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Self-Reliant Living

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Simple Wild Grape Jelly

Simple Wild Grape Jelly

We have a lot of wild grapes on our property and they are now ripe for the picking. So we picked a bunch the other day so that we could make jelly. I thought I might do a quick article explaining, and showing how my wife, Denise, and I did so.

DIY Tomato Cage Bird Bath

DIY Tomato Cage Bird Bath

Last year I saw a post somewhere, possibly Pinterest, where a person used an old tomato cage to make a bird bath. I thought it would be an interesting project that would quick, yet provide another dimension to some of the other bird baths I have made.

Solar Cookers

Solar Cookers


Solar cookers are one of my favorite ways to cook as the energy used is from the sun, and that is free.  However, you must have the sun, and it does take longer to cook than by conventional means.

Raised Bed with Options

Raised Bed with Options

Even though I have plenty of garden space on our property, I always wanted to build a raise bed so I could use it for salad greens, and just to experiment.  I also wanted the option of being able to use the raised bed as a hoop house, for either plastic or netting.  But I wanted to be able to remove the hoops with ease.With the option of the hoops, I could use the raised bed as my needs, or the season, required.

Building A TuteurBuilding A Tuteur for the Garden


I have been wanting to build a “Teteur” for the garden for some time. A Tuteur is a French term for a three or four sided trellis or plant support.  A Tuteur is great for growing vines on in a flower garden and vegetables like peas or beans in a vegetable garden.

Real Deal Homesteading

Real Deal Homesteading - The Gregersen's

There are many people who think they might like to homestead, and others who believe it just isn't possible in today's world.  Well it is possible, but it takes a special person or couple to make it happen.The Gregersen's are not short on motivation, energy, or skills.  Both Susan and Steven have spent much of their life learning the skills of self-reliance and together they make an awesome team. 

DIY 5 Gal. Bucket Clothes Washer

DIY 5 Gal. Bucket Clothes Washer

In an extended emergency situation you will find the need to wash your clothes. Of course, if you do not have power, you will not be able to use your normal washer and dryer. The following article is an excerpt from John's book Practical Self-Reliance - Reducing Your Dependency On Others, which shows how to make a DIY Clothes Washer.

DIY Solar Oven

As an introduction, my wife, Denise, and I have been playing with solar cookers and ovens for awhile. Denise built a wooden one with a shop teacher, many years ago, when she was a Home Economics Teacher in Switzerland.

Bottle Tops Used as Lamp Globes

Bottle Tops As Lamp Globes


As you will recall from my two previous articles on Making Drinking Glasses from Wine Bottles, you have the neck of the bottle left over.

Bottles to Drinking Glasses Part 1

From Bottles To Drinking Glasses

While looking through a catalog Denise saw a set of drinking glasses, and  the catalog indicated they were made from old wine bottles.  Drinking glasses are something that always seem to get broken so she said, "We should try doing this".


Simple Vegetable Container Gardening

I have seen various articles about container gardening in magazines and on the internet.  Some of the articles show the use of various specialty pots and treat the subject of container gardening more for flowers than for vegetables.

Save That Rain Water

Save That Rain Water

I live in the country and we don't have public water.  Living with your own well teaches you to be prudent with your use of water.  We had one well go dry years ago and drilling a new one is very costly.  Because of this we limit what we do with our water.  Washing cars or watering the garden are not options.  Therefore, we have been using water barrels to collect rain water and we use this for all our gardening needs.


Three Compartment Compost Bin

I have been wanting to build a three compartment compost bin for some time now. However, I just couldn't come up with a design I was happy with. Here is one I finally made after modifying another design.

Five Minute BreadMaking Five Minute Bread

YouTube Video by John D. McCann

This video is Part 2 of our video on the GrainMaker Grain Mill Review. In this video Denise show you how to make Five-Minute Bread using the flour we made in the first video.

GrainMaker Grain MillGrainMaker Grain Mill Review

YouTube Video by John D. McCann

This video is a review of the GrainMaker Grain Mill #99. It shows the particulars of the machine and shows how to grind grain with it.

Swiss FencesSimple Swiss Fences for the Homestead

YouTube Video by John D. McCann

This video shows various types of Simple Swiss Fences that could be used for a homestead. They are easily made with nothing more than some poles and a mallet. These type of fences where used here in America during the pioneer days, having the designs brought over here from Europe.

GardenFenceRustic Garden Fence

YouTube Video by Jonas of Survival Resources

In this video, Jonas, from Survival Resources, shows how to make a full size rustic garden fence, using a technique shown by John in a previous video, when he did a miniature mock-up. The technique for this fence was learned while traveling in Switzerland, however, it has been used in the U.S. since the pioneer days.

French Cut Green BeansPreparing French Cut Green Beans for the Pantry

YouTube Video by John D. McCann

Preserving the harvest is as important as growing it. This YouTube video shows how to Prepare French Cut Green Beans for the Pantry, using a Bean Frencher and pressure cooking.

Newspaper Seedling PotsNewspaper Seedling Pots

I found an interesting product that allows you to recycle old newspaper into starter pots for seedlings or for young transplants. It is called the "PotMaker®" and is really easy to use.

Hot Pot Solar CookerThe "Hot Pot" Solar Cooker

This is a review of a new type solar cooker I purchased, called the "Hot Pot." It is different from box solar cookers, and I was curious if it would cook effectively, particularly in an emergency situation. I figured, if it worked well, I would be able to cook as long as there was sun, and save using other types of non-renewable fuels.

Propagating Tomatoe PlantsPropagating Your Tomato Plants - Part 1 & 2

You Get New Plants for Free

I read an article about propagating your tomato plants by removing the side-shoots that develop from the angle between the leaf stems and the main stem of the plant. Removing these side-shoots helps the main plant develop more fruit, but it also would give me more tomato plants FREE!

Finding Space for PantryFinding Space for a Food Pantry

and Emergency Supplies

As we know, it is important to have a food pantry with extra food in the home in the event of an emergency. It is also important to store other emergency supplies in an area where you can get to them when you need them.

Preparing ParsleyPreparing Parsley for the Pantry

Our garden was full of Parsley which we like to dehydrate and bottle for the pantry. It lasts for the whole winter-spring time span (and even longer), so we never have to buy it (this goes for other things like oregano, savory, etc.).