The Backyard Parables
Ira Wallace explores good winter gardening reads, gives advice on how to use the winter lull wisely to plan and prepare, and shares an update in the ongoing court battle to protect family farmers from agri-giant Monsanto.
A playhouse can be a physical structure or a place to escape to in your imagination. Tell us about your favorite playhouse.
If you are keeping a small flock of chickens in your backyard or on a small acreage, which breeds have you come to admire and why?
It is deep winter and how are your chickens doing? Here are some quick and easy tips to get them through a cold snap.
Backyard chickens have become the new thing for country folk and the urban folk - but as with anything, there's the good, the bad, and the ugly. Here are a few things to consider before diving head first into your new chicken keeper adventure.
During World War I, the federal government ordered people to keep a backyard flock of chickens. What happened? Why is it so hard today?
This low-cost, easy-to-assemble fire pit from Instructables is made with concrete tree rings and rocks. Just add a grill and you've got the perfect backyard hangout, all for around $50.
Who knew that a flock of chickens would be able to teach us so much about living with our children?
Over the years, we’ve had many experiences with injured and sick chickens. Sometimes the birds have pulled through, sometimes they have not.Such is truly the way of life.
What to do when the hot, humid days of summer create constant bickering in your children and in the flock.
Quail meat is making its comeback as there has been more of a demand due to the composition of the meat and exotic taste. Restaurants and grocery stores are supplying more quail meat to feed their consumers. There is a lack of producers, therefore education and encouragement is needed to increase the popularity further and meet the demands.
There are a lot of things you can do right now to experience the homestead lifestyle right in your backyard.
A growing number of homeowners are realizing how useful chickens can be in the backyard: They offer pest control, fertilizer, comedy relief, and their business end doles out concentrated protein like a Pez dispenser. Unfortunately, novice chicken-owners can encounter problems when they expect more than chickens can deliver, either in food, companionship or general co-operation.
Learn the essential stages of chicken processing in this video guide that covers equipment, humane killing methods, plucking, eviscerating and everything you need to know to begin butchering chickens.
Are you new to backyard chickens? Raising chickens is easy once you get the hang of it, but a little knowledge will help you skip these beginner mistakes.
Richmond, Virginia, legalized chickens in 2013. Since then, cities and towns have joined in legalizing family flock. The organizers of the Richmond Home and Garden Show (one of the largest on the East Coast) wanted to feature chickens and offered us free booth space.
It takes a village to build a backyard chicken coop.
Sue Weaver provides her expertise on making homemade cheeses and yogurt and how to raise a happy, healthy, and highly productive backyard cow.
Sign up to attend a free poultry webinar on the topic of starting a backyard flock.
Is there such thing as a poultry pop star? If so, then I think I am one.
In our ever-growing quest to produce our own food we've acquired two egg-laying chickens!
No wonder hatching chicks and producing eggs is such a big business - take a look at the numbers since 1926.
What could be lurking in the commercial honey you buy? Maybe it’s not honey at all, and would you think honey is healthy if you knew it contained corn syrup? Let’s talk about how commercial honey is produced and why you might want to find a local source for raw honey.
Everyday families can now provide much of their fresh vegetables using Aquaponics. Aquaponics is the production of edible fish and vegetables growing in a drought proof, no weed, back saving growing system.
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.
Planning and preparation kept our backyard chickens happy and healthy in our harsh Northern winter.
Raising chicks is easy as long as you pay attention to their needs for food, water, and housing. It also helps to learn their language.
Learn how to assemble a humane animal trap out of recycled material. It’s easy and effective!
Suggestions for the interior of your chicken house, including; feed storage, access to nest boxes, dividing the chicken-living area, and making a loft for storing bedding material.
One week after moving our chickens, there now stands a chicken “duck and cover” shelter for them to dive under in the event of a hawk attack. It’s not perfect as a strategy, and the hawk may still get a chicken or two. But these magnificent birds crave a greater measure of freedom than they have in their chicken tractors, and I aim to see that they get it.
As mama hens, is there ever really a time when we don’t worry about our little chicks?
We strongly support keeping a few chickens (hens only) within city limits. Feel free to use this statement if you're working to get an ordinance passed to allow chickens in your city.
In preparation for a large chicken harvest later in the season, a few homesteaders perform a trial run to test their chicken harvesting capabilities.
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.
To create a chicken tractor that will keep both you and your hens happy, you'll want to focus on weight, shelter, doors, handles, and more.
On-going series on my family's efforts to raise urban chickens in our Minneapolis backyard.
Temporary brooder setup for CSP, chicks in Gossamer Foundation's office (in February).
Two Ogden Publications employees turned beekeeping beginners seperate the honey from the comb in the MOTHER EARTH NEWS parking lot. Thier backyard hives are only four miles away for making sweet, local honey.
Need to get your kids out of the house? Learn how to build your own playground and give them a convenient place for outdoor playtime.
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.
The Chicken Kooler keeps the water away from the chicken’s feet, where is can get filled with straw and dirt.
Homesteader Cam Mather describes integrating new backyard chickens into his existing flock and the wonderful life his "ladies" lead.
These two structures for creating a sustainable homestead are not often associated, but with the right planning they can be integrated into a single multi-use structure that enhances both environments. A greenhouse/chicken coop becomes a year-round food-producing machine, giving you a bounty of fruits, vegetables and protein all in one.
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.
Honey from our backyard bees provide us with a sweetener, but just as important, honey has many health benefits.
The Blacked-capped Chickadee, a frequent visitor to backyard bird feeders, loses a surprising amount of weight each night. Don't try this diet!
We've had a few surprises as we travel the road of backyard chicken raising - some of them pleasant, some not so much. Here are a few things we've learned that might help you as you decide whether or not to get chickens for your backyard.
It is not difficult to set up a backyard hoop house to extend your growing season. The result is abundant, delicious greens and extra months with your hands in the soil. Share information here on backyard hoop house gardening and cuisine.
Cities such as Seattle and Portland, Oregon, are accommodating swelling populations by allowing backyard cottages in existing neighborhoods. The units accommodate renters, elderly relatives and even ex-spouses. Could they make a difference?
It's not always easy to use natural remedies on your chickens. Here's a trick to keep up your sleeve that will have them begging for their medicine.
Boy! Did I learn my lesson when I left our young pullets out back with our trusted dogs. I'll never do that again.
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.
My garden started out as just a need for feeding my family in the summer months. Over time, it not only needed to feed my family, but needed protection from various critters—including backyard chickens—that inhabit my yard. Learn how to construct raised beds, install shade cloth and build a fence to protect your plants.
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.
Potted greens are a good complement to greens in the hoop house soil.
What’s your idea of a delicious and wholesome breakfast? A fluffy, organic egg omelet made with fresh vegetables? Perhaps scrambled eggs and roasted garden veggies? No matter what your preference, it may surprise you to learn the link between the
Describes a method of keeping red wiggler worms active and productive outside throughout the winter. Describes a method of sheltering and heating the worms using an active compost pile for heat and clear plastic glazing for shelter.
This is a true account of an end of life journey. A beautiful backyard Burial and all the steps that were taken in order to do it. This story is written in two parts, part two will be posted next week.
YIKES! What to do when you've planted too many veggies? Is your garden producing more than one family can eat? Sure, you can give it away. But wait! Try pickling those garden gems. This way, you'll be able to enjoy them through the winter and beyond!
So, what do you do if you neglected to start your veggies way back in January or February? You had good intentions but there always seemed to be something that stole your attention. Now it’s the planting season and you have nothing to plant...
My first blog for MOTHER EARTH NEWS takes me back to a time when I didn't know I had a love of gardening. One of my first gardening experiences came during an unlikely encounter with my curmudgeon grandfather.
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