Sunday, January 29, 2017

Comfortable and Organic Buckwheat Pillows

My roommate had been hinting, and finally point-blank stating, that he wanted one of those weird little "as seen on tv" buckwheat pillows. I finally purchased one for him, boxed it up, and put it under the Christmas tree.  He was more excited about that pillow than the other, bigger ticket items. A natural Sobakawa Buckwheat Pillow is an excellent choice for those looking for organic, comfortable, and affordable pillow options. There is also a link at the bottom of the article for additional organic pillow options to think about. 

What is a Sobakawa Buckwheat Pillow

The Sobakawa Buckwheat pillow is a small pillow filled with buckwheat hulls. It is listed with the following features:

  • 100% cotton cover
  • filled with natural buckwheat hulls
  • used in the Orient for centuries
  • the hulls have unique properties when used as a pillow that make them more comfortable, supportive, and therapeutic
  • it measures a bit over 12" x 18"
  • it is made in the US
  • In Oriental medicine, it is thought to assist with "ZU-KAN-SOKU-NETSU" meaning cool head and warm feet. Which is thought to be an important part of maintaining good health

Natures Pillows - Sobakawa Buckwheat Pillow

Why My Roommate Loves His Buckwheat Pillow

My roommate has significant back, hip, and leg pain due to an old, severe injury to his back. Finding a good position to sleep in is a nightly journey for him. He has used full length body pillows, feather pillows, foam pillows, and so on. A combination of pillows work the best for him. This buckwheat hull pillow is very helpful to him in this search for comfortable sleep.  

He reports that it is heavier than most pillows.  It stays propped where he puts it. I have "borrowed" it a few times when I'm reading in bed. I fold it and prop it under my head so that I can read and it does a fantastic job of staying in the position I placed it in. I always finished reading before the pillow flattens out.  

When I asked him to describe what makes him like that pillow so much, he said in his typically super succinct fashion "it does what people say they want pillows to do".  After asking him to clarify, he said:

  • it stays in shape
  • it supports you
  • it's a good size

What Other Reviewers Have to Say About this Buckwheat Pillow

At the time of this writing, the Sobakawa Buckwheat pillow had 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Many of the five star reviews are lengthy and detailed. you will have to read those for yourself. In general, they also report a high level of comfort and support, relief of pain, ability to form the pillow into the position you want, and that they pillow remains cool.

The low reviews complain about the pillow size (too small), the pillow firmness (too hard), and the pillow noise (the hulls make a crinkling sound, a bit like an old-fashioned bean bag chair).  Some people fear bugs or hygiene issues because the pillow itself can't be thrown into the washer or dryer. One person said that the lack of aesthetic shape of full sized pillows at the top of the bed was bothersome.


This is a wonderful, little pillow that provides a cool, supported nights sleep. It is small in size (about half the size of a large standard pillow) but heavy for it's size. The buckwheat hulls do make a crinkling sound (in my opinion) but only ever so slightly.  It is great for propping up on your regular pillow for reading in bed. Put it in a small, washable, 100% cotton pillow case to eliminate hygiene problem.

When I ordered this pillow, I expected it to come in a "as seen on tv" box. It did not. But that did not concern me. I placed it in one of those inexpensive gift boxes and gift wrapped it. And for years, it has been a gift that has given the gift of a comfortable sleep night after night.

Related Link:

Are you concerned about chemicals in your home and environment?  I have recently learned more about the chemicals in our textiles and have reviewed some of the reasons Organic Pillows are Healthier for You and the Environment.

*This article may contain affiliate links. If you shop via one of the affiliate links, I may earn a small commission - at no additional cost to you.  I am very appreciative of every reader who visits my articles. Thank you.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Homestead Themed Address Labels by Colorful Images

The Country Lodge Classic address labels
I have recently ordered new address labels from Colorful Images and I was beyond thrilled to have several homestead themed designs to choose from. The variety of designs is one of the things that keeps me coming back to Colorful Images - there is a design for nearly every mood, season, holiday, and interest.  

As you may know from a recent post, I have recently discovered that not only are bears in the general area near The Shack, I caught photographs of a bear in the yard!  I am both thrilled and afraid with this new information. I love bears. But to have them in your back yard... that is a bit intimidating.  The good news is, it will take awhile before I can live on my land so I have some time to get accustomed to the idea of having bears in the yard.

When shopping for new address labels a few days later, I chuckled when I saw the Country Lodge Classic design. Perfect to represent my life at the moment - and my fervent desire to live in my "country lodge" with the wildlife just outside the door. The "rustic" artwork, full moon, bear, and small lodge art caused me to purchase without looking any further.

Country Lodge Classic address labels (4 designs)

However, if you prefer a homesteading style address label with a different size or design, there are still plenty to choose from. 

So many homesteads have chickens. And with chickens often comes colorful Roosters.  The Year of the Roosters labels are large labels of 12 different artistic illustrations of gorgeous roosters. 

A Year of Roosters Select address labels (12 designs)

Another great option is the 12 different designs of the Farmscapes Select.  These designs are seasonal portraits of farming landscapes that includes cows, round hay bales, autumn leaves, snow, and of course a green and yellow tractor. I enjoy having the ability to change my labels with the changing season.

Farmscapes Select address labels  (12 designs)

This is a very small sample of the homesteading address label designs offered by Colorful Images.  I have had nothing but good experiences when ordering from Colorful Image and am glad to have address labels that express me so perfectly.

*This article may contain affiliate links. If you shop via one of the affiliate links, I may earn a small commission - at no additional cost to you.  I am very appreciative of every reader who visits my articles. Thank you.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

My NEW Favorite Bread Recipe

You may have already heard of this ultimate bread recipe shared from Patara's homestead. After all, it appears to be a trending topic in the homesteading world. At least it is on the homesteading social media sites that I've been lucky enough to become a member of. But just in case you haven't heard of it, I wanted to share my success with this awesome recipe. This is an incredibly delicious and easy bread recipe and I'm very excited about it.

Pullman Loaf Pan

Have you ever heard of a "Pullman Loaf Pan"? I had not. Not until I read about this recipe. Skeptically, I ordered one from Amazon and I baked my first attempt of this bread recipe in it just days after receiving the pan.

I think this pan is the greatest thing since sliced bread! (sorry, I couldn't stop myself). A Pullman loaf pan is rectangular and has a lid that closes. This results in those square sandwich bread loaves.  I was skeptical because, as I believe I've mentioned about a million times, I'm not so good in the kitchen. I couldn't imagine how a bread pan with a lid could possibly work and I expected disaster. Instead, this pan worked out great and I'm going to order a second one.

Pullman Loaf Pan

The Ultimate Bread Receipe from Patara at Appalachia's Homestead

I don't recall how I first came to hear about Appalachia's homestead. I believe I pinned one of her articles. Then I started to follow her on different social media sites - as I do many homestead bloggers.

I also joined her Homestead with Patara of Appalachia's Homestead facebook group.  Those members (a great group of folks, I have to add) started posting photo after photo of their successes with this bread recipe.  So I jumped on that hay wagon and ordered my Pullman pan, honey, and SAF yeast.  I already had the salt, flour, warm water, and oil.

After all, I was feeling slightly more confident after my success with the Peasant Bread recipe. I felt like maybe I could branch out with another bread recipe. But I still wasn't very optimistic.

These are a few of the many reasons I recommend this recipe to you:

  • only 6 ingredients
  • you can bake this bread in Pullman pan, a flat sheet, regular bread loaf pan, or probably just about any pan you have handy 
  • the recipe made two large loaves - plenty of bread for me for a week or more
  • quick prep time - knead for about ten minutes, let it rest 10 minutes, divide, and let it rise for 10-45 minutes, bake.
  • forgiving recipe - substitute the SAF yeast with the yeast of choice, use wheat flour instead of bread flour, and so on.

SAF Yeast

As proof of my success with Patara's Ultimate Bread Recipe, I'll just post my photos.  And following the photos, I'll add the links to finding Patara's sites.  If you are at all interested in a bread that is easy enough for even me to bake successfully on the first attempt, or if you are at all interested in homesteading, be sure to check out some of the links below. 

The Pullman Loaf Pan loaf

The loaf I baked in a cake pan

The sandwich I took to work today

Related Links:

Appalachia's Homestead youtube channel. You will find the bread recipe on video as well as many videos about chickens, eggs, gardening, recipes, homeschooling, and virtually all things homestead.

Appalachia's Homestead with Patara facebook page. Here you will find Patara's photographs, give-aways, links to her other pages, links to the annual homesteading conference, and more.

Homesteading with Patara of Appalachia's Homestead is a closed group facebook homesteading page. Homesteaders (and those of us who have homestead dreams and plans) everywhere are sharing homestead joys and woes. This is a "G" rated group of supportive folks who are willing to share and support.

Intro photo design created courtesy of  FotoJet

*This article may contain affiliate links. If you shop via one of the affiliate links, I may earn a small commission - at no additional cost to you.  I am very appreciative of every reader who visits my articles. Thank you.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Tales: Homestead Rescue TV Show Review

Are you interested in homesteading? Do you want to live off-grid? I have a new favorite television series that is perfect for beginning homesteaders and off-grid dreamers. Homestead Rescue airs on the Discovery Channel but I discovered it on Amazon. Homestead Rescue is a reality TV show in which the Raney family visits people who are living on off-grid homesteads and who are struggling. While every homestead and homesteader is different and unique, there are lessons to be learned in each episode.

Beth and Mike Need Immediate Assistance to Survive

In the first episode of Homestead Rescue the Raney family rescues Beth and Mike. This empty nest couple sold their "regular" home  6 months prior and moved to a very remote homestead in the Wolf Creek Mountains of Montana. This gorgeous mountain area is as breathtakingly beautiful as it is frightening. Multiple empty dwellings are reminiscent of a ghost-town and are constant reminders of the failed attempts to homestead here by the prior owners.

With no water source, no food, and with predators large enough to be serious dangers to humans, Mike and Beth are at high risk from not being successful on this homestead. Their location so remote that one good snow storm and they will be at high risk of death.

Who are the Raneys?

Marty Raney has lived off-grid in Alaska.  He has worked in logging while living on a floating camp and has lived on a homestead in  a very remote area of Alaska. 

In this TV reality series, Marty and his adult children, Misty and Matt, are visiting struggling homestead families for 10 days at a time in order to help them with the steep learning curve of homesteading and be successful. Misty brings skills of farming and gardening. Matt brings skills of hunting, fishing, and understanding how to protect the homestead from predators.

The Take Away from this Episode

I found this couple to be endearing, even though Beth is a bit rigid and frustrating initially.  Homesteaders have their dreams of what they want their homestead to be. But Beth's dreams were so big that they weren't getting started. I understand that mentality.  My little piece of land is not as large or as remote as their homestead. But I have dreams. And sometimes those dreams hold me back from doing things that could be done immediately.

The lesson learned from Mike and Beth is to just get started. Do what you can to start being self-sufficient immediately. And make sure that your dreams are attainable and make sense for your property.

Beth butted heads with the Raney family in the beginning. And in the end, she did not get what she thought she wanted. But in the end, the look on her face and the pride in her voice said it all. She did not need that grandiose long term dream to be implemented in order to be successful and happy on her homestead.

*This article may contain affiliate links. If you shop via one of the affiliate links, I may earn a small commission - at no additional cost to you.  I am very appreciative of every reader who visits my articles. Thank you.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Moultrie Camera Update - At The Shack

It had been months since I've visited The Shack and I missed it oh so much. There were many, many reasons I wanted to spend the last few days of December 2016 camping there, but the Moultrie Game Camera was one of those reasons.  It had been so long since the last time I checked it. I couldn't wait to see what had been caught on this wonderful little game camera up until the time that the batteries went dead - because after so much time the batteries had to be dead. Right? Wrong.

The Moultrie Game Camera Update

I purchased my game camera in the spring of 2016.  You can read the full review of the camera here. At that time, I found it easy to use and reliable at taking good photos of the wildlife and domestic dogs who were visiting my place on the ridge.  I highly recommended this game camera to one and all who were looking for a camera for wildlife, security, and similar purposes.

However, at that time, I did not know exactly how impressive this camera was!  You see, I last visited The Shack in the end of August/beginning of September. The camera was re-positioned on September 2nd.  I was not able to return until the end of December.  I thought surely the camera batteries would have expired by then. But they had not!

This little camera has taken some amazing photos from April to December 2016 on one set of batteries. In fact, the camera continued to take photos as I opened it up in order to turn it off on December 28th.

My only irritation with the camera has been some user error.  If you aim this at blowing tree limbs or the tops of tall weeds, you will end up with many, many photos of leaves blowing in the wind. However, aimed well, this camera takes great photos.  With a lot as steep as mine, it's not always easy to aim it away from the blowing flora.  But when I aim it away from the leaves, I am amazed at what visits my little bit of land.

Wildlife Visitors at The Shack

Dogs, cats (domestic), and deer have been the frequent visitors to my little camping cabin in West Virginia. I was thrilled to see what I would find on the camera during this trip. I hope you enjoy viewing my wildlife visitors and the changing seasons as much as I did.

Whether using a game camera for hunting purposes, security purposes, or just to watch what is going on outside, I highly recommend the Moultrie. What great fun to see what is happening outside when you are not there. And when nature is going about it's business without humans present.  

My dream is to someday build a little gazebo or viewing deck under the crest of the hill (where my "yard" meets my woods) so that I can view this clearing which is invisible from my little shack deck. It will take some planning because I would want to build in a way that has low impact on the woods and wildlife but allows me to watch this activity in person. Until then, I'll just watch remotely via this wonderful little device.

*This article may contain affiliate links. If you shop via one of the affiliate links, I may earn a small commission - at no additional cost to you.  I am very appreciative of every reader who visits my articles. Thank you.