Midwest Self Reliance Festival in Des Moines, IA June 28th – 30th

We’re happy to be attending the new Midwest Self Reliance Festival in Des Moines this June 28th, 29th and 30th. This will be our first visit to the midcentral states, so if you’re in the, be sure to drop in and visit us. We’re bringing plenty of good old fashioned sustainability tools and we’re looking forward to a great show. The Ploughshare Institute of Sustainable Culture will be there as well giving seminars on topics such as beekeeping, soapmaking and cheesemaking.

Eco-Zoom Rocket Stove Demo

Homestead General Store manager John demonstrates the use of an Eco-Zoom Biomass Rocket Stove burning sticks and pine cones at the 2012 Mother Earth News  Fair in Seven Springs, PA.

Transcript: We’re doing a little demo with an Eco-Zoom stove. What’s happening here is we’re using small amounts of wood and pine cones, starting a fire, creating a draft which sucks the air in, pushing the hot air out the top. We’ve got water here, almost boiling, and that’s it: the whole goal is the least amount of fuel producing the most amount of heat.

Mother Earth News Fair – Seven Springs, PA

The week after the Expo in North Carolina we attended the Mother Earth News Fair at Seven Springs, PA. That was also a wonderful show and we’re hoping to return next year.

On the way to Seven Springs we picked up a number of excellent new non-electric and hand-powered items for the farm and homestead, including the Little Dutch Maid hand-cranked mixer (made from the excellent Bosch kitchen mixer), butane-powered Sad Irons , laundry carts and more. We sold a whole lot of double-washtub washer ringers, Hoss wheel hoes and Berkey Water filters. A big thanks to everyone invovled!

Here’s a few pictures of this memorable event (we hope to post some video  as well, so check back soon):

At the Self-Reliance Expo in Hickory, NC

The expo in Dallas TX was so successful we were able to attend the next one in Hickory, North Carolina in September. We nearly sold out! Some notable items included Marugg Scythes, Sun Ovens, the difficult to obtain Spear & Jackson Spades and Forks and a bumper crop of Eco-Zoom Rocket Stoves. We had a new Roller/Flaker made by GrainMaker (make-your-own oatmeal!) and their all-new grain grinder model #35 (which came out after our new catalog was published). We sold out on all the large grain mills, including the Country Living Mill.

Here’s a few pictures from that show (click an image to view it full size):



Arlington Self Reliance Expo

For the first time we took the store on the road when we attended the Self-Reliance Expo in Arlington, TX this July 27th and 28th. We were very pleased with the results: we got to meet a lot of great people and we sold a whole lot more than we were expecting! Some of the items we had in the booth were new Aladdin oil lamps, WaterBrick storage containers and samples of our all-new “Texas Natural Feeds” brand of non-GMO, non-soy natural poultry feeds. We also gave out copies of our first ever printed catalog!

Thanks to all who attended and made it a great show for us.


How To Save Seed


Saving seed of open pollinated (non hybrid) seeds is easy.
1)Pick seed from healthy, mature fruit.
2)Dry on butcher paper.
3)When dry, put the seeds in a jar, and sprinkle a little diatomaceous earth on top.
4)Put the lid on and set in the refrigerator until next season.

NOTE: For sticky seeds like tomato, put the seed in a strainer and blast with water until the seeds are clean. Let them dry on a non stick surface. Then follow steps 3 and 4.


Canning supplies and Apple Butter recipe

Here’s an Apple Butter recipe that will get your taste buds going!

APPLE BUTTER: yields about 3 pints
4 pounds apples
4 cups granulated cane juice (or sugar)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves

TO PREPARE PULP: Wash apples. Core, peel and quarter apples. Combine and 2 cups water in large saucepot. Simmer until apples are soft. Puree using a food processor or food mill, being careful not to liquefy. Measure 2 quarts apple pulp.

TO MAKE BUTTER: Combine apple pulp, granulated cane juice and spices in a large saucepot. Cook slowly until thick enough to round up on a spoon. As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking. Ladle hot butter into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 10 minutes a boiling-water canner.

NOTE: If butter becomes too thick, add water or apple juice for desired consistency.

Click below for our canning products:






Everyone loves homemade ice-cream!

Here is one of our favorite recipes:
Yields 1 gallon of ice-cream

4 eggs,lightly beaten
1 cup honey
4 cups cream
4 cups whole milk
5 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup carob powder (opt)

1. Mix together eggs and honey.
2. Add cream and milk. Mix thoroughly.
3. Mix in vanilla.
4. Slowly add salt and optional carob powder. Mix well. Any small lumps remaining will mix in as ice-cream is cranked.

Place filled canister into ice-cream bucket.
Layer evenly around canister: 2-inches crushed ice then 3 Tbsp rock salt.
Repeat until bucket is fool.
Continue to add ice and salt in these proportions as needed.
At the very end, you can add extra salt to the ice to firm up the ice-cream.