The Best Online Sources for Heirloom Seeds

The best online sources for heirloom seeds that are non-GMO and open-pollinated

Heirloom seeds are becoming increasingly more popular, but even so, they can often be difficult to find in garden centers and other places that sell gardening supplies and seeds. And even if you are able to find a few heirloom seeds, the selection is usually nowhere near as large as what you can find when you shop online. So today I wanted to share a few of my favorite online stores that I consider to be the best online sources for heirloom seeds.

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How to Make Your Own Maple Syrup – Part 2: Boiling Down the Sap

How to make your own homemade maple syrup - Part 2: boiling down the sap into syrup

If you have a few backyard maple trees and you live in a climate where it’s below freezing at night and above freezing during the day time, then it’s really quite simple to make your own maple syrup and boil down the sap into delicious syrup that you can drizzle over pancakes or use in cooking and baking. 

In my last post I talked about all of the things involved in preparing for sugaring off, including: identifying trees, choosing the right time and place to tap the trees, drilling the hole, and setting up the taps and collection containers for the sap. If you haven’t read that post already, you can find it here: How to Make Homemade Maple Syrup – Part 1: Tapping Your Trees.

Today, we’ll talk about the rest of the steps we need to take in order to be able to get from watery sap to sweet maple syrup. 

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How to Make Homemade Maple Syrup: Tapping Your Maple Trees

How to make homemade maple syrup: tapping your maple trees

There are some aspects of homesteading that are definitely more challenging for those of us who live in suburban areas with small yards, but if you have maple trees in your backyard and you have the right climate, then learning how to make homemade maple syrup is a simple process that’s easy for a suburban homesteader to do. 

Making your own homemade maple syrup is a great way to know that your syrup is pure and organic, and it’s also a way that you can save some money since the supplies you need are usually not very expensive if you’re tapping just a few trees and producing syrup on a small scale. And since good quality maple syrup can be pretty expensive, it can be economical to make some of your own.

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How to Store Apples to Last for the Winter

How to store apples properly so they last for the winter months.

One of the many reasons why apples were such a popular fruit in previous centuries is the fact that they are one of the few fruits that will keep well in long term storage. Unlike berries that will only keep for a few days if you don’t dry them or turn them into jams and jellies, apples that are stored properly can often last for several weeks or even months. This is one of the reasons why knowing how to store apples for the winter months was such an important skill for our ancestors who needed to have enough food in storage to last them until spring. 

For those of us living in modern times, though, it’s still a very helpful thing to know even if we aren’t dependent on our harvest to see us through the winter. Knowing how to store apples to last through the winter months allows us to enjoy having fresh apples for eating and for baking with for as long as we possibly can (because you can only make so many batches of applesauce with your fresh-picked apples, and it’s so nice to be able to enjoy eating fresh apples at Christmas time and beyond!)

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4 Times When It’s Best NOT to DIY

4 times when it's best NOT to DIY

DIY projects have become increasingly popular the past few years (as anyone who has visited Pinterest lately is well aware of), and there are lots of great reasons to give them a try.

They are a great way to customize things exactly the way you like them, and when you’re making things yourself, you can use simple and natural ingredients and avoid the harmful chemicals in many store bought products – especially for personal care and household products. DIY products can also often allow you to save a decent amount of money compared to what you would spend buying a similar product at the store.

There are a few situations, though, when DIY projects aren’t the best option. In the natural health and simple living world, we can sometimes end up feeling like we have to make things ourselves if we truly want good quality products that are the best for our health.

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How to Cook from Scratch (Without Spending all Day in the Kitchen!)

How to cook from scratch (without spending all day in the kitchen!) 10 tips to make homemade cooking easier and faster.

Switching over to a healthier, real food lifestyle can seem a little bit daunting at first, especially if you’re used to grabbing fast food on the way home from work or popping a TV dinner in the microwave.

Cooking your own meals is the best way to save money, avoid the artificial ingredients in many processed foods, and ensure that the food you’re eating is good quality (since you know exactly what ingredients you’re using and how you’re preparing them.)

When you hear the phrase “cooking from scratch,” though, you might think of someone from your great-grandmother’s generation, spending hours and hours in the kitchen. But while it’s true that cooking healthy food from scratch takes might take more time than popping a TV dinner in the microwave, it doesn’t mean you have to spend all day in the kitchen either!

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