Your Guide to the Self Reliance Challenge ~ Week 3

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wild strawberry

My Self Reliance Steps ~ Week 3

Another week has flown by and I’ve accomplished most of my goals for the Self Reliance Challenge this week. We’ve had some nice days for working in the garden, my rhubarb is doing great, the asparagus is done for the year and my Egyptian walking onions are starting to multiply. I finished a batch of rhubarb jam, made herbal hand salve, and foraged for wild plants for my salve and for the chickens.

The chicks and turkey poults are growing by leaps and bounds…literally! They are all living together now and doing great. I’m contemplating goats again, although if I decide to get some I will be much more prepared this time.

It’s been a productive week on my homestead. 🙂

I hope you will share your self reliance steps for this week in the comments, and please visit the other blogs taking part in the challenge! I shared links below.

What Did I Do This Week?

chips with homemade sour cream

Chips with homemade sour cream and homegrown green onions.

Day 1

  • Took care of chicks and poults
  • Rinsed sprouts
  • Finished making sour cream with my yogurt maker – It was much thicker this time.
  • Peeled ‘marked down’ bananas and put in freezer for smoothies
  • Cleaned food dehydrator
  • Harvested plantain and burdock leaves, washed, dried, put in dehydrator
  • Used dehydrated leaves to infuse oil for hand salve, left in yogurt maker overnight
  • Made banana smoothies for desert

I’m excited to find an easy way to make real sour cream in my yogurt maker! I would like to try using purchased culture at some point, but for now I am happy with buying marked down sour cream at the store every so often to use as a culture.

The weather is finally drying up. The soil needs another day to drain so I don’t compact the clay. I was still able to get outside and do some things…yay!

Later this week I am planning to make some healing herbal salve. So today I harvested burdock and plantain leaves to make infused oil with healing properties for the salve. There was a lot of debris on the leaves (lawn clippings & elm seeds) so I washed the leaves, patted them dry and put them in my food dehydrator. When the leaves were dry, I crumbled them in a bowl of oil and put in my yogurt maker to gently warm the oil and extract the botanical goodness over night. I’m all out of hand salve (and so are my friends!) so I’m looking forward to having a new batch to soothe cuts, scrapes, blisters, and rough skin.

Oil infused with botanical extracts

Oil infused with botanical extracts for topical use.

Day 2

  • Took care of chicks and poults
  • Rinsed sprouts
  • Harvested yarrow leaves, put in dehydrator
  • Cultivated between rows in garden (with hoe)
  • Hilled potatoes
  • Pulled weeds
  • Rearranged tarps (for killing weeds in back part of garden) that were blown in the wind
  • Scored some goat poop on Craigslist and went to pick up for my compost
  • Crumbled up yarrow, put in bowl of oil in yogurt maker to infuse oil for hand salve
  • Strained plantain and burdock leaves from oil and stored in a brown bottle

Okay, you probably think I’m weird for getting excited about goat poo. I am always looking for ways to build up the soil in my garden and there is a family with Nigerian dwarf goats down the road from us. They don’t want the used bedding so I drove over with my son to pick up 2 garbage cans of future compost. I’ll let it compost for a year and next spring I can spread it in my garden. Visiting the goats has my goat envy kicked into gear again.

The chicks are 3 weeks old and poults are 2 weeks old now…they are growing like crazy. 🙂 I plan to butcher most of the meat chickens around the 3rd week of June. There are a couple of pullets that aren’t growing quite as fast, and I may keep them for laying and a breeding experiment. The turkeys will be butchered in late September or October. 


jack in the pulpit

Day 3

  • Took care of chicks and poults
  • Rinsed sprouts
  • Took Rocky in to the vet’s to check his incision…it looks swollen and feels warm. 🙁
  • Received a co-op order, broke down into separate orders and contacted co-op members
  • Stored my co-op items in the pantry and rotated some pantry goods
  • Strained yarrow leaves from oil and poured into bottle for storage
  • Cleaned out greenhouse
  • Moved seedlings to greenhouse and watered them
  • Went on a morel hunting hike. I didn’t find any morels, but I enjoyed the hike and found some wildflowers.

Rocky’s incision didn’t look good this morning. The doctor was able to see him and didn’t charge for an office visit. He lanced the swollen spot but there wasn’t any pus, which is a relief. He sent us home and instructed me to smear antibacterial salve on the wound.

My co-op order from Frontier Herbs came in and needed to be sorted into individual member’s orders. I order my bulk spices, essential oils, beeswax, and some other products I need for my DIY projects and cooking. 

When I finished up the tasks on my to do list, I went on a hike to search for morel mushrooms. I didn’t find any morels…but I did see some wildflowers and was able to take photos…and I got in a nice hike without any dogs wrapping their leashes around my legs! 


Day 4

  • Took care of chicks and poults. Poults are getting out of their brooder box
  • Moved turkeys into the brooder room with the chicks. It is warmer there and they should be safer if they get out of the box overnight
  • Worked in the garden turning soil, got a nice sized area done
  • Cleaned gardening tools
  • Pulled weeds, munched on some violets
  • Watered seedlings in greenhouse

The turkey poults are jumping up to sit on the edge of their brooder box now and sometimes they go right over the edge and can’t find their way back in. I’ve found one or two of them out of the box in the morning, peeping like mad because they are cold and afraid.

This morning there was one missing and it took quite a while to find the poor little thing. It was huddled up behind a metal cabinet and felt pretty cold. It warmed up quickly in the brooder and started eating and drinking, so I’m happy to say no harm was done.

To prevent losing any of the poults to hypothermia overnight, I moved their box into the brooder room with the chicks. I was hesitant to do this, but it seems necessary. The leghorn chicks are jumping up onto the edge of the brooder to check out their new roomies. So far they all seem to be getting along.



Day 5

  • Took care of chicks and poults, there were more poults mingled with the chicks than there were in the brooder box…they seem to be jumping in and out with no problem and the chicks are playing nice with the newbies
  • Rinsed sprouts, they are ready to start using
  • Harvested a nice sized bunch of oregano to dry for feeding to chickens if they get sick
  • Made hummingbird nectar
  • Made Cinnamon Raisin Granola
  • Prepared food for a party
  • Made a batch of herbal hand salve and gave a tin to the party hostess (she is a gardener)

I was glad to have a chance to make my herbal hand salve today so I could bring a tin to the party hostess. She is an avid gardener and seemed quite happy to receive the salve. The salve is a nice green color and it makes my rough hands feel much better. I’m hoping to infuse more oil with wild medicinal plants for future batches.

Oregano is reputed to be a natural antibiotic so I harvested some today and put it on a rack to dry in the barn. When it is completely dried I will store it in a metal bin for feeding to the chickens if they get sick. I’m also planning to harvest and dry other herbs, as well as alfalfa, for feeding to the chickens in the winter when they won’t have access to fresh plants in the pasture.


Day 6

  • Took care of chicks and poults, chopped up alfalfa and a little oregano into their feed
  • Poults have all jumped out of their brooder box and integrated into the flock of chicks
  • Harvested an armload of alfalfa to dry for chickens for winter
  • Harvested more wild yarrow, cleaned and put in dehydrator
  • Harvested a nice sized bunch of rhubarb, cleaned, chopped and stored in the fridge to make jam tomorrow
  • Washed and chopped carrots from fridge that need to be used, put them in crock pot with home canned chicken from the pantry and chopped onions from the garden to make soup for dinner, added sprouts shortly before serving

It has been raining or threatening to rain all day…sigh. I think that the areas under tarps may be dry enough to turn the soil when the rain stops. I was able to take the dogs for a walk in the lull between showers. We walk through a field that has bunches of alfalfa growing here and there. Soon it will begin flowering, so I picked as much as I could carry home and spread it out on a rack to dry out for winter feed for the chickens.

Tomorrow I would like to make a batch of rhubarb jam. Since I’ll have quite a few other chores to do, I decided to pick the rhubarb and get it all ready. If I can find some strawberries on sale or marked down at the store, I just might get a batch of strawberry rhubarb jam done too. 🙂


rhubarb jam

Day 7

  • Took care of baby poultry – the meat chicks are eating machines
  • Took yarrow out of dehydrator, crumbled most of it into a bowl, added coconut oil to make a new batch of salve, put some in a container to use for cooking
  • Made vanilla rhubarb jam (I only had enough sugar for 1 batch and am almost out of pectin, will need to go to store)
  • Picked up my fishing license and went to grocery store (found strawberries on sale)

This is the first batch of jam I have made in a couple of years. Last year I couldn’t stand long enough to do canning. Now that I have a new hip, I’m able to do a lot of things that were becoming too difficult. 

I’ve never made rhubarb jam before. I’ve made strawberry rhubarb jam…one of my favorites. So this was a new recipe for me and, of course, I tweaked it a bit. I’ll share the recipe this week and I plan to make more.

My Goals for Week 4

  • Morel hunting with my friend Jeanine!
  • Make another batch of hand salve
  • Can rhubarb and strawberry rhubarb jam
  • Work in garden, dig more beds and get most of planting done
  • Dehydrate wild edible greens for herbal tea, recipes, freezing
  • Make carduni
  • Go fishing?

What Is This Self Reliance Challenge Of Which You Speak?

Starting May 1st, a group of bloggers (including me) started a challenge to be more self reliant for the month of May. We are each doing our own thing and then sharing our posts about self reliance each week. Read some wonderful self reliance posts by my blogging friends:

AnnMarie – 15 Acre Homestead

Nancy – Nancy On The Homefront

Kathi – Oak Hill Homestead

Robin – A Life in the Wild

Candy – Candy’s Farm House Pantry

Farmgal – Just another Day on the Farm

Ashley – Practical Self Reliance

ShawnaLee – Homegrown Self Reliance

Frank – My Green Terra

Maria – Maria Zannini

And, of course, yours truly, Lisa Lynn!

We are writing about a wide range of topics to help you become more self reliant too! You will find topics to help you…

  • Save money and energy
  • Raise animals for meat, eggs, and dairy
  • Grow fresh food in your own garden and orchard
  • Cook healthy meals from scratch
  • Hunt and fish to provide for your table
  • Create your own bath and body products
  • Preserve the bounty of your homestead
  • Forage for wild edibles and medicinal plants
  • Provide a healthy life for your family and pets
  • Take on DIY and home craft projects
  • Prepare for emergencies
  • Conserve water and energy
  • Live an abundantly simple life!

Did you complete self reliance projects this week? I enjoy reading about your tips, tricks, goals, dreams, and experiences in homesteading and self reliance. Leave a comment and tell us what you did!

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Lisa Lombardo

Freelance Writer at Tohoca, LLC
Lisa writes in-depth articles about gardening and homesteading topics. She grew up on a farm and has continued learning about horticulture, animal husbandry, and home food preservation ever since. She has earned an Associate of Applied Science in Horticulture and a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She is a self proclaimed gardening freak and crazy chicken lady.

In addition to writing for her own websites, Lisa has contributed articles to The Prepper Project and

The author lives outside of Chicago with her husband, son, 2 dogs, 1 cat, and a variety of poultry.
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About Lisa Lombardo

Lisa writes in-depth articles about gardening and homesteading topics. She grew up on a farm and has continued learning about horticulture, animal husbandry, and home food preservation ever since. She has earned an Associate of Applied Science in Horticulture and a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She is a self proclaimed gardening freak and crazy chicken lady. In addition to writing for her own websites, Lisa has contributed articles to The Prepper Project and The author lives outside of Chicago with her husband, son, 2 dogs, 1 cat, and a variety of poultry.

6 comments on “Your Guide to the Self Reliance Challenge ~ Week 3

  1. Frank - MyGreenTerra

    Hey Lisa, sounds like it was full steam ahead this week!
    I would love to learn more about foraging for mushrooms and possibly grow my own morels (I have heard they taste really good!) but my lack of knowledge on the subject makes me cautious!

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Frank,
      Morels are wonderful, but they haven’t been cultivated successfully yet…so you have to forage for them. I’m cautious about mushrooms too. I’d like to learn more though.

      It’s been pretty busy around here. 🙂

  2. Maria Zannini

    I wish I had your know-how for foraging. It’s one of those things best taught in person. I’m intrigued with your salve recipes!

    re: goat poop
    Our goat poop goes straight to the compost to rebuild my soil. Pelleted poop can be spread directly in the garden too. That’s the one thing I miss about having rabbits. I thought their poop was great on our soil–and easy to move since it wasn’t mixed in with a lot of hay.

    I used to make a manure tea with rabbit poop that was great for container plants.

    re: Rocky
    Continued prayers for poor Rocky. If his incision is still swollen and hot, you can use cold compresses. That should help to bring down swelling.

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Maria,
      Yes…foraging is something you really want to be sure about before you start nibbling!

      My first tin of salve is half gone…I’ve given several away and have another batch in the works.

      The goat poo will make a great addition to the garden, and when I had rabbits their manure did too.

      Rocky is doing much better now, thanks!

  3. Amy

    We got the keys to our new home in NC near the Blue Ridge mountains! We visited for the weekend and threw some seeds into the ground to see what will grow: bush beans, squash, potatoes and lovage. We will be back in a month to see what happened. The garden area had been prepped last year by previous owners so we only had to pull a few weeds. Actually, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the weeds were sheep sorrel, a wild edible plant! We didn’t have time to experiment with cooking it, but it was great to know it is there in abundance. We also found chicken coop pieces and parts, complete with waterers, feeders, etc. These were left by the people who owned the land before the previous owners! Very excited to sell our old home and get homesteading in our new place!

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      That’s very cool, Amy! Best wishes with selling your home and moving to North Carolina! I’m a teeny bit jealous. 🙂


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