From Scratch Magazine Sustainable Lifestyle Publication Mon, 27 Apr 2015 08:25:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 How to make Dandelion Wine Mon, 27 Apr 2015 03:33:14 +0000 dandelionwine

Dandelions are starting to pop up all over yards all over the country. Instead of grabbing the roundup we suggest you go and pick some and make this wonderful dandelion wine. If you put up some this summer – you will have plenty to enjoy when the weather gets cold again!

Dandelion Wine Recipe


  • 10 to 12 Cups Dandelions (Flowers only)
  • 1 C Honey
  • 2 ½ Pounds Sugar
  • 1 Orange rind, chopped
  • 1 Lemon rind, chopped
  • 1 Gallon Water
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh, chopped ginger
  • 5 Cloves
  • 1 Package yeast
  • 1 Cup Orange juice
  • 1/2 Cup Lemon juice


  1. Combine dandelion flowers, honey, sugar, orange rind, and lemon rind in a large pot.
  2. Boil water in a separate container and pour over flower mixture.
  3. Bring mixture back to a simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  5. Add prepared yeast Read and follow manufacturer’s directions for hydrating yeast before adding it.
  6. Add orange juice, lemon juice, and spices.
  7. Cover in a non-reactive container; ceramic, glass, or enamel and set aside for a least a month in a dark place to ferment.
  8. Strain and decant into sterilized jars. Seal.
  9. Let wine season for three months in a cool, dark place before serving.

Recipe from Alexandra Michaels 


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Top Five Ways to celebrate Earth Day Wed, 22 Apr 2015 18:10:55 +0000 hands-600497_1280

Earth Day was started in the 70s as a way to increase consciousness about the environment.

Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson, inspired by the antiwar movement, decided to hold a “national teach in” for the environment, according to

The concept drew wide support from Republicans and Democrats and was a rousing success. 20 million Americans participated in the event, all over the country.

Now, Earth Day is celebrated both personally, politically and socially.

People gather all over for events, plant trees, make changes in their own lives and more.

Here’s From Scratch magazine’s tips for having a great Earth Day, and taking the spirit of the movement through the year.

Make/Buy a Rain Barrel

Many parts of the country, especially California, are in the grips of yet another drought. Which makes water conservation incredibly important. So, to water all your plants and veggies you’ve got growing in your container garden, why not make a rain barrel? Rain barrels capture rain barrels from your roof gutters and store it for later use. This prevents water usage from reservoirs that take years, sometimes centuries to replenish. If you don’t want to build one, or can’t, for whatever reason, you can buy one. 

And while you’re at it, you may want to check into xeriscaping your lawn to save even more water (and money!).

Start Composting

If you’re reading this, you should already know about composting. If you don’t, however, just in case, I’m telling you again. We believe in composting at From Scratch. We have faith in composting. Check out this piece on composting if you need a reason to start composting.

Composting is great for the environment, because instead of sending food waste (and even paper!) to a landfill with your trash, you can divert it to your compost pile and let microbial activity break it down into incredible mulch and fertilizer for your garden and lawn.

Learn how to build one here.

Learn how to make a mini compost bin (for you apartment dwellers) here.

You can also purchase a compost bin here. 

Also, despite it’s simplicity, there’s a lot to learn about compost. Check out this book for more info.

And check out this site for a list of items you can put in your compost.

Plant something

Really. Anything.

Plants are a great way to protect the environment. Plants sequester carbon from the atmosphere. Carbon, sources say, is the primary cause behind climate change. And they’re a great way to provide food for your family, shade for your yard, fodder for your animals and are just plain great to look at.

So, you can purchase plants, or seeds, Your choice. All plants sequester carbon, the bigger the plant, the more carbon sequestered. So plant what you can: Trees, shrubs, bushes … really, anything. You’ll probably find, once you get started, the bug will hit, and the next thing you know you’ll be trying to figure out how to get forty acres, plow with a mule and live off the grid.

You’re welcome.


This one is a no-brainer. But the more you recycle the more you keep out of landfills and off the side of the road. Reducing pollution is one of the tenets of Earth Day. Check out this site to find out where to recycle in your area.

Get active

While it may be too late to go to an Earth Day event today (or maybe not, check out this site for events near you), you can still get involved in saving the earth. Check out this page to learn more about local campaigns in your area. And a quick Google search will give you information on conservation and environmental efforts near you (search conservation and environmental).

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Support your local farmers: Join a CSA! Tue, 21 Apr 2015 16:01:36 +0000 photo from pixabay

Want to support your farmers? A great way to do it, other than shopping at your Farmer’s Market, is to sign up for a CSA.

What’s a CSA? CSA stands for community supported agriculture.

Community Supported Agriculture was a term coined in the 1980s and was strongly connected to the European Biodynamic Movement, an organic farming movement which was introduced to the United States at about the same time.

CSA stands for community supported agriculture. This is a way for consumers to purchase fresh, locally produced farm products and to support local farmers and farms.

Originally, CSA’s operated where members of the community put up cash to cover a farmer’s operating cost, helped with the harvest and then took a portion of that harvest.

While some CSA’s still operate in the same model, most farms use a system wherein the consumer purchases a subscription. For that purchase, a consumer is given a box of farm products at a predetermined time based on the harvest of an individual farm. Depending on the farm and the CSA system they use, the subscription cost is paid up front — to help cover start up expenses — or is paid weekly when pickup of the product occurs.

Most of the time, the contents of the box are usually composed of produce. Many farms, however, now provide eggs, meat, bread and honey with their CSA boxes, depending on the subscription and the farm.

Many farmers at the Farmers’ Markets provide CSA services to consumers. Just ask! They’ll be happy to provide you the basics of CSAs, including costs, services provided and more!

You can also use this search engine, to find a CSA near you.

If you have any more questions about CSA’s, check out this FAQ by Mary Jac Brennan.

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Hard Times Wed, 15 Apr 2015 08:14:48 +0000 There are some songs that have the ability to conjure memories or feelings. Artists who write songs that paint a picture of life’s lived long before ours. Gillian Welch has that gift and I just had to share.
Hard times

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The Spring Issue of From Scratch is here! Wed, 08 Apr 2015 03:53:45 +0000 Check out the latest issue of From Scratch Magazine.

From Scratch Magazine cover option2

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The Herbal Homestead Free Classes Wed, 08 Apr 2015 03:11:27 +0000 Register for these upcoming webinars from The Herbal Homestead.

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From Scratch Magazine April/May 2015 Issue Sun, 05 Apr 2015 20:29:39 +0000
Download the April/May 2015 Issue of From Scratch Magazine. Once you download the issue you can right click on the document and click save as and save it to whatever folder on your computer that you would like. 

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Handmade Easter’s on its way! Mon, 30 Mar 2015 07:56:17 +0000 Handmade Easter crafts tips

Easter is on its way. Little girls in pretty dresses, big family dinners, Easter egg hunts and church services. Spring may begin in March, but for me Easter has always been the true beginning of the season of renewal.

Please enjoy these amazing homemade Easter ideas that you can incorporate into your holiday.

Living, Loving, Farming had the neatest idea of using eggshells as candle holders. Blessed with lots of eggs from their free range chickens – an egg shell candle just seemed like a great Easter craft. These candles are not only easy to make but they are a fab addition to any Easter or Spring tablescape. Get instructions for this fun craft here. 


Homestead Honey gathered the kids and made some great Easter time crafts. She has a talented bunch of kids and they whipped up these amazing felt eggs. Click here to get instructions.

felt eggs
Homestead Honey didn’t stop with the felted eggs – she also made homemade dyes for her Easter eggs. Click here to get instructions on dying your Easter eggs naturally.

Ashley from Whistle Pig Hollow has some great ideas on how to ditch all of the candy from your child’s Easter Basket. 

Take the sugar out of the easter basket

Easter wouldn’t be complete without Hot Cross Buns. You have to check out this recipe from Green Circle Grove. Click here to get the recipe.

We at From Scratch Magazine hope you have a wonderful Easter Holiday!

Homemade Ideas for an amazing easter

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Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs by Farmhouse 38 Thu, 26 Mar 2015 12:36:51 +0000 Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs2


I’ve been lusting after the gorgeous colors of naturally-dyed Easter eggs for quite some time now; there is something poetically lovely about the gentle colors that result from vegetables and spices.  I must admit, however, that I was overwhelmed when I first started studying recipes.  There are many, many different methods, so I decided to sample a little from here, a little from there.  Primarily, I relied on the recipes from, as well as those found at  But, I am a self-professed fiddler, so I did not leave well enough alone.

Before we begin, a few notes….a lot of recipes out there seem to call for letting these mixtures sit and marinate overnight (most times in the fridge) before you even do any egg dyeing.  I didn’t do this.  I’m impatient.  But I can see how this might be a good thing, especially if you plan to do this project with kids–the prep process is tiiiiiiiiiiiiime consuming–not gonna lie.  Let those mixtures get super-saturated.  Can’t hurt.  Another note: some recipes call for straining the solids out of the mixture before dyeing.  I also didn’t do this….this may yield more uniform coloring, with less ‘marbling’ (when there are material particles in there with your eggs, they tend to stick and create a marbled look–which is kind of cool….depends on what you’re going for).  Finally, it seems to me that any vegetable materials seem to work best the more finely they are minced–I ultimately decided to pulverize everything in my mini-Cuiz (food processor).  The more you beat the vegetable up, the more juice comes out.  It’s science.

Notes complete.

Behold the chaos:


Don’t think for one second that I didn’t start fantasizing about cocktails….but there’s something inherently unappetizing about cabbage, beets, turmeric, vinegar, and eggs….what am I saying? I’m sure there’s a cocktail to be found in there, somewhere.

Reds, Pinks, Magentas, Maroons, and Everything in Between:


Beets!  I saw many variations on beet quantity, but after much trial and error, I arrived at the following concoction:

6 tablespoons finely chopped beets

2 cups boiling water

2 teaspoons white vinegar

Toss the beet pulp into your container, pour the boiling water over, add your vinegar, and give it a good stir.  Let it cool off before putting your eggs in.  I know it completely defies logic, but the longer you leave the egg in the mixture, the deeper the color.  Your mind is blown, right?  The beet coloring gets to work pretty quick; you don’t have to leave the egg in long for a lovely, soft pink color.  Also, fyi, brown eggs look pretty great with this coloring on them (the two darkest eggs above are brown eggs, the rest white).

Buttery Yellows:


Turmeric!  This one is so easy and quick and effective.  That stuff stains fast–mind your spills!

3-4 teaspoons turmeric powder

2 cups boiling water

2 teaspoons white vinegar

Mix it all up, and once it’s cooled a bit, drop in your eggs.  If you want light yellow, take your egg out almost immediately.

Shades of Blue:


-To achieve a robin’s egg blue, you use red cabbage.  This is one that takes a long time to get a good saturated color–many recipes recommend letting the eggs steep overnight in the mixture.  I let mine sit for for a few hours and that seemed to achieve a pretty good result (in photo, top left two eggs, and bottom right).

8 tablespoons finely chopped red cabbage

2 cups boiling water

2 teaspoons white vinegar

Same process as usual: combine all ingredients in container, let cool, drop in your eggs and wait until desired color level is achieved.

-To a get the greyish-blue (and sometimes a bit brownish) color, you use blueberries.  This is one that I fiddled around with the size of the chop on–at first, I just smashed the berries each between my fingers, and this resulted in the top right and bottom center eggs–it gave a little brown marble to the eggs that I kind of dig.  On a second batch, I finely processed the berries, and this resulted in the upper center and lower left eggs.  If I had strained either mixture, there probably would have been no speckling or marbling of the colors.

1 cup fresh blueberries (either mashed or finely chopped)

1 cup boiling water

1 teaspoon white vinegar

Mix it all up as per usual, and drop in your eggs when the mixture has cooled

Orangey, Peachy, Coppery Tones:



Yellow onion skins.

2 generous handfuls of dry onion skins

2 cups water

2 teaspoons white vinegar

The method’s a little different on this one.  In a saucepan, combine the water and the skins until it boils, turn the heat way down and simmer for 20 minutes.  Strain the skins and add the vinegar to the leftover dye mix–once cool, drop in your eggs until desire color is achieved.  The dark coppery egg is one that I completely forgot about and left in for several hours.

Various Shades of Green:



Green is the tricky one.  I fiddled a lot with this and have several different methods to achieve various shades.

-Red onion skins: prepare this mixture exactly like the yellow skins were prepared.  This resulted in the right two eggs in the photo….kind of perhaps, a khaki-ish green?  I would barely classify this as green, but hey, still kind of a cool color.

-Spinach: This resulted in the very, very pale celadon egg in the center of the photo.

1 cup of fresh spinach leaves, finely minced

2 cups boiling water

2 teaspoons white vinegar

Mix all ingredients together, let cool, then submerge egg.  The color takes a long time to come up….be patient.

-Red cabbage and turmeric: mix up your dye as you would for the robin’s egg blue, but add a 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder to it.  This method resulted in the top left three eggs: a very vibrant yellow-green.  This look can also be achieved by taking an already dyed robins-egg-blue egg and dropping it in a turmeric dye mixture.

-Blueberry egg dropped in turmeric mixture: this is the bottom, lone egg in the photo.  I thought this was the most ‘green’ of the bunch.  This was achieved by taking an already dyed blueberry egg and dropping it briefly into a turmeric dye mixture.

Lavender/purple was a big flop for me.  I tried the grape juice method mentioned in the recipe list and found it to be lacking.  What was also lacking?  Time for me to continue experimenting.  I feel that taking a beet-dyed pink or red egg and dropping it in the red cabbage or blueberry dyes (or visa versa) would produce a pretty good purple.  But I didn’t get around to this, so it’s just my best guess.

All in all, it was pretty fun to do, and the result wasn’t too shabby.  I am, by no means, a professional egg-dyer, so take my methods with a grain of salt.  There is definitely some recipe tweaking left to do!






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10 Reasons to Love Chickens Sun, 22 Mar 2015 17:03:27 +0000 10 reasons to love chickens

Chickens. The gateway drug of farming.

At least, that’s how it was for me. When my dreams of farming first took hold, what was the first thing I wanted?

A few chickens.

You know, just enough to get a few eggs. Nothing crazy. Not like twenty-something chickens.

Well, whoops! I guess that’s where we ended up, huh?

1. Chickens are easy

They require the basics: Food, water, and shelter — and these can be as simple or extravagant as you choose them to be. We used a mobile shelter,
which covers all the bases for us: Open floor for dropping to fall out,
shelter from the weather, and mobility to transport around the pasture.
Even as little chicks, easy peasy.

2. They are happy to see you

There is not much that’s better than seeing them sprint across the pasture
when they see you coming. Yes, I know. It is because I bring them food. But I also believe it is due to my sparkling personality and sweet voice. Either way, they’re happy — and I’m flattered.

3. The taste of their eggs: Exquisite

After having fresh farm eggs, you really can’t go back to the store-bought
stuff. I’ve always been a yolk-person, but I never knew that egg yolks
could be like this! So bright and big — and flavorful!

4. Pest control

When we moved onto our property, there was a major fire ant problem out in our pasture and woods. After fencing the pasture and sticking
the chickens out there, the fire ant mountains were demolished. Completely
cleared. Thank God!

5. They love my clabbered milk

I drive out about 35 minutes away every week or so to pick up fresh milk from the farmer that we purchased our cow Sally from. That milk is precious to me, but occasionally we don’t get it all drank up before it starts tasting a tad “off”. However, if I leave it out on the counter for a couple more days and allow it to clabber, I have the happiest chickens
in the world. The sight of them chowing down on that stuff, flinging
it all over and on themselves – Hilarious, I tell you.

6. The taste of pastured chicken is indescribable

Ok, I know this probably wasn’t something you were expecting on this list,
but it had to happen. We had the aggressive rooster that had to go. If it
wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t raise meat chickens. The taste was like nothing
I had had before. Definitely not like the chicken I had purchased at the
supermarket. It was moist, flavorful, dark — Mmmmmm….

7. They are feisty

Have you ever come upon a chicken sitting stubbornly on a pile of eggs?
No? Not a pretty sight if she wants to keep those eggs there. The noise
that comes out of her is something akin to what a pterodactyl would
sound like. But this is a good thing. I respect that protective instinct.
I got your back girl — Just give me those eggs.

8. Amazing fertilizer

Do you know how amazing chicken fertilizer is? One of the best out there!
And free! Well, for me, at least! We move our mobile coop around the
pasture during most of the year, in order to fertilize the entire pasture.
During the winter months, like now, we have the bottom of the coop
closed up to prevent drafts on the ladies. Then at the end of winter,
we have a nice stockpile of chicken droppings that has been composting
down using the deep litter method.

9. When the big chickens run, they look like linebackers

Really! One of these days, I shall get a video for you. Promise.

10. They are just plain good entertainment

I love that each of our chickens has different personalities. I love that I
can spend the day looking out my kitchen window, watching their crazy
antics. They are friendly, sweet, spunky — AND I LOVE THEM!

Truly couldn’t imagine a farm without them!

Mel from the Faulk Farmstead and her better half, Micky, are amateur farmers, living out their dream in the beautiful state of Washington! Join them on the journey – and learn along with them!
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