Cam has found a new use for old rice bags - turn them into man purses!
Our 4 eggs a day suddenly became just one egg a day and so we had a mystery to solve!
We've added a rooster to our small flock and he's fitting in just fine!
A chicken describes a typical day of treats at Sunflower Farm.
After 35 years together, Cam can still make Michelle laugh. He just has to try a little harder...
Cam loves his four-wheel drive truck ... despite being an environmentalist!
Cam has an exciting evening when his neighbor drops off another expectant cow.
At this time of year, Cam feels a little overwhelmed by the gardening chores ahead of him.
Michelle discovers a new threat to her basil plants!
Tyler and I spent an afternoon creating a footpath and campsite in our woods. Now we can go camping with friends and enjoy meals (and s’mores) over the campfire whenever we have the time or desire.
Cam thinks his chickens resemble Captain Jack Sparrow. Has he been spending too much time in the sun?
Cam describes his weight loss program which involves lots and lots of gardening....
Michelle knows how much work it is to grow strawberries.... and she's happy to be able to buy them at any price!
Cam shares six important lessons that he has learned from his chickens.
Cam enjoys a sense of accomplishment many times a day as he uses his sidewalk!
Cam describes a mosquito infestation INSIDE his house.
Cam considers the care and upkeep of an outdoor skating rink as an art form.
Cam is enjoying a bumper crop of onions this year!
Cam describes how an act of kindness many years ago has inspired him to help others.
Cam and Michelle enjoy having their first "HelpX" volunteers to help out in the gardens!
It's been quite a fall for mushrooms around here...
Sometimes the wildlife can get kind of wild around here....
Cam is mourning the loss of his beloved dog Morgan.
Cam discovers he isn't as young as he once was while enjoying a sense of community at the local arena.
Cam gives an update on his new chickens!
Cam welcomed a group of high school students to his home/office recently.
Cam is exhausted but exhilarated by the early success of his CSA.
Cam has a feeling that this concept of "cloud computing" is all going to end in tears....
Cam shares his love affair with garlic and explains the work involved with growing and processing organically-grown garlic.
Cam appreciates his local volunteer fire department.
Cam ponders the wisdom of starting a CSA at the ripe old age of 52.
Cam considers the effect of Peak Oil on our wandering ways....
Cam describes a recent encounter with some aggressive dogs.
Cam promotes the return to our independent roots.
Cam describes the zen-like state he achieves while splitting firewood.
Every fall Cam is tired of gardening and vows to make his vegetable garden smaller. Every spring he is excited about getting back in the garden and ends up making it bigger!
Cam enjoyed another week with some volunteer helpers!
Cam found a way to expand his chicken coop without spending a lot!
Cam learns to appreciate country music.
Cam is getting worn out trying to keep up with watering during a drought.
Cam considers how peak oil will impact our love of travel.
Cam babysits a baby goat for the weekend.
Cam grows a patch of wheat to see how much work is involved. He will never take a loaf of bread for granted again!
Cam is appalled by how much stuff he has accumulated and how much stuff other people have too.
Cam has a great deal of respect for farmers.
It's Week #11 of our CSA and we can't find boxes big enough to fit all of the great produce!!
Ditch the cheap tent and go "glamping" in a luxurious yurt from Pacific Yurts.
The weather is heating up, the sun is shining and backyards are ripe for grass-stained jeans and fingernails coated in dirt, yet children today are spending more time than ever inside. The National Wildlife Federation has found a cure for the computer zombies summer vacation creates: the sixth annual Great American Backyard Campout fundraiser.
Handy Camel multi-purpose bag clip earns several awards during release year.
Hunters and non-hunters alike can get true enjoyment observing the movement and interactions of wildlife with the use of a trail camera. But buyers beware!
Sign up for classes at the John C. Campbell Folk School and relive your childhood-camp experiences.
How to avoid food poisoning from poultry, which is widely contaminated with Campylobacter.
Clearing overgrown land can be a daunting task. Choose the right tool for the job and it can be a breeze! Here are 5 of my favorites that make clearing overgrown land satisfying and fun!
How our friend John Dougherty took a normal covered utility trailer and converted it into a camping unit.
Cam learns the hard way why it's never a good idea to procrastinate about important jobs!
Cam shares some of the things he is grateful for....
Just so you don't think it's all fun and games living out here in the country....
The right dog can be a very useful member of the family when you are growing corn!
As we approach the celebration of Thanksgiving here in Canada, Cam reflects on what he is thankful for.
Cam enjoys a magical walk through a winter wonderland while cutting and hauling firewood.
Cam has been an Apple Mac fan since the beginning.
This summer Cam became a market gardener and actually got paid for something he loves to do - grow vegetables!
Cam has a recurring nightmare in which the land across the road is being developed and his peace and quiet and isolation is threatened.
Cam's wife Michelle considers the economics of keeping egg laying chickens.
Cam finds an new old-fashioned way to keep the wildlife out of his garden.
Cam is not a big fan of "ebooks."
Wind turbines kills birds, but not as many as are killed by tall buildings and other hazards.
Cam shares the results of his experiment growing wheat in his vegetable garden.
Our HelpXers Mike and Melissa share their experiences as volunteers here at Sunflower Farm.
Garlic is a very labour-intensive crop to grow but the rewards are worth it!
Cam battles with the flying squirrels who want to inhabit his guesthouse using some unique weapons.
What's the most efficient way to boil water?
Cam loves growing his own heat!
Cam describes how our solar electric system has evolved over time.
Cam can't think of anywhere he'd rather be than on his own private skating rink.
Cam contemplates the meaning of life while picking strawberries.
Technology allows us to live where we live, but it doesn't make it any easier to deal with!
Cam shares the "joys" of a living in a house with a metal roof.
Cam appreciates all four of our seasons!
A cow is born at Sunflower Farm!
Cam believes in the Boy Scout's "Be Prepared" motto when it comes to all aspects of his life....
Cam celebrates his daughter's engagement but considers the impact of flying across the world for the wedding.
Cam is frustrated by new technology that just doesn't work - and prefers old-fashioned DVDs to watching movies online.
Cam makes himself laugh sometimes....
Cam discovers that his chickens have unique personalities....
Cam describes the challenges of winter driving and cutting down trees.
The second post (of three) describing an organic gardener's attempt to grow his own wheat.
Cam has found another way to save money - his wife cuts his hair now! He also describes how even though he isn't artistic he creates and enjoys the masterpieces from his garden.
Cam responds to a negative comment about a previous blog.
Cam is hoping that the Queen attends his gardening workshop this weekend at the Royal Botanical Gardens....
Cam describes some family heirlooms - especially his favorite one - a shovel!
You might be surprised to read Cam extolling the virtues of television!
Cam always wanted to be the kind of guy who could swap out a motor and now he is!
Cam describes a recent adventure involving round bales, train tracks and a stressful drive home.
Cam was generously offered the loan of a small backhoe and had a whale of a time getting jobs done!
It's an aromatic time of year at Sunflower Farm - time to clean the garlic!
Cam describes "double digging" as a way of creating a new garden without losing precious topsoil.
Cam sees the bright side of having to deal with a flat tire.
Cam has been doing some radio and podcast interviews lately with some interesting hosts.
Cam is glad to find out that he has been successful at encouraging people to embrace renewable energy.
The second of the 3Rs is re use. Cam has been a re-user for a long time!
Cam loves sharing his homesteading skills in Hands-On Workshops at his off-grid home.
The drought conditions at Sunflower Farm are making Cam rather cranky.
Cam describes the building of his chicken coop.
Sometimes being off grid doesn't necessarily mean that you're green.
Providing the firewood to heat his home has become a pleasurable hobby for Cam Mather.
Cam undertakes an experiment to see how much food he can produce on his one acre of garden space.
Cam has a (temporary) job outside of the house and he has gained a new appreciation for being self-employed.
Ranting about the drought worked! We got rain here at Sunflower Farm!
Michelle and Cam continue to debate whether a real tree or a fake tree is the better choice from an environmental perspective.....
The challenges of dropping out - going off the grid - and living your authentic life.
Cam describes a natural disaster on a small scale near his home.
Cam enjoyed a recent workshop he held at Sunflower Farm, and the participants seemed to enjoy it too!
Cam compares the population density of his home to some of the most densely populated countries in the world....
One of the realities of country life is having to get your septic tank pumped every few years.
Cam has a "reality check" moment and realizes how lucky he is!
Cam has been busy harvesting and sorting potatoes.
Cam & Michelle recently enjoyed a visit from an ethnographer who is studying off-gridders.
We call our homestead Sunflower Farm and now we have the sign to show for it!
Cam considers the environmental implications of using paper diapers vs. cloth diapers.
Cam hates shopping but occasionally he is forced to venture out....
Cam is reminded to be grateful for what he has.
Being in control of your own home heating.
Cam hates to see good scrap wood go to waste and so he cuts it into kindling and has even started selling it!
Cam often finds himself relating to song lyrics.
Cam thinks people worry about the small things (bugs), when they should be more concerned about the big things (climate change).
Cam speaks to a group of university students about "sustainable" development...
Cam has always enjoyed playing with water. Now he lets his solar-powered pump do some of the work!
Cam learns a lot by spending time with people who "get it."
Cam notices how many chicken-related expressions we use in our every day language!
Cam describes how the seasons progress through one messy task after another at Sunflower Farm.
Cam has been playing with and skating on thick ice lately.
Cam considers one of the causes of high gas prices....
Cam can't help but get involved and speak up when he disagrees with things. Sometimes it works!
Cam rationalizes his hoarding behaviour....
Cam dressed up as a bunch of blueberries for our local parade, and spoke to a group of university students about peak oil. Never a dull moment....
In our ever-growing quest to produce our own food we've acquired two egg-laying chickens!
Cam considers the environmental implications of different forms of transportation and urges people to stop flying!
Cam considers how Peak Oil will affect our lives....
It's always wonderful to meet someone who is passionate about what they do!
Cam enjoys a visit with Ken & Madeline who farmed this property many years ago and Cam realizes how hard farming was back then....
Cam and Michelle enjoy a visit to their neighbour's "sugar shack" during maple syrup season!
Cam shares his enthusiasm for the sun and the wind at his off-grid home.
Cam loves living in a place where he can enjoy the night skies.... even if he doesn't completely understand what he's looking at some of the time!
Cam loves growing and selling food!
Cam discusses the decision to go off-grid or on-grid and shares his experience with batteries and the dangers of high winds to solar panels.
There's more reason than ever to be prepared for natural disasters, no matter where you live!
Looking after your chickens in the winter and cutting with a solar-powered electric chainsaw.
Cam battles with scarabs in his raspberry patch.
Cam shares what he has learned about corn smut in his organic garden.
Cam is getting burned out on technology and considers growing food to earn a living.
Cam blames horror movies for his overactive imagination.
Cam finds getting around in the country, especially in the winter, so much easier with his 4X4 truck.
When you only drink one cup of coffee a day, the mug you use is pretty important.
Cam appreciates the simple things like rotten hay and beautiful vegetables from his garden.
Cam describes the joy and elation he feels when he skates on his very own pond.
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.
We are currently facing a job crisis. Most jobs available today require specific skills and not college diplomas. Congress recently passed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act which should help train workers but fails to take note of the booming green job market.
Your soil can be your best friend or your worst enemy as you prep your garden. Find out what you're up against with one of these three easy methods!
Kinetic log splitters have taken the log-splitter market by storm. But how much do you know about these lightning-fast, hyper-efficient machines? Check out these surprising facts about kinetic log splitters.
Canadian homesteader Cam Mather sinks into the village life and discovers the joys of small-town living.
The basics of using a woodstove to heat your home.
Cam looks back at the challenges of moving to his off-grid home.
Our chickens aren't fond of the snow and the wind, but we found a way to let them enjoy the sunshine from the comfort of their coop!
The best way to start a fire in your woodstove.
Cam describes why he was anxious to leave the city for a life in the country.
Cam is back riding his solar-powered electric bike and he loves it!
Cam describes a typical summer day at Sunflower Farm using tweets.
Cam describes the benefits of writing this blog and his recent book.
Cam describes the method he used when planting his sweet potatoes this year with hopes that he'll end up with a prettier finished product!
Cam describes some recent speaking engagements including the thrill of being "piped in."
Cam wonders why more people don't prepare for blackouts.
Cam prefers the view from his office in his country home.
Cam enjoyed a very successful sweet potato harvest!
A typical winter morning chore - cleaning off the solar panels.
Cam recently spoke to a Transition group about the challenges ahead and how to prepare for them.
Cam leaves his lights on during Earth Hour since he generates his own electricity with solar and wind!
When you live in an off-grid house in the country, it's important to be handy!
Four new hens joined the flock at Sunflower Farm and it has taken some time to re-establish the pecking order.
Even after 15 years, Cam still loves heating his home with wood that he cuts himself.
When it's -30 degrees outside you can make your own snow!
Cam is trying to extend his growing season with DIY greenhouse structures.
Cam is getting burned out on technology and seeks solace in his "low tech" garden.
The difference between power and energy and how it relates to toast!
Cam describes his ongoing inner dialogue concerning his carbon footprint.
Cam is handling this heatwave much better thanks to his solar-powered air conditioner!
Mother Nature has a way of filling in the blank spots....
Cam has been collecting old windows for years and has finally put them together to make a greenhouse!
Cam talks about getting mistaken for a garden centre employee and also the time that his house appeared to get sold out from under him!
Some of Cam's best inspirations come to him in his sleep!
Cam thinks its important that we all have a Plan B, no matter where we live.
Quirky behaviors involving shaving, moisturizing, socks and water conservation!
Cam readily admits to being obsessed about his use of energy.
Cam contemplates his place in the universe while weeding his corn patch....
Cam admits to admiring Oprah and watching her show from time to time.
Cam shares his experiences getting lost in the woods.
Cam describes why his method of harvesting firewood from his woodlot is the most sustainable way.
Homesteader Cam Mather describes integrating new backyard chickens into his existing flock and the wonderful life his "ladies" lead.
Promote AIDS awareness, not just on World AIDS Day, but every day!
Congress passed a piece of legislation which could have a serious impact on the nation's job crisis. This post explains the act, analyzes its impact, and notes that the whole renewable job sector has been pretty much ignored.
Electronic waste, aka e-waste, is the fastest growing waste stream of our time. E-waste is considered hazardous waste and more often than not, is recycled improperly. But there are ways to avoid contributing to the growth of this toxic waste.
At a time when greenhouse gas emissions from cars and electricity generation around the world are at an all-time high, Heifer International in Cameroon is leading initiatives and programming to help reduce such emissions from livestock production there.
If you’re considering buying a new log splitter, you may have begun to debate whether you want an electric log splitter or a gas-powered model. What’s the difference? DR Power Equipment has some useful insight for you.
Washboard road is often considered a fact of country life. It's uncomfortable, wreaks havoc with your vehicle, and can cause expensive damage. Here's the one simple trick to preventing it almost completely!
You can make a simple bench for the garden or patio by recycling an old headboard.
TERA-Light is a perpetually renewable fire starter that requires no batteries, no chemicals — only air and organic plant material!
Cam has had to learn lots of new skills living in his off-grid home!
Cam is amazed at the level of awareness concerning Peak Oil amongst today's youth.
Cam contemplates the amount of energy that goes into our food production and shows how he prepared corn for freezing the zero carbon way!
An introduction to Cam Mather's off-grid home and lifestyle.
Cam Mather tries out a battery-powered chainsaw at his off-grid homestead in Ontario.
In my hometown of Boulder, Colorado, kids are leaving town and dumping a lot of really good, useable stuff. If you have a college in your town, it's a great weekend to go Dumpster diving near campus.
The Clean Power Plan to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants, proposed on June 2, 2014, by the Environmental Protection Agency, under President Obama’s Climate Action Plan not only limits our carbon pollution but also injects life back into our domestic workforce.
According to FDA data, the quantity of antibiotics sold for livestock use in this country continues to rise, topping 29 million pounds in 2011. This has a direct effect on the efficacy these same drugs will have on us. Sam Spitz has personal experience with a resistant illness and FamilyFarmed.org asked him to tell his story. It’s a cautionary tale that should have us all making better food choices. Read how we can all influence the campaign to end the misuse of antibiotics in livestock and keep antibiotics working for us when we need them!
Karen and Tony Tipsword's rehabbed 720-square-foot cabin allows them the freedom and independence to live their dream of running a campground. "Being happy does not mean a large home filled with things," Karen says.
As everyone gathers around this campfire this fall, unite this variety of flavors into one savory skillet that will be enjoyed by all.
While the Mother Earth News Fair at Seven Springs Mountain Resort may have been John D. Ivanko's family’s primary destination (as speakers about renewable energy, sustainable living and farmstead cooking), it definitely wasn’t their only reason for eco-touring the region known as the Laurel Highlands.
Robert Maxwell discusses the benefits of a rural lifestyle.
Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote about growing up on the frontier for both her and her husband. Her book about Almanzo's childhood recalls some of his favorite foods, including "fried apples 'n' onions".
The Camping Accessory People expand their already extensive product line.
The urge to eliminate clutter and create space for ourselves is a healthy sign of self-respect. Why, then, is it so darn hard?
Blogger Crystal Stevens discusses her time working at a nature-based summer camp for kids.
The tale of Carlotta's last day. A trip to the processor. Real happenings on a goat farm, it's not always lollipops and rainbows.
Kitchen Gardeners International's 20ate campaign urges Americans to say no to junk food.
A story of one of our camping trips to Torreya State Park, Florida.
Last October, President Obama filled us all with hope when he announced he would install solar panels on the White House by this spring. The panels haven't materialized, and the White House isn't talking. Call Obama and find out what's up.
Lemony sorrel is the base for a classic Eastern European soup that's equally good served hot or cold. It's fast, easy and tastes of spring and early summer.
Learn how to clean cast-iron cookware that’s old and crusty, and get some tips on seasoning cast-iron cookware to revive it even further.
Watermelon rind is this frugal pie's summery secret ingredient. Think of it as summer mincemeat.
Readers responded eagerly to our call for recipes to use up green tomatoes. An Ohio woman wowed the judges with her entry.
With its recent FDA approval, the first LiLi pasteurizer was purchased for use at a New York micro dairy.
Use care when cooking red kidney beans in the crockpot. The beans contain a toxin that can be activated if the beans are raw or undercooked.
Easy-sew step-by-step instructions (with photos) to repurpose feed bags into handy totes.
Monsanto, the world’s largest producer of genetically modified seeds and the toxic herbicides used to drench them, is calling itself a supporter of sustainability. You’re kidding, right?
During World War I, the federal government ordered people to keep a backyard flock of chickens. What happened? Why is it so hard today?
Michigan invasive species order takes aim at heritage and Old World hogs.
If you've been considering an electric pressure cooker, consider the Instant Pot. It’s well-made, durable and has many functions.