By Angela and Mandi

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Episodes: 39


A podcast for those who are looking to slow down, return to their roots and feel more self-sufficient. Join Mandi Pickering of Wild Oak Farms, and Angela Ferraro-Fanning of Axe & Root Homestead in their new podcast HOMESTEADucation, created by homesteaders for homesteaders. This podcast will explore different facets of homesteading in detail including vegetable gardening, fruit orchard care, animal husbandry, and more. Follow us on Instagram: Angela @axeandroothomestead and Mandi @wildoakfarms

Episode Date
Spring Crops: Getting your hands dirty now!

Peas: Can be sown when soil temps are between 40 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Shelling peas: for storage

Snap peas: fresh eating

Sweet peas: flowers, not edible

Sow ¼-½” deep in well draining soil. Keep moist through germination and while growing.

Trellis is required. 

Peas have thigmotropism: the ability to feel with sense of touch

Radish: Can be sown when soil temps reach 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pay attention to radish size, depth, and soil needs when planting.

Grow very quickly!

Carrots: Very difficult to germinate

Seed tape vs. sowing seeds – heavily sow and thin if needed

Keep moist until sprouting (the board trick)

Growing temps of around 40 degrees are great for sweeter tasting carrots

Carrots require fluffy soil with good tilth. Rocks in soil make squiggly carrots.

Bok Choi/Pak Choi/Bok Choi:

Prefers temperatures between 55 and 70 degrees fahrenheit

Prone to flea beetles; use coffee grounds in soil at planting time

Keep moist and cool, provide shade cloth if needed

Beets and Turnips:

Sow typically a few weeks before last frost. Requires temperatures in 40s to germinate and sprout. Keep moist. Sow heavily and thin as needed. Greens and roots are edible. Pay attention to variety for root size–some will never reach larger than a golf ball!


Sow 6 weeks before last frost. Prefers cold temps! Excellent for direct sowing when soil is workable, though does well started in seed cells too.

Crop is ready in as little as 6 weeks from harvest.

Spring Onions:

Plant in cool weather, but only when nighttime temps no longer fall in the 20Fs. Plant no more than one inch deep in seed cells or when direct sowing to avoid root growth restriction. Sow heavily and thin as needed.


Plant bare root crowns and mulch surrounding soil with straw as soon as the soil can be worked. Be sure to identify desired variety; everbearing or June-bearing.


Cold season herb. Flowers are medicinal. Can be grown in spring and fall.

Remember! Some of this might be applicable to you now or in a few weeks. Either way we hope we have encouraged you to get out in your gardens and start growing something beautiful. 

Angela- @axeandroothomestead
Mandi- @wildoakfarms

Mar 02, 2023
Candid Chat About LGD

This is likely one of many chats between the both of us about our Livestock Guardian dogs. 
One of many. 

Stay tuned for more to come! Cheers. 

Angela @axeandroothomestead
Mandi @wildoakfarms 

Feb 08, 2023
The Brassica Episode

The brassica family includes cole crops, descendants of the mustard family and wild cabbages. This includes broccoli, cauliflower, romanesco, kale, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and collards.

(cabbage is actually a member of the mustard family- but we lump it into brassicas!)

Soil and Temperature

These crops prefer well drained soil, kept moist. The seeds require slight warmth to germinate at 65 degrees Fahrenheit or more, but prefer to grow in cool conditions. If grown in peak summer, and not provided with cooling shade, they’ll bolt. Bolting means going to seed, or sending up flower heads before a true crop is produced for harvest.

Tip: Know your growing environment! If your temperatures where you are seeding stay in the 60-70 range you may not need any bottom heat for germination. If you do use heat mats (and we do!) just remember to remove the trays when you have germination. Forgetting to do so can contribute to weak and leggy seedlings. 

When to Sow and Transplant

Sow 6-8 weeks before last date of frost in seed trays. Direct sow when temperatures are warmer. Can be transplanted out three to two weeks before last frost date when left unprotected. If row cover or a hoop house is provided, can transplant into the garden much earlier.

Tip: Grow where you have NOT grown like crops in the past couple of years- this goes for the whole brassica family. 

It is safe to generalize the statement that brassicas want a soil pH of about 6-7.

Tip: I have found over the years that crops like broccoli and cabbage enjoy a little “extra love” when the plants are in your garden and roughly 4-5 inches tall. We side dress with some well aged compost. 

Growing and Harvesting

Harvest broccoli and cauliflower when heads reach roughly 5” across, variety dependent. To blanch cauliflower heads, tie the leaves residing directly below the head together above the crown. This will blanch the cauliflower for a whiter color. According to some folks, as brussels sprouts grow, leaves can be pruned off to allow more sunlight to reach the small cabbage heads along the stalk. This is said to increase sprout size. Cabbage should be harvested before the head splits, usually at around 6” in size (again variety dependent).


  • Note the kale experiment 
  • Perennial

Troubleshooting: Any damage (usually pest related or rough handling when removing pests) to the central growing point can lead to a stunted or no head growth. The outer leaves will still grow so it may seem “okay” but they too will be tough and non-edible. 

Perennial choices exist for brassicas:

Angela purchases her’s here:

  • 9 Star Broccoli (bushing growth habit and is white like cauliflower)
  • Tree Collards
  • Walking Stick Kale
  • Daubenton's Kale
  • Kosmik Perennial Kale

Pests: Slugs, snails, cabbage moths

To deter cabbage moths, use row cover before moths appear throughout the growing season-

  1. Companion planting broccoli with garlic, chives and nasturtium helps to deter cabbage moths. Plant thickly.
  2. Mulching the garden is great but leave a small bit of soil exposed around the stem of brassicas to avoid slug and snail access

Tip: Spend 10 minutes a day with a morning tea or coffee and pick off any cabbage worms (small green worm like terrible creatures) and dispose. We also like to keep a butterfly net in garden storage to catch any you miss! 

Jan 31, 2023
Dr. Temple Grandin

We had the extreme honor of speaking with the incredible Dr. Temple Grandin today. She is not only a pioneer in the Agriculture industry as a whole, but an advocate for animal welfare and husbandry, and she has written over 60 scientific papers. 

On today's podcast we discuss one of her latest published papers:
Grazing Cattle, Sheep, and Goats are Important Parts of a Sustainable Agriculture Future.

You all. She is brilliant. Even if you don't farm or homestead, her information is applicable to all. After all, we all live on the same planet Earth. 


Ps! Another incredible piece to this story is Temple wrote the forward to Angela's book - The Sustainable Homestead- which comes out March 28th, 2023! - Preorder her book here! 

Jan 20, 2023
Growing Onions- Seeds/Sets/Started

Starting onions from seed:

Onion seeds are tiny little black seeds. Go figure, they are like more than 50% of

other seeds.

They prefer to be planted in loose/fertile soil and or seed starting mix.

You *can start them right in the ground if you have a longer growing season, but

most gardeners that aren’t planting starts are starting seeds early in the year. Late-

Jan- Feb.

If you plant directly in your beds plant them an inch deep and keep rows at least 1

foot apart.

Onion plants have very shallow roots and throughout the season will require a

consistent watering plan or irrigation for best results.

A lot of folks plant start onion seeds indoors or in a greenhouse using a bunching

method. Where many seeds are planted in almost a broadcast method in a larger

pot. The seeds will grow and almost look like grass with tiny black specs on top.

When it comes time to transplant outdoors you lift the entire bunch and carefully

separate the individual seedlings. It seems tedious, but as long as your soil is fertile

and loose its not too bad.

Planting onion sets:

Be sure when you are sourcing them that you source from LOCAL places and or

know your grow zone and what onion varieties grow best. IE: short day and long


Long day vs Short day onions:

This is just referring refers to the approximate hours of daylight a variety of onion

will need in order to start developing the bulb. Short Day means about ten hours a

day, while long day means twelve hours or more. This is important to consider when

choosing for your zone.

pH desired: 5.5-6.5- more acidic if you can.

In general, onions are ready for harvest in 100 to 125 days from seed. If you planted

onion sets, expect to harvest in 60 to 80 days.

How many onions do you eat in a year?



Onions prefer 6-8 hours of sun per day.

Plan for a spot with access to plenty of moisture as onions are slow drinkers. They do well in damp soil but need drainage… soaking wet feet leads to rotting bulbs.

Know your zone and onion type. Long day onion varieties are generally best suited for zones 6 and lower and require 14-16 hours of daylight. Short day onions need about 10 hours per day and work for zones 7+. Day neutral onion varieties are pretty adaptable with about 12 hours of sunlight needed daily. Ideally suited for zones 5 and 6.

If you’re planning on storing onions over the winter, grow storage varieties suited for long term keeping. My favorites are Aisla Craig for short term storage and Stuttgarter, Yellow Sweet Spanish, Patterson, and Yellow of Parma for long term. I’m not really a red onion person so can’t speak to that as much. 😉

Seeds are slow germinating and can be started in January with transplanting in spring into the garden.

Leeks, chives, Egyptian walking onions, ramps, and welsh onions are all great varieties to add to your must try growing list! Most of these are perennials too.

Keep onions well weeded as they don’t like competitors.

Plan to grow onions alongside brassicas like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and kohlrabi. They help to repel cabbage worms/moths with their strong scent when closely grown together. Greens, tomatoes and carrots are also good companions. So are fruit trees! Onions are great in guilds.

Never plant onions near peas or beans, peanuts or groundnut, nor asparagus. They stunt one another’s growth.

Harvest onions when they tell you to; their greens will usually fall over and begin to yellow. You can also see their papery sk

Jan 18, 2023
Homestead Myths

HAPPY 2023! 

We will admit, we recorded this right before the holidays and then the holidays happened. :) 
We would like to welcome you to the New Year with a fun recording where we talk all about some of the common myths that circulate the homesteading community. Or just the community in general. 

We both are very excited to bring you incredible content this year, but let's start with something fun! Cheers! 

Angela & Mandi 


Jan 03, 2023
Homesteading/Homesteader Perception

You'll have to listen. This is a good one. 

Mandi asked on social media- "What does being a homesteader mean to you? Are you proud of it? Do you feel like you "fit in?"

The responses were all over the board. Some were terribly sad. Some made sense to us. Some were very extreme. 
We talked about many of them and gave our own thoughts in this episode. 

No matter where you stand. If you are in fact a homesteader or are seeking out a similar lifestyle, you DO fit in. There isn't a box. And you are doing a great job. 

Stand tall and keep going. 

Angela, and Mandi 

Dec 08, 2022
Functional Farming vs. Glamour Farming

Sit down with us as we just have a candid conversation with one another about the difference between functional farming and glamour farming.  Has social media damaged how we look at hard work? Functional work? 

Our thoughts on this hot button topic. Join us. And remember one thing. 


Angela: @axeandroothomestead
Mandi: @wildoakfarms

Nov 18, 2022
Designing A Greenhouse: Considerations and Challenges

Season 3: Greenhouse

Greenhouses can come in a variety of forms:

  1. Cold Frame
  2. Hoop House
  3. Mini Greenhouse
  4. Greenhouse Kit
  5. Attached 3-sided Structure
  6. Independent Structure

3 Things Required for Greenhouse

  1. Ventilation
  2. Heat Source
    1. Thermal mass from other structure
    2. Heater
    3. Water Barrels
  3. Sunlight

Things to Consider

  1. Flooring
  2. Drainage
  3. Position of the house relative to sunrise/set
  4. Access 
  5. Orientation- traditionally greenhouses direct N-S. (Mandi’s does not and we explain why it still works!)


  1. Contained pests include aphids, scales, mealy bugs, gnats
  2. Mold and mildew
  3. Heating if necessary

Ways to heat a greenhouse- likely one of the biggest challenges we face. Some folks compost in the greenhouse- you have to have a large enough one and I am not convinced it would work too well. You can double window. Put up sheet insulation- like the kind some folks do on their windows. - may not be rated for humidity though. 

Mandi uses an electric heater. It keeps the greenhouse around 40 degrees- even when it is about 16 outside. 

As you listen to the entire episode, you will hear that we chat about many ways to do the same thing. It sure doesn't have to be fancy, because the end goal is all the same! 

Thank you for listening. 
Angela and Mandi 

Nov 09, 2022
We are back! Let's talk about planting garlic!


Plant in full sun.

Don’t overwater to prevent rotting bulbs. Instead, mulch the area with straw to retain moisture.

Plant cloves in mid October before the freeze. Also know what you’re planting. Grow soft neck varieties for storage and hard neck for larger cloves, and mainly consuming sooner than later. Elephant garlic is awesome and easy to peel. But it doesn’t last super long.

 Buy quality seed. We like





 A small sprinkle of slow release fertilizer in each hole when planting really helps out cloves as they establish roots. For a more permaculture approach, use biodegradable materials to improve soil quality and replace needed nutrients (i.e. comfrey, compost, etc.).


In addition to full sun and water, fertilize every 2-3 weeks with liquid kelp.

Keep weed free and avoid walking in growing areas to avoid compacting the soil.

When scapes appear on hardneck varieties, cut them before they blossom. This keeps the plant’s energy going towards the bulb and not reproducing via flower pollen.


Many sources say to harvest when the foliage of the plant is 2/3 yellow-brown. I don’t as this opens up the possibility of rotting bulbs! I harvest after a week or two of cutting scapes.

After harvesting, shake off excess dirt. Braid and hang softneck varieties in small groups or bundle hardneck varieties and hang. Air flow is key!

 Make sure the bulbs cure for about three weeks in a dry, cool location.

 After 3 weeks, de-stem, remove roots with scissors and store in braids or porous baskets.

 Pro Tip: Garlic is a great companion plant for broccoli, cauliflower and other brassicas. If you plant rows 12” apart, you can leave space to interplant these crops in the spring.

You have the choice between two kinds- hardneck and softneck. Within both of those there are dozens of different cultivars, but knowing the difference in hard vs soft is very helpful for choosing the right kinds for your zone. Softneck garlic is usually what you are finding at the grocery store. Those varieties tend to have a longer and more stable shelf life. Softneck garlic in my opinion is also less flavorful, or should I less more mild to the taste buds. It's a more "well-rounded" choice when it comes to an all purpose garlic. These do NOT have scapes. Softneck garlic grows best in warmer climates, however we do grow some here and we get some pretty harsh winters.

Then you have hardneck garlic. We grow 80% hardneck here on our homestead. It does better in colder climates like ours. Hardneck garlic is the superior choice for colder climates because it requires prolonged exposure to cold weather of at least 40 days at 40 degrees F (or even less). This process is called vernalization. We also like hardneck garlic better because of the scapes! Those are the curly-q things that come up in the middle of the stalk. Usually a few weeks before the garlic is ready for harvest. It is like a bonus crop.

With all of that being said, play around with it. Garlic is SO easy to grow and once you start you won't stop. You will plant more and more each year. Trust me.

Garlic requires full- sun. That is considered at least 6 hours of sunlight each day. Garlic likes to be planted in a well-draining soil that has a neutral (or even slightly acidic) pH. By doing a soil test in fall, you can learn what and how you should

Nov 03, 2022
Cover Crops

Season 3: Cover Crops

Cover crops are a form of vegetation that is grown in raised beds, in-ground gardens, and animal grazing paddocks to improve soil fertility and tilth. These crops are not harvested for use but are left within the soil. Most often, cover crops are chopped and dropped before seed-set in order to return nutrients to the soil and prevent unwanted spreading. 

A lot of folks call cover crops the no cash- cash crop. We don’t harvest it so I think it’s widely underused. People forget about soil health once the fall or summer season of growing is done. But when we add things like CC or any organic material to the beds or plots in the fall you are setting yourself up for a better Spring. 

For our raised beds we plant roughly 4 weeks before frost- so that is the first week of october. And then we will mow- weed-whack the cover crops down the first of march before they go to seed. This gives the roots and the rest of the plant material time to decompose and feed the soil before we plant things in early spring. (third ish week of March) 

From Farmer’s Almanac: “Examples include winter rye, hairy vetch, red clover, oats, buckwheat, forage rye, Italian rye grass (sown by October), field beans, and forage pea (sown by November). Cover crops literally make a living “cover” to sustain soil life until spring planting.”

Cover Crop Functions:

  1. Hold soil in place and prevent erosion
  2. Keep soil covered to prevent solarization
  3. Increase organic matter
  4. Add nutrients
  5. Loosen compacted soil, improving aeration
  6. Some suppress weeds
  7. In warmer seasons, flowering crops provide a source of pollen/nectar for pollinators

NOTE: Cover crops need at least four weeks of growth before the first frost to fully establish themselves and to “work.”

From Farmer’s Almanac:

“For most home gardeners, there are other things to take into consideration. Mainly, cover crops for home vegetable gardens should be easy to work into the soil in the spring.

  • Hairy vetch produces so much top growth that it’s very difficult to turn over without a strong mower. Hairy vetch and winter rye are better for field-scale production.
  • Perennial cover crops such as red clover (Trifolium pratense) are slow growing and are best used in orchards and vineyards. 

“For cool-season cover crops (planted in late summer/fall), annuals are the way to go. They die over the winter or naturally complete their life cycle by the next spring. Also, the home gardener should select crops that can be easily incorporated into the garden. Here are some good cool-season cover crops to explore:

  • Oats are a wonderful annual cover crop which prevents erosion and loosens tight soil.
  • Field peas, mustard, and barley are also good annual cover crops. 
  • Berseem clover is a rapid-growing annual legume that will fix nitrogen in the soil.
  • Oilseed radish is a rapidly growing annual with large roots that alleviate deep compaction.”

 Link to Farmer’s Almanac suggested cover crops by region (also includes Canada):

Way to Improve Soil Fertility in Fall Without Cover Crops:

  1. Add compost
  2. Remove diseased plants and unwanted weeds
  3. Leave dead, healthy matter to return nutrients to soil
  4. Add any additional amendments if needed after testing the soil
  5. Cover with straw, woodchips or mulch to offer protection

In general, Fall is the best time to add any organic material to your garden. It is far wiser to manage, till if you till, add to your

Sep 14, 2022
Freeze Fresh with Author Crystal Schmidt

Join us for this episode where we chat with Crystal, the author of the new book "Freeze Fresh" - The ultimate guide to preserving fruits and vegetables. It was such a fun and relatable conversation and one we know you all are going to love! Crystal is such a wealth of knowledge and an asset to the homesteading community! Enjoy!

Find Crystal on Instagram at Wholefedhomestead and you can find her book titled "Freeze Fresh" on Amazon and other book retailers such as Target and Barnes and Noble. 


Angela: axeandroothomestead
Mandi: wildoakfarms 

Jul 27, 2022
The Tomato Episode

This was so much fun! I am sure that if we both could only grow one thing, it would be tomatoes! 

We talked about pruning, trellising, when to harvest, how to store, and more! 

What is your favorite tomato variety? 


Be sure to come say hi @wildoakfarms and @axeandroothomestead 

Jul 22, 2022
Companion Planting

What is companion planting?

It's one of the foundations of creating working ecosystems when it comes to permaculture. We can group plants together when planning and planting our growing spaces to help crops deter pests/disease, mine nutrients from the soil, and attract pollinators.

It's a way of creating a symbiotic relationship in your gardens, because the idea is the two plants (or more) that are companions are each providing to the other something that it cannot do. Or cannot do it alone. The plants are working together to benefit one another. Companion planting is also thought to “confuse” pests even when you are unable to cover or manage intensively. 

It helps support plant diversity and actually helps you intensively manage a small space better. The key in fostering diversity is to increase the number of beneficial pests- thus decreasing the harmful ones. 

Why companion plant?

The result is a higher crop yield, less human intervention by way of fertilizing and pest control, and maximizing garden space. These concepts can be applied to small spaces--even container gardens--to large environments like orchards. It's about getting away from mono-culture (planting rows upon rows of corn, for example) and planting many things together, called poly-culture.

For containers, raised beds or in-ground garden systems, here's some helpful companion plant combinations I use.


Plant lettuce, carrots, radish underneath and around


Plant broccoli and cauliflower between rows of garlic and/or sage to deter cabbage moths. Crimson clover acts a great living mulch to attract predatory insects to feed on those cabbage moth larvae also.


Surround with radishes to deter cucumber beetles


Sow 2-3 nasturtium seeds around each seedling after sprouting to deter squash bugs/borersMarigolds and Calendula

Use around borders to attract beneficial pollinators and deter rabbits- and they can add another thing to you homestead arsenal- you can make salves from the petals- they both are from the same family and have anti-inflammatory properties and more. 


Interplant garlic around roses to deter fungal diseases (some folks say it also encourages a stronger fragrance from the rose blossoms!)


Peas give nitrogen to the soil so are great for heavy-feeding plants like tomatoes, corn, peppers, eggplant, and even potatoes


Interplant with mint to deter pests. Also interplant with borage to attract pollinators and enhance berry sweetness.


Containing both edible foliage and flowers (and seeds-capers) it fairs well in less fertile soil. Great for pollinators and pest control- so we interplant this easy to grow trailing flower all over the garden. 

Trap crops: the idea of planting crops to “sacrifice”.  This aids in pest reduction for the plants you want to see to harvest. This is ideally done in close proximity to the plants you are trying to succeed with. For us- we do this with brassicas- greens etc. We will cover (with a lightweight summer cloth) the beds we want to protect and then leave a bed nearby uncovered and unkempt. The easiest form of trickery. 

Plants that add nitrogen back into our soil:

It's no secret- your soil is alive. You want it to be its own little ecosystem right under your feet. We can help the soil (because then it turns around and helps us) by planting crops that are rich in nitrogen. Legumes - peas and beans are some of the more common plants homesteaders will grow for a harvest- and they are also helping improve the soil as they grow a

Jul 20, 2022
Apartment Gardening

Do you live in an apartment, condo, and/or are you limited on your growing space? 

This episode is for you! We have covered in previous episodes small space gardening and discussed many tricks we have learned in growing over the years. This just takes it to a little bit more of a niche! 

Be sure to check out those other episodes that might also be helpful from the previous seasons! 


Jul 15, 2022

Hi you all! While at The Homestead Festival in Columbia, Tennessee- on Rory Feek's Homestead, we were able to sit down with Rory himself and chat with him about his dream of putting on this festival come to life.  It was incredible to hear a little more about the why, and also learn this was the first, but not the last! 

This episode is proudly sponsored by Tractor Supply. 


Jun 09, 2022
Homesteading and Grief

Sometimes episode ideas just come to us and we have to hit record. 

Sit down with us as we talk about Homesteading and the associated grief that comes along with it. 
How we process the grief. Maybe how we don't. 
It is bound to be a conversation that we all need to have with one another and this is just the start. 

Cheers to you all. 

Be sure to find us on Instagram 
Angela : @axeandroothomestead
Mandi : @wildoakfarms

Apr 15, 2022
Special Episode: Avian Influenza with Kirsten at Hostile Valley

Today we wanted to open up the topic about the most recent outbreak of Avian Flu and hear Kirstens real life and very recent experience with Avian Flu and having to cull her whole flock. 

We are so grateful to her for sitting down with us to talk about this very tough topic. 
Kirsten is a published author and is mostly known for being the Homestead Communitys "goose lady". 
You can find Kirsten on Instagram at hostilevalleyliving and at
Please join us in listening to what happened, how they dealt with it, and their plans going forward. 

For more information about Avian Influenza please visit 

Apr 08, 2022
Financing the Homestead

Everyones FAVORITE topic. Money.

How to make money on your Homestead? How do you do it?
The most common question. 
Join the conversation with us. 

Apr 01, 2022
Hatching Eggs- Chicks, Ducklings, and Goslings!

Hatching Basics

We cover chickens, ducks, and geese in this episode

Touching on turkeys and quail, the more common poultry species on most


From how to pick your incubator, pick the right eggs to hatch, where to put your

incubator, and how long. There is a lot to know!

While we all can read as much information as we can digest, you do gain a lot of

information once you have a few hatches under your belt.

The difference isn’t too vast when it comes to each species we will talk about, but

there are a few.

Set up and choosing an incubator:

There are SO many.

Simple Styrofoam

Incubators that have auto turners

Cabinet style

How do you choose? Most of us are going to go middle of the road and invest in an

incubator with an auto turner. This allows us to set the eggs and NOT have to turn

then 3-5 times a day.

The incubator is mimicking what would be happening if a broody would elect to

hatch a clutch, so we cant just set the eggs and walk away for 21-28 days.

And then we have to talk about the “air types” inside the incubator.

There are basically two types of incubators available, forced-air and still-air

incubators. Forced-air incubators have fans that provide internal air circulation. The

capacity of these units may be very large. The still-air incubators are usually small

without fans for air circulation. It is just kind of like a hot box and not as common.

Still-air incubators are trickier to use, and it requires precision to set this kind of

incubator. The radiant heat warms up the air, and since the air will not be able to

circulate, it is very crucial to identify the correct placement of the eggs. The warm

air tends to not be equal, thus making it harder to achieve a successful hatch.

In addition, the setting of still air incubators has to be exact otherwise, temperature

and humidity anomalies might occur inside.

Backing up, in order to have a successful hatch you have to focus on two things.

Temperature and humidity. Remember we are replicating what it would be like if

the hen or goose went broody and hatched these eggs on their own.

We have talked about it before, how we as humans seem to interfere too much when

it comes to many aspects of homesteading, this is no exception.

Chickens 21-days/Lockdown day 18- Temperature 99.5 incubator temp/Humidity

around 45% for first 18 days and then bump up to about 60-65% at lockdown.

Ducks 28 days/Lockdown day 25-26 (besides Muscovys)- Temperature

99.5/Humidity about 50-55% for the first 25 days and then bump up to about 65-

68% at lockdown

Geese 28-35 days-/Lockdown 3 day before hatch day- Temperature 99.5 (if not a

hair lower- 99.4)/Humidity 50-55% for the first 25 days and then bump up to about

65-68% at lockdown.

For waterfowl- a cooling period is even more beneficial/crucial than with chicken

eggs. Again, this is mimicking the mother bird.

Some folks with mist the eggs every day or so, again replicating the mother bird

bathing or swimming.

Place your incubator in a draft free location.

Everyone will have slight variations, we all live in different home environments.

This is why we talk about trialing with a couple of eggs, especially if you are

hatching eggs that are very special or hard to find.

Assisting the hatch?

While you are waiting for the poultry to hat

Apr 01, 2022
Keeping Goats on your Homestead

Keeping Goats

If you are just starting out in the goat-raising field, let us help you get prepared a bit. Think of this as a little goat for beginners crash course. We will cover picking the right breed for you, basic care and nutrition, and everyone’s favorite thing. Fencing. I might also add that when starting out in any new journey, it is wise to find what I like to call a mentor! They can be a great resource for you and your new family members.

Breeds to consider:

In the United States, there are 14 common goat breeds.

Buck/Wether Doe/Doeling

Main - Pygmy, Nubian, Nigerian Dwarf, Boer

Pygmy goats are small in stature, comical and densely found across the US. Pygmy goats are actually documented as a meat breed, although I do find they are sometimes crossed and used as a dairy breed. Traditionally, Pygmy goats are very good browsers and used often in a pasture rotation setting with other animals.

Nigerian Dwarf goats are similar in size to the Pygmy, maybe reaching on average 40lbs. They have a more slender appearance and are a very well known dairy goat breed. Widely popular on small farms and homesteads. With their small size, sought after butterfat percentage and amazing milk potential they make a great addition. Nigeria Dwarf goats hold a butterfat percentage that is on average 6-10%!

Butterfat is the fat content found in milk, and is particularly important when it comes to cheesemaking.

Nubian goats. Most often only used as a dairy breed, well known for their long ears and Roman noses, Nubians are quite social and incredible milk producers. Nubians have an on average 5% butterfat content in their milk. Nubians are known for being outgoing and a tad loud. They are the largest of the three breeds we are highlighting, and do require a bit more space.

Boer goats are bred to thrive under extensive livestock farming conditions in hot, arid environments where the quality of grazing is poor. The breed has the ability to convert poor-quality forage into meat at a very low cost, enabling livestock farmers in these arid areas to farm commercially.


Goats need a bare minimum of 20 square feet of inside space and 200 square feet of pasture space per goat.

They are browsers not grazers- the prefer bushes vs grass.

Nutrition needs – they are ruminants and have 4 stomach quadrants. They regurgitate their food and chew their cud.

The compartments are the reticulum, rumen, omasum and abomasum, or true stomach.

Monogastric or simple-stomached animals such as humans, dogs and cats consume food that

undergoes acidic breakdown in the stomach and enzymatic digestion in the small intestine, where most nutrients are absorbed.

In ruminants, feed first undergoes microbial digestion in the reticulum and rumen — together, often called the reticulo-rumen — prior to acidic digestion in the abomasum and enzymatic digestion and nutrient absorption in the small intestine. The microbial digestion in the reticulo-rumen allows ruminants to consume and utilize grass, hay, leaves and browse. – (Meat Goat Nutrition)

The bacteria in the rumen are capable of synthesizing all B vitamins needed!


Basic needs- hoof trim, vaccines, overall care.

Health issues?

Herd animals- they are very social and curious. Some even say intelligent.

What they eat DOES impact how the milk tastes.

Breeding/Milk sharing?

They have many quirks. They move into pressure- not away.

They have a dental pad in the front top- and on top and bottom they have VERY sharp teeth ( in the back) and can actually break a finger. Or a tree limb etc

Lifespan- similar to a dog

Apr 01, 2022
Keeping Geese on your Homestead

Raising geese on the homestead. 

Goose facts:

Gander/Goose or Hen

Geese were domesticated over 3,000 years ago! 

Breeds to consider

-A’s breed chart

-We both raise Sebastopol geese- a threatened breed 

Reasons why:

-Geese just kind of have a zest of life! 




How to start/where to look:

Local folks


Meyer Hatchery


Getting one goose isn’t recommended- just like goats for example- they are flock animals.

Housing considerations:


Water-pools vs natural water

Everyday needs discussed.


-This might be the most critical part of raising goslings/geese. For the first several weeks goslings need a feed that contains roughly 22% protein- chick starter is not suitable and never use medicated. 

Niacin- a B vitamin that is crucial for healthy development of water fowl-specifically geese. Without it you will see stunted growth and leg issues. –Brewers yeast is an option 

Geese LOVE grass  and are actually excellent weeders. 




Angel wing

2 goose eggs

4 cups of whole milk or cream- either works great!

1/2 cup of honey 

A dash of sea salt

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract or a dash ( I don't measure much)

Preheat your oven to 350F. 

Scald the milk. In a saucepan heat the milk, stirring regularly, until it begins to simmer. Allow it to cool for a moment while you mix the rest of the ingredients

Mix together goose eggs, honey, salt, and vanilla in a large bowl. 

SLOWLY mix in the hot milk, careful you don't want to cook the eggs. Stir until everything is combined. 

Pour the mix into a prepared ramekins or pie pans. Think of this as a creme brûlée! 

Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until the custard sets and is jiggly.

Enjoy hot or cold. Top with fruit or homemade whipped cream! YUM

Apr 01, 2022
Introduction to Beekeeping

Season 2: Introduction to Beekeeping

Why Keep Bees

Increase pollination for fruit and vegetable crops, contribute to the honeybee population, production benefits of honey, pollen and wax

The Members of a Hive

Queen (only hive member capable of laying eggs)

Workers (female, worker bees who play the roles of guardians, nurses, foragers, comb builders, honey creators, undertakers, etc.)

Drones (male, sole job is to mate with the queen)

Sourcing Bees

Common Honeybee Breeds in the US (not exhaustive list)

  • Carniolan - generally more docile disposition, moderate disease resistance, good chance of overwinter
  • Italian: moderately gentle, low disease resistance, good chance of overwinter
  • Saskatraz: generally docile, known for overwintering ability
  • Russian: High disease resistance, good for overwinter, generally aggressive
  • Africanized: resistant to varroa, highly aggressive, high disease resistance, poor overwintering ability
  • Other races: caucasion, buckfast, german, etc.

Nuc vs Package

Sourcing local is best. They will be successfully overwinter stock (if that applies to your region) and a local beekeeper can assist with treatment and behavioral questions. 

Nuc: A 5-frame working colony with a queen, workers and drones. Frames often include capped brood (eggs and larvae) and honey/pollen.

Package: A package is a collection of bees including one queen, workers and drones compiled into a box or shipping container. They are not a working colony and do not come with frames or food stores. Typically shipped from warmer climates to cooler areas where bees have no experience with overwintering.

Place orders for bees in December-February. Usually nuc pick-up and package shipment is in early spring.

Equipment Needed

Langstroth Hive for Beginners

  • Most common hive set up. Includes a landing/bottom board, a brood box (where the queen lays her eggs and where the bees “live”), a honey super (a box dedicated to honey stores), frames, a queen excluder (optional), an inner cover and outer cover
  • Bee suit, veil, gloves, hive tool, smoker, entrance reducers, feeders (optional)
  • Hive stand: a set of cinder blocks and 4x4” posts, a pallet, a built table, etc]

Hive Site Selection

A dry, flat location with morning sunlight and afternoon shade is ideal. Avoid slopes where the hive could fall, floodplains, high traffic locations and areas where the bees will often be disturbed.
Bees will travel up to five miles in search of forage. They will travel ¼ mile for water.

The Role of the Beekeeper

  • Facilitate hive health. The entire beekeeping season is an effort to prepare for the next winter.
  • Treat hives if you feel that falls within your moral code
    • Varroa
    • Small Hive Beetles
    • Wax Moths
    • Mice/Shrews
    • Roaches
    • Spiders
    • Ants
  • Conduct inspections regularly (generally conducted monthly) to observe the following:
    • Queen health (her size if you can see her, laying patterns)
    • Frames of larvae
    • Frames of pollen stores
    • Frames of honey
    • Are there lots of workers and drones?
    • Is there capped brood?
    • Signs of swarming (queen cups, supercedure cells, etc.)
    • Signs of pests/disease
  • Feed the bees if that aligns with your methodology
    • Sugar syrup in warmer months
    • Sugar cakes in colder months
Apr 01, 2022
How Much Food to Grow Per Person

How Much Food to Grow Per Person

Different for every grower. Plant quantities are based on tastes, cooking frequency, root cellar availability, preservation skillset, dietary requirements, etc.

Look at your grocery bill

What are you buying frequently from the store? How much are you buying?

Is there something you can grow instead of buying from the produce section?

Is there something you can grow to preserve (tomato sauce)?

  1. Do you want to grow for fresh eating? And preservation? And storage? What about to sell? If so, quantities change.

Example: Angela grows 30-35 tomato plants for fresh eating and canning into sauce for a year. This quantity of plants is based on personal experience.

Example: Mandi grows a shitload of lettuce every season. She has enough for her family to eat daily and also to set out at her Farmacy farm stand.

  1. Set realistic goals for your garden space. Here’s recommended garden size for one year of food:

Vegetarians: 4400 square feet of growing space per person 

Omnivores: 200 square feet of growing space per person

-also found-

4400 square feet of growing space per person for a whole year

200 square feet of growing space per person just for the season

  1. Recommended quantities as a general guide for fresh eating and minimal preservation habits, per person
    Asparagus (1 plant/ft. of row), 5-10 plants per person

Bush beans (2 plants/ft. of row), 12-15 plants

Beets (Thin to 3 plants/ft. of row), 15-30 plants

Cucumber (1 plant/2 ft. of row), 1 vine, 2 bushes

Carrots (Thin to 12 plants/ft. of row), 48 plants

Corn (1 plant/ft. of row), 10-15 plants (plant in blocks for best pollination)

Eggplant (1 plant/2 ft. of row), 2-3 plants

Kale (10/10 ft. of row), 2-7 plants

Leaf lettuce (Thin to 3 plants/ft. of row), 24 plants

Melon (1 plant/6 ft. of row), 1-2 plants

Onion (4 sets/ft. of row), 12-20 sets

Peas (6 plants/ft. of row), 15-20 plants

Pepper (1 plant/ft. of row), 3-5 plants

Potato (1 plant/ft. of row), 10 plants

Radish (thin to 12 plants/ft. of row), 10-15 plants

Spinach (Thin to 6 plants/ft. of row), 30-60 plants

Squash (1 plant/6 ft. of row), 1-2 plants

Tomato (1 plant/2 ft. of row), 2-4 plants

Zucchini (1 plant/3 ft. of row), 1-2 plants

  1. Achieve higher yields in the garden to sustain family members by growing in succession. This saves on space.
    1. For example, sow radish seeds every two weeks in a new spot in the garden. You will have continuous harvests for fresh eating and preservation rather than growing and harvesting all at once.
  2. Plant extra to ensure a “bumper crop.” This acts as insurance from crop loss due to pests, disease and unforeseen events.
  3. There’s only so much room in the designated garden. Amended raised bed soil and in-ground garden space is premium real estate. To save that growing space for more tender vegetables and annuals, look to other “places” to grow your own food outside the garden beds.
    1. Orchard plants
    2. Start a berry patch
    3. Grow pumpkins outside the garden
    4. Asparagus, potatoes, garlic, and onions are all deer tolerant and don’t need to be grown within a fence (though they do offer companion planting benefits)
    5. Angela has grown greens in window boxes off the house
  4. Resources for further reading:<

Apr 01, 2022
Permaculture Approach to Soil Regeneration

We are SO excited to bring all of this information to you!
As per usual, for more information find us at @axeandroothomestead and @wildoakfarms on Instagram. Cheers!

Quote from Angela’s upcoming book: We have identified many factors and practices that contribute to unhealthy soil ecosystems. But why bother trying to rectify and rehabilitate it? Healthy nutritionally dense soil can produce healthy nutritionally dense food for humans and animals. Ultimately it is the foundation for productive and sustainable agriculture. Farming for soil health creates a land stewardship relationship between land and grower. It fosters carbon absorption, erosion reduction, maximum water absorption, improved nutrient cycling, and overall land resiliency.

According to one study, “All plants require 17 elements to complete their life cycle, and an additional four elements have been identified as essential for some plants (Havlin et al. 2005). With the exception of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, which plants obtain from air and water, plants derive the remaining 14 elements from the soil or through fertilizers, manures, and amendments (Parikh & James 2012).”*

*scientific journal reference: Soil Minerals and Plant Nutrition, By: Balwant Singh, Ph.D. (Department of Environmental Sciences, The University of Sydney) & Darrell G. Schulze, Ph.D. (Department of Agronomy, Purdue University) © 2015 Nature Education 

Citation: Singh, B. & Schulze, D. G. (2015) Soil Minerals and Plant Nutrition. Nature Education Knowledge 6(1):1

Soil Layers
Horizon O = organic material on top of soil (grass, logs, decaying material, etc.)
Topsoil = contains rhizosphere, part of Horizon A

Horizon A = underneath Horizon o and topsoil, contains rhizosphere roots

Horizon E = eluviation  layer, leached minerals and organic matter

Horizon B = subsoil / minerals and salts

Horizon C = parent material (decaying logs, rock)

Horizon R = bedrock

Rhizosphere = layer of soil where root and microgoranism interactions take place. Contains microbes, mycorrhizae, etc.

Mycorrhizae: beneficial fungus surrounding the roots. They help the plant absorb nutrients and moisture in exchange for feeding off plant’s sloughed off cells, sugars, starches, etc.

Microbes: join together to create a protective shield over plant roots to prevent pathogen and harmful bacteria access.

Healthy soil includes microbes, plant roots of varying layers, mycorrhizae, nematodes, protozoa, root exudates, minerals, decomposed and undecomposed plant matter. This creates hummus, a working soil ecosystem.

Farming practices that harm soil:

  • When we apply fertilizers, a plant no longer requires the assistance of mycorrhizae for nutrient absorption. The plant is absorbing nutrients from the fertilizer, instead of the soil. The fungi begin to die.
    ***(According to, “If not applied properly, up to 40 percent of nitrogen urea fertilizer can escape into the atmosphere as ammonia gas, through a process called volatilization.” A net loss of nitrogen is a result within the soil.
  • Stop amending soil specific to one plant’s needs. Instead, feed the soil.

Too much manufactured nitrogen → cause overactive soil microbes which feed on organic matter too quickly → organic matter in soil is depleted and can’t support crops nor absorb carbon and other nutrients → too little organic matter within soil can’t retain fertilizer and it leaches away which ends up in ground water and atmosphere.

Mar 02, 2022
Introduction to Permaculture

Introduction to Permaculture
Permaculture directly means “permanent agriculture.” But in its truest form, permaculture is a way of planting crops, keeping animals and sustaining the farm or homestead in a way that mimics the intertwined growing systems found in nature. We can imitate and initiate these natural ecosystems to create healthier crops, less pests, increase crop yields and absorb more carbon into the soil. 
Where to start

  1. Increase reliance on perennial plants
  • Why perennials? Perennials have more plant matter (woody stems, strong plant tissue and large root systems). These plants absorb more carbon dioxide as a result as they have more room to store them within their plant fibers.
  • Perennials do not need to be planted year after year which means less work!
  • Perennials offer shelter to beneficial insects, birds and wildlife. This helps to control pests within the garden.
  • Perennial plants help soil structure. Their expansive roots loosen compacted soil, aid in the prevention of erosion and some mine different nutrients from deep under the soil’s surface to help feed their surrounding companions.
  1. Think in terms of “layering plants” with companions when planting anything
  • Give both annuals and perennials supporting partners to attract pollinators, deter bad bugs, mine nutrients from deep within the soil, mulch and suppress weeds with low-growing groundcovers, fix nitrogen into the soil, and retain moisture with living mulches.
  • Large scale permaculture plantings may include an overstory tree (large tree like chestnut or oak), a lower fruiting tree (apple), caneberries (elder or raspberries), flowering bulbs and herbs (daffodils, garlic, comfrey, etc.), and a groundcover (such as strawberries).
  • An annual bed may include tomatoes, carrots, lettuce and radishes.
  • Resources:
  • Solve problems with plants and animals and begin weaving an ecosystem
  1. Too many ticks: Add guinea fowl
  2. Too many aphids: Employ ladybugs
  3. Cabbage moth larvae eating brassicas? Interplant garlic.
  4. All animals must contribute to the whole and serve more than one purpose (such as just eggs and meat providers, etc.). 
    1. Horses: Manure for compost, grazing circuit, plowing, parasite control for sheep
    2. Cows: Manure for compost, grazing circuit
    3. Sheep and Goats: Fleece which can be used as garden mulch, grazing circuit, clearing grassy brush, parasite control for horses, fertilizer
    4. Guinea Fowl: eat ticks and pests without scratching at lawns and gardens, spread manure in pastures looking for insects, fertilizer
    5. Ducks: snail and slug control, fertilizer, clear garden and crop debris
    6. Chickens: insect and pest control (especially in vineyards), fertilizer, clear garden and crop debris
    7. Geese: Snake, rat, mouse control, insects, weeding and pasture management, leave fertilizer behind, eat fallen orchard fruit, clear garden and crop debris

  5. Introduce pasture rotation systems to reduce hay and feed costs, promote faste
Feb 25, 2022
Starting a Homestead Garden
Dec 31, 2021
A Homestead Orchard

Why Grow Your Own Fruit

  • Convenience and self-sufficiency
  • Pesticide Management
  • High yields from one plant; lots of fruit for selling, donating, processing, storing and fresh-eating 


  • Space considerations: Note the required space for espaliered (pronounced es-pal-yay-ed), dwarf, semi-dwarf and full/standard-sized tree varieties
    • Espaliered: Not as much total yield but produces more fruit per square foot, great for small-space growers, flat 2-dimensional shapes, fruit in 3-5 years
    • Dwarf: 8’ in diameter, full-size fruit, smaller yield, yield fruit in 3-5 years
    • Semi-Dwarf: 12-15’ tall and wide, can produce up to 500 apples/season, produce reliably for 15-20 years, produce fruit in roughly 5 years
    • Full/Standard Size: Produce anywhere from 4 to 8 bushels per season (400-800 pounds) depending on species, on average 20-30 in diameter
    • Resource:

Pollinator Groups

Pollinator groups have to do with timing of blossom-set. Trees requiring a cross pollinator will need a partner tree of the same species, within the same pollinator group, but of a different variety

  • Pollinator Groups
    Group A or 1: early

Group B or 2: early-mid

Group C or 3: mid

Group D or 4: mid-late

Group E or 5: late

Zone Requirements / Chill Hours

  • A chill hour is equal to one hour that a tree spends within the temperature range of 32-45 degrees Fahrenheit. Trees will be marked accordingly.
  • If sufficient chill hours are not reached, trees will leaf out later and have a prolonged blossom period. This longer lasting bloom time will open the tree up to disease.
  • Figs, olives, and quince have the lowest natural chill requirements
  • Followed by persimmons, pomegranates, almonds, and chestnuts.
  • Cherries, apples, peaches, and plums required breeding to develop low-chill varieties for areas with minimal chill
  • Cherries, apples, peaches, and plums require more chill hours
  • Resources:
  • Low Chill:

Planting Basics

  • Full sun, plenty of water, large canopy expansion so plan for mature size when planting
  • Planting depth is determined by fruit species and size variety - note plant tag
  • Soil pH: On average fruit trees love soil at pH 6.3-6.6 
    • To raise pH add crushed limestone
    • To lower pH add nitrogen or elemental sulphur
  • When to Plant

Best planted in late fall, winter (if ground isn’t frozen) or early spring when tree has gone dormant. Roots will esta

Dec 31, 2021
Quality of Life
Dec 31, 2021
Family Milk Cow
Dec 31, 2021
Introduction of Birds on the Homestead


  • Purpose: Fresh eggs, fertilizer for the garden, meat, breeding, tick and insect control
  • Cons: Roosters are loud, roosters have spurs, health concerns, dust from scratching, they scratch up grass and gardens, can fly over fences unless wings are clipped, frostbite in cold climates
  • Housing Requirements: 2-3 square feet per bird, roosting bards, predator-proof coop and run, nesting boxes, access to food and water


  • Purpose: Fresh eggs, meat, cold climate hardy, slug and snail control, don’t scratch up garden spaces, the only manure that can be directly applied to the garden, domesticated breeds with the exception of Muscovies can’t fly
  • Cons: Rooting with their bills, can be loud, wet manure and mess, more mess requires more cleaning/new bedding, heavyweight breeds are more prone to bumblefoot and leg fractures
  • Housing Requirements: Roughly 4 square feet per bird, no nesting boxes, predator proof coop and run, access to bathing water is ideal, access to fresh food and water, no roosting bars


  • Purpose: Meat, eggs, friendly disposition, fertilizer, pest control (eat stink bugs, grasshoppers, ground beetles, snails and slugs)
  • Cons: Large birds require more space and feed, ability to fly, Blackhead illness (chickens can be asymptomatic carriers; ill birds can affect young turkeys which results in death), not as winter hardy, seasonal egg layers
  • Housing Requirements: 5 square feet of space per bird, predator-proof coop and run are ideal with nesting bars, (unless they have a high place to roost at night outdoors), access to food and water, nesting boxes


  • Purpose: Meat, eggs, breeding, small size requires little living space, train hunting dogs, garden fertilizer, quiet, hardy/healthy, don’t need plucking during process, many municipalities that outlaw chickens may allow quail
  • Cons: Because so small require protection from small predators like rats, specialized cages and equipment add an additional cost, can’t be mixed in a flock with other birds, lots of waste in proportion to other bird options, manure has to be composted, flying away, quail are known for aggressive bullying within flocks
  • Housing Requirements: 1 square foot of space per bird, wire flooring is essential to allow droppings to pass through, nest boxes required, no roosting bars, access to food and water

Guinea Fowl

  • Purpose: Pest control (ticks, snakes, rats, Asian beetles), won’t scratch garden spaces while working, eggs (up to 60 per year for free ranging birds), meat, alarm call for predators/unusual farm activity, roost anywhere outdoors so no coop maintenance is required with the exception of the first three months when constantly enclosed.
  • Cons: Loud, don’t overwinter well since don’t like being cooped up at night, prone to roaming, dumb, they can be hard to find since they sleep anywhere, live up to 15 years, must search for eggs
  • Housing Requirements: 3 square feet of space per bird when cooped up, no nest boxes, roosting bars if being kept in a coop, access to food and water


  • Purpose: Eggs, meat, down feathers, weed control, pasture maintenance, flock guardians, climate hardy (Sebastopols need shelter), fat rendering
  • Cons: Larger size requires more space per bird, loud, some breeds are aggressive, territorial during mating season, seasonal egg layers only
  • Housing Requirements: 6-8 square feet per bird, large size-predator-proof coop and run, access to bathing water is appreciated, no nest boxes, no roosting bars, access to food and water

Note: Never use hay or straw for bedding. Urine and wet droppings are not absorbed and ammonia bui

Dec 31, 2021
Food Crafting


  • Sourdough Bread
    What is it: Sourdough is naturally leavened bread using wild yeast from the atmosphere with the help of a “starter.” Starters need to be fed.

    Basic Tools: Starter, glass jar, digital scale, bowls, banneton, lame, dutch oven

    Why Make It: Sourdough is a more easily-digestible version of bread. Many folks with gluten intolerances can eat sourdough because the fermentation process when the starter is rising breaks down problematic enzymes.


Elaine Boddy

Whole Grain Sourdough at Home

The Sourdough Whisperer

Instagram: @Elaine_FoodBod

Ash from Turner Farm

Online classes

Instagram: @Turner.Farm

Hannah Dela Cruz

Everyday Sourdough

What is it: Bread leavened with yeast often purchased at a market. The process involves combine basic ingredients such as yeast, flour, water and salt. 

Basic Tools: yeast, digital scale, mixing bowls, loaf pans or breadmaking machine

Why Make It: Conventionally made breads sold at most supermarkets are loaded with preservatives and additives plus they are wrapped in packaging. Making bread at home (or hamburger/hot dog buns, rolls, etc.) eliminates these items.


Ken Forkish

Flour Water Salt Yeast


  • What is it: A fermented beverage created by feeding a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) with sugar and water
  • Basic Tools: non-reactive glass container, wooden spoons, scoby, sugar, flavorings (herbs, fruit, etc.), glass bottles
  • Why Make It: Many folks believe kombucha aids in digestive health and gut support. By making your own kombucha, you can save on money, packaging and unwanted additives.


Chad Turner

The Joy of Home-Brewing Kombucha


  • Butter

Milk Source: Cream from Jersey cow has the highest fat content. Butter can also be made from goats and sheep.

Basic Tools: Stand mixer or butter churner

Why Make It: Control salt and flavor quantities, natural fats vs. trans-fats, avoid additives such as colorants, preservatives and flavorings

  • Cheese

Milk Source: Dairy, sheep, goat

Basic Tools: Heavy-bottom pots, strainers, slotted spoons, cheesecloth, milk thermometer, basket forms, rennet, cultures, calcium chloride (not needed in some soft cheeses)

Why Make It: Cost savings, control colorants and addtiives (preservatives)

  • Other dairy options

Buttermilk, ice cream, yogurt, coffee

Dec 31, 2021
Tapping Trees on your Homestead

Episode 7: Tapping a Tree for Maple Syrup
What to tap and when?

  • All maples can be tapped for sap. Sugar maples are the sweetest.
  • Can also tap:
    • Birch, walnut, black and english walnut, linden, box elder, butternut, sycamore, palm and gorose. All trees’ saps have their own flavor. 
    • Maple (Sugar, Silver, Black, Red, Norway, Big Leaf)

40 parts of sap yields 1 part of finished syrup

Tap when daytime temperatures are above 32F (0C) and nighttime temperatures are below

Birch (European White, Paper, Yellow, Black, Gray, River)

110 parts of sap yields 1 part of finished syrup

Tap when daytime temperatures are 40-50F (4.4-10C)

Box Elder

60 parts of sap yields 1 part of finished syrup

Tap when daytime temperatures are above 32F (0C) and nighttime temperatures are below

Black and English Walnut 

60 parts of sap yields 1 part of finished syrup

Tap when daytime temperatures are above 32F (0C) and nighttime temperatures are below


60 parts of sap yields 1 part of finished syrup

Tap when daytime temperatures are above 32F (0C) and nighttime temperatures are below


40 parts of sap yields 1 part of finished syrup

Tap when daytime temperatures are above 32F (0C) and nighttime temperatures are below


88 parts of sap yields 11 parts finished syrup

Can be tapped year round


40 parts of sap yields 1 part of finished syrup

Tap when daytime temperatures are above 32F (0C) and nighttime temperatures are below

Tree Identification

Regardless of the variety of tree you are tapping, the process is the same.

  • Be sure to always tap trees that measure 10” (25.4cm) in diameter or more so as not to damage the heartwood. A tree measuring this size can withstand one tap.
  • A tree measuring 20” (50.8cm) can handle two taps.
  • Finally, a tree measuring larger than 25” (63.5cm) in diameter may have three taps.
  • Never install more than three taps per tree. When installing multiple taps, always place them at a minimum of 6 to 8” (15.24 to 20.32cm) apart from one another.

Sugar Maple Identification

  • Bright orange, yellow or reddish leaves in the fall
  • Smoother bark than other maples, dark almost black in color
  • Can often see these trees dripping with sap from holes or cracks in the winter time
  • Look for five lobes with deep indentations

Equipment for Tapping

  • A power drill
  • 5/16” (.8cm) drill bit
  • Spiles
  • Hammer
  • Bucket hooks (if hanging buckets)
  • Hoses (for ground buckets)
  • Buckets with lids
  • Harvesting storage buckets
  • A large pot
  • Thermometer

Equipment for Processing

  • Evaporator (optional)
  • Large pot for boil
  • Small pot for finishing
  • Thermometer
  • Cheesecloth or fine strainer
  • Bottling jars and sealing lids

How to Tap and Boil

  • Tap when temperatures rise above freezing by day, and below freezing by night
  • Locate the s
Dec 31, 2021
Supporting Bees on the Homestead (without being a keeper)

Episode 6: Supporting Honeybees and Native Pollinators

Options for supporting bees without the ability to keep a hive, or before jumping into installing an apiary

Why are bees important?
Honeybees and native pollinators travel from flower to flower for pollen and nectar which they bring back to the hive. During this process they transfer pollen attached to the hairs on the legs between the flowers. This pollen transfer is what fertilizes a crop’s reproductive system creating food. Without pollination and bees, there would be far less food. Native and wild plants would also go unpollinated resulting in a major lack of food for wildlife, thus collapsing entire ecosystems.

Why are bee numbers declining?
According to USDA, “​​​​Beginning in 2006, experts noted significant yearly declines in honey bee colonies...  Years of research determined the decline was likely attributable to a wide range of stressors such as pests, diseases, pesticides, pollutants/toxins, nutritional deficits, habitat loss, effects of climate variability, agricultural production intensification, reduced species or genetic diversity, and pollinator or crop management practices.”

Plant bee friendly trees

Embrace weeds, wildflowers and prairie spaces

  • Native wild growth perfectly adapted to your specific climate and your native bees’ needs (no need to purchase plants, sow seeds, plant transplants, etc., water, maintain, etc.) 
  • Stop spraying herbicides, pesticides and chemicals on bees’ food sources
    • Resources

National Wildlife Federation native plant finder by zip code. Ranks plants by use of butterfly and moth species as host plants. Includes trees, grasses, flowers and shrubs

Lease land to beekeeper

  • Beekeepers will place hives on your property and maintain them in exchange for honey or payment. Supports local bees and their keepers.
  • Check in with local zoning office for restrictions/ordinances on hive placement
    • Resources

Lease Honey connects land owners and farmers with beekeepers looking for space. Helps to increase crop yields, raise bee population numbers and can even cut down on property taxes in some states.

Interplant flowers and flowering herbs in the vegetable garden to attract/feed bees and increase crop yields.

  • Companion plants for crops include lavender, nasturtium, chives, thyme, basil, mint, parsley, dill, fennel, catmint
    • Resources

Farmers’ Almanac
Chart of companion plants by vegetable. Also lists benefits of various plants.

Pollinator Perennial Garden

  • Perennials tend to have longer blooming periods and return year after year
  • Examples include salvia, coneflower, bee balm, rudbeckia, lavender, hyssop, sedum,
Dec 31, 2021
Small Space Gardening

Why would you need to grow in a small space? 

Apartment living

Physically close crops without walking to a garden

Moving and want to take crops with you

All About Containers

  • Anything can be a growing container so long as it provides drainage
  • Vertical planter towers offer multiple pots to grow food in one vertical space
  • Some folks use fabric shoe organizers that hang on the backside of doors to grow food in pockets
  • Hanging baskets offer a great option growing; think upside down tomato baskets, strawberries, etc.
  • Plastic pots retain moisture better
  • Black and other dark-colored pots get hot and heat the soil quick
  • Terra Cotta is attractive and eco-friendly but dries out faster

Pro Tip: ​​Double Potting! Place a smaller pot inside a larger one in the summer time. Water the space between the pots so the inner pot can wick moisture as needed. To avoid terra cotta pot dry out, simply place a smaller plastic pot inside a larger terra cotta pot. Same look, more moisture retention.

Pro Tip: Adding one inch of gravel in the bottom of the pots helps with drainage.

Growing in Pots

  • Consider Sun: Most crops require 6-8+ hours of sunlight per day, crops like lettuces will grow with 4-6 hours
  • Water: Keeping soil moist but not soggy is essential
    • Water must be able to drain out! Plants hate soggy feet!
  • Soil: Vegetables need rich, nutrient-dense soil. Source vegetable potting mix (not seed starting, not raised bed mix) for growing vegetables in containers. 
  • Fertilizing: Container crops can deplete the nutritional content of their soil quickly. A 2-4 week fertilizing program is recommended. Research which nutrients and fertilizers those crops require… lemons do not need the same food as tomatoes, blueberries need acid, etc.

Container Appropriate Crops

  • Look at compact varieties (18-24” for bushing varieties)
    • Corn: Tom Thumb has small cobs, grows to around 36” tall
    • Tomato: Early Girl, Red Rocket, Tiny Tim
    • Peppers: Almapaprika, Habaneros, some Chili varieties
    • Green mixes such as mesclun, tatsoi, oak leaf lettuce
    • Strawberries grow well in gutters and flower boxes
    • Espaliered fruit trees
    • Meyer lemons

Other Ways to Grow in a Small Space

  • Companion Planting can save space
    • Plant shade loving crops like lettuce under tomatoes in pots
    • Radishes can grow in pots with cucumbers
    • Herbs grow well with many crop varieties like brassicas
  • Trellising
    • Grow up, not out: Keeping tomatoes trained to a trellis in a pot leaves space for more crops around the base of the tomato plant.
  • Succession Planting: Replacing crops that grow from seed to harvest quickly like lettuce allows for reuse of the space for a new harvest or new crop all together.
    • Typically succession planting is a 2-3 week rotation
  • Window Sill Gardens: Great for growing herbs, microgreens, vegetable scrap gardens
  • Potato Towers: Grow potatoes “lasagna-style” within towers to maximize space and increase harvests

Which crops for which containers?

Recommendations from The Farmers’ Almanac

Beans, snap

Container: 5-gallon window box

Varieties: Bush ‘Blue Lake’, Bush ‘Romano’, ‘Tender Crop’


Dec 31, 2021
Basic Triage


Literally means “to sort” – in this practice you are gaining information by looking at the patient and seeing what their needs are.

  • If it is more than one you are gaining insight on who needs attention first.
  • Looking at any obvious externally wounds/etc. Musculoskeletal/ Respiratory/ cardiovascular- perfusion times etc. you gain most of this information in seconds. And it's important to always think ahead.
  • One thing to note that with animals, the main difference in assessing a patient (animal) is that we have the option of humane euthanasia- unlike our counterpart humans. It's very important to keep that in mind. This should ALWAYS be done by a professional as your very first option to ensure that the animal is treated in a humane way. If you are unsure about anything, please contact a vet.
  • Vet client relationship- important!

Common injuries seen on homestead

  • Wound/puncture/scrape
  • Bumblefoot
  • Frostbite
  • Abscess
  • Bloat/colic
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Heat stroke
  • Hot spots
  • Eye injury
  • General lameness/gait assessment

First aid kit for goat/sheep/chicken/duck/horse/cow

  • Bandage supplies- gauze, vet wrap (coban) , bandage tape
  • Gloves
  • Thermometer
  • Vaseline
  • lube
  • Chlorahexadine
  • Iodine
  • Needles/syringes
  • Epsom salt
  • Tweezers
  • Electrolytes
  • Red top tubes
  • Scissors
  • Drench gun
  • OTC meds- Benadryl/famotidine/Pepcid/vitamin C /LA200/penicillin
  • Heat lamp
  • Bloat release
  • Bloodstop powder
  • Stethoscope- all animals
  • Wire cutters
  • Clean bucket- I like metal
  • Hair blow dryer
  • Cold pack
  • Pocket knife
  • linament
  • Flashlight
  • Pen and paper
  • Banamine
  • Drawing Salve
  • VetRx
  • Ophthalmic Ointments


Backyard Poultry Medicine & Surgery

Horseman’s Veterinary Encyclopedia

First Aid for Horses

Dec 31, 2021
Seed Starting on the Homestead

Hi you all! Welcome back! 

Today we take a deep dive into seed starting, GMO, Heirloom, Open-Pollinated... what? 
When it comes to being one with nature, homesteading, self reliance- the first thing we think about is growing our own food. 

Below are some helpful tips discussed in the episode and stay tuned for the next episode of the series.. Starting a Homestead Garden. 

DIY Easy Seed Starting Mix Recipe
1 part perlite
1 part vermiculite
1 part sphagnum peat moss
Mix equal parts (example: two cups perlite, two cups vermiculite, two cups sphagnum peat moss) and mix well. Fill your seed starting containers and sow seeds according to seed packet instructions.

Zone Hardiness Map

Grow Lightbulb:Grow Light BR30 LED Light Bulb for Indoor Plants, Full Spectrum, 9-Watts, 1-Pack

Soil thermometer:Luster Leaf 1625 Digital Soil Thermometer

Find Angela on Instagram at @axeandroothomestead
Find Mandi on Instagram at @ wildoakfarms

Dec 17, 2021
What is a Homestead?

We are SO happy you are here! Cheers! 

We are Angela and Mandi, both homesteaders found in New Jersey and Missouri.
Both of us crave a life full of purpose and new adventures. We have been homesteading collectively for over 12 years and have learned so much. Most importantly, we have so much to share! 

This podcast will help you gain insight of the homesteading lifestyle, help you learn, make you laugh, and bring you along with our adventures. 
Thank you for tuning in! 

Find Angela on Instagram at @axeandroothomestead
Find Mandi on Instagram at @ wildoakfarms 

Dec 02, 2021
HOMESTEADucation Trailer: Season 1

Coming in January 2022, a podcast for those who are looking to slow down, return to their roots and feel more self-sufficient. Join Mandi of Wild Oak Farms and Angela of Axe & Root Homestead in their new podcast HOMESTEADucation, created by homesteaders for homesteaders. 

This podcast will explore different facets of homesteading in detail including vegetable gardening, fruit orchard care, animal husbandry, and more. Listen for free on Apple Podcasts.

Nov 02, 2021