Digging Deeper is a resource page for all the things that Joybilee Farm uses and loves. This is where you’ll find the books and courses, herbs, essential oils, and seeds, and the business resources that make us successful, so that you can be successful too.
For a long time, I felt alone gardening, handspinning and food preserving on our urban property. Most of the Moms with kids in my kids’ age groups were at the beach, while I was swinking over the canning pots. The neighbors had their sailboat out on Cultus Lake, while we were paying off our debts and squirreling away enough money to buy our farm.
For those times when you feel alone and need a little encouragement, it helps to surf the web and check out the blog articles and you-tube videos on self-sufficient living.
Being mentored online through blogs, like Joybilee Farm, gives you both teaching and support as you learn new skills and embrace your dreams. If you need a bit more nurturing leave a comment. I personally read every comment and answer as many as I can. You can also sign up for my Newsletter, and join my V.I.P. community along with other people who embrace the frugal, sustainable, self-sufficient, creative lifestyle.
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I’ve saved all of my favorite herbalist tools in the Joybilee Farm Amazon Store. Be sure to take a look.
Digging Deeper into Books & Courses
I think it’s safe to say that Joybilee Farm would not be a success with self-reliance without reading books and taking courses. These are just a few of the ones we’ve read and recommended over the years. Read this article for the best books from 2017 and follow the linked tag: “books” in that article to find all of our reviews.
My favorite self-reliance publisher is Chelsea Green Publishers – Founded in 1984, Chelsea Green Publishing is recognized as a leading publisher of books on the politics and practice of sustainable living, publishing authors who bring in-depth, practical knowledge to life, and give readers hands-on information related to organic farming and gardening, ecology and the environment, healthy food, sustainable economics, progressive politics, and, most recently, integrative health and wellness.
My own publisher is Ulysses Press and you can find my book, The Beeswax Workshop here on Amazon. I highly recommend you get a paperback copy so that you can write right in the margins of the book and make notes about your favorite recipes. My other books can also be found on Amazon. The Beginner’s Book of Essential Oils and Homegrown Healing.
Some online herb classes that I can heartily recommend because I’ve personally enrolled in some of their programs are the classes by Herbal Academy. Herbal Academy has a tiered program that will take you from beginning herbalist right through to advanced herbalist or herbal entrepreneur. There program is very affordable if you have the time to pursue online studies. They also offer a data base on a membership basis that can help you with your personal herbal research. I’m a member of the Herbarium and use it to research many of the articles you’ll find on Joybilee Farm. They are adding to the data base monthly so it is a growing resource maintained by professional herbalists and researchers.
The DIY Herbal Fellowship is one of Joybilee Farm’s programs,a monthly masterclass in small bites so that you can learn during a coffee break or while you are waiting for dinner to cook. You can join the DIY Herbal Fellowship here.
The Joybilee Academy is an online herb school that offers short classes on herbal wellness topics that are of interest to beginning and intermediate herbalists. These classes teach not just specific herbal techniques but also offer hands on recipes to help you remember what you are learning. See a list of all Joybilee Farm Academy classes here.
Here’s a few more educational resources that I use:
Schneider Peeps Gardening Journal – Angi at Schneider Peeps has a gardening journal that I love. If you need some help getting your garden planning and planting in order, this tool is for you.
Homespun Seasonal Living – Kathie at Homespun Seasonal Living embraces the seasons at her property in Montana. The Fiercely DIY Guide to Seasonal Living is a 12-week resource guide to lead you to a more natural rhythm of living and her Herbal Cookery E-Course is a 5-lesson e-course with printables, videos, designed to help you get cooking creatively with herbs.
Jan Berry’s Natural Bath Bomb ebooks – In the Natural Bath Bombs eBook, Jan shares tips and recipes, along with basic formulas to use to design your own bath bomb recipes. She talks about how bath bombs work, natural colorant options, essential oils, and herbal additives. It perfectly complements our bath bomb articles!
Dehydrating Made Easy Course – Shelle’s dehydrating course teaches you the skills you need to confidently dry over 50 fruit, vegetables, and herbs for you and your loved ones. When you have these skills, you can dehydrate food over and over again, with fresh food, standard kitchen equipment, and easy to follow instructions.
Don’t forget to have a look at the Joybilee Farm Store – You’ll find inspiration for your DIY lifestyle with these no-fluff herbal classes, gardening books, essential oils books, helpful printables, and more. Each resource is crafted with an emphasis on hands-on DIY awesomeness that’s simple, straight forward, and easy to master.
Digging Deeper into Herbs, Seeds & Essential Oils
Herbs, seeds and essential oils make all the things we do on the farm happen. While I always try to purchase plants locally, it is often not an option. Many spices cannot be grown at home or grown in a large enough quantity in my zone 3 garden. When that happens I rely on these excellent merchants to fill in the gaps.
I purchase bulk herbs and spices online at StarWest Botanicals.
There are many seed companies to choose from. You want to be sure that you are getting the freshest seed, with no GMOs. I recommend Richter’s Seeds, here in Canada, for the best herb seeds with the largest variety, as well as for herb plants sent to the USA with a phyto-sanitary certificate.
I also use Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company for herbs, vegetables, and heirloom varieties. Their seed catalog is a gem!
For flowers I love Johnny Selected Seed because they give the “days to bloom” information on every flower they sell. This is so important with my shorter zone 3 gardening season. All three of these seed and plant sources ship to both Canada and the USA.
I use essentials oils every day on the farm. They keep us healthy, give us vitality, and are used in herbal remedies from cleaning to colds. I trust Plant Therapy Essential Oils and Rocky Mountain Essential Oils for their integrity in sourcing the products.
Digging Deeper into the Business of Herbs
Perhaps you’ve decided to make blogging and the business of herbs your new profession or side hustle. Congratulations! There are many parts to running a successful online business. These are some of the online merchants that I use to make Joybilee Farm Enterprises hum along.
First you need a self-hosted website
You’ll want a self-hosted website that will allow you to use WordPress. WordPress on a self hosted website is like the guts and bones of your online business.
Bluehost – Independent website self-hosting is a must for establishing your brand. Bluehost is an industry leader, with beginner hosting packages under $10 per month. Plus, their customer service is top notch. If you are in Canada I recommend using BareMetal, a web host out of Victoria, BC and the host I’ve been using since 2003. You can register your domain name AND host with either Bluehost or Baremetal. Baremetal donates a portion of every domain registration to charity.
The theme is like the skin and clothes on a website. I use two themes that work together to make my website secure and pretty.
Genesis Framework is the secure part that make the pretty theme work seamlessly. – The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Whether you’re a novice or advanced developer, Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go. Genesis framework is like the skin of your Website.
Restored 316 Designs is the pretty part of my website like the clothes on your website. Restored 316 Designs offer Feminine WordPress Themes for the Female Entrepreneur using the Genesis Framework. The Theme I’m currently using is the Restored 316 Anchored Theme. It let me tick off the boxes for everything I wanted in a WordPress Theme including mobile friendly, responsive photos, flexible homepage, and specialty category pages. Plus their step by step directions are simple enough that I could do the installation myself with just a little bit of web design knowledge. That is a very important value when you are working from home with a fixed budget.
Some important apps I use
Then you’ll need a few strategic apps that can make your website run smoothly and help you become profitable faster. These are the ones I use and I find that they save me a lot of time and make things work smoothly.
Tasty Links lets me add a link once and that single link populates my entire blog, without having to change links on individual posts. If a link becomes obsolete, which happens frequently online, I just need to change it once in the Tasty Links plug-in, and the change is instant over the whole blog. Affiliate links to many of my posts allow me to earn income when someone buys something AFTER they click on the link, from the supplier.
Pinterest can be a big boost to your blog traffic when you are setting up a new website. The ability to optimize your blog’s images for Pinterest, SEO, and screen readers is essential. Tasty Pins lets me add a special Pinterest description to each of my pinable images to make it easier for the Pinterest search engine to find my Pins when someone pins them from my blog.
If you are creating recipes on your blog they have to be in a special format so that the search engines recognize it as a recipe. To do that you must use a recipe plug-in. I use Tasty Recipes for my recipe plug-in. I love it because it integrates seamlessly with my blog. It is constantly being updated by the developers, who are recipe bloggers themselves. And its very easy to use.
Zoom – This easy to use platform allows you to host your own webinars for free. You can do one-on-one consultations for an unlimited time, or 3 or more people for 40 minutes. Packages for up to 100 people (unlimited time) on a call start at $15 per month.
You’ll also want a way to communicate with your readers through email. Using an email service provider lets you communicate with the people that want to hear from you, while still protecting their privacy and keeping their information safe and secure, an important value. I use MailChimp – Email Marketing is one of the best ways to connect with your new audience. MailChimp is free for the first 2000 subscribers. It’s the platform we’ve used since the beginning of Joybilee Farm in 2003.
The other thing you need for a successful blog that actually brings some income into your homestead is pretty pictures. You’ll use these pictures on your blog, your web store, and on social media, Pinterest, and Instagram. It’s worth the effort to invest the time and money into creating beautiful photos. But if you are just starting out, don’t wait to get started until you have perfect photos. You can use your phone for nice photos for a blog, but when you are ready to dig deeper and improve your photography skills here’s the resources that I use.
I use two cameras — A Nikon D3400 (I have the red one.) with this 50mm lens and a Nikon D5200 with the kit lens. I use this Manfrotto tripod with a ball head, which is sturdy enough to take overhead videos, with the arm extended. It also lets me take still shots in winter, and keeps the camera steady so I can use the manual settings on my camera without worrying about unintentional blur. And when taking videos we actually use two of these tripods so that we can get different angles at the same time. I love that the Manfrotto tripod has a quick release plate so we can move easily from tripod stability to handheld shots. I also have a smaller Joby gorillapod with a Manfrotto ballhead (useful for the quick release plate) to hold a light for those times when I have to shoot with indoor light. It gets dark early in the winter months here in Canada. For Smart phone photos I use a Manfrotto universal phone clamp on either of these tripods. For video lighting I use this softbox kit and this smaller Neewer Ring Light kit.
PicMonkey is the online editing program I use. It lets me resize my photos, as well as add words and my logo. You can join PicMonkey by the month or pay a lower annual fee. You can try PicMonkey out for free and see if they work for you.
I also use ACDsee Photo Studio Ultimate for photo editing directly on my desktop. Like Lightbox and Photoshop, it lets me create and use photo presets to speed up my photo editing. For video editing I use Camtasia Studio video editor. It allows me to take screen capture videos and works seamlessly with Powerpoint. I use Camtasia for all my video editing needs.
Becoming a better photographer
Improving my photography was a huge part of becoming successful online. And it isn’t rocket science. But it does require educating yourself on how to use a digital camera, how to compose the best shots, and how to use lighting effectively. I haven’t finished my photographic education. The photography courses on Bluprint
I enrolled in the Bluprint (formerly Craftsy) annual membership which lets me take all the professional photography and amateur photography courses I need for one low price PLUS I get to keep one course a month, as long as I’m a member. That’s 12 courses a year that I get to keep for less than the cost of buying just two photography courses at full price. Plus with the Bluprint membership I can watch all the courses they offer, not just the photography courses, whenever I want. I have access to everything Bluprint offers. And they offer so many DIY courses all for one low membership cost. They have gardening classes, quilting, knitting, drawing and painting, cooking, baking, and even woodworking. It’s like Netflix for DIYers.
I hope you found this resource list helpful. We, at Joybilee Farm, strive to give you the best self-reliant and sustainable information available online. While it’s not as good as sitting beside and talking to your own grandmother, it is a close second. Be sure to join our VIP Community. We share timely information about herbs, essential oils, and homesteading every week with our readers.
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