how to make a rain chain
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.
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.
Learn how to sharpen your chainsaw properly with a file and guide
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
Watch this video tutorial on how to make tofu.
Follow these easy instructions explaining how to make a fruit picker, and you'll never be tormented by out-of-reach fruit again.
Put those big pieces of cardboard to work by turning them into furniture. This entertaining tutorial shows you how.
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.
A 1909 household-hints book reveals old-time method of filtering rainwater for drinking.
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.
Midwest Living designers give the Smart Home at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry a green makeover that features zero-VOC paint, furniture made from recycled steel and reclaimed wood, and other planet-friendly home decor.
Check out this magical photograph of an energy-efficient dome home and the surprise above.
Solar-powered jar lights are pretty but too pricey. You can easily make your own using easy-to-find items from the hardware store.
To help prevent rainforest destruction associated with growing palm oil trees, the WWF plans to rank major palm oil buyers on their commitment to sustainable practices.
Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence explains a Greenpeace report that links major shoe companies to rainforest destruction.
Colorado residents can now legally catch and store rainwater for landscape irrigation.
Save the rain for a sunny day with this homemade rainwater collection system. Using recycled water containers and storing up to 275 gallons, this setup is five times bigger than the typical rain barrel.
Looking for a easy sewing project? Follow this quick tutorial from Design Fixation to make a dress in just 20 minutes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
MAX won an award at the 2014 Maker Faire Bay Area for...gosh, we don't really know, but it was best in its class.
Sam Benowitz and Tara Bittler are joining the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Blog Squad, and they break down the types of gardening and fruit-growing information they will share with you each week.
The ripening time of a particular fruit varies from one location to another and from year to year, though the order in which varieties ripen stays roughly the same.
Rainwater Warehouse introduces a complete line of rainwater harvesting systems and products available for purchase on their new website.
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.
Always wanted to master the art of the perfect pie crust? With our step-by-step How to Make the Perfect Pie Crust app, you'll have the techniques and recipes you need at your fingertips. The app comes with scrumptious pie filling recipes, too!
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.
A recipe for sourdough starter.
Comparison between old ways and new technology.
Chainsaw safety equipment.
Weather.com now features customizable local weather applications, including an Agriculture Application with great tools for farmers and gardeners.
April's tips for controlling weeds and fertilizing your garden.
You're not just a beginning gardener - you're also a scientist!
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.
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.
The White Hawk Project aims to save an endangered stretch of primary virgin rainforest on Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula.
Captured rainwater off of roofs can save money and water use.
To prevent algae growth deterioration by sun damage to a plastic rainwater tank, cover it with a painted bed sheet.
Looking after your chickens in the winter and cutting with a solar-powered electric chainsaw.
Use materials at hand—stumps, logs, railroad ties, and sawmill slabs—to build a firewood log deck that takes the effort out of lifting the logs, and holds them at a convenient height for splitting.
Even after 15 years, Cam still loves heating his home with wood that he cuts himself.
The Rainforest Alliance is pleased to announce that Caribou Coffee is the first major coffee company in the US to source 100 percent of its coffee and espresso beans from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms.
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.
Ban disease-carrying mosquitoes from rainwater collection sites with window screen and scrap materials.
Drought has been displaced by winter storms in the headlines, but persistent water shortages are plaguing much of North America, and the past 18 months have seen a global outbreak of water emergencies.
Cam has always enjoyed playing with water. Now he lets his solar-powered pump do some of the work!
Many of us are seeking to discover a lifestyle in which not all of our needs are provided through the medium of monetary exchange. Don’t let misconceptions about what is necessary to a family-size farmstead discourage you in the search for that small rural acreage, reasonably priced, where you can begin to realize your dreams.
Finally some sun, too bad it is during the work week!
Tips for driving safely and saving gas during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Kansas City's 18Broadway project is a superb example of how to capture and store rainwater to grow food in the heart of downtown.
Explanation of what bioretention systems are and how they are used to reduce and filter storm water runoff.
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?
A few thoughts about the activities here in southwest Missouri this spring, including plans for a garden, thinning and pruning trees, and salvaging urban logs
Before stocking up on chocolate treats this Halloween, learn where chocolate comes from, and at what cost to the environment and cocoa farming communities. Enjoy a spooky and sustainable holiday with Rainforest Alliance's tips for a green Halloween.
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!
Cam Mather tries out a battery-powered chainsaw at his off-grid homestead in Ontario.
Plant life along small streams starts a food chain that stretches all the way to the ocean.
Working with a sawyer to cut custom lumber for your projects can be a great experience. Here are a few tips to make it even better.
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.
We use available time in the winter to preform routine maintenance on appliances and tools.
The Rainforest Alliance Certified seal has been popping up on coffee, tea, cocoa and fruit products all over the world. So what exactly does this certification signify? We’ve investigated.
As a third-party certifier, the Rainforest Alliance ensures that farms and forests are sustainable environmentally, socially and economically. The green frog seal and the FSC logo have become widely recognized, credible symbols of sustainability.
Experiences building a water-saving bath house out of salvaged logs.
The Rainwater Hub is an entirely new answer to the limits of traditional downspout diverters and rain barrel systems. The Rainwater Hub distributes rainwater up to 150 feet through regular garden hoses.
Rain gardens provide many benefits including filtering out pollutants and keeping runoff out of city storm sewers.
Installing a rain gauge can help determine how much water your plants really need.
Earth Gauge describes the links between geography and weather during Geography Awareness Week.
To give your bedroom a boost, consider new paint suited to your personality. AFM Safecoat's Ayurveda Essence line allows you to choose colors based on your dosha, or personality type, within Ayurveda, the ancient Indian medicinal system.
As a nursery renovation begins, Jessica, editor of Natural Home and Garden, is just beginning an investigation into remodeling options for an eco-friendly nursery.
This is a brief description of how to stack lumber so that it dries evenly after sawing. Also description of a chain saw dovetail bench.
The Game of Logging is a professional logging program that can benefit anyone who uses a chain saw.
Think outside the box and consider outdoor power equipment for your Valentine this year.
The handy free How to Can app has been updated, and is now available inside the free MOTHER EARTH NEWS Library app. Now you can take yield, processing times and more with you on your Apple or Android device!
A sustainable agriculture professor explain the organic certification process.
Farms which have earned Rainforest Alliance certification go beyond conserving the environment and improving the lives and livelihoods of farm workers; they also help to curb climate change.
A stack of cast-iron pans and a chainsaw helmet sum up why these homesteaders do what they do.
Although winter is setting in, that doesn't mean an end to the garden season in desert climates! Get inspired by this beautiful rainwater-harvesting, food-producing desert landscape!
Engineer Venkappa Gani leads by example when it comes to sustainable living. His entire backyard is an organic garden, an edible landscape that borders his rainwater harvesting tank collectors overlooked by solar panels that power his home (and more!). Gani is dedicated to sustainability, a word he lives by everyday at his suburban home in Austin, Texas.
As the world's demand for electricity continues to climb so will the need for new power plants. We need to decide what will be the fuel of the future for these plants. The choice boils down to conventional versus renewable sources.
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.
Once a barren wasteland destroyed-like much of Costa Rica's land--by decades of cattle ranching, Rancho Margot is now a verdant and productive paradise. Find out how the Sostheim family has accomplished this in just seven years.
Caulk tool that works for me. If for me it should work for anyone.
When it's -30 degrees outside you can make your own snow!
If you often find yourself in need of lumber for various homestead projects, consider a small, portable sawmill to cut your own lumber. Portable milling equipment makes it possible for you to create dimensioned lumber for all kinds of DIY projects. The videos below show the versatility of portable sawmills in action. You will also discover tips to assist with assembly.
Simran Sethi reflects on her first summer of yard-care and gardening.
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.
Beekeeping yields honey, but it can also make our lives complete.
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.
A look at how many hives to start with when beginning beekeeping.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS is proud to announce the release of the "How to Can" app, a free app to help you safely put up summer's bounty in a jar. A new 2014 release includes instructions to safely can several types of meat.
Knowing where lumber sawyers exist locally opens the door to all kinds of DIY projects. For example, storm-damaged trees can be turned into useable lumber instead of heading to a chipper or landfill. But you can take advantage of milling lumber at local sawmills only if you know where to find them. There are online resources to help you find a sawmill near you. Search by state or Zip code using the sawmill locators below and you will be on your way to turning raw wood into quality-cut lumber for DIY projects without the need to purchase any equipment yourself.
Making your own cleaning products using vinegar, baking soda and water is healthy, easy--and cheap. Learn how to whip up your own cleaners using foods you already have in your kitchen cupboard.
It's easy to get distracted and forget a few absolutes when it comes to food safety. Take this quiz and see if you know your stuff!
Reed diffusers are a great way to fill your home with the fresh, healing scents of essential oils--but they're pricey. You can save a bundle by making your own using repurposed bottles and plant stalks.
Save money and keep harsh chemicals out of your kitchen by making your own dishwasher detergent. It takes just seconds to make a powdered or liquid version.
Claire finds a recipe for hard lotion and makes molded lotion bars to give as Christmas presents.
Use old jars to make these cute, inexpensive candle lanterns--for a fraction of what you'd pay if you bought them at the store.
Turn empty oatmeal and salt containers into pretty storage canisters--in a snap.
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."
Blueberries are a true fountain of youth. This article will introduce you to the health benefits, how to grow, how to harvest, and how to eat this wonderful fruit.
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!
To be a successful beekeeper we must overcome our initial fears.
A long-time gardener describes the seed-saving technique for cucumbers.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS has entered the world of mobile media, and we’d like to have your input as we plan and design future apps. Join our advisory group to help us design the best apps for you and our readers.
Cole takes you through the first steps in learning to cut your own meat - sourcing.
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.
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.
Connect together inexpensive mending plates to make these top-shelf candleholders--perfect for patio and porch dining. This simple project takes minutes and costs next to nothing.
Whip olive oil, vinegar and lemon juice into a cheap, effective polish for wood furniture.
Use spirulina or wheat grass instead of iffy chemical dyes to turn your beer green this St. Patrick's Day.
Make your own all-purpose cleaners, dishwasher detergent and mildew remover with safe, simple ingredients. Ever think you'd be doing dishes with Kool-Aid?
You could spend a fortune on flowers from faraway for Mom--but why? This sweet bouquet made from fresh-picked flowers and flea market finds is cuter than anything FTD could deliver. This one's great for weddings and graduation parties, too.
Noxious fumes aren’t conducive to happy cleaning. Give all your homemade cleaning solutions an invigorating and healthy boost by adding a few drops of pure plant essential oils such as lavender or lemon. Heavenly!
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.
Finally! Design experts and contractors say granite and marble have lost their luster. Find beautiful, natural alternatives to that and solutions to other common design mistakes, including dull color pallettes and overused water features.
Pick some pretty leaves, paint them and press their likenesses onto an inexpensive shower curtain liner to make a shower curtain much prettier than anything found in stores.
I envision this chandelier—made entirely of items recovered from the recycling bin—hanging over a dining table on the patio. Making it is a pretty big project, though, and I would have to call in a friend with a jigsaw to help. (I don’t have the tools—or skills—that former Natural Home & Garden art director Susan Wasinger, who dreamed up this project, does.) Aside from the saw, the materials for this one are simple: used baby-food jars, a few yards of twisted wire, a couple repurposed barrel hoops and a length of rusty chain. And happily, I can make the “lite” version–pretty votive holders—which lets me stop before power tools are needed.
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.
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.
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.
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?
How potentially dangerous chemicals are tested and are they really that safe for humans or not.
Examining an community for your homestead.
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.
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.
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.
How prepared ahead of time for remote living and what was required.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.