Archive for December, 2009

We received this poem from one of our new friends here and wanted to share it with all of you. Hope you enjoy receiving it as much as we did.

(Click image for larger view)

Here's the text for the poem:

Every name's a touchstone
That leads to a place and time,
Where God has used another's heart
To reach out and touch mine,

It may have happened years ago
Or even yesterday,

But every person on our list
Has changed our lives some way,
Through simple conversation,
A warm hug or shared meal,

Every person on our list
Has helped us grow or heal,
Or laugh or love or learn or smile…
The blessings never end
As God Allows our paths to cross
As family and friends.

So please know that this greeting
Is more than a Christmas wish
It's a "thank you" card to God
For putting on our list
Each and every one whose name
We've come to hold so dear…
Those who've shown us Christmas joy
Each day of the year.

Merry Christmas and best wishes for a Happy New Year from Bob and Susan at Hickory Hollow Homestead


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StackedwoodWe saw this story and thought it was cute. Thought we'd share it. Hope you like it.

It's late fall and the Indians on a remote reservation in South Dakota asked their new chief if the coming winter was going to be cold or mild.

Since he was a chief in a modern society, he had never been taught the old secrets. When he looked at the sky, he couldn't tell what the winter was going to be like.

Nevertheless, to be on the safe side, he told his tribe that the winter was indeed going to be cold and that the members of the village should collect firewood to be prepared..

But, being a practical leader, after several days, he got an idea. He went to the phone booth, called the National Weather Service and asked, 'Is the coming winter going to be cold?'

'It looks like this winter is going to be quite cold,' the meteorologist at the weather service responded.

So the chief went back to his people and told them to collect even more firewood in order to be prepared.

A week later, he called the National Weather Service again. 'Does it still look like it is going to be a very cold winter?'

'Yes,' the man at National Weather Service again replied, 'it's going to be a very cold winter..'

The chief again went back to his people and ordered them to collect every scrap of firewood they could find.

Two weeks later, the chief called the National Weather Service again. 'Are you absolutely sure that the winter is going to be very cold?'

'Absolutely, ' the man replied. 'It's looking more and more like it is going to be one of the coldest winters we've ever seen..'

'How can you be so sure?' the chief asked.

The weatherman replied…

'The Indians are collecting firewood like crazy..'

Remember this whenever you get advice from a government official!  

As you can see from our picture — it must be the same for homesteaders as it is for Indians 😉

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Like I said in a previous post, the weather has turned COLD here. We're both still recouperating from the accident, we decided to stay inside the tipi and take it easy. Since we were going to keep a fire burning in the woodstove all day we thought it would be a great time to make…

8 Hour Chili:


1 lb Hamburger

1 lb Dry Beans

1 Onion – cut up

Green Pepper – about 1/4 pepper cut up

Garlic – 2-3 cloves (adjust to your own taste)

Spices: Salt, Pepper, Chili Powder, Cumin, and anything else you might like 😉


9:30 am Put dry beans in 10" dutch oven, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Used the propane cookstove for this step. Place dutch oven on the back of the woodstove to stay warm.

Top off coffee cups, sit down, and get out a good book to read.

10:30 am Check water level. Add more water as needed to keep beans covered.

Sit down – sip more hot coffee and read another chapter or two.

11:30 am Stand up and stretch. Check water level. Add onions and garlic and stir beans. I like getting the onions and garlic in early to give them as long as possible to flavor the beans.

Look out the tipi door, shiver, and go back to sit by the nice warm woodstove.

12:30 pm Brown hamburger (on cookstove) and flavor with spices. Add to dutch oven. Stir.

Fix a little snack to hold you over until dinner time. Read book.

1:30 pm Check beans and stir them just to look like you're really cooking 😉

Time for a little more hot coffee. Pick up book. Read.

2:30 pm Lift lid, add green pepper and stir.

Stretch. Sit. Close eyes for a quick cat nap.

3:30 pm Lift lid. Sniff. Mmmmm it's really smelling good now!

Pick up book. Read some more.

4:30 pm Mix cornbread up and cook it in the 8" dutch oven.

5:30 pm Slather some butter on the cornbread. Serve up the chili. We like to stir a little jalepeno juice into the chili after it's in the bowl. 

Serve and ENJOY!


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Tipi Sweet Tipi

At the request of one of our readers (they needed to see them by the 11th so I hope I'm in time) I'm posting a few pics of the inside of the tipi. It's not as neat as I would have liked it to be, but hey, whose house is after being laid up for two weeks.


This one shows our bed folded up for the day under the ozan with the poles for a reference point. Sorry but I had to splice this one together in a hurry – not my best work ;)


Here's one of the kitchen cabinet and our cook stove.

We have plans to build some shelving for more storage options. Obviously these will need to be customized to accommodate the tipi's unusual shape. Stayed tune for future posts with more details. 

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Don't you love new toys? We got one today! A Freeplay Energy Eyemax WB hand crank radio!

When you're trying to live off the power grid it only makes sense that a good modern day homesteader would have a radio that doesn't need any batteries or electricity. Now I don't know about you but all of the "hand cranked" gizmos I've tried before were more trouble and effort than the power they were supposed to be saving. So when hubby suggested getting this radio I was hesitant.

But I was WRONG! This little gem works great. As you can see it's a nice size. You can either crank it up, use the built in solar panel, or the 120 volt adapter to charge the battery. Just a few minutes of cranking provided us with hours of radio play. The sound is surprisingly good too!

Another plus is that is also receives NOAA weather band information. It even has an LED flashlight. The rubberized coating makes is splash proof and rugged enough for homestead life. If you're looking for a good camping or emergency radio you'll definitely want to check this one out.

If Santa brings me the MP3 player I have on my list (hint, hint) then I can also dock it up the radio for hours of tunes. Hey, when you don't have TV you need all the entertainment you can get!

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Our cold frame is doing well. Definitely much better than I expected but then again since I've never used a cold frame before I wasn't sure what to expect.


The kale and swiss chard that we transplanted are doing well. We've been harvesting the outer leaves for soups, stews, and extra salad greens. Potato Soup with Kale… yummy!

Even though I planted the seeds (and cloves) after the first of November, I now have mache, arugula, radishes, carrots, and garlic growing along side the larger plants. We'll have to see how they do! I'll keep you updated.

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I'm sure some of you are thinking, "Doesn't it get cold inside the tipi?" Well I guess it does if you think 23 degrees is cold 😉

Yesterday was a good test of whether or not we could stay warm in the tipi this winter. During the day, we get some radiant heat from the sun. You'd be surprised how much it warms it up.

Lately, we've been using our woodstove to add supplemental heat during the day by keeping a small fire to take the chill off and as the evening gets cooler we add more wood as needed. Obviously it must be working ok because we had a high of 73. Pretty toasty!

We usually stoke the fire up one last time before we go to bed and let it go to coals. We don't damper it down like some folks do because we don't want it smoldering all night.

On a cold night like this we both sleep with a stocking cap to keep our heads warm and wool socks for the feet. We sleep on our Therm-a-Rest Luxury Camp mattresses and use several regular sleeping bags for blankets with an extra blanket over our feet. These mattresses are not only very comfortable but they do a great job of insulating us from any cold air that may be lingering at ground level. Let me tell you… we were plenty warm. By time the temperature dipped to 23 we were sound asleep and the cold didn't bother us a bit. (The mattresses are working great, Anne. Thanks for recommending them!) If you're into camping or backpacking I highly recommend them. 

It had already come up a degree before we got the picture taken.

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