Tag Archives: Homestead Hacks

Homestead Hack: Shorter Cooking Times In Slow Cooker

by Tammy Taylor~

We all love our slow cookers, right?  I mean, what’s not to love??!  You plunk ingredients into the vessel and walk away.  The slow cooker does all the work!  You only have to walk in tired from a day at work and smell the delicious aroma of supper ready & waiting to serve!  Yeah, we love our slow cookers here at the Homestead, and we use them a lot.  Oftentimes for preparing our supper.  Sometimes I use it for overnight cooking when making Homemade Applesauce or simmering bones for a delicious Homemade Broth.   I know a slow cooker is more energy efficient than using the oven or even the stove top in many cases.   But I’ve found a way to speed along the cooking times while keeping it on set to an energy-sipping ‘Low’.  Check out today’s Homestead Hack.

Would you like your slow cooker to cook your food a little faster on 'Low' and save a little energy too? Check out this Homestead Hack! #TaylorMadeHomestead

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Homestead Hack: Free Vegetable Broth!

by Tammy Taylor~

I like to use homemade broth for my cooking.  Let’s face it – no matter what you’re cooking it’s just more flavorful when it’s made with broth instead of water.  And it’s more nutritious too!  I make my own Chicken Broth from the bones of our chicken meals.  And I’ve also made Turkey Broth with the leftover turkey carcass after Thanksgiving.  And of course I’ve simmered veggie scraps into my own vegetable broth but there’s an even easier way!  C’mon y’all, use my battle cry with me:  “USE WHATCHA GOT!”  Yeah, that’s the ticket!  Check out this ridiculously-easy Homestead Hack…

I save nutritious vegetable broth that was previously wasted and use it for something I used to have to make myself or purchase. #TaylorMadeHomestead

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Homestead Hack: Labeling Glass Jars

~by Tammy Taylor~


I’m a big fan of repurposing glass jars.  I mean, what’s not to love?  They look bright & shiny in my pantry and since they’re clear glass I can easily see the deliciousness lining my pantry shelves.  I’ve used canning jars and pickle jars.  Big jars and small jars.  Heck they’re all beautiful to me!  Now back in ‘the day’  I’d put a little sticker on the top to properly label the contents.  Since I’m a “Use Whatcha Got” kinda girl I started using  silver duct tape on top of the jars and I’d just write on the tape with a permanent marker.  But to read the jar’s contents I’d have to pick up & look at the top of the jar.  Sometimes these jars are stacked 3 deep on the shelf.  There’s got to be an easier way!  And there is.  Check out today’s Homestead Hack.

I'm a big fan of repurposing glass jars but I need an easy way to label the contents.. Check out today's Homestead Hack. #TaylorMadeHomestead


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Homestead Hack: Repurposing Mesh Bags For Cleaning

by Tammy Taylor~


I’m pretty fond of trying to think outside the box to provide for myself things that I used to buy.  Recently I went into a frenzied canning marathon trying to get many fresh apples & pears preserved before they went bad.  But oh the sticky mess it made in my kitchen!  I’ve been scrubbing my kitchen for what seems like days!  LOL.  When I’ve made a mess this big I need a big scrubber – those little palm-sized ones I used to buy just don’t do it for me. I need something big enough to hunker down when I’m scrubbing sticky canning residues from stockpots & countertops.  You know, BIG messes that I may or may not have been responsible for (eh hemmmm…)

And luckily I’m able to easily provide this handy cleaning tool for myself.  As a bonus they’re much larger and thicker than the wimpy ones I used to buy.  Check out today’s Homestead Hack, y’all!

She takes old empty mesh produce bags and cuts them up. When she's finished, a handy kitchen scrubber cleaning tool! Come see. #TaylorMadeHomestead

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Homestead Hack: Replacing An Ugly Laundry Pole

by Tammy Taylor~

When we lived in the city I bought a *2-line extractable laundry line.  I loved that thing – it gave me up to 98 feet of drying!  RancherMan put a nail in a fence post so when I was doing laundry I’d bring out that extractable line & hang it on that nail.  The lines pulled all the way to a nearby tree where I’d hook the two lines on the branches.  But when we moved here to our piece of paradise there were no privacy fences, nor any trees in our back yard.  So we used a tether-ball pole as the anchor, and placed two decorative cast iron plant hooks on either side of the garage window.  But the tether-ball pole was…  I dunno – UGLY!  It served the purpose for several years but I wanted something a little more in step with our natural surroundings.  It was replaced recently and you know my battle cry:  Use Whatcha Got!  (Almost all our Homestead Hacks use that battle cry.)  Come see what we did.

We replaced our ugly laundry pole something more in step with our natural surroundings.  You know my battle cry:  Use Whatcha Got!  #TaylorMadeHomestead Continue reading

Homestead Hack: Frozen Water Bottles in the Kitchen

by Tammy Taylor~

OK, I’ve made it no secret that we own a nice, newer, high-end CRAPPY refrigerator/freezer.  It was exorbitantly expensive because we required a specific size to fit into our kitchen layout.  Although it looks great and is labeled ‘Energy Star’ to conserve electricity, it’s…  well…  it’s crap!

One of the biggest deal-breaking problems with it is the ice maker.  Although there are only two of us in this house on any given day, it can’t keep up with our ice needs.  Now we work outside in the Texas heat all summer, ice is a necessity!  Of course we could buy ice cube trays blah, blah, blah but instead I just make sure to reserve ice use for cooling our drinks.  But when I’m making homemade yogurt I need to cool the heated milk.  Now I used to do that in a bowl filled with ice – what do I do now?  Check out this Homestead Hack, y’all!

Homestead Hack: Repurposing Frozen Water Bottles In The Kitchen is a Double-Win For The Environment. See How I Use Them! #TaylorMadeHomestead Continue reading

Homestead Hack: Repurposed Plastic Jar For Deep-Soak Watering

by Tammy Taylor~

Summer is hot & humid in our part of NE Texas – I’m doing all I can to keep my plants watered.  A cistern mishap involving a split hose drained all the rainwater from my 18′ deep cistern so I’m trying to conserve water as much as possible.  I came across a large-mouth bottle with a built-in grip on the handle and a metal-center lid and the thought occurred to me – maybe I can use this to keep my container garden of spinach watered.  You remember my battle cry, “Use WhatCha Got!”.  Check out this homestead hack.

I've used a wide-mouth plastic jar and repurposed it into a way to easily deeply water my potted plants. Check out this homestead hack! #TaylorMadeHomestead

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Homestead Hack: Separating Cream From Fresh Milk

by Tammy Taylor~

As many of you know, recently I had to bring a mama cow into the barn recently.  We had to milk out one of her quads since her newborn calf neglected it long enough for it to get very large.  I didn’t want to risk her getting mastitis.  And the longer the calf neglected it the larger it became.  Although our cows are not a dairy breed, she gave me about a half gallon of fresh milk from just that one quad!  I’d never milked a cow before & I was pretty excited to get that fresh milk, so I sat out to put it all to good use.  I decided to make homemade yogurt with it, but I had trouble skimming the cream easily.  So I turned to my Facebook Followers to find out how they easily skimmed the cream from the milk.

I was looking for an easy way to separate cream from fresh milk. A spoon was too time consuming, a gravy separator was better, but check this Homestead Hack! #TaylorMadeHomestead

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Homestead Hack: Deviled Eggs With A KICK!

by Tammy Taylor~

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Recently during our annual RanchFest family reunion, RancherMan declared the meal would be comprised only of finger foods.  There would be smoked brisket sandwiches, chips/dips, veggie trays, stuffed bacon-wrapped jalapenos, fresh fruit trays, cheese/cracker trays and oh-so-much more!  But Y’all know with our homestead hens we’re getting lots of eggs these days.  And I’d really like to put them to good use.  Since it’s a finger-foods feast I planned to make deviled eggs to go with our no-utensils-required cuisine.  But I didn’t want to make plain ole ordinary deviled eggs, oh no.   This is RANCHFEST I wanted deviled eggs with a Texas KICK!  Check out today’s Homestead Hack for ramping up the flavor of deviled eggs.

Homestead Hack: Deviled eggs with a kick. Give it a try, it's a delicious spicy twist on an old favorite! #TaylorMadeHomestead   Continue reading

Homestead Hack: Repurposed Items As Plant Markers

by Tammy Taylor~

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Well garden season is in full swing in NE Texas.  Before I ever planted my garden I first laid out what would be planted where using my multi-year spreadsheet.  It allows me to take advantage of past year’s garden successes, avoid past year’s failures and even take advantage of companion planting.  Then I used my indoor greenhouse to plant my heirloom seeds so I could get a head start with seedlings in the ground when planting time came.

When the danger of last frost had passed I dropped those tender seedlings into the ground, being sure to mark their base with a stick (great homestead hack from last year) so I’d know what foliage was veggie plant & what needed to be weeded away, as well as the location to water when the vines get to rambling.  But I’ve found an easy way to repurpose items I already have in my home for the actual plant markers.  Using these markers helps me to remember what I planted where without having to look it up. Check it out!

I've found a cute and easy way to repurpose an item I already have in my home to use as veggie plant markers in my vegetable garden. #TaylorMadeHomestead Continue reading