Start an Annual 'Farmers and Friends' Meeting

Getting to know your local farmers and learning more about how to farm can be an annual event. From the novice to the experienced farmer, chef, or backyard gardener, an annual meeting is a great way to expand the knowledge base and make new friends.

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.

Energy Breakthrough: Reactionless Generator and 'Out of the Void' Film Review

Energy conversion efficiencies have been stuck in the 19th century. As a result the enormous drain on natural resources has polluted the entire planet and threatens to cause a return to a preindustrial lifestyle. An Energy breakthrough is needed. A breakthrough has occurred as prophesied by Nikola Tesla.

How to Make Calendula-Infused Oil

Beautiful calendula is easy to grow and use. Find instructions for homemade calendula-infused oil, plus other uses for calendula flowers.

Choosing a Rural Home Security System

After building and moving into their new home in the country, one couple undertakes outfitting their rural home with a security system. They share a few lessons for others considering the same.

What Are Our Rural Internet Options?

Living in the country often makes it difficult to access reliable, fast Internet services. One couple searched through their rural Internet options after moving to property outside of town.

Freeze-Dried vs. Dehydrated Food

Determine the difference between dried food and freeze-dried food to proceed with the preservation method that suits you best.

Planting Garlic in Our Fall Front Yard Garden

Now that this couple has moved into their new country home, they take time to plant garlic and a small fall garden in their “front yard.” One small step toward an established homestead, one giant leap for family morale!

Simple Bean Chili with Sweet Potatoes and Squash Recipe

Pressure cooking is a quick, healthy and efficient way to cook a myriad of dishes. In this recipe from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR in Topeka, Kan., vegan cookbook author Jill Nussinow introduces a simple bean chili recipe that includes nutritious fall favorites, sweet potatoes and squash.

Moving Day(s): How We Moved into Our New Home, Plus a Few Tips

One couple has finally moved to the country, with the hope that they’ll soon be eating a lot of homegrown peaches from their yet-to-be-planted orchard. The homestead dream continues, with this story of a successfully organized moving and unpacking experience — and beginning a lifetime of enjoying full view of the sunset from the back porch.

Well Water Test: Is Our Well Water Safe to Drink?

After drilling a well and hooking up the pressure tank, whole-house filter and water softener, one couple covers the steps in having the health department come and test well water for bacteria to ensure the well water is safe to drink.

Water Well Drilling: How Our Well Works, Part 1

This is the first post in a three-part series on how a water well works, as experienced by couple building a new home in the country. This initial post focuses on the initial decision to drill a water well, the installation process, and their maintenance plan to keep their well safe.

Music for Climate Change (with Video)

We recently attended a concert for Climate Change at the Uptown Arts Bar in Kansas City organized by Craig Wolfe and Randy Deutch of the band Soular. The concert premiered a song by Winston Apple that brought tears to some eyes in the audience. There is no way to know for sure if we’re past the point of no return.

Septic System Installation (with Photos!)

While not the most glamorous topic, building a house in the country usually includes a septic system installation. The tank, pipes and lateral lines were all laid out, approved and buried at one couple’s home-construction site last week. Read how the process went, find out how a septic system works, and check out the photos.

Our Home Insulation Decision: Based on R-Value

For a new house being built in northeastern Kansas, a mix of spray foam insulation and batt insulation will provide an R-value that will help the home owners efficiently heat and cool their new space.

Home Construction Update: A Mini Photo Series

A lot of progress has been made on one couple's home construction. This post showcases some photos of the progress and highlights some special features being built into the house.

A Closer Look at Recycled Countertops

When one home-building couple first started looking for sustainable countertop materials, they were focused on options made with recycled materials. In their quest for the perfect tops, they stumbled upon a more cost-effective way to incorporate recycled countertops into their home’s design.

Renting Poultry Processing Equipment

Consider renting your equipment this fall. Use Featherman Equipment’s nation-wide rental list to save a bundle and share the cost with your neighbors.

Sourcing Sustainable Bamboo Flooring

After looking through many sustainable floor materials for their new home, one couple settles on bamboo flooring for the majority of their living space. As with many house-building choices, finding a truly green bamboo floor requires a little product research.

A Kansas Family’s Journey to Self-Sufficiency Begins

Even though our goal is to be completely self-sufficient, one thing that I stress is that you don't have to be completely self-sufficient — just make it your goal to become more self-sufficient than you are right now. This blog will help people become more self-sufficient by leading by example, right or wrong. Here is your official invitation: Please come and join us!

Which Windows Are Best for a Passive Solar Home?

Whether your windows are fixed or operable, crank or double-hung, or come with a low-emissivity glazing all make a difference in how well the windows perform in an efficient, passive solar home.

Journey to My First WWOOF Destination

Follow my misadventures in Montpellier, France as I venture to try and make it to the farm of my first WWOOF host. From McDonald's bouncers and bubbly bus-drivers, to no money and no-star hotels, this story has it all.

Financing Renewable Energy: Home Wind and Solar Power

Installation timing, system sizing, and federal and state energy policies are all important components for financing renewable energy as part of a home construction project. One couple shares their experience with trying to put all the pieces in order.

The Heart of the Home: Planning a Sustainable Custom Kitchen

Planning a custom kitchen design that incorporates sustainable materials and supports a self-reliant lifestyle can be done. Read one couple’s experience and thought process as they do just that. The graphic shown here is a computer-generated draft modeling of the cabinet design for their future kitchen, but note that the colors and materials do not reflect what will be the final look.

Make Light Fixtures from Old Chicken Feeders

Even with minimal building capability, you can learn how to make light fixtures from old metal chicken feeders. The feeders may be hard to come by, but if you know someone that has been in the commercial chicken-raising business, then you can likely find some in their used feeder pile. The total cost per light was $19.32.

How to WWOOF Abroad On an Organic Farm

This blog post serves as an informative overview of the steps involved in creating a successful experience volunteering abroad on an organic farm.

Home Construction Timeline: Plans vs. Reality

A home-construction timeline is often a moving target: Rain, subcontractor schedules and various other conflicts can cause frustrating delays. One couple finds ways to cope with record rainfall that halted progress on their home-building process by working ahead on other decisions they’ll eventually need to make.

Plumbing for a Greywater System (Plus Some Money Savings!)

In order to save money, water and energy, one couple is building a new home that will incorporate a simple, gravity-run, household greywater system to divert and collect greywater, as well as rainwater from their roof, for landscape use.

Growing and Using Multipurpose Calendula

Calendula flowers make a lovely floral component for an organic vegetable garden. Plus, they pull their weight in terms of productivity: The petals are edible and can be used in skin-healing salves and balms.

What Kind of Home Construction Insurance Do We Need?

When building a new home, be sure to check into what home construction insurance coverage you need. For this homesteading couple, not having liability insurance would leave them feeling as unprotected as not having sandbags to prevent downhill ditch runoff and sedimentation.

Weather, Climate Change and Where to Go To Escape

Recent studies show that the jet-stream patterns have changed significantly during the last decade. The oscillations that bring the jet stream down to lower latitudes have increased in frequency and amplitude.

Basement Construction: Choosing a Concrete Foundation

Concrete is not a green or natural building material, but one home-building Kansas couple decides the built-in storm shelter, root cellar and custom greywater system they intend to include in their concrete basement will make using the material worthwhile.

We Have Our Home-Construction Loan! How Do We Use It?

For many, home construction requires financing from a bank. So how does it work after signing and finalizing home construction loan papers? Here’s the standard process for accessing the funds within the loan account. Just one more step in the process of building a dream house and homestead!

A Film as Lovely as a Tree

A look at "Trees," the newest film from award winning journalist and filmmaker Nick Werber.

Homestead Planning with Bonus Morel Mushroom Hunting

As one couple plans their homestead-to-be, they spend time learning the lay of their land. One happy fringe benefit: They used this time as an excuse to go morel mushroom hunting. The results of their efforts were delicious.

How to Get a Building Permit to Build a New Home

The steps involved in receiving a building permit require some advance planning and paperwork. If you’re hoping to build in the future you’ll want to review the building permit requirements in your area several months before your planned construction start date.

Green Building Materials, Part 1: Shopping at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore

Not all green building materials are fancy, engineered products. One couple explores the saved-from-the-landfill options at local Habitat for Humanity ReStores. Hard to beat preventing waste, supporting Habitat for Humanity’s mission, and finding great deals on materials for a new-home construction in one fell swoop.

How to Make a Roman Shade by Recycling Clothes

These step-by-step instructions will show you how to make a Roman shade to fit any window in your home. You can save lots of money by recycling clothes for the fabric of your custom DIY Roman shade.

‘Perc’ Test: What It Is and How It’s Done

In order to secure a building permit to construct a new home, many counties require a septic system inspection and approval. Here’s how one couple had a successful “perc” test done at their future home site, along with a quick explanation of what a perc test is.

Best Sources of Vitamin D (Video)

Learn the best sources of vitamin D to achieve your recommended dosage of “the sunshine vitamin," and put the "D" in diet!

How Do We Finalize Our Home Construction Loan?

Bank loans, especially new home construction loans, require some legwork on the part of the future homeowner. One couple explains how they got a loan to build their new house.

Why Everyone Talks About the Weather

It is said that everybody talks about the weather but no one does anything about it. Here is the reason we all talk about it and hints on what to do about it.

Where to Buy Non-GMO Seeds

With GMOs seemingly everywhere you turn, it’s hard to know where to buy non-GMO Seeds. Here’s how to keep GMOs out of your garden.

How Many Eggs Can a Chicken Lay?

Just how many eggs can a chicken lay? The answer depends on several factors. Learn which choices you make can affect your hens’ egg production.

How Do We Choose a Passive Solar House Design?

One homesteading couple reads up on passive solar house design and then modifies online options to create their own custom passive solar plans. Here are their recommended resources.

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.

How Do We Design a House? First, Set Priorities

Whether you are buying a house, purchasing land, or getting ready to build your own home, we recommend starting by setting your priorities and then matching a house design to your needs.

Could We Build a Kit Home?

If you want to be hands-on with your house building, a kit home can be an affordable, energy-efficient option. One homesteading couple assess whether building a kit home is right for them.

How Do We Get an Entrance Permit for Our Driveway?

In order to access our land and put in a driveway, we need to secure an entrance permit. If you're planning to buy land and build a home, check what your entrance permit requirements are before you purchase the property.

We Bought Land! Now What?

Join two modern homesteaders as they begin down the road toward building their small home and self-reliant farmstead on their new piece of raw land in northeastern Kansas.

Interview with Herbalist and Author Rosemary Gladstar

Watch an interview with Rosemary Gladstar, during which she discusses the goals of the non-profit United Plant Savers and the importance of plant conservation. Plus, read about how Rosemary became a leading figure in American herbal medicine.

The History of Samhain and Halloween

The history of Samhain reminds us that we once celebrated holidays because of a shared human connection that resonated with the Earth’s cycles — the weather, the moon, the harvest — rather than needless consumerism or “heroic” dominance.

How to Prevent Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion In the Garden

In order to maintain an internal body temperature of 98.6 F, the body perspires or sweats. As the sweat evaporates off the skin it cools the body. The trouble starts when the humidity is so high that the air is saturated with moisture and sweat drips off of you rather than evaporating. My method for avoiding Heat Stroke is called Getting Grounded in the Garden.

The Emergence of Perennial Wheat

Interest in breeding a perennial version of wheat is once again on the rise. That would help reduce soil erosion, maintain soil cover, and cut back on fossil-fuel and chemical inputs.

DIY Wedding Flowers

You can stretch your budget for wedding flowers by growing some of your own. Learn how to select, schedule, and plant flowers — then make them into wedding bouquets, boutonnieres, and centerpieces.

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.

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!

We Still Need To Deal With Drought

Drought has been displaced by winter storms in the headlines, but persistent water shortages are plaguing much of North America, and the past 18 months have seen a global outbreak of water emergencies.

Why Life Exists on Earth: A New Perspective on Carbon Emissions

Mankind’s use of fossil fuels during the last 200 years has dumped millions of years of sequestered carbon into the atmosphere in the form of Carbon Dioxide. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, 315 gigatons of carbon have been added to the atmosphere, leaving the carbon cycle 315 gigatons out of balance.

New Meaning for the New Covenant

Only through selfless, voluntary, individual sacrifice can we expiate our essential human flaw and restore the Garden. We have to accept mortality as the necessary and – if voluntary – heroic alternative. We must divert the resources we are using to mindlessly expand human life and work and invest them, instead, in the improvement of all life both human and non-human.

Crossing the Spectrum

Every time I leave the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR I come home with a bag full of stuff that I have accumulated along the way. My youngest son typically tears into the bag, once exclaiming that my return from the FAIR is always “like Christmas.”

Aladdin Kerosene Lamps

Cherished Aladdin lamps were on display at a recent collectors show in Topeka, Kan.

I Want to Die

After Publisher and Editorial Director Bryan Welch decided that death might be a personal choice, he was struck by the heroic potential in making mortality a conscious decision. As we are increasingly able to lengthen our lives and perpetuate our health, the notion of death is transformed. Death is our ultimate opportunity to consciously give back.

The Ozarks Natural Beauty

Discover the Ozarks region's natural beauty and adventure hot spots as told by Mike McArthy of Photozarks.

Take a Tour of The Ozarks Mountain and Mill Country

Take a tour of the mills and mountains of the Ozarks of Missouri and Arkansas, home to some of the finest remaining historic gristmills that still exist in the U.S.A. Based on the popular Historic Ozarks Mills book created by award-winning photographer Mike McArthy. Hydropower's energy-producing capacity is getting well-deserved attention these days, and these old mills provide inspiration.

Sourdough Spelt Bread

Try spelt, an ancient grain more easily digested than wheat, in your next loaf of sourdough bread. You'll love it.

Kansas Smells Like Home

Discovering the perfect lifestyle is more important than finding the perfect place to live.

Free Land: Build Your Homestead Without the Debt

Small towns across the country in need of a population boost are literally giving away free land to attract new residents and boost their populations. Seekers of the quiet (and low-cost) small town lifestyle can now grab some free land to build their homes.