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?



#TrayerWilderness  #MountainWomanRadio #PositivelyEncouraging  #EmbraceOffGrid

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How We Get So Much Done On Our Homestead

How We Get So Much Done On Our Homestead

Everyone today is running the rat race, filling every waking hour with busy.

We embraced our off-grid lifestyle to create our own lifestyle in a crazy mixed up world. We were seeking a freedom and a pace that was to our liking, but when we first embraced our dream we hit the road running and kept pushing on.

At some point, we realized that we were pushing so hard that we missed our mark. We were no longer enjoying our dream the way we intended and we found we were running the rat race just like the rest of the world. What??

We needed to step back and realize that there was more to our desires and our dream than killing ourselves with a crazy pace. We found our freedom, but we needed to make changes. We forgot to take time for ourselves, to have fun and to do things other than work as a family. Don’t get me wrong, we did enjoy our chores as a family and it was quality time while accomplishing things on our homestead, but as they say “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”!  Well let me tell you, the same applies for Jill!

We needed to find a balance in our lives and we also needed to put God first. Our Sunday’s were reserved for church and God, but we didn’t fully rest. We were still busy and found things to do. Our first adjustment was to make our Sunday a complete and total day of rest spent with God and as a family! Once we fully took that day of rest our lives changed.

The next thing we did was incorporated PLAY back into our lives. We take time to do the fun things we enjoy. This was a bit hard for us because our work and play blended.  We were still doing things we enjoyed, but when you take time and walk away from the fun chores and work and truly enjoy playing, you restore yourself. In doing so, you return to the home or homestead and have more to offer not just to your family, but your projects too.

In addition to taking time for yourself and God, having a To Do list and a budget that you base your projects on will help remove the stresses of finances which can be huge. The To Do List helps to keep you focused and the budget helps to keep you out of debt and working on projects as the money is available.

Accomplishing a lot on the homestead is great, but if it comes with a cost, that is not so great. Finding a balance can be hard, but only you and your family can find that balance and make changes. You will know your needs and desires better than anyone so focus on putting something together that works for your family. We find that with a set schedule things roll so much smoother as well.

If you sit down and truly analyze your schedules and all the things you are doing to fill your week, I am sure you will find things that can be removed. This is my suggestion to you, evaluate what is most important to everyone and look at all the tasks you are trying to squeeze in.  Remove the ones that really don’t have value to you. Free up some of your time and then focus on how you need to put the important things into your schedule.

As I said, we focus very heavily on our Sunday as our day of rest and we have a night of devotions each week and a night of games all of which is spent as a family which pulls us all together and provides some amazing quality time and in depth conversations. Every family needs their together time. Because my days are spent in front of a screen the majority of the time and researching things, I thoroughly enjoy just a night on the couch crashed and watching a movie (doing something I don’t have to think about and can just sit and enjoy). We have found Amazon Prime and PureFlix to be our go-to resources for our movie nights.

It kinda sounds almost backward when you read this, that in order to be productive you have to slow down but please trust me when I say this is SO important and SO true!

Take those steps to put your home or homestead back on track because I have to imagine the majority of you are also running the rat race!

Does this apply to you?  What are some things you have done?

If you enjoyed this and found it helpful you may also enjoy my Podcast #145 How To Avoid Overwhelm

Are You Too Old To Live Off-Grid?

Are You Too Old To Live Off-Grid?

Now some people may be offended by this question, but this is one of the most common questions we receive.

Immediately, I am going to say, “By all means, ABSOLUTELY NOT! No one is ever too old to embrace a dream of any kind let alone a dream of living an off-grid lifestyle which can be enjoyed in many different ways as I break down in my book.

Speaking of which, my book How To Embrace An Off-Grid Lifestyle: Our Journey & A Step By Step Look At The Lifestyle is available for $2.99 in e-book format until June 1st, 2017. You can find both the print book and e-book available on Amazon.

Although the title would cause you to think that this is only for someone looking to live off-grid, it is very deceiving as this book is a wonderful tool for anyone that is interested in living a more self-reliant and self-sustaining lifestyle at any age.

In Chapter 4 – Is Off-Grid Living Right For You, I break down varying scenarios of how you can enjoy off-grid living at different levels and how it is a perfect lifestyle for any age depending on how you embrace it.

As I mention in the book, our decision to embrace a very traditional type lifestyle while living off-grid in a more remote location was fully a choice and one we have dreamt about all our lives. It is not necessary for someone wishing to live an off-grid lifestyle to live as traditionally as we do.

Living off the grid means that you have a desire to power your home with something other than grid power such as solar, hydro, wind, generator or biomass power. It doesn’t mean that you need to live traditionally, work extra hard, go without your creature comforts or are dirty and poor, it truly just means that you are powering your home with alternative energy.  When living off-grid you will want to consider your power usage or consumption which is heavily covered in Chapter 5 of my book.

Based on your age or your health, your location could matter. If you have health issues and should really be closer to doctors or a hospital that is something to consider. If you are over 50 and are purchasing a piece of property that you wish to retire to or wish to live your remaining days on, it would be wise to consider future health needs and have things in place such as a Life Flight membership or something similar if you intend to live more remotely.

In my book, I cover the soup to nuts of self-reliant living, not just off-grid living and it gives you many things to think about and consider in embracing such lifestyles.  It is really important to think about all aspects of the life and how it will affect your well-being and the amount of effort that is required.  That is why I felt it was very necessary to debunk a lot of the off-grid and self-reliant myths and cover each area of the life completely!

So, to sum it up your certainly NOT too old to embrace an off-grid or self-reliant lifestyle by any means, but you will want to consider how you intend to live the life and where you choose to do so.

Are you considering such a lifestyle?  What questions do you have?


Are You Really Prepared For Medical Emergencies?

Are You Really Prepared For Medical Emergencies?

Are You Really Prepared For Medical EmergenciesIt is really easy to think we are prepared for anything, but are we really?

It is important to live without fear as it is a waste of time and precious energy and to focus on being prepared.   You will find great comfort in times of turmoil when you have already rehearsed things in your brain many times, practiced them as a family or have protocols in place.

May 11th on our homestead is not a day I wish to relive. We were having a nice evening enjoy a good Christian movie and just having a quiet night. All was good and God certainly had this night specially orchestrated.

Normally I am a few minutes later heading to bed than the Mountain Man, but THANKFULLY this night I was ahead of him and getting settled in prior to him lying down. He took a natural over the counter sleep aid which was 100% valerian root, BUT he chewed it when he should have swallowed it. Was it the coating? Did he actually take two and not one? That will always be a mystery because after he chewed the pill EVERYTHING was forgotten.

He headed out of the bedroom filled his water container and returned to the bedroom. He shut off the light, laid down and was no longer really communicating with me. Had I come to bed even two minutes after him that evening like I normally do I would have assumed he was just exhausted, I would have left him sleep and morning would have come and he would have been with Jesus‼

I asked him if he was ok, because he just seemed off… Usually, we will chat before we sleep about our day and we would do so with the light on so when he turned the light off that was a BIG indicator that something was off and then he did not communicate well with me. I asked him if he was ok and in a dreamy voice he said “I am fine… I love you?.” So I rattled him (shook him) and a normal response to that would have been, “What the heck are you doing to me‼ “. When he didn’t even react I knew something was up so I turned on the light to find his pupils HUGE and extremely dilated… and he wasn’t very responsive…

911 here we come… I’ve played this out many times in my mind… Was I freaked out? SURE, but I knew I needed to stay calm and roll with what was happening…

911 would not go through when I tried. The direct line to the sheriff’s told me it was the wrong number when indeed it was correct and on a ditch effort, I tried a friend of ours that on occasion runs with the ambulance and Praise The Lord I was connected…

I told him our gate would be unlocked and to please call the ambulance and got them in route, the Mountain Boy headed and opened the gate while my dear friend Rhonda and I kept the Mountain Man breathing. It was getting harder and harder to do so. Shortly after calling my friend, another friend reached out via FB messenger to tell me that 911 needed more information so while rattling my man to keep him awake, I was also messaging my friend Jaque to keep the EMT and ambulance up to date on his condition. He literally stopped breathing 7 or 8 times before the ambulance arrived.

We also have a Life Flight plan so that we can quickly call and have a helicopter dispatched to our location. Having these things in place, numbers by the phone and a plan in place will make these experiences much less stressful, but living in the wilds of Idaho, off-grid, things can happen and we knew this stepping into this lifestyle.

We do not live in fear, fear is debilitating and a waste of priceless energy, but we do live prepared. We discuss these things as a family and as a family we have protocols in place for many different things such as these types of situations, fires, intruders, etc… Being prepared keeps us a step ahead and in this case, ALL ALIVE!!

As soon as the EMT arrived and saw the Mountain Man’s condition, they got him into the ambulance and in route to the hospital. He did not have an anthralactic shock experience, but more just a reaction to the pill(s) – the pills caused his side of the brain that tells you to breath to basically stop working. We arrived at the hospital at about 11:20 on the evening of the 11th and it wasn’t until 3 am after sedating him and putting a breathing tube in that they got him settled. Blood work, cat scans and many chest x-rays were taken and nothing else appeared to be causing his issues.

I just thank the good Lord that he orchestrated things that evening the way he did or I would have awoke on Thursday as a widow! Selfishly, I am thankful that God has further purpose for him here on earth and was not ready to take him!

This is not something I ever wish to relive, but I am thankful we had plans in place and that in experiencing this we have all grown in our knowledge and are proud of how we handled things and that we were prepared. This was a good experience for the Mountain Boy as well. It has matured him in ways I could have never prepared him for and he learned that he is capable of reacting properly in such situations. When the Mountain Man fell 16 feet from the ladder that started to fall while building our house in 2010, the Mountain Boy was paralyzed by the event and didn’t react nor knew how to react. Good can always come from bad experiences and there is always something to learn from each experience we go through.

I can’t encourage you enough to have plans in place, discuss things as a family, numbers by the phone and protocols together for all scenarios that may affect you in your neck of the woods. Whether it is hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, wildfires, health emergencies, bug out plans, bug in plans, etc…, discuss it, be prepared and be ready!

Our families are our most valuable possessions and if you don’t take time now to be prepared you may be putting one of them or yourself at risk!

Know who to call for whatever needs you may have and have backup plans if you can’t get through. Being proactive and having things such as Benadryl, and Epipens available for those with allergies and things on hand for known varying needs. In this case, had we not been able to get help and attention for the Mountain Man the next step would have been to get him in the truck and get him to the hospital as quickly as we could. Thankfully we did not have to take matters into our own hands, but knowing what to do is important.

Here are three resources I feel are very important to have on hand or to participate in:

The Survival Doctor’s Complete Handbook by James HUbbard, MD, MPH

The Survival Doctor’s Lifesaver Course

The Survival Doctor’s Master Course

If you are considering a jump to off-grid and remote living, please take into consideration that you will most likely be in a location that will have definite delays in varying services such as fire, ambulance, police, etc… And all the more reason we need to be extra prepared living this lifestyle.

Do you have protocols in place?? What scary situations have you experienced?



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Mutlipurpose Hand Forged Herb Drying Rack

Mutlipurpose Hand Forged Herb Drying Rack

Multipurpose Hand Forged Herb Drying RackThe Mountain Man is always fabricating, creating and manufacturing useful items for our homestead.  Sometimes it is necessary for us to manufacture things to fit our needs, to improve the modern day counterparts and to allow us to do unique and creative things here.

Many of these tools will benefit you as well so once we create these items we add them to our site so they benefit you as well.

Our Multipurpose Hand Forged Herb Drying Rack is not only perfect for those of us that are drying our home grown herbs, flowers and medicinal plants as well as all those wonderful things in nature that we forage.

Multipurpose Handforged Herb Drying Rack with Lantern Hook Broken Down

In addition to its drying abilities this whole hand crafted unit comes apart for easy storage and cheaper shipping.

You can put this together and only utilize the top rack for drying extremely long things.

This hand forged rack could be used to hang kitchen utensils, jewelry, scarves, hats, lanterns and honestly the sky is the limit based on your creativity, but I personally can envision SO many uses for this.

If you would only want to use this rack for drying and would put it away at the end of the season, you will be able to utilize our lantern hook that comes with it for an indoor plant, lantern or what have you.

I think this is such a useful hand forged piece and I am excited to present this to you.

We are accepting pre-sales on this item right now at a discounted rate and upon our return from GA and my surgery, we will start packaging and shipping them on March 1st.

To see more of our hand forged items, visit:

8″ square by 12″ between layers


10″ square by 12″ between layers


#TrayerWilderness  #HandForgedMetal  #Blacksmithing  #Herbal

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Helping Your Family Deal With Unexpected Illness

Helping Your Family Deal With Unexpected Illness

Helping Your Family Deal With Unexpected IllnessWe typically write and video things that are happening on the homestead to share and educate our audience.  This is a bit of a different season for us.  Although we still have projects and we are living life, we are also dealing with an unexpected setback and illness.  This season has also brought lessons to which I feel are essential to share.

When a family is faced with adversity they pull together as a team and work through it, but when one is sick and suffering it bring new challenges.

Everyone deals with their feelings, fears and struggles in different ways, but the key to these situations is extremely good communication.  Honestly, good communication is an essential to everyday living, but it is something that many have to work at.  Along with good communication comes understanding to which is a key to success in life, marriage and truly all aspects of  living.

Good communication is the doorway to understanding.  It can help others to understand how you are feeling and why you may be acting the way that you are, it can keep people from stuffing their feelings or even denying them which in turn will cause other problems and it can also help to relieve stress and provide comfort.

As many of you know, my son Austin is high functioning autistic and although he has overcome 97% of autism there are times when you can see autism shining through.  During this chapter in our lives, I have seen Austin struggling.  This is something he has never had to deal with, it is new.  He is typically a very kind, helpful and good natured young man and during this time he has been displaying a lot of anger and lashing out.  Knowing this is not normal behavior for him, I have tried to keep in close communication with him to help him through this time.

Men are not typically talkers, they keep their deepest feelings to themselves, but I have made it a point to draw their feelings to the surface during this time so we can help each other through this process.

In communicating with my son this morning, he shared that he is putting his total trust in God and pushing his feelings aside.  Although it is a good thing to put his trust in God, it is not good to push his feelings aside.  I shared with him that by pushing his feelings aside it was causing his feelings to surface in anger and mouthiness.  Having these conversations helps our children to better understand their feelings and to understand that it is ok to express their feelings and to talk about them and even to cry.

It is hard to watch a loved one in pain, not being able to do the things they normally do and to see sickness taking over.  Communication, understanding, compassion and patience also play a role during these times.

Our men process things differently than we do and they too will deal with worry and fear differently as well.  They are fixers and hurt inside when they are unable to fix and repair.  They often feel helpless so while these situations are present it is important to remember each others feelings and ways in which they processing things.

Although I am unable to do the things I would normally do with my family, even going for a short walk has been hard so being creative has been helpful in still keep a window and time open to do something special with each of them.  I spend time with the Mountain Boy, playing board, dice and card games, watching movies or YouTube and reading together.  We also have a special time set aside to do devotions together which has become a very cherished time for us.

I spend time snuggling with the Mountain Man and discussing our dreams, our plans for the year and watching varied YouTube videos..  We are always taking time to educate ourselves and continue learning and YouTube is a great resource for knowledge.  There are several channels (you will be able to find them soon in our resource pages) that are very similar to our Trayer Wilderness channel to which we enjoy and can always glean information from.

We never know what tomorrow will offer us, but God uses every circumstance in our lives to build us and mold us as he sees fit.  I was recently asked. “If I could go back in time, what would I change?”  The answer to that question was nothing!  I have gone through some pretty rough spots in my life, but in looking back I can see how God used each of those times to build me, mold me and make me who I am today and I am thankful to be where I am and happy with who I have become.

So as you may also be weathering a certain storm along with me, look for the blessings, keep communications open, pull closer to God and your family and allow God to use this time to mold you and bring you to the next stage in your life!

There is always something beautiful on the other side of adversity!


#TrayerWilderness #PositivelyEncouraging

email trayer wilderness Trayer Wilderness on Facebook Trayer Wilderness on Google+ Trayer Wilderness on Twitter Trayer Wilderness on Pinterest Trayer Wilderness on YouTube Trayer Wilderness on Instagram Mountain Woman Radio from Trayer Wilderness on iTunes Tammy Trayer of Trayer Wilderness on LinkedIn  Trayer Wilderness RSS Feed

Paid Endorsement Disclosure:   This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link I will make a commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting and keeping us up, educating, inspiring and running!  ♥