Don Jr. Waters writing on self-sufficiency…

Becoming self-sufficient and living off the grid will give you the freedom and independence you have always dreamed of. But this type of lifestyle also comes with some challenges. Making life easier is something every homesteader strives for. That’s why today, we are going to learn some hacks that can make things go more smoothly for you.

1. Control Ants in The Garden

Off the Grid Hacks

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One of the most important areas of the homestead is the garden. The garden not only provides us with healthy food, it also helps us to be more independent.  Protecting your garden from pests is very important to the health of your plants.  Ants can be a huge problem and can destroy your bountiful harvest.  A safe way to control ants around plants and other areas of the garden is by combining one-part borax powder with one-part sugar. The sugar will act as a bait which the ants will carry back to their colony and the borax will act as a poison.

2. Preserve Your Abundance Eggs

Off the grid hacks

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If you have a flock of chickens on your property, you probably have more eggs that you don’t know what to do with.  Eggs can provide vital nutrients and can be used in many different dishes. But when you have too many of them, it can become overwhelming.  Instead of letting those eggs go bad, why not freeze them? To freeze eggs, you will need to remove them from the shell and place them in an ice cube tray or other small plastic dish.  Once they are frozen, you can remove them from the ice tray and place them in plastic bags.  Frozen eggs are good for up to one year in the freezer.

3. Grow Potatoes Vertically to Save Space

Off the grid hacks

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In the garden, space always comes at a premium. Packing as many plants in your garden space as possible will ensure a healthy harvest. To save on space, you can plant potatoes vertically inside of a burlap bag. After you have chosen your favorite potato variety, start the planting process by rolling down the burlap bag to 10 inches.  Next, place three potatoes in each bag making sure to face the eyes in an upward position.  Then cover the potatoes with 3 inches of potting soil or compost.

You will need to water the soil thoroughly to help with sprouting.  As time goes by, the potato plants will start to grow taller.  Once they reach 8 inches tall, roll up the burlap bag and cover the plants with 4 inches of soil or compost.  You should continue this process until you start to see the plants start to flower.  At the end of the summer, the vines will begin to die back leaving you with an ample amount of potatoes.

4. Get Rid of Fleas

Off the grid hacks

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Fleas are a real problem on the homestead especially during the warmer months.  They can often be hard to get rid of and can even invade your home.  If you notice your dog is scratching themselves frequently, make sure to check for fleas.  Finding fleas on your dog can be scary, but luckily, there is a natural way to get rid of them.

After your morning cup of coffee, save your grounds which you will later use to repel those pesky fleas. Start by giving your dog a normal bath with shampoo.  After the bath, rub the coffee ground onto your pet’s fur. After a few minutes have gone by, wash all the grounds off your dog. This will remove any fleas from your pet’s skin giving them relief.

You may have to do some grooming after you wash your pet off to get rid of all the coffee grounds. Never allow your dog to consume the ground because caffeine in large amounts can be toxic. A few days after you have given your pooch a flea bath with coffee grounds, make sure to recheck them to ensure no fleas have returned.

5. Protect Your Chickens from Predators

Off the grid hacks

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Protecting your chickens is very important, and doing so doesn’t have to be difficult. Depending on the area of the country you live in, you may have a wide range of predators to deal with. Hawks, foxes, and raccoons commonly like to prey on chickens and can really be annoying pests.  But instead of getting out the shotgun, why not approach the situation more humanely?  If you have old music cd’s lying around like most of us do, you can use them to your advantage.  By hanging these shiny discs on the trees around your chicken coop, it will help scare away any animals that might have chicken on their menu. If you free range your chickens like many homesteaders do, then you can also hang some cd’s in the area your chickens graze in.

6. How to Clean Your Cast Iron Skillet

Off the grid hacks

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Cast iron skillets make wonderful additions to any off the grid kitchen.  But keeping them clean can be difficult. Since cast iron can rust, most people don’t wash them in the sink with soap.  Instead, you can help keep them clean with some simple ingredients that you have laying around the house.

To clean your cast iron skillet, you will need to get some salt and a potato out of the pantry. Next, you will need to sprinkle a liberal amount of salt inside of the dirty pan. Then cut your potato in half so that it fits nicely into the palm of your hand. Use the potato to scrub the skillet in a vigorous circular motion. This will remove any stuck-on food or grease.  Finally, wash off the pan with water to get rid of the grime.  Make sure that you completely dry off the skillet to prevent rusting.

These simple hacks can make life easier and help increase your productivity.  So remember to include some of them in your everyday life.  You just might be surprised at how well they work!

P.S. Discover how you can enjoy a more laidback, authentic, independent way of life in Truth & Plenty. Sign up below to have it delivered – free of charge – to your email inbox.

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