Growing giant sunflowers can be fun and easy. By following these simple steps you can have these towering giants in your yard as well.
Heritage breed chickens are a doorway into the past. They not only provide you with an opportunity to preserve historical links to the farming community but can be productive members of your homestead as well.
Have you been wondering what it is like to raise honeybees? Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary will offer a peek into the life of a beekeeper in part one of a year long series. She will share what goes into maintaining a beeyard throughout the course of a year.
An urban homestead is as unique as the individuals who own the property. Our homestead developed slowly. In fact, my wife likes to joke that we are “accidental homesteaders.” We did not buy our village home nestled on 1/16th of an acre with the goal of becoming urban farmers, it just sort of happened, out of necessity.
There are many ways to sell your extra honey and other products of the hive. Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary will explain a few easy ways to sell all of that extra honey, including how to sell honey online, at work, at a roadside stand and more!
How to identify wild burdock, a common garden weed, and turn its roots into a delicious stir-fry.
Deer are unique in that they are often managed regardless of habitat quality. When ecology and grazers are out of balance, impacts on forest health and herd health can be severe.
Getting ready to sell your honey and other products of the hive at a fair or festival? Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary will discuss how to make the day of the event both enjoyable and successful.
Surgeon General Vivek Murthy's recent Call to Action made it clear that walking is the best way for most people to stay healthy and fit. Here’s how to do it more often and make it more enjoyable.
The American High Bush Cranberry is a neglected fruit that deserves more fans. Fruits are high in Vitamin C and anti-oxidants. The fruit is also high in natural pectin so it makes a great jelly. Fruits (drupes) are similar to Thanksgiving cranberries in color but with their own distinctive flavor. Whether you pick them from the wild or from your own planting, learn to tell the difference between the Native American High Bush Cranberry and the bitter European kind.
Here is the second half of my strangely-titled discourse on grass cattle management. I have come to the conclusion that on a correctly managed enterprise, cattle should appear not to have legs (hidden within tall grasses). In Part 1, I discussed the animal side of this philosophy. Now I’ll continue with the forage aspect of it.
Have you thought about selling your extra honey and beeswax products at a fair or festival? In Part 2 of a three-part series, Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary will discuss steps you can take to make your first fair or festival a success.
A 150-mile transmission line project proposed in 2012 costing up to $1.3 billon is a “dinosaur” that is still haunting the Hudson Valley. But rooftop solar energy, battery storage, and community microgrids can replace the ancient, costly, and vulnerable centralized generation and transmission electricity system that has dominated New York and the entire nation — and advanced little technologically — for over a century.
Once neglected, the elderberry shrub has made a comeback, welcomed by gardeners and cooks looking for multi-purpose plants that are useful for food, beautiful in the edible landscape, and have added health benefits.
Brooklyn Grange Farm now operates two rooftop farms which encompass 2.5 acres. The farms combined harvest above 50,000lbs of organically grown vegetables, herbs and flowers per year.
A short story about how deer and deer hunting have changed in both the Catskill Mountains and Hudson Valley of New York State.
Have you thought about selling your extra honey and beeswax products at a fair or festival? In Part 1 of a three-part series, Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary will discuss how to get started in selling your products of the hive.
Most honeybee hives are calm and gentle. But every once in a while you may come across a hive that seems unusually aggressive. Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary will explain what steps they take to deal with an abnormally aggressive hive of bees.
Plantain is probably growing in your lawn right now. Instead of cursing this common weed, use it for both tasty food and herbal first aid!
Today, a significant number of gardeners and cooks are trying out unusual fruits, but information about growing, using, and preserving them is often hard to come by. This is especially true of gooseberries, which can be turned into delicious desserts and can easily be preserved. Because they are rich in natural pectin, they make superb jams, jellies, and marmalade without the addition of commercial pectin.
Which foods are safe to process in a boiling water bath and which must be canned in a pressure canner? The answer is the single most important thing you need to know if you want to safely preserve food in canning jars.
Most environmental activists focus on top down policy changes to combat global challenges like climate change. But to enact real change, we need to look inwards. The environmental challenges we face in the 21st century are outcomes of who we collectively are as individuals. The best ways to help the environment is to better ourselves.
Every landowner has a role to play in conservation. Learn some basic principles to consider when managing your property.
Deer impact our lives, whether you're a farmer, permaculturalist, forester, hunter, vegetarian, or landscaper. According to The Nature Conservancy, "No other threat (upon forests) is greater at this point in time." So what to do?
Rhubarb, a once-neglected fruit (or vegetable) that was hard to find, is making a comeback as a result of the real food movement among gardeners and cooks. Based on decades of self-reliant living, I give the reader all the information that is needed to produce a perfect rhubarb pie from garden to table, from planting, growing, and harvesting, to producing a pie with a never-fail pie crust.
Juneberries, or serviceberries, are one of the first wild fruits to ripen each year. Here's how to identify and harvest them, plus a recipe for juneberry pie.
Though they are less popular than potatoes, carrots and turnips, parsnips are a fantastic storage veggie.
Why we look forward to dandelion season each spring.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has several Citizen-Science Projects to engage individuals and communities in actively participating in conservation efforts. Learn more about these programs and how to become involved.
Japanese knotweed is a voraciously invasive plant and the bane of many gardens. It is also a delicious and versatile wild food.
I used this tried and true method of preventing a valve from freezing. There was no electricity as a back-up crutch for this mission critical valve and I kept it open through the coldest February on record.
Those who garden know that weeding is often essential to growing good vegetables or fruits. In a forest, sunlight too is a limiting factor. By knowing which tree to cut and which to leave, forest health can be improved. Cutting for firewood can serve as an incentive to "weed" on the ultra-perennial scale.
Learn how you can best support birds this spring by providing quality nesting materials.
One decision you will need to make when purchasing beehives is whether to use plastic or wooden hives and frames. Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary will discuss the pros and cons of plastic and wooden hive components for your bees.
How big of a priority are good animal handling facilities?
Sugar maple is not the only tree that produces abundant sap in late winter and early spring. Sycamore; black walnut; paper, black, and yellow birch trees; and all maples trees can be tapped for their sap.
However, some are sweeter than others. Here are lessons for backyard maple tapping and things to consider before beginning to make your own maple syrup.
Pancakes made with pumpkin powder, an easy gluten-free breakfast dish.
Last summer Garth and Edmund Brown built a root cellar using plans from MOTHER EARTH NEWS. It has kept root crops in good condition even in an exceptionally harsh New York winter.
Spring bird migration is underway! Backyard gardeners play a valuable role in supporting birds during this vulnerable time. Learn what you can do in your own yard to help migrants.
Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary will offer some tips on preparing for a successful start to the beekeeping season!
For calendar year 2015 brothers Edmund and Garth Brown are eating only food that they have produced on their farm or bartered for from a neighbor. To do this successfully they must raise and butcher their own meat, hunt, forage, and cultivate a large vegetable garden.
How to use henbit, a wild green available most of the year even in cold-winter areas, to make a delicious fresh pasta.
Native bees are a necessary component of maintaining native habitats. Their role is increasingly important as honeybee populations struggle with Colony Collapse Disorder. Learn what you can do to support your local pollinators this spring.
Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary will explain the basics of a fun winter project - how to make homemade mead!
Henbit and red dead nettle are two tasty leafy greens that are available even when there is snow on the ground. Here's how to identify them in the field and use them in recipes.
Get your chaga on! The many health benefits of chaga mushroom, how to harvest chaga in the wild, healthy and delicious chaga recipes.
Birds are survivors. Learn about different adaptations birds have to thrive during the dark, cold winter days. And, what you can do to support winter bird survival in your backyard.
Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary will share her beekeeping goals for the New Year, along with some tips on how to make them happen.
All the principles of sustainable grazing management can be summarized in one rather strange statement: your cattle should appear not to have legs! Their short legs should be hidden in tall grass. Both animal genetics and pasture management contribute to this philosophy. In this article, I’ll start with cattle selection and care protocols. In Part 2, I will cover forage considerations.
Diospyros virginiana, the wild American persimmon, is a native fruit that is ready to harvest in autumn and even early winter. Here's how to identify, gather, and eat wild persimmons.
Celebrate those gardeners and birders in your life by making them homemade holiday gifts this year.
How to effectively remove seeds from vegetables, fruits, flowers or herbs isn’t always obvious. Or easy. Sometimes you have to get creative.
Jennifer Ford, of Bees of the Woods Apiary, will share how she uses honey and beeswax from her beehives to make useful and creative gifts.
School gardens play a vital role in our nations educational systems. Though the concept dates back to the 1800s, their role has gained popularity in the last 20 years, and for good reasons.
How to identify delicious wild edible oyster mushrooms, plus a recipe for vegetarian "oyster" stew.
Cultivation and uses of six medicinal herbs for the respiratory system, including tincture, oxymel, tea and steam bath recipes.
Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary talks about her experience with developing an allergy to honeybee venom, and how she manages this allergy to be able to continue beekeeping.
The YardMap Network is a citizen science project designed to cultivate a richer understanding of bird habitat, for both people concerned with their local environments and professional scientists. The program is housed at the Lab of Ornithology, in Ithaca, New York. We collect data by asking individuals across the country to draw maps of their backyards, parks, farms, favorite birding locations, schools, and gardens.
Saving seeds from peppers is easy. All you need is a pot of water, a drying screen, and peppers. And gloves if you're processing hot peppers...
Hidden inside the stinky orange pulp of the fruits of the ginkgo tree is a delicious, pistachio colored edible seed. Here's how to identify and prepare ginkgo (without the stinky parts) by foraging for ginkgo nuts!
Jennifer Ford, of Bees of the Woods Apiary, explains how to produce comb honey, and why it is such a valuable product of the hive.
How you harvest and save seeds depends on whether a crop is dry-seeded or wet-seeded. Here are the steps for collecting and cleaning seed from a dry-seeded crop like chervil.
Hawthorn fruits are in season in late summer and early fall. They are delicious, and also heart-healthy — eat your medicine!
Did you know that you can learn a lot about the condition of your beehives simply by watching the entrance of the hive? Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary will explain what to look for, and what it might mean. No smoke or hive tool necessary!
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.
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.
Peppergrass, a native North American plant in the mustard family, adds a spicy kick to recipes. Here's how to identify, sustainably harvest and use peppergrass.
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.
With its recent FDA approval, the first LiLi pasteurizer was purchased for use at a New York micro dairy.
How to identify and use red clover (Trifolium pratense), plus a recipe for red clover blossom soda bread.
Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary will discuss honeybee swarms, and how to try to prevent your bees from swarming.
Achieving real food independence means gaining the knowledge and skills to grow, harvest and store food. The best way to do this is working on a small, local farm.
Lamb's quarters, also known as wild spinach, is an abundant wild vegetable. It's a nutritional superstar with a delicious, mild flavor.
A sustainable, profitable grazing system starts with one thing: full pasture recovery. Destroying your land can also start at the same point, if you don't allow enough rest. This chart summarizes the principles of mob grazing for those who don't have the time or desire to read dozens of articles. Hang it up in the barn!
Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary will explain how they perform the first beehive inspections of the year. This will be the first step in what will hopefully be a successful year in the beeyard!
Violet leaves are one of the best wild edible salad greens. Their pretty, edible flowers are only in season for a few weeks.
When a chicken dies suddenly for no obvious reason, it's unsettling. But it's not uncommon. Here are some possible causes for that sudden death in your otherwise healthy flock.
Reading label ingredients is a must for your baby's health.
Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary will discuss some techniques for helping beehives survive through the end of winter.
Garlic mustard has spicy, delicious leaves, flowers, seeds, and roots. It is an invasive species that may be harvested without sustainability concerns. In fact, you'll be doing your environment a favor if you eat this plant!
From cleaning raw beeswax to enjoying the final product, Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary will take you step by step through the process of making beeswax candles.
Birch trees are easy to identify in winter thanks to their distinctive bark, and they offer a hot drink, aromatic flour and sweet syrup to cold weather foragers.
Learn growing methods, health benefits and preparations for echinacea, elecampane, sweet Annie, spilanthes and astragalus.
Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary will discuss how to enjoy a little taste of summer in the middle of winter by developing a new appreciation for honey!
But what happens if progress in poverty’s eradication far-outpaces green energy solutions? Two of the most important issues of our century — clean energy and poverty eradication - are potentially mutually exclusive, if development efforts do not factor in increased consumption that will occur.
During the coldest months of winter, field garlic is still ready to be harvested. Even when the ground is too frozen for digging up the savory bulbs, the leaves can be used like chives.
Cowpies are a valuable source of clues about your herd's health and productivity. A quick look at manure consistency in the pasture can help you manage for peak profit.
Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary shares some beekeeping crafts and activities to pass the time until you can get back out in the beeyard this spring.
In Kenya, even for middle class families, much of what ends up on the dinner table is grown or raised at home. With food prices rising, more and more Americans are looking towards ways of growing some of what ends up on their table at home. Both in terms of personal health, and the environment, this is a very good trend—it's a food source as local as you can get.
How to identify, harvest, and eat sunchokes (also known as Jerusalem artichokes). This root vegetable is a native North American plant that is at its best after a few frosts.
From the more practical, money-saving side of things, to controlling your own destiny, the benefits of a victory garden are many.
Step-by-step building instructions for a passive solar greenhouse.
Chickens rock. One way to make the chicken experience even more rewarding is to build your own coop. Here's a description of one coop and some ideas for you.
Becoming a beekeeper takes a lot of planning and preparation. Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary will explain some steps you can take now to start getting ready to keep bees in the spring.
Meredith Skyer outlines the history of victory gardens in the United States and why this nation, facing a food crisis, should start to sow for victory once again.
Chickweed (Stellaria media) is a common garden weed that thrives in the cool temperatures of late fall and early spring. Here's how to identify and use this delicious wild vegetable.
Here are three easy observations you can make every day to see how your animals are performing. Use them to constantly adjust your grazing program, instead of “flying blind” until sale day or weighing. They can help you adjust paddock size or give supplemental nutrients.
Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary explains how they prepare their beehives to survive the long cold winter in upstate New York.
What to do with the three edible parts of roses, including the hips (fruit) that are in season fall through winter.
My nutty endeavors have reaped nutty - and delicious and healthful - rewards.
Origins, constituents, and applications of propolis, including recipes for propolis remedies.
Having guests visit your beeyard takes a lot of planning and preparation. Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary shares her experience having visitors in the beeyard, along with some tricks and tips to make the visit go more smoothly for everyone.
How to identify and cook with chicken of the woods mushroom, one of the most delicious and easy to identify wild edible mushrooms.
Seth Leitman explains why social media, websites and crowd funding are essential tools for green businesses to survive today.
Although winter may seem a long way off, starting to prepare your beehives for winter now will pay off later. Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary will describe what they do to get their beehives ready for winter.
With no care on my part, persimmons bear in abundance while mocking my empty efforts with my apple trees.
We all suffer from some sort of pain. The real green living question is how to deal with that pain.
Tastes like lemonade, has the beautiful blush color of rose wine, and comes from a plant that's almost certainly growing near you - here's how to make and use sumac extract.
How to wild harvest medicinal plants with respect and intention.
Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary explains how to prevent, identify and stop robbing in the beeyard.
Seth Leitman explains toxicity in our products and how green living is about recovering from these products.
Want to grow and save your own vegetable seeds? Meet Fruition Seeds. They produce regionally-adapted, organically-grown seeds. And they can show you how to do it too.
Jennifer Ford shows how she extracts and bottles her "liquid gold" honey at Bees of the Woods Apiary.
How to identify, harvest and cook with wood sorrel and sheep sorrel, both common weeds that have the same exquisite lemon flavor as cultivated French sorrel.
From the moment of realization that the world of healing herbs was calling Susanna Raeven, to herfirst herbal class, to running a small-scale herb farm that grows medicinal herbs with organic methods, to creating artisan herbal products, and finally to working with clients to help them find balance in their lives with the generous support of the plant kingdom, the journey has been quite a ride with many joyous moments, but also doubts, insecurities, and cloudy days.
One of the most fun parts of beekeeping is harvesting honey. Here we will look at the first part of the honey harvest, removing the honey supers from the hives, and how to store them safely.
I feed and water my compost “pets,” and they do the same for my plants.
In less than a month, Citi Bike – New York’s public bicycle option – has taken the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn by storm. Unfortunately, the highly anticipated bike share program already has its share of haters.
A New York Times article reports a recent, rigorous study confirming that acupuncture can ease chronic pain, including that from migraines and arthritis.
Learn about the advantages of urban farming from those who are leading the way. The benefits include improved food production, increased revenue sources and reduced energy use.
In New York City, advocates unveil a bold vision to end the traffic violence.
Electric car charging infrastructure will be launched in major urban areas nationwide. This is in part due to $15 million in stimulus money being set aside for the charging stations. Now we need to get the remaining $22 million in co-funding.
Don't like weeds? Well, maybe this will change your mind. An article in the New York Times, discusses possible ways that weeds could help fight global warming.
Don't like weeds? Well, maybe this will change your mind. An article in the New York Times, discusses possible ways that weeds could help fight global warming.
Amid the North Dakota oil boom, corruption wells up faster than bubbling crude.