raise the bar
Chocolate is often picked by child labor, slaves and trafficked people. We must find a way to address this issue and change the system for the better.
Barter markets--great big swap meets where you can trade what you don't want for things that you do--have become commonplace in Spain and are spreading throughout Europe. This video shows why we may want to start those over here.
Tell America's largest chocolate company that slave labor and Valentine's Day chocolate don't mix.
A look at the history of tractors.
Barebones strives to make the experience of outdoor recreation and hobbies a priority.
Allegheny Spurge is an East Coast member of the Buxaceae (Boxwood) family. All in all, it's difficult to find a better, all around, more useful, adaptable ground cover plant than Pachysandra procumbens.
While livestock and gardening are part of homesteading, it's not all there is. At its core, homesteading is about learning new skills to increase your self-sufficiency.
This entry continues our lightning-speed survey of key financial considerations of people who decide to move toward a full-time homesteading or farming lifestyle based on the accounts of those who have gone before us and as personally experienced in my family's ongoing transition. Up for discussion in this installment is the power of barter.
A healthier version of the classic rice risotto, delicious barley risotto is easy to make and can be modified with whatever ingredients you have in your kitchen.
Colleen Vanderlinden reviews "Barnheart" by Jenna Woginrich.
Tell us what kind of barns and sheds you prefer for your poulty and farm animals.
A small food producers' cooperative in Missouri wins a national award and will share with others how to form a successful co-op that focuses on bartering, sustainability and the economy of neighborliness.
Saving the Barn’s Barn Cats is proud to announce it’s branching out with a new line of structures constructed of historic recycled materials.
Tips for those with “Barnheart.”
With six simple ingredients, these easy, no-bake, cherry-vanilla bars are a wholesome alternative to over-processed and over-packaged supermarket snacks.
The advantages of having stabilizer bars on your tractor when using an implement such as a mower are described.
The old goat barn must go! Follow the progress as we choose how to best replace an aging (and dangerous) structure for livestock housing. Pole barns are an economical alternative to traditional framed barns, are long lasting and multipurpose. You can even live in one!
You decide you want a pole barn, what is next? Site preparation can yield some surprising findings. Flexibility when planning a pole barn is key to success and making adjustments to your plans early will be most beneficial; saving time, money and perhaps even improving on your original ideas!
Build a simple do-it-yourself small barn or shed to house livestock, garden tools and machinery.
After three years of trying to build the barndominium in three week per year spurts, Jim has relocated back to Texas to complete the build while Julie remains in Australia to finish her work there and transfer to the US.
After three years of trying to build the barndominium in three week per year spurts, Jim has relocated back to Texas to complete the build while Julie remains in Australia to finish her work there and transfer to the US.
This oven-braised pastured pork belly recipe from Dan Barber pairs the lush and fatty cut with a several-day cure using a salt and spice mixture to bring out one-of-a-kind flavor.
You can make a simple bench for the garden or patio by recycling an old headboard.
A sapling Centennial crabapple tree survives a series of mishaps and teaches new orchardists a thing or two.
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.
A new report from Shareable and the Sustainable Economies Law Center details ways that city officials can harness the power of sharing to transform their cities for the better.
Sharing can become a network of trading and bartering within your community.
A 1909 household-hints book reveals old-time method of filtering rainwater for drinking.
You can make these outdoor chairs for less than $80 by recycling a whiskey barrel and using a few other supplies from your workshop.
Organic gardening expert advises on whether to build raised beds for a new garden.
For anyone who has ever wanted to build a raised garden bed, but didn't have the tools, know-how, time or potentially the space, former teacher Jill Plumb invented the M Brace, an easy, eco way to build raised garden beds without tools.
Here I describe how to make a spring meal on the Big Green Egg. Also, I announce my new web/blogsite.
Build a simple backyard barbecue pit with no more than a shovel and a good cover panel for your next barbecue party.
Corporations continue to purchase interests in seed industries, and Monsanto — the 800-lb. gorilla in the world of genetically modified seeds — is leading the way. Find out what this means for the future of crops and for you.
With carbon emissions in the US higher than most other countries in the world, more should be done to minimize unnecessary carbon waste. Around one third of the overall carbon consumed by the average US citizen comes from the home, if every home took a few simple steps to reduce waste, the world could a greener place.
Those of retirement age can reduce their carbon footprints by moving into a smaller, cozier mobile home.
A short post about how we built and designed our new cow and calf barn for hot and cold weather.
After three years of trying to build the barndominium in three week per year spurts, Jim and Julie have relocated from Australia to Texas and are building out the barndominium. However in growing gardens and potential fruit plants for use in future years, we’ve encountered a horrible pest and want to share it in hopes of ideas from the Mother Earth News community.
After three years of trying to build the barndominium in three-week-per-year spurts, Jim has relocated back to Texas to complete the build while Julie remains in Australia to finish her work there and transfer to the United States.
We're getting very close now to our relocation to Texas. After years of planning and developing, it's time to go home to our sustainable lifestyle. We leave with some sadness but a great deal of enthusiasm and excitement for our new life.
Looking for the perfect sourdough hamburger bun.
Just because the package says “local,” doesn't guarantee that it is.
Late summer's hot days give way to cool nights--perfect for sleeping under the stars. Spend a few nights outside, before it's too late.
The new 'Back to Eden' film, the first-ever documentary devoted to mulch, explores how using wood chip mulch builds soil fertility.
A MOTHER EARTH NEWS reader survey turned up some interesting findings about stink bugs, imported pests that have now been spotted in 35 states.
Leafy greens are among the most nutritious foods you can eat, but what if they contain systemic pesticides like imidacloprid? New pesticides that are taken up by plants mean there may be pesticides in food crops like collards and kale, not just on the surface.
Taking a couple of extra steps before planting your crops will help ensure healthy garden soil. Here’s how to prepare your garden for spring planting.
President-elect Barack Obama addressed a new chapter in climate change in a video shown at the Global Climate Summit. Check it out here!
Twenty-nine environmental groups created a plan for Obama's transition team, explaining what environmental issues need to be addressed in order to create a green economy.
For centuries social and international conflicts have been spurred by contrasts in one group's sense of tribal identity (whether cultural, ethnic or geographic) versus another's. This same conflict plays out today in the United States for those members of American society who, thus far, have been unable to recognize President Obama as part of their tribe. Bryan Welch argues that Obama, in fact, epitomizes the key characteristics of the modern American tribe.
We started our adventure of building a barndominium on our Texas property while still in Australia. The past year has been spent finishing and enjoying the house. As we've learned, finishing the house is only the first step in developing the homestead.
The countdown to savings is on now at Morton Buildings.
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.
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.
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.
Explore ways to reduce both your direct and indirect water footprint. Reducing your water footprint could make a huge different to both the environment and finances.
Moving is stressful, but it's not an excuse to forget your carbon footprint. Here are some ways to make your move as eco-friendly as possible.
This article explores the nature of the staycation, if it is indeed a greener option and ways to vacation in a more eco-friendly manner.
These recipes with filling, protein-packed whole grains such as quinoa and millet are great options for no-meat or low-meat diets.
When our chicks arrived, we had no idea how much we had to learn about how to raise baby chicks. Nor did we know how much the books couldn't tell us.
This photographic illustration shows how permanent gardens beds are beneficial, and prevent soil compaction.
A mortarless rock-wall raised garden bed is easily constructed with simple tools and adds long-lasting natural beauty.
Prepare simple hugelkultur beds utilizing organic materials found onsite. Use fallen trees, branches, pine needles, leaves and other organic material to build raised beds now for planting in the fall.
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.
EcoSmart's new line of natural bed bug repellents can prevent the pests from hitching a ride home with you.
Discover the best mosquito traps to use in your yard. Improving your mosquito control will ensure that you can enjoy your summer evenings outdoors.
Learn which fluorescent bulbs are the best grow lights for starting seeds indoors.
If we use high-quality items in our everyday lives, our lives become a sort of training. By using each item with care and careful consideration, the way we live becomes a tradition.
You may want to think twice the next time you reach for that cola. A recent study has found that one can of soda a day can increase chances of prostate cancer by 40 percent.
Building a vibrant local community through local economics and rural culture.
Make your barn doors glide with skateboard wheels and other easy to find materials in this DIY project to create sliding barn doors.
A homesteading family undertakes Extreme Home Makeover: Goat Edition at the possible expense of their sanity.
A beginning farmer enjoys the work she has to do by hand. But would still like a tractor.
We have few opportunities during our stay in Australia to fly home and do work ourselves on the property. This blog features a set of planned activities that we wanted to be personally and directly involved with. When we left, we were very happy.
Now that the Barndominium has been fully enclosed, it's time to work on the interior. Also the basic utilities, pump house and access roads have been beefed up. It's beginning to look like a real house now. Chateau Christie is becoming a reality.
We've been planning for months and years but now we're in fast build mode. The slab is poured, materials on site and in nine days, we will have the shell of the barndominium completely done and ready for the framing inside.
Is your patio short on space? Check out the Hot Pot BBQ, a grill that doubles as an herb planter.
Talking about Annie Upshure and the Catholic Workers Movement and how Peace Farms moved into Appalachia.
You can repurpose broken tools to make this easy-to-assemble multidirectional ratchet bar clamp system.
Homes in the United States a responsible for one fifth of all carbon dioxide emissions. Simply taking steps to reduce these on a domestic level will help positively impact carbon outputs, decreasing environmental damage.
As demand for air conditioning continues to increase, discover how to reduce the impact it has on the environment.
Transportation in the U.S. is responsible for high levels of carbon emissions. Simply by changing habits and adopting more eco-friendly methods of getting from A to B will help both the environment and overall health.
People are increasingly looking to get back to nature, rejecting the modern world and living off the Earth.
Simran Sethi reflects on her first summer of yard-care and gardening.
Participate in our reader photo contest by showing off pictures of your permanent raised garden beds.
A well-thought-out garden design will make your work enjoyable and manageable and will encourage the gardener's presence and attention.
Starting a new vegetable garden bed doesn't have to be a long, tedious, back breaking job. There are a few different ways to get the job done quickly and relatively easily!
This blog post tells you how to set up a drip irrigation system in a raised bed garden.
The new website offers the home gardener an expanded product selection of useful garden products.
Cam is trying to extend his growing season with DIY greenhouse structures.
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.
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.
This passive composting system creates beds of fertile soil through rotational composting.
Barbara Pleasant offers a step-by-step plan to starting seeds.
In Simran Sethi's final post, she describes her philosophy on sustainability.
President Barack Obama signed an executive order to help reduce automobile gas emissions in the United States. This is the first of many steps that the Obama administration plans to make to improve global warming.
Former Vice President Al Gore thinks 2009 needs to be the year that America creates a climate bill. And he's got a plan to back it up!
Barack Obama encourages Americans to participate in a national day of service on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The Union of Concerned Scientists is ready for Obama to take over and find a solution to our energy, environmental and economic problems through a clean energy economy.
A less meddlesome approach to beekeeping.
In which Jack departs a little from his fashion sense and MAX gets new racing seats. But not just any racing seats: safer seats with real head restraints.
Here is a plan for how to build your own floating cabin, "The Live Aboard Houseboat."
Here is your chance to win a brand new broadfork/U-bar digger. Enter to win this piece of equipment that retails at $119, and can help aerate your soil without hurting the beneficial worms and fungi in your garden beds.
The vagaries of beekeeping jargon and its importance to the beginning natural beekeeper.
Could MAX pass federal safety standards for mass-produced cars? Nope. Should that matter?
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.
No party is complete without cake, and this delicious Sunshine Cake has been the crowning glory of every Summer Solstice party I’ve ever thrown. Sharon Kebschull Barrett, one of my favorite herbal chefs, developed this recipe for her 1999 book Desserts from an Herb Garden (one of my bibles). Lemony, with a surprising hint of rosemary, this cake just tastes like summer—and the bright yellow color celebrates the sun.
Sweet Iced Tea is a delicious Southern tradition, but store-bought concoctions are often full of high fructose corn syrup and other nasties. This recipe incorporates fresh herbs, which add natural sweetness and help knock down the sugar content.
Recipe for Southern-style shrimp and grits, made with superb Floriani Red Flint grain corn.
How-To Build a Hoop House; a collection of resources for growers.
Hugelkultur is nothing more than making raised garden beds filled with rotten wood. This makes for raised garden beds loaded with organic material, nutrients, air pockets for the roots of what you plant, etc.
Among a slew of other awards for her outstanding writing, Barbara Pleasant has received the 2013 Silver Award of Achievement from the Garden Writers Association for her Gardening Know-How column.
Take a photographic tour of Finca Bella Vista, a sustainable treehouse community in Costa Rica.
My husband Alan’s first gift to me was Helen and Scott Nearing’s Living the Good Life. The books we turn to regularly have changed, although some we go back to again and again, year after year. A list of our top 10 favorite books follows.
Porch building tips along with deer pressure notes and golf cart pickup bed instructions.Throw in a 5 foot high chicken wire fence and a rare appearance from a normally camera shy cat named Strider and you've got an idea of what we've been up to.
Bob-White Systems is bringing the cows back home by providing supplies, equipment and support for Micro Dairies, Home & Farmstead cheesemakers and small-scale producers of local and farm fresh dairy products.
A brief overview of keeping bees in a top bar hive from setup to overwintering.
Perhaps if we had just listened to the deer all along, we never would've ended up in this gas guzzling mess.
My views on importing package bees verses natural breading.
I briefly describe my journey from a kid on a large 2000 acre alfalfa farm in the west to a homestead beekeeper in the midwest, on our 35 acres that we call BeeLanding.
Our office was abuzz with bee activity this morning! We received four packages of bees today before they were delivered to their final garden homes.
Thinking about bees? Check out this DIY top bar hive!
Why is honey the proper food for honey bees?
MAX finally got a deer deflector, after three years of writing about how much it needs one. It'll give a bit of extra rollover protection, too.
My brief discription of sustainable beekeeping
A little background on how Ric and Vicki moved from Detroit to a Tennessee homestead, and starting to get up to date on what they've done since.
Are you up to the 2 Mile Challenge? Sign up and help replace 100,000 car trips with healthy, pollution-free bicycle travel!
A creative use of an old Ford truck.KimAnna tells the tale of how her husband Mike took an old 1964 ford and turned it into a useful Bar at their Cafe in Del Norte, Co. With a few added embellishments it is not only functional but a piece of art!
Considering deer, it’s time for a roll bar.
Beginning a discussion on top bar hives and standard hives in a question and answer format, getting the best of each for users of both kinds of hives.
When getting a top bar hive ready for winter, you need to know how much honey there is...and measureing these frames is different than measuring rectangular frames.
One way to overwinter a top bar hive in a northern climate is to provide good ventilation and some insulation. Enough food is needed, and good protection from the wind is too. We'll see how it works.
Ordering bees in January doesn't seem to make sense, until you understand that April is the cruelest month. Plus, if you order bees in January, and then you don't need them - that's just a reason to celebrate! Order early!
By the 4th of July, there's a palpable shift in the feel of the beekeeping season. New beekeepers wish for more guidance, and may even be wondering why they started this project! Here's a little reassurance that you are not alone in your endeavor.
This post is about winterizing a colony of bees naturaly, using ideas and tips that we at BeeLanding have learned from nature.
It helps us feel better to know "why" things happen, but we don't always get to know that answer...
This blog post started life as an article in The Natural Farmer,published by the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA). It could be said to herald the birth of that entity we have come to call The Cynical Optimist.
A quick essay regarding the "size" question of a top bar hive, from the bee's point of view - where it's all about the "volume"!
This post offers tips for winterizing a top bar hive - insulating, mouse guards, wrapping, closing entrances, protecting from wind. All things you can do to help get them through!
A TED talk by Christy Hemenway of Gold Star Honeybees: Making the Connection: Honeybees, Food, and You.
A Christmas Wish for all, inspired by the magic of the honey bee.
This blog post by Christy Hemenway of Gold Star Honeybees describes some techniques for getting bees to draw straight comb in a top bar hive.
Breaking down the last week of homesteading we've done over at WaldenEffect.org, and the Top Bar project we started as well as talk on Brix, biodynamics, and Plant Secondary Metabolites. Also have details on an external frame backpack modification.
Top bar hive modifications, turkey traps, and gourmet potatoes are just a few of the topics covered in the past week of blogging we've been up to. Homesteading healthcare and a new virtual book club round off the week with several reader comments.