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From Scratch winter 2016

forget resolutions make intentions instead Caramel Apple Jam yule log tradition

Fireplace Safety


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As a family business, Scratch and Peck Feeds are happy to be helping backyard chicken farmers, and other home livestock producers, to make honest and true choices about where their food comes from. Raising your own chickens for organic, nongmo eggs and meat gives you a direct connection to your food that is profound and fun. Feeding your livestock Organic, GMO-free foods supports the healthy lifestyle that more and more families are working towards.

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Contributors CHRIS MCLAUGHLIN ASSOCIATE EDITOR LAUGHING CROW COMPANY

JANET GARMAN CHICKEN COLUMNIST TIMBER CREEK FARM

ANNELIESE MARVEL ASSOCIATE EDITOR

STEVEN AND MELISSA JONES, CO-FOUNDERS

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And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been. - Rainer Maria Rilke

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Letter from the Editor and doing. But finally, at the end of the year, you get to stop for just a bit and assess. Assessment is my favorite thing to do ever. It’s the chance to see what you’ve done and whether it’s all been worth it (Protip: It almost always is). If you’ve got a modicum of self-forgiveness, it’s a bit of a chance to celebrate yourself and everything you’ve done.

I

t’s the most wonderful time of the year again -- the End!

Yes, I know, Christmas and Hannukah and Yule and Solstice and Kwanzaa are all great. But really, the best part of the year is the ending.

And you should! Our readers raise gardens, grow pots of herbs in the kitchen, cook food from whole ingredients, homeschool beautiful (and above average) children, raise animals, gather eggs from the back yard, obsess over seed catalogues, crochet and knit, make cheese, own crocks (for various and assorted purposes), milk animals, and so very much more.

Think about it: All year long, you’ve been working and slav- Even the ones that don’t do ing, and planning and thinking these things, they’re MVPs, 8 • from scratch magazine


too! You are part of a supportive community that wants to see you succeed in living intentionally.

excellent companies and craftspeople. There’s sure to be something on them for all of the people on your list.

None of you can be over-valued. In view of that, this issue is our gift to you.

So, sure, exchange your gifts, enjoy your eggnog (and latkes) and have great parties and cocktails and mocktails and be with your friends and family.

We’ve got great recipes (latkes and caramel apple jam!), an excellent piece on weather prognostication, and a how-to on creating a beautiful pillow, perfect for gift-giving. Speaking of gift-giving, make sure to check out our gift guide at the end of this issue. We spent months combing the internet for great gifts from

But before the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, hopefully, after you’ve read the latest issue of From Scratch, you’ve taken a bit of time to pat yourself on the back for having a great, and I’m sure challenging, year.

Steven Jones

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The Herbal Hom

Enroll for free herbal an

visit www.theherbalhomestead.com for information on how natural solutions can change your life. 10 • from scratch magazine


mestead University

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IN THIS ISSUE

Yule Log Tradition

Fireplace Safety

back forty Caramel Apple Jam forecasts 12 • from scratch magazine


Forget resolutions

latkes for hanukkah Little House on the prairie pillow Keeping your chickens happy this winter from scratch magazine •

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Melissa’s Picks Winter Wonderland

Winter white. Cozy Sweaters. Everything warm and wonderful.

Cardinal Suncatcher BirdsAndBugs1 - $22

Fingerless Gloves Loganelenas - $24 14 • from scratch magazine

Cotton Wreath - FromTheCoast2TheCity- $60

Stained Glass Pendant - hereandnowshop- $35


Cable Knit Boot Cuffs HappyKnitandCrochet - $25

Cardigan - Blarney Woolen Mills - $115 Fairy Garden Kit - Fairyfolk - $45

Goat Mug - LittleSloth - $15

Perpetual Desk Calendar JavaJaneDesigns - $38 from scratch magazine •

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Forget Resolu

Set intentions i

By: Steven Jones 16 • from scratch magazine


utions-

instead

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T

idealist in you. It’s OK, we do, his New Year’s we have a revolutionary too). proposal: Skip setSo, are we suggesting you ting resolutions. just give up? Not in the slightest. Let’s be honest: You probably In fact, we’re suggesting won’t keep them anyway. you take the situation from a deeper approach. A year’s Statistically speaking, about end is a perfect time to sit 92 percent of people don’t keep their New Year’s resolu- and reflect on what you are, what you were and what you tions. want to be. Instead of using this time to put together a And it’s easy to guess why. list of habits, we humbly sugNew Year’s resolutions are gest putting together a list of usually statements of habit, often established without pur- intentions instead. pose. If you’ve ever been in a yoga class, you understand the Want to lose weight? Why? Going to exercise more? What purpose of intentions. It’s a chance to establish a reafor? son -- a good, solid reason Without a purpose, habits and -- for why you’re there (and you should always listen to goals have no moral weight. yoga instructors, as they No philosophical groundreally have seemed to figure ing. And if you’re reading something out about living, this magazine, philosophical grounding is probably impor- even if I, personally, always have trouble identifying the tant to you (let’s be honest -- if you’re into homesteading, thing they have figured out. you’ve got more than a bit of If I knew that, I’d be a better

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“Living with intention means saying no to the things that aren’t important to us so we can say yes to what matters most.” - Crystal Paine

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ing out a plan of action, both personally and professionally for the coming year. As 2016 unfolds, we’ll update our readers on the state of those intentions and how we’re attempting to achieve them. In addition, we invite our readers to do the same. During the coming year, we’ll ask for your intentions for 2016, both large and small, and we’ll celebrate those intentions -- and the success of those intentions. Be aware, we’ll also And the great thing about intentions: They’re a lot harder work to explore the failures of our intentions: Again, the to break. Sure, you can fail, but part of establish intentions important thing about establishing intentions is examining is to examine what you’re action in the face of intendoing and determining how tion, and determining the way that reflects your intentions, that action lives up to -- or if at all. So, if you’re doing fails to live up to -- our intensomething counter to your tions. In a way, this will be the intentions -- which is entirely possible -- then you can adjust beginning of a series for From Scratch magazine, in which we throughout the year, without the guilt or handwringing attempt to explain what we are about, and how we expect which comes from failing in to accomplish that. And we your resolutions. hope you, our readers, do the same. There’s no shame in failSo, by way of poor example, ure, but there is shame in failwe’ve decided to establish our own list of intentions, lay- ure to learn from that failure. yogi, I think). In this case, we think establishing the “why” of what you’re doing is more important that establishing the “how” of what you’re doing. Instead of establishing a list of habits, we think it might be easier -- and better -- to establish a list of reasons for what you hope to achieve. If you do that, we believe, the “how” of the situation will actually take care of itself.

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So, here’s our list of intentions. If you’d like to share yours -or some list of intentions you think we should establish for this humble publication -- then email me at steven@fromscratchmag.com (note from the ed: more on this at the end of the article).

INTENTION NUMBER 1: CONNECTING WITH FAMILY All things spring from family. Recognizing that, we intend, in the coming year, to make efforts to connect with our family -- both our given family and our chosen family -- in a deeper and more spiritual fashion, in an effort to both nuture ourselves, our family members and the larger community of family that we have chosen. We will work to ensure that all of us, both ourselves and our family, are supported and encouraged in a way that serves all of us with honor, dignity and the recognition of our shared humanity.

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CONNECT WITH OUR FOOD Recognizing the deep potential in something as simple and humble as food as an agent for change in ourselves, our family and our greater community, we will work to connect with our food in a way that prevents us from taking any of it for granted. Food is culture and knowing that, we’d like to support a culture that honors those of us producing, growing and preparing food, both socially and financially.

INTENTION NUMBER 3: TO SEARCH FOR — AND SUPPORT OUR COMMUNITY Community means something different nowadays. At one point in human history, your community was determined only by those people you knew personally. Now, our community is determined by a sense of seemingly tribal identity, at least in the mainstream sense: Republicans


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“Our intention creates our reality.” -Wayne Dyer

v. Democrats, vegans v. carnivores, NRA members v. Hippies. Recognizing that the great spectrum of humanity allows us all to be much more than one thing, we will reach out to those who share our goals for the world -- in a personal, local, national and international sense -- and work with those individuals to support each other. That means we’ll strive for honesty, openness and transparency for our readers and contributors.

INTENTION NUMBER 4: TO CONNECT MORE WITH NATURE Understanding that we are a 24 • from scratch magazine

part of Nature, in every sense of the word, we’ll strive to come into contact with it on a honest level. If that means getting out in the woods and doing something -- Great! But that can also mean just taking a little time in the backyard and recognizing the grandeur that is the natural world. We’ll also strive to respect that granduer through our interactions with Nature. Editor’s note: Any communication to From Scratch magazine, unless otherwise requested, will be considered suitable for publication. Send us your intentions to steven@ fromscratchmag.com.


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Fireplac

by: Kare

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ce Safety

en Duke

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A

s we begin decorating our fireplaces and mantels for the holidays, please use a sharp eye mixed with a large dose of caution.

mantel decorations well back from the front edge of the mantel. Sparks from a wood fire can ignite them, but simple heat transfer from a wood or gas fire can, as well.

NOTHING FLAMMABLE KEEP ALL SHOULD OVERHANG COMBUSTIBLE ITEMS 3 THE MANTEL. FEET FROM THE SIDES OF THE FIREPLACE That means greenery, ribbons, OPENING. stockings and lights. Keep any 28 • from scratch magazine


Heat and sparks don’t just rise or extend in a straight line. Live greenery dries out quickly and is highly flammable. Use a fire resistant hearth rug in front of your hearth for added protection against errant sparks.

Your chimney sweep will thank you for burning real wood instead.

KEEP AN EYE ON CANDLES!

Don’t leave the room if a candle is burning. The heat from your stove or fireplace can NEVER BURN cause the unlit end of a canWRAPPING PAPER dle to melt while it’s also melting from the burning end. I OR PIZZA BOXES don’t know what it is with kids in your wood stove or wood burning fireplace. The grease and candles but children are so attracted to them so make from a pizza box can ignite a sure candles are placed well roaring chimney fire. Bits of paper and cardboard can rise out of reach of children, along and catch the chimney on fire, with the matches or lighter you use to light them. too.

IF YOU BURN MANUFACTURED LOGS, only burn one at a

One decorating trend we see a lot is burning candles in the fireplace instead of wood. Much safer, right?

time. They burn hotter than real wood and can easily warp Not necessarily. Don’t place metal fireplaces and chimneys. candles directly on the floor of the fireplace where the Better yet, skip them if you wax will melt and pool, procan. They use glues as bindviding fuel that can cause ing agents for the sawdust a dangerous flare-up if you and make for messy chimneys. burn a wood fire later. Put the candles in a drip pan of some type to catch that wax. from scratch magazine •

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DISPOSE OF ASHES SAFELY.

Hot embers, insulated by ashes, can stay hot for days. Empty ashes into a metal container with a tight fitting lid and store them safely on a noncombustible floor for at least a week. Please don’t set them on your wooden porch or deck where they can be knocked or blown over as this causes many fires every year. Save the ashes to add to your compost pile. 30 • from scratch magazine

CHECK SMOKE ALARMS AND CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS. If you didn’t change the batteries with the time change in November, please do it now. Karen Duke is the proprieter of the Victorian Fireplace shop in Virginia. Find out more about her, and her shop, here.


Use coupon code

SCRATCH for 10% off! Expires 12/15/15

Handcrafted Shoes Made in Oregon www.softstarshoes.com

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Yule Log Tradition By: Anneliese Marvel

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D

o you mourn the short days of winter and miss the sun when it sets at 5pm? Ancient peoples battled their sadness over the short days by throwing a celebration on the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice. This year’s Winter Solstice, or Yule, an important holiday for Pagans and Wiccans, falls on Tuesday December 22. The earth’s axis will tilt far away from the sun, resulting in the shortest day

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and longest night of the year. Post-solstice, the days begin lengthening minute by minute until spring finally returns. Celebrating the solstice gives hope for many sunny days ahead, and is often viewed as the rebirth of the sun from the clutches of darkness. The solstice is one of many celestial holidays celebrated by Wiccans and Pagans throughout the wheel of the year, a tradition which honors the way ancient peoples, from the time


of Stonehenge to the Roman Empire, also celebrated. Stonehenge, for example, is built to align with the sunset of winter solstice and the sunrise of the summer solstice, demonstrating how important those astronomical occurrences were to ancient people. The ancient Romans celebrated the solstice on December 25th, predating celebrations of Christmas, which didn’t become popular until after the year 800 CE. Yule and Winter Solstice traditions are much like those associated with Christmas, given they predate the Christian holiday. The colors green, red and white are common, reflecting the evergreen trees, red berries and white snow of

the season. The importance of light, heat and brightness is reflected in the popularity of candles, fire, bonfires and burning the sacred Yule log. Feasting was important, as cattle who couldn’t be kept alive through the rest of the winter were slaughtered and wine and beer were finishing their time of fermentation. Like the people of ancient times did, it’s most appropriate to celebrate Yule with what you have at hand. This could mean greenery from your backyard, red berries from bushes in the local park, even ice cubes from your freezer! You could also take a few moments to meditate in a room filled with candles on how your own life can be reborn with the return of longer, sunnier days.

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Yule Log Cut one log to a manageable size. Choose a wood that corresponds to your goals for the new year: Ash: protection, prosperity, and health Aspen: invokes understanding of the larger world Birch: new beginnings Holly: inspires visions and reveals new wisdom Oak: healing, strength, and wisdom Pine: prosperity and growth Willow: achieve desires Use cuttings from local greens such as pine, ivy, or other trees nearby to decorate your Yule log. You also might want to research mythic symbols that represent your desires for the new year, such as runes,

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A winter tradition herbs, and colors to incorporate into your Yule log. When you’ve finished decorating, take a moment to meditate and dedicate your Yule log to your goals. Then enjoy the fire! You can use the time it takes for your log to burn to continue meditating or to enjoy a festive beverage. When it’s done burning, you can save some of the ashes in a bag as a charm toward your desires for the new year.

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Chocolate Indulgence Yule Log

Ingredients • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder • 1/2 teaspoon salt • 5 eggs • 3/4 cup white sugar • 2 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate • 2 tablespoons water • 2 tablespoons coffee-flavored liqueur 38 • from scratch magazine

• 2 tablespoons white sugar • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda • confectioners’ sugar for dusting • 4 (1 ounce) squares semisweet baking chocolate • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract • 1 tablespoon coffee flavored liqueur


Directions • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly spray a 10x15 inch jellyroll pan and line with parchment paper. Sift flour with baking powder and salt and set aside. • In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs on high for several minutes until they are very pale and fluffy. Gradually add in the sugar, beating 1 to 2 minutes more or until very thick. Gently, but thoroughly, fold in the flour mixture.

(do not use Terry-cloth). Flip the cake out of its pan onto the prepared cloth as soon as it comes from the oven. Carefully peel away parchment paper. Lightly dust top of cake with confectioners sugar, then trim away crisp edges. Starting with one of the short sides of the cake, immediately roll the cake up in the cloth, jellyroll style, and cool thoroughly on a rack.

• For the Filling and Frosting: In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the chocolate. Remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm. In a medium bowl, beat • Melt the chocolate in a small the cream cheese with the consaucepan over low heat. In fectioners sugar until smooth, a small bowl, combine the 2 then blend in the vanilla extract tablespoons of water with the 2 and coffee liqueur. Blend in the tablespoons coffee liqueur and melted chocolate. Unroll the the remaining 2 tablespoons cake and spread about 1/3 of sugar and the baking soda, then the filling evenly over the surgradually stir into the melted face. Roll the cake back up. chocolate until smooth. Quickly, • Arrange cake roll on serving but thoroughly, fold chocolate tray, then frost generously, swipmixture into batter. ing with an icing spatula to • Pour batter into prepared 10x15 form the long ‘bark line’ design. inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees Swipe ends of cake in a circular F (175 degrees C) for 18 to 20 motion to simulate the treeminutes, or until a toothpick rings of a cut log. Decorate inserted into the cake comes log as desired with raspberries, out clean. Lightly sift an even coconut and beads. layer of confectioners sugar over a cloth napkin or tea towel

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The History of Hanukkah Latkes weren’t always a part of Hanukkah’s traditions. They originated in Austria, Poland, Germany, and Russia. They started off as peasant food because potatoes were cheap, filling, and easy to store. Jews who settled in the Middle East or around the Mediterranean used olive oil to fry their holiday food. Hanukkah falls at the end of the olive-pressing season, making it easy for them to fry up a cheap and hardy dish. Now its even popular to add extra ingredients to them such as carrots or beets! Latkes became traditional for Hanukkah because of the oil used to make them. The legend of Hannukah states that after the Maccabees won a battle against the forces of the Geek King Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the Israelites rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem. Doing so required them to fill a lamp in the Temple with oil. There was only enough oil, however, to light the lamp for one day, but miraculously, the oil lasted 8 days, long enough to prepare more oil for the lamp. So, every year at Hanukkah, Jews all over the world eat foods prepared in oil in rememberance. Latkes fit the bill perfectly. from scratch magazine •

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Latkes • 1 pound of Russet potatoes • ½ cup chopped white onion • 1 large egg (Beaten) • ½ Tsp. salt • ½ cup olive oil Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. This will allow the latkes to stay nice and warm while making more. Peel, grate, and transfer potatoes into a bowl of cold water. Soak the potato shavings for two minutes. Drain the potatoes. Place the shavings in a dry towel to compress the rest of the water out. Mix egg, salt, onions, and potato shavings together. Heat olive oil in a pan. Form the mixture into multiple, four inch flat pancakes. When oil is hot enough, place the latkes in the pan. Cook for about five minutes each side. Then place them in the oven to stay warm. Latkes are best served with applesauce or sour cream. 42 • from scratch magazine


By: Taylor Searcy

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In seed tim harvest teac enj

William

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me learn, in ch, in winter joy.

m Blake

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Wilbur aka. Willie the Pig By: Dawn Hodges

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O

ne cold January afternoon we answered the door to find two young men holding a tiny, Squealing, wild piglet. “Is this your pig”, they said, knowing all along it was not! Texas is amuck with wild or feral hogs. They destroy fields and crops, ruin water holes and will help themselves to your garden if they can get to it. They carry many harmful diseases and are trapped and hunted everyday here by landowners and professional hunters. This little pig’s mom had been struck and killed by a car right in front of our house. The two young men tried to catch the babies but only caught this one. We are quite sure the other babies did not last the night. Baby pigs are not tolerant of cold and these had no mom to keep them warm. We took the little, mad-asa-hornet bundle, not much bigger than a kitten, to the

barn and put him in our rabbit hutch. We filled it with hay and put a light on him. If we tried to pick him up, he would come at you just like his mom taught him to do. Luckily, he was so tiny that we were able to out maneuver him. We searched the computer for info on what to feed him and discovered that goat milk was the best choice. We put it in a clay pan and he would slurp as much as he spilled. He was cold, even with the light on but fared much better than his siblings did. We named him Wilbur, a.k.a. Willie. The second morning when my husband, Doug, went to feed him, I had left the cage unlatched and he had escaped during the night. Within 2 minutes he came running up to my husband to get his breakfast. Smart pig, huh? He never did like to be picked up or held but would follow us anywhere. As the days got colder I made him a little coat out of big, thick sock.

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He wore it well, but it did not last more than a week. By then he was much stronger and endured the cold by himself. None of the other animals here liked him. The horses would not come into the barn for feed for at least 2 weeks, the cats, chickens and cows thought he was spooky. Only Woody, our old Labrador dog would put up with him. Willie jumped all over him, tried to nurse and rammed him all over. Sometimes when it got too much Woody would nip at him but rarely. As he grew bigger we decided to put him in the chicken pen. It was large and well secured so he nor the chickens could not get out. He loved his chicken family and never tried to hurt any of them. But their food was fair game. The next home he had was the dog kennel. Willie did not know if he was a chicken, dog or person and certainly did not know what a pig was. When he was about 4-monthsold, our right hand man 48 • from scratch magazine

Jeffrey, castrated Willie. Oh, he was so pitiful. He laid there in his kennel and only wanted sympathy. I gave him some horse pain killer and the next day he didn’t even remember his “surgery”. One of his favorite pastimes was walking with us to the lake. He just could not wait to herd up the cows, talk trash to them with his hackles up and threaten them. This lasted about 5 minutes until they took off after him. We lost our precious Woody dog in January of this year. A couple of months later we got another Lab puppy who we named Huey. Now, Huey loves Willie. He actually seeks out Willie’s company. Willie is now in a horse stall and Huey can go through the pipes and play with Willie anytime he wants. One day my husband, Doug, was cleaning out Huey’s pen when he realized that Huey was gone. Panicking, he started searching and noticed that Willie was also gone. Willie’s


stall was open so Willie could go out into the pasture when he wanted. Doug started calling and next thing you see, way down in the pasture, is Willie coming back with Huey running alongside. They were both covered in mud and wet and so happy. Seems they decided to go down to the pond and have a little play time. We now have to keep an Eye on them as they love to slip off for more “adventures”.

All my city friends are afraid That we will EAT Willie. A Hispanic family down the road say he would make great tamales! But, you guessed it. Willie is not going anywhere, except maybe down to the pond for a swim. You can visit Willie and keep up with his adventures on our website: www.hodgesfarmtexas.com from scratch magazine •

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Hand Butter Churn

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Caramel Apple Jam By: Mary Marshall

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This Caramel-Apple Jam is so easy to make and delicious served over pancakes & waffles, or topped on biscuits or scones. Tastes like Apple Pie Filling only as a jam. Ingredients • 6 cups finely diced peeled Apples (4 med-large Honey Crisp apples yielded 6 cups) • 1/2 cup water* • 1/2 tsp. butter • 1 package Sure Jell (powdered fruit pectin) • 4 cups sugar • 1 cup packed brown sugar • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon (heaping) • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg Method 1. In a large stock pot, combine the apples, water and butter. Cook and stir over low heat until apples are tender (about 10 minutes). 2. Stir in pectin and bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Add the sugars, cinnamon and nutmeg and return to a rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. 3. Remove from the heat; skim off foam. Carefully ladle hot mixture into hot half-pint or pint jars, leaving 1/4-in. head-space. Remove air bubbles; wipe rims and adjust lids. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Note - shake jars gently from time to time while cooling (after lid has sealed) to evenly distribute apple pieces throughout the jam. Yield: 3 pints or approx. 6 half-pints *Option: Replace 1/2 cup water with 1/2 cup spiced rum for a different twist. Read more recipes from Mary at her blog, Cooking with Mary and Friends. Click here to find out more. from scratch magazine •

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Buy something Fancy for your Farm Windy Willow Homestead is proud to say that it is a Veteran and Woman owned and operated business.

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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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Little House on the Prairie® fabrics by Andover Fabrics Perfect for telling your story through quilts and DIY projects Fun fabric projects at littlehouseontheprairie.com/fabricprojects Share your creations with us using #LittleHouseMoment

LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE® and associated character names and trademarks are owned and licensed by Friendly Family Productions, LLC. All rights reserved. © 2015 Friendly Family Productions, LLC.

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Little House on the Prairie - Snowflake Pillow By: Angela England

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W

e are so excited about the launch of the Little House on the PrairieÂŽ collection of high-quality quilt fabrics by Andover Fabrics. Since the winter season is fast approaching, we wanted to share a lovely, winter-themed pillow that makes for a fun, easy-to-sew quilt project. Even if you are a beginner at sewing, you will find this easy to follow.

This DIY project and authentic line of fabrics takes us back to the simpler times and happy memories from the Little House on the Prairie stories. We love how Laura Ingalls and her family prepared for winter by filling the attic and cellar with supplies and making patchwork quilts. With this project, you can make your home feel snug and cozy and celebrate your pioneering spirit by trying a new craft.

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Supplies You Will Need: • ¼ yard of white or off white fabric • ¼ yard of fabric of your choice (this will be on the sides between the corners) • ½ yard of coordinating fabric (this will become the corners and the back) • Thread that matches your fabric • 16 inch by 16 inch pillow form* *A pillow form is a pre-made pillow inside you can get at craft stores. Your decorative outside fits over the pillow form, acting as a liner and stuffing all in one. This pattern may look complicated, which is what gives it the snowflake shape, but it is pretty simple. Enjoy!

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Instructions: • Cut 8 squares of the white/off-white fabric sized 5 inches by 5 inches. • Cut 4 squares of the first fabric sized 5 inches by 5 inches. • Cut 4 squares of the second fabric sized 5 inches by 5 inches. • Cut all of these squares in half on the diagonal.

Lay out your design on your workspace. This will help you to see how it will look and whether the triangles are facing the right way. Place the points of the triangles toward the center, as shown below. This gives more of a snowflake look.

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Homemade Egg Aprons


Sew the triangles together to make squares. If you iron as you go, it looks clean and smooth and it is easier to sew. Use a Âź inch seam throughout.

Sew the squares in each row together. Be sure to line up the edges of the finished squares, not the points, or else it will be off. The points should be sticking out, as shown below.

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Sew the rows together. Try to line up the seams.

Measure the length and width of your whole square. This is the front of the pillow. It should be close to 16 ½ inches by 16 ½ inches. Cut the leftover second fabric into a square that is the same size as the front that you just measured. This will be the back of the pillow. Sew the front to the back with right sides together. This means the outside of the pillow top and pillow back are facing each other. Sew around the outside on three edges using a ½ inch seam. Sew only partway on the fourth edge, leaving an opening large enough to insert the pillow form. Clip the excess fabric from the seams at the corners so your corners won’t bunch up when you turn the pillow out. We like to clip the excess fabric at an angle, taking care not to cut the thread of your seam. Now turn the pillow “right side out” so the outsides are out and you should have plenty of room to insert the pillow form through the opening you left. 70 • from scratch magazine


Insert the pillow form. Pin the opening closed and then hand stitch or machine stitch it closed.

You are done! Enjoy your pillow and feel great about creating something beautiful! Please visit us at http://littlehouseontheprairie.com/winterpillow/ to see a variation of another snowflake pillow that you can create. Have a coordinated set of winter pillows and feel the pride that crafting your own holiday décor brings! We hope you enjoy the Little House on the Prairie® fabrics by Andover Fabrics and wish you a very happy holiday season. from scratch magazine •

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Cooking with The Elliott Homestead By: Shaye Elliott

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elcome to The Elliott Homestead — a small handful of acres in North Central Washington that feed my handsome bearded husband, our crazy crew of children, laying hens, meat chickens, turkeys, geese, sheep, hogs, dairy cow Cecilia, pack of dogs — and me. I’m Shaye Elliott, and I want to share 75 of my favorite recipes with you — each one developed to utilize ingredi-

ents that we produce right here on our farm. The recipes are favorites because I love to make them and because my family loves to eat them (and I know y’all and your families will too!). Farm-to-table for every meal is no longer an impossible dreamc — as we set out to prove to ourselves just a few years ago. Of course, not everyone can choose to labor on the land as we do, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pre-

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pare fresh-from-the field meals from organically grown, locally raised, thoughtfully sourced products. That’s what Family Table is all about. (Forget expensive, exotic ingredients or fancy preparation techniques — Mama ain’t got time for that.) This book is about reviving

easy, traditional food preparations for a more flavorful, and healthy, future. It’s about sharing and enjoying the fruits of our labors with those we love — and those we don’t even know yet. Welcome to my family table.

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Keeping your Chickens happy this Winter By: Janet Garman

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ere on our farm we like to spread the holiday celebrations all the way to the barn and coops. Every animal gets a special treat on holidays and that includes the chickens! They work hard all year, leaving us daily gifts in the nest box. It is fun for us to come up with some treats for them. There are many chicken toys and treats available commercially but you can also create 80 • from scratch magazine

yummy and safe gifts for your chickens from items you have in your home. First, lets start with the obvious items. Chickens love people food. Some of our chickens favorites from the kitchen include: • leftover salad • fresh kale • shredded cheese • yogurt • scrambled eggs


• cooked vegetables • Whole grain bread crumbs

Do it Yourself Gifts If you want to spend a little time, there are fun “toys” that you can make with little to no money needed. These items will help the chickens stay busy during stormy days when they need to stay in the coop. When snow covers the ground but the sun is shining, these activities and homemade treats might entice them out of the coop and into the sunshine.

Build an Outdoor Perch System Think Jungle Gym for Chickens. Collect tree limbs, or scrap lumber and nail together a sturdy perch area. We have our outdoor perches under the shade covers in our chicken run. The shade covers are not completely water and rain proof but they do slow it down. It give the

chickens a little bit drier area to hang out in during bad weather. Adding the perches gives them a place to hang out with out standing around in snow and puddles

Add Curtains to the Nest Boxes Not only will the hens enjoy the extra level of privacy in the nesting area but the curtains will keep the area a little warmer, too. This might keep the eggs from becoming icicles!

Make Your Own Treat Blocks Treat blocks are available for purchase in most farm supply stores. You can make these at home too, saving money and allowing you to control all of the ingredients in the treat block. The flock block is a hard shape, often baked at a high temperature in the oven, that includes the ingredients that chickens love to scratch from scratch magazine •

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and peck. I will often google the term “make your own flock block” to grab a recipe. You can vary the ingredients somewhat depending on what you have on hand. The liquids or moisture ingredients, (examples: molasses or coconut oil) can vary also. You can even add some eggs into the mix. Your dry ingredients can include: scratch grain mixtures, whole grains such as flax seeds, whole oats, wheat berries, hulled sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds. What ever you would use as a treat for your chickens can go into the baked flock cake. Meal worms can be added also.

treat. Mix the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix well by hand. Grease a baking pan, I use one that will make a good thick block. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the flock block cake until the edges are browned. (around 30 minutes usually, but it needs to bake completely and this will depend on the size block you are making). Cool the block completely before treating your chickens!

Make Your Own Toys and Games for Chickens

Boredom busters are particuAs with most cake recipes, the larly helpful during the winingredient measurements will ter. Most bugs are gone and vary depending on how large the chickens are longing for an activity. One idea I love is a cake (flock block) you are making. That’s why I just look using an empty plastic bottle one up when ready to bake a as a treat dispenser. Take an 82 • from scratch magazine


empty plastic bottle, Drill or punch holes in the bottle all around. Make the holes big enough to allow seeds and grain to fall through but not big enough for the contents to pour out of the bottle.

hanging basket to hold lettuce or cabbage leaves. Hanging the basket from the ceiling, filled with fresh greens and fresh herbs gives the flock something to keep them busy.

It doesn’t have to cost a lot Add scratch grains and seeds. of money to treat your flock As the chickens roll the bottle with gifts this holiday season. Think of things that will break around, treats will fall out. If your flock doesn’t catch on up the monotony of winter. immediately, roll the bottle The chickens will love you for bringing them activities. around for them. Once a chicken or two catch on, the Janet Garman is the From Scratch magazine Chicken Editor. She’s the author of Chickens From rest will follow. Scratch. She also writes for her blog, Timber Chicken wire makes a good Creek Farm. Find out more here.

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Back 40 Forecasts

how to beat the weatherman at his own game

by: Elliot Borin

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Picture, if you will, a young boy growing up in suburban Atlanta. A typical AllAmerican-type kid. A kid who could have stepped right off the pages of a Norman Rockwell calendar or Saturday Evening Post cover. Only one thing a bit weird about this kid, he almost always carries a thermometer around with him, checking it with compulsive frequency and writing down the temperatures it reports. Flash forward about, oh, 40 years or so. The kid has matured into a man with a Masters degree in physics and a teaching position at a prestigious private academy. The man’s name is Tom Ehrensperger and he retains a relentless interest in temperatures, winds, clouds, lake effects, historical trends and just about every other factor that goes into making weather forecasts. So relentless (some might say obsessive) is this interest that he has spent thousands of hours and 33 years develop86 • from scratch magazine

ing and constantly upgrading a moderately priced software suite that can turn the average PC into a state-of-the-art weather reporting and forecasting center. How good is Ehrensperger’s Interactive Local Atmospheric Modeling System? Good enough, coupled with the home weather station you may already have collecting data in your backyard, to predict hourly temperatures, killing frost potential, dew point, ground temperatures and a host of other things up to a week or more (with some sacrifice in accuracy) in advance. Good enough, with its entire suite of features enabled, to frequently match or exceed the accuracy of big boys like the National Weather Service (NWS), Accuweather and the Weather Channel in the hundreds of thousands of locations where topographical features produce what are frequently called “microcli-


mates.” Communities, neighborhoods, farms and homesteads not large and sprawling enough to make an impression on the huge, globe-spanning forecasting models used by the goliaths of the weather world. Good enough that it learns from its mistakes and automatically generates fixes that permanently increase the accuracy of its forecasts.

question: Do you live in an area where people have been known to say “if you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes and it will change to something else?” If the answer is “yes”, and especially if you’ve been more than occasionally “burned” by the forecasts emanating from your TV, computer or mobile device, you might definitely want to check out WXSIM.

“I remember going out for a walk one night when I was Good enough that it can, at a kid,” Tom says. “The temyour command, blend the perature was 34 degrees at local data from your weather station with the regional data my house, 29 degrees after I walked down a slight decline from one or more nearby National Weather Service sites – about a 30 ft. vertical drop to produce incredibly detailed over about 150 yards -- and it was 29. Continuing past forecasts that are up to 20 that dip, I climbed at most percent more accurate than either the Weather Service or 100 feet vertically during the WXSIM forecasts taken sepa- next 400 yards and it was 43. All those temps were probrately. ably going to fall another six or seven degrees that night A fast way to test whether so the person at the bottom WXSIM might help you save your tomato crop, flower gar- of that minor hill was going to get a potentially killing frost den or newly planted fruit while the temperature at the trees is to ask yourself this from scratch magazine •

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Fig. 1 number of sites accessed to interface with home weather station data

small-area forecasts (“that’s the kind of challenge I like,” he says,) Tom started devel“I knew even then that there oping WXSIM as a primarily was no way the Weather temperature-based forecastService could produce a local- ing model. Discovering early on that accurately predicting ized forecast that would take into account that magnitude large-scale weather changes of change in such a small based just on temperatures niche, what I didn’t know was and other limited data from local weather stations was how to do it better.” essentially impossible, he Accepting the challenge of gradually started incorporating more and more of the besting the major reporting services in short and mid-term external data vital to make his high point would barely get down into the 30s.

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forecasts truly dependable. (Fig. 1 shows the approximately 20 upwind reporting sites WXSIM uses as just one element in making forecasts for Post Falls, ID.)

REINVENTING THE WHEEL

preliminary forecasts based on what’s happening on the surface and at those low altitudes where wind speed and direction, cloud cover and other factors can heavily influence those surface conditions.

“The Global Forecast System (GFS) model the NWS uses starts at the top and works “Eventually I sort of reindown. It, and the other sysvented the wheel,” he notes, tems like it, are really amazthough if you wanted to ingly good at predicting gengraphically illustrate the diferal atmospheric changes. ference between his forecast- Where they run into probing model and everyone else’s lems are when they reach the what you’d actually come up ground.” with is not a wheel but two more-or-less mirror-image Tom notes that models like ellipses. Tom’s would be big GFS have gotten better, with and broad at the bottom and the most precise models now thin at the top. The Weather analyzing grids 12 kilometers Service’s, Accuweather’s, etc. or even smaller. “Which,” he would have tons of data swell- says, “is wonderful if you’re on ing them at the top and rela- the Nebraska prairie” because tively little at the bottom. everyone is basically at about the same elevation, there’s “Basically, my program works no major bodies of water to from the ground up and theirs produce lake effects and simiworks from the top down,” he lar localized anomalies and explains. “We start small and regional predictions for your local and concentrate on get- farm will be just as accurate ting, interpreting and making from scratch magazine •

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for the next farm 12 kilometers away.

cally just a pixel in those big models.

“Even with a 12K or smaller grid they’re still hampered by the low density of surface sites – of ten as much as 50 miles apart – reporting data to the model. In other words, as good as they are and they are really quite good, “they still can’t forecast freezing conditions at my house and relatively mild conditions few thousand feet away much better than they could 40 years ago when I was a kid.”

Try as they might – and they do invest a lot of research and money to get it right – they just don’t see the details very well and that lack of vision makes an enormous difference in the accuracy of the forecast.”

For a more dramatic explanation of top down vs. bottom up, Tom likes to use the example of a customer in Lebanon. “If he traveled 20 miles east, which he can’t without running into ISIS, he’d be in the Syrian desert,” Tom says. “If he went nine miles west he’d be in the Mediterranean and he lives in the mountains at 3500 feet within a hop, skip and glide of some great ski resorts. That whole area – the sea, the desert, the mountains – is basi90 • from scratch magazine

OF GEEKISM AND SCALABILITY First the good news. You don’t need to be a weather, computer or any other kind of geek to activate, run and benefit from WXSIM’s ability to deliver a detailed, personalized weather forecast for your homestead. (See Fig. 2 for a real-life, non-simulated screen shot of a WXSIM forecast.) If you decide to purchase the program after installing and running, Tom Ehrensperger will populate a number of customization files telling WXSIM where to find and download the wider (and higher altitude)


Fig. 2 Simple text display for day-by-day forecasts

world of wind, cloud, precipitation and other data that helps influence conditions at your home. To get going, you replace about six or seven generic files in the demo program with the customization files and use the step-by-step instructions in the quick start guide to transfer data from your home weather station to WXSIM’s database. Other bits of necessary “housekeeping” include telling the program what units of measurement

you would like it to report in, deciding whether you want forecasts delivered automatically on a specified schedule or if you want to initiate a forecast manually. Finally, you can decide whether you want to post a simple, textonly version of the forecast on a website. (You can also use your own or select one of many free PhP scripts from the WXSIM community to create eye-popping HTML versions of the forecast and web pages brimming with links to radar maps, webcams, etc.) from scratch magazine •

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But wait, if that’s the good news, here’s the better news. WXSIM and its companion programs (modules, actually) are infinitely scalable. If you wake up sometime with 12 feet of snow on the ground and months of cabin fever staring you in the face, you can avoid terminal boredom by clicking on the jam-packed 140-page user’s manual in your WXSIM folder and begin the fascinating progress of becoming – yes, you guessed it – a true weather geek. An advanced user who will eventually know as much or more about what makes weather tick than the cannedforecast reading, chart-pointing weather person at your local TV station.

“Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” It’s arguably the oldest cliché in the book. Adam and Eve undoubtable spent long evenings debating weather conditions before the serpent introduced a somewhat more interesting topic of conversation. It’s an old cliché and it’s just as true in the 21st Century as it was when it was first coined. People still talk about the weather and probably always will. And there’s still nothing much anyone can do about it, though that may someday, in some future world far more technologically adept that ours, change.

All that said, thanks to the An advanced user who under- wide availability of affordable sophisticated and frequently stands and can manually wireless home weather statweak every one of WXSIM’s tions and programs like hundreds of inputs and setWXSIM and its addons, we tings to produce forecasts that are even more drop-dead are getting progressively betaccurate than those generated ter at predicting the weather’s twists, turns and turnabouts automatically. 92 • from scratch magazine


Full graphical display for the internet

and protecting ourselves from their consequences -- at least as they affect our own backyard and Back 40. Note: Technical requirements for running WXSIM are very moderate. Any reasonably adept PC with a dual-core processor and a reasonable amount of available hard drive space will be a more than adequate host. Home weather stations selected for use with

WXSIM in basic mode, can also be fairly minimalist with only such standard sensors as outdoor temperature and humidity, wind speed and direction, and barometer. (When used in “expert mode” a few WXSIM features require weather station “extras” as soil and UV sensors. One absolute necessity for the weather station is a wireless or wired data collection connection to a PC.

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Serious Ab I

f you’re not what master spy story-teller John Le Carr famously defined as a “constant gardener” or someone who is seriously into sustainable agriculture, you can skip this bit without suffering any handicap in evaluating if and how much WXSIM may benefit you. On the other hand, if you are

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a “constant farmer” or a very serious gardener (to turn the descriptors topsy turvey) you may be interested to know that WXSIM: • Forecasts soil temperature at eight user-specified depths including soil surface temperature even if covered by grass or mulch.


bout Soil? • Models soil moisture levels as both percent by volume and soil-moisture tension. The latter, takes into account the difficulty plants have in extracting water from different types of soil, being particularly important in determining irrigation needs. • Combines the amount of water evaporated from soil

and plants with the amount lost to transpiration through plant leaves to generate both potential (ETO) evapotranspiration rates for long and short crops and estimated actual evapotranspiration rates. • Leverages all the above to preview the effects of specific irrigation plans.

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Location, Location, Location

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totally bypassed by the hightech revolution. Yes, the “bubble” reading the temperature today is more often a boring, grayish digital probe than a cheerful red ribbon of colored alcohol (not, as is commonly Yes, they do constitute a rath- believed, mercury), but design aside it is still a dumb beast er awesome aggregation of woefully unable to cope with technologies and, yes, they do regularly produce extreme- a myriad of bewitching and befuddling factors. ly accurate localized weather forecasts. But the cold, hard truth is that all that heavy-duty To tame the temperature sensor in your weather space age computing power station, Tom Ehrensperger is being held hostage. Being recommends: held hostage by the most low-tech, ancient weather • Make sure the temreporting device of them all – the thermometer. If the tem- perature sensor included with your home weather station is perature readings from your weather station thermometer mounted in a housing with a properly designed, louvered are off their rocker – even radiation shield. (Many qualslightly – your predictions – ity station makers include this based in part on calibrated as standard equipment, others corrections between your offer it as a nominally priced temps and those of nearby option.) official sites -- will also be off the mark. It’s a classic case of • Never mount your sengarbage in/garbage out. sor either on or near a southfacing building wall. Even Outdoor thermometers are one of the few gadgets to be from 20 to 30 feet away, the orget for a moment the precise data mining routines and complex calculations WXSIM uses to produce its forecasts.

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sun beating on that wall will generate heat and infrared radiation that will artificially raise the temperature relayed by your sensor. • Mounting a sensor on an east wall can fool the sensor into reporting your high temperature of the day as occurring in the early morning rather than the late afternoon.

with high frost potential. Tom Ehrensperger recommends that dedicated gardeners shoot for a temperature sensor location about five feet above grass or soil.

• The optimum place to mount your temperature sensing unit is in the sun on a pole or stand five feet above a grass or earth surface and well removed from heat absorbing or radiating structures like • Roof mounting is also very problematical, even if the brick, wood or rock walls. station holding the sensor is • If you can’t find an optimounted on a pole five, ten mal place in the sun for your or more feet above the roof. sensor mount it in the open The amount of heat radiatshade. ing up to the sensor varies according to the type of roof • Perhaps the best solu... shingle roofs are among the tion is to invest a little money worst offenders and a grass and equip your station with an or moss-covered roof would probably pose little problem. aspiration fan. This will eliminate over-heated, stagnant air An additional issue with roof mounting is that the sensor is pooling around your temperature sensor by keeping air curhigh above the ground and rents in constant circulation. your crops are very close to the ground. Even a little bit of In addition to providing more wind will erase the differences accurate readings, it also gives in temperatures between the you a bit more latitude when deciding where to install your two, but it can be a probequipment. lem on those calm nights 98 • from scratch magazine


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Permaculture Playing Cards

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51

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Now you can mold and press out a 1 pound block of butter with this hand-made Butter Mold! Hold the press half way and make a half pound block of butter! Designed and manufactured by Homesteader’s Supply right here in the USA! And, it includes a free culture that turns you butter into a flavorful and healthy product full of beneficial lacto-bateria just like healthy yogurt. from scratch magazine •

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The ultimate guide to raising chickens from scratch magazine •

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Click Here to Order Your Copy! You don’t have to have a degree in chemistry to create your own natural dyes. It just takes a garden plot and a kitchen.

Many of these plants may already be in our cutting, cottage or food gardens, ready for double duty.

A Garden to Dye For shows how super-simple it is to plant and grow a dyer’s garden and create beautiful dyes.

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.

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