DIY Herbal Mouse Deterrent

by Tiffany in The Homestead

DIY Herbal Mouse DeterrentMice are part of life in many parts of the Midwest. This fact was a big eye opener for me when I moved to the area from the Southwest. We have so many agricultural crops here that mice and other vermin make their homes among the crops and then come harvest time they decide to move into your home. I just can’t share a home with them so if they do decide to make an appearance we break out the traps. Before it gets to that point though I always like to try and deter them first.

The following is a DIY recipe for deterring mice with herbs and oils. Once you make the mixture you can soak cotton balls or strips of cloth in the strong scent and then place them in and around entrance points. They also come in handy in kitchen cabinets and drawers. No one wants a mouse in the kitchen!

Herbal Ingredients:

1 C water
2 Tbsp Basil leaves, chopped
2 Tbsp Peppermint leaves, chopped

Essential Oils:

12 Drops Peppermint
12 Drops Rosemary
12 Drops Clove

Boil the water and pour over the fresh herbs, once cool strain them out. Add the essential oils to the herbal liquid and mix. Use this repellent along with cotton balls or cloth strips every 2-3 weeks.


Top 5 Reasons Country Living is Better

by Tiffany in The Homestead

Top 5 Reasons Country Living is Better

The debate over which is better, country or city living has been raging for years now. However, moms who love nature will tell you that packing up, hiring a moving company, and hightailing it to the country is a great way to go. No, you don’t have to choose a cabin that is way out in the middle of the woods, but wouldn’t it be nice to live more than 50 feet away from your neighbors. If you are a mom who is on the fence and debating whether to move out of the city or suburbia and make your home in the country, read on below for some of the top reasons that living close to nature could be the best for your family.

A More Nature-Involved Upbringing

There is nothing like a walk in nature or a BBQ in the backyard with the birds singing to bring home just how important nature is to raising a family. When your children can walk outside and see the sky blanketed with stars instead of just the foggy haze of the city, the twinkle in their eyes should make you happy you decided to take up the country life indeed.

Kids have Fewer Allergies

While it hasn’t been scientifically proven, studies have shown that children who are raised in the country have fewer allergies and a lower risk of developing asthma. This is enough of an incentive for any mom to move her little ones from the city to the country in a hurry.

Kids have Room to Run and Grow

This one is of course a no-brainer. Kids cannot get a ton of exercise in a tiny apartment with a busy street in front of the building. Kids need the room to stretch their limbs so that they grow. While a child can grow up just fine in a small space, it is great for a mom to be able to see her child run free and not have to worry about cars or other hazards in the country.

Helps Develop the Imagination

There are things that can develop a child’s imagination in the city, of course, but there is nothing like being free in the country to encourage a child to be creative. If you have a child that is sensitive, there is nothing like the quiet of the country to get their imagination started and to put them on the path to problem-solving with the best of them.

Reduces the Symptoms of ADHD

Studies have shown that being in nature reduces the symptoms of ADHD and ADD in children quite a bit. Even city kids who have taken a walk through a green park often calm down quite a bit after communing with nature, so how well must living in nature full time help those with these same problems?

Time to be Together as a Family

One of the biggest benefits of moving from the city to the country is the increased time it allows you to spend with your family. When you live in the country you don’t have rush-hour traffic to sit in for hours on the way home from the office and unless you want to drive a long way, you aren’t signed up for a ton of extracurricular activities. This gives you the time to spend with your family that living in the city just can’t and that is the most important thing to any mom.

These are just a few of the reasons that you as a mom should move from the city or suburbs to the country. From spending time together as a family to developing the imagination of your impressionable children, country living is just better and every family should give it a try. So what are you waiting for? Move your family to the country today and enjoy everything that nature has to give!


20 Herbs to Grow For Medicinal Home Remedies

by Tiffany in Gardening, The Homestead

20 Herbs to Grow For Medicinal Home RemediesAs you make your garden plan for spring and you order seeds from catalogs take a moment to think about plants you can grow for their medicinal properties. There are plenty of safe and effective herbs you can grow and use in homemade remedies for everything from first aid uses to illness.

Learning about herbs and all their uses is actually quite fun. It is a perfect way to pass time during the dreary, cold winter months. Make a plan now to come to know the following herbs and plant a few. Then when spring and summer comes try your hand at making herbal remedies. You can create your very own homestead apothecary! Enjoy!

20 Safe Herbs to Grow and Use

Aloe – A succulent prized for its thick gel that is perfect for soothing burns and skin irritations.

Burdock – This tenacious weed is great for skin problems like acne, eczema, and psoriasis.

Calendula – Beautiful flowers that promote cell repair and growth in rashes, sores, and burns.

Chamomile – Gentle but effective in treating colic, indigestion, infection, and more.

Chickweed – Soothes skin irritations and calms itchy eyes. Great eating too!

Dandelion – A great liver tonic and blood purifier. Good for digestion.

Echinacea – Stimulates the immune system and fights off cold and flu in the beginning stages.

Elder – Helpful with fevers, viral infections, and frequent bladder infections.

Goldenseal – Can be used to fight off illness and conjunctivitis. Makes a great mouthwash.

Hawthorn – Can help with cholesterol levels and blood flow.

Jewelweed – Excellent for dealing with poison ivy and poison oak.

Lemon Balm – Helps with depression, memory, focus, and digestive issues like colic.

Licorice – Soothes inflamed tissues such as sore throats and ulcers. Also good for adrenal fatigue.

Marsh Mallow – Lubricates dry coughs and moisturizes the lungs. Also soothes skin.

Nettle – Helps with joint pain, allergies, and hay fever.

Plantain – Often used for wounds, bites, stings, and blood poisoning.

Red Clover – One of the very best vitamin and mineral supplements you could ever take.

St. John’s Wart – Helps with stress, depression, nerve damage, and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Valerian – Helps with insomnia and nervous system disorders.

Yarrow – Helps with swelling after injuries, soothes menstrual cramps, and reduces heavy bleeding.




Raising Rabbits – Colony or Cages?

by Tiffany in The Homestead

Raising Rabbits Colony or CagesOnce you decide you want to raise some rabbits on your homestead (congrats!) you will ultimately need to decide if you want to raise them in cages or in a colony. There are advantages and disadvantages to each method, neither is right or wrong. You just need to figure out what is right for you. You need to consider how easy or hard it will be to clean up after them, breed them, round them up as needed, and what is best for them “healthwise”.

Raising homestead rabbits in cages is exactly what it sounds like. You have multiple cages for your rabbits, each pretty much getting their own cage. A colony is one large pen or caged in area where all your rabbits (or most) live together as a group.

Rabbit Colony Benefits and Advantages

  • Can be easier to clean – Instead of cleaning out individual cages you have one open area, usually on the ground which you can rake, mulch, etc.
  • Feeding and watering is easier – Just try to set out some food and watering areas in a couple different places within the colony to avoid fighting but depending on the size of your herd this can be easier than filling bowls and water bottles in multiple cages.
  • A colony is a better opportunity for rabbits to socialize and play.
  • The setup cost is usually cheaper because you don’t have to buy so many cages, feeding bowls, watering bottles, etc.

Rabbit Colony Disadvantages

  • Rabbits in colonies are not handled as much by human caregivers so they tend to be more like wild rabbits. They are often skittish and more apt to scratch and claw you up when you touch them.
  • Rabbit fights can happen and this may lead to injuries that you must then care for.
  • The ease and cost of one pen for a colony is diminished when you need other pens or supplemental cages for rabbits that need to be separated due to fighting or for grow out purposes.
  • Rabbits in colonies are more susceptible to parasites and diseases because they are on the ground. Having all the rabbits together makes spreading those illnesses much more common.
  • A colony typically requires more room than cages so if you are limited on space this may be a problem.
  • A pen will usually need to be moved to access new greens and not oversaturate the area with waste.

Rabbits in Cages – Benefits and Advantages

  • Collecting manure for your garden can be much easier when using cages.  You can place trays underneath the cages to catch the waste and then once a day or so just empty those trays into a bucket which can then make its way to your compost bin.
  • Handling the rabbits is much easier because they cannot run away and this makes some daily/weekly one on one time easier to achieve. They get used to used to you and being handled in general. You avoid being clawed to death ala Monty Python.
  • You have total control over breeding. No surprise litters! You have to feed and care for all those critters so having control over the size of your herd is a big benefit.
  • Less space is required to raise rabbits in cages.
  • Cages are often more secure from predators than a colony pen.

Rabbits in Cages – Disadvantages

  • Can be harder to clean at times.
  • Cages are usually less aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
  • Cages provide less protection from the elements (snow, rain, wind) so you need to build covering over them if they are outdoors.
  • Less playtime with other rabbits.

Figure out what will ultimately work best for you and take the leap!


Urban Homesteading – Raising Rabbits

by Tiffany in The Homestead

Urban Homesteading Raising RabbitsMore and more urban homesteaders are getting curious about raising rabbits. It is often times the ultimate goal to become more self sufficient and rabbits can help with that. In fact they may be one of the easiest and best ways to help you further your self sufficient homestead goals. How so? Why rabbits?

Well there are a few reasons why someone might choose to introduce rabbits to the homestead…besides the cute factor. I have a few rabbits myself… giant chinchilla rabbits and red new zealand rabbits. We love having them and the new zealand’s we have had since they were itty bitty so they are very much socialized and willing to cuddle up during some Netflix binge sessions. But I digress…why rabbits?

Rabbit Manure

Rabbits produce some of the very best manure a gardener could ever ask for. It is GOLD I tell you and all gardeners need manure for their compost. Your family can have some adorable pets and they poop out the best garden fertilizer. It might sound crazy to raise animals for their poop but if you are a serious gardener and homesteader then you know the value of good manure. Compost or use it directly, it doesn’t even need to be aged. Fresh rabbit manure is higher in nitrogen than chicken, cow, horse, pig, sheep or goat manure. If you want compost tea you can make that easily by soaking the pellets in a couple gallons of water, its perfect for houseplants and for flowers, like roses.

It is also cost effective. You can buy a 50lb bag of food pellets at a tractor supply store for $7-8 and you can grow your own fodder as well. We grow grass from wheat seeds and we regrow scraps such as carrot tops and lettuce for the greens. They also like fruit scraps.

Meat Production

Many folks can’t have cows, pigs, or goats on their property. In urban areas it is not uncommon for these types of animals to be forbidden. That leaves some other options such as ducks, chickens, quail, or rabbits. The fastest meat production comes with rabbits and most will raise chickens for the eggs, not their meat. Rabbit is a tasty, nutritious, lean protein source. All parts can be used as well if you have dogs and like to feed them raw foods. If you have a couple does and a buck you can provide your homestead with a good supply of meat all year. Taking control of your meat production is a wonderful thing and cattle farming might not be an option. Look into rabbits if you want your own meat source.

Wool Production

If meat rabbits are not your thing maybe you want some lovely angora rabbits for their luscious wool. Spinners and crafty types would surely not pass up a home grown wool source! Angoras are gentle and seem to love all the attention they get from grooming and the harvesting process is completely painless. You also get all that poop for the garden!

Creative kids might also like to have them as pets and make some money off of them…ie the manure, wool, etc. There are so many reasons to embrace rabbits and bring bunnies to the homestead this year!

3 reasons to raise rabbits homestead