I’m not big on buying stuff that I don’t need. In fact I’ve spent most of my adult life making do, making over, and doing without, because of a lack of financial resources. But then again, that’s the nature of truly frugal living and homesteading. That said, there are certain goods and services that smallholders and homesteaders may want or need to buy. Readers often ask for my product recommendations. So I’ve made this page just for that purpose.
Granny’s 4 Rules For Buying Stuff
- My first rule when buying goods or equipment for your homestead is to buy good and buy once. As with most things in life you tend to get what you pay for.
- My second rule is to beware of false economy. It’s not economical to buy on the cheap and then keep replacing a product. Poor quality garden tools and crappy Chinese chicken wire are classic examples of this dictum.
- My third rule is to buy used whenever possible. Auctions, Craig’s List, thrift stores, yard sales, moving sales and trade papers are all good sources for small farm and homestead equipment.
- My forth rule is to always try and buy local and buy American. But sadly most American manufacturing is in the toilet. Woods Equipment Company is a prime example of this.
Woods Equipment used to be top notch turf and farm equipment. But nowadays with Woods you take your chances. (Don’t even get me started on the piece of junk brush hog I bought from them)
So that’s why many of the products you’ll find below are manufactured in Europe and elsewhere. Hopefully in the future American manufacture will be reborn with a sense of pride and quality once again.
What follows is an ever expanding list of recommendations and resources that I’ve found helpful and useful. Most of my recommendations on this page are based on personal experience. The Amazon recommendations are based on tools and products I use in my own home. Please keep in mind that I’m old and have been a garden farmer and homesteader for most of my life. The list is extensive because I’ve had a long life. It took years and years for me to buy and acquire much of the stuff I’m recommending.
My advice is to start slow. Only buy what you need. Don’t forget there’s a big difference between need and want. Budget wisely and pay cash. Never borrow money or go into debt for stuff. Debt is bondage.
Most of the links on this page are affiliate links – but many are not.
An affiliate link means I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you purchase an item.
It’s a win win for both of us.
You get what you need, and your purchase helps to keep the lights on here at Granny Miller.
If you are serious about canning you’re going to need some equipment. Canning jars can often be found at reasonable prices at yard sales and auctions. Water bath canners can also be had at yard sales, auctions and in thrift stores. Pressure canners only occasionally turn up second hand.
If you do find a used pressure canner often they are missing parts. But with a good used pressure canner the parts can usually be replaced.
My pick for a pressure canner is the All American 915. The All-American come in different size are all are built like tanks. They will last a lifetime if well cared for.
All-Americans are expensive but they’re worth every penny. A pressure canner can be use as a water bath canner and some foods that are typically processed in a water bath can be pressured canned. Tomatoes and applesauce are the two foods that I will use a pressure canner for instead of a water bath when I’m in a hurry. It really saves time and stove fuel.
For people on tight budgets who can’t afford an All-American canner there are plenty of other good options. Mirro and Presto both make fine pressure canners and were the brands I bought many years ago before I could afford an All-American. Depending upon how much you use or abuse it, a Presto or a Mirro pressure canner will last about 5-7 years. If you are just getting started with pressure canning and aren’t completely sure if it’s something you’ll stick with I’d recommend you start with one of them.
If you’re going to home can jelly or fruit juice, a good steamer juicer makes that so easy.
How I ever made jelly without one for 20 years I’ll never know. And I’ll tell you something else too. Without a steam juicer my grape juice and jelly making days are over. That’s because I’m forever spoiled.The old way of making juice is just plain too much work.
There are aluminum steam juicers for sale but I can’t believe people buy them. Stick with stainless steel.
The other stainless steel steam juicers on the market aren’t as well made as the one in the link. Avoid them. There really is a big difference in quality.
One of my favorite low tech tools in the garden is an Italian grape hoe. Usually grape hoes are sold with the head and the handle as separate items.You’ll have to put the head and handle together yourself. An Italian grape hoe is not good for close or tight weeding, but it is fantastic for weeding between rows and for breaking up hard ground.
If you are going to go with an Italian grape hoe you’ll need a bastard file to sharpen it. Grape hoes don’t come sharpened. You have to do it yourself. A bastard file can also be used to sharpen spades and shovels.
I couldn’t grow as much as I do without my broadfork. It’s sometimes known as a hand tiller or a “U” bar.
The broadfork or hand tiller is used primarily to break open the earth to allow aeration and deeper soil penetration for better plant root development without an undue disturbance to the basic soil structure.
A broadfork will not destroy earthworms or their tunnels or the beneficial flora and fauna in the soil. A hand tiller does not collapse or invert the soil like a rototiller will.
Premier 1 Supplies is who I recommend for electric netting, electric fence, sheep and goat supplies. I’ve done business with them for years and have always been happy with their products and service.
Hoegger Supply Company is a family owned business that caters to all things goat – especially dairy goats. Hoegger’s is where I buy reusable plyban cheese cloth for Greek yogurt and cheese making.
HOMESTEAD MEAT PRODUCTION
Meat rabbits and chickens are usually the first food animals most new garden farmers start with. For the humane slaughter of rabbits I recommend The Rabbit Wringer.
For processing poultry a stainless steel restraining and killing cones makes the job go faster. The stainless steel cone doesn’t rust and can be permanently nailed to a tree or attached outdoors without fear of rusting.
TOOLS & EQUIPMENT TO MAKE LIFE EASIER
A Dewalt DC742KA Cordless 12-Volt 3/8-Inch Compact Drill/Driver is my go to small power tool around the homestead. I use it almost every week.
If you are always loosing pocket knives, here’s a neck knife that you can’t loose and you’ll love. The Columbia River Knife And Tool’s, Folts Minimalist Bowie 2387 is the best utility knife that I know of. It’s razor shape and keeps an edge.
Fiskars Splitting Axes – My husband has used the same Fiskars ax for over 10 years.
We live in the Snow Belt and have 3 wood fueled stoves that need to be fed. That’s a lot of chopping and splitting. Fiskars axes just don’t quit and can really take punishment.
I’m not kidding. If you slip or accidentally trip on a branch, the combined cost of those two pieces of equipment won’t pay for the first 2 minutes in the emergency room. You ought to see what a chainsaw can do to a man’s leg. Enough said.
I never load wood or coal into a stove without hand protection. I keep a heavy duty pair of welder’s gloves near every stove in my house. I learned about 3rd degree burns the hard way many years ago.
The Sure-Fire Fury Flashlight is absolutely the best and most dependable small flashlight available. This is a case of you get what you pay for. Before the Sure-Fire Fury, my husband was going through at least 3 flashlights a year.
Without a doubt, Aladdin Mantle lamps are the very best oil lamp for everyday lighting needs. Unlike a flat wick lamp you can actually read or sew with an Aladdin.
They are expensive but you don’t need them in every room. Stick with flat wick lamps for general off-grid lighting. But do yourself a favor and buy at least one Aladdin for reading or up close detail work.
Put an end to plumber’s butt when working around the homestead. Perry Suspenders hook over your belt.
They’re the best suspenders ever. Your pants will actually stay up.
Men look good and keep the rain off your head with a Scala Felt Hat. They last forever and can take abuse. Nothing is worse than cold rain running down the back of your neck.
For good sturdy Made-in -America clothespins look no further than Classic American Clothespins.
Bianchi Speed Strips or Tuff Speed Strips are the best common sense way to carry a reload for any revolver. They are lighter weight and much faster than a speed loader. They also work for lever action rifles. Oddly, almost no gun shops sell them.Unlike a speed loader, a speed strip lays flat in your pants pocket.
* This page is always being updated as I find time*