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.

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

 

Slow Starts & Peaceful Mornings

Slow Starts & Peaceful Mornings

I am sitting here in my robe by the fire, with my coffee and felt compelled to share my thoughts this morning.

There is something so precious and peaceful about a slowly started and peaceful morning. Can you relate to this? I hope so, but my fear is that the majority of the population today starts their morning with such a frenzy – the alarm blares, you quickly spring from bed, with lightning speed either dress or shower, wake the kids, remove the skin from your mouth by quickly inhaling that first cup of hot coffee, grab something quick for the road and race out the door. Oh WOW, just writing that gave me anxiety and stress – I have indeed experienced that in my life, BUT I am so thankful for the life I have created.

We are in a storm of sorts currently so just like you when traveling through the high winds it is not easy, but at the same time, I am able to realize how blessed I am that I have the ability to determine my day and even more so my life. Despite the hard and maybe even the unknown – I know by trusting and having faith there will eventually be a light at the end of the tunnel and I will be a warrior on the other side.

This feeling I am experiencing this morning is reminiscent of my summer vacations visiting my grandparents. I think they too understood the benefits I am experiencing. I just so clearly remember their routine and it puts a smile on my face. Yes, they woke to an alarm (one I never heard), but every day they woke at the same time, started the coffee pot, put the bread in the toaster and pulled out their bibles.

I would not wake to their alarm because I always slept so good in their home. I believe because It was something unfamiliar, a comfortable spot for me. I would awake to the smell of coffee and toast. To this day, that is a distinct smell to me that just gives me such joy and takes me back in time. I don’t know what it was about their coffee or their toast, but it was just such a unique alluring smell. It would allure me out of bed and as I would head downstairs I would always find them both at the kitchen table each with their bible partaking in their daily devotions.

I never really understood the value of that daily peaceful routine and even more so that deep walk with Jesus that they both enjoyed so much until we embrace our off-grid homesteading life. Why?  I think because my pace was so great that I missed the simple joys that came with the slow and simple in life and because like many Christians – aside from Sunday church I was afraid of offending someone while speaking my faith so I shared it with a few safe people and the rest of the time I stuffed it!  There is something so incredibly freeing to be in the company of people such as my Mountain Man and my son that allows me to be who I am – to be able to wear my heart, soul, and faith on my sleeve and not have to hide!  So empowering to be around safe and comfortable people for the first time in my life!

This slow pace is an acquired and evidently needs to be a learned, almost forced pace on our lives. I see so many people fight to slow down and pride themselves like a champion at the speed of light they travel – when if they resigned to the slow and peaceful, their lives would be truly something they could pride themselves with!

My grandparents were referred to by some as bible thumpers and even hypocrites (the only thing I ever really saw them do was from time to time talk about the neighbors or local people)- they made mistakes just like the rest of us, but they were such good people. I strive to not only talk the talk but walk the walk.  I am not perfect and I will make mistakes, but if I take on the title of Bible Thumper I will wear that badge proudly. And because of all the miracles I have visibly seen over the last 10 years and feeling and seeing God’s gracious hand on my life and my family, I can no longer hide my joy, my faith and all that I have to celebrate. I have learned that I will more than likely inspire many and actually offend less. I am not shoving Jesus and my faith down people’s throats, but more so sharing my excitement, my faith and the miracles that are happening around me. It is just JOY and extreme FAITH spilling out of me.

I can truly praise and thank my pap for the faith I have today!

His encouraging and wise words were stored in my heart and revisited often throughout my life.  Often during some of my greatest struggles – he was there!

So today on this quiet Friday morning – just me, the dogs and my coffee by the fire I feel that God blessed me with those simple joys and fond memories created as a child so that when I was an adult I would remember those times with great appreciation and peace.

We have been stuck on our homestead since Saturday after receiving 20” of wet snow the weekend before and this last weekend receiving another 24” of fresh powdery snow. Our backhoe is down and our backup equipment couldn’t move that volume of snow. We could have chosen to panic – we did have places to be and things that needed to get done, but when these things happen I truly believe we are right where God wants us to be. We are forced to pull into him – trusting and waiting to see what will happen next. It builds on our faith, it causes us to have a closer walk with Jesus, it makes us think about what is most important in our lives and it also causes us to re-evaluate what we are doing in life… It makes us wonder if God is putting us in this current place to show us what he desires for us rather than what we desire for ourselves. Quite profound – yet is it so? I think YES!

I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and I also believe that amazing things happen in the still, quiet, peaceful moments we allow in our lives. That small voice can be heard and direction can be found.

Do you create those peaceful moments in your life right now?

Do you know the amazing peace that comes from a walk with Jesus?

Well, maybe it is time you should!

 

PS – My journaling bible is the first bible that has truly made sense to me (those thee’s and thou’s lose me even though I love the authenticity of the King James Version of the Bible).  I thoroughly enjoy reading it and being guided through it!  This is my favorite Bible app.

Best Places To Find Homestead & Off-Grid Tools

Best Places To Find Homestead & Off-Grid Tools

Yardsaling, flea markets, estate sales, antique and thrift stores, the locations are endless…  As most of you know, I am NOT a shopper, despise being in town more than I need to be BUT I love looking for treasures! This is the perfect time of year to get out and find the things you need for your home or homestead.

Last Friday, on Mountain Woman Radio I spoke about Yardsaling in Podcast #149.

We live very frugally by choice and also by choice we have eliminated most of today’s modern day conveniences. Using antiques in our home is just part of the romance and often the items we are using are family heirlooms used by our grandparents or great grandparents.

They are 50+ years old and are quality products that were durably made. They have stood the test of time and still decorate my home and are used often daily.

We don’t live with worry in regard to our future, but we do take our future greatly into consideration with everything we do. We envision life totally without power and strive to be sure that we have every tool we need on our homestead to survive and thrive if that were ever to happen. So that means that we need to have the antique counterpart to many of today’s modern day conveniences to be able to move forward.

When we are out and about and see a yard sale, flea market, auction, thrift store or antique store and have a couple extra minutes we pop in and take a look. You never know what you will find and even better yet – have a list of the items you are looking for so you can even be more strategic!

On my podcast last week I spoke about getting canning supplies at yard sales and this week while I was running errands I stopped at a thrift store to find big bins with canning jars and rings for $6.60 per dozen. I walked away with 14 wide mouth jars and rings. I could have gained a LOT more jars, but I was being a bit of a snob that day in that we can a LOT of meat and it is SO much easier to fill, empty and clean the wide mouth jars so I am working on only stocking up on the wide mouths that fit our needs the best.

As I also mentioned in the podcast on Friday how I found an Excalibur dehydrator at a yard sale last year for $20 which actually retailed for over $300. These are the kind of treasures you can find when you take the time to look.

This is truly how I enjoy finding our homestead & off-grid tools!

Some people feel that this kind of shopping is beneath them, but I regularly purchase clothes that still have the tags on them. It is an amazing feeling when you get yourself to a place that you don’t feel you have to purchase every great deal you see or you find that you are able to limit yourself to only the things you actually need and will use. I hate clutter and there are often things that catch my eye when I am out, but if it does not have a useful place in our home, I am to a place in my life that I will not waste the money on it just for pure pleasure.  By living this way, it truly affords me to live this life!

Additionally, it is very important to do your due diligence and research the items you are looking for and price them because you will find stores that have great prices and you will find others that have insane prices. Knowing your prices and knowing also what you are willing to pay for something is important or it could end up being highway robbery and you really didn’t save yourself any money.

I often see things that make me want to jump up and down with excitement, but when the price tag is way out of my price range I have to walk away. This is my theory – if I walk away from something that is nicely priced because I just can’t afford it that day – if I return to the store when I can afford it and it is still there – it was clearly meant to be. With the items that are hideously priced – you might return to find the price has been brought down to something you can now afford. Another little trick – if the price is out of your price range, but not by much – you might try asking the store clerk or the person running the yard sale if they would be willing to take a lesser amount. I have even asked if they could take what I was able to afford and to my surprise – sometimes they will accept your offer to make the sale. I learned early in life to ask – the worst thing they will say is no, BUT they may also very well say YES! Take the chance – be bold – step out of your comfort zone….

Something else I have found in shopping this way, my son no longer thinks money is endless and that you just swipe that little plastic card…. He understands the value of money, budgeting, risk taking and only spending within his means. It is also good for our children to see us not purchase something we obviously love, but just can’t afford or don’t need.  Being a good role model is truly in everything we do and say. These are perfect teaching moments.

Shopping this way has been something that my son and I enjoy doing together – not just for the treasures we find, but for the priceless gift of time spent together.

Have fun this summer and find yourself some quality treasures….

What is something you are looking for?

 

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