Build this portable poultry pen in an afternoon using only simple hand tools. It’s just the right size for a small yard, but you’ll find lots of uses for it around the homestead, too.
The Homestead Act of 1862 celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. The Homestead National Monument is hosting several activities to recognize this historical event that resulted in millions of self-sufficient homesteaders receiving free land. Learn more and participate!
Do you find yourself spelling out words to others, such as when you are spelling out your last name? Try out our Homesteading Alphabet to keep your listeners on their toes and your homesteader lifestyle a part of your daily routine in a whole new way.
Help keep cages and water sources clean with Solway Feeder's horizontal watering nipples.
Radical homemaker Karen Keb introduces her new blog, which will cover topics as diverse as baking bread to raising livestock.
A unique feature of emu eggs makes them an excellent choice for carving. With a minimal investment in equipment, you can create marvelous art for a hobby or a bootstrap business.
Environmental journalist Simran Sethi spends her first night in her new home and reflects on the struggles and triumphs of the journey thus far.
The morning started off with a decent lecture on poultry operation, production, and marketing. After a midday break, lectures resumed, this time being led by a different fellow, on the subject of free-range, humane certified broiler production. I won
Be aware: Living sustainably can be hindered by homeowner association rules.
Are you a modern homesteader with pioneering women in your lineage? My great grandmothers were all pioneers, but our lives could not be more different.
Robert Plamondon's Norton Press has reprinted three homesteading classics: Ten Acres Enough, We Wanted a Farm and Gold in the Grass.
Do you know any modern homesteaders living a self-sufficient lifestyle? We want to know about them! Nominate a family, someone you know or even yourself to become one of our Homesteaders of the Year in 2012.
It's time for our third annual call for nominations for outstanding modern homesteaders! Organic gardeners, do-it-yourselfers and general self-sufficient gurus are being sought for the opportunity to be named as one of our 2014 Homesteaders of the Year.
Four months or so after you made wine from summer’s fruit, it’s ready to go into bottles. More meticulous than romantic, the bottling process marks the start of the final wait until the wine is ready to drink.
How do you keep backyard chickens safe from poultry predators? With a bit of elbow grease and a few tips, your girls will be safe from sharp teeth.
An introduction to me, a home-schooled 11 year old.
Making cheese was nothing like I expected, but in the end, I was successful.
Pick something new to learn this year from Granny Miller’s list of 101 basic homesteading skills.
The discussion of home birth often revolves around the mother and the newborn baby. This blog post describes the experience through the eyes of the father, and the amazing respect for the family's midwife that came from the day of his son’s birth.
Why do we believe that math must be done one workbook page at a time, at the kitchen table? Anyone who’s ever kept chickens can tell you all the math that can be found in the hen house.
One of my earliest vivid childhood memories is sitting on my father’s lap as a young girl reading the magazine together in the 1980s and all throughout my childhood. He would read aloud while I studied the pictures of passive solar building, vegetable gardening, sheep shearing, building your own sugar shack and the beautiful array of topics which he read to me frequently. Those images, along with the camping trips in the mountains, the whitewater and canoeing excursions, and our family trip to Alaska, have been etched in the catacombs of my childhood memories and have sculpted the person I have grown to become.
If you're concerned about laws regarding keeping a few hens for eggs, take time to attend meetings on the topic.
Keeping a few hens for eggs is a wonderful part of growing your own food, but finding just a few female baby chickens can be a challenge.
As the youngest member of a new local food producers and artisans cooperative, 11-year-old Grace is learning business skills while perfecting her artistic talents with homemade jewelry, pot holders and more.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS is seeking nominations of self-sufficient modern homesteaders for our 2013 Homesteaders of the Year awards.
The Homestead Act of 1862 opened up 270 million acres of public domain land for settlement. The Homestead National Monument of America tells the stories of many of the people who claimed land and tried to "prove up" their claim.
We learned a long time ago that we couldn’t attract an audience for our magazines unless we gave our readers tools they could use to improve the world personally. A backyard organic garden is the perfect symbol of positive vision and commitment.
When HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Pennsylvania mama Michelle Wire discovered a hidden treasure on her property, she found a new appreciation for her home along with it.
At the Healthy Homes Conference in Denver today, I heard Home Depot Foundation CEO Fred Wacker say that the nonprofit sector is so far ahead of the profit sector in addressing healthy homes that it’s embarrassing for the profit sector.
I heard Ellen Tohn of Tohn Environmental Strategies say that the government will fund energy-efficiency updates in 1 million homes in the next year, making it paramount that energy workers understand healthy home principles. Poorly done house tightening could trap residents inside with contaminants and create hazards.
And I was pleased to hear health care pioneer Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, put quality housing in the same arena as diet, exercise and public policy as a key to achieving individual health. “If you don’t have healthy housing, I don’t care how many times you push away from the table or how far you walk, you’re not going to be healthy,” he said.
Exploring preparing meals of only homegrown food.
Farmer and HOMEGROWN Life blogger Bryce Oates doesn't need a calling. He’s got plenty of other stuff to keep him busy in his small Missouri town.
The Department of Homeland Security continues to build a 670-mile-long wall along the US-Mexico border to keep illegal immigrants, but have they thought about the wildlife that they will destroy along the way?
This blog post shares some of The Thyme Garden’s experience with growing hops for over 25 years. It includes history of hops, useful information about hops and how and where to grow them.
Assistant Editor Heidi Hunt checks in with a quick report about Nate Poell's presentation on homebrewing.
Anyone can brew beer. Part 2 of Homebrewing for Beginners seeks to demystify the process of cooking the wort, fermentation, racking, and bottling.
Anyone can brew beer. The article seeks to demystify the process and help jump start brewing by breaking down the equipment, recipe, and ingredients. This is a 2-part blog post.
HOMEGROWN.org unwraps its 2013 holiday gift guide, featuring lots of homemade presents, as well as a few stocking stuffers for under $20.
Marley Audio Electronics collection, which debuted last week, showcases premium, eco-conscious manufacturing and materials, including hemp.
We are collecting stories from our readers -- their older neighbors or relatives, too -- about self-sufficient homesteading and farming in the early 20th century. Read what we've found, and share your own story from yesteryear for modern homesteaders.
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.
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.
HOMEGROWN blogger Dyan finally spots signs of spring on her Maine dairy farm, from sunrises to newborn goat kids to eggs of every shade. Lovely!
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Pennsylvania homesteading mama Michelle takes a young woman under her wing for a first lesson in homemaking.
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
Our humble abode begins to take shape.
At last, we construct the foundation.
Glimpse a view into the world of cordwood construction. This old-fashioned, natural building technique can inspire you to build an energy-efficient, mortgage-free house of your own.
The Department of Homeland Security continues to build a 670-mile-long wall to create a barrier along the US-Mexico border. Although the wall will never completely stop illegal immigrants from coming into the country, it will risk the survival of animals and wildlife in the area.
The Department of Homeland Security continues to build a 670-mile-long wall along the US-Mexico border, despite petitions from the Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club.
Since her first house move, MOTHER EARTH NEWS blogger Cathie Ackroyd, has become so very conscious of the impact we humans have had and are having on our planet’s environment and hoped to find a place to settle that would allow us to gain an element of self-sufficiency in a relatively car-free community.
While many of those visiting our Hostel are farmers and homesteaders themselves, some come from that “city culture” and seem to take their first hesitant steps outside of a flatly paved driveway when they arrive at our place. Wide eyes, a sense of adventure.
How to make your own homemade deodorant that really works!
HOMEGROWN Life blogger Bryce shares 5 things to consider before starting a farmstead—not the least of which being winter.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Bay Area homesteader Rachel shares how she built a cheap greenhouse out of mostly scavenged materials - and how you can, too.
We call our homestead Sunflower Farm and now we have the sign to show for it!
Get our expert advice on homemade options for laundry soap.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Maine dairy farmer Dyan Redick recounts a poignant start to lambing season on Bittersweet Heritage Farm.
Western Missouri farmer Bryce Oates shares his thoughts on the USDA's once-in-five-years census.
Pennsylvania mama Michelle has finally found a homestead! Get her moving tips on take-back programs, packing mason jars, buying cheap appliances, and more.
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.
Homesteading with dogs in remote mountain living. Considerations in providing a good safe homestead environment for your cherished pets.
Many years ago, years before I moved to the country, I was what would be considered "a prepper." I saw disaster every time I turned on the TV, or read the news on the internet, or visited forums that talked about stockpiling beans and bullets. I panicked, thinking I could never have enough control for the sake of my family, never be "prepped" enough.
The place I call home these days is The FarmSchool, a fertile 180-acre strip of ridge top in Athol, where 15 student-farmers are spending a year learning the ins and outs of growing food, managing forests, and raising animals for meat. I arrived at the farm in October, just as the leaves were reaching their peak brilliance. The Farm School — which offers three-day programs for schoolchildren, a summer camp, a full-time middle school, and the apprenticeship program I’m in — takes us through all seasons of farming, weaving together class work and on-farm training.
It’s time to get serious about heritage chickens. Talking Chicken is a wonderful resource to help you build a flock. The book covers selection, breeding, raising and marketing heritage chickens and eggs. Poultry experts from around the country have contributed short pieces that are interspersed throughout the book to round out the information.
Poultry producer turns manure into propane substitute with biochar as a byproduct.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Migratory Bird Program has proposed new language for regulations concerning Muscovy ducks. The period of public comments will last until Dec. 30, 2010.
Wild Muscovy ducks are moving into south Texas, and feral populations are causing problems elsewhere. But new regulations meant to control or eliminate the feral populations effectively make owning domesticated Muscovies illegal.
I was wrong about Freedom Rangers. Freedom Rangers are pretty close to Cornish Cross chickens. The Freedom Rangers did well on pasture, and we had a pretty broad range of sizes in the flock. I’m satisfied with the efficiency and the cost, but I’m disappointed the growth rate was so fast that it caused leg problems.
Raising heritage turkeys is a great way to preserve rare breeds and add diversity to your homestead — or backyard poultry flock. Experts from S and S Poultry compare the qualities of six heritage breeds of turkeys.
Some breeds of chickens are better at ranging for their own feed, hatching eggs and raising chicks. Others mature quickly or lay particularly dark-brown eggs. Which breed has the combination of traits you’re looking for? We’ve launched a new survey to determine the characteristics of each breed of chicken.
Chicken eggs usually hatch on the 21st day of incubation, but this hen hatched two chicks on the 23rd day.
Nothing says spring like the sound of newly hatched chickens in my incubators. It's the time of year when folks stop into the feed store or local hatchery expecting to begin their selection of new birds.
Learn about using the Piteba to press your own homegrown oil.
Prefab is so much more than mobile homes! Explore your options for manufactured homes, modular homes and panelized homes made of wood, steel or insulated concrete.
The new metal roof was nailed down just hours before the storm hit.
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.
This grandparents’ homestead housed a number of generations and everyone participated in daily chores such as pumping water for baths, melting lard for bread, and using cloth flour bags to make curtains, blankets and dresses.
Here are some resources where you can learn more about how a scythe can be useful on your homestead.
The NH Permaculture Gathering is just a couple weeks away!
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.
Haven't made any New Year's resolutions yet? No worries. HOMEGROWN.org has you covered with 10 ways to change the world in 2014, starting in your own backyard.
In 45 years, Deltec Homes have never lost a house to high winds.
This morning in my inbox: Orlando Bloom announced at Wednesday night’s Global Green pre-Oscars party that he’s building a green, solar-powered home in London. And an RISMedia report stating that despite the downturn in the general housing market, demand for green homes continues to be a hot trend.
Did you buy or build a home without going into debt? We're looking for stories on homes built with a small mortgage, or no mortgage at all. Here's what we want to know.
These cheap and easy homemade baby wipes will make your baby’s bottom and your pocketbook healthy and happy.
The $300 House Project challenges student and professional designers to create housing that shelters the poorest of the poor with safety and dignity. Winners will receive cash prizes and the opportunity to see their $300 houses built and reproduced.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and West Missourian Bryce Oates explains how he and his family survive summer on the farm. Two words: swimming pool.
You can easily make homemade mozzarella in 30 minutes or less!
Builders and designers believe that low-e windows, engineered wood products and eat-in kitchens will be key characteristics of new homes in the future.
From pig to plate, learn how to make homemade sausage patties grandma’s way and use rendered fat for more cooking.
If you have a lot of excess scrap paper like I do, it’s time to put that waste to better use. Read this do-it-yourself article about how to make your own homemade, recycled paper, and then get to work turning trash into treasure.
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.
In the final chapter of this five-part series, Lyn Fenwick finds the country cemetery that Isaac was burried in and pays her respects to the author of a treasured family heirloom, a 19th century homesteaders journal.
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.
Where we find a wealth of information for projects and enjoyable reading.
This is a summary of our attendance at the IBS show in Jan. Also a re-cap of Jan events and our transistion into the construction phase of the project. We also talk about the decision for the competiton to be moved off the Nationa Mall in DC
Learn the basic skills useful for mountain homesteading.
Facing massive snow drifts, HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Maine dairy farmer Dyan Redick forges a new path to her barn and finds inspiration in the process.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger Dyan Redick considers how inextricably the lives of farmers and fishermen are intertwined in her coastal Maine town.
HOMEGROWN blogger and homesteading mama Michelle explains why road trips are worth packing 3 kids, 2 adults, and 2 dogs in a camper for weeks on end.
In the wake of the summer solstice, HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Maine dairy farmer Dyan takes time to appreciate the longest days of the year.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Bay Area homesteader Rachel recounts how she went from half-hearted to full-breed-ahead when it comes to breeding goats.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Maine dairy farmer Dyan Redick honors the determination of women farmers, even as she observes a bittersweet month on her farm.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and West Missouri farmer Bryce Oates discusses why his family works so hard—both on and off of the farm—to practice subsistence farming.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Bay Area homesteader Rachel discusses using manure in the garden, including which type of animal waste is best for which crops.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Bay Area homesteader Rachel of Dog Island Farm covers the essentials of how to can safely.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Maine dairy farmer Dyan reflects on the changes that arrive with fall, including her own sense of melancholy.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Missouri farmer Bryce Oates shares why he values reading (Eliot Coleman, especially) and how it impacts his fall growing season.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and homesteader Rachel, of the Bay Area's Dog Island Farm, shares her method for cooking the very best Thanksgiving turkey ever.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and West Missouri farmer Bryce Oates shares his approach to improving soil health and preparing a soil microbe brew.
HOMEGROWN.org blogger and West Missouri farmer Bryce Oates shares his thoughtful position on vegetarianism.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger Michelle Wire explains how homestead parenting works in her house, where sons and daughters learn the same skills.
Kathy Bennett and Scott Bergford will present workshops on raising sheep and keeping your green home safe at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
James Zitting of Bee Landing and Terry Phelan of Living Shelter Design Architects will present workshops on beekeeping and straw bale building at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Existing homes that are certified as “green” sold for 30 percent more than homes without such a designation, according to an analysis of the Portland, Oregon, metropolitan region released today by Earth Advantage Institute, a nonprofit green building resource. Newly constructed homes with a sustainability certification sold for 8 percent more than non-certified homes.
This result continues a four-year trend in which new homes with third-party certification for sustainable construction and energy performance have consistently sold for more than newly constructed homes that had not been certified. The term "certified home" includes homes that received an Earth Advantage New Homes, ENERGY STAR, or a LEED for Homes designation, or a combined Earth Advantage/ENERGY STAR certification.
Forced to extremes by illness, these homeowners built sacred, beautiful homes completely free of toxic chemicals, petrochemical fumes and other poisons. For all three, better housing has meant better health.
If you are keeping a small flock of chickens in your backyard or on a small acreage, which breeds have you come to admire and why?
Discuss the strange and mysterious ways of broody hens. Plus, the Community Chickens project will be hatching duck eggs!
The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy Heritage has officially defined “heritage chicken.” Find out what a heritage chicken is, learn more about the certification process, and hear — firsthand — what an expert on heritage chickens has to say about pastured poultry and breed selection.
This collection of rare and historic poultry books offers an amazing amount of information on poultry.
Hatching eggs using natural or artificial incubation is great fun, but there are no guarantees. Things can go wrong with either system.
Lots of people order hatching eggs that are shipped through the mail before setting them in an incubator or under a broody hen. But what kind of results should you expect from shipped hatching eggs? Read what an expert has to say about realistic expectations.
An experienced pasture-raised poulty expert, Robert Plamondon, shares his thoughts on the best methods of keeping free-range chickens. He gives tips on four different kinds of electric fencing designed to contain chickens and repel predators, and calls it a less time and money consuming alternative to other fencing options.
Cotton Patch geese were historically cheap labor for keeping cotton fields clean. They have been used to weed other crops, such as corn and strawberries, too. After making numerous contacts and traveling more than 10,000 miles, Tom Walker found a few gaggles that were fairly representative of the breed. He has carefully selected and maintained these historic weeder geese, saving them from the brink of extinction.
The Solar Nite Eyes Predator Protection System helps ward predators away from your poultry, bees, trees and more. The Solar Nite Eyes are inexpensive, effective and easy to use. Try this method of predator protection around your homestead.
The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC) and Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch recently announced the definition of heritage chicken. The event included tasting meat of four breeds of heritage chickens.
Poultry expert and contributing writer for MOTHER EARTH NEWS, Harvey Ussery, is teaching a 2-hour online course to help you get started with a backyard poultry flock.
Chickens naturally go into their coop to roost at dusk, but that’s about the time that many predators start hunting. When you’re not able to be home to close the coop door at the right time, your birds might be in danger. So, Mother Earth News is sponsoring a contest for the best design for a DIY automatic chicken coop door closer.
While others are fighting crowds in shopping malls on Friday, you can start choosing the breeds of chickens you’re going to raise in 2011. We’re excited to launch a new digital tool to help you sort through the options. It’s fun, practical and loaded with photos.
If you want a few hens for fresh eggs, but haven’t had the time (or money) to build a coop or chicken tractor, here’s your chance to win a free coop! The Handcrafted Coops portable chicken coop is an ark-style coop with space for three hens (or five bantams).
Last spring, I decided to raise my own free-range turkey for Thanksgiving. Here’s how that project turned out.
Lots of factors are involved in hatching poultry eggs successfully: consistent temperature, the right amount of humidity and frequently turning the eggs. Not all incubators work equally well, and some have features that make operating them easier. Read about our most recent incubator test.
Instead of using a heat lamps to brood just a few chicks, consider using a broody hen to do the job. This system takes less time to manage and uses no fossil fuels!
Many people who keep chickens or other poultry have concerns about how to manage their flock when cold weather sets in. But winter shouldn’t be a problem for your flock, but rather a steppingstone to the following year! Check your poultry often, follow these guidelines and you can even raise baby chicks in the winter! Tips from an expert.
This is a great collection of information and tips on raising poultry, chicken coops and hatching poultry eggs. You can learn about brooders, coops and poultry equipment.
We’re looking for the most effective and creative solar-heated waterer for chickens. If you’re creative and love to build useful projects, make a solar poultry waterer and try it out this winter. Then submit your design for our contest. We’ll publish the winning entry in the magazine, and the designer will win a free Brinsea incubator.
ChickenWaterer.com’s new app, the Cluck-ulator, is available for iPhone and Android smartphones.
A listing of companies that offer green dwellings in the form of modular, prefab, manufactured, compact, or mobile structures. These days, many such options are available that are not only green, but also beautiful, well-made, and often low-cost.
The 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.
One of the nation's largest home developers announces it will offer solar arrays as standard features on new homes in California.
A lookout tower home, which features reclaimed materials, connects its homeowner with her past, present and future.
There are many ways we can conserve energy, and be more eco-friendly, especially with the advancements that technology is making every day.
Use your extra screwdriver bits to build stubby screwdrivers suitable for small spaces.
Homemade vodka is easy to make and tastes great. Stay tuned — MOTHER EARTH NEWS has an article coming up next year about Artisan Alcohol Distilling.
Make you own inexpensive, pampering - and edible - homemade face mask with this simple recipe. Enjoy!
This traditional recipe for Potatiskorv, or Swedish potato sausage, is delicious, simple and hearty.
Instructions for building a cold smoker (and three other things you can do with steel oil drums).
Learn to make Queso Blanco, by far the easiest cheese in my opinion, as the only ingredients are whole milk and white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar if you like).
This soft, tangy sourdough oatmeal bread may just be the best you’ve ever tasted.
Make a delicious homemade bread with this easy tutorial.
Clipping the wing of a troublesome hen and tasting the first Chicago hardy figs was really great, but what was even more fantastic was seeing Anna's new book arrive and how beautiful it looks.
Docking of dairy cows serves no purpose and causes pain and discomfort for the
Homestead skills of yogurt-making and bread-baking increase your independence from grocery store aisles and international food conglomerates.
Living luxuriously doesn’t necessarily mean living large — at least not in these homes — and reducing a little waste doesn’t hurt, either.
Most of us would love to live in energy-efficient homes that are good for the environment and have low, low energy bills. But what are the best real options available? How do you create an extremely energy-efficient home that’s still affordable for most people?
Any net zero-energy home needs two things. The first is the sun, providing passive solar energy. The second necessity is retaining maximum heat.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
ICF walls must be carefully braced to prevent blowout.
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.
Homesteads and farms often have fun or touching
names that etch themselves into our memories. Is there one that has stuck in
Fun is where you find it, in this case it is a hay ride for the family along our trail.
A rundown of activities you can do in the winter to improve your homestead.
How we approached buying our property, clearing and selecting a home site.
As we look into the future we prepare for a flatter terrain for a new homestead.
Outlining our process for locating a suitable location for finding a new homestead.
After many months of preparation and planning, we are very excited to be starting to build our homestead - a barndominium. The first stage is to get a good solid foundation so our new homestead will be solid for today and future generations.
The building of the barndominium is in high gear. After all of the ground work, the slab is poured, cured and the steel framework of the barndominium is erected in one day. With the progress, there were a few problems but quickly solved.
On what will probably be the last trip to Chateau Christie as Australians, we are trying to get the property to a livable stage - completing the electrical and plumbing and getting things ready for an inspection so we can sheetrock and finish.
Our striving to live frugally, monetary so, affects our everyday life choices. We choose to live without a lot of things that cost money. We make most of the cash we do need by running the Hostel in the summer months.
FamilyFarmed.org Good Food Festival & Conference partner Vicki Nowicki shares her experience living, learning, and teaching on her suburban permaculture homestead.
There are a lot of things you can do right now to experience the homestead lifestyle right in your backyard.
Watch Steve tell you his homestead story and how his two trucks have helped make good things happen.
Chainsaw safety equipment.
Stay warm, find a hobby and cull the livestock; here are some of the things we do to prepare for winter!
Using rabbit hypnosis and a pair of wire cutters we successfully perform dental surgery on one of our does.
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.
There's no need to be afraid of canning. With basic skills a cook can safely prepare and process excess produce during the summer and have a ready supply all winter. An easy way to start is with dill pickles, with extras like garlic and hot peppers.
Cobbler is not the only solution to a bumper crop of berries. If you can boil water, you can turn the juice from big-flavor berries into tasty beverages that are naturally rich in vitamins and antioxidants. Make extra juice to freeze or can for year-round enjoyment.
This blog post describes the MOTHER EARTH NEWS staff's afternoon spent harvesting their homegrown garlic.
HOMEGROWN blogger and Bay Area homesteader Rachel outlines strategies for responsible drought gardening in her home state of California--or anywhere.
As the economy improves, the trend toward smaller homes is reversing.
As Passive House Institute standards up the ante, USA Today’s “Best Green Homes of 2010” list reflects Americans’ desire for affordability, efficiency and style.
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
Coming back to agriculture and the farming life, I think every farmer should spend time as a fisherperson. If that were the case, I have a hard time believing Industrial Agriculture would have ever taken its foothold. Manure runs downhill as they say
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Bay Area homesteader Rachel of Dog Island Farm shares how to install drip irrigation in your home garden.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Maine dairy farmer Dyan learns that giving up control, whether over a mischievous flock or a single lamb, can have its own rewards.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger Michelle's annual road trips out west renew her love for the heartland and the American farmer.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger Rachel, of Dog Island Farm, argues in favor of her favorite chicken breed, the Buckeye.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Pennsylvania homesteading mama Michelle reflects on how she lost the Christmas spirit of her youth — and how she got it back.
Looking for land? HOMEGROWN.org blogger Michelle Wire shares resources and practical advice for anyone considering buying a homestead.
HOMEGROWN.org blogger and Bay Area homesteader Rachel of Dog Island Farm says keeping animals in the garden improves her soil and fights weeds and pests.
Keep chicken water clean with this innovative watering design.
Aggressive roosters are a nuisance and can be dangerous if they attack small children. Three simple methods can stop most aggressive behavior so that you can enjoy your entire flock of chickens, even the roosters.
Quails make an excellent urban choice for poultry raising, chiefly for their tranquil nature, minimal noise and egg-producing efficiency. In this, the second installment of my series on quail-raising, you'll learn how to identify gender from color and marks and see how quail eggs compare with those of chickens.
Raising baby coturnix quail is an exciting adventure. Taylor is completely new to raising poultry and shares his experiences.
We’re testing incubators, equipment and feed for the Community Chickens project.
We’re trying out several incubators with chicken, duck and quail hatching eggs.
There are many benefits to purchasing grass-fed eggs, but finding them is not always easy. Robert Plamondon suggests ideas and resources for making grass-fed eggs more available and popular.
Here are a series of short videos that show how to start raising free-range chickens with helpful information throughout the process.
The emotional realities of butchering and processing your own livestock.
Hens that lay white eggs are lighter weight and eat less feed to produce the same amount of eggs as brown-egg layers. So, does that mean that if you’re concerned about conserving resources and care about the environment, you should eat white chicken eggs instead of brown chicken eggs? Color is only shell deep. There’s more to this debate than meets the eye.
If you’re planning to buy a small backyard chicken coop to protect a few hens, you might be interested in this coop from GardenEggs.com.
The Community Chickens project is about sharing the joy of keeping poultry and spreading the knowledge to help people successfully raise chickens, ducks and other poultry. Here’s a summary of some things we’ve learned through the project.
I tested a new incubator against my old Styrofoam incubator. Find out which one is the best for incubating duck eggs. The difference was amazing.
How to avoid food poisoning from poultry, which is widely contaminated with Campylobacter.
We’ve compiled a list of chicken coops for your convenience.
Keeping a rooster with your flock of hens is beneficial but must be done carefully. Here’s how to introduce a rooster to your poultry flock.
Getting your very first chicks is an exciting experience and a very big step for most first-time homesteaders. Here is some advice for enjoying your new additions and avoiding any potential problems.
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.
This historical neighborhood, with a strong sense of community, offers the feeling of small-town living.
Bounty is in the eye of the beholder — whether it be a bowl of perfect berries or millions of maple seeds.
One woman's journey from life in urban America to a small town in Austria, then back to a suburban homestead in Dallas on which she tries her hand at keeping dairy goats.
Keeping a garden journal helps you know which varieties you grew were successful, which were not and how much you harvested from each.
For inspiration and education, take some time to peruse the hundreds of Modern Homesteading articles.
All the hard work of planting, weeding and watering comes to fruition in a bowl of berries and a plate of golden potatoes.
All of the work of readying the garden and waiting for it to produce is worth the wait once the harvest begins.
The garden is growing better than I could have expected in the raised beds at my "new" urban homestead.
Using natural products, such as grass clippings and homemade organic fertilizer, can turn the worst clay soil into an acceptable growing medium.
Moving to an urban homestead is a challenge, but the boxes are getting unpacked and the birds are at the feeders.
Making the move to a historical neighborhood will offer an opportunity to develop community ties and try some new gardening techniques.
Creating new no-dig garden beds is easier and quicker with raised-bed stakes and two-by-six lumber.
Here are a few helpful books on homesteading skills and old-time crafts.
Farming isn’t a skill that can be easily learned from a book. Here’s some advice and a collection of resources to help you decide whether you’re ready to try your hand at it.
Brief description of our journey back onto the National Mall, our Flex Space design, and our Solar Thermal Skylight.
In this blog we talk about our three differnet types of solar technology that we have on the Homestead.
Looking for a great home metalworking project? Follow these DIY patio furniture instructions to build scrap-metal furniture for your patio.
Curing your own bacon is so simple that anyone can do it. Here's how to do so, complete with recipe and step-by-step.
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.
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.
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.
Learn more about the life and work of Malcolm Wells, the "Father of Earth Sheltered Design."
Dan Chiras talks about the benefits of passive solar design.
Dan Chiras discusses the long-term benefits of building a green home.
Offering paint that saves the rain forest and a full list of ingredients, this natural finishes start-up aims to change the industry. Unearthed is making a bold move by providing full ingredient disclosure for all of its products.
Information about energy-efficient washing machines and cellular window shades. These energy-efficient appliances and window shades will please environmentally conscious consumers.
Lloyd meditates on the essentials of shelter and our memories of home.
A new Environmental Protection Agency website helps homeowners and renters decrease their energy consumption and cut carbon emissions.
More than 30 years ago, Michael Reynolds followed his vision of sustainable, energy-efficient homes that would work with nature. Today, his Earthships inspire green designers and architects.
A progress update on our book Tiny Homes On the Move
If you are hoping to build a new home or weekend cottage, we would appreciate your participation in this short survey, which will gauge your interest in a variety of possible kit home features.
Building homes using dangerous and impactful industrial chemicals--in the name of energy efficiency--is not sustainable or ecological, a green building veteran says. His Health-Based Building model is an important step forward for green design.
Learn how to make a pinwheel for a fun, outdoors toy.
Jessica Kellner, managing editor with Natural Home magazine, talks with Deborah Niemann-Boehle about how easy it is to make bread at home.
Take control of your food with a return to the kitchen, and learn to love the time you spend there cooking with your family.
I used my homemade ricotta cheese in a number of ways, the best was in a pumpkin lasagna dish we shared with my family at Christmas dinner.
You can save money and improve your helaht by making more foods from scratch in your own kitchen. Sign on for October Unprocessed, and kick the processed food habit for one full month (at least for starters!). Check out some deliciously simple recipes to get you started.
Ten easy-to-make homemade soup recipes from Eating Well magazine that are suitable for any occasion.
Jonathan Sadowski shares what motivates him to be a bread baker. He then provides a preview of what to expect from his future posts.
You can create refreshing-flavored waters and sodas right from your backyard. Homemade waters and sodas are easy, cost effective and healthy.
Ten easy holiday pantry gifts that you can make at the last minute.
This recipe will have naan on your table in no time to accompany your Indian dishes, and it will provide a quick and easy snack in a pinch.
This recipe provides delicious bread with minimal time commitment and plenty of room to explore the wonders of homemade bread.
This heavy artisan bread is full of flavor, and will be ready by dinnertime if you start right now! The unexpected flavor comes from good quality honey olive oil and barley flour.