Bruce and Carol McElmurray
From log to the mill to the project in no time at all.
Building garden boxes that keep critters out.
If you have questions on how we accomplished our dream - ask us maybe our experience will help you. We welcome questions on how life is in the high mountains of S. Colorado. Please visit our personal blog for more information on us.
Homesteading with wild animals and how to cope with their antics.
Tree stumps, reminders of special moments and birds contribution to life.
Wild strawberries are a tasty treat.
Carpenter ants: an alternative to chemical treatment. Living within the environment and not attempting to destroy or change it.
The virtues and wisdom of having some projects done by professionals -vs- rather than attempting them yourself. While many can and do their own installation, occasionally it is better to have professionals do the job.
Practical use of a wood mill on the homestead. The benefit of cutting your own lumber.
Views around our property that make autumn an enchanting time of year.
By installing laminate flooring we have a floor that cleans easily, is attractive and durable.
How we determine springtime at 9,759 feet elevation.
While far-fetched, this is an absolute wildlife true story. Maybe it's coincidence, but I don't think so because I was looking into those warm friendly brown eyes.
What I learned in the process of seeking restoration of a beautiful stream while dealing with governmental agencies.
Choosing homesteading as a way of life and what it takes.
Are GMOs good or bad for civilization?
When defining the term homesteading, consider the various options available.
We love our lifestyle and all the hard work that is associated with this lifestyle is just a small part of it.
Viewing elk herds from the comfort of our home.
Putting a safety fence around a woodstove keeps small children and pets safer.
Making New Year's resolutions for a remote homestead.
We use the winter to mitigate our wildfire exposure as opposed to the summer when we are involved with other needed tasks.
How we were adopted and befriended by a deer.
We have found that there are down sides to legalization of marijuana in Colorado.
How we convert standing dead trees to usable lumber.
Should you do it yourself or hire a chimney sweep to clean your chimney?
The daily realities of living in the mountains.
Wood stove considerations that should be considered before you purchase a stove.
Wild flowers in bloom in high country meadows. Wild iris in profusion.
Different noise we must adjust to living in a remote area.
Thank goodness for good friends who will share their garden harvest with those of us less skilled.
Heating with wood in a cast iron stove.
Ours is a great country and I don't think defined by politics but by people like the ones from our small county who served and are little known.
Taking personal responsibility for private-property protection in light of ongoing climate change and the hazards associated with same.
Spring time is a time to experience the newness of life and living in the Sangre de Cristo mountains amid the wildflowers, birds, green woods and new birth.
Are GMOs good or bad for civilization?
Cabin Fever: noun, ‘Boredom, restlessness, or irritability that results from a lack of environmental stimulation, as from a prolonged stay in a remote, sparsely populated region or a confined indoor area‘.
Living remotely with wild animal encounters and how to come out safely.
Transforming a tree to lumber and then to a piece of furniture.
Calculating the amount of mountain snow to actual moisture.
Learn the basic skills useful for mountain homesteading.
Is a pressure washer something that would be beneficial on your homestead?
Make a winter checklist to follow in preparation for winter in the mountains.
How we repurposed an old leaky wood stove to use outside to cook meals on.
How we prevented birds from flying into our windows.
We have a large population of hummingbirds in the summer and observing them and their flying antics is amazing.
Using manual control of weeds as opposed to chemical control.
How we discovered a cut-glass prism that told us the exact first day of spring by producing rainbows.
Learn how to clean your own woodstove and chimney.
The benefits of owning a home wood mill and the economic advantages if you have available timber.
Building a closet from lumber milled from standing dead trees.
Selecting a tree, reducing it to logs, milling out the logs into lumber and using that lumber for specific projects.
Dovetail joints that are hand made are a strong woodworking joint.
Sometimes you have your plans changed for you, so don't put off tomorrow what can be done today.
Pack Rats, cute, tricky and destructive
Being prepared for canine emergencies.
New wood stove, another unexpected advantage of downsizing, and Murphy's Law.
Where have our bats gone? We miss the benefit of having them around and wish they would come back.
Taking time to just have fun and enjoy life in the face of serious living.
2,4,D Amine 4 is not a safe product. Read the multiple page information sheet if you can read tiny writing and hieroglyphics.
Hiking to the top of our mountain, the breathing view, the soothing effect.
Fun is where you find it, in this case it is a hay ride for the family along our trail.
Where we go to recharge our batteries and restore our soul.
How I have gone full circle from coal heat, heat pump to wood heat.
How a small group of committed people can truly make a change for good.
How we approached buying our property, clearing and selecting a home site.
Many decisions go into remote living to decide if it is right for you.
Making good decisions on how we use our land. Keeping it natural.
How important our tractor and snow thrower are in keeping us from getting snowed in. Our local cooperative.
What we do inside on a blustery day outside.
How our friend John Dougherty took a normal covered utility trailer and converted it into a camping unit.
How we clean out chimney on our A - Frame house with a steep roof.
A contribution for wildfire mitigation.
As we look into the future we prepare for a flatter terrain for a new homestead.
Outlining our process for locating a suitable location for finding a new homestead.
A good idea that could work for wildfire mitigation.
Fishing can be good therapy for us.
This stone fascia is a practical solution for wildfire prevention. It's attractive and uses local natural resources.
Riches sometimes come from natural resources - not always connected with dollar signs.
Tree rings tell the tale. It is nice and green here now but our plants and weeds are acclimated to semi arid and have deep roots.
A sudden onset of a canine eye disease called SARDS leaves dogs totally blind very suddenly. Bruce McElmurray explains this disrder from a personal perspective.
Coping with SARDS (sudden acquired retinal degeneration) in dogs and practical ways to help a blind dog.
Homesteading with dogs in remote mountain living. Considerations in providing a good safe homestead environment for your cherished pets.
Selecting a power option for your homestead.
Snow in the mountains is different than snow found at lower elevations.
There is hard work homesteading in the mountains and the weather dictates much of those challenges.
It takes commitment and determination to live remotely in the mountains.
Taking time to reflect on the past brings renewed appreciation to the present.
Other than the four regular seasons there is a fifth season in the mountains called mud season.
How to cope mentally with living in a remote location.
How to flush a small engine and repair a clogged carburetor.
How having a rhythm and routine assists in accomplishing difficult tasks.
How a single purchase of a magazine in newsprint in 1970 changed my life.
No homestead is complete without our canine companions.
How to report application violations of herbicide abuse.
Gardening at a high elevation presents challenges such as harsh sun and a shorter growing season.
Going from raw undeveloped land to a functional homestead is hard work, but it's rewarding.
Growing garlic is easy if you just know the right time to plant it: in fall, not spring or summer!
Gardening challenges at high elevation.
The process of evaluating needs for successful downsizing.
Firewood, the major yearly task when you heat with wood.
Firewood, the major yearly task when you heat with wood.
Growing raspberries and other vegetables at high elevation and the challenges.
How we put the happy in The Happy Homesteader.
Cooking breakfast outside on the woodstove.
In the beauty of autumn comes a time of preparation for winter. The many necessary tasks to be prepared if you are self sufficient.
Being adopted by a deer is so different it is life changing. Can a human actually love a wild animal and can a wild animal love a human? My experience says so.
Finding a company from an advertisement in Mother Earth News and how it benefited us. .
When the electricity goes out it helps to be prepared to deal with circumstances.
Why are you adopting a dog? For more on pet ownership see our personal blog at www.brucecarolcabin.blogspot.com.
Senior sledding down our driveway.
Our good and bad decisions on selecting a dealer and a wood stove.
Caulk tool that works for me. If for me it should work for anyone.
The Mission Wolf sanctuary is a special place that takes in wolves who have been unsuccessfully domesticated. I can tell you that having a 150-pound timber wolf kiss you on the lips is an experience you won’t quickly forget, but the fact it liked you enough to do that is even more amazing when you consider what men have done to the wolf.
Communication and honesty is essential to decide important issues like a complete lifestyle change.
Our selection of a house, downsizing and getting the home built.
Comparing a covenant community against living rural without covenants.
How we had to adjust to a smaller home, the isolation and quiet.
How we avoid cabin fever by doing volunteer work and enjoying the beautiful outdoors.
We use available time in the winter to preform routine maintenance on appliances and tools.
Our typical day living in the mountains in the winter.
Proper insulation pays long term dividends.
How we milled lumber, made a gate and installed the gate during a break in the weather.
How we prepared out homestead for the best wildfire prevention possible.
Some of the difficulties we encounter in gardening at a high elevation
Comparison between old ways and new technology.
We enjoy observing and creating habitat for wild birds.
Taking a ride on an old steam engine.
Reflections on 15 years of mountain living.
The challenges that we encounter trying to grow a garden at high latitude.
How we live in the mountains during the winter.
We have slowly replaced out dated fixtures and the Rialto toilet was the final step in getting more environmentally compliant.
How our electronics save us space and provide even more room in a small home.
We enjoy sledding and snowshoeing in the winter as outdoor activities.
How we focused on attaining our dream homestead.
How we deal with unexpected incidents.
Why we adopt rescue dogs.
Don’t let this tricky pipe slow down your projects — these CPVC basics will help you ease into those plumbing repairs.
Removing large quantities of snow. For more on how we cope with snow check out our personal blog at www.brucecarolcabin.blogspot.com where we post regular updates on our life here on the mountain.
Bruce McElmurray and Ed Essex collaborate on how the weather dictates to their mountain homesteading.
Ed and Bruce compare the weather and its impact on their mountain homesteads at different elevations and mountain ranges.
Mountain homesteading in a remote area.
Two homesteaders from Washington and Colorado comment on their greatest weather fear in the mountains.
Ed Essex and Bruce McElmurray compare their weather experiences living at 4,200 feet and 9750 feet elevation respectively.
Tips that we have learned gardening at a high elevation.
Living in the mountains or remotely requires physical endurance as well as being fit.
Though wolves are commonly misunderstood animals, not all of what you hear is true.
The Goldman Environmental Prize is the world’s largest and most prestigious award for grassroots activists. This year’s six inspiring and courageous prize winners (one from each of the six inhabited continental regions of the world) are...
Award winners highlight the next generation of leaders in the bike/ped movement
40 years of reading Mother, the value of accumulation of reading the contributions of others during that time.
Spending a day having fun prospecting for gold, enjoying the outdoors, exploring a ghost town and the high mountains.
Our area is abundant with history. We have a limber pine tree nearby that I estimate is over 2,100 years old and still very much alive. History - we have an abundance of it.
Photo of a bear with a pack rat that is about to be lunch. Thanks to a friend for sharing it for us all to see.
The US Pro Cycle Challenge is a major cycling race that brings cyclists from all over the world including the recent winner of the Tour de France.
Addition to our family and our homestead. Echo a GSD with a new chance at life in his furever home.
It is important to take time to reflect on those things that are important to you on occasion.
Examining an community for your homestead.
How a non writer can with effort contribute in a small way. To read more on our life style go to www.brucecarolcabin.blogspot.com
How the small town atmosphere can enhance your homesteading and living.
How potentially dangerous chemicals are tested and are they really that safe for humans or not.
The third and last of a three part blog on chemical herbicides.
History and those who may have crossed or used your homestead before you discovered it. Treasure is where you find it.
Receiving seed catalogs and dreaming of warmer weather and growing a garden.
How to select and find the right pet for you. Non professional guidelines.
What we do on snow days in the mountains when it is snowing hard outside.
I learned life lessons early in life as a newspaper delivery boy. Valuable lessons that carried on though life.
We wade through deep snow to trim limbs and cut dead trees and nothing goes to waste.
How we cope with heavy snow in the mountains.
Preventing allergy causes as opposed to treating the symptoms.
Living in possibly the best place in the USA.
Reasons why we like to shop at our local grocery.
What we have found as an advantage of having a rural hardware store close by.
A surprising number of amenities found in a small town complete with western hospitality.
Living in a community that has those who served in the armed forces and make good neighbors.
The final in a 6 part series on Ft. Garland, Colorado
How we persist until our 11 cords of firewood is accomplished and then re structure our lives.
How we expect the unexpected and turn blow down trees into lumber.
A brief description of Manuel and Mary Ann's straw bale home and its efficiency.
Meeting in person a long time Mother Earth News reader.
How we have taken measures to mitigate and reduce our wildfire exposure.
How our community has planned ahead for wildfire contingencies.
A story of one of our camping trips to Torreya State Park, Florida.
A brief story of how a creek was damaged and how it was reported to the authorities properly.
Where we go to reflect on life and relax.
Dealing with a government agency to save a creek.
Our experience in living with bears.
The final result of a reporting a water violation and having a creek restored.
Our experience with our local cooperative.
How prepared ahead of time for remote living and what was required.
A short description of why we prefer small city living over large city living.
Rewarding volunteer efforts involving German Shepherd Rescue.
Where we find a wealth of information for projects and enjoyable reading.
Our true story about Junior a very unique deer.
By observing the birds and wildlife we learn valuable lessons to apply to our lives.
Two homesteaders discuss their experience with the weather applicable to their mountain homesteads in Washington and Colorado.
Love of family, love of tradition, love of pumpernickel bread — need I say more?
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.
Baking and sharing cinnamon rolls can create happiness. Cinnamon and honey will make your baked goods irresistible.
Spending time baking with others will be time well spent. Make some memories that you will never forget.
Using crescent rolls as buns to avoid azodicarbonamide.
Many of us love bread and love to use local ingredients.
Trying to interpret and understand scientific reports and their failure to come to a consensus.
Life really is good when you live on a dirt road.
Contemplations on what we eat and why we pay close attention to our food.
A doctor, soldier, father and husband died tragically in a bicycle crash. Now, justice is being served as the driver faces a reckless homicide charge.
An innovative partnership of bicycle advocates and a bike-friendly attorney aims to reduce crashes in South Carolina.
Walk this way, to support the revitalization of a pedestrian-friendly America.
Why do we believe that math must be done one workbook page at a time, at the kitchen table? Anyone who’s ever kept chickens can tell you all the math that can be found in the hen house.
The Apollo Alliance want you to tell the new Obama Energy Czar, Carol Browner that you support renewable energy policy.
A people-powered revolution is afoot.
As state transportation officials send billions back to Washington, advocates hope bicyclists and pedestrians aren't left holding the empty bag.
Musician Ben Sollee has defined the pace and purpose of touring, ditching the van and taking the 2 Mile Challenge.
Thanks to local advocates, Santa came early for cyclists in the Steel City.
Yep, that's my boss with Lance Armstrong — and a half-million bike/ped friends — on the open streets of Los Angeles.
Not all beehives are created equal. This post examines Langstroth beehives, Top-Bar beehives, and Warre beehives in order to help a new beekeeper determine which system is the best for her bees.
North Carolinian Master Beekeeper, Tia Douglass, offers an introduction to chemical-free, natural beekeeping, bees and approach to raising pollinators.
Modifications I’m making and things to consider before building your own top bar hive.
Surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Pisgah National Forest, with the Great Smoky Mountains to the southwest, Asheville, North Carolina, is the perfect basecamp for an ecotour, cultural trip and culinary adventure. Experiencing the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Fair held here this past April was just the start for my wife and me.
Have you ever had leftover bread, but you don't want to throw it away or give it to the birds? Here's what you do: Panzanella. This Italian salad will throw your taste buds for a loop, and it all starts with leftover, stale bread.
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.
When it comes to that most essential of all modern appliances, the best way to be eco-friendly is to stick with the tried and true three R's: reduce, reuse or recycle.
The decision to replace an old refrigerator should not always be made based only on how well it is functioning. New Energy Star models have many energy-saving and cost-saving advantages that can make that decision much easier.
New Energy Star standards not only raise the bar for energy efficiency in refrigeration, but they also introduce, for the first time, the idea that putting Wi-Fi into a fridge can help with energy savings.
Over the past year, I have made countless mistakes on my garden. In this post, I share four of my most frustrating gardening mistakes and how to avoid them.
As fall nears, sunflowers are beginning to die off and it's time to harvest their seeds! In this post I bring you through the steps to harvest and prepare your sunflower seeds for eating!
A less meddlesome approach to beekeeping.
What needs doin' in the beeyard?
Anticipation of warm weather, bees, flowers, and HONEY!
Keeping bees with neighbors in the city or the burbs.
Raw honey isn’t just delicious — read on to learn some of the medicinal uses for it.
The no-waste way to render beeswax.
Awesome facts about the amazing honeybee.
How my dad defended himself from overly generous gardeners.
Trying to tend to kids AND a garden.
Non-gardeners and gardeners are very, very different creatures.
Introducing a revolutionary new book about the "drinkable landscape" and how you can use organic gardening to produce a huge array of beverages.
Day 2 in Asheville, North Caroline, is about the eco-high adventures to be had, both in the trees on a zipline and when hiking to the Catawba Waterfalls.
Even store-bought mushrooms create vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Use this nifty trick and my tasty recipe to keep up your supply of this essential vitamin.
A Colombian concept that reclaims the streets has found a home in dozens of cities across the U.S.
The bike-ped movement is growing; meet one of the newest leaders advocating for pedestrians.
Show your thanks for bicycle and pedestrian advocacy leaders by nominating someone you know for a national Advocacy Award.
Mia Birk's new book weaves together personal and professional history to illustrate the transformative power of bicycling.
Leaders from America Bikes impress top transportation official with compelling new data on job creation and popular demand for active street design.
Join a free webinar about women and cycling this Wednesday!
Susie Stephens' memorial now grows in the city of her tragic death.
(Video) The U.S. Secretary of Transportation bikes to work at the behest of his bicycle commuting employees.
Considering induction cooking as an eco-friendly alternative to cooking with electricity? Can’t begin to contemplate spending $3,000 on a stove? This article will run down how you can integrate the hottest new tech in cooking into your kitchen without winning the lottery.
Although cooking is not as big of an energy-drain in the home as other things, there are still ways to do it in an energy-efficient way. This article describes some of the best ways to cook sustainably.
If you are looking to make your home more eco-friendly, there is no better place to start than in the kitchen. Here are 8 simple ways to save energy in the kitchen.
Have some fun in your garden this year and grow something giant!
With just about every breed of standard bred, heritage poultry, we have work to do. They are not producing like they once were.
A brief overview of keeping bees in a top bar hive from setup to overwintering.
A recipe for a grease patty that doesn't use hydrogenated oils.
Colony Collapse Disorder is threatening the future of bee pollination. Here's what we can do about it.
When and how to feed your honeybees.
Learn about the benefits of baking with this ancient grain.
Goldenrod is starting to bloom in the beeyard now that the cooler weather is on its way.
What's going on with the hives, new developments in the Down-East Bee Lady's life, latest bee school news, etc.
I learned an important gardening lesson from fighting tomato blight.
Gardeners don't have to live in a semi-tropical zone to grow organic lemons, limes, oranges, and other citrus fruits. Proper technique with potted plants can yield a bounty of delicately flavored, vitamin-rich citrus.
One woman's vision of a family farm comes to life in her back yard thanks to one friendly goat.
The first of 12 posts, seed saving begins with an introduction to the stories behind seeds and why they are so important. From preserving our shared botanical heritage to protecting a diverse and decentralized food supply, the story of seed is as varied as the people who plant them.
A sepia photo of a North Carolina family in front of their farmhouse reveals food heritage.
Gather your extended family around the table to share home-cooked, healthy meals on a regular basis. Reap the rewards of laughter, pleasure, and deepening relationships for very little money. Get started with my recipe for Beans with Caramelized Onions and Carrots. Ten servings cost about ten dollars using organic, heirloom beans and about seven dollars using pinto beans.
A forty-something woman stumbles into a booth at a farmer's market, looks up, and sees a handsome farmer. You may know that the blockbuster Fifty Shades of Grey also begins with a tumble and winds up with love. It's no coincidence: my book Fifty Weeks of Green is a comic response to Fifty Shades that celebrates sustainable living.
Add an efficient solar cooker to your winter emergency kit for hot meals during power outages. Even when you could have power, it's fun to roast potatoes or bake dessert off-grid on sunny winter days.
A good vegetable garden doesn't have to be expensive. Here is a step-by-step description of how one family was able to build a paved, raised vegetable garden for under $200.
Take a visual tour of the events at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Fair in Puyallup, Washington.
With the lifting of the four-year Bicycle Plan injunction, we're watching the next premiere biking city unfold — at record pace — in San Francisco, California.
The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy launches a national campaign aimed at the American Automobile Association.
Who the heck is Paul Goodman? The car-free visionary who inspired a new documentary and bicycle contest.
Ian Klepetar has been living out of a tent — and building a business empire that benefits bicyclists.
Emmy-award winner, Dayton Duncan, likened trail advocates to John Muir at the American Trails National Symposium
Complete streets policies are sweeping the nation, to the benefit of bicyclists, pedestrians and travelers of all ages.
Transportation rock stars, Janette Sadik-Khan and Congressman Earl Blumenauer, tell National Bike Summit attendees that local advocates are the real headliners in the bicycle movement.
A cheap plastic pin reveals allies on Capitol Hill.
Are you up to the 2 Mile Challenge? Sign up and help replace 100,000 car trips with healthy, pollution-free bicycle travel!
In New York City, advocates unveil a bold vision to end the traffic violence.
Submit your best photos of biking and walking for a chance to win a free, 10-day bike trip to Italy!
Bikes Belong needs your pledge to show the public, policymakers and the media that one million Americans want better policy and funding to promote bicycling.
The defeat of Congressman Jim Oberstar wasn't just a blow to Minnesota. It was a loss for everyone who bikes and walks.
The Marin County Bicycle Coalition won a major victory with the opening of the Cal Park Hill Tunnel — a world class facility that makes biking the quickest commuting option.
You don't have to pay $50 a pound for fresh morel mushrooms. Watch this video and find out how to forage for morels yourself.
Energy Star for Homes is a worthwhile green building certification with demonstrated market value.
Some examples of passive solar design applied to homes in the southeast, where cooling, as well as heating, is a concern.
From choosing affordable floods for the bedroom remodel to switching out the oven-hood incandescent, Jennifer details how much it cost to light her house sustainably, as well as forecast her long term savings.
So, what makes a flock of poultry sustainable? What is standard-bred poultry? If you purchase chicks from a hatchery, are they true to the breed? Why does every hatchery sell Rhode Island Reds and they all look different? Why do the Cornish Cross meat chickens have so many problems? Raising standard poultry is the only true way to improve the sustainability of quality local food while preserving the strength of Heritage poultry.
The little used herb lovage makes an attractive addition to the edible landscape and provides a smoky flavor to soups and stews.
Beehive happenings since my last blog post.
Chris Larson's Asheville, North Carolina, home--already a superb example of smart, passive solar design--gets even better with the addition of solar hot water collectors.
Discover how to grow various members of the onion family: bulb onions and scallions, leeks, garlic, ramps, shallots, and chives. Each one has different requirements and habits, yet all are rewarding for organic gardeners.
The only recipe you’ll ever need for wonderful homemade broths plus deliciously versatile chicken and veggie soup.
In the hollows of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this true Christmas celebration was simple, inexpensive and rich with tradition.
Asheville has a long history of attracting people searching for a tranquil place for personal retreats and wellness. For Day 3, it’s time to chill, revitalize ourselves and do some rebalancing of our mind, body and spirit on a health and wellness tour.
As Passive House Institute standards up the ante, USA Today’s “Best Green Homes of 2010” list reflects Americans’ desire for affordability, efficiency and style.
There seems to be limited testing done by the EPA on the toxicity of some chemicals.
Make this creamy Peanut Butter Gelato Recipe and customize it with fruit, chocolate or nuts.
This Peach Sherbet Recipe is reminiscent of biting into a fresh peach, but with a cool, creamy consistency.
Instead of coffee and cake after dinner, end an evening in style with this Coffee Granita Recipe.
Simran Sethi looks into the furniture and logging industries.