Old strains of holiday cactus are easy to grow, but updated varieties rebloom more often and produce bigger, showier blossoms.
Wabi-sabi is never slobby, but we can allow ourselves to stop trying so hard and just appreciate our warm bed at the end of the day—whether it’s made or not.
Hand-E-Glove, the amazing protective barrier hand lotion, is now the auto mechanic’s best tool. It is applied like ordinary hand lotion but does so much more.
How do you keep backyard chickens safe from poultry predators? With a bit of elbow grease and a few tips, your girls will be safe from sharp teeth.
Here is a plan for how to build your own floating cabin, "The Live Aboard Houseboat."
Learn details regarding winter chicken care including ventilation for a cozy chicken house, heat for baby and grown chicks, and recommended poultry books.
A University of Georgia study finds that common houseplants can remove toxins and improve indoor air quality.
Keeping a few hens for eggs is a wonderful part of growing your own food, but finding just a few female baby chickens can be a challenge.
If you're concerned about laws regarding keeping a few hens for eggs, take time to attend meetings on the topic.
We now have something to walk on other than dirt!
In her new book, Micro-Green: Tiny Houses in Nature, Mimi Zeiger profiles 36 creative, innovative small dwellings that represent a "new, rich architectural typology." Here are eight great examples to start fueling your fantasies.
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.
Chase down household leaks and fix them to save water and money during the Earth Gauge #FixALeak Week.
The Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Act establishes tough formaldehyde emission standards for household products made from composite wood.
Learn about Bisphenol A (BPA) and its prevalence in plastic manufacturing, and get tips on how to limit your exposure to BPA, phthalates, and other unsafe chemicals in plastic.
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.
While many indications point to house size shrinking in America, National Public Radio reports that the McMansion is far from dead.
Do you dream about living in a tiny, super-efficient home but worry about living with less space? This list of reasons for living could help push you off the fence. Dream big, live small!
The first Tiny House Conference will take place in Charlotte, North Carolina, on April 16.
The Japanese are masterful at living in small spaces. We can learn a lot from the superbly designed microhouses that have become a hot trend in Tokyo and beyond. Take a few tours and learn a few tricks in this must-see video.
From a home built into a cliff to a home built out from laundry soap boxes, these homes prove how fun and satisfying it is to push the conventional edge. It's your house. Create whatever you want.
Let the ancient Japanese art of wabi-sabi help you purge unwanted items and get organized for the new year.
Poultry producer turns manure into propane substitute with biochar as a byproduct.
Raising heritage turkeys is a great way to preserve rare breeds and add diversity to your homestead — or backyard poultry flock. Experts from S and S Poultry compare the qualities of six heritage breeds of turkeys.
Wild Muscovy ducks are moving into south Texas, and feral populations are causing problems elsewhere. But new regulations meant to control or eliminate the feral populations effectively make owning domesticated Muscovies illegal.
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.
It’s time to get serious about heritage chickens. Talking Chicken is a wonderful resource to help you build a flock. The book covers selection, breeding, raising and marketing heritage chickens and eggs. Poultry experts from around the country have contributed short pieces that are interspersed throughout the book to round out the information.
Chicken eggs usually hatch on the 21st day of incubation, but this hen hatched two chicks on the 23rd day.
Some breeds of chickens are better at ranging for their own feed, hatching eggs and raising chicks. Others mature quickly or lay particularly dark-brown eggs. Which breed has the combination of traits you’re looking for? We’ve launched a new survey to determine the characteristics of each breed of chicken.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Migratory Bird Program has proposed new language for regulations concerning Muscovy ducks. The period of public comments will last until Dec. 30, 2010.
Nothing says spring like the sound of newly hatched chickens in my incubators. It's the time of year when folks stop into the feed store or local hatchery expecting to begin their selection of new birds.
I was wrong about Freedom Rangers. Freedom Rangers are pretty close to Cornish Cross chickens. The Freedom Rangers did well on pasture, and we had a pretty broad range of sizes in the flock. I’m satisfied with the efficiency and the cost, but I’m disappointed the growth rate was so fast that it caused leg problems.
Gary Chang's brilliant solution to making a 330-square-foot apartment work for his family was to create a sliding wall system that can be configured into 24 different rooms. You have to see this one to believe it.
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.
Could you heat your house with a hair dryer? Super-efficient Passive Houses use very little energy.
The American Institute of Architect’s Home Design Trends Survey confirmed what Natural Home predicted in January—Americans are moving to smaller homes.
Last spring, I decided to raise my own free-range turkey for Thanksgiving. Here’s how that project turned out.
The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy Heritage has officially defined “heritage chicken.” Find out what a heritage chicken is, learn more about the certification process, and hear — firsthand — what an expert on heritage chickens has to say about pastured poultry and breed selection.
This collection of rare and historic poultry books offers an amazing amount of information on poultry.
The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC) and Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch recently announced the definition of heritage chicken. The event included tasting meat of four breeds of heritage chickens.
If you are keeping a small flock of chickens in your backyard or on a small acreage, which breeds have you come to admire and why?
Lots of factors are involved in hatching poultry eggs successfully: consistent temperature, the right amount of humidity and frequently turning the eggs. Not all incubators work equally well, and some have features that make operating them easier. Read about our most recent incubator test.
While others are fighting crowds in shopping malls on Friday, you can start choosing the breeds of chickens you’re going to raise in 2011. We’re excited to launch a new digital tool to help you sort through the options. It’s fun, practical and loaded with photos.
Hatching eggs using natural or artificial incubation is great fun, but there are no guarantees. Things can go wrong with either system.
A unique feature of emu eggs makes them an excellent choice for carving. With a minimal investment in equipment, you can create marvelous art for a hobby or a bootstrap business.
Instead of using a heat lamps to brood just a few chicks, consider using a broody hen to do the job. This system takes less time to manage and uses no fossil fuels!
An experienced pasture-raised poulty expert, Robert Plamondon, shares his thoughts on the best methods of keeping free-range chickens. He gives tips on four different kinds of electric fencing designed to contain chickens and repel predators, and calls it a less time and money consuming alternative to other fencing options.
Discuss the strange and mysterious ways of broody hens. Plus, the Community Chickens project will be hatching duck eggs!
This is a great collection of information and tips on raising poultry, chicken coops and hatching poultry eggs. You can learn about brooders, coops and poultry equipment.
If you want a few hens for fresh eggs, but haven’t had the time (or money) to build a coop or chicken tractor, here’s your chance to win a free coop! The Handcrafted Coops portable chicken coop is an ark-style coop with space for three hens (or five bantams).
We’re looking for the most effective and creative solar-heated waterer for chickens. If you’re creative and love to build useful projects, make a solar poultry waterer and try it out this winter. Then submit your design for our contest. We’ll publish the winning entry in the magazine, and the designer will win a free Brinsea incubator.
Cotton Patch geese were historically cheap labor for keeping cotton fields clean. They have been used to weed other crops, such as corn and strawberries, too. After making numerous contacts and traveling more than 10,000 miles, Tom Walker found a few gaggles that were fairly representative of the breed. He has carefully selected and maintained these historic weeder geese, saving them from the brink of extinction.
Chickens naturally go into their coop to roost at dusk, but that’s about the time that many predators start hunting. When you’re not able to be home to close the coop door at the right time, your birds might be in danger. So, Mother Earth News is sponsoring a contest for the best design for a DIY automatic chicken coop door closer.
Lots of people order hatching eggs that are shipped through the mail before setting them in an incubator or under a broody hen. But what kind of results should you expect from shipped hatching eggs? Read what an expert has to say about realistic expectations.
Many people who keep chickens or other poultry have concerns about how to manage their flock when cold weather sets in. But winter shouldn’t be a problem for your flock, but rather a steppingstone to the following year! Check your poultry often, follow these guidelines and you can even raise baby chicks in the winter! Tips from an expert.
The Solar Nite Eyes Predator Protection System helps ward predators away from your poultry, bees, trees and more. The Solar Nite Eyes are inexpensive, effective and easy to use. Try this method of predator protection around your homestead.
Poultry expert and contributing writer for MOTHER EARTH NEWS, Harvey Ussery, is teaching a 2-hour online course to help you get started with a backyard poultry flock.
Help keep cages and water sources clean with Solway Feeder's horizontal watering nipples.
ChickenWaterer.com’s new app, the Cluck-ulator, is available for iPhone and Android smartphones.
The Sustainable Poultry Network and Western Piedmont Community College have combined forces to create the American School of Sustainable Poultry Husbandry, an intensive poultry workshop for anyone interested in poultry production, marketing, breeding, hatching, cooking, etc.
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.
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.
Small house builder Rich Daniels seeks to cluster 100 homes under 400 square feet in a former sawmill.
Simran Sethi discusses what it takes for a home to be truly clean by avoiding harsh chemicals and using natural cleaning products.
Aggressive roosters are a nuisance and can be dangerous if they attack small children. Three simple methods can stop most aggressive behavior so that you can enjoy your entire flock of chickens, even the roosters.
Raising baby coturnix quail is an exciting adventure. Taylor is completely new to raising poultry and shares his experiences.
Quails make an excellent urban choice for poultry raising, chiefly for their tranquil nature, minimal noise and egg-producing efficiency. In this, the second installment of my series on quail-raising, you'll learn how to identify gender from color and marks and see how quail eggs compare with those of chickens.
Keep chicken water clean with this innovative watering design.
Creating a micro-climate is an essential tool for your survival and homesteading skills. Making the right micro-climate for your plants specific needs will not only help them survive, but thrive as well.
For an investment of less than $10,000 and about a week of labor, you could have a custom workshop, barn, garden shed or office.
Here are some resources to help you get started learning about straw bale building.
Recycling a steel grain bin makes great use of an existing structure. You can probably find an inexpensive used grain bin and use it for a home, office, shop or storage.
A California Environmental Protection Agency’s Resources Board study finds that airtight homes lead to pollutant buildup; poor indoor air quality can damage health
Homeowners want energy-efficient features and functional rooms that will expand on small homes’ square footage, according to a recent American Institute of Architects report.Homeowners want energy-efficient features and functional rooms that will expand on small homes’ square footage, says an American Institute of Architects report.
Auburn University students build a home using bales of non-recyclable corrugated cardboard.
A Berkeley, California, artist has outfitted a dumpster with all the amenities--including granite countertops and hardwood floors--in his mission to "break down what a house should be."
Sustainability starts at home—but it sure does help to have community backing. Natural Home magazine editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence takes a closer look at the Cambridge Energy Alliance, a nonprofit, community-supported program that offers free energy audits and customized plans to make homes and buildings more eco-friendly.
Is having too many gardens a detriment to selling a suburban home?
The emotional realities of butchering and processing your own livestock.
Keeping a rooster with your flock of hens is beneficial but must be done carefully. Here’s how to introduce a rooster to your poultry flock.
Getting your very first chicks is an exciting experience and a very big step for most first-time homesteaders. Here is some advice for enjoying your new additions and avoiding any potential problems.
If you’re planning to buy a small backyard chicken coop to protect a few hens, you might be interested in this coop from GardenEggs.com.
I tested a new incubator against my old Styrofoam incubator. Find out which one is the best for incubating duck eggs. The difference was amazing.
We’re trying out several incubators with chicken, duck and quail hatching eggs.
The Community Chickens project is about sharing the joy of keeping poultry and spreading the knowledge to help people successfully raise chickens, ducks and other poultry. Here’s a summary of some things we’ve learned through the project.
Here are a series of short videos that show how to start raising free-range chickens with helpful information throughout the process.
We’re testing incubators, equipment and feed for the Community Chickens project.
Hens that lay white eggs are lighter weight and eat less feed to produce the same amount of eggs as brown-egg layers. So, does that mean that if you’re concerned about conserving resources and care about the environment, you should eat white chicken eggs instead of brown chicken eggs? Color is only shell deep. There’s more to this debate than meets the eye.
There are many benefits to purchasing grass-fed eggs, but finding them is not always easy. Robert Plamondon suggests ideas and resources for making grass-fed eggs more available and popular.
How to avoid food poisoning from poultry, which is widely contaminated with Campylobacter.
We’ve compiled a list of chicken coops for your convenience.
Cam shares his thoughts about one of his elderly "ladies" who seems wise beyond her chicken years!
With no building experiment and only the information they found online as their guide, Kyle and Jeannie built a sweet little home on wheels. In this video, they share what they learned in the process and invite you inside.
The original weeHouse prefabricated kit house is 435 efficiently designed square feet and comes with everything you need to live well. Need more space? You can snap together two or more of the modules to satisfy your needs.
Renovating a heritage log cabin DIY style isn't easy, but with some thought and attention to detail, it can be done - and cheaper than you might think.
One small brown bat can eat several thousand insects each night. Install a bat house and invite them to feast in your yard.
Yes, it's possible to harvest trees from your own property to build a timber-frame structure. But here are a few things to consider before you decide to go ahead.
After weeks of planning (and a little bit of panicking), the Natural Home team finishes decorating the Blair House and State Department for the holidays with a selection of fair trade, artisan-made items that benefit our planet and its citizens.
Building a new house with SIPS
We’ve been living in the little house for nine months and one of the things I’ve noticed is this: If I don’t pick up my stuff the house looks like a bomb went off. I don’t have a lot of stuff, but it’s still easy to create clutter piles with my limit
This tiny kit home--less than 90 square feet--is energy-independent and so well-designed that you'd never miss the space.
Leap Adaptive's 480-square-foot, energy-efficient Hummingbird kit house makes green living affordable.
After working four jobs to make payments on their larger home, Debra and Gary downsized--to 320 square feet. The family lacks for nothing, and guests are always welcome. "I've got everything I need," Debra says. And their $20K house is paid off.
Over the years, we’ve had many experiences with injured and sick chickens. Sometimes the birds have pulled through, sometimes they have not.Such is truly the way of life.
What to do when the hot, humid days of summer create constant bickering in your children and in the flock.
Quail meat is making its comeback as there has been more of a demand due to the composition of the meat and exotic taste. Restaurants and grocery stores are supplying more quail meat to feed their consumers. There is a lack of producers, therefore education and encouragement is needed to increase the popularity further and meet the demands.
Cruel treatment is the norm in industrial poultry production. Consumers can help stop inhumane treatment by choosing to support local producers who do not put profit ahead of humane treatment.
It is officially spring at The Pomponio Homestead despite the icy drizzle and the date. I asked the universe, and it delivered - three hens.
When I asked some chicken-keeping friends what they wished they'd known about chickens when they first got started, the answers were varied.
Richmond, Virginia, legalized chickens in 2013. Since then, cities and towns have joined in legalizing family flock. The organizers of the Richmond Home and Garden Show (one of the largest on the East Coast) wanted to feature chickens and offered us free booth space.
When a chicken dies suddenly for no obvious reason, it's unsettling. But it's not uncommon. Here are some possible causes for that sudden death in your otherwise healthy flock.
Poultry predators are one of the biggest concerns of owners of chickens and other poultry. Here are a few tips for fighting chicken enemies. Plus some thoughts on common wildlife that are not predators of chickens.
Sign up to attend a free poultry webinar on the topic of starting a backyard flock.
Yes, spring is finally here. Time to start farming.
Robert Plamondon's Norton Press has reprinted three homesteading classics: Ten Acres Enough, We Wanted a Farm and Gold in the Grass.
Hermann and Laura Weber are preparing to host their ninth annual pasture poultry seminar on their farm in Attica, N.Y. Speakers include Peter McDonald of Pasture Pride Farm, Dave Snyder from ADM Alliance Nutrition, Inc. and Brian Fleishman from the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce and the Wyoming County Tourist Program. Contact the Webers for more information: 585-591-0795.
If you’re new to raising chickens, you might be a little intimidated setting up house for your new flock. Homesteader Jenna Woginrich offers a straightforward overview of getting started, from preparing a brooder to providing feed and water.
I took some of my Sumatra Chickens to two poultry shows and this is what happened.
Wondering when to buy chickens? February to June is the best time to buy baby chicks if you are interested in raising chickens, or if you are looking into getting different types of poultry. This timing not only helps the chicks, but will often get deals for you. Also, check out the directory of hatcheries to make finding your poultry easier.
With its newest offering, Tumbleweed Tiny House Company gives homebuyers the flexibility of a kit house with the fine craftsmanship they expect from the flagship small home builder.
During World War I, the federal government ordered people to keep a backyard flock of chickens. What happened? Why is it so hard today?
If you want to build a passive solar house, you’ll need to spend time upfront carefully considering your house plans. Here’s how one couple worked with a contractor and a designer to draw up and then finalize their small home plans with energy efficiency and lifestyle in mind.
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.
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.
Springtime happiness can be measured by the sweetness of your strawberry patch.
This year readers were concerned about bedbugs and greenwashing, and everyone wants to know more about smaller homes.
Natural Home has been invited to decorate rooms in Blair House, the President’s guest house that hardly anyone ever gets to see, and the U.S. State Department’s Harry S. Truman Building in Washington, DC in the first-ever Magazine Holiday Design Showcase, a partnership between the U.S. State Department and the Magazine Publishers of America.
The White House will launch an open-to-the-public farmers market.
Tumbleweed Tiny House Company founder Jay Shafer teaches Americans how to build efficient homes of less than 1,000 square feet.
I cure my spring fever by planting in a hoop house.
President Obama plans to help earn the White House LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
A National Association of Home Builders report and a Better Homes and Gardens survey find that builders and homeowners are moving toward smaller, more energy-efficient homes.
Environmental journalist Simran Sethi spends her first night in her new home and reflects on the struggles and triumphs of the journey thus far.
It was a cold, windy New Years evening. Logan and I were wrapped up in the covers; he was surfing the internet and I was reading a book. It was a perfect and cozy night to be at home.
Did you know that you're going to have to make your digester either much larger or much warmer, if you expect to do practical biogas in the US? Well, here's that story...
There are two things that are true about biogas. The first is that biogas wants to happen. It wants to happen like plants want to grow, like fire wants to burn. And that force, that will to happen, has (at least) those two aspects: life, like the plants; and chemistry, like the fire.
You can digest food waste to produce a burnable gas (biogas), to produce high quality fertilizer, and to fight climate change. Learn how.
Suggestions for the interior of your chicken house, including; feed storage, access to nest boxes, dividing the chicken-living area, and making a loft for storing bedding material.
Ever wondered about the real meaning behind terms like cage free, free range, and pasture raised?
As mama hens, is there ever really a time when we don’t worry about our little chicks?
An aging goose gains a family.
With just about every breed of standard bred, heritage poultry, we have work to do. They are not producing like they once were.
Our first trip to the New England Meat Conference and some of the lessons we learned.
This pentagonal structure was costly and tricky to build, but the finished structure is both beautiful and functional.
Pickled duck eggs pair well with Asian flavors in this easy recipe.
Families can now enhance their diet with Omega-3 fatty acids from their homegrown eggs.
Advice on how to get the most tender and flavorful meat from your chickens.
The Chicken Kooler keeps the water away from the chicken’s feet, where is can get filled with straw and dirt.
Keeping birds on the farm; how we went from chicken havers to duck lovers.
The morning started off with a decent lecture on poultry operation, production, and marketing. After a midday break, lectures resumed, this time being led by a different fellow, on the subject of free-range, humane certified broiler production. I won
Land O'Lakes Purina Feed helps address the lack of Omega-3, an essential fatty acid, in American’s diets with their latest innovative feed: Purina Layena Plus Omega-3.
Like many things related to food, the free-range label misleads customers, so we explore the differences between free-range and pasture-raised.
Homesteader Cam Mather describes integrating new backyard chickens into his existing flock and the wonderful life his "ladies" lead.
Our quest to make pasture egg collection more efficient.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS interviewed poultry advocate Oprah HenFree at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR.
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.
Part three: Karen Snyder and her partner, Sheryl Records, continue the saga of their circular stone house construction, on the outskirts of Bisbee, Ariz.
Karen Snyder and her partner, Sheryl Records, continue to saga of the circular stone house construction, outside of Bisbee, Ariz.
Sayra and Dominic live with their 5-year-old daughter in a charming 550-square-foot home in rural Idaho. There are challenges, but they've found that less really is more. "It's like living in a fun clubhouse," Sayra says.
A beautiful round stone home, hand built and located outside of Bisbee, Ariz., is for sale to the right person who appreciates handcrafted artisan work and self-sufficient living.
When it comes to building their home, one couple decides to hire a contractor to handle the process, but still plans to design their own home and provide labor and materials as much as possible.
The $300 House Project challenges student and professional designers to create housing that shelters the poorest of the poor with safety and dignity. Winners will receive cash prizes and the opportunity to see their $300 houses built and reproduced.
I had heard there are thousands of new earthen houses in Thailand. That really amazed me, so I set out to learn the details about the modern earth building movement in Thailand.
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.
Everything you need to know about avoiding problems when you build or remodel your own house - learn from the mistakes of others and make fewer of your own.
A first look at the newest vegetable crops in the garden before the CSA harvests begin.
Everything you need to know about avoiding problems when you build or remodel your own house. Learn from the mistakes of others and make fewer of your own.
Ilene Freedman and her family reshaped their Chanukah tradition to feature family activities instead of presents.
I’m curious about building a straw bale house. What are some good resources to consult?
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!
A video documenting the "One Day Cob House" build in Reno, Nevada.
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.
The Burning House website asks people to post lists and photos of everything they would take if their house were on fire. It's an interesting glimpse into what really matters--and a bittersweet reminder to love what we have.
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.
Environmental journalist Simran Sethi talks about buying her first home and discusses what eco-friendly goals she has for her new abode.
Clayton Homes’ first green prefab home project, i-house, will feature a plethora of green technologies and innovative designs.
The ‘Kiwi House’ is organized around the primal element of fire.
Environmental journalist Simran Sethi investigates the greenest way to move to a new house.
Last October, President Obama filled us all with hope when he announced he would install solar panels on the White House by this spring. The panels haven't materialized, and the White House isn't talking. Call Obama and find out what's up.
Having early tomatoes is a new goal of mine going into the first spring with my hoophouse. Join me and follow my blog to see if my strategies work.
Made from bamboo, wood and grass seed, this tiny house could be our future.
Rice University's ZEROW HOUSE takes first place for hot water and second for architecture and market viability at the Solar Decathlon 2009 in D.C.
This blog post tells about Barbara Lee's memories of her grandpa who built a two-holer outhouse for his family and surrounded it with peonies so that there would not be an unpleasant odor.
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.
Robert Zwald talks about his days in a one room school house, learning with all eight grades at once. This is part four of eight in Robert Zwald's stories, as compiled by his daughter, Ruth.
Expert advice on adding single nutrients, such as Epsom salts, to your garden and house plants.
Get a materials list and step-by-step insructions for low tunnel construction for your backyard garden.
Help grow an organic food garden on the White House lawn. Here are some easy ways you can participate.
Wasting food in the U.S., making biogas, and using food waste to do it ... (Let's not waste all that wasted food!).
There’s a gold mine out back of your local restaurant in the form of wasted food. Learn to think like an ecologist and discover how nature turns “waste” into useable, renewable energy.
Summing up: How much food waste makes how much biogas to power what functions around the farmstead?
Temperature is central to biogas production, and warmer is better. Much better. So if biogas is not a hot topic, it should be.
Holy cow, I just wrote a blog about cleaning. I really am turning into my mother.
Living in a tiny house is good for the environment and for the wallet, but requires a lifestyle shift for the inhabitants.
Our selection of a house, downsizing and getting the home built.
Learn to let go of associations with price, value, age and prestige and just appreciate beauty without judgment. Nature is the best muse for cultivating wabi-sabi.
Ryan Mitchell, founder of TheTinyLife.com, is saving up to pay cash for a 130-square-foot home on wheels in North Carolina. He’s seeking perspective, clarity—and a girlfriend who gets it.
With no building experience but a lot of determination, Gary Zuker built an 800-square-foot straw-clay home on the shores of Lake Travis in Texas--for $40,000.
Summer's here, but the solar panels that President Obama promised to install on the White House this spring aren't. Today the administration announced that it's still working out the details. We'll just have to wait.
Whether you are buying a house, purchasing land, or getting ready to build your own home, we recommend starting by setting your priorities and then matching a house design to your needs.
After finding some basic online building plans, the next step to getting a future home built is to find a designer to draw the house plans.
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.
So, what makes a flock of poultry sustainable? What is standard-bred poultry? If you purchase chicks from a hatchery, are they true to the breed? Why does every hatchery sell Rhode Island Reds and they all look different? Why do the Cornish Cross meat chickens have so many problems? Raising standard poultry is the only true way to improve the sustainability of quality local food while preserving the strength of Heritage poultry.
Raising chicks is easy as long as you pay attention to their needs for food, water, and housing. It also helps to learn their language.
We've had a few surprises as we travel the road of backyard chicken raising - some of them pleasant, some not so much. Here are a few things we've learned that might help you as you decide whether or not to get chickens for your backyard.
Consumer Reports has stated that it recently found arsenic in food, The United States' rice supply is contaminated with this "group 1" carcinogenic.
One locavore takes responsibility for raising and slaughtering her own chickens.
The results of our latest nutrition tests show that eggs from hens raised on pasture (true free-range eggs) exceed commercially raised eggs in vitamin D content.
This week at Polyface Farm was a lot of fence installation, turkey processing and the making of some major life choices for some of my fellow interns.
It's not always easy to use natural remedies on your chickens. Here's a trick to keep up your sleeve that will have them begging for their medicine.
Alexander Goldberg’s first blog post, introducing himself, his chickens and his concerns for rare and endangered breeds of poultry. Alexander talks about poultry shows, his work with 4H and support for the Livestock Conservancy.
Book reviews by permaculture educator Cindy Conner. Learn about Sustainable Market Farming, The Art of Fermentation, The Permaculture Handbook, and The Small-Scale Poultry Flock.
After a tree crushed the back of their shotgun home (while 40 Hurricane Katrina refugees were camped out there), a Baton Rouge couple rebuilt a green, energy-efficient house that encourages connection with their neighborhood's "front porch" culture.
“For anyone considering downsizing, or considering a small starter home, we say just do it!” Linda Bolton says. “We promise you won’t miss a thing living in a thousand square feet or less. You’ll just have smaller headaches.”
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.
Made from repurposed shipping containers and recycled steel, based on Prius engineering, with a gray water system and a living roof, this Mojave Desert residence and workplace is a prototype for low-cost prefab kit houses everywhere.
Learn how to pinch back basil tops for a particularly bushy plant, then make delicious pesto with your harvest.
The hoophouse on our farm is filled with greens all winter long. It’s almost hard to switch gears for summer tomatoes.
On the brink of settling into her new home, environmental journalist Simran Sethi shares some tidbits of eco-information, such as how to box and save for the move, and how a few simple changes can make your home cozier and more energy-efficient.
“Green,” sustainable homes that deliver low cost of ownership.
The L41 is a mass-produced, superefficient home designed to provide affordable shelter for everyone.
This story recounts one father's hard work to help his family survive by raising chickens and farming during the Great Depression. The author also describes his family-owned homemade brooder house, which helped shelter the chickens that provided meat and eggs during hard times.
My old wabi-sabi home stood witness to celebration, sorrow, our children’s first words and fumbling first steps, dinners shared at the end of each day. It provided all that a home could and should, and now it's my lesson in non-attachment.
Frugality and lack of pretense or compromise are key ingredients in creating a wabi-sabi home.
Marley Audio Electronics collection, which debuted last week, showcases premium, eco-conscious manufacturing and materials, including hemp.
For the first time, acclaimed Not So Big House author and architect brings quality-over-quality design to a residential development.
A proper tea house is a luxury I believe in.
Mother readers weigh in on the wabi-sabi objects that give them joy and solace--from old books to heirloom quilts (and a few surprises). This community of kindred spirits embodies the art of appreciation. Enjoy!
It is not difficult to set up a backyard hoop house to extend your growing season. The result is abundant, delicious greens and extra months with your hands in the soil. Share information here on backyard hoop house gardening and cuisine.
The 651 Project has been established to assist students Nationwide in their pursuit of agricultural skills and knowledge.
A historic ice house on the LeDuc-Simmons Estate and a local ice harvest at Lake Rebecca demonstrate how ice and other perishables were kept cold in the hot summer months during the 19th century.
Evergreen Institute founder's Missouri home burns; wood furnace is suspected cause.
Environmental journalist Simran Sethi stays thankful for what’s important in the midst of a big move.
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.
How-To Build a Hoop House; a collection of resources for growers.
Denise Franklin's 280-square-foot cabin in British Columbia provides everything she needs--and more.
In order to access our land and put in a driveway, we need to secure an entrance permit. If you're planning to buy land and build a home, check what your entrance permit requirements are before you purchase the property.
The beekeeping presentation in the kids' booth at the Tree House Club was filled with enthusiastic kids. Check out what one kid had to say about his time spent with the bees.
Bank loans, especially new home construction loans, require some legwork on the part of the future homeowner. One couple explains how they got a loan to build their new house.
Talking about the new Chocolate Turkeys we saw on Saturday and how to properly plant into a kill mulch without doing much damage to the killing.
Wabi-sabi has infused Western design for centuries—though its advocates rarely knew it. It’s in the plain, efficient homes built by the Shakers, the unsentimental Arts and Crafts style, Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie houses and midcentury furniture.
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.
An amazing, off-the-grid Welsh hobbit house was built in less than four months and for less than $5,000.
So many paint colors to choose from for Simran Sethi’s home, but one standard must be met: no VOCs or harmful chemicals.
How to make candles you can really light from the peel of Clementine oranges. A wintertime craft...just oil and an orange peel!
Green is Universal and Etsy's The Art of Reuse Contest is a gold mine for DIY home project ideas. My favorite pays homage to Audrey Hepburn's ahead-of-its-time sofa made from an old clawfoot bathtub in Breakfast at Tiffany's.
A travel log of our family's mission to find local food sources on our trip to Puerto Rico.
Cooking meals on a vacation can be easy. Bring some essential items with you and enjoy homecooking, on vacation.
Here are three great reasons that hemp cultivation should be legal in the United States: food, health and shelter.
Potted greens are a good complement to greens in the hoop house soil.
An affordable prototype home helps revitalize a blighted Syracuse, New York, neighborhood--and could be the city home of the future.
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.
One homesteading couple reads up on passive solar house design and then modifies online options to create their own custom passive solar plans. Here are their recommended resources.
Before beginning construction on their new home, this couple is taking steps to prepare their land for their impending move-in by planting perennial natives, building some walking trails, cutting firewood to dry, and more. They’re having a blast!
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.
The U.S. Green Building Council's Project of the Year is a small, urban home built for $100 per square foot.
When Steve Sikora and Lynette Erickson-Sikora restored Frank Lloyd Wright's first small, affordable home, they discovered how green the iconic architect really was.
Charles and Ray Eames are modern wabi-sabi heroes who brought fresh, spare furniture, without pretense or stodginess, to the masses. Their home was a wabi-sabi masterpiece.
Turn low value plastic trash into valuable building blocks with a $300 homemade press. Free plans for a hand operated press are available. A mechanized version could be made by converting a log splitter.
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.
Two years ago, the Natural Home & Garden staff had the honor of decorating President Obama's guest house with sustainable and handmade holiday decor. Try some of these "president-approved" projects yourself!
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.
If you just happen to need white dinner rolls for a crowd at Thanksgiving, here's the recipe. Also, check out some really cool contests and special offers from King Arthur Flour.
A story of life, death and rebirth of a hoop house.
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.
We dipped candles from our hive's beeswax to celebrate winter. Candlemaking is a nice seasonal craft. Here’s how we did it, plus some tips to get you started.
Environmental journalist Simran Sethi goes through the process of rejuvenating her hardwood floors, and describes how to avoid harmful ingredients in cleaning products, such as volatile organic compounds, in the process.
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.
Take a visual tour of the events at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Fair in Puyallup, Washington.
Breaking down the last week of homesteading we've done over at WaldenEffect.org, and the Top Bar project we started as well as talk on Brix, biodynamics, and Plant Secondary Metabolites. Also have details on an external frame backpack modification.
Wabi-sabi teaches us appreciation for the good energy and soul that handmade items bring to our homes. Etsy, the premiere source for handcrafted home goods, offers an extensive list of items whose sale will benefit Japanese relief efforts.
A "how to" for building a hoop-style greenhouse using PVC pipe and plastic sheeting.
One of our most common grasses is limiting the bobwhite quail population, killing broodmares and their foals, rotting cow hooves, and cutting milk production.