how to celebrate summer solstice
When my former boss suggested we photograph my annual summer solstice party, I quietly panicked and then got busy. Borrow some of our ideas and gather your tribe to celebrate the longest day of the year--lavishly or lazily, traditionally or not.
Sangria is the perfect summertime libation for a thirsty crowd. Fresh fruits and herbs combine with wine and liqueur for a colorful, festive "punch" that packs a punch.
No party is complete without cake, and this delicious Sunshine Cake has been the crowning glory of every Summer Solstice party I’ve ever thrown. Sharon Kebschull Barrett, one of my favorite herbal chefs, developed this recipe for her 1999 book Desserts from an Herb Garden (one of my bibles). Lemony, with a surprising hint of rosemary, this cake just tastes like summer—and the bright yellow color celebrates the sun.
A recent study found that 63 percent of all couples plan to stay in for Valentine’s Day this year. Celebrating at home will save money and give you the opportunity to use green, healthy products for your day of love.
In the wake of the summer solstice, HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Maine dairy farmer Dyan takes time to appreciate the longest days of the year.
A recipe for sourdough starter.
Everything pauses during the time around the winter solstice.
Sign up for classes at the John C. Campbell Folk School and relive your childhood-camp experiences.
Sweet, juicy and blissfully bite-sized, homegrown strawberries embody everything we love about eating from the summer garden. Get your fresh red beauties performing deliciously in these dishes both sweet and savory.
This year is the first season I had the whole garden dug and ready and boy, it's easy to plant a garden when the garden is already there.
September is here and I'm expecting the weather to break!
Things that come to mind while watching my husband and son work in this heat.
A sustainable agriculture professor explain the organic certification process.
Watermelon rind is this frugal pie's summery secret ingredient. Think of it as summer mincemeat.
In July and August, it’s time to start thinking about planting crops for fall. But how do you get good seed germination when the soil is so hot?
Memorial Day signifies the unofficial start of summer and onset of hot weather. Use these tips to stay cool.
June is a beautiful and bountiful time in the garden. It is also not too late to put in a garden! With a few tips, you can get the best harvest ever.
In order to maintain an internal body temperature of 98.6 F, the body perspires or sweats. As the sweat evaporates off the skin it cools the body. The trouble starts when the humidity is so high that the air is saturated with moisture and sweat drips off of you rather than evaporating. My method for avoiding Heat Stroke is called Getting Grounded in the Garden.
There are many tomato tales out there. If you want to know which farmer stories are true, read on to get tips on growing great tomatoes.
This is the time of year for harvesting the heat lovers like tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, cucumbers, fava beans, green beans, all types of peppers, garlic, basil, along with other Mediterranean herbs.
Enjoy a crisp summer salad that makes use of plump, juicy peaches.
Swamp Hut is a complex of four 8-by-12-foot huts surrounding a deck with a fireplace. This an off-the-grid, light-on-the-land summer getaway could easily be replicated in your favorite vacation spot.
Tips on wasps and ways to get rid of nests around your house or property.
If you’re a market gardener battling the heat, you’ll want to check out these great tips for keeping yourself and your crops cool.
Do you feel like the month of June left you gasping for air? You are not alone. I am hoping July will be slower paced and full of summertime fun!
Are we headed into another year of drought? Already, we are behind on precipitation for this year, and for the last two years. What strategies can we implement to utilize minimal rain and resources better?
Watering 800 berry plants and 300 peach trees is essential in this oppressive heat!
Harvesting our potatoes is another family event where everyone gets their feet and hands a little dirty!
Use naturally cool nighttime air to provide summer comfort. It's a lot easier than you think and it can save you a fortune on cooling costs.
EZ Tomato Cages are the brainstorm of two friends, both fed up with purchasing tomato cages that were cheaply fabricated, weak and difficult to store.
Here's a tip on how to grow sprouts in your kitchen garden for fun and nutritious eating.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and West Missourian Bryce Oates explains how he and his family survive summer on the farm. Two words: swimming pool.
July is UV Safety Month. Don’t forget to protect your skin and eyes from the sun while enjoying long summer days.
With the Drought Pod, the organic mass is inside the pod where it never dries out and by planting the tomatoes, or any vegetable directly beside the barrel, the plant roots can tap into the nutrients and moisture as they so choose.
Unlike many wild foods that take a long search, dandelions are found in almost every wood and meadow. And while many wild plants require special training to identify and discriminate from similar-looking poisonous plants, dandelions can be readily identified by every schoolchild.
Summer is about fresh, beautiful, and flavourful. Fresh produce, and oh yes, a yummy recipe for devilled eggs.
The Drought Pod experiment assists growing tomatoes in drought.
Feeling overwhelmed with summer squash? Have you given it away, grilled it, fried it and baked it till you were blue in the face? Here are some of my favorite ways to use this prolific producer!
Cam describes a typical summer day at Sunflower Farm using tweets.
Canning is a homesteader essential skill. Sometimes canning can simply be a way to create and spread love and kindness, rather than just putting by necessary foods. Try out this Peach Orange Marmalade recipe for a change of pace.
This summer, the Gulf of Mexico's dead zone is estimated to be the largest yet since records began back in 1985.
Many beauty products contain harmful chemicals, but figuring out which are the worst can be difficult. Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence clues you in to the top five chemical ingredients to avoid when buying summer skin care products, and helps you learn about a few natural alternatives.
Tips for keeping your summer garden producing at top output. This is the time of year that warm season crops are at their peak. These 7 tips will give you continued bountiful harvests through the heat.
Canning is a great way to preserve your own harvest. When canning acidic foods like fruit or tomatoes or anything using vinegar or sugar, you can likely use only a water bath. There are many chemical free canning jars available today for low tox canning.
All things good accomplished with some old lumber and a nice summer day.
Going meatless is a breeze when corn is at its late-summer best and the garden is bursting with squashes. Southwestern calabacitas is a delicious, hearty summer stew that makes the most of this bountiful season.
With a new program promising to reduce the price of fresh fruits and vegetables and reduce the levels of not-so-good-for-you ingredients in their house brand products, Wal-Mart aims to make a positive change in the diet of the average American.
How-to online videos are a valuable resource for any do-it-yourselfer. But there are a lot of videos out there, so we’ve picked noteworthy ones and provided a few links to help you find more in the future. From building a workbench to changing your car’s oil, these engaging and instructive videos will inspire you to start a fun, new DIY project.
Get prepared for the season with useful tips for seed saving with Art Davidson, expert from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed.
Done with flimsy, store-bought tomato cages that fall over when the wind blows? Build long-lasting, heavy-duty tomato cages to fit your garden with one of our four plans.
Beekeeping yields honey, but it can also make our lives complete.
Despite our best efforts, sometimes flour plus water plus yeast doesn’t equal a tantalizing loaf of bread, but is just a large lump of dough. Here's how to fix it.
A look at how many hives to start with when beginning beekeeping.
Fusion Bread Salad makes use of the cherry tomatoes and basil that are prime right now--and you don't have to heat up the kitchen to make this hearty, nutritious main dish.
Give your bathroom a little flair--and have fun doing it--by creating a backsplash from pebbles, pennies or whatever's rattling around in the bottom of the toolbox. This fun, simple project is perfect for everyone--whether you're a DIYer or not.
Quick pickles--which don't require turning your kitchen into a sauna--are a fast, fun way to preserve abundant cucumbers (or even green beans). Simply soak vegetables in saltwater and vinegar solutions and let the flavors develop in the fridge.
Blogger Crystal Stevens discusses her time working at a nature-based summer camp for kids.
One month into my Polyface Summer Internship! This week was focused on processing birds, hay and a lesson on Cow Days with Joel Salatin.
Week three of my Polyface Farm summer internship! Lots of hay and some other things, too.
Not enough hours in the day? Want to make tomato sauce but are short on time? Use this recipe to make great-tasting tomato sauce (using frozen tomatoes)at your leisure. Perfect for pressure canning and delicious!
Chef Gordon Hamersley's Vegetable Tian makes use of tomatoes, squash and eggplant--all in their prime right now.
Bruschetta, the classic Italian appetizer, brings out the best of a few basic ingredients: tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, basil and fresh bread.
The newest member at Goat Song Farm: A 3 week old, purebred Nubian doeling named 'Rose Of Summer'.
Ceiling fans help cool people naturally, and use a lot less energy than air conditioners. Use them to save on energy.
Growing the three sisters (corn, beans, squash) in the same plot of land actually helps yield healthier crops of each.
The Arctic is warming up faster than the overall global temperature. We will discuss the reason for the rapid warming of the Arctic.
If you live in an area with high summer temperatures try growing one of these greens to replace your spinach.
Stephanie Tourles, author and Seven Springs, Pa., FAIR Speaker, shares how to make a delicious, ice-cold watermelon cooler. Refresh after a day in the heat with this super easy and nutritious drink.
With the summer fast approaching, it’s time to make those last minute vacation plans! Plan your trip using SustainableTrip.org to find tourism businesses that conservce the environment and support local communities!
Celebrate all things beachy by making sand candles! Using paraffin, crayons and sand you can make a beautiful sand candle to commemorate a trip to the shore.
Learn how to assemble a humane animal trap out of recycled material. It’s easy and effective!
How to install a package of bees
Learn how to teach your kids to ride a bike. It's simple: Use a scooter.
Ben Davis, of Ben Does Life, has a truly inspirng weight loss story, but it's how message about how to be happy that is most motivational.
Read about our mycological journey, starting with our process of inoculating several shiitake mushroom logs. The process is easy enough for most anyone intersted in producing their own shiitake mushrooms at home — plus, it's fun and a big money-saver!
A long-time gardener describes the seed-saving technique for cucumbers.
Watch this video tutorial on how to make tofu.
Choosing, growing, and drying everlasting or dried flowers for beauty that can be enjoyed for seasons to come.
Simply by covering your potatoes with ample mulch, storing potatoes in the ground is not only possible but incredibly easy and successful. Learn how to store potatoes in your garden and enjoy crisp, homegrown spuds through winter and into spring.
Cole takes you through the first steps in learning to cut your own meat - sourcing.
Iain continues to battle with the frustration of starting up a candle making business hitting trouble at every corner. Here he talks about his plans moving forward and how he still plans to succeed in his socially responsible candle making business
To be a successful beekeeper we must overcome our initial fears.
Follow these easy instructions explaining how to make a fruit picker, and you'll never be tormented by out-of-reach fruit again.
Bake those tart cherries dangling from your backyard tree into sweet and tasty fruit pies. Here's how to make fresh cherry pie without stressing about the perfect pie crust.
Ed and Joan Kobrinski left a large family home for a smaller, simpler cottage—and they’ve never looked back. Their tips for downsizing and living in smaller spaces could help make your transition easier.
In an era of increasing volatility of the weather and climate, we need new coping skills. Preparedness is an important factor in dealing with bad weather events.
Solar-powered jar lights are pretty but too pricey. You can easily make your own using easy-to-find items from the hardware store.
When our chicks arrived, we had no idea how much we had to learn about how to raise baby chicks. Nor did we know how much the books couldn't tell us.
Creating your own start-up is full of obstacles, but rewarding. MOTHER EARTH NEWS reader Jessica Vaughan shares advice from her experience as a first-time small business owner who teaches clients how to grow organic produce.
Using an old-world technique, Russians are growing their own organic crops -- and it's working.
Among a slew of other awards for her outstanding writing, Barbara Pleasant has received the 2013 Silver Award of Achievement from the Garden Writers Association for her Gardening Know-How column.
Making mosaics out of salvaged, broken tiles is a great project for free-form do-it-yourselfers. It's easy, fun and results in a brilliant surface--often for pennies. Check out this video and give it a try.
Whether I'm in the market for something funky or just a few bricks for the garden, I always visit Boulder ReSource first. Check out this expert's tips on mining your local salvage yard for gems.
We all have hoarding tendencies. If yours are getting the better of you, rest assured that there are support groups and professional organizations just waiting to help.
Want to find a new garden plot for next year? Look into community gardens in your area, or start your own!
Reconnecting with family photos and important papers may seem like small change in the wake of the tornadoes' massive devastation in the Southeast last week. But what if it were the last surviving photo of your mother?
Examining an community for your homestead.
Gardening can make a difference! Across the country, people are building rain gardens to filter contaminants and ease overburdened stormwater systems. Here's how to build a rain garden in 10 easy steps.
James discusses exactly how to paint a beehive. Sometimes it can be a fiddly job but using an array of stepladders and poles it can be pretty simple
What can you do with all those useless newspapers, paper bags and Yellow Pages books? Tear them into scraps and use them to decoupage walls and other surfaces. It's easy, cheap--and surprisingly elegant.
Put those big pieces of cardboard to work by turning them into furniture. This entertaining tutorial shows you how.
Use an old aluminum can and branch trimmings to make a rustic and beautiful vase. This simple project using humble materials costs nearly nothing and looks like a million bucks.
Sue McKay Miller divested herself of nearly everything she owned and moved into a yurt in the wilderness to determine how much she really needs to live a satisfying life. Turns out, she really doesn't need much.
Every once in a while we need to rebel against the machines. Hand a towel to your significant other and ask him to dry while you rinse. Sweep the floor with a real broomcorn broom. Have a real conversation. Enjoy things happening slowly.
Rain chains are a smart, good-looking way to collect rainwater from your roof--but they can be pricey. You can make your own for next to nothing. Give your house a little bling.
Meals become a snap when you add pressure cooking to your repertoire. Pressure cookers are great kitchen companions that bolster the flavor of even simple dishes, plus they save you time and money.
Ditch unhealthy school lunches with a fresh lunch idea for kids: school gardens. Beyond putting fresh, healthy food in schools, cafeteria gardens are a great classroom tool and a big step towards more sustainable schools.
A brief story of how a creek was damaged and how it was reported to the authorities properly.
How prepared ahead of time for remote living and what was required.
How potentially dangerous chemicals are tested and are they really that safe for humans or not.
Looking for a easy sewing project? Follow this quick tutorial from Design Fixation to make a dress in just 20 minutes.
Curing your own bacon is so simple that anyone can do it. Here's how to do so, complete with recipe and step-by-step.
Sweet Iced Tea is a delicious Southern tradition, but store-bought concoctions are often full of high fructose corn syrup and other nasties. This recipe incorporates fresh herbs, which add natural sweetness and help knock down the sugar content.
Dog days of summer? Yes, but there is still a lot of the grwoing season left. Protect yourself from the late summer sun with these tried 'n true items ... tested by a gardener who knows more than she'd like to about skin cancer.
What’s with glycerin? It’s a soap-making byproduct with antibacterial properties, but it’s often made with animal fat derivatives, which isn’t really our thing. So, we figured out how to make our own veggie version with coconut oil, opening up a whole world of kitchen pantry beauty concoctions.
Why spend hundreds of dollars on a readymade bicycle cargo trailer when you can build one yourself? Portland Pedalworks keeps the project easy and inexpensive in this how-to video.
Worrying about what others think about you can drin you of energy and make you do some pretty stupid things. What if you could rid yourself of that penchant? What kind of life would you lead?
Our minds are powerful things. The beliefs we hold and our perceptions can be dead wrong. Our minds can even create pain that doesn't exist. Questioning what we perceive and believe can help you live a more conscious, honest and successful life.
These money- and waste-saving alternatives to paper and plastic products eliminate the temptation to resort to disposable for your summertime outdoor dining needs.
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.
In a wabi-sabi house, space and light are the most desirable ornaments. Follow these steps to clear the clutter so they can shine through.
This small project could gain you big time savings. Simply screw a few hooks inside a pretty cigar box, give it a knob and hang it near the door. Never search for lost keys again!
Diana and Tony Varnes are the happiest they’ve ever been, and they attribute their well being to living in a small home. They have more time for reading, talking and enjoying the outdoors—and their relationship is better than ever.
Floods are our nation's most common natural disaster, and they're threatening many areas right now. Take these prudent steps now to make sure you don't get caught off guard if floods threaten your home.
Meditating has never come naturally to me, probably because of my goal-oriented approach. Wabi-sabi helped me see find peace in simple solitude (and long dog walks) instead.
Over the last 2 decades BeeWeaver has seen change in who keeps bees, and why they keep bees. The journey of the last 20 years has not been easy for the bees but the efforts of these New Beekeepers will keep the amazing honeybee a part of our word.
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.
Vermont farmer Walter Jeffries details all the cuts of meat on a pig, as well as many other uses of the animal, from working the soil to providing delicious lard for baked goods.
Restoring a heritage log cabin is not something to embark on on a whim, but it can be one of the most rewarding things you'll ever do.
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.
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.
Simran Sethi enjoys the fruits of late summer at a local farm dinner.
Air conditioning accounts for as much as 20 percent of the average homeowner's utility bill. These simple tips can help you reduce your mechanical cooling needs, meaning more money for you and better-quality air for the world.
There's only one rule for wabi-style flowers: strive for a natural look, with seasonal blooms and branches arranged as they are in the field. Don't worry about perfection. Your "arrangement" is a humble admission that we can't improve on nature.
The roundwood truss system described here enables DIYers to build their own trusses at very low cost. You can gather truckloads of poles from national forests, enough for several small houses, for the cost of one $25 firewood permit.
Not quite ready to get rid of family heirlooms and art that you don’t have space to display? The Japanese practice of rotating precious items through a special alcove, or tokonoma, on a seasonal basis is less painful than giving away or selling them.
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.
From the boxy ranch house to the superfluous McMansion, suburban housing has never been particularly inspired. These three homes show what you can do with that raw material, with a little ingenuity and a willingness to work with what's there.
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.
Outdoor kitchens, dining areas and living rooms are a great way to expand your home's living space. Designers offer advice on how to make the most of the great outdoors--in your own backyard.
Slower growth in crop yields, high oil prices and use of food crops to make biofuels could push food prices higher for the next year and beyond.
Forget the time and money that goes into conventional giftwrap. Use these inspirational ideas to wrap lovely gifts with materials otherwise bound for the recycling bin.
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.
Cap off your Hemp History Week celebrations by making hemp soap. Hemp oil contains essential fatty acids and poly-unsaturated fatty acids known for their excellent emollient and lubricating properties.
Skip the steaks if you're firing up the barbecue tonight. Marinated and grilled veggies and tofu, served up with wasabi mayo on grilled bread, is a hearty, delicious way to celebrate Meatless Monday.
Let's quash, once and for all, the notion that only harmful chemicals can kill germs and bacteria. Hydrogen peroxide, tea tree oil and grapefruit seed extract are natural antibacterials that keep your home clean--and safeguard your family's health.
Natural beauty is priceless. We can take in and appreciate a great view because we don’t have any hope of owning it, and we can’t manipulate it. With our egos out of the way, we can learn to simply observe.