Converted van as full-time home for nomadic Canadian couple

Mat and Danielle spent their first date bonding over Lloyd Kahn’s book “Home Work” and discussing their ideas for simplifying their lives. They became a couple, but “somewhere along the way, we ended up doing the exact opposite of what we wanted,” explains Danielle on their blog.

“Instead of simplifying, we bought a house and spent months hauling furniture, paint and knick knacks into it to surround ourselves with stuff that we liked. Our bills went up so we got better jobs, started working more, and eventually all we did was work during the day and watch Netflix every night because we were too exhausted to do anything else.”

“Mat was the first to suggest making a change because he found our lifestyle stressful, but I resisted at first. I was really caught up in the idea of owning my own place, maybe starting a family one day and planning for an amazing retirement. I was also excited that I had a new full time job with benefits and that we were financially stable. Eventually I realized that all I was doing was working and I didn’t even like my job anymore. We decided that we should do something crazy: sell our house, quit our jobs and travel the world.”

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Today, Mat and Danielle are living full-time in a converted van. Their back seat folds down into a bed. Their kitchen is a cooler plus camping stove. Their bathroom includes a solar camping shower and a plastic bottle toilet (with funnel).

They’ve eliminated a mortgage, but their are still costs, what Mat calls “like renting a really cheap apartment in a city”. Instead of paying down a house, Mat and Danielle have decided to focus on working less and experiencing more, both by exploring the world and their artistic interests: for Mat, it’s music and art and for Danielle it’s writing.

Homesteading Tips: Start Canning Your Foods At Home.

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Canning is an effective way to store any leftover fruit, meat or vegetables that you have and helps ensure that you don’t waste any food. To get started canning, you will need:

  1. Water Bath Canner: A water bath canner can be used to store high acid foods with a pH of 4.6 or lower. Some examples of high acid foods include most fruits, corn, lentils and olives.
  2. Pressure Canner: A pressure canner can be used to store low acid foods with a pH of 4.7 or above. Some examples of low acid foods include most vegetables, meats, soups and stews.

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3.Jars: Glass jars with lids and rings can be used to store foods at room temperature while plastic freezer jars can be used to store foods in the freezer or refrigerator.

4.Jar Lifters: Jar lifters can be used to lift hot jars out of the canner and move them about.

5.Magnetic Jar Lid Lifter: A magnetic jar lid lifter can be used to easily lift lids out of hot water when you’re getting them ready to seal.

6. Wide Neck Jar Funnel: A wide necked jar funnel makes canning much easier, faster and less messy.

7.Large Canning Ladle: A large canning ladle allows you to fill your jars at a much faster rate.

Then once you have all the equipment, you can either look up canning recipes online or buy a canning recipes book and you’re all set to go.

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Chicken coop plans – how to build chicken coops, houses, and tractors

Chicken Coop Plans – How to Build Chicken Coops, Houses, and Tractors


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My name is Gina and for the last five years I have been the editor of the Keeping Chickens Newsletter.

The keeping chickens newsletter is a community of 1000s of wonderful chicken keepers and is great for some general coop ideas and photos but often missing the essential building details.

The trouble with searching for the ‘best’ chicken coop plans, is that what is best for one person is not necessarily the best for another, but during my years of publishing the Keeping Chickens Newsletter I have had several sets of coop designs created which have successfully been used in building many backyard chicken coops.

I wanted to put together a collection of chicken coop designs that would help everyone get the coop they wanted. Coop designs that include the diagrams and plans needed to help build them, but most importantly that are not just ideas for coops, but real coops that have actually been built and used.

Use a coop design ‘As Is’ or just pick and choose the ideas you like from the collection to build your own ‘poultry palace’.

It’s true, you can save hundreds of dollars by building your coop – and sometimes build one almost for free if you use reclaimed materials – but this isn’t just about saving money by building your own coop…

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