Making the Most With What We Have: Billie’s Story

by Merissa on May 15, 2015

in Making the Most

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Making the Most With What We Have

Welcome to our series here on Little House Living, "Making the Most With What We Have"! This series will showcase individuals and families all over the US (and even outside the US!) that are making the most of what they have. We know that you can be a modern homesteader without 160 acres of land and a mule so this series will share the stories of these families so we can get a peek into their lives and learn from each other.

Today, come read and be inspired by Billie's Story...

homestead
Where Do You Live?

Our family lives on 5 acres outside of the small town of Hermann, Missouri. We built our cordwood house out of the wood we cut from clearing the power line. We raise our own food such as rabbits, pigs, turkeys, ducks and chickens for eggs. Garden time is my favorite time of the year and my husband recently built me a greenhouse so we are hoping to have fresh vegetables all year.

What Are Your Dreams and Goals for Your Homesteading Journey?

Our goal is to try to become "preservative free" by raising most of our own food and making soap, laundry detergent, raising and canning our vegetables. I like the fact that I know what is in my families food. We also raise rabbits and pigs for the meat and to sell. Believe me, you will not get rich but they help pay for their food.

How Are You Making the Most With What You Have?

We are making the most of the small amount of property we have by building a house out of the cleared land, raising our own food, and making a small amount of money from selling pigs, rabbits, and eggs. I even have someone who buys rabbit manure for their garden!

What Are Some Things You Have Learned So Far?

We have learned so much...one thing is that building your own house out of the materials that are around you is so much better and cheaper. When doing so, plan for your future. We knew that this would be where we would live for the rest of our lives. We made wider doorways and a walk in shower so that when we are older and maybe one of us would have to use a walker or wheelchair, it is already handicap accessible. Also, everything we will need is on one level so there are no steps to worry about falling down. There is a loft area where the kids have their bedrooms, but we will not have to use it when we are old. Another thing to know is that if you can only raise a couple of animals, rabbits and chickens are the easiest and most productive. Rabbits can give you meat, pelts for making blankets, jackets, rugs, etc... they also give you great fertilizer for your garden. They have the only manure you can use fresh. Chickens give you eggs and meat, eat bugs (which is a real blessing in the country), and they also give you fertilizer. Their manure is a litter different - you must not use it fresh. Let it dry before putting it into your garden or the high nitrogen will burn up your plants.

Share Your Favorite Recipe!

Rabbit Soup with Homemade Egg Noodles

This is one of our favorites! So easy and yummy and you don't have to use rabbit, any meat will do.

Boil your rabbit, add carrots, celery, onions, peppers, and garlic to the water to make a good broth. While that is cooking make up your noodles.

Noodle Recipe

2 c. flour - approximately (you will add a little more so don't put it away)
7 eggs
1tsp. salt (I use sea salt, but whatever you choose is fine)

Mix 2 cups flour and the salt together in a bowl.
Make a hole in the center of the flour.
Crack and drop your eggs in one at a time.
Mix it up until it forms a ball (add more flour if necessary).
Place it on a floured surface and knead it for about 5 minutes.
Then roll it out to about 1/8th inch.
Let it sit for about an hour as it needs to dry.

By now your rabbit should be ready to de-bone.
Place a strainer over a large bowl and pour the rabbit and vegetables into the strainer, this way you save the broth.
Pour the broth back into the pot, adding water if necessary.
I always add the vegetables back to the broth and add more like tomatoes, green beans, and more carrots if needed.
De-bone the rabbit and chunk up the meat. Put this in a separate bowl.

Time to cut your noodles! I use a pizza cutter and just make thin strips. They will need to dry a little longer. Some people hang their noodles on a string, but I just separate them and leave them on the counter to dry. Don't worry, they will swell up in the broth while cooking!

Bring your broth and vegetables back to a boil and let your added veggies cook until done.
Start dropping your noodles in (make sure your broth is at a full boil) stirring after a few to keep them from sticking together.
After all of your noodles are added, then add your meat back in and bring it back to a boil. The broth will thicken up on it's own.
Add whatever seasonings you like - I add basil, rosemary, thyme, sage, salt and pepper.

I know this is not a conventional recipe, but I learned from this from my grandma and she never wrote anything down. She even taught me to make the noodles!

Share With Us One Unique Tip That Has Helped You

I have learned a lot from talking to the elderly people in my life. Do not be afraid to ask them for advice, they love it and they have lived through the depression and other hard times. They have lived the simple life that a lot of us seek.

Greenhouse

Your Favorite Useful Homesteading Item

My greenhouse!  Even though my husband just recently built it for me, I see wonderful things coming from having it.

Anything Else to Share?

The best advice I can give is to talk to the elderly in your community they have loads of wisdom to share.

making

Want to be a part of the Making the Most With What We Have Series? You can read about it and fill out the interview questions here.

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5:30 am

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Barb Wright May 15, 2015 at 6:53 am

I totally agree with you about the elderly. Most of what I know came from my grandparents and my parents. Although they are all gone now,their knowledge lives on. I have taught my kids and now we are teaching our grandkids! Love your greenhouse and your story!

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2 Joan M. May 15, 2015 at 8:49 am

Love the house, it’s beautiful. Personally, if I raise an animal, it’s a pet. I could never eat something I raised, I guess I am too soft hearted. I learned a lot from the elders in my family and miss them now that they are gone.

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3 Bonnie May 15, 2015 at 9:11 pm

What a smart way to build your house! Use whatever you can from nature. I’ve never had rabbit to eat before. Well, I guess from what I can remember but my dad told me when we were really young, we did eat rabbit. I love reading from people who use everything as much as they can! I don’t know the art of using rabbit fur however, it is nice and soft:-)

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4 Lana May 16, 2015 at 10:48 am

The elderly are so overlooked in our society and it is a shame that so much of what they know will possibly be lost. I learned much from my Grandmother but it is different than most. She was a professional musician and she taught me cord progressions and improvisation that I would not have just picked up as a pianist. She also made homemade noodles though and they were wonderful. My Mom did them too and always dried them on a wax paper covered ironing board. We always knew we were having chicken and noodles for supper if the ironing board was up and covered with noodles when arriving home from school.

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5 Elaine May 16, 2015 at 7:02 pm

Wow, another great installment of this series!! I totally loved this families story, as it is totally our goal right down to the type of house they built! Thank you for sharing, and all the great advice. Those of us on the road to homesteading appreciate the wisdom passed along by those who have gone ahead.

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6 Jen May 17, 2015 at 1:29 pm

Wonderful story, and thank you so much for sharing your Grandmother’s noodle recipe. I will be making these for dinner tonight with a venison stew. (I don’t have a chicken or rabbit handy. LOL)

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