Your 10 Favorite Homesteading Posts of 2018

Readers' favorite homesteading posts from Oak Hill Homestead

Everybody's doing it. I'm sure your inbox has been full of Top Ten Lists from your favorite blogs this week. I wasn't going to write one.

But I decided you deserve to know this year's most popular posts in case you haven't read them all yet. One (or more) of them might be the solution to some situation in your own life.

These are the "readers' choice" favorites, chosen by you, the most-read posts in 2018. Several of these have always been on my list of top posts, but a few are new. The Number One post took off in November and soared to the top position from obscurity. It went viral!

10. Those of you up north probably think that we are wimps here in Oklahoma when we say it's cold. Two of our daughters live in the Rockies and laugh at me. But goat kids can't regulate their body temperature very well when they are young, so they occasionally need some help. This idea worked perfectly and the materials are cheap or even free. If you're not a seamstress or if you don't have a sewing machine, you'll still be able to keep your goat kids warm with these No-Sew Kid Coats.

Modeling the hot pink prototype in this post is Phoenix, my first replacement doe after our barn fire claimed my dairy herd. Did you catch the significance of her name?

How to make goat kid coats to keep your goat kids warm in winter

No-Sew Kid Coats

9. Hot process soapmaking seems to be so much more popular than cold process, which I prefer. Maybe because it has such a shorter cure time?

I've written an entire series on making your own soap with goat milk; this post is just one in that series. If you're interested in soapmaking, you might want to read them all. Here is the first post in the series: the basic equipment you'll need to make your first batch of homemade soap.

Goat milk soap: hot process

How to Make Hot-Process Goat Milk Soap

8. I've been using shampoo bars for several years now, but it took a long time before I actually tried making my own. Making shampoo bars uses the very same process as making soap bars, but the recipe uses different oils that are nourishing for your hair and can be customized any way you like.

I thought these bars were too soft when I first took them out of the mold, but as time went on they hardened up and I love them. I've included the recipe in this post, with the advice that you plan ahead and give your shampoo bars plenty of time to cure and harden up before you use them.

How to make shampoo bars
Making My First Batch of Shampoo Bars (recipe included)

7. This list of must-have items for goatkeepers has always been a popular post. These are the ten items that I suggest you have on hand before you bring home your first goats - or add to your equipment if you already have goats.

Ten must-have items for new goat keepers
10 Must-Have Items for Goatkeepers

6. I'm a planner gal: I love keeping lists and records with pen and paper. This post on keeping homestead records is dedicated entirely to goats. I've included printables of the forms I use.

Recordkeeping on the homestead: goat printables
Recordkeeping on the Homestead: Goats (printables included)

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5. Some years we have a bumper crop of apples, but they aren't always pretty. The year that we had small, oddly-shaped apples I turned them into Harvest Apple Jelly and fell in love with the flavor: it tastes like the way apples smell on an autumn day. This post tells you how to make apple jelly without purchased pectin and how to can it. May your apples always be yummy!

Harvest apple jelly
Harvest Apple Jelly

4. I began boiling ground beef due to a failed freezer, and then found out how healthy it is to prepare this way. It also does away with the need to clean all that spattered grease off your stovetop. Boil up a few pounds and can it in your pressure-canner so it will be shelf-stable and ready to use in last-minute meals.

How to boil ground beef and why you should
How to Boil Ground Beef, and Why You Should

3. Find out why my mom's delicious pumpkin bread recipe is almost world-famous in this post, and yes, the recipe is included.

Pumpkin bread recipe
My Mother's Pumpkin Bread Recipe (it's almost world-famous)

2. If you have a couple of acres of grass, don't have a tractor and can't believe how much someone will charge you to cut and bale it for you - if you can even find someone willing to do so - this post is for you. We baled our hayfield by hand for many years, and if we could do it in our fifties, you can do it too. The hand-baler is inexpensive to make; the link to the plans is included.

How we bale hay by hand
How We Bale Hay Without a Tractor

1. Our Number One post this year was How to Use a Shampoo Bar. This post and the related post, My First Batch of Shampoo Bars which includes my recipe and is Number Eight on this year's list, have both been extremely popular. I'm so glad that readers are interested in finding healthier personal care options. Whether you're interested in making your own or using purchased shampoo bars, these are the tricks you need to know to make shampooing your hair a happy and healthy experience.

I'll continue to bring you posts on living a simpler, healthier, more abundant life. Thank you for being loyal readers!

Top ten readers' choice homesteading posts of 2018

This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.


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