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!
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:
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…
Last time I covered many ways to save money when it came to food. Only I forgot to mention another way you can save! So, I’ll share that now and then get into other ways to save money on non-food related items. I lump this in with couponing because, again, I don’t have many instances where I can redeem what I’ve purchased but almost every week I can get 25 cents or more for what I do buy. And it only takes a couple minutes and adds up after time. I’m willing to spend that little bit of time to eventually get free money. There are several of these cash back apps. My favorite is Ibotta. I’ve earned the most on this app. Every so often they offer $0.25 just for submitting a receipt. Another is Checkout 51. In my experience, it’s harder to earn the minimum cash back. In fact, in the three years I’ve been using it I’ve yet to reach the minimum to redeem the cash back. Not so the case with Ibotta. There is one other that I’m aware of and have conveniently forgotten the name but I never was able to use it because what I buy is not processed foods and name brands.
I’m hoping that you’ve figured out by the title what I’ll be covering today. Yes, all related to cleanliness. The first step I took to help reduce our costs was to begin to make my own cleaners after using up what I had on hand. I know some people say I should have tossed those chemically laden bottles of death but I couldn’t willingly throw them away knowing I spent my hard-earned money on them. And isn’t a homesteading creed to use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without?
The first cleaner I started with was an all-purpose cleaner. It’ so simple to make and the ingredients list is short: castile soap, super washing soda, borax (minimal amount so I’m not concerned with the controversy surrounding this), and essential oils like lemon and/or orange. Any citrus essential oil is a good choice for this type of cleaner.
The next item I made was toilet bowl tablets. I quickly learned I didn’t like them and I don’t feel they were effectively cleaning my toilet bowl (and yes, I was scrubbing the bowl it just seemed that the “clean” didn’t last as long as it did when I was purchasing the brand name one I used to use). Sometimes it’s a matter of trying something and if that doesn’t work try something else. And that’s exactly what I did. I came up with my own “cleaner” which is essentially a squeeze bottle that I fill roughly 1/3 full with castile soap and 2/3 water. I then squeeze the mixture around the rim of the bowl and clean with the toilet scrub brush. Works like a charm and so much less expensive.
And then I tried dishwasher tablets. And I’ll be honest, the recipe I found didn’t contain any “soap” at all and I just couldn’t wrap my head around that. So, I followed the recipe with the exception of the addition of castile soap. And I’ve been using it ever since without problem! My dishes come out clean!
Lastly is the big one that a lot of people seem to focus on: laundry. I replaced dryer sheets with wool dryer balls and started making laundry soap. I’ve tried a powdered recipe and a laundry sauce. Both had the same basic ingredients: Fels Naptha bar soap, borax, and super washing soda. I despised the powder. It left a white powder residue on my dark clothes. The laundry sauce though worked well enough. But what I found was that the elastic in undergarments were deteriorating (meaning they weren’t as elastic as they should have been) so I did some research into borax because at that point I’d been reading more about how it might not be safe for us. And what I found is that borax breaks down the elastic. Well, that is no good at all! I decided then to just use the Fels Naptha and super washing soda. Here’s what I do now:
* cut into pea-size chunks (or grate) the Fels Naptha bar of soap, add to a blender.
* Add about 2 ½ cups super washing soda to the blender.
* Blend together to mix together. The blender isn’t necessary, I just find that it incorporates everything together really nicely.
* Store in a quart jar
I use this in powder form. Because it doesn’t have the borax, which doesn’t dissolve easily, there is no powder residue on my clothes. I use 1–2 tablespoons per load depending on the size and amount of soiling. I haven’t had a problem with my clothes not getting clean nor have I had a problem with my clothes smelling….and we sweat a lot in the summer! It may not work for everyone but it works for us. At the very least give it a try. It doesn’t cost much. The Fels Naptha is $1 and the super washing soda box is $4. You only use 36% of the box at a time (cost per recipe for the super washing soda is $1.44). Total cost per jar is $2.44. For me, a family of three washing 5–7 loads a week this lasts roughly 2 months. Pretty economical if you ask me.
What else? Oh, the glass cleaner. It’s as simple as 1 cup white vinegar and 1 cup water together in a spray bottle. Use two rags; one to wash with and one lint free rag to dry. You’re glass and mirrors will look great! And trust me, the vinegar smell doesn’t last long.
Other areas items I’ve made at home are a foaming hand soap, dish soap, and liquid hand soap, and tooth cleaner. The foaming hand soap works great although it does require a slight shake to mix everything together before use. The dish soap I’m still perfecting as I’ve not been happy with the recipe that I found. The liquid hand soap is the most recent addition to my arsenal and so far, we have no complaints.
The tooth cleaner though has gone thru several different iterations. The first couple years we used recipes that use coconut oil. However, we decided to not do that because we have concerns about the coconut oil clogging the pipes. So recently I’ve moved to a tooth powder. The last recipe used calcium and magnesium powder for remineralization but the flavor was a bit odd so I’ll continue to tweak it until I come up with something that works for us. For the record, my dentist has never seen any evidence that our dental health has declined since we started using homemade tooth paste/powder.
The last area I want to cover is using fabric napkins and rags instead of paper napkins and paper towel. Now, I’m not saying to never use them but in our daily lives that is what we use. We’ll break out the paper napkins when we have company and paper towel when it’s a particularly yucky (think cat vomit) mess, something greasy, or to remove the poop from the freshly gathered chicken eggs. By reducing your use of paper products, you will save some money in the long run. Every little penny, nickel, and dime adds up.
Next time I’ll cover the behaviors and habits that affect how effective we are with keeping money in our coffers.
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Have you had second thoughts on whether to keep homesteading or not? Maybe you’ve felt like quitting during difficult moments?
I certainly have. In the past 10 years of living rural and homesteading on my own with my husband and two children, I’ve had those moments, too. And I’m not ashamed to share them with you today.
My hope after you read through what I’ve shared with you is that maybe I can change your mind about wanting to quit the life you set out to find for yourself. About feeling the need to get back to an easier life or try something else.
You see, homesteading is a lifestyle. Just like healthy eating and exercise. Just like mind-healthy habits you want to change for yourself. Homesteading and rural living is that lifestyle that you want for yourself.
At least you thought you did, right? Just like with healthy eating and exercise, there are always hard moments and temptations that make you want to quit. Am I right on this?
Well, in this post, I’m going to share with you:
How to keep homesteading through hard times by changing a few ideas and taking action
Things to consider when you think you might want to quit on your goals
Some motivation and inspiration for you from my own experience.
Let’s jump right in to the very first obstacle. Your mind.
Think about why you started
Yes, your mindset is negative right now and longing to change to the positive, easier side. It longs for a break from thinking soo much about what to do and how to get it done.
But, I’ve learned that you don’t need to think about all the things. Just think about one thing right now.
I want you to go back and remember WHY you started. Why did you want to homestead? Why did you want children? Why do you want to raise goats? And the list goes on and on.
You see, friend, you have to go back and analyze if this is still something you want to pursue before you make any sort of decision about quitting. Quitting too early can result in regret and no one has time for regret in the back of their mind.
So, please sit down and remember why you started your venture. Talk with your team, your family. Here are some things to consider in this discussion.
Things to consider
Why did I start this venture?
Is this venture making me happy?
Did this venture begin as a hobby I enjoyed?
What are the problems going on in this venture making me loathe it?
From there, what could be the one problem I can change right now?
How will I change this problem?
What To Take Action On
Have this conversation with your team or someone you trust.
Decide what one underlying problem may be.
Decide what action will be taken to change the problem.
Decide who will take that action.
Give it a month (or longer) to see actionable change.
Follow up with your team and make the decision.
Follow Up Questions To Ask In A Month
What problem did I attempt to change in my venture?
Did changing this fix anything?
How has this change made me feel about wanting to quit?
Focus Focus Focus
Quitting something is a HUGE decision. I want to encourage you to just focus on one thing or problem for now.
This is something I’ve really started paying attention to in my life in order to find that balance between life, work and play. Nothing in life is going to be peachy keen all the time. There will always be a problem to solve.
And sometimes we are too quick to just throw it under the bus. Mainly because our minds can’t handle that much disappointment and despair.
So, I want you to pick your biggest obstacle…your biggest failure. And just focus on that. I’ll give you some examples here in a minute. Just stay with me.
I’m about to motivate you now.
How to Stay Motivated When You Feel Like Quitting
A month is a LONG TIME when you feel like just throwing it all away right now. So, I wanted to share some motivating tips and tricks I have found very helpful through grace periods of my decision making.
Communicate with your team and stay updated on progress
Read positive books or articles related to the topic. Join positive online communities.
Listen to audiobooks (A big one for me – Again, I’ll share soon).
Start your day off right. Early mornings are huge for me.
Keep three top things on your to-do list to focus on at a time. Don’t get overwhelmed.
7 Quotes to Keep You Going
“Remember that sometimes, not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.” – Dalai Lama
“No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you’ve come from, you can always become a better version of yourself.” – Madonna
“Don’t keep allowing the same things to upset you. Life’s too short to live that way.” – Joel Osteen
“Use your energy to create, not destroy.” ~ Mama
“Don’t cry over the past, it’s gone. Don’t stress about the future, it hasn’t arrived. Live in the present and make it beautiful.” ~ Grandma
“Never give up on something you really want; it is difficult to wait, but more difficult to regret.” ~ Grandma
“Beautiful things happen when you distance yourself from negativity.” ~ Grandma
It’s all about being happy. Like I mentioned before, your mindset means everything to your success. What you choose to do daily determines the outcome of your happiness.
But probably the biggest and best quotes I’ve followed have come from God in the words of the bible. I started incorporating daily faith into my life and it completely began to change everything for me during one of my hardest moments.
Before I go into my 2 hardest moments, let me explain how I let faith in and how I now walk with faith held high each and every day.
Let Faith into your Life
God and I have a long relationship but it’s been a rocky one.
I was baptized into his house as a baby and attended our rural church regularly clear up into high school. But when I was a Junior in High School, our relationship changed when my grandfather passed away from cancer.
To make a long story short, I turned away from God in my life. I didn’t understand why my Grandpa had to be taken away at such a young age.
It wasn’t until about 10 years later that I let him back in. Want to know why?
Well, have a seat and let me tell you about my two hardest moments ever where I felt like I wanted to quit. These moments are when I started to let my faith back in.
My Hardest Moment Ever #1
Raising goats shouldn’t be hard for someone with an Animal Science degree and a lifetime experience raising beef cattle.
But it seemed to be for me. My goats kept having babies born too early or underdeveloped. What was I doing wrong?
I felt like their nutrition was top notch. I know they weren’t wormy because they were fat, happy and their fecals showed to be worm free.
Well, in year #6 after a lot of research, Hubby and I decided to synchronize the does for breeding using natural hormones before turning them in with the buck. We knew exact breeding dates then so we could treat them for a disease called chlamydia. That’s the problem we focused on and guess what?
It worked. We used a very small dose antibiotic in our doe herd halfway through their gestation to prevent any more abortions from happening in our goats.
I had felt like quitting because I hadn’t figured out what was happening. However, when I focused on the problem, got my team of veterinarians together, we came up with a solution that worked.
Amazing feeling. And this was an easy fix. Let me tell you about another moment when I wanted to quit homesteading that was even harder to fix.
My Hardest Moment Ever #2
When I became a mom, I got depression. Postpartum depression. It was a low, low time when I felt compelled to quit homesteading. Even at times, my life!
Worst yet, my partner didn’t understand the extent of what I was suffering. He just saw what I WASN’T doing. He saw me napping in the afternoons and not getting the gardening or canning done. He saw me throwing away important tasks and having to pick up the slack. He said I was lazy.
To make a long story short…I wasn’t going to get any assistance from him. And seeking a therapist alone was out of the question due to my anxiety of going to see one. Nope – No way!
When I felt like everyone had their backs turned to me that’s when God stepped in. HE really does work in amazing ways. HE said, “I will help you get through this. Just turn to me.”
So, I did. And things started happening for me.
And that’s when I started my podcast. I listened to audiobooks. The best book I read was by Lysa Turkherst called Uninvited. Get the book and feel inspired!
Here’s what started happening: I started my farm market business. I began to feel my purpose in my community and it motivated me. Oh my word…I have tears in my eyes just telling you all this.
But when God and I had our conference calls in the quiet dark early morning hours, I realized the one problem was ME. It was my own mindset that needed changing. So, I let him change me.
Then, HE took me to a church 20 minutes away that has a faith-based school for my children to attend. As well as an amazing congregation with deep learning opportunities.
And remember when I said I turned from HIM when my Grandpa passed away? Well, coincidence or not, the preacher of the church looks, acts and talks LIKE MY GRANDPA! I think this is a gift from him, saying… “Here’s some comfort for you and a reminder that I love you.”
What a gracious gift. All worth the wait.
My faith in the Lord and turning to him is what changed it all for me. I hope my story inspires you to grow your relationship with your God so you can have faith in the big decision you have to make.
Biggest Lesson to Learn from My Experience
The biggest most valuable tool to keep with you during your times of trial is your faith. Keep your bible and your positive community with you to turn to. And just focus on one thing.
Friend, I know if you’re reading this, you have considered quitting one or maybe all of your homesteading adventures. That’s a big decision that will result in some even bigger changes in your life and I hope I have inspired you to take a step back, evaluate and change something for the better.
Today, I’ve given you some tips and methods to go back to the beginning and work through problems instead of just up and quitting. Quitting is not always the answer, even when it feels right.
The truth is, friend, that you have to realize you don’t know everything. And you never ever will because you don’t have to. You just have to enjoy your life and enjoy being and doing you. Today and every day.