If you were to rank sustainable homes primarily based on their energy efficiency, Zero Net Energy homes would rank extremely high. They’re pretty cool — and complicated. Top U.S. home builder PulteGroup moves into the eco-friendly homes market by providing Zero Net Energy homes to the masses.
Learn how to build a simple sled in less than 30 minutes from scrap lumber and logs!
If you have ever considered the change of lifestyle to be more self-sufficient, here are some of our thoughts and experiences from this journey.
Raising ducks not only provides you with the opportunity to have fresh eggs and meat available, but also provides you with hours of enjoyment. From chasing minnows to quacking their greetings to a caretaker, ducks can be fun to own!
Are you considering purchasing your own portable sawmill? Learn about some of the challenges and benefits we have found from owning one.
From decorative signs to nest boxes, there are many ways you can repurpose pallets, lumber, or even logs around your home. Learn about some of the ways you can turn scrap wood into something useful!
Here are some creative ideas for upcycling old cabinet doors into something beautiful and useful.
Here are five very quick, simple calls you can make to mimic the sound of a squirrel "cutting" using items you can find around your home!
Repurpose small treasures into magnets you can look at every day!
Time well spent on my grandmother’s farm taught me lessons that I have carried with me throughout my entire life. What I learned there even inspired me to pursue a homestead lifestyle for myself, working right beside my husband as we learn to be more self-sufficient.
Living in the country often makes it difficult to access reliable, fast Internet services. One couple searched through their rural Internet options after moving to property outside of town.
Net-zero homes are very popular. What are they and how do you get one? Here are some tips.
In the months before our move, I did extensive research to familiarize myself with gardening in Guam. I found Amot TaoTao Tano Farm and I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a free tour of the farm to learn about native plants grown to educate the public about traditional healing practices of the Chamorro people. Here I share some of what I learned.
Old trophies and medals are special reminders of triumphs in our past, but they can quickly pile up and become a large collection. Instead of discarding old medals, why not turn them into a keepsake that is both functional and practical?
Infusing a large amount of dried stinging nettle leaves in water for a long period of time is one of the easiest and most traditional ways to obtain nettle tea benefits.
Every landowner has a role to play in conservation. Learn some basic principles to consider when managing your property.
The cost of solar panels, installation and system maintenance have fallen, making the prospect of solar affordable and appealing to both homeowners and businesses. But as residential and commercial solar installation surges, utility companies who have grown accustomed to large market share are pushing back.
Here's how to ferment wild nettles and turn them into a delicious pesto.
A leaky pond can be frustrating, and while good construction is the best way to avoid this problem, there are some solutions for fixing your pond when it does spring a leak.
Learn how you can best support birds this spring by providing quality nesting materials.
Do you count yourself among the chicken-obsessed? Prepare to be truly impressed. In this blog, Jeannette Beranger of The Livestock Conservancy takes you on a photo tour of just a few of the eye-popping breeds found at Greenfire Farms in Havana, Florida.
Learn how to identify pesticide drift on your property, and take action with these tips from Pesticide Action Network.
Cattails are a common, native plant on the margins of ponds. Take time to manage them to keep them enjoyable.
All the principles of sustainable grazing management can be summarized in one rather strange statement: your cattle should appear not to have legs! Their short legs should be hidden in tall grass. Both animal genetics and pasture management contribute to this philosophy. In this article, I’ll start with cattle selection and care protocols. In Part 2, I will cover forage considerations.
Celebrate those gardeners and birders in your life by making them homemade holiday gifts this year.
Atrophy of public seed breeding investment impacts farmers' ability to confront the challenges of climate change, global food security and financial solvency.
A great way to use up extra sourdough starter.
School gardens play a vital role in our nations educational systems. Though the concept dates back to the 1800s, their role has gained popularity in the last 20 years, and for good reasons.
This animated video explores the unregulated synthetic biology industry, and the risks it may pose to workers, farmers and consumers.
Dehydrating is a great way to preserve food.
A low sugar recipe using whatever fruit you have on hand!
Picking the best strawberries is easy with these gardening tips.
Identifying, harvesting, and cooking the nutritionally complex spring treat, stinging nettle.
Fast acting and free of side effects, clinical electromagnetic pulse therapy is a good alternative to medication for a range of conditions.
Be sure to contact the Environmental Protection Agency and the Poison Control Center, as well as seek medical attention after experiencing pesticide drift.
Don't let the spring invasion by algae aggravate the enjoyment of your pond.
Some examples of passive solar design applied to homes in the southeast, where cooling, as well as heating, is a concern.
Find out the easy way to make hard-boiled eggs.
America needs one million new farmers. Veterans want the job.
Cage culture of fish has several sustainable techniques to consider adapting for a more innovative approach.
My favorite source for raw peanuts in bulk, and how to make homemade peanut butter.
The release of new genetically modified crops resistant to 2,4-D herbicide will mean a huge increase of potent, dangerous chemicals on American farmland and a serious threat of herbicide drift problems for other growers.
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 EPA is poised to deregulate a new generation of genetically modified crops, including those resistant to 2,4-D herbicide. Voice your concerns now.
A yummy way to make mornings easier.
Cage culture can be a way to supply fish as healthy protein for your family or for a local market.
A delicious way to use your favorite cranberry sauce, relish or chutney.
A healthy and great-tasting muffin recipe.
A healthy comfort food!
Managing expectations and learning more about your pond or lake are key in being satisfied with the benefits of having a natural body of water on your property.
Pot scrubbers are an easy kitchen gift to crochet.
A different way to make these old time favorite crocheted dishcloths.
This easy-to-make mosquito-net tent will keep flying critters from bugging you throughout the night.
Soup swaps are a great way to fill your freezer with real food.
Clear those almost-empty jars out of the fridge in no-time flat.
A story of farmers’ markets, local food, and saving the family farm.
For humanity to create a better world, we must address issues of economic equality and limited resources. The natural environment can recover from much damage if we gradually limit the human population and judge business success by quality rather than quantity.
From the outset, Earthineer was built to support and promote sustainability and homesteading as a lifestyle choice. Every feature we have planned has that goal in mind. What we have now is the foundation that we'll build off of.
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.
Tips for those with “Barnheart.”
So, what makes a flock of poultry sustainable? What is standard-bred poultry? If you purchase chicks from a hatchery, are they true to the breed? Why does every hatchery sell Rhode Island Reds and they all look different? Why do the Cornish Cross meat chickens have so many problems? Raising standard poultry is the only true way to improve the sustainability of quality local food while preserving the strength of Heritage poultry.
Learn why it is helpful to have a group of fellow homesteaders, then start a group of your own in your local community.
The different emotions you may experience as you deal with Pesticide Drift on your property or your person.
Learn how to request your “closed” complete pesticide complaint file from the State agency through the Freedom of Information Act.
Passive solar design comes to Navajo families, as architecture students build homes on Utah reservations.
Using an old-world technique, Russians are growing their own organic crops -- and it's working.
Nearly 2 million people sent comments opposing genetically engineered salmon to the Food and Drug Administration, stating that GE salmon is bad for the consumer, the environment and the native fish.
I decided to build double 2-by-4 walls to achieve 14-inch thick super-insulated walls. This is just one way of achieving the high R-values for net zero energy homes.
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.
Dan Chiras’ superefficient net zero energy home, floor joists, efficient floor design, band beam and rim joist
A mapping and assessment by the Electric Power Research Institute found that the U.S. hydrokinetic waterpower resources could provide 3 percent of the nation’s annual electricity use.
The basement of Dan Chiras' net zero energy home is outfitted with PVC pipes, insulation and concrete.
Despite utility opposition, key policy drives rapid expansion of rooftop solar.
The devil is in the details in a net zero energy home. Every single step in the design and construction of a home requires efforts to ensure airtightness. The top of the foundation is one detail that deserves special attention.
The Sustainable Poultry Network and Western Piedmont Community College have combined forces to create the American School of Sustainable Poultry Husbandry, an intensive poultry workshop for anyone interested in poultry production, marketing, breeding, hatching, cooking, etc.
To ensure an airtight design, be sure to level and finish the top of the concrete wall and use sill seal below your bottom plates.
Once the ICFs are in place and the walls are very well reinforced, it is time to pour concrete. This blog illustrates the process in words and photos.
This blog describes some of the details involved in building with insulating concrete forms, notably window and door buck details that you need to take into account
Confused about the difference between hybrids and genetically modified organisms (GMOs)? Learn more about how cultivating hybrids is different from developing GM vegetable varieties.
A new Canadian study shows a link between consuming Roundup-contaminated water and/or GM corn and increased likelihood for illness and premature death in rats.
The author devises an inexpensive and very effective way to block cold winter winds from blowing into her kitchen via her range vents.
Additional reinforcement is required around the garage door opening.
Scaffolding is required to access the walls to pour the concrete. Scaffolding also helps support the walls.
ICF walls must be carefully braced to prevent blowout.
ICFs are not the most environmentally friendly green building product, but result in super energy efficient home, and offer many other benefits, that offset their origin from petrochemicals.
Insulating concrete forms are an excellent choice for foundations for passive solar, net zero energy homes. They create a highly insulated, air-tight foundation, so essential for extremely high energy performance.
Don't forget to budget in the cost of deeper excavation and add $1000 to $2000 as a budget contingecy in case you run into bedrock.
Be sure to install under-the-footing conduit to run electrical and water pipes, including sewer. I like to run pipes and wire under the foot to prevent penetrating the band joist or the foundation to create a more airtight, water tight home.
Insulation under the slab -- and lots of it -- is vital for the performance of a net zero energy home. So is the footprint. You can make the most of passive solar by creating a longer, narrower house in which each room is heated by the sun.
Susan Abernethy shares this story of helping her husband turn a longstanding tradition of family sorghum harvesting into a small business. Since their marriage in 2004, Susan has enjoyed unraveling the stories of her husband’s sorghum legacy and has inherited a powerful adoration for the hard work it takes to yield the sweet crop.
Michael Pollan’s New York Times editorial, “Vote for the Dinner Party,” explains why California’s Prop 37 is an essential element in the fight to require labeling of GM foods.
Creating a net zero energy home requires that we eliminate all thermal bridging loss -- heat movement into and out of a building. All this starts in the basement.
To build a net zero energy home, you'll need to design for passive gain. That requires a shallower footprint to ensure that the low-angled winter sun can enter and heat each room.
Heritage breeds are survivors, although some may be in for a very challenging year. The national drought is about to have a huge impact on the American economy and now is the time to plan ahead.
A common problem rabbit raisers face is lack of litters in the fall. One big reason is hot weather in the summer, and we are having plenty of that across the country.
This fall's Fuel for the Body T.O.U.R. ("Total Organic Understanding Ride") will educate the public on the benefits of living a green lifestyle that includes eating organic food and supporting local, organic farmers.
Expecting our third child any day, I went into labor the afternoon of July 27th. Almost 12 hours of labor later, the contractions stopped. I was starting to lose all trust I had in my body and the birthing process. This is Part 2 of Nathalia's story.
Our third child arrived the night of July 30, 2012. After many weeks of waiting and 12 hours of labor that stalled, we welcomed our daughter Nathalia Christine earthside. This is Part One of our birth story.
Musings on a few delicious, nutritious edible weeds, plus a salmon salad and purslane recipe.
In this blog, I describe two of the first and most important design considerations -- the length and depth of the home and the layout of rooms for optimum passive solar gain.
As my birthing day draws near, I am settling in and nesting and preparing our home for the upcoming birth by gathering birth supplies, essentials and creating my birth space.
This blog contains a detailed list of most of my initial design priorities for my net zero energy home so others may benefit from my thinking and experience on creating a passive solar, net zero energy, green home.
A Birth Altar is a space that will become a power symbol of one's birth. I have begun creating my birth space and bringing together objects that will become my collection of strength during my home birth.
In this blog, I highlight the earliest decisions I had to make to create a net zero energy home: how I was going to build the foundation and walls. Thermal bridging, air tightness, insulation, cost, and greeness are all key deciders.
This week's post is a guest submission by Kaitlin Rose from Bring Birth Home. She writes about preparing for a home birth, and why it's truly DIY.
What does a typical prenatal appointment with a home birth Midwife consist of and how does it differ from an appointment with an OB? What is the Midwifery Model of Care and how is that applied during your visit with a midwife?
In this blog, my architect James Plagmann and I begin to tell the story of the construction of Dan's new net zero energy homes. Dan begins by laying the ground, defining a few terms and describing his experience in this field.
After many weeks of prodromal labor and a baby who kept momma on the edge by constantly changing position, Suzanne goes into labor with Baby O in a posterior position. Read Part 2 of Oakley's Birth Story.
The Environmental Protection Agency has given the go-ahead to Dow Chemical for its genetically modified 2,4-D resistant corn.
The birth story of Baby Oakley from my dear friend Suzann is an important one. Someimes things don't go as planned, but her story goes to show that an empowering birth is about trust, love, support and the power of choice.
On Mother's Day 2011, Brandy went in to labor with her fourth child. She was planning a HBAMC (Home Birth After Multiple C-Sections). She woke up that morning ready to bring her son into this world on her terms. This is Part 2 of her story.
Mother's Day was this past Sunday, so I felt it was appropriate to share two beautiful birth stories this week that were sent to me from two extraordinary and strong women. This first story, in two parts, is a story about a HBAMC.
A beginning farmer makes the most practical fencing choice available to her: electric nets. And gets tangled up, occasionally.
I recently received a copy of the new book and pregnancy journal Sacred Pregnancy from author Anni Daulter. I was thrilled when Anni agreed to guest post this week for the blog on what makes a Sacred Pregnancy.
Robert Maxwell discusses why he chose self-directed education over formal college, and how this option might work for others, too.
An introduction to my current pregnancy with Baby #3 and plans for a second homebirth. Details of my seventh month and thoughts on the gender of our baby.
October 6, 2010, at 11:04 am I said the three words I waited over four and a half years to say. I looked in to my newborn daughter’s eyes and said I DID IT! This is the VBAC homebirth story of my daughter Evangélina.
My name is Antonette, and I am a new blogger here at MOTHER EARTH NEWS. Before I can blog my pregnancy journey for you all, I must first do something that has taken six years ... write the birth story of my son Baylin.
The unintended death of a charming little creature raises the realities of life on a farm homestead.
One of our most common grasses is limiting the bobwhite quail population, killing broodmares and their foals, rotting cow hooves, and cutting milk production.
Monsanto, the world’s largest producer of genetically modified seeds and the toxic herbicides used to drench them, is calling itself a supporter of sustainability. You’re kidding, right?
You don't have to go to Italy to turn out an authentic Italian Panettone for Christmas. Here's how, so now you don't have to go to a bakery or supermarket to get one.
A few hundred protestors from across the country arrived at the White House last month, the culmination of the two-week GMO Right2Know March that began in New York City on October 1. (Congratulations all you brave marchers - my feet ache just thinkin
D Acres offers alternative economics. We are the 99&: join us.
Let's stop for a minute and think about what we are doing!
Congratulations to Pat Stone creator and editor of Green Prints Magazine and, now, a recognized Asset to the Planet!
Homeschool Moms for Moms is a safe place where moms are welcome to post photos of their children’s portfolios, work, crafts, artwork, and learning environments.
On Wednesday, Adventure Cycling Association announced that AASHTO is providing Adventure Cycling $5,000 to assist states with route selection and the technical aspects associated with the development of a U.S. Bicycle Route System.
For less than the cost of an SUV, a Michigan couple rehabbed their historic home to include solar panels and a geothermal system. The 110-year-old house now produces more energy than it needs.
When you're facing a tricky woodworking project, it's a good idea to build a mockup
"Organic farmers have the right to raise our organic crops without the threat of invasion by Monsanto's genetic contamination and without harassment by a reckless polluter. Beginning today, America asserts her right to justice and pure food."
30 states now working to establish official national bicycle routes, with more states interested — new online map and progress report document growing momentum
Transportation rock stars, Janette Sadik-Khan and Congressman Earl Blumenauer, tell National Bike Summit attendees that local advocates are the real headliners in the bicycle movement.
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.
GazeboCreations.com is an award winning internet retailer that now offers state-of-the-art online design capabilities to consumers with its Gazebo Designer.
Simran Sethi discusses the "wood" that makes up our kitchen cabinets, as well as more eco-friendly (and people-friendly) alternatives.
Learning to save seeds from one harvest to the next takes you a step further towards self-sufficiency and helps to save genetics of plants needed for the future.
Don't miss Blue August, a month-long event with special programming from Planet Green that will motivate you to become more aware of the world's oceans.
We have the technology, today, to make our power grid more sustainable, cleaner, more robust and more reliable just by replacing old-fashioned metering with “smart-metering” and agreeing to pay homeowners who generate electricity.
"Life", a Discovery Channel nature documentary series on unique animal behaviors, will air on Animal Planet beginning June 6.
Three-day workshop announcement on net zero energy homes by leading authority on energy efficiency and renewable energy, Dan Chiras. Learn how to reduce your utility bill through conservation, effriciency, & clean, affordable, renewable energy.
The environmental advocacy group, Earth Day Network, is rallying environmental activism through a climate rally and a new site where the environmental community can learn about issues and events. Learn more about their efforts and how you can get involved.
In a recent survey, we asked our online readers if they thought genetically modified foods should be labeled. What do you think?
Find out what different states are doing to promote power from renewable sources, including solar and wind energy.
You can find great reports from the field and footage of rare bird species at the American Bird Conservancy's Bird News Network. Plus, find tips for winter birding and check out highly entertaining footage of the moonwalking manakin bird.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is accepting public comment regarding a draft Guidance for Industry #187 — to clarify regulation of genetically altered animals.
This one policy makes it much easier to pay for a solar or wind-electric system, but not every state offers it.
After finding the illegal presence of genetically engineered wheat in Oregon, the USDA has found another, similar case in Montana.