Sunday, January 4, 2015

2014 Review

The turn of the calendar from month twelve back to month one is a good excuse to reflect on the past year and look ahead to the next one.  First up: looking back.  What were the main Homestead Laboratory highlights for us and (based on page views) for our readers?

We're still relatively early in the development of the homestead, so posts on setups to process food and minimize food waste were big for us.  We built a pocket rocket stove to convert our chicken-based waste into biochar.  Later on, we substituted an in-ground rocket stove for the bucket-based one.  The in-ground rocket stove was a companion to our outdoor kitchen, which we used for canning lots of plum and apple jam.  We also grew another batch of meat chickens in an A-frame chicken tractor we built for that purpose, and did lots of new things with crab apples (original, and follow up parts one, two, and three). It was all great fun!

Alternatively, our most popular posts, ranked in order of pageviews-per-days public, were:
  1. Flours In Your Hair (Dec. 18)
  2. Merry Christmas from The Homestead Laboratory (Dec. 25)
  3. Gate Brace Math (Jun. 21)
  4. Book Review: Thrifty Chicken Breeds by Anna Hess (Jun. 28)
  5. Yuletide Strata (Dec. 23)
  6. Strata Verde Con Cerdo (Dec. 7)
  7. Pocket Rocket Stove (Jan. 16)
  8. More Fun With Crab Apples 3: The Juice (Nov. 24)
  9. Historical Lye Making, Part 2 (Feb. 9)
  10. Canned Apple Pie Filling Without ClearJel (Jan. 12)
  11. Dakota Rocket Silo (Aug. 21)
  12. Chicken Coop Feng Shui (Oct. 4)
  13. Emergency Apple Picker (Aug. 28)
  14. DIY Breakfast Cereal: Müsli! (Nov. 27)
  15. More Fun With Crab Apples 2: The Sauce (Nov. 13)
The fact that so many December and November posts show up represents the shortcoming of the 'per day' method (i.e., that more recent posts are weighted more heavily for a given number of regular readers), but clearly the posts in this list from January, February, and June have proven that they at least have some interesting content! It's also nice to see that some of our favorites, like the rocket stove posts, line up with reader favorites.

Also, we wanted to give a shout-out to our favorite posts from some of the other homesteading blogs we follow, both to give props for what we thought were exceptionally interesting posts, and to collect the the most pertinent links in a handy place for us to refer back to.  So, thanks for inspiration to:

Walden Effect
Anna's favorite veggie varieties (and most nutritious veggies)
Anna's list of storage apple varieties (and rust-resistant/not resistant ones)
Lunchtime Series on Naturally Bug Free
Unpowered Gate Opening (and here)
Cold Hardy Greens
Lunchtime Series on Bees in America
How to Start Sweet Potato Slips
Lunchtime Series on Thrifty Chicken Breeds
How Many Chickens Will A Black Soldier Fly Bin Feed?

Root Simple
Most of their Saturday Linkages/Saturday Tweets posts
Growing Fodder for Chickens (and other small livestock)
Defeating Cabbage Worms
Choosing Greywater-Compatible Detergents
Resources for No-Treatment Beekeeping
Tortilla Presses
Journal of the New Alchemists
Solar Food Dehydrators
Tomato Disease Diagnosis Tool
Discussion on GMO Risks
Seed, Fruit, and Nut Energy Bars (and these)
Trailcam for the Garden
Storing Fresh Fruits and Veggies
Making Shoes
Processing Acorns to Eat
Biochar Podcast
Earth-Friendly Holiday Decorations

5 Acres and a Dream
Monthly To-Do List for a Georgia Homestead
Alternatives to Alfalfa for Goats (lots more thoughts here)
Garlic for Healthy Humans, Goats, and Cats
Interesting Facts About Whitewash
Solar Ovens (and here)
Composting with Chickens
Dehydrating Eggs (and here)

Green Machine Farm
Small-Scale Egg Packing
Piglet Processing
Advanced Craigslisting (i.e., kind of like Regex golf for Craigslist farm supplies)

It turns out that going back through a whole year of posts at one time is quite an undertaking!  (All you other homesteading bloggers are such admirably prolific writers!)  While these are the top four on our blogroll, look for links to other great resources, too, like No Tech Magazine, which we started following more recently.

How about you?  What were your favorite posts from 2014, either here or from other homesteading blogs?  Let us know in the comments section below!


  1. A busy year! Best wishes for 2015!

    1. Thanks, Mom! Hopefully 2015 will be just as busy. :-)

  2. Thanks for the shout-out! (And I'm always intrigued to see which of our posts make it onto folks' favorites lists.)

    By the way, I've been meaning to contact you to see if you'd be interested in having me reprint one of your apple recipes in the fall edition of my Farmstead Feast series. You've had so many fun apple (and crab apple) experiments this year that I'd have to read back over your posts to narrow it down to one recipe. Let me know if you're interested! I would, of course, give a link back to your blog! :-)

    1. Thanks for writing such interesting stuff!

      You're definitely welcome to include any of the recipes you like. I'm excited to see what your new recipe book(s?) all look like! :-)