Raw honey is good for your immune system—at least, that’s what the raw foodies say.
It makes sense at first glance. After all, it wouldn’t be terribly surprising if the pasteurization process kills the good microbes with the bad ones. And research suggests that small doses of the pollen in raw, unfiltered honey may work similarly to an allergy shot.
But is raw honey safe? That’s an issue health and food experts are still debating. Read More
We love Nebo lights. They’re bright, they come in all shapes and sizes, and they attach to just about anything.
That last part is what makes Nebo flashlights so handy. Depending on the model, a Nebo flashlight can be attached to a belt, a pocket, a magnetic surface, a nail on the wall, or even a strip of Velcro. Read More
One of the most recent trends in health is “raw” water.
Simply put, raw water is water that has not been filtered or treated in any way. It may come from a well, a spring, a pond, or directly from the sky, but the point is that raw water is water in an unprocessed state.
Some companies have decided to cash in on the raw water philosophy, bottling unfiltered spring water to sell at amazing prices at health food stores, especially on the West Coast. While this product has proven so commercially successful as to be frequently out of stock in stores that carry it, some customers opt for the less-expensive-in-the-long-term alternative of harvesting raw water themselves. This latter solution has particular appeal to the off-the-grid set.
Raw food has long been advocated by health food proponents. Raw water was a natural next step, and the suggested benefits are quite similar. Just as cooking vegetables, for instance, has the potential to destroy beneficial nutrients, filtering and treating water has the potential to eliminate everything from essential minerals to helpful probiotics—substances that not only promote overall health, but that keep the body hydrated.
Furthermore, raw water advocates observe that regular bottled water is by no means contaminant-free. While there are regulatory limits on the amount of contaminants permitted in bottled water or city tap water, the regulations do tend to lag behind the science, resulting in perpetually outdated monitoring. Furthermore, some contaminants may actually be added during treatment, ranging from fluoride to chlorine to lead leached from pipes. Raw water avoids many of these problems.
Of course, if the good substances, like probiotics, can remain in raw water, contaminants can, as well. Bacteria, viruses, and parasites can all lurk in unfiltered water, depending on its source.
In fact, scientists observe that many diseases and infections in underdeveloped countries come from what health-food buffs are now hailing as raw water:
- E. coli.
Furthermore, some of the claims made by those selling raw water can be alarming. One company cautions not to leave the water sitting on the shelf too long or it will turn green. Some regard this as evidence that the water is still “alive,” unlike “dead” filtered water. Others feel that the disturbing green color suggests that harmful organisms may be present, while the CDC warns that even water that looks sparkling clear may contain invisible pathogens.
A Final Note
Whatever one may think of the hefty price tag accompanying raw water products sold at health food stores, it is only fair to note that the providers have obtained laboratory analyses of their products. So does that make their water safe? A great deal depends on the integrity of the company—but that’s true with all food and water products.
Those who are interested in harvesting their own raw water should exercise caution. Unfortunately, relatively few homesteaders are likely to have access to a truly clean source of raw water on their property. The fortunate few are encouraged to thoroughly read up on water safety and to test the quality of their water on a frequent, regular basis.
A quick glance at the heating properties of Osage orange may suggest that this tree is the world’s best firewood (if you don’t mind battling thorns and sharpening chainsaw blades frequently). After all, this dense wood is the hottest-burning firewood east of the Rocky Mountains, producing as much as 32.6 million BTUs per cord according to K-State. That’s enough heat to warp a wood-burning stove without proper precautions to keep the temperature down.
But sitting in front of an Osage orange fire can be anything but restful. Once the wood heats up, the constant shower of sparks can transform your fireplace in a miniature fireworks display.
Sparking occurs when the wood releases sap, which in this species is a thick, sticky white substance containing latex. The sparking increases dramatically if the fire is suddenly exposed to air.
You can mitigate, but not completely eliminate, the spark shower by allowing the sap to dry out before burning. Osage orange dries very slowly, taking from six months to two years depending on the size of the pieces. Note that the wood should be split before drying begins. Dry Osage orange is remarkably like iron.
It’s always best to be on the safe side, even with dry wood. Never burn Osage orange in an open fireplace, and never leave the fire unattended.
A new year—a new reading challenge!
This year, Kansas is the theme. To complete the challenge, you must read 12 Kansas-related books by the end of 2018:
- A book about Kansas prior to 1854.
- A book about Kansas flora.
- A fictional book written by a Kansas author.
- A book about territorial Kansas.
- A book about Kansas travel.
- A book about Kansas fauna.
- A book about Kansas in the late 1800s.
- A book of poetry written by a Kansas author.
- A book about a famous Kansan.
- A book about Kansas in the 1900s.
- A book of Kansas photography.
- A book about a current issue in Kansas.
Here are the rules:
- Books in electronic formats count.
- Both fiction and nonfiction books count.
- You can read the books in any order.
- Books cannot be counted twice, even if they fit into more than one category.
If you can complete a book a month, you will be able to complete the challenge easily.
Let us know what you’re reading this year! We’d love to hear from you!
The Homestead Bookshelf
Looking for a good book? Start here.
Looking for something to do indoors on those cold, cloudy days of winter? Put that time to good use with one of these projects:
- Set goals for the new year. And schedule time to work on them. When pursuing an objective that requires a long-term commitment, writing down your goal is the first step to making it happen. Planning time into your day for zeroing in on that goal is the second step.
- Research a new enterprise. Get a head start on that new project you were contemplating and do some research. Winter is a great time for reading, making notes, calculating budgets, and laying plans.
- Plan a garden. Don’t waste a minute of the growing season! By preparing for spring gardening now, you will give yourself plenty of time to create a planting schedule, purchase seeds, and start vegetables indoors.
- Learn a new craft or skill. Many crafts typically considered hobbies can be enjoyed for their own sake, but they can often be put to practical use, as well. Hand-knit scarves for the family will be greatly appreciated during winter chores. Original art can be sold for extra income. Woodworking can be useful in hundreds of ways around both the farm and the house.
- Overhaul your web content. Are your links (both internal and external) still functional? Is your more timeless content still up to date? Is your about page still relevant? Are there tweaks you could make to your design or taxonomy to make your content easier to find?
- Start a reading challenge. Is the weather outside frightful? Sit down with a good book. Taking up a reading challenge is a good way to stretch yourself by reading about topics you might otherwise have overlooked, thus expanding your knowledge base.
- Write a book. While you’re reading broadly and acquiring new knowledge, take some time to put your own knowledge into a form that others can benefit from. Research, writing, and editing all take time—what better time than when the outdoor chores have let up a bit?
The Worst Jokes I Know by B. Patrick Lincoln is an illustrated collection of 101 Funny Bone Ticklers for Jokesters of All Ages designed to be shared and enjoyed by the entire family.
Young jokers (cards, you might say) will enjoy trying out clean, corny wordplay on their family, friends, and pun pals as they find out:
- Why is it inadvisable to read the contents of this book to an egg?
- Why was the ground delighted with the earthquake?
- And why did the chicken really cross the road?
The Kindle edition features color illustrations (depending on your device).
The Worst Jokes I Know will be available through Kindle Unlimited for six months only.