Learn how to recognize a honeybee swarm and prepare for it ahead of time! These tell-tale signs will put you on the path to catching your own swarm, complete with a queen.
Wild Abundance offers this guide to harvesting, foraging, homesteading, and food preservation in July beneath the Swimming Moon.
This is the fourth blog post in an alphabetically organized introduction to homesteading. It covers animal feed sources for homesteaders and highlights the importance of a good friend and family support networks as part of your homestead continuity plan.
We just love everything about the Berkshire pig — so we decided we would raise a breeding pair and produce heritage-breed piglets. Berkshire pigs are gentle enough to pasture with other animals and can be trained to harness/lead.
Beekeeping is a fun yet rewarding experience. Not only you can produce a sustainable, nutritious natural sweetener, but you can also benefit the environment by keeping bees in your backyard. This post will help you get into beekeeping.
Use solar panel buying guides to ensure that you're getting the best offer and value for your solar power system.
Both tart and sweet, June is infused with the tangy taste of wild cherries, the sweetness of plump raspberries, and the succulence of wineberries. Though feasting, harvesting and preserving this sweetness is a priority, there is much more to do to make the most of this month. Below is a guide to homesteading and wild-food foraging in this juicy season.
This is the third blog post in an alphabetically organized introduction to homesteading. It covers ideas for starting an edible landscape on your homestead including: soil improvement, cover crops, perennials, attracting beneficial insects, and home-based food production.
You've heard of a one-horse town? Well, we are a one-goat micro-dairy! That doesn't mean we only have one goat to milk, but that our milking parlor is set up to take only one goat in at a time for feeding and milking. Here is a story about a little goat kid who wouldn't give up so, how could we?
The more tomato varieties you grow – especially if you delve into the wonderful world of heirlooms – the more you realize that not all tomato plants look alike. Look closely at the leaves and you will find lots of variations; once you become familiar with a particularly favorite variety, you may even be able to distinguish it early on just by its leaves. Pictures tell the story and take the mystery away from the commonly used tomato foliage terms "regular leaf" and "potato leaf."
If your cover crop was successful, and crowded out all of the weeds, you can go ahead and plant your new crop right into the cut cover crop. If your timing is right (with your cover crop in flower, cut very low to the ground, and is one of the crops listed) you can plant right into the undisturbed roots of your cover crop.
Your hens are supposed to lay eggs this morning, but she isn't. What happened to her? Should I worried? What can I do about it? This article answer your frustration.
The price of solar energy is at an all-time low, according to a recent report. The average installed price of photovoltaic (PV) devices has fallen by more than 50 percent since 2009, making the initial investment cost of system installations feasible for a much wider range of homeowners and businesses.
Many people believe they can grow anything anytime when they just got their own greenhouse. You can, but that’s not always the case. Sure, it depends on what you’re planting in the first place. But, it also depends on the greenhouse itself and how you plant it.
I gave you five things you should consider when building your chicken coop in the first part of this blog series. Here are the remaining few points that you should take into consideration when building your fluffy chicken friends their perfect home.
As the days stretch closer to their full summer length, we are welcomed to sow directly into the warming ground. We are invited to harvest from the woods, which are coming to life with new abundance. Now, we step into the light of the growing season, and we plant beneath the poplar moon! Learn how to prepare your garden and what to harvest in the month of May.
Hops have not been recognized for their full potential! I often ask people, "do you know what hops are?" I always get the same response: "It's what people use to make beer, isn't it?" Well, yes, but they are much more than that. Read about how to grow hops in your backyard and the many uses beyond brewing for this specialty crop.
Building a chicken coop is a big deal. It is something that will remain on your property for years to come. It is the beginning of turning your yard into your own ‘starter homesteader.’ But wait — there are a few things you should take into consideration before you break ground on your new friends’ home.
I combined my love of jelly making and my love of flowers. Using flowers in some sweet form is not something new. Mountain people have always known that there are plants that have the ability to cleanse, uplift, heal and so on. I start my process with the first early (Native) flowers of Spring. Red Bud bloom (from tree) which is high in Vitamin C, Violet (we call them Johnny Jump Up), Dandelion and Forsythia.
Make your own potting soil, plus tips for starting seeds.
Annual garden preparation, wild food foraging and food preservation in the month of April.
I start a lot of seedlings each spring – far more than I can fit in my garden. We don’t have much room – this is our home, after all, not a nursery. Yet, with a sunny south facing window, some inexpensive heat mats, a garage with suspended shop lights and sunny driveway, I start hundreds (in some years, thousands) of seedlings successfully. Here are what I consider to be a list of the most important details to pay close attention to.
If you are growing your corn to sell, you can sell it fresh (to eat) without any additional license or permit. When you change the corn in any way such as drying, grinding, etc., this is considered value-added. If you are selling your corn product at market or other outlet, make sure you have looked at all the legal aspects. Read on to learn about all aspects of packaging and selling homegrown corn, including recipes.
‘Bloody Butcher’ usually takes 110 days for full maturity. If you want to dry the corn for use, there are a couple of methods we use here in the mountains. This post will outline what works for us and give tips for shelling and grinding your harvested corn.
We were looking for an organic product we could grow on the farm and provide food for chickens, goats and pigs. We wanted something that was heirloom and not hybrid so we could save our own seeds to plant and not have to buy seeds each year. We found just the product: ‘Bloody Butcher’ corn.
This is the second blog post in an alphabetically organized introduction to homesteading. It covers how and why to raise Pekin ducks for a quick and easy introduction to home butchery, food preservation, egg production, and soil improvement.
There are always more decisions for the tomato enthusiast. This blog will help to untangle the confusion around often-misused terms and lead to more appropriate choices for each gardener.
Though sap flow occurs in a wide variety of trees, there is one variety that produces a sap sweeter than them all: The Sugar Maple. For a six-week window of time before the break of spring, the sugar maple flows. The sap can be tapped, and then boiled down on a wood burning stove at home to make golden, luscious homemade maple syrup.
This is the first post in an alphabetically organized introduction to homesteading. It will start with simple preparation ideas (Asceticism, Borrowing, Creativity) and move into more hard-hitting how-to advice (Ducks, Edible landscaping, Fodder, Goats, Horticulture, etc.).
With so many tomato varieties available, choosing which to grow can be a daunting challenge. By understanding the difference between indeterminate, determinate and dwarf tomato varieties, better decisions for your particular growing conditions and needs can be made.
At Wild Abundance, reconnecting with the land means living and working in sync with the cycles and seasons as they unfold. Here is a guide to the very beginnings of the East, when the earth is waking up, and moving from the slowness of winter into the flurry of action of spring: Harnessing the Maple Moon of February and the New Growth Moon of March on your homestead.
As we plan our gardens, it is often about obtaining seeds. Many of those seeds were saved by friends. An upcoming workshop from Seed Savers Exchange covers both basics.
This is a perfect time for reflection and planning, because the 2016 gardening season is peeking around the corner. Seed catalogs are arriving. I am sure that all of us are really missing freshly picked tomatoes. Here are 5 ideas to use in planning your 2016 tomato garden.
In Part 1, I posted a series of questions to ponder over the winter. Now it's time to take things further and start to devise a tomato growing garden plan for next year.
For much of the country, the tomatoes we are eating now are not the prized specimens plucked from our gardens. They are emerging from our cupboards (dried, canned) or freezers – certainly wonderful enhancements to our cooking endeavors, but not elucidating the summer time level of excitement. But the end of the growing season doesn’t equate to a long, tomato thoughts-free sabbatical. This post outlines how to be planning for next tomato-growing season.
Finding authentic, plant-derived, high quality essential oils and knowing what to look for is a challenge, particularly given the power of marketing. What do we mean by the terms genuine, authentic, plant-derived and unadulterated anyway? This post explains how to hone your senses and find the best suppliers of top-quality essential oils.
While searching for essential oils on the internet you may come across some companies claiming to be approved by the ISO or to meet and/or exceed guidelines established by AFNOR or to be GRAS-approved and even one company claiming to have Certified Pure therapeutic grade/FDA approved. What exactly do the terms and certifications mean?
Discover how to expand your olfactory palate to be able to determine qualitative differences between essential oils and learn what all the terms used in the marketing of essential oils mean. Feel more empowered in choosing a supplier and learn key elements to look for when making that decision.
Hive pests increase at this time of year while colony numbers decrease. Check your hives every two weeks. It doesn’t take long.Attentiveness over the autumn months pays off.
Here, I share this very simple method for rendering beeswax that will take you from sticky mess to wonderfully fragrant disks of clean beeswax ready for your crafts and beauty products while costing very little of your time and precious energy. Your bees will actually benefit from it!
To make potent extractions of the medicinal properties from plants growing nearby, you can easily learn to make your own tinctures and infusions. Alcohol-based tinctures are often used for acute or specific concerns, while water-based infusions are strong, medicinal teas which gently strengthen the body over time.
Why everyone should consider eating slow growing, standard-bred chickens!
Hive inspection to check for queen cells, hive health, nectar, honey, pollen, and whatever the girls might need.
Keeping animals in good condition is important for the health of your homestead. Here's how to get past the fluff and make sure your rabbits are in top shape.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS fairgoers could choose a vehicle from a fleet of Ford hybrid cars to test-drive on the rolling countryside outside Asheville, N.C.
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.
Rabbits are a fabulously healthful, economical and ecologically sound source of meat, and they don’t have to be kept in hanging cages. Rabbits can be raised on pasture to produce food for your family while improving the quality of your land.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The first of 12 posts, seed saving begins with an introduction to the stories behind seeds and why they are so important. From preserving our shared botanical heritage to protecting a diverse and decentralized food supply, the story of seed is as varied as the people who plant them.
What's going on with the hives, new developments in the Down-East Bee Lady's life, latest bee school news, etc.
Awesome facts about the amazing honeybee.
The no-waste way to render beeswax.
Goldenrod is starting to bloom in the beeyard now that the cooler weather is on its way.
The only recipe you’ll ever need for wonderful homemade broths plus deliciously versatile chicken and veggie soup.
A sepia photo of a North Carolina family in front of their farmhouse reveals food heritage.
Asheville has a long history of attracting people searching for a tranquil place for personal retreats and wellness. For Day 3, it’s time to chill, revitalize ourselves and do some rebalancing of our mind, body and spirit on a health and wellness tour.
Raw honey isn’t just delicious — read on to learn some of the medicinal uses for it.
One woman's vision of a family farm comes to life in her back yard thanks to one friendly goat.
Keeping bees with neighbors in the city or the burbs.
Introducing a revolutionary new book about the "drinkable landscape" and how you can use organic gardening to produce a huge array of beverages.
Day 2 in Asheville, North Caroline, is about the eco-high adventures to be had, both in the trees on a zipline and when hiking to the Catawba Waterfalls.
Discover how to grow various members of the onion family: bulb onions and scallions, leeks, garlic, ramps, shallots, and chives. Each one has different requirements and habits, yet all are rewarding for organic gardeners.
Beehive happenings since my last blog post.
Surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Pisgah National Forest, with the Great Smoky Mountains to the southwest, Asheville, North Carolina, is the perfect basecamp for an ecotour, cultural trip and culinary adventure. Experiencing the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Fair held here this past April was just the start for my wife and me.
Gardeners don't have to live in a semi-tropical zone to grow organic lemons, limes, oranges, and other citrus fruits. Proper technique with potted plants can yield a bounty of delicately flavored, vitamin-rich citrus.
Modifications I’m making and things to consider before building your own top bar hive.
Some examples of passive solar design applied to homes in the southeast, where cooling, as well as heating, is a concern.
Anticipation of warm weather, bees, flowers, and HONEY!
Learn about the benefits of baking with this ancient grain.
When and how to feed your honeybees.
Colony Collapse Disorder is threatening the future of bee pollination. Here's what we can do about it.
Energy Star for Homes is a worthwhile green building certification with demonstrated market value.
A recipe for a grease patty that doesn't use hydrogenated oils.
What needs doin' in the beeyard?
A less meddlesome approach to beekeeping.
North Carolinian Master Beekeeper, Tia Douglass, offers an introduction to chemical-free, natural beekeeping, bees and approach to raising pollinators.
A brief overview of keeping bees in a top bar hive from setup to overwintering.
Not all beehives are created equal. This post examines Langstroth beehives, Top-Bar beehives, and Warre beehives in order to help a new beekeeper determine which system is the best for her bees.
The little used herb lovage makes an attractive addition to the edible landscape and provides a smoky flavor to soups and stews.
With just about every breed of standard bred, heritage poultry, we have work to do. They are not producing like they once were.
As fall nears, sunflowers are beginning to die off and it's time to harvest their seeds! In this post I bring you through the steps to harvest and prepare your sunflower seeds for eating!
Non-gardeners and gardeners are very, very different creatures.
I learned an important gardening lesson from fighting tomato blight.
So, what makes a flock of poultry sustainable? What is standard-bred poultry? If you purchase chicks from a hatchery, are they true to the breed? Why does every hatchery sell Rhode Island Reds and they all look different? Why do the Cornish Cross meat chickens have so many problems? Raising standard poultry is the only true way to improve the sustainability of quality local food while preserving the strength of Heritage poultry.
Trying to tend to kids AND a garden.
How my dad defended himself from overly generous gardeners.
Over the past year, I have made countless mistakes on my garden. In this post, I share four of my most frustrating gardening mistakes and how to avoid them.
In the hollows of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this true Christmas celebration was simple, inexpensive and rich with tradition.
Simran Sethi looks into the furniture and logging industries.