Our Eclectic Skillset

Workshops, Demonstrations and Presentations



We Walk Our Talk

We love our 179 year-old home and have restored it to fit our modern lifestyle while keeping its 19th century quaintness


The 420' long riverfront property was a monoculture of grass and few trees in 1991 and now it is one of the more diverse lots in the city






There's even a bellows forge out back where we occasionally host a daylong gathering affectionately call "Forge and Gorge" where we bang on hot metal and feast afterwards




Urban Homesteading

Any property can lend itself to being Earth-friendly

Let us help you create an environment that feeds your soul - and your bellies



Backyard Bees


Hours can be spent sitting quietly and watching the comings and goings around a bee hive

So much can be learned by observing the precision of these of these super-organisms




Since we're more hands-off than some beekeepers, the combs can get, well, complicated



If you're a beginner, we'd recommend starting with a Langstroth Hive, which has been around for over a hundred years and is a little easier to care for


We have a top-frame hive called a BeePod


Top frame-style hives have been around for thousands of year




Bearding can occur because of temperature, but it is often an indication that your hive is ready to split


Swarms are NOT dangerous and are incredible to witness


The sound of thousands of bees spiraling upwards is awe-inspiring




Children are intrinsically fascinated by bees (not to mention their sweet honey) 


Let us know how we can get your kids interested in the wonders of the honeybee!





We typically do not harvest honey from our hive- unless the colony dies off


Unfortunately this is happening more often with the complications of climate change


There is so much to be learned from keeping bees and they offer incredible healing - from the honey itself to propolis to pollen to simply slowing down long enough to observe them



We purchase our Bee Packages from Heritage Honeybee in Sullivan


We also love the folks at BeeVangelists Bee Sanctuary in Milwaukee


Backyard Hens

Your community doesn't allow backyard poultry?


We were instrumental in getting our community to accept backyard chickens


Though there's still more education to do, we have our foot in the door



Keeping food local and within our control is the only way to know what we're really eating


Raising backyard hens is so much more entertaining than you might think!




One of favorite breeds is the Buff Orpington.


They love to cuddle and they're great layers




Believe it or not, hens can be trained to stay in the yard


Peter uses hand gestures and vocalizations to keep them in line




Dust baths are quite the spectacle


Sometimes hens don't know when to come in out of the rain!




Another breed that we have is the Black Austrolorp


They're not as friendly as Buffs, but they're prolific layers


Hatching the eggs yourself or getting one-day old chicks and raising them is a huge part of connecting with them



When needed, we tend to get our chicks from Abendroth's Hatchery near Waterloo, WI




Growing Food in Small Spaces


We can consult to figure out how to best use the space you have



Growing hops is easy and provides great shade over a gazebo


Our Bay Laurel is potted and provides for us - and our friends




Children should be exposed to gardening for the vast health benefits


Here our grandson helps harvest potatoes from a 2' x 4' x 4' potato tower


Food can be grown in the smallest of spaces - Let us come up with some ideas for you



Growing and Harvesting Garlic



Growing garlic isn't difficult with the right plan


Wait until it's cold enough that the bulbs won't sprout before early spring


Once the soil is prepped, divide the cloves with a blunt knife


We trench out a row about 4" deep and lay the garlic cloves pointy-side UP about 4" apart


Using tree leaves in autumn, we cover the bed with about 5" of for winter cover


Harvest takes place somewhere between August and September for us



We typically make pesto from the scapes and sometimes we miss a couple!


The photo on the left shows the root structure of garlic



Once it's harvested, depending on the moisture content of the soil, it might have to washed


We usually let it sit in the sunshine for a couple of hours



We braid both hard neck and soft neck varieties, though we usually grow the hard neck varieties



We can grow a year's worth of garlic in a 4' x 10' raised bed


We get our locally-sourced natural garlic from Copper Kettle Gourmet Garlic near Erin, WI



Spring Clean – Make Your Own Cleaning and Hygiene Products

The typical products that we use to clean our homes are filled with industrial chemicals- many which have been proven to cause illness, including asthma


We want to know what's in the products we use and we want to break away from the paradigm of consumerism


Products we make include: Toothpaste, laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid, bar soap, shampoo, citrus cleaner, floor cleaner, silver cleaner and deodorant


Consider us if you want to host a 'homesteading party'

(like a tupperware party, only different)



We do all kinds of family-friendly events


Make arrangements with us and we'll get the supplies so your guests can bring home their own self-made cleaning supplies and proven recipes




Learn to make your own laundry detergent. dishwashing liquid, toothpaste, lotions and shampoo







Making your own soap is truly gratifying - and it smells terrific



Angora Rabbits



The bunny hutch was built by Peter and you'll find the process he used under the Projects and Installations page


Julie acquired two Angora rabbits, sisters named Unut and Ostara, so she could comb out their fur and use it to make mittens and such



Keeping the cages clean means getting out there every day, even when it's subzero!


Unut, the black one, and Ostara, the white one, enjoy apple twigs and branches after our apple trees are trimmed and pruned



The collection of white fluff on the left is a year's worth of Angora combings


The fur is then carded using a drum carder


Julie will use sheep wool to blend in with the Angora



Dyed wool is also blended with the Angora to get the colours desired



The batting is then spun using a spinning wheel and either knitted or woven using a four shaft castle loom



Fermentation Fun

We have hosted gatherings where we teach folks how to make their own great tasting and healthful fermented foods and beverages


Book us for a workshop and take home what you need to make your own!






We peel and core our apples using the juice to make cider and the scraps to make vinegar


The scraps are placed in a 5 gallon ceramic crock, topped off with spring water and covered with a linen cloth


Fermentation takes about 6 months




When the fermentation is complete we strain off as much liquid as possible and then scoop out the solids


We use several layers of cheesecloth to twist the remaining liquid from the pulp


The dry pulp is then composted





The apple cider vinegar contains its own mother and has a lot of uses and health benefits







We use our own cukes, garlic and dill with salt


To make healthier pickles easier, top off cucumbers with spring water in a gallon crock and lay a grape leaf (for tannins and yeast) on top


Use a plate submerge the cucumbers for around four weeks or so


These fermented pickles are delicious and much better for us since they contain beneficial microbes




Sauer Kraut



Sauer Kraut is fermented using about a tablespoon of pink salt and caraway


The salt is hydrophilic and pulls the natural juices out off the shredded cabbage


Let stand for about four weeks in a dark, cool cupboard




Kombucha and Natural Sodas



Kombucha is delicious and full of beneficial bacteria that improve our gut flora


It's simple to make- make a black tea using honey or organic sugar and let cool


If you have a mother, called a scobie, the process takes about a week. If you're starting from scratch the process might take several weeks


Place the tea into a dark, cool cupboard and let the alchemy happen!




We don't drink soda, but sometimes we miss the carbonation


Often the kombucha will be quite fizzy and really satisfying to drink


A similar recipe can be used to make a remarkable fizzy lemonade


Though there is a ver small amount of ethanol produced in this process, it's no more than you find in a ripe, fresh orange





Mead is an ancient fermented, alcoholic beverage made from honey, spring water and yeast


It's especially satisfying when your mead is made from your own honey collected from your own bees!


We use about 4-6 points of honey per gallon of spring water, which iOS warmed up a bit to dissolve


Once the honey has been dissolved and the temperature is around 90 degrees or less, add the yeast


We often use champaign yeast, but it tends to produce a drier mead



Fruits and spices can be added, called a melomel which are really fun to experiment with


The solution is then transferred into a carboy for the fermentation process




We are pretty careful with sterilizing everything to be used in the process


Stop up the carboy using an airlock and watch it bubble!



Depending on your yeast and other factors, you can have a finished mead in as little as a month, but the process can take over a year before bottling


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AH! The famous MEAD face!




Living History




We've done a few Independence Day parades for several different groups and causes


Peter's presentation at the North American Voyageurs Council led to two presentations for the Wisconsin Historical Museum in Madison, WI




We ran Rock River Rendezvous, an annual living history camp (French and Indian War to Civil War), in our community focused on education




Though we haven't been involved with camping for a number of years, we are still prepared to present colonial lifeskill



Haste ye Back!




Scots History





Peter is well known for his in-depth Great Kilt demonstration at schools, historical events and Highland Games



Peter served as Convener for The House of Gordon Wisconsin for several years and traveled to several state Highland Games, including Grandfather Mountain, in that capacity


He is also a founding member of the Wisconsin Highland Games




Peter has been honoured on several occasions by being asked to pay tribute to Robert Burns by presenting the Immortal Memory at formal Burns Suppers for local St. Andrews groups


He has also worked with community theater honoring Scotland's great bard




Click here for a list of workshops that Peter and Julie have done



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