Self-Reliant Living

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Canning Beans - Raw Pack Method

We used to use the Hot Pack Canning method for our beans. This is the process of boiling the beans for five minutes, and then pressure canning them. However, we found that often when we went to eat the beans, they were somewhat soft or mushy.

Simple Vegetable Container Gardening

I have seen various articles about container gardening in magazines and on the internet. Some of the articles show the use of various specialty pots and treat the subject of container gardening more for flowers than for vegetables.

Simple Wild Grape Jelly

We have a lot of wild grapes on our property and  they are now ripe for the picking. So we picked a bunch the other day so that  we could make jelly. I thought I might do a quick article explaining, and  showing how my wife, Denise, and I did so.

Drinking Glasses From Bottles

My wife, Denise, and I believe in self-reliance and therefore we are always looking for ways to provide for ourselves. Whenever we can, we would rather make something instead of buying it. This not only saves money but provides us with a real sense of accomplishment. While looking through a catalog Denise saw a set of drinking glasses, and the catalog indicated they were made from old wine bottles. Drinking glasses are something that always seem to get broken so she said, "We should try doing this".

Raised Bed With Options

Even though I have plenty of garden space on our  property, I always wanted to build a raise bed so I could use it for salad  greens, and just to experiment.  I also  wanted the option of being able to use the raised bed as a hoop house, for  either plastic or netting.  But I wanted  to be able to remove the hoops with ease.   With the option of the hoops, I could use the raised bed as my needs, or  the season, required. 

DIY 5 Gal. Bucket Clothes Washer

In an extended emergency situation you will find the need to wash your clothes. Of course, if you do not have power, you will not be able to use your normal washer and dryer. The following article is an excerpt from John's book Practical Self-Reliance - Reducing Your Dependency On Others, which shows how to make a DIY Clothes Washer.

Propagating Your Tomato Plants

I read an article about propagating your tomato plants by removing the side-shoots that develop from the angle between the leaf stems and the main stem of the plant. Removing these side-shoots helps the main plant develop more fruit, but it also would give me more tomato plants FREE! I thought, why not try it and see if it works? I had nothing to lose, but everything to gain.

DIY Solar Oven

We wanted to build a solar oven that would be substantial and last for years. For our own purposes, we differentiate between a solar cooker and a solar oven  as follows. A solar cooker, like the "Hot Pot" solar cooker, is subject to heat loss mechanisms because it is open to the environment. A solar oven is enclosed and insulated to help retain the heat. Of course, many people use the names interchangeably and, again, we use these different terms for our own purposes.

Save That Rain Water

I live in the country and we don't have public water. Living with your own well teaches you to be prudent with your use of water. We had one well go dry years ago and drilling a new one is very costly. Because of this we limit what we do with our water. Washing cars or watering the garden are not options. Therefore, we have been using water barrels to collect rain water and we use this for all our gardening needs.

DIY Water Distiller

I have been interested for some time in building a Water Distiller, as it can be used to purify water and to desalinate water. Both would be handy in a survival situation. Keep in mind that distilled water can also be used in soap making, for use in steam irons, and to refill lead-acid batteries. 

The "Hot Pot" Solar Cooker

This is a review of a new type solar cooker I purchased, called the "Hot Pot." It is different than box solar cookers, and I was curious if it would cook effectively, particularly in an emergency situation. I figured, if it worked well, I would be able to cook as long as there was sun, and save using other types of non-renewable fuels.

DIY Porch Table from Composite Material

My wife and I love to sit on the back screened in porch and spend most of our time there when the weather allows.  We have had an old metal round table with glass top for many years. It gets wet whenever it rains so if has finally rusted pretty badly.

Newspaper Seedling Pots

I found an interesting product that allows you to recycle old newspaper into starter pots for seedlings or for young transplants. It is called the "PotMaker®" and is really easy to use.

Three Compartment Compost Bin

I have been wanting to build a three compartment compost bin for some time now. However, I just couldn't come up with a design I was happy with. I spent considerable time searching the web for ideas, but most weren't what I was looking for.Then I found a compost bin on the web created by Michael Wood and Robyn Oxley, which was basically what I was looking for, but needed some modifications in order to meet my needs.

GrainMaker Grain Mill - Video Review

This video is a review of the GrainMaker Grain Mill #99. It shows the particulars of the machine and shows how to grind grain with it. This video will be followed with a video showing how to make five minute bread using the flour ground in this video.

Making Five Minute Bread - Video

This video is Part 2 of our video on the GrainMaker Grain Mill Review. In this video Denise show you how to make Five-Minute Bread using the flour we made in the first video.

Preparing French Cut Green Bean for the Pantry - Video

Preserving the harvest is as important as growing it. This YouTube video shows how to Prepare French Cut Green Beans for the Pantry, using a Bean Frencher and pressure cooking.

Simple Swiss Fences For The Homestead - Video

This video shows various types of Simple Swiss Fences that could be used for a homestead. They are easily made with nothing more than some poles and a mallet. These type of fences where used here in America during the pioneer days, having the designs brought over here from Europe. 

Rustic Garden Fence - Video

In this video, Jonas, from Survival Resources, shows how to make a full size rustic garden fence, using a technique shown by John in a previous video, when he did a miniature mock-up. The technique for this fence was learned while traveling in Switzerland, however, it has been used in the U.S. since the pioneer days. 

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