7 Most Important Things On Our Homestead

7 Most Important Things On Our Homestead

Welcome to our homestead. Although you visit our homestead virtually, we want you to feel welcomed and a part of the family.

We treasure our visitors and enjoy being led to share our knowledge, inspiration and offer you encouragement on your daily walk.  We enjoy getting to know you and for many of you, your willingness to share too!

So when you visit, no matter if you are listening to a podcast, reading a post or watching a video – our prayer is that your visit here will be memorable, peaceful and that you will walk away with knowledge and encouragement.

“May the Lord bless you and keep you, and make His face shine upon you.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

Our Goal

Our goal here on our off-grid homestead is to walk a walk that causes others to ask where our hope, faith, and perseverance come from! (1 Peter 3:15)

Living With Intention

2018 became a year we began Living With Intention and in doing so we put our focus on what was the MOST important to us.

What Is Most Important To Us

The 7 most important things on our homestead are what help hold us together, strengthen our bond and enable us to walk the walk…

  1. Faith & Trust – Our home is lead by God and our focus is heavily on him for everything we do. We choose to walk in faith and be disciples for him. We are not perfect, but we strive to be the best that we can be.  We have found spending time in the Word daily and building on our Faith and Trust muscles create a stress-free and worry-free life!  I enjoy using Jesus Calling as a go-to devotional and I would be lost without my Inspire Journalling Bible.
  2. Head Of The House – The Mountain Man is the head of our house. He is our prayerful rock. I do submit to him as I am called to do, but as his helpmeet and willingly as his equal. We walk side by side and work together. This is a subject that causes heated discussions at times because of how it is taught, perceived and unfortunately because of misuse. I, as the woman, am supposed to submit to him (which means in many ways not just in the one that is usually the first to come to mind) and that does not mean abused or that somehow I am a lesser person. He as the head of the household is also supposed to treat me like the church. When these dynamics are put together properly and as they are supposed to be, an amazing relationship is formed and is able to grow! We need to nurture our men into good healthy leaders that walk with confidence, strength and a willingness to protect!  Our men are meant to be the leaders of our homes and our protectors.  We also, as a team (husband and wife), need to focus on the health of our marriages being supportive of one another and spending quality time with each other.  Communication is key!  Keeping those homestead fires burning is important!
  3. Family – Our strong family bond is important to us. We have experienced and walked through a lot of adversity and trials, but through those experiences, our bond has gotten so strong that together we are unstoppable and unbreakable!  It is important to build each other up and to help our youth to be strong, independent, faith-led individuals that know how to manage money, and have the skillsets to take care of themselves.  Our son is high functioning autistic with Asperger tendencies and he is no exception – our lifestyle has afforded him some great opportunities and we have taught him that the Sky Is The Limit.  Austin has overcome 98% of his autism and Asperger tendencies as a result of God’s grace, our persistence and devotion to seeking answers, natural remedies, and our lifestyle.
  4. Living Debt Free – As many of you know, the last three years have been extremely hard for us financially as a result of my life-saving surgery in 2016 and the healing protocol that I have been on since.  We have been fighting against filing bankruptcy all year and are prayerful that we will get out of this mess and be debt-free within the year without having to file.  Having goals and plans regarding your future and finances is important and so is doing your due diligence in keeping a working budget and being 100% devoted to not giving up.  We use EveryDollar and YNAB as our budgeting solutions and also LOVE following and learning from Dave Ramsey.  Prior to my surgery, we were heavily focusing on a debt-free life, but life through us some lemons and we now need to make some lemonade – in other words, we are NOT giving up, we are making the best of our situation and trusting God for an amazing outcome!  One of the reasons I feel that a lot of people fail at budgeting is because they have Tithing and Saving on their budget, BUT those two things, out of fear, continue to get pushed to the bottom of the budget.  Without tithing we are not honoring God the way we are supposed to – he should ALWAYS be paid FIRST and TRUST ME, he will provide!! Without saving, we don’t have anything to fall back on in emergencies and emergencies WILL happen.  So how do you get past this hang up you ask?  Great question – you start strengthening your FAITH and TRUST muscles and just DO IT!!
  5. Health & Our Food/Bounty – We choose to take good care of ourselves. Our body is a temple and we choose to treat it as such. We get enough sleep, drink plenty of water, exercise and are very conscious of not only what we put in our body, but also what we put on our body. Taking care of ourselves is an important aspect of being able to accomplish the things necessary on our homestead – when we are running like a well-oiled machine we are able to accomplish a lot!  We choose very carefully what we put in our bodies.  Today’s food is poison and it is important for us to do our due diligence and either seek out or grow the best possible food we can put in our bodies.  This goes hand in hand with our health.  Many of the sicknesses, illnesses, and diseases today are a result of our poor quality food.  I have learned first hand how drastically GMO’s can harm the body and result in illness as well as how sensitive our bodies become once we have removed all the garbage.  We grow, forage, hunt and harvest from the wild as much as we can and we purchase all non-GMO, organic raw ingredients for our from-scratch diet.
  6. Serving Others – We are all called to serve and love others.  When we take our focus off of ourselves and turn it toward others there is great growth and joy found in this!  It is also a matter of the heart when you take time to help and assist others.  We enjoy and feel led to be a light to others in whatever way we can!
  7. Enjoying The Journey – In society today, we could very easily be led to believe that it is meant to be all work and no play, but in order to be the best we can be – we need to take time away to enjoy life. To take this a step further, it wouldn’t even be that we need to step away to enjoy life – what really needs to happen is that we need to slow the pace and Live With Intention. Live life by our terms – not by societies terms. We don’t have to be running at the speed of light and keeping up with the Jones’s – we need to learn to focus on what is most important to us!  We must make our most important things in our life non-negotiables on our schedule and we need to guard and protect them. By doing so, you are more likely to enjoy the journey because you are focusing on the things that give you the most joy.

Once our attention is brought to the most important things in our lives and we start to focus on those things, life becomes much sweeter, richer, fuller, and SO rewarding!

So I ask you today, what are the things that are most important to you?

What Does It Really Mean To Live Off-Grid

What Does It Really Mean To Live Off-Grid

There is a lot of confusion as to what it really means to live Off The Grid. So many people I spoke to in the beginning of our journey would apologize to me when I said that I lived off-grid.

Honestly, that really surprised me and it took me a little to figure out how they were thinking. In their eyes, I was living a lesser life with NO power or modern conveniences. I believe many think that if you live off grid, you live in a shack, are dirty and unable to take regular baths and are deprived in some way, but they could not have been more wrong.

Living off the grid means that you are choosing to severe your connection and ties to the modern grid and either live with no power at all or power your home with either batteries, a generator or a form of alternative energy. It could also be a combination of the above.  It also means in ways seeking a freedom from today’s modern society and being able to create your own lifestyle of sorts.  It also means a much lesser dependency on society and government as a result of or that may actually be the initial intention, but either way I believe it slowly occurs regardless!

We aspire to eventually live a life with no power, but for right now we are utilizing a 48-volt solar system with 16 panels and 16 batteries along with a generator backup.

We embarked on this journey in 2010 and to date, we have NEVER been without power. The local power grid has been down so much over those years that we lost count and often times didn’t even know the rest of the world was without. One time we had a breaker blow on the system which kept us from pulling power from the sun, but our batteries were full and our generator kept us powered up while we waited three days for our new breakerS to arrive.

On our off-grid homestead, we make it a practice to have 3 backups of our most important necessities and that breaker has been added to our list.

Living an off-grid lifestyle is something I could never turn my back on. I passionately love living this life of freedom not to mention the health benefits of not having power lines even remotely near our home.

Our lifestyle creates a simplistic mindset that just keeps digging its roots deeper and deeper into our souls.

We really haven’t had to give up anything that was of any value to us and living in a conservative fashion helps keep us from feeling like the rest of the world that is trying desperately to keep up with the Joneses only to continue going deeper and deeper into debt and unhappiness.

Joy is found in the still quiet moments, in contentment and joy produces happiness. I have found my joy in this lifestyle and will never turn back.

For more on our lifestyle and an in-depth at off-grid living, check out my book How To Embrace An Off-Grid Lifestyle.

Faith Through The Storm

Faith Through The Storm

What does that look like exactly and really how is that possible?

I will say, it does take practice to have complete and total faith through the storm. It is a process I believe that we mature and grow into – if we allow ourselves to be CHANGED!

I have been through a LOT of challenging things in my life and today, I look forward to the next challenge. Not that I look for the uncomfortable places in life, but because I know that through the uncomfortable circumstances that we travel, amazing things happen and amazing growth is experienced! I would not be the warrior I am today if I did not believe that!

I too used to say “WHY ME LORD, WHY ME?”, but today I say “SHOW ME LORD, GROW ME LORD!”

The saying ”God will not give us more than we can handle” is actually not in the bible directly, but I have been guilty of hanging on to those words and thinking to myself, “WOW, God sure must think I can handle a LOT”. Those words have helped me more than a time or two to grab those boot straps and put on my big girl panties!! But the truth is God loves us and will protect us.

“Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you.” ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭4:12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Peter shares with us above that as Christians we should not be surprised when fiery trials come our way, but I love best how James puts it…

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” ‭‭James‬ ‭1:2–4‬ ‭NLT

I don’t know about you, but James words greatly empower me. The Bible is loaded with amazing guidance and I LOVE pouring myself into it. I used to greatly struggle to try to read and understand the Bible, but while I was sick I purchase the NLT Inspire Bible that just speaks to me! I encourage you to make it a practice to read the word – it is SO powerful and comforting!

Sure, we all want God’s will to line up with our ideals, BUT that is not always the case so rather than worrying about an outcome, I have just learned to trust that the outcome will eventually be bigger, better and more amazing than anything I could have possibly imagined!

In my opinion, worry is a waste of life, time and a good mind. Don’t get me wrong, I used to worry about EVERYTHING, but I have found such a peace with the close walk I have with Jesus and I have found a better use for my time.

“Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:27‬ ‭NLT

Do you know what to do when you feel worry and stress setting in? My suggestion is that you pull closer to God – pause and take time to give your worries to him. I also dive into his word and if I struggle to absorb his word at that time, I turn to a devotional that I have used for years, Jesus Calling (they also have a child and teen version of this devotional) which is written so well and just seems to be pertinent ALL the time. Then you are no longer carrying those weights – he will carry them for you!

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The storms we go through in life have the ability to change us. We can grow positively or we can grow negatively, but that my friends are a choice.

The truth is, without change there is no growth. When we have the right attitude every experience-positive and negative- becomes an opportunity for progress.

“So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.”
‭‭[2 Corinthians‬ ‭3:18‬ ‭NLT]‬‬ (http://bible.com/116/2co.3.18.nlt)

I’d like to encourage you to view your storms and valleys in a positive light. I know that sounds crazy, but I promise you, through the storm, good things will be gained, progress will be made and transformation will take place. In order to be the full persons/warriors that we need to be and become, we need to walk out our walk in faith. I look at the storms and valleys as my challenge in life to improvise, adapt, overcome and TRUST.

I know I have referenced James above, but he just puts it so well… Can you tell this is a favorite verse?

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” ‭‭James‬ ‭1:2–4‬ ‭NLT‬

There is also something I believe that many Christians overlook and that is the power we have been given in Christ Jesus. We have the power to send the enemy packing and not to listen to his lies which is 99.9% why our storms and valleys are so tough. We allow him to cause us to worry! I have learned to view it very differently, you see, I see him for what he is and I laugh at him! When you start to do that – it is quite amazing to see how sad and lame his attempts become. He knows that he can no longer get you, trust me, he will continue to try, but once you see the spiritual attacks for what they are, they no longer have any power over you! It is an AMAZING thing!

As a friend shared with me the other day and I believe this 100%, ”Life is 10% circumstance and 90% perspective”! Think about that a bit… (Thanks Brent!) Our perspective on life can be a Game Changer!

So, please remember that the negative things you experience in life are NOT from God, but from the enemy trying to trip you up.

“Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew‬ ‭28:18–20‬ ‭NLT

So stop worrying and stop trying to figure God out and just simply TRUST him!

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭55:8–9‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”  2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:16–18‬ ‭NLT

As you go through varying storms and valleys in life, keep your feet firmly planted and keep your eyes focused upward!

Gandhi said, “You may never know what results come from your actions, but if you do nothing there will be no results.”

In other words, stay persistent and keep moving forward rather than staying stagnant in the storm. Put your faith in HIM, push forward, never ask why and NEVER GIVE UP!

Mark Twain said, ”Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.”

What are some ways you cope through your storms?

Sun Baked Wild Turkey

Sun Baked Wild Turkey

Wow! Are we ever crazy busy trying to finish our home so we can sell it and we are also preparing to build a new tiny home all before winter! Yikes – what a rush and wild ride!  We are attempting to do 6 months worth of work in 2!

I have been educating and sharing our journey on both Facebook Live and also on Patreon so if you have been missing out, please be sure to pop over to either to see what all we have going on…  We are also posting on YouTube regularly too, but our behind the scenes things are being shared on Patreon.

I am SO thankful for the resource of the sun for both power for our home and cooking my meals outside (keeping my house cool) on these hot summer days!

Today, I have wild turkey cooking in the Solavore Sport. I always say that wild game is best when cooked on a low heat for a long time… What better way to cook it and it doesn’t cost me a penny for fuel of any kind.

Cooking in a sun oven for meals is like cooking in a slow cooker. Your baked goods such as bread, brownies, cakes, etc do need to be timed or watched more carefully, but a meal put out in the early morning is perfect by dinner time!

Game meats end up tasty, juicy and tender when cooked long and on a low heat.

I can’t remember the last time I used a recipe for a meal. I typically just throw things together as I did this morning.

In a 9” x 13” glass baking dish I added the turkey leg and thigh, half the breast and the gizzard to the dish. Seasoned it very heavily and then added 3 tsps of bacon grease and enough water to fill the pan 1/4 of the way full. Placed it in the sun oven and off to my work I went. I will take the time to move the Solavore sun oven with the sun throughout the day, but I will be leaving to run errands. When I leave I will move the sun oven a bit further ahead of the sun so it will continue cooking while I am gone.

It is that easy folks… And you will not find an easier resource. We live in northern Idaho which is part of the Pacific Northwest which is known for its hot dry summers which end up with a lot of forest fires each year. Even when fire bans are on we are able to cook outside with the sun ovens.  Also, don’t rule out the winter months… Just because it is cold outside doesn’t mean that the sun can’t create a warm enough heat in a sun oven to cook a meal.

I own both the Solavore Sport and the All American Sun Oven and honestly I LOVE them both equally. They both are utilized differently because of their different designs. I LOVE the Solavore Sport because is rectangular which enables me to cook in my mini roasters, in my 9” x 13” or put two 9” x 9” baking dishes or pie dishes side by side. The disadvantage to the Solavore Sport is that you cannot stack in it and that is where the All American Sun Oven comes in. I LOVE it because I can stack meals in it and still have room to put one or more quart jars which enable me to also cook my sides such as a vegetable or another side or dessert! Truly, I really love having them both on the homestead.

We are very frugal and make a lot of what we use and need, but I am also very honest and I feel that there are times where an investment is necessary. When we invest in anything it has to be a quality product and something of GREAT use on our homestead or we do not and will not part with our hard earned $$. I have a couple of items on our homestead that are a bit more spendy like my Wondermill electric and Jr Deluxe, but they are well made and play a VERY important role on our homestead.

I am a big believer in Dave Ramsey and his methods and I would encourage you to set money aside and make such purchases when you have saved up enough money to do so, but trust me when I say you will not be disappointed!

Gotta run now to keep up with the homestead chores and to turn the wild turkey in the Solavore Sport.

Have a blessed day and I highly encourage you to utilize the free resources we have at our disposal!

Taking On The Impossible And…

Taking On The Impossible And…

Sometimes in life, we need to “Take On The Impossible”, or at least that is how it feels, but remember in EVERY situation we have choices and we are CHOOSING to be #UNSTOPPABLE!

We’ve decided this year we are going to be totally transparent in our situation in an effort to help others. We are on a slippery slope that is not kind nor pleasant, but we have been working extremely hard to move things in a positive direction with no prevail.

In 2016, we traveled from Idaho to GA for my life-saving surgery, stayed in GA for 17 days, returned home to embark on a healing journey that I am still traveling today and went 6 1/2 months without an income during that time. Our medical bills were adding up and we were behind on EVERYTHING.

In 2017, we had the illusion that we were catching up. Going into winter we had 4 nice construction jobs lined up for December that would carry us into the new year, but in November of 2017 those jobs fell apart due to the homeowner’s finances. SOOO we ended up going 4 months without work and an income despite our best effort while seeking, searching and being resourceful.

Fast forward to today, June 13, we went too long without an income and catching up is no longer an option without a miracle.

Over the weekend our family made a very radical decision to spend the next month and a half getting rid of all the unnecessary things on our homestead by selling things on an online yard sale and having a physical yard sale in July. The best time in my life was spent in the canvas wall tent while building this homestead. The simplicity is what I crave and that is what we are heading toward not that we don’t live simply, but we want to live simpler.

Additionally, we are pushing to finish the cosmetic work in the interior of our home, organize the outside and prepare our home for sale by the end of August, all while still doing our normal day to day of working construction jobs, writing and maintaining our online businesses and keeping the homestead running.

We can not make any concrete decisions on our future until this house sells so we are putting all our energy into making this happen and trusting that God will meet us halfway. I know that Trayer Wilderness, Trayer Wilderness Academy, and our family will remain in the wilderness of Idaho, we just don’t know where and how!

When you take extreme leaps of faith we enable God to open the doors – our parachute may not open right away, but I fully trust that it will open and God will guide and be with us on this whole journey. He has been with us all this time – “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT .

These were the two choices we had:
1. Sit, mope and watch the ship sink or file bankruptcy.
2. Take the leap of faith that we have and decide to put a positive and very aggressive plan in place.

What is the worst that will happen? Well, we will fail, but we will fail knowing that we did EVERYTHING in our power to change our circumstance and make a difference not only in our lives but the lives of others through our steadfast trust and faith in God.

He has a plan for us that is bigger and better than we could ever imagine or envision so regardless of the outcome I know we will be ok and well cared for and loved!

One important aspect for us during this journey is to be sure we are listening to that still, small voice so that we are not steering this ship in the wrong direction and that we are following his plan and not ours!

Something else I would like to point out is the importance of strong family bonds!  We are one very STRONG family and we will conquer this new journey together.  It is also important for you to truly realize what is most important in your life.  Materials things will never hold value in our home compared to the relationships we have, our love for one another and our love for Christ.  We are blessed beyond measure even in our circumstances and our LIFESTYLE has enabled us to be comfortable in a very uncomfortable place.   We have not gone without food or shelter.  We live a life of preparedness and are able to feed our family, give to those that are in need and still have some left over.  This is all because we live daily preparing for tomorrow!  You never know what will come your way and being prepared is SO extremely important!

So join us on this journey as we step into yet another adventure in the lives of the Trayer Family!

You can follow the step by step video journey (behind the scenes) here.

If you are walking a similar journey right now, remember to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus versus allowing depression to set in or seeking a quick fix or an end all avenue!   This is not the end of the world, it may actually be the start of something very exciting and new!  God is good!

If you missed me on Facebook Live sharing our story, you can watch below:

If you would rather listen to the podcast – you can do so here on our website or on iTunes or Stitcher.

Off-Grid Solar Homestead For Sale

 

One Quarter Can Save You Hundreds

One Quarter Can Save You Hundreds

Simple Easy Preparedness Tip Everyone Should Know When The Power Goes Out

How often do you lose grid power? I know it happens often around here and we are thankful to be unaffected by grid power loss because we are utilizing solar power on our homestead, BUT this particular circumstance could also affect us…

Have you ever lost power while you were away from home and wondered how long the power was out and if the contents of your freezer are still good? We utilize propane for our freezer and refrigerator and we could very easily get something in our line that would cause it to clog (thankfully in 8 years we have never experienced this or power loss), BUT this is one thing that can cause GREAT loss.

Today, I have a simple, easy trick that can take the guesswork out of how long the electric was off and also whether all may be lost.

You simply fill a canning jar or container 3/4 of the way full and allow it to freeze. Once frozen you simply add a quarter to the top of the ice and place back in your freezer.

If you ever lose power while away from home you will now have a gauge as to what happened in your freezer. If the quarter is still on top of the ice the power must not have been out long and things did not even thaw at all. If the quarter is partially through the ice it is likely that your foods may have thawed a bit, but refroze which would indicate that your food should still be fine. If the quarter is at the bottom of the container it is likely that everything thawed and refroze in which case dependent on the contents things may be questionable and it is likely that if you had meats in paper you will see the telltale signs of thaw with blood that has leaked out of the packages from the thaw.

My sweet friend Mona found this tip sometime over the years and wasn’t quite sure where she found it but knew that I would love to know this trick(and she was right) and she also knew that I would LOVE to share it with you all!

What a great way to add peace of mind and a gauge that may eliminate you throwing a whole freezer full of food away out of fear!

So be sure to take a few minutes and safeguard your freezers!

What did you think of this tip? Pretty simple and smart, huh? We LOVE hearing from you all so share your thoughts below in the comments…

Do you have any tips similar to this one that you would like to share? If so please share in the comments below…