Creating Your Own Garden Paradise: Tips for a Serene Outdoor Haven

Gardens are more than just outdoor spaces; they are opportunities to craft personal havens where you can escape, unwind, and relax with a glass of sweet wine. To turn your garden into a little paradise, consider the following tips and ideas that will transform it into a serene and rejuvenating oasis.

  1. Define Your Vision: The first step in creating a garden paradise is to define your vision. What do you want to experience in your garden? Is it a peaceful retreat, a vibrant floral haven, or a functional, self-sustaining space? Take some time to clarify your goals and visualize the atmosphere you want to create.
  2. Plan and Design: Once you have a clear vision, plan and design your garden space accordingly. Consider factors like the size of your garden, the climate, and the types of plants that thrive in your region. Design paths, seating areas, and focal points to ensure your garden is not only visually pleasing but also functional.
  3. Choose the Right Plants: The choice of plants is critical in transforming your garden into a paradise. Select a variety of plants, including trees, shrubs, flowers, and groundcovers, to add depth and interest. Opt for native plants that are well-suited to your climate, as they require less maintenance and can attract local wildlife.
  4. Create Inviting Paths and Walkways: Well-planned paths and walkways can enhance the appeal of your garden. Use natural materials like gravel, stone, or wood to create pathways that meander through the garden, inviting exploration. Incorporate curves and hidden corners to make your garden feel larger and more mysterious.
  5. Water Features: Water has a soothing effect and can elevate the tranquility of your garden. Consider adding a small pond, a bubbling fountain, or a simple birdbath. The sound of running water can drown out urban noise and create a serene environment for relaxation.
  6. Garden Seating: To fully enjoy your garden paradise, include comfortable seating. Whether it’s a bench, a swing, or a hammock, choose a spot where you can unwind, read, or simply soak in the beauty of your garden. Adding comfortable cushions or pillows will make your seating area even more inviting.
  7. Outdoor Lighting: Extend the hours of enjoyment in your garden by incorporating outdoor lighting. Soft, warm lighting can create a magical ambiance at night. Use solar-powered lights, string lights, lanterns, or hidden LED strips to illuminate paths, trees, and garden features.
  8. Wildlife-Friendly Garden: Encourage local wildlife to visit your garden by incorporating bird feeders, butterfly-friendly plants, and small wildlife habitats. The presence of birds, butterflies, and bees can add to the charm of your garden paradise and help create a harmonious ecosystem.
  9. Seasonal Variety: Ensure your garden paradise has something to offer in every season. Plant a mix of evergreen and deciduous plants, so your garden remains attractive throughout the year. Spring and summer can bring vibrant blooms, while autumn showcases beautiful foliage, and winter offers a unique, serene charm.
  10. Edible Delights: Consider incorporating a small vegetable or herb garden into your paradise. Fresh herbs, vegetables, and fruits not only provide a rewarding gardening experience but also allow you to enjoy the…

Pilgrim Thanksgiving Recipes | What Did The Pilgrims Really Eat?

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Cyber Monday Kitchen Deals for Homesteaders

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A Guide To Dehydrating Apples

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DIY Greenhouses: A Comprehensive Guide to Building Your Own Greenhouse


Hey there, gardening enthusiasts! If you’ve ever dreamed of extending your growing season, then you’re in for a treat! We stumbled upon this incredible blog post by A Piece of Rainbow that covers everything you need to know about DIY greenhouses. From simple cold frames to elaborate hoop houses, this guide is a treasure trove of inspiration and practical advice. We’re so excited to share this with you!

Key Takeaways

Why Build a Greenhouse?

  • Extend the Growing Season: Greenhouses allow you to garden year-round, even in cold climates.
  • Budget-Friendly: You don’t need a big budget or advanced carpentry skills to build your own greenhouse.
  • Resourceful and Sustainable: The guide encourages the use of recycled materials like old windows, pallets, and even plastic bottles.

Types of DIY Greenhouses

  1. Plastic Bottle Greenhouses: An eco-friendly and cost-effective option.
  2. Cedar Branch Hoop Houses: Long-lasting and made from natural materials.
  3. Pallet Greenhouses: Utilizes pallet wood, a readily available and sturdy material.
  4. Old Window Cold Frames: A great way to repurpose old windows.
  5. Straw Bale Cold Frames: Ingenious and simple, using straw bales as insulating walls.
  6. A-Frame Greenhouses: Easy to build and versatile.
  7. Hardware Fencing Hoop Houses: Made from hardware wire mesh, these are sturdy and durable.
  8. Retractable Hoop Houses: These have a smart design that makes it easy to work on garden beds.
  9. Geodesic Dome Greenhouses: These offer stability in high wind locations and optimal sunlight absorption.

Additional Tips

  • Passive Heating: Some designs incorporate passive heating elements like painted jugs to keep the greenhouse warm.
  • Material Choices: The guide also provides tips on choosing the right materials, such as good quality greenhouse plastic.
  • Lead Paint Caution: If you’re using old windows, make sure they were not painted with toxic lead paint.

Filling the Gaps

While the original post is comprehensive, it could delve deeper into the following:

  • Climate Considerations: How to adapt your greenhouse design based on your local climate.
  • Irrigation Systems: Tips on setting up an efficient watering system.
  • Pest Control: Natural ways to keep pests at bay.
  • Cost Estimates: A rough guide on the cost involved in building different types of greenhouses.
  • Step-by-Step Tutorials: More detailed tutorials for each type of greenhouse would be beneficial.


Whether you’re a gardening newbie or a seasoned pro, this guide offers something for everyone. So, what are you waiting for? Roll up those sleeves and start building your dream greenhouse today!

For the full guide and tutorials, make sure to visit the original post on A Piece of Rainbow. Happy gardening!

13 Beautiful Places To Visit This Fall

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The Ultimate Guide to Chicken Dust Baths: What to Add and What to Avoid

Hey, fellow homesteaders! If you’re as passionate about raising healthy, happy chickens as I am, then you’re going to love this comprehensive guide on chicken dust baths. I recently stumbled upon an incredible blog post by Tara Dodrill on Survival Sullivan, and I just had to share it with you all. Tara’s post is a treasure trove of information, but I’ve expanded on it to give you even more insights!

What is a Chicken Dust Bath?

First things first, let’s talk about what a chicken dust bath is. It’s a blend of natural substances that help clean and deter the growth of parasites in your chickens. Tara recommends using old tires, plastic tubs, or even cinder blocks to create a “bath” for the chicken dust materials. The bath should be at least 10 inches deep and large enough to accommodate multiple hens.

Why Do Chickens Need Dust Baths?

  • Social Activity: Chickens are social creatures, and dust bathing is a group activity they absolutely love.
  • Parasite Control: Dust baths help in controlling various types of parasites like mites, lice, and ticks.
  • Feather Care: The dust bath helps in maintaining the sheen and health of the chicken’s feathers.

What to Add to Your Chicken Dust Bath

Tara provides an excellent list of items you can add to your chicken dust bath. Here’s an expanded list:

Essential Ingredients

  • Sand: Acts as a base and provides grit for digestion.
  • Soil: Helps bind lighter ingredients together.
  • Diatomaceous Earth (DE): A powerful natural substance that can kill or prevent ticks.
  • Wood Ash: Contains potassium and calcium, and helps deter some parasites.

Optional Herbal Additions

  • Lavender: Helps relieve stress and may increase blood circulation.
  • Dill: May serve as a preventative to respiratory illness.
  • Lemon Balm: Contains natural antibacterial compounds.
  • Rosemary: Natural pain relief aid and helps bolster the respiratory system.
  • Ginger: Stimulates appetite and promotes a robust circulatory system.
  • Fennel: Improves reproductive health and may serve as an egg-laying stimulant.
  • Catnip: Acts as a natural insecticide.
  • Mint: Natural rodent repellent and insecticide.
  • Thyme: Holds antibiotic and antibacterial properties.
  • Basil: Enhances the mucus membrane and may produce brilliantly colored egg yolks.

What Not to Add

  • Kitty Litter: Contains fragrances and deodorizers.
  • Sawdust: Too lightweight and absorbent.
  • Straw: Houses mites and lice.
  • Coal Ash: Contains toxic substances like heavy metals and sulfur.
  • Pine Shavings: Harmful to the chicken’s respiratory system.
  • Cedar Shavings: Contains plicatic acid which is harmful when inhaled.

Chicken Dust Bath Mixture Recipe

For optimal results, Tara suggests the following ratio:

  • 2 parts soil
  • 1 part wood ash
  • 1 to 2 parts sand
  • 1 part diatomaceous earth
  • ½: Ensure the dust bath hasn’t become too soggy or hard.
  • Seasonal Relocation: Consider moving the bath to a shady spot during warm months and a sunny spot during cold months.
  • Perches: Add low-hanging perches for the chickens to preen their feathers after bathing.

Final Thoughts

Chicken dust baths are not just beneficial for the hens but also a joy to watch. They chatter, play, and have a grand time while also getting rid of parasites that can make them sick. So, go ahead and create that perfect dust bath for your feathered friends!

Huge shoutout to Tara Dodrill for her amazing insights. Make sure…

16 Ways to Purify Water Off The Grid

Water is a fundamental necessity for life. However, just because water appears clean doesn’t mean it’s safe to consume. The World Health Organization has highlighted that millions succumb to diseases from contaminated water annually. Especially when living off the grid or homesteading, access to public drinking water might be limited, emphasizing the importance of purifying your water. Here are 16 methods to ensure your water is safe for consumption when living off-grid.

Boiling Water

One of the most reliable methods to eliminate viruses, bacteria, and parasites from water is boiling. Bringing water to a full, rolling boil for a minimum of one minute is essential (three minutes for higher altitudes). However, it’s crucial to note that boiling won’t remove chemicals or particles, but it effectively kills harmful microorganisms.


Disinfection is another method to make water potable. Common disinfectants include household bleach, iodine, and water purification tablets. The EPA provides guidelines for disinfecting with bleach. It’s essential to maintain the correct bleach-to-water ratio to ensure safety.

  • Use eight drops of 6% bleach or six drops of 8.25% bleach per gallon of water.
  • If the water is cloudy or cold, double the bleach amount.
  • Stir and let it stand for 30 minutes.
  • If there’s a strong chlorine smell, transfer the water to another container and let it stand for a few hours.

Water Filtration

Water filters vary in their capabilities and types. They range from countertop filters to portable and whole-house filters. It’s essential to understand your filter type and ensure it’s suitable for your water source. Notably, water purification filters differ from standard water filters, which might only enhance taste but not purify the water.

Lifestraw Water Filters

Lifestraw offers a range of water filters tailored to filter various contaminants. They have single-person straw filters and larger, gravity-fed filters suitable for homesteads or camps. However, these systems rely on filters with limited lifespans, so monitoring usage and expiration is crucial.

Berkey Water Filters

Many homesteaders trust Big Berkey water filters for clean, safe drinking water. These systems, though a bit pricey, are highly effective, eliminating almost all contaminants. However, acquiring replacement filters off-grid might be challenging.


Distillation involves boiling water to produce steam, which is then condensed back into water. This method removes nearly all impurities, but the resultant water might taste bland due to mineral removal. Distillation can be achieved using devices like an Instapot or a traditional pressure canner. There are also countertop distillation pots available for those with access to electricity.

Solar Still

A solar still utilizes the sun’s energy to produce pure water. It’s an excellent choice for off-grid living as it doesn’t require electricity. However, its efficiency might be compromised in cold or cloudy conditions. There are various DIY methods to build a solar still, including using a hole in the ground covered with a plastic sheet.

Ultraviolet Light Purification

Ultraviolet light can effectively disinfect water. Devices like the SteriPen are popular for purifying individual water bottles. However, larger UV purification systems for homes need electricity. Portable units, on the other hand, might operate on batteries.


How To Make Sun-Dried Tomatoes With a Dehydrator: A Comprehensive Guide


Ah, the joy of harvesting tomatoes from your garden each summer! Whether you’re a fan of the cherry variety like me or prefer the robust Romas, there’s something incredibly satisfying about plucking these red jewels. But what to do when you have a surplus? Sure, you can use them in salads, sauces, and even freeze them for later. But have you ever considered making your own sun-dried tomatoes? Don’t worry; you don’t actually need the sun for this. A dehydrator will do just fine, and it’s quicker and simpler!

Why Sun-Dried Tomatoes?

Sun-dried tomatoes are not just a fad; they’re a culinary delight that has stood the test of time. Their concentrated flavor can elevate any dish, from pasta and stews to sandwiches and omelets. They’re incredibly versatile and can be used in a myriad of ways:

  • In Pasta: Try them in our Sicilian pasta salad or mixed in our chicken and asparagus pasta with pesto.
  • In Breakfast: Add them to your omelets or scrambled eggs.
  • As a Snack: Yes, they’re delicious straight from the container!
  • In Sauces: Rehydrate them in boiling water and puree to make different types of sauces.

Choosing the Right Tomatoes

For drying purposes, Romas are usually the go-to choice. However, you’re not limited to just one type. Here are some other options:

  • Beefsteak: These are large and juicy, excellent for those who prefer a meatier texture.
  • Cherry: These tiny tomatoes are sweet and perfect for snacking.

Remember, always opt for the firmest tomatoes. Mushy ones will not yield the best results.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Prepping the Tomatoes

  1. Wash the tomatoes thoroughly to remove any dirt or pesticides.
  2. Remove the stems and any blemished skin.
  3. Cut into ¼-inch slices or in half. Thicker slices will take longer to dry out.

Seasoning (Optional)

At this point, you can sprinkle them with herbs for added flavor. Some popular choices are:

  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Thyme
  • Garlic powder

Drying Process

  1. Arrange the slices on the dehydrator trays.
  2. Set the dehydrator to 150°F.
  3. Dry them out for about 10 hours maximum, checking every hour or so after the first 4 hours. They should take on a leathery texture.


Place your dried tomatoes in an air-tight container, and store them in the refrigerator or freezer. They should last for 6 months to a year with proper storage.

No Dehydrator? No Problem!

If you don’t own a dehydrator, you can also dry your tomatoes in a 150°F oven. Follow the same preparation steps and place the slices on baking sheets. It will take a few hours for them to achieve the desired leathery texture.

Additional Tips

39 Hearty Crockpot Recipes For Fall

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