Homesteading takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Living a self reliant and sustainable lifestyle is difficult but hugely rewarding for those with the motivation and know-how.
Homesteading may be hard, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. Try out these cool projects for your homestead and survival preps for some productive fun!
1. Wax Cheese For Long Term Storage
Equipment: You will need dedicated equipment for waxing, since you won’t be able to get these items clean again. Get your equipment. You need a double boiler, parchment paper, a thermometer, boar bristle brush, cheese wax & muslin. I wound up purchasing all the items I needed on Amazon.
Next you need to purchase your cheeses. Use hard cheeses. Test it before buying by pressing your thumb into the cheese, it needs to not leave a thumb imprint to be dry enough. Also avoid cheap brands, I could almost guarantee they will give you problems in storage. I personally have had excellent results with various Gouda & cheddar cheeses.
Prep & dry the cheese. Since this was my first time, I worked with small batches of cheese. I cut them into meal sized portions. Wiped it down with vinegar & wrapped it loosely with a paper towel. Then let it it out on the counter to get to room temp. & to dry it out more. Pat it down to remove moisture. Because moisture will interfere with the adhering process.
Break up the wax (TIP: take the plastic wrapping off before you cut it) and melt in a double boiler until your temp. reaches 180 – 200 degrees. I will be getting a larger pan set for waxing.
Wash your hands. Dip half of each block of cheese, slowly in & out of the wax.
Hold it over the pot for a few seconds to allow the excess wax to drip off.
Gently set on parchment paper (it’s smooth surface will help eliminate lumps & bumps in the wax). Set the side you just dipped facing upwards. Let it cool for at least 90 seconds.
Then dip the opposite side of the cheese. Dip 3 times (3 layers).
Then brush one more layer on. Look for spaces where it may have not been covered.
If you want to you can cut the labels out from the cheese wrappers ahead of time and then add the labels to the block of waxed cheese and wax a thin coat over the label. It will adhere the label and you can still read the label.
After your cheese is waxed wrap up the brush and thermometer up in foil for the next time. Let the wax cool in the double boiler, then pack everything away in a special box with all your waxing equipment together.
For storage: After the wax is sufficiently dried, wrap the blocks in cheese cloth. Like a gift package.
Store in a cool, dark place & fairly dry. It should last for years and years (8-10 years). Either store on a wire rack or hanging in pantyhose sure, I don’t use those anymore LOL. But I will stress it depends on how well you follow the instructions and how well you store the cheese. Check it periodically for seepage, mold or cracks in the wax.
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2. Create a DIY Greenhouse
Homemade Greenhouse Hoop House Polytunnel Garden DIY Cheap Low Cost $100 Build Easy Instructions.
3. Create This Food Storage Shelf
Build this handy shelf for efficient food storage. This shelf is perfect for storing all sorts of fruits and vegetables.
4 – 2×2 @ 8 feet long 14 – 1×3 @ 8 feet long 7 – 1×2 @ 8 feet long 1 ¼” and 2” finish nails 2” screws Recommend also 2 ½” PH screws
Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!
FRAME 4 – 2×2 @ 41 ½” (legs) 16 – 1×3 @ 23 ½” (side drawer glides) 2 – 2×2 @ 41” (LP to SP, both ends cut at 60 degrees off square, ends parallel) 4 – 2×2 @ 20 ½” (longest points, one end cut at 60 degrees off square, other at 30 degrees off square, ends are cut in same direction but not parallel) 4 – 1×3 @ 25 ¼” (front/back supports) DRAWERS 14 – 1×2 @ 23 ½” 14 – 1×2 @ 20 ½” 49 – 1×3 @ 23 ½”
It is very important to make sure that the ends are built identical and square. The side rails will actually serve as drawer guides, so you will want to make sure the guides are attached square too. I recommend first taking all of your 2×2 legs and marking all of them at the same time with the side rail locations. Then you can attach. You can attach the siderails with 2” finish nails and glue.
Now the X braces will keep everything square. Some miter saws will cut a 60 degree angle, but if yours does not, you will need to mark the angle with a square or protractor and cut with a circular saw. Remember that the angle is 60 degrees OFF SQUARE, so this would mean 30 degrees from the edge of the board. Attach the cross braces to all siderails and legs.
Once both legs are done, all you have to do is add the front/back supports.
And then build trays. Trays must be built square to slide right.
And then slide the drawers in!
Serena felt like the original instructions made the top shelf too tight for accessing produce, so we modified to place the front support on top. She blocked the front just for decorative purposes. This makes the top shelf much larger.
4. Build This Wind Powered Water Pump
This cool DIY project is a great way to increase your self reliance and SHTF prepping to the next level. Make a water pump that runs on wind out of bicycle parts!
This water pump is definitely in beta stage. All the components work, but the design is highly inefficient and requires considerable wind to pump water out of our pond. In the video below I act out the part of a gale to give you a visual of how the pump works. The last step in this instructable will discuss the bugs in the current design and how they can be improved for a more efficient use of wind power.
COMPLETE RE-DESIGN AND VIDEO OF WORKING PUMP.
5. Preserve Tomatoes With Canning Jars
Be as creative as your heart desires with your tomato preserving. This is a recipe for stewed tomatoes, but there are all sorts of delicious recipes out there for tomatoes.
1. Start by selecting ripe tomatoes from your garden. I usually pick all of the ripe tomatoes out of my garden (yes those greenish-purple tomatoes are ripe…they are a special variety called Nyagous) and then sit them in a basket on my cupboard for a few days, allowing them to get really ripe. This will give you much more flavor and sweetness in your stewed tomatoes.
2. Once you have a decent amount of ripe tomatoes, wash them all.
3. Place a large pot of water on the stove over high heat and bring to a boil.
4. Clean out both sides of your sink. Fill one side full of cold water.
5. Now you need to remove the tomato skins. Skins do not preserve well, so you will need to remove them. Place a strainer over a bowl and place next to your pot. Take 7-8 tomatoes at a time and drop them all into the boiling water. Let them boil until the skin cracks, or a minute-a minute and a half have passed. If the skin does not crack, remove it anyways and place in the strainer using a slotted spoon. Once you have removed all of the tomatoes from the water, place more tomatoes in the boiling water and dump the ones from the strainer into the sink of cold water. Repeat until all tomatoes have been in the boiling water and then placed in cold sink water.
6. Remove skins from tomatoes…they should come right off after the boiling process. You should be able to peel them right off. I just do it over the sink and throw all of the skins in the sink, and clean them out when I’m done. Peel all of the tomatoes and place them in a clean bowl.
7. Place a large empty pot on the stove and turn on low heat. Rough chop eat tomato into bite sized pieces. They don’t have to be perfect. Transfer to the pot as your cutting board gets full. Don’t waste the tomato juice…it adds wonderful flavor. Repeat until all tomatoes have been chopped, and tomatoes and juice are all in the pot. Turn heat up to medium low and start adding seasoning. I like to add plenty of salt, pepper and then some celery salt. I also add a little sugar to bring out the sweetness of the tomatoes. I usually add a few Tablespoons, but I make a HUGE pot…so you’ll want to play around with seasonings until it tastes good, depending on how much you’re making. Some people like to add chopped onions and celery at this point, but I prefer to just have the tomatoes plain because I like to add them to so many different recipes. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.
8. Place 1 Tbs. lemon juice in each quart sized jar. Transfer tomatoes into clean canning jars with lemon juice. Leaving at least 1/2″ head space at the top of jar. Wipe rims clean and place lid and ring on top. Tighten.
9. Process jars in a hot water bath. For those of you who aren’t canners…this is the large canning pot (not a pressure cooker). You fill it with enough water to cover all of the jars when submerged, and then you bring it to a roaring boil. Once the boiling starts, you put the lid on and allow the jars to boil. Quarts should process 35-40 minutes and pints 25-30 minutes.
10. Once they are done processing, remove from heat and allow to cool. If the seal pops downward, you’re good to go. Immediately use or discard any of the jars that do not seal.
11. Use your stewed tomatoes…here is just a quick list of how I use my stewed tomtaoes…
-poured over cooked macaroni
-tomato macaroni soup (this is an old fashioned family favorite at our house. the recipe came from my great grandma. I will have to share the recipe sometime)
-poured over seasoned chicken breasts in the crock pot (this is one of Grace’s favorite meals)
-poured over a seasoned roast in the crock pot
-in homemade chili and vegetable soup
-in tortilla and taco soup
-blended and added to homemade salsa
-baked macaroni & cheese with stewed tomatoes
-you can use them to make pasta sauce…you just need to simmer it long enough to thicken it up
-You can blend it and make homemade tomato soup
-you can basically use it in any recipe that calls for stewed tomatoes, or canned tomatoes.