One of the largest energy expenses in a typical home is its water heater. Here are some ways to assess the efficiency of your water heater and decide whether a replacement is needed and if so, what type it should be.
The project is moving forward and most of our focus is on building the interior walls and developing a plan for the next stages of the project. Part 7 takes a look at the unique framing that was required.
Part 6 explores the range of decisions that a person has to make on a project. For me, I had to decide how to stay on this project and if it was worth it.
Part 5 takes the reader behind the scenes of this massive project. Most people only see the pictures and the smiles on people's faces on projects like these, but the larger the project, the larger the reality as we see in Part 5. The reality is, the project can be tougher off the building site than on!
The project continues to gain momentum as the group of local workers, lead by me, work through every weather conditions to get the project ready for the front walls.
By now, the project is starting to gain serious momentum, the great challenge at this point will be trying to sift through the dozens of people walking up the driveway who are looking for work.
Part two of this series takes you to the beginning stage of building the largest underground and off-the-grid farm on the planet.
This true story appeared in a state magazine in 1985. It contains lessons on so many levels...
This series will cover the process and experiences of building the largest underground and off the grid farm on the planet. This multi -series will cover three years of construction.
Too many boards are thrown away on remodeling projects. Find out what it took to build a stairway railing system using 100-plus-year-old oak boards that were saved from the very house that the railing was to be built in!
Aside from being the closest breed of dog to their cousin, the Gray Wolf, Siberian huskies are different from other breeds in a variety of ways - don't take my word for it, ask any dogsled driver who knows the breed.
Our job site was devastated by a severe storm. The video with this post tells the story, may you never have to go through something like this.
The outdoor rugs that line my garage and mud room get filthy and need a good cleaning every now and again, a cleaning that usually goes beyond just vacuuming. But this cleaning can be done in an eco-friendly way, without the use of harsh chemicals.
A great garden needs great soil. Regardless of a garden's size, there are always ways to improve the soil quality.
Winters with large snow packs means that the warm spring air can cause flooding. This can cause major stress if you live in an underground or bermed house. Here is one way to handle the slow melting snow in a DIY sort of way.
It's never too early to think spring. And it's a good time now to plan for an eco-friendly patio by thinking about how household items can be smartly repurposed and upcycled into useful patio décor.
After a month and a half of subzero temps, even 20 degrees Fahrenheit feels warm.
Windows can be responsible for up to 40 percent of heat loss in a home. One way to achieve both cost savings and energy savings is by installing the right window treatments.
Most ice build up on roofs in the winter time are caused by specific circumstances. This project that we just completed had ice build up from the day it was built. Although the builder did a good job of insulating, he missed one key element, which you will read about here.
During a quiet, pre-dawn moment, an owl hoots softly. Is this connected with the bounty of mice and a big harvest?
As I drive around in my travels, I can't help but notice that most houses have icicles hanging off them. Most of the time, the icicles are there for a very specific reason — a reason that can be fixed. Think of icicles as dollar signs, because that is what they are! This article discusses how we diagnosed a major ice problem on a house in Michigan and what scenarios we cooked up to fix the problem.
When choosing light bulbs for the home, a close look shows that the most eco-friendly choice - LED light bulbs - can also result in the greatest long-term cost savings.
Part 3 talks about the design process of an underground home and also offers option for thinking outside of the box when designing an underground home. Whether you are interested in building an underground home or not, the information is worth the read!
I wanted a DIY natural cleaner for stainless steel appliances, because I don't use all those terrible chemical-filled products that I was tricked into buying 10 years ago. How do I clean without the name brand products that promise to make life easy and clean your stainless steel products? Let me tell you my secret.
Part two discusses soil testing and costs associated with building an underground/earth sheltered home. You will see pictures of earth shelter plans and soil testing which you will find nowhere else on the Internet!
This series of posts talks about what to do when you first get intrigued by an underground home. Part one will discuss land selection versus the style of underground home/earth shelter that you are interested in.
Not getting lost in the woods is the equivalent of kindergarten to a woodsman - an expert can find something that's hidden in untracked wilderness. Len McDougall shows you how in this short, unscripted, unedited and unrehearsed video.
The bleeding edge of technology is where the true pioneers of their respective industry reside. Adam D. Bearup has had his own impact in the green building field on several fronts, above and below ground.
Outdoors Expert and author Len McDougall feeds venison bones that he's hacked up to his extremely grateful sled dog teams of Siberian huskies. Meat is a carnivore's natural food, and you can see from the health and fitness levels of even his old dogs that the diet agrees with them.
Meat isn't manufactured in a supermarket; many people don't seem to fully appreciate that. The following is actually an article I wrote several years ago.
This Cherry Crostata Recipe is a simple, delicious way to use summer’s rubies.
What's it like to live with timber wolves? Watch the video and find out what life is like raising wolves.
Many of us love bread and love to use local ingredients.
What does a lone homesteader in the wilderness, miles off the grid, do when a rambunctious black bear challenges him for the right to a territory?
Experienced LGD owners can easily come up with a list of myths, misconceptions, and misinformation about their dogs. A quick glance at various LGD forums, email lists, or Facebook pages will reveal that these misconceptions are not only widespread but they are also responsible for the majority of problems new LGD owners find themselves in.
In previous posts, we have looked at how guard donkeys work and we’ve examined the pros and cons of using a donkey as a livestock guardian. If you are contemplating using a donkey, let’s look now at how to select a good candidate and how to integrate him or her into your stock.
Using crescent rolls as buns to avoid azodicarbonamide.
Selecting a good potential guardian llama, bringing him home, and introducing him to your stock.
Spending time baking with others will be time well spent. Make some memories that you will never forget.
Re-homed adult or rescue LGDs are another option when you are looking for a working livestock guard dog for your farm.
You’ve done your homework – examining your needs, situation, and breed preferences – and now you are ready to select your LGD. This is an expensive, long- term commitment of time and energy. This LGD will be protecting your farm and stock. Please take your time to choose your pup carefully.
Baking and sharing cinnamon rolls can create happiness. Cinnamon and honey will make your baked goods irresistible.
In our last few posts, we’ve been looking at the various breeds of livestock guard dogs. But before you start looking at advertisements or litters of puppies, there are a few more questions for you to ask yourself. They are centered on two broad issues – your predator problems and your farm or homestead.
In this post, Jan Dohner describes the different roles a livestock guard dog can perform on a farm or homestead - a full-time livestock guardian, a general farm guardian, or a family companion.
Love of family, love of tradition, love of pumpernickel bread — need I say more?
How to keep your livestock warm and your life full on chilly winter days.
In Part One of this post, Jan Dohner explained how the different Livestock Guard Dog breeds were developed and introduces us to their differences in style of work, temperament and other behaviors. In Parts Two and Three, we take a brief look at some of the more common LGD breeds available in North America.
After a rocky start, the second half of breeding season ends happily for both goats and owners.
One way that I work through problems is by baking bread. It is my therapy, and it works for me. Getting lost in the recipe and wondering how you might make some changes to make it better is always good for the mind.
A homesteading family undertakes Extreme Home Makeover: Goat Edition at the possible expense of their sanity.
In Part One of this post, Jan Dohner explained how the different livestock guard dog breeds were developed and introduces us to their differences in style of work, temperament and other behaviors. In parts two and three, we take a brief look at some of the more common LGD breeds available in North America.
John D. Ivanko discovered that those in the hospitality business on Mackinac Island showcase the best of the past, blending it perfectly with modern sensibilities and, by default of it being an island, an ecological awareness to protect and preserve exactly what the millions of visitors come to see and experience every year.
Jan Dohner explains how the different Livestock Guard Dog breeds were developed and introduces us to their differences in style of work, temperament and other behaviors.
A chemical-free way to keep goats' teats clean and the milk pure.
As soon as my wife, son and I stepped off the Shepler’s Ferry, one of only three ferry services to Mackinac Island, our connection to motorized transport ceased to exist. Since 1898, cars and nearly every other form of motorized, gas-guzzling transportation are illegal on this Michigan island.
Kefir is very rich in probiotic nutrition and quite simple to make at home. This blog will help you learn how to do so.
In a previous post, “What is a Livestock Guard Dog?,” I described what livestock guard dogs do but it is also exceptionally important to know how they do this job. Understanding how not only helps us work with our LGDs but also explains why other breeds or crosses with non-LGD breeds are not likely to perform this same outstanding job.
A new homesteader commits some classic mistakes when buying her first goat.
Although used less commonly than dogs or llamas, here is one more possibility for a livestock guardian – a guard donkey.
If using a livestock guard dog is not the right decision for you or your farm, Jan Dohner takes an honest look at another option – the guard llama.
Livestock guard dogs are an attractive choice for predator control on the farm. Jan Dohner gives us an honest look at the pros and cons of choosing a Livestock guard dog versus a guard donkey or llama.
Although livestock guard dogs are the oldest and most traditional livestock guardians, Jan Dohner gives us a look at the other two livestock guardians – llamas and donkeys.
Livestock guard dogs were found in a sweep of cultures from southern Europe through Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and central Asia. They worked in the company of shepherds who often spent weeks on high summer pasture or on long migratory routes.
Starting in North Branch, Minn. and ending in Brantford, Ontario, author Rick Stiles continues his cycling across the country — and the border.
When Rachel Zegerius, camp program manager, set out to overhaul the food purchasing system at our small camp in Southwest Michigan five growing seasons ago, I began building relationships with the local farming community from the soil up.
Help save this small family farm in Michigan, and stand up for our right to live sustainably!
The time has finally arrived! Adventure Cycling Association's Underground Railroad Detroit Alternate, section 1, is ready to ride.
Farmers in northern Michigan urge county officials to support hemp farming.
Raising dairy goats has benefits that extend beyond fresh milk and cheese.