Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton
Learn to choose the right-sized wood stove, manage your firewood and light, and maintain quality fires to heat your home with wood.
Tricky access lowers land prices but provides for lots of amusing episodes.
Mark pulled out the camera this week to share a few short videos about our winter garden and goats. Explore our December garden and goat pasture in these short homesteading videos.
As you pull crops out of your garden this fall, you can use the roots to get an idea about your soil's quality.
If you're yearning for spring but are stuck indoors waiting out the snow, these five projects will cheer you up.
Vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes and winter squash are easy to grow and provide healthy supplemental nutrition for working goats.
This pentagonal structure was costly and tricky to build, but the finished structure is both beautiful and functional.
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.
When I asked some chicken-keeping friends what they wished they'd known about chickens when they first got started, the answers were varied.
Figs, grapes, hazels, rabbiteye blueberries, and gooseberries are among the easiest plants to propagate using cuttings, layering, or just by digging up suckers.
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.
Kefir is a yogurt-like dairy substance that you can easily culture at home using grains and milk.
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.
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.
While the snow's flying, this is a good time to plan your garden rotation, order seeds, preheat early spring garden areas, and more.
We've got several homesteading-related giveaways going this week.
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.
Fixing the swamp bridge and starting some new onion seeds along with a new experiment involving willow rooting hormone tea.
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.
Summing up the last week of mostly frozen stuff except for a brief thaw.
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.
Talking about Annie Upshure and the Catholic Workers Movement and how Peace Farms moved into Appalachia.
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.
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.
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.
How to recycle a junked refrigerator into a refrigerator root cellar that works at keeping produce chilled but not frozen during winter months.
Trying to sum up a few of the lesson learned while figuring out the best way to incubate and hatch cute chicks.
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.
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.
Announcing our new automatic chicken feeder contest and how some lucky person could win a 10 pack diy kit or 3 premade watering units.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Sensor Plug update along with a report on Sunflowers being used as a cover crop and when to properly harvest onions.
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.
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.
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.
Talking about the back up generator failure along with recent golf cart modifications.
Visit our blog by Wednesday at midnight for a chance to win free Egyptian onion top bulbs.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A brief announcement of the new Permaculture chicken ebook series that starts with chicken egg incubation.
Announcing our new webcam that will be showing the latest flock of new born chicks in all their cute and feathery glory.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Our experiments with an Alaskan small log mill attached to our chainsaw had variable results making planks from downed trees.
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.