• Holidays

    How we celebrate the winter solstice

    Winter is when we cozy up in the house and really slow down and enjoy all bounty of the homestead. The Crow homestead is located in northern Minnesota and we experience significant changes in the daylight between summer and winter. Because we live off the grid our daily lives are deeply impacted by these natural rhythms….and it turns out to be one of my favorite parts of our lifestyle! The winter solstice is the longest night of the year. Today on the Crow homestead the sunrise was at 7:55 am and it will set at 4:20 pm. We have a couple of traditions to celebrate the dark and the cold.…

  • Homesteading

    Why My Present Self is Thanking My Past Self

    This time of year, hey?  Running ourselves ragged, trying to get everything done (she says as her Christmas cards are not quite ready for the post office…) and always feeling behind the eight ball.  I get it and I am there with you!  But I want to tell you how a couple of things I did in the fall is helping me out SO MUCH right now. All of those tomatoes I froze.  I chose to forgo canning this year because our fall was nuts, and pulling out all of the canning gear was more than I could handle.  Instead, I cooked up tomatoes when I had a bunch (and…

  • Homesteading

    3 Tips to Keeping Chickens in Winter

    Chickens are an important part of the Crow Homestead and keeping them happy in the winter takes a bit of work and planning.  The biggest factor for us is that we are located in a seriously cold place…typically in the winter we have several nights dip below -45 F!   Along with the brutal cold, we do not have any electricity….no solar, no nothin’.  This means we cannot use heat lights or heated water containers for our gals. Tip #1 Choose the right animals and the right breed The most important thing to successfully keeping any animal is to choose ones that are best suited to where you live. For…

  • Holidays

    Christmas on the Crow Homestead

    We are all about starting new holiday traditions on the Crow Homestead.  I will admit Christmas has been a bit complicated for us because it sometimes can be about things we are not  fans of…… consumption and waste.  But instead of being all bah hum bug we are finding ways to celebrate this wonderful season that resonate with us. Traditions:  This year we are starting a new tradition that I heard about on the radio; I believe it comes from Finland.  On Christmas Eve everyone receives a book and after dinner everyone gets nice and cozy in their pajamas and cracks open their new book.  I love this idea and…

  • Entertaining

    Holiday Hosting Help

    Let’s all take a moment and appreciate that clever title, ok? So, you’re having a Christmas party, huh?  GREAT IDEA!!  What is better than gathering people you like to hang out with and having some fun together?  All you need is a little planning and trust me, it will be great. For the holidays, we like to send our invites early, like right after Halloween (we used Facebook this year, since everyone we wanted to invite was on it!  EASY!).  Even if you don’t know all of the particulars, send out the date so that people don’t make other plans.  Details like time and even a theme or pot luck specifics…

  • Food

    Winter Meal Plan

    The most difficult thing about cooking on a wood stove is heating that bad boy up, but in the winter we always have it hot and ready, so it is the easiest time of year to cook at the Crow Homestead! The oven can be used for slow roasting and baking or we crank it up for pizza…and with the bonus that it doesn’t make it too hot to sleep at night (summer cooking is tough!). We also love winter because our entire property becomes a freezer, due to the cold weather conditions here in northern Minnesota.  We can easily make double portions, freeze them and then have meals ready…

  • Food

    Cookie Game Plan

    I grew up in a house with a Mom who took her Christmas cookie baking seriously. She made several different kinds and always had an assortment out from thanksgiving to New Years. As a mom with kids who take cookie eating seriously, I try to replicate this in my own house. Each year, I ask the members of the peach house what they would like to eat. I peruse Pinterest for fun or new recipes that I think we all would like, and I like to add in a couple things my mom made as well. I feel it is important to note: we host a Christmas party every year,…

  • Holidays

    Gift ideas for gardeners

    I am horrendous at giving gifts and cannot possibly give you any direction on how to be a wonderful gift giver….that is my sisters area of expertise.  But what I’m very qualified to give you is recommendations on gifts a gardening enthusiast will LOVE!  So just for you I have gathered a variety of gift ideas any gardener will love, for any price point! Gifts up to $25 In the dead of winter what does every gardener escape to….Books!! Here are two ideas that truly rocked my gardening world! You can give either of these books to a veggie gardener with confidence. Beginner:  One of the very best books for…

  • Holidays

    What I Am Looking at This Black Friday

    Admittedly, I am bonkers for shopping.  Honestly, Christmas is partly so wonderful because shopping is practically a requirement!!  So, clearly, this is my Superbowl World Series NBA Finals, with Black Friday being the first playoff game.  But instead of listing every Black Friday deal I can find, or rounding up a million things I think you could be interested in, I am going to let you inside my madness and take a peek at what I am buying (or really want to buy but my husband reads this and so I guess I can’t buy it all). Tech Things – this is always a big list in our house, partly…

  • Entertaining

    5 things to do today to make Thanksgiving easier

    The stress of getting that Thanksgiving feast to the table is a REAL issue!    These 5 tried and true techniques will help you get everything done and hopefully still enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday.  This year Thanksgiving on the Crow Homestead will be pretty quiet…just  Mr. Crow and I, but that won’t stop us from doing it up right with ALL the trimmings! To get everything done on time requires a great deal of planning on my part.  Of course cooking the whole meal on a small wood stove creates it’s own unique challenges, but the following tips can help anyone whether your on or off-the-grid….or if your serving 2…