Living Free in Tennessee - Nicole Sauce

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Living Free in Tennessee - Nicole Sauce



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Mar 27, 2017

This week I took the opportunity of being in the car for 26 hours with the famous Mike Vertrees to record an interview with him about the workshop we attended at Jack Spirko's place. This workshop was fantastic - and exhausting. There will be expanded show notes on Wednesday, my friends.

Song: Dr. Feeley, Dr. Skinner - Sauce

Mar 20, 2017

Today we will talk about how important it is to build flexibility into your life because it helps make you more resilient when things change. We will also talk about what has happened since we started getting serious about the egg and coffee business, cover how the paper is doing and I will share with you a bit about how the Grafting workshop went over at Cider Hollow.

Eating Seasonally and Tales from the Prepper Pantry This is where we share what we are eating as it comes to us - and talk about ways to use what we store.

  • Wild Mustard, watercress, dandelion greens
  • Baby kale from the super kale plant
  • From the pantry: there is half a box of potatoes left and we are par boiling them, then making hash browns about once a day!
  • Corn and green beans on salads as usual
  • Hitting the pickled goods hard.
  • Forgot to can the extra pork stock from the shoulder roast so here is what we did...

Getting the Gardens Ready Where we share what we are doing to get our food growing operation up and running.

  • Operation Eyesore
  • Transplanted the tomato seedlings and moved then to the GH
  • Beets, carrots, lettuce, radish, etc seeds are in the ground and the radishes have germinated!
  • Working on more woodchipping for areas where we want better weed control
  • Someone dug the horseradish plant - wtf?

Why Build Resilience in Your Life Part of our lifestyle here on the homestead is about building resilience into our day to day activities. Because no matter what happens, we only know one thing: change is coming. This idea that you work one job your whole life and retire to play golf - and that this is the norm - was a nice dream, but it is really a fiction.

  • First and foremost: flexibility
  • Secondly: responsibility - no excuses
  • Finally: more control of the things you can control

Four ways to get started:

  1. Simplify and frugalify
  2. Grow some of your own food
  3. Find ways to build ongoing income from your local area that you control
  4. Develop a real community around yourself

Holler Homestead Business Progress Center Hill Sun Update Stories from the Holler

And with that, remember, if like the show you can support us while drinking a marvelous cup of hand-roasted coffee - order here.

Youtube channel -

Well my friends, next week it is a 50-50 chance that the podcast will be skipped - sorry about that. I will be down at Jack Spirko's not getting enough sleep for five days, giving a presentation and learning a TON from other homesteaders. And in two weeks, we may have a very special interview lines up with one of our listeners who is this very moment one her brand new pice of land. That should be fun. Anyway - go out and make it a great week! Song: Sauce, Tripped Out.

Mar 13, 2017

Today we are going to talk about what NOT TO DO when you first move to your new homestead. These are three things that I really wish we had known before we dove into the Holler Homestead. Also today, a brand new gluten free, dairy free, soy free potluck recipe. I’ve got some updates to share about the Holler Homestead and we will go over Toby Hemenway’s 8th chapter of Gaia's Garden.

Eating Seasonally and Tales from the Prepper Pantry

This is where we share what we are eating as it comes to us - and talk about ways to use what we store.

  • Wild Mustard is everywhere
  • Wild Salad
  • Harvesting Dandelion Roots
  • Harvesting Sassafrass Root
  • Prepper Pantry Recipe: Roasted Garlic Spread
  • Gluten free, dairy free, soy free potluck dish

Getting the Gardens Ready
Where we share what we are doing to get our food growing operation up and running.

  • Operation Eyesore
  • Final bed preparation is in process and it will take a few weeks to finalize
  • Blackberry Propagation
  • Seedling light update

3 Mistakes to Avoid on Your New Land

  1. Don’t rush in
  2. Don’t do everything at once
  3. Don’t underestimate

Three things you should do on your new land:

  1. Take time and observe
  2. Set clear priorities with your big picture goal in mind and stick to them
  3. Double your estimate in time and money for everything so that you have enough resources to complete your projects

Toby Hemenway Chapter 8 of Gaia's Garden

Questions to ask yourself about this chapter

  • What one community do I want to set up this year?
  • How can I make plants, insects, soil organisms, birds and mammals work in concert on my land?
  • Where can I try out polyculture in my garden this year and what succession will I aim for?
  • Do I have time each day to oversee a succession planting project in my veggie garden?

And with that, remember, if like the show you can support us while drinking a marvelous cup of hand-roasted coffee! Order here.

You want to drop me a question, topic idea, or comment, feel free to email me. And for those of you who prefer youtube, we have the show up over on a youtube channel, but they won’t let me do a vanity domain until I have 100 followers - apparently this is something new. Youtube Link

It is funny how simplifying your life, putting more energy into gleaning a living from a piece of land, when done well, can add resilience to your household. Next week we will talk about this resilience a bit more when I share with you s big change that has happened in my job. I am so glad to see spring springing here in Tennessee - along with its new plants, snow, 70 degree days and more visits from friends. Living this way is great fun, really hard, sometimes scary - but it is always rewarding to know that we have made what we have with our own two hands. Make it a great week!

Song: Sauce, Belly Dancing Vamp Song

Mar 6, 2017

And a listener shot me an email last week after hearing the garden section with a pretty important question that has led to today’s topic: Starting Seedlings for the Newbee. Also today, a comment on some of the divisiveness we have all been experiencing and some thoughts on why certain words are triggering bad behavior - especially online. More importantly, we will talk about something you might do to de-escalate these situations.

Also, we will be re-upping the Toby Hemenway segment not THIS WEEK, but next week - Honestly - chapter 8 is taking me a long time to develop because there is so much information in it and I just don’t want to do a bad job for you. Be ready next week for that one.

Notes at:


Feb 27, 2017

On today’s show, I will walk you through a specific recipe you can try at home with produce purchased at the store for your first canning project. This is in advance of our soon to be produced youtube series: Learn Canning with 8 Home Preservation Projects. Also cued up for the show is another segment from Samantha the Savings Ninja! She will give us her top picks for phone apps that can save you money.

Also, Holler Roast coffee is officially for sale online at It is $14 a pound plus shipping, and of course the best shipping rate is for 5 pounds, but two pounds ship for a fairly reasonable price too!

More show notes at

Feb 20, 2017

Do you ever give some advice to people, then realize the person who needs it the most is you? That’s basically how last week went here at the Holler Homestead. The ducks discovered the creek resulting in a cascading series of projects that were of top priority, and not originally on my list.

Today, I will cover something promised from last week: potato preservation, go over questions to ask as a result of reading chapter 6 of Gaia’s Garden, there will be the first in a series of gardening economics discussions, and, last but not least, Dances with Ducks - a view into how keeping animals means you can’t depend on any plan you ever make.

Justin Rhodes chicken tractor plans


Eating Seasonally

  • Wild Garlic and Watercress still going strong
  • Dead Nettle, Lamium purpureum , Identifying it (Salads, sautee’s and with eggs)
  • Chickweed, more on this next week

Getting the Gardens Ready

Where we share what we are doing to get our food growing operation up and running.

  • Sweet Potato Slip Update: The first slip is starting to poke out! 
  • Organized seeds

Tales from the Prepper Pantry

How we are keeping our winter stores interesting.

  • Freezer Audit: (Notebook is awesome, in theory)
  • Sweet potato, potato puree
  • Green beans as breakfast
  • Renewed effort on the pickled things - Man! Dilly beans are fantastic!

Stories from the Holler

Bee mentor/ Hive inspection 

Potato Preservation

  • Drying.
  • Canning - The guide:

Lessons learned from Toby Hemenway

This week: Chapter 6
Next Week*: Chapter 7


  1. What do I want/need to support with my plants? (shade, forage for animals, shelter from wind, food for us, enjoyment, pest resistance vs attracting beneficial bugs - or wildlife for that matter?
  2. What problems do I currently have that plants can help with? (Deer destruction, sad soil, etc)
  3. What do I really love? How can I plan my homestead to support those things?
  4. What balance of mulching, soils loosening, nutrient mining, fungal growth sparking, and so forth will be best for my land - and therefore what plants should I integrate to set this up?
  5. What areas should I develop first with intensive planting, versus setting the stage for a longer-term play?

Garden Economics

Do home gardens save you money?

Dances with Ducks


It is so nice at this time of year to go outside in the morning with my cup of coffee and watch the world go by for a few minutes before diving in. And despite the ducky duties this week, things are still moving forward at the Holler Homestead. Thank you so much for joining me today here on Living Free in Tennessee and make it a great week!

Feb 13, 2017

Today we will take some time to review four strategies for managing a busy spring on the homestead without losing your mind. Spring has begun early this year and with it, a dangerous situation is in the works: The potential for an early April deep freeze.

But what if it doesn’t?  What if we just go straight into a spring that no longer gets below 26 degrees and ends in a super hot May that kills all the peas and  lettuce? Our daffodils are blooming. Our trees are budding out. Our bees are madly bringing pollen to the nest. We might have swarms soon - they are already starting in Texas. And I am just one person on a homestead with a job, starting a new business, with limited time.

It occurred to me, those of you listening to this for the first time probably have no idea what the segments are or why we have them. Living on a homestead requires a different, more simple approach to living, eating and planning. In the first few episodes, I was haphazardly sharing some of our experiences and eventually the fell into categories. So today, along with each segment, I’ll share a bit about what the segment is.

Eating Seasonally
This is where we share what we are eating as it comes to us. In the winter, things slow down, but here I talk about what is still growing in the woods that we can eat. For free. Having done nothing to make it grow. Well sometimes I throw garden items in, but not for much longer because it is time to have a stand-alone wild foraging section.

  • Wild Garlic and Watercress have come into their own
  • Eggs - I launched the subscriptions - ! First ones going out today :-)
  • Jerusalem artichokes
  • And the Deadnettle is starting to peek up at me

Getting the Gardens Ready
This is a spring segment where we share what we are doing to get our food growing operation up and running.

  • Sweet Potato Slip Update
  • Cider Hollow Farm Workshop on Grafting! in Savannah, Tennessee: This will be a half day grafting workshop. Start time will be 9am on Saturday March 18 and will run until approx. 2pm. Cost is $45 and Registration

Tales from the Prepper Pantry
It is so easy to stock your pantry, but not always easy to remember to eat the food from it. In this section, I share with you how we are using what sounds like the same things all the time but in different ways to

  • The weekly squash - week 8: Rotting Spaghetti Squash

    Cushaw Squash Pie - Just like pumpkin but better!

  • Onions - 1 grew! Making French Onion soup this week, but with the wrong kind of stock!
  • A sweet potato in every salad
  • Salad Corn
  • Pottage: Lang, goat and beef with canned corn and beans, potatoes and sweet potatoes with curry and onions. Serve over rice with freshly diced onion, salad greens and chutney.

Stories from the Holler

  • The sinkhole
  • A visit from Mike Vertrees, soil expert
  • My dog disappeared 

Four strategies for navigating spring...

Strategy 1: Get Real on the garden or homestead plans.

  1. Cut in half your current garden plans unless you are a seasoned garden planner -
  2. More plants, less space=good
  3. Take 10 minutes to look at your journal from last year and look for trends: What i am doing
  4. If you don't have a journal from last year, go to the dollar store, but a notebook and start one. Write in it at least once a week.

Strategy 2: Take a step back and breathe when you feel overwhelmed and remind yourself to visit the three changes you can use for you can make for a great year from episode 18

  1. Decide the 1 thing you want to do best this year (Did you? What is it?)
  2. Set a weekly time to reflect on your progress and set a small, attainable forward step (Are you? Why not?)
  3. Remember the small things are the most important. (What is one small thing you can do this week?)

Strategy 3: The List of Minimums 

  1. There can be only 3 - this part is hard - and do them first. You will find there is more time for everything else if you do this.
  2. Trust your gut on putting things off 
  3. Link choices to your personal strategic plan.

Strategy 4: Have some fun man!

Spring is one of the busiest times. Oh who am I fooling? We only really get to slow down in the winter. And with lots of project piling up it is easy to get overwhelmed. Yet sometimes the worrying about getting things done is worse than just choosing one thing and doing it. But not at the expense of your health, happiness or relationships, right? Thank you for joining me today here on Living Free in Tennessee and make it a great week!

Song: Cilly's Song, Sauce

Feb 6, 2017

Today we will talk about progress we are making here at the Holler Homestead, and along our own pathway toward more independence in Tennessee. I’ll give you an Independence Fund update, tell you how the newspaper is doing, share some of the progress we’ve made on or new farm concepts - and how they have already changed, and tell you some exciting things about the cookbook.

Direct Download

Eating Seasonally

  • Wild Garlic
  • Watercress
  • Elephant garlic shallots
  • Eggs
  • Jerusalem artichokes
  • Time to harvest the last of the carrots - they are about to become woody

Getting Ready for Spring Planting

  • Sweet Potato Slip Update
  • Preparing potatoes for planting early
  • Getting our beds ready with lots of manure and mulch
  • Tree and vine trimming time - wish I had done this in December
  • Horseradish Plant propagation
  • Comfrey Propagation
  • Moving the day lilies

Tales from the Prepper Pantry

  • The weekly squash - week 7: Squash A’Gratin
  • Bake fried potatoes
  • Roasted potato salad
  • Pre-grated sweet potatoes for salad toppings
  • Salad Corn and Green Beans soaked in a bit of pickled beet juice with mandolin onions

Announcement: we have our first Holler Roast event order! Workshop in Savannah, Tennessee: This will be a half day grafting workshop. Start time will be 9am on Saturday March 18,2017 and will run until approx. 2pm. Cost is $45 and Registration

Independence Fund

This is our make it or break it year.
We built in online subscriptions for folks who want to get the paper from our of our distribution area.
Building websites for small businesses and giving short start up advising sessions.

Holler Homestead Progress
Holler Roast Coffee: Local story carrying it, workshop presentation, online sales kicking off this week at both and
Egg subscriptions: Woefully behind promotion for this. I’ve reached out to restaurants and run into a USDA issue that I plan to research and write about. WTF? But either way, we are about to have duck and chicken egg subscriptions.
Financial benefit: Covers feed and power for the poultry and keeps us in eggs, and then only about $200 a week profit between all the products.

Seasonal cookbook might shift to the story of Darby’s Restaurant paired with seasonal recipes because I found a goldmine of information in Oregon when my grandmother died.

Canning series 

Lessons Learned from Toby Hemenway

This week: Chapter 5
Next week: Chapter 6


  1. What can I do for my soil this year to help increase its natural ability to hold and/or drain water?
  2. What plants might I put in to help me move my property toward more abundance, better shaded soils, and water retention?
  3. Do I need earthworks, or is the work done well before I got here?
  4. How hard would it be to build grey water systems?
  5. How should I build in water collection to help in times of draught?
  6. Would large scale water/soil changes increase the stability of springs and river near me?

Today was a great day to reflect on progress we are making so far this year and I hope you, too, have time to do this some time soon. 

Song: Wolf, by Sauce

Jan 30, 2017

Thanks for humoring me last week as we took a step back together and walked through a how to podcast episode. I know you may be wondering what does that have to do with a walk to independence or homesteading? Well there is this thing we all need on the homestead - cash. And one way to generate income is to use tools like podcasting to promote your products. Plus, a podcast is a great way to capture what you are learning as you start on an adventure. You get the double bonus of helping others as they start a similar adventure.

This week, though, we are back to a homesteading topic with a show about mushrooms. I have never seen so many oyster mushrooms as we have had this year here in the south and that has taken me on a bit of a foray in what to do with them all - Because when nature gives us bounty, it is best to take advantage of it! There must be a reason I need vitamin D this year because the mushrooms have the D - and come to think of it - it has been darker than usual this winter.

We’ve passed a benchmark. 100 listeners!

What mother nature is providing

  • Wild Garlic
  • Watercress
  • Stinging Nettle Abounds
  • Chickens are laying eggs again! Just in time for Fat Tuesday Crepes!
  • Comfrey is peeking up and the garlic looks happy
  • Make your own sweet potato slips

Tales from the Prepper Pantry

  • The weekly squash - week 6: Butternut Squash Enchilada Casserole
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Salad Corn
  • Bread, bread, bread!

Stories from the Holler

  • Many hands make light work
  • A weekend of fun and good living
  • 120 pound of green beans have arrived

Storing and Using Oyster Mushrooms

Dry and in the fridge for a week
Dried and vacuum sealed
Diced and frozen

Pickling Brines can be found here.


  • Sauteed in butter - always try this!
  • Add to soups and stews
  • Oyster mushroom/corn chowder
  • Pizza
  • Stir fried vegetables
  • Wild mushroom turnovers
  • On your hamburger
  • Wild Mushroom Crepes

Lessons learned from Toby Hemenway

This week: Chapter 4
Next Week: Chapter 5

Observation about this chapter:

  • Growing soil seems to be the best place to focus my attention.
  • A test can be helpful, but if you can’t get one, don’t let it stop you. Look at what grows there, how well it grows and learn.
  • There is no silver bullet
  • Questions to ask yourself:
    What is the state of my soil and what can I do to make it better?
    What resources (like forrest loam) do I have access to as I take on the yard?
    Where do I want to start first? The whole enchilada, or just a small part of my land?
    How can I manufacture fertility on my homestead? Chickens, rabbits, table scraps, etc.

Spring is coming. Make it a great week!

Song: Strange Child, Sauce

Jan 23, 2017

Today is Monday, January 23, 2017 and this is episode 20 of Living Free in Tennessee. When I think back to that first episode, all the ums and edits, the starts and restarts, it is with lots of gratefulness. I am grateful for that special friend who helped me get the one piece of equipment I needed to grow from built-in computer mic to a nice recording setup. Grateful for my friends over on the TSP Zello channel who have kept me going through that low point we all get to on a podcast. And to Jack Spirko and Nick Ferguson who probably have no idea that they inspired me to get off my bum and do something for myself last summer as I was watching all the other parts of my world start to crumble. And then there is Ford. You know who you are. That day I was going to trash the whole project you asked me a simple question: “When is the next podcast coming out?” That simple question was what it took to make me ask myself. “Am I really gonna do this thing? Why? Where could I take it if I did it right? How can I arrange my schedule to make room for this?” And a week later, Living Free in Tennessee became something that happens on a schedule rather than a weekend afterthought.

Today, I will depart from the normal homesteading stories and share with you some of the lessons I have learned about launching a podcast. A few of you have asked me questions about podcasting because you are interested in starting one and I though, why not share my top lessons learned with everyone? Maybe this episode can help one or two of you start telling your stories.

Now, you may be wondering how this relates to self reliance and homesteading --- or freedom for that matter. There is a quiet revolution that has been happening in rural communities all over our country. One where people are realizing that simplicity is good for the heart and soul, good for the body. One where people are opting out of the expensive rat race that leads so many into debt - and opting in to lives of hard work and healthy living. One where people who have very different political and spiritual perspectives manage to come together in their communities and redefine how our political leaders and the media seem to want to define us. One where people are quietly deciding to get along with one another despite sometimes disagreeing, despite differences.

THESE are the stories we need to share with the world. The stories of a family whose crop got taken out by a tornado and the next day a bunch of neighbors came over to help them replant. Or the Nashville flood of 2010 where folks jumped in their boats to snatch people and pets off roofs. Or the kid with leukemia near here who was going to be locked in a sterile room with just the hospital tv for months, whose family could not afford a computer, and the community gave him a iPad.

These are the stories that give me hope, and these are the real pieces of a peaceful revolution of people who have opted out of hysteria and negativity and are doing something to make a real difference.

What mother nature is providing

  • Oyster Mushrooms
  • Stinging Nettle
  • Watercress
  • First EGGGGGG!!!

Tales from the Prepper Pantry

  • The weekly squash - week 5: No squash this week - I just can’t this week. So Ford shared a baked spaghetti squash idea.
  • Search for the rotten potato...remembering to look at the things in the root cellar
  • Root vegetables! The Blue Cheese Beet Bake
  • Venison tacos (Green chili)


8 Lessons Learned From Starting a Podcast

  1. Just Do it
  2. Use what you have on hand
  3. Define your core and stick to it
  4. Not all podcast hosts are the same - find a good one and learn what they do well
  5. Four areas to consider: Equipment, Content, Production, Marketing
  6. Content (and delivery) is the most important - as long as you don’t foul up the rest
  7. Network, network, network
  8. Block time and be consistent

Area 1: Getting started with technology

  1. What do you already have? Computer with built it mic? Cellphone that records? High end recording setup? Hand held recorder? Whatever it is - just use that and get started!!
  2. Recommendations from another podcaster: Nick Ferguson
    "I asked some professionals and got a studio condenser mic, desk stand, Scarlet Solo, and I record directly into Adobe Audition. That's basically it. Pretty simple but not cheap. If I had to go cheap, then I'd get one of those blue yeti mics and record into adobe audition. The biggest thing is acoustic control of the room. Sound absorbing panels 360 degrees around you with panel above. Simple cheap cubicle panels work."
  3. What I use

Area 2: Content development

  1. Define the core of what your podcast will cover, and stick to that.
  2. Choose something you LOVE.
  3. Try an interview - it yields lots of content
  4. Approach the podcast like a great presentation: Hot beginning, Hot Landing and don’t mess up the middle (Steven Spielberg?).
  5. Integrate stories and metaphors. Integrate them all the time. ALL THE TIME.
  6. Check and triple check your facts - then realize that the random phantom will take over while you are recording and you might still say the wrong thing - don’t stress, just admit it and fix any errors in future podcasts. We are all human.
  7. X number of tips is a great way to focus your content.
  8. Consistent segments are great

Area 3: Production

  1. Less editing is better - especially at the beginning
  2. You do not need a huge file. In fact this will bite you in the bottom - 128kbp/s mp3 is just fine.
  3. What I use:

Area 4: Marketing and promotion

  1. Keep it simple to start, stick to your core
    (Or nothing, just do it and build one thing at a time)
  2. Resource for promoting your podcast:
  3. What I Have: Facebook, Twitter, Website
    • Coming soon: Youtube

Got something to say? Email me at, or drop a comment over at Next week we will be back to our usual homesteading and independence topics. But until then - go out - and make it a great week!

Song: Sauce "Special"


Jan 16, 2017

With episode 20 looming large I decided to talk longer about some of our regular segments today and to review ten things that new homesteaders should consider as they start working on a their piece of land. We have a new development! Samantha the Savings Ninja has agreed to give us a monthly savings segment. I asked her a question about couponing because I am just now relearning how to use them in the modern age of rewards cards, cell phones and rapidly intensifying technology. Do you have a question for Samantha? Send me an email with the subject line: LFTN Savings Ninja and I’ll see about getting your question on the next show.

Things to ask a consultant before bringing them to your property:

  1. Who have they worked with before and what do those folks say about them?
  2. How forthcoming with their experience are they? Have they done a PDC or are they rather new to the discipline?
  3. Will they let you come visit their farm before you decide? (which can tell you what they have implemented.)

What mother nature is providing

  • The last cabbage & a lesson on broccoli
  • Kale
  • Oyster Mushrooms
  • Stinging Nettle  (Gathering hikes will keep me walking)
  • Watercress is back
  • 2 eggs a day (No yay)

Tales from the Prepper Pantry

  • The weekly squash - week 4: Roasted Butternut Squash Bake.
    Ingredients: Olive oil, garlic, salt, smoked paprika - Link to the spice mix I use.
    Roast at 425 for 25 minutes
    Place in a casserole dish with mozzarella and butter wedges.
    Broil until there is a nice top crust.
  • The story of the ham.
    1) Ham, mashed and green beans
    2) Sliced for sandwich meat
    3) Ham Tetrazzini
    4) Ham, cabbage and cheese Bierocks
    5) Ham and field peas (Ham and beans)
  • Pickled appetizers - ends up turning into farmer’s platter dinners.

Stories from the Holler

  • The greenhouse roof - is back together. For now.
  • Hunting season is over
  • The bee inspection
  • Lessons learned from the gravity honey extraction method

Samantha’s Saving Ninja Segment

Ten Things the New Homesteader Should Keep in Mind

  1. KISS
  2. Build your network
  3. Set Simple, Attainable goals
  4. Journaling is one of the most valuable things you can do for long term success
  5. Profit is not evil - bartering is great but sometimes you need cash to pay the tax man
  6. Failing forward is a thing, so is failing, you will do both
  7. The internet is full of great learning opportunities - and also crap - learn the difference
  8. Seek systems and system thinking to make things easy over time
  9. Build in time for you, your relationship and for living
  10. Take time to re-read your journals and assess progress - and don’t be afraid to adjust the plan

Lessons learned from Toby Hemenway

This week: Chapter 3
The Week AFTER Next Week: Chapter 4

Observation about this chapter:
Lots of examples of designs from which to learn, which I found very helpful (even though they are more centered toward a city setting.

Five steps in creating your garden

  1. Observe
  2. Visioning
  3. Plan
  4. Develop
  5. Implement


Questions to ask yourself

  1. What are your priorities when you use your yard? Do you want a great “hangout space? Is food production your number one goal? Do you need to look good and fit into a neighborhood? Do your children need a good, flat play space?
  2. How does the sun hit your property at different times of day and different times of the year? With that information, what sorts of hazards do you need to plan for (safety, deer population, flooding areas, super dry areas, wind patterns?
  3. What plants do you just really love and want to have in my yard? Which ones do you hate?
  4. How much time will you realistically spend tending the outdoor space?

Song: Sauce, Calling My Name

..make it a great week!

Jan 9, 2017

With a fresh year in front of us, I thought we could take some time today to review a strategy for planning your spring garden. We will also talk about three minor changes you can make this week to set yourself up for a great year. It’s a great time to tap into your perception of a fresh start to change just one thing. We often underestimate the power of how a few small changes can have a long term impact for the better for us, our families and those around us.

What mother nature is providing

  • Water and snow (Duck Story)
  • Oyster Mushrooms - frozen solid
  • Stinging Nettle
  • Carrots!

Tales from the Prepper Pantry

  • The weekly squash - week 3:  Sauteed Spaghetti Squash
    Olive oil, garlic, basil --- add parmesan and salt at the end.
  • Using left overs - Venison Stroganoff:
    1 onion, 2 cloves garlic, 3 cups diced fresh mushrooms, flour, oil/fat, white wine, milk, cream (or stock and sour cream)
  • Cow Update - It fit! And we had the easiest processing ever - here is what we did
  • Cabbage and grated sweet potato salad - tastes great!
  • Starting Sauerkraut

Stories from the Holler

  • The greenhouse roof - GRRR
  • Spectacular Walks - but wear orange

Three changes you can make for a great year

  1. Decide the 1 thing you want to do best this year
  2. Set a weekly time to reflect on your progress and set a small, attainable forward step
  3. Remember the small things are the most important.

Lessons learned from Toby Hemenway


This week: P 21-35

The Problem is the solution

  1. What battles are you fighting?
  2. How can you change your approach to tap into Nature’s natural progression?

The three ecological principles
The niche, the succession, biodiversity


  1. Pioneer plants
  2. Perennial plants
  3. Young forest
  4. Old forest

What will I do here?

  • Abandon tilling (already done here)
  • Mulch
  • Plant communities

Next week: P 36-67

Garden Planning Strategy - Go big, then back off

  1. Find all the things you want - then take time to get real.
  2. Shared buying advantages for seeds
  3. Bed preparations - for real man
  4. Sharpen, polish and otherwise assess your gardening tools

Make it a great week!

Dec 26, 2016

Today we will talk about how we did with our family strategic plan this year, begin diving into a book I’ve been reading about home-scale permaculture, and talk a bit about where I hope to see this show go in the coming months.

Big news my friends - we have made it to Stitcher! We are on iTunes too!

Today is Monday, December 26, 2016 and this is episode 17 of Living Free in Tennessee. We are on a week off here at the Holler Homestead. For years, the week between Christmas and New Year’s has been our time to rest up, think about the past, plan for the future, clean out and reset ourselves.

What mother nature is providing

  • Mushrooms
  • Fingers crossed: Stinging Nettle
  • Watercress

Tales from the Prepper Pantry

  • The weekly squash - week 3: Butternut Squash Soup
  • Apples are getting soft - so it is time to make applesauce - and begin to eat the canned fruits.
  • Incoming cow means reorganizing the Pantry because of how the onions are stored.

Lessons learned from Toby Hemenway

Gaia's Garden:

  • Are you interested in joining me in this journey? Well, get yourself a copy of his book and we will read a section per week and talk about what we learned. Check your library, friends houses, or buy it on Amazon (above).
  • First up - P1-20
  • Next week: P 21-35

What next year may bring

  • A marketing cleanup - sis you know I am a marketing expert? How would you? This show is a mess!
  • Monetizing strategy - we need one
    • Focus on building the audience first
    • Find ways to add value for listeners so that we can cover our own costs
  • Build in the Holler Homestead project - more on that in the future
  • Our first youtube video series: Learn to can food at home in 5, 6, 8 videos (Outline is not done so I am not sure how many)
  • Seasonal eating in Tennessee book

Want to ask a question or give me feedback on the show? I would love to hear from you! Email or leave a comment over at the website at And if you are an iTunes listener…..

The week between Christmas and New Years is a great time to reassess if you are lucky enough to be able to make some time. Freedom ain't hard - and our little adventure into producing more for ourselves from what we have here as been a freeing time - giving us a bit of flexibility, and the ability to help those around us. So go out there, and make it a great week!


Dec 12, 2016

Winter is coming and so are the holidays this week at the Holler Homestead.  Today we will go over this week’s pantry tip, talk about winterizing the homestead and I’ll share 5 country gift ideas.

What mother nature is providing

  • Cabbage
  • Venison - bacon wrapped loin
  • Mushrooms

Using the Prepper Pantry

  • Why is it called the prepper pantry?
  • Potato soup (Bacon)
  • Protection from freezing
  • Honey Extraction
  • The weekly squash - week 1: Roasted butternut squash
    • Tip on how to cube it without losing a finger tip

Winter is coming

  • Cabin draining
  • Duck water
  • Pump house
  • Attic
  • Root Cellar
  • Bad Windows
  • Screened in porch

Five Country Gift Ideas: Look around - what do you have or what can you make that would be special?

1.Chestnuts with a pretty instructions sheet

2. Fancied up preserves, canned goods, or other homemade items like vanilla extract

3. Sachets
Lavendar on Amazon....

4. Repurposed country items: horse hames, horseshoes, etched bottles

5. Meal in a jar (Take any recipe, put the dried parts in the jar. Write fancy instructions to make the meal by adding the non-dry items.

Lentil soup example...


  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil (NO)
  • 2 cups chopped onions (YES)
  • 2 cups chopped carrots (YES)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (YES)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (YES)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander ((YES)
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric (YES)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (YES)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper (YES)
  • 6 cups vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth (NO)
  • 2 cups water (NO)
  • 3 cups chopped cauliflower (about 1/2 medium) (NO)
  • 1 3/4 cups lentils (YES)
  • 28-ounce can diced tomatoes (NO)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (YES)
  • 4 cups chopped fresh spinach or one (YES)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (YES)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (NO)

Cook on low until done - salt to taste.

Pro-prepper resource for this:

Song: Grandpa's Song by Sauce

Nov 28, 2016

Today we will talk about how to tap into one of the easiest foods to grow on your land in our area: Chestnuts! Specifically how to harvest, store, grow and prepare them.

What mother nature is providing

  • Drought -  That means all the usual mushrooms that we harvest at this time of year are not blooming. The good side of this is that firewood has seasoned on the forest floor over the summer and is dry and easy to burn -
  • Creek mint
  • Venison

What we are preserving this week

  • Stocks and stews
  • The final set of frozen summer tomatoes
  • Before the freeze: harvested comfrey and other herbs and they are hanging to dry in the kitchen

Preparing Chestnuts (Look you can buy them on Amazon!)

  • Scoring: I like to use this tool. It operates like a stamp and makes me fear less for my fingers!
  • Roasting
  • Boiling
  • The open fire method

Three ways to eat chestnuts

  1. Roasted
  2. Added to stuff: Casseroles (like the dressing, tuna, etc), breads you are baking, dressing
  3. Chestnut griddle cakes: 1 cup milk, 2 eggs, 4 cups chestnuts (in shell)
Nov 6, 2016

Today, we will have a Holler Homestead update. I want to share with you some of the stories from our part of the country that have happened in the last few weeks, take a look at where our focus is as we seek to increase the food we produce on site and talk about what we are focusing on moving into the new year.

What we are preserving this week...

  • Apple cider - the final round
  • Apple sauce
  • Drying herbs: Basil, comfrey, peppermint
  • Sauerkraut

What mother nature is providing...

  • Watercress!
  • Oyster mushrooms!
  • Tomatoes
  • Chilies
  • A cabbage update - we have some :-) and carrots too!
Stories from the Holler
  • A deer from the neighbor
  • Holy Helicopter Batman
  • Sweet potatoes successful for the first time
  • Firewood - ho!
  • The great cleanup of 2016

Advice on my cookbook: 365 pages, one recipe each? 12 months? A weekly recipe?

Song: Thanks Dave, by Kirk VanDerveer

Oct 30, 2016

Today, we talk a bit about the importance of community, explore five ways to prepare hatch chilies, and discuss how to preserve the chilies for winter.

Highlight Recipe: Southwestern Broccoli Casserole

Ingredients: 4 heads broccoli. Steam, chop, drain 1c celery, chopped 1/2 c onion, chopped 16 oz can green chiles, chopped (or similar volume fresh or roasted) 1 c sour cream 1 c Cheddar, shredded 1/2 c almonds, chopped or slivered

Combine in 1.5 qt casserole dish: broccoli, celery, onion, green chiles, sour cream Top w/ cheese. Bake 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees. Sprinkle w/ almonds. Serve.

Song: Tripped Out by Sauce

Oct 14, 2016

After a personal break, we are back at it and today I chat about a few health care options and our experience with health insurance and healthshares. 

Also today, a bit of a homestead update.

Jul 23, 2016

Squash, Squash, Squash! The many ways to eat squash is the name of the game in this 8th episode of Living Free in Tennessee. Today we will take a look at four ways to use squash that you may not have thought of and that can be used as a basis for many fantastic dishes as you work through your summer squash. We will also talk a little bit about elderberries and I will share a tip with you about canning tomato sauce when you don’t have enough tomatoes to process at one time.

Evo Sprayer I love more than the Misto one - and yes this is an affiliate link.

Song of the show: Learning What Leaving Is by Sauce

Jul 10, 2016

Untested (by me) poke remedy to poison ivy:



Wild things we are eating this week:

  1. Blackberries
  2. Daylilies
  3. Gathering lots of leaves for teas: sasafrass, mint, bee balm, blackberry leaves

What we are preserving this week:

  1. Corn
  2. Jams
  3. Beans

A word on managing canned goods: Audit your stock and organize it.

Fermenting Garden Excess

What you need

  1. Vegetables
  2. Salt
  3. Vessel: Jar, crock, anything really just no metal or plastic
  4. Wood spoon or other tool to help you push it down
  5. A way to weigh the veggies below the liquid (NWEdibleLife)
  6. Cool dark place


  • White scum
  • Black scum
  • Off smells - fermentation smell or baby poo?


Song of the Episode: Suicide by Sauce

Jul 1, 2016

Want to see a balanced documentary on how animals are raised for food in the US? Check out At the Fork,! Today I am joined by John Papola, producer of this film to talk about what motivated him to trust in human nature and produce a film that is balanced and educational rather than preachy.

Get tickets TODAY at

Also covered on this episode:

  1. Quick shortbread recipe
  2. What is seasonal this week in Tennessee
Jun 18, 2016

Several of our friends have passed away in the last week and it reminds me that you need to live for the now as much as you can, while laying the foundation for a good future for yourself -- or for your loved ones. While thinking about this, I found a nice tribute to our friend who passed away on Monday from Garth Brooks:

What we are eating and preserving this week:

  • From that garden and local markets: beets, spinach, yellow squash, cabbage, potatoes, peppers and a surprise kale plant, wild raspberries and blackberries, peaches
  • From the larder: sweet potatoes, frozen blueberries, venison, bacon
  • Preserving: A do-over on pickled beets (when in doubt throw it out), It’s time to make pickles but we will talk about that next week with our special guest...

Three time-saving ideas for the homesteader who also works a full time job

Listen to Remy's Reaction to the Florida Shooting: How to react to tragedy:

Jun 3, 2016

What we are eating this week

  • Berries!
  • Elderflower Fritters: a recipe - do not use olive oil
  • Items from the root cellar: Spaghetti squash and sweet potatoes
  • Still getting lettuce galore but that is about to change

What we are preserving this week - and how

  • Peppermint
  • Bee balm - finally about to bloom
  • Sour Cherry Jam
  • Blackberry leaves
  • Pickled Beets - Recipe coming soon!

Garden/pest update

About the Root Cellar and Canned Food Storage

Final song: Every Way written by Nicole Sauce, performed by Sauce

May 28, 2016

What we are eating this week

  • Coleslaw recipe & freshness strategy
    • 2 TBSP mayonnaise, 2 TBSP vinegar, 1/3 cup milk, 1 TBSP honey, 1 tsp freshly ground pepper, 1 tsp salt. Shake like mad! Pour over your cut up cabbage, carrots and onions.
  • Chard, radishes, spinach, lettuces, canned corn (must. finish. last. year's. corn.), strawberries, sweet potatoes
  • Poke weed w/ video on how to prepare it:
  • Sassafras root - video on how to harvest:

What we are preserving this week - and how

  • Peppermint
  • Bee balm
  • Strawberries
  • Blackberry leaves

Time to test your pressure canner gauge - a not from the entension office --

How the Holler Homestead started

An interview with Michelle Shelley of Full Circle Heritage Farms
From Michelle: "You might want to change the title to "woman running a farm into the ground, into a wall, through a gate (farm truck with no brakes), or just a woman breaking stuff- that's what I'm really running!

The mineral feeder she made:


The manure spreader:


Holler Update

  • The ducks got a pool!
  • Tomatoes looking great and a shout out to Nick Ferguson of Homegrown Liberty
  • The importance of relationships: Truck in the shop

Outro: Grandpa's Song, by Sauce