How to Use a Rocket Mass Heater to Cook & Heat Off-Grid


* This article contains affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliate Disclosure.

 

Learn how to heat and cook off grid with a rocket mass heater, and why this is even more energy-efficient than a traditional wood stove. #woodheat #cheapheat #rocketstove #rocketmassheaterLearn how to heat and cook off-grid with a rocket mass heater, and why this is an even more energy-efficient solution than a traditional wood stove!

This is a guest post by Sunflower Craig of Permies.com

For many, wood heat and wood burning stoves conjure up nostalgia and cozy feelings. After reading this, next time you think of wood heat, you’ll also think of the words “eco-friendly,” “affordable” and “efficient,” (and maybe even “pizza!”) If you’re searching for a strategy to save money and protect the environment without having to sacrifice luxury, wood heat is the way to go.

A particularly eco-friendly choice, wood heat uses a renewable fuel source. Wood, in contrast to fossil fuels, has the potential to be an endless supply. If we keep forests healthy and keep planting trees, people can use wood for warmth for centuries to come. Despite naysayers and vocal activists, combining good woodland practices and an extremely efficient wood stove could actually have a negative carbon impact.

Wood heat is frequently more cost-effective than other forms of heating, such as gas or electricity. Surprise! Not only can you save the environment, but you can save money by using wood heat to warm your house.  

So what is the best way to heat your home with wood? If you’re lucky enough to have a wood-burning fireplace or a wood stove, those are the most well-known and conventional methods for heating your home with wood. But have you ever heard of a rocket mass heater?

A rocket mass heater has one tenth the carbon footprint of a conventional wood stove. Rocket mass heaters allow you to both heat your home and cook in an efficient manner that is good for the environment and that doesn’t rely on the power grid. Not to mention,  as energy costs continue to rise, rocket mass heaters offer a more affordable solution to keeping warm. 

 

What is a rocket mass heater?

There are a few variations of rocket heaters and cooking equipment, including rocket stoves, rocket ovens, rocket water heaters and, of course, rocket mass heaters.. The first and most basic version is the rocket stove, which is used primarily for cooking. A rocket stove can be as simple as using a tin can and some stove piping or stacking bricks to make a basic but highly efficient DIY rocket stove. Check out the video below for a step-by-step tutorial on how to build your own DIY brick rocket stove for outdoor or off-grid cooking. Alternatively, you can purchase a rocket stove for a pretty affordable price so you at least have it in case of an emergency. 

 

Rocket mass heaters are the next level up from rocket stoves. They consist of a fire or burn box, an insulated combustion chamber that burns fuel at very high temperatures, and a thermal mass -typically made out of cobb and stone- attached to the exhaust pipe, which snakes through the thermal mass before connecting to the chimney pipe. Due to their highly efficient design, rocket mass heaters are more energy efficient and environmentally friendly than other types of wood heat; They burn at a higher temperature, emit practically no smoke at all, and charge the thermal mass around them. Not to mention, rocket mass heaters require much less fuel than conventional wood stoves or fireplaces. Some estimates even say rocket mass heaters can reduce fuel consumption by up to 90 per cent!

In the end, burning just a small amount of fuel for a short amount of time leaves your home nice and toasty for up to a day or more after you’ve heated up your rocket mass heater. Given that they are smokeless, they can also provide a more discrete manner of heating your home. They are especially significant in that you can use whatever wood fuel you’ve got lying around: branches, twigs yard waste and other scrap burnables. You can even burn those astronomical heating bills;);)

After all, there is a heating crisis happening in many parts of the world; and this may well be a problem that will continue over the next few years. Heating costs are skyrocketing, leaving many people choosing between heating their home and buying groceries. But there is hope! You never have to heat your home the same, costly way again. Rocket Mass Heaters offer a solution for maximum efficiency and minimal pollution.

Learn how to heat and cook off grid with a rocket mass heater, and why this is even more energy-efficient than a traditional wood stove. #woodheat #cheapheat #rocketstove #rocketmassheater

 

How does a rocket mass heater work?

Rocket mass heaters differ from wood stoves in that wood stoves typically heat up to around 1000ºF, with much of the heat escaping up the chimney along with the smoke. The chimneys on wood stoves are highly insulated to allow for the high temperatures, which are needed to burn off the creosote that builds up in the chimney. Rocket mass heaters, on the other hand, have an insulated fie box and combustion chamber which not only allows the temperature to rise up to 1800ºF, but also combusts all of the creosote as well as all of the smoke before it has a chance to escape through the chimney. The result is a warmer home, less energy waste and less smoke and creosote buildup in your chimney and in the atmosphere.

The exhaust pipes then travel through the thermal mass that’s attached to the rocket heater until finally escaping through the chimney piping. This thermal mass continues to radiate heat for many hours after the initial burn, which heats your home for longer using much less fuel.

In short, rocket mass heaters are more efficient than conventional wood stoves because they keep more heat inside your home.

Here’s a short video that illustrates exactly how this process works:

 

For a more detailed look into how rocket mass heaters work, Ernie and Erica Wisner, rocket mass heat pioneers, go into far more detail about the fire science involved in rocket mass heaters. They cover the science, but also the making of pocket rockets, the explosive properties of steam, and the most efficient rocket mass heater design of the time. (You can see this in the movie “Better Wood Heat: DIY Rocket Mass Heaters.”)

 

Other uses for rocket mass heaters

The applications of the rocket mass heater extend far beyond just heating your home.

Rocket mass heaters are versatile for lots of situations, including:

  • a cozy place to sleep in a tipi
  • a place to warm your butt around the campfire without smoke in your face
  • a stove to cook on
  • an efficient ways to heat your home
  • a source for hot water
  • even an oven for baking pie! Mmm, pie…

In the forums of Permies.com, members have created rocket forges, saunas, cooktops and smokers, water heaters and more, and have extended their growing season by using a rocket heater to directly heat their soil, or to heat their greenhouse.  

At Wheaton Labs in Montana, rocket technology is pervasive. The folks at the lab have built a pizza oven which rivals even the best wood-fired pizza restaurants. They heat the water for their shower with the rocket water heater and have even figured out how to extend the gardening season with a rocket mass heater! 

Learn how to heat and cook off grid with a rocket mass heater, and why this is even more energy-efficient than a traditional wood stove. #woodheat #cheapheat #rocketstove #rocketmassheater

Australian alternative energy innovator Tim Barker built a stand alone rocket water heater, rocket oven and rocket griddle at the 2015 Rocket Mass Heater Jamboree at Wheaton Labs. Tim is well known for his safe and efficient rocket water heaters and has taught the appropriate technology course at Wheaton Labs in the past and now teaches Appropriate Technology at the Koanga Institute.  

But let’s go back to that pie! If having a way to cook off-grid is important to you, our rocket oven DVDs show you in detail how to build your own rocket oven to cook or bake in. You can make your own wood-fired pizza, delicious pie, homemade bread, roasted meat, baked lasagna, cookies, cakes and more with a rocket oven. Learn more right here.

Good food, a nice warm home and clean, cheap, luxuriant heat. And the peace of mind of never having to worry about how to heat your home again.

If you’re ready to take a giant leap toward more energy independence and stop worrying about rising energy costs, power outages, emergencies and other threats to “the grid,” come visit us at Permies.com where we talk about about rocket mass heaters, off-grid living, homesteading, permaculture and more!

And if you’ve ever built or used a rocket mass heater before, be sure to share your thoughts or experience in the comments section below!

 


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NATURAL LIVING

1 Comment

  1. Gino Bressan

    Commment *
    Molto interessante. Grazie
    Proverò a costruire un prototipo!

    Reply

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ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
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Never before have we had access to so much information at our fingertips. Whether you have a question you need answered, are looking for a tutorial to walk you through a specific task or are searching for a recipe to help you figure out what to make for dinner, all you have to do is Google it.⁣

But the problem is that there's no real way to be sure whether the information you find on line is genuine. Is the person who wrote or shared it actually sharing their own experience, or are they too simply regurgitating answers that they Googled?⁣

As we barrel full speed ahead into the era of AI and deep fakes, it will be even more difficult to know whether the information you're getting is even from a real human!⁣

While it's definitely an exciting time to be alive, so many people are feeling overwhelmed, and are craving a return to the analog world; To a world where information was shared in the pages of trusted books and publications, or was passed on from human to human, from someone who held that knowledge not because they Googled it, but because they lived it, experienced it, even mastered it.⁣

That what sets Homestead Living magazine apart from much of the information you'll find online: We don't have staff writers, we have experienced homesteaders sharing their hard-won wisdom in each issue. And while we do offer a digital version, we're also now offering monthly PRINT issues for U.S. subscribers (Canada and elsewhere hopefully coming soon!)⁣

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*** Comment "Homestead" below and I'll send you the link to subscribe! ***
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36 10

When I graduated from university with a degree in journalism many years ago, I remember thinking that while I knew how to write, edit, interview, shoot, and handle just about every part of creating a publication from the editorial standpoint, I really had no clue how to actually get published, let alone how the printing process works.

Over the years I’ve followed my passion for writing, editing and creating content, figuring much of it out on my own. From creating my blog to “self-publishing” my own digital/print magazine for the last 4 years, I’ve taught myself most of the practical skills necessary for turning an idea into a publication and getting said publication in the hands and in front of the eyes of many hundreds of readers.

But now that I’ve joined forces with the team at @homesteadlivingmagazine and @freeportpress, we’re all able to level up and reach many THOUSANDS of print and digital readers together.

People are HUNGRY for tried and tested advice on homesteading and self-reliant living. There’s a huge movement happening right now as more people wake up to all of the corruption in the world and realize that many of the systems we have come to depend on are fragile and on the brink of collapse. People are ready to take matters into their own hands by growing their own food, preparing their own meals, becoming producers instead of merely consumers and taking control of their health, freedom, security and lives.

I’m so proud to not only be a part of this movement, but to be at the forefront of it with some of the most passionate, talented and driven individuals I could ask to work with.

Getting to meet and brainstorm with some of the team in person and tour the printing facilities over the last few days has opened up a whole new world of possibilities, not just for me, but for everyone who considers themselves part of the modern homesteading movement. We are growing faster than I could have ever imagined. We’re creating a system outside of the system! We’re charging full steam ahead and we invite you to climb aboard and join us for the ride:)

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It’s been a minute since I popped into IG to say hi. (Hi! 👋) But before I share what’s been going on behind the scenes, I thought it would be a good time to (re)introduce myself, because I’ve never actually done that before!

My name’s Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader living in the beautiful Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. I live with my family (human, furry and feathered) on 1/4 acre property where we grow and preserve hundreds of pounds of our own food every year, and strive to live a more self-reliant lifestyle in all that we do.

I grew up in Vancouver and had pretty much zero experience homesteading before my husband, Ryan and I decided we wanted to escape the rat race, become less dependent on the modern industrial food system (and all modern industrialized systems), and dove head first into this lifestyle around a decade ago.

We packed up and moved to Vancouver Island where we live now, started our first garden, and the rest is pretty much history.

(Well, actually that’s not true… There have been A LOT of ups and downs, successes and failures, wins and losses, struggles, challenges and pivotal moments along the way, but those are stories for another day).

Over the past few years, our decision to follow a less conventional path that aims to break free (at least in some part) from “the system” has been affirmed over and over again. We all know for a fact now that our food system, healthcare system, financial system, transportation system and so much more are all really just a house of cards built on shaky ground. We’ve been lucky so far, but sooner or later it’s all liable to collapse.

But preparedness and security isn’t the only thing that drives us… The peace of mind I get knowing that everything we grow is 100% organic, and that the ingredients in our food, medicine, personal and household products are safe and natural is worth more than anything I could buy at the grocery store.

(I’m not perfect though. Not by a long shot. I still rely on the grocery store, on modern medicine, and on many modern conveniences to get by, but I balance it as much as I can:)

(Continued in comments…)
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I’m all about practical gifts; Gifts that will truly make life easier and contribute to my and my family’s wellbeing. And our family includes our animals!

One of the ways we make sure our chickens are taken care of is by letting them free range during the day, but making sure they’re locked up and safe from predators at night. But who wants to be up at the crack of dawn to open the coop, or wake up to a bloodbath because you forgot to close the coop the night before?

(The answer is obviously no one… No one wants that).

Automating our homesteading tasks as much as possible allows us to worry about other things and saves us a ton of time. Plus, it makes sure that things get taken care of, whether we remember or not.

Using an automatic chicken door has been a GAME CHANGER for us. It’s one of those lesser known homestead tools that can make all the difference, and I’m always recommending one to anyone who keeps chickens!

This chicken door from @chickcozy_ is so easy to install and use too, and right now you can get one for a steal during their Black Friday sale!

Save over $40 off an automatic chicken door, plus use my coupon code for an ADDITIONAL DISCOUNT!

Don’t forget to check out their chicken coop heaters too, which are also on sale right now:)

Whether you’re shopping for yourself or looking for the perfect gift for the chicken lover who has everything (which might also be yourself;) the @chickcozy_ automatic chicken door is one Christmas gift that won’t soon be forgotten!

Comment “Chicken” below for more info and to get my exclusive coupon code! 🐓

#chicken #chickens #chickendoor #chickcozyautodoor #chickcozy #chickensofinstagram #chickensofig #chickenlover #homesteadlife
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Yes, you read that right…

Modern Homesteading Magazine is coming to an end.

This decision has not come easily, but there’s a season for everything, and more and more I’m feeling called to transition out of this season and into the next in both life and business.

And so this final farewell issue is bittersweet. On the one hand, it’s the first ever annual issue, with 100 pages packed with brand new content that celebrates the best of the past 32 issues!

And it’s the first issue I’ve ever offered in PRINT!

But on the other hand, it marks the end of an era, and of this publication that I’ve absolutely had the pleasure of creating and sharing with you.

If you’re a digital subscriber, you will not be charged a renewal fee going forward, and will continue to have access to the digital library until your subscription runs out. As part of your subscription, you’re able to download and/or print each issue of you like, so that you never lose access to the hundreds of articles and vast amount of information in each issue.

Rather than subscribing, you can now purchase an all-access pass for a one-time fee of just $20, which gives you access to our entire digital library of issues.

Plus, for a limited time, when you purchase an all-access pass you’ll also get a gift certificate for a second all-access pass to gift to someone else.

I’m also still taking preorders for the print version of this special edition issue, but only for a few more weeks!

When you preorder the print issue, you’ll also get a digital copy of the special edition issue (this issue only), and will receive a print copy in the mail later this year (hopefully by Christmas so long as there are no shipping delays!)

Click the link in my profile or visit modernhomesteadingmagazine.com to check out the latest issue, purchase an all-access pass to the digital library and/or preorder the print issue today!

Thanks to everyone who has read the magazine over the past 4 years. I’m humbled and grateful for your support, and can’t wait to share whatever comes next:)

#modernhomesteading #homesteading #homesteadersofinstagram
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It’s easy to romanticize homesteading, but the truth is that those homegrown vegetables, those freshly laid eggs, that loaf of bread rising on the counter, and that pantry full of home-canned food takes time, effort and dedication. It doesn’t “just happen” overnight!

But if you work on learning one new skill at a time and gain confidence in it before moving onto the next, one day you’ll be looking back and marvelling at how far you’ve come.

That’s where I’m at now. Life today looks a lot different than it did 10 years ago, when our homesteading and self-reliance journey was just beginning.

Back then we still lived in our city condo and were just beginning to dabble in all of this stuff. But my husband Ryan and I felt a sense urgency to start pursuing a more self-reliant lifestyle, and we committed to taking small steps, one day at a time to make that vision a reality.

Over the years we’ve continued to put one foot in front of the other, adding new skills and tackling new projects along the way that have helped us get to where we are today.

While there’s always more we want to learn and do, as I look around me right now, I’m so grateful that we took those first steps, especially considering what’s happened in the world over the past few years!

If you’re also feeling the urgency to take the first (or next) steps toward a more self-reliant life, this is your final reminder that today is the last day to join The Society of Self-Reliance and start levelling up your homesteading and self-sufficiency skills so that you’ve got what it takes to:

• Grow your own groceries
• Stock your pantry
• Create a natural home
• Get prepared
• Learn other important life skills like time management for homesteaders, goal setting and how to become your own handyman

And more!

If you’ve been feeling called to level up your self-reliance skills (because let’s be honest, we’re in for a wild ride these next few years with everything going on in the world), now is the time to heed that call.

Link in profile to enroll before midnight tonight, or go to thehouseandhomestead.com/society

#homesteading #selfreliance #selfsufficiency #homesteadingskills #preparedness
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There are so many reasons to grow your own food at home:

💰 Saves you money at the grocery store
🍴 Healthier than conventionally grown food
🔑 increases your overall food security
🫙 Gives you an abundance to preserve and share

But perhaps the number one reason is because it just tastes better!

Not only does food taste better when it’s freshly picked or allowed to ripen on the vine, there’s something about putting in the work to grow something from a tiny seed and then getting to see it on your dinner plate that just makes it so much more satisfying than anything you’ll ever buy from the store.

Plus, having to wait all year for fresh tomatoes or strawberries or zucchinis to be in season makes that short period when they’re available just that much more exciting!

With the world spinning out of control and food prices continuing to rise, it’s no wonder more people are taking an interest in learning to grow their own food at home. But that also means changing our relationship with food and learning to appreciate the work that goes into producing it and the natural seasonality of organically grown fruits and vegetables.

(It also means learning to preserve it so you can make the most of it and enjoy homegrown food all year long).

In my online membership program, The Society of Self-Reliance, you’ll learn how to grow your own food, from seed to harvest, as well as how to preserve it so you can enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor all year long!

You’ll also learn how to grow and craft your own herbal medicine, detox your home, become your own handyman, and so much more (because self-reliance is about more than just the food that we eat… But that’s a pretty good place to start!)

The doors to the Society are now open for a limited time only. Click the link in my profile or go to thehouseandhomestead.com/society to learn more.

#foodsecurity #homegrownfood #homesteading #selfreliance #selfsufficiency #homegrownfoodjusttastesbetter
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If you’ve been watching events unfold over the past few years and you’re feeling called to start “cutting ties” with the system and begin reclaiming your independence, The Society of Self-Reliance was made for you!

When I first launched this online membership program last year, my goal was to create a one-stop resource where members could go to learn and practice every aspect of self-reliance, as well as a space to connect with other like-minded people pursuing the same goal. And that’s exactly what you’ll get when you join!

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn inside the Society:

🌱 Food Security and Self-Sufficiency: Learn the art of growing and preserving your own food, ensuring you and your loved ones have access to nutritious meals year-round.

🌿 Natural Living and Herbal Medicine Mastery: Discover the secrets to creating a low-tox home and and to growing, making and using herbal remedies to support your family’s health, naturally.

🔨 Essential Life Skills: Learn essential life skills like time management, effective goal setting and practical DIY skills to become more self-sufficient.

As a member, you’ll enjoy:

📚 Monthly Video Lessons: Gain access to our ever-growing library of video lessons, with fresh content added each month.

📞 Live Group Coaching Calls: Participate in our monthly live group coaching calls, where we deep dive into a different self-reliance topic every month, and do live demonstrations and Q&A’s.

🏡 Private Community: Join our private community forum where you can ask questions, share your progress, and connect with like-minded individuals.

I only open the doors to The Society once or twice each year, but right now, for one week only, you can become a member for just $20/month (or $200/year).

In today’s world, self-reliance is no longer a luxury, a “cute hobby,” it’s a necessity. Join us inside The Society of Self-Reliance and empower yourself with the skills you need to thrive in the new world!

Link in profile or visit thehouseandhomestead.com/society to learn more.

#selfreliance #selfreliant #selfsufficiency #selfsufficientliving #sustainableliving #modernhomesteading #homesteadingskills #preparedness
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Got out for an early morning harvest today. Been up since 3am, contemplating life, the future and the past, the order of things…

There is a rumbling right now, not just in North America, but around the world. Many of us can feel it, and know we are on the precipice of something big.

I’d been hearing about this new song that’s become an overnight viral sensation, written by an (until now) unknown singer named Oliver Anthony. His new song Rich Men North of Richmond has had 14 million views on YouTube in the past week alone, so I decided to check it out.

I also saw a clip of him playing a Farmers Market last week, and anything that has to do with Farmers Markets always has my attention;)

I can’t tell you how many tears I’ve already cried listening to that song. If you’ve heard it already, you probably know what I’m talking about, and if you haven’t, I highly recommend giving it a listen. All I can say is it’s been a while since a song resonated so deeply with me, and in this strange new world, I know I’m not the only one.

One of the lines in Anthony’s song is “Livin’ in the new world, with an old soul,” and that’s something I think so many of us in the homesteading community can relate to.

Trying to cling to better days; To a simpler time; To the old ways, all while doing our best to get by in the new world.

The world has changed drastically in the last few years especially, and it’s set to change in immense ways over the next few years. Today I’m feeling thankful for people like @oliver_anthony_music_ who give a voice to what so many are feeling right now.

Know that if you’re feeling it too, you’re far from alone. And while the future may feel uncertain and even a little scary, remember that if we stand united, we the people are a force to be reckoned with.

(Continued in comments…)
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Another garlic harvest in the books!

Garlic is easily one of my favourite crops to grow. It’s pretty much a “set if and forget it” crop. We plant in the fall and leave it to overwinter, fertilize a couple times in the spring, start watering only once the ground starts to dry out, and then harvest in the summer. We can even plant a fall succession crop after our garlic if we want so it really makes great use of garden space all year round.

Over the years we’ve managed to become completely self-sufficient with garlic. We now grow enough to eat all year (and then some!), plus we save our own seed garlic and usually have extra to sell or give away. And around here fresh, organic garlic ain’t cheap, so it’s a good cash crop for anyone who’s serious about selling it.

It took me a few years to really get the hang of garlic, but it’s one crop I’m now very confident with (knock on wood, because it’s always when we make statements like this that next year’s crop fails! Lol.)

A while back I compiled a comprehensive guide to growing, harvesting and using garlic both as an edible and medicinal crop. This is usually only available as part of a paid bundle (or in the fall 2022 issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine if you’re a subscriber;), but for a limited time I’m offering it for free, no strings attached!

Plus you’ll also get access to my step-by-step video lesson on planting garlic so you can set yourself up for success with your garlic crop this year.

Comment “Garlic” below or head to thehouseandhomestead.com/garlic-guide to get your free copy!
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#garlic #garlicharvest #homesteading #selfsufficient #selfsufficiency #selfsufficientliving #selfreliance #homegrown #groworganic #growfoodnotlawns #gardenersofinstagram #homesteadersofinstagram
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Going through photos and videos from our trip to the @modernhomesteadingconference and the vast majority are of our daughter having the time of her life!

Even if I personally got nothing else out of this gathering (which I most certainly did), watching her discover her own love of this lifestyle outside of what we do at home made my heart grow three sizes!

Homesteading is about so much more than homegrown food and self-reliance. It’s about passing on invaluable skills and an understanding of and respect for our connection to the land that provides for us to the next generation.

Being around so many other kids and families who are also pursuing a homesteading lifestyle helped show our little one that this is a movement that is so much bigger and greater than what our own family does on our little plot of land. This is a lifestyle worth pursuing, with a community unlike any other.

Glad to be back home and more excited than ever to involve my kids in everything we’re doing. But also, I think I speak for my whole family when I say we can’t wait to go back someday!
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#homesteading #modernhomesteading #raisinglittles
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If you’re simply looking for ways to save a little extra cash this summer and live well for less, here are 12 tried and tested frugal living tips for summer that you can use to save money this season without sacrificing a thing.
Head over using the link in my bio!
https://thehouseandhomestead.com/12-frugal-living-tips-summer/
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