Posts Tagged ‘homesteading’


Butchering Chickens: Tips from the Trenches | Attainable Sustainable.

This is such a great idea, especially if you don’t have a basement.

Details on how -to at Joyful Home.


Top 100 Gardening Blogs To Follow In 2013 | 

And these really ARE all great gardening/ homesteading/growing things blogs!



Northwest Edible Life has a fantastic post about using pee in the garden.  Like the post says, if you can get over the ewwww factor, recycling pee in your garden makes a lot of sense. It’s high in nitrogen, moderate in phosphorus and low in potassium and can act as an excellent high-nitrogen liquid fertilizer or as a compost accelerator.  The post covers all the things you need to know…the nutrient benefits, the safety factors, and how exactly to use it.

There’s one thing the article doesn’t mention and that’s the fact that human pee can also be used in the garden as an animal deterrent.  I haven’t tried this out thoroughly myself, so I’m not sure if it matters if you’re male or female. In this video, actor David Tennant talks about peeing in his garden to deter foxes and mentions that it’s specific to male human urine . David’s a smart guy ,so he could be right.


If you haven’t left yet, you must not be the squeamish sort or maybe you’re just feeling like this is a train wreck you can’t help craning your neck to gawk at. Either way, since you’re  here, we might as well get all the bodily fluid upcycling talk done right now.

If you’re female and use reusable menstrual products like a cup or cloth pads, you can also recycle your blood in the garden. It works exactly the same way blood meal does, providing a nutrient rich fertilizer and as an animal deterrent.

I know,I know.  I’ve had enough conversations about reusable menstrual products to know that there are certain people who are freaking out just about that in the first place.  Those people may want to exit right now.

Women who practice  earth spirituality & midwifery have done this for ages, so it’s not some new hippy dippy thing. If I may take a moment to sound a little hippy-dippy, putting your own blood back into the earth to feed to soil that will grow food to nourish your body can feel like an incredibly spiritual  act.

I have no idea where all of this fits into vegetarian ethics but if a vegetarian women would like to offer thoughts on that, it would be cool to hear some.

I would also like to point out that in a zombie apocalypse, you may want to avoid this method. There is nothing worse for a garden than zombies trampling through it because they thought dinner could be had.


If you use a menstrual cup, it’s fairly obvious how you would go about collecting blood . Instead  of  emptying the blood into the toilet, you’d just empty it into a bucket, dilute with water and that’s pretty much it OR empty into a container (maybe an empty yogurt container?) for making the human version of blood meal (I’ll tell you how in a sec)

For cloth pad users, you could fill a large bucket with cold water, place all your used pads in it and just let them soak. Instead of dumping the soak water, you’ll use that in the garden.

Making Your Own Blood Meal

This method works with any animal blood, so this is good to know ,even if the menstrual blood idea skeeves you out. Instead of your own blood, you would just drain blood from whatever you’re having for dinner instead. Unless you’re a vegetarian because last I knew, kale doesn’t bleed.

Pour the blood onto a metal baking sheet. Pop into an oven set at 375° . Keep in oven until all the blood is completely dry. Let cool and scrape off the sheet into a container. You can use a pestle to ground to a powdery consistency or pulse in a food processor.

Personally, I would probably pick up thrifted supplies to use exclusively for blood baking. I’m betting if I did this using my normal kitchen stuff, my family wouldn’t eat anything I cooked ever again.

If you’re concerned about blood borne pathogens, this method will kill any that may be present.

Using It

The easiest way to use would be to just simply take the pink soak water and pour it on the soil around your plants.If your main concern is not so much to give your plants a fertilizer and you need a good animal deterrent , use the blood around the perimeter of your garden spaces.

Instead of putting it directly in the garden, it’s also really beneficial to add to your compost heap. It adds nutrients to your finished compost  but it also eliminates any health concerns that might be had. Composting will kill any blood pathogens. I’ve also heard composters talk about using blood to speed up the composting process. Because it’s high in nitrogen , it adds energy and heats up a compost heap.

If you’ve made blood meal, you can dilute in water to make a fertilizer for your plants. Don’t use it too frequently . Too much nitrogen can “burn” plants and cause issues with bearing flowers & coming to fruition. If you’re using it as a pest repellent , sprinkle the powder undiluted where you need to.

So, there’s that!

Emergency Power Options for Your Home.

via Emergency Power Options for Your Home.


Avocados have a bazillion health benefits. well, probably more like a dozen but the point is, they’re good stuff. They are also thought to be good in aiding breast & oral cancer prevention and for heart health.

Post-apocalyptically speaking, you’re going to have to be in the right place if you plan to use avocados as a resource. Avocado trees do not tolerate cold at all and grow best in sub-tropical or tropical climates. They could probably fare well in a greenhouse but grow up to 20ft, so that could be a challenge. If I was feeling the need to have a plate of loaded nachos with guacamole, I’d head to California where there are about 5,000 commercial avocado groves in existence. Although…without people, not all the groves would survive without artificial watering.

The best way to propagate a successful tree would be to graft from seedling root stock but you can start a seedlings from the pit,too. You’ve seen that done,right? You stick toothpicks evenly spaced around the bulbous end of the pit, place it in a dish or cup with water, and wait for the magic to happen. One of my kids always has said the bottom of the pit submersed in the water reminds him of someone who  has fallen into the toilet . I think it looks more like that when you’re using a cup rather than a dish.

Like this:

How to Grow an Avocado Tree from an Avocado Pit at The Hungry Mouse

[via  The Hungry Mouse]

Now, I can’t count how many times I’ve done this little activity with my own kids more for the lesson on germination than an actual survival skill but I’ve never been able to grow it past a very small seedling. I have seen it done though, so I do know it’s possible and  even knew someone once who had an indoor tree that bore very small fruits. This tends to be an exception. Most avocado trees grown from the pit won’t bear fruit or if it does, it won’t be the same as the parent tree. BUT, even if you never have avocados on your tree, you still have the beneficial leaves.  So,basically…if you grow an avocado tree from the pt, what you end up with is a very nice looking houseplant that has some medicinal uses.

Caution: The leaves are an abortafacient, so if you’re pregnant and wish to stay that way, don’t ingest avocado leaves.

Besides eating the avocados, you can also make your own avocado oil, which is good for skin conditions , not just cosmetic but healing for inflammations and abrasions.

Reblogging this one from my personal blog with extra links at the bottom for other free diaper making tutorials. You can adapt any diaper pattern using recycled materials .The key is to use 100% cotton. Half of the diapers in my youngest kiddo’s diaper stash were made using both  flannel sheets and cotton jersey  that had seen better days as sheets.
There’s also links to diaper covers at the bottom, which is a whole other post that should be covered, along with cloth diapering basics. I’ll get to that in the near future. 

[Tutorial] Turn a Men’s T-shirt into a Newborn Cloth Diaper

This is a pretty typical way to make a newborn sized prefold but I’m demonstrating by recycling a Man’s T-shirt because the sizing works so perfectly, making for less fuss w/ measuring & cutting. It’s like they were made to be recycled into just this very thing.

STEP 1: Find a 100% Cotton  XL Man’s T-shirt in Need of Upcycling

The only set requirements is the tee be 100% cotton & size XL. Men’s or a gender-neutral tee works best, even though women’s size XL is roughly the same but sometimes the women’s tees are cut to be more form fitting & throws the sizing off a bit.

Since it has a little rip in the upper portion, this was perfect for diaper making, since mostly the lower part of the tee is what’s needed. T-shirts like this end up in my “Fabric Recycling” bin because, obviously , they have no resale value at a consignment shop & I personally won’t donate clothing items that are stained or damaged. Generally, stained clothing w/ rips are tossed out by the charity they’re donated to and I’d rather save them myself from the landfill. (Besides, it’s just bad form to assume that someone in need of clothing wants to wear stained & torn clothes. )These t-shirts find new life in a variety of forms – T-Shirt Yarn, cloth menstrual pads, diapers, rags … pretty much any project that needs 100% cotton.

Step 2Lay T-shirt Flat & Cut Off Bottom Hem

Yep, just cut it right off.

Step 3: Fold T-Shirt in Half, Making Sure Bottom & Side Edges are Even

After you fold it in half, you’ll notice that the bottom edge measures about 12 inches,perfectly. Nice, because  this is the width of a newborn cloth prefold. When you fold the shirt in half, you’ll now have 4 layers of cloth – also the typical number of layers in a cloth prefold.

Step 4:  Measure 13″ Up Along the Folded Edge & Cut.

This is what you’ll end up with…. a 12 x 13 rectangle, 4 layers thick.

Step 5: Cut  the Inner Soaker Layers

This is the center portion of the prefold, the thickest layer. Here I’m making a 4-8-4 prefold. What these numbers mean is this: The 4s refer to the number of layers on either side of the soaker. The 8 refers to the number of layers total in the center portion. This is what’s considered a diaper service quality prefold & you really don’t want to use anything w/ less layers. For people new to cloth diapering & not aware of the many places to buy nice cloth diapers, they often go to Target or Walmart  and pick up what they sell as “cloth diapers”. These are 2-4-2 prefolds that feel like gauze. After a day of using these as a diaper, most are pretty much done with their cloth diapering experience forever – or until they discover the real deal.

You can use upper unused portions of the same T-shirt of choose another 100% cotton source. Shirt sleeves & pants legs from children’s clothing work great for this. If you use sweatshirt sleeves or sweatpants legs, you might choose to only use 2 layers instead of 4 because they are thicker.

Here I used youngest son’s outgrown ( and very stained from playing outside in them) pajama pants.

The width should be about 5 inches wide and again, 13 inches long, just like the outer layers .

Step 6:  Make Your Soaker Sandwich

Unfold the t-shirt & insert your soaker layers ,about 3 1/2 inches from the outer edge. Fold outer layer back into place.

I’m sort of a haphazard crafter & never pin anything but it’s probably a good idea to pin at least the top & bottom to hold all the layers in place while you stitch everything.

Step 7: Stitch the Soaker into Place

Straight stitch inner layer into place. Afterward, you may need to trim up the outer edges to make everything even again.

Step 8: Sew Along Outer Edges

If you have a Serger, just serge along all the outside edges. If you don’t have a Serger, it’s not a big deal… you can just zigzag stitch the outer edges and still have the same quality of diaper. Sometimes, I’ll straight stitch the perimeter first and then zigzag for extra integrity but I’ve found that plain zigzag stitching works just fine.

Step 9: Just Add Baby

Here’s the finished diaper. I’ll add the baby soon.

Oh..and save your t-shirt “shavings” for other projects! I plan on  making  a T-Shirt Shag Rug with my saved bits.

[via ]
*Sew Your Own Diapers–how tos for sewing “Quick-Dry” AIOs, Fitted, Fitted with Velcro, Fitted Front Snap, Fitted Side Snap, AIO, Pre-Fold, Pre-Fold to Fitted diapers, Ultrex/PUL with Snaps Cover, Fleece with Snaps cover, plus measurements of popular fitted diapers, FAQs, and approximate costs of materials to sew your own diapers*Cloth Diaper Sew-along by Kayla of Kayla’s Cloth Kits–awesome directions and pictures

*Swim-diaper Sew-along, also by Kayla of Kayla’s Cloth Kits. Great instructions!

*How-to-sew-elastic tutorials as Quicktime videos, pocket diaper information, and answers to common diaper-sewing questions from Amber of Diaperkit. If you’re having trouble with elastic and you’re a visual learner, these are great!

*How to Sew a FuzziBunz-type Pocket Diaper

*How to Sew a FuzziBunz-style Pocket Diaper with an envelope opening

*How to Sew a Fitted Diaper

*How to Sew a Fleece Diaper Cover

*Diaper Sewing ‘N More Tutorials–Fitted Diaper, Contour Diaper with Elastic Legs, Fleece AI2 (snap-in soaker), PUL/Fleece/Wool Cover, Fleece Side Snap Cover, Doublers, plus Mama Pad directions

*Make Your Own Diaper Insets–for pocket diapers, would also work as lay-ins with a cover or as doublers

*How to Make Contour Diapers from Prefolds

*The Famous Fortune Cookie Tri-Fold Insert–using microfiber towel

*Sewing Diapers from Recycled Materials–how to make Flatfolds, Prefolds and Fitted diapers from stuff around the house

*How to Make Fitteds From T-Shirts

*How To Sew a Wool Cover

*How to Sew “Sweaterpants”

*How to sew a prefold “the real way”

*Instructions on making a prefold either by using padding for the center or using a single piece of cloth

*How to make your own prefolds in 7 easy steps

*How to Add Leg Gussets to a Diaper

*Pic Tutorial on How to Get Fleece to Roll In Easy–for leg elastic on pocket diapers

*How to Make a Pull-On Wool/Fleece Newborn Cover–like the Luxe cover

*How to Make Pull-On Trainers From a Pair of Underwear

*A Comparison of 3 Popular Free Diaper Patterns–Wee Weka, Mamabird, and Ottobre

*How to Make A Zippered Wet Bag

*How to sew different diaper styles from the Very Baby pattern (these methods can be applied to *any* diaper pattern) as well as tutorials on FOE, repairing elastic, and more

*How to modify a drill press for use as a snap press

FREE DIAPER PATTERNS:…fitted2008.pdf *Newly available on the internet again! Darling Diapers (aka Diapers Sew Darling) newborn size serged fitted diaper.
*Rita’s Rump Pocket–One-Size-Fits-Most Fitted Pocket Diaper–PDF pattern, as well as a new one-size-fits-most H&L “granny tab” diaper cover! Designed by our own amberthesugarcat!
*Mama Bird Diapers–the very popular Mama Bird diaper patterns–if you get the data transfer limit error from Geocities, try again later! Patterns for Fitted, AIO, and Pocket diapers. This pattern runs small!
*Wee Weka diaper patterns, plus tutorials on how to sew pocket diapers, pocket diapers with gussets, elastic casing, and fitteds
*Fitted Diaper Pattern–3 sizes. The directions for assembly are here and in Dutch  but there are pictures!…%20comment.htm
*Patterns for fitted diapers and covers. The entire site is in French. PM me if you need help figuring this one out, I speak some French and would be happy to translate (and the Google apps translator doesn’t do a very good job  )
*MatNap fitted diaper pattern for use with a Snappi–looks like you could easily add hook-and-loop or snaps to close, or use with pins–her instructions use a large beach towel & say you can get 3 diapers out of one towel
*How to make a PUL pocket diaper with fleece waistband that fastens in the back
*How to Draft Your Own Fitted Diaper Pattern
*How to Draft Your Own Diaper Cover Pattern
*One-Size Fitted Diaper…tructions.html
*Comfy T-shaped Diaper Pattern (not printable, but very easy to draw yourself!)
*Ottobre Fitted Diaper Pattern–this pattern runs large!…r_cover_en.pdf
*Ottobre Knitted Wool Diaper Cover Pattern
*Fern and Faerie’s Hand-Knit Soaker Pattern
*Lion Brand “Day-to-Night Felted Soaker” knitting pattern. You will need to register to view the pattern, but it is free!…apercover.html
*Miala Diaper Cover Pattern (size medium only), soft baby shoe pattern, plus links to a variety of other free patterns
*Free Side-Snapping Diaper Cover Pattern from Chloe Toes…at egory%3D11
*AIO Pattern (size medium only, other sizes available to purchase)
*”No Elastic Fleece Pull-Up Cover”–would probably work with wool too…r-pattern.html
*Quick sew pull-on soaker (for wool or fleece).
*Side-snapping Waterproof Training Pants
*How to Make Your Own “Bum Sweater”–longies from a wool sweater
*How to Make Your Own “Bum Sweater”–soaker from a wool sweater…botty%20jumper
*How to Make Your Own “Bum Sweater”–soaker from a wool sweater…s/longies2.gif
*A drawing showing how to cut longies from a sweater sleeve–no sewing instructions, though…?topic=71285.0
*Tutorial for making “baby pants” from the sleeves of a sweater. You have to join the site to view the pics
*Patterns and How-Tos for Flatfold Diapers, Gusseted Diapers, Covers, Knit Soakers, Training Pants and more…et_longies.htm
*Crochet Longies pattern…ern/index.html
*Tiny Birds Free Knit Soaker Pattern

*Free patterns list at the WAHM Mall…atterns%20free
*Free Knit/Crochet/Sewn diapering patterns
*Collection of Knit/Crochet and recycled wool diaper cover patterns