living off the land
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.
The beauty and refreshment of our swimming hole are a swell compliment to work and sun of our homestead.
How we avoid most clutter but manage to keep good leftover products for future use.
A roof is a wonderful thing to have!
A stack of cast-iron pans and a chainsaw helmet sum up why these homesteaders do what they do.
We finally build somthing!
We bring power from the array inside the building and put it to work.
Our power system begins to take shape.
Instead of learning new tricks, we devise new ways to do the same old tricks.
We finally see walls and a loft floor.
We settle in for a long winter's work.
Our humble abode begins to take shape.
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
At last, we construct the foundation.
Has the "magic" energy solution been discovered?
Here's something positive to blame on the recession: Less trash is going into the landfill. Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence takes a look at the changing American throwaway culture.
Lack of interest threatens ClimateSmart, a program that helps PG&E customers in California offset their carbon emissions, is about to be cut.
Details on a cool new carbon offset program from Volkswagen.
In this post, I introduce a new series capturing the details of my family's move from a
conventional suburban life to homesteading and homeschooling. This post introduces the first
of several financial considerations that my family researched and has undertaken as part of our
radical lifestyle change.
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.
A comparison of costs between on grid and off grid utilities for our circumstances.
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.
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.
An article about when the best time is to start a new homestead.
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.
Bulk food sales rose 15 percent in 2009 and are expected to keep growing through 2010. That will keep a lot of packing out of the landfill.
The walk on the moon on July 20, 1969 was a monumental event, which forever changed our world perspective. Where were you on that momentous occasion?
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.
Sustainsia’s compact, green-built work pod could solve my office needs.
A short simple explanation of how to project your electrical needs in order to size your electrical off grid system.
Things to look for in your soil before you break ground on your new home or cabin.
How both we and the chickens have gotten better at surviving the cold winters where we live.
A brief description of how we grow fresh vegetables in our long cold winters.
A description about something unique - a wood burning masonry kitchen stove.
Success at growing food at the 4200' elevation and some of the challenges.
A description and pictures of a tornado force winds in Washington State in 2012.
What it is like to live higher up.
Fun facts about our first year of blogging for Mother Earth News.
A brief description of our experiences with solar tubes in our off grid home.
Some of the downside of free ranging your chickens.
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.
Design features we incorporated into our new off grid home.
A quick look at different ways to be sustainable whether you are off grid or not.
A brief description of our experience with a masonry heater.
A simple explanation of our solar power generating system and cost.
Two easy steps to reduce your electrical use whether you live off grid or not.
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.
Things you can do to prevent fire damage to your home from an external source.
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.
Tips on how to keep water away from your home and water damage prevention.
A short history of my own horse riding adventures.
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".
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.
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.
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.
Learning to appreciate seasonal differences.
It takes commitment and determination to live remotely in the mountains.
How to cope mentally with living in a remote location.
Sharing our first experience with an indoor/outdoor vertical hydroponic garden.
Expense checklist for anyone wanting to plan a new homestead.
The cost to install and operate our solar electrical system.
We look for materials bargains while devising a way to pay for it all.
Unforgettable Fire's Kimberly and Katydid wood stoves are heating solutions for any and all spaces.
Here are a few ways to know if a business is supporting green practices or not. Green practices are increasingly more and more important as companies increase and continue to have a large impact on the environment.
It turns out that there are a few bright spots amidst the recession — and it looks like less waste might be one of them.
Check out this great movie review for the new Disney Pixar film, WALL-E!
With its new clothing tags, Levi’s encourages consumers to donate unwanted clothes to Goodwill.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Rhode Island plans to install large wind far off it's Atlantic Ocean shore.
Today's a great day to follow our tips for creating a home office that's easy on you and light on the planet.
Save money by planting smaller trees and shrubs from mail-order sources.
If you're looking for a new lawn mower this year, consider buying a zero-turn lawn mower, which will really help you maneuver around obstacles such as trees and bushes.
Volunteer to take care of the public lands in your area during National Public Lands Day on September 29, 2012!
Celebrate the 20th anniversary National Public Lands Day on September 28! Find a volunteer site.
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.
Living in possibly the best place in the USA.
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.
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.
The generators we use for living off the grid and a multitude of other tasks.
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.
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.
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.
Cam describes the benefits of writing this blog and his recent book.
Our experiences in learning to pressure can and use reusable canning lids.
Upcycling company TerraCycle is partnering with FritoLay North America to keep old chips bags out of landfills and turn them into new consumer products.
These seasoned off-the-grid veterans have found that hefty batteries make for a happy home.
Options for phone service if you live in a remote location that doesn't have cell service or landlines available to you.
In this blog we share someone else's story about old fashioned home made ingenuity concerning deep well pumps that operate without electricity.
How we stay busy in the winter even though we live at 4200', three miles off the road, and somewhat isolated.
This is the hands on portion of how a solar power system operates.
How and why we chose to have a livestock guardian dog and what they are like.
Short description of our solar system and the everyday things we do to operate them.
How to make insulated shades at home.
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.
A snapshot of winter life living remote and off grid.
Costs associated with providing your own water.
Things we have done to earn an income from home in a down economy.
Things we did to make our new home more sustainable.
Short stories about our chicken experiences
After the snow leaves to do list for us.
Our take on the positive and negative points of insulated concrete forms.
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.
Where we have chosen to draw the line between convenience and sustainability - for now.
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.
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.
Landrace gardening enhances food security by growing genetically diverse crops that are not as prone to crop failure as monoculture fields of near clones.
Landrace gardening requires different plant naming conventions than those followed by industrialized agriculture.
Landrace gardening promotes hybrid vigor and avoids inbreeding depression by encouraging promiscuous pollination.
A photo essay showing off the stunning success of landrace gardening on my farm. This success was achieved because I changed my growing methods to embrace one of the key elements of landrace growing; “survival of the fittest."
Using landrace gardening and promiscuous pollination to get what you want from your garden.
Two homesteaders discuss their experience with the weather applicable to their mountain homesteads in Washington and Colorado.
This initial blog post tells the story of how Phillip Vannini became interested in off-grid living and how he began — together with Jonathan Taggart — to do research on the off-grid lifestyle in Canada.
In this blog post we describe the choices we made in producing and editing our film, "Life Off Grid."
Who knew that making a soda so delicious was so darn easy?! This office experiment is our most rewarding yet. I mean, Marlin is cool with his aquaponic system and all, but I definitely don’t want to drink fish water. (See aquaponic blog.) Our ginger beer is so refreshing, surprisingly effervescent and just plain awesome! So you’d like to know how to make it yourself, right? Well, I will gladly share the steps and recipe with you.
My views on importing package bees verses natural breading.
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
An amazing, off-the-grid Welsh hobbit house was built in less than four months and for less than $5,000.
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.
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.
Information on how to volunteer on National Public Lands Day.
The negative effects of the recession are painfully clear, but is there a silver lining hiding among the clouds? There's some evidence that the recession might means good news for the environment, and you might find it in your own home. Check it out, and let us know what you think.
Although many of us enjoy the free plastic bags we get from grocery stores, they may be costing us money and damage to the environment. Find out more about this growing problem and review the results of a recent poll.
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.
Joseph Lofthouse shares how to maintain thriving populations of landrace vegetables in the garden.
A photo essay showing off the beauty of landrace crops.
The principles of landrace gardening can be applied at any scale from small annual gardens to multi-generational community wide tree farms.
Exploring my hopes and dreams for the landrace seed movement with suggestions about how farmers, merchants, and gardeners could cooperate to create a more robust, secure, and locally adapted food system.
As Offlining urges cyborgs to turn off their Blackberries, Neo-Luddites question technology's exponential encroachment on our lives.
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.
Our area is abundant with history. We have a limber pine tree nearby that I estimate is over 2,100 years old and still very much alive. History - we have an abundance of it.
Amid rising gas prices, some people think offshore drilling in America is the answer, but is it worth it? Also, read an opinion piece by Mark Weisbrot.
On Sept. 30, the offshore drilling moratorium expired, and the energy battle between the Democrats and Republicans began.
Exmark’s “Transitioning Mower Fleets to Propane” provides a road map for landscape professionals.
The 2011 report focuses on the Garden Effect and Payback-if-sold. The Garden Effect is the estimated increase in a property’s market value as a result of having beautiful landscaping.
You can sneak a few attractive, low maintenance food plants onto your lawn, and your neighbors will never even notice.
Are you planning to put in an orchard next spring, or re-design your landscape with more edible plants?
Transforming this suburban property has been one of the most satisfying and creative adventures in my life. No need to go anywhere. Making big changes was the plan from the beginning, 15 years ago, when I bought this quarter-acre property with a modest 1,100-square-foot mid-fifties suburban house. If I reincarnated as a house and suburban property, this would be it.
Taking out a driveway and reclaiming automobile space can be one of the most rewarding projects on the suburban frontier. Replacing it with a walnut tree, blackberries and a storage shed with edible landscaping over the roof is even better.
Being a homesteader and living off the land often means being subjected to natural conditions beyond our control, sometimes predictable changes of seasons and temperatures, other times curve balls such as unseen pest pressure, hard frosts in late May or heavy snow in early November. A lifestyle where these natural circumstances is the main determining factor for what gets done when is getting increasingly rarer – humans have gained what some consider an advantage by manipulating the world into a state where we, in many ways, can remain unaffected from the forces of nature.
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.
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.
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.
At the Mother Earth News Fair in Puyallup, Wash, I listened to lecturers cover topics from re-newable energy, small-scale farming, green building, organic gardening, simple living, and citizen solidarity building. While I listened, I pondered ways to weave these powerful themes into our children's lives.
Your local county extension office can answer questions on gardening, livestock, poultry, crops, garden pests and more.
A strong partnership between Cascades and Office Depot to deliver on customer need for softness and strength while significantly reducing total environmental impact.
By applying the principles of landrace gardening, you can help your plants win the race against weeds.
By growing potatoes from pollinated seeds we can develop locally adapted plants that thrive in our gardens.
Seed saving is an integral part of landrace gardening.
Landrace gardening allows us to minimize fertilization by selecting for plants that thrive in the pre-existing soil.
Want to grow and save your own vegetable seeds? Meet Fruition Seeds. They produce regionally-adapted, organically-grown seeds. And they can show you how to do it too.
Joseph Lofthouse shares tips for growing landrace popcorn.
Sunroots are a typically-cloned crop with great potential as a locally-adapted survival-of-the-fittest landrace
How to use hybrids in a landrace garden.
A photo essay documenting imported landraces that I started incorporating into my existing landraces during the current growing season.
Grow enough seed for yourself and a little extra for seed swaps and you may never have to pay for seeds again.
A market farmer’s perspective on survival seed banks, evaluating current offerings.
A photo essay showing off the beauty of landrace squash.
Egyptian walking onions are one of my favorite crops because they produce food for my family from early spring until late fall.
A landrace market farmer’s perspective on survival seed banks. Part 3: Storing the seeds. With careful forethought, it is possible to store seeds in a manner that will allow them to avoid or survive common seed destroying events.
Creating a landrace of promiscuously pollinated tomatoes. Details about my major plant breeding project for the next few seasons and a plea for help.
A pragmatic approach to eliminating male sterility from a home garden. Includes a diagram and photos about what to look for.
Cell Fusion genetic engineering is emerging as a hot topic in the Certified Organic seed and food industry. We can expect the resolution of this issue to impact both small-scale and large-scale growers.
The sustainability of one’s home depends as much (if not more) on its location as on how the house is built. If you’re looking to buy land or to buy (or rent) a house, consider the following sustainability criteria when comparing property locations.
How to go from buying everything at Wally World to growing organic vegetables, raising livestock, building an efficient home, and a Do-It-Yourself, self-sufficient lifestyle.
Cam loves sharing his homesteading skills in Hands-On Workshops at his off-grid home.
Cam & Michelle recently enjoyed a visit from an ethnographer who is studying off-gridders.
University of Maine leads the United States in clean-energy technology, thanks to the development of a grid-connected wind turbine off the coast of Maine.
In light of the environmental, economic and other damage caused by the Gulf oil spill, has your opinion about increased domestic drilling changed? Yes or no, we want to hear your thoughts on the topic.
An explosion at a British Petroleum oil rig has caused a massive and growing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico just off the Lousiana coast. Here is an account of where the spill stands at the moment.
Hundreds of Gulf Coast oil spill workers have fallen ill with flu-like symptoms related to oil exposure. News reports claim that BP is not allowing workers to wear respirators, despite the potential long-term respiratory and neurological consequences workers could face.
Full-size, compact, gas or diesel – Kubota Zero-Turns provide operators with innovation and efficiency.
The YardMap Network is a citizen science project designed to cultivate a richer understanding of bird habitat, for both people concerned with their local environments and professional scientists. The program is housed at the Lab of Ornithology, in Ithaca, New York. We collect data by asking individuals across the country to draw maps of their backyards, parks, farms, favorite birding locations, schools, and gardens.
The RTA12 & RTR12 Series Rotary Tillers from Land Pride till soil for seedbed and planting preparation with uses and applications in landscaping, gardens, and residential areas.
Decision from the USDA: Farmers won't be allowed to break their CRP contract without penalty.
We frequently use the term "homesteading" in Mother Earth News, but what is it's exact meaning?
Our Rural Property for Sale site helps you search for a sweet spot to put your future homestead, with handy filters to help you find just what you're looking for more easily.
Here are a few sources that can help you find affordable farm land.
This post is about winterizing a colony of bees naturaly, using ideas and tips that we at BeeLanding have learned from nature.
This listing links to information resources related to sustainable agriculture, organic farming and gardening, and growing and buying good, safe food.
This is a listing of some of the green-themed films that came out between 2012-2014. These films are on a variety of topics, including food/agriculture, health, energy sources, water, climate change, animals, etc.
10 witty, wry, and clever quotations from various thinkers, writers, and comedians. Many of these quotations have real relevance to sustainability.
The thrill continues living in our handmade house.
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.
Joseph Lofthouse, seedsman from Paradise Utah, is now blogging about “Landrace Gardening” on Mother Earth News. The blog is a practical hands-on manual about how to improve crop production by localizing your plants to your unique garden.
Small towns across the country in need of a population boost are literally giving away free land to attract new residents and boost their populations. Seekers of the quiet (and low-cost) small town lifestyle can now grab some free land to build their homes.
A western Massachusetts community rallies to save a generations old farm.
This year’s Buckminster Fuller Challenge winner is revegetating African grasslands through holistic land management.
Ever wondered what the difference is between a national park, a wilderness area, a national wildlife refuge, or other protected federal land? Here are the major differences in how these different natural areas are used and managed.
This skid auger is ideal for land owners, landscapers, hobby farmers and contractors.
Finding the right balance between obligations can be a challenge.
After a long trial-and-error process, Ilene White Freedman finally found a sustainable, weed-suppressing mulching system for her farm.
The new apple orchard we're planning for our homestead won't be the classical lawn-layout most people are accustomed to. Our edible landscape will mimic a natural landscape with the goal to reduce interference such as spraying while providing organic fruit, berries and herbs for many months of many years.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger Rachel shares the basics of landscape design.
New investment in clean energy reached $243 billion last year, driven by soaring activity in China, offshore wind and European rooftop photovoltaics
The Mother Earth News Fair staff and volunteers work on green initiatives to divert Fair waste from landfills, recycling and composting as much as possible.
As the costs and consequences of climatological and ecological instability become impossible to ignore, people are recognizing the need to be more prepared for the challenges we could face in the short-term and the long-term. A variety of initiatives are arising to share ways of becoming more resilient—i.e., able to survive and thrive in the face of dangers and even disasters.
When shopping for the holidays, consider these seven strategies for giving greener gifts.
10 more great quotations and aphorisms that are relevant to environmental sustainability. Quotations by Buckminster Fuller, Teddy Roosevelt, Wendell Berry, and others.
An affordable prototype home helps revitalize a blighted Syracuse, New York, neighborhood--and could be the city home of the future.
Although the well that caused the BP oil spill is now dead, the spill’s effects live on. Debate about oil dispersants, such as Corexit, and concerns regarding the settled oil on the ocean floor that came from Deepwater Horizon continue to grow. To understand how the spill impacted and continues to affect the Gulf of Mexico, MOTHER EARTH NEWS spoke with Ronald J. Kendall, director of the Institute of Environmental and Human Health at Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas.
Recent approval by the Obama administration of the Massachusetts based Cape Wind project creates the potential for 130 offshore wind turbines, which are predicted to produce up to 468 megawatts of wind power.
Flashy technologies billed as holding the key to an “age of plenty” cannot ward off future hunger. But strong rural communities working with, not against, nature can create an age of sufficiency.
Pennsylvania mama Michelle has finally found a homestead! Get her moving tips on take-back programs, packing mason jars, buying cheap appliances, and more.
Will assigning monetary value to the environment help to create an ethic of land stewardship or cause further detachment from nature?
Congress is accused of bait-and-switch tactics when they propose millions in reductions to the conservation-related program assistance that helped pass the 2008 farm bill.
Goats are a great way to get rid of weed problems while also reducing the use of chemicals and fossil fuels.
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.
How we approached buying our property, clearing and selecting a home site.
Making good decisions on how we use our land. Keeping it natural.
A new study has found that biodegradable plastic's rapid rate of decomposition could cause the release of methane, a greenhouse gas. The study's authors suggest that petroleum-based products might be preferable. We need better alternatives than that.
A landrace market farmer’s perspective on survival seed banks. Part Two – Suggestions about the types and quantities of seeds to include in an emergency seed bank.
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.
Looking ahead to spring, we're using these long days to plan a rootstock order of perennial trees, shrubs, and herbs.
A winter thaw inspires starting the first seeds of the season - indoors, of course: kale, chard, and spinach to start.
Going off the grid offers complete energy independence — no utility bills, no grid outages, ever — but it takes some effort, and you will need to learn how to conserve energy.
Edamame soybeans are tough,fast-maturing plants that can withstand extreme garden conditions. They have few problems with disease or insect pests. The green pods are delicious and high in protein, and make a good addition to an edible landscape.
Grapes can grow anywhere, thriving in a variety of climates and soil types. Growing grapes is rewarding, because after a few years they produce abundant fruit and quickly provide architectural interest in the edible landscape.
A 30-acre organic and biodynamic farm is the beating heart of the thriving 1,000-acre Serenbe community near Atlanta. As more developers integrate agriculture into suburbia, the joys and benefits of farming are becoming available to everyone.
A birdbath in the garden does much more than a birdfeeder. Attract birds to the garden with water, and they will help with pest control, soil aeration, and much more as they get the water they need for drinking and grooming. Wasps love a drink too.
Popcorn is easy to grow and makes an attractive and delicious alternative to sweet corn, especially in a small garden. Kids will love the cute little ears, and adults will treasure the superior flavor of homegrown popcorn. Plant in late spring.
It's winter time. Take a break from the holiday madness to enjoy a little of what nature has to offer this season.
Giving your ornamental and vegetable garden a thorough cleaning in midsummer not only leaves the landscape looking better, but can help prevent damage from diseases and pests by removing the conditions in which they thrive.
Fleas and ticks can bring severe itching, allergic reactions, discomfort, and even serious diseases (such as lyme disease) to your pets, so it’s important to protect your pets from them. However, studies have found that many common flea and tick control/treatment products aren’t just toxic to those bugs; they can actually poison your pets, as well. Find out which ingredients and products to avoid, and some safer alternatives to use.
The Goldman Environmental Prize is the world’s largest and most prestigious award for grassroots environmentalists. This year’s six inspiring prize winners (one from each of the six inhabited continental regions of the world) are...
The Goldman Environmental Prize is the world’s largest and most prestigious award for grassroots activists. This year’s six inspiring and courageous prize winners (one from each of the six inhabited continental regions of the world) are...
An index of posts related to energy, power, and climate, with a strong focus on solutions.
A selection of Words of the Wise. This index links to 5 different sets of great quotations, for your edification and entertainment. Witty quotations. Eco quotations. Quotations for gardeners and farmers. And more.
Know a chocolate-lover? Here's info on a few of the most delicious chocolate bars, from companies that make organic, fair trade, ethically produced chocolates.
Whether you’re a teacher, parent, school administrator, or homeschooler, you might be interested in some of these online resources related to environmental education and green curricula. Most of these websites are related to K-12 education.
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.
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.
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.
As a new year unfolds, Natural Home forecasts 2010 predictions—and it's good news—Americans will become smarter, greener consumers.
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.
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.
Incorporating charcoal into the soil helped Amazonian farmers grow better crops, and its new industrial version is promoted as a panacea for both agriculture and the global climate. Those claims are not realistic.
The Bureau of Land Management has approved construction of a California geothermal plant that will generate enough energy for 36,000 homes.
China’s largest green burial ceremony is part of the growing trend of eco-funerals in a country that is trying to conserve land.
Managing Cover Crops Profitably, 3rd Edition, is now available in print and by download from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program. Learn how to make your soil perform at its very best!
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking comments on how to implement the new Conservation Stewardship Program. Here's the lowdown, plus instructions on how to submit your opinion — it's easy!
Two new models of pull behind cutters for use with tractors.
Clearing your land to ready it for farming can be quite a challenge!
Land rich in biodiversity isn't just more productive than land planted with a single crop. It turns out that increased biodoversity also significantly effects the total "bioenergy" of the land, as well as its carbon footprint.
Unprepared for their first foray into country living, Kristy Athens takes what she learned and focuses on 5 areas to be considered before moving to the country: Land, buildings, animals, food and community.
Ed and Bruce share their experiences with homesteading and self-sufficiency in a rural setting.
One homesteading couple learns what a land survey plat is, and then proceeds to have a plat completed of their rural property.
We received some good additional tips on buying land and building a home. These pieces of advice are a roundup of comments taken from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Facebook page.
Our process of buying the land for our homestead had little to do with logic and a lot to do with emotion. For me, it was a chance to return to the plains where I grew up and be close to family.
As part of the Obama Administration’s all-of-the-above strategy to
expand safe and responsible domestic energy production, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced Nov. 7, 2012, a lease for commercial wind energy development 11 nautical miles off the coast of Delaware.
There are various means for developing an edible landscape.
Roses are easy to grow successfully if you follow a few guidelines: provide good air circulation around the canes and keep the plants clean and not too damp. Roses come in many forms, including bush or shrub, climbing, and miniature.
Introducing the serviceberry, a beautiful landscape tree or shrub suitable in much of North America, to the edible landscape. Serviceberry -- or sarvis -- comes in many regional forms and produces edible berries.
Simran Sethi reflects on her first summer of yard-care and gardening.
Great Quotations: the 4th installment in a series. This post features 14 fabulous eco-quotations, from thinkers such as Wendell Berry, Rachel Carson, Thoreau, Edison, and others.
There are many ways that each of us can lessen our unhealthy dependence on filthy fuels. You can do so in every area of your life, from choices you make regarding your house and home improvements, to food, transportation, and other consumer choices.
Fun graphics of great quotations! Quotations by Buckminster Fuller, Mary Oliver, Martin Luther King Jr., and others, available as free graphics that can be shared like e-cards.
This index links to some recent and popular posts related to green building, design, remodeling, and home improvement. The posts cover a broad range of topics, from green products to projects to practices, as well as sustainable communities.
“Bed bugs” are small nocturnal insects that feed on blood. Here are some tips for keeping them out of your home, and for getting rid of them--without using toxic pesticides/insecticides--if they do show up.
Green home improvement and retrofit projects that only require a minimal investment and that have a sure (and often speedy) payback. These relatively low-cost improvements can reap real savings. Plus, a link to info on tax credits and rebates.
More tips, ideas, and considerations for choosing green gifts. A sequel/supplement to last year's article!
How a single purchase of a magazine in newsprint in 1970 changed my life.
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.
Many decisions go into remote living to decide if it is right for you.
There are a lot of things you can do right now to experience the homestead lifestyle right in your backyard.
The documentary film “Beyond Off-Grid” is nearing completion and includes a dozen specialists across the United States living self-reliant lifestyles.
Selecting a power option for your homestead.
The benefits of limited lighting and no electricity.
Providing your own sewer, water and power can be more expensive and is certainly less convenient but that's not all there is to consider. This article takes a look at some of the other differences between public and private services.
Michael Strizki proves that living off the grid doesn't have to mean sacrificing comfort.
Cam describes a recent adventure involving round bales, train tracks and a stressful drive home.
Developing a sense of place by shaping and stewarding the landscape.
This article does not get into home biogas gas yields or what biogas can be used for, but it is a basic introduction to the five necessary conditions for how to make biogas at home to get you started.
Cam shares some of the things he is grateful for....
What's the most efficient way to boil water?
Technology allows us to live where we live, but it doesn't make it any easier to deal with!
Sometimes being off grid doesn't necessarily mean that you're green.
Cam discusses the decision to go off-grid or on-grid and shares his experience with batteries and the dangers of high winds to solar panels.
When autumn brings a glut of orchard fruits, capture the goodness as juice by cooking extraction or cold pressing. Juices can be used alone or mixed to produce sweet or hard ciders, wines, syrups, and more.
Growing some of the most delicious and sometimes expensive gourmet vegetables doesn't have to be hard. Artichoke, bronze fennel, kohlrabi, leek, and savoy cabbage are among the vegetables that grow well from seed.
Noting the “firsts” and “lasts” occurring on the homestead at early summer.
Choosing homesteading as a way of life and what it takes.
The new metal roof was nailed down just hours before the storm hit.
Wherever you live, you can practice sustainability and share your successes with your neighbors.
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.
Enjoy visiting green living fairs, shows and workshops from Maine to Texas in every season of the year.
Living luxuriously doesn’t necessarily mean living large — at least not in these homes — and reducing a little waste doesn’t hurt, either.
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.
Missoula, MT company awards home owners sustainable products.
KOR Water has announced the reusable Nava filtering water bottle.
In The Land Institute senior scientist Stan Cox's critique of the 2013 Farm bill, it's argued that more federal support could be shifted to food security and conservation if less were going to Big Ag.
Strict ceilings on resource use, with rationing, can halt and reverse climate disruption. Australia's experience shows why the alternative to rationing, a carbon tax, is too indirect and too politically toxic to succeed.
Sustainable farming expert Michael Pollan has some words of wisdom for the next president of the United States.
No one had ever attempted to set a land speed record for gasification vehicles so Beaver Energy was the first.
Smithfield's hog farms produce a lot of meat and make a lot of money, but at what cost? Can we continue to look the other way as they pollute waters, abuse animals and terrorize their neighbors?
Renowned sportsman and conservationist Beau Turner is bringing his knowledge and unique talents exclusively to Sportsman Channel, the leader in outdoor TV for the American Sportsman, with the debut of his new original series, Beau Knows Outdoors.
Animal-vehicle wrecks cause about 200 human fatalities and 29,000 injuries a year. The fight between wildlife and urban developers seems never-ending, but wildlife crossings can be a solution. Learn how you can help just by giving your state's Department of Transportation a call.
Bring some spring into your life. Sprinkle some wheat grass seeds in an old apothecary jar and watch them grow.
The Land Institute of Salina, Kan., held the 34th annual Prairie Festival Sept. 28-30, 2012. Keynote speakers including Wendell Berry and Palgummi Sainath inspired local farmers, students, and nature lovers.
Join two modern homesteaders as they begin down the road toward building their small home and self-reliant farmstead on their new piece of raw land in northeastern Kansas.
If you want to own property, you have to find a way to finance buying land. Here, one couple explains how they took out a mortgage to build a home and purchase land.
In order to access our land and put in a driveway, we need to secure an entrance permit. If you're planning to buy land and build a home, check what your entrance permit requirements are before you purchase the property.
One couple recounts how they pursued a land zoning waiver in order to secure a building permit on their recently purchased rural property.
Across the U.S., voters of all political leanings gave overwhelming approval in the 2012 presidential election to taxing themselves and spending money for new parks in their communities, The Trust for Public Land announced. Of the 57 measures on local and statewide ballots, 46 passed, an approval rate of 81%.
Turning liabilities into assests.
Land Pride is proud to announce four new skid Grapples in 12 different sizes as well as a skid-mounted Stump Grinder. These completely new attachments feature the same quality and durability that you’ve come to expect from Land Pride.
Another set of Great Quotations. These seven quotations have direct relevance to gardeners and farmers, but they offer wisdom that everyone can learn from and enjoy.
Conventional generators require gasoline or diesel fuel, which can be expensive -- especially during emergencies. Also, the emissions from gas-powered generators contribute to air pollution. Solar generators are a smart alternative to consider.
Find out which states and countries have the greatest number of LEED Platinum certified projects, and where the Platinum projects are located. Plus, a list of some LEED Platinum rated homes and residential buildings, with links to case studies.
More than 15 tips for saving water inside your home and outside in your yard and garden. Reducing your water use will not only lower your water bills and help prevent water shortages during drought periods in your area. It also...
Yellow jackets can pose a threat to honeybees. If yellow jackets have built a nest in your yard, here's a recipe for a natural, non-toxic solution that will get rid of them. Please share your own recommendations too!
This is a rundown of films that came out in the last few years. These films cover a wide range of environmental topics, from energy, climate, and fuel, to food, farming, and health. Many of the films have won awards or been critically acclaimed.
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.
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.
Exploring our misconceptions of who we are when we are defined by our online presence.
What does well read mean to you? Does the material you read and your personality traits determine how you view the world? This blog explores what well read means to me.
Our typical day living in the mountains in the winter.
The all-new RZT S ZERO is available in select markets and will be headlining the Cub Cadet Test Drive Experience Tour.
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.
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.
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.
The daily realities of living in the mountains.
Be aware: Living sustainably can be hindered by homeowner association rules.
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?
An introduction to me, a home-schooled 11 year old.
A rural home in La Porte, Iowa thrives on all the elements of nature including bird feeders, a veggie garden and table scraps.
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.
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.
Jim and Julie are starting their homestead in Texas while still living in Australia. Managing the project by remote control is the challenge, and they are learning as they go. This is an adventure of faith and confidence.
Cover crops are grown between planting seasons as a way to give back to the soil what cultivation takes from it. And cover crops aren’t just for large-scale growers—they can help you get the most out of your backyard vegetable garden too!
A look at the advantages and disadvantages of “off-grid” and "grid-tied” solar electric systems.
A look back at how we’ve become addicted to electricity and its conveniences since the Great Depression.
Learn about our experience attending a Mother Earth News Fair as an exhibitor.
Renewable energy is often seen as a way to have it all and still feel “green” and it is indeed at a glance more environment friendly than conventional power, but no power has as low footprint as the power not used.
With winter beginning, these homesteaders are starting winter off cozy in their cabin.
Cam looks back at the challenges of moving to his off-grid home.
Darning socks is a simple thing to do - and a statement for self-sufficiency!
Why manual water pumps are making a comeback and how to select the right type for a homestead.
For many homesteaders, taking a job during the winter months to earn extra income is an appealing option. Here are some options to consider if you're looking for off-farm income.
A typical winter morning chore - cleaning off the solar panels.
Cam is handling this heatwave much better thanks to his solar-powered air conditioner!
Cam shares his experiences getting lost in the woods.
again, rushing to beat the weather as we close in our finishing our hand-built cabin
Real life experiences with chickens spanning a 50 year period.
The difference between power and energy and how it relates to toast!
Urban food forests and public gardens provide communities with an edible landscape for everyone to share. These public fruit forests are the new trend in urban agriculture and play an important role as sustainable local food systems in their communities.
How a born and bred city boy came to leave Detroit, start a Tennessee homestead with his wife, and blog about it here.
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.
An index of previous posts that have referenced green products. These posts have covered building- and home-related products, as well as chocolates, books, and other types of goods. Many of the products mentioned in these posts would make good gifts.
A list of links to orgs, associations, websites, books, and other resources related to local economies, community resilience, green business, corporate social responsibility, green jobs, environmental and social entrepreneurship, and investment.
If you would like to be represented by more elected officials who support environmental safeguards for our air, water, and land, take a look at these resources, including the League of Conservation Voters' National Environmental Scorecard.
Most conventional paints and coatings emit Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which can contribute to poor indoor air quality as well as to smog. This overview includes a link to a product listing of healthier low-VOC, zero-VOC, and natural paints.
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.
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?
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.
Regular tasks that keep our cabin comfortable and welcoming.
Even when the chicks have left the nest, they never really leave.
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.
There is hard work homesteading in the mountains and the weather dictates much of those challenges.
Immigrating to Canada can be a daunting process, but the Canadian government provides resources to help.
Taking time to reflect on the past brings renewed appreciation to the present.
Other than the four regular seasons there is a fifth season in the mountains called mud season.
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.
Passive House standards incorporate passive solar design principles, but the two labels don’t mean the same thing. Learn about the difference between passive solar design and Passive House certification.
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.
Fall may be turning to winter, but there’s still time to enjoy those last sunny days before the harsh chill settles in.
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.
How packing snow against your house can add R-value to your insulation - and subtract energy costs.
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.
Finding friends out in the country can be challenging.
What skills are you learning in hopes of saving money?
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?
Where is the strange and wonderful place this homesteader describes? And how do you get there?
Here are four things you need to know about gum chewing to decide whether chewing gum is bad for you.
Living in a 500-square-foot house (or smaller) affects our consumption and relationships.
In 'Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation,' author Tradd Cotter offers readers an in-depth exploration of best organic mushroom cultivation practices, shares the results of his groundbreaking research, and offers creative ways to apply cultivation skills—whether the goal is to help a community clean up industrial pollution or simply to settle down at the end of the day with a cold Reishi-infused homebrew ale.
Leaving a job with benefits and security to live a simple, country life, also known as un-jobbing, can be scary, but as we learned, so very worth it.
Sharing my practices of gratitude and thanksgiving.
All-natural pork from wild hogs is safe to eat, has wonderful flavor and could feed the world. Here's how to trap them in the wild.
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.
New wood stove, another unexpected advantage of downsizing, and Murphy's Law.
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.
The success of Urban Gardens is a story about an expansion of one’s reach outside of one given discipline.
SunRay Kelley’s Gypsy Wagon is an exciting, sustainable home on wheels built from a camper vehicle.
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.
Sayra and Dominic live with their 5-year-old daughter in a charming 550-square-foot home in rural Idaho. There are challenges, but they've found that less really is more. "It's like living in a fun clubhouse," Sayra says.
A few thoughts on why so many people are hesitant to make the transition to produce their own power.
Build your own wind generator for use with 12-Volt systems. Charge up batteries for lighting, fans, tools and more.
Tell us what you think. If you installed a wind turbine or solar-electric panels, would you want to be tied to the electric grid, or would you rather have a grid-independent system?
Experts say that that bathroom and kitchen remodels--once a sure-fire way to move a home for sale--aren't necessarily the ticket anymore. Creating a house that feels homey and welcoming is most important.
Cam contemplates the amount of energy that goes into our food production and shows how he prepared corn for freezing the zero carbon way!
An introduction to Cam Mather's off-grid home and lifestyle.
We use more water than we need in our homes every day. If you’re curious to know how much water your own home might be wasting, check out this infographic on U.S. residential water consumption from eLocal.com.
To freshen up your home without a major remodel, clean up and invest in lower-cost fixes such as paint, hardware and window coverings.
There are multiple philosophies that describe what characterizes a green home, but all have low energy loads in common.
At the gardens of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, we're preparing to plant sweet potato slips, hardening off transplants, and enjoying an abundance of spring cabbage. Learn tips and tricks for getting your transplants ready for the great outdoors.
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?
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.
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.
How feeding the hungry amounts to action on behalf of a planet on fire with a toxic yang imbalance.
Seth Leitman explains toxicity in our products and how green living is about recovering from these products.
A pressure canner greatly expands the range of foods that can be safely canned at home.
As everyone gathers around this campfire this fall, unite this variety of flavors into one savory skillet that will be enjoyed by all.
We’re interested in how our readers have lessened their environmental footprint.
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?
"The Farm Then and Now" by Douglas Stevenson tells the story of The Farm: an intentional community that has defied the odds, blending idealism with a practical approach to create a model for sustainable living.
Bruce McElmurray and Ed Essex collaborate on how the weather dictates to their mountain homesteading.
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.
Taking a bath in the winter takes a little more planning at our off-grid, no-plumbing home.
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 that we have learned gardening at a high elevation.
Which fire starting tool works best - or at all?
Gene GeRue relates the lessons he learned from a childhood of frugal living.
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.
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.
Noting the time and marking its passing, keeping us in the present.
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.
The process of evaluating needs for successful downsizing.
A question about our future.
How a wood-fired hot tub allows us to live better on less energy.
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.
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.
Learn three simple tips for making the most of small gardening spaces, including hanging plants and advice for selecting seed varieties.
The Living Seed Company is creating a platform to inspire gardeners and gardeners to be.
Energy goals for America
Realize that DIY inspiration is just a click away by checking out these great home remodeling blogs.
How we had to adjust to a smaller home, the isolation and quiet.
In this blog post, parenting mentor Shawn Hosford introduces herself, along with some of her background and beliefs. Her hope is that this post provides the necessary foundation for continued conversations about intentional parenting.
Can we start a Slow Time Movement? One that would be like the Slow Food Movement.
The benefits of adopting a pet. And the sadness that occurs when they die.
Living in the mountains or remotely requires physical endurance as well as being fit.
In Farming the Woods, authors Ken Mudge and Steve Gabriel teach readers how to fill forests with food by viewing agriculture from a remarkably different perspective: that a healthy forest can be maintained while growing a wide range of food, medicinal, and other non timber products. Forest farming is an invaluable practice to integrate into any farm or homestead, especially as the need for unique value-added products and supplemental income becomes increasingly important for farmers.
Almost 30 years ago I made one of the best decisions ever when I began my homesteading adventure. It's no "Little House on the Prarie" but you can see it from there.
Learn about the different types of earth-sheltered homes and why you should consider digging in the ground to find your next residence.
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.
Simple living expert Wanda Urbanska at the 2010 MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR.
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.
How we deal with unexpected incidents.
Reflections on 15 years of mountain living.
How we live in the mountains during the winter.
Gardening challenges at high elevation.
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.
How we avoid cabin fever by doing volunteer work and enjoying the beautiful outdoors.
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.
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.
The political system is not broken.
Earth Days, a poignant, 2009 Sundance Film Fesitval success, will premier on Facebook April 11, and on the PBS Network April 19.
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.
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.
Life really is good when you live on a dirt road.
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.
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.
Once our bodies and our imaginations are engaged, the incremental change begins. Then it gets easier and easier to envision humanity occupying this planet–this beautiful, abundant planet–far into the future.
Ode to our hand saw...why we choose to live without power, and what we've accomplished by hand.
“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.”
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.
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.
Rancho Margot in Costa Rica is completely off the grid and constantly closing the circle. Nothing is wasted on this self-sufficient ranch, where everything is considered a resource--including methane from the compost ovens.
We haul our water from the river - walking water!
Making the most of a winter walk to home.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Looking for the perfect sourdough hamburger bun.
How much energy does it take to travel? Can we collect this from the vehicle while we are using it?
Let the ancient Japanese art of wabi-sabi help you purge unwanted items and get organized for the new year.
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.
Save energy and resources and reduce waste when traveling by dumping all your trash in one receptical.
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.
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.
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.
Frugality and lack of pretense or compromise are key ingredients in creating a wabi-sabi home.
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.
If you begin tomorrow, you can be soaking in fresh, 103-degree water by the evening.
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.
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?
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.
Future factors set a high standard for sustainable products and activities
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?
People are increasingly looking to get back to nature, rejecting the modern world and living off the Earth.
This variation on the (endlessly adaptable) traditional Mongolian yurt design was inspired by the work of master yurt builder, educator, and homesteader Bill Coperthwaite (who was also a neighbor and friend of the Nearings). This low-cost yurt design combines basketry, wattle and daub, and basic lashing (similar to skin-on-frame boats). Not much more than a glorified tent, this DIY yurt made from sticks, string and mud makes a very comfortable, durable and beautiful tiny house, studio, or meditation space.
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.
Aside from the great stage presentations, the exhibitor booths have a lot to offer FAIR attendees.
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.
A short description of why we prefer small city living over large city living.
Our experience in living with bears.
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
What we have found as an advantage of having a rural hardware store close by.
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”).
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.
Honey bees, the Boston tragedy, and our power to create the world we’ve been waiting for.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Using newspaper, learn how to craft easy, biodegradable pots to start seeds.