• Denise,  Food,  homesteading

    My Hard Working Appliances

    Admittedly, I am a gadget loving girl.  I have almost every kitchen appliance out there, and if I don’t have it now, there’s a good chance I will soon.  And while I have everyday favorites that I use a lot and are my bestest friends (looking at you, espresso machine!), today I want to highlight the appliances that I use the most around this time of year for preserving the food I grew in the garden. Luckily, I use several different ways to store food for the winter, and oftentimes what I use depends on how much time I had in August and September (those months are typically when the…

  • DIY,  Gardening,  homesteading

    How to Start Saving Seeds.

    I can’t wait for the day I don’t need to purchase anything in the spring for the garden.  In my fantasy we will produce enough compost to feed all of our beds, attract enough good insects to battle the bad pests, utilize companion planting to perfection and save ALL of our own seeds.  But we are far from that and I have only started dipping my toe into the world of seed saving!  If you have purchased “open pollinated” or ” heirloom” seed you can save the seeds in the fall and plant them again next year.  With open pollinated seeds you always get offspring that are the same as…

  • Denise,  Food

    Fall Baking

    With 3 kids plus a husband who works from home, someone is always hungry.  Sure, I buy granola bars and other processed snacks, but I don’t like it.  I am not shaming anyone here; it is more that I am a stay-at-home mom who has always enjoyed baking and gosh darnitt, I should bake snacks for my kids!  In a perfect world, they would be whole grain, no sugar, filled to the brim with superfoods….but lets be honest here: it is hard enough to carve out time to bake up a bunch of tidbits as it is right now.  I am not adding to the stress by being militant about…

  • Gardening

    Fall Meal Plan

      I love a good meal plan!  It ensures we take advantage of what is in season, minimizes food waste and limits the number of trips to the grocery store.  Plus, having to figure out everyday around 4:oo P.M. what the heck we are going to eat never seems to end well for us. Fall is my absolute favorite season, as I take after my Nanny who had a deep love for meat and potatoes.  On the Crow Homestead, fall starts in September as small game season begins, root veggies are harvested and the the snow is flying.  (we had snow just this week!)  We start having fires inside and…

  • Denise,  DIY

    Adding Outdoor Space

    It has always been a dream of mine to live in a home with a screened in porch.  *sigh*  I am cursed with the tastiest blood known to mosquitoes, and given that Minnesota is home to more mosquitoes per square inch than anywhere else on the planet (I dare you to prove me wrong), a screened in porch has always seemed to be the one way for me to enjoy the outdoors in the evening.  But adding a screened in porch is expensive! Our current home has a two level deck, and ever since we moved in, my husband and I have talked about making that upper deck a screened…

  • homesteading,  off-the-grid

    Why We Live Off The Grid

          When we tell people that we live off-the-grid, the first questions we always get are logistical… Do you have solar? (Nope) Do you have running water? (No, we have a well and carry it inside by hand) Do you have an outhouse? (NO, we have an indoor humanure toilet) Do you have propane refrigerator, stove and lights? (Negativo, we have a cookstove and candles) They stop for a little bit to take it in… and then they ask. Why? Why would you choose to live like that? That is a hard thing to answer…it was a multiyear process that took many twists and turns. Ultimately Mr. Crow…

  • Gardening

    A Micro Orchard in the ‘Burbs

    I love gardening in theory, but I am fairly terrible at it in practice.  I am all raring to go come March, April and May…but once the temps and humidity start soaring, my interest plummets.  Add to this kids being home for the summer, an increase in activities, gatherings and just plain socializing, and any lofty goals I have quickly fall to the wayside. Enter my love of fruit trees.  Growing up, our parents had several apple trees, and I loved picking them in the fall and all the different pies and bars my mom would make with them.  It also seemed like an unusual thing, since not many of…

  • Gardening

    Homestead Journaling

      Let’s just start this off with a confession, I have an obsession with journaling…..I blame the film The English Patient, I have dreamt about the journal from that flick…. with it’s leather cover, drawings and journal entries! I kept a consistent diary from ages 16-21, and I have annual notebooks from every year we have been living off-the-grid (2008-2018).  In those notebooks,  I make life plans, lists, notes from books I’m reading or programs I listen to, meal plans and list the goals I try to attain.  But the most treasured of all is my homestead journal, one that I have been keeping since 2008.  A homestead journal is…