simple solutions made difficult





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9/9/2012
Dealing with a government agency to save a creek.
1/29/2010
Most people want to contribute to a positive future. But their intention is often obstructed by the things they perceive that they cannot do. In frustration, they stop thinking about it. When we stop thinking about it, we feel a sense of relief. That sense of relief is, perhaps, the biggest threat to the world’s natural environment today.  
2/7/2014
EZ Tomato Cages are collapsible and sturdy unlike many currently on the market.
10/30/2009
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. 
5/25/2011
This 19th-century Creole cottage was disassembled, moved and meticulously reassembled and restored on a new site in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. Built for its climate, the welcoming home is an excellent example of passive cooling and material reuse.
9/21/2012
The final result of a reporting a water violation and having a creek restored.
4/2/2014
Cheap imported goods do not stand the test of time compared to locally crafted goods.
6/11/2013
For almost two decades, the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive group has done what the experts said was impossible. Namely, they have taken DNA from over 70 of the most magnificent trees on the planet; have cloned thousands of individuals from this original DNA and are actively re-planting/re-foresting these champion trees.
4/8/2014
Unforgettable Fire's Kimberly and Katydid wood stoves are heating solutions for any and all spaces.
7/18/2008
Mankind has a historic opportunity to visualize its own future, and the future of the planet
11/1/2012
The new metal roof was nailed down just hours before the storm hit.
2/3/2012
A mother's love is shown for her daughter by patiently crafting dress patterns from frugally saved fabric while the rest of the house is fast asleep.
7/29/2013
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.
10/26/2011
Finding a company from an advertisement in Mother Earth News and how it benefited us. .
2/17/2009
Looking for natural ways to ward off that 3 o'clock slump? Real Simple magazine offers nine natural tips for increasing your energy — no pills, caffeine or other stimulants required.
10/17/2012
An introduction to me, a home-schooled 11 year old.
6/20/2013
Who knew that a flock of chickens would be able to teach us so much about living with our children?
2/27/2012
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.
12/7/2009
Where is the strange and wonderful place this homesteader describes? And how do you get there?
9/16/2014
Living in a 500-square-foot house (or smaller) affects our consumption and relationships.
7/14/2011
Victoria Gazely lives in a 650-square-foot homesteader's cabin built by a man who didn't need closets. She's found five great ways to stash her stuff without renovating--and her solutions work for anyone who needs to hide a few things.
7/9/2012
A quality product made in the USA
3/30/2011
Explore how you can make your own home grown organic fuel to power your own transportation or electricity.
3/7/2012
The American Garden Tool Company is an online source for American-made garden tools, products and accessories.
9/6/2011
A Berkeley, California, artist has outfitted a dumpster with all the amenities--including granite countertops and hardwood floors--in his mission to "break down what a house should be."
3/4/2011
Fracking, buying American, GMOs and unplugging topped the green news this week.
4/27/2011
We can learn a lot from the Amish, who have passed down wisdom on living simply and celebrating community for generations.
4/13/2011
Frugality and lack of pretense or compromise are key ingredients in creating a wabi-sabi home.
7/13/2012
How we have taken measures to mitigate and reduce our wildfire exposure.
5/16/2011
Is your patio short on space? Check out the Hot Pot BBQ, a grill that doubles as an herb planter.
11/3/2011
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.
7/26/2011
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.
5/11/2011
Gary Chang's brilliant solution to making a 330-square-foot apartment work for his family was to create a sliding wall system that can be configured into 24 different rooms. You have to see this one to believe it.
3/4/2011
Shocked that nearly everything in their Dallas home was made overseas, a family starts over and furnishes their home only with items made in the USA. ABC News challenges everyone to take a pledge to purchase products made in America.
6/3/2013
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.
1/8/2014
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?
3/5/2014
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.
1/10/2014
Each year we try to challenge ourselves with an entire month where we spend no money, and avoid using energy.
11/18/2012
We have slowly replaced out dated fixtures and the Rialto toilet was the final step in getting more environmentally compliant.
9/26/2010
Simple living expert Wanda Urbanska at the 2010 MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR.
2/6/2009
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.
6/25/2008
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.
3/24/2011
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.
5/9/2011
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.
1/30/2013
Many criticize eliminating coal mining in West Virginia because of the amount of jobs the sector provides. A wind farm, however, would employ over 200 local residents during the two-year construction phase, and create 40-50 permanent maintenance jobs afterward. A wind farm would also allow the mountain to be used for other purposes, like sustainable forestry, mountain harvesting, and gathering of wild forest plants, creating additional jobs and the opportunity for stable income for locals.
6/9/2011
Noxious fumes aren’t conducive to happy cleaning. Give all your homemade cleaning solutions an invigorating and healthy boost by adding a few drops of pure plant essential oils such as lavender or lemon. Heavenly!
5/19/2011
Earth floors are a durable, versatile and attractive option for new homes and renovations alike.
10/11/2010
Simran Sethi looks into the furniture and logging industries.
6/10/2011
  I envision this chandelier—made entirely of items recovered from the recycling bin—hanging over a dining table on the patio. Making it is a pretty big project, though, and I would have to call in a friend with a jigsaw to help. (I don’t have the tools—or skills—that former Natural Home & Garden art director Susan Wasinger, who dreamed up this project, does.) Aside from the saw, the materials for this one are simple: used baby-food jars, a few yards of twisted wire, a couple repurposed barrel hoops and a length of rusty chain. And happily, I can make the “lite” version–pretty votive holders—which lets me stop before power tools are needed.  
7/25/2011
Make homegrown tomatoes the star of tonight’s dinner by whipping up Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onion. Made with just three ingredients, this sweet, rich sauce is a classic.
6/5/2013
Looking for a easy sewing project? Follow this quick tutorial from Design Fixation to make a dress in just 20 minutes.
4/28/2011
Will our nation's positive moves toward saner, simpler living and smaller homes fall victim to an improving economy? No way.
1/10/2011
Let the ancient Japanese art of wabi-sabi help you purge unwanted items and get organized for the new year.
7/7/2011
Sales for Simple Pump, a hand-operated well pump, have tripled compared to the same time last year, as word about its versatility, reliability and durability have spread.
5/11/2011
A San Francisco architect brings wabi-sabi to his work through craftsmanship, employing natural materials to create a holistic environment that’s not cookie-cutter or slick, and eschewing ornamentation for what is needed and meaningful.
2/14/2011
This DIY washing powder is simple to make, costs just pennies and smells heavenly.
10/30/2011
How a non writer can with effort contribute in a small way. To read more on our life style go to www.brucecarolcabin.blogspot.com
7/26/2011
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.
12/22/2011
Former editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence shares the lessons of holiday simplicity she learned as a young, busy, working mom.
5/10/2011
Put your kitchen on an energy diet without spending money on new appliances. Use these simple tricks to use less energy while cooking, freezing and refrigerating--even drinking your morning coffee.
7/11/2011
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.
7/15/2011
Connect together inexpensive mending plates to make these top-shelf candleholders--perfect for patio and porch dining. This simple project takes minutes and costs next to nothing.
7/14/2011
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.
12/12/2012
Ode to our hand saw...why we choose to live without power, and what we've accomplished by hand.
1/5/2012
Wood is our source of heat for the winter, as are sweaters and hats!
7/8/2011
Give your bathroom a little flair--and have fun doing it--by creating a backsplash from pebbles, pennies or whatever's rattling around in the bottom of the toolbox. This fun, simple project is perfect for everyone--whether you're a DIYer or not.
12/26/2012
The thrill continues living in our handmade house.
6/13/2011
  Julia Butterfly Hill understands the need for extreme measures when it comes to environmental activism. In the late 1990s, she spent 738 days living in a redwood tree named Luna, to bring attention to the plight of the world’s ancient forests. Through her vigil, she  negotiated to permanently protect the 1,000 year-old tree and a nearly three- acre buffer zone. She says that our forks are also powerful change agents. “I love food!” Hill told Natural Home & Garden. “I love preparing meals that are both decadently delicious and happily healthy. I’m a joyous vegan, and I celebrate how fabulous this lifestyle is for my body, my world, my planet, and for the animals as well.” Hill eats animal-free food that’s organic, local, in season, and free of added junk—food that she calls “a celebration of life.” Her recipe for delicious vegan lasagna takes about a half hour to prepare and provides plenty of opportunity for interpretation. If you don’t have fresh herbs on hand, substitute 1 teaspoon each of the dried herbs or 2 tablespoons Italian Seasoning.
1/10/2013
We haul our water from the river - walking water!
9/7/2011
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.
1/26/2013
Making the most of a winter walk to home.


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