Mary Lou Shaw
Corn "smut" is actually a delicacy in Mexico and can provide mushrooms for our meals.
Homesteaders become similar to the self-sustaining people in the Arctic as they spend each season preparing to have food, warmth and shelter for the entire year. It is gratifying to eat well and be comfortable because of our year-round efforts.
Your homestead is complete when you get your own cow for milking. But problems such as a cow who holds her milk or who kicks can make milking difficult and even dangerous. Here are some helpful hints so that you can enjoy your cow and enjoy milking her.
We can all help to save rare breed genetics for future homesteaders by raising and using these animals ourselves. Furthermore, we can help preserve the animals by sharing their valuable genetics with others.
Mulch, like compost, plays an important role in organic gardening. To maximize the flavor and nutrition of your produce, learn how to use and balance the characteristics of various organic materials when mulching.
A homemade smokehouse can be built to give you a new way to preserve and flavor your meat and cheese. By building the firebox at a distance from the smokehouse, you will have a cold smoker that can preserve meat and flavor cheese.
Composting toilets add sustainability to a homestead because they use zero water to flush. The waste from compost toilets are safe to add to compost piles. Additionally, it is handy that they don't require connecting to a septic system. This article describes two brands of composting toilets.
It's not difficult to eat locally during the long winter months if you have preserved the previous year's harvest. Even while we wait for spring to arrive, the root cellar may still be providing our dinner.
Preserving rare breeds requires that the animals are successful in having babies. For our poultry, we sometimes find that the mother hen does a better job than the incubator.
There is much to be learned when taking care of dual-purpose cows including how to avoid birthing problems and retained placentas, how to manage mastitis and when to do artificial insemination.
Each season brings its own work on a homestead. In the autumn, the garden and animals still require work, but this is also the time to put in a cistern and begin a smoke house.
Homestead spring projects include honey bees, Dorking chickens, Ancona ducks, Narragansett turkeys, Dutch Belted calf, Red-Wattle hogs, the incubator, pruning fruit trees,starting seeds, and heirloom plants so we can eat healthful and delicious food all year.
Starting seeds with children indoors is a project that extends into outdoor planting of the seedlings in spring and harvesting produce in the summer. It allows you to share success and satisfaction with children and makes it more likely they'll eat their vegetables!
Feeding chickens sustainably means keeping them healthy by using a combination of free-range, good-quality commercial food, supplementing their diet with garden produce and perhaps even mixing your own poultry food.
Even we homesteaders must decide how we interact with our animals and the environment. When we follow Nature's rules by developing old-time virtues, our lives are enriched with connection to everything around us.
It pays to spend time preparing your garden for winter. You can improve your soil, increase your harvest, decrease garden pests and make next spring's planting much easier.
Time management tools can help a homestead run smoothly as well as make the work more enjoyable. By focusing on different tasks in different seasons, assigning different tasks to different days and by sharing tasks, the work becomes both manageable and fun.
A gravity watering system can consist of a cistern to save roof top rain water and elevated tanks to gravity feed this water to your garden. As climate change makes rain less predictable, you can both water your garden and help save ground water.
Beekeeping allows us to have not only honey, but also the wax. This is a story of how to make beeswax candles with molds and some of the difficulties I have yet to resolve.
Whether you choose renewable energy for ecological or financial reasons, this article will help you see how solar panels and a solar hot water heating system can be financed and get you closer to being a sustainable household.
Many a homesteader and farmer can use help, and many a young person wants to learn homesteading skills. Having apprentices is an important means to assure a continuation of farms and farming,as well as teaching youth essential survival skills.
Learning to save seeds from one harvest to the next takes you a step further towards self-sufficiency and helps to save genetics of plants needed for the future.
We would like all our food to be grown locally, but when it's too cold to grow outside, we often rely on what we've stored from the previous season. Calzones offer one more way to cook with stored food.
Honey from our backyard bees provide us with a sweetener, but just as important, honey has many health benefits.
We may find it overwhelming to know where to begin in teaching others to eat healthily. People attempting to eat healthier find it difficult to know where to begin. "The Dirty Dozen" fruits and vegetables gives us all a place to start.
Basil is a versatile herb that can be used for companion planting, bee forage, year-round herb as well as delicious pesto.
There's no need to go to the grocery food in the winter if you have stored food in a root cellar, freezer or canning jars. Most of the work of preparing this food has already been done and so that winter meals are easy, nutritious and delicious.
Homesteads are attempting to provide longer grazing times by dividing pasture into paddocks. The difficulty of getting water to each paddock can be solved by a windmill with underground pipes. No electric is needed--just wind!
There are many logical reasons for adding flowers to your vegetable garden: attracting beneficials, crop diversity, companion-planting, barriers and healthy soil. But perhaps their beauty does not need to be rationalized at all!
Herbs are versatile plants that enhance our lives by adding beauty, aroma, nutrition, seasoning, and a varied landscape. Because they can be grown indoors, or outdoors in pots, as part of landscaping or in the garden, everyone has room to grow herbs.
Food labels are confusing, but you can be sure that processed foods with many ingredients are not as healthful as whole foods. Here is a explanation of processed-food ingredients and some suggestions for healthful breakfast foods.
Labels on commercial foods are difficult to decipher and misleading. For healthful food, healthy bodies, healthy communities and planet, we need to grow and purchase our food locally.
To benefit from the meat of backyard chickens, one must learn to process them. This includes how to kill, scald, pluck, and eviscerate, and then get them into the freezer. This article describes how we are learning to improving this process.
Both organic and local food are important if we want to eat nutritious and delicious food. Furthermore, our current food system is in jeapordy because petroleum and water supplies are dwindling and climate change is resulting in more extreme weather.
Hog butchering was a common farm chore done in the early winter. It provided much of the family's meat in the wintertime. It provides healthful food, exercise and a wonderful experience of community.
Here's some hints on how to juggle cheese-making among the many other homesteading chores. Mozzarella and cheddar can both be woven in while doing other tasks, but there's nothing like clabbered cheese for ease of making.
A homemade solar food dryer allows you to dry tomatoes and apples for delicious and nutritious winter snacks and addition to your meals.
Although the concepts of fair trade, buying local and buying organic food are used to aid the economies of developing countries, these same three concepts can help our local communities become the healthy communities we can thrive in.
Heritage breed chickens are more nutritious and flavorful than store-bought chicken, but require different cooking techniques. Learn different methods of cooking different age and different breeds of chickens.
Growing Local Food is a new book that encompasses all the needed basics to grow plants, keep heritage breed animals and bees. The author is a homesteader and physician who gives the readers the basic information to grow or find nutritious, local food
For those of us who hate to use chemicals in our gardens, in our homes, or with our livestock and pets, diatomaceous earth may be a safe and efficient substitute. It may worm your animals, rid them of fleas and lice and even handle indoor pests.
A general description of how aquaponics works and an easy DIY aquaponic set up.
One of the things you can do this fall to help your fish is to add three-dimensional pond fish habitat, especially if you have a bass-bluegill pond.
Cattails are a common, native plant on the margins of ponds. Take time to manage them to keep them enjoyable.
Cage culture can be a way to supply fish as healthy protein for your family or for a local market.
MaryJane's Farmgirls is a network of women's groups across the country who meet to discuss and share their experiences in modern homesteading, including sewing, cooking, voluteering and more.
Part one of a three part series on greed, consumption and economic oppression. Exploring how we may have gotten here and what we can do about improving our lives and the lives of others.
What is the difference between hoarding stuff and money? Is there any difference?
The accomplishment and goal that I achieved with a "little" help from my friends and family.
How this last year of discrimination and profiling in the news has impacted me.
Who shares with you a wealth of wisdom that enriches your life?
Can we and should we be transparent with each other? Who should be transparent with whom?
How I reconcile professional football and its place in our society.
Some great insights on building community thanks to "Kinfolk," a quarterly publication.
I started my poultry quest way too early for New Englanders: January! I marked my calendar in red and drew childish pictures of a chicken on the calendar blocks. I was as impatient as a 6-year-old waiting for Christmas morning.
By starting seeds indoors, you get a jump start on spring garden planting.
What exactly is hydroponic gardening? Though it may sound complicated, it’s really not. The word "hydroponic" comes from the Greek "hydro," meaning water, and “ponic,” meaning work. The basic concept is this: growing plants in a nutrient rich water solution rather than in soil.
MIT students have developed an outdoor rocking lounge chair that doubles as a solar charging station, recasting power generation as an integrated and distributed public activity.
Ideas on making a list for yourself before consuming or investing.
Are our words or actions more important to our children?
What gifts are we going to give this holiday season?
Exploring ways that I can and will impact people around me in 2015.
A grandson's respect for his grandmother.
How can we talk more about the process of death? And is it worthy conversation to have?
Do well-behaved people seldom or rarely make history?
Why I use the #Blessedlife.
What I think about each time I attend a funeral, celebration of life or memorial.
Skin care and keeping it simple.
Don't let the spring invasion by algae aggravate the enjoyment of your pond.
Cage culture of fish has several sustainable techniques to consider adapting for a more innovative approach.
Despite killed well, production continues on The Frontier, an independent feature documentary that celebrates coastal Louisiana.
We wanted to write up a post about asparagus to explain how farmers look at the crop, but also as a sort of apology to our customers. We have spent many hours in the field and on the phone seeking farmers with an existing asparagus supply. We had man
Sarah is a friend to the farm who taught Ilene Freedman how to make "Farm Chi." Farm Chi is Sarah’s version of kimchi, fermented mixed vegetables from the seasonal farm harvest.
If you are challenged by growing carrots, you might consider transplanting them and growing some dancing carrots.
Exploring the roots of the CSA concept.
Living in a 500-square-foot house (or smaller) affects our consumption and relationships.
Sharing my practices of gratitude and thanksgiving.
The first day of 2015.
How sharing home grown gifts can enrich each other lives.
With spring on its way, I am thinking about gardening, home grown food and what it takes to grow plants from seed.
Over the past 15 years the noise level in cities has increased sixfold; urban noise doubles every eight to ten years. Even in the country, we can't escape the sound of airplanes and engines. What can you do?
It takes a few good rationalizations to get through the busiest part of the growing season.
Making garlic powder is easy, and a good way to preserve a crop of split garlic.
Curing sweet potatoes so their starches turn to sugars; plus my three favorite recipes.
From our last post learning about the difference between large and small ponds let’s jump into the large (below ground) ponds to discover what happens to them and what makes each pond unique. We’ll see that the watershed has a great effect on the pond water quality and the pond inhabitants have an effect on each pond even the wildlife that visits our ponds pose some challenges.
Growing corn early by transplanting may be unconventional, but its a great way to beat the challenges and...eat corn in July!
Echinacea tincture is easy to make. Getting through the psychological inertia might be the hard part of the process.
Making your own spice mix is a quick, easy DIY project. Ilene White Freedman shares her chili powder DIY project woes. Learn from her discoveries before you start your batch.
After fire took her friends’ award-winning historic, renovated home only a year after its completion, Ilene White Freedman asks “Who will rebuild their spirits?” A follow-up to her post about the home's renovation.
This post features a short excerpt from my book "The Color of Food: Stories of Race, Resilience and Farming" and introduces my motivations in food, agriculture and community empowerment.
Repurposing for functional home décor, featuring four recent household projects.
In this blog post, parenting mentor Shawn Hosford introduces herself, along with some of her background and beliefs. Her hope is that this post provides the necessary foundation for continued conversations about intentional parenting.
Can we start a Slow Time Movement? One that would be like the Slow Food Movement.
The benefits of a membership in a CSA and how supporting local organic farming is not only good for you but good for the Earth as well.
The benefits of adopting a pet. And the sadness that occurs when they die.
Exploring our misconceptions of who we are when we are defined by our online presence.
What does well read mean to you? Does the material you read and your personality traits determine how you view the world? This blog explores what well read means to me.
Transforming a crock full of cucumbers into old-fashioned dill pickles is a bit of magic.
Ilene Freedman and her family reshaped their Chanukah tradition to feature family activities instead of presents.
Candlemas is an ancient midwinter holiday, when people would take inventory on their stock of candles, pantry food storage and hay in the barn to get the homestead through the second half of winter.
Ilene White Freedman celebrates with her friends at their homestead-warming, after over two years of living in a trailer while renovating a dilapidated house. Their restoration includes the original logs and stone kitchen of a historic cabin. Some uninvited guests from the farm’s livestock take a house tour too.
Ilene White Freedman contemplates sharing goat milk with the nursing kid.
Ilene White Freedman’s goat is in labor, reminding Ilene of her own natural childbirth experiences.
Wintertime for a farmer is full of projects and planning.
Learn how to take garlic as medicine — garlic is a potent natural antibiotic and immune-booster.
Is your garden providing you with zucchini overload? Ilene White Freedman offers some tips and recipes to keep it bounty, rather than burden.
Canning won't heat up your house when you set up your own portable outdoor canning kitchen.
It took a year for Ilene White Freedman to make homegrown, homemade Ancho-Chili Powder. Find out how she did it.
A bombilla is a Latin American tea straw used to drink yerba mate. Why not use it to enjoy all kinds of loose herbal teas? Ilene White Freedman shares a story, a tea recipe and links to others recipes.
Ilene White Freedman starts her cheesemaking trials with an aged pressed cheddar cheese with goat's milk from the farm.
The first in this month's series of excerpts from the "Fierce Farming Women" chapter of "The Color of Food" book — honoring Women's Month in March.
The old goat barn must go! Follow the progress as we choose how to best replace an aging (and dangerous) structure for livestock housing. Pole barns are an economical alternative to traditional framed barns, are long lasting and multipurpose. You can even live in one!
You decide you want a pole barn, what is next? Site preparation can yield some surprising findings. Flexibility when planning a pole barn is key to success and making adjustments to your plans early will be most beneficial; saving time, money and perhaps even improving on your original ideas!
Here's an alert that could affect your plantings of annuals, especially impatiens.
One of the most exciting facets of raising goats is when kids are born on your farm. Knowing how to prepare for the grand event makes for a smoother and more successful kidding process.
Pre-spring work up for beehives coming out of winter.
What to do with all that surplus asparagus? Maybe you have too many pole beans? Or okra? This is the best ever recipe for pickling extra asparagus, and the recipe can also be modified for any thin vegetable you might have from your garden's bounty! Canning is such fun!
Roasting green coffee at home is not only easy, but the first step in making a truly great cup of coffee. Roasting at home also does not mean you are limited to small batches; follow the instructions below to roast 3 lbs of beans and get ready for a great cup!
Adding lemon juice to tomatoes before canning is not an option! Neither is being distracted and forgetting what you're doing.
This blog post discusses growing enough produce for canning.
Spiller Farm has a history of growing incredible amounts of food for those in need. They are presently working on steps to make sure that their farm and land will always have a focus on agricultural undertakings.
Natalia Bragg of Wade, Maine, is a sixth-generation herbalist who is gaining well-deserved recognition for her work with the rich variety of plants and trees on her remote farm.
The hoophouse on our farm is filled with greens all winter long. It’s almost hard to switch gears for summer tomatoes.
We had a once in a lifetime opportunity over Easter this year to talk to more than 30,000 people about honey bees, pollination, honey and beekeeping. And the place we got to do this in was one of a kind.
With the increase in small-scale farming activities, people are looking not only at backyard poultry but also into raising backyard livestock. This post is about Mary Jane Phifer’s experience with Irish Dexter cattle, a small-sized dual-purpose.
After trials and errors with various forms of bread baking, it seems that for sandwich bread success, the key is having the right tools for the right job. Introducing the Pullman Loaf Pan!
Reading label ingredients is a must for your baby's health.
It's important to periodically check any canned, dried, or otherwise home-preserved food to make sure it's still safe to eat.
The author of STAND UP AND GARDEN discusses why it is safe to can and otherwise preserve produce that's grown in an environment in which pesticides are used.
Kitchen dish towels designated only for hand drying help keep germs out of the kitchen, without going on a fanatical sanitizing binge.
Trendy purple sweet potatoes are a less sweet but no less tasty variety of sweet potatoes and are delicious prepared a number of interesting and unusual ways. Try this salad warm or cold for a scrumptious meal!
Mary Quinn Doyle shares a background about how she became involved in a volunteer project traveling around Maine for over two years visiting over 180 unique farms to take photos and write stories about them for an educational book and website.
At the Mother Earth News Fair in Puyallup, Wash, I listened to lecturers cover topics from re-newable energy, small-scale farming, green building, organic gardening, simple living, and citizen solidarity building. While I listened, I pondered ways to weave these powerful themes into our children's lives.
Intensive grazing management can answer questions regarding field carrying capacity, how much forage your animals need each day and how to manage what you have. Pizza, anyone?
Not enough hours in the day? Want to make tomato sauce but are short on time? Use this recipe to make great-tasting tomato sauce (using frozen tomatoes)at your leisure. Perfect for pressure canning and delicious!
It's easy to get distracted and forget a few absolutes when it comes to food safety. Take this quiz and see if you know your stuff!
The Land Institute of Salina, Kan., held the 34th annual Prairie Festival Sept. 28-30, 2012. Keynote speakers including Wendell Berry and Palgummi Sainath inspired local farmers, students, and nature lovers.
Healthy home advocates are concerned that wireless power and gas meters, which are being installed in homes across the country, could release dangerous radiation.
In this piece, author Mary Moss-Sprague discusses the simple pleasures of tasty, home-canned tomato preserves.