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 seven tornadoes 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 Raised Garden 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.

Poster image for Installing Dryer Vent in Middle of House video

See how we installed a dryer vent in the middle of our house

During our mobile home reno, figuring out how to install our dryer vent in the middle of our house proved to be a bit of a challenge. Before giving up and changing the house layout, again, I found a product that allows you to go down through the floor and send the dryer vent out where you need it. This is all assuming your house or mobile home is not sitting on a slab foundation.

If you find yourself googling “Installing Dryer Vent in Middle of House” or something similar, this post may just make your day. I put together a short video that will show you how to place your dryer vent in the middle of your house using an adjustable periscope dryer vent.

In almost every well-planed home layout, the home builder will place the dryer on an exterior wall. This makes it much easier to vent straight out the wall to the outside. However, in some situations, placing the dryer on an interior wall is the only option. We found ourselves in that exact predicament.

Video: Installing Dryer Vent in Middle of House

I don’t walk you through the steps on exactly how to install the periscope dryer vent. However, you should be able to get the main idea and know how to get around the exterior wall predicament.

One thing I need to mention, the periscope dryer vent would work even better than I have it if you were to place it inside the wall. I was unable to do so because there was a floor joist running under the wall and it would have been too complicated to change that.

If you’re into this sort of thing, subscribe for email updates and check out our East Texas Homestead YouTube channel.

We Started a Family Vlog

We’ve started vlogging over on our YouTube channel. Yes, I know. How could we let this happen? Well, here’s the thing, we’re not turning our channel into a vlog, we are adding additional content for those who would like to watch it.

We are stepping up our video production game and want to bring you y’all as much content as possible. Since I (Eric) still work a day job, I can only handle so much video editing.

An East Texas Homestead Family Vlog will be pretty easy to edit and upload since we are constantly taking video of our kids anyway. As an added benefit, YouTube likes to see constant uploads. This will help us get exposure and grow the channel.

Growing the channel is critical in order for us to keep going. It takes a lot of work to continually bring new content and as fun as it is, the main purpose of the channel is to become a good source of revenue for our family.

We make a little money on YouTube but…

Aside from the money we receive from YouTube, We make a little from the Amazon Affiliate Program. If you’d like an easy way to contribute financially to our family, there’s probably no better way than by doing your online shopping through the link below.

If you click on the banner above, everything will appear exactly as you would expect from Amazon.com. The prices will be exactly the same as if you went straight to the site. The only difference is that we will receive a small percentage of your purchase price as a commission. Pretty cool right?

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I hope y’all will enjoy the East Texas Family Vlog. We are having fun putting it together. Let us know what you think in the videos comment section and as always, like the videos and subscribe to the channel if you haven’t already.

Check Out Our Most Recent Video

Video thumbnail for DIY Homesteading Videos | How to Build Wood Sides for Utility Trailer | #EastTexasHomestead

Have you ever wanted to put sides on your flatbed trailer?

In this easy DIY homesteading project video, Eric will show you How to Build Wood Sides for a Utility Trailer or flatbed trailer. Utility trailer modifications can be intimidating, but with a little planning, they can be quite simple.

If you’re looking for a step by step plan on how to build utility trailer sides, this may not be for you. However, if you’re the kind of homesteader who can see something being built and take the idea and run with it then this is for you.

We started with a 20 foot Big Tex utility trailer and some reclaimed 2×6’s. It total, the wood side trailer upgrade cost less than $20!

Now for the Tools I mentioned.

I price checked amazon.com vs Lowe’s for the Irwin Quick Grip Clamps and they were very comparable in price. I would recommend getting them locally if you can but I totally understand getting free 2-day shipping on your orders from amazon prime. Having said that I cannot find the one that I am using in this video on amazon prime.

All Irwin Tools Shop on Amazon.com ➜ http://amzn.to/2l3Z4L6%0A

Quick-Grip Irwin XP12 Xtreme ➜ http://amzn.to/2ksJTt9

DEWALT DWS780 12-Inch Miter Saw with XPS ➜ http://amzn.to/2kmAwQE

Our oldest son (we call him Buddy) came out to help me unload a yard of mulch from the truck while the rest of the family was still sleeping. At 4-years-old, he wasn’t able to move much but I love having him with me when I work.

After a few minutes, he asked if he could take pictures. I handed him my iPhone and let him do his thing. All I did in this video was stitched the clips together and added the music. the rest is life from his point of view.