Realize Homestead Blog

How to Start Homesteading with Permaculture – Understanding the Land [VIDEO]

How to Start Homesteading with Permaculture – Understanding the Land [VIDEO]

Hey friends! In this video, I'm going to walk you through some of the first steps to getting started with homesteading and permaculture.  In previous videos, I focused more on the "why" permaculture and homesteading are more than just cool hobbies but are...

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Levi’s Guest Appearance on the Height Drop Parkour Podcast

Levi’s Guest Appearance on the Height Drop Parkour Podcast

My parkour buddy, Brandon Douglas, invited me to appear on his Height Drop podcast.  It was a fun chat, in which we discussed my parkour journey, getting into farming and sustainable living, existential threats, narratives, soil depletion, regenerative...

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We Began to Romanticize the Wilderness – Wendell Berry

We Began to Romanticize the Wilderness – Wendell Berry

“Apparently with the rise of industry, we began to romanticize the wilderness -which is to say we began to institutionalize it within the concept of “scenic.” Because of railroads and improved highways, the wilderness was no longer an arduous passage for the traveler, but something to be looked at grand or beautiful from the high vantages of the roadside. We became Viewers of “views.”

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Our Strawbale Passive Solar Greenhouse Folly

Our Strawbale Passive Solar Greenhouse Folly

Two years ago, Brenda and I were renting an apartment and I would commute to the farm every day to take care of our pigs, chickens, gardens and plant nursery. This situation quickly made it clear to me how important it is to actually be LIVING on the land you’re farming. This is because farming is really a lifestyle more than it is a job that you can just leave when you’re done. It makes demands of you that no job every would. This was how the adventure of our strawbale passive solar greenhouse began.

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How to Make a Portable Pig Pen

How to Make a Portable Pig Pen

Our homestead started off with just two pigs, and we got hooked. We’re up to 13 now, and we’re even breeding our own piglets! Over the years we’ve experimented with many different types of pens, fencing and paddocks for them. By no means have we “arrived at” or discovered the perfect system. But we’ve made a portable pig pen system that meets three important design criteria for us:

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Interview on Mark Shepard’s PDC with Graduate, Bryan Mets

Bryan Mets is a great friend, permaculture wizard, and founder of the Great Lakes Permaculture Portal, based in southern Michigan (Macomb). Last year he attended Mark Shepard’s Permaculture Design Course at Mark’s “New Forest Farm” in southwest Wisconsin. Ever since we devoured Mark’s book, Restoration Agriculture, we have nerded out on the fact that his farm is an actual working example of a large-acre permaculture based farm, incorporating keyline principles, swales, ponds, animal grazing, and perennial polycultures. He even grows his own biofuels to run his tractors and equipment! I’m excited to hear more about what Bryan learned at this 10 day, Permaculture farmer bootcamp. So, for both our enjoyment, I introduce the illustrious Bryan Mets!!

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How to Build a Pallet Fence

How to Build a Pallet Fence

After our pigs escaped the electric net fence AGAIN, we were seeking out better ways to fence them in. Andy Gale of Bay Area Recycling for Charities mentioned that they had an abundance of pallets and we could use them to build a perimeter fence. It seemed like a great idea to me, especially considering that most of the fencing I was pricing out…

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How to Make Beet Kvass

How to Make Beet Kvass

Beet kvass is to bile like paint thinner is to paint! One of our liver’s job is to help remove toxins from our body. It stores many of these toxins in our bile which is stored in our gallbladder. The gallbladder releases bile into the intestines when you consume fat because bile emulsifies the fat (breaks the fat up into solution) making it easier to digest and absorb.

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Cherry, Blueberry, Spinach, & Banana Smoothie

Cherry, Blueberry, Spinach, & Banana Smoothie

Yum! Smoothies are a great way to incorporate raw greens and fruits into your diet. Making smoothies from frozen fruit is the way to go in the winter. If you were thinking ahead, you stocked up on fruit when it was towards the end of its season and it was super cheap because farmers just wanted to sell it ASAP.

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The Permaculture Principles

The Permaculture Principles

Principle 1: Observe and Interact – “By taking the time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.”

Principle 2: Catch and Store Energy – “By developing systems that collect resources when they are abundant, we can use them in times of need.”

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Welcome to the Anthropocene. Time to Adapt.

Welcome to the Anthropocene. Time to Adapt.

In short, life will be very very different in the future than the relative stability we’ve seen for most of our lives up to this point. Some geologists have described the current epoch as the “Anthropocene.” This is a period when almost every ecosystem on earth bares the mark of human presence. How we go about meeting our basic needs…

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Diagnosis: The Story of Humans

Diagnosis: The Story of Humans

Why bother with all the extra chores of trying to produce your own food, fuel, and other products when you can simply buy them at the store for cheap?

Well this is actually a daunting question to answer since it sort of crystallized into a clear picture after a lot of reading and reflecting on the multitude of challenges we face and how they’re all interconnected. Then also critically analyzing the lifestyle choices I make every day without thinking. This requires a systemic understanding of the industrialized modern world, as well as knowledge of the historical context in which we live. But I’ll attempt to summarize and hit the key points here, leaving all the juicy details for later posts. BTW, this

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What is Permaculture?

What is Permaculture?

As I study this Permaculture stuff more and more, I’m getting a better idea of just what exactly it’s all about. Permaculture can get very theoretical at times, but in short, it’s a design science based on the observation and imitation of natural systems, applied to human settlements and food production. The three core ethics of Permaculture are;

1. People Care
2. Earth Care
3. Return of Surplus

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Smoked Fish Brine

Smoked Fish Brine

Levi and I came up with this smoked fish brine recipe after giving up on brine recipes online which all included refined sugar of some sort. We were pleasantly surprised with the results! Enjoy :)

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Infused Oil To Help With Eczema

Infused Oil To Help With Eczema

I just made a soothing infused oil to use on my face. I suffer from eczema. Most people do not realize this, but eczema, like many other skin conditions, is usually a reflection of your digestive and immune systems. So yes, I am in the process of healing my gut and strengthening my immune system. During this long process though, I decided that I would also try some topical things to help with my eczema.

As many of you already probably know, whatever we put onto our skin goes into our bloodstream. Have you heard of the nicotine patch or the birth control patch? How about hormone creams and other topical medicines? All of those work because they go through

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Interesting Tidbits Relating to Mental Health & the Brain

Interesting Tidbits Relating to Mental Health & the Brain

-Children with ADD have been found to be deficient in DHA (a fatty acid critical for healthy brain cell membranes).

-It is important to get good quality fish oil with DHA that is not rancid. Good quality fish oils should be batch tested and are a little pricier. One rancid, refined fish oil capsule can have the equivalent of one pack of cigarettes in free radicals!

-“In 1985, the total annual sales for all antidepressants in the United States were approximately $240 million. Today, it is in excess of $12 billion” – From “Primal Body, Primal Mind” by Nora Gedgaudas, CNS, CNT

-Exercise can raise serotonin levels. Even short moderate workouts help.

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Nutrition & Neuron Communication

Nutrition & Neuron Communication

The brain has always been something that amazes me, and I don’t think I am the only one that feels this way. It really is an amazing organ. I like to think about it like a miniature universe (this also means that I like to think about the universe as a huge brain). While in college, being a chemistry major, I learned a lot about energy. It really opened up my mind to think and be amazed about how everything is energy! Our very thoughts in our brain are the result of electrical impulses or energy.

How do nerve cells communicate?
Michael J. Mufson, M.D., a psychiatrist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital of Harvard Medical School and an assistant professor of

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The Basics of a Whole Food, Nutrient Dense Diet

The Basics of a Whole Food, Nutrient Dense Diet

There are so many diets out there! It is hard to know which one is best. I thought that I would write up a post going over the basics; listing the six classes of nutrients, briefly explaining the role of each within our bodies, and what foods are the best sources for them. Knowing this information helps me make better choices when it comes to my meals. Hope this helps!

The Six Classes of Nutrients are:

Macronutrients:

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Effects of Marijuana

Effects of Marijuana

There is so much controversy on the effects of marijuana. Some people say that it is a “natural” drug and therefore it is healthy. Other people say that there are some negative consequences of marijuana use. I wanted to write an article after doing research on the matter. The answer I found is Marijuana definitely has negative effects on the mind and body.

Marijuana and Brain Processing Speed

Myelination is the process by which brain cells, neurons, are coated with a protective sheath that increases the brain’s processing speed. Researchers showed, in a study which appeared in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, that heavy marijuana use among young

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How to Make Herbal Tinctures

How to Make Herbal Tinctures

Being already interested in nutrient dense whole foods and the concept of let food be your medicine, I have started to get more and more interested in herbs. I just finished taking an herbal course at The People’s Kitchen, where we learned how to make herbal tinctures. I was very pleased to find out that making herbal tinctures is quite easy to do.

What are Herbal Tinctures?

Herbal tinctures are concentrated herbal extracts. They are made by putting fresh or dried chopped herbs in 80 proof alcohols for an extended period of time. The alcohol needs to be 80 proof in order to avoid mold growth. Preferably vodka is used as it is flavorless,

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Homemade Deodorant

Homemade Deodorant

I have tried almost every natural deodorant from the store and none of them seemed to work!!! I was embarrassed to raise my arms because none of them made my armpit smell go away haha. So I decided to take matters into my own hands and did a little research on easy natural homemade deodorants.

The easiest homemade deodorant recipe I found is not even a recipe (found on www.cavegirleats.com). It is simply dipping your fingers into two different ingredients. The two ingredients are cold pressed unrefined coconut oil and aluminum free baking soda. I have a jar of each on my dresser. Every morning I dip my fingers into the coconut oil and smear a thin layer on my arm pits. Next, I dip my fingers into the baking soda and tap some baking soda on top of the coconut oil.

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What is Margarine?

What is Margarine?

Margarine and shortening are both hydrogenated fats. Hydrogenation is the chemical process used to convert polyunsaturated fats, which are normally liquid (oil) at room temperature, into solids (margarine) at room temperature.

What is Margarine & How is it Made?

The procedure begins with the cheapest oils i.e. soy, corn, cottonseed or canola oil which have been processed in the cheapest ways, therefore already rancid from conventional extraction processes
A metal catalyst is added to the chosen oil to speed up the chemical reaction of hydrogenation; nickel oxide is usually used

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Soaking & Sprouting Grains, Nuts & Seeds

Soaking & Sprouting Grains, Nuts & Seeds

The history of soaking and sprouting grains, nuts and seeds is long standing. It is known that ancient Chinese doctors recommended sprouts for healing many illnesses over 5,000 years ago. The Chinese also carried mung beans on long ocean voyages and sprouted them throughout their journey. This prevented scurvy as sprouting makes vitamin C more bio-available (more easily absorbed). Virtually all pre-industrialized cultures soaked their grains before consumption, some examples include: India, rice and lentils, Ethiopia, teff, American pioneers, sourdough, and Scotland, oatmeal (Original instructions on Quaker Oats called for overnight soaking).

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What are healthy cooking oils / fats?

What are healthy cooking oils / fats?

If you have read my past “What are Healthy Fats?” post you know that you should use cold pressed, organic, unrefined, and extra virgin oils. This stands true for dressings or any other way you choose to use your oils including cooking.

What determines if an oil or fat is safe to cook with?

The more stable the fat the more heat it can withstand. So what determines the stability of a fat? We have to look at the chemistry makeup of the fat analyzing the number of double bonds and degree of saturation.

The most stable fats are solid or semi-solid at room temperature. These fats do not contain any double bonds and are called saturated fats. They do not go rancid easily. Saturated fats are animal fats like butter and lard and tropical oils including coconut

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Why GMO Salmon is Scary

Why GMO Salmon is Scary

GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism, so GMO salmon is genetically modified. What does this mean? The biotechnology company, AquaBounty Technologies, has created a GMO salmon they call AquAdvantage® Fish. This fish is in the process of being approved by the FDA. AquAdvantage® Fish is created by injecting growth hormone from Chinook Pacific salmon and DNA from an ocean pout fish (a type of eel) into a fertilized Atlantic salmon egg. This stimulates the frankenfish to grow to market weight in only 18 months rather than the natural 3 years it takes wild salmon!

Potential Health Risks!

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What are Healthy Fats?

What are Healthy Fats?

Many of us are starting to get the message that sugar is the bad guy, not fats, but are still struggling with which fats are healthy fats and how fats benefit us.

Deficiency in Healthy Fats can lead to:

-Endocrine Issues (Hormonal Imbalances)
-Depression and Mood Disorders
-Cardiovascular Issues

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The Importance of Pooping Posture!

The Importance of Pooping Posture!

Do you suffer from or have suffered from hemorrhoids, constipation, colon disease, ileocecal valve issues, or urinary tract infections? Research shows that squatting, rather than sitting, during bowel movements makes defecation more efficient and easier with less strain. Thus, helping avoid the above mentioned health problems.

Constipation and Hemorrhoids

Constipation and hemorrhoids go hand in hand as hemorrhoids are inflamed anal varicose veins that are the result of excessive pressure applied during hard to pass stools or constipation.

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Avoid Spike in Blood Sugar Levels

Avoid Spike in Blood Sugar Levels

Almost everyone knows or has heard the phrase “spike in blood sugar levels” and knows that it has a bad connotation, and rightfully so. So how can we avoid a spike in blood sugar levels? We can avoid a quick and dramatic spike in blood sugar levels by pairing good quality fats and proteins (i.e. grass fed meat, unrefined and cold pressed oils) with carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are very easily broken down and absorbed by our digestive system. This means that when we eat carbohydrates alone, especially refined carbohydrates or simple carbohydrates, sugar being the worst, a spike in blood sugar levels occurs. Over time this will over burden the three organs involved in blood sugar regulation, the pancreas, liver, and adrenal glands. Fats and proteins are

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List of Fermented Foods

List of Fermented Foods

A common question that I get when I start talking about the health benefits of fermented foods is, “What foods are fermented?” So I decided to make a list of fermented foods.

You can ferment almost any food including vegetables, fruits, legumes, dairy, meat and fish! In order for a food to be fermented, beneficial microbes have to be present in the right environment including the correct pH and temperature range. Some ferments are anaerobic which means they are done in an airtight container without the presence of oxygen, as done in lacto-fermentation. Other ferments are aerobic which means they need exposure to oxygen therefore they are not done in an airtight container.

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The Health Benefits of Fermented Foods

The Health Benefits of Fermented Foods

Are you suffering from digestive conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux, chronic constipation or diarrhea? Is your immune system over reactive resulting in autoimmune problems, eczema, allergies or food sensitivities to name a few? If so, fermented foods might be exactly what your body needs to feel healthy again.

Fermented foods are loaded with beneficial microbes (bacteria and yeast) that make up our gut flora. Maintaining this population in healthy balance is critical to our health, not only for proper digestion, but also for immune health, detoxification, and many other important bodily functions.

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MyBarc
Thanks BARC for composting food waste on our site, providing us with copious free organic matter and feed for pigs and chickens! Let's keep closing the loops!