European breads are frequently made with an overnight starter, called “Poolish” or “Biga”. A super-easy way of developing dough I learned from Peter Reinhart (author of The Bread Bakers Apprentice) has helped me to quickly put together some delicious, full-flavored sandwich breads. Here’s how.
Installing a chimney chase cover is a common project among do-it-yourself homeowners. Many homes were built with galvanized chase covers which rust after a few years – causing leaks and rust stains. Homes that were built with a masonry chimney eventually end up with a cracked and weathered mortar crown, also causing leaks and damage to the home.
Learn to choose the right-sized wood stove, manage your firewood and light, and maintain quality fires to heat your home with wood.
This is my go-to recipe for making our weekly bread. It provides consistent, crusty results, uses only three (ish) ingredients, and takes about 40 minutes of active time. It’s also 100 percent whole-wheat/whole grain, which is the rule for bread in our house. Don’t be put off by the 7 hours of time required — most of that is passive time while you wait for your bread to rise.
This is an easy-to-make, fragrant, delicious and nutritious meal. It takes minimal prep work and simmers for a couple of hours until the meat is practically falling off the bones.
Integrate chickens and a greenhouse to provide a synergistic effect for the homestead.
My favorite, best cookie recipe just happens to actually be pretty healthy and a good choice for after-school snacks. I used to keep a tin in my office, available to anyone who hadn’t had time for lunch. They have enough protein, iron and whole grain to make them guilt-free. This recipe makes about 60 two-inch cookies that freeze well.
This is the final article in a series on how I made the transition to off grid homestead living by combining appropriate modern technology and reliable techniques practiced for thousands of years of human history. Currently I’m entering the first winter of full-time off grid living at my mountain homestead after completing the construction of my small house.
Homesteading in the mountains can be inconvenient, dangerous, challenging and lots of hard work.
There are five main areas of the home responsible for wasting the most energy. At the top of that list is windows, and one of the most effective ways to decrease your home’s carbon footprint is by replacing old, drafty windows with new, air-tight Energy Star-qualified windows.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS explores the low environmental impact of using ground source heat pumps and three other benefits.
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the amount of energy lost annually through windows costs consumers $35 billion. Heat loss and heat gain through and around windows accounts for between 10 and 25 percent of our heating and air conditioning usage, the largest consumer of energy in a modern home. Here are some ways to make sure your windows are as energy-efficient as possible.
One of the largest energy expenses in a typical home is its water heater. Here are some ways to assess the efficiency of your water heater and decide whether a replacement is needed and if so, what type it should be.
Those who garden know that weeding is often essential to growing good vegetables or fruits. In a forest, sunlight too is a limiting factor. By knowing which tree to cut and which to leave, forest health can be improved. Cutting for firewood can serve as an incentive to "weed" on the ultra-perennial scale.
Our quest to make pasture egg collection more efficient.
How to build a small and super-efficient masonry heater out of fire bricks.
Smooth out the temperature range in your greenhouse by adopting one of these strategies for heating greenhouses.
Cam Mather tries out a battery-powered chainsaw at his off-grid homestead in Ontario.
When life gives you zucchini overload, turn it into this moist and savory Zucchini Olive Yeast Bread.
Here at Deer Isle Hostel, Maine, we use a compost pile built with local, natural materials and a 100-foot water pipe to create a steaming hot shower.
In order to maintain an internal body temperature of 98.6 F, the body perspires or sweats. As the sweat evaporates off the skin it cools the body. The trouble starts when the humidity is so high that the air is saturated with moisture and sweat drips off of you rather than evaporating. My method for avoiding Heat Stroke is called Getting Grounded in the Garden.
How having a rhythm and routine assists in accomplishing difficult tasks.
Make your home more energy efficient with Indow Windows Shade Grade.
For the last week we had no propane and as a result I have had to cook all of my food on an electric skillet. Holy week usually involves a lot of baking in preparation for Easter Sunday.
Reader Jenna Winkeller of Gilbert, Ariz., wrote to us about a homemade device that can make small-scale wheat cultivation far more efficient: a DIY wheat thresher crafted from just a bucket, drill and chain. Check out a video of it in action, and get instructions for assembling your own version of this wallet-friendly, timesaving tool.
Unforgettable Fire's Kimberly and Katydid wood stoves are heating solutions for any and all spaces.
The best way to start a fire in your woodstove.
To see how much solar heat could be trapped by glass, Horace de Saussure, in 1767 built a solar hot box that consisted of several glass sheets covering an insulated box. Solar heat accumulated in the solar hot box, reaching temperatures far above the boiling point of water
Bleached, colored, preserved and flavored, white bread is practically devoid of nutrition.
Interest in breeding a perennial version of wheat is once again on the rise. That would help reduce soil erosion, maintain soil cover, and cut back on fossil-fuel and chemical inputs.
The basics of using a woodstove to heat your home.
Do natural genes that defend wheat against diseases also hurt its productivity and food quality? Sometimes yes, sometimes no - and when diseases hit, resistance genes protect yield and quality.
Learn about the benefits of baking with this ancient grain.
This blog teaches readers how to make homemade Greek-style yogurt.
Taking a bath in the winter takes a little more planning at our off-grid, no-plumbing home.
This post informs readers on the advantages of using whey in baking. It includes a recipe for whole wheat sandwich bread.
High efficiency air source heat pumps are proving their worth for cold climate heating and cooling.
The invention of clear window glass allowed the ancient Romans to trap solar energy to enhance their gardening techniques to grow vegetables out of season and exotic non-native plants in Rome. A thousand years later, empire builders in Europe rediscovered the trapping of solar heat with clear window glass so they as well could enjoy the foreign plants in their own back yard and grow native vegetables throughout the year.
Sowing confusion about wheat.
Does wheat wreck your health?
How to make a quick, healthy dessert on Three Kings Day.
Keep your greenhouse above freezing during short cold periods without paying for a heater.
Includes two recipes to enjoy over the holidays along with time saving tips.
A blog about the joys of wood heat that covers comfort, energy savings, ecology and history of the trees and sustainable harvesting
Bread baker Heather Alf shares her experiences baking quick breads. She includes a quick and healthy easy banana bread recipe.
With winter beginning, these homesteaders are starting winter off cozy in their cabin.
Although forced air is the most common form of home heat in North America it is far from ideal. This article explains why Building Biology regards the masonry heater as the ultimate heating system for health, comfort and ecology.
Heat Holders keep in the heat in your feet.
Steve explains a little about why he chose to install reclaimed cast-iron radiators, including a video tour of his installation.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS Associate Editor Thaddeus Christian discusses the best firewood for your wood-burning furnace so you can enjoy wood heat all winter.
One of the easiest ways to bask and rejoice in the gifts of nature is to make and use a solar wall heater.
A 3-part series on sustainable comfort systems for heating and cooling homes using passive solar design, solar electric power, system controllers and newly popular heat pump technology.
A three-part series on sustainable comfort systems for heating and cooling homes using passive solar design, solar electric power, system controllers and newly popular heat pump technology.
When you get home, go to your hot water heater, remove the cover and turn it down to 120 degrees (sometimes labeled “hot” as opposed to “very hot”).
A 3-part series on sustainable comfort systems for heating and cooling homes using passive solar design, solar electric power, system controllers and newly popular heat pump technology.
FCX Oil-Fired Condensing Boilers, designed and manufactured by Geminox, provide a reliable and efficient alternative to non-condensing boilers. FCX Boilers feature a steel, non-condensing primary heat exchanger coupled with a stainless steel, condensing secondary heat exchanger.
Unit helps homeowners heat more space while slashing high hot water bills
In this excerpt from Fair presenters Hank and Karen Will’s new book, Plowing With Pigs and Other Creative, Low-budget Homesteading Solutions, they’ll show you how to add small grains to your plot.
Heating with wood in a cast iron stove.
Talking about carrying in the red roofing tin the old fashioned way due to a broken golf cart and some very muddy conditions. The refrigerator root cellar continues to prove itself as an experiment that seems to be working so far.
Even after 15 years, Cam still loves heating his home with wood that he cuts himself.
WiseWay Pellet Stove is the first and only EPA-certified and UL-listed non-electric pellet stove on the market today. This pellet stove eliminates the need for electricity by using a gravity-feed natural draft to accomplish a high efficiency rating of 75 percent. It’s capable of heating up to 2,000 square feet and able to hold a fire up to 31 hours on a 40-pound bag of pellets. The stove is also mobile home approved.
Find out whether a wood pellet stove is right for you, and discover the best stove to buy.
Kerr-Cole Sustainable Living Center in Taylor, Arizona celebrates national homesteading month with a display of solar ingenuity.
Energy-efficient home comfort product makes central HVAC systems and auxiliary heating and cooling appliances more effective.
Describes a method of protecting tomatoes from excessive heat using a sunscreen, vermicompost tea, pulling blighted leaves.
Take a tour of the mills and mountains of the Ozarks of Missouri and Arkansas, home to some of the finest remaining historic gristmills that still exist in the U.S.A. Based on the popular Historic Ozarks Mills book created by award-winning photographer Mike McArthy. Hydropower's energy-producing capacity is getting well-deserved attention these days, and these old mills provide inspiration.
We're lucky to be able to live the way we do, even when we feel like we're melting
Watering 800 berry plants and 300 peach trees is essential in this oppressive heat!
A lesson learned in not counting your chickens before they're hatched
Heat Recovery innovator produces a safe hot water heating system kit for wood stoves.
Jessica Kellner, editor of Natural Home & Garden, is beginning research on electric in-floor radiant floor heating products as an efficient method of heating the new nursery.
Heat Holder thermal socks are the perfect gift for dads on the go.
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.
How big a woodlot would I need to heat my home with wood for the entire winter?
Cam describes the zen-like state he achieves while splitting firewood.
After the kidding is over, we take good care of our girls! And, the babies need to be bottle fed, so here are the instructions on how we feed our kids.
A brief description of our experience with a masonry heater.
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.
Wood is our source of heat for the winter, as are sweaters and hats!
When one of her goats starts looking for love for the first time, and hollering her little head off, Angela has to do some quick thinking to keep her precious pets from becoming that night's dinner!
Cam describes how the seasons progress through one messy task after another at Sunflower Farm.
Steve explains how one practical guy invented a way to burn pellets efficiently without an expensive pellet stove
Cam hates to see good scrap wood go to waste and so he cuts it into kindling and has even started selling it!
One of our family treasures is an old iron mill. We had an opportunity to get the old mill out this fall and grind some beautiful wheat that we had been gifted with.
Learn how to sharpen your chainsaw properly with a file and guide
During the exceptional heat & drought in Texas this summer BeeWeaver worked hard to just keep hives alive... no honey, no divides.
After only a few nights with a wood stove in the tipi, I've become happily addicted to warmth I have to work for.
How I have gone full circle from coal heat, heat pump to wood heat.
The Gourmet Butcher explains the best ways to re-heat red meats.
Rancho Margot in Costa Rica is completely off the grid and constantly closing the circle. Nothing is wasted on this self-sufficient ranch, where everything is considered a resource--including methane from the compost ovens.
September is here and I'm expecting the weather to break!
Things that come to mind while watching my husband and son work in this heat.
Tips to help wildlife beat the heat with fresh water.
Find out how to enter our Solar Giveaway.
If you’re a market gardener battling the heat, you’ll want to check out these great tips for keeping yourself and your crops cool.
Tips on how to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.
This posting will discuss the relationship of weather and climate and how global warming affects this relationship to trigger climate change
Tips for saving energy at home while trying to stay cool.
Cam is handling this heatwave much better thanks to his solar-powered air conditioner!
Prestyl USA’s customizable infrared art panels prove efficient, ecological & elegant.
This describes how older individuals can take steps to keep themselves cool on very hot days.
Elmira Stove Works offers distinctive, superior quality appliances with its innovative line of Fireview cookstoves.
Geothermal heating and cooling systems rely on the earth’s constant underground temperature of 45 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit to provide comfortable indoor climates. The technology works in any size or style home, in nearly any setting on earth.
The development of gluten intolerance persuaded me to investigate the possibility of an heirloom wheat flour that might not cause the gluten reaction of wheat-based products.
Cam loves growing his own heat!
Bring some spring into your life. Sprinkle some wheat grass seeds in an old apothecary jar and watch them grow.
B&R Automation announces partnership to serve renewable energy industry in US and Canada.
We discuss the role of ocean currents in preventing a runaway thermal imbalance on our planet. We also discuss the impact on the climate when the ocean currents are shut down or reverse course.
Cam readily admits to being obsessed about his use of energy.
Scott Davis’ “Solar Projects, Big and Small” video offers inspiration for both solar energy enthusiasts and folks who are just curious. Tips and advice pertaining to solar energy can be found at the Yahoo! group Simply Solar, and you can make your dream project a reality with Gary Reysa’s instructions.
Steve Maxwell, Canada’s Handiest Man, provides tips on splitting firewood for home heating via woodstoves or fireplaces.
Cam describes why his method of harvesting firewood from his woodlot is the most sustainable way.
Tulikivi provides a “green” cost-effective heating solution because it uses less wood to heat the same space than with a traditional wood burner.
Providing the firewood to heat his home has become a pleasurable hobby for Cam Mather.
The Snail, the winner of Electrolux Design Lab 2010 Competition, saves both energy and space by heating food with magnetic induction.
Being in control of your own home heating.
Simran Sethi writes about choosing eco-friendly paints, tiles, and other aspects of her renovated bathroom.
Simran Sethi explains her bathroom-remodel goals to conserve water.
This posting discusses how the oceans stores heat and transports the heat to warm colder parts of the planet. The posting uses El Nino as an example on how warm ocean water can have a diverse effect on the climate in different regions of the planet.
Simran Sethi starts dreaming of spring gardening, with the goal of renewing her efforts to grow real food.
The EcoAire is designed to be installed in much the same fashion as a window air conditioner and just as easily.
Traditional Appliances Make a Comeback
Adjusting the timing of your water heater could help you increase energy savings.
The Obama administration announced yesterday that it will place solar panels and a solar hot water heater on the White House roof by spring 2011.
Radiant floor heating may save energy in the average home, but for especially well insulated new houses, here's why it's probably not your best option.
Recap of 2010 growing season in Northwest Pennsylvania
The tankless water heater new design adheres to our corporate philosophy of practicing the Three Rs; of Reduce, Recycle and Reuse.
Weatherization Program Nearly Doubles Payback in One Easy Step with GE's new GeoSpring™ Hybrid Water Heater
Cam shares the results of his experiment growing wheat in his vegetable garden.
The second post (of three) describing an organic gardener's attempt to grow his own wheat.
Cam grows a patch of wheat to see how much work is involved. He will never take a loaf of bread for granted again!
Simran Sethi teams up with two neighbors to "grow food, not lawns."
The GeoSpring hybrid water heater from GE continues its impressive run of firsts.
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.
From switching out light bulbs to bundling up your water heater, environmental journalist, Simran Sethi, shares some simple and stress-free tips on how to save energy in your home.
Michael Morley is posting regular updates about his progress building a unique green home with structural insulated panels (SIPs). Here he talks about HVAC work and installing windows.
Do you have a woodstove or pellet stove at home? We’d like to hear more about your experiences with woodstoves and any tips you may have for heating with wood.
Find out what types of federal tax incentives are available for homeowners who install renewable energy.
Once built, this window-mounted heat grabber should give you years of dependable service.
You can use a solar hot-air collector to heat your home with renewable energy. Here’s more about how they work.
You can use the power of the sun to heat water for your home using manufactured solar hot water systems or one you build yourself.
Let's dream a little dream of green home improvement, without worries about funding.
Having a “green home” means lots of different things. What does it mean to you?
Have you found helpful ways to cut your energy use at home? Whether it's turning down the thermostat or installing new light bulbs, tell us what you've done to conserve energy and how well it's worked.
The Oak Ridge National Laboratory recently released a report discussing Combined Heat and Power (CHP) and its possibility as an energy solution.
Find the right type of insulation for a Solar Heat Grabber from MOTHER EARTH NEWS.
Easy to make and addictively wonderful, whole wheat English muffins are cooked on the griddle before they are baked in the oven.
Here are the pros and cons of using south facing windows for home heating, rather than solar collectors.
Here's why a heat pump might be a good choice for your home.
Have you thought about adding more insulation to your home to reduce your energy bills? Here are some good places to go for more information.
Cleaning up an old water heater just requires two simple tools.
Heating water with the sun is no longer an option on the Hawaiian islands. A bill was passed in Hawaii that requires all new homes to install a solar water heater in order to receive a building permit.
Try these DIY methods to help warm up a cold basement.
There are many different ways to bring solar power into your home. Here's a quick overview of the different ways people use solar energy, with links to related articles and plans.
Here are a few talking points that can help peacefully resolve home heating arguments.
When it's cold outside, who doesn't love a cozy fireplace or woodstove? Wood heat is a comfortable way to warm your home, and there are many reasons it's a practical choice, too.