Ann Larkin Hansen
Ann Larkin Hansen shows that typically mundane tasks like record keeping and planning can be a satisfying process that can help you reflect on the successes of the year before.
At last year’s Mother Earth News Fair I had started my talk when someone in the audience said, “But how do you know all this stuff?” I guess I’ve fallen into that small-town habit of not introducing myself! Let me make up for that now.
I recently received a copy of the new book and pregnancy journal Sacred Pregnancy from author Anni Daulter. I was thrilled when Anni agreed to guest post this week for the blog on what makes a Sacred Pregnancy.
Goats, bison, cows - oh my. Annie Warmke visits the Cherokee Valley Bison Ranch and talks about ruminents and how their stomachs work.
In winter, hang aromatic herbs in your house for the smell of summer.
Easy-to-make bagels using basic pantry ingredients.
The Sustainable Herbs Project is a new project by the producers of the award-winning documentary, Numen: the Nature of Plants, the first feature-length film on the healing power of plants. We are creating an online interactive documentary following medicinal plants through the supply chain to launch a more educated and responsible consumer movement supporting high quality herbal remedies and sustainable and ethical sourcing.
Open to the public, the Seed Savers Exchange Conference and Campout is ideal for those interested in sharing seed-saving and gardening experience or learning from the more seasoned and those involved in current plant breeding and propagating research.
Crunchy goodness in a brown paper bag.
The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC) will be celebrating 35 years of success at their annual conference on November 9-10 in Cary, N.C. Whether you’re a hard core farmer or backyard hobbyist, the conference is sure to have something to ruffle your tail feathers.
But maybe, at the end of the day, I am just a person with weak nerves doing something that depends on so many unknown factors – the weather, the bug population, the quality of seeds and some plain ol' luck.
In many communal kitchens, may it be a hostel or a student dorm, postings are usually to be found; “Leave it nicer than when you came”, they read. That can be said to humans on earth too, to leave it better than it was. By living and working in nature, with nature, I believe that our surroundings here at the homestead are ecologically healthier, more diverse and vibrant than should we as humans not have been here.
Together, wabi (humility) and sabi (beauty in rust) become more than the sum of their parts--a philosophy that promotes peace, serenity and respite in our homes.
A new study has uncovered a link between food and environmental allergies and chemicals found in pesticides, herbicides and other agricultural products and drinking water.
The diva of re-use, Annie Warmke, talks about simple steps to take in the barn yard for re-purposing and reducing waste. After reading this article you won’t be able to think about things like llama poo or beer bottles in the same way again.
How do folks get from city dwellers to homesteaders? Annie Warmke interviews Carie Starr, owner of Cherokee Valley Bison Ranch in Central Ohio.
The goat herder extraordinaire, Annie Warmke, talks about the care of breeding bucks, and a life in the day of a goat herder.
Black pepper, the king of spices, has been part of Indian cooking and medicinal traditions for thousands of years, and now sits next to almost every saltshaker on countless tables across North America. Find out black pepper's medicinal and culinary uses in this post.
Dehydrating foods and making the most of the bounty.
Making a roasted-root vegetable pot pie with biscuits in the shape of angels is the perfect comfort food.
Healthy homemade granola; easy on your budget, good for your family.
This lentil-coconut soup recipe offers a rich and unique way to prepare protein-packed lentils using coconut milk and Indian spices. The masala and ginger will help cut the winter chill, transporting your taste buds to someplace warmer.
For me, homesteading means to not have a great need for money in the first place. It also means that the money one does need is being made by utilizing the land, as in our case, running the Hostel.
This year is the first season I had the whole garden dug and ready and boy, it's easy to plant a garden when the garden is already there.
Having a hostel of your own, gives you the best of both worlds; the comfort of home with the vibration of travelers.
Our August at the Hostel has best been described visually; a flat palm held about an inch from our face.
Growing an organic garden with compost I made using natural material from our surroundings is to comply with nature's way of taking care of itself – it's to remain humble for a true and tried life cycle and acknowledge our inevitable part in and connection to life on earth.
A homestead is about so much more than just mindful ways of producing one's needs; the health of the land and landscape is nothing if the health of the homesteader isn't there. The most sustainable homestead is one where the homesteaders like what they're doing and therefore will keep doing it. The self-fulfilling prophecy that we're all too busy is a highly unsustainable way to attempt sustainability, whether it's for a homestead or a summer business.
Few other vegetables represent summer as a sun-ripe, homegrown tomato does.This is how we raise and plant tomatoes at the Deer Isle Hostel and Homestead.
Onions are daylight sensitive and need to have plenty of time to put on top growth before the days start to get shorter and the plant pulls its energy into the bulb. If you like to start onions from seed, don’t wait! The best time is already closing in.
This blog is called Breadcrumbs, because it brings together a diverse set of topics, including the patron saint of bread, sourdough, starters, yeasts, and a recipe for corn pancakes.
Ann Harvey Yonkers, founder of Washington, D.C.'s FreshFarm Markets co-op, nests eggs in a bed of wilted fresh greens for a delicious meatless summertime brunch or dinner.
The cold, hard facts about how Annie Warmke, goat herder extraordinnaire, found her calling in a barn with Eleonore Rigby and her two tiny kids.
Who would think it’s possible to discover the artist in me, incubate a business, plus milk goats, grow a garden...all in one unforgettable summer. I'm a rich woman by any standard.
Day 2 has a haphazard start with no hot water for a proper cup of tea, and people are arriving early for a day of consulting. What's the solution to keeping water hot overnight on top of a wood stove so there's plenty for hot tea, doing dishes and a shower?
Each year we try to challenge ourselves with an entire month where we spend no money, and avoid using energy.
How our "thanks for nothing" month came to be.
It seems only common sense that you don’t depend on a single source alone for life-giving home heat in the winter.
Easy to make crackers from scratch.
Our striving to live frugally, monetary so, affects our everyday life choices. We choose to live without a lot of things that cost money. We make most of the cash we do need by running the Hostel in the summer months.
If you have a bike, your freedom of moving around is endless. Cycling is swift and bikes are easy to navigate where cars sometimes can't go.
There are many benefits with raising pigs for meat, and also some common sense ways of doing so in a sustainable way.
One thing that gardening has done to me, as to so many others probably, is that I've started to pay attention to where the food on my plate comes from, and usually the answer is “from our garden."
Stay warm, find a hobby and cull the livestock; here are some of the things we do to prepare for winter!
Where is our economic security?
A homesteader's year is over for this time. Nothing cleans the yard up as a foot of snow, and I think it's here to stay. winter on Deer Isle is great, so great I consider it something we deserve after getting through the summer, both for us as homesteaders and for us as a part of this community.
Making our own compost is not only a way to meet our need of fertilizer, it's also a way to redirect the garden scraps, chicken manure, leaves and grass cuttings from the waste stream to the resource river. Another area where this applies around our homestead, is our use of a composting toilet. For us, the difference between what goes down a flushing toilet and what accumulates in the buckets in the outhouse is the difference between waste and resource.
I know how popular and much hyped season-extending materials are in the world of organic gardening, but is it a necessity to eat fresh lettuce year round?
As homesteaders, all the homesteading rewards are directly ours to keep and our work provides most of our necessities but the multiple returns we get from our homestead also give us what money couldn't buy, such as the self reliance, sense of security, dignity, the beautiful place where we spend our days and the choice to set our own schedule.
The short period of time each year where homesteaders and summer-business owners like us get to freely bask in open-ended unscheduled time is as short as it is sweet, and it reaches its peak right now in January.
That something is easy doesn't always mean it's simple – many of the modern conveniences so much of the western world relies on, the thermostat in most conventional houses, for example, is but the end of a long and complex chain reaction with consequences far beyond our reach. Homesteading simplicity can be described as a way to limit those chain reactions, to be more in control over the effect of our actions and, to alter those effects to have a positive impact.
What if I find land where I can homestead but it's at a location where no one does the same thing? The lack of a homesteading community can be a discouraging factor when looking for land, but over time, if one is patient, it is very likely you'll find others that are drawn to the basic, sustaining, diverse and positive actions of homesteading.
You can make a simple but effective root cellar out of a junked fridge and $10 worth of hardware.
Harnessing the power of anger mixed with love to turn the world right side up again.
We've got several homesteading-related giveaways going this week.
We installed two packages of bees, one into a top bar hive and the other into a Warre hive. One colony absconded, so we ended up with only 12,000 bees.
These 10 organic solutions for vegetable garden pest control are easy enough for the beginner.
Here are some ways we use natural materials to improve our garden and orchards.
Renewable energy is often seen as a way to have it all and still feel “green” and it is indeed at a glance more environment friendly than conventional power, but no power has as low footprint as the power not used.
There used to be, from Maine to Georgia and west to the Mississippi river, 20.000 grafted apple varieties. Today, when commercialism is king and the most known apple varieties are the 5 kinds offered in the supermarket those old varieties are worth paying attention to. As with all things around us, diversity is interesting and sustainable.
For the past few years, we've experimented with different ways of storing food fresh and now we're eating garlic, onions, squash, carrots and beets in June.
To grow, keep and eat your own food keeps you away from the food industry, the fossil fuel based agriculture, food stores and logistics.
Even as far north as Maine I can harvest produce from March to December with parsnips to dig from under the frost in February without the use of row covers or a greenhouse. In some beds I do two or more succession plantings that together with the root cellar keeps me with fresh produce all year.
A well-thought-out garden design will make your work enjoyable and manageable and will encourage the gardener's presence and attention.
Here at Deer Isle Hostel, Maine, we use a compost pile built with local, natural materials and a 100-foot water pipe to create a steaming hot shower.
A good gardening tool is lightweight, ergonomically correct and has a positive impact on the soil. We only use hand tools (non-powered) in our gardens since we find that we can get the job done easier and more efficiently with a more correct impact on the soil and less impact on our bodies than we would with any machines.
Our work in the woods starts long before we get the chainsaw and axe out; by being in the woods, observing and contemplating. We're looking for healthy trees that we can help to thrive and that will be of benefit in the future.
To turn a woodlot into a park with no “litter” on the ground might look tidy, but is not very healthy or functional. Next time you look at a dead tree or a log rotting on the ground; look at it as something full of life.
It wasn't many months ago the seed catalog for this year showed up, but at that point I had just, just, managed to finish off the garden season, slightly traumatized from all the work. To receive a catalog then seemed mostly like an ill-conceived joke, a way to rub it in; don't think you can relax too much.
To say the sawmill is just a piece in the homestead puzzle might be a slight understatement. In some ways, it's a key factor.
The actual footprint of a garden is only one of many factors for how much food that can be produced there. With succession planting, good soil and some planning the same garden area can produce substantially more food.
The new apple orchard we're planning for our homestead won't be the classical lawn-layout most people are accustomed to. Our edible landscape will mimic a natural landscape with the goal to reduce interference such as spraying while providing organic fruit, berries and herbs for many months of many years.
Up against China, the tar sand extraction, dysfunctional global summits and the endless cry for economic growth, any individual's actions to halt global warming might seem insignificant. But conscious decisions that bring us closer to nature can make a difference and might be the best we can do.
Even with the daylight hours lately, we still have quite a bit of winter left. Good health – both physically and mentally – might require a little bit more effort than in the summer but can still be achieved and maintained though this homestretch before spring.
February can be a hit or miss for us here at Deer Isle Hostel - snow and cold demands more creativity to stay busy, but also provides a great chance not to do much. Planting onions from seed, shoveling snow and planning for the Hostel season 2015 are some things I do to keep the cabin fever under control.
One of my best pieces of advice to those wishing to establish a homestead is to reach out to the community. Happy neighbors are a big part of a happy homestead and for us it was not only a way to drum up support and engagement for our project, but it was also transformative for our experience and for our business.
Any other year in March, the homesteading chores are back in full swing after the winter break. This year, winter lasted longer than ever and it wasn't until the end I could even conceive of getting any of the usual stuff done. Here's the list of what I normally do.
Highly nutritious, maca has been used as a staple food source by the people of Central Peru for thousands of years, as well as a ceremonial offering in traditional sacred rites, as currency, and as medicine to improve overall health in both animals and people.
This year I took several liberties in developing a new version of salsa verde. I don't grow tomatillos so I use green tomatoes. I won't call it salsa verde (except on the lids of my jars), because it isn't authentic. But let me tell you, it is GOOD. Here is Annie’s Green Tomato Salsa Recipe good for use when water bath canning.
You don't have to stick to corn and soybeans to nourish your flock. Chickens enjoy a variety of foods, including mulberries, worms and Japanese beetles.
Are you new to backyard chickens? Raising chickens is easy once you get the hang of it, but a little knowledge will help you skip these beginner mistakes.
When I asked some chicken-keeping friends what they wished they'd known about chickens when they first got started, the answers were varied.
While the snow's flying, this is a good time to plan your garden rotation, order seeds, preheat early spring garden areas, and more.
Visit our blog by Wednesday at midnight for a chance to win free Egyptian onion top bulbs.
We don't get to sit around inside and listen to the rain on a tin roof in the summer. Instead, we're busy pulling in spring crops, putting out fall crops, and much more.
Check out Annie B. Bond's list of 11 easy tips for making your kitchen more healthy and safe, from Care2.
We use some old and tried techniques for how to process the meat, like curing and smoking the big cuts so they'll keep without being put in a freezer. We're constantly striving to learn new, mostly old ways of utilizing and preserving more of the pigs for our own consumption, by making headcheese, confit and lard.
Being a homesteader and living off the land often means being subjected to natural conditions beyond our control, sometimes predictable changes of seasons and temperatures, other times curve balls such as unseen pest pressure, hard frosts in late May or heavy snow in early November. A lifestyle where these natural circumstances is the main determining factor for what gets done when is getting increasingly rarer – humans have gained what some consider an advantage by manipulating the world into a state where we, in many ways, can remain unaffected from the forces of nature.
While many of those visiting our Hostel are farmers and homesteaders themselves, some come from that “city culture” and seem to take their first hesitant steps outside of a flatly paved driveway when they arrive at our place. Wide eyes, a sense of adventure.
Many aspects of my homesteading life lie close to what we as humans have evolved for: the outdoors, physical activity, whole food and days and years that follows the rhythm of the seasons and the sun. But there are other, less obvious biological aspects for why I believe homesteading can improve health and well being.
One week after moving our chickens, there now stands a chicken “duck and cover” shelter for them to dive under in the event of a hawk attack. It’s not perfect as a strategy, and the hawk may still get a chicken or two. But these magnificent birds crave a greater measure of freedom than they have in their chicken tractors, and I aim to see that they get it.
How feeding the hungry amounts to action on behalf of a planet on fire with a toxic yang imbalance.
Gathering leaves from the woods to mulch the garden and stump dirt to turn into potting soil not only provides free biomass for the garden, it also introduces beneficial microorganisms.
To create a chicken tractor that will keep both you and your hens happy, you'll want to focus on weight, shelter, doors, handles, and more.
This pentagonal structure was costly and tricky to build, but the finished structure is both beautiful and functional.
Figs, grapes, hazels, rabbiteye blueberries, and gooseberries are among the easiest plants to propagate using cuttings, layering, or just by digging up suckers.
Announcing our new webcam that will be showing the latest flock of new born chicks in all their cute and feathery glory.
A summary of our quest to find non-medicated chicken feed that has higher quality ingredients than the typical feed store bag of chicken food.
Mark fenced in a new chicken pasture in the hot sun, an experience that was made possible by his homemade solar fan hat. Meanwhile, I played with scythes and bees and maps.
Kefir is a yogurt-like dairy substance that you can easily culture at home using grains and milk.
Living in a tiny house is good for the environment and for the wallet, but requires a lifestyle shift for the inhabitants.
With a little bit of elbow grease, you can turn kale fresh from the garden into a delicious raw salad in the middle of winter.
You can get twigs to graft onto your rootstock for the price of shipping a padded envelope, allowing you to grow rare fruit-tree varieties for nearly nothing.
The last week of the month has been a busy one with are preparations for the ending of winter and the start of a new growing season. We've got some details on a new cover crop and why we choose and simple composting toilet system compared to others.
Talking about the excitement of Anna's new book cover that we got to preview from the publisher this past week and the anxiety of our new born chicks as they go out into the big world. Also have some details on how to make your own cleft graft.
We're gearing up for spring on our southwest Virginia farm, planning the garden, pruning the perennials, and getting ready to raise bees, broilers, and mushrooms.
Our experiments with an Alaskan small log mill attached to our chainsaw had variable results making planks from downed trees.
We heard from a variety of experts about the type and number of batteries to use in our DIY solar setup. Meanwhile, we checked in with the garden and bees.
Talking about how to make a DIY electric fence wire holder and how we got a tailgate transplant for around 150 dollars and some signs of spring.
Vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes and winter squash are easy to grow and provide healthy supplemental nutrition for working goats.
If you're yearning for spring but are stuck indoors waiting out the snow, these five projects will cheer you up.
Raising chicks is easy as long as you pay attention to their needs for food, water, and housing. It also helps to learn their language.
Crossing a creek using cinder block stepping stones one year after installation and using cinder blocks to repair driveway ruts. Shoveling mulch from a Club Car golf cart and a nice image of turkey tail mushrooms popping up from a log of walnut.
Talking about Annie Upshure and the Catholic Workers Movement and how Peace Farms moved into Appalachia.
talking about building a composting toilet and how well the Seed Swap went on Saturday. Hauling capacity of a golf cart compared to an ATV generated some useful and helpful comments regarding electricity vs internal combustion engines. No till works!
Farms which have earned Rainforest Alliance certification go beyond conserving the environment and improving the lives and livelihoods of farm workers; they also help to curb climate change.
Trying to sum up a few of the lesson learned while figuring out the best way to incubate and hatch cute chicks.
A brief summary of the vast amount of data we've compiled over the last few years on experimenting with rotational chicken pastures on our homestead.
With the summer fast approaching, it’s time to make those last minute vacation plans! Plan your trip using SustainableTrip.org to find tourism businesses that conservce the environment and support local communities!
Finally getting the barn roof repair project started was a big deal for us as well as a few other things that are worth checking out if you are interested in modern homesteading.
Talking about the recent past week where we got several items crossed off the Spring to-do list and managed to have some fun while doing it complete with pictures to illustrate the good times.
A brief announcement of the new Permaculture chicken ebook series that starts with chicken egg incubation.
Before stocking up on chocolate treats this Halloween, learn where chocolate comes from, and at what cost to the environment and cocoa farming communities. Enjoy a spooky and sustainable holiday with Rainforest Alliance's tips for a green Halloween.
Honey bees, the Boston tragedy, and our power to create the world we’ve been waiting for.
Fixing the swamp bridge and starting some new onion seeds along with a new experiment involving willow rooting hormone tea.
An update to the refrigerator root cellar and how the Thermo Cube is keeping it from dipping below the freezing point and how we decided to start a terrace system to make more flat spots in a chicken pasture that's on a hillside that is steep.
Protecting the fig tree for the winter felt like putting it to bed for a long sleep. Chopping wood with the Chopper 1 is a thing of joy and beauty and that's no joke. Do it yourself corn bin helped our neighbor keep the racoons out.
describing the upcoming fun photo contest with the theme being chickens and the fun they either have or give. Figs and more figs are at the heart of the obsession.
Announcing our new automatic chicken feeder contest and how some lucky person could win a 10 pack diy kit or 3 premade watering units.
Talking about the back up generator failure along with recent golf cart modifications.
Sensor Plug update along with a report on Sunflowers being used as a cover crop and when to properly harvest onions.
Saving butternut squash seeds while using a sledge hammer and putting up a roof and planning a seed swap. Also planning a high density apple orchard with a new variety called Zestar.
Tackling the old wives tale I heard recently down at the hardware store how a penny inserted into the flesh of a tomato plant stalk will help that plant fight off or maybe prevent a blight attack along with data on trying to trap a wild rabbit.
A report on the potato onion taste test and some details on the annual tomato harvest and storage methods along with digging up ragweed plants.
Summing up the last week of mostly frozen stuff except for a brief thaw.
Eating cicadas, building a porch, and hauling lumber for said porch all in the same week with several images of the action as well as some bee installation pictures.
Talking about the new Chocolate Turkeys we saw on Saturday and how to properly plant into a kill mulch without doing much damage to the killing.
Porch building tips along with deer pressure notes and golf cart pickup bed instructions.Throw in a 5 foot high chicken wire fence and a rare appearance from a normally camera shy cat named Strider and you've got an idea of what we've been up to.
How to recycle a junked refrigerator into a refrigerator root cellar that works at keeping produce chilled but not frozen during winter months.
Clipping the wing of a troublesome hen and tasting the first Chicago hardy figs was really great, but what was even more fantastic was seeing Anna's new book arrive and how beautiful it looks.
Orchard soil health is a topic that gets covered as well as the new asparagus beetle management system and how it seems to be working better than we could have hoped for. Dielectric grease to prevent rust and corrosion on the golf cart battery post.
Lacto-fermented swiss chard ribs and how to can them right along with foraging for wild mushrooms and a butternut squash update. Discovery Expedition vented fedora hat makes gardening cooler when the sun is blazing down.
Summing up the past week with a few highlights that help to illustrate how we've been getting along in the ending days of the 2012 winter season.
As a third-party certifier, the Rainforest Alliance ensures that farms and forests are sustainable environmentally, socially and economically. The green frog seal and the FSC logo have become widely recognized, credible symbols of sustainability.
Comparing different home made do it yourself chicken carriers for the Tractor Supply animal swap this past Saturday. Reporting on edible mushroom cultivation harvest and what it takes to pick the right disease resistant apple variety.
Describing how to look up tax maps, cutting carrots, and deleting problem tomato plants that only produce insipid fruit. The main attraction this week is our Power Plucker review and how awesome this new product is at saving time when plucking.
Crushing a truck, harvesting garlic, and fixing a broken flywheel shaft key are just a few of the things that got done over the last week at WaldenEffect.org complete with photos of all the juicy stuff.
Putting a new roof on a mobile home and harvesting the worlds biggest sweet potato while growing for the first time Par-cel cutting celery and hauling horse manure from our parking area back to the garden.
Summing up pasture data where it relates to chickens and customizing land to better suit poultry and their behavior and stomachs. Measuring oil viscosity levels and rescuing a trailer with a portable winch were some of our favorite things.
Announcing an opportunity to get Anna's new Ebook for free today at Amazon on the subject of homesteading in a mobile home otherwise known as a trailer.
Summing up the last week of activity by hitting on a few key stories that might prove note worthy to a few of the homesteading folks out there complete with photo montage of golf cart jousting and aquaponic trout.
Launching Anna's new E book on cover crops in a no till garden and talking about the recent power failure that prompted us to do some Off Grid Homesteading which taught us a few lessons on using golf cart batteries for supplemental lighting.
Using oil seed radishes to add organic matter to the ground and attracting native pollinators with a nest site. Harvesting sweet potato seeds if we're lucky and admiring the parasitic wasp's ability to lay white egg sacs into the body of a horn worm
Talking about carrying in the red roofing tin the old fashioned way due to a broken golf cart and some very muddy conditions. The refrigerator root cellar continues to prove itself as an experiment that seems to be working so far.
Describing how we are trying to provide a low budget solar panel back up system for under 1000 dollars that will run our laptops and router along with a few other things if the local power grid has any issues.
Building the Cadillac of worm bins, a new barn door, testing the new garlic curing rack, harvesting big potato onions, mulching blueberries, and fabricating a low budget easy to build automatic chicken coop door opener and closer from easy find parts
An update on generating electricity with pedal power and which exercise bike we decided on and testing soil for nutrient ratios along with fixing a pair of leaky boots with adhesive and inner tube scrap patch.
Breaking down the last week of homesteading we've done over at WaldenEffect.org, and the Top Bar project we started as well as talk on Brix, biodynamics, and Plant Secondary Metabolites. Also have details on an external frame backpack modification.
Top bar hive modifications, turkey traps, and gourmet potatoes are just a few of the topics covered in the past week of blogging we've been up to. Homesteading healthcare and a new virtual book club round off the week with several reader comments.