Healthy Food Begins with Community

Four refugees in Maine have started a cooperative farm producing fresh, chemical-free produce and prove that community is an important ingredient in healthy food.

How Cows Make Milk

We take it for granted that cows and other mammals make milk for their babies and for us. The process is truly a miracle of nature. What follows is a brief explanation of exactly how cows make milk.

The Market Gardener: A Successful Growers Handbook for Small-Scale Organic Farming

A step-by-step guide that lays out practical know-how, Fortier has done his due diligence to learn from those who have innovated in the past and compiled successful strategies into one small successful farm. In a time of “feel good stories” that may or may not be financially solvent, Fortier simply hands over to the reader the blueprints to confidently launch and run a small-scale market garden.

Gardening at High Elevation

Growing vegetables at a high elevation can be very challenging. Over the years we have had to be flexible and creative in order to manage a small garden. We grow enough for our needs but not enough to put any vegetables up for future use. This blog post outlines some of the challenges we have faced and how we overcame them.

Study Finds Benefits in Mediterranean Way of Eating

The blessings of the Mediterranean diet have been praised for years. The fact that a diet based on olive oil, vegetables, and pulses has significant cardiovascular benefits makes it immediately a sensible and healthy gastronomic choice. But thanks to a major scientific study, we may also have some real evidence that Mediterranean diet is a powerful and tasty way to prevent serious chronic diseases.

Herbalist and Artist Create Everyday Guides for Healthy Living

The ‘Everyday Living Series’ by Thyme Herbal offers a supportive guide for healthy living. The series is created by herbalist Brittany Wood Nickerson, who shares her experiences and advice concerning herbal practices and homesteading.

World's Best DIY Bike Cargo Trailer

We recently built a fabulous bike trailer that smoothly hauls loads of up to 300 pounds. All told, we spent about 10 hours putting it all together.

Build a Mini Root Cellar that Actually Works

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.

Solar Backyard Chicken-Coop Building Plans

A community of smaller portable chicken coops are better than one, big, stationary one. Download building plans for a solar heated design that’s also great in hot climates.

How to Choose Cows for a Micro or Small-Herd Dairy

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.

'Slow Fish': Justice on Our Plates (with Video)

Slow Fish 2016 celebrates movements dedicated to honoring food producers, protecting the land and waters we love, increasing food access, and celebrating our cultural diversity.

Working With Nature to Build Organic Soil

Understanding a bit of the chemistry and biology behind building healthy soil allows us to work in harmony with nature to contribute to the health of our soil, plants, food and planet.

Why and How to Test Soil in Your Garden

Wondering how to test your soil? Get the scoop on proper garden soil testing, evaluating soil pH, and home soil testing kits before you plant this season.

Book Review: My House of Earth

This new book by veteran natural builder Conrad Rogue of House Alive natural builders is a treasure of technique and philosophy.

Stand Up and Sign Up: Community Farms Need You Now

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).

Jam On: The Universal Jam Recipe

Make jam with whatever is in season! This recipe works with almost any fruit. The results are modestly sweet and balanced with freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Scaling Up Local Foods Cooperatively

The Maine Farm & Sea Cooperative has a plan to take the local food movement to the next level. They're vying for big contracts with institutional buyers and competing with major corporations. And they're cooperatively owned and run by Maine's farmers and consumers.

An Introduction to Parasitic Plants

Parasites catch a bad rap. Often feared and maligned, we tend to overlook the fact that they play an integral role in the ecological health of our ecosystems. Though animal and microbial parasites are most familiar, there are parasitic plants as well. What follows is a brief overview of the nature of parasitic plants.

Are Electric Vehicles Bad for the Environment?

Recent studies have begun to spark a fresh debate about whether battery-powered electric vehicles are really better for the environment than gas-powered ones. The key point is asking how much the source of the electricity that powers an EV contributes to its green credentials. This post explores that question.

Sane and Sustainable Homesteading, Part 1

Many people in the world long for a life in the country, lived on their own terms, close to nature, honest and hands-on. But too many of these people find that homesteading is harder, less fulfilling and more painful than they imagined. Learn how to thrive on the land without burnout, despair and failure.

Eco-Friendly Holiday Gift Ideas

Looking for alternatives to store-bought gifts? Check our these eco-friendly holiday gift ideas. Green your holiday season by making your own gifts, gifting experiences, or giving plants- the gifts that keep on giving.

In Defense of Plants

It would seem that most people don’t pay any attention to plants unless they are pretty or useful in some way. I reject this reality outright. From the smallest duckweed to the tallest redwood, the botanical world is full of wonder. I am here to defend that.

Homesteading in the United Kingdom

“Smallholding” is a UK term that’s broadly equivalent to the term “homestead” in the United States, meaning farming on a small scale with a strong element of self-sufficiency in food. Despite the geographical differences, there must be a great deal of common ground between the American homestead and the British smallholding — so let’s find out!

Consilience Enhances Resilience: A Key Element of CSA Farms

As climate chaos intensifies, we have many reasons to cultivate resilience - the strength and flexibility to endure shocks and yet still function. Through CSA farms the quality of consilience - the linking together of principles from different disciplines - becomes a way for all shareholders to enhance the resilience of farms and thereby strengthen community.

Solar Empowerment: Lights Illuminating Guatemalan Hills and Hearts

"Solar Empowerment" is a key component behind an educational development model that does more than trade third-world problems for first-world problems. The Integral Heart Foundation combines education for the poor with environmentalism in a way that bypasses the problems facing our developed world.

Life and Death on the Farm

Death on a farm is unavoidable as life itself. These stories share lessons learned, words of wisdom and how a farmer can prepare for the inevitable when raising livestock.

Community Farmers Convene in America's Heartland

For dozens of reasons, it’s time to convene in America’s heartland a conference of farmers involved in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Here’s a sampler of the key topics that will arise.

Make Homemade Spiced Apple Cordial

After the first of the crisp fall apples have started to soften, I love to have a sip of this for dessert on a cold winter’s night. This homemade apple cordial tastes like the absolute best apple pie you ever drank! Here is how I preserve the goodness of apples laced with sweet spices.

How to Milk Your Cows in 30 Minutes

Milking your cows is a repetitive chore. Steve Judge, a long-time micro dairy farmer details his process which demonstrates through efficiencies how you can do it in less than 30 minutes.

'I Am Coyote' Profiles North America's Native Carnivore

This blog post is an introduction to the author'snewly published book, "I Am Coyote." What is essential to know when living and farming with carnivores? I would suggest that THE most important aspect to understand is WHO THEY ARE. Get to know how they live, how they think, their complex social lives and much more.

Agroecology Rebuilds Rural Livelihoods of Women in Post-Earthquake Nepal

Many rural Nepalese faced persistent food insecurity even before the recent earthquakes. Now, because of the destruction of livelihood assets, the situation is substantially worse. With support from Groundswell International, family farmers in post-earthquake Nepal are learning and using ecological agriculture principles to restore their farms, become more resilient, and create a more equitable landscape for women.

10 Steps for Calf Care on a Small-Herd Micro Dairy

Learn ten step to raising calves so that they will grow to become tame, calm and well-mannered cows. Steve Judge, a long-time micro dairy farmer takes us through the steps he follows on his farm.

CSA Farms Address Profound Global Concerns

It’s going to take more than individual efforts to meet the profound challenges of global climate change. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is one proven pathway for organizing groups of people to apply their strengths and intelligence in this essential responsibility. We need hundreds of thousands more CSA farms.

Awakening Community Intelligence: CSA Farms as 21st-Century Cornerstones

In the shadow of increasing climate chaos, human survival requires not only the intelligent actions of individuals but also thousands of communities of human beings who have had their inate intelligence awakened and who realize the fundamental link between life and land. In this regard, Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) provides a useful and egalitarian model for sustainable food systems of the future.

Off-Grid and Underground

A homesteader introduces readers to his quest for a simpler life, which led to the construction of a unique underground home.

Driving Green at the FAIR

MOTHER EARTH NEWS fairgoers could choose a vehicle from a fleet of Ford hybrid cars to test-drive on the rolling countryside outside Asheville, N.C.

Transitioning to Spring On a Micro-Dairy, Part 2

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.

Transitioning to Spring on a Micro-Dairy Farm, Part 1

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.

Gardening at High Elevation

Gardening at a high elevation presents challenges such as harsh sun and a shorter growing season.

What We Do Around the Homestead in February

February can be a hit or miss for us here at Deer Isle Hostel - snow and cold demands more creativity to stay busy, but also provides a great chance not to do much. Planting onions from seed, shoveling snow and planning for the Hostel season 2015 are some things I do to keep the cabin fever under control.

'Numen: The Nature of Plants' Is a Film to See

"Numen: The Nature of Plants" is a cornucopia of intuitive wisdom, science based knowledge, and exuberant passion and reverence for plants around the world. The film opens with plant close ups and stunning time lapse photography of plants throughout their growing cycles, their intrinsic eye catching patterns and their symbiotic relationships with pollinators. Numen is defined as the spirit believed by animists to inhabit natural objects. The film describes that we sense this force the most abundantly through plants.

The Earth Shelter

The "Earth Shelter" at The Farm Community in Tennessee combines the geothermal properties of the earth with solar design to produce a very energy efficient home.

The Chestnut Harvest

September brought a huge chestnut harvest that I delight in gathering and eating.

Neighborhood Micro Nurseries, Part 1

We are creating two neighborhood nurseries where we'll raise trees and plants to share with neighbors to develop a neighborhood food forest.

Coconut Ginger Winter Squash Soup Recipe

Butternut squash are an important winter food, the rich orange flesh delivering vital nutrients in a sweet and velvety goodness that can be utilized in a variety of ways.

Choosing Voluntary Poverty

Voluntary poverty and simplicity is one of the most important and under-realized ways of living green and living great!

Storing Winter Squash

Storing winter squash and preserving other vegetables through the winter presents their own set of challenges to the home gardener and homesteader. We find that growing food is just one half of the equation, and it is easy to be caught unprepared or find that the space and temperature requirements for storage can be hard to come by.

Missouri Organic Association Conference

The Missouri Organic Association is gearing up for its 2015 Annual Conference in Springfield, Mo, on February 5th, 6th and 7th at University Plaza Hotel and Conference Center.

How Do We Get a Septic System Installed?

In order to secure a building permit to construct their future home, we must first complete a soil evaluation and meet the county's requirements for septic system installations.

Transitions: Preparing the Farmer for Winter

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.

Preparing Your Cows for Winter

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.

Laying Salvaged Tiles

A simple technique for using salvaged tiles to make beautiful floors.

Inspiration From a Women's Gathering

Women have gathered since the dawn of humanity. Women tend to lose sight of self care because we are the caregivers. When women gather, we renew the inner fire in our hearts, we brainstorm solutions to global problems, we connect to the earth.

'Food Is Free' Project Losing Their Teaching Farm

The Food is Free Project has inspired thousands of individuals, families and groups around the globe to start front yard free gardens to share with friends and neighbors. They are losing their teaching farm.

Why I Really Love My Rural Life

Almost 30 years ago I made one of the best decisions ever when I began my homesteading adventure. It's no "Little House on the Prarie" but you can see it from there.

7 Steps to Prepare Your Barn for Winter

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.

Build a Hugelkultur Bed

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.

These Nature Photos Will Tickle Your Funny Bone

Mara Grunbaum's conversations with and about a hilariously personified "Evolution" provide a running commentary throughout "WTF, Evolution?!" accompanied by really excellent nature photos.

Ford Brings a Charge to the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Ford Motor Company’s electrifying presence at the 2014 Pennsylvania MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR included sponsoring the event, giving test drives, and updating fairgoers about the latest news on electric and hybrid vehicle technology.

Tanning a Buffalo Hide

We called in friends to help us with brain-tanning a buffalo hide that was donated to us.

Aquaponic Farmers Josh and Alicia Davis

Young, pioneering aquaponic farmers like Josh and Alicia Davis, who own and operate an aquaponics farm in the Midwest, are reshaping the future of food in the United Sates. Folks like these surely do inspire others to think differently about their food.

Solar Energy Solutions

Solar energy solutions can reshape the future. It can help sculpt the world we live in and can help solve some of the greatest environmental problems facing the world today including climate change and our reliance on fossil fuels.

Time to Plant the Fall Garden

You can be harvesting from your garden all year long, including through the winter months! It's time to plant the fall garden.

How to Prevent Alzheimer's With Diet

Learn how to prevent Alzheimer's with diet. There is plenty of time for people to make brain-healthy lifestyle and dietary choices to potentially delay the onset of this dreaded and devastating disease.

Steadfast Garlic

Garlic is resilient, easy-to-grow, highly nutritious, and a natural antibiotic.

The Recycled Log Cabin

I love my two-story log cabin, which combines recycled and an array of green building materials.

How to Use a Bucket Milker

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.

Delicious, Nutritious, Ice-Cold Watermelon Cooler

Stephanie Tourles, author and Seven Springs, Pa., FAIR Speaker, shares how to make a delicious, ice-cold watermelon cooler. Refresh after a day in the heat with this super easy and nutritious drink.

A Brief History of Milking Cows by Hand

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.

Food Is Free Project

The Food Is Free Project has become a food revolution in Austin, Texas

A New Blogger at The Farm Community

For more than 40 years, The Farm Community in Tennessee has been on the forefront of farming, gardening and the green lifestyle.

How to Market Farm-Fresh Milk Direct to Consumers

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.

Welcome to Drink the Harvest

Introducing a revolutionary new book about the "drinkable landscape" and how you can use organic gardening to produce a huge array of beverages.

Smart Agriculture in Cameroon Minimizes Greenhouse Gases

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.

Permaculture as a Global Solution

Permaculture is at the heart of the solution of many environmental crises. Permaculture is alive with the possibilities of positive change.

Grazing Your Cows on Wooded Pasture

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.

Stain Your Deck So It Lasts

Download Steve Maxwell’s free list of tested and approved deck stains that have worked well in field tests.

A Lesson of Hope

How a hopelessly damaged apple tree has delivered lessons of hope since 2007.

How To Milk a Cow that Kicks

Cows are big, powerful animals, and milking puts you right beside the strong hind legs and feet. If you find yourself with what I call a kicky cow, there are steps you can take to manage the animal.

How To Milk a Cow

Cows love routine. The more things stay the same for cows, the safer and more secure they feel. Here is my abbreviated list of best practices for milking a cow, learned over many decades in the barn.

Spring Fever

Beekeeping supply arrived, it's light out and I have a fever!

Legacy of Jaime Hines

In remembrance of a dear friend and steward of the Earth, a look at how others inspire us and how their legacy sculpts us.

Feeding Cows on a Micro Dairy

Managing the feed regimen for cows in a micro dairy environment is a matter of setting clear goals and understanding what your cows need.

Aspirations of the Energy Poor are the Key for Solar to Thrive

1.3 billion people live without access to electricity. In the last five years, falling costs of solar technology have made solar economically viable without subsidies for off-grid communities. How can businesses keep up with this potential solar growth? Hint: it’s all about the customer.

Six and a Half Money-Saving Tips

Inspired by the recent Mother Earth News article, "65 Money Saving Tips", this piece shares how we at the Be the Change Product spend little and live better.

Catching Colds and Flying on Planes

Catching a cold after flying is common. Find out why plane travelers get sick after flying, and learn how to boost your immunity to avoid post-flight colds and flu.

So You Want to Be a Farmer?

In the Spring of 2010, I quit my job as a high school theology teacher, because I wanted to be a farmer. I am now entering my fourth year of full-time farming, even though I had almost no experience farming. Here’s how I did it, and some tips to help you on your way.

Safely Cut Pond Ice

Maintaining access to a water source is one of the most important winter-time chores.

Every Cow Poops: The Value of Cow Manure on the Farm

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.

Hand-Milling Sorghum

A great opportunity to use a new hand-driven sorghum mill and cook down a small batch of sorghum for the crowd at the Lawrence Kansas MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR in October!

The One-Day Cob House

This May 2014, Be the Change Project is attempting to build a cob house in one day with 50 people.

Pig Harvest

Another season of pigs and the work of raising, feeding and butchering them in the urban setting.

Survival Vocabulary

With all the TV shows depicting "survival", I will sort through the various groups and argue that the reality shows are far from reality.

Sustainable Food Lessons From Kenya

In Kenya, even for middle class families, much of what ends up on the dinner table is grown or raised at home. With food prices rising, more and more Americans are looking towards ways of growing some of what ends up on their table at home. Both in terms of personal health, and the environment, this is a very good trend—it's a food source as local as you can get.

How to Choose the Right Knife

I’ll let you in on a little secret; there is no PERFECT knife. Cutting tools are only as effective as the handler wielding them.

Wanted: Visionary Wisdom

Why Tesla cars, Space-X and other creations of Elon Musk are not the kind of visionary thinking we so desperately need.

Dental Surgery On a Rabbit!

Using rabbit hypnosis and a pair of wire cutters we successfully perform dental surgery on one of our does.

Ricotta and Kefir

In this blog we explore making your own ricotta and kefir, with recipes!

Cabin Fever: Reality Or Myth?

Cabin Fever: noun, ‘Boredom, restlessness, or irritability that results from a lack of environmental stimulation, as from a prolonged stay in a remote, sparsely populated region or a confined indoor area‘.

Must Read Books

Eight books that have had a transformative effect on our lives.

Savor the Season of Autumn

Autumn offers not only a bountiful harvest, but also an abundance of art materials directly from nature.

Why Milk Pasteurization?

How a small and inexpensive High Temperature-Short Time pasteurizer could change the dairy industry.

National Plug In Day is Coming

Celebrate the third annual National Plug In day on Sept. 29, 2013, and see what electric cars are all about.

Organic Materials Review Institute

At the Mother Earth News Fair, I always enjoy speaking with fellow farmers and gardeners about inputs, organic standards and sound practices in the field. At the OMRI booth, we always provide free OMRI Products Lists of approved input materials, to help you find the right fertilizer or livestock feed additive and keep your farm or garden truly organic .

Rosemary - The Herb of Remembrance

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.

Urban Meat, Part II: Pigs

Pigs can be a great source of healthy and humanely-raised meat in an urban setting thriving on the leftovers of humanity.

Small-Scale Medicinal Herb Farming: A (Very) Personal Journey

From the moment of realization that the world of healing herbs was calling Susanna Raeven, to herfirst herbal class, to running a small-scale herb farm that grows medicinal herbs with organic methods, to creating artisan herbal products, and finally to working with clients to help them find balance in their lives with the generous support of the plant kingdom, the journey has been quite a ride with many joyous moments, but also doubts, insecurities, and cloudy days.

Children in the Garden

Allowing children the space to discover the beauty and wonder of plants through tending to their own garden builds character, teaches responsibility, gives insight into the beauty of nature and fosters their connection with where their food comes from.

An ‘Elemental’ Undertaking: Environmental Film Humanizes the Eco-Warrior

There’s more than one way to be an environmental warrior. And some approaches work better than others. Elemental follows the stories of three environmental advocates united by their deep connection with nature and driven to confront some of the most dire ecological issues affecting their respective communities. This isn’t only a story about plight and pollution, however. Rather, Gayatri Roshan’s and Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee’s documentary works best as a character-driven study of eco-activism’s do’s and don’ts.

Caring About the Environment

Why do certain individuals care about the environment while others do not? Is it an intrinsic moral obligation? Are we born with an innate instinct to want to protect the earth and its natural resources?

New Year’s Revolution: Stop Making Excuses!

If you want to achieve your goals, stop making excuses for the things that go wrong on your path to success. Learn from them. Never stop trying to improve. And never stop trying. Work smart and hard.

Earth Gauge Tip of The Week - National Severe Weather Preparedness Week

Are you ready for the kinds of severe weather that could impact the area where you live? National Severe Weather Preparedness Week takes place from Mar. 3-9, 2013. This is a great time for you and your family to “Be a Force of Nature” by learning the importance of planning for severe weather events and practicing how and where to take shelter before severe weather strikes.

Better Living Through Chemistry?

Have you ever wondered why our food has become so industrialized? Where some of those chemicals that are in almost everything, came from?

Changing the Context of Transportation

Cuba's bike transformation was the result of a change in context induced by external forces. It was a disruptive event that forced them to adapt. Here in America, a land of such excess, no such sudden disruption looms (nor could it be predicted, I believe). Our transportation context is centered on the car. Our culture and economy are “driven” by the car. So, how do we create a culture of transportation that is dominated by bicycles?

The Green Fork in the Road

Green living is similar to taking yoga. It is a ‘practice’ – the more you get into, the more there is to learn. It really comes down to three simple things. Are you ready, willing and able to start living green?

Spotlight on Earth Stewardship: Eric Stevens

This will be an ongoing series, which pays homage to Eco-conscious individuals by sharing their stories of hope, inspiration, challenges and insight into making the earth a better place for generations to come.

Children Are Like Seedlings

Discusses the similarities between the essential needs of children and seedlings in terms of what they need to grow and thrive.

A Father's Legacy of Natural Living

One of my earliest vivid childhood memories is sitting on my father’s lap as a young girl reading the magazine together in the 1980s and all throughout my childhood. He would read aloud while I studied the pictures of passive solar building, vegetable gardening, sheep shearing, building your own sugar shack and the beautiful array of topics which he read to me frequently. Those images, along with the camping trips in the mountains, the whitewater and canoeing excursions, and our family trip to Alaska, have been etched in the catacombs of my childhood memories and have sculpted the person I have grown to become.

We Are What We Read

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.

Avoiding Urban Beekeeping Problems

OK, you’ve got a start: where to get equipment, groups to join, classes to take, and mentors to hook up with. Now’s the time, before you have bees, to take a long hard look at some of the rest of the things you need to be thinking about.

The Accidental Homesteader

When I bought my farm, I did it to live in the woods. I would like to say I was deliberate. And intentional. But clueless is probably a better word. I should have suspected something when I bought the land and they threw the house in for free.

Emerging Brawn

Work on the farm gets easier as kids grow and get physically able to tackle chores with more strength.

Drought Again?

Are we headed into another year of drought? Already, we are behind on precipitation for this year, and for the last two years. What strategies can we implement to utilize minimal rain and resources better?

The Amazing Cold Frame

If I could only pick one season extending structure, it would be a cold frame. Incredibly versatile, a simple cold frame is the key to taking your garden from a two or three-season plot and turning it into a year round vegetable factory.

Only In America

How we focused on attaining our dream homestead.

Live the Homesteading Dream

Like Thoreau and the Nearings, we feel more alive and participative in the natural world around us on our 5.5 acre homestead and organic farmstead than Lisa and I ever did walking through a corporate cubicle maze in the city.

Goats: It's Cold Out There

Keeping goats inside during nasty weather isn't easy, but it's worth the time! Dealing with sick goats, fever and runny noses isn't fun, so taking precautions makes things much easier.

New Year's Revolution: Putting Your Life into Perspective

Many of us make a habit out of complaining, when in fact our lives are pretty good. In this blog I suggest that gaining perspective -- focusing on how good your life really is -- will help you live a much happier life. Give it a try.

SuperTruck: Let's Get the Snowball Rolling!

Feels like I'm finally getting the ball rolling on my DIY Plug-In Hybrid Truck Project. I got a chance to visit Hot Rod Jim, talk about drive shafts, and even got the bed off the truck!

Ducks in the High-Occupancy Vehicle Lane

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.

New Year's Revolution: Give Compliments! Freely!

In this New Year, my first recommendation for personal transformation is to give compliments generously to those who grace your life. You'll brighten the lives of others and your own life enormously.

The Lazy Farmer

I don't know why, but somehow I think of myself as a lazy farmer. Perhaps it's because I know that I'm not a real farmer. Sure, we ate out of the garden all summer and I sold our excess produce at the farmer's market, but gardening is hardly farming.

The Animal Lover's Dilemma: A Quest for Sustainable Farming Techniques

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.

We Can Do Better Than This

Change is not only possible, it’s inevitable. Within the next few decades, great change is coming, because the way things are done today literally cannot continue. America's use-it-up-and-move-on way of life is in its endgame.

The Best-Loved Car in the World

I was gratified when, two weeks ago, Consumer Reports announced that the Chevy Volt was the best-loved car in the world among people who drive one – for the second year in a row. I have never loved a car like I love this one. And I have loved some cars.

Thinking the Way Animals Do

A horse trainer once said to me, 'Animals don't think, they just make associations.' I responded to that by saying, 'If making associations is not thinking, then I would have to conclude that I do not think.'

Veggie Lovers: Good Green Salad!

A family meal favorite that was shared with us for years by a beloved aunt. This is one green salad that I crave and never get enough of!

Hatch Your Own Chicks!

Nobody can resist fluffy baby chicks, so what would be better than hatching your own? Let us put your mind at rest and make your first time incubating an enjoyable experience you will want to repeat.

The Pickled Pantry

The thing about self-sufficiency, working with nature, making delicious food: There’s always something new to learn.

Don’t Mistake Ignorance for Perspective

Many of us spout opinions and make bold assertions based on very little evidence. Our ignornance is often mistaken for perspective. We think we know a lot more than we do. Take time to acquire knowlede and create true wisdo. It has a settling effect.

Slow Down, Watch

I feel that if we want to connect to our families, to our neighbors and to the people that we love that live in the community around us, we must somehow retrain ourselves to slow down and watch, listen and share, love and care.

Math in the Hen House

Why do we believe that math must be done one workbook page at a time, at the kitchen table? Anyone who’s ever kept chickens can tell you all the math that can be found in the hen house.

Chicken Processing for the Uninitiated

‘Pluck A Lotta Chickens: A Live Demonstration’ was in the Timberstone Room, which holds several hundred people. I sat second row, center. Once they started the process, it wasn’t nearly as bizarre as I thought it was going to be.

Growing Renewable Energy Sources in the United States

The Obama Administration releases its plans for new renewable energy sources.  Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, explains that the new solar energy zones span six states and keep both domestic energy and environmental preservation in mind. If completed, the power generated from these solar energy zones would provide electricity to roughly seven-million homes.  

Bobolinks

I grew up with bobolinks. All my life they have nested on our farm, but the bobolinks are in serious trouble, especially in the Northeast, largely on account of changes in agricultural practices.

Plastic Surgery Everyone Should Get

Worrying about what others think about you can drin you of energy and make you do some pretty stupid things. What if you could rid yourself of that penchant? What kind of life would you lead?

Global Warming and Our Shrinking Fresh Water Supply

In this posting we discuss the role global warming is playing in the planet's rapidly decreasing fresh water supply. We also discuss how global warming and the loss of fresh water is impacting building infrastructure.

How to Start & Manage a Micro Dairy in 26 Steps – Step 2

Steve Judge of Bob-White Systems in Vermont offers his Micro Dairy expertise in this blog series on how to start and manage a Micro Dairy, from farm and barn planning to selecting dairy cows, goats and sheep to daily operations and being profitable.

Securing Rare Breeds in Drought Conditions

Heritage breeds are survivors, although some may be in for a very challenging year. The national drought is about to have a huge impact on the American economy and now is the time to plan ahead.

DIY Solar Installation

Solar expert Joe Utasi hopes to have his home solar panel installation complete and running, and will have lots of pictures to show and discuss by the time the Seven Springs Fair arrives.

Voyages in Food Security

My boyfriend and I traveled from Orlando, FL with the expectation that we were going to encounter a life-changing experience. It was well worth it. I felt like a kid in a candy store.

How to Start & Manage a Micro Dairy in 26 Steps: Step 1

Bob-White Systems is bringing the cows back home by providing supplies, equipment and support for Micro Dairies, Home & Farmstead cheesemakers and small-scale producers of local and farm fresh dairy products.

Life on Desert Canyon Farm

We do a lot of things on our farm, but the primary way we earn a livelihood is selling wholesale potted herbs and heritage food plants to garden centers throughout Colorado and northern New Mexico.

Best Sun Protection for Sun Loving Gardeners

Dog days of summer? Yes, but there is still a lot of the grwoing season left. Protect yourself from the late summer sun with these tried 'n true items ... tested by a gardener who knows more than she'd like to about skin cancer.

Sorghum Revival: Shared Memories I

Sorghum memories have been shared with me from across the nation. It has been a pleasure to connect with readers as they lend their own (or family members) connections and experiences with this wonderful community building craft.

Nuts About Nuts

The factory farm creates the wealth for the doctors, lawyers, government regulators, and bankers … is it ironic that these same professionals will choose a Beechnut Turkey or an Oaknut Ham from Big Horn Ranch for their family gathering?

What’s Wrong With Predators Nowadays?

One thing we can all agree on is that is time for things to change. So perhaps we need to look at the world more like prey and less like predators.

Campout Skillet!

As everyone gathers around this campfire this fall, unite this variety of flavors into one savory skillet that will be enjoyed by all.

Your Mind Can be a Pain in the Butt

Our minds are powerful things. The beliefs we hold and our perceptions can be dead wrong. Our minds can even create pain that doesn't exist. Questioning what we perceive and believe can help you live a more conscious, honest and successful life.

My First DIY Solar Car

What's it take to build your own SOLAR-POWERED Electric Car? How about starting small with some hardware store parts and an old child's ride-on toy? Read how a tinkerer Dad builds a Solar-Powered Power Wheels with just basic tools and skills.

Let's Get Busy

Can a civilization this profoundly removed from the visceral participation in farming and food even survive? Can the assumptions, like cheap energy, cheap grain, and processed food that can be nutritious, really continue into the future?

The Values That Heal

Even we homesteaders must decide how we interact with our animals and the environment. When we follow Nature's rules by developing old-time virtues, our lives are enriched with connection to everything around us.

Soap-Making for the Beginner Part III - Giving Lard a Try

Have you ever considered using lard to make soap? It is easy to locate, inexpensive, and has a long history as a soap-making staple. This recipe adds a few extras to improve the conditioning qualities of traditional lard soap.

Potato Digging

Harvesting our potatoes is another family event where everyone gets their feet and hands a little dirty!

A Barn Raising: “Brush Fires”

Until we built a barn of our own and experienced the kindness of neighbors firsthand, I would have thought the notion of a barn raising to be a quaint relic of the past.

Canning Love: Pickled Beets

I'm going to the old Kerr canning book for this tried and true recipe for making simply wonderful pickled beets.

Homegrown Wedding

A wedding using homegrown and local food and no disposable items. Decorations were things already on hand. The ceremony took place in a field and the reception was in a barn...and there was love-lots of it!

Hat Over the Fence: DIY Super Truck!

So here's an idea - why not take existing technology and build a DIY diesel electric pickup truck? Is it even possible? I think it is, but I'll need your help!

Trellising Cucumbers

Trying to decide the best way to trellis my cucumbers and learning some new techniques.

Refinishing Wood Stairs

Steve explains the basics of refinishing wooden stairs, including an easily renewable finishing strategy.

The Home Cook: A Secret Ingredient

Cooking is great improvisation and I think that’s what I like most about it. You can say the word, “burger,” to any cook and be surprised by every interpretation that you get.

Homestead-Based Income Key to Success

There are many more ways than ever to earn income without ever leaving the homestead. As energy prices rise, earning the money you need without traveling is key to success. It just might not come from the place you expect.

Rambling Rose Ramblings

A beautiful old, old, rambling rose bush that grows on my moms corner fence post greets us with pink blooms each spring.