Join two modern homesteaders as they begin down the road toward building their small home and self-reliant farmstead on their new piece of raw land in northeastern Kansas.
The journey to a self-sufficient life is a bumpy ride. Having a backup plan — or two — can make all the difference in your progress.
Have you ever dreamed of taking your part-time homestead to a full-time salary? What's holding you back? Business books say most people are more afraid of success than failure.
Honey bees, the Boston tragedy, and our power to create the world we’ve been waiting for.
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.
This current situation is a perfect example of the 80/20 rule of homesteading: 80 percent of your time, energy and effort is spent on maintenance; 20 percent on progress towards the dream. A majority of your time homesteading is spent covered in chicken poop, squashing potato bugs, figuring out why gas isn’t getting to the carburetor in the ATV and shoveling snow after dark by headlamp.
One of my earliest vivid childhood memories is sitting on my father’s lap as a young girl reading the magazine together in the 1980s and all throughout my childhood. He would read aloud while I studied the pictures of passive solar building, vegetable gardening, sheep shearing, building your own sugar shack and the beautiful array of topics which he read to me frequently. Those images, along with the camping trips in the mountains, the whitewater and canoeing excursions, and our family trip to Alaska, have been etched in the catacombs of my childhood memories and have sculpted the person I have grown to become.
The place I call home these days is The FarmSchool, a fertile 180-acre strip of ridge top in Athol, where 15 student-farmers are spending a year learning the ins and outs of growing food, managing forests, and raising animals for meat. I arrived at the farm in October, just as the leaves were reaching their peak brilliance. The Farm School — which offers three-day programs for schoolchildren, a summer camp, a full-time middle school, and the apprenticeship program I’m in — takes us through all seasons of farming, weaving together class work and on-farm training.
My husband Alan’s first gift to me was Helen and Scott Nearing’s Living the Good Life. The books we turn to regularly have changed, although some we go back to again and again, year after year. A list of our top 10 favorite books follows.
OK, you’ve got a start: where to get equipment, groups to join, classes to take, and mentors to hook up with. Now’s the time, before you have bees, to take a long hard look at some of the rest of the things you need to be thinking about.
Many years ago, years before I moved to the country, I was what would be considered "a prepper." I saw disaster every time I turned on the TV, or read the news on the internet, or visited forums that talked about stockpiling beans and bullets. I panicked, thinking I could never have enough control for the sake of my family, never be "prepped" enough.
While many of those visiting our Hostel are farmers and homesteaders themselves, some come from that “city culture” and seem to take their first hesitant steps outside of a flatly paved driveway when they arrive at our place. Wide eyes, a sense of adventure.
Since her first house move, MOTHER EARTH NEWS blogger Cathie Ackroyd, has become so very conscious of the impact we humans have had and are having on our planet’s environment and hoped to find a place to settle that would allow us to gain an element of self-sufficiency in a relatively car-free community.
Making the most of a winter walk to home.
What exactly is ‘modern homesteading"? There are as many definitions as there are people doing it. What does the term ‘modern homesteading’ mean to you?
We haul our water from the river - walking water!
MOTHER EARTH NEWS is seeking nominations of self-sufficient modern homesteaders for our 2013 Homesteaders of the Year awards.
Land Pride is proud to announce four new skid Grapples in 12 different sizes as well as a skid-mounted Stump Grinder. These completely new attachments feature the same quality and durability that you’ve come to expect from Land Pride.
The thrill continues living in our handmade house.
Ode to our hand saw...why we choose to live without power, and what we've accomplished by hand.
Featherlite Trailers' official website recorded its one millionth visitor in October, according to data from Google Analytics. This is the first time the site has eclipsed the one-million-visitor mark in a calendar year.
Susan Abernethy shares this story of helping her husband turn a longstanding tradition of family sorghum harvesting into a small business. Since their marriage in 2004, Susan has enjoyed unraveling the stories of her husband’s sorghum legacy and has inherited a powerful adoration for the hard work it takes to yield the sweet crop.
I grew up with bobolinks. All my life they have nested on our farm, but the bobolinks are in serious trouble, especially in the Northeast, largely on account of changes in agricultural practices.
The time to prepare for livestock or pet emergencies is not when they fall ill, but before. Here are some basics so you and your critters are covered.
How do you find the best chicken coop design for your new flock? We'll help you walk through the evaluation process AND get a free analysis spreadsheet to help you decide.
Growing sorghum is the first step to making sweet sorghum syrup, but are there other reasons for growing a crop of sorghum?
If you've been on this rural living or modern homesteading journey for decades, or just starting out, how do you know when you've arrived?
I recently spent the weekend in Tennessee to attend the NSSPPA Conference and yearly meeting to meet other sorghum makers and learn more about the process. I came away with new techniques, different seed varieties and a feeling of camaraderie with the other producers.
If you're pondering a move to the country and think your life will suddenly get blissfully silent, think again.
There is a coming resurgence of the appreciation of the hearty homespun sorghum syrup. Something is special about being part of making this “home-made” sugar that speaks to the self-reliant nature inside all of us. You can be part of the Sorghum Revival!
I love rural life and modern homesteading, but there are days when the comfort of a city condo would be welcome indeed. And honestly? A relief.
Do you know any modern homesteaders living a self-sufficient lifestyle? We want to know about them! Nominate a family, someone you know or even yourself to become one of our Homesteaders of the Year in 2012.
Did attending the Fair make you want to go out back and start building a chicken coop? If you've gotten far enough in your chicken-keeping research to look at specific breeds, look no further than the Mother Earth News Pickin' Chicken app.
Veterinarian Anne Hallowell will present a workshop on hiking and packing with llamas at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustianability festival, September 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pa.
Pat Foreman of Good Earth Publications will present three workshops on chickens at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, September 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pa.
Kenneth Rust of Kasco Marine will present a workshop on practical pond management at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, September 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pa.
Harvey Ussery of The Modern Homestead will present three workshops on raising and gardening with chickens at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, September 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pa.
Diane Ott Whealy of Seed Savers Exchange and Jackie Cleary Dietrich of Auburn Meadow Farm will present workshops on gardening and farming at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, Sept. 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pa.
Robin Bedford of Possum Hollow Farm Soap will present a workshop on soap making at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, September 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pa.
Alison Martin of the American Livestock Breeds Association will present a workshop on heritage breed cattle at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, September 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pa.
This rustic, resourcefully sustainable dog fence fits right into the landscape. Before you install a fence, look around your place first to see what's already available.
Jeannette Beranger of the American Livestock Breeds Association will present two workshops on heritage breed pigs and chickens at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, September 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pa.
Deborah Niemann of Antiquity Oaks will present two workshops on traditional home dairies and homegrown food at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, September 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pa.
Heather Houlahan of Brandywine Farm will present a workshop on choosing and training farm dogs at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, Sept. 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pa.
Victoria Gazely lives in a 650-square-foot homesteader's cabin built by a man who didn't need closets. She's found five great ways to stash her stuff without renovating--and her solutions work for anyone who needs to hide a few things.
Victoria Gazely considers her revitalized 650-square-foot homesteader’s cabin on 7 acres of fertile earth--purchased for $150--a blessing. “I absolutely love living here,” she says.
Black bears and rural living go hand in hand in many parts of North America. So how do you keep bear/human conflicts to a minimum?
Built tough for storm cleanup, tree felling, and firewood cutting, the MS 271 STIHL WOOD BOSS chain saw is designed with improved ergonomics and equipped with a low-emission, fuel-efficient engine.
How can someone who claims to be a 'modern homesteader' not have planted her garden by the end of June, you ask? Well, let me tell you...
Custom Curve is the first glass window system with a structurally engineered framework that follows the curved wall of the yurt.
Tom Watson of King County Recycling and Environmental Services and Carol Ekarius of Storey Publishing will present workshops on recycling and animal agriculture at the Mother Earth News Fair, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Since they built their solar- and wind-powered cordwood home in Desboro, Ontario, Lisa and Ray Racicot have never looked back. The only thing they'll do differently next time is install the renewable energy systems first, to power the construction.
James Zitting of Bee Landing and Terry Phelan of Living Shelter Design Architects will present workshops on beekeeping and straw bale building at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Kathy Bennett and Scott Bergford will present workshops on raising sheep and keeping your green home safe at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Erin McIntosh of Mountain Rose Herbs and Victoria Miller of Canyon Creek Farms will present workshops on calming herbs and how to keep turkeys at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Prepping for major emergencies - earthquakes, floods, tornadoes - is important, but so is emergency planning for less dramatic events. Find out what you can do to reduce the potential for stress.
Jessica Kellner will present a workshop on handbuilt homes and Michael Vicha will present workshops on cheesemaking at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Alisa Shorey will present a workshop on beekeeping and Jack McCornack will present a workshop on 100-mpg cars at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Robyn Griggs Lawrence of Ogden Publications will present workshops on green cleaning and wabi-sabi at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
With country living, you expect a quiet night's sleep. But surprise, surprise - nature has its own alarm clock.
Kiko Denzer of Hand Print Press will present a workshop and demonstration on modern homesteading, do-it-yourself building with mud at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Are you a modern homesteader with pioneering women in your lineage? My great grandmothers were all pioneers, but our lives could not be more different.
Chickens - how do you know if you’re the ‘chicken type’? If you’re pondering a backyard flock, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself.
If you are growing vegetables, making a few homemade wares here and there ... you are practicing good, old-fashioned homesteading techniques.
Welcome to by blog “City to Country, One Step at a Time.” Here’s how I ended up as a modern homesteader on a little acreage in the Canadian West Coast bush.
Jenna Woginrich writes about the beauty of Cold Antler Farm, a small homestead that she shares with Pig, her rabbits Benjamin and Doe and several chickens. Taking care of her animals on cold winter nights is a challenge for Woginrich, but one she gladly accepts armed with a water bottle and affection. Woginrich's modest barn provides shelter for her animals and a useful space to feel at home.
The Obama administration announced additional funding for rural broadband Internet programs that will increase the speed of rural Internet access. The funding is part of 2009's Recovery Act.
It’s an innovative new product that provides homeowners with an aesthetic and permanent solution to the problem of unsightly above-ground propane tanks.
Small towns across the country in need of a population boost are literally giving away free land to attract new residents and boost their populations. Seekers of the quiet (and low-cost) small town lifestyle can now grab some free land to build their homes.
For inspiration and education, take some time to peruse the hundreds of Modern Homesteading articles.