Step one in deciding to live remote on the side of a mountain
Communication and honesty is essential to decide important issues like a complete lifestyle change.
Our typical day living in the mountains in the winter.
Reflections on 15 years of mountain living.
The United States has one of the lowest rates of active transportation in the world, leading to poor cardiovascular health and other diseases.
The Natural Resources Defense Council is teaming up with popular country, bluegrass and folk musicians, including Dave Matthews and Patty Loveless, for Music Saves Mountains—a one-night fundraising event to end mountaintop removal coal mining in the Appalachians.
The presence of bicycles on sidewalks has long been debated: Is it legal? Is it safer than the road? Shouldn’t children be able to ride on sidewalks?
Many decisions go into remote living to decide if it is right for you.
What is true sustainability? In this post, Matthew Stein explores the definition of what it takes to make a world that is truly sustainable.
Can you live on less? See how far you can make $20 go for a week or a day.
Natural hair care products are a great substitute for chemical-heavy beauty brands, but you shouldn’t have to break the bank to get healthy hair. Learn about life without store-bought shampoo, how to create your own natural shampoo and conditioner and what it takes to make your head happy, both outside and in.
Learn what to expect when you get to the sale barn.
Learn how to de-ice slippery surfaces without harming nearby soil and plants.
A poem on the plight of the American farmer - the one percent.
The DEBO Step features custom mounting brackets for each pick up model.
Backcasting into the future: a powerful tool for developing creative pathways towards a sustainable world and a bright, positive future for Planet Earth!
You know when a dreaded cold is coming on: Your throat and voice feel a bit scratchy, your nose begins to run, your eyes resemble those of a frog, your energy dips, you get the chills, and, in general, you feel like a blob. Compound these symptoms with muscle aches, joint stiffness, occasional nausea and fever, and you’ve got the flu.
Susie Stephens' memorial now grows in the city of her tragic death.
Deciding where to buy seeds can be a perplexing challenge. How does a conscientious gardener choose seeds that will grow well, look lovely and taste great, but also support sustainable seed farmers and healthy environments?
How we persist until our 11 cords of firewood is accomplished and then re structure our lives.
Step Forward Paper is a new type of paper made most from wheat straw (80 percent to be exact) with the remaining 20 percent made of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood fiber.
This divine herb has a multitude of properties – it’s a potent skin-cell regenerative, mucolytic, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, circulatory stimulant, vulnerary, antioxidant, antifungal, analgesic and deodorizing agent. I use both the essential oil and the infused oil in formulas to relieve sinus and respiratory congestion, muscle tension and soreness, and headaches; to soften and fade scar tissue; to stimulate memory, creativity, confidence and mental energy; and to stimulate circulation to encourage hair growth.
Choosing homesteading as a way of life and what it takes.
This very simple indirect stepping stone technique allows you to make multiple stepping stones that will be beautiful and long lasting. It is good for individual stones and for large group projects involving all ages.
What we have found as an advantage of having a rural hardware store close by.
Detoxification is a powerful tool for treating fatigue and helping your body handle toxins—everything from car exhaust to junk food. Give your body a natural energy and health boost using this simple liver detox program.
In the beauty of autumn comes a time of preparation for winter. The many necessary tasks to be prepared if you are self sufficient.
Some of the difficulties we encounter in gardening at a high elevation
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.
There are layer chickens, and there are broilers. We talk a lot about eggs, but now we'd like to hear your thoughts on raising and butchering your own meat chickens. Is it too much reality? Is it worth the unpleasantness?
Today, resourceful homeowners are creating more space without moving walls. One innovative solution uses heavy-duty sliding door hardware to show how a vacation home benefits from more efficient floor space.
Learn how to assemble a humane animal trap out of recycled material. It’s easy and effective!
How we avoid cabin fever by doing volunteer work and enjoying the beautiful outdoors.
We have slowly replaced out dated fixtures and the Rialto toilet was the final step in getting more environmentally compliant.
How we deal with unexpected incidents.
Robert Zwald talks about his days in a one room school house, learning with all eight grades at once. This is part four of eight in Robert Zwald's stories, as compiled by his daughter, Ruth.
Bruce McElmurray and Ed Essex collaborate on how the weather dictates to their mountain homesteading.
Ed and Bruce compare the weather and its impact on their mountain homesteads at different elevations and mountain ranges.
Thank goodness for good friends who will share their garden harvest with those of us less skilled.
Ed and Bruce share their experiences with homesteading and self-sufficiency in a rural setting.
Spring time is a time to experience the newness of life and living in the Sangre de Cristo mountains amid the wildflowers, birds, green woods and new birth.
Calculating the amount of mountain snow to actual moisture.
The Farmers’ Almanac is a blend of useful information, entertainment and fascinating lore.
Great Pyrenees have a reputation as great livestock guardian dogs, but they also protect poultry. Read what two owners of Great Pyrenees have to say about the dogs’ innate ability to protect poultry and other livestock.
Sometimes you have your plans changed for you, so don't put off tomorrow what can be done today.
Pack Rats, cute, tricky and destructive
New wood stove, another unexpected advantage of downsizing, and Murphy's Law.
Hiking to the top of our mountain, the breathing view, the soothing effect.
Ed and Bruce share their experiences with homesteading and self-sufficiency in a rural setting. This segment is on using natural resources around the homestead.
Riches sometimes come from natural resources - not always connected with dollar signs.
Tree rings tell the tale. It is nice and green here now but our plants and weeds are acclimated to semi arid and have deep roots.
The forests in Colorado are dying at a fast rate. Find out what's to blame.
Homesteading with dogs in remote mountain living. Considerations in providing a good safe homestead environment for your cherished pets.
Mountain Rose Herbs honored with Social and Fair Trade Certification.
Snow in the mountains is different than snow found at lower elevations.
There is hard work homesteading in the mountains and the weather dictates much of those challenges.
Taking time to reflect on the past brings renewed appreciation to the present.
Other than the four regular seasons there is a fifth season in the mountains called mud season.
What we do on snow days in the mountains when it is snowing hard outside.
PBS and Ken Burns’ new series, “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” is stirring up interest in some of our country’s most beautiful and awe-inspiring nature, as well as its people. And it’s no surprise that many of MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers have fond memories of these wilderness areas. What are your favorite memories and stories regarding our national parks?
Setting weld parameters is now easier than ever with the Miller Auto-Set elite feature.
Options for phone service if you live in a remote location that doesn't have cell service or landlines available to you.
Living in a community that has those who served in the armed forces and make good neighbors.
Jenna Woginrich’s latest book, “One Woman Farm,” whisks readers away.
Two homesteaders discuss their experience with the weather applicable to their mountain homesteads in Washington and Colorado.
Try this expert advice to keep goats from getting out of the pasture.
Any rancher will tell you, the secret to a healthy, productive herd of cattle is good bulls. Henry the bull may not be perfect on paper, but he turned out to be the perfect bull for Rancho Cappuccino.
Of all the baby animals born on the farm — the chicks, lambs, puppies, calves — the goat kids are in a class of their own. Racing, playing, causing mischief, find out what makes kids so much fun and so invigorating to watch.
Beano, Rancho Cappuccino's resident guard donkey, appears to be experiencing maternal envy. Without a baby of her own, she's taken to borrowing (unasked, of course) the lambs and kids of the sheep and goats she protects.
The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy announces the new Heritage Turkey publication, Selecting Your Best Turkey for Breeding. The resource highlights on the history of Heritage Turkeys and how to raise the breed.
Most stock tanks aren’t designed to prevent the water from freezing. The tanks have no insulation, and the large area of water exposed to air doesn’t help either. Livestock owners frequently us a floating electric tank heater. But there’s a better (and less expensive) solution — solar livestock water tanks.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the American Egg Board are being sued for using $3 million in public funds to fight a phase-out of inhumane farming practices.
Last spring, I decided to raise my own free-range turkey for Thanksgiving. Here’s how that project turned out.
Raising endangered livestock, such as Mulefoot hogs, is good for the farmer as well as the future of heritage breeds.
It's true, under the right circumstances, livestock grazing does help build healthy soil. Here's how it works.
In some circumstances, fruit pulp can be a good food for livestock. Here are a few examples of how it can be used.
Help keep cages and water sources clean with Solway Feeder's horizontal watering nipples.
Gardening challenges at high elevation.
The process of evaluating needs for successful downsizing.
Taking a ride on an old steam engine.
How we have adapted from salt water fishing to freshwater and what we do with our catch.
How we live in the mountains during the winter.
Looking for a way to boost your immune system naturally as the colder months settle in? Enter our latest sweepstakes to win immune-enhancing herbal products from Mountain Rose Herbs!
Healthy home advocates are concerned that wireless power and gas meters, which are being installed in homes across the country, could release dangerous radiation.
Diana and Tony Varnes are the happiest they’ve ever been, and they attribute their well being to living in a small home. They have more time for reading, talking and enjoying the outdoors—and their relationship is better than ever.
Katie and Martin Clemons are resetting their priorities as they settle happily into a 480-square-foot apartment in Berlin. “Living smaller has taught us to live more simply,” Katie says. They bike more, shower less and enjoy their good life.
Ed and Joan Kobrinski left a large family home for a smaller, simpler cottage—and they’ve never looked back. Their tips for downsizing and living in smaller spaces could help make your transition easier.
Although livestock guard dogs are the oldest and most traditional livestock guardians, Jan Dohner gives us a look at the other two livestock guardians – llamas and donkeys.
You’ve done your homework – examining your needs, situation, and breed preferences – and now you are ready to select your LGD. This is an expensive, long- term commitment of time and energy. This LGD will be protecting your farm and stock. Please take your time to choose your pup carefully.
Teaching a farm dog — a livestock guard dog — which animals to protect and which animals not to isn't an easy task. Learn about the protector/protectee animal relationships at Rancho Cappuccino, and about how the Rancho guard animals are taught to protect their charges.
Publisher Bryan Welch doesn't make his living on the farm, which he says is a good thing. He writes about his steps and missteps in his first year using an automatic waterer for his cattle, and the first winter test.
It's a challenge to describe the place where I take my livestock when it's time for them to cease being my companions, and to become my product instead. I call Steve's Meats in DeSoto, Kansas, the "packer." And, indeed, when I stopped off there this morning they had about 800 pounds of beef frozen and packed, ready for me to take home. It filled the freezer to the rim.
The voting outcome of Ohio's Issue 2 is seen as a win for industrial agriculture.
Confrontation with life and death situations are unavoidable when living on a farm. Seeing baby animals come into the world is beautiful, but sometimes these beautiful moments can be full of anxiety if things aren't going just right.
How I use baking soda to treat my ram that is prone to bloat.
The emotional realities of butchering and processing your own livestock.
Jenna has three new sheep on the homestead and she's already learning a lot.
Do you employ a livestock guardian to protect your flock or herd? We want to hear about it!
The time to prepare for livestock or pet emergencies is not when they fall ill, but before. Here are some basics so you and your critters are covered.
An overview of groups, initiatives, planning certifications, and neighborhood developments that promote sustainable communities, including Transition initiatives, ecovillages, One Planet Communities, LEED for Neighborhood Development, and others.
Earth Days, a poignant, 2009 Sundance Film Fesitval success, will premier on Facebook April 11, and on the PBS Network April 19.
Mountain Rose Herbs hosted a three day benefit festival for Cascadia Wildlands in September of this year.
Where we go to reflect on life and relax.
Elizabeth Van Deventer has been on a quest to find the answer to sustainable farming and an ethical diet most of her life. Follow along as she discovers the impacts of producing tea, palm oil and fruit, and how she eventually settles on a lifestyle that is in tune with the earth and all of its creatures.
In the hollows of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this true Christmas celebration was simple, inexpensive and rich with tradition.
This is part two of my visit to King Arthur Flour, the concluding blog of the four-day event.
Advice from a sustainable farming expert on how to get started with livestock on a small piece of land.
H1N1, or swine flu, didn't have to be the epidemic it is today. Are factory farms to blame?
Lyanda Haupt talks about the challenges and rewards of protecting her chickens and garden from local wildlife.
If you’re new to raising chickens, you might be a little intimidated setting up house for your new flock. Homesteader Jenna Woginrich offers a straightforward overview of getting started, from preparing a brooder to providing feed and water.
The best low cost (semi-reliable) options for getting animals and plants onto your homestead!
We had a dehorning and RE-castrating day at the farm today. We had to make the very difficult decision to dehorn three heifers that had not been properly dehorned as babies, which is when this should be done.
Today I gave the cows all a dish with a zinc mix, copper mix, and sulfur mix. I do this about once a week to see if they need to free choice those particular minerals. Today they liked the sulfur and zinc but did not eat much of the copper. It is amazing how farm animals know what they need and will take it if they need it.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Maine dairy farmer Dyan learns that giving up control, whether over a mischievous flock or a single lamb, can have its own rewards.
Maine and Minnesota Goat Schools are over, and a great time was had by all; Janice Spaulding recaps the events and prepares for the next one is in Ohio in September.
Check out these photos of some of the animals that attended the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR.
Livestock guard dogs were found in a sweep of cultures from southern Europe through Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and central Asia. They worked in the company of shepherds who often spent weeks on high summer pasture or on long migratory routes.
The peaceful tranquility of farm life is often more or less controlled chaos, especially during the busy spring season!
We know why we love heritage breed livestock, but why do you?
Although used less commonly than dogs or llamas, here is one more possibility for a livestock guardian – a guard donkey.
A growing number of homeowners are realizing how useful chickens can be in the backyard: They offer pest control, fertilizer, comedy relief, and their business end doles out concentrated protein like a Pez dispenser. Unfortunately, novice chicken-owners can encounter problems when they expect more than chickens can deliver, either in food, companionship or general co-operation.
If using a livestock guard dog is not the right decision for you or your farm, Jan Dohner takes an honest look at another option – the guard llama.
Jan Dohner explains how the different Livestock Guard Dog breeds were developed and introduces us to their differences in style of work, temperament and other behaviors.
Author Maggie Bonham recounts the various ways she's managed to obtain free goats, including Craigslist ads and trading for chickens.
In a previous post, “What is a Livestock Guard Dog?,” I described what livestock guard dogs do but it is also exceptionally important to know how they do this job. Understanding how not only helps us work with our LGDs but also explains why other breeds or crosses with non-LGD breeds are not likely to perform this same outstanding job.
Livestock guard dogs are an attractive choice for predator control on the farm. Jan Dohner gives us an honest look at the pros and cons of choosing a Livestock guard dog versus a guard donkey or llama.
In Part One of this post, Jan Dohner explained how the different Livestock Guard Dog breeds were developed and introduces us to their differences in style of work, temperament and other behaviors. In Parts Two and Three, we take a brief look at some of the more common LGD breeds available in North America.
In this post, Jan Dohner describes the different roles a livestock guard dog can perform on a farm or homestead - a full-time livestock guardian, a general farm guardian, or a family companion.
In our last few posts, we’ve been looking at the various breeds of livestock guard dogs. But before you start looking at advertisements or litters of puppies, there are a few more questions for you to ask yourself. They are centered on two broad issues – your predator problems and your farm or homestead.
Re-homed adult or rescue LGDs are another option when you are looking for a working livestock guard dog for your farm.
Discover the Ozarks region's natural beauty and adventure hot spots as told by Mike McArthy of Photozarks.
Find out how to feed rabbit babies using a goat's milk-based formula.
This mojito recipe from a surprising source--a Teahouse--is light, refreshing and not too sweet--perfect for a warm summer evening.
Guard donkeys and a good pen for nighttime can be vital to protecting new lambs and kids, especially with coyotes on the prowl. Find out how all it takes is one small mistake to produce fatal consequences on the farm.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is accepting public comment regarding a draft Guidance for Industry #187 — to clarify regulation of genetically altered animals.
It's hard to shop responsibly sometimes, especially for meat. There are so many different label claims that it's hard to remember which are meaningful and which are just fluff. Here's a handy reference card that will give more power to your purchases.
The Center to Expose and Close Animal Factories employs a strong legal background to take on industrial agriculture. Learn about their plan to clean up the business for good.
Jenna Woginrich discusses the more difficult aspects of homesteading, and why it's worth it anyway.
There are a lot of changes we'd like to see made to our food system this year. Add your own.
So, yes, I have become a lover of goats (and ducks have won me over, too). But the truth is, I can’t wait to eat the boys.
Loading cattle isn't fun, but it doesn't have to be (too) difficult
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my short time of being a goat herder, it’s that at breeding time, the goats are in charge.
Dyan writes about the changing season at Bittersweet Farm, and introduces us to the newest member of the flock, a black sheep named Little Man.
Suggestions for the interior of your chicken house, including; feed storage, access to nest boxes, dividing the chicken-living area, and making a loft for storing bedding material.
One week after moving our chickens, there now stands a chicken “duck and cover” shelter for them to dive under in the event of a hawk attack. It’s not perfect as a strategy, and the hawk may still get a chicken or two. But these magnificent birds crave a greater measure of freedom than they have in their chicken tractors, and I aim to see that they get it.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger Dyan Redick divides her time differently these days, Before Milking and After Milking, in the wake of spring births on her Maine dairy farm.
Our guest blogger is positively enchanted by the convenience, not to mention the benefits, of keeping worms in the garden.
The cold, hard facts about how Annie Warmke, goat herder extraordinnaire, found her calling in a barn with Eleonore Rigby and her two tiny kids.
As mama hens, is there ever really a time when we don’t worry about our little chicks?
We folded down the back seats in our Subaru wagon, lined the whole back area with a heavy tarp and a thick layer of straw, and headed down to Nash's Delta Farm to catch us some ducks.
Becky Venn of Alpacas of Wintercreek explains why these gentle critters make great livestock.
The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC) will be celebrating 35 years of success at their annual conference on November 9-10 in Cary, N.C. Whether you’re a hard core farmer or backyard hobbyist, the conference is sure to have something to ruffle your tail feathers.
Learn what a typical family homestead in the late 19th century produced: The diversity and efficiency is surprising and inspiring information for any modern homesteader! This is Part Three of a four-part series on the author's work to discover the history of her farm.
Learn what a typical Kansas family homestead in the late 19th century produced: The diversity and efficiency of their farm sales is surprising and inspiring information for any modern homesteader! This is Part Three of a four-part series on the author's work to discover the history of her farm.
An aging goose gains a family.
Check out these photos of some of the animal attendees at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR.
With the increase in small-scale farming activities, people are looking not only at backyard poultry but also into raising backyard livestock. This post is about Mary Jane Phifer’s experience with Irish Dexter cattle, a small-sized dual-purpose.
Here are three easy observations you can make every day to see how your animals are performing. Use them to constantly adjust your grazing program, instead of “flying blind” until sale day or weighing. They can help you adjust paddock size or give supplemental nutrients.
In Part One of this post, Jan Dohner explained how the different livestock guard dog breeds were developed and introduces us to their differences in style of work, temperament and other behaviors. In parts two and three, we take a brief look at some of the more common LGD breeds available in North America.
Raising dairy goats has benefits that extend beyond fresh milk and cheese.
Cowpies are a valuable source of clues about your herd's health and productivity. A quick look at manure consistency in the pasture can help you manage for peak profit.
Cow manure is a key indicator of bovine health and well being. After milk, it is the most valuable thing your cows will produce. Micro-dairy expert Steve Judge explains why it pays to get comfortable with cow manure.
After a wildfire destroyed their off-the-grid compound in Colorado, Betty and Rolland rebuilt—better than before—following Rolland’s creed: no plywood, no plastic and nothing that smells bad when it burns. The wildlife around their home approve.
Smithfield's hog farms produce a lot of meat and make a lot of money, but at what cost? Can we continue to look the other way as they pollute waters, abuse animals and terrorize their neighbors?
Rachel gets a scare with Daisy the goat - is it bottle jaw or something else? A trip to the vet provides some lessons.
Donna Pellegrin shares her mother's stories of growing up on a fertile, bountiful farm during the Great Depression, and of the homesteading skills that kept them well fed.
A beginner farmer learns about taking on the responsibility of raising animals.
The accumulation and storage of hay is an essential summer task.
How and why we chose to have a livestock guardian dog and what they are like.
In this section you will find stories of real farmers across the country that made it work. You'll find their story, how they did it and who helped them. We hope these stories will inspire and educate new farmers, as well as land owners and community members to become involved in the new agrarian movement. A growing trust.
A permaculture-based, 2,000-acre farm in Northern California integrates grassfed livestock with orchard farming.
It has been fifteen months since heritage breed hog farmer Mark Baker sued the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to stop the implementation of an invasive species order (ISO). The swine ISO supposedly targeted feral swine but could be applied to any domestic pig not raised in confinement. Baker has yet to have his day in court and it is still not settled when his trial will take place. It is common for lawsuits like this to turn into wars of attrition; the state has virtually unlimited resources while the farmers are bled of theirs over the course of the litigation.
Dairyman Nick Snelgar reflects on the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health certification process and bagging hay for winter on his UK dairy farm.
I am loving my time spent at the Mother Earth News Fair in Puyallup, Washington thus far. There are tons of great and interesting people to meet, delicious food, fun and information-packed lectures and demonstrations, and, best of all, adorable anima
Animal Husbandry tent experiences from Day 1 of 2011 Mother Earth News Fair.
People living near massive livestock operations may be at risk from the pollution they generate--which is higher in some cases than the nation's most polluted cities.
As antibiotic resistant infections become more prevalent due to antibiotic use in livestock, health advocates turn to the White House for action.
Edamame soybeans are tough,fast-maturing plants that can withstand extreme garden conditions. They have few problems with disease or insect pests. The green pods are delicious and high in protein, and make a good addition to an edible landscape.
The EPA is now defining a CAFO (formerly confined animal feeding operation) as a Country Animal Feeding Operation.
So, what makes a flock of poultry sustainable? What is standard-bred poultry? If you purchase chicks from a hatchery, are they true to the breed? Why does every hatchery sell Rhode Island Reds and they all look different? Why do the Cornish Cross meat chickens have so many problems? Raising standard poultry is the only true way to improve the sustainability of quality local food while preserving the strength of Heritage poultry.
The Department of Natural Resources seeks to fine a family for possession of prohibited swine.
This gift set of four farm-themed board books features illustrations that tell the story of a day in the life of each of four animals: chickens, goats, cows and pigs.
The results of our latest nutrition tests show that eggs from hens raised on pasture (true free-range eggs) exceed commercially raised eggs in vitamin D content.
Intensive grazing management can answer questions regarding field carrying capacity, how much forage your animals need each day and how to manage what you have. Pizza, anyone?
Raising chicks is easy as long as you pay attention to their needs for food, water, and housing. It also helps to learn their language.
Wendy Albright remembers visiting her grandparent's farm where practicing organic living was the preferred way of life; they exercised natural crop cultivation, gathered fresh chicken eggs, canned both vegetables and meat and the term "eating like a thrasher" became a reality.
The place I call home these days is The FarmSchool, a fertile 180-acre strip of ridge top in Athol, where 15 student-farmers are spending a year learning the ins and outs of growing food, managing forests, and raising animals for meat. I arrived at the farm in October, just as the leaves were reaching their peak brilliance. The Farm School — which offers three-day programs for schoolchildren, a summer camp, a full-time middle school, and the apprenticeship program I’m in — takes us through all seasons of farming, weaving together class work and on-farm training.
A few months back I heard a comment on an NPR radio program that really caught my attention. The program was about the local food movement and at one point the guest on the show said, “Now remember - just because it’s local doesn’t necessarily mean it has a smaller carbon footprint. That Argentinian apple that was shipped on a barge with thousands of tons of other apples may actually have required less fuel per apple than the apple than came from a few hundred miles away in the back on a farmer’s pickup.”
Jenna Woginrich writes about the beauty of Cold Antler Farm, a small homestead that she shares with Pig, her rabbits Benjamin and Doe and several chickens. Taking care of her animals on cold winter nights is a challenge for Woginrich, but one she gladly accepts armed with a water bottle and affection. Woginrich's modest barn provides shelter for her animals and a useful space to feel at home.