10 Reasons We Homeschool

July 21, 2017

Homeschooling on the Homestead Collaboration

Hey Y’all, we were asked by The Texas Boys to join their collaboration on why we homeschool and why homeschooling is good / right for our family.

Check out the full homeschooling playlist here to see why The Texas Boys and other homesteaders homeschool their kids.

There are so many reasons we chose to homeschool our kids but we’ve narrowed it down to the 15 reasons below. Our reason for homeschooling our kids is pretty universal. However, most of our five methods only apply for young children.

We hope you enjoy the video and would love to hear what you think.

10 Reasons We Homeschool:

  1. Desks: How long can you sit still?!
  2. Non-stop investigations and creative play
  3. Flexibility with our days and learning environment
  4. Biblical based teaching/learning
  5. Character building
  6. No set curriculum
  7. individualized learning
  8. Sleep
  9. No test pressure
  10. Allergy safety environment

5 Ways We Homeschool Our Kids:

  1. Being with our kids every day, we are able to teach our kids organically through everyday life situations.
  2. Internet resources
    1. ABC Mouse
    2. Right Now Media
    3. Starfall
    4. YouTube Kids
  3. Bible: teaches history, life lessons, character, cause and effect, physics
  4. Jenn’s head: experienced teaching, arts and crafts, spontaneous teaching lessons and opportunities
  5. Books

5 Bonus Reasons We Homeschool

  1. Minimize exposure to inappropriate content.
  2. Teach them to learn, not just regurgitate random facts to pass a test.
  3. Give them better social exposure.
  4. Teaching them what we believe and not having them forced to learn evolution or facts we don’t agree with that the government school system is forcing kids to learn and know.
  5. The Permaculture Prime Directive

Nature’s Little Squeeze Pouch Review

June 25, 2017

Have You Considered Reusable Baby Food Pouches?

Hey, Y’all, today I’m going to show you one of my new favorite baby food items. It’s the WeeSprout Double Zipper Reusable Food Pouch. Specifically, I’m going to be reviewing the 3.4 fl oz version.

I’ve been using these reusable baby food pouches for a few weeks now and absolutely love them. I’ve used them every day and they make life so much easier.

We use the squeeze pouches for both homemade baby food and store-bought baby food. As long as it can be sucked through the small opening it can be used.

Image of Nature’s Little Squeeze PouchesHow Big is The Nature’s Little Squeeze Pouch?

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June 20, 2017

How Secure Is A Master Lock Padlock?

If you’re using a padlock to secure anything of value, please reconsider. I’ve always considered a Master Lock padlock to be relatively secure but this changed the way I look at them forever.

I realize that they can be picked pretty easily, but the average crook probably doesn’t have great lock picking skills. What I wasn’t prepared for is how quickly they can be cut with an angle grinder.

I Lost The Padlock Key

After losing the key to a padlock that was “securing” a 20-foot BigTex trailer, I had two options: Either bust out some old lock picking skills or try to grind the padlock off.

Once I gave up on the lockpicking endeavor, I pulled out my $60 angle grinder. To my surprise, it took less than 30 seconds to remove the padlock.

To give you a little more perspective, I was cutting it with my left hand while filming with my right (dominant) hand. With a little practice, I could probably get it down to 10 seconds flat.

What’s The Best Way To Secure A Trailer?

All of this to say, If you are using a padlock to secure anything of value, please look for a better alternative. What is that better locking alternative? I’m really not sure.

Let me know in the comments section what your favorite way to secure a trailer is.

Want to see more videos like the one above?

Check out the East Texas Homestead YouTube channel and subscribe for instant alerts.

We Are Home From The Hospital!

June 15, 2017

The Hospital? What?

If you saw our last video (Poor Little Dude), you know that our middle child (we call him Dude) was hospitalized due to pneumonia which aggravated his asthma. The bad news is that we do this once or twice every year. The good news is that we are now home and he is doing much better and breathing well.

Those of you with asthmatic children totally know the terror of knowing your child can’t breathe. We love natural, homemade, and alternative health practices but I’m so glad for modern medicine when it comes to keeping his lungs open during an asthma attack.

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Featured image of how to make a comfrey poultice with a blender.

What Is A Comfrey Poultice?

Simply put, a comfrey poultice is moist ground up comfrey (usually leaves but sometimes root as well) applied to a wound and covered with a cloth. This natural healing method has been used for a very long time and is not limited to comfrey.

If you’re new to comfrey, check out this article. What Is Comfrey?

For thousands of years, comfrey has been used as an herbal medicine on sprains, burns, breaks and more. One of its folk names is knitbone because it has been used to speed up the time in which it takes to heal a broken bone. One of the best ways to use comfrey externally is in a poultice.

How To Make A Comfrey Poultice

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It Was a Really Bad Storm

As many of you man know, on April 29, 2017, at least seventornadoes ripped through East Texas leaving a wake of destruction in their paths. Several people lost their lives and many more lost everything they owned. News article about the tornadoes.

canton texas tornado aftermath

The Call For Help

Last Friday, I received an email from Grace Community Church asking for volunteers to help in the tornado relief effort in Canton, Texas. Specifically, volunteers with chainsaws and the ability to move trees and other debris. This is an area where I feel particularly equipped and able to help.

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How to make contact paper countertops on a budget

Need Countertops on a Budget?

When we were making decisions about what to do with kitchen countertops on our homestead, my mom told me about contact paper countertops. When she was a young girl, my great grandmother would recruit my mom and her sisters to change out the contact paper in her kitchen.

It took me a while to warm up to the idea of a giant peel and stick countertop, but after looking at the price and overall quality, we took the plunge into this project.

We really wanted to install solid oak countertops from trees on our homestead. We may still do this someday. But for now, these contact paper countertops are holding up great.

Do Contact Paper Countertops Last Long?

Contact paper is pretty durable for being a large sticker. But don’t think you’re getting a solid granite countertop. Every once in a while we get a little tear or scuff in the contact paper but it’s an easy fix. In the video below (toward the end), I show you exactly how we fix holes in contact paper countertops.

Where to Buy Contact Paper for Countertops?

Check your local hardware store but we ordered ours on Amazon.com. There are many brands and some of them have really bad ratings. We purchase the brand Con-Tact Paper and have been happy with it. Here’s a link to the one we ordered.

Let us know what you think. Have you used contact paper for countertops in your kitchen or bathrooms? Do you have any questions about it? I want to hear from you.

Rice knife review for homesteaders

Image of the growtech knk-hts1200 grass sickle rice knife

I Love This Rice Knife!

Jenn gave me a rice knife / grass sickle for Christmas this past year. I love this thing so much I wanted to let y’all know about it. The best part is that it sells on Amazon Prime for $10 to $12 bucks!

In my opinion, this is an essential homestead hand tool. If permaculture hand tools are your thing, this grass sickle will be on your shopping list soon. Continue Reading

Building a raised garden bed with wood sides from a pine tree

3 Part Video Series on Building a Raised Garden Bed

Now that our house is mostly finished and we are living on the homestead, It’s time to put in a garden. We would love to go big but the truth is, I haven’t managed a garden in almost 20 years.

We decided to start with a single raised garden bed this spring. Unlike most raised beds you’ll find on the internet, this one is actually pretty big. But the cool factor comes from the unique wood sides. I milled the garden bed sides from a pine tree that we cut down when putting in our septic system.

Cutting The Raised Bed Sides

The first video below shows the process of turning a pine tree into the necessary lumber needed for the raised garden bed.

Assembling The RaisedGarden Bed

Now that we have two 15 foot and two 5 foot planks cut, it’s time to construct the bed. This is extremely simple. To build the raised beds, we simply screwed the four planks together at the corners and placed one cross member in the center.

Without taking the time to film the process of building the raised bed sides, it’s probably about a 10-minute job.

This second video shows the process of how to build a raised garden bed with wood sides.

Filling The Raised Garden Bed With Good Soil

After constructing the raised bed, we needed to fill it with soil. It’s important that you have good soil life when gardening. Most people assume that when you fertilize, you are feeding the plants. The truth is that you are feeding the soil organisms and they return the favor by feeding your plants what they need.

When filling the raised garden bed with soil, we added quite a few amendments to boost fertility. This final video in this series shows our process for filling a raised garden bed with nutrient rich soil that’s ideal for growing high-quality food.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this 3 part video series on building a raised garden bed with wood sides from a pine tree. It was a lot of fun to make and we are looking forward to harvesting nutrient rich food from it.

I’d love to hear what you think. Have you taken the step toward food independence by starting a garden? If so, let me know below what your favorite things to grow are.

Don’t forget to subscribe to email notifications here on the blog and over on our YouTube channel. Thanks for stopping by and we will see you soon.

I’ve spent the last three years trying to decide the best way to deal with the constant flow of water behind our house. I’ve decided to channel it into a secondary swale before it overflows into the creek.

As we started removing dirt mounds, left over from cutting out the house pad, I realized that with a little work, we could move the water back around the land and create this secondary swale system. Thanks to the new tractor and its massive rear blade, it took just a short time to cut the trench and put the backbone of the swale in.

If a diehard permaculturalist watches this video they will say it’s not a true swale and that i’m doing it wrong. Sure, traditionally one would scoop out the dirt, creating a trench, and place it directly on the downhill side of where it came. I don’t have that option at the moment so I will be bringing the mound portion of the swale from another part of the property.

I’d love to hear what you think. Are you putting any swales on your property? Is this a “real swale”? Let me know below.