Polyface Farm Apprentice Tim Rohrer encourages homesteaders and farmers to try and define clear goals for their farm. By determining clear goals, a farmer is better able to go about furthering her farming adventure.
Estimating the work load and minimizing re-work is the key to happy owner-builders of small homes. The basic steps are similar wither you build a straw-bale, stick-frame, or masonry structure, all must be completed within the relatively short building season.
There is one time of the year in the mountains that is special and above all other seasons in my opinion. Fall time in the mountains is invigorating and refreshing. It is the season the invigorates all five senses. For a little Rocky Mountain fall-time inspiration, read on.
Air compressors can be used for just about anything on your homestead but they don’t have the best reputation for going green. Here’s what you need to know. These valuable machines are used in many factories, small businesses and even in homes, and making sure yours is efficient can cut down on emissions and your energy bills at the same time.
The first question on the path to creating a sustainable homestead is: Where should I live? Find out how population and topography characterize a town and use a simple method to map your region and locate and research the right-sized town for your home.
Resiliency education, if it is to be effective, should reach the masses and this poses the most difficult challenges in an urban setting. The Homestead Atlanta is a folk school dedicated to empowering communities in the city of Atlanta, Georgia. Workshops include useful heritage crafts and new age sustainability innovations to offer a curriculum designed to integrate fruitful skills into the everyday.
When I first started gardening in this place, I was surveying my four by ten raised bed of greens with pride one afternoon. “You really are a farmer, not a gardener,” a friend observed. Take this short quiz to see if you are a gardener or have slid into the realm of "urban farmer."
By composting meat, vegetables, paper and all organic material in your trash, you can reduce waste by more than 50 percent!
These Lincoln, Nebraska, neighbors put self-reliance to work in their neighborhood.
Polyface has an “Unfair Advantage," but the good news is that you do, too! Here, Tim shares his thoughts on how your Unfair Advantage sets you apart from the crowd and bestows gifts on you that you can turn into success. The trick is learning to utilize your own Unfair Advantage.
Tiny homes are becoming more and more popular throughout the United States. This article explains why tiny homes are inherently green and offers an example of Anita’s 248-square-foot Lilypad Tiny Home, decked out with green appliances and sustainable materials.
Designing a tiny home can seem like a Rubik’s cube challenge—finding ways to shift things around when needed and out-of-the-way when done. Find out how to integrate inside/outside rooms, single/multiple rooms, and built-ins and fold-outs into your tiny house design; plus learn about the “14 Basic Requirements of a Livable Home.”
Bamboo is frequently touted as one of the best green options. Here are the pros and cons, and what certification organizations say about its sustainability.
This short tutorial shows a different way of using a chainsaw to cut wood.
You do not have to have “land” to farm. You can farm where ever you are. A 10th of an acre is enough and, on some days, more than you would want to can handle. Make the best use of your space, care for your soil, be thrifty with water and enjoy the garden and the fruits of your labor.
Two Great Pyrenees dogs have drastically improved a Kansas sheep flock’s safety, while creating lasting bonds and deep trust.
Even though our goal is to be completely self-sufficient, one thing that I stress is that you don't have to be completely self-sufficient — just make it your goal to become more self-sufficient than you are right now. This blog will help people become more self-sufficient by leading by example, right or wrong. Here is your official invitation: Please come and join us!
People who decide to leave the rat race to move toward full-time homesteading or farming face a unique set of challenges. Homesteaders must accept certain sacrifices their peers will never face. This post explores some of these issues, as seen in the accounts of those who have gone before us and as personally experienced in my family's ongoing transition.
What it's really like to buy, sell and market a green home.
In The Nourishing Homestead, Ben Hewitt along with his wife Penny tell the story of how we can create truly satisfying, permanent, nourished relationships to the land, nature, and one another. With plenty of practical ways to grow nutrient-dense food, build soil, and develop traditional skills, this book is sure to inspire a new generation of homesteaders.
Caretaking wild places is a great way to homestead in paradise without having to afford land.
Steve Maxwell explains why living the bootstrap lifestyle and living with less leaves you with more in the end.
Cam contemplates the meaning of life from the comfort of his off-grid homestead in Eastern Ontario.
A homesteader introduces readers to his quest for a simpler life, which led to the construction of a unique underground home.
As one couple plans their homestead-to-be, they spend time learning the lay of their land. One happy fringe benefit: They used this time as an excuse to go morel mushroom hunting. The results of their efforts were delicious.
Homesteading is to me to live in self-reliance, simplicity and mindfulness. To be able to do that in a way that feels true to what we believe in, I've found that it demands a narrow definition of what I put in the word enough.
I used this tried and true method of preventing a valve from freezing. There was no electricity as a back-up crutch for this mission critical valve and I kept it open through the coldest February on record.
A list of the 6 most basic questions to ask before a buyer purchases a green home.
How big of a priority are good animal handling facilities?
How to choose an apple tree to fit your space and needs.
Whether you are a novice or experienced homesteader, we've all heard those "crazy things" that people say when it comes to living a self-sufficient life. Here are 10 things you should never say to a homesteader.
This is a short video that shows some of the major highlights on the homestead during the month of February.
One of my best pieces of advice to those wishing to establish a homestead is to reach out to the community. Happy neighbors are a big part of a happy homestead and for us it was not only a way to drum up support and engagement for our project, but it was also transformative for our experience and for our business.
Going from raw undeveloped land to a functional homestead is hard work, but it's rewarding.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and pregnant Pennsylvania mama Michelle (Congrats, Michelle!) shares her plans for planting a baby food garden, including her entire seed order.
You can organize and track your poultry’s hatch rates by using this helpful spreadsheet created by MOTHER EARTH NEWS reader Terry Standard.
How farm life will keep you fit so you can live a healthier and happier life.
Livestock guardian dogs are renowned for their protective instincts. They have been bred for thousands of years to be aware, work independently and to protect their charges at all costs. But do they also break up fights between quarreling livestock?
This is the story of my family’s transition from a nomadic military lifestyle to one of rural homesteading. I talk about our preparation leading up to leaving the service and some of our current goals and projects for the property and our lives. I also talk about using permaculture as the design science methodology for our businesses and the development of the property.
That something is easy doesn't always mean it's simple – many of the modern conveniences so much of the western world relies on, the thermostat in most conventional houses, for example, is but the end of a long and complex chain reaction with consequences far beyond our reach. Homesteading simplicity can be described as a way to limit those chain reactions, to be more in control over the effect of our actions and, to alter those effects to have a positive impact.
While many of us are homesteaders, some of us have another special job that comes first: parenting. Here are some ways to get through Spring prep and Summer projects on your homestead by involving even your smallest children in daily chores and activities.
Living in a tiny house is good for the environment and for the wallet, but requires a lifestyle shift for the inhabitants.
The short period of time each year where homesteaders and summer-business owners like us get to freely bask in open-ended unscheduled time is as short as it is sweet, and it reaches its peak right now in January.
Welcome back to "Unplugging to Reconnect." In this post, we continue to explore key financial considerations of people who decide to move toward a full-time homesteading or farming lifestyle, all based on the accounts of those who have gone before us and as personally executed in my family's ongoing transition. The specific focus of this entry is on the need for flexible income streams, particularly ones that offer money-saving benefits in addition to pay, while in between the old and new lifestyles.
Learn about the different types of earth-sheltered homes and why you should consider digging in the ground to find your next residence.
Making New Year's resolutions for a remote homestead.
Spoon carving is good practice for hatchet and knife skills, and a spoon is a beautiful sculpture that feeds more than one hunger!
It's time for our fourth-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 2015 Homesteaders of the Year.
This variation on the (endlessly adaptable) traditional Mongolian yurt design was inspired by the work of master yurt builder, educator, and homesteader Bill Coperthwaite (who was also a neighbor and friend of the Nearings). This low-cost yurt design combines basketry, wattle and daub, and basic lashing (similar to skin-on-frame boats). Not much more than a glorified tent, this DIY yurt made from sticks, string and mud makes a very comfortable, durable and beautiful tiny house, studio, or meditation space.
“You don't have to move to live in a better neighborhood.” Half of all Americans live in suburbia. It’s true that suburbia is on the receiving end of a lot of social, economic and environmental criticism with much of that criticism well deserved. While some of these criticisms may be justified, at the same time, suburbia offers enormous potential to become a critical new frontier for deep changes in our culture and economy through principles of suburban permaculture.
Join two modern homesteaders as they begin down the road toward building their small home and self-reliant farmstead on their new piece of raw land in northeastern Kansas.
Almost 30 years ago I made one of the best decisions ever when I began my homesteading adventure. It's no "Little House on the Prarie" but you can see it from there.
Expense checklist for anyone wanting to plan a new homestead.
Don't over-stay your welcome at the hive. Give your bees space.
Living in a 500-square-foot house (or smaller) affects our consumption and relationships.
Learn how to build a straw bale home by downloading this free guide.
Shelter Publications’ new book has all manner of roaming, tiny dwellings to spark your inner wanderlust.
St. Paul, Minnesota, not only allows front yard gardens and promotes growing vegetables in containers, but encourages residents to beautify the boulevard with plants, including edibles.
Time management tools can help a homestead run smoothly as well as make the work more enjoyable. By focusing on different tasks in different seasons, assigning different tasks to different days and by sharing tasks, the work becomes both manageable and fun.
A stack of cast-iron pans and a chainsaw helmet sum up why these homesteaders do what they do.
Keeping bees with neighbors in the city or the burbs.
TEETER PONG! live mouse traps provide a humane solution for removing mice from your home.
Those of retirement age can reduce their carbon footprints by moving into a smaller, cozier mobile home.
When HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Pennsylvania mama Michelle Wire discovered a hidden treasure on her property, she found a new appreciation for her home along with it.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Bay Area homesteader Rachel shares how she built a cheap greenhouse out of mostly scavenged materials - and how you can, too.
How a hopelessly damaged apple tree has delivered lessons of hope since 2007.
The ongoing debate between the merits and faults of Passive House design and passive solar design is important for those looking to build an energy-efficient home and for all enthusiasts of energy-efficient building. We've opened up the discussion to our online audience in this blog post. Please share your thoughts!
Ziggy Liloia examines two poignant books, Paradise Lot and Gaia’s Garden that turn the idea of needing lots of space to grow ample food on its head.
It takes a village to build a backyard chicken coop.
A compendium of modern nomadic sweats.
Energy Star for Homes is a worthwhile green building certification with demonstrated market value.
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.
On-going series on my family's efforts to raise urban chickens in our Minneapolis backyard.
Learn the basic skills useful for mountain homesteading.
Help keep cages and water sources clean with Solway Feeder's horizontal watering nipples.
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.
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.
A review of hammers of friend Jack Fulton.
A progress update on our book Tiny Homes On the Move
Chainsaw safety equipment.
Stay warm, find a hobby and cull the livestock; here are some of the things we do to prepare for winter!
Safely eliminate mice in your home with these house mouse control tips.
Using rabbit hypnosis and a pair of wire cutters we successfully perform dental surgery on one of our does.
Homesteading with dogs in remote mountain living. Considerations in providing a good safe homestead environment for your cherished pets.
You have read every garden, homestead and back to the land book in your library system. Your dreams of coffee at sunrise set to the chatter of fowl made real. With hoe in hand and 914,760 square feet rolling out from your feet like a magic carpet; where do you start?
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.
Looking back the past three years and identifying what we have learned from our experiences.
Watch Steve tell you his homestead story and how his two trucks have helped make good things happen.
Real life experiences with chickens spanning a 50 year period.
From the outset, Earthineer was built to support and promote sustainability and homesteading as a lifestyle choice. Every feature we have planned has that goal in mind. What we have now is the foundation that we'll build off of.
Our efforts to improve energy efficiency in the United States might be faltering.
When defining the term homesteading, consider the various options available.
Learn how to celebrate homesteading this September by promoting community self-reliance skills!
There are a lot of things you can do right now to experience the homestead lifestyle right in your backyard.
As a beginner homesteader, designer Larissa Reznek has learned some hard lessons fast. Here are the top three pieces of guidance she wishes she had before she started out.
FamilyFarmed.org Good Food Festival & Conference partner Vicki Nowicki shares her experience living, learning, and teaching on her suburban permaculture homestead.
Rabbits are an ideal source of high quality meat for urban homesteaders.
The journey to a self-sufficient life is a bumpy ride. Having a backup plan — or two — can make all the difference in your progress.
There are many ways we can conserve energy, and be more eco-friendly, especially with the advancements that technology is making every day.
Using a hot summer day to grow the winter wood pile.
A home’s air-tightness is just as important as how much R-value it has.
Passive solar design comes to Navajo families, as architecture students build homes on Utah reservations.
In 45 years, Deltec Homes have never lost a house to high winds.
Green building guru Lloyd Kahn recounts his favorite new discoveries from the Puyallup, Wash., MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR.
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.
Completing tasks in preparation for a few days away from the homestead
You smell an odor in your home and suspect that it isn’t healthy. This article explains how to do some safe investigation in preparation for calling in an expert.
A look at the advantages and disadvantages of “off-grid” and "grid-tied” solar electric systems.
Have you ever dreamed of taking your part-time homestead to a full-time salary? What's holding you back? Business books say most people are more afraid of success than failure.
More than the electricity needed to run these machines, the “rinse hold” hot water setting that many households use is the biggest energy drain associated with dishwashers – as much as 80 percent of the energy your dishwasher uses goes to heat water.
Replacing a task that uses electricity with one that does not is a no-brainer when trying to save on your energy bill — and air drying is one of the easiest ways to go.
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.
Heating water is the highest drain that laundry machines and dishwashers have on your bill. Onaverage, water heating accounts for 18 percent of your energy bill.
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.
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.
An introduction to Paula Baker-Laporte's future readers : about Paula, multiple chemical sensitivities, Building Biology and the role of green building in health.
A few months back I heard a comment on an NPR radio program that really caught my attention. The program was about the local food movement and at one point the guest on the show said, “Now remember - just because it’s local doesn’t necessarily mean it has a smaller carbon footprint. That Argentinian apple that was shipped on a barge with thousands of tons of other apples may actually have required less fuel per apple than the apple than came from a few hundred miles away in the back on a farmer’s pickup.”
Find out how to feed rabbit babies using a goat's milk-based formula.
In this section you will find stories of real farmers across the country that made it work. You'll find their story, how they did it and who helped them. We hope these stories will inspire and educate new farmers, as well as land owners and community members to become involved in the new agrarian movement. A growing trust.
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.
Honey bees, the Boston tragedy, and our power to create the world we’ve been waiting for.
There are two situations which do not require you to be heating your home: when it is warm and when you are not at home. Since it is still a bit chilly outside, you may want to consider setting up a routine of turning down the set temperature on your thermostat when you head out in the morning and when you go to bed.
Some large electronics can use as much energy as a light bulb while in "stanby" mode, meaning you should unplug them when you leave the house or know you won’t use them for awhile. Having a large electronic setup plugged into a power strip makes it much easier to completely power it down, especially if it has a lot of plugs like a home theater system or computer.
On our journey to self-reliance, my husband, Darren, and I have been gathering human-powered tools when we can find them. It’s surprising and sad how quickly hand- and foot-powered tools were junked when electricity became available. From 1850 to 1890, more than 100 apple-pealing devices were patented. Then none, except those running on electric power. And so it goes with thousands of other nifty human-powered appliances.
Green living is similar to taking yoga. It is a ‘practice’ – the more you get into, the more there is to learn. It really comes down to three simple things. Are you ready, willing and able to start living green?
This current situation is a perfect example of the 80/20 rule of homesteading: 80 percent of your time, energy and effort is spent on maintenance; 20 percent on progress towards the dream. A majority of your time homesteading is spent covered in chicken poop, squashing potato bugs, figuring out why gas isn’t getting to the carburetor in the ATV and shoveling snow after dark by headlamp.
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.
Here is yet another possible building project presented to you which requires no formal training, very little money, and techniques/methods that anyone can use. This blog intends to inspire you to take on a natural building project like this one. Don´t have fear if this is your first time working with these techniques and materials — it often for us also! Swattlesfield Campground is frequented by many kinds of people for various reasons. The owner, Jonathan, wanted to introduce some activity which would draw people together. We had the perfect idea: pizza! Food, especially food that requires waiting, has a tendency to attract people. And once humans have a good reason to be in the same place, the rest (socialization) has a tendency to just work.
Sometimes even HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Bay Area homesteader Rachel of Dog Island Farm needs a reminder why she puts up with the goat feed, the chicken poop, the cat puke, and the never-ending mud. Here's a hint: It involves good food.
How living more sustainably can save you in an emergency.
Pick something new to learn this year from Granny Miller’s list of 101 basic homesteading skills.
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.
We are grateful for the peace and balance inherent to our lifestyle, offering ease of being and grounded perspective as we continue to negotiate the boundaries between our world and the real world.
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.
My husband Alan’s first gift to me was Helen and Scott Nearing’s Living the Good Life. The books we turn to regularly have changed, although some we go back to again and again, year after year. A list of our top 10 favorite books follows.
For one week, BuildingGreen is offering a free download of an insulation guide, available with a 30-day trial of BuildingGreen Suite.
It wasn't many months ago the seed catalog for this year showed up, but at that point I had just, just, managed to finish off the garden season, slightly traumatized from all the work. To receive a catalog then seemed mostly like an ill-conceived joke, a way to rub it in; don't think you can relax too much.
A winter thaw inspires starting the first seeds of the season - indoors, of course: kale, chard, and spinach to start.
OK, you’ve got a start: where to get equipment, groups to join, classes to take, and mentors to hook up with. Now’s the time, before you have bees, to take a long hard look at some of the rest of the things you need to be thinking about.
Docking of dairy cows serves no purpose and causes pain and discomfort for the
Looking at the differences between the current homesteading movement in the USA compared to Smallholders in the UK.
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.
While many of those visiting our Hostel are farmers and homesteaders themselves, some come from that “city culture” and seem to take their first hesitant steps outside of a flatly paved driveway when they arrive at our place. Wide eyes, a sense of adventure.
Since her first house move, MOTHER EARTH NEWS blogger Cathie Ackroyd, has become so very conscious of the impact we humans have had and are having on our planet’s environment and hoped to find a place to settle that would allow us to gain an element of self-sufficiency in a relatively car-free community.
When I bought my farm, I did it to live in the woods. I would like to say I was deliberate. And intentional. But clueless is probably a better word. I should have suspected something when I bought the land and they threw the house in for free.
Making the most of a winter walk to home.
How we focused on attaining our dream homestead.
What exactly is ‘modern homesteading"? There are as many definitions as there are people doing it. What does the term ‘modern homesteading’ mean to you?
Like Thoreau and the Nearings, we feel more alive and participative in the natural world around us on our 5.5 acre homestead and organic farmstead than Lisa and I ever did walking through a corporate cubicle maze in the city.
We're getting very close now to our relocation to Texas. After years of planning and developing, it's time to go home to our sustainable lifestyle. We leave with some sadness but a great deal of enthusiasm and excitement for our new life.
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.
Now that the Barndominium has been fully enclosed, it's time to work on the interior. Also the basic utilities, pump house and access roads have been beefed up. It's beginning to look like a real house now. Chateau Christie is becoming a reality.
We have few opportunities during our stay in Australia to fly home and do work ourselves on the property. This blog features a set of planned activities that we wanted to be personally and directly involved with. When we left, we were very happy.
We've been planning for months and years but now we're in fast build mode. The slab is poured, materials on site and in nine days, we will have the shell of the barndominium completely done and ready for the framing inside.
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.
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.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger Bryce shares 5 things to consider before starting a farmstead—not the least of which being winter.
We haul our water from the river - walking water!
We folded down the back seats in our Subaru wagon, lined the whole back area with a heavy tarp and a thick layer of straw, and headed down to Nash's Delta Farm to catch us some ducks.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS is seeking nominations of self-sufficient modern homesteaders for our 2013 Homesteaders of the Year awards.
Dive in, work with passion, and take all the other important elements of your life with you. Here are four reasons why such blending yields strategic sense.
Making cheese was nothing like I expected, but in the end, I was successful.
Announcing an opportunity to get Anna's new Ebook for free today at Amazon on the subject of homesteading in a mobile home otherwise known as a trailer.
Land Pride is proud to announce four new skid Grapples in 12 different sizes as well as a skid-mounted Stump Grinder. These completely new attachments feature the same quality and durability that you’ve come to expect from Land Pride.
I don't know why, but somehow I think of myself as a lazy farmer. Perhaps it's because I know that I'm not a real farmer. Sure, we ate out of the garden all summer and I sold our excess produce at the farmer's market, but gardening is hardly farming.
The thrill continues living in our handmade house.
Where we find a wealth of information for projects and enjoyable reading.
Outlining our process for locating a suitable location for finding a new homestead.
As we look into the future we prepare for a flatter terrain for a new homestead.
Ode to our hand saw...why we choose to live without power, and what we've accomplished by hand.
Is there a more heartwarming and majestic sight than gorgeous old-fashioned cows in a peaceful grassy meadow, calves scampering by their sides? Awesome. But have you given much considered thought to exactly how those calves will come to be?
Looking ahead to spring, we're using these long days to plan a rootstock order of perennial trees, shrubs, and herbs.
A horse trainer once said to me, 'Animals don't think, they just make associations.' I responded to that by saying, 'If making associations is not thinking, then I would have to conclude that I do not think.'
Featherlite Trailers' official website recorded its one millionth visitor in October, according to data from Google Analytics. This is the first time the site has eclipsed the one-million-visitor mark in a calendar year.
Rewarding volunteer efforts involving German Shepherd Rescue.
Nobody can resist fluffy baby chicks, so what would be better than hatching your own? Let us put your mind at rest and make your first time incubating an enjoyable experience you will want to repeat.
Additional reinforcement is required around the garage door opening.
Scaffolding is required to access the walls to pour the concrete. Scaffolding also helps support the walls.
ICF walls must be carefully braced to prevent blowout.
again, rushing to beat the weather as we close in our finishing our hand-built cabin
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.
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.
Protecting the fig tree for the winter felt like putting it to bed for a long sleep. Chopping wood with the Chopper 1 is a thing of joy and beauty and that's no joke. Do it yourself corn bin helped our neighbor keep the racoons out.
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.
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.
The new metal roof was nailed down just hours before the storm hit.
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.
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.
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.
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.
An introduction to me, a home-schooled 11 year old.
Susan Abernethy shares this story of helping her husband turn a longstanding tradition of family sorghum harvesting into a small business. Since their marriage in 2004, Susan has enjoyed unraveling the stories of her husband’s sorghum legacy and has inherited a powerful adoration for the hard work it takes to yield the sweet crop.
Andre Armantrout sent us this wonderful update from a Homesteading Education Month event featuring aquaculture at Snowy Pine Ridge, outside Spokane, Wash.
Growing Local Food is a new book that encompasses all the needed basics to grow plants, keep heritage breed animals and bees. The author is a homesteader and physician who gives the readers the basic information to grow or find nutritious, local food
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.
I grew up with bobolinks. All my life they have nested on our farm, but the bobolinks are in serious trouble, especially in the Northeast, largely on account of changes in agricultural practices.
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.
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.
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.
Writer and Canadian farming enthusiast, Joseph Graham sent this review of the event that he and his wife hosted for Homesteading Education Month.
Kerr-Cole Sustainable Living Center in Taylor, Arizona celebrates national homesteading month with a display of solar ingenuity.
Steve Judge of Bob-White Systems in Vermont offers his Micro Dairy expertise in this blog series on how to start and manage a Micro Dairy, from farm and barn planning to selecting dairy cows, goats and sheep to daily operations and being profitable.
Therapeutic grade essential oils have a tonne of uses on the homestead - here's how we've used them effectively, and how they bring us peace of mind.
Solar expert Joe Utasi hopes to have his home solar panel installation complete and running, and will have lots of pictures to show and discuss by the time the Seven Springs Fair arrives.
We received another great review of a successful Homesteading Education Month event. Read about a well-received sustainability fair in South Dakota.
Preserving an abundant basil harvest for the coming winter.
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.
My boyfriend and I traveled from Orlando, FL with the expectation that we were going to encounter a life-changing experience. It was well worth it. I felt like a kid in a candy store.
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.
Bob-White Systems is bringing the cows back home by providing supplies, equipment and support for Micro Dairies, Home & Farmstead cheesemakers and small-scale producers of local and farm fresh dairy products.
Solar drying experiences in 2012, including tomato varieties Principe Borghese and Long Tom.
Community food events are an outstanding way to share the abundance of our harvest and strengthen local community ties.
We do a lot of things on our farm, but the primary way we earn a livelihood is selling wholesale potted herbs and heritage food plants to garden centers throughout Colorado and northern New Mexico.
Homesteads are attempting to provide longer grazing times by dividing pasture into paddocks. The difficulty of getting water to each paddock can be solved by a windmill with underground pipes. No electric is needed--just wind!
Steve explains how our pursuit of environmental sustainability can also drive us crazy if it's not put in the correct philosophical context.
Set up a washing station in your garden. Rinse your veggies there, saving the water for the garden and keeping your kitchen clean.
Use of a mobile chicken tractors allows us to keep the birds on fresh ground and stay on top of the weeds.
Many a homesteader and farmer can use help, and many a young person wants to learn homesteading skills. Having apprentices is an important means to assure a continuation of farms and farming,as well as teaching youth essential survival skills.
Leaving the rental home we had lived in for three years in Carmel Indiana, to move back to Kangaroo Valley, Australia has meant more than losing the plot and getting the flock out of there!
When it's too hot outside, the work moves inside, and is still REALLY HOT.
Learn how to use less energy canning tomato products.
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.
Looking ahead to September, it gives us all an opportunity to expand our horizons with furthering our knowledge and skill sets, baking and otherwise.
The NH Permaculture Gathering is just a couple weeks away!
Sensor Plug update along with a report on Sunflowers being used as a cover crop and when to properly harvest onions.
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.
Even we homesteaders must decide how we interact with our animals and the environment. When we follow Nature's rules by developing old-time virtues, our lives are enriched with connection to everything around us.
The time to prepare for livestock or pet emergencies is not when they fall ill, but before. Here are some basics so you and your critters are covered.
Taking care of compost is essential to healthy soil and good food.
Learn about using the Piteba to press your own homegrown oil.
A key choice was what type of house to build. We aren't in Texas more than a few weeks a year until we make our final move back. We wanted a structure we could enclose to protect the interior from the elements and yet build in stages as time and money allow.
A quality product made in the USA
Weeding in the summer is all about species maintenance
How do you find the best chicken coop design for your new flock? We'll help you walk through the evaluation process AND get a free analysis spreadsheet to help you decide.
This blog contains a detailed list of most of my initial design priorities for my net zero energy home so others may benefit from my thinking and experience on creating a passive solar, net zero energy, green home.
Until we built a barn of our own and experienced the kindness of neighbors firsthand, I would have thought the notion of a barn raising to be a quaint relic of the past.
The accumulation and storage of hay is an essential summer task.
As part of my education on how to be more self-sufficient when we make our move back to Texas, I've been taking classes while here in Australia. One of the more enjoyable classes was in beekeeping. This is our class practical exercise.
Keeping bees is something I've wanted to do on our new homestead. But would I like it? Taking a class is a good way to find out.
In this blog, I highlight the earliest decisions I had to make to create a net zero energy home: how I was going to build the foundation and walls. Thermal bridging, air tightness, insulation, cost, and greeness are all key deciders.
My vision of the Texas homestead, complete with family and doting grandchildren nearby took a hit this year when my daughter and husband split and my daughter moved to Austin. Could I reinvent the vision? Or would this issue derail our plans?
Harvesting abundance in the early spring.
In this blog, my architect James Plagmann and I begin to tell the story of the construction of Dan's new net zero energy homes. Dan begins by laying the ground, defining a few terms and describing his experience in this field.
After the snow leaves to do list for us.
There are many more ways than ever to earn income without ever leaving the homestead. As energy prices rise, earning the money you need without traveling is key to success. It just might not come from the place you expect.
Comparison between old ways and new technology.
Experiences getting started gardening in the 1970's and suggestions for beginning your own projects in 2012.
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.
Growing sorghum is the first step to making sweet sorghum syrup, but are there other reasons for growing a crop of sorghum?
We call our homestead Sunflower Farm and now we have the sign to show for it!
Using 16-foot livestock panels in many ways on your homestead.
Pruning perennials is essential for plant health and vigorous production.
A lookout tower home, which features reclaimed materials, connects its homeowner with her past, present and future.
Young homesteader Robert Maxwell explores his discoveries as he moves toward self-sufficiency and homesteading.
If you've been on this rural living or modern homesteading journey for decades, or just starting out, how do you know when you've arrived?
Eating only homegrown foods on the Fridays in Lent.
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.
The history of the Blood Orange and How to make Blood Orange Marmalade.
There are good sides and bad sides to every storey, this is no exception. No one said homesteading would be easy!
Growing and harvesting hazelnuts (filberts) in your garden.
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!
Thoughts on growing all your own food. How much space is required and other things to consider.
Part II of a tutorial on how to make cold-process soap. The directions are intended for the absolute beginner and use easy-to-locate materials.
Homestead skills of yogurt-making and bread-baking increase your independence from grocery store aisles and international food conglomerates.
Cam has a (temporary) job outside of the house and he has gained a new appreciation for being self-employed.
The how's and why's we homestead
Part I of a two-part tutorial on how to make soap for the absolute beginner. Readers will assemble materials and prepare the mold this week in anticipation of combining the ingredients to make a batch of cold-process soap.
I recently spent the weekend in Tennessee to attend the NSSPPA Conference and yearly meeting to meet other sorghum makers and learn more about the process. I came away with new techniques, different seed varieties and a feeling of camaraderie with the other producers.
Stony Knolls Farm has a new dog and getting him here was a wonderful, and amazing journey that is well worth sharing! Rescue dogs are so grateful for their new homes.
Building a vibrant local community through local economics and rural culture.
Emma Jane James of Appalachia, Virginia, inquires about her Kansan family tree and reminisces about better days in her coal-mining town, before mountaintop removal and pollution took their toll.
Homemade laundry detergent to save money and the environment.
Sauerkraut is an effective and delicious way to store cabbage and add something "fresh" to the winter months
You can easily make homemade mozzarella in 30 minutes or less!
Comparing a covenant community against living rural without covenants.
If you're pondering a move to the country and think your life will suddenly get blissfully silent, think again.
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.
There is a coming resurgence of the appreciation of the hearty homespun sorghum syrup. Something is special about being part of making this “home-made” sugar that speaks to the self-reliant nature inside all of us. You can be part of the Sorghum Revival!
Find out which states and countries have the greatest number of LEED Platinum certified projects, and where the Platinum projects are located. Plus, a list of some LEED Platinum rated homes and residential buildings, with links to case studies.
This part of the series deals with window size and location, ceiling heights, eave length, and other design and passive design choices you can make for your new home. These choices apply whether you are on or off the grid.
How we approached buying our property, clearing and selecting a home site.
It has become a Christmas ritual for me to clean out my mother's fridge. I find whiskery gnarled morsels, shoved to the back of the fridge many months previously, unseen, and untouched by my mother’s arthritic hands. Do I compost all this detritus?
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.
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 little background on how Ric and Vicki moved from Detroit to a Tennessee homestead, and starting to get up to date on what they've done since.
Wood is our source of heat for the winter, as are sweaters and hats!
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.
How a born and bred city boy came to leave Detroit, start a Tennessee homestead with his wife, and blog about it here.
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!
Has the "magic" energy solution been discovered?
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 rundown of activities you can do in the winter to improve your homestead.
History and those who may have crossed or used your homestead before you discovered it. Treasure is where you find it.
Humanure management for maximum nutrient secuestration and minimum resource loss.
The importance of a good pickup truck for the modern homesteader.
Cam describes how the seasons progress through one messy task after another at Sunflower Farm.
As winter descends a three-season hoop house is weeded, compost spread, and a straw mulch applied. Next spring will be here soon.
How potentially dangerous chemicals are tested and are they really that safe for humans or not.
Fall sheet mulching of perennial plantings assists in fertility and weed suppression.
I love rural life and modern homesteading, but there are days when the comfort of a city condo would be welcome indeed. And honestly? A relief.
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.
Leaves are a valuable source of mulch and fertility within the permaculture garden.
D Acres offers alternative economics. We are the 99&: join us.
Did attending the Fair make you want to go out back and start building a chicken coop? If you've gotten far enough in your chicken-keeping research to look at specific breeds, look no further than the Mother Earth News Pickin' Chicken app.
We finally build somthing!
Even dairy goats can have self-esteem issues...
With resources from Mother Nature, you can make natural and beautiful homegrown holiday gifts.
Examining an community for your homestead.
GO Home, built by architecture and construction firm G•O Logic LLC, received the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) 2011 LEED for Homes Project of the Year Award.
The process of curing potatoes for winter storage.
We look for materials bargains while devising a way to pay for it all.
Learn from the trials and tribulations of a beginning dairy goat owner.
Homegrown vegetables are a lesson for kids in where food comes from.
Learn from the trials and tribulations of a beginning dairy goat owner!
Anna remembers her grandmother's tasty buttermilk biscuits with fig preserves and her mother's stories of growing up on a small, in-town homestead in the 60s.
Read about methods to utilize animal- and human- power for trimming the lawn and keeping back weeds, all free of fossil fuels.
Sigi Koko of Down to Earth Design and some assistants demonstrate her method of constructing strawbale walls with clay at the 2011 Mother Earth News Fair in Seven Springs, Pa.
Veterinarian Anne Hallowell will present a workshop on hiking and packing with llamas at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustianability festival, September 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pa.
Fun is where you find it, in this case it is a hay ride for the family along our trail.
Pat Foreman of Good Earth Publications will present three workshops on chickens at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, September 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pa.
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.
Kenneth Rust of Kasco Marine will present a workshop on practical pond management at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, September 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pa.
Harvey Ussery of The Modern Homestead will present three workshops on raising and gardening with chickens at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, September 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pa.
Carolyn’s story of living on a farm in rural Illinois shows that one can truly live off the land by having a huge garden, collecting wild morel mushrooms, and making homemade cottage cheese from the milk of the family cow.
Diane Ott Whealy of Seed Savers Exchange and Jackie Cleary Dietrich of Auburn Meadow Farm will present workshops on gardening and farming at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, Sept. 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pa.
Growing up on a New England homestead, a woman imparts heartfelt lessons about making do with what you have and cherishing those memories.
A woman shares her experiences during the Dust Bowl days in Oklahoma of how she ate poke greens, learned to live without electricity and other homesteading memories.
Robin Bedford of Possum Hollow Farm Soap will present a workshop on soap making at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, September 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pa.
Alison Martin of the American Livestock Breeds Association will present a workshop on heritage breed cattle at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, September 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pa.
This rustic, resourcefully sustainable dog fence fits right into the landscape. Before you install a fence, look around your place first to see what's already available.
Jeannette Beranger of the American Livestock Breeds Association will present two workshops on heritage breed pigs and chickens at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, September 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pa.
One of the first steps to building our homestead in Texas was to get water and electricity on the property so we had the basics from which we could build. This blog discusses how we implemented the first phase of our utilities.
Deborah Niemann of Antiquity Oaks will present two workshops on traditional home dairies and homegrown food at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, September 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pa.
Nathan Kipnis of Kipnis Architecture + Planning will present two workshops on green energy and building at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, September 24-25 in Seven Springs, Pa.
Heather Houlahan of Brandywine Farm will present a workshop on choosing and training farm dogs at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, Sept. 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pa.
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.
Julie Lavigne relates her grandparent’s home in the city, a modern homestead for their time, and proves you can live a self-sufficient lifestyle in an urban setting.
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.
Victoria Gazely lives in a 650-square-foot homesteader's cabin built by a man who didn't need closets. She's found five great ways to stash her stuff without renovating--and her solutions work for anyone who needs to hide a few things.
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.
New photos of Lloyd House's Leaf House
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.
Lloyd meditates on the essentials of shelter and our memories of home.
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.
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?
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.
Luke Dinan, a young man from Toronto, Ontario, is forging his way towards sustainable living and a self-reliant lifestyle; a path we can appreciate, strive for and maybe contribute to.
Wabi-sabi is sinewy, flecked browns and yellowed greens, the myriad stone and moss shades, a slate-gray cloud’s washed violet underside. Like nature, wabi-sabi paints in multidimensional swatches that are never what they appear to be.
JavaCycle has saved more than 40 tons of burlap coffee bag from landfills.
As the economy improves, the trend toward smaller homes is reversing.
Built tough for storm cleanup, tree felling, and firewood cutting, the MS 271 STIHL WOOD BOSS chain saw is designed with improved ergonomics and equipped with a low-emission, fuel-efficient engine.
Learn to build your own Hand-Crafted Log Home
Follow these simple guidelines to make the most of your small space: contain clutter, find furnishings do double-duty, and make maximum use of color and light.
Camille Wright passes on wisdom from her “Mamaw,” conjuring up images of fresh clothes on the clothesline, a root cellar lined with jams and jellies, and quiet walks.
Growing up in rural north Florida, Elizabeth Hollingsworth shares her family’s self-sufficiency experiences, from storing redskin potatoes to making jam; drives in the country to extended-family potlucks.
How can someone who claims to be a 'modern homesteader' not have planted her garden by the end of June, you ask? Well, let me tell you...
Finding friends out in the country can be challenging.
This home in the Florida Keys captures prevailing breezes and takes advantage of passive cooling techniques such as open walls and a reflective roof to keep its occupants cool and comfortable without air conditioning.
In order to build skills for our move from Australia to Texas, we have been taking various classes and workshops. Recently, we took a weekend workshop at an excellent cheese factory close to where we live on the Mornington Peninsula near Melbourne.
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.
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.
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.
Housekeeping tips mined from the second issue of Mother Earth News--published in 1970--are surprisingly relevant today. Use these to make this task--which we all have to do sooner or later--more efficient and enjoyable.
Custom Curve is the first glass window system with a structurally engineered framework that follows the curved wall of the yurt.
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.
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.
Tom Watson of King County Recycling and Environmental Services and Carol Ekarius of Storey Publishing will present workshops on recycling and animal agriculture at the Mother Earth News Fair, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Sukita Reay Crimmel of Claylin and From These Hands, and publisher of Mother Earth News Bryan Welch will present workshops on building earthen floors and how to build a sustainable future at the Mother Earth News Fair, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, WA.
Dealing with potties out in the country.
In this blog we talk about our three differnet types of solar technology that we have on the Homestead.
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.
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.
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.
Erin McIntosh of Mountain Rose Herbs and Victoria Miller of Canyon Creek Farms will present workshops on calming herbs and how to keep turkeys at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Reginald Beck, gluten-free baker and Bruce Glenn, straw bale builder will present workshops on gluten-free baking and straw bale building at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Trying to follow directions out in the country can be challenging!
Growing potatoes in containers allows you to increase your yield in a small amount of space.
Prepping for major emergencies - earthquakes, floods, tornadoes - is important, but so is emergency planning for less dramatic events. Find out what you can do to reduce the potential for stress.
Jessica Kellner will present a workshop on handbuilt homes and Michael Vicha will present workshops on cheesemaking at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Doug Kennedy of TM4 Group will present a workshop on home owner operation and maintenance at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
NXP's wifi light bulb would allow homeowners to turn LED and compact fluorescent lights on and off from anywhere, using any Internet-enabled device. Some say it's the first step toward building "smart" computer-controlled homes. Do we need this?
Alisa Shorey will present a workshop on beekeeping and Jack McCornack will present a workshop on 100-mpg cars at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Molly McCabe, green remodeler, will present a workshop about sustainable remodeling for kitchens and baths at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Pack Rats, cute, tricky and destructive
Aaron Gould, green builder, will present a workshop on the economics of ecobuilding at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Sometimes you have your plans changed for you, so don't put off tomorrow what can be done today.
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.
We are collecting Wit and Wisdom From Our Elders: tips and stories of how people took care of their homesteads in the past. Share your stories!
Robyn Griggs Lawrence of Ogden Publications will present workshops on green cleaning and wabi-sabi at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Deciding on urban beekeeping may just mean hosting a hive - some of the honey and none of the work!
With country living, you expect a quiet night's sleep. But surprise, surprise - nature has its own alarm clock.
Learning to clear fields can be fun!
Don't let your wanderlust for more space hold you back from creating your homestead in the city.
Clearing your land to ready it for farming can be quite a challenge!
Adding solar panels can increase a home's resale value by as much as $17,000, a new Lawrence Berkeley Lab report finds.
I am new to America, and new to the suburbs, having previously lived in rural Australia. I now live in suburban Indiana. During the past two years I have been trying to set up an "urban homestead" for our family. The neighbors are curious and amused.
Kiko Denzer of Hand Print Press will present a workshop and demonstration on modern homesteading, do-it-yourself building with mud at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Forty years ago a trombe wall worked to store and release heat in a passive solar house. Is it obsolete in the 21st century?
Finding wild morel mushrooms growing in our urban backyard means plenty of marvelous meals.
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.
Christy Oates's brilliant fold-out furniture takes up virtually no floor space when it's not in use. It's the perfect solution for small homes--and a hopeful sign for the future of design.
The Lehigh Valley Green Builders is presenting its third annual Green Home and Building Expo.
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."
This tiny kit home--less than 90 square feet--is energy-independent and so well-designed that you'd never miss the space.
Guy and Kay Baker and their three sons spent five years building a small weekend cabin in Alabama from scraps and salvage. When the 1,100-square feet house was complete, they loved it so much they made it their permanent home.
Frugality and lack of pretense or compromise are key ingredients in creating a wabi-sabi home.
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.
Apartment Therapy's annual Small Cool contest, featuring homes of less than 1,000 square feet, is a gold mine for smart ideas that make tiny spaces elegant, graceful and liveable.
Chickens - how do you know if you’re the ‘chicken type’? If you’re pondering a backyard flock, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself.
Getting solar panels in Seattle is becoming more affordable with state incentives and net metering but still doesn't quite compare to other states.
If you are growing vegetables, making a few homemade wares here and there ... you are practicing good, old-fashioned homesteading techniques.
One of the nation's largest home developers announces it will offer solar arrays as standard features on new homes in California.
This book club of the book, Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology, follows a couple who decides to live technology free for 18 months among a strict Amish-like community, growing all their own food and relying on their neighbors to survive.
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.
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.
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.
Welcome to by blog “City to Country, One Step at a Time.” Here’s how I ended up as a modern homesteader on a little acreage in the Canadian West Coast bush.
Brief description of our journey back onto the National Mall, our Flex Space design, and our Solar Thermal Skylight.
Skip the packaging and synthetic chemicals and learn how to make your own, cold-processed shampoo bars.
Any net zero-energy home needs two things. The first is the sun, providing passive solar energy. The second necessity is retaining maximum heat.
Anecdotal evidence from coast to coast indicates that Americans have had enough of granite countertops and whirlpool tubs. They want smaller homes with green finishes instead.
Clean with vodka for a spic-and-span house and less of a headache in the morning! You can use the alcohol to freshen your laundry, remove mold and mildew, and even repel bugs. Vodka kills bacteria and dries clear and odor-free, making it an ideal addition to your cleaning cupboard.
Americans continue to believe that green homes make a difference--but they need to be more affordable.
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
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.
Ranging in size from 528 square feet to 960 square feet, miniHomes are a combination of park model trailer, manufactured home and code-compliant residences that combine modern design with state-of-the-art building technology.
While many indications point to house size shrinking in America, National Public Radio reports that the McMansion is far from dead.
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?
One of the best ways to learn about green homes is to explore real-world examples--by touring homes or reading about them online. This article links to free online collections of case studies and in-depth profiles of green homes.
Jenna Woginrich writes about the beauty of Cold Antler Farm, a small homestead that she shares with Pig, her rabbits Benjamin and Doe and several chickens. Taking care of her animals on cold winter nights is a challenge for Woginrich, but one she gladly accepts armed with a water bottle and affection. Woginrich's modest barn provides shelter for her animals and a useful space to feel at home.
Concrete rubble from collapsed buildings is a huge problem in Haiti. It is blocking roads and hindering reconstruction. Instead of spending millions of dollars trucking the rubble away and disposing of it, why not use it to build affordable housing?
One of the greatest needs in the world is disaster resistant housing – houses that can hold up against hurricanes, earthquakes and other natural disasters. Properly designed structures can save millions of lives and millions of structures every year.
The U.S. Green Building Council's Project of the Year is a small, urban home built for $100 per square foot.
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.
Building housing projects in developing regions is extremely rewarding, but also quite challenging. It’s prudent to draw ideas from as many resources as possible to improve the process. The following guidelines have proven effective.
Precision Engineering www.structure1.com has generously provided drawings and specifications for building earthbag structures in seismic areas to meet code. The documents have been combined into one 6-page PDF and are now available online.
Homesteads and farms often have fun or touching
names that etch themselves into our memories. Is there one that has stuck in
MaryJane's Farmgirls is a network of women's groups across the country who meet to discuss and share their experiences in modern homesteading, including sewing, cooking, voluteering and more.
Jim Oseychuk built this intricate garden shed for his wife and won his category of the Wood-Mizer Personal Best contest.
This post is about winterizing a colony of bees naturaly, using ideas and tips that we at BeeLanding have learned from nature.
Joe Bonn built this impressive home in Colorado and won his category of the Wood-Mizer Personal Best contest.
Living luxuriously doesn’t necessarily mean living large — at least not in these homes — and reducing a little waste doesn’t hurt, either.
Robert Craig built this 960 square foot barn in Oregon and won his category of the Wood-Mizer Personal Best contest.
Donn Saindon built this beautiful 1,200 square foot home from reclaimed wood and won his category of the Wood-Mizer Personal Best contest.
Earthbag building has just received engineering approval. This is probably the greatest news ever for earthbag building. With engineer-approved plans, we see unlimited potential for earthbag building for homes, shops, schools, you name it.
The earthbag/geotextile basement wall system described here has excellent potential to save on initial construction costs and long-term energy costs. No concrete is used. The same principles have been used to build retaining walls for decades.
Recently, I had an epiphany in a building supply center. Even though I’ve been in the building trades for over 35 years and made countless trips to purchase building supplies, this trip was different.
Using wood you’ve harvested to start creative wood projects is not impossible. Many sawyers have created beautiful wood structures made from lumber they’ve cut themselves.
The Obama administration announced additional funding for rural broadband Internet programs that will increase the speed of rural Internet access. The funding is part of 2009's Recovery Act.
Information about energy-efficient washing machines and cellular window shades. These energy-efficient appliances and window shades will please environmentally conscious consumers.
It’s an innovative new product that provides homeowners with an aesthetic and permanent solution to the problem of unsightly above-ground propane tanks.
All the hard work of planting, weeding and watering comes to fruition in a bowl of berries and a plate of golden potatoes.
A look at the completed project and some of the features.
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.
Three-day workshop announcement on net zero energy homes by leading authority on energy efficiency and renewable energy, Dan Chiras. Learn how to reduce your utility bill through conservation, effriciency, & clean, affordable, renewable energy.
Bounty is in the eye of the beholder — whether it be a bowl of perfect berries or millions of maple seeds.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS contributing editor and compost expert Barbara Pleasant provides some great homestead compost tips in celebration of Compost Awareness Week.
For a natural looking wood finish, use a mixture of linseed oil and turpentine.
We'd like to hear about projects you have planned that will help you save energy, save water or otherwise make your home greener.
Keeping a garden journal helps you know which varieties you grew were successful, which were not and how much you harvested from each.
This two-day, alternative building workshop featuring energy expert Dan Chiras will be held March 13-14, 2010 in St. Louis.
It may not be Spring, but spring fever is in the air along with the need to dig in the dirt, plant seeds and eat fresh vegetables.
Enacting a law requiring builders to orient new homes toward the sun would drastically reduce home energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
Dan Chiras talks about the benefits of passive solar design.
Dan Chiras discusses the long-term benefits of building a green home.
If you have a constant, overwhelming urge of wanting to be outside breathing in the fresh air and partaking in various farming activities, you may be suffering from barnheart.
You can get more for your gardening money with a group seed starting effort.
A new Environmental Protection Agency website helps homeowners and renters decrease their energy consumption and cut carbon emissions.
Coffee bean chaff — the light, airy husks blown off the beans during roasting, can be used as chicken coop litter, mulch and compost. Chaff can usually be found for free at local roasteries.
When we're trying to achieve our dreams, it can be easy to be overwhelmed by all of the steps between where we are today and where we ultimately want to be. MOTHER EARTH NEWS writer Jenna Woginrich suggests a great idea for a fresh perspective and making your goals more attainable. If you look at the next 60 minutes, what can you do in the next hour to get closer to your goals?
For inspiration and education, take some time to peruse the hundreds of Modern Homesteading articles.
Wherever you live, you can practice sustainability and share your successes with your neighbors.
Where is the strange and wonderful place this homesteader describes? And how do you get there?
Learn more about the life and work of Malcolm Wells, the "Father of Earth Sheltered Design."
Lyanda Haupt talks about the challenges and rewards of protecting her chickens and garden from local wildlife.
I think testing your home for radon is a good idea, and these dogs agree with me!
It's fall, time for fall garden clean up and planting garlic for next summer's harvest.
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.
Jenna Woginrich reflects on her journey from fresh out of college, city-dwelling designer to determined homesteader, and offers encouragement to those with similar dreams.
Tell us about your ideal homestead. What would it be like?
Jenna Woginrich discusses the more difficult aspects of homesteading, and why it's worth it anyway.
The Solar Decathletes begin assembly on the National Mall at midnight, Oct. 1. But just getting the houses into D.C. is no simple task.
Planting flowers and vegetables that are attractive to honeybees will help to bring these garden pollinators into your yard.
You can't just hit the ground running when you make the transistion from rat race to homestead. There are lots of lessons to be learned. What wisdom can you share with the homestead hopefuls?
Look for local foods, such as fresh peaches, from your local farmers' market to make delightful summer desserts such as peaches and cream.
All of the work of readying the garden and waiting for it to produce is worth the wait once the harvest begins.
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.
The garden is growing better than I could have expected in the raised beds at my "new" urban homestead.
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.
Advice from a sustainable farming expert on how to get started with livestock on a small piece of land.
Using natural products, such as grass clippings and homemade organic fertilizer, can turn the worst clay soil into an acceptable growing medium.
This historical neighborhood, with a strong sense of community, offers the feeling of small-town living.
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.
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.
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.
If you’re the first of your friends to move to the country, get some chickens and plant an organic garden there will be some inevitable social fallout.
Read dozens of reports of reader's homesteading adventures.
Sometimes even — perhaps especially — those whose lives are full with experience, knowledge and good living can find that as their time begins to dwindle, there isn't quite enough. Not that that's anything other than as it should be.
Robert Plamondon's Norton Press has reprinted three homesteading classics: Ten Acres Enough, We Wanted a Farm and Gold in the Grass.
The Self Sufficient-ish Bible and accompanying Web site offer some universal tips for urban self-sufficiency.
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.
After hitching a ride out of the city on the Slow Food movement, some newcomers to the country look back on their transition decision.
You don't have to be a homeowner to homestead. No matter where you live, you can start practicing the skills you need for a more self-reliant, sustainable life.
Raising and growing your own is more than a lifestyle — it is life.
Here are some resources where you can learn more about how a scythe can be useful on your homestead.
We frequently use the term "homesteading" in Mother Earth News, but what is it's exact meaning?
For many homesteaders, taking a job during the winter months to earn extra income is an appealing option. Here are some options to consider if you're looking for off-farm income.
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.
Help you children learn how to be conscientious, active citizens of their cities and environment. These activities are useful and easy to incorporate into everyday life.