Have some fun in your garden this year and grow something giant!
A big crowd likes MAXine better than MAX, and I’ll see you soon, at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR in Puyallup, Wash.
The first civilian-built MAXes are nearing completion, and here are a couple of them that are rolling under their own power.
Talking about the back up generator failure along with recent golf cart modifications.
Steve Maxwell, “Canada’s Handiest Man”, outlines some suggestions on how to become an expert carpenter who can work with wood anywhere.
Robert Maxwell shares tips on maintaining motivation.
Steve Maxwell, “Canada’s Handiest Man”, share his make do tool tips with fellow DIY homeowners.
Steve Maxwell, “Canada’s Handiest Man”, explains just how easy it is to install laminate flooring yourself.
Robert Maxwell shares a story about how switching gears resulted in beauty.
Robert Maxwell explains how to build your own limestone foundation for almost no money.
Robert Maxwell discusses the benefits of a rural lifestyle.
Steve Maxwell, “Canada’s Handiest Man”, raves about his favourite hand held torch tool, the BernzOmatic Quickfire Hand Torch.
Steve explains how he and his 11 year old son grew a crop of wheat entirely by hand, and why this is something you should try, too.
When I designed my wilderness cabin back in 2009, I knew I wanted to go the extra mile to achieve beauty, and that included an attractive roof. If you’re interested in creating a roof structure that’s well insulated, pleasing to
Young homesteader Robert Maxwell explores his discoveries as he moves toward self-sufficiency and homesteading.
Blogger Steve Maxwell offers tips and a video explaining how to choose and use a router table.
Making wooden replacement handles for tools is easier than you think.
The release of new genetically modified crops resistant to 2,4-D herbicide will mean a huge increase of potent, dangerous chemicals on American farmland and a serious threat of herbicide drift problems for other growers.
The EPA is poised to deregulate a new generation of genetically modified crops, including those resistant to 2,4-D herbicide. Voice your concerns now.
Steve shows methods he's found for extending the life of new roofs and decreasing their environmental impact
A short lesson and video on stacking firewood in round piles
Watch Steve tell you his homestead story and how his two trucks have helped make good things happen.
Steve explains a little about why he chose to install reclaimed cast-iron radiators, including a video tour of his installation.
Cut the confusion that accompanies buying a cordless drill with this information on which drill features and capabilities to look for.
How a hopelessly damaged apple tree has delivered lessons of hope since 2007.
Download Steve Maxwell’s free list of tested and approved deck stains that have worked well in field tests.
Learn how to eliminate mold growth in your home and improve indoor air quality by using Concrobium.
Steve explains how our pursuit of environmental sustainability can also drive us crazy if it's not put in the correct philosophical context.
Steve shares his time touring a plant that makes the kind of blades homesteaders use every day,
Steve Maxwell, “Canada’s Handiest Man”, sheds light
on a new rural Canadian invention, Seg-Ins Big Bed, a truck extention that
improves cargo capacity.
Steve shares current results and recommendations from his 20 years of observing and applying deck finishing products and techniques.
Steve offers a few thoughts on line trimmers and brush cutters.
Robert Maxwell discusses why he chose self-directed education over formal college, and how this option might work for others, too.
Steve Maxwell, Canada’s Handiest Man, provides tips on splitting firewood for home heating via woodstoves or fireplaces.
Steve Maxwell, Canada’s Handiest Man, answers a homeowner’s question about how best to apply a smooth finish to wood furniture.
Steve Maxwell, Canada’s Handiest Man, answers a homeowner’s question about how best to apply a smooth finish to wood furniture.
Steve Maxwell, “Canada’s Handiest Man”, guides an inquiring homeowner on how to find the right circular saw.
MAX's aerodynamic makeover is underway with a new fender design.
MAX needs an aerodynamic and easy-to-assemble roof. Plus it needs to look cool, be cheap, cost little, have a simple design and be reliable. No problem, right? So, do you have any ideas?
At the time, it seemed like a clear car was a good idea.
All computer data for MAX has been stolen. What next?
Here's why MAX won't be at the FAIR. Sorry.
Learn how to sharpen your chainsaw properly with a file and guide
Steve explains what he's learned over 20 years of using generators and monitoring advances in design.
Learn how to install ceramic tiles that'll never let you down.
A simple, practical and easy option for priming seasonal water systems.
Carbide saw blades last a long time and typically perform very well. Learn about two ways to keep them sharp and effective.
Steve explains the basics of refinishing wooden stairs, including an easily renewable finishing strategy.
There are many more ways than ever to earn income without ever leaving the homestead. As energy prices rise, earning the money you need without traveling is key to success. It just might not come from the place you expect.
Steve got curious and shares the results of a gruelling endurance test he completed to compare cordless tool battery performance
Steve Maxwell spotlights the three myths that prevent people from realizing the full value of the self reliant lifestyle, and how to dispel them
Steve explains why building a scale model is such a good way to design homestead structures, and how to do it.
Join Steve for a no-cost 75 minute video tutorial on building and managing a root cellar
Here’s what to look for when purchasing a portable table saw for DIY building projects around your homestead.
Almost 30 years ago I made one of the best decisions ever when I began my homesteading adventure. It's no "Little House on the Prarie" but you can see it from there.
Once reserved for the pizzeria, the calzone is possible to make in your own home.
In The Land Institute senior scientist Stan Cox's critique of the 2013 Farm bill, it's argued that more federal support could be shifted to food security and conservation if less were going to Big Ag.
Anecdotal evidence from coast to coast indicates that Americans have had enough of granite countertops and whirlpool tubs. They want smaller homes with green finishes instead.
Detroit automakers ask Congress for $25 billion, but that money could come with some energy efficiency strings.
For the first time, acclaimed Not So Big House author and architect brings quality-over-quality design to a residential development.
Pretty much everything I own got soaking wet with the Mama Earf's recent rain bender in Virginia. But on the bright side, I got to see the genius behind the tipi structure firsthand.
Join two modern homesteaders as they begin down the road toward building their small home and self-reliant farmstead on their new piece of raw land in northeastern Kansas.
If you want to own property, you have to find a way to finance buying land. Here, one couple explains how they took out a mortgage to build a home and purchase land.
In order to access our land and put in a driveway, we need to secure an entrance permit. If you're planning to buy land and build a home, check what your entrance permit requirements are before you purchase the property.
In order to secure a building permit to construct their future home, we must first complete a soil evaluation and meet the county's requirements for septic system installations.
One couple recounts how they pursued a land zoning waiver in order to secure a building permit on their recently purchased rural property.
When it comes to building their home, one couple decides to hire a contractor to handle the process, but still plans to design their own home and provide labor and materials as much as possible.
One homesteading couple navigates the final series of meetings with the county planning department and county commission in order to finalize their land survey plat approval.
Tyler and I spent an afternoon creating a footpath and campsite in our woods. Now we can go camping with friends and enjoy meals (and s’mores) over the campfire whenever we have the time or desire.
If you want to be hands-on with your house building, a kit home can be an affordable, energy-efficient option. One homesteading couple assess whether building a kit home is right for them.
Bank loans, especially new home construction loans, require some legwork on the part of the future homeowner. One couple explains how they got a loan to build their new house.
Before beginning construction on their new home, one couple assesses which renewable energy sources make sense for their location and situation.
The steps involved in receiving a building permit require some advance planning and paperwork. If you’re hoping to build in the future you’ll want to review the building permit requirements in your area several months before your planned construction start date.
Scroll through a short collection of photos documenting the groundbreaking process as one couple prepares to build a home. First up: moving dirt and laying a gravel driveway.
Our friend Pat Sweeney has built himself an Electric MAX - a DIY Locost with a DIY electric power plant.
MAX doesn't have a front license plate, and here's why Jack would like to keep it that way.
If MAX is a bit too Spartan for your tastes, here's a homebuilt high mileage sports car that's a bit more plush - a Mazda Miata with a Geo Metro engine - and it's coming to the Mother Earth News Fairs.
In the continuing pursuit of better aerodynamics, Jack takes a closer look at the design of MAX’s nose.
Everyone should have a 100-mpg car, and know how to drive a manual transmission. MAX comes to the rescue on both ends.
Jack explores how to test how body changes affect aerodynamics, and looks for inspiration from Wonder Woman.
Jack McCornack tells the story of how he got lost in the Oregon outback and how MAX was damaged such that the DIY-, super-fuel-efficient car couldn't make it to the 2010 MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR in Seven Springs, Pa.
Managing Editor John Rockhold chats with Jack McCornack — creator of MAX, the DIY and 100-mpg hopeful car — to get his post-FAIR thoughts.
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.
One homesteading couple learns what a land survey plat is, and then proceeds to have a plat completed of their rural property.
We received some good additional tips on buying land and building a home. These pieces of advice are a roundup of comments taken from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Facebook page.
Whether you are buying a house, purchasing land, or getting ready to build your own home, we recommend starting by setting your priorities and then matching a house design to your needs.
After finding some basic online building plans, the next step to getting a future home built is to find a designer to draw the house plans.
One homesteading couple reads up on passive solar house design and then modifies online options to create their own custom passive solar plans. Here are their recommended resources.
Before beginning construction on their new home, this couple is taking steps to prepare their land for their impending move-in by planting perennial natives, building some walking trails, cutting firewood to dry, and more. They’re having a blast!
If you want to build a passive solar house, you’ll need to spend time upfront carefully considering your house plans. Here’s how one couple worked with a contractor and a designer to draw up and then finalize their small home plans with energy efficiency and lifestyle in mind.
Not all green building materials are fancy, engineered products. One couple explores the saved-from-the-landfill options at local Habitat for Humanity ReStores. Hard to beat preventing waste, supporting Habitat for Humanity’s mission, and finding great deals on materials for a new-home construction in one fell swoop.
In order to secure a building permit to construct a new home, many counties require a septic system inspection and approval. Here’s how one couple had a successful “perc” test done at their future home site, along with a quick explanation of what a perc test is.
As one couple plans their homestead-to-be, they spend time learning the lay of their land. One happy fringe benefit: They used this time as an excuse to go morel mushroom hunting. The results of their efforts were delicious.
One of our readers made a fiberglass and carbon fiber roof for his own home-built MAX high-mileage sports car, and here's how he did it.
This potential body style looks hard to beat, in more ways than just physically. What do you think?
MAX gets a couple of cheap and easy thermoformed headlight protectors, to keep light from getting out and rocks from getting in.
In which Jack departs a little from his fashion sense and MAX gets new racing seats. But not just any racing seats: safer seats with real head restraints.
MAX has a three-wheeled distant cousin that's a diesel-electric hybrid.
MAX Puts the “Ex” in X Prize
MAX's classic race car skin remains a work in progress. Jack wants MAX to look Lola-esque, but not too Lola-esque.
Sequestered indoors, Jack goes to work on streamlining MAX's body.
We're excited for the second annual Escape from Berkeley rally. Last year, MAX won the inaugural event from Berkeley to Las Vegas. This year, it's a run for the Mexican border!
What does MAX have in common with and old action, adventure, paranoia, social commentary BBC TV series of the '60s?
MAX will enter a race, uhhhh we mean event, and will run on veggie oil.
The fine art of automotive design, especially high-mpg design.
An after-the-fact analysis of MAX's accident on the way to the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Fair, and the dangers of "getthereitis."
A reader recently raised concerns that MAX is illegal in Uncle Sam's eyes. Here's the skinny.
So here you have it: MAX with a crumpled rear fender, crumpled trunk section, a turn signal bashed out, a door knocked loose, and a flat tire. It's fully reparable, but not today, and not in time to drive to the MEN Fair.
The Rally Green starting flag drops in Knoxville Iowa, Sunday August 15, beginning a cross country fuel economy rally ending in San Francisco the folowing Saturday. MAX will be there and going for the gold.
Thoughts on the potentially fuzzy math of mpg calculations.
From the Science Channel, watch the Brink TV show's spotlight on MAX and its victory in the Escape from Berkeley race.
Could MAX pass federal safety standards for mass-produced cars? Nope. Should that matter?
En route to the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR, Jack listens all too well to GPS and ends up on dirt roads in the Oregon Outback.
The first step in our high-mileage pickup project: an "aerocap" streamlined cover for the bed. An aerocap gives the biggest bang for the buck.
Steve explains how one practical guy invented a way to burn pellets efficiently without an expensive pellet stove
See a video on how Steve finishes interior wood with waterbased stains, and why you might want to think beyond just brown colours.
Steve shares 11 years of his experience with the newest mainstay power tool in the world, and offers three free chances to win an impact driver.
Steve shares an approach he installed at a friend's place for easing the burden of priming seasonal water systems
With a few key supplies, you can revive worn wood flooring without heavy-duty sanding.
A searchable index for the MAX Updates posts, and a few more thoughts on the Progressive Automotive X Prize.
MAX won an award at the 2014 Maker Faire Bay Area for...gosh, we don't really know, but it was best in its class.
My MAX car got licensed with the local DOT to run on vegetable oil fuel and pay its proper taxes per gallon. Each state has its own rules; here's how we do it in Oregon.
What kind of mpg did MAX get in the race? How did Jack get fuel along the way? How much can you get for a t-shirt and a copy of Mother Earth News? Answers to these exciting questions inside!
Is MAX an actual modern-day vehicle, or just a high school shop class experiment? In this update, Jack answers sharp questions from an automotive engineer.
Learning from experience, I've put some impact-resistant structure on the back of MAX.
MAX got some new lager diameter wheels. They should do the job and the price was right, and as a bonus, they look terrific.
An introduction to DraftSight, Dassault Systèmes' 2D CAD software. It's professional quality and it's free, and Jack is converting all the MAX fabrication drawings to DraftSight .dmg documents.
Engine efficiency depends on rpm (among other things) and slower isn't always better. More wisdom from the Honey Bear.
MAX is back at the shop, awaiting diagnosis and correction of an overheating problem, plus some additional body work before its next venture.
Hybrid cars save fuel by shutting the engine off at idle (among other things). Does MAX burn enough fuel at idle to be worth the effort? Our honey bear can tell us.
MAX wins the Escape from Berkeley race!!
MAX at its first autocross. Hey, it's a sports car, right?
MAX got a new set of high efficiency Goodyear tires, and a second set of wheels so we can do comparison testing. Will the difference be detectable to our low budget testing technology?
MAX version 2.0 is about to start moving. This may come as a surprise, but Jack is going to try it with biodiesel.
Could MAX be the perfect car for driver's ed?
Jack gets a wallop of motivation for a fully enclosed cabin, and looks ahead to a future with inquisitive grandchildren.
Perhaps if we had just listened to the deer all along, we never would've ended up in this gas guzzling mess.
MAX's bodywork continues, as Jack modifies the race car nose to fit over the Kubota engine.
There's a new automotive fuel efficiency contest coming up -- the Rally Green -- and now MAX has a tachometer, a digital wonder called a Tiny Tach.
A video demonstration of MAX's windscreen, which deflects air around the driver's face with minimal aerodynamic drag.
MAX turns heads and makes an impression at The EG, aka the Entertainment Gathering.
Brink TV show seeks "low-budget mad scientist." Jack and his MAX project fit the bill!
Is the glass half empty? Half full? Or is there just too much glass? I'm designing MAX to be just the right amount of "glass" for the vast majority of our driving. Here's to efficiency.
More progress on MAX's streamlined body, using a laser to make curved body parts fit on a flat frame.
It's the age-old tug of war between good looks and streamlined, aerodynamic design.
Technology marches on. It comes at a price, but a FloScan fuel consumption and mileage meter could give me instant feedback on MAX's fuel efficiency.
MAX is hitting 60 mpg. That's better than a Prius, and before we get serious about streamlining.
One would think a car wouldn't need a mechanical inspection at 5,000 miles. But when you're building a 100-mpg car from scratch, and the builder is meticulous, it's wise to look for problems even when there are no signs of problems.
In the interest of making MAX a smidgeon safer, I've added side bumpers to the passenger compartment. Here's why I made them this way.
MAX version 2.0 is underway.
MAX gets a small favor from high-end luxury sports cars.
MAX is well on its way to 100 mpg, if the lessons from these 100+ mpg motorcyles are any indication.
Using MAX to test a tubing streamlining material, resulted in a significant reduction in drag.
We're looking at a handful of low cost improvements, and since MAX is undergoing repairs at the moment, this is a good time to make them.
It's time to calculate MAX's aerodynamic drag. Enter champagne science on a beer budget!
MAX is encountering robust competition at Escape from Berkeley
In the pursuit of 100 mpg, cardboard is a nice medium for conceptualizing design features, but it has its limitations.
We're modifying the Lola race car's nose to fit MAX's chassis. The first step is cutting the nose down the middle so we can move the fenders apart a few more inches, which will let us steer enough for parking and other normal street activities.
To improve MAX's versatility, the passenger seat is removable, which converts MAX from a couple carrier to a cargo carrier.
MAX finally got a deer deflector, after three years of writing about how much it needs one. It'll give a bit of extra rollover protection, too.
MAX got a smog test at an Oregon DEQ Vehicle Testing Station, and passed with high marks.
Jack missed Rally Green and MAX has a mysterious overheating problem.
MAX needs 25 percent more horsepower to get from zero to 60 mph in less than 18 seconds. Got any suggestions?
MAX needs a roof, stat.
We're at work on a 100-mpg DIY car! Come meet MAX and take a seat for what will be a long, but fun, journey.
A treatise on the difference between a gasoline engine throttle and a diesel "throttle," what that means for MAX, and how the difference was overcome.
The second attempt at weatherproofing MAX involves a convertible top which flips open to get in or out of the cockpit. Not perfect, but not bad.
Breaking News: MAX Totaled
MAX is back from the dead after its infamous wreck. So why is the frame gray?
Some burglar wanted my Millermatic 180 more than I did, I guess. Here's why I liked it and why I'm going to get another one.
The clock is ticking and I've been taking some shortcuts on getting MAX ready for Rally Green ... and some have turned into long cuts. I need to work smarter, not faster.
The "High Mileage Car Show" at the latest Mother Earth News Fair, and the pleasure of driving a fuel efficient car.
On a summertime cross country trip from Oregon to Ohio, I restricted MAX's radiator inlet air a little at a time, demonstrating that very little inlet area (28 square inches) provides sufficient air for cooling.
MAX gets a lightweight belly pan under the engine, to further reduce aerodynamic drag.
MAX isn't just streamlined - MAX has its rolling resistance down to a minimum too, thanks to low-drag tires and lubricants. Here's a video to show how much it matters.
Does 100 mpg fuel economy justify cross-country recreational travel? Maybe so and maybe not, but I need to be careful—increasing fuel efficiency can increase fuel consumption if you increase your driving, too.
MAX gets a temporary mash-up of old and new style body parts (the new nose is at the fiberglassers' having a mold made so we can make more of them) to get road-legal for a trip to Canada.
How much power and performance does a car need for a guy to get a gal's attention? According to MAX fans, not very much.
MAX ran with the motorcycles in the Vetter Fuel Economy Challenge, with surprisingly high marks--127 miles per gallon. Surprising to the author, at least.
We're cleaning up the details on MAX. One of the finishing touches is clear streamlined headlight covers, and here's how I made them.
A car's electrical consumption adds to its fuel consumption. For MAX, turning off the headlights improves fuel economy by roughly 4 mpg.
A primer on fiberglass mold making and molding fiberglass parts, using MAX's nose parts (hood and bubble) as examples.
Results of the long-awaited cooling system test, which shows how little air MAX needs through the radiator.
I hate to say it — because electric cars may be the salvation of transportation someday — but much of the current hype around electric cars is smoke and mirrors.
Jack took MAX to a local car show and found that even if they're not looking for high mileage, folks think MAX is cool.
MAX debuts by taking the checkered flag of the 800+ mile, no gasoline consumed, Escape from Berkeley race.
Jack has dismantled MAX's body and is making molds from the body parts, so other MAX-like car builders won't have to duplicate his work.
Conservation over corn.
MAX is getting prepped for paint, and all the essential bodywork is done for the new, streamlined roadster body.
In my 7,500-plus mile adventure in MAX this summer, one lesson really stands out: Haste Makes Waste.
Volkswagon's high mileage (1 liter of fuel per 100 kilometers) car is getting closer to production. Expect to see 100 of these available to the public in 2013.
MAX has very low rolling resistance, as demonstrated by this three year old kid pushing it around the building.
A surprising benefit of MAX's streamlining is the increased luggage space.
By making a pattern and a mold, we can now reproduce rear fenders as needed.
MAX gets a low cost, high accuracy, and none too attractive fuel gauge. Two out of three ain't bad.
Craig Henderson and his Avion high mileage sports car went from Canada to Mexico at 119.1 MPG. He plans to produce Avion kits.
Considering deer, it’s time for a roll bar.
The tail end of MAX's bellypan (diffuser) gets tuft tested, and the attached video shows the results. This was the finishing touch that got MAX its 100 miles per gallon on the highway.
Why pre-1960 race cars were more efficient than post-1960 race cars, and thus a better example for high efficiency highway cars.