From backyard chickens to hemp grown in the U.S.A., Natural Home readers were concerned with a wide variety of interests in 2009. These 10 issues top the list.
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.
Cam shares some of the things he is grateful for....
Cam describes "double digging" as a way of creating a new garden without losing precious topsoil.
Chickens - how do you know if you’re the ‘chicken type’? If you’re pondering a backyard flock, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself.
A recipe for sourdough starter.
Description of garlic planting on a two-year cycle: from tiny topset bulblets, to large single bulbs, to large heads.
Roasted pumpkin and squash seeds are a yummy, healthy treat. And it's easier than you think. Here's how to roast squash and pumpkin seeds in just four easy steps.
From a little-known sugar substitute to a conversation-starting book, this list of items for the green kitchen contains a few surprises.
An introduction to a series exploring the world of beekeeping
The U.S. Green Building Council's Project of the Year is a small, urban home built for $100 per square foot.
Kansas City's 18Broadway project is a superb example of how to capture and store rainwater to grow food in the heart of downtown.
Keep your family healthy by paying close attention to your home's 10 germiest places.
A less meddlesome approach to beekeeping.
Hiking to the top of our mountain, the breathing view, the soothing effect.
The vagaries of beekeeping jargon and its importance to the beginning natural beekeeper.
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.
A brief overview of keeping bees in a top bar hive from setup to overwintering.
My brief discription of sustainable beekeeping
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?
Maddy Harland describes the canopy layer of a temperate forest garden and shares some useful tips on designing and planting useful and edible tree crops.
MAX's aerodynamic makeover is underway with a new fender design.
MAX needs an aerodynamic and easy-to-assemble roof. Plus it needs to look cool, be cheap, cost little, have a simple design and be reliable. No problem, right? So, do you have any ideas?
At the time, it seemed like a clear car was a good idea.
All computer data for MAX has been stolen. What next?
Cable set-top boxes in the United States consume 27 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity—equivalent to the annual output of nine coal-fired power plants. Cable providers have a lot of energy-efficient improvements to make.
In the continuing pursuit of better aerodynamics, Jack takes a closer look at the design of MAX’s nose.
Everyone should have a 100-mpg car, and know how to drive a manual transmission. MAX comes to the rescue on both ends.
Jack explores how to test how body changes affect aerodynamics, and looks for inspiration from Wonder Woman.
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.
In the wake of a study that shows access to public transportation is crucial to lowering carbon footprint, the Smarter Cities Project names the top regions for smart transit.
Washington, D.C., Nevada and New Mexico see the most LEED-certified green building per capita in 2010.
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.
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.
Where we go to reflect on life and relax.
A big crowd likes MAXine better than MAX, and I’ll see you soon, at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR in Puyallup, Wash.
This potential body style looks hard to beat, in more ways than just physically. What do you think?
MAX gets a couple of cheap and easy thermoformed headlight protectors, to keep light from getting out and rocks from getting in.
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.
En route to the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR, Jack listens all too well to GPS and ends up on dirt roads in the Oregon Outback.
MAX has a three-wheeled distant cousin that's a diesel-electric hybrid.
MAX Puts the “Ex” in X Prize
Make the winning suggestion for the next X PRIZE and win $25,000.
MAX's classic race car skin remains a work in progress. Jack wants MAX to look Lola-esque, but not too Lola-esque.
Sequestered indoors, Jack goes to work on streamlining MAX's body.
We're excited for the second annual Escape from Berkeley rally. Last year, MAX won the inaugural event from Berkeley to Las Vegas. This year, it's a run for the Mexican border!
What does MAX have in common with and old action, adventure, paranoia, social commentary BBC TV series of the '60s?
MAX will enter a race, uhhhh we mean event, and will run on veggie oil.
The fine art of automotive design, especially high-mpg design.
An after-the-fact analysis of MAX's accident on the way to the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Fair, and the dangers of "getthereitis."
A reader recently raised concerns that MAX is illegal in Uncle Sam's eyes. Here's the skinny.
So here you have it: MAX with a crumpled rear fender, crumpled trunk section, a turn signal bashed out, a door knocked loose, and a flat tire. It's fully reparable, but not today, and not in time to drive to the MEN Fair.
The Rally Green starting flag drops in Knoxville Iowa, Sunday August 15, beginning a cross country fuel economy rally ending in San Francisco the folowing Saturday. MAX will be there and going for the gold.
Thoughts on the potentially fuzzy math of mpg calculations.
From the Science Channel, watch the Brink TV show's spotlight on MAX and its victory in the Escape from Berkeley race.
Could MAX pass federal safety standards for mass-produced cars? Nope. Should that matter?
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 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.
This Meatless Monday, whip up a batch of Julia Butterfly Hill's Top Anything Sauce, made with peanut or almond butter, and make a meal out of fresh veggies and quinoa.
This post is about winterizing a colony of bees naturaly, using ideas and tips that we at BeeLanding have learned from nature.
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"!
It helps us feel better to know "why" things happen, but we don't always get to know that answer...
A searchable index for the MAX Updates posts, and a few more thoughts on the Progressive Automotive X Prize.
Is MAX an actual modern-day vehicle, or just a high school shop class experiment? In this update, Jack answers sharp questions from an automotive engineer.
Learning from experience, I've put some impact-resistant structure on the back of MAX.
MAX got some new lager diameter wheels. They should do the job and the price was right, and as a bonus, they look terrific.
An introduction to DraftSight, Dassault Systèmes' 2D CAD software. It's professional quality and it's free, and Jack is converting all the MAX fabrication drawings to DraftSight .dmg documents.
Engine efficiency depends on rpm (among other things) and slower isn't always better. More wisdom from the Honey Bear.
Conversion kit install to convert a hybrid vehicle into a plug-in electric and improve your gas mileage by 25%.
MAX is back at the shop, awaiting diagnosis and correction of an overheating problem, plus some additional body work before its next venture.
Hybrid cars save fuel by shutting the engine off at idle (among other things). Does MAX burn enough fuel at idle to be worth the effort? Our honey bear can tell us.
We're cleaning up the details on MAX. One of the finishing touches is clear streamlined headlight covers, and here's how I made them.
Does 100 mpg fuel economy justify cross-country recreational travel? Maybe so and maybe not, but I need to be careful—increasing fuel efficiency can increase fuel consumption if you increase your driving, too.
MAX wins the Escape from Berkeley race!!
MAX at its first autocross. Hey, it's a sports car, right?
MAX ran with the motorcycles in the Vetter Fuel Economy Challenge, with surprisingly high marks--127 miles per gallon. Surprising to the author, at least.
MAX got a new set of high efficiency Goodyear tires, and a second set of wheels so we can do comparison testing. Will the difference be detectable to our low budget testing technology?
MAX version 2.0 is about to start moving. This may come as a surprise, but Jack is going to try it with biodiesel.
Could MAX be the perfect car for driver's ed?
Jack gets a wallop of motivation for a fully enclosed cabin, and looks ahead to a future with inquisitive grandchildren.
Perhaps if we had just listened to the deer all along, we never would've ended up in this gas guzzling mess.
MAX's bodywork continues, as Jack modifies the race car nose to fit over the Kubota engine.
There's a new automotive fuel efficiency contest coming up -- the Rally Green -- and now MAX has a tachometer, a digital wonder called a Tiny Tach.
A video demonstration of MAX's windscreen, which deflects air around the driver's face with minimal aerodynamic drag.
MAX turns heads and makes an impression at The EG, aka the Entertainment Gathering.
Brink TV show seeks "low-budget mad scientist." Jack and his MAX project fit the bill!
Is the glass half empty? Half full? Or is there just too much glass? I'm designing MAX to be just the right amount of "glass" for the vast majority of our driving. Here's to efficiency.
The first civilian-built MAXes are nearing completion, and here are a couple of them that are rolling under their own power.
More progress on MAX's streamlined body, using a laser to make curved body parts fit on a flat frame.
It's the age-old tug of war between good looks and streamlined, aerodynamic design.
Technology marches on. It comes at a price, but a FloScan fuel consumption and mileage meter could give me instant feedback on MAX's fuel efficiency.
MAX is hitting 60 mpg. That's better than a Prius, and before we get serious about streamlining.
One would think a car wouldn't need a mechanical inspection at 5,000 miles. But when you're building a 100-mpg car from scratch, and the builder is meticulous, it's wise to look for problems even when there are no signs of problems.
In the interest of making MAX a smidgeon safer, I've added side bumpers to the passenger compartment. Here's why I made them this way.
MAX version 2.0 is underway.
MAX gets a small favor from high-end luxury sports cars.
MAX is well on its way to 100 mpg, if the lessons from these 100+ mpg motorcyles are any indication.
Using MAX to test a tubing streamlining material, resulted in a significant reduction in drag.
We're looking at a handful of low cost improvements, and since MAX is undergoing repairs at the moment, this is a good time to make them.
It's time to calculate MAX's aerodynamic drag. Enter champagne science on a beer budget!
A car's electrical consumption adds to its fuel consumption. For MAX, turning off the headlights improves fuel economy by roughly 4 mpg.
MAX is encountering robust competition at Escape from Berkeley
In the pursuit of 100 mpg, cardboard is a nice medium for conceptualizing design features, but it has its limitations.
We're modifying the Lola race car's nose to fit MAX's chassis. The first step is cutting the nose down the middle so we can move the fenders apart a few more inches, which will let us steer enough for parking and other normal street activities.
How much power and performance does a car need for a guy to get a gal's attention? According to MAX fans, not very much.
To improve MAX's versatility, the passenger seat is removable, which converts MAX from a couple carrier to a cargo carrier.
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.
MAX got a smog test at an Oregon DEQ Vehicle Testing Station, and passed with high marks.
Jack missed Rally Green and MAX has a mysterious overheating problem.
MAX needs 25 percent more horsepower to get from zero to 60 mph in less than 18 seconds. Got any suggestions?
MAX needs a roof, stat.
MAX gets a temporary mash-up of old and new style body parts (the new nose is at the fiberglassers' having a mold made so we can make more of them) to get road-legal for a trip to Canada.
We're at work on a 100-mpg DIY car! Come meet MAX and take a seat for what will be a long, but fun, journey.
A treatise on the difference between a gasoline engine throttle and a diesel "throttle," what that means for MAX, and how the difference was overcome.
The second attempt at weatherproofing MAX involves a convertible top which flips open to get in or out of the cockpit. Not perfect, but not bad.
A primer on fiberglass mold making and molding fiberglass parts, using MAX's nose parts (hood and bubble) as examples.
Breaking News: MAX Totaled
Results of the long-awaited cooling system test, which shows how little air MAX needs through the radiator.
MAX is back from the dead after its infamous wreck. So why is the frame gray?
Some burglar wanted my Millermatic 180 more than I did, I guess. Here's why I liked it and why I'm going to get another one.
The clock is ticking and I've been taking some shortcuts on getting MAX ready for Rally Green ... and some have turned into long cuts. I need to work smarter, not faster.
The "High Mileage Car Show" at the latest Mother Earth News Fair, and the pleasure of driving a fuel efficient car.
On a summertime cross country trip from Oregon to Ohio, I restricted MAX's radiator inlet air a little at a time, demonstrating that very little inlet area (28 square inches) provides sufficient air for cooling.
MAX gets a lightweight belly pan under the engine, to further reduce aerodynamic drag.
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.
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.
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.
I hate to say it — because electric cars may be the salvation of transportation someday — but much of the current hype around electric cars is smoke and mirrors.
Jack took MAX to a local car show and found that even if they're not looking for high mileage, folks think MAX is cool.
MAX debuts by taking the checkered flag of the 800+ mile, no gasoline consumed, Escape from Berkeley race.
Jack has dismantled MAX's body and is making molds from the body parts, so other MAX-like car builders won't have to duplicate his work.
Conservation over corn.
MAX is getting prepped for paint, and all the essential bodywork is done for the new, streamlined roadster body.
In my 7,500-plus mile adventure in MAX this summer, one lesson really stands out: Haste Makes Waste.
Volkswagon's high mileage (1 liter of fuel per 100 kilometers) car is getting closer to production. Expect to see 100 of these available to the public in 2013.
MAX has very low rolling resistance, as demonstrated by this three year old kid pushing it around the building.
Why pre-1960 race cars were more efficient than post-1960 race cars, and thus a better example for high efficiency highway cars.
A surprising benefit of MAX's streamlining is the increased luggage space.
By making a pattern and a mold, we can now reproduce rear fenders as needed.
MAX gets a low cost, high accuracy, and none too attractive fuel gauge. Two out of three ain't bad.
Craig Henderson and his Avion high mileage sports car went from Canada to Mexico at 119.1 MPG. He plans to produce Avion kits.
Considering deer, it’s time for a roll bar.
The tail end of MAX's bellypan (diffuser) gets tuft tested, and the attached video shows the results. This was the finishing touch that got MAX its 100 miles per gallon on the highway.