Forestry and climate change are complex and emotionally charged issues. In this post, we focus on the forests themselves and how they can contribute to global cooling when forest management practices are adjusted through the incentives in the multi-billion dollar carbon credit programs being launched.
Coyotes live among us just as they have with our Native Peoples in the past. But unlike our Native Peoples understanding and respect of coyotes, our present day culture has little knowledge, and this greatly takes away from all the positive experiences we can have with America’s wild canine.
These tasty cherry tomato pickles are not only tasty but are a solution to preserving the prolific little cherry tomatoes.
A new report describes record levels of damages caused by climate change during 2015.
This is the fifth blog post in an alphabetically organized introduction to homesteading. It covers considerations for how to raise goats on your homestead, including research strategies, space planning, herd management, the fundamentals of milking goats, pasture development, and making cheese and yogurt.
Everyone loves a winner. Here are my secrets to receiving those first-place ribbons for homegrown produce at your local county fair.
What changes a predator’s relationship with your farm? Relationships are two-sided, and human behavior has much to do with our relationships with predators. Here are two real-life stories about just that.
The harvest begins. Whatever happened to those wild and crazily overgrown potatoes (written about in a previous post)? Check out the bushels of newly dug potatoes that resulted from that botanical experiment started this spring.
Less common, but proven, strategies for securing a child's college education can keep the child involved in the building and running of the homestead through their years of higher education while producing a more well-rounded, responsible, mature, and competitive graduate — all at a fraction of the cost of more typical approaches.
If you enjoy livestock and are comfortable marketing to customers, there’s a lot of money to be made in the (live) stock market. And it’s a safe market that’s always in demand.
A commercial pectin recipe for this preserve calls for 4 cups of fruit to 7 cups sugar. I use about ¼ of that: at least twice as much fruit and half the sugar, so my jams and preserves taste of the fruit instead of sugar and have half or less calories. As well as the usual breakfast toast spread, try adding your own homemade preserves to plain yogurt.
These three underappreciated plants deserve their time in the sun, so to speak! Let’s dive into Local First Aid, learning about the edible and medicinal uses of these common wild plants: violets, plantain, and yellow dock.
I never much cared for gazpacho, and that’s probably because I lived in Colorado and Alaska most of my adult life. You must have great tomatoes to make great Gazpacho. After I tasted gazpacho made with heirloom tomatoes like 'Cherokee Purple', 'Brandywine', 'Marmonde' and others from my garden, I realized what I had been missing.
Most forests are working forests. They are cut regularly for lumber production and other uses. Only 12.7% of the earth's forests are protected. Wood is carbon. Carbon volumes sequestered in the woods need to multiply to significantly contribute to global cooling. Without this, the carbon credit market is mostly wasted as a tool for significant global cooling. We still have time to save our forests.
Recently two members of the collective Grow Where You Are were selected to visit Cuba with FoodFirst.org on a food sovereignty tour. This exciting honor is still fresh in the hearts and minds of Nicole Bluh, Operations Coordinator and Maricela Vega, Agroecology Intern. Below each of them shares a bit of their reflections about local food systems and the people at the center of them.
They go by many names, depending on the region: sow bugs, pill bugs, potato bugs, wood lice, and roly-poly bugs. There are actually many different genus of these pests and one of them is terrorizing my garden.
Hard to find and surrounded in rumor, 'Hastings’ Prolific' corn is an heirloom dent corn that you don’t see often sold. Learn more about the true development of this variety as we grow it at Wolf Branch Homestead in 2016.
We just love everything about the Berkshire pig — so we decided we would raise a breeding pair and produce heritage-breed piglets. Berkshire pigs are gentle enough to pasture with other animals and can be trained to harness/lead.
Taking a little time to freeze some corn and berries this summer can not only save you some serious money, but it can make your winters much more pleasant. Here's how to freeze berries and freeze corn for year-long food security with summer flavor.
Sewage and industrial sludge is being managed as a liability. Current outdated regulations and technologies focus on the least-expensive means of the sludge disposal. Sludge management needs to be redirected toward the recovery of energy and chemicals embedded in the sludge and guided by the principals based on the current scientific findings and technology. Environmental and demographic considerations need to play an important role in this new approach geared toward sustainable and energy-efficient waste management practices.
Working as an arborist in Colorado, Ryan Baldwin saw an opportunity to salvage city trees destined for the dump into usable lumber for woodworking projects.
When we bought our homestead, the only gardening area was at the bottom of a fairly steep hill. Though fine for growing a winter’s worth of potatoes and squash, it’s less convenient for greens, which we prefer to grow close to the house. Having read about a method called "lasagna gardening" (named for its layers; learn the basics here), we decided to try it. Egged on by its success, we extended the garden the following year only this time incorporating hugelkultur techniques. Here’s how we did it.
An understanding our human history teaches us much about our present day perspectives and our behaviors that manifest those perspectives. We can observe this in all facets of our human society, and it is most poignantly made aware to us in Dan Flores’ newly published book, Coyote America: A Natural and Supernatural History. Read on!
Creating garage storage often requires going out to buy new plastic storage containers. Here are a few ways to make your garage storage green.
This is the third blog post in an alphabetically organized introduction to homesteading. It covers ideas for starting an edible landscape on your homestead including: soil improvement, cover crops, perennials, attracting beneficial insects, and home-based food production.
Start your dream garden as you would any project — with a project plan. If you break down your end goal into step-by-step tasks, you will see your dream come to fruition in no time.
Are you worried about mosquitoes but want an alternative to chemical bug sprays? This post shows you how to add easy-to-grow and beautiful mosquito-repellent plants to your landscapes and get back outside with your family.
Blogger Wendy Akin makes the most of cherry season with these recipes and tips.
You may remember back in April when I found some of last year’s potato crop dying to get out into the ground. This post is a continuation of the life and success of those wild taters.
Sweet potatoes are easy to grow, if you have 90 frost-free days. The work involved happens at times of year when you probably have fewer other garden tasks. Planting on ridges reduces damage from flooding. Biodegradable mulch warms the soil and increases yields, while reducing weed growth.
Cougars, our American lion, historically have been the most widespread large carnivore of both North and South America. After being almost systematically annihilated from our continent by those who came before us, our big cat is making heroic attempts to return to their lost homeland. Will we let them?
Now, 4 years into growing much of the produce we eat, I realize that garden farming connects me even more deeply than I had imagined to the earth, the life cycle, my body and food. It is also more difficult not only physically, but mentally as well. Had I known more from the start, no doubt it would have been easier and more effective. It is in this spirit that I am sharing some of what I’ve learned.
The more tomato varieties you grow – especially if you delve into the wonderful world of heirlooms – the more you realize that not all tomato plants look alike. Look closely at the leaves and you will find lots of variations; once you become familiar with a particularly favorite variety, you may even be able to distinguish it early on just by its leaves. Pictures tell the story and take the mystery away from the commonly used tomato foliage terms "regular leaf" and "potato leaf."
Ok, the hens are off, but now it's time to clean the coop. Yup...my favorite. Get on your grubbies and join the dust bowl!
Monticello’s gardens and orchards are world-famous for the fruit and vegetable production. Interestingly, among all his writings, there is very little included by Mr. Jefferson about keeping poultry. But what breeds of chickens might have been on Mulberry Row
When and how to water a garden can be challenging especially for beginner gardeners. Read the tips that will make you feel like an expert on garden watering.
Enemy forces seemed to converge over my indoor green thumbs this year, resulting in a near complete seedling failure. What happens when undetermined circumstances produce "lemons?" You make lemonade, of course. Blythe shares how her failed seedling crop may just have changed how she manages her springtimes from here on out.
Spring has sprung - time to get the hens into their summer mobile chicken coops. A nice afternoon project, right? Well, you know how those "5-minute jobs" go — they always seem to multiply. Learn how we manage chickens in mobile coops on pasture.
A rare treat, goose eggs are prized for their large yolks and tough shells.
It seems spinach is a feast-or-famine kind of vegetable — it's gloriously prolific when it grows, then BOOM! Gone for the season. I wanted to preserve this spring goodness to enjoy later in the year, so I decided to dehydrate it. Learn how to dehydrate spinach here.
Ruminants have been maligned for causing desertification and worsening climate change, but when we emulate the way nature designed herds to graze, the result is a rapid improvement in soil, forage and animal health. Our planet's health is also improved because rotational and mob-grazing takes atmospheric carbon and stores it as organic topsoil.
If people knew how easy and delicious homemade salad dressings can be, store-bought dressing sales would plummet. You, too, can make your own salad dressings without having a culinary school degree or cooking experience. Learn to make Oil and Vinegar with Tarragon and Homemade Ranch with Roasted Garlic here.
Water is the liquid-gold standard for off-grid sustainability. However, how does a new off-grid homesteader prepare for their water needs? Here are some simple tips from seasoned veterans on how to successfully have a backup plan for water.
Meet Carla Jordan, the resident of a rural county of Spotsylvania, VA. This a true story of how land application of biosolids affected Carla's life and how she decided to fight for the health and welfare of her family and her community.
Got a basement “cold room” that doesn’t keep your fruits and veggies properly? You can make things better. A few simple modifications can turn that disappointing space into a reliable spot to store food without electricity and boost self reliance.
It’s a common misconception in the home gardening arena that asparagus is a crop that should never be started from seed. I am not sure when this became the standard dogma, but it is far from the actual truth. Asparagus is a crop that thrives when started from seed and those plants that are derived from home-grown stock tend to be larger and more robust than store-bought crowns. Growing asparagus from seed is a rewarding experience that is easier than you think.
Land-based people have a global culture of relationship with nature. This powerful experience of interconnection is extremely valuable too turn us away from the colonized food system.
In spring, we plant several crops into hay mulch to help control weeds, including reducing the "weed seed bank". Few weeds other than perennial grasses will come up through a 4-inch layer of hay. Mulches of natural materials keep the soil damper, which can mean higher yields and less need to water. This method is quick and easy, and more effective than mulching around the plants after transplanting.
There is nothing like growing your own veggies and canning the excess. A good place to start your search is your local farmer’s market. Ask one of the veggie farmers if you can come out and help on their farm and see where it goes from there. All it takes is a couple hours every week or two to learn the basics.
Growing your own localized varieties of vegetables allows you to customize the taste to your liking.
Caroline Snyder, Ph.D.,is Professor Emeritus of the College of Liberal Arts at the Rochester Institute of Technology. For the last 20 years she has researched the politics and science of using biosolids and industrial residuals as an agricultural "fertilizer". She founded Citizens for Sludge-Free Land and is a charter member of the Union of Concerned Scientists. Here, Dr Snyder shares with us her views on the role of anti-sludge activists.
If you’re starting to think about going solar, knowing that your home and solar are a good match makes the shopping process even easier. Here are the top five questions and answers that will help you determine whether solar is right for your home (they might surprise you).
After you grow your own organic greens, it’s hard to go back to grocery store crap. The good news is that greens are easy to grow in a multitude of environments. If you are short on space, try building a salad tray and grow your own greens on a patios or balcony. If you have a small patch of ground, do what I did and install a raised bed.
Megan Offner of New York Heartwoods is salvaging downed and damaged city trees to redirect material from our waste stream, decrease greenhouse emissions, and fuel the demand for local wood products.
Even though it's still too cold in Northern Wisconsin to be working the soil, the garden is already getting its kickstart inside!
Probiotics and digestive enzymes are important to our health. Fruit kvass is a fermented drink that can be made quickly and cheaply to provide digestive health benefits. Celeste Longacre shows you how and includes a basic kvass recipe with blueberry, strawberry, and orange.
The sheep are puffy balls of wool, but spring is coming, and with it one of the "rights of passage" to a new season - shearing!
Most great ideas start small. That’s how Katie and Ben Reneker, founders of the Carmel Berry Company, started out handcrafting small batches of syrups and cordials with elderberries or elderflowers wild-harvested or grown on their small farm.
Find out the unique needs of ducklings and goslings and how best to care for waterfowl.
There’s a lot to think about when choosing the right cow for a small herd or micro-dairy, but it is worth taking the time needed to select an animal that will best fit you and your farm.
Peat moss and cypress mulch come at great cost to not only the environment, but us as a species. These ubiquitous garden staples have a dark side and the simple solution is to stop buying them.
Achocha is a delicious and unknown member of the cucumber family with almost complete immunity from the diseases and pests which attack other cucurbits.
Making and selling processed foods legally involves more than filling containers with your favorite recipes and selling them at the local farmers market. It requires compliance with a variety of state and perhaps federal regulations and processing guidelines designed to ensure that food products are packaged safely and properly.
This is the time of year that salad greens and herbs shine in the edible garden. Lettuce, chard, parsley, cilantro, mustard, corn salad, and many other greens love the cool and moist spring days.
There are a lot of specific terms about poultry you might not be familair with. If you’re thinking about getting chickens, ducks, geese, or other fowl, it’s good to get used to these common terms. Here are some of the farmyard poultry terms you might come across.
After 18 years of gardening with slugs, I have learned a few tricks for control.
When we plant cover crops, we mimic nature's way of putting carbon into the soil and building humus. Cover crops also nurture the soil microbes; this gives us healthy plants and nutritious food.
This blog post introduces you to the new educational website www.FarmingwithCarnivoresNetwork.com. It is a collaborative effort of leading farmers, experts on guardian animals and fencing, and biologists whose work focuses on carnivores. Its purpose is to help create a farming of the future by sharing knowledge and experience with each other.
Will you bake a ham for your Easter dinner? Don’t throw out the bone or the fat scraps! One of the best ham “leftovers” is the stock you’ll make with the bone and scraps.
Beets are a wonderful tonic in the spring. Increase the potency of this marvelous ruby root with fermentation.
There is wild fruit nearly everywhere, free for the picking. This spring, as soon as leaf buds swell in your area, go looking for blooms. Take a ride, get somebody to drive for you, so you can search roadsides and fields, along railroad tracks, in power line right of ways, and maybe even an abandoned homesite, looking for brushy shrubs, brambles, vines and trees with white flowers.
Learn how to make your own decorative tray using repurposed materials!
Recycling in the home shouldn't be confined to the kitchen. The bathroom can be a haven for recyclable items too. This post shares some ideas on setting up a recycling system for the household bathroom.
Turning an old barn into something useable is a challenge, and it is a valuable skill to have when you are starting a farm.
Gingerbread isn’t just for dessert. It’s also a great way to start off the day – after all, molasses is full of healthy iron, calcium, and B vitamins – and makes a filling after-school snack.
In our current food system, growers are undervalued and supermarkets hoard profits. How do we create solidarity between migrant workers, family farmers and urban growers to empower a thriving local food economy?
Learn how to build a simple sled in less than 30 minutes from scrap lumber and logs!
Observing and documenting the seasonal phenomena that happen on your land can be a fascinating and important way to get an understanding of how it changes through the year. And it can be fun, too!
Less common, but proven, strategies for securing a child's college education can keep the child involved in the building and running of the homestead through their years of higher education while producing a more well rounded, responsible, mature, and competitive graduate, all at a fraction of the cost of more typical approaches.
Our changing weather pattern at high elevation.
There are always more decisions for the tomato enthusiast. This blog will help to untangle the confusion around often-misused terms and lead to more appropriate choices for each gardener.
Afraid you have a brown thumb? Here are worry-free veggies that can be grown in pots or in the garden. Try one or two or all ten for your first garden!
This blog post explains how the use of rodent poisons is having a serious effect on the health of carnivores. The very species that have the ability to control rodent populations are being negatively affected by the human use of poisons.
With forces and circumstances intensifying all around, this is the optimum time to take positive action for your family, your community, and your planet. CSA Signup Day on Feb. 26 gives everyone an opportunity for intelligent action by joining and supporting a community farm (CSA).
With so many tomato varieties available, choosing which to grow can be a daunting challenge. By understanding the difference between indeterminate, determinate and dwarf tomato varieties, better decisions for your particular growing conditions and needs can be made.
To be an avid gardener means you need to have special skills. Here's a list of 7 abilities that will take you to the next level.
A list of my 2016 vegetable catalogs that carry heirloom varieties, along with the veggies I chose for this year.
Most homesteads have trees that need to be cut down, but how can you ensure minimal waste and maximum benefit from every part of the tree? Trunks, saplings, green branches, dead branches, and more can all be used in multiple ways to save money and add value to your homestead, while capturing some of the carbon and nutrients in the tree. Here’s a look at how we break down an especially abundant and useful tree: the Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana).
Hugelkultur is the building of raised beds by burying wood and other organic material. Just because you are renting doesn’t mean you can’t implement one this season.
Democracy is essential for the expanding cottage food laws in the US. There are many steps you can take to be able to sell homemade food products in your state. First, get the cottage food law passed that allows you the freedom to earn.
Making your own glace citrus peels is easy. You can save the peel from lemons, oranges, grapefruit and pomelos as you eat them. Just toss the peel into a zipper bag and keep in the refrigerator up to 4 days. I used Jacques Pepin’s method as guidance here.
As we plan our gardens, it is often about obtaining seeds. Many of those seeds were saved by friends. An upcoming workshop from Seed Savers Exchange covers both basics.
So, the gals are on their way to New Hampshire to pick up heritage cows, and so far, it's going smoothly — but there are bumps in the road ahead, so hang on! (Spoiler alert: They all made it home fine: two cows, two pigs, and two galls.)
You're recycling as much as you can, but have you ever wished to lower what goes into