of honey. We wanted to make sure that our bees had plenty of honey to make it through each winter. FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE

This is just a brief introduction to our top bar beehive. For those interested in beekeeping as a hobby or a natural, integral part of homestead pollination, top bars could be an excellent alternative for you. For us, working with bees provides such a euphoric feeling. We’ve all heard how bees everywhere are in jeopardy. They play such a vital role in all agricultural production. I’ll bet, like us, the more you learn about them, the more you will absolutely amazed!


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Beekeeping in

the Suburbs by: karen thompson





Follow these 4 steps to ensure that you and your neighbors are both happy. The steps are Communication, Awareness, Education, and Sharing. It sounds easy enough but there FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE

are some key points under each of these easy steps that need to be addressed. Communication is key. If you don’t take away anything from this article remember that com-


“Bee-ing Neighborly” in suburbia while you’re keeping bees is simple and can be done in four easy steps. Not “Bee-ing Neighborly” could cause you some difficulty down the road. munication is the most important step of all in having relative harmony between your neighbors and bees. First of all, let your neighbors know you are going to get your bees. Talk to your

neighbors about whether they face any allergies as a family, do they have small children or do they have a pool for example. The bees will want to go drink their pool water -- they just love FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


it! Tell them where you plan to locate your bees and share with them that they can come talk to you about any issues they have. Transparency goes a long way in alleviating your neighbor’s initial fears about you starting on your beekeeping adventures. Be aware of you neighbors activities. If they like to weed eat their grass tight against your common fence, that is not a very good place to put your bees. Being that close to the hive, more than likely your neighbor is going to get stung maybe FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE

more than once and they won’t be happy about it. If your neighbors plan a party, mention that they may want to be careful with soda cans and it would probably be safer for them to use wide mouth cups so they can visually scan the contents of their beverage. If your neighbor has very small children and you plan to have more than one or two hives it may be better to find a host for your hives depending upon the size of your property and the positioning of your bee hives.


Education is something you can do all year long in your neighborhood. You have heard the expression “ignorance is bliss� well not when it comes to beekeeping in a suburban neighborhood. The more you know, the more empowered you will be and so will your neighbors. You can host a pot luck at your house and better yet, feature some homemade banana honey ice cream for dessert; of course keep the honey inside or the bees may come back for their share.

Share your honey with them on holidays so that they know there is a sweet reward for all that effort. They may not even mind that the bees that enjoy their pool or their water feature. Share homemade bees wax candles, or homemade DIY lotion bars. This will go far in your efforts to win them over as they quickly find out the products made from your bees are vastly superior and that helping the environment is a bonus. Amazingly, you will find many neighbors that support the bees and will rally for them and support you if you face some disputes. Beekeepers should aspire to be good neighbors for many reasons, but most importantly to be better bee stewards. The beekeeper is the best chance our lovely little honey bee has. The more protected our honeybees are the better and brighter future humanity and our planet Earth has ahead of it.

You can let the local children look at your smoker and your empty hives, talk to the adults and share your beekeeping books and materials. Teach children when they visit the best way to deal with a honey bee that lands on them is to have a calm adult flick it off of them gently and for them not to panic. Tell your guests and children flailing about will only serve to alarm the bee and cause it to react to Bee-ing Neighborly in Suburbia protect herself. is win-win for the bees and us! Sharing what you have with your fence-line neighbors (as I call them) is not a bad idea. FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


The Nervous Beekeeper’s Guide to Handling Honeybees by: Julie Sczerbinski





aren’t you afraid of getting stung? FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


By far, that’s the number one question I’m asked when I tell someone I’m a beekeeper. And truth be told, at one time, I was terrified of being stung. Beekeeping sounded fascinating and I really wanted to give it a whirl. But at the same time I had visions of 60,000 bees on the attack and I doubted I was brave enough to do it. I enrolled in a 9-week beekeeping course with the idea that I would decide after the class ended whether or not I’d order the bees. During the class, I learned that honeybees are actually gentle creatures and while you should expect the occasional sting, it’s highly unlikely that the entire hive will chase you down and eat you alive. So, I went ahead and ordered bees, but I still was really nervous. While I waited for them to arrive, I watched every beekeeping YouTube video and studied the beekeeping books— especially the chapters that discussed how not to get stung. Even still, on installation day I had sweat-dripping anxiety. The good news is that over time hive inspections got much easier and less nerve-wracking. What’s the secret to easing the anxiety? Whatever it takes to stay calm. For me, it was telling myself over and over that there are quite a few beekeepers out there. So, obviously handling honeybees can be done.



15 bee handling tips 1.Don’t eat bananas before you work a hive.

When a bee stings, she releases an odor—an alarm pheromone—that smells like bananas. This pheromone attracts others bees, signaling to them to defend the hive. If you show up smelling like bananas, you’ll inadvertently tell the bees it’s time to protect the hive.

2. A sunny, wind-free day with temperatures between 65°F - 98°F is a good day for hive inspections.

If it’s rainy, windy or if there are thunderstorms in the area, avoid going into the hive.

3.The best time to inspect a hive is between the hours of 10am-4pm.

The hive will have less bees


inside because most older bees are out foraging.

4.Bees are sensitive to smells. Don’t use perfume,

hairspray, sweet smelling cosmetics or shampoo before you work the hive.

5.Wear whatever protective gear makes you feel comfortable. If

you need to wear a full suit in order to calm your nerves, do it. If you’ve decided you don’t need protective gear at all, I recommend you at least wear a veil. Stings on the face are painful and stings in the eyes or ears could result in permanent injury.

6.Keep your jacket or suit clean. The alarm

pheromone released during the occasional sting on the suit stays on the fabric.


7.Don’t wear dark, 12.Be gentle. Slow, delibermovements. Don’t bang textured clothes. Natural ate things around. Bees are sensi-

predators like bears and raccoons are dark and fuzzy so you want to avoid looking like them. Wearing light color clothing is a good idea.

8.Stay out of the bee flight path. Always

approach and work the hive from the rear or side.

9.Make a mental plan before you enter the hive. Don’t overstay your wel-

come. Do your business and get out.

10.Let the bees know you’re coming. Reach

around to the front and puff a little smoke into the entrance. Lift top cover, puff a little smoke, and take it off. Then repeat the process with the inner cover.

11.A little smoke goes a long way. If you over-smoke

your bees, it’s possible they won’t react to the smoke at all in the future.

tive to vibrations. They don’t like jarring and bumping.

13.Listen as you work. If

the humming becomes louder, your bees are getting upset and it’s time to close up the hive.

14.No swatting under any circumstances!! Yes,

your natural reaction to insects flying around your face is to wave them away with your hands but if you do this, you’ll agitate your bees very quickly. Along the same lines as swat-

15.Watch out where you put your hands at all times! On my first day as ting...

a beekeeper, I did get stung. After I finished installing my package of bees, I took off my gloves before cleaning up my prepping station which was located several feet away from the hive. A stray bee was rest-

ing on my equipment and I put my gloveless hand right on top of her. Beginner mistake and believe me, I’ve since learned to be more aware of my surroundings and my hands. FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


Uses for Hone

in every room by: pam



ey and Beeswax

mfarley of your home



During our first year of beekeeping, we waited anxiously, patiently until we could harvest from our hives. After processing, we realized that we had far more honey and beeswax than we could have ever imagined! Let’s walk through the house and see how these natural gifts can be used. FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


Living room Beeswax candles: as they burn with a gentle glow and mild honey scent, beeswax candles release negative ions. Pollen, dust, and pollutants in the air are attracted to these negative ions and are neutralized--so beeswax candles actually clean the air while they burn. Wood polish: this one of the easiest home DIY projects out there. Melt together 2 tablespoons beeswax and 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Once solidified, scoop out a tiny amount with a clean cloth. Rub onto your wooden surface of choice, let sit for 20 minutes, and buff to a shine. If you miss the smell of Pledge, add 10 drops of Lemon essential oil. FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE




Recipes: some recipes simply must include honey, such as Honey-Roasted Peanuts. Honey improves the flavor of other recipes, like Homemade Orange Chicken. Substitutions: honey can replace granulated sugar in baked goods--but for every cup of honey you use, reduce the liquid by ¼ cup, add ½ teaspoon baking soda, and lower the oven temperature by 25°F. Board butter: do you maintain your wood cutting boards and wooden spoons with mineral oil? Make board butter by melting together equal parts of mineral oil and beeswax. While mineral oil will wash away over time, beeswax penetrates the grain of the wood and helps seal the mineral oil inside. Smooth board butter into your spoons, spatulas, boards and bowls. Let them sit for a couple of hours, then rub down with a clean cloth and return them to normal use.





in the Bathroom First aid cream: instead of buying petroleumbased antibiotic creams, you can make your own with beeswax, honey, coconut oil, and a few other natural ingredients. Beeswax has non-allergenic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties that make it useful for treating minor skin irritations. Herb-infused honey: besides the traditional lemon and honey mixture Grandma gave you, try infusing ginger in honey for tummy upsets, or infuse clove and honey for a sore throat.

Kid’s bedrooms Lip balm: store-bought lip balms are expensive and have lots of mystery ingredients. You can make your own lip balm with beeswax and natural oils, and customize the flavor with the essential oils of your choice.



Homemade deodorant: no matter how stinky your teenagers get, you don’t want them putting the chemicals and additives from conventional deodorant right on the lymph nodes in their armpits! Try this natural method instead: Melt together 1 ½ tablespoons of beeswax, 4 tablespoons coconut oil, 1 tablespoon shea butter, 4 teaspoons bentonite clay, and 20 drops of essential oil (I like 10 drops of Melaleuca and 10 drops of Rosemary).

Baby’s bedroom Diaper rash creme: soothe baby’s sore bottom with a variation of my Homemade First Aid Cream recipe. Reduce the beeswax to 2 tablespoons and use 4 drops of each essential oil. Pat baby’s tushie dry and cover with creme. Nursing salve: mamas, you know why this is so important! Mix equal parts of medical grade manuka honey with coconut oil and apply gently to “the girls” after each feeding. FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE




Master bedroom Mustache wax: melt together equal parts beeswax and coconut oil, and allow to cool and set. Work a tiny bit into the mustache, and comb to style. Can be used on beards, as well! Wood polish: as mentioned above, you can maintain your bedroom furniture naturally with homemade wood polish. Better sleep: some people swear by a tablespoon of raw honey right before bedtime. The reason this can help you sleep better is because honey is half glucose and half fructose. When you eat it, the glucose enters the blood quickly and supplies the brain in the first half of the night. Then the fructose turns to glucose and enters the blood slowly, which supplies glucose to the brain in the second half of the night.



Laundry room Dogs with allergies: you can give your four-legged friend allergy relief by adding local, raw honey into his/her food. According to Richard Palmquist, DVM, “In our practice we use honey for wound healing but most often I use it for dogs suffering from pollen allergies. If we give dogs a kale shake with one tsp of honey daily we see some dogs become less itchy in two to four weeks.” Removing beeswax from clothing: spills happen, right?!? But you don’t have to throw your favorite shirt in the trash if it gets wax on it. Put a brown paper bag under the wax spot and another one on top. Iron over the top of the bag and was, and move the bag once it absorbs the wax. Keep doing this until the bag quits getting “wet”, then launder as usual. I didn’t think we would be able to use all the honey and beeswax we harvested this year--but now I plan on using them in every room of our house! FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


raising chickens By: Janet Garman FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE




So many homesteaders, homeowners, and families are interested in the backyard chicken phenomenon. And why not? Chickens are fairly easy to raise, don't need a lot of room, and provide us with delicious fresh eggs or meat. Before running off to the feed store or calling a hatchery to order chicks, let's talk about some basic information regarding raising chickens.


efore taking home any livestock, check your local regulations and neighborhood covenants for restrictions concerning raising livestock. Failing to check into the local regulations can only lead to disappointment when you realize that you are not permitted to keep livestock. Next on your list of decisions is your purpose. What are you raising chickens for? Poultry can provide either meat or fresh eggs, or both! If you prefer, it is possible to raise chickens for egg production, followed by using the chicken for meat when their egg production slows after a couple of years. Many people FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE

raise chickens in their backyard for the fresh eggs and they allow them to live out their post production days in the comfort and security in the coop. If you are raising meat breed chickens, how many will you need? Meat breed chickens, such as the Red Ranger or Cornish Cross grow very quickly and are ready for butchering in a few weeks. You will need to have a plan in place to take care of this, and a plan to freeze, cook or pressure can the meat. When raising egg production breeds, the lifespan of the chicken is considerably longer. Most breeds will lay eggs reliably for


the first two years and can continue to sporadically lay eggs for quite a few years longer. How will you safely house your chickens to protect them from predators? When your hens are older and no longer laying, what will you do with them? Supplies for raising chickens. For any type of chicken you will need the same basic supplies for housing and feeding the chicks.

to keep the chicks contained, warm and safe. Some type of heat source is needed. This is usually provided by a heat lamp hanging over the top of the brooder. In addition, you will need a water fount, and a feeder.

Chicks eat food called a starter ration. This is a combination of grains in a small particle size, easy for the small chicks to ingest. Chicks will eat a starter Their first “home� is called ration until 16 to 20 weeks of a brooder and is generally a age when they switch to a layer smaller box or plastic tote used feed formula. FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE




daily chore list • clean and refill waterers • refill feeders • remove soiled bedding material. As the chicks grow this will need to be done at least twice a day.

weekly chore list • clean the brooder or coop. • Remove all soiled bedding. • disinfect and wash the waterers and feeders.

Time is needed to care for the As the chicks grow, you will marchickens (see chore lists above). vel at the changes that occur. In addition it is very important to get to know your chickens. Knowing their regular behavior will help you notice quickly when something may be going wrong. Knowing how the chickens normally behave will alert you to when one is feeling under the weather. Frequently picking up your chickens and inspecting their body condition will also give you an idea of how they should feel. Loss of weight and body condition can not always be seen visually.

The once fluffy down covered chicks will grow feathers and longer legs. They will go through a period of growth that looks quite awkward and gangly on the way to being beautiful fully feathered chickens. And one day, if you choose to raise chickens for eggs, you will find that precious first egg lying in a nest box in the coop. Enjoy!



Click here to read now! read it

The ultimate guide to raising chickens FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


HAPPY HEN TREATS Watch your chickens dance and peck in a frenzy for these 100% natural whole-dried mealworms! Contains natural dried mealworms that chickens absolutely love to eat.

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Now you can show it with these wonderfully designed EGG CARTONS from Happy Hen Treats.





So, You Think You Want to Homeschool By: carol j. Alexander




he homesteading lifestyle lends beautifully to everyone in the family being home. Homesteading couples often work harder than most to provide a way for both partners to be home full-time; and when the kids come along, they want them on board as well. If you see homeschooling in your future, you probably have a lot of questions. Such things as if homeschooling is legal in your state, where to purchase curriculum, and if it is possible FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE

to homeschool on a budget all come to mind. Let me help by answering some of those questions for you.

Is it legal? Homeschooling is legal in every state of the Union; although the laws vary from state to state. If you intend to homeschool your children, ask at your county’s school board what you need to do. Also ask for a copy of the state’s law to see if your county and your state are on


board together. Some districts will request that parents jump through a few more hoops than are legally required. You can then decide if you want to comply with the extra requirements or not.

place to start. Or do an Internet search for “homeschool support group in my location.” My local support group has a blog so that those searching for help can find us. I know other groups do, too.

If you have any questions, or want legal advice, contact the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, the National Center for Life and Liberty, or any of the other organizations listed in the sidebar.

If these suggestions don’t produce anything, ask a parent in public. If you are shopping in the middle of the day and notice a mom with her school-aged kids, ask her if she homeschools. Don’t be shy. Networking is an important skill for a homeschooling parent to develop.

Are there other homeschoolers in my area? No one should try homeschooling alone, especially homesteaders. It is hard work and without the support of others many give up. Networking with others gives support to the parents, friends for the kids, and a place for exchanging materials and resources.

Where do I buy curriculum? When I started homeschooling in the early 90s, curriculum was hard to find and the Internet was non-existent. I remember going to the public school book depository and buying old editions of textbooks. I relied heavily on the library. I made up a lot.

If you do not know other homeschoolers in your area, ask Now, I think there are too many around to find a support group. choices. An Internet search for The public library is a good curriculum can produce a plethFROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


ora of stuff—both good and bad. If you want to try before you buy, ask around for someone who already has the books that interest you and see if you can get a peek at them. Visit a homeschool convention and shop the exhibit hall. But whatever you do, don’t get overwhelmed. If money is an issue, and for homesteaders it normally is, there are plenty of free resources online. Easy Peasy and Ambleside are completely free, online curriculum packages. Khan Academy is a free resource for some subjects like math, science, and humanities. For high school and beyond, many universities provide free audit courses online. For miscellaneous offers, check out the website No matter where you live, homeschooling for the homesteading family is not only possible, it builds character, memories, and a strong family bond.


homeschooling resources • • • • •

legal resources • Homeschool Legal Defense Association - 540-338-5600 • Center for Homeschool Liberty - 888-233-6255 • Association of Homeschool Attorneys - contact: • National Home Education Legal Defense - 860-354-3590








“Come out here where the roses have opened. Let soul and world meet.� ~Rumi


oven throughout myth and legend, the beautiful sweet rose touches and inspires the heart of humanity as a symbol of love and friendship. There may be no other flower that represents such deep feelings of the heart. Used since antiquity as a medicinal plant, roses have helped to staunch bleeding, ease lung infections, and cool down the heat of inflammation. Yet most of us still ponder love when we think of a rose. Perhaps it is a surprise to learn that roses go beyond symbolism to profoundly open and care for the heart.


Members of the Rosa genus are all considered to be useful, yet the more fragrant species such as gallic rose (R. gallica), damask rose (R. damascena), cabbage rose (R.centifolia), and dog rose (R. canina) are the most commonly used in herbal medicine and considered the most effective in part due to their aromatic fragrance. Among its many actions, rose is an antidepressant, aphrodisiac, sedative, and a relaxant nervine. Rose helps to comfort a wounded heart while calming and deeply nourishing the nervous system, allowing us to open to ourselves and the world. Uplifting rose is considered to be the ultimate heart open-






The remedy? As prescribed by Avicenna, herbs with an exhilarant action are needed. These herbs are “a substance which arouses the vitality in the spiritual heart and inclines the spirit toward joy” (Bergner, 2012). Avicenna considered rose to be just such an herb. In fact we may find that drunk over time, the tea of rose can affect profound change within, allowing deep hearted healing to occur and happiness manifest (Becker, The sweetness of rose helps 2000). those who feel unloved and who struggle with self-love, especial- Rose is a very gentle nervine ly when there has been a history that helps to restore the heart of abuse. In Traditional Chinese and the nervous system. It is a Medicine, rose is considered to relaxant that gently sedates and be a remedy for a “disturbed calms the nervous system. This heart” resulting from trauma calming action can even help and stress that has agitated the to soothe nervous heart palpimind and in turn aggravated tations. As a trophorestorative for the nervous system rose can the heart (Soule, n.d.). safely help to deeply nourish Rose can help to promote heart- the nervous system, restoring felt happiness and a reunifica- health, vitality and balancing tion with our emotional cen- the nervous system over time ter. Ancient Arab physician (Hardin, 2009). This makes rose Avicenna’s work concerning the a wonderful addition to calmspiritual heart describes one the ing nervine formulas, especially main ailments of the heart as when there is an aspect of grief, being “the inability to expe- sadness, or nervous debility rience joy” (Bergner, 2012). present. er. Indeed, rose does help to open the heart – often inwardly towards one’s own self, allowing healing from past traumas and emotional hurts to begin. Rose warms a cold heart and provides support when working through issues of abuse. It can help relieve depression, anger, jealousy, stress, and even anxiety as well as the grief that often accompanies emotional suffering (Mars, 2002).



A recent human clinical study found that even just the scent of roses created a sense of emotional calm along with decreased stress on the nervous system. This was indicated by a significant reduction in blood pressure and breathing FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE

rate of the subjects involved (Hongratanaworakit, 2009). The delightful scent of roses also “significantly decreases overactivity of the sympathetic nervous system while also reducing adrenalin output in the body� (Hardin, 2008).


Only $45 for an annual subscription. Click here to get started.



Rose Works Beyond the Heart, Too


he astringent action of rose can be very helpful for emotional or nervous stomach upset that results in loose bowels. Gentle enough for children, sipping a cup of rose petal tea may help to arrest diarrhea while easing the nerves. Combine with chamomile for an especially calming, tummy-soothing tea. While the fragrant petals are considered the most nervine FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE

and heart opening, rose hips with their high nutrient content provide support for healing during times of depletion that accompanies nervous debility. The hips will help to bring deep nourishment to people experiencing symptoms of fatigue, anxiety and adrenal exhaustion, especially when accompanied by heat (Hardin, n.d.). Rose can help to cool a hot,


tense liver. By relaxing the liver, rose helps to relieve heat and congestion while it’s cholagogue action helps to gently stimulate the liver, promoting the flow of bile. This in turn releases anger, depression, and moodiness (Holmes, 1997). Rose can help with insomnia as well. The cooling action of rose helps to clear heat from the body and drain heat from the

liver. This in turn promotes rest and brings relief from sleep-disturbing heat in the body. Even the fragrance of rose is helpful during sleepless nights. In a discussion concerning insomnia, herbalist Paul Bergner mentions rose as an ally, stating “the fragrance tricks the brain into relaxing the body” (Bergner, 2001). Try putting the petals in a sleep pillow or using the essential oil as a pillow spray before bed. FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


helpful rose combinations Rose is an herb that works harmoniously in combination with other plants. Here are some combinations to try.


Combine rose with: Milky oats as a nourishing nervous system tonic. Passionflower when there is liver heat, tension in the neck and teeth grinding.


+ + +

Combine rose with: Hawthorn with are heart imbalances and perhaps issues relating to femininity. For depression, combine rose with: St. John’s wort Hops and St. John’s wort if nightmares are present as well. Lemon balm to help children dealing with depression.. FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


To help those dealing with abuse and trauma, combine rose with:


Milky oats when the person is having a hard time connecting with others due to sexual trauma. To help those dealing with abuse and trauma, combine rose with Rosemary to help with a sense of coldness when the heart needs to open to enable forgiveness of old abuse.

+ +

Damiana when a person is caught in their pain and are suffering from sadness combined with regret. Photo by: Dominiku


(Please Note: Many of these combinations come from time spent in class with herbalist Matthew Becker.)


Long lost and overlooked, rose may be of help for the modern human who is often overwrought and emotionally out of touch with his or her heart. As many of us look for ways to reconnect with each other and with our own heart through practices such as meditation and kindness, we may find that rose in it’s beautiful simplicity can help us. In rose we can find a dear friend who will be there to hold our hand and help us to open our hearts. Invite the sweetness of rose into your life by enjoying it as a delicious cordial, elixir, herbal honey or tea. Try adding the tasty petals and hips to your food. Throw

a handful of petals into a summertime salad. Soak the tasty hips in juice for a yummy jam! However you take rose in, take note of and enjoy the loving support this beloved plant offers. REFERENCE: The Herbarium: Becker, Matthew. (2000). Unpublished notes from the Rocky Mountain Center Of Botanical Studies. Bergner, Paul. (2001). Folk Remedies Database. Colorado: Bergner Communications. Bergner, Paul. (2012). Medical Herbalism: Herbs For The Spiritual Heart. Retrieved from html Hardin, Kiva Rose. (2008). Rambling The River: My Love Affair With The Wild Rose. Retrieved from Hardin, Kiva Rose. (n.d.) The Allies: Rose (Rosa spp.). Retrieved from Hardin, Kiva Rose. (2009). Terms Of The Trade: Nervine. Retrieved from Hedley, Christopher M.N.I.M.H. Cardiovascular - Heart medicines in the European tradition. Retrieved from Cardiovascular_-_Heart_Medicines_in_the_European_Tradition.htm Holmes, Peter. (1997). The Energetics Of Western Herbs. Colorado: Snow Lotus Press. Hongratanaworakit, Tapanee. (2009). Relaxing effect of rose oil on humans. Retrieved from 19370942 Mars, Brigitte. (2002). Sex, Love & Health. New Jersey: Basic Health Publications. Soule, Deb. (n.d.) Herbal Support For Stressful Times. Retrieved from Summer2003/HerbalSupport/tabid/1482/Default.aspx





Rose Infused Simple Syrup Ingredients • 1⁄2 cup honey • 1⁄2 cup raw sugar • 11⁄4 cup water • 1 cup fresh organic rose petals (not treated with pesticides) • Herbs that you might consider using in your syrups include lavender, anise hyssop, lemon balm, mint, fennel, vanilla bean, ginger, cinnamon, licorice, basil, lemon verbena and citrus zest (lemon, lime, grapefruit and orange). • Here is a general (very loose) rule for the amounts of herb to use in the simple syrup recipe: Herb sprigs – 3-4 Flowers – 1 cup, lightly packed Leaves – 10-12 Barks, roots, seeds and nuts – 1⁄2 cup Citrus – 1 whole fruit

Directions: • In a small quart saucepan, combine the sweeteners and water and place over medium to high heat. When the sugar is completely dissolved and the liquid has come to a boil, add the fresh rose petals and stir, making sure that the petals are well covered. Remove from the heat, cover and steep for 40 minutes. After steeping, pour the syrup through a fine sieve into a glass bowl. • The syrup can be refrigerated in a glass jar for up to 2 months. Be sure to label your jar before storing. • Simple syrups are indispensable for delicious herbal drinks, sorbets, fruits and dessert, from yogurt to chocolate cake. FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


sparkling rose soda Ingredients • 12 ounces sparkling mineral water • 3 tablespoons rose infused simple syrup (recipe on the previous page) • 2 tablespoons pomegranate juice • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice • 4 drops vanilla bean tincture Directions: • Mix all ingredients and serve over crushed ice and garnish with herb sprigs and lemon slices. • For extra pizzazz and with a little forethought, you can serve this elegant drink with rose petal or mint leaf ice cubes. • To make herb ice cubes: • Fill an ice cube tray 1/3 full and place in the freezer. When this thin layer of ice is frozen, place herbs or rose petals on top of the ice, fill with water again all the way to the top of the tray and freeze. FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


We supply a broad selection of premium quality vegetable seed, herb seed, flower seed, bulbs & tubers, and cover crop varieties that have survived the test of time based on their dependability, usefulness and distinctive characteristics. The seeds we source come from our network of skilled regional growers and independently-owned North American seed producers. FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


the herbal academy of new england answers your questions

Q: When should I harvest rose hips? How do I process them?

seeds and a hairy pith inside, neither of which is pleasant to eat (the seeds are numerous and the hairs can be irritating), so there are a couple of way to prepare them. For large rose hips, cut off the stem and tail, cut the hip in half, scrape out the seeds and hairy pith, and rinse. These can then be used fresh for purees, sauces, jellies, and teas or dried for later use by air-drying on a rack or screen in a dark, well-ventilated area, or by using a dehydrator. For small hips, this process is difficult and time-consuming, so one can resort to cooking them whole in enough water to cover until soft, pushing them through a sieve, and repeating the cooking/sieving process with the pulp a few times until only skin and seeds remain and you’ve collected a nice bit of rose hip puree to use in fruit leathers or jellies.

A: There are a couple schools of thought on this – folks who say a hard frost helps ripen and sweeten up the rose hips wait until late fall or early winter to harvest, while folks who say the vitamin C content is higher in summer or who are just generally impatient will harvest them in the late summer or early fall. In general, hips should be bright red or reddishorange, plump and not shriveled, To avoid the whole rigmarole of and firm with slight give when cutting, seeding, scraping, cookpressed. ing, and sieving, just dry them whole for use in teas! Rose hips have several large FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


Q: What are some ways to prepare rose for herbal medicine besides tea? A: Rose petal and rose hip teas are both lovely, but there are many other ways to enjoy rose. The petals, leaves, and hips can be tinctured in vodka, brandy, or grain alcohol to make an extract; add some honey to the finished extract to make a sweet rose elixir. Speaking of honey, dried and powdered rose petals mixed into local wildflower honey

makes a decadent rose electuary; fresh petals can be used instead. Petals can be infused in almond or coconut oil for a lovely massage oil. Or, try infusing rose petals or hips in vinegar for use in lieu of alcohol-based tinctures or in salad dressings. Fresh petals can be used on wounds as a bandage or poultice. If you’re feeling industrious, you can make a steam distiller at home with a few common household items and prepare rose hydrosol from fresh petals. FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE




Windy Willow homestead was created by Nicole See to share her love of crafting with others. She creates handmade soaps (left), fabric flower ornaments (middle), coiled fabric baskets and more.









internet connection I can work from anywhere. I am also a Christian, freelance writer and very soon to be an author. I am a homesteader, lover of the outdoors, avid outdoorswoman, huntress, homeschool mom, pioneer, radio host for my Mountain Woman Radio show, butcher, baker and yes I his month, we talked to am even a candle stick maker. Tammy Trayer, of www. to Can you provide me with a talk about her, her life, brief history of your blog? family and what makes them We embraced our off-grid unique. dream in 2010 when we packed up everything we Tell me about yourself and owned and left Pennsylvania what you do: heading for Idaho leaving many a head shaking and many My name is Tammy Trayer bets being placed. We purand I am bit of a Jill of all trades and a master of quite a chase raw, untouched wilderness land in Idaho sight unseen few. I live traditionally 100% and embraced a life we had off-grid using solar power in only before dreamed about. northern Idaho with the cowWhen we arrived in Idaho we boy and Mountain Man of my were taken to our land for the dreams, Glen Trayer and my first time and were like kids 18 year old son Austin who is in a candy store (the realtor high functioning autistic with thought we were nuts). We a touch of aspergers. I am a web designer and programmer stayed the night on our property in the back of an enclosed by trade which has allowed gooseneck trailer (it was 30째) us to embrace our adventure with all our equipment to live because as long as I have an

Each month, From Scratch magazine seeks out the best homesteading and sustainable farming bloggers and profiles them for our readers.




and work and the next day we set up an 8’ x 14’ canvas wall tent to which we lived in for 8 1/2 months while we built our home. Our website started out as because we felt that was exactly what we were given and we needed a place to keep our family’s back home, grounded and comfortable knowing we were still alive. I feel all of this is divine intervention because we could not have done this without my profession and when I sit and think about how I started programming and working on computers in high school, I have no clue where the idea even came from because we didn’t even own a computer when I was growing up. Everything that happened in my life all seemed to lead here. As we progressed, we didn’t fully have a vision, but we saw people interested in our materials and started posting things individually as MountainWomanJournals. com, MountainManJournals. com and MountainBoyJournals. com. We never had any intention of having an educational FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE

website -- it just happened. The same happened with my writing career. Writing is something I always loved to do and I did have the dream and desire to write a book sometime ( I have several in the works), but I decided to (out of the blue) take a 6 week writing class in 2012 and half way through the class my teacher encouraged me to send in a couple of queries to the magazines I loved the most. I sent one query to The New Pioneer and a week later the Mountain Man thought a family member died when I came running to him and just burst into tears while coming to share the news that my first article was accepted! That progressed into not only my very first article, but our family was featured on the cover in 2013 of issue #161. It has been an amazing ride with so many doors opening for us. We merged, MountainManJournals and MountainWomanJournals. com to in 2013 because what started as just a life line for family and friend’s had morphed into a location where many




were following our adventures and the knowledge and guidance we began to share on our lifestyle. We also merged things because the Mountain Man started to also fabricate survival tools and we each had handcrafted wares that we started to sell. The is independent and is the platform our son uses to to share his experiences, knowledge and handcrafted elk hide mocFROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE

casins and paracord survival items. Living in that tent and stepping back to a life that was so incredibly simple was the most rewarding and gratifying time in our lives! I would do that again in a heart beat. We now educate weekly through our blog posts, videos, webinars, my Mountain Woman Radio show and I am also a contributing writer for The New Pioneer Magazine, American Frontiersman, The


Backwoodsman, Prepare Magazine, Survivor’s Edge, Cabin Life and previously Self Reliance Illustrated. You can also find my materials on several websites such as GNOWFGLINS. com,,,, and It is clearly our heart’s desire to reach people with our knowl-

edge, lifestyle and also our experiences with autism and what we have overcome. Our knowledge base is very large from the kitchen with from scratch and gluten free and casein free recipes, to homesteading with animals, natural health and healing, hunting, trapping, fishing, blacksmithing, our right to carry and protecting our 2nd amendment rights, traditional and primitive skills, wilderness survival, livFROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


ing the simple life, sharing our faith, autism, preserving our foods, gardening and so much more. What “homesteading” activities are you involved in? Our goal when leaving Pennsylvania was to create our own traditional lifestyle in a modern world where we were as self sufficient as we could possibly be and being sure to still keep God in the forefront/ lead. We grew up very tradiFROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE

tionally on farms with parent’s that canned, raised animals and farmed and it was in our blood to do the same. We both feel that we were born 100 years too late or more and are sadden by where are country is headed today. We take pride in our country and feel it is necessary for all of us to stand up for the rights our forefathers fought so hard for. Once our home was built and we were in out of the elements, we started to embrace the other aspects of our home-


stead. The first thing that was built was our traditional style log smoke house and next came a tree house for Austin -- then 13 at the time. Our chicken coop was built shortly thereafter as well as the rabbit hutches. We raise chicken for eggs and occasionally for a meal, meat rabbits, honey bees and milk goats. In December, the stilted tree house was remodeled to have a barn underneath to house our two expecting milk goats. We now have 6. Because our son is high functioning autistic we have been on a gluten free and casein free diet for 11 years and focus very hard on raising, harvesting, foraging and making all that we eat from scratch. The goats provide a huge resource with their milk now in that I make cheese, butter, milk kefir (which is used for smoothies and salad dressings) and ice cream of course. It is a big money saver for us and a blessing that our son can have goats milk because it has a different milk fat than that of cow’s milk. We can, dehydrate, jerk, smoke and ferment our own foods.

We hunt and raise all the meats we consume as a family. So we keep a large pantry of raw ingredients and do not shop, but once every three months normally -- sometimes it is longer (I hate shopping!). Our lifestyle provides us with a great deal of comfort and freedom that we encourage our audience to embrace one step at a time. We also feel that traditional and primitive skills as well as being as self sufficient as possible could not be more important this day in age with all the uncertainties. We are often considered both homesteaders and preppers, but honestly we view it as a lifestyle. Everything we do on a day to day basis is in an effort to prepare for tomorrow. Our focus is having the knowledge, tools and essentials that we need to live no matter what happens tomorrow. Can you tell us more about your autism awareness activities and how your lifestyle is influenced by that and vice versa? FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


Autism Awareness is something that we focus on very heavily and not just myself, but my son Austin as well. He has a heart to help others. We have overcome more than 97% of his autism/Asperger tendencies without medications. Our lifestyle has afforded him to live a very comfortable life in that he was able to be himself at a pace that was comfortable to him and allowed him to progress out of his autism shell. When in the public schools he was FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE

overwhelmed, overstimulated, struggled and was 4 years behind academically when we started to homeschool him. Once we started homeschooling him he began to excel in incredible ways, at one point doing two school years in one and he loves school. At age 9 Austin was still unable to speak full sentences and was not well. We were gifted with a diagnosis which allowed us to finally know how to care for him and to dig our heels in and find natural ways to improve


his health. He did hyperbaric oxygen for 7 months and went from a pre-primer reading level prior to the treatments to a high 2nd grade reading level and at the time he was in third grade! It was AMAZING and we also started the gluten free and casein free diet which did a lot of things for him. We found that the dairy was causing him to lose the sensation of his bowels which was why he was still having accidents, he struggled greatly with rageful fits, aggressive behavior and oppositional defiance which caused him great struggles because he had such a loving heart and he could not control his behaviors while on dairy. All of this went away with the change in diet. I got to meet my son for the first time during this time when he could start speaking in full sentences... During this time we also started using supplements, herbs and essential oils which you can read more about on our blog on my post titled “What We Have Learned and Conquered With Autism”. We make every effort we can to continuously get the word

out and share our story. Austin was featured in the American Frontiersman magazine in their first issue for 2015 sharing his story which covered 3 pages. To date, this article is the one I am the most proud to have written. He has been on my radio show several times answering our audience’s questions and sharing some very personal aspects of his journey with autism. We will continue to make every effort to share our knowledge and help others overcome autism/Aspergers. Our young man who struggled to form sentences at age 9 has officially become a licensed driver in Idaho on the 3rd of April which brought tears to my eyes! What is Mountain Woman Radio? Mountain Woman Radio is my weekly podcast on our website and iTunes. I started out on the Survival Mom Radio Network through divine intervention because I never thought I would be doing a radio show, but it was just another door that opened and FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE




provided me with another platform to reach more people with our story and knowledge. Last year the Survival Mom Radio Network dissolved with all the hosts, going back to just The Survival Mom, Lisa Bedford. I was blessed to be able to work with such amazing women and friend’s and it only seemed fitting to keep my show going and I changed the name from Mountain Woman Journals to the Mountain Woman Radio when I went on my own. It has been an amazing ride over the last two years and I have had amazing guests such as Mykel Hawke, many authors, such as Randy Lewis author of No Greatness Without Goodness, Robert Vera, author of A Warrior’s Faith, as well as many other author’s, amazing homesteaders, bloggers, etc. Each week is filled with different information to help educate, encourage and inspire. How do you define yourself as a Mountain Woman? Well, that is a good question … I have been an outdoorsy girl since I was little. I spent

the majority of my time growing up climbing trees, running through the woods, swimming in the creeks and spent a lot of time fishing and hunting with my Dad. My Dad wanted two boys and ended up with two girls so we are quite the mix of both worlds. Now as an adult I am doing the same thing and I feel my best when I am out in the wilderness or working on my homestead. There is definitely something to be said about having dirt under my feet and under fingernails. I am that girl that is tough on the outside and wears my heart on my sleeve. When I met my husband and Mountain Man -- a professional bull rider for 11 years and full blown outdoorsmen -- he met his match. The week before I met him I was in a very remote area of Pennsylvania 15 miles back in off the county road training my bird dog and camping for the night, just my dog and I. When we met I was the girl that had the pickup truck, fishing boat and a Harley living on a 150 acre farm with the same dreams and desires. I am adventurous and live by FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


faith. He and I are a perfect match. God had quite the plan putting us all together and that was just the beginning of our adventures. Is there anything you’d like to add? I encourage everyone to embrace their dreams whether big or small. The only way this can be accomplished is by taking the first step. We all live comfortably in our comFROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE

fort zone, but the excitement and your life’s purpose is on the other side of your comfort zone! Take that step today!! While you are stepping out of your comfort zone, please stop by and visit us at for the answers to your questions, the knowledge you are seeking and for the inspiration you need to keep going. Life is never easy, but it’s what you make it!


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Writing, blogging and photographing life on a Texas homestead. We love being in our pasture so much, we’ve decided that we suffer from Pasture Deficit Disorder anytime we’re away from it! Share our adventures at:”

Smart~Sustainable~Homemade~Homegrown Get Back to Basics and Make a Lifestyle that Lasts! FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE


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Many of these plants may already be in our cutting, cottage or food gardens, ready for double duty. This is the book that bridges the topic of plant dyes to mainstream gardeners, the folks who enjoy growing the plants as much as using them in craft projects.





From Scratch Magazine June/July 2015  

The best, FREE magazine for the modern homesteader. This issue: All about BEES!

From Scratch Magazine June/July 2015  

The best, FREE magazine for the modern homesteader. This issue: All about BEES!