living in a tiny house
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
The first Tiny House Conference will take place in Charlotte, North Carolina, on April 16.
While many indications point to house size shrinking in America, National Public Radio reports that the McMansion is far from dead.
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.
“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.”
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.
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
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.
Small house builder Rich Daniels seeks to cluster 100 homes under 400 square feet in a former sawmill.
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.
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.
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.
Old strains of holiday cactus are easy to grow, but updated varieties rebloom more often and produce bigger, showier blossoms.
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.
Tumbleweed Tiny House Company founder Jay Shafer teaches Americans how to build efficient homes of less than 1,000 square feet.
This year readers were concerned about bedbugs and greenwashing, and everyone wants to know more about smaller homes.
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.
This tiny kit home--less than 90 square feet--is energy-independent and so well-designed that you'd never miss the space.
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."
Let the ancient Japanese art of wabi-sabi help you purge unwanted items and get organized for the new year.
Made from bamboo, wood and grass seed, this tiny house could be our future.
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.
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.
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.
Denise Franklin's 280-square-foot cabin in British Columbia provides everything she needs--and more.
A University of Georgia study finds that common houseplants can remove toxins and improve indoor air quality.
Here is a plan for how to build your own floating cabin, "The Live Aboard Houseboat."
Karen and Tony Tipsword's rehabbed 720-square-foot cabin allows them the freedom and independence to live their dream of running a campground. "Being happy does not mean a large home filled with things," Karen says.
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.
We now have something to walk on other than dirt!
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.
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 Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Act establishes tough formaldehyde emission standards for household products made from composite wood.
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.
Frugality and lack of pretense or compromise are key ingredients in creating a wabi-sabi home.
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.
An amazing, off-the-grid Welsh hobbit house was built in less than four months and for less than $5,000.
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.
A progress update on our book Tiny Homes On the Move
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.
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.
Simran Sethi discusses what it takes for a home to be truly clean by avoiding harsh chemicals and using natural cleaning products.
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.
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.
The book Toolbox for Sustainable City Living: A Do-It-Ourselves Guide is a collection of skills, tools, and technologies usable by urban residents wanting to have more local access and control over life's essential resources.
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.
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.
Is having too many gardens a detriment to selling a suburban home?
A California Environmental Protection Agency’s Resources Board study finds that airtight homes lead to pollutant buildup; poor indoor air quality can damage health
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.
Auburn University students build a home using bales of non-recyclable corrugated cardboard.
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.
Here are some resources to help you get started learning about straw bale building.
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.
Share your simple living ideas to help those in need.
By making good plans and imagining the future with a positive outcome, you can be ready to take advantage of opportunities when they come your way.
Mindy Pennybacker’s new book, Do One Green Thing: Saving the Earth Through Simple, Everyday Choices, and her website, GreenerPenny.com, offer easy tips for daily green living.
I’ve heard that the moment you plunk down a deposit for a vacation or buy yourself a plane ticket, a good chunk of you is already at the beach (or the mountains or the city . . . or wherever).
I’m sitting on the deck of my room at the Northern Queen Inn in Nevada City, California, on a gorgeous spring day.
Most American homes are codependent with a lifestyle-support-system of roads, wires, pipes, lines of credit, satellites, and a collective identity determined by the supply side. Yet just about any household budget offers continuing opportunities for creating a healthier, less expensive lifestyle that’s also easier on the environment.
As a new year unfolds, Natural Home forecasts 2010 predictions—and it's good news—Americans will become smarter, greener consumers.
In most cases, we can't do all of the things we would like to live more sustainable lives — at least, not all right away. We can all do something, though, and making the choices and taking the steps that we can is an effective, satisfying way to make our lives more self-reliant and better for the planet every day.
Ed and Bruce share their experiences with homesteading and self-sufficiency in a rural setting.
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.
Building a new house with SIPS
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.
Leap Adaptive's 480-square-foot, energy-efficient Hummingbird kit house makes green living affordable.
Think your balcony's too tiny to provide food and fun? Check out Apartment Therapy's great tips for making the most of your outdoor space.
Katie and Martin Clemons share how they make super-efficient use of every inch in their 36-square-foot kitchen. How much appliance do you really need?
Welcome to by blog “City to Country, One Step at a Time.” Here’s how I ended up as a modern homesteader on a little acreage in the Canadian West Coast bush.
If you are growing vegetables, making a few homemade wares here and there ... you are practicing good, old-fashioned homesteading techniques.
Many decisions go into remote living to decide if it is right for you.
Ed and Bruce share their experiences with homesteading and self-sufficiency in a rural setting. This segment is on using natural resources around the homestead.
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.
KOR Water has announced the reusable Nava filtering water bottle.
Missoula, MT company awards home owners sustainable products.
Living luxuriously doesn’t necessarily mean living large — at least not in these homes — and reducing a little waste doesn’t hurt, either.
The new metal roof was nailed down just hours before the storm hit.
Noting the “firsts” and “lasts” occurring on the homestead at early summer.
Choosing homesteading as a way of life and what it takes.
We Westerners tend to think we’ve got it all going on when it comes to green living in general, and green building in particular.
Wherever you live, you can practice sustainability and share your successes with your neighbors.
Enjoy visiting green living fairs, shows and workshops from Maine to Texas in every season of the year.
Luke Dinan, a young man from Toronto, Ontario, is forging his way towards sustainable living and a self-reliant lifestyle; a path we can appreciate, strive for and maybe contribute to.
Environmental journalist Simran Sethi spends her first night in her new home and reflects on the struggles and triumphs of the journey thus far.
Springtime happiness can be measured by the sweetness of your strawberry patch.
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.
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.
President Obama plans to help earn the White House LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
I cure my spring fever by planting in a hoop house.
The White House will launch an open-to-the-public farmers market.
Christy Oates's brilliant fold-out furniture takes up virtually no floor space when it's not in use. It's the perfect solution for small homes--and a hopeful sign for the future of design.
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.
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.
If you’re the first of your friends to move to the country, get some chickens and plant an organic garden there will be some inevitable social fallout.
Our typical day living in the mountains in the winter.
Congress is about to pass legislation to ease the worry of homeowner debt, but it's also possible to build your dream home without a mortgage.
The all-new RZT S ZERO is available in select markets and will be headlining the Cub Cadet Test Drive Experience Tour.
Be aware: Living sustainably can be hindered by homeowner association rules.
The daily realities of living in the mountains.
An introduction to me, a home-schooled 11 year old.
An article about when the best time is to start a new homestead.
Spring time is a time to experience the newness of life and living in the Sangre de Cristo mountains amid the wildflowers, birds, green woods and new birth.
An interview with the founder of a small organic gardening business that focuses on education and helping gardeners go organic. Learn more about this company and vote for it to win funding from a small business competition.
Blog post number 17: Jeff solves the problem of how to use higher-efficiency D/C power for long run-time loads, while using some A/C appliances as well.
You can't just hit the ground running when you make the transistion from rat race to homestead. There are lots of lessons to be learned. What wisdom can you share with the homestead hopefuls?
A rural home in La Porte, Iowa thrives on all the elements of nature including bird feeders, a veggie garden and table scraps.
Many people perceive going green as an inconvenience and an unnecessary burden on their daily lives. What they don't realize is that they can take simple steps to help protect the environment without the disruption to their lifestyle, but save money as well.
Calculating the amount of mountain snow to actual moisture.
Barebones strives to make the experience of outdoor recreation and hobbies a priority.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Expert advice on adding single nutrients, such as Epsom salts, to your garden and house plants.
The ‘Kiwi House’ is organized around the primal element of fire.
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.
Environmental journalist Simran Sethi talks about buying her first home and discusses what eco-friendly goals she has for her new abode.
Environmental journalist Simran Sethi investigates the greenest way to move to a new house.
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.
Holy cow, I just wrote a blog about cleaning. I really am turning into my mother.
Our selection of a house, downsizing and getting the home built.
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.
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.
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.
Clayton Homes’ first green prefab home project, i-house, will feature a plethora of green technologies and innovative designs.
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.
Get a materials list and step-by-step insructions for low tunnel construction for your backyard garden.
A first look at the newest vegetable crops in the garden before the CSA harvests begin.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Help grow an organic food garden on the White House lawn. Here are some easy ways you can participate.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Learn details regarding winter chicken care including ventilation for a cozy chicken house, heat for baby and grown chicks, and recommended poultry books.
Victoria Gazely considers her revitalized 650-square-foot homesteader’s cabin on 7 acres of fertile earth--purchased for $150--a blessing. “I absolutely love living here,” she says.
The success of Urban Gardens is a story about an expansion of one’s reach outside of one given discipline.
Fall may be turning to winter, but there’s still time to enjoy those last sunny days before the harsh chill settles in.
The 20th-Annual Organic Growers School takes place March 8 through March 10 at the University of North Carolina at Asheville (UNCA) in Asheville, N.C. The event, which is open to the public, provides practical, region-appropriate organic growing and permaculture workshops, homesteading and rural living classes, as well as a seed exchange, silent auction and trade show.
SunRay Kelley’s Gypsy Wagon is an exciting, sustainable home on wheels built from a camper vehicle.
What skills are you learning in hopes of saving money?
Where is the strange and wonderful place this homesteader describes? And how do you get there?
The American Society of Safety Engineers’ Ag Branch encourages purchasing tractors with a Rollover Protection Structure. Programs exist that will help offset the cost of the ROPS to add to older tractors. Tractor rollovers are common accidents that will lead to severe injury or death, but an ROPS will keep the driver safe.
New wood stove, another unexpected advantage of downsizing, and Murphy's Law.
Finding friends out in the country can be challenging.
We look for materials bargains while devising a way to pay for it all.
We finally build somthing!
Cam has a (temporary) job outside of the house and he has gained a new appreciation for being self-employed.
Cam often finds himself relating to song lyrics.
A typical day of activity on a modern homestead and off grid.
Things that occur when switching from summer to winter mode. Fall is almost non existent.
What exactly is ‘modern homesteading"? There are as many definitions as there are people doing it. What does the term ‘modern homesteading’ mean to you?
How packing snow against your house can add R-value to your insulation - and subtract energy costs.
Sheepskin rug keeps a childhood story alive.
Riches sometimes come from natural resources - not always connected with dollar signs.
Tree rings tell the tale. It is nice and green here now but our plants and weeds are acclimated to semi arid and have deep roots.
Who knew that a flock of chickens would be able to teach us so much about living with our children?
Instead of throwing out that empty feedbag, get creative and turn it into something new! Homesteader Ed Essex shares ideas for finding new uses for old objects.
Sailors for the Sea presents its new Rainy Day Kits teach young sailors to care about marine ecology and the environment with fun, interactive games.
Sharing our first experience with an indoor/outdoor vertical hydroponic garden.
Now is a great time to sow a cover crop or two that will enrich your garden soil over the winter.
Save time and avoid blisters and burnout by following these common-sense guidelines this leaf season.
If you're like me, your life's been a series of trials and errors, mistakes and missteps. At times we get it right, but many other times we founder. The goal of my new blog is to help you and others spend more time enjoying life and less time in pain and struggle.
Your mind can often trip us up, make things worse than they are, even lead us into disaster. You can control your own mind and change negative messages to positive ones, creating a much more productive,calmer. and fullfilling life.
Check out this green gingerbread house built by MOTHER EARTH NEWS staff: It includes cookie and candy versions of SIPs construction, a living roof, and a solar electric system.
Each year we learn more and more about living off grid and homesteading. These are just a few of the third-year experiences we wanted to share.
Regular tasks that keep our cabin comfortable and welcoming.
Even when the chicks have left the nest, they never really leave.
Learning to appreciate seasonal differences.
There is hard work homesteading in the mountains and the weather dictates much of those challenges.
It takes commitment and determination to live remotely in the mountains.
For many people, going green seems like a daunting task, but in reality, a few simple lifestyle changes is all you need.
Celebrate meals with homegrown or local food. Tips for making your celebration gatherings zero-waste events.
The cost to install and operate our solar electrical system.
If you go shopping for an electric bike, you’ll find a wide range of prices and brands. Discover how to determine the best electric bicycle brands for your lifestyle.
Let's stop for a minute and think about what we are doing!
When Paula and Matt learned that running a utility line to their rural Vermont home would cost the same as buying solar panels, they never hesitated. Now they're living the good life, off the grid.
Kate and Jeff are building their off-the-grid dream near Taos, New Mexico. As they build themselves a small straw bale house and make do with a few solar panels, they're realizing how little they really need.
Will our nation's positive moves toward saner, simpler living and smaller homes fall victim to an improving economy? No way.
We can learn a lot from the Amish, who have passed down wisdom on living simply and celebrating community for generations.
Deb and Tommy have spent just $7,500 to set up their off-the-grid homestead in Oklahoma's Kiamichi Mountains, which relies on one 80-watt solar panel for power. As they learn more, they will continue to build their systems.
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.
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.
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.
The 651 Project has been established to assist students Nationwide in their pursuit of agricultural skills and knowledge.
“Green,” sustainable homes that deliver low cost of ownership.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The L41 is a mass-produced, superefficient home designed to provide affordable shelter for everyone.
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!
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.
Evergreen Institute founder's Missouri home burns; wood furnace is suspected cause.
How-To Build a Hoop House; a collection of resources for growers.
Learn how to pinch back basil tops for a particularly bushy plant, then make delicious pesto with your harvest.
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.
Environmental journalist Simran Sethi stays thankful for what’s important in the midst of a big move.
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.
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.
The Living Seed Company is creating a platform to inspire gardeners and gardeners to be.
Energy goals for America
This book club of the book, Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology, follows a couple who decides to live technology free for 18 months among a strict Amish-like community, growing all their own food and relying on their neighbors to survive.
Gardening challenges at high elevation.
The process of evaluating needs for successful downsizing.
Cam describes the benefits of writing this blog and his recent book.
Jeff and wife Kathy have lived off-grid since 2002. They strive to inform the public about ways to live inexpensively, and to further the principle of sustainability. Visit their website to learn more: www.naturalpower.weebly.com
The political system is not broken.
I love rural life and modern homesteading, but there are days when the comfort of a city condo would be welcome indeed. And honestly? A relief.
How a wood-fired hot tub allows us to live better on less energy.
This blog is an introduction to how we went from a condominium lifestyle to off grid modern homesteading in the mountains. It also includes an explanation of the meaning of "off grid".
Has the "magic" energy solution been discovered?
This blog is about all of the choices we have for the type of home we want for off grid living and some of the construction materials involved. It turns out there are a multitude of options we have to choose from.
We finally see walls and a loft floor.
We settle in for a long winter's work.
Things you can do to prevent fire damage to your home from an external source.
How we had to adjust to a smaller home, the isolation and quiet.
How we avoid cabin fever by doing volunteer work and enjoying the beautiful outdoors.
Instead of learning new tricks, we devise new ways to do the same old tricks.
A quick look at different ways to be sustainable whether you are off grid or not.
Two easy steps to reduce your electrical use whether you live off grid or not.
A simple explanation of our solar power generating system and cost.
If you've been on this rural living or modern homesteading journey for decades, or just starting out, how do you know when you've arrived?
Robert Maxwell discusses the benefits of a rural lifestyle.
A roof is a wonderful thing to have!
The generators we use for living off grid and a multitude of other tasks.
Tips on how to keep water away from your home and water damage prevention.
A short history of my own horse riding adventures.
Our humble abode begins to take shape.
Our power system begins to take shape.
Living a ranch life in northern New Mexico in the 1960s consisted of hard work and knowledge. It was not the romantic life that many people imagine it to have been.
Reflections on 15 years of mountain living.
A description and pictures of a tornado force winds in Washington State in 2012.
A comparison of costs between on grid and off grid utilities for our circumstances.
Success at growing food at the 4200' elevation and some of the challenges.
We bring power from the array inside the building and put it to work.
When we moved into the country, we had no idea that small critters would be such a nuisance.
How we have adapted from salt water fishing to freshwater and what we do with our catch.
Some of the downside of free ranging your chickens.
How we live in the mountains during the winter.
Design features we incorporated into our new off grid home.
Fun facts about our first year of blogging for Mother Earth News.
A brief description of how we grow fresh vegetables in our long cold winters.
A brief description of our experiences with solar tubes in our off grid home.
How we deal with unexpected incidents.
A description about something unique - a wood burning masonry kitchen stove.
It may not be in the Kangaroo Valley tourist brochures, and you might think it odd to visit a rural supply store just for a look, but I would encourage any visitor to Australia's Kangaroo Valley to make a trip to the Red Shed.
How both we and the chickens have gotten better at surviving the cold winters where we live.
Noting the time and marking its passing, keeping us in the present.
This current situation is a perfect example of the 80/20 rule of homesteading: 80 percent of your time, energy and effort is spent on maintenance; 20 percent on progress towards the dream. A majority of your time homesteading is spent covered in chicken poop, squashing potato bugs, figuring out why gas isn’t getting to the carburetor in the ATV and shoveling snow after dark by headlamp.
Our experiences in learning to pressure can and use reusable canning lids.
A brief description of our experience with a masonry heater.
If know you're destined to live in the country, or just more self-reliantly, but are overwhelmed by all the choices, here's a place to start.
It is a regular occurrence, a question we're asked:
Why do we do all this work?
How did Victoria Redhed Miller and husband David end up living on an off-grid homestead in the foothills of Washington State's Olympic mountains? Grid? What grid? Electricity was something one took for granted; it came from those outlets on the walls. I was hardly aware of it except during one of the infrequent power outages.
The journey to a self-sufficient life is a bumpy ride. Having a backup plan — or two — can make all the difference in your progress.
Simple living expert Wanda Urbanska at the 2010 MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR.
Learn three simple tips for making the most of small gardening spaces, including hanging plants and advice for selecting seed varieties.
Realize that DIY inspiration is just a click away by checking out these great home remodeling blogs.
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.
How feeding the hungry amounts to action on behalf of a planet on fire with a toxic yang imbalance.
Daniel Sheridan found a way to turn children's energy into electrical power with a see-saw that generates electricity. The see-saw should generate enough electricity to light a classroom for a whole evening after only five to 10 minutes of use.
A question about our future.
Seth Leitman explains toxicity in our products and how green living is about recovering from these products.
Who would think it’s possible to discover the artist in me, incubate a business, plus milk goats, grow a garden...all in one unforgettable summer. I'm a rich woman by any standard.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine comes to life in the recently released Wiser Living Video Series. Volume One of the Series features some of our most popular workshops from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIRS taught by members of the editorial team and expert community. Become more self-reliant in and around your home by tackling 19 projects ranging from keeping backyard chickens to making tinctures.
What it is like to live higher up.
An upcoming inspirational documentary, “Beyond Off-Grid,” that strives to motivate people to return to the old paths, includes self-sufficiency experts from around the country. A MOTHER EARTH NEWS blog prompted the producer to contact us.
A pressure canner greatly expands the range of foods that can be safely canned at home.
If your job, finances, family commitments, etc., have thwarted or delayed your dreams of self-reliance, you don’t have to wait until you can afford a 20 acre parcel. You can start working where you are now to build and nurture self-reliant living skills that are sure to provide you with more peace of mind and improved health, and will most likely be of great personal benefit during the coming decades of global challenge and change.
Gene GeRue relates the lessons he learned from a childhood of frugal living.
At last, we construct the foundation.
As everyone gathers around this campfire this fall, unite this variety of flavors into one savory skillet that will be enjoyed by all.
A short simple explanation of how to project your electrical needs in order to size your electrical off grid system.
This post is about our water cisterns and what we use them for. It also contains a caution that many local governments would like to tell you what you can and can't do with rainwater.
Things to look for in your soil before you break ground on your new home or cabin.
We’re interested in how our readers have lessened their environmental footprint.
Outside of a few rare equipment failures, we’ve never had a power outage in the past 20 years that wasn’t our own fault — usually caused by not paying attention to power use or proper battery charging. Weather failures, on the other hand, are starting to become noticeable.
Day 2 has a haphazard start with no hot water for a proper cup of tea, and people are arriving early for a day of consulting. What's the solution to keeping water hot overnight on top of a wood stove so there's plenty for hot tea, doing dishes and a shower?
Each year we try to challenge ourselves with an entire month where we spend no money, and avoid using energy.
How our "thanks for nothing" month came to be.
Tips to help you get started planning your very own homestead. With proper planning you don't have to be experienced to do it right.
Bruce McElmurray and Ed Essex collaborate on how the weather dictates to their mountain homesteading.
Ed and Bruce compare the weather and its impact on their mountain homesteads at different elevations and mountain ranges.
Mountain homesteading in a remote area.
Using snowshoes to keep our paths and trails open as the snow piles up.
Taking a bath in the winter takes a little more planning at our off-grid, no-plumbing home.
Inspired by the recent Mother Earth News article, "65 Money Saving Tips", this piece shares how we at the Be the Change Product spend little and live better.
Life really is good when you live on a dirt road.
Cyndee and Tony love being in control of their own power and never having to worry about rate increases and outages in south-central Colorado. Solar panels, a wind turbine and a wood-fired boiler keep them plenty warm and happy.
Jim and Holly Smith, founders of Today’s Abundant Living, sent us this great review of a Homesteading Education Month open house and country skills workshop they hosted at their Michigan homestead.
Much to our chagrin, many things we believe are true are dead wrong. Things we believe about other people, health, medicine, renewable energy, and the environment are wrong. Start digging and you'll see and you will start living a smarter life.
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 affordable prototype home helps revitalize a blighted Syracuse, New York, neighborhood--and could be the city home of the future.
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.
Potted greens are a good complement to greens in the hoop house soil.
How to make candles you can really light from the peel of Clementine oranges. A wintertime craft...just oil and an orange peel!
A travel log of our family's mission to find local food sources on our trip to Puerto Rico.
Here are three great reasons that hemp cultivation should be legal in the United States: food, health and shelter.
Cooking meals on a vacation can be easy. Bring some essential items with you and enjoy homecooking, on vacation.
So many paint colors to choose from for Simran Sethi’s home, but one standard must be met: no VOCs or harmful chemicals.
When a fire destroyed their home and office near San Luis Obispo, Ken Haggard and Polly Cooper seized the opportunity to build the off-the-grid straw bale home of their dreams. Their comfortable compound now houses two other families as well.
Follow these simple guidelines to make the most of your small space: contain clutter, find furnishings do double-duty, and make maximum use of color and light.
The Living Seed Company is working to preserve genetic diversity in our food chain, through the distribution and growing of open pollinated seeds and preserving the ancient art of seed saving.
Want to Save on Earth-Friendly Products? Check out Worm's Way's sale by clicking on the Earth Week banner at WormsWay.com and enjoy up to 20 percent off your purchases.
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.
Future factors set a high standard for sustainable products and activities
There are two situations which do not require you to be heating your home: when it is warm and when you are not at home. Since it is still a bit chilly outside, you may want to consider setting up a routine of turning down the set temperature on your thermostat when you head out in the morning and when you go to bed.
Replacing a task that uses electricity with one that does not is a no-brainer when trying to save on your energy bill — and air drying is one of the easiest ways to go.
When you get home, go to your hot water heater, remove the cover and turn it down to 120 degrees (sometimes labeled “hot” as opposed to “very hot”).
How much energy does it take to travel? Can we collect this from the vehicle while we are using it?
Christopher shares an experience of painting his family farmhouse, but when he used flat, not glossy paint, his uncle was not happy. How could the uncle have responded in a more productive manner?
These are the first steps we took to make the change from city living to off grid living. It describes the questions you should ask before you buy property and the research required to make sure you can do want you want with your property.
Options for phone service if you live in a remote location that doesn't have cell service or landlines available to you.
Our take on the positive and negative points of insulated concrete forms.
Where we have chosen to draw the line between convenience and sustainability - for now.
An article about how we learned to double our growing season and have home grown fresh veggies almost all year long.
Tips for snow removal around your house and down the road.
Living in possibly the best place in the USA.
What we have found as an advantage of having a rural hardware store close by.
A surprising number of amenities found in a small town complete with western hospitality.
The final in a 6 part series on Ft. Garland, Colorado
Short stories about our chicken experiences
After the snow leaves to do list for us.
Our first experience as a vendor or spectator at the Mother Earth News Fair in Puyallup, WA
How to make your OWN insulated window coverings.
How and why we chose to have a livestock guardian dog and what they are like.
Our experience in living with bears.
A short description of why we prefer small city living over large city living.
Costs associated with providing your own water.
Things we have done to earn an income from home in a down economy.
A snapshot of winter life living remote and off grid.
In this blog we share someone else's story about old fashioned home made ingenuity concerning deep well pumps that operate without electricity.
Since her first house move, MOTHER EARTH NEWS blogger Cathie Ackroyd, has become so very conscious of the impact we humans have had and are having on our planet’s environment and hoped to find a place to settle that would allow us to gain an element of self-sufficiency in a relatively car-free community.
While many of those visiting our Hostel are farmers and homesteaders themselves, some come from that “city culture” and seem to take their first hesitant steps outside of a flatly paved driveway when they arrive at our place. Wide eyes, a sense of adventure.
How we avoid most clutter but manage to keep good leftover products for future use.
How we stay busy in the winter even though we live at 4200', three miles off the road, and somewhat isolated.
The square footage of green roofs--which absorb rainwater, regulate temperatures, save energy and resources and provide valuable habitat--grew by 28.5 percent last year.
Liza Fleischer was a suburbanite through and through when she met her husband, Ted, who she says was "born 100 years too late." Now they live in a solar- and hydro-powered hand-built home on 160 acres in Vermont--and she loves it.
These seasoned off-the-grid veterans have found that hefty batteries make for a happy home.
Empty nesters Ed and Joan Kobrinski downsized their lifestyle and moved to a smaller home where they could grow more vegetables. "We've learned to enjoy and appreciate living comfortably and contentedly with less," Ed says.
In the third in a series on potential toxins and chemicals to avoid during pregnancy, Natural Home & Garden Editor Jessica Kellner discusses the dangers associated with use of retinol in skin care products.
It was becoming pretty obvious the crowding and lack of light were real limitations to my mini garden. Then, the idea of a trough on the windowsill came to mind, combining a way to water all the plants uniformly and efficiently all at once. Great, now how to make this trough? Wood? Sheet metal? The choices all seemed expensive, clumsy, prone to leaking...then the light bulb went on in my head: gutters!
Save energy and resources and reduce waste when traveling by dumping all your trash in one receptical.
Three nuclear reactors in Japan have been destroyed by a 9.0 earthquake. Radiation levels are on the rise. The world watches helplessly, wondering if escaping radiation will eventually find its way to them. Are we not witnessing in Japan the dark side of nuclear energy? It is not that hard to see this happening in United States, is it?
I have know Mark for years. Since I have known him (give or take a few years or so) Seiden asked me what were the best ways to go green and save energy at the same time. Then two years ago, we started with CFL bulbs. Now I'm trying to get him to go LED and get really green lighting in effect. In time. In time.
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.
Aside from the great stage presentations, the exhibitor booths have a lot to offer FAIR attendees.
How to make insulated shades at home.
Rural Living Today founder and advocate, Marie James, told us about a Homesteading Education Month event she and her family hosted in Northeast Washington to teach gardeners how to grow vegetables in cold weather.
Short description of our solar system and the everyday things we do to operate them.
This is the hands on portion of how a solar power system operates.
If you want to live independently, it's always good to have backup because no one else is coming to the rescue. This is how we did it.
Things we did to make our new home more sustainable.
If you begin tomorrow, you can be soaking in fresh, 103-degree water by the evening.
Many of us hold convictions about others and the world around us that are so wrong that they seriously misguide us, even rob us of happiness and contentment. Don't believe everything you think. Question your beliefs and discover the truth.
One of the most powerful lessons I have learned in my life is the power of love to create happiness and harmony. Let your life and your interactions with others be goverened by your love for others. Make preserving and fostering love a goal.
No matter your level of gardening expertise, our Guide to Organic Gardening app has the advice and how-to you need to dig in and grow a bountiful organic food garden. With articles on composting, beneficial insects, weed control and more, you'll have a wealth of organic gardening know-how at your fingertips after you download this app onto your Apple or Android smartphone or tablet.
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.
Humanity has the power to change and to take the actions needed to foster a healthy planet and a better standard of living for all. Choosing beauty and abundance will ensure a better future not only for humanity, but for the natural environment as well.
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.
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.
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.
A story of life, death and rebirth of a hoop house.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Take a visual tour of the events at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Fair in Puyallup, Washington.
Cuba's bike transformation was the result of a change in context induced by external forces. It was a disruptive event that forced them to adapt. Here in America, a land of such excess, no such sudden disruption looms (nor could it be predicted, I believe). Our transportation context is centered on the car. Our culture and economy are “driven” by the car. So, how do we create a culture of transportation that is dominated by bicycles?
What’s your idea of a delicious and wholesome breakfast? A fluffy, organic egg omelet made with fresh vegetables? Perhaps scrambled eggs and roasted garden veggies? No matter what your preference, it may surprise you to learn the link between the
This is the last of a series in home and energy options available to us. It is a short summary of all of the choices we have when designing a new home on or off grid that will benefit your energy use.
Wendy Albright remembers visiting her grandparent's farm where practicing organic living was the preferred way of life; they exercised natural crop cultivation, gathered fresh chicken eggs, canned both vegetables and meat and the term "eating like a thrasher" became a reality.
Honey bees, the Boston tragedy, and our power to create the world we’ve been waiting for.
Does the huge task of cleaning windows leave you feeling overwhelmed? Follow these six simple steps--using inexpensive materials you already have around the house--to get your windows sparkling and streak-free.
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.
Western civilization is totally dependent upon cheap and abundant energy. Three quarters of the petroleum we burn in our engines is imported. Could it be cut off suddenly? Without cheap and abundant energy, our way of life would collapse. If we value our freedom and independence, we should not be relying on foreign petroleum. We should be making our own energy.
Since they built their solar- and wind-powered cordwood home in Desboro, Ontario, Lisa and Ray Racicot have never looked back. The only thing they'll do differently next time is install the renewable energy systems first, to power the construction.
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.
Many people believe that their values define who they are. Unfortunately, many of our values don't translate into action. To live a fruitful, peaceful, and productive life, meld your values and actions. You'll be happier and content -- whole.
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.
In this political season, politicians often define people by their differences, creating strife and even outright contempt among people with opposing political views. Truth is, we have a great deal in common; it is our commonalities that bind us.
A "how to" for building a hoop-style greenhouse using PVC pipe and plastic sheeting.
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.
The thrill continues living in our handmade house.
Michael Funk's 6,000-square-foot off-the-grid home and retreat center on 1,200 acres in the Sierra Nevadas is an heirloom, handbuilt with reverence for the spectacle that surrounds it. He hopes it will inspire every visitor to preserve the paradise.
After a wildfire destroyed their off-the-grid compound in Colorado, Betty and Rolland rebuilt—better than before—following Rolland’s creed: no plywood, no plastic and nothing that smells bad when it burns. The wildlife around their home approve.
Learn about the advantages of urban farming from those who are leading the way. The benefits include improved food production, increased revenue sources and reduced energy use.
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.
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.
An overview of groups, initiatives, planning certifications, and neighborhood developments that promote sustainable communities, including Transition initiatives, ecovillages, One Planet Communities, LEED for Neighborhood Development, and others.
One of the big barriers to personal happiness is a nagging sense of inferiority. It starts early in life and plagues many of us throughout out lives, poisoning relationships and robbing us of happiness. Here's how to start erasing those feelings.
One of the big barriers to personal happiness is a nagging sense of inferiority. It starts early in life and plagues many of us throughout out lives, poisoning relationships and robbing us of happiness. Here's how to start erasing those feelings.
One of the big barriers to personal happiness is a nagging sense of inferiority. It starts early in life and plagues many of us throughout out lives, poisoning relationships and robbing us of happiness. Here's how to start erasing those feelings.
One of our most common grasses is limiting the bobwhite quail population, killing broodmares and their foals, rotting cow hooves, and cutting milk production.
Using newspaper, learn how to craft easy, biodegradable pots to start seeds.