shelter in place: the urban homesteader’s dream?

posted March 21, 2020

How might we make the most of these unfolding, uncertain times? In the face of COVID-19, folks across the country find themselves holed up, whether self-isolating, quarantining, or social distancing — the jargon goes on.

We at the greenhorns propose to YOU: allow these mandates to motivate your homesteading genius! If you are fortunate to have a safe home space to operate in, we inspire you to pick up and start off in your very own kitchens. Extra time in the house means extra time to invest in trying new recipes, going deeper into fermentation projects, harvesting seasonal greens from your neighborhood and making pesto — the list goes on. Farmer’s markets are largely being kept open: support local and stock up on nutrient-dense produce. Whatever slew of culinary, carpentry or other crafty projects you’ve been eager to take a stab at: there is no time like the present!!

Distract your brain by working with your hands (an effective way to process anxiety and bottled up emotions, not to mention). Rake the backyard and finally hang some lights! Sow some seeds! Read on for project ideas from your’s truly, as well as urban homesteader friends across the country. (Email with more project ideas, and she will add them to this post for the world to discover).

Nasturtium Greens Pesto
Food processor or blender
Local nasturtium plants to harvest from
Freshly harvested nasturtium leaves
Olive oil
Minced garlic, OR fresh green garlic (chopped into small rounds)
Nutritional yeast, OR grated parmesan cheese
Nut or seed of choice (pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower, walnuts or pecans, all great!)
Fresh lemon juice (of 1-2 lemons)
Salt & Pepper
For more flavor: dash of curry powder, small pinch of dried thyme, and a little cayenne pepper.
Blend together all ingredients for a peppery, bright-green, immune-boosting, delicious pesto!! Add a dollop to just about any savory dish for zest and zeal. Nasturtium greens contain vitamin C and iron, and have antibiotic properties (at their most effective just before the plant flowers).

Freshly foraged late-summer chanterelles sizzling on Smithereen Farm’s timber frame stove top.

Butternut Squash Seed Milk
Blender, nut milk strainer bag or cheese cloth, butternut squash
Hollow out 1-2 butternut squashes, plopping the seeds into a bowl of water.
Cover completely with water and let soak overnight for slight sprouting effect.
After soak, separate seeds from squash flesh, lay in a baking tray (atop parchment paper recommended) and bake for 30 minutes at 325 degrees.
Let cool, and place in a jar for storage in the fridge.
When desired, blend seeds with hot water (+honey, a little salt, and spices of choice! such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, turmeric) and strain through a nut-milk bag or cheese cloth (or, enjoy chunky!).
Add to your favorite hot tea for a delicious, nutty, nutrient-dense non-dairy milk.
Butternut seeds are rich in zinc, calcium, and also contain magnesium, vitamin A & C, potassium and iron.

Ophir’s Tahini Oat Bread
Small loaf recipe:
3/4 cup oat flour from ground oats
1/4 cup oats
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp salt
1/2 cup tahini (can substitute with other seed or nut butter)
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
3 tbsp olive oil (or other oil)
4 eggs
Optional: 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp cardamom
Extra seeds or nuts as you like
Combine in separete bowls your dry ingredients and wet ingredients. Helpful to gently heat (I.e. double boil) your wet ingredients to thoroughly mix together. Tenderly and with love, sprinkle dry ingredients incrementally into wet ingredients, folding together to create a beautiful batter. Pour into baking dish, and decorate with seeds and spices on top. Bake for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees, or until loaf has fully risen and become golden brown around all edges! (Check for a baked inside by inserting toothpick, bread done when only tiny crumbs remain).

From author and fermentation revivalist Sandor Katz:
Sweet Potato Fly!
A delicious tonic beverage native to Guyana. Follow link for the recipe. Consider making a simple rennet or farmer’s cheese to obtain whey, which you can use as a starter for your Sweet Potato Fly.

From herbalist Aisling Badger of Urban Moonshine, a beautiful recipe for Immune Tonic Soup.

From herbalist Rosemary Gladstar and Mountain Rose Herbs, spicy and powerful Fire Cider Recipes. Hop to it!

Kate processing algae harvest in Smithereen Farm timber frame kitchen.

FREE lifetime lease on a 65 acre land trust parcel in WV [EDIT: NO LONGER AVAILABLE]

posted July 12, 2016

3 plenty of garden space


The Appalacian Catholic Worker has put out a call for someone to rent a beloved but human-starved piece of land in West Virginia. [Edit: please note that this is NOT a Greenhorns offer. The following text is from the APC, whose contact information is towards the bottom of the post.] Read on for more information:

OUR LAND TRUST HAS A 65 ACRE TRACT THAT IS CURRENTLY EXPERIENCING PEOPLELESSNESS ***** (contrary to urban homelessness, many rural homesteads suffer from peoplelessness, sometimes chronic/cyclical) One of Appalachian Catholic Worker’s community projects is being on the board of directors for the “Regional Land Trust of West Virginia.” RLTWV lands have been protected since 1969, and are close ‘cousins’ with “Trust in the Hills” land trust in WV, started by CWers, Chuck Smith and Sandy Adams (dubbed by Dorothy Day herself as the quintessential examples of CW farmers!)

Currently, RLTWV has a 65 acre tract -mostly wooded hillsides – that would be the perfect place to start your own homestead or CW community. Get a free life-time lease for: – About 10 acres of cleared flat bottom for a big garden or pasturing small livestock; – a pond up on the hill – the old hippie house needs lots of TLC and skilled handiwork or just be lived in as a new one is built – wood stove, water well and pump, electric, telephone land line, indoor compost toilet – and the land taxes this year were only $471.00 !!!

The majority of the board wants to let it go (sell it! God forbid!) because, – since this tract was annexed in 2013, we haven’t been able to find conscientious care-takers who don’t trash the place, or potential lease-holders who can stick around very long. – The board doesn’t want to have to afford (and I can’t myself) the additional taxes on top of the other lands we are responsible for. – We’re an older, or already-swamped, voluntarily-poor board, without the energy or time to clean up the messes or maintain the land.

Mission of RLTWV is … 1. Providing access to land for the landless; 2. Promoting the ecological use of land for the common good; 3. Protecting land from speculation; 4. Encouraging a new relationship with land that sees it as the common heritage of all people, not as the private property of a few, nor as a commodity to be exchanged; 5. Developing networks of support and fellowship that will strengthen those on trust lands in times of need or ecological threat to the land; 6. Supporting efforts for land reform everywhere.

Looks like a job for SUPER CWs or their counterparts!! Your new address would be: 881 Slab Fork Rd. Spencer, WV 25276 about 10 miles from town (last 2 are gravel), relatively reliable transportation would be needed. There are currently FIVE other CW houses spread out around the state of WV each doing different ministries. You’d have an automatic extended intentional community AND a wonderful, tightly knit, REGION-WIDE network of fellow radically-minded, environmentally friendly folks, catholic, not-so-Catholic, and not-Catholic.

homesteading course in maine

posted February 25, 2013

Spring Semester course at Stone Soup Insitute in Harpswell Maine.


Stone Soup Institute is offering a spring semester to four students who are curious and adventuresome enough to explore the learning opportunities on a small homestead in coastal Maine. The major focus of this semester will be farming and farm construction.  Coursework will include:

  • Use and care of draft horses
  • Bed prep and spring planting
  • Selection and care of piglets and chicks
  • Introduction to greenhouse and cold frame construction
  • Wild Harvesting
  • Wine Making

Spring Semester: April 5, 2013 – June 30, 2013
Full listing:
A video intro to the school->