Home Steading

For emergency situations.
Simply put a piece of string in a tub of shortening and it will burn for up to 45 days.

Cut the log evenly on both sides so it stands up freely. Then cut it into vertical segments most of the way down the length of the log. Stuff in some newspaper into the cracks as deep as you can get it, leaving a wick at the bottom, and light it up.

 That's all there is to it—the log burns from the inside out, and you have a simple, handmade stove..
 
Good to know what these look like
 
Elderberries
One of the easiest and most versatile shrubs to grow in your edible landscape. These Central European and North American natives are often found growing wild along roadsides, forest edges, and abandoned fields.

 The prize for growing elderberries is the fragrant, edible flowers and the delicious fruits. The dark purple berries contain vitamins A and B, and more vitamin C than oranges. They are also high in cancer-fighting antioxidants. In fact, elderberry fruits have historically been used to treat many ailments, such as respiratory problems, colds, and flus. Plus, they are tasty when used in juices, jellies, jams, teas, pies, and wine. You can use the umbrella-shaped, elderberry blossoms for making a delicious fritters or even champagne
 
Not only do elderberries produce attractive 8- to 10-inch-diameter white flowers and clusters of small, dark purple fruits, there are newer varieties on the market that have colorful leaves, too. These varieties of elderberry were bred for the ornamental characteristics, but still produce useful flowers and fruits. They make great shrubs for a foundation planting or in a mixed perennial flower border.

 The two most common types of elderberries available are the European elderberry (Sambucus nigra) and the American elderberry (Sambucus canadensis). The American elderberry is the wild species often found growing in old fields and meadows. It grows 10 to 12 feet tall and wide and is hardy in USDA zones 3 to 8. The European elderberry grows up to 20 feet tall and wide depending the variety, blooms earlier than the American species, is hardy in USDA zones 4 to 8, and some have pink flowers. The red elderberry (Sambucus racemosa) is similar to the American species, but produces bright red berries -- unfortunately these berries are poisonous and shouldn't be eaten.
 
Elderberries fruit best when you plant at least two different varieties within 60 feet of each other. They start producing when the plants are 2 to 3 years old. While all elderberries produce berries, there are several varieties of the American elderberry that are especially good fruit producers. If you looking for a more ornamental elderberry, look to the European varieties with their attractive foliage.

Here are some of the best selections to try in your yard.

 Adams 
This American variety grows 8 to 10 feet tall. The large, juicy, dark purple fruits ripen in August and are great for making pies. The strong branches hold the berries upright. Plant a pollinator variety such as 'Johns' for maximum fruiting. This variety is often sold as 'Adams No. 1' or 'Adams No. 2'. There is little difference between these two selections.

 Black Beauty
This striking European variety features purple foliage and lemon-scented pink flowers. It grows 6 to 8 feet tall and wide and can be grown in perennial borders or as a foundation plant.

 Black Lace
This eye-catching European selection looks like a Japanese maple with its dark purple, deeply cut foliage. Like 'Black Beauty', this variety also grows 6 to 8 feet tall and wide, producing pink flowers and dark purple fruits.

 Johns
This early-producing American variety produces an abundance of berries that are especially good for making jelly. Growing 12 feet tall and wide, this variety is a good pollinator for 'Adams'.
'Nova' - This American variety can be self-fruitful, but does best with another American elderberry growing nearby. Large, sweet fruit are produced on compact, 6-foot shrub.

 Variegated
This European variety has attractive green and white leaves and grows 6 to 8 feet tall and wide. The plant is less vigorous and productive than other elderberry varieties, but the foliage is attractive all season long.

 York
This American variety produces the largest berries of all the elderberry selections. It matures in late August and only grows 6 feet tall and wide. It pollinates 'Nova' well.
Site Selection

 Elderberries grow well in full- to part-sun locations. They are not fussy about soil type, but grow best in a slightly acidic soil that is high in organic matter and stays consistently moist. Some of the European varieties may die back to the ground in colder climates, but will resprout from the roots in spring.

 Planting
Before planting amend the soil with compost. Although elderberries grow well in moist soils, it's a myth they can grow in poorly drained, wet soils. On heavy clay soils, consider building a raised bed to provide proper water drainage. Set shrubs out in spring, spacing plants 6 to 10 feet apart depending on the variety.

 Care
Elderberries grow best when fertilized annually with compost. They have shallow roots, so mulch around the plants with hay, straw, or bark chips to control weeds that compete for water and nutrients.

Elderberries can sucker freely and send up vigorous new branches each season. These one-year-old branches produce side branches (laterals) that fruit heavily in the second and third year. In late winter, prune out branches more than 3 years old since these are less productive. Try to leave equal numbers of one-, two-, and three-year-old branches. Prune out any dead, diseased, or broken branches as well.

 There are few significant insect pests and diseases of elderberries. Cane borers can infect older branches, so the above pruning guidelines also help control borers, too. During wet weather, leaf diseases sometimes affect the foliage, but they aren't a serious concern. Birds love the berries, and you'll need to cover the shrub with netting to keep them from quickly harvesting your crop.
Harvest.

 Harvest elderberry fruit from August to September, depending on the variety. Let fruits ripen on the shrub to a dark purple color. Prune off the entire cluster when ripe and strip the berries into a bowl. The fruit doesn't store well at room temperature, so keep it refrigerated after harvest and process the berries as soon as possible. You can expect yields of 12 to 15 pounds of fruit per mature (3- or 4-year-old) shrub, if grown properly. Uncooked berries produce a dark purple juice and are astringent and inedible, but when processed impart a sweet, earthy flavor.
 
Winter sore throat "tea".
In a jar, combine lemon slices, organic honey and sliced ginger. Close jar and put it in the fridge, it will form into a "jelly". To serve: Spoon jelly into mug and pour boiling water over it. Store in fridge 2-3 months.
 
Homemade Mosquito Trap

Materials:
2 liter bottle
glue
1 tsp yeast
1/2 cup sugar
lukewarm water

Instructions:
Cut the top off a 2 liter bottle. Invert the cone and place it inside the straight part of the bottle. Glue the two pieces together. Add 1 tsp yeast and 1/2 cup sugar to some luke warm water, and pour the mixture into the bottle. Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide that you exhale. The yeast feeds off the sugar and emits the same gas, so the mosquito enters the bottle, thinking it will find food there and is trapped.
 
Get Rid of Ants Solution
 This is a recipe for getting rid of those pesky ants that come every spring and summer. Mix up the solution, pack cotton balls in a jar cover, put the solution on and they will be gone.
 
Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons boric acid
3 cups warm water

 Directions:
1. Mix the sugar and boric acid well.
2. Add the warm water slowly, mixing all the while so it won't be too lumpy.
3. Store in a jar until ready to use.
4. When ready to use, put cotton into the top of a jar lid to fill it and then saturate the cotton to the top. 
5. Place it in the location where it is needed.
6. Note: This solution will keep for a long while. A good technique is to drip a drop or two over the edge of the lid to rest on the counter so the ants will find the solution sooner. It sometimes takes a little while for them to find it, but find it they will. When they do, do not disturb them as they drink. They will hang over the edge of the lid and drink for a while and then take it back to the nest killing the colony. Almost overnight they will be gone.
 
Baked Hard-Cooked Eggs 
For anyone that may not know, the BEST way to make "hard-boiled" eggs is in the OVEN! Place the eggs in a muffin tray so they do not move around, turn the oven to 325 degrees, pop in for about 25-30 minutes and remove! Not only are they tastier, but they also are much easier to peel!  
 


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