Easy, practical, delicious – growing an organic food garden is a skill anyone can learn: that's my main message! It doesn't have to involve a lot of work and certainly doesn't require a big investment in special products or equipment.
A Texas family searches for a suitable crop as supplemental income on four acres. After watermelons and flower fail, they succeed with luffa.
White Family Rotary treadle sewing machines are well-made and easy to operate – but the hand wheel operates backward of other treadles. Modern bobbins can be used, if one extra step is taken when winding on thread.
Learn how to use a well bucket in a drilled well to get water without electricity.
Homemade transplant pots from newspaper save money and reduce waste.
Author Rick Austin shares gardening advice from his book, “Secret Garden of Survival – How to Grow a Camouflaged Food Forest.”
The "Household Discoveries" book from 1909 instructs how to build an outhouse, with plans simple enough for any average 14-year-old schoolboy to follow.
A do-it-yourself portable solar cart allows us to have solar power without removing trees from the yard. We can also take it away from the home site and move it indoors before storms.
Bringing back Victory Gardens could help ease hunger and dependence as U.S. social aid programs, such as Food Stamps, are drastically cut.
Author Marjory Wildcraft visits Cuba to learn how people learned to grow food after the country’s economic collapse when fuel and other imports stopped arriving.
To prevent algae growth deterioration by sun damage to a plastic rainwater tank, cover it with a painted bed sheet.
A hippie in the 1980s who demonstrated for a clean environment, particularly water, now owns an online water filter business where she shares her views about the scarcity and fragility of water, the toxins dumped in it and what we can do about it.
Shag rag rugs made of old clothes are durable, attractive, easy to care for and can be machine sewn in a few hours.
The “hygiene hypothesis” could explain the rise in asthma and allergy rates, according to some scientists. Learn more about why exposure to germs isn’t always a bad thing.
Potlucks make sharing a meal about as easy as can be. With just a few changes from the usual all-disposable approach, potlucks can be green, thrifty, and more enjoyable too.
How to build a greenhouse of used sliding-glass patio doors that is warmer and less expensive than plastic, and keeps out burrowing animals.
Household hints from 1909 reveal useful tips for hanging clothes out to dry.
Forming a food producers and artisans cooperative brings together farmers, crafters and consumers hoping to revitalize their community, preserve skills and continue the economy of neighborliness
Like many things in nature, the catalpa tree and worm have a special one-on-one relationship.
A unique contest challenges people to hand-pump more water in one minute than a 64-year-old grandmother can.
Used T-shirts can be turned into many useful household items, including weaving without a loom.
As the youngest member of a new local food producers and artisans cooperative, 11-year-old Grace is learning business skills while perfecting her artistic talents with homemade jewelry, pot holders and more.
Ban disease-carrying mosquitoes from rainwater collection sites with window screen and scrap materials.
Survivalist Gardener Rick Austin offers natural and long-lasting tips for repelling pests and insects in gardens hidden in the forest.
The documentary film “Beyond Off-Grid” is nearing completion and includes a dozen specialists across the United States living self-reliant lifestyles.
United Nations Climate Week invokes memories of first Earth Day and how far we have yet to go to clean up our environment.
Writer attributes eating wild food, game, homegrown vegetables and forest food to good health.
Water filter supplier offers recommendations to avoid radiation contamination following the Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster.
A recent trip to Vietnam presents an opportunity to study people-powered devices and transportation.
One woman’s fascinating journey from a high-rise apartment overlooking Hong Kong Harbor to sharing the earthly pleasure of growing food.
Junk mail, old books and other used paper can be easily recycled into something useful. Never buy notepads or envelopes again.
A Texas mom created an all-natural toothpaste that whitens teeth and encourages her children to do a better job of brushing because it’s fun.
Fed up with cheap, easily breakable clothespins, craftsman Herrick Kimball is now making Classic American Clothespins and has a vision for inspiring others to make them in their communities.
Learn how to make a scarecrow from scrap materials that moves and makes noise to keep deer, squirrels, rabbits and crows out of the garden.
Sowing tiny seeds for fall crops is easy with discarded plastic seedling trays and strips of fabric for lifting soil cubes.
Home experiment reveals tomato seedlings started in water heated in a microwave do not grow well. How different are we from plants?
A mortarless rock-wall raised garden bed is easily constructed with simple tools and adds long-lasting natural beauty.
Cheap imported goods do not stand the test of time compared to locally crafted goods.
Planting a vine patch for the first time is easy without the need to till up a lot of soil; instead, cut out sod circles and mulch the surrounding area.
Discover what antioxidants are, how antioxidants work in your body, and which antioxidant-rich foods to choose.
Some manufacturers that make rubber mulch from shredded tires claim it’s an environmentally friendly solution to tire waste. So is rubber mulch safe to put on your plants, as those companies assert? Find out here.
Leaving a job with benefits and security to live a simple, country life, also known as un-jobbing, can be scary, but as we learned, so very worth it.
A small food producers' cooperative in Missouri wins a national award and will share with others how to form a successful co-op that focuses on bartering, sustainability and the economy of neighborliness.
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 1909 household-hints book reveals old-time method of filtering rainwater for drinking.
A look back at how we’ve become addicted to electricity and its conveniences since the Great Depression.
An upcoming inspirational documentary, “Beyond Off-Grid,” that strives to motivate people to return to the old paths, includes self-sufficiency experts from around the country. A MOTHER EARTH NEWS blog prompted the producer to contact us.
A copy of "Good Housekeeping" magazine from 1944 reminds us how housewives found ways to stretch meals, repair household items and plant gardens to overcome wartime rationing hardships.
Because county health departments and public water systems check only for a few contaminants, homeowners are advised to test their own water, an inexpensive and simple solution for peace of mind.
Why manual water pumps are making a comeback and how to select the right type for a homestead.
Use a hand water pump to compress air for filling tires without electricity.
"Folk Medicine" by D.C. Jarvis, M.D., written in 1958, explains how humans would do well to watch animals that know instinctively how to stay healthy. Jarvis advises drinking raw honey and apple cider vinegar for good health and vigor.
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.
Get more intense flavor and more nutrients by slicing olives into a simple spinach and chickpea salad. This thrifty recipe also shows a streamlined salad-making process.
Jenna Woginrich’s latest book, “One Woman Farm,” whisks readers away.
St. Paul, Minnesota, not only allows front yard gardens and promotes growing vegetables in containers, but encourages residents to beautify the boulevard with plants, including edibles.
On our journey to self-reliance, my husband, Darren, and I have been gathering human-powered tools when we can find them. It’s surprising and sad how quickly hand- and foot-powered tools were junked when electricity became available. From 1850 to 1890, more than 100 apple-pealing devices were patented. Then none, except those running on electric power. And so it goes with thousands of other nifty human-powered appliances.