Getting to know your local farmers and learning more about how to farm can be an annual event. From the novice to the experienced farmer, chef, or backyard gardener, an annual meeting is a great way to expand the knowledge base and make new friends.
Herbalism has a rich, beautiful history and is once again finding a place in many modern homes. Now is a vibrant, exciting time to be an herbalist!
Stan Slaughter gave a speech in England this April at the invitation of HRH Prince Charles. The speech described the many synergies available when we enlist the magical powers of the microbial friends around us. A section of the speech is exerpted in the blog post.
Now, 4 years into growing much of the produce we eat, I realize that garden farming connects me even more deeply than I had imagined to the earth, the life cycle, my body and food. It is also more difficult not only physically, but mentally as well. Had I known more from the start, no doubt it would have been easier and more effective. It is in this spirit that I am sharing some of what I’ve learned.
Starting a garden can be intimidating, especially when there are all sorts of guru-gardening methods on the internet, but we are choosing to take an extremely straightforward approach that we want to share with you all!
Shiitake mushrooms are an easy to grow, delicious mushroom for beginners to learn to cultivate. Shitakes have a satisfying meaty texture when sauteed, broiled or baked, and they have a distinctive 'unami' flavor that makes them popular in Asia.
“Golden” will be the first word to enter your mind when you see the roots, rhizomes and dormant buds of Hydrastis canadensis. You’ll understand immediately why the common name is “Goldenseal.” This very useful native woodland plant will not only charm and entertain you spring, summer, and autumn — it can even heal you.
They're back. The wolves. During breakfast one morning this past week, we heard a chorus of howling. Racing down to the shoreline, we saw 3 wolves in the center of the lake about a mile away. The wolves are a symbol of our wilderness location. Learn how we live with them and stay in touch with civilization.
Food hubs are starting up all over the country as a way to reach new markets, share marketing, and build needed infrastructure. They are a vital and expanding part of the local food movement.
Homesteading is built upon a foundation of self sufficiency, but community is just as important. There is so much more to homesteading than the individual pleasure associated with it. There is true joy and friendship in the shared labor of land.
Technically a berry, soap nuts are considered to be an environmentally conscious alternative to chemical detergents and soaps. The berries come from a prolific tree that grows well in degraded environments where little else can grow. They are safe for allergies, free from any additives, and can be used to clean just about anything.
We thought we were doing the right thing when we moved to a remote area to live 19 years ago. The community is a landowners association with some who desire to change a beautiful remote-living area on acreage to resemble what they left. We thought living in an area with covenants and rules would protect our investment, but one should recognize that living remotely in a covenant community offers both positive and negative aspects.
Usually the words Canadian, spiced rum, boreal herbs and spices, don’t go together. Enter Chic Choc Spiced Rum by Domaine Pinnacle. Usually I write about food, but this time, it’s drink. One does need a little spice in one’s life, after all.
The Salad in a Jar (aka Mason Jar Salad) has become popular for a reason. You, too, can make these delicious, easy, healthy, and convenient grab-and-go lunches!
Polypodium virginianum aka the "Rock Polypody" is native to just about every state east of the Mississippi, Alaska, almost every province in Canada and all the way north up to Greenland and Iceland. To grow it requires no master's degree in gardening or landscape architecture or any particularly colored thumb. It's really quite simple! This is the perfect fern for any shade garden or along the path of any shade border.
An ethical hunter makes a point to explain what hunting is to those who have never done it.
Cymophyllus fraserianus is the perfect Hosta replacement for any native plant garden or any shade garden, especially if you have a deer problem as this is one plant that isn't on Bambi's menu or wish list.
What is the Cape Gooseberry? Understand this delicious, easy-to-grow South American golden fruit with many names, many benefits, and many uses.
Turning an old barn into something useable is a challenge, and it is a valuable skill to have when you are starting a farm.
Native to 35 states and 3 provinces of Canada east of the Mississippi, Partridge Berry is rarely seen in the trade. I fail to see why, as it's very easy to propagate by rooting cuttings or from seed. In fact, it forms adventitious roots as it gently winds its way around the garden. It could never, by any stretch of the imagination, be considered aggressive or invasive.
Cam describes how much he has learned after running a CSA for 5 years and offers a workshop for those interested in learning from his experience.
With forces and circumstances intensifying all around, this is the optimum time to take positive action for your family, your community, and your planet. CSA Signup Day on Feb. 26 gives everyone an opportunity for intelligent action by joining and supporting a community farm (CSA).
Want to have the adventure of a lifetime by working in a National Park, Wwoofing in an exotic location, or joining AmeriCorps? Here's what you need to know.
Sustainable graziers and restoration agriculturists must quickly standardize a new Grass-Fed label definition that takes animal welfare and environmental impact into account.
Growing giant sunflowers can be fun and easy. By following these simple steps you can have these towering giants in your yard as well.
So, the gals are on their way to New Hampshire to pick up heritage cows, and so far, it's going smoothly — but there are bumps in the road ahead, so hang on! (Spoiler alert: They all made it home fine: two cows, two pigs, and two galls.)
The farm hasn't had cows in 50 years — but Kara wanted cows. Not any old cows; no, a special heritage kind. nd where were these cows? In the mountains of New Hampshire, half a continent away! Time for a road trip to pick up and transport livestock in winter!
Learn some tips on how to extend your growing season for pastured poultry!
Serenity Acres Farm shares its experiences with WWOOFers so yours will be a good one.
Buying a half-pig directly from a farmer ensures quality and well-raised pork, although it will cost more than supermarket pork. Understanding how to fill out a cut sheet guarantees you get what you paid for.
Here are five very quick, simple calls you can make to mimic the sound of a squirrel "cutting" using items you can find around your home!
While this young couple had dreams of buying land to start their homestead, they were still stuck in an apartment in the big city so they rented a community garden plot. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade! Find ways to accomplish your goals and do what you love!
“Smallholding” is a UK term that’s broadly equivalent to the term “homestead” in the United States, meaning farming on a small scale with a strong element of self-sufficiency in food. Despite the geographical differences, there must be a great deal of common ground between the American homestead and the British smallholding — so let’s find out!
Indoor air is polluted by volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. These gases are emitted into the air from products like pesticides, air fresheners, cleaning products, paint and paint remover, personal care products, appliances, furniture and building products, including carpet and pressed-wood floors, and more. Learn several steps to take to guard against indoor air pollution and how indoor air quality monitors can help.
As climate chaos intensifies, we have many reasons to cultivate resilience - the strength and flexibility to endure shocks and yet still function. Through CSA farms the quality of consilience - the linking together of principles from different disciplines - becomes a way for all shareholders to enhance the resilience of farms and thereby strengthen community.
Time well spent on my grandmother’s farm taught me lessons that I have carried with me throughout my entire life. What I learned there even inspired me to pursue a homestead lifestyle for myself, working right beside my husband as we learn to be more self-sufficient.
After three weekends with no harvest or animals seen, Kiara finds out they were probably right in front of his face.
Did you know you can grow potatoes in an apartment? Whether you live in an apartment or on a hundred acre farm, you can take steps towards self reliance and lifestyle independence. Living with limited space doesn't have to be a setback towards homesteading, and there are many creative ways you can take advantage of your space to get the most out of it.
Hunting isn’t for everyone, but what I would like to do is share with interested readers, hunters included, how hunting and fishing helps me provide my own food and move a step closer to a sustainable life here on my farm.
Hunting is frustrating because mostly you do nothing but wait, and then wait some more.
The local environment and pests place obstacles in the way of the project, much like the Pilgrims had to face.
Dirt mounds and holes in your yard? Identify and learn how to get rid of moles, voles, squirrels, gophers and groundhogs naturally.
How am I going to grow all these vegetables for Thanksgiving when I don’t own land? Easy — with a community garden.
Here is help with planning for a successful installation of new plastic or replacement of old plastic over your hoophouse (high tunnel). This post provides a list of tools and step-by-step instructions.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS explores the low environmental impact of using ground source heat pumps and three other benefits.
Take notice of your environmental footprint over the festive period and follow our guide for a greener Christmas.
Ever wonder what the unseen, unnamed aspects of homesteading in community are? Social dynamics and personality types are vital, intimidating elements of farming in the country.
For dozens of reasons, it’s time to convene in America’s heartland a conference of farmers involved in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Here’s a sampler of the key topics that will arise.
The Community Garden movement is sweeping the nation. For Americans nationwide who do not have the space to farm at home, community plots offer an accessible way to produce local healthy foods.
We put a lot of thought into being prepared for mountain winters and it requires a lot of work to be fully prepared.
After four changes of plastic on our hoophouse (high tunnel we are ready to tell you some mistakes to avoid, mostly involving hoophouse plastic too tight or too loose, or cut wrong, and inflation blowers that didn't perform well enough. Our experience can save you from the same mistakes.
A permaculture convergence is a coming together of people interested in permaculture, with presentations, plenary sessions, networking, hands-on skill building, and tours of the site or nearby places of interest that show what applied permaculture looks like. The 2015 Northwest Permaculture Convergence took place in August in Eugene, Ore., with the theme “Greening Our Neighborhoods with Permaculture.”
Student loan debt continues to pressure young farmers and those considering taking up farming to give up on their dreams of working the land. The National Young Farmer Coalition hopes to secure student loan debt forgiveness by recognizing farming as a public service.
Polyface Farm Apprentice Tim Rohrer encourages homesteaders and farmers to try and define clear goals for their farm. By determining clear goals, a farmer is better able to go about furthering her farming adventure.
Motivated by a desire to connect youth with food and farming, Kara Gilbert and Elaine Walker are working to build their farm’s finances and support so they can introduce educational programming.
What do homesteaders, college students, radical anarchists, nut-butter manufacturers, interfaith scholars and farmers have in common? Community!
How what started as a humble seedling giveaway is spurring the creation of a neighborhood food system.
As an educator and ecologist, I am learning from my students that the most important survival ingredient may actually be a sense of community. Grow Your Own! was born in 2012 to address a problem: Local teachers and parents were building school gardens that were lying empty from disuse. The mission of GYO! thus became support for school gardens and their leaders through guidance, curriculum, and resources to foster gardens that were at the same time beautiful, educational, and functional.
There is one time of the year in the mountains that is special and above all other seasons in my opinion. Fall time in the mountains is invigorating and refreshing. It is the season the invigorates all five senses. For a little Rocky Mountain fall-time inspiration, read on.
Sage is an herb of ancient repute, long valued as a culinary and medicinal plant. It has a stimulating, heating, and drying energy and is a well-known cold germ and flu fighter, having particularly potent antimicrobial, respiratory antiseptic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, astringent, mucolytic (mucous thinning), antispasmodic, and vulnerary (tissue healing) properties. Prepare for winter wellness with this garden sage body oil recipe.
Tim Rohrer describes why he thinks that farmers need each other. Tim describes his the time immediately following his apprenticeship at Polyface Farm, and how he experienced farmer camaraderie.
People who decide to leave the rat race to move toward full-time homesteading or farming face a unique set of challenges and must accept certain sacrifices that traditional sources of guidance and information are not equipped to address. This post further explores some of these issues.
There are probably over 100 reasons that you should be growing shade-loving and native ‘Tasslerue’ Trautvetteria caroliniensis, but the main reason that you aren't growing it is because you've probably never heard of it, let alone had someone offer to share some with you. All that's about to change.
The Soil is alive with mycorrhizae and beneficial bacteria. Learn the ways to foster a healthy living soil by mulching, growing nitrogen fixing crops and chop and drop them back into the soil. Grow the soil and the soil will grow your plants.
Motivated by a desire to connect youth with food and farming, Kara Gilbert and Elaine Walker are working to build their farm’s finances and support so they can introduce educational programming.
Adding fermented vegetables for vibrant, fresh lunch ideas that will keep things interesting, local, healthy and kid friendly.
The residents of Leavenworth, Wash., decided that they wanted to showcase how their community is working to create a more sustainable future, so they created the second annual Sustainable Living and Farm Tour. We invite you to join us this coming September 12-13th, 2015.
Participating in clean, local community food initiatives is increasingly recognized not only as an intelligent response to reality, but also as a key civic duty. A new study from the University of Iowa underscores this truth.
Polyface has an “Unfair Advantage," but the good news is that you do, too! Here, Tim shares his thoughts on how your Unfair Advantage sets you apart from the crowd and bestows gifts on you that you can turn into success. The trick is learning to utilize your own Unfair Advantage.
Agriculture continues to play an important role at the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village in New Gloucester, Maine. The beautiful farm is situated on the property of the last remaining Shakers in the world.
You’ve probably seen yard signs for Solarize campaigns around your neighborhood. But what exactly does it mean to solarize? Is it really a new verb? Here we’ll explain the basics of a Solarize program, plus what the pros and cons are for your community.
The trials and tribulations of our life on a cooperative living farm quite frequently mirror those of any small group of young Americans finding their way in the world, however, for me, there are daily reminders of why I am sticking with these crazy idealists in Appalachia.
A short story about how deer and deer hunting have changed in both the Catskill Mountains and Hudson Valley of New York State.
Community farming (CSA) is about the essential renewal of agriculture through its healthy linkage with the human community that depends on farming for survival. CSA is also about the necessary stewardship of soil, plants, and animals: the essential capital of all human cultures.
When one home-building couple first started looking for sustainable countertop materials, they were focused on options made with recycled materials. In their quest for the perfect tops, they stumbled upon a more cost-effective way to incorporate recycled countertops into their home’s design.
The 2015 Northwest Permaculture Convergence will be held in a suburban neighborhood for the first time. Also for the first time, outreach to the general public is a core part of this convergence with site tours and educational Expo, free and open to the public.
Biodynamic agriculture views the farm as a living organism. By tapping into the ecology that makes up your farm and viewing these systems holistically, you can utilize the natural world to grow healthy crops and achieve true sustainability. Your farm has a body and seeks wellness through biodiversity and habitat variability.
Using the sun to dry our clothes naturally is part of a permaculture lifestyle. Learn tips for drying your clothes both outside and inside your house, allowing you to get rid of your clothes dryer and opening up space for other things, such as crocks for fermenting.
Gardening is a biological process, not a chemical one. For a healthy, productive garden, help your plants cultivate the biology in the soil that will feed them.
During my time as a Polyface Farm intern, I never was able to grasp the turkeys as my personal responsibility. Now things are different. Get a glimpse through the eyes of a Polyface Apprentice as he raises Polyface Farm’s pastured turkeys.
Assembled in China from native bamboo and recycled 6160 aluminum tubing gussets, this bike frame seemed the perfect complement to the ZeHus motor. I not only ended up with one of the most beautiful e-bikes Iʼve ever seen, but it also turned out to be one of the lightest. Learn how you can reserve a future production version of the e-bike.
The principles of intercropping apply also to undersowing cover crops in existing vegetable crops. This article lists the advantages of undersowing cover crops, gives some examples that work for late summer and fall vegetable crops, distinguishes suitable and unsuitable situations, and provides links to several useful resources.
Installation timing, system sizing, and federal and state energy policies are all important components for financing renewable energy as part of a home construction project. One couple shares their experience with trying to put all the pieces in order.
Choosing a countertop for a kitchen remodel involves many considerations. One of the most important considerations is eco-friendliness. Here are some of the best eco-friendly countertop options available on the market today.
How to pick a good CSA that's right for you.
A transplanting that's done correctly will expedite resumed growth and encourage healthy plants. Here are some simple tips about when and how to transplant brassica, lettuce and tomatoes.
In the shadow of increasing climate chaos, human survival requires not only the intelligent actions of individuals but also thousands of communities of human beings who have had their inate intelligence awakened and who realize the fundamental link between life and land. In this regard, Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) provides a useful and egalitarian model for sustainable food systems of the future.
Farming may be the dream, but sometimes it can also be the nightmare. Balancing the good, the bad, and the ugly poses challenges.
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?
As the question of what it means to be “green” is becoming more frequently asked, many new rating systems have been introduced to measure the performance and sustainability of everything from appliances, food, buildings, and corporations. But what if we could rate the largest and most complex things that humans build with one methodology? The International Ecocity Framework & Standards Initiative takes on the challenge of rating cities.
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.
Wild edibles is probably the least energy consuming way to provide food, and especially early in the spring. Here are my favorite plants to look for right now.
Are your tomato plants putting out side shoots? Learn whether you need to prune tomato plants to keep them productive.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger Bryce Oates reflects on how growing up in farm country impacts a student's choice for their future.
Pretzel rolls, or buns, are the cool kids of the bread world right now.
Albert Lea, Minn., shows how walking and other healthy habits can rejuvenate a rural community. Learn about how to build a walkable community guided by ideas presented in the Blue Zone Projects and see examples of walkable communities around the United States.
Though they are less popular than potatoes, carrots and turnips, parsnips are a fantastic storage veggie.
Here's 5 of the basic steps to how we created our small organic home orchard/edible landscape. It's a permaculture designed area that has been created with a natural landscape as inspiration, with the least amount of human input. It will host not only heritage apples but several other fruits and berries, herbs and medicinal plants.
How we deal with each other’s emotional messiness.
Here are some of the most important things to do around the homestead in April - or at least asap.
A homesteader introduces readers to his quest for a simpler life, which led to the construction of a unique underground home.
Timber framers from around the world gathered in a small town in Michigan to raise a community pavilion.
Grow Where You Are is a social enterprise focusing on assisting communities in creating local food abundance systems. After creating small-scale urban food systems nationally and internationally for over 15 years, we see that even the most effective systems can be easily dismantled without land security. We propose supporting local growers in a transition to home ownership with a dynamic web of community partnership.
Homesteading is to me to live in self-reliance, simplicity and mindfulness. To be able to do that in a way that feels true to what we believe in, I've found that it demands a narrow definition of what I put in the word enough.
Hospitals traditionally are famous for their terrible food. A recent experience shows it has not changed much.
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.
Springtime on the homestead is all about timing--getting those colorful eggs into the incubator, sneaking in a crop of spinach in the high tunnel, but also being on-the-ready for lambing season!
Suburban life has always been synonymous with long hours in the car. That’s changing now. Arlington, Virginia, shows how feet on the street helps a community thrive. Learn about how Arlington is promoting walking through city initiatives as well as 10 more cities that are striving to make their communities more walkable.
A look at how our family created the community that supported our family life.
How big of a priority are good animal handling facilities?
Any other year in March, the homesteading chores are back in full swing after the winter break. This year, winter lasted longer than ever and it wasn't until the end I could even conceive of getting any of the usual stuff done. Here's the list of what I normally do.
Monsanto’s most widely used herbicide has been found in the blood of agricultural workers and is now being linked to both mammal and human carcinomas.
How to choose an apple tree to fit your space and needs.
Greening our homes, neighborhoods and communities depends on friends and neighbors working together. This blog will show and tell several examples of friends and neighbors greening the neighborhood.
Pancakes made with pumpkin powder, an easy gluten-free breakfast dish.
What I think about each time I attend a funeral, celebration of life or memorial.
One of my best pieces of advice to those wishing to establish a homestead is to reach out to the community. Happy neighbors are a big part of a happy homestead and for us it was not only a way to drum up support and engagement for our project, but it was also transformative for our experience and for our business.
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.
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.
Many aspects of my homesteading life lie close to what we as humans have evolved for: the outdoors, physical activity, whole food and days and years that follows the rhythm of the seasons and the sun. But there are other, less obvious biological aspects for why I believe homesteading can improve health and well being.
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.
February can be a hit or miss for us here at Deer Isle Hostel - snow and cold demands more creativity to stay busy, but also provides a great chance not to do much. Planting onions from seed, shoveling snow and planning for the Hostel season 2015 are some things I do to keep the cabin fever under control.
This is the story of my family’s transition from a nomadic military lifestyle to one of rural homesteading. I talk about our preparation leading up to leaving the service and some of our current goals and projects for the property and our lives. I also talk about using permaculture as the design science methodology for our businesses and the development of the property.
Even with the daylight hours lately, we still have quite a bit of winter left. Good health – both physically and mentally – might require a little bit more effort than in the summer but can still be achieved and maintained though this homestretch before spring.
How I reconcile professional football and its place in our society.
What if I find land where I can homestead but it's at a location where no one does the same thing? The lack of a homesteading community can be a discouraging factor when looking for land, but over time, if one is patient, it is very likely you'll find others that are drawn to the basic, sustaining, diverse and positive actions of homesteading.
That something is easy doesn't always mean it's simple – many of the modern conveniences so much of the western world relies on, the thermostat in most conventional houses, for example, is but the end of a long and complex chain reaction with consequences far beyond our reach. Homesteading simplicity can be described as a way to limit those chain reactions, to be more in control over the effect of our actions and, to alter those effects to have a positive impact.
Living in a tiny house is good for the environment and for the wallet, but requires a lifestyle shift for the inhabitants.
The short period of time each year where homesteaders and summer-business owners like us get to freely bask in open-ended unscheduled time is as short as it is sweet, and it reaches its peak right now in January.
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.
Exploring ways that I can and will impact people around me in 2015.
Up against China, the tar sand extraction, dysfunctional global summits and the endless cry for economic growth, any individual's actions to halt global warming might seem insignificant. But conscious decisions that bring us closer to nature can make a difference and might be the best we can do.
Urban community green spaces are an essential component of our built environment. Their significance is becoming more and more apparent to city planners and urban residences all over the United States.
In conventional lending, underwriting decisions are based on averages, and algorithms, credit scores and cashflows. They do not reflect a would-be borrower’s character, and are un-nuanced — “black and white.” Kiva Zip, a non-profit based in San Francisco, is pioneering an innovative, character-based approach to lending that allows for a more colorful underwriting canvass.
I never butchered a deer before, having always spent the money to have someone else do it. But I discovered it is surprisingly easy and worth the extra effort.
A newly acquired garden or an over-spent allotment can have poor-quality soil, making it more difficult to manage and use, and leading to potential problems for those wishing to grow a new lush, green lawn or plant some daffodils, crocus or hyacinths bulbs in the spring.
Concluding a series on fall mushroom foraging with two unusual looking suspects.
The most basic part of food is the seed. Learn to grow and save your own. You can do this at home, but if you want to further hone your skills, attend Seed School.
Being a homesteader and living off the land often means being subjected to natural conditions beyond our control, sometimes predictable changes of seasons and temperatures, other times curve balls such as unseen pest pressure, hard frosts in late May or heavy snow in early November. A lifestyle where these natural circumstances is the main determining factor for what gets done when is getting increasingly rarer – humans have gained what some consider an advantage by manipulating the world into a state where we, in many ways, can remain unaffected from the forces of nature.
The Food is Free Project has inspired thousands of individuals, families and groups around the globe to start front yard free gardens to share with friends and neighbors. They are losing their teaching farm.
A new initiative has launched in response to heavy metal pollution in Armenia for environmental lab equipment that will monitor health risks in mining communities throughout the country.
Living in the mountains or remotely requires physical endurance as well as being fit.
The new apple orchard we're planning for our homestead won't be the classical lawn-layout most people are accustomed to. Our edible landscape will mimic a natural landscape with the goal to reduce interference such as spraying while providing organic fruit, berries and herbs for many months of many years.
People are increasingly looking to get back to nature, rejecting the modern world and living off the Earth.
This blog post explores eco-friendly gardening tips to refreshing your garden tools, furniture, accessories and outbuildings without the need to buy mass-manufactured goods or use harmful chemical treatments.
Sun Light and Power, a solar installation co signed a deal with SolED to offer Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) in the State of California. This will help public or government buildings get these deals and save tax monies.
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.
As homesteaders, all the homesteading rewards are directly ours to keep and our work provides most of our necessities but the multiple returns we get from our homestead also give us what money couldn't buy, such as the self reliance, sense of security, dignity, the beautiful place where we spend our days and the choice to set our own schedule.
Ground cherries were once a popular staple in backyard gardens. Urbanization and lost space to grow our food led to ground cherries falling out of favor. Though older folks may remember eating ground cherry jam, they’ve only recently begun reappearing at farmers markets and in seed catalogs. Ground cherries are easy to grow and pack an unusual flavor punch in jams, pies, savory sauces.
Fungi help your soil, your composting and your plants. Add fungi to your homestead activities and let 'em grow!
The actual footprint of a garden is only one of many factors for how much food that can be produced there. With succession planting, good soil and some planning the same garden area can produce substantially more food.
As demand for air conditioning continues to increase, discover how to reduce the impact it has on the environment.
Consider planting these three categories of vegetable crops during late summer and fall:
Warm weather crops that will die with frost.
Cool weather crops that grow well in spring and fall, but don’t thrive in your summer.
Cold-hardy crops to grow over the winter and get off to a fast start in early spring.
A chirping predator may be an unexpected and unwanted visitor. Mountain lions do chirp and one set me on edge.
Ancient Florida shell mounds, early days of bar-b-que, and all that.
Polyface Farm Field Day! This week was all about prep for all our visitors, lot of processing and for some last minute hay making.
This article explores the nature of the staycation, if it is indeed a greener option and ways to vacation in a more eco-friendly manner.
We are trialing 135 varieties of cucumber, winter squash and muskmelon - with a focus on Downy Mildew resistance and fruit quality. An introduction to our trials and to the importance of variety trials in general.
A good gardening tool is lightweight, ergonomically correct and has a positive impact on the soil. We only use hand tools (non-powered) in our gardens since we find that we can get the job done easier and more efficiently with a more correct impact on the soil and less impact on our bodies than we would with any machines.
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.
Looking for the perfect sourdough hamburger bun.
How a single purchase of a magazine in newsprint in 1970 changed my life.
In a post-carbon agriculture, much of the work of growing food will be done through physical labor and one in six of us will need to have our hands in the dirt. How do we foster a new generation of 50 million fit farmers?
A list of ways we could each show support or teach our friends and family to support the Local Foods Movement
Our mission in preserving food heritage is to research, collect, preserve, and then explain America's food heritage and historic sites likely cannot be done without help. Want to contribute?
The Food Is Free Project has become a food revolution in Austin, Texas
For more than 40 years, The Farm Community in Tennessee has been on the forefront of farming, gardening and the green lifestyle.
Here at Deer Isle Hostel, Maine, we use a compost pile built with local, natural materials and a 100-foot water pipe to create a steaming hot shower.
Peppers and tomatoes are some of the easier plants to save seed from. This post covers isolation distance and introduces basic seed saving techniques.
You can make your own homemade cough drops with garden-fresh herbs, such as horehound and marshmallow.
When traveling, consider checking out the community gardens in the area. You can meet local people who are passionate about gardening and learn about the climate and crops that may be different than yours.
Those of retirement age can reduce their carbon footprints by moving into a smaller, cozier mobile home.
Few other vegetables represent summer as a sun-ripe, homegrown tomato does.This is how we raise and plant tomatoes at the Deer Isle Hostel and Homestead.
This post outlines the basics of garden planning to save seeds from cucumbers, melons, squash and gourds.
Fungi breakdown organic material and make it available to plants. Encouraging fungi to grow naturally, or inocculating your soil can have tremendous benefits for your garden.
A well-thought-out garden design will make your work enjoyable and manageable and will encourage the gardener's presence and attention.
As the planetary ecology falters, and finite resources are depleted, communities everywhere will be challenged to create vibrant local economies that function within and help to renew local ecosystems.
Moving is stressful, but it's not an excuse to forget your carbon footprint. Here are some ways to make your move as eco-friendly as possible.
Twin Oaks Seed Farm’s focus has been producing seeds on contract for a handful of small seed companies. The author discusses involvement in starting a new cooperative retail seed project, Common Wealth Seed Growers.
Tips that we have learned gardening at a high elevation.
Making our own compost is not only a way to meet our need of fertilizer, it's also a way to redirect the garden scraps, chicken manure, leaves and grass cuttings from the waste stream to the resource river. Another area where this applies around our homestead, is our use of a composting toilet. For us, the difference between what goes down a flushing toilet and what accumulates in the buckets in the outhouse is the difference between waste and resource.
How can we clean up our rural spaces best. Is it up to individuals or governments?
Monsanto's Roundup Ready system transformed typical weed problems into a national superweed crisis, only healthy farms can correct the damage done.
"The Farm Then and Now" by Douglas Stevenson tells the story of The Farm: an intentional community that has defied the odds, blending idealism with a practical approach to create a model for sustainable living.
A homestead is about so much more than just mindful ways of producing one's needs; the health of the land and landscape is nothing if the health of the homesteader isn't there. The most sustainable homestead is one where the homesteaders like what they're doing and therefore will keep doing it. The self-fulfilling prophecy that we're all too busy is a highly unsustainable way to attempt sustainability, whether it's for a homestead or a summer business.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Missouri farmer Bryce Oates traces the history of county fairs from their origins in the country life movement to his own kids' involvement.
In many communal kitchens, may it be a hostel or a student dorm, postings are usually to be found; “Leave it nicer than when you came”, they read. That can be said to humans on earth too, to leave it better than it was. By living and working in nature, with nature, I believe that our surroundings here at the homestead are ecologically healthier, more diverse and vibrant than should we as humans not have been here.
Explore ways to reduce both your direct and indirect water footprint. Reducing your water footprint could make a huge different to both the environment and finances.
Other than the four regular seasons there is a fifth season in the mountains called mud season.
Growing an organic garden with compost I made using natural material from our surroundings is to comply with nature's way of taking care of itself – it's to remain humble for a true and tried life cycle and acknowledge our inevitable part in and connection to life on earth.
Taking time to reflect on the past brings renewed appreciation to the present.
The symbiotic relationship between plants and fungi are showing more than ever how life depends on life. Learn how to encourage what beneficial microbes you have in your soil for a powerful ally in your garden and fields.
In remembrance of a dear friend and steward of the Earth, a look at how others inspire us and how their legacy sculpts us.
Where environmental groups claim financial incentives for recycling to be a costly and unnecessary form of expenditure, we see them as the only realistic option available which actually produces the desired effect.
The Union of Concerned Scientists is advocating the reform of current palm oil farming practices which release drastic amounts of carbon, harm local ecosystems and treat workers in an ethically unsound way.
Protect our water supplies during National Groundwater Awareness Week by saving water at home.
Our first project: building a small keyhole mound.
For children to develop a love of nature and avoid Nature Deficit Disorder, they need to spend more time there.
Garden like the Native Americans by digging up 18-inch-diameter hills on four foot centers. Get your crops started, then worry about working the areas in between the hills.
Help scientists study how bird populations are changing during the Great Backyard Bird Count.
A compendium of modern nomadic sweats.
Calculating the amount of mountain snow to actual moisture.
Our chickens aren't fond of the snow and the wind, but we found a way to let them enjoy the sunshine from the comfort of their coop!
Tips for solar advocates to invest money smartly and be part of the growing solar market
There is hard work homesteading in the mountains and the weather dictates much of those challenges.
Snow in the mountains is different than snow found at lower elevations.
A homesteader's year is over for this time. Nothing cleans the yard up as a foot of snow, and I think it's here to stay. winter on Deer Isle is great, so great I consider it something we deserve after getting through the summer, both for us as homesteaders and for us as a part of this community.
We use some old and tried techniques for how to process the meat, like curing and smoking the big cuts so they'll keep without being put in a freezer. We're constantly striving to learn new, mostly old ways of utilizing and preserving more of the pigs for our own consumption, by making headcheese, confit and lard.
With winter beginning, these homesteaders are starting winter off cozy in their cabin.
Junk mail, old books and other used paper can be easily recycled into something useful. Never buy notepads or envelopes again.
Stay warm, find a hobby and cull the livestock; here are some of the things we do to prepare for winter!
How are US college students helping to brighten the future of Nicaragua, the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, without leaving campus?
Renewable energy is often seen as a way to have it all and still feel “green” and it is indeed at a glance more environment friendly than conventional power, but no power has as low footprint as the power not used.
Homesteading with dogs in remote mountain living. Considerations in providing a good safe homestead environment for your cherished pets.
Mountain Rose Herbs honored with Social and Fair Trade Certification.
Plant pathologist Dr. Don Huber brings attention to concerns surrounding Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, glyphosate.
Support your local food systems while getting the most from your home garden.
One thing that gardening has done to me, as to so many others probably, is that I've started to pay attention to where the food on my plate comes from, and usually the answer is “from our garden."
Tackling the GMO issue is a priority for food activists, but there are a number of perspectives on how to go about it. The Great GMO Debate will help you decide how and who should inform consumers about what biotech ingredients are lurking in their food.
With the inventiveness of visionaries like Elon Musk, technological advances can help create a better world, while remaining useful and cool.
Sunroots are a typically-cloned crop with great potential as a locally-adapted survival-of-the-fittest landrace
Inventor and entrepreneur Elon Musk leaves little doubt about how far vision and imagination can take us in addressing ecological challenges.
Where is our economic security?
There used to be, from Maine to Georgia and west to the Mississippi river, 20.000 grafted apple varieties. Today, when commercialism is king and the most known apple varieties are the 5 kinds offered in the supermarket those old varieties are worth paying attention to. As with all things around us, diversity is interesting and sustainable.
The diva of re-use, Annie Warmke, talks about simple steps to take in the barn yard for re-purposing and reducing waste. After reading this article you won’t be able to think about things like llama poo or beer bottles in the same way again.
For the past few years, we've experimented with different ways of storing food fresh and now we're eating garlic, onions, squash, carrots and beets in June.
Writer attributes eating wild food, game, homegrown vegetables and forest food to good health.
Communicating via letters mirrors the pace of a handmade life.
Collegiate teams showcase affordable, energy-efficient houses in global competition.
These natural cold and flu remedies will help you build up your immune system and reduce the duration and discomfort of colds and flu.
To grow, keep and eat your own food keeps you away from the food industry, the fossil fuel based agriculture, food stores and logistics.
Even as far north as Maine I can harvest produce from March to December with parsnips to dig from under the frost in February without the use of row covers or a greenhouse. In some beds I do two or more succession plantings that together with the root cellar keeps me with fresh produce all year.
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!
For humanity to create a better world, we must address issues of economic equality and limited resources. The natural environment can recover from much damage if we gradually limit the human population and judge business success by quality rather than quantity.
Learn how one person is celebrating her birthday by raising money to bring clean water to those who need it.
Weeks eight and nine of our cross country bicycle trip start in Brantford, Ont., and end in Bar Harbor, Maine.
Working in the potato bed produces the next blog article.
Humanity has the power to change and to take the actions needed to foster a healthy planet and a better standard of living for all. Choosing beauty and abundance will ensure a better future not only for humanity, but for the natural environment as well.
With no care on my part, persimmons bear in abundance while mocking my empty efforts with my apple trees.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Pennsylvania homesteading mama Michelle shares a few strategies and suggestions for healthier school lunches.
Our August at the Hostel has best been described visually; a flat palm held about an inch from our face.
Who would think it’s possible to discover the artist in me, incubate a business, plus milk goats, grow a garden...all in one unforgettable summer. I'm a rich woman by any standard.
Thanks to helping hands, everything gets done.
Moms, protect your baby’s health with this safe, homemade sunscreen.
Learn why it is helpful to have a group of fellow homesteaders, then start a group of your own in your local community.
Crafting laundry detergent saves time, money and lightens your environmental footprint. Plus it’s simple!
Starting in North Branch, Minn. and ending in Brantford, Ontario, author Rick Stiles continues his cycling across the country — and the border.
There are many benefits with raising pigs for meat, and also some common sense ways of doing so in a sustainable way.
The different emotions you may experience as you deal with Pesticide Drift on your property or your person.
Weeks three, four and five of our cross country bicycle trip start in Missoula, Mont. and end in North Branch, Minn.
Save the date for the Polyface Farm "Save Your Bacon" event.
Studies show unhealthy dieting kills more people than alcohol, cigarettes and drug use combined.
Having a hostel of your own, gives you the best of both worlds; the comfort of home with the vibration of travelers.
We can cut projected U.S. oil use in half over the next 20 years and create more than 1 million jobs, reduce annual oil spending by $550 billion, and eliminate 2 billion metric tons of global warming emissions per year by 2035.
The Department of Natural Resources seeks to fine a family for possession of prohibited swine.
Dairyman Nick Snelgar reflects on the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health certification process and bagging hay for winter on his UK dairy farm.
July is UV Safety Month. Stay safe in the sun with these tips.
Rick Stiles shares chronicles the first two weeks of his cross-country trip on a recumbent bicycle.
A pressure canner greatly expands the range of foods that can be safely canned at home.
Choosing homesteading as a way of life and what it takes.
These online tools can help you find the best sources for local food, including local farmers markets and community-supported agriculture programs.
Learn a few tips for efficiency from seasoned CSA Farmers: La Vista CSA Farm.
How did Victoria Redhed Miller and husband David end up living on an off-grid homestead in the foothills of Washington State's Olympic mountains? Grid? What grid? Electricity was something one took for granted; it came from those outlets on the walls. I was hardly aware of it except during one of the infrequent power outages.
Over 100,000 thunderstorms occur each year in the U.S. Stay safe during Lightning Safety Awareness Week
There are some things that you just aren’t going to wash very often, like your curtains, couch cushions, and probably even your favorite jeans. To spare the air, concoct a simple essential oil-infused linen spray, and spritz away until your definition of what “clean” smells like shifts permanently.
Allowing children the space to discover the beauty and wonder of plants through tending to their own garden builds character, teaches responsibility, gives insight into the beauty of nature and fosters their connection with where their food comes from.
It is a regular occurrence, a question we're asked:
Why do we do all this work?
This year is the first season I had the whole garden dug and ready and boy, it's easy to plant a garden when the garden is already there.
Spring time is a time to experience the newness of life and living in the Sangre de Cristo mountains amid the wildflowers, birds, green woods and new birth.
You can start a productive small farm business rather quickly if you use a business operations approach from the beginning. You may have what it takes if you own some property and are willing to work hard for successful results. Farming is also a practice in which traits like patience and persistence come in handy when everything goes wrong at the same time. These are all parts of the farming business and should be considered valuable lessons learned because they are only attained by experience.
For me, homesteading means to not have a great need for money in the first place. It also means that the money one does need is being made by utilizing the land, as in our case, running the Hostel.
Creating your own start-up is full of obstacles, but rewarding. MOTHER EARTH NEWS reader Jessica Vaughan shares advice from her experience as a first-time small business owner who teaches clients how to grow organic produce.
Using an old-world technique, Russians are growing their own organic crops -- and it's working.
How does one eat more of the right types of seafood to reap all the health benefits without going bald? Choose local!
Tree rings tell the tale. It is nice and green here now but our plants and weeds are acclimated to semi arid and have deep roots.
If know you're destined to live in the country, or just more self-reliantly, but are overwhelmed by all the choices, here's a place to start.
Here are some ways we use natural materials to improve our garden and orchards.
Making great sunshine tea is easy if you follow a few simple guidelines for contents, quantities, and water.
Building community through sharing work and food.
There’s more than one way to be an environmental warrior. And some approaches work better than others. Elemental follows the stories of three environmental advocates united by their deep connection with nature and driven to confront some of the most dire ecological issues affecting their respective communities. This isn’t only a story about plight and pollution, however. Rather, Gayatri Roshan’s and Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee’s documentary works best as a character-driven study of eco-activism’s do’s and don’ts.
Driving patterns now closely resemble those from 1995, as young drivers are finding alternative forms of transportation.
Ride the Future Tour, a 43-day cross-country trip in electric vehicles, will start July 4 in South Carolina. Event organizers hope to build awareness for green transportation and break a few records along the way.
These new vehicles may help the environment, but their soundless engines are a threat to the visually impaired, as well as pedestrians and bicyclists.
It has been fifteen months since heritage breed hog farmer Mark Baker sued the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to stop the implementation of an invasive species order (ISO). The swine ISO supposedly targeted feral swine but could be applied to any domestic pig not raised in confinement. Baker has yet to have his day in court and it is still not settled when his trial will take place. It is common for lawsuits like this to turn into wars of attrition; the state has virtually unlimited resources while the farmers are bled of theirs over the course of the litigation.
Missoula, MT company awards home owners sustainable products.
Riches sometimes come from natural resources - not always connected with dollar signs.
But maybe, at the end of the day, I am just a person with weak nerves doing something that depends on so many unknown factors – the weather, the bug population, the quality of seeds and some plain ol' luck.
Many wood finishes contain toxic solvents or heavy-metal drying agents. Learn which nontoxic wood finishes are best to use on decks, fences and unfinished, wood-sided homes.
Household hints from 1909 reveal useful tips for hanging clothes out to dry.
If you have a bike, your freedom of moving around is endless. Cycling is swift and bikes are easy to navigate where cars sometimes can't go.
The story of two ladies and their small CSA in the Rocky Mountains.
If you want to achieve your goals, stop making excuses for the things that go wrong on your path to success. Learn from them. Never stop trying to improve. And never stop trying. Work smart and hard.
To me, the most important features of a sustainable building are not its technological wonders but its simple design features: common-sense strategies that should be incorporated whether the building becomes LEED certified, Energy Star certified, or is just trying to be environmentally friendly.
Our striving to live frugally, monetary so, affects our everyday life choices. We choose to live without a lot of things that cost money. We make most of the cash we do need by running the Hostel in the summer months.
In this section you will find stories of real farmers across the country that made it work. You'll find their story, how they did it and who helped them. We hope these stories will inspire and educate new farmers, as well as land owners and community members to become involved in the new agrarian movement. A growing trust.
To turn a woodlot into a park with no “litter” on the ground might look tidy, but is not very healthy or functional. Next time you look at a dead tree or a log rotting on the ground; look at it as something full of life.
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.
Thoughts and ideas about purchasing a recumbent bicycle for a cross country trip.
The full team from thePOOSH.org attended Over the Moon Festival last autumn in the UK and built a beautiful bender as a temporary shelter area and stall.
Get out of your shell and lend a hand to those around you, even perfect strangers – you’ll be amazed at what you become and how your kindness touches others
The process of training and pruning blackberry plants is demystified by a gardening expert from Gurney's Seed.
Cuba's bike transformation was the result of a change in context induced by external forces. It was a disruptive event that forced them to adapt. Here in America, a land of such excess, no such sudden disruption looms (nor could it be predicted, I believe). Our transportation context is centered on the car. Our culture and economy are “driven” by the car. So, how do we create a culture of transportation that is dominated by bicycles?
I know how popular and much hyped season-extending materials are in the world of organic gardening, but is it a necessity to eat fresh lettuce year round?
A new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists shows significant lapses in nuclear power plant safety.
A short a story about our very first ice fishing and snowmobile ride.
Our work in the woods starts long before we get the chainsaw and axe out; by being in the woods, observing and contemplating. We're looking for healthy trees that we can help to thrive and that will be of benefit in the future.
Saying ‘Yes’ to a cross country bicycling trip
was easy. After I fully realized what my
mouth had done, my brain had second thoughts.
March 10-16, 2013 is National Groundwater Awareness Week and groundwater provides over 40 percent of U.S. population with drinking water. You can protect water quality at home by conserving water.
Sometimes even HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Bay Area homesteader Rachel of Dog Island Farm needs a reminder why she puts up with the goat feed, the chicken poop, the cat puke, and the never-ending mud. Here's a hint: It involves good food.
Get a materials list and step-by-step insructions for low tunnel construction for your backyard garden.
Five people and two U.S. honey processors were charged with ‘honey laundering’. Investigators found illegally imported honey from China.
Onions are daylight sensitive and need to have plenty of time to put on top growth before the days start to get shorter and the plant pulls its energy into the bulb. If you like to start onions from seed, don’t wait! The best time is already closing in.
A neglected, overgrown, old apple tree does have charm, its gnarled, elbowed branches seemingly ready to reach out for a hug. The fruits, unfortunately, more often than not are too small, too pest-ridden, and too high in the tree. My fear of heights makes the last deficiency most important to me. Large, clean fruits are for nought if I can’t bring myself to climb a ladder or the branches for harvest.
We all have dreams but why is it that some are so lucky that they come true?
To say the sawmill is just a piece in the homestead puzzle might be a slight understatement. In some ways, it's a key factor.
FairShare CSA Coalition partners with health insurance groups to offer a rebate for selecting fresh, organic, local produce.
It wasn't many months ago the seed catalog for this year showed up, but at that point I had just, just, managed to finish off the garden season, slightly traumatized from all the work. To receive a catalog then seemed mostly like an ill-conceived joke, a way to rub it in; don't think you can relax too much.
Talking about carrying in the red roofing tin the old fashioned way due to a broken golf cart and some very muddy conditions. The refrigerator root cellar continues to prove itself as an experiment that seems to be working so far.
The Sustainable Poultry Network and Western Piedmont Community College have combined forces to create the American School of Sustainable Poultry Husbandry, an intensive poultry workshop for anyone interested in poultry production, marketing, breeding, hatching, cooking, etc.
Why “hot and humid” doesn’t have to equal “sad and lifeless.”
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.
Many criticize eliminating coal mining in West Virginia because of the amount of jobs the sector provides. A wind farm, however, would employ over 200 local residents during the two-year construction phase, and create 40-50 permanent maintenance jobs afterward. A wind farm would also allow the mountain to be used for other purposes, like sustainable forestry, mountain harvesting, and gathering of wild forest plants, creating additional jobs and the opportunity for stable income for locals.
How we deal with unexpected incidents.
Does Punxsutawney Phil have competition for 'predicting' the weather? Take a look at these other animals and insects that can tell when the weather is changing, or can't they?
OK,I'm giving no hints as to why you should think like a chemist...Read it and see for yourself. At the very least, you'll be entertained by a crazy new way of thinking about life.
The week-long STIHL Tour des Trees is an international cycling tour combining natural beauty, camaraderie and fundraising for the benefit of urban trees.
Cam discovers he isn't as young as he once was while enjoying a sense of community at the local arena.
Urban food forests and public gardens provide communities with an edible landscape for everyone to share. These public fruit forests are the new trend in urban agriculture and play an important role as sustainable local food systems in their communities.
The League of American Bicyclists has compiled a database of state-specific highlights of traffic laws that affect bicyclists. Find out if you live in a bicycle friendly community.
To ensure an airtight design, be sure to level and finish the top of the concrete wall and use sill seal below your bottom plates.
Discover the Ozarks region's natural beauty and adventure hot spots as told by Mike McArthy of Photozarks.
We enjoy sledding and snowshoeing in the winter as outdoor activities.
Every year on his birthday since 1977, Christopher Nyerges has done a "birthday memory run," where he runs a lap for each year, and attempts to recall what happened in his life in that year. Here is his report for 2013.
Keeping goats inside during nasty weather isn't easy, but it's worth the time! Dealing with sick goats, fever and runny noses isn't fun, so taking precautions makes things much easier.
Elizabeth Van Deventer has been on a quest to find the answer to sustainable farming and an ethical diet most of her life. Follow along as she discovers the impacts of producing tea, palm oil and fruit, and how she eventually settles on a lifestyle that is in tune with the earth and all of its creatures.
I was gratified when, two weeks ago, Consumer Reports announced that the Chevy Volt was the best-loved car in the world among people who drive one – for the second year in a row. I have never loved a car like I love this one. And I have loved some cars.
A new study has uncovered a link between food and environmental allergies and chemicals found in pesticides, herbicides and other agricultural products and drinking water.
In the hollows of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this true Christmas celebration was simple, inexpensive and rich with tradition.
How to recycle a junked refrigerator into a refrigerator root cellar that works at keeping produce chilled but not frozen during winter months.
In support of the Obama Administration's all-of-the-above energy strategy, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced Nov. 19, 2012, 10 small business-led projects to speed solar energy innovation from the lab to the marketplace.
A story of life, death and rebirth of a hoop house.
The author figures out a way to outsmart tree-damaging rodents.
A Nov. 5, 2012, press release from consulting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers
LLP warns current CO2 reductions put us on target for 6 degree average global
The Solar Foundation found a 13 percent increase in U.S. solar industry jobs in 2012, which is promising for the overall job market, and shows stability in the solar energy job market.
Press Release about UNEP/GEF en.lighten initiative’s Toolkit, “Achieving the Transition to Energy Efficient Lighting.”
Jim and Holly Smith, founders of Today’s Abundant Living, sent us this great review of a Homesteading Education Month open house and country skills workshop they hosted at their Michigan homestead.
This is part two of my visit to King Arthur Flour, the concluding blog of the four-day event.
Learn which crops you can grow in your garden to provide protein in your diet.
I feel that if we want to connect to our families, to our neighbors and to the people that we love that live in the community around us, we must somehow retrain ourselves to slow down and watch, listen and share, love and care.
A New York Times article reports a recent, rigorous study confirming that acupuncture can ease chronic pain, including that from migraines and arthritis.
Two grasses under consideration for biofuels in the United States are considered invasive species that may do more harm than good.
The Obama Administration releases its plans for new renewable energy sources. Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, explains that the new solar energy zones span six states and keep both domestic energy and environmental preservation in mind. If completed, the power generated from these solar energy zones would provide electricity to roughly seven-million homes.
Climate Change is a real threat to the future of humankind, but within that threat is the seed of opportunity.
How we live in the mountains during the winter.
Ed and Bruce share their experiences with homesteading and self-sufficiency in a rural setting. This segment is on using natural resources around the homestead.
Collins hails milestone of the company becoming employee owned.
If you would like to be represented by more elected officials who support environmental safeguards for our air, water, and land, take a look at these resources, including the League of Conservation Voters' National Environmental Scorecard.
Ed and Bruce share their experiences with homesteading and self-sufficiency in a rural setting.
Folksinger Michael Johnathon is on tour nationwide. Visit his homepage: www.MichaelJohnathon.com
ForestryDegree.net provides a searchable database for people interested in forestry.
Volunteer to take care of the public lands in your area during National Public Lands Day on September 29, 2012!
Autumn is very busy at Stony Knolls Farm between the Common Ground Fair and Fall Goat School!
How we have adapted from salt water fishing to freshwater and what we do with our catch.
A single, volunteer potato produces 10 pounds of potatoes in a hot bed. A recipe for addictive, oven-fried potatoes.
Squeezable packets eliminate the need to measure.
Making Music on the Front Porch ... let's define what the musical Front Porch is.
Thank goodness for good friends who will share their garden harvest with those of us less skilled.
Being a part of the solution can forestall the potential decline.
Community food events are an outstanding way to share the abundance of our harvest and strengthen local community ties.
We do a lot of things on our farm, but the primary way we earn a livelihood is selling wholesale potted herbs and heritage food plants to garden centers throughout Colorado and northern New Mexico.
Dog days of summer? Yes, but there is still a lot of the grwoing season left. Protect yourself from the late summer sun with these tried 'n true items ... tested by a gardener who knows more than she'd like to about skin cancer.
Steuart Laboratories manufactures and markets several dozen herb-based healing and pain products for both the human and livestock markets.
Where we go to reflect on life and relax.
Portland is the nation's most bike-friendly city, yet this Oregon community has had to deal with cycling disparities among its population. One nonprofit organization addressed this issue by developing new programs targeting low-income immigrant communities.
One thing we can all agree on is that is time for things to change. So perhaps we need to look at the world more like prey and less like predators.
Reflections on 15 years of mountain living.
Describes the process of forming a community garden from the physical and energetic standpoints. The power of teamwork, the joy of accomplishment and the building of a feeling of group unity are described.
Why is it unrealistic to believe we can agree that clean air and water are important and limited resources? How insane is it to think we could imagine a world of beauty and abundance? That’s what I’m going to aim for.
Leaving the rental home we had lived in for three years in Carmel Indiana, to move back to Kangaroo Valley, Australia has meant more than losing the plot and getting the flock out of there!
Hiking The Ozarks' Lost Valley - Where getting lost is part of the fun! By Mike McArthy of Photozarks
When it's too hot outside, the work moves inside, and is still REALLY HOT.
Sandy Boyce's sauerkraut was a hit, selling out each week, until her county health department asked her to stop. Across the nation, regulations can prevent small-time home producers from distributing their 'cottage foods' to the public.
Every natural environment is beautiful in ways we cannot imagine. We must preserve natural beauty for precisely that reason, because we could not conceive of natural beauty on our own without nature’s inspiration.
Sensor Plug update along with a report on Sunflowers being used as a cover crop and when to properly harvest onions.
We could feed every hungry person tomorrow but we haven’t collectively decided to do so. In my beautiful vision, we would tolerate nothing less.
Solar food drying is incredibly easy with a solar food dehydrator, which requires very little effort to make perfectly preserved produce.
Taking a ride on an old steam engine.
I learned to love the Earth while studying a globe, now I can see it all on Google maps.
Applying human objectivity to the biggest, most intriguing and most definitively human problem, ever, is quite an endeavor.
A story of one of our camping trips to Torreya State Park, Florida.
Describes a method of protecting tomatoes from excessive heat using a sunscreen, vermicompost tea, pulling blighted leaves.
Google can be the most enlightened power-user on the planet. Because it is so successful, and because it uses a lot of electricity, Google has the opportunity to set a new global standard for clean power.
Tips on how to protect your skin and stay safe in the sun.
Things to look for in your soil before you break ground on your new home or cabin.
A key choice was what type of house to build. We aren't in Texas more than a few weeks a year until we make our final move back. We wanted a structure we could enclose to protect the interior from the elements and yet build in stages as time and money allow.
The company’s founders seem to be as proud of the company’s culture as they are of its financial success. Can the Google culture persist when the company’s economic power declines?
Grapes can grow anywhere, thriving in a variety of climates and soil types. Growing grapes is rewarding, because after a few years they produce abundant fruit and quickly provide architectural interest in the edible landscape.
Google’s unofficial motto, “Don’t Be Evil,” could be expressed as easily in the positive, “Be Fair.”
Keep chicken water clean with this innovative watering design.
The Jenzabar Foundation is dedicated to creating opportunities for students, as well as higher education organizations and non-profits, to encourage fellow students to be engaged citizens of the world.
Visit our blog by Wednesday at midnight for a chance to win free Egyptian onion top bulbs.
Receives SRCC OG300 certification on 41 system configurations for residential solar water heating systems.
Abundance is the most fundamental building block in the Google DNA.
Fiskars' new hand pruners combine form and function to make every cut easier.
As part of my education on how to be more self-sufficient when we make our move back to Texas, I've been taking classes while here in Australia. One of the more enjoyable classes was in beekeeping. This is our class practical exercise.
How we expect the unexpected and turn blow down trees into lumber.
Keeping bees is something I've wanted to do on our new homestead. But would I like it? Taking a class is a good way to find out.
Google’s mission is making information available. That includes all the beauty in the world (along with everything else, of course).
Goat School is over for a few months, and now the routine will be a little more normal! Great questions were asked at Goat School and some of those answers are shared.
In this blog, I highlight the earliest decisions I had to make to create a net zero energy home: how I was going to build the foundation and walls. Thermal bridging, air tightness, insulation, cost, and greeness are all key deciders.
My vision of the Texas homestead, complete with family and doting grandchildren nearby took a hit this year when my daughter and husband split and my daughter moved to Austin. Could I reinvent the vision? Or would this issue derail our plans?
Conscientiousness is woven into the company culture, quite intentionally. The more prosperous and powerful the company becomes, the more strident the criticism. Any institution as powerful as Google has great potential for evil, and for good.
This addition to the product line will fill a need for smaller households or ones that don’t have enough yard space to accommodate a large clothesline.
Tips on how to replace driveways, sidewalks, patios and walkways with pervious pavements, materials that let water seep through to soil.
How we persist until our 11 cords of firewood is accomplished and then re structure our lives.
The decade between the turn of the millennium and 2010 might justifiably be called the Google Decade. The company may have built more influence in less time than any other human endeavor in history.
Summit Mosquito Bits®, a popular biological control that kills mos¬quito larvae, is now also approved for the control of fungus gnats.
Getting ready for Goat School is always a daunting task, but once all of our new friends start arriving, we get excited! What a great time learning all about goats!
Steve explains the basics of refinishing wooden stairs, including an easily renewable finishing strategy.
The Environmental Protection Agency has given the go-ahead to Dow Chemical for its genetically modified 2,4-D resistant corn.
Describing how we are trying to provide a low budget solar panel back up system for under 1000 dollars that will run our laptops and router along with a few other things if the local power grid has any issues.
At work, as at home, the queries have helped us add a number of constructive items to our agenda.
The final in a 6 part series on Ft. Garland, Colorado
Most of the things we do to conserve resources and protect the environment are subtle. We remain acutely conscious that all this, combined, still doesn’t make us a truly sustainable business. We have a long way to go. But we’re trying to get there.
Sweet, healthy, root vegetables that love growing through the heat of summer? Learn about adding Jerusalem artichokes, yacon, and sweet potatoes to your gardens. Plus, more on the incredible health benefits of roselle (hibiscus).
Robert Maxwell explains how to build your own limestone foundation for almost no money.
A surprising number of amenities found in a small town complete with western hospitality.
Read about new legislation that would stop the government from funding the fossil fuel industry. Then, sign your name to the petition and make a difference.
What we have found as an advantage of having a rural hardware store close by.
One of the best-proven characteristics of our system of business is its contagiousness. The system has proven itself repeatable and contagious across both time and space, across centuries of time and every continent.
In the final chapter of this five-part series, Lyn Fenwick finds the country cemetery that Isaac was burried in and pays her respects to the author of a treasured family heirloom, a 19th century homesteaders journal.
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.
Beyond salary and benefits are the more abstract but equally important elements that make an employee feel valued.
Learn more about commons-based economy on May 7th, 2012, in London, sponsored by the School of Commoning.
Our writers sometimes criticize the system, but everyone understands that the system makes our existence possible. And the more successful our company is within the system, the more influential our work becomes. That's fair, I think.
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.
Learn about advertising-induced fear of an innocuous, food-grade substance, vinegar. Plus, get interesting information about vinegar being used for bioremediation of extremely dangerous chemicals.
We try to help people create abundance by both possible methods: by conserving existing resources and by propagating new resources. In other words, the two basic tools at our disposal are conservation and innovation.
Some of the difficulties we encounter in gardening at a high elevation
Pruning perennials is essential for plant health and vigorous production.
Winter is over and the colors of spring are here!
Robert Maxwell discusses the benefits of a rural lifestyle.
Yes, we aspire to beauty. And we create some beautiful things, judging with our own eyes and the eyes of our audiences. But of course it’s only through the ongoing daily aspiration to beauty that beauty is achieved. So, we keep it up.
Ira helps you get started using nature's signs to plan your garden. Don't just rely on planting dates — easy observations of what's blooming, buzzing, and singing in your garden will help you see changing patterns from year to year.
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?
My colleagues and I hoped the small, unconventional company would provide a platform for something bigger – something that could grow.
Attend this year's grassfed seminar to learn how to maximize your natural resources while unleashing your marketing genius.
In part two of this five-part series, Lyn Fenwick shares a homesteader named Isaac's 19th century journal entries on love, including the observation of local beauties and his desire for a woman who enjoys reading.
Cam often finds himself relating to song lyrics.
We have our work cut out for us for many years to come. And for that, we’re grateful.
Here is a description of some of the pruning tools and techniques for pruning trees for future sawlogs.
If a society decides its human populations can be held within the capacities of local farms to feed them, then our small farms can be replicated into the future, until further notice. I think that’s a very contagious idea.
There are good sides and bad sides to every storey, this is no exception. No one said homesteading would be easy!
Eggs aren't the only things that come from the business end of a chicken. But with a little time and materials, and even less ingenuity, the rest can set you up with a free and steady supply of valuable organic fertilizer.
On every continent in the world there are large regions where a family can, through ingenuity and hard work, provide a lot of its own food in active partnership with the natural environment. And people get excited about that.
What we do on snow days in the mountains when it is snowing hard outside.
Spring is here and those tomato plants that were started in January are settled into their new hoophouse home. I have hopes for early tomatoes; will a late freeze stifle this goal?
Talking about the recent past week where we got several items crossed off the Spring to-do list and managed to have some fun while doing it complete with pictures to illustrate the good times.
We’ll be actively engaged in this inquiry for the rest of our lives. It’s a great project, improving the fairness of how we live. It has captured our imaginations.
The unintended death of a charming little creature raises the realities of life on a farm homestead.
Students can now be officially accepted and enrolled at new campus for fall.
A list of links to orgs, associations, websites, books, and other resources related to local economies, community resilience, green business, corporate social responsibility, green jobs, environmental and social entrepreneurship, and investment.
A few thoughts about the activities here in southwest Missouri this spring, including plans for a garden, thinning and pruning trees, and salvaging urban logs
After a recent talk I gave in San Francisco, a man raised his hand and asked me how I could distinguish between “human slavery and animal slavery.” Now there’s a provocative question.
The how's and why's we homestead
Our typical day living in the mountains in the winter.
Ben Davis, of Ben Does Life, has a truly inspirng weight loss story, but it's how message about how to be happy that is most motivational.
Help us find the small U.S. towns and cities that are getting it right for citizens and the environment.
Fairness is not so much a standard to be achieved as it is a criterion to be interpreted and applied. We strive for fairness, even though it can’t be clearly defined, much less perfected. In the striving, I think we create a better world.
Cycle Oregon in support of tree research and education.
Judy Mimranek shares her father's time-tested tip for digging a root pit and covering it with layers of straw and cow manure in order to store fruits and vegetables through the winter.
Sun-Lite HP for greenhouse glazing provides excellent diffused light.
Building a vibrant local community through local economics and rural culture.
It's mid-February, time to start thinking about spring! Ira Wallace helps us make our garden plan, remember our perennials, and Plant a Row for the Hungry this year.
One of our most common grasses is limiting the bobwhite quail population, killing broodmares and their foals, rotting cow hooves, and cutting milk production.
When my wife and I consider whether Rancho Cappuccino helps create abundance, we need to look at all three underlying questions: Does it enhance natural resources, improving supply? Does it help reduce demand? And, does it help us embrace simplicity?
Timidity nearly doomed Johnny to a life sentence in the rescue kennel until one determined family saw through his issues to the dog he was meant to be.
The Sun Mar composting toilet uses a first of its kind technology to deliver a pollution free and sanitary product.
Homemade laundry detergent to save money and the environment.
When you only drink one cup of coffee a day, the mug you use is pretty important.
How we avoid cabin fever by doing volunteer work and enjoying the beautiful outdoors.
We’re creating beauty more fundamentally, internally, by learning about the place, loving it and treating it with care. Year by year, its beauty is more compelling to us as we know it better. Beauty is, indeed, in the eye of the beholder.
4-H is a youth organization that can be a great resource for skill-building in our communities. No matter what you do or what your interest, spending time with your local club is a worthy contribution.
Monsanto, the world’s largest producer of genetically modified seeds and the toxic herbicides used to drench them, is calling itself a supporter of sustainability. You’re kidding, right?
Comparing a covenant community against living rural without covenants.
Rancho Cappuccino is what we call our farm, 50 acres of tallgrass prairie a few miles outside Lawrence, Kansas. Farming is the reflection of our value system. Rancho Cappuccino is the vessel for our lives.
If you're pondering a move to the country and think your life will suddenly get blissfully silent, think again.
Baking the Great American Apple Pie chases away the blues and grays that sometimes afflict the homestead.
The Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) hosts its 23rd annual Organic Farming Conference, February 23-25, 2012, at the La Crosse Center in La Crosse, Wis.
Over the next few weeks, I will offer here three case studies of how the queries might direct change within three very different organizations – our own Rancho Cappuccino; the business I run, Ogden Publications; and Google, Inc.
This blog is called Breadcrumbs, because it brings together a diverse set of topics, including the patron saint of bread, sourdough, starters, yeasts, and a recipe for corn pancakes.
Fostering can help overcome an unexpected side effect of life in a rescue kennel---obesity.
Find out which states and countries have the greatest number of LEED Platinum certified projects, and where the Platinum projects are located. Plus, a list of some LEED Platinum rated homes and residential buildings, with links to case studies.
This part of the series deals with window size and location, ceiling heights, eave length, and other design and passive design choices you can make for your new home. These choices apply whether you are on or off the grid.
Virginia Grace Abraham shares stories from loved ones about life during the Great Depression and WWII, her stories explore all aspects of the time from hunger and hard work to young marriage and the commonly over-looked woes of the farmer's wife.
The Africans showed up at our door on a sunny, chilly November afternoon. Two men introduced themselves as Stone and Abraham. In the background stood a young woman with a gregarious little boy, Henry, about 2 years old. They were looking for goats.
Wood Prairie Farm encourages citizens to sign a petition in support of family farmers and to attend the citizens assembly on January 31st, 2012.
Communication and honesty is essential to decide important issues like a complete lifestyle change.
If you begin tomorrow, you can be soaking in fresh, 103-degree water by the evening.
So far, technology has accommodated and augmented population growth. We’ve seen our “green revolution” spread across the globe and feed the multitudes. The globe remains, however, a finite resource.
Compassionate people without a county animal shelter organize a non-profit group to help low-income families keep their pets during hard times and to support Good Samaritans who take in abandoned pets
We have no examples of economic growth occurring in the absence of human population growth. Population growth is a Ponzi scheme and we’re setting up future generations as its victims. We are paying into the base of the pyramid with natural resources.
The author discusses setting up small-scale dairy for local, doorstep milk sales in Great Britain.