Hydropower is the world’s leading form of renewable energy, accounting for more than 16 percent of global electricity generation. But dam enthusiasts who tout hydro’s climate credentials may not like the news about its emissions numbers.
Raising animals will up your game in the homesteading arena, but you'll also be taking a huge step toward conservation by raising heritage livestock.
I recently rebuilt an outdoor earthen oven made of cob and firebricks.
Every landowner has a role to play in conservation. Learn some basic principles to consider when managing your property.
Farming may be the dream, but sometimes it can also be the nightmare. Balancing the good, the bad, and the ugly poses challenges.
Deer impact our lives, whether you're a farmer, permaculturalist, forester, hunter, vegetarian, or landscaper. According to The Nature Conservancy, "No other threat (upon forests) is greater at this point in time." So what to do?
It is now possible to produce animal-free milk.
The changing landscape of farming and farmers.
The value of our watershed.
Though they are less popular than potatoes, carrots and turnips, parsnips are a fantastic storage veggie.
It's baby animals season on the farm, especially for chicks! They're pretty sweet, but they're also a lot of work. Oh, and there's incubators involved too.
Many of us are familiar with Echinacea and yarrow as antimicrobials, wild cherry bark for a cough, ginger for nausea, and a host of other herbs used in acute situations to restore health. Herbs can be very effective used in this manner, but herbs also shine when used as daily building and strengthening tonics!
HOMEGROWN Life blogger Dyan catches us up on the spring happenings at Bittersweet Heritage Farm.
Recent studies show that the jet-stream patterns have changed significantly during the last decade. The oscillations that bring the jet stream down to lower latitudes have increased in frequency and amplitude.
Language is born of experience -- so enrich your vocabulary! Go outside! Learn how to address "the sparkle of morning sunlight through hoar-frost." And don't let the world die in the dictionary.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger Bryce addresses his attempt to balance his climate change concerns with the everyday challenges of an agricultural lifestyle.
Grass feeding cows may be the latest craze, but not necessarily the best diet for dairy cows.
MPX chugs from coast to coast pulling a car-factory-on-a-trailer, and we learn how much power we need for a 5,000-plus pound payload.
Grow Where You Are is a social enterprise focusing on assisting communities in creating local food abundance systems. After creating small-scale urban food systems nationally and internationally for over 15 years, we see that even the most effective systems can be easily dismantled without land security. We propose supporting local growers in a transition to home ownership with a dynamic web of community partnership.
Spring has been slow to arrive in the Green Mountain State. But there are signs of spring in Vermont and that means preparing your Micro-Dairy for the change in seasons. Bob-White Systems' Steve Judge shares more tips to transition a Micro-Dairy into spring.
Springtime on the homestead is all about timing--getting those colorful eggs into the incubator, sneaking in a crop of spinach in the high tunnel, but also being on-the-ready for lambing season!
Those who garden know that weeding is often essential to growing good vegetables or fruits. In a forest, sunlight too is a limiting factor. By knowing which tree to cut and which to leave, forest health can be improved. Cutting for firewood can serve as an incentive to "weed" on the ultra-perennial scale.
Get more intense flavor and more nutrients by slicing olives into a simple spinach and chickpea salad. This thrifty recipe also shows a streamlined salad-making process.
Our job site was devastated by a severe storm. The video with this post tells the story, may you never have to go through something like this.
Monsanto’s most widely used herbicide has been found in the blood of agricultural workers and is now being linked to both mammal and human carcinomas.
Springtime means mud season in Vermont. And on a micro-dairy, it also means preparing the cows, fields and barn for the transition to warmer weather. Steve Judge offers tips to prepare for Spring on a micro-dairy in a two-part series.
Do you count yourself among the chicken-obsessed? Prepare to be truly impressed. In this blog, Jeannette Beranger of The Livestock Conservancy takes you on a photo tour of just a few of the eye-popping breeds found at Greenfire Farms in Havana, Florida.
Cam's newest book, "The Sensible Prepper," is now available.
When the sap gets drippin', it's time to get itchin' for tapping the maple trees and making syrup!
Crop rotation is good for your garden, but can be difficult to track. These tools will help you chart which crop families you plant so you can mix it up the following season.
There is deep nutrition in weedy herbal infusions that can fill a glaring gap in our modern, processed diets. As a passionate herbalist and vegetarian who’s endeavored to pay close attention to the nutrients in my diet, I found myself wondering: Can nourishing herbal infusions replace a daily multivitamin?
The sun is shining, the breeze is starting to warm, but there's still three feet of snow outside. It's driving you crazy — why can't spring get here now? Well, you're not the only one because those chickens have cabin fever too!
You can digest food waste to produce a burnable gas (biogas), to produce high quality fertilizer, and to fight climate change. Learn how.
The first step in our high-mileage pickup project: an "aerocap" streamlined cover for the bed. An aerocap gives the biggest bang for the buck.
Adaptive Seeds, inspired by an international seed sharing project, sells public-domain, open-pollinated seeds. In Part 2 of their profile, Sarah Kleeger and Andrew Still commit to Adaptive Seeds full-time.
Holy Basil is an herbaceous plant in the mint family that is native to South Asia. It grows throughout lowland regions of India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, southern China, Thailand, and Malaysia. The species name, sanctum, reflects the sacred nature of the plant in Indian culture. Holy basil includes a few species and varieties.
Farmers sure have their own way of talking — from the cadre of names for animals to the meaning of "shit," we'll explore and unravel some of the greater and lesser known sayings in Old Time Farm Talk.
Packages of bees originating from California last year had a high rate of failure due to the poor quality queens they contained.
New Energy Star standards not only raise the bar for energy efficiency in refrigeration, but they also introduce, for the first time, the idea that putting Wi-Fi into a fridge can help with energy savings.
Adaptive Seeds, originally inspired by an international seed sharing project, sells public domain, open pollinated seeds. Most of its seed is adapted to the Pacific Northwest and similar season northern climates.
A blog about the joy of a mentoring relationship and the rewards for the mentor and a new-bee.
Four easy steps to guide small dairy farmers to filter, chill and clean properly to ensure delicious, farm-fresh milk, yogurt or cheese every time.
Just when you’ve got something broken in on a farm, the holes begin to appear. There’s a hole in the bucket, a hole in my muck boots — and of course there are holes in the fence! But it’s not all bad, so here’s a homesteader’s narrative that provides a good chuckle about life on the homestead with all its wrinkles…and holes.
Simple steps anyone can take to repair a generator at home.
Easy-to-make bagels using basic pantry ingredients.
A wakeup call for folks who want to keep bees without the work, stings and realities.
Use these two tools to launch your green service, or other great world-changing project.
As farmers, we know the importance of creating a milking environment that is clean and healthy for the animals. In Part 2 of Making Clean Raw Milk, we outline the steps needed to milk your cow or goat in a manner that keeps it clean.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a study on the nutritional value of vegetables and fruits. Check out the top "powerhouse" vegetables and fruits to add a few to your garden this year.
An anecdote that illustrates a few of the realities of farm life and raising livestock.
Here is an idea of daily hoop house tasks and information on growing and harvesting abundant, healthy winter vegetables in your hoophouse, avoiding hazardous nitrate accumulation in greens.
All the principles of sustainable grazing management can be summarized in one rather strange statement: your cattle should appear not to have legs! Their short legs should be hidden in tall grass. Both animal genetics and pasture management contribute to this philosophy. In this article, I’ll start with cattle selection and care protocols. In Part 2, I will cover forage considerations.
What do holidays, indoor air quality and global warming have in common?
A big benefit of running the private and FDA-certified Bob-White Systems Dairy Lab is that we get to see what works and what doesn't work to keep milk clean. “Clean," for our purposes, means that it passes Vermont's Tier II Raw Milk Standards, which happen to be some of the most stringent in the country — more stringent than federally regulated pasteurized milk standards. At the lab we perform FDA-certified testing to ensure raw milk producers are compliant with Vermont’s standards.
It's important to prepare your Micro Dairy or small farm for winter by making small improvements to your facilities. But it's also important to mentally prepare for the dark, cold months.
Learn about three consumer-driven green energy trends for 2015 that will have a direct impact on our pocketbooks in the coming year, including net-zero energy homes, electric vehicles, and green energy production.
Typical suburban landscaping is a maintenance expense with no return to the owner and often diminishes the habitat for the living things around us. One alternative is to create a forest island that provides flowers for pollinators and food for people with little to no maintenance cost.
Not being a fan of frozen or canned carrots, I began to wonder how to store carrots under straw for winter to enjoy organic carrots throughout the winter. Living in Central Oregon where beach sand is not at the hand, I gathered garden straw from a local farmer. It is important that you know that straw for the garden has not come from crops treated with herbicides to control broad-leafed weeds.
A brief update on how the bees are faring during a break in the freezing weather.
Helping your cows transition from fall to winter can be easy to do. Here are five steps to consider when the cold weather starts settling in.
The methods of landrace gardening can provide food, even when social or family troubles take us away from the garden.
Making a roasted-root vegetable pot pie with biscuits in the shape of angels is the perfect comfort food.
Managing timbered property can benefit your wildlife and your pocketbook, but beware! Timber buyers are often con-artists. Learn the questions you should be asking about sustainable timber management on your property or homestead.
Why it is important to stay on top of a garden.
Practical tips for transitioning through life's changes mindfully and healthfully. This will cover simple ways to get back on track and stay focused forward. Alex and Ashley share their own personal experience with picking back up and moving forward.
Dehydrating foods and making the most of the bounty.
International non-profit biogas professionals and their projects.
An index of posts related to energy, power, and climate, with a strong focus on solutions.
Alexander Goldberg’s first blog post, introducing himself, his chickens and his concerns for rare and endangered breeds of poultry. Alexander talks about poultry shows, his work with 4H and support for the Livestock Conservancy.
Smooth out the temperature range in your greenhouse by adopting one of these strategies for heating greenhouses.
Being a homesteader and living off the land often means being subjected to natural conditions beyond our control, sometimes predictable changes of seasons and temperatures, other times curve balls such as unseen pest pressure, hard frosts in late May or heavy snow in early November. A lifestyle where these natural circumstances is the main determining factor for what gets done when is getting increasingly rarer – humans have gained what some consider an advantage by manipulating the world into a state where we, in many ways, can remain unaffected from the forces of nature.
There are two things that are true about biogas. The first is that biogas wants to happen. It wants to happen like plants want to grow, like fire wants to burn. And that force, that will to happen, has (at least) those two aspects: life, like the plants; and chemistry, like the fire.
Finding time to make improvements on a small dairy is difficult but making a few improvements as the seasons change can often make a micro dairy or any size small farm more efficient. Here are 7 steps to help you prepare your barn for the cold winter months.
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.
Atrophy of public seed breeding investment impacts farmers' ability to confront the challenges of climate change, global food security and financial solvency.
This animated video explores the unregulated synthetic biology industry, and the risks it may pose to workers, farmers and consumers.
Cam Mather tries out a battery-powered chainsaw at his off-grid homestead in Ontario.
Winter food storage in a naturally cooled space.
Climate change is a sign of the end of the industrial age. If humans are going to survive the end of the industrial age it will be because individuals and groups of neighbors take these matters into their own hands. It cannot happen any other way.
Did you know that you're going to have to make your digester either much larger or much warmer, if you expect to do practical biogas in the US? Well, here's that story...
Modern, industrial agriculture as we know it today is running out of time, and it's much later than we think.
A new film called 'Behind the Water' is an engaging story of the men and women searching to find clean water. The film takes viewers on a wild ride through some of the world’s most rural and restricted areas, many captured on film for the first time.
Feed and hay management tips to get through winter.
Renewable energy's ugly duckling comes of age.
If you are confused about what type of onion to grow in your garden, this blog will give you the info you need. Onions are perennials, easy to grow, and have little to no pest problems. A must have addition to every garden!
Keep those vegetable plants growing for a second harvest late in the year. Organically-grown, heirloom varieties will survive with a little help.
What you need to think about to prepare your cows, barn, feed and yourself for the cold weather.
MAX isn't just streamlined - MAX has its rolling resistance down to a minimum too, thanks to low-drag tires and lubricants. Here's a video to show how much it matters.
Some things to know about the last fall hive inspections in preparing the bees for winter.
Though wolves are commonly misunderstood animals, not all of what you hear is true.
Temperature is central to biogas production, and warmer is better. Much better. So if biogas is not a hot topic, it should be.
This skid auger is ideal for land owners, landscapers, hobby farmers and contractors.
Why I have never trimmed my cow' nails in 8 years of running a micro dairy. Read on to choose whether you want to be trimming your cows' hooves.
Summing up: How much food waste makes how much biogas to power what functions around the farmstead?
Ground cherries were once a popular staple in backyard gardens. Urbanization and lost space to grow our food led to ground cherries falling out of favor. Though older folks may remember eating ground cherry jam, they’ve only recently begun reappearing at farmers markets and in seed catalogs. Ground cherries are easy to grow and pack an unusual flavor punch in jams, pies, savory sauces.
A Chicago food heritage site — a meat-packing plant built in 1925 — becomes a 21st-century, net-zero producer of food.
How and why I started using leftover raw milk as a natural soil supplement and fertilizer on my dairy farm.
You can be harvesting from your garden all year long, including through the winter months! It's time to plant the fall garden.
The green of summer available right in your freezer year round!
Wasting food in the U.S., making biogas, and using food waste to do it ... (Let's not waste all that wasted food!).
There’s a gold mine out back of your local restaurant in the form of wasted food. Learn to think like an ecologist and discover how nature turns “waste” into useable, renewable energy.
A sepia photo of a North Carolina family in front of their farmhouse reveals food heritage.
Garlic is resilient, easy-to-grow, highly nutritious, and a natural antibiotic.
Spot an algal bloom, snap a photo, enter to win great prizes!
A Lithuanian farmers market seller displays sculpted red radishes with faces!
Like many things related to food, the free-range label misleads customers, so we explore the differences between free-range and pasture-raised.
A root cellar slowly is dug by hand, with the goal of increasing our homestead's food preservation and storage capacity through the winter.
Enter the Take a Second contest and win great prizes! http://takeasec.org/
Some of the most enduring food heritage sites are those devoted to the basics, eating and drinking.
I love my two-story log cabin, which combines recycled and an array of green building materials.
While the grinding work of a Romanian subsistence farm isn’t anything that I would choose for myself, there are aspects of the life that are attractive. In particular, the practices that I think of as the circles of life — eating food one has grown oneself, saving seeds, feeding poultry with garden scraps, and then eating their eggs (or them), and preserving a fruit harvest to cement friendships with strangers.
Criminal racketeering by the fossil fuel industry is destroying our environment.
Ancient Florida shell mounds, early days of bar-b-que, and all that.
August 3 to 9 is National Farmers Market Week! How does weather impact growth and harvest of fruits and vegetables? www.earthgauge.net/?p=36863
In all that can go wrong in beekeeping, it's time to be grateful for a good season.
How installing a pipeline milking system can help dairy farmers of all sizes make the most of their valuable time.
Time management tools can help a homestead run smoothly as well as make the work more enjoyable. By focusing on different tasks in different seasons, assigning different tasks to different days and by sharing tasks, the work becomes both manageable and fun.
Bucket milkers offer small and micro-dairy farmers affordable and reliable system for milking cows. Here are my basics for how to use a bucket milker on a micro dairy.
Established in 1879 by an Arab-Israeli family, Abouelafia Bakery continues to make history.
The terminal diagnoses and reality of dying reinforce our commitment to homesteading.
Beat the heat with a healthier chocolate treat! Avocados, cocoa, and honey create fudge pops or pudding with fewer than five minutes prep.
Good storage conditions for your garden seeds are essential. These tips will help you learn how to store seeds.
This video slideshow combines photos and video clips of heritage livestock breeds that were present at various MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIRS.
Tucked in the pines, this preserved New Jersey food heritage site is where cultivated high bush blueberries were born.
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.
Cows, goats, sheep, water buffalo, camels and, even, horses have been successfully milked by hand for thousands of years. Though it's an age-old practice, milking a cow by hand is not as easy as it may first appear. It’s best to know what you are getting into before you take on this important farming task.
France puts a premium on preserving its food heritage. Here's one example of that country's many food heritage sites, this one in Brittany.
Looking for the perfect sourdough hamburger bun.
Chinese water chestnuts are a delicious nutty root that are also easy to grow. Learn more in this article!
July is UV Safety Month. Don’t forget to protect your skin and eyes from the sun while enjoying long summer days.
A video documenting the "One Day Cob House" build in Reno, Nevada.
Our mission in preserving food heritage is to research, collect, preserve, and then explain America's food heritage and historic sites likely cannot be done without help. Want to contribute?
The Clean Power Plan to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants, proposed on June 2, 2014, by the Environmental Protection Agency, under President Obama’s Climate Action Plan not only limits our carbon pollution but also injects life back into our domestic workforce.
Watch this video to learn how to build tiny home for just $2,000.
Build your own wind generator for use with 12-Volt systems. Charge up batteries for lighting, fans, tools and more.
One woman's vision of a family farm comes to life in her back yard thanks to one friendly goat.
The flavor and shelf life of the milk you sell directly to consumers are directly impacted by how the milk is produced and handled on your farm. Here are my best practices for handling and producing the highest-quality, most delicious milk on the farm.
Introducing a revolutionary new book about the "drinkable landscape" and how you can use organic gardening to produce a huge array of beverages.
The dream, the drive and now the doing.
Whether you live on the beach or 1000s of miles away, there are easy ways you can protect coastal water quality.
At a time when greenhouse gas emissions from cars and electricity generation around the world are at an all-time high, Heifer International in Cameroon is leading initiatives and programming to help reduce such emissions from livestock production there.
Pickled vegetables are a great way to jazz up your meals, especially in the late winter, early spring time when the grocery store vegetables are looking a little worse for the wear.
Guru Drain keeps hair and debris from clogging drains, saving you time and money.
Planting a water-smart garden with native plants can help you save water when temperatures heat up.
The garden is 58 by 112 feet and it's planted!
With the fence in (just barely), this rainy Wednesday looks just perfect for planting.
Silvopasture is a newfangled word for wooded pasture. Basically, all it means is that you are using wooded land with trees and forage for pasture. The trees can be managed for firewood production and/or saw logs and provide welcome shade and shelter for your livestock and forage.
Memorial Day signifies the unofficial start of summer and onset of hot weather. Use these tips to stay cool.
A well-thought-out garden design will make your work enjoyable and manageable and will encourage the gardener's presence and attention.
MAX is getting a garage mate. We're building a high-mileage pickup truck for those jobs that a sports car can't do, and this post outlines what we're starting with.
As the planetary ecology falters, and finite resources are depleted, communities everywhere will be challenged to create vibrant local economies that function within and help to renew local ecosystems.
Understanding and effectively executing a breeding program depends on understanding the calving cycle and when and how to dry a cow off in preparation of calving.
The post office has called to say your bees have arrived! Now What? Step-by-step instructions on installing your hive.
Mother's Day weekend brought lilacs, bedding plants, pie and a nap.
Kentucky farmer Susana Lein runs a permaculture farm in the Appalachian Mountains where she educates students and visitors from around to the world the best way she knows how - by putting their hands in the soil.
My bees shipped early - here we go!