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Winter Wildings – March

I have been busy doing the winter things here.  Working, reading, planning and just putzing around.  I’m going to photo dump with some information about the photos, anyone of these could turn into a blog at some point.

Last summer I grew a lot of potatoes but they are now starting to grow eyes and need to be preserved.  One of the ways I have preserved them is to make hash browns and french fries.  I have been blanching these and then freezing (basically).

I have been saving the potato starch for thickening.  After all I have spent a lot of time growing organic nutrient dense food so I should utilize all I can.

We took a sunny day to disappear into the woods for a while.  Sitting in the sun by the fire was much needed.  I read, I rested, I breathed in deep, I journaled.

Thrift is also apart of the homestead, but this isn’t just thrift.  Fresh ground flours contain more nutrients than flour that is sitting around oxidizing.  There are many more benefits to fresh ground.  A blog post will come about this later.

I decided it was time for something yummy. Lemon Lavender Staghorn Sumac cakes, they were delicious.

Of course I used home rendered pastured lard from the pig we processed last year with friends.


More updates coming.  I have been elbow deep in starting seeds as well.


Enjoy the slow times. If you don’t have them you may need to make them.

More later.





This post could be quite long and detailed, I’m not a fan of making really long posts, so I won’t.  I am a fan of supplying you with ideas and thoughts to prick your curiosity.  Then you can own your own healing, health, and life journey. Because as one of my favorite authors and teachers stated once, “No one can give you an eduction. You must take it.”, John Taylor Gatto

It is interesting to me that many of these methods have been studied and shown to help, but we don’t hear much about them and if we do they are considered woo-woo. None of that has ever stopped me from jumping feet first into things.  I hope it doesn’t stop you. I hope you try these things and some of them fail you.  I also hope you try some of these things and some of them really help you. Lets move on to your Permaculture Zone 00- YOU!

So your body is super complex and needs continual care and upkeep to operate well.  It’s like the computer I am writing this on.  Lots of little things are happening behind the scenes that I can’t see. But if updates and care don’t take place the whole thing comes crashing to the ground.  I admittedly don’t understand a lot about computers. I understand a little more about our health.  I understand A LOT more about what happens when your body crashes and won’t update. Because of this I have learned what MY body needs (we are all different). By the time your body gets to this crash and burn stage your body has been trying to message you, we just have to learn to read these messages and then once we are back up and operating again we have to download the updates.

One of the things we can do for our body is make sure our lymph system is able to work properly.  I really can’t say it any better than this, “The lymphatic system is the metabolic garbage can of the body. It rids you of toxins such as dead and cancerous cells, nitrogenous wastes, infectious viruses, heavy metals, and other assorted junk cast off by the cells.’, Dr. Scrivens (this study on rebounding). To understand what the lymphatic system is and how it works you can read this article from The Cleveland Clinic. Most people know what a lymph node is because often when we get sick we have swollen nodes in the neck.  Your tonsils and adenoids are part of your lymph system as well. Something many have had removed. You can find lymphatic system diagram to help you better understand your body and how some of the following things may help you (video of the gland).

How is this part of the Rewilder Life? Well, I’m doing my best to be my best and healthiest me.  I take brisk walks in the fresh air, stretch outside, expose myself to the sun, breathe deeply, sit by fires, brush my skin, drink clean water, and am working on building muscle. What I am avoiding is chemicals on my skin, in my body, in my lungs, and in my home.  We are also avoiding quality and junk food, water impurities, and stress. We are working diligently to remove all of these things from our lives.

Dry Brushing

I really enjoy dry brushing, but for many it is hard on the skin or too harsh at first.  You can use a dry washcloth to start and you can purchase softer bristled brushes. Dry brushing is exactly what it sounds like.  You use a dry natural bristled brush to gently brush the skin. You keep those lymph nodes in mind when you do this brushing and brush the skin toward a lymph node to encourage movement and drainage. I am placing a video made by a physical therapist on how to dry brush most efficiently, she has several videos on this subject. Proper hydration will help with this process greatly.  One of the other benefits of dry brushing is it stimulates the nervous system, gets rid of dead skin cells, may help with cellulite or the appearance of it.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage

This is basically a massage you do yourself but it is done for the specific reason of helping your lymphatic system drain, it can be helpful for many health concerns.  The same physical therapist I place a video of above has a whole video on this subject as well.  What is nice about this is there is no expense to watching the video and doing it.


Many people use a mini trampoline for this but any movement can stimulate the lymph system to drain (study).  You don’t need any tools to go on a brisk walk, jump, walk up and down stairs, stretch, or build muscle.  It can even can happen if you must exercise while sitting in a chair.  Your lymph system part of the circulatory system so this is why it is helpful to get moving and get your heart rate up.


Cold, Heat, Light and breathing

These are all topics more in the natural health realm, I have not found studies on them but they do make sense.  What these do is get your heart rate up without physical movement.  It’s a pretty passive way to help improve lymphatic drainage. Many people start cold or heat therapies with just turning the shower colder or warmer.  You could turn the heat down or sit outside when its cold. For heating things up you could just pile some blankets on (what many do when they have a fever or are sick). Breathing exercises can be done many ways, I highly suggest starting these laying down (I may have done some Wim Hoff and almost passed out before).


And last but the easiest, Hydration

It’s pretty simple, drink water.  Now it sounds simple BUT you can also drink so much that you flush important minerals from your body.  I actually drink sole water and make sure to keep my minerals up (not everyone needs salt or minerals, my diet has no processed food in it so I have to add salt). I add minerals to my water, many may not need them (basic list: calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, chloride, magnesium, iron, zinc, iodine, sulfur, cobalt, copper, fluoride, manganese, and selenium).

Water quality is very important to me.  Even on our well I filter our water using a Zero water pitcher. Water is often not tested until there is a problem and it has been consumed for a while at that point.  In my opinion it is best to be safe.


There is more, I know there is, but you get the point.  Lets work on getting that Permaculture Zone 00 in tip top shape!


Below are Amazon links, I am an affiliate  and make a small amount of money from purchases, thank you for your support.

Glass Zero Pitcher (my fave): Link

Thrifty Zero Pitcher:Link

Dry Brush with long handle: Link



Updates From The Couch


I’ve been reminded the past few weeks that I am not a machine and I need to be okay with getting things done in the time that I can. This blog is after all about rewilding my life, which does include living seasonally.  Seasonally this far north life was full of rest and keeping warm by the fire. So, I’ve spent a lot of time reading, which in some ways is leisure and other ways it is part of my daily routine.  I enjoy learning and broadening my skills so I have a mix of fiction and non-fiction that I am currently reading. That list includes Wild Freedom,  Coppice and AgroforestryThe Living Soil Handbook and The Good Life.

I have also been trying to get back in the swing of life after a long recovery from a life threatening celiac reaction and shingles. So I am learning to extend grace to myself.  I have a lot of goals this year, many of them involve the homesteads, my health, and then my businesses.

I hope you allow me room to grow and learn.  I am not tech savvy and I don’t even learn toward interest in the area, so it is a learning curve based solely on the desire to help others and share what is working for us.  So below I have updates in photos for you.


Some mostly homegrown tacos.  The greens in the basement were growing well but I stopped because I needed to have room for seedlings and the hubby is making trim for the kitchen.

Soil blocks full of 240 onions of various kinds for the gardens.



I’ve been trying to drink more medicinal teas instead of coffee.  This one is rose hips, rose petals, nettles and pine needles.  All foraged from the woods except the rose petals. It was really delicious so I will be making this again.

Black locust seeds.  I collected this last fall and then stored them in the fridge for a few months (stratification).  I poured very hot water over them instead of sanding the seeds (scarification).  We will see if they sprout, more details coming if they do.


I have a health related post in the works.  I hope to have that up for the Zone 00 series soon. Overall, I am enjoying the slower pace of winter, but it will soon end and give way to the bustle of spring!




I discovered stinging nettles when my kids started displaying allergies, but also had health issues that made over the counter allergy medicine complicated. It is hands down in the top five plants and herbs I like to keep in my apothecary stash.  That stash has grown and grown over the years to include several dozen herbs, many of which I do try to grow or wildcraft now.  We use nettles in tea, pills, tinctures, salves, and in cooking on the homestead.  In fact, today’s dinner will be a sausage, potato, onion, garlic, and nettle soup. All grown here on the little suburban lot (nettles were grown at our acreage, venison for the sausage harvested there and mixed here).  So why do I love this spiky little devilish plant that will sting you and leave your skin burning for a few hours (especially if you rub it, ask me how I know)? Because it is one of the most versatile medicinal plants out there with the least amount of side effects.  *A side note about the sting, saliva can help neutralize the formic acid.

Stinging Nettle

Growing: It prefers rich, fertile soil with partial shade/sun.  You can dig up runners and transplant, and because of this it can be hard to contain.

Uses: Herbal, medicinal, culinary, veterinary, animal feed, horticultural,  fiber (cotton & linen).

Edible Parts: leaf, root, seed

How it can be used:

Tea: As a mix or on its own

Pills: you can buy pill makers or make balls yourself

Tinctures: These are made with alcohol (shelf life of, many years), vinegar (shelf life of about a year), or vegetable glycerine (shelf life of, 2-3 years).

Salves: Usually beeswax, some oil (I prefer tallow)

Urtication: Bundles of fresh leaves and stems used to sting oneself to improve inflammation.

Culinary: soups, pestos, teas, nettle beer, added to flours for pasta, etc…

Veterinary: I’d do some research on this for your specific animal and consult your vet, but it appears many animals can benefit from its uses. It can help dogs with inflammation and allergies. It can assist horses in laminitis, as well as many other uses.  In one study it has been shown to reduce parasites in broiler chickens.

Animal Feed: It contains more protein than other green plants and can be used as a feed.

Horticultural: They can be used as a mulch, compost addition, and as a spray for fertilizer and bugs. Stinging nettle fermented tea.

There is a long list of ailments people use stinging nettles for.

Gout, rheumatism, skin issues such as eczema, hormones (men and women), prostate, PMS, lactation, digestion, exhaustion, kidneys, urinary, diuretic, liver, colon, is thought to be a prebiotic, help adrenal function, and so much more. I have listed many links here for you to follow and do some reading and research on. It is a deep rabbit hole you can go down for hours.


Stinging nettles are a nutritional powerhouse.  The nutritional content will depend on if you eat fresh, dried leaves or cooked ones (dried, steamed, or boiled leaves do not have the sting). Fresh leaves obviously would need careful consumption, I have never tried to consume them this way. But one of my reference  books suggests rolling the leaves up with the stingers inside the leave and consuming this way.  You can buy tinctures, salves, dried leaves, seeds and roots in bulk.  I did this for years until I started my own bed of nettles which I am still expanding, you can purchase seeds many places.  Strictly Medicinals is one of my favorite companies for medicinal seeds and plants.


Tallow Stinging Nettle Salve:

Good for skin issues and irritation.

Canning jar that can handle some heat

95-110 F oil (I use a mix of olive and tallow, tallow alone would be too hard) 1/3 tallow & 2/3 olive oil poured over Nettles. Make sure it is covered with 1-2″ of oil. Place lid on it.

Let it sit in a warm sunny place for 4-6 weeks. Shake daily.


Add up to 1/4 cup of melted beeswax.  You can use a plate to put some of the mixture onto it and let it cool off to test and get your desired consistency.

Store in an airtight container.

Tallow has its own healing benefits for the skin.  You can mix in other herbs like comfrey, lavender, and so on.

Links to more studies:

Nettles Study

Nutrition of Nettles

Chicken Feed

Mount Sinai- uses with children

You will not want to skip reading the above studies.  My guess is you will be seeking to buy or grow some nettles once you do. What an amazing plant!  It truly is a superstar, don’t ask me why it doesn’t get more attention.

Affiliate Links

I do make some financial benefit off of the links below through the Amazon affiliate program.  Thank you for your support!

Frontier Nettle Leaves

Starwest Botanicals Nettle Root

Nettles for Dogs and Cats

I want to remind you that I am not a doctor, medical professional or even an herbalist. Through this journey I have learned what works for our family.  Consult a professional for advice.




Light: Zone 00

This fireplace was in a cabin we rented in Virginia, circa 1880. We adored that little place, we made a fire every single day.


Up here in Northern Michigan around the 44th parallel we really start to miss our light this time of year.  The days are finally getting longer but they are cloudy.  Currently, Jan 7, 2023, it’s been days since I’ve seen that yellow warm orb of light in the sky.  We have these drab days that are just different hues of grey and brown. The sun rises around 8 am and sets around 5.  I try not to focus on the lack of light and enjoy what we do get.  I know there are places further north who get much less sun and day light. When the sun does decide to shine, you will find the windows thrown open, faces turned to the sun, extra time purposely spent outside trying to bathe in it despite the cold.  I honestly don’t mind the cold or the feet of snow we often get.  What does get to me is the lack of sunshine.

One of the things many folks do up here is replace the sun with the fire in the winter.  We love our fires up here, even fake fires give some kind of ambiance that people are drawn to.  So much so that YouTube, TVs, etc.. have ones you can play on a loop with the sound of fire and all.  But many homes here have gas or electric fire places, some have actual wood burning fireplaces or stoves. We are drawn to in innately, our bodies seek out that kind of light. That light is infrared, mostly in the form of near infrared light (NIR). There have been studies done on the health benefit NIR light.  To the point where it has become a whole industry to sell saunas, light walls, light beds and so on.  Interestingly it appears that the research into IR (infra red light) looks to have been started by a musician. Some of the research shows that NIR therapy can reach the body and “may restore biological function of mitochondria”. It has been shown to help with pain and inflammation, promotes healing, improves appearance of aging skin, brain function, and so much more. You can search and read many articles about it yourself.  The point is, our body craves this because we probably need it.

For me this means exposure to fire, sun, and having a NIR light in my home.  I will link to the one we chose, its thrifty and effective. This is part of my zone 00 care, caring for me! Which in turn cares for the rest of my zones.

All my photos are taken by me or my adult children. This is me enjoying some NIR. We have 3 bulbs for when we want to totally bathe in the lights.


There are other kinds of light, many in fact.  I will only cover one more here in the short little blog…the research can be endless and exhaustive.


Okay, yes, it’s not light, it’s the absence of. But it is vital.  Just like our bodies need that Near Infrared Light, they also need darkness.  And what they really need is utter darkness.  That kind where you can’t even see your hand in front of your face.  We need this darkness to sleep.  The street lights, night lights, clocks, phones, and so on…those all have lights and disrupt the most important thing we can do to help ourselves function, sleep.  There is actually something called Dark Therapy. More and more research is being done on the effects of darkness (and different types of light).  One key reason we need darkness is because we need melatonin.  Our body makes it so we can sleep well and our bodies need darkness to produce it.  In fact, they have found that it needs to be pretty dark.

It can be hard to get your room dark if you have family, travel, sleep in odd places (I recently watched a video of a naval sailor trying to sleep in his cubby in a storm with lights on). One option to mimic this is a sleep mask.  I use one, even though we have a fairly dark room.  The smallest amount of light bothers me so I wear one every night.  It has been a real game changer for me. It is amazing how much light comes in through your eye lids. One of the reasons I love camping, especially rustic camping is I get to combine these two things.  The fire followed by the dark nights. Camping outside is also a therapy many use to reset their sleep cycle.  Literally they go to the woods to rebalance their sleep.  If you do this it is best to not use any artificial lighting or technology that produces it.  It allows the body to adjust back to the sun, moon and stars…we probably know so little about how this works still, but I can tell you the days we spend like this are the most restful and rejuvenating times we have.

The sunset at a local beach. The sunset with its different forms of light actually help your body start the sleep cycle. And it’s so beautiful.

So folks, go rewild yourself and if you can’t try to mimic nature as much as you can at home with the right kinds of light and the darkest dark you can make.  Come back and tell me if you feel a change.




After thoughts

Speaking of the moon and darkness, I want to send you on a rabbit trail. I am going to delve into woo-woo, at the risk of you all thinking I have lost my mind.  Oh, yes…even more than you may have thought before.

So here goes nothing…

Your bodies hormones could be and probably are changing with the moon and its light and tides and..??

…bare feet walking, tallow tooth brushing and now moon light cycling…


And before the men leave the page, they did on study on men too.  Its a human and animal  experience, not just female… (study).

I will leave you to your own research but I will tell you I did use moon cycling, my sleep improved dramatically and so did my hormones. You can decide if you want to dive into that topic yourself.


Anyway, for me the answer to many of my health issues has been sleep, darkness, fire…all available in abundance when I focus on Rewilding myself.


Below are links to some of the products I mentioned above.  These are Amazon affiliate links, meaning I do make a little money from them.

Eye Mask

RubyLux NIR light bulb

250 Watt Clamp Lamp


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Permaculture is a movement that many folks have heard of.  It has a lot of political ideology for some, not for me.  I think of it as a systems approach to homesteading and life.  I am going to skip over many things because Permaculture is a deep subject.  You can watch videos, read books, and blogs about this.  You can even take a Permaculture Design Course from some very experienced permaculturists. (PDC) But in order to understand the basics of it you have to understand it has zones.  These zones help plan the homestead in a way that is efficient for the land, time and you.   Here is my really simplified version into permaculture and zones.

What is Permaculture:

Many people consider Bill Mollison the father of Permaculture.  He and David Holmgren were recorded explaining what Permaculture is Mollison What is Perm

What are Permaculture zones?

Zones are typically split into 5 zones (1-5) , but many have added a zone 0, Ben Falk has spoken of zone 00 and some have added a zone 6 as well. Your family and friends can fit into these zones as well. So do you see how this can be a whole lifestyle design?  Our lives are interwoven with work, play, homesteading, relationships, community.  All of it builds and works together…or not.  For myself, my goal is to create a life and space where the flow of these things happens as easily as possible.  Yes, we all need boundaries, those can be worked into this.  It will take some thought and effort.  In fact, continual effort, because that is life. I am not going to get into describing the zones, many people have done that for you in blogs and videos online.  You may enjoy my simple drawings…or not.

The Zones

Zone 00-

THE skin you’re in- YOU


Zone 0-

Your home can have many zones, some of us rarely visit certain areas of our home.



Zone 1-

Kitchen Gardens, Chicken Coop etc..



Zone 2-

Less attention but similar to zone 1 & 2, visited daily




Zone 3-

Orchards, field crops, mushrooms, bees



Zone 4-

Managed Woodlots etc..



Zone 5-

Wild untouched areas


Zone 6-

Your community.


These zones will be unique to each homestead. They will vary for the urban, suburban and rural homestead.


I am going to do a series on how these zones work for my suburban lifestyle starting with one of the most important zones we have.  Zone 00.


Zone 00 is self care, YOU!  It is probably the most important of all of these. Self care isn’t working yourself to exhaustion and then rest and pamper. Though if that is where you have to start, then start there.  It’s about managing at a level that is enjoyable and maintainable. Have you heard the old saying, ” use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”  This is a great way to deal with consumerism, being thrifty, sustainability and even regenerative practices.  But when it comes to our bodies, it isn’t a great slogan.  Our bodies are amazing and have amazing abilities to heal, refresh and retool but we need to care for them on a regular basis. We tend to abuse them and expect them to perform flawlessly. We can’t, “use it up”, “wear it out” or “make it do” like a pair of jeans.   We eventually pay for that.  And that payment ends up costing us more than we want to pay.

What if there was another way?  I propose there is…But it’s different and it’s hard…and it’s eccentric because it means saying no, living different, being different. It may mean doing less, having less, making less…it may not. For us it does. You also don’t have to get radical with this unless it is your jam.  The beauty of making your own rules and living life on your terms is…YOU decide!

The goal of my blog is to bring you on my journey as I examine and develop better self care practices. My goal is to stop chaos and busyness being my  normal  and carve a life I enjoy and can maintain with as little stress and anxiety as I possibly can.  Because I have worked on this for a long time I am well on my way down this path. In many ways I am hacking the vines and brush back with my machete and making my own path.  In others I stand on the shoulders of giants like Mollison, Holmgren and Falk. Remember this journey is about you.  It will be different than mine.  It will have its own pace, its own goals.

Now let’s REWILD!





The Week In Review–Wildings

This last week has been productive and yet it feels like its been a year and not a week since Thanksgiving. I have had a lot on my plate lately but I have accomplished some bigger projects this week including finishing up the corned venison today by canning it and making a dinner with it. I posted the recipe in the last blog post.


I have been battling some kinda something, who knows, the weather here has been all over the place so it could be allergies or it could be a virus.  Either way I have been using lots of wildcrafted and herbal teas.  Pine needles, elderberry, goldenrod, hibiscus, staghorn sumac, peppermint, and nettles. It has been helping me keep the sinuses clear which is usually where I am hit with illnesses the most.








I pressure canned the extra turkey after I made bone broth in my roaster.  The bone broth cooked for 2 days.  Bone broth is simply bones cooked for a long enough time for the bones to start to fall apart.  I use a bit of apple cider vinegar to help with this, I make my own from our apple trees every year.



I made several dinners with the venison we harvested.  One was Tenderloin medallions quickly fried in tallow, some of the frozen remnants of the garden (link to video of me harvesting the garden at 27 degrees), and fried potatoes in onions from the late summer harvest. Another was venison and mangalitsa hog tacos with fresh microgreens.








Oh yeah, the microgreens!  I have an abundance starting in the basement garden.  This is my third year growing inside, I love it.  It is so nice to enjoy some nice microgreens with dinner.  Later we hopefully will enjoy some loose leaf lettuce and herbs.



What else did I get done?  Oh some boring stuff like paperwork, moping floors, some online stuffs, social media, and some really cool podcasts. Next week I have some epic things to share…that is all I will say.  But they are pretty exciting and have left me baffled and humbled by my community of friends.

Until next time…








Wildcrafting Meat

I spent most of my childhood in town, many small towns,  but in town.  I was not connected to my food  the way I am now. I enjoyed hiking and escaping to the little places in town or in the neighborhoods we lived as a kid.  I would ride my bike to them and park myself to observe, read, draw. When I was growing up my family spent some time traveling to visit some beautiful national parks.  I loved these times, it was then that my dreams and aspirations started to form.  Dreams about wild untouched places, living with nature, learning about all its little secrets. My husband didn’t spend time traveling as a child but he learned to immerse himself in the wilderness in a way I am still learning.  I struggle sometimes to quiet and settle myself so I can enjoy and learn. All these years with him (almost 33) and I am still learning how to enjoy the stillness like he does.  He can sit for hours and be part of the forest around him. While I get antsy and struggle calm my thoughts. He also has this uncanny sense of direction. No matter where we are he seems to have this internal sense of direction and a compass. I am the opposite and really have to think and pay attention.  I am learning, slowly to calm myself when I enter the woods and take in my surroundings. I am learning from a master.

We love the wildlife and woods but we do hunt and harvest meat from the woods. For many years this was survival for us.  We used an old family rifle or a bow, the same clothing and boots we wore outside, and harvested ourselves.  The whole event costs us time, ammunition or an arrow and some freezer paper. It was one of the cheapest and healthiest ways for us to feed ourselves.  It also brought us connection to our food and the woods. We honor the animal with eating as much as we could, wasting as little as possible and a humane death. It is not something we take lightly.

So “a hunting we go”, or this year, he went (I was unable to).  All summer he watched for signs and  then placed himself where he saw trails or evidence of deer.  On opening day of rifle, after sitting it the woods for bow season without any harvest, he was able to harvest a nice buck. As always, he was a good shot and the deer was down quickly. Once the deer was down in the woods the deer is field dressed, meaning it is gutted in the woods or a field.  Currently we take the heart, liver and kidneys.  In the future we will probably harvest the spleen as well. Below you see me inspecting and washing the organs.  These were beautiful and healthy so I washed and packaged them for the freezer. While I was doing this my husband was washing the deer and hanging it in the garage under the supervision of Scout our dog. He has learned butchering means some tasty morsels.

When the weather is helpful and provides natural refrigeration we prefer to hang the deer for a week to 10 days, this year was one of the years mother nature was helpful.   This  Aging helps tenderize the meat. We then quarter it and bring it inside to process at the kitchen table.  Our kitchen has always been the place we do these things.  I have an old table and a lot of counter space for this reason.

We aren’t professionals and we aren’t chefs.  We eat pretty simply.  Our cuts are burger, roasts, jerky, and tenderloins. The jerky is wet brined and put into the fridge for a few days before dehydrating or smoking.  The roasts are all cured for corned venison, which takes 5 days and then I can it. Burger is used for anything we’d use beef or pork for, we often mix the three together. The tenderloin, we enjoy just fried medium rare in a skillet and often with some mushrooms and onions.

After years of hand grinding using a hand crank grinder that attached to the lip of the table or counter we were finally able to afford a large beefy electric grinder to help us with processing meat. It has been so nice to not spend hours hand grinding but we have the memories of ‘good old days’. Stories our kids can share about processing (it’s a right of passage, isn’t it? To share such stories). From here it goes into jars and the freezer.

What do I do with the offal, otherwise known as organs?  Well the kidney and heart we actually like to eat.  The heart is usually made into chili, the kidney into a shepard’s pie and the liver…that is the one we struggle with.  I try to hide it in my food, but none of us love it.  I have found that we do like liverwurst but I need to perfect the process in how I make it.  The flavor is good but the presentation is lacking and doesn’t look appetizing. We do also put it in the dog food we sometimes make for Scout.







Here are my recipes, I do get a kickback from Amazon for anything you buy when you use these links. Thank you for your support.

Brine for Jerky:

1 Quart water

1/4 cup salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp cayenne  pepper

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp pepper flakes  

1/2 smoked paprika

Brine for one week in the fridge and dry or smoke


Corned Venison

Makes one 2-4 pound roast

Prep: 5 days

Cook 3 hours

1/2 gallon water

Heaping 1/2 cup kosher salt

1/3 cup sugar (you could use maple syrup or honey)

1/2 ounce instacure No 1 (sodium nitrate, pink stuff)—You can just omit this if you like, it will cause a little different flavor and color.  I have done it both ways.

1 TBS Cracked black pepper

1 TBS toasted coriander seeds (this is cilantro that has gone to seed, you can harvest from your garden)

6 bay leaves, crushed or 2-3 juniper berries per bay leaf  (12-18) (I use juniper because it is harvested locally by me)

1 TBS mustard seed

1TBS dried thyme – easy to grow in the garden

1 TBS caraway seeds – I have seeds but have not gown yet

1 cinnamon stick

6 cloves 

5 chopped garlic cloves, crushed- hopefully you have yours planted now

A 3 to 5 pound venison roast

  1. Add everything but the roast and bring it to a boil. Turn off temp and cover.  Let it cool down to room temperature while covered.  It will take a few hours.  Meanwhile, trim away silver skin you find off the roast. Once cooled add the roast to the brine and make sure it is covered.
  2. You can weigh down with a clean stone or a plate.  Cover and place in fridge 5-7 days, depending on the roast size. The longer it is brined, the saltier it will be.
  3. After the allotted time has passed, you have corned benison.  To cook and east, rinse off the meat and put in in a pot just large enough to cover with fresh water. You don’t want too large a pot or the fresh water will leach out too much flavor form the meat–its an osmosis thing. Gently simmer, do not boil for at least 3 hours and up to 5 hours.

Eat hot or cold.

Can at normal canning time for meat.


These are affiliate links, meaning I do get some kickback for posting them.  Thank you for your support.

Instacure #1

Black Pepper

Coriander Seeds

Bay leaves

Juniper Berry

Mustard Seed



Cinnamon Stick


Cayenne Pepper

Smoked Paprika

Pepper Flakes

Book Link for Dog Food:

Yin and Yang Nutrition for Dogs



Staghorn Sumac Cranberry Relish


I have been slowly doing my cooking this week which has made for a relaxing slide into the holiday season.  I decided yesterday to make the cranberry relish with the sumac I had gathered from the field. The flavor is amazing!  For those who don’t know what sumac tastes like you will be surprised at the tangy flavor.  I still added some orange zest but I omitted any lemon or orange juice and opted for a strongly brewed sumac tea and then sumac powder. I made the sumac powder by grinding the berries called, drupes in my mortar and pestle and then sifting the seeds out using a mesh strainer.  I made the mistake of consuming all my maple syrup, my nest batch will be!  This dish can easily be a dish right from the woods of Northern Michigan. My only complaint so far about sumac is I didn’t gather nearly enough!! There is a blog post about sumac that I did a few weeks ago.



The Preparation for a Day of Gratefulness



This is one of those more seasonal and traditional posts.  Folks always ask if I eat different on the holidays.  Kinda.  My gravy will include the boiled neck, liver and gizzard, apparently that is weird. Yet every person I’ve met loves my mom’s gravy. That is how she’s always made it and taught me. My fat choices for baking will be home rendered lard from the hog we butchered with friends.  I will try using some staghorn sumac in the cranberry sauce, the vegetables and herbs are all home grown, the apple cider vinegar will be home grown and home made. But overall our celebration will look quite traditional. We may corn some fresh venison and make some coleslaw from the garden cabbages. That means we have to butcher the deer and dig the cabbage out of the snow. However corning the venison takes several days, so I guess that is out,  but I have some canned.

One of these years I will have a wild turkey on my table and that will be a feather in my cap that I just might brag about a bit!

Anyway, at times the work seems overwhelming.  I have found working in bite sized pieces over the week before things like this really help me, especially since I am working off the homestead. Working and getting ready for a gathering can be tricky to do without losing your mind.  There I said it.  Cooking from scratch and for food allergies complicates things but it doesn’t need to if you plan ahead and you prep as much as you can ahead of time. Here is my tentative schedule for prep and cooking. I will update you with photos later in the week.

Friday– Cook Squash for pie and pumpkin roll

Saturday– make green bean casserole sauce and onions, but don’t mix together yet.

Sunday– Thaw Turkeys, make cranberry sauce. Work Day

Monday–  remove Mr. bubbles and feed, dump hooch.  Work Day

Tuesday– Make bread and rolls, let rise over night. Make pumpkin roll cake part and frosting (leave separate), make pie crust and filling (leave separate). Work Day

Wednesday-Brine Turkey, bake rolls and bread, get stuffing ready but don’t bake. Work Day

Thursday– cook turkey, put the pie together and bake, bake stuffing, bake green bean casserole

It really helps keep me not freak out over the amount of scratch cooking that needs to be done if I break it down into bite sized pieces over a few days instead of getting up at 4 and working myself  into a frenzy.  It also leaves me time to stretch, exercise, and think about what an amazing year it has been.

I am incredibly grateful, 2022 has been one for the books!  I am beyond thankful and humbled for the blessings that have showered down. I am thankful for the family, friends and community I have surrounding me.

Here are some links to recipes and one of my favorite cookbooks.

Smoked Brined Turkey-Bearded Butchers

We will not be smoking the turkey, just baking it.  We will be using this brine though.

Gluten Free Green Bean Casserole

I will probably use ground pork rinds and I will be using my own home canned green beans

Cranberry Sauce

I might try sumac instead of the orange juice, maybe 1/2 a batch for myself incase others don’t like it.

Grain Free Pumpkin Pie

Gluten Free Pumpkin Roll

We have to replace eggs in this, see below for the recipe gelatin egg or the link for egg replacer.  Gelatin eggs seem to work for 2 eggs but after that it gets iffy.  Also, for dairy free you could make a vanilla frosting.

Sourdough Buttermilk BiscuitsGluten Free Flour Mix

I will sub out the flour and use my gluten free flours.  There is a recipe below.  I sometimes use this but I also switch things up with the blends too.

Gelatin Egg



As an Amazon affiliate I have to inform you that the links below do add a few cents to my piggy bank. Thanks for your support.



Against All Grain Celebrations Cookbook

Hands down one of my favorite holiday cookbooks.  The recipes always get great reviews even from those not allergic to foods.

Egg Replacer

Grass Fed Gelatin

Great for gummies, jello, egg replacer, etc…