Gentle Heritage-Livestock Breeds for New Homesteaders

Starting with gentle livestock breeds is key to success for new homesteaders. Scottish Highland cattle and Dorper/Katahdin cross sheep proved easy-to-handle and good producers for a retired Missouri couple.

Sewing and Quilting the Old Way with Rags

Ripping apart old clothing and other rags to remake into useful items takes more time than purchasing new fabric, but the rewards – reducing landfill overload, reviving an old-fashioned skill, conserving a treasured memento and saving money – are worth the extra trouble.

Small Growers Offer Organic, Rare Heirloom Plants

Planting seedlings from large garden centers often delays production as plants must overcome neonicotinoid insecticides, hormones, and chemical fertilizers when planted in your garden. Learn more about the toxins used by large growers and then support small producers for a healthy garden.

How To Form a Successful Cooperative

A small food producers' cooperative in Missouri wins a national award and will share with others how to form a successful co-op that focuses on bartering, sustainability and the economy of neighborliness.

How to Make a Living Without a Job

Leaving a job with benefits and security to live a simple, country life, also known as un-jobbing, can be scary, but as we learned, so very worth it.

Folk Medicine Book Advocates Honey and Vinegar

"Folk Medicine" by D.C. Jarvis, M.D., written in 1958, explains how humans would do well to watch animals that know instinctively how to stay healthy. Jarvis advises drinking raw honey and apple cider vinegar for good health and vigor.

Legal Front Yard Gardens Go Beyond Containers

St. Paul, Minnesota, not only allows front yard gardens and promotes growing vegetables in containers, but encourages residents to beautify the boulevard with plants, including edibles.

World War II Magazine Emphasizes Frugality

A copy of "Good Housekeeping" magazine from 1944 reminds us how housewives found ways to stretch meals, repair household items and plant gardens to overcome wartime rationing hardships.

Testing Well Water Simpler Than Expected

Because county health departments and public water systems check only for a few contaminants, homeowners are advised to test their own water, an inexpensive and simple solution for peace of mind.

How to Use a White Treadle Sewing Machine

White Family Rotary treadle sewing machines are well-made and easy to operate – but the hand wheel operates backward of other treadles. Modern bobbins can be used, if one extra step is taken when winding on thread.

Water Pollution Activist Explains Water Filter Options

A hippie in the 1980s who demonstrated for a clean environment, particularly water, now owns an online water filter business where she shares her views about the scarcity and fragility of water, the toxins dumped in it and what we can do about it.

Craftsman Brings Back Classic American Clothespins

Fed up with cheap, easily breakable clothespins, craftsman Herrick Kimball is now making Classic American Clothespins and has a vision for inspiring others to make them in their communities.

Thrifty Ways To Use Junk Mail

Junk mail, old books and other used paper can be easily recycled into something useful. Never buy notepads or envelopes again.

MyMagicMud Toothpaste Review

A Texas mom created an all-natural toothpaste that whitens teeth and encourages her children to do a better job of brushing because it’s fun.

Build a Solar Cart Instead of Removing Trees

A do-it-yourself portable solar cart allows us to have solar power without removing trees from the yard. We can also take it away from the home site and move it indoors before storms.

Let’s Bring Back Victory Gardens

Bringing back Victory Gardens could help ease hunger and dependence as U.S. social aid programs, such as Food Stamps, are drastically cut.

Remembering the First Earth Day

United Nations Climate Week invokes memories of first Earth Day and how far we have yet to go to clean up our environment.

Build an Outhouse With 1909 Plans

The "Household Discoveries" book from 1909 instructs how to build an outhouse, with plans simple enough for any average 14-year-old schoolboy to follow.

Growing Luffa on Four Texas Acres

A Texas family searches for a suitable crop as supplemental income on four acres. After watermelons and flower fail, they succeed with luffa.

Growing Food Hidden in the Forest

Author Rick Austin shares gardening advice from his book, “Secret Garden of Survival – How to Grow a Camouflaged Food Forest.”

Potato Bracelets Are a Hot Seller

As the youngest member of a new local food producers and artisans cooperative, 11-year-old Grace is learning business skills while perfecting her artistic talents with homemade jewelry, pot holders and more.

Film Strives to Promote Simple Living Off-Grid

An upcoming inspirational documentary, “Beyond Off-Grid,” that strives to motivate people to return to the old paths, includes self-sufficiency experts from around the country. A MOTHER EARTH NEWS blog prompted the producer to contact us.

Food Co-Op Promotes Bartering, Sustainability

Forming a food producers and artisans cooperative brings together farmers, crafters and consumers hoping to revitalize their community, preserve skills and continue the economy of neighborliness

Relearning to Sew On Treadle Sewing Machine

On our journey to self-reliance, my husband, Darren, and I have been gathering human-powered tools when we can find them. It’s surprising and sad how quickly hand- and foot-powered tools were junked when electricity became available. From 1850 to 1890, more than 100 apple-pealing devices were patented. Then none, except those running on electric power. And so it goes with thousands of other nifty human-powered appliances.