Mount Sunapee Homestead

DIY and Homestead Hacks

Any Do-It-Yourself or hacks that we have figured out or came across on our journey!

The Spring Homestead Checklist

Spring Homestead Checklist

The Spring Homestead Checklist Some folks may wonder exactly what we homesteaders are doing when the snow is still on the ground to the time the summer sun shines bright overhead.  Well, take a peak at our seasonal chores below.  Of course, fellow homesteaders may have more or less tasks depending on their holdings.   For those looking to start homesteading, check out the Homesteading 101 post for more chores by seasons! Livestock Order any piglets or poults from farmers or feed stores by late winter/early spring. Prepare brooders check heat lamps from last year review poult care check cage wires to keep mice out if brooder will be in garage or barn Pick up chicks/poults, lambs, piglets, etc Assist with livestock birthing (if not ordering) Check any pasture fences to prevent escapes Install electric fences and train livestock to fence Garden Ensure seeds are ordered by late winter/early spring Start seeds indoors according to packaging Purchase any started plants in late spring to transfer to garden Till the garden when ground thaws  Plant cold-loving varieties (e.g. spinach, chards) Begin to harden off seedlings Prune any fruit trees before budding occurs Bees Prepare hives to install any new bee colonies…
Read more

Homesteading 101 – How to Start a Homestead

Homesteading 101

  Homesteading 101 – How to Start a Homestead So you want to start a homestead?  CONGRATULATIONS!  Homesteading can be a very rewarding lifestyle (or even hobby) for anyone looking to feel a little more independent.  Not sure if homesteading is for you?  Keep reading, because, my friends, homesteading can be so many things.  It’s all up to you to decide what your homestead will look like – that’s part of the fun! What is homesteading? Homesteading is a very broad term applied to anyone with a DIY, self-sustaining attitude.  Although homesteaders can range from full-scale self-subsistence live-off-the-land type farming all the way to people who want to make their own soap, most of us fall somewhere in between!  Homesteading can include any or all of the below activities (and many more that I’m forgetting): gardening canning the harvest soap making raising chickens for eggs raising livestock for meat beekeeping boiling sap for maple syrup home cooking with homemade ingredients (such as vanilla extract or yogurt) Simply put: homesteading is making as much as you can yourself with ingredients you source/make yourself. Why Homestead? Take a look on the internet and you’ll find hundreds of blogs related to homesteading (my…
Read more

DIY Tow Behind Trail Groomer

DIY Tow Behind Trail Groomer

DIY Tow Behind Trail Groomer   I write this post as a reprise to last year’s Redneck Trail Groomer Solution.  At the time I first published this, I had much optimism that the winter of 2016 was not yet over and snow would return.  It didn’t.  So, in light of a recent Nor’easter and the promise of winter to come in 2017, I reintroduce The DIY Tow Behind Trail Groomer (for snowmobilies). A groomer to tow behind snowmobiles… Now that winter is returning,  we’re ready with our still-like-new piece of equipment.  Ok.  Equipment might be a strong word, but the contraption works when pulled behind our snowmobile.  It transforms our fields into a private, groomed cross country center. Yes,  you can cross country ski without grooming.   I’ve done it plenty.   And yes,  the snowmobile itself can create a packed trail,  but for anyone who likes to cross-country skate ski,  it’s not exactly optimal to have deep grooves from the snowmobile skis crisscrossing your glide path.  And for the Nordic style lovers, a groomed trail is just plain better.   So,  what is this magical grooming device?   It’s incredibly simple and effective.   We tied a section of chain link fence to…
Read more

DIY Homemade Gift Bags (or wrapping paper!) by Kids

DIY Holiday Gift Bags

              DIY Homemade Gift Bags (or wrapping paper!) by Kids Handmade and decorated gifts are loved by all, so why not put a little personal touch into the wrapping?  It’s a great way to get the kids involved in the holiday excitement and also provide a super fun craft activity!  What’s better is that this craft can be done using whatever is around the house.     All you need to do is gather either: large paper grocery bags (can be cut and flattened into wrapping paper) gift bags of any color Then select as many or as few decorating items as you have available.  These could include but are by no means limited to: crayons or markers paint stickers glue glitter stamps     Then, place your art supplies in front of the kiddos and let them create!      

DIY Foaming Handsoap

DIY Foaming Handsoap

DIY Homemade Foaming Handsoap *This post may contain affiliate links. As a family full of sensitive skin issues, we’re always looking for skin care and cleaning alternatives that won’t cause our skin to break out or break the bank.  I came across this recipe somewhere in internet land several years ago and have loved it ever since!   Materials Needed: Container with foaming pump (I used an old mason jar, added some glass beads to the bottom and purchased a foaming pump on Amazon but you could reuse a store bought one) Dr. Bronners Castile Soap (Don’t be alarmed as the price – this bottle will make years worth of foaming handsoap.  I buy unscented and use essential oils to “flavor” my soap.  See photo below.) Water Essential Oils (optional to add scent)   Make It: Making the soap is very easy.  Fill the container 1/4 full with the Dr. Bronners.  Fill the remainder with water and add a couple drops of essential oils (if you’d like).  Cover and start using!  I love lavender and peppermint smelling soaps.  These could also make a great gift!

How to Keep Chickens in the Winter Without Electricity – The Insulated Waterer

How to Keep Chickens in the Winter Without Electricity – The Insulated Waterer

The Problem with Keeping Chickens in Winter Here at the Homestead, we are working to upgrade our circa 1800’s barn.  Although we will have electricity for this year (happy dance!), I thought it worth reposting how we kept our chickens in the winter and prevented it from freezing without electricity.  At the time, given our freezing and sub-zero winters here in New Hampshire, our only option would have been slogging (buckets in tow) up to The Barn twice daily to chip ice out and replenish (we work off-site during the week). Not fun. Luckily, necessity is the mother of invention. Building an insulated chicken waterer/drinker Building on the year before’s DIY insulated waterer model, which lasted through only the work day, we purchased a larger waterer (6+ gallons), insulated, insulated and insulated some more. We can happily say this sucker keeps water warm for over 24 hours in 0 degree weather! One less trip to the barn a day! So, how can you do it? It’ll take a couple hours and some supplies, but for those of us without electricity, liquid water in winter is nothing short of a miracle! Here’s what you’ll need: • Duct tape • 4’ x…
Read more