An article about when the best time is to start a new homestead.
Looking back the past three years and identifying what we have learned from our experiences.
Instead of throwing out that empty feedbag, get creative and turn it into something new! Homesteader Ed Essex shares ideas for finding new uses for old objects.
There are a lot of things you can do right now to experience the homestead lifestyle right in your backyard.
Each year we learn more and more about living off grid and homesteading. These are just a few of the third-year experiences we wanted to share.
Learning to appreciate seasonal differences.
The cost to install and operate our solar electrical system.
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.
Sharing our first experience with an indoor/outdoor vertical hydroponic garden.
A typical day of activity on a modern homestead and off grid.
Things that occur when switching from summer to winter mode. Fall is almost non existent.
A short a story about our very first ice fishing and snowmobile ride.
Expense checklist for anyone wanting to plan a new homestead.
How we stay busy in the winter even though we live at 4200', three miles off the road, and somewhat isolated.
A brief description of our experience with a masonry heater.
Learn about our experience attending a Mother Earth News Fair as an exhibitor.
A short simple explanation of how to project your electrical needs in order to size your electrical off grid system.
This post is about our water cisterns and what we use them for. It also contains a caution that many local governments would like to tell you what you can and can't do with rainwater.
Things to look for in your soil before you break ground on your new home or cabin.
Real life experiences with chickens spanning a 50 year period.
The generators we use for living off the grid and a multitude of other tasks.
Ed and Bruce compare the weather and its impact on their mountain homesteads at different elevations and mountain ranges.
Two homesteaders from Washington and Colorado comment on their greatest weather fear in the mountains.
Bruce McElmurray and Ed Essex collaborate on how the weather dictates to their mountain homesteading.
Ed Essex and Bruce McElmurray compare their weather experiences living at 4,200 feet and 9750 feet elevation respectively.
Tips to help you get started planning your very own homestead. With proper planning you don't have to be experienced to do it right.
Some of the downside of free ranging your chickens.
How we have adapted from salt water fishing to freshwater and what we do with our catch.
What it is like to live higher up.
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".
A comparison of costs between on grid and off grid utilities for our circumstances.
Our experiences in learning to pressure can and use reusable canning lids.
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.
Ed and Laurie struggle with making time for visitors while dealing with all of the daily business and homesteading tasks.
How both we and the chickens have gotten better at surviving the cold winters where we live.
Two easy steps to reduce your electrical use whether you live off grid or not.
Things you can do to prevent fire damage to your home from an external source.
A description and pictures of a tornado force winds in Washington State in 2012.
A short history of my own horse riding adventures.
A simple explanation of our solar power generating system and cost.
A quick look at different ways to be sustainable whether you are off grid or not.
Fun facts about our first year of blogging for Mother Earth News.
A brief description of our experiences with solar tubes in our off grid home.
Success at growing food at the 4200' elevation and some of the challenges.
Tips on how to keep water away from your home and water damage prevention.
When we moved into the country, we had no idea that small critters would be such a nuisance.
A description about something unique - a wood burning masonry kitchen stove.
Design features we incorporated into our new off grid home.
Renewable energy expert Dan Chiras shares details about The Evergreen Institute's new Renewable Energy Educator Certificate program, designed to prepare teachers to train a new generation of renewable energy professionals to meet the needs of a growing industry.
I’m more than a little late in posting this week. I’m having a hard time shaking that “no worries, mon” mentality that seeped into my pores (along with a lot of sand and a little sunburn) while I was at the Colorado State University Sustainable Practices in Design and Construction course at Maho Bay in St. John.
A few thoughts on why so many people are hesitant to make the transition to produce their own power.
Two homesteaders discuss their experience with the weather applicable to their mountain homesteads in Washington and Colorado.
After the snow leaves to do list for us.
How we avoid most clutter but manage to keep good leftover products for future use.
Tips for snow removal around your house and down the road.
In this blog we share someone else's story about old fashioned home made ingenuity concerning deep well pumps that operate without electricity.
A snapshot of winter life living remote and off grid.
If you want to live independently, it's always good to have backup because no one else is coming to the rescue. This is how we did it.
This is the hands on portion of how a solar power system operates.
How to make your OWN insulated window coverings.
Things we have done to earn an income from home in a down economy.
How and why we chose to have a livestock guardian dog and what they are like.
Where we have chosen to draw the line between convenience and sustainability - for now.
Short stories about our chicken experiences
Things we did to make our new home more sustainable.
Our first experience as a vendor or spectator at the Mother Earth News Fair in Puyallup, WA
Options for phone service if you live in a remote location that doesn't have cell service or landlines available to you.
How to make insulated shades at home.
Costs associated with providing your own water.
Our take on the positive and negative points of insulated concrete forms.
Short description of our solar system and the everyday things we do to operate them.
These are the first steps we took to make the change from city living to off grid living. It describes the questions you should ask before you buy property and the research required to make sure you can do want you want with your property.
An article about how we learned to double our growing season and have home grown fresh veggies almost all year long.
Edamame soybeans are tough,fast-maturing plants that can withstand extreme garden conditions. They have few problems with disease or insect pests. The green pods are delicious and high in protein, and make a good addition to an edible landscape.
The GeoSpring hybrid water heater from GE continues its impressive run of firsts.
This is a test short description.
This is a test of blogger on IE 8 by Jenn.
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.
This is the last of a series in home and energy options available to us. It is a short summary of all of the choices we have when designing a new home on or off grid that will benefit your energy use.
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.
Peppers and tomatoes are some of the easier plants to save seed from. This post covers isolation distance and introduces basic seed saving techniques.
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.
GRIT Assistant Editor Caleb Regan catches Mike Ard, who has come to the FAIR from Ohio and has recently inherited a 60-acre dairy farm. Mike's main challenge is choosing between the numerous FAIR sessions.
With more than 40 years of expertise on how to live on less (and love it!), MOTHER EARTH NEWS introduces our Guide to Self-Reliance and Country Skills app. This app, available for both Apple and Android smartphones and tablets, contains advice and how-to on organic gardening, raising backyard chickens, canning and preserving your harvests, and how to save money by applying a DIY mentality to your life.
Enter attractive easy to assemble garden structures that attractively stake, prop and gently guide plants while never stealing the spotlight from the beautiful garden starlets they support.
I’m a handmade gardening gal – part eco-friendly, non-traditionalist; part crafty creative with more ideas than money, and an abiding aversion to off-the-shelf shopping. My garden is my canvas, my vision, and my voice.
Let’s put water back into the soil where it belongs. Permeable or porous surfaces, like a gravel path or patio, allow rainfall and irrigation to percolate into the ground rather than spill into the street.
Fusion Bread Salad makes use of the cherry tomatoes and basil that are prime right now--and you don't have to heat up the kitchen to make this hearty, nutritious main dish.
This 19th-century Creole cottage was disassembled, moved and meticulously reassembled and restored on a new site in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. Built for its climate, the welcoming home is an excellent example of passive cooling and material reuse.
A relative of the artichoke, burdock is a common and versatile wild vegetable.
Identifying, harvesting, and cooking the nutritionally complex spring treat, stinging nettle.
How to identify and use red clover (Trifolium pratense), plus a recipe for red clover blossom soda bread.
A series on fall mushrooms for foraging.
Meet the king of the mushroom kingdom, Boletus Edulis, spotlighted in this fall series of mushroom foraging.
"The Wild Wisdom of Weeds," by wild-foods advocate and author Katrina Blair, is the only book on foraging and wild edibles to focus on thirteen weeds found all over the world, which together comprise a complete food source and extensive medical pharmacy and first-aid kit. Blair’s philosophy is sobering, realistic, and ultimately optimistic: If we can open our eyes to see the wisdom found in these weeds right under our feet, instead of trying to eradicate an “invasive,” we could potentially achieve true food security and optimal health.
Concluding a series on fall mushroom foraging with two unusual looking suspects.
This post outlines the basics of garden planning to save seeds from cucumbers, melons, squash and gourds.
Wind power grew by 30 percent and solar power grew by 40 percent in 2010, according to a new report.
Alabama Chanin makes sumptuous fabrics from scraps, Mona Hoffman imagines the people she's crafting each lamp for as she makes it, and potter Shiho Kanzaki believes that attitude is everything. These are a few of my favorite wabi-sabi artists.
Homegrown vegetables are a lesson for kids in where food comes from.
Daylilies are usually appreciated for their showy flowers, but they also provide four different tasty ingredients. Wild food forager Leda Meredith shows you how to use the edible parts of the plant.
You can sneak a few attractive, low maintenance food plants onto your lawn, and your neighbors will never even notice.
Are you planning to put in an orchard next spring, or re-design your landscape with more edible plants?
Don't be fooled by false species. Enjoy real morels and fiddlehead ferns. Tips for identification and lessons learned from misidentifications.
Harvesting abundance in the early spring.
Hawthorn fruits are in season in late summer and early fall. They are delicious, and also heart-healthy — eat your medicine!
During tough economic times, local university not only survives, but thrives. Bastyr University announced today it will open a new campus in San Diego, CA, with plans for the first class to begin in Fall 2012.
An interview with the founder of a small organic gardening business that focuses on education and helping gardeners go organic. Learn more about this company and vote for it to win funding from a small business competition.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS is proud to announce we have won a prestigious publishing award for our Guide to Green Cars.
Humanure management for maximum nutrient secuestration and minimum resource loss.
How to identify, harvest and cook with wood sorrel and sheep sorrel, both common weeds that have the same exquisite lemon flavor as cultivated French sorrel.
What to do with the three edible parts of roses, including the hips (fruit) that are in season fall through winter.
Chickweed (Stellaria media) is a common garden weed that thrives in the cool temperatures of late fall and early spring. Here's how to identify and use this delicious wild vegetable.
Tastes like lemonade, has the beautiful blush color of rose wine, and comes from a plant that's almost certainly growing near you - here's how to make and use sumac extract.
Lamb's quarters, also known as wild spinach, is an abundant wild vegetable. It's a nutritional superstar with a delicious, mild flavor.
Birch trees are easy to identify in winter thanks to their distinctive bark, and they offer a hot drink, aromatic flour and sweet syrup to cold weather foragers.
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.
Geoff Taylor thanks the publications that inspired his writing career.
International Homesteading Month is off to a running start! Here are two stories of events that are truly promoting education to foster more self-reliant communities.
Writer and Canadian farming enthusiast, Joseph Graham sent this review of the event that he and his wife hosted for Homesteading Education Month.
Check out these renewable-energy courses to see if there’s an Evergreen class for you.
Share your favorite places to learn about food preservation.
Growing Power believes that youth working in city farms will grow, bloom and thrive right alongside the crops they cultivate.
Simran Sethi looks back at her New Year's resolution: to nourish herself.
Looking ahead to September, it gives us all an opportunity to expand our horizons with furthering our knowledge and skill sets, baking and otherwise.
As winter descends a three-season hoop house is weeded, compost spread, and a straw mulch applied. Next spring will be here soon.
Read about methods to utilize animal- and human- power for trimming the lawn and keeping back weeds, all free of fossil fuels.
Fall sheet mulching of perennial plantings assists in fertility and weed suppression.
Wood is our source of heat for the winter, as are sweaters and hats!
Good news for businesses! An Oregon report shows cyclists and walkers spend more than motorists.
Engineering is helping to solve some of our biggest environmental challenges. Learn more during EEWeek.
Whether you’re a teacher, parent, school administrator, or homeschooler, you might be interested in some of these online resources related to environmental education and green curricula. Most of these websites are related to K-12 education.
A beginning farmer realizes that time may be the farm's most important commodity.
Henry Red Cloud moved back to the Pine Ridge Reservation 12 years ago and started looking into renewable energy. Since then he has started a solar heating system company and a renewable energy training center to serve the Native American community.
We received another great review of a successful Homesteading Education Month event. Read about a well-received sustainability fair in South Dakota.
Students from the University of Kansas spent spring break installing solar panels in a low-income neighborhood in Oakland, California.
Learn how to celebrate homesteading this September by promoting community self-reliance skills!
Winter is the best time to step back from your garden and learn something new. Do some research, participate in learning programs, and work on your garden notebook. When the opportunity arises next year, visit the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR.
Solar energy organization Show Me Solar comes highly recommended by renewable energy expert Dan Chiras for its 2010 list of workshops, webinars and other educational opportunities.
Musings on a few delicious, nutritious edible weeds, plus a salmon salad and purslane recipe.
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.
Far from being weeds, spring's earliest greens are packed with nutrition and help detox the body.
A birdbath in the garden does much more than a birdfeeder. Attract birds to the garden with water, and they will help with pest control, soil aeration, and much more as they get the water they need for drinking and grooming. Wasps love a drink too.
Popcorn is easy to grow and makes an attractive and delicious alternative to sweet corn, especially in a small garden. Kids will love the cute little ears, and adults will treasure the superior flavor of homegrown popcorn. Plant in late spring.
Engineer Venkappa Gani leads by example when it comes to sustainable living. His entire backyard is an organic garden, an edible landscape that borders his rainwater harvesting tank collectors overlooked by solar panels that power his home (and more!). Gani is dedicated to sustainability, a word he lives by everyday at his suburban home in Austin, Texas.
Giving your ornamental and vegetable garden a thorough cleaning in midsummer not only leaves the landscape looking better, but can help prevent damage from diseases and pests by removing the conditions in which they thrive.
Gathering weeds from your garden or yard can make a quick, healthy spring meal.
If you live in an area with high summer temperatures try growing one of these greens to replace your spinach.
D Acres offers alternative economics. We are the 99&: join us.
Leaves are a valuable source of mulch and fertility within the permaculture garden.
The process of curing potatoes for winter storage.
Introducing the serviceberry, a beautiful landscape tree or shrub suitable in much of North America, to the edible landscape. Serviceberry -- or sarvis -- comes in many regional forms and produces edible berries.
Looking ahead to spring, we're using these long days to plan a rootstock order of perennial trees, shrubs, and herbs.
There are various means for developing an edible landscape.
A winter thaw inspires starting the first seeds of the season - indoors, of course: kale, chard, and spinach to start.
Roses are easy to grow successfully if you follow a few guidelines: provide good air circulation around the canes and keep the plants clean and not too damp. Roses come in many forms, including bush or shrub, climbing, and miniature.
Learn how to request your “closed” complete pesticide complaint file from the State agency through the Freedom of Information Act.
Kerr-Cole Sustainable Living Center in Taylor, Arizona celebrates national homesteading month with a display of solar ingenuity.
Rural Living Today founder and advocate, Marie James, told us about a Homesteading Education Month event she and her family hosted in Northeast Washington to teach gardeners how to grow vegetables in cold weather.
Teddi Irwin sent us this
great update on a Homesteading Education Month event held at IN A GOOD WAY, a
training farm established to use therapeutic methods of farming to improve the
lives of Native American men.
Courses in solar energy taken through The Evergreen Institute now apply toward the Midwest Renewable Energy Association’s site assessor certificates.
Andre Armantrout sent us this wonderful update from a Homesteading Education Month event featuring aquaculture at Snowy Pine Ridge, outside Spokane, Wash.
More and more people are looking for jobs in the renewable energy field. If you're interested in this type of career, here's how you can get started.
Permaculture is a holistic, integrative design for a sustainable future: registrations now open for D Acres' 2012 Permaculture Design Course!
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.
Cycle Oregon in support of tree research and education.
Will a degree increase your employment prospects? Absolutely. Here are some programs to look into.
The 651 Project has been established to assist students Nationwide in their pursuit of agricultural skills and knowledge.
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.
Robert Maxwell discusses why he chose self-directed education over formal college, and how this option might work for others, too.
Clearly the NACE considers “useless” degrees to be ones in which pay is low and availability of jobs is scarce. However, shouldn’t measuring the usefulness of an education take into account the actual benefits bestowed upon the person doing the study
Sixty-one percent of Americans say they understand our nation's energy issues, but more than half have never heard the term "smart grid." We have a lot to talk about.
Dan Chiras, founder of The Evergreen Institute, shares information on locating renewable energy training facilities.
Robert White is remaking himself as a farmer, and will return to his family's land to start a market garden. Here's why.
A brief announcement of a rare educational opportunity ... a wind turbine installation. We'll be installing a 2.5 kW Skystream wind turbine on a 127-foot tilt-up tower.
Bastyr University and Premera Blue Cross today announced the launch of an innovative pilot program aimed at preventing or reversing childhood obesity.
When you're looking for a job, there's just no substitute for getting out and meeting the professionals in the industry.
Comparing different home made do it yourself chicken carriers for the Tractor Supply animal swap this past Saturday. Reporting on edible mushroom cultivation harvest and what it takes to pick the right disease resistant apple variety.
When autumn brings a glut of orchard fruits, capture the goodness as juice by cooking extraction or cold pressing. Juices can be used alone or mixed to produce sweet or hard ciders, wines, syrups, and more.
Growing some of the most delicious and sometimes expensive gourmet vegetables doesn't have to be hard. Artichoke, bronze fennel, kohlrabi, leek, and savoy cabbage are among the vegetables that grow well from seed.
An article from the Adirondack Daily Enterprise covering an International Homestead Education Month event that took place at Paul Smith's College on September 29, 2012.
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.
To learn more about large wind energy degrees, Brittney Tyler-Milholland and Brenna Long talk with educators at Iowa Lakes Community College about the wind energy degree program in this Wind Energy blog. Iowa Lakes had the first wind energy program in Iowa.
Dan Chiras announces that five of The Evergreen Institute's workshops currently qualify as continuing education credits for LEED Accredited Professionals.
The Architecture 2030 Challenge for Products asks designers and builders to spec materials with lower carbon footprints.
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.
At the Mother Earth News Fair in Puyallup, Wash, I listened to lecturers cover topics from re-newable energy, small-scale farming, green building, organic gardening, simple living, and citizen solidarity building. While I listened, I pondered ways to weave these powerful themes into our children's lives.