chemical safety in the home
How potentially dangerous chemicals are tested and are they really that safe for humans or not.
If passed, the Toxic Chemicals Safety Act would regulate dangerous chemicals and offer Americans better health protection from toxins in everyday products.
In the first study of its kind, Duke University researchers found multiple toxic chemical flame retardants in car seats, breast-feeding pillows, changing pads, crib wedges and bassinet mattresses. Ask about flammability standards before you buy.
Forced to extremes by illness, these homeowners built sacred, beautiful homes completely free of toxic chemicals, petrochemical fumes and other poisons. For all three, better housing has meant better health.
The Homestead Act of 1862 celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. The Homestead National Monument is hosting several activities to recognize this historical event that resulted in millions of self-sufficient homesteaders receiving free land. Learn more and participate!
An introduction to Paula Baker-Laporte's future readers : about Paula, multiple chemical sensitivities, Building Biology and the role of green building in health.
Radical homemaker Karen Keb introduces her new blog, which will cover topics as diverse as baking bread to raising livestock.
Do you find yourself spelling out words to others, such as when you are spelling out your last name? Try out our Homesteading Alphabet to keep your listeners on their toes and your homesteader lifestyle a part of your daily routine in a whole new way.
Think you're safe because you're buying BPA-free plastic? A study has found endocrine-disrupting chemicals in 70 percent of plastic products--even those without BPA.
Four months or so after you made wine from summer’s fruit, it’s ready to go into bottles. More meticulous than romantic, the bottling process marks the start of the final wait until the wine is ready to drink.
Building homes using dangerous and impactful industrial chemicals--in the name of energy efficiency--is not sustainable or ecological, a green building veteran says. His Health-Based Building model is an important step forward for green design.
Environmental journalist Simran Sethi spends her first night in her new home and reflects on the struggles and triumphs of the journey thus far.
Be aware: Living sustainably can be hindered by homeowner association rules.
A shocking first hand experience with the noisy demise of an ancient carbon monoxide detector.
Are you a modern homesteader with pioneering women in your lineage? My great grandmothers were all pioneers, but our lives could not be more different.
It's time for our third annual call for nominations for outstanding modern homesteaders! Organic gardeners, do-it-yourselfers and general self-sufficient gurus are being sought for the opportunity to be named as one of our 2014 Homesteaders of the Year.
Do you know any modern homesteaders living a self-sufficient lifestyle? We want to know about them! Nominate a family, someone you know or even yourself to become one of our Homesteaders of the Year in 2012.
Exploring preparing meals of only homegrown food.
Farmer and HOMEGROWN Life blogger Bryce Oates doesn't need a calling. He’s got plenty of other stuff to keep him busy in his small Missouri town.
An introduction to me, a home-schooled 11 year old.
Assistant Editor Heidi Hunt checks in with a quick report about Nate Poell's presentation on homebrewing.
Making cheese was nothing like I expected, but in the end, I was successful.
Pick something new to learn this year from Granny Miller’s list of 101 basic homesteading skills.
This blog post shares some of The Thyme Garden’s experience with growing hops for over 25 years. It includes history of hops, useful information about hops and how and where to grow them.
The discussion of home birth often revolves around the mother and the newborn baby. This blog post describes the experience through the eyes of the father, and the amazing respect for the family's midwife that came from the day of his son’s birth.
Why do we believe that math must be done one workbook page at a time, at the kitchen table? Anyone who’s ever kept chickens can tell you all the math that can be found in the hen house.
One of my earliest vivid childhood memories is sitting on my father’s lap as a young girl reading the magazine together in the 1980s and all throughout my childhood. He would read aloud while I studied the pictures of passive solar building, vegetable gardening, sheep shearing, building your own sugar shack and the beautiful array of topics which he read to me frequently. Those images, along with the camping trips in the mountains, the whitewater and canoeing excursions, and our family trip to Alaska, have been etched in the catacombs of my childhood memories and have sculpted the person I have grown to become.
A clogged sink can be fixed without harsh chemicals!
CCA-treated (copper, chromium and arsenic) wood fences can contaminate your garden if they're too close.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS is seeking nominations of self-sufficient modern homesteaders for our 2013 Homesteaders of the Year awards.
As the youngest member of a new local food producers and artisans cooperative, 11-year-old Grace is learning business skills while perfecting her artistic talents with homemade jewelry, pot holders and more.
The Homestead Act of 1862 opened up 270 million acres of public domain land for settlement. The Homestead National Monument of America tells the stories of many of the people who claimed land and tried to "prove up" their claim.
We learned a long time ago that we couldn’t attract an audience for our magazines unless we gave our readers tools they could use to improve the world personally. A backyard organic garden is the perfect symbol of positive vision and commitment.
At the Healthy Homes Conference in Denver today, I heard Home Depot Foundation CEO Fred Wacker say that the nonprofit sector is so far ahead of the profit sector in addressing healthy homes that it’s embarrassing for the profit sector.
I heard Ellen Tohn of Tohn Environmental Strategies say that the government will fund energy-efficiency updates in 1 million homes in the next year, making it paramount that energy workers understand healthy home principles. Poorly done house tightening could trap residents inside with contaminants and create hazards.
And I was pleased to hear health care pioneer Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, put quality housing in the same arena as diet, exercise and public policy as a key to achieving individual health. “If you don’t have healthy housing, I don’t care how many times you push away from the table or how far you walk, you’re not going to be healthy,” he said.
HOMEGROWN.org unwraps its 2013 holiday gift guide, featuring lots of homemade presents, as well as a few stocking stuffers for under $20.
The Department of Homeland Security continues to build a 670-mile-long wall along the US-Mexico border to keep illegal immigrants, but have they thought about the wildlife that they will destroy along the way?
Trace amounts of chemicals are particularly harmful to developing babies, which means expectant mothers should be careful. In the first post of a series, Jessica Kellner writes about the dangers of BPA and how to avoid the chemical.
Marley Audio Electronics collection, which debuted last week, showcases premium, eco-conscious manufacturing and materials, including hemp.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Pennsylvania homesteading mama Michelle takes a young woman under her wing for a first lesson in homemaking.
We are collecting stories from our readers -- their older neighbors or relatives, too -- about self-sufficient homesteading and farming in the early 20th century. Read what we've found, and share your own story from yesteryear for modern homesteaders.
Jeff and wife Kathy have lived off-grid since 2002. They strive to inform the public about ways to live inexpensively, and to further the principle of sustainability. Visit their website to learn more: www.naturalpower.weebly.com
Our humble abode begins to take shape.
At last, we construct the foundation.
Glimpse a view into the world of cordwood construction. This old-fashioned, natural building technique can inspire you to build an energy-efficient, mortgage-free house of your own.
Victoria Gazely considers her revitalized 650-square-foot homesteader’s cabin on 7 acres of fertile earth--purchased for $150--a blessing. “I absolutely love living here,” she says.
The Natural Resources Defense Council sues the FDA to get triclosan and triclocarban, synthetic hormone-disrupting chemicals that are bad for our health and the environment, out of personal-care products.
Hundreds of disease-causing chemicals could be lurking in your tap water thanks to outdated federal laws.
A California Environmental Protection Agency’s Resources Board study finds that airtight homes lead to pollutant buildup; poor indoor air quality can damage health
EcoLogo, North America’s largest environmental standard and certification mark, is initiating standards for eco-friendly pool and spa chemicals.
Kubota Reinforces Important Tractor Safety Reminders in Observance of Harvest Season National Farm Safety and Health Week, September 20-26, 2009
Learn about three concerns of pressure canning foods— equipment reliability, foodborne illness and altitude adjustments — and start pressure canning safely!
Follow the sawhorse plans from our 1985 article (with a few variations), and you can build sturdy, inexpensive sawhorses.
How to make your own homemade deodorant that really works!
Highlights from the "Make Your Own Green Cleaners--for Pennies" workshop at the Mother Earth News Fair: How to use vinegar and baking soda to clean just about everything.
Build this portable poultry pen in an afternoon using only simple hand tools. It’s just the right size for a small yard, but you’ll find lots of uses for it around the homestead, too.
Learn about using the Piteba to press your own homegrown oil.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger Bryce shares 5 things to consider before starting a farmstead—not the least of which being winter.
Get our expert advice on homemade options for laundry soap.
The Department of Homeland Security continues to build a 670-mile-long wall to create a barrier along the US-Mexico border. Although the wall will never completely stop illegal immigrants from coming into the country, it will risk the survival of animals and wildlife in the area.
The Department of Homeland Security continues to build a 670-mile-long wall along the US-Mexico border, despite petitions from the Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club.
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.
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.
Public outcry and increasing scientific evidence of the health hazards associated with chemicals such as BPA and triclosan cause 18 states to pass toxic chemical reforms.
Reform of chemical regulation would give the EPA a strong hand in which products get to consumers, and a new Senate bill limits formaldehyde levels in composite wood products.
Conventional bedding is full of toxic chemicals that outgas while you sleep. Don’t settle for a chemical-laden bed—win an organic bedroom from Lifekind!
We call our homestead Sunflower Farm and now we have the sign to show for it!
In the second in a series on chemicals to avoid during pregnancy, Jessica discusses why and how to prevent dangerous pesticides and herbicides from entering our bodies and homes.
My name is Antonette, and I am a new blogger here at MOTHER EARTH NEWS. Before I can blog my pregnancy journey for you all, I must first do something that has taken six years ... write the birth story of my son Baylin.
October 6, 2010, at 11:04 am I said the three words I waited over four and a half years to say. I looked in to my newborn daughter’s eyes and said I DID IT! This is the VBAC homebirth story of my daughter Evangélina.
I recently received a copy of the new book and pregnancy journal Sacred Pregnancy from author Anni Daulter. I was thrilled when Anni agreed to guest post this week for the blog on what makes a Sacred Pregnancy.
Mother's Day was this past Sunday, so I felt it was appropriate to share two beautiful birth stories this week that were sent to me from two extraordinary and strong women. This first story, in two parts, is a story about a HBAMC.
The birth story of Baby Oakley from my dear friend Suzann is an important one. Someimes things don't go as planned, but her story goes to show that an empowering birth is about trust, love, support and the power of choice.
After many weeks of prodromal labor and a baby who kept momma on the edge by constantly changing position, Suzanne goes into labor with Baby O in a posterior position. Read Part 2 of Oakley's Birth Story.
On Mother's Day 2011, Brandy went in to labor with her fourth child. She was planning a HBAMC (Home Birth After Multiple C-Sections). She woke up that morning ready to bring her son into this world on her terms. This is Part 2 of her story.
Jim and Julie are starting their homestead in Texas while still living in Australia. Managing the project by remote control is the challenge, and they are learning as they go. This is an adventure of faith and confidence.
Haven't made any New Year's resolutions yet? No worries. HOMEGROWN.org has you covered with 10 ways to change the world in 2014, starting in your own backyard.
Geoff Taylor reflects on his survival of a bizarre accident, his gratitude for life and his hypergraphia.
Have you ever been injured on the farm? Tell us how you're doing, and share your advice on how we can avoid the same accident.
In eggs from a healthy chicken, proteins found within the egg white control the growth of dangerous bacteria. If a chicken is infected with salmonella, the proteins can't protect you.
Still anxious about the Salmonella found in tomatoes? Although some cases have been reported as recently as late June, don’t let it stop you from enjoying fresh, seasonal tomatoes.
Homesteading with dogs in remote mountain living. Considerations in providing a good safe homestead environment for your cherished pets.
These cheap and easy homemade baby wipes will make your baby’s bottom and your pocketbook healthy and happy.
Many years ago, years before I moved to the country, I was what would be considered "a prepper." I saw disaster every time I turned on the TV, or read the news on the internet, or visited forums that talked about stockpiling beans and bullets. I panicked, thinking I could never have enough control for the sake of my family, never be "prepped" enough.
The place I call home these days is The FarmSchool, a fertile 180-acre strip of ridge top in Athol, where 15 student-farmers are spending a year learning the ins and outs of growing food, managing forests, and raising animals for meat. I arrived at the farm in October, just as the leaves were reaching their peak brilliance. The Farm School — which offers three-day programs for schoolchildren, a summer camp, a full-time middle school, and the apprenticeship program I’m in — takes us through all seasons of farming, weaving together class work and on-farm training.
Black bears and rural living go hand in hand in many parts of North America. So how do you keep bear/human conflicts to a minimum?
Prefab is so much more than mobile homes! Explore your options for manufactured homes, modular homes and panelized homes made of wood, steel or insulated concrete.
Conventional flooring and wallpaper products contain high levels of toxic chemicals, an Ecology Center study finds.
Though it reuses a waste material, fly ash concrete contains traces of mercury and other chemicals from coal-burning power plants. Do you want that in your home?
The Environmental Protection Agency has added short-chain chlorinated paraffins, found in paint, adhesives and plastics, to its short list of dangerous chemicals.
The new metal roof was nailed down just hours before the storm hit.
Our Rural Property for Sale site helps you search for a sweet spot to put your future homestead, with handy filters to help you find just what you're looking for more easily.
This grandparents’ homestead housed a number of generations and everyone participated in daily chores such as pumping water for baths, melting lard for bread, and using cloth flour bags to make curtains, blankets and dresses.
Here are some resources where you can learn more about how a scythe can be useful on your homestead.
The NH Permaculture Gathering is just a couple weeks away!
Small towns across the country in need of a population boost are literally giving away free land to attract new residents and boost their populations. Seekers of the quiet (and low-cost) small town lifestyle can now grab some free land to build their homes.
From pig to plate, learn how to make homemade sausage patties grandma’s way and use rendered fat for more cooking.
If you have a lot of excess scrap paper like I do, it’s time to put that waste to better use. Read this do-it-yourself article about how to make your own homemade, recycled paper, and then get to work turning trash into treasure.
In 45 years, Deltec Homes have never lost a house to high winds.
This morning in my inbox: Orlando Bloom announced at Wednesday night’s Global Green pre-Oscars party that he’s building a green, solar-powered home in London. And an RISMedia report stating that despite the downturn in the general housing market, demand for green homes continues to be a hot trend.
Did you buy or build a home without going into debt? We're looking for stories on homes built with a small mortgage, or no mortgage at all. Here's what we want to know.
You can easily make homemade mozzarella in 30 minutes or less!
There's no need to be afraid of canning. With basic skills a cook can safely prepare and process excess produce during the summer and have a ready supply all winter. An easy way to start is with dill pickles, with extras like garlic and hot peppers.
Cobbler is not the only solution to a bumper crop of berries. If you can boil water, you can turn the juice from big-flavor berries into tasty beverages that are naturally rich in vitamins and antioxidants. Make extra juice to freeze or can for year-round enjoyment.
This blog post describes the MOTHER EARTH NEWS staff's afternoon spent harvesting their homegrown garlic.
HOMEGROWN blogger and Bay Area homesteader Rachel outlines strategies for responsible drought gardening in her home state of California--or anywhere.
The $300 House Project challenges student and professional designers to create housing that shelters the poorest of the poor with safety and dignity. Winners will receive cash prizes and the opportunity to see their $300 houses built and reproduced.
Have you ever wondered why our food has become so industrialized? Where some of those chemicals that are in almost everything, came from?
When it comes to your health and well-being your bed is the most important furniture choice you will make. This article describes why and how to choose the healthiest bed options for you and your family.
There seems to be limited testing done by the EPA on the toxicity of some chemicals.
Facing massive snow drifts, HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Maine dairy farmer Dyan Redick forges a new path to her barn and finds inspiration in the process.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger Dyan Redick considers how inextricably the lives of farmers and fishermen are intertwined in her coastal Maine town.
HOMEGROWN blogger and homesteading mama Michelle explains why road trips are worth packing 3 kids, 2 adults, and 2 dogs in a camper for weeks on end.
In the wake of the summer solstice, HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Maine dairy farmer Dyan takes time to appreciate the longest days of the year.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Bay Area homesteader Rachel recounts how she went from half-hearted to full-breed-ahead when it comes to breeding goats.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Maine dairy farmer Dyan Redick honors the determination of women farmers, even as she observes a bittersweet month on her farm.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and West Missouri farmer Bryce Oates discusses why his family works so hard—both on and off of the farm—to practice subsistence farming.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Bay Area homesteader Rachel discusses using manure in the garden, including which type of animal waste is best for which crops.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Bay Area homesteader Rachel of Dog Island Farm covers the essentials of how to can safely.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Maine dairy farmer Dyan reflects on the changes that arrive with fall, including her own sense of melancholy.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Missouri farmer Bryce Oates shares why he values reading (Eliot Coleman, especially) and how it impacts his fall growing season.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and homesteader Rachel, of the Bay Area's Dog Island Farm, shares her method for cooking the very best Thanksgiving turkey ever.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and West Missouri farmer Bryce Oates shares his approach to improving soil health and preparing a soil microbe brew.
HOMEGROWN.org blogger and West Missouri farmer Bryce Oates shares his thoughtful position on vegetarianism.
Geoff Taylor laments the frequency of ladder accidents that happen as a result of neglecting necessary precautions, such as wearing sturdy shoes and always have a spotter.
It's official: The USDA has finally hammered out the details on country of origin labeling. The rule will take effect March 16, but some say it could use a little tweaking first.
After testing 55 common food products containing HFCS, researchers found mercury in nearly one-third.
Ready for summer recreation? Hit the water safely during National Safe Boating Week.
DIY projects are great fun and can save money — unless you end up in the emergency room.
June is National Safety Month, and the Kubota Tractor Corporation’s safety program reminds its customers to make tractor safety a priority.
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.
Builders and designers believe that low-e windows, engineered wood products and eat-in kitchens will be key characteristics of new homes in the future.
An introduction to my current pregnancy with Baby #3 and plans for a second homebirth. Details of my seventh month and thoughts on the gender of our baby.
A Birth Altar is a space that will become a power symbol of one's birth. I have begun creating my birth space and bringing together objects that will become my collection of strength during my home birth.
Where we find a wealth of information for projects and enjoyable reading.
This is a summary of our attendance at the IBS show in Jan. Also a re-cap of Jan events and our transistion into the construction phase of the project. We also talk about the decision for the competiton to be moved off the Nationa Mall in DC
Learn the basic skills useful for mountain homesteading.
Use your extra screwdriver bits to build stubby screwdrivers suitable for small spaces.
Homemade vodka is easy to make and tastes great. Stay tuned — MOTHER EARTH NEWS has an article coming up next year about Artisan Alcohol Distilling.
Make you own inexpensive, pampering - and edible - homemade face mask with this simple recipe. Enjoy!
This traditional recipe for Potatiskorv, or Swedish potato sausage, is delicious, simple and hearty.
Instructions for building a cold smoker (and three other things you can do with steel oil drums).
Learn to make Queso Blanco, by far the easiest cheese in my opinion, as the only ingredients are whole milk and white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar if you like).
This soft, tangy sourdough oatmeal bread may just be the best you’ve ever tasted.
Make a delicious homemade bread with this easy tutorial.
Existing homes that are certified as “green” sold for 30 percent more than homes without such a designation, according to an analysis of the Portland, Oregon, metropolitan region released today by Earth Advantage Institute, a nonprofit green building resource. Newly constructed homes with a sustainability certification sold for 8 percent more than non-certified homes.
This result continues a four-year trend in which new homes with third-party certification for sustainable construction and energy performance have consistently sold for more than newly constructed homes that had not been certified. The term "certified home" includes homes that received an Earth Advantage New Homes, ENERGY STAR, or a LEED for Homes designation, or a combined Earth Advantage/ENERGY STAR certification.
Kathy Bennett and Scott Bergford will present workshops on raising sheep and keeping your green home safe at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
James Zitting of Bee Landing and Terry Phelan of Living Shelter Design Architects will present workshops on beekeeping and straw bale building at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Many beauty products contain harmful chemicals, but figuring out which are the worst can be difficult. Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence clues you in to the top five chemical ingredients to avoid when buying summer skin care products, and helps you learn about a few natural alternatives.
This summer, the Gulf of Mexico's dead zone is estimated to be the largest yet since records began back in 1985.
Natural products research firm Compass Naturals predicts shoppers will get savvy; rebel against chemicals, over-packaging, GMOs and animal cruelty; and grow more of their own food.
A listing of companies that offer green dwellings in the form of modular, prefab, manufactured, compact, or mobile structures. These days, many such options are available that are not only green, but also beautiful, well-made, and often low-cost.
One of the nation's largest home developers announces it will offer solar arrays as standard features on new homes in California.
A lookout tower home, which features reclaimed materials, connects its homeowner with her past, present and future.
A few hundred protestors from across the country arrived at the White House last month, the culmination of the two-week GMO Right2Know March that began in New York City on October 1. (Congratulations all you brave marchers - my feet ache just thinkin
Coming back to agriculture and the farming life, I think every farmer should spend time as a fisherperson. If that were the case, I have a hard time believing Industrial Agriculture would have ever taken its foothold. Manure runs downhill as they say
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Bay Area homesteader Rachel of Dog Island Farm shares how to install drip irrigation in your home garden.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Maine dairy farmer Dyan learns that giving up control, whether over a mischievous flock or a single lamb, can have its own rewards.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger Michelle's annual road trips out west renew her love for the heartland and the American farmer.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger Rachel, of Dog Island Farm, argues in favor of her favorite chicken breed, the Buckeye.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Pennsylvania homesteading mama Michelle reflects on how she lost the Christmas spirit of her youth — and how she got it back.
Looking for land? HOMEGROWN.org blogger Michelle Wire shares resources and practical advice for anyone considering buying a homestead.
For those of us who ever placed a ladder against a tree or pole and climbed twenty feet up only to think, "what am I doing here?"
Kubota reinforces tractor and heavy equipment safety for the whole family.
Could MAX pass federal safety standards for mass-produced cars? Nope. Should that matter?
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.
What's behind the food contamination issues plaguing us of late? Poop. Plain and simple. The Cornucopia Institute weighs in.
The American Society of Safety Engineers’ Ag Branch encourages purchasing tractors with a Rollover Protection Structure. Programs exist that will help offset the cost of the ROPS to add to older tractors. Tractor rollovers are common accidents that will lead to severe injury or death, but an ROPS will keep the driver safe.
Tips on how to stay safe during clean-up activities after a tornado.
Protect your home and yourself by making your property Firewise! Here are explanations on how to think of your property in zones and additional tips for protecting your home property.
Tips on how to enjoy fireworks safely!
Tips on how to increase your car's fuel efficiency by checking the tire pressure.
July is UV Safety Month. Stay safe in the sun with these tips.
Adding lemon juice to tomatoes before canning is not an option! Neither is being distracted and forgetting what you're doing.
A reader recently raised concerns that MAX is illegal in Uncle Sam's eyes. Here's the skinny.
Clipping the wing of a troublesome hen and tasting the first Chicago hardy figs was really great, but what was even more fantastic was seeing Anna's new book arrive and how beautiful it looks.
Docking of dairy cows serves no purpose and causes pain and discomfort for the
Homestead skills of yogurt-making and bread-baking increase your independence from grocery store aisles and international food conglomerates.
To build a net zero energy home, you'll need to design for passive gain. That requires a shallower footprint to ensure that the low-angled winter sun can enter and heat each room.
Insulation under the slab -- and lots of it -- is vital for the performance of a net zero energy home. So is the footprint. You can make the most of passive solar by creating a longer, narrower house in which each room is heated by the sun.
Be sure to install under-the-footing conduit to run electrical and water pipes, including sewer. I like to run pipes and wire under the foot to prevent penetrating the band joist or the foundation to create a more airtight, water tight home.
Don't forget to budget in the cost of deeper excavation and add $1000 to $2000 as a budget contingecy in case you run into bedrock.
Insulating concrete forms are an excellent choice for foundations for passive solar, net zero energy homes. They create a highly insulated, air-tight foundation, so essential for extremely high energy performance.
ICFs are not the most environmentally friendly green building product, but result in super energy efficient home, and offer many other benefits, that offset their origin from petrochemicals.
ICF walls must be carefully braced to prevent blowout.
Creating a net zero energy home requires that we eliminate all thermal bridging loss -- heat movement into and out of a building. All this starts in the basement.
Living luxuriously doesn’t necessarily mean living large — at least not in these homes — and reducing a little waste doesn’t hurt, either.
Most of us would love to live in energy-efficient homes that are good for the environment and have low, low energy bills. But what are the best real options available? How do you create an extremely energy-efficient home that’s still affordable for most people?
Any net zero-energy home needs two things. The first is the sun, providing passive solar energy. The second necessity is retaining maximum heat.
Some of the nastiest chemicals we bring into our homes are used to clean ovens and drains--and they're not necessary. Learn how to clean your entire kitchen using vinegar, baking soda and a little salt and lemon juice. You'll love the results!
Using herbs and food to dye Easter eggs gives them beautiful, earthy color--without scary chemicals. And it's surprisingly easy.
China joins Canada, Europe and the United Arab Emirates in banning BPA from children's products. What is the United States doing? So far, nothing.
As the economy improves, the trend toward smaller homes is reversing.
Homesteads and farms often have fun or touching
names that etch themselves into our memories. Is there one that has stuck in
Fun is where you find it, in this case it is a hay ride for the family along our trail.
A rundown of activities you can do in the winter to improve your homestead.
How we approached buying our property, clearing and selecting a home site.
As we look into the future we prepare for a flatter terrain for a new homestead.
Outlining our process for locating a suitable location for finding a new homestead.
After many months of preparation and planning, we are very excited to be starting to build our homestead - a barndominium. The first stage is to get a good solid foundation so our new homestead will be solid for today and future generations.
The building of the barndominium is in high gear. After all of the ground work, the slab is poured, cured and the steel framework of the barndominium is erected in one day. With the progress, there were a few problems but quickly solved.
On what will probably be the last trip to Chateau Christie as Australians, we are trying to get the property to a livable stage - completing the electrical and plumbing and getting things ready for an inspection so we can sheetrock and finish.
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.
FamilyFarmed.org Good Food Festival & Conference partner Vicki Nowicki shares her experience living, learning, and teaching on her suburban permaculture homestead.
There are a lot of things you can do right now to experience the homestead lifestyle right in your backyard.
Watch Steve tell you his homestead story and how his two trucks have helped make good things happen.
Chainsaw safety equipment.
Stay warm, find a hobby and cull the livestock; here are some of the things we do to prepare for winter!
Using rabbit hypnosis and a pair of wire cutters we successfully perform dental surgery on one of our does.
Providing your own sewer, water and power can be more expensive and is certainly less convenient but that's not all there is to consider. This article takes a look at some of the other differences between public and private services.
As Passive House Institute standards up the ante, USA Today’s “Best Green Homes of 2010” list reflects Americans’ desire for affordability, efficiency and style.
Looking for a great home metalworking project? Follow these DIY patio furniture instructions to build scrap-metal furniture for your patio.
Curing your own bacon is so simple that anyone can do it. Here's how to do so, complete with recipe and step-by-step.
Learn how to make a pinwheel for a fun, outdoors toy.
Jessica Kellner, managing editor with Natural Home magazine, talks with Deborah Niemann-Boehle about how easy it is to make bread at home.
Take control of your food with a return to the kitchen, and learn to love the time you spend there cooking with your family.
I used my homemade ricotta cheese in a number of ways, the best was in a pumpkin lasagna dish we shared with my family at Christmas dinner.
You can save money and improve your helaht by making more foods from scratch in your own kitchen. Sign on for October Unprocessed, and kick the processed food habit for one full month (at least for starters!). Check out some deliciously simple recipes to get you started.
Ten easy-to-make homemade soup recipes from Eating Well magazine that are suitable for any occasion.
Jonathan Sadowski shares what motivates him to be a bread baker. He then provides a preview of what to expect from his future posts.
Ten easy holiday pantry gifts that you can make at the last minute.
This recipe provides delicious bread with minimal time commitment and plenty of room to explore the wonders of homemade bread.
This heavy artisan bread is full of flavor, and will be ready by dinnertime if you start right now! The unexpected flavor comes from good quality honey olive oil and barley flour.
This recipe will have naan on your table in no time to accompany your Indian dishes, and it will provide a quick and easy snack in a pinch.
Katie and Martin Clemons are resetting their priorities as they settle happily into a 480-square-foot apartment in Berlin. “Living smaller has taught us to live more simply,” Katie says. They bike more, shower less and enjoy their good life.
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.
This historical neighborhood, with a strong sense of community, offers the feeling of small-town living.
Bounty is in the eye of the beholder — whether it be a bowl of perfect berries or millions of maple seeds.
One woman's journey from life in urban America to a small town in Austria, then back to a suburban homestead in Dallas on which she tries her hand at keeping dairy goats.
Keeping a garden journal helps you know which varieties you grew were successful, which were not and how much you harvested from each.
For inspiration and education, take some time to peruse the hundreds of Modern Homesteading articles.
All the hard work of planting, weeding and watering comes to fruition in a bowl of berries and a plate of golden potatoes.
All of the work of readying the garden and waiting for it to produce is worth the wait once the harvest begins.
The garden is growing better than I could have expected in the raised beds at my "new" urban homestead.
Using natural products, such as grass clippings and homemade organic fertilizer, can turn the worst clay soil into an acceptable growing medium.
Moving to an urban homestead is a challenge, but the boxes are getting unpacked and the birds are at the feeders.
Making the move to a historical neighborhood will offer an opportunity to develop community ties and try some new gardening techniques.
Creating new no-dig garden beds is easier and quicker with raised-bed stakes and two-by-six lumber.
Here are a few helpful books on homesteading skills and old-time crafts.
Farming isn’t a skill that can be easily learned from a book. Here’s some advice and a collection of resources to help you decide whether you’re ready to try your hand at it.
Brief description of our journey back onto the National Mall, our Flex Space design, and our Solar Thermal Skylight.
In this blog we talk about our three differnet types of solar technology that we have on the Homestead.
In this blog, I describe two of the first and most important design considerations -- the length and depth of the home and the layout of rooms for optimum passive solar gain.
Here's some hints on how to juggle cheese-making among the many other homesteading chores. Mozzarella and cheddar can both be woven in while doing other tasks, but there's nothing like clabbered cheese for ease of making.
Simple and old-fashioned, homemade fried pies are a good Sunday afternoon dessert that even the kids can help with.
Learn more about the life and work of Malcolm Wells, the "Father of Earth Sheltered Design."
Dan Chiras talks about the benefits of passive solar design.
Dan Chiras discusses the long-term benefits of building a green home.
Our process of buying the land for our homestead had little to do with logic and a lot to do with emotion. For me, it was a chance to return to the plains where I grew up and be close to family.
Offering paint that saves the rain forest and a full list of ingredients, this natural finishes start-up aims to change the industry. Unearthed is making a bold move by providing full ingredient disclosure for all of its products.
Information about energy-efficient washing machines and cellular window shades. These energy-efficient appliances and window shades will please environmentally conscious consumers.
Lloyd meditates on the essentials of shelter and our memories of home.
A new Environmental Protection Agency website helps homeowners and renters decrease their energy consumption and cut carbon emissions.
More than 30 years ago, Michael Reynolds followed his vision of sustainable, energy-efficient homes that would work with nature. Today, his Earthships inspire green designers and architects.
A progress update on our book Tiny Homes On the Move
If you are hoping to build a new home or weekend cottage, we would appreciate your participation in this short survey, which will gauge your interest in a variety of possible kit home features.
Let’s break down the soap-making process and start scrubbin’ with homemade bars!
Rachel describes how to turn her heirloom corn crop into beautiful blue corn tortillas!
After a completely miserable potato harvest this year we’ve decided to pull them out of the ground and do them in boxes made out of pallets. That way we can use weedblock under them to eliminate the whole bindweed issue. So today, the boxes went up.
How to Schedule your Planting by the Moon
The morning started off with a decent lecture on poultry operation, production, and marketing. After a midday break, lectures resumed, this time being led by a different fellow, on the subject of free-range, humane certified broiler production. I won
A recipe for sourdough starter.
The flowers weren't just there to be pretty. They provided a long blooming source of forage for our bees and the native pollinators.
So, yes, I have become a lover of goats (and ducks have won me over, too). But the truth is, I can’t wait to eat the boys.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my short time of being a goat herder, it’s that at breeding time, the goats are in charge.
Dyan writes about the changing season at Bittersweet Farm, and introduces us to the newest member of the flock, a black sheep named Little Man.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger Dyan recalls how the seasons affected her childhood and how they guide her activities now on her Maine dairy farm.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger Rachel shares the basics of landscape design.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Maine dairy farmer Dyan Redick discovers a kindred soul in E. B. White when she reads the essay Memorandum, from his 1944 collection, 'One Man's Meat.'
HOMEGROWN Life blogger Bryce Oates sings the praises of mixed-species perennial pastures for in-between seasons—even if they don't fully alleviate the need for watching and waiting.
HOMEGROWN.org introduces Find Good Food, a new page that includes national and state-by-state resources for locating family farmed eats near you. Read it! Share it! Add to it! Make it your own—and help make it even better.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger Dyan Redick divides her time differently these days, Before Milking and After Milking, in the wake of spring births on her Maine dairy farm.
Missouri farmer and HOMEGROWN Life blogger Bryce Oates tackles the Enbridge Flanagan South Pipeline, which would cross 1 mile from his area's water intake.
None of these items' primary use is for gardening or livestock keeping but here we are using them all the time. So here's my list of items that you should keep around if you are an avid gardener or own livestock.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Pennsylvania homesteading mama Michelle shares a few strategies and suggestions for healthier school lunches.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Maine dairy farmer Dyan Redick gets through winter — and goat breeding — by taking a page from her herd and sticking together.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Bay Area homesteader Rachel shares her New Year's resolution for 2014: buying food directly from farmers.
We are inundated with green messages that can sometimes be confusing or misleading. This phenomenon is especially true when it comes to the paint industry. There is much talk about No-VOC and Low-VOC paints, but what is the truth behind it?
The Gulf of Mexico's dead zone continues to expand. This summer, it's estimated to grow to the size of 10,084 square miles, which is the size of Massachusetts.
Although the well that caused the BP oil spill is now dead, the spill’s effects live on. Debate about oil dispersants, such as Corexit, and concerns regarding the settled oil on the ocean floor that came from Deepwater Horizon continue to grow. To understand how the spill impacted and continues to affect the Gulf of Mexico, MOTHER EARTH NEWS spoke with Ronald J. Kendall, director of the Institute of Environmental and Human Health at Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas.
This funky DIY bicycle helmet from Adafruit features colorful LED light strips to increase riders' visibility at night.
Instructional videos from the League of American Bicyclists provide basic bicycle safety tips.
Crossing flags could improve pedestrian safety and walkability in your city. Find out how to start a program in your own neighborhood.
The process of mechanically tenderizing steaks creates a food safety hazard by transferring bacteria that otherwise would be limited to the surface of a steak to the entire cut of meat, inside and out. Rare steak lovers, beware.
Tips on how to protect your skin and stay safe in the sun.
Studies show unhealthy dieting kills more people than alcohol, cigarettes and drug use combined.
Nearly 2 million people sent comments opposing genetically engineered salmon to the Food and Drug Administration, stating that GE salmon is bad for the consumer, the environment and the native fish.
Foodborne pathogens such as E. coli can be spread by uncomposted manure from grain-fed cattle on high-concentraton factory farms. The E. coli outbreak in northern Germany reminds us to look twice at the quality of our manure.
Join the conversation about the best way to ensure a safe food supply.
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.
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.
The electric Tesla Model S was put to the test in a recent highway collision. Tesla's CEO offers his assessment of the resulting fire and the overall safety of his company's vehicle.
Environmental journalist Simran Sethi discusses the recent Gulf of Mexico oil spill with Oceana’s Senior Campaign Director Jackie Savitz.
Essentia introduces the world's first memory foam mattress made without chemicals.
Choose chemical-free organic bedding to start off the new year with healthy rest in a healthy bedroom.
The presence of bicycles on sidewalks has long been debated: Is it legal? Is it safer than the road? Shouldn’t children be able to ride on sidewalks?
Scaffolding is required to access the walls to pour the concrete. Scaffolding also helps support the walls.
Additional reinforcement is required around the garage door opening.
Here's a chance to transform your home into the greenest one on the block and then pay it forward to your neighbors to help paint your whole town "green."
Want to Save on Earth-Friendly Products? Check out Worm's Way's sale by clicking on the Earth Week banner at WormsWay.com and enjoy up to 20 percent off your purchases.
Americans continue to believe that green homes make a difference--but they need to be more affordable.
This index links to some recent and popular posts related to green building, design, remodeling, and home improvement. The posts cover a broad range of topics, from green products to projects to practices, as well as sustainable communities.
This two-day, alternative building workshop featuring energy expert Dan Chiras will be held March 13-14, 2010 in St. Louis.
Many people don’t know that most HVAC systems don’t produce more or less heating or cooling based on the room temperature – they simply blow air for longer.
May is the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s National Preservation Month. In conjunction with this month dedicated to protecting historic places, Sansin Corporation — a wood protection company focused on eco-friendly, “water-borne” interior and exterior stains — offers tips that do-it-yourselfers should keep in mind when undertaking historic home renovations.
Since they built their solar- and wind-powered cordwood home in Desboro, Ontario, Lisa and Ray Racicot have never looked back. The only thing they'll do differently next time is install the renewable energy systems first, to power the construction.
To satisfy today's home buyer, a developer of million-dollar luxury homes in New York is offering smaller, more affordable houses--more anecdotal evidence that the McMansion is dying.
This blog is an introduction to how we went from a condominium lifestyle to off grid modern homesteading in the mountains. It also includes an explanation of the meaning of "off grid".
This blog is about all of the choices we have for the type of home we want for off grid living and some of the construction materials involved. It turns out there are a multitude of options we have to choose from.
Comparing a covenant community against living rural without covenants.