The Importance of Socializing Livestock

Spending the time to frequently handle your poultry and livestock can be important to you! Find out why in this article about socializing your farm animals.

Making Boiled Cider, with Recipe for Scalloped Apples

Boiled cider is the secret ingredient. All through the year, a bit of cider reduced to a syrup adds deep apple flavor to so many recipes. It’s no work, very economical, and your house will smell fabulous all day!

Bread-Baking Equipment and Ingredient Tips for Beginning Bakers

With the necessary basic equipment and best-quality ingredients on hand, you are ready to begin baking beautiful breads of all kinds — from the basic sandwich breads to delicious pastry treats. You can explore a whole world of different breads, all with flavor far superior to any you can find in groceries and at a cost of pennies on the dollar.

Cover Crops: Better Soil in a Month

Cover crops or green manures have improved soil for thousands of years. We look at what one month of growth provides in an average raised bed.

Inventory Your Food Preservation

Keep an inventory of your jars, freezer packs and dehydrated foods to help prioritize your food preservation efforts.

‘Tomato Stuff’: Tapenade-Style Tomato Spread for Sauces, Dressings, and More

With a bonanza supply of dehydrated tomatoes put by, I made this delicious spread that we’ve always called just “tomato stuff.” It’s like a tapenade, although without anchovies. I use it by itself to spread on thin slices of baguette or water crackers for an elegant appetizer and also use it by the big spoonful for enrich a pasta sauce instead of tomato paste, make a quick pizza, add body to a vegetable soup, add big flavor to a vinaigrette dressing, dress a plain dish of spaghetti, and put a bit of zing into a bland stew.

Italian-Style Pressed Sandwich Recipe

Years ago, a friend who once lived in Italy described a sandwich she had prepared for a picnic. Adapted to foods we can buy locally, it works well for late-summer suppers after a sweltering day in the gardens. It’s a lifesaver for days when I just don’t know what time dinner will happen until it happens.

How to Make Fancy Sauerkraut

Fermented sauerkraut not only gives us digestive enzymes and probiotics, but the process itself makes all the vitamins and minerals present more bio-available. And it's delicious! We needn't eat a lot of it either. Condiments are vital go-alongs with our meals.

The ABCs of Homesteading: H is for 'Horticulture'

This is the sixth blog post in an alphabetically organized introduction to homesteading. It covers an understanding of what horticulture is and why it is important to homesteading. You'll find reading recommendations, information on plant selection, garden planning, plant propagation, seed saving, and food security.

Natural Landscaping and Harsh Municipal Code Realities

Our travails continue with the head-on collision of our aesthetics and the Village Council. Read this blog post to discover more about how personal opinion tries to trump Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms.

Homemade Soap for Laundry and Gifts

I used to think of soap-making as one of those cool things I’d love to try someday, but for a long time it seemed too complex and intimidating. Then, one day it so happened that I had all the necessary ingredients – namely, a box of lye crystals and a bottle of non-food-grade oil I had absolutely nothing else to do with. I took a deep breath and dove in. Even a beginner soap-maker can produce simple, multi-purpose, natural soap at home.

5 Ways Hiring an HVAC Professional Can Save You Money

Have you wandered the aisles of your local home improvement store trying to determine what you need for your home’s air conditioning or furnace? If you are unsure about what is wrong with your equipment, get a professional’s opinion or you could be spending money unnecessarily.

How My Husband and I Went From Corporate Drones to Tropical Organic Farmers in Puerto Rico

Learn what the catalyst was behind the huge leap from corporate drones to becoming organic farmers in Puerto Rico — despite knowing nothing about farming, not speaking the language and knowing only a handful of people. Although family and friends thought we were crazy, it was the sanest decision we ever made, and we couldn’t be happier with the way our life has turned out. Amid animals being dropped off to us, frequent power and water outages, and being separated from our family, we are truly happy for the first time in our lives.

Sweet Mixed Pickles Recipe with Cauliflower and Onions

Back when I was a child, my Mom used to occasionally buy a jar of mixed pickles. I loved the cauliflower, but there was usually just one small piece in each jar, and sometimes I didn’t even get that. Now make my own with nearly all cauliflower and onions — just a few cucumber chunks. A bowl of these is a perfect accompaniment when cold meat sandwiches are the menu.

Setting Live Traps for Mammalian Garden Pests

Mammalian garden pests can do serious damage to your crops in a short period of time. Humane live traps such as those made by Havahart are a practical answer to this situation, but outwitting the animal can also be frustrating. Properly setting, baiting, and managing these traps can increase your success in removing problem animals from your property.

Nevermind the Politics, Forests Can Help Cool the Planet

Forestry and climate change are complex and emotionally charged issues. In this post, we focus on the forests themselves and how they can contribute to global cooling when forest management practices are adjusted through the incentives in the multi-billion dollar carbon credit programs being launched.

Make Blue-Ribbon-Winning Pickles (with Homemade Condiment Recipes)

These pickles have won a blue ribbon each time I entered them in the State Fair. They’re quite sweet with a spicy tang. We use them mostly on sandwiches and burgers. Here is my award-winning recipe for sweet pickles with bonus recipes for relish, tartar sauce and sandwiches.

Dark Molasses-Oatmeal Bread

This yummy loaf is a little darker than regular oatmeal bread, due to the molasses, which also gives it some sweetness. Once again, I’m using home ground hard red wheat flour, which gives an indescribable flavor. No flour mill? No problem, just substitute regular whole wheat flour and all purpose white, respectively. The blend of whole wheat and white flour makes a lighter loaf than if made from 100% whole wheat.

5 Easy Ways to Recycle Wooden Pallets

Not only is recycling your used wooden pallets helpful for the planet, but it can help you stay young in brain and body by encouraging you to learn new skills. You can also have great fun as a family working on wooden pallet recycling ideas.

A Pickling Story

Canning is a humbling production. I scribble a note onto my recipe page: Do not quadruple batch. It is easy to get overzealous, lured by the harvest and the jar count at the end of the day. I get excited about bounty and forget about endurance, every year.

Health and Environmental Effects of Triclosan

Recent scientific studies suggest that the widely used antibacterial substance triclosan is not as harmless as we thought it was. It has significant health effects on different systems of the human body, while toxic intermediate can form easily once it is released in the environment.

Healthy ‘Texas Caviar’ Southern Pea Salad Recipe

Folks here mostly cook purple hull peas with quantities of fatty pork. Although this is similar to the way we Yankees bake beans, I wanted to try something healthier, more Mediterranean. I came up with a pea salad they call “Texas Caviar” and developed my own version of this healthy, nutritious dish.

Homemade Nectarine Preserves Recipe

A commercial pectin recipe for this preserve calls for 4 cups of fruit to 7 cups sugar. I use about ¼ of that: at least twice as much fruit and half the sugar, so my jams and preserves taste of the fruit instead of sugar and have half or less calories. As well as the usual breakfast toast spread, try adding your own homemade preserves to plain yogurt.

How to Make Glaceed Cherries

You can easily make your own glace cherries for fruit cakes and your Christmas stollen. The cherries you do yourself will be a darker red instead of that false neon color and will be made with only cane sugar and very little or no GMOs. These will actually taste like sweet cherries, with no odd chemical aftertaste. You’ll also save money.

Making Fruit Jelly Using Apples for Pectin

Making fruit jellies without a lot of added sugar is easy when you let chopped apples supply the pectin your fruit lacks. A simple test of jelly on a cold plate tells you when the jelly point is reached.

The Elusive DIY Reuben Sandwich and Family Secrets Revealed

The pieces have all come together. Proper restraint has been shown and I managed to put together a pretty darn good homemade (all but the cheese) Reuben sandwich. However, it is not without some consequences and revelations of a none too proud family tradition.

Sauteed String Beans Recipe

Here's a recipe for sautéed green beans and guidelines for blanching and freezing green beans for garden food preservation.

Make Gazpacho Soup with Heirloom Tomatoes

I never much cared for gazpacho, and that’s probably because I lived in Colorado and Alaska most of my adult life. You must have great tomatoes to make great Gazpacho. After I tasted gazpacho made with heirloom tomatoes like 'Cherokee Purple', 'Brandywine', 'Marmonde' and others from my garden, I realized what I had been missing.

The Grasses are Alive and Teeming with Wildlife

Meet some of our outdoor family members as I work to comply with the lawn ordinances being forced upon us. Hopefully, more of them are still alive and are adapting to something more akin to cave dwelling than open-forested lands.

Cookies from the Toaster Oven

My little toaster oven does a great job baking eight or 10 cookies, uses very little electricity itself, doesn’t heat up the kitchen, and saves the air conditioning. The variety is endless — see some flavor ideas below. Start with the basic dough and add to it, such as for these Toasted Almond Cookies. They’re buttery, tender, melt-in-your-mouth cookies.

Forestry, Global Warming, and the Multi-Billion-Dollar Carbon-Credit Grab

Most forests are working forests. They are cut regularly for lumber production and other uses. Only 12.7% of the earth's forests are protected. Wood is carbon. Carbon volumes sequestered in the woods need to multiply to significantly contribute to global cooling. Without this, the carbon credit market is mostly wasted as a tool for significant global cooling. We still have time to save our forests.

Beginning Beekeeping: What You Need to Know to Get Started

Beekeeping is a fun yet rewarding experience. Not only you can produce a sustainable, nutritious natural sweetener, but you can also benefit the environment by keeping bees in your backyard. This post will help you get into beekeeping.

Natural Landscaping and City Codes (with Edible Weeds Fish Tacos Recipe)

There is a growing, sometimes contentious movement afoot: traditional lawns vs natural landscaping. Two years ago, we came up against Ohio’s laws regarding lawns and weeds and were heartbroken to have to mow our luscious long grasses. Last year, we enjoyed a reprieve and the serenity of our natural garden. This year, the grasses back!

Make the Most of Blueberry Season with Blueberry Preserves and Dehydrating

Blueberries are a superfood — one of the fruits highest in lycopene and antioxidants. Take advantage of their season and stock up. They do very well in the dehydrator and make scrumptious preserves to dollop on plain yogurt, slather on toast, or to fill quick little tartlets. This is a very thick, low-sugar preserve, very different from the Sure-Jel type.

The Beauty of Imperfect Fruits and Vegetables

What needs to happen is a change in attitudes. Such a change is not coming soon enough to your favorite grocery store. If more of us buy imperfect-looking produce, grocery stores will be able to change our dependence on harsh chemicals used to grow perfect-looking fruits and veggies. It’s up to all of us to support the imperfect produce movement and bring back taste, nutrition and a healthier planet. How will you vote?

Baking Bread in a Toaster Oven

Two years ago, I bought this little toaster oven, and I think it paid for itself the first year in energy savings just to bake up a pizza, a potato, or small casserole. And I discovered that it does a fine job baking fresh bread. The day before, I stir up some simple dough, enough to bake up my choice of a pizza, burger buns, or 2 ficelles (mini baguettes), a small fougasse, or ciabatta or focaccia — all without heating up the kitchen.

Repel Mosquitoes with These Plants, Part 2: Thyme, Rosemary, Mint, and Lavender

This article highlights four herbs that repel mosquitoes naturally and you’re probably already growing them in your garden: 'Creeping Lemon' thyme, Rosemary, Mint, and Lavender! All these mosquito-repellent plants are easy to grow, do well in containers, and actually attract beneficial birds and insects.

The ABCs of Homesteading: E is for 'Edible Landscaping'

This is the third blog post in an alphabetically organized introduction to homesteading. It covers ideas for starting an edible landscape on your homestead including: soil improvement, cover crops, perennials, attracting beneficial insects, and home-based food production.

French-Style Apricot Preserves Recipe

Apricots are easy to work with, as they don’t need peeling and the pits are easily removed. This jam has a much lower percentage of sugar than the usual recipes. Learn to make homemade, French-style Apricot Preserves for use as a base for a sweet and hot glaze and in Apricot Bread Pudding.

A Primer on Specialty Mushrooms (with Royal Trumpet Mushroom Soba Salad Recipe)

Here is a primer on specialty mushrooms. Exotic mushroom varieties are daunting to most consumers. They ought not be intimidated by these strange but tasty morsels. There are several sources for recipes including the Mushroom Council, my website, or by using search engines. Mushrooms deserve a place at your table due to taste, availability, and purported health benefits.

Baking Rye Bread Using a Starter

Rye bread is a challenge for many bread bakers. So many “hockey puck” disasters. This recipe works! With tiny amounts of sugar and fat, this is a very low-calorie, high-fiber bread that is also delicious.

Fossil-Fuel-Free Cooking

Gas range or induction cooking? The speed and efficiency revealed. Because I’m off-grid, induction will be my go-to cooking method when sunshine is ample, offering an option for fossil-free cooking!

The Homemade Sauerkraut-and-Corned-Beef Reuben Sandwich that Almost Happened

I had every intention of writing a DIY Reuben Sandwich post this month and, while I did manage to make some sauerkraut and corned beef, I hit a bit of a glitch at the end. The effort was there, but my execution - or better still - will power, failed me. However, in the end, I had a great batch of sauerkraut and a tasty, if short-lived, corned beef to show for my efforts. With a little planning and some time, corned beef and sauerkraut are both easy to make and great tasting.

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.

5 Considerations for Year-Round Greenhouse Growing

Many people believe they can grow anything anytime when they just got their own greenhouse. You can, but that’s not always the case. Sure, it depends on what you’re planting in the first place. But, it also depends on the greenhouse itself and how you plant it.

Fast and Easy Homemade Salad Dressings

If people knew how easy and delicious homemade salad dressings can be, store-bought dressing sales would plummet. You, too, can make your own salad dressings without having a culinary school degree or cooking experience. Learn to make Oil and Vinegar with Tarragon and Homemade Ranch with Roasted Garlic here.

New Orleans-Style Crawfish and Shrimp Boil

For this huge celebratory feast, invite a dozen or more of your best friends. Stock up a supply of your favorite beverages, including iced tea, lemonade and some adult drinks, and get ready to party!

‘Goldenseal’ Charms and Heals in the Garden

“Golden” will be the first word to enter your mind when you see the roots, rhizomes and dormant buds of Hydrastis canadensis. You’ll understand immediately why the common name is “Goldenseal.” This very useful native woodland plant will not only charm and entertain you spring, summer, and autumn — it can even heal you.

Handbag Reboot: 3 Ways to Upcycle Old Purses

Rather than throw out old handbags, ditch the landfill and upcycle them instead. Here are three unique ways to transform your well-loved bags into useful additions to your home.

Solar vs Wind Energy: Which is Right for Your Home?

If you’re a homeowner weighing your renewable energy options, you already know that thorough research is the best way to find the right system for your home. Here’s everything you need to know about the benefits of residential wind vs. solar power so that you can make your decision with confidence.

Baking Sandwich Breads (and Pizza Crust) Using a Pre-Fermented Starter

European breads are frequently made with an overnight starter, called “Poolish” or “Biga”. A super-easy way of developing dough I learned from Peter Reinhart (author of The Bread Bakers Apprentice) has helped me to quickly put together some delicious, full-flavored sandwich breads. Here’s how.

Simple Recipes for Spring Roots and Greens

Prepare simple recipes using greens and roots from the spring garden, including Dandelion Green Salad Recipe, Sauteed Sorrel Recipe, Braised Parsnips Recipe, and how to make Hyssop Tea.

Using Soap Nuts as a Chemical-Free Cleaning Solution

Technically a berry, soap nuts are considered to be an environmentally conscious alternative to chemical detergents and soaps. The berries come from a prolific tree that grows well in degraded environments where little else can grow. They are safe for allergies, free from any additives, and can be used to clean just about anything.

What to Consider When Building a Chicken Coop: Sizing and Location

Building a chicken coop is a big deal. It is something that will remain on your property for years to come. It is the beginning of turning your yard into your own ‘starter homesteader.’ But wait — there are a few things you should take into consideration before you break ground on your new friends’ home.

Baking Sandwich Breads: Basic White Potato, Whole-Wheat Potato and Oatmeal Bread

If you’re going to get all the ingredients out and make a mess, you might as well bake a lot of bread. There are several breads I like to make, starting with the “whitest” and proceeding through to the darkest dough. Here are recipes for a basic white potato bread, a whole-wheat potato bread, and an oatmeal bread. Each recipe makes two loaves in a standard 9-by-5-inch pan.

First Lettuce Crop and a Sandwich, Too

After you grow your own organic greens, it’s hard to go back to grocery store crap. The good news is that greens are easy to grow in a multitude of environments. If you are short on space, try building a salad tray and grow your own greens on a patios or balcony. If you have a small patch of ground, do what I did and install a raised bed.

Simple Whole-Wheat Sourdough Starter

If you have flour, water and time, you can capture yeast from the air and make your very own sourdough starter. It's a surprisingly simple process with delicious results!

How to Render Oil from Beef Fat

My freezer is full of beef fat and I finally rendered tallow for cooking oil. We raise some pastured beef for our family, and while we enjoy the grass-fed beef, we have been slower to learn the art of cooking with homemade oil. That's changing. Read how and why I learned to render oil from beef fat to make homemade cooking oil (tallow).

3 Artisan Sweet Breakfast Breads

Bake some delicious rustic breads — Cranberry-Pecan, Apple, and White Chocolate Apricot — and stock the freezer for special breakfasts and “high tea.” All the fruits in these breads give the loaves a craggy surface that’s wonderfully crunchy. These all keep for months wrapped well in the freezer. If you get them out the night before, they’ll be ready to slice for breakfast, toasted or not.

Accidents Happen

Accidents happen that divert us from our plans. Learning ahead to be flexible can make things easier. Here is Cindy Conner's take on having a broken wrist.

The Sludging of Rural Communities

Agricultural use of sludge is not only detrimental to human health, but it also damages the social fabric of rural communities all across the country. Federal and state regulations are ill prepared to address medical, social and environmental consequences of this disastrous practice.

5 Ways to Get Growing Earlier (Video)

Looking to do some early seed starting to get a jump on the gardening season? Late-winter seed starting is possible if you follow these easy techniques.

Rock Polypody: One Helluva Tough Fern

Polypodium virginianum aka the "Rock Polypody" is native to just about every state east of the Mississippi, Alaska, almost every province in Canada and all the way north up to Greenland and Iceland. To grow it requires no master's degree in gardening or landscape architecture or any particularly colored thumb. It's really quite simple! This is the perfect fern for any shade garden or along the path of any shade border.

Visit to Texas and the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

In February the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR went to Texas. Many people travel long distances to attend these Fairs. As long as you are making the trip, get the most out of it as you can. Read the schedule of speakers ahead and plan your weekend. Also, take time to enjoy the sights in the surrounding area. Here is a bit about my time in Texas for the FAIR.

Stalking the Wild Fruit: Foraging Local Fruit by State

There is wild fruit nearly everywhere, free for the picking. This spring, as soon as leaf buds swell in your area, go looking for blooms. Take a ride, get somebody to drive for you, so you can search roadsides and fields, along railroad tracks, in power line right of ways, and maybe even an abandoned homesite, looking for brushy shrubs, brambles, vines and trees with white flowers.

A Tree-Hugger Reflection on Sludge

Farmers opting for biosolids applications on their farmland believe that this is a safe and natural way to fertilize the soil. Oftentimes they see local anti-biosolids activists as the adversaries, not realizing that the truth is quite the opposite. There is a mounting body of scientific and medical evidence that the practice of biosolids land application is detrimental to human health and constitutes an environmental factor contributing to many chronic conditions. Farmers, their families and neighbors are often first to suffer the consequences.

A Successful, Sustainable Forest

By managing his family's forestland with natural and environmentally friendly practices, Jim Birkemeier has created a sustainable forest model that is being taught and implemented all over the world.

Inspiring Eco-Consciousness in Kids Without a Load of Eco-Guilt

How do you talk to young children about caring for the environment without loading them with guilt? Here are five environmental education suggestions that create natural opportunities for kids to learn about what they can do to be immersed in nature and help our 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.

Partridge Berry as a Non-Aggressive, Pest-Resistant Groundcover

Native to 35 states and 3 provinces of Canada east of the Mississippi, Partridge Berry is rarely seen in the trade. I fail to see why, as it's very easy to propagate by rooting cuttings or from seed. In fact, it forms adventitious roots as it gently winds its way around the garden. It could never, by any stretch of the imagination, be considered aggressive or invasive.


The first year fair in Belton, Texas was a huge event and by all accounts, a success. I was super busy at the DIY Showcase the entire fair and had over 300 people attend my presentation on the GRIT Stage.

Using Phenology to Better Know Your Land

Observing and documenting the seasonal phenomena that happen on your land can be a fascinating and important way to get an understanding of how it changes through the year. And it can be fun, too!

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.

Real Food for Your Skin

Feed your skin real food with homemade skin-care recipes by Rosemary Gladstar.

Hoof and Leg Issues in Pack Goats

Goats need sound feet, knees and legs to carry a pack in the backcountry. Here are some problems and solutions that pack goats experience with their legs, including proper goat hoof care.

10 Super-Easy Veggies to Grow

Afraid you have a brown thumb? Here are worry-free veggies that can be grown in pots or in the garden. Try one or two or all ten for your first garden!

Becoming a Market Gardener

When you have become a good enough gardener that you are producing more than your family can eat, it is natural to think about selling some of your bounty. Here are some tips about making that jump from a homestead garden to a market garden.

Signs of Spoiled Meat

If you’re questioning, from a food safety standpoint, whether the meat you have is safe to eat or truly rotten meat, you need to understand the proper cooking temperatures for meat and how they work to eliminate most meat spoilage bacteria.

Let It Snow

A good snowfall now and then helps to test the limits of our resources. You never know if you are prepared for disruptions until you are disrupted. Here are some hints to help things go smoothly when there are real possibilities that they might not otherwise.

Grow Your Own Artichokes

Yes, you can grow your own artichokes! If you have a growing season of 90 warm days.

Simple Whole-Wheat Sourdough Bread Recipe

This is my go-to recipe for making our weekly bread. It provides consistent, crusty results, uses only three (ish) ingredients, and takes about 40 minutes of active time. It’s also 100 percent whole-wheat/whole grain, which is the rule for bread in our house. Don’t be put off by the 7 hours of time required — most of that is passive time while you wait for your bread to rise.

Honoring the Seasons Through Land-Based Living

At Wild Abundance, reconnecting with the land means living and working in sync with the cycles and seasons as they unfold. Here is a guide to the very beginnings of the East, when the earth is waking up, and moving from the slowness of winter into the flurry of action of spring: Harnessing the Maple Moon of February and the New Growth Moon of March on your homestead.

Make Your Own Candied Citrus Peels

Making your own glace citrus peels is easy. You can save the peel from lemons, oranges, grapefruit and pomelos as you eat them. Just toss the peel into a zipper bag and keep in the refrigerator up to 4 days. I used Jacques Pepin’s method as guidance here.

Freezing Whole Tomatoes

Yes, you can freeze whole tomatoes! Preserve the harvest in a flash and save the saucing for later.

Refrigerator Dough for American and European Pastries

This pastry dough recipe can be made in 10 minutes and rest overnight in the refrigerator. It’s simple and easy to work with as you bake up your choice of American or European pastries, including Italian Panettone, Cinnamon-Pecan Sticky Buns, and Brioche Raisinee. Dough and pastry recipes included.

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.

Make an Annual Garden Report

You always hear about making your garden plan ahead of time, but part of good garden planning should include evaluating that plan at the end of the season. Take time now to write yourself a letter about how last season went. Include the good and the bad and how you felt about everything. This will become your annual garden report.

4 Reasons to Drink Goat's Milk

Not many people in our sphere of influence drink goat’s milk, so we have a great opportunity to educate those we come in contact with about the benefits. These are our four main reasons why we drink goat's milk.

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.

Buying a Pork Share

Buying a half-pig directly from a farmer ensures quality and well-raised pork, although it will cost more than supermarket pork. Understanding how to fill out a cut sheet guarantees you get what you paid for.

Kentucky Bourbon Balls Recipe

Back in the early 1950s, my family moved to northern Kentucky. We had the great fortune to live just down the street from Louella Schierland, one of the contributing authors of the iconic Joy of Cooking. Mrs. Schierland gave my mother this recipe and I remember that these bourbon balls were stored in a coffee can in the refrigerator. I’ve made some changes to the original to avoid today’s GMOs. Makes about 40 treats.

Building a Cabin with a Portable Sawmill

By sawing his own lumber from fallen trees, Billy Reeder not only built his cabin debt-free on family land, he also built a new life — a deliberate life. A good life.

Home Economics

Learning to do things for yourself at home is empowering. You don’t need a degree in home economics, although it helped Cindy, to get started. She even makes her own blue jeans! Just as important to her are projects such as making a bench grinder stand, which you can learn more about here.

Bake Chewy, Gluten-Free Almond Cookies

I found a recipe in the King Arthur Cookie Companion that I developed a little so that I can now gift my gluten-intolerant friends with delicious cookies. Homemade almond paste is best here, but store-bought will do. Freshly made, these cookies have chewy texture; after a few days, they become airy and crunchy. Just as delicious either way. This recipe makes about 30 two-inch cookies.

How to Make Great Kale Chips

Kale chips are the rage and they cook up quickly, but they can be tricky to make. Here are some tips to making great kale chips.

Make the Best Oatmeal Cookies

My favorite, best cookie recipe just happens to actually be pretty healthy and a good choice for after-school snacks. I used to keep a tin in my office, available to anyone who hadn’t had time for lunch. They have enough protein, iron and whole grain to make them guilt-free. This recipe makes about 60 two-inch cookies that freeze well.

Original Fire Cider Recipe and Controversy

Learn how to make Rosemary Gladstar's original Fire Cider recipe and chutney to help keep your immune system healthy, and to ward off infections. Also learn about the Fire Cider controversy, and why it should matter to you.

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.

Steps to Guard Against Indoor Air Pollution

Indoor air is polluted by volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. These gases are emitted into the air from products like pesticides, air fresheners, cleaning products, paint and paint remover, personal care products, appliances, furniture and building products, including carpet and pressed-wood floors, and more. Learn several steps to take to guard against indoor air pollution and how indoor air quality monitors can help.

Natural Burial Options

Stay green beyond the grave by planning a natural burial, or choosing a biodegradable coffin or urn.

Marchand de Vin Sauce Recipe

I love classic New Orleans food! Sometimes, though, the chefs are absolutely reckless with the butter, so I adapted this rich and very savory, New Orleans-style mushroom ragu for a healthier diet. I use portions of this Marchand de Vin sauce to enrich beef stews, other sauces, and in the version of Eggs Benedict called Eggs Hussarde. A dollop of this makes a plain meal into something really special.

Flax to Linen at the Folk School

Take a class and learn something new. That’s what I did at the John C. Campbell Folk School. Learn about my experience in the Flax to Linen class.

Top 10 Immune-Boosting Tips to Survive the Cold and Flu Season

As we enter into the cold and flu season, it is the perfect time to be thinking about your immune system and practical ways to help boost it. Here are 10 tips to stay your healthiest this season and all year round. These tips are our tried and true suggestions for increasing immunity and maintaining good health all year long.

Fun to Watch, Fun to Eat: Pickled Mixed Vegetables Brined in Glass

I love to ferment vegetables in gallon glass jars, which I leave on the kitchen counter so I can watch the colors mellow. A mixed-vegetable pickle is not only a thing of beauty and an adventure to eat; it’s also a practical use for homegrown produce. Here are complete instructions for making fermented pickles in a gallon jar, with suggestions for varying both the vegetables and the aromatic ingredients.

Gardening, Artistry and a Beer-Infused Honey Mustard Recipe

Winter signals a retreating indoors for a slower speed in lifing — one filled with thoughtful reflection, the finishing up in processing of the foods my garden has gifted me, and returning to my arting. As a preview to my forthcoming cookbook, I have included my favorite, beer-infused honey mustard recipe below.

Hunting for Food

Hunting isn’t for everyone, but what I would like to do is share with interested readers, hunters included, how hunting and fishing helps me provide my own food and move a step closer to a sustainable life here on my farm.

Make Your Own Hand and Body Cream (with Bonus Beeswax Hand-Saver Recipe)

Making your own hand and body cream is not difficult. Just be sure you can work for 30 minutes or so with no interruptions. Be very sure that the essential oils you choose are actually pure essential oils such as lavender, tea tree, lemongrass, etc. Quantities needed for a both a single 4-ounce jar and a large batch of nine 4-ounce jars are given.

7 Ways to Increase Your Patience and Attention this Holiday Season

If you fall asleep or can't think straight at holiday gatherings, don't blame it on the turkey (or your relatives)! Research indicates that carbon dioxide is not only a greenhouse gas, but elevated levels of it are detrimental to human health and cognition. Learn how improving your indoor air quality will increase your health and stamina during holidays.

Essential Steps to Keep Your Wind Turbine Turning

So you finally took the leap and installed a home wind turbine. Congratulations! You’ve just taken a big step to make your home energy generation more sustainable and secure, but what comes next? Wind turbines require maintenance and this post will outline some wind turbine maintenance essentials to consider.

10 Tips for Better Roasted Root Vegetables

Roasting enhances the flavor of root vegetables, as long as the vegetables are cut in uniform pieces and aren't crowded in the pan and are roasted in a hot oven.

How to Sell Surplus Honey

There are many ways to sell your extra honey and other products of the hive. Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary will explain a few easy ways to sell all of that extra honey, including how to sell honey online, at work, at a roadside stand and more!

Pear Mincemeat Recipe for Water Bath Canning

Mincemeat is one of the best ways to preserve an abundance of fall pears. This delicious conserve makes a New England traditional spicy holiday pie. But it’s not just for pie — the chef of a Bon Appetit Top 50 Restaurants asked me for a quart of this to use as a garnish for a very special dinner. Consider a spoonful to garnish any pork or game entrée.

The Top 5 Things You Can Do to Your Home to Save the Planet

There are five main areas of the home responsible for wasting the most energy. At the top of that list is windows, and one of the most effective ways to decrease your home’s carbon footprint is by replacing old, drafty windows with new, air-tight Energy Star-qualified windows.

Make Your Own Almond Paste

It’s easy and very economical to make your own almond paste. You’ll use this to fill pastries, cakes and your special Christmas Stollen. This makes 2 pounds, 2 ounces — as much as six of those pricey little cans — and you control the quality.

Make Raised Garden Beds with Logs

With hardwood logs and a tractor, House in the Woods Farm set up these easy raised garden beds. Here's how to make raised beds for your herb garden or vegetable plot.

Homemade Garden Shed

If you have a garden, then you have garden tools and supplies and you need a place to put them. Carefully evaluate what you have and what kind of space you need to store them. That allows you to choose (if you are buying) or to build a garden shed special to you.

Personality Types and Permaculture

Ever wonder what the unseen, unnamed aspects of homesteading in community are? Social dynamics and personality types are vital, intimidating elements of farming in the country.

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.

Make a Corn-Sheller Box

Shelling corn by hand will soon put blisters on your thumbs. You can acquire a corn sheller to help you do the job. Learn how to make a sturdy box to mount your corn sheller on to make your work easier.

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.

Grow Native, Shade-Loving, Large-Flowered Bellwort in the Garden

The emergence of the long-lasting flowers of 'Uvularia grandiflora' is something I really anticipate every spring. And every spring, my robust stand of ‘Large-Flowered Bellwort’ slowly opens their large, pendulous, bright golden yellow flowers that resemble inverted flowing candle flames. Learn how to grow and where to find this ornamental native flower.

Fig ‘Salami’ with Figoun Infused Red Wine Recipes

Fig Salami is a unique substitute for the usual cured sausage on a cheese plate; because it’s fruity, it works as well before or after dinner. It takes minutes to make, but plan ahead so it has time to set up and “cure” four or five days — after that, it will keep weeks in the refrigerator.

How to Make No-Fail Sauerkraut and Other Ferments

No matter how many pounds of vegetables you are working with, a good tasting result is guaranteed if you ferment in canning jars because the ferments are never exposed to the airborne yeasts and molds that result in off-flavors. As fermentation gases build up, loosen the screw bands on the jars and allow the brine to overflow onto a saucer. In this way, gases leave the jars, but air does not flow back in.

Plan for Cotton and Flax in Your Garden

Growing plants to produce fiber for textiles can be an adventure. If your climate permits, you could grow cotton in your garden—even in your flower bed. Most climates can support flax that you can turn into linen fabric. Plan for that now when you plant cover crops so your garden beds are ready for cotton and flax when planting time comes around.

Food Fermentation at the FAIR

Fermentation is the rage at the Pennsylvania MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR. Here's a peak at Sandor Katz' presentation and some of the cool new vendors who have joined the fermentation revitalization.

‘Court of Two Sisters’ Eggplant Casserole Recipe

Twenty-five years ago, my daughter and I treated ourselves to New Orleans' famous Jazz Brunch at the Court of Two Sisters. One dish impressed me so much, I begged for the recipe. Our server took my plea to the kitchen and the chef actually sent down a copy! I have made some minor changes and offer it here that you, too, can enjoy this comforting eggplant dish.

How and Why to Choose Energy-Efficient Windows

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the amount of energy lost annually through windows costs consumers $35 billion. Heat loss and heat gain through and around windows accounts for between 10 and 25 percent of our heating and air conditioning usage, the largest consumer of energy in a modern home. Here are some ways to make sure your windows are as energy-efficient as possible.

Plant Garlic This Fall

As your summer crops wane, no doubt you are planting cover crops in their space, but leave room for garlic! Plant it this fall, mulch, and harvest in early summer.

Ramps: Grow and Cook This Edible, Wild ‘Weed’

Ramps, aka Allium tricoccum, are really wild leeks. They combine the taste of garlic with the taste of onion, although that's really somewhat of an oversimplification as the taste of ramps is bursting with other — so many other — flavors and nuances that they leave their actual essence difficult to verbalize.

Sweet Red Pepper and Watermelon Rind Relish Recipes

Back in the 1950s, there was a restaurant in Stamford, Conn., named The Hamburger Den that was a local favorite, not just for pretty good burgers, but for pots of delicious relish on each table. Later, in the 90s, I decided I had to make that relish I so loved and finally came up with what I remembered to share here.

Test Acidity for Canning Education

Test the acidity of your batch for water bath canning to ensure that you are meeting requirements for a high acid food. Testing acidity is a great way to understand the role it plays in canning safety. This is an educational tool and not a license to change lab-tested recipes.

6 Ways to Make Food Preservation Faster, Easier and Cooler

Freezing, fermenting, and using a steam canner can reduce the amount of time it takes to preserve foods. Some vegetables can be blanched without freezing, and some can be cooked in a finished dish to make efficient use of your time while the weather is still hot.

Plan Your Diet and Garden Together

Cover crops will build your soil and provide compost material. The time to plant is this fall, but you need to know what the next crop will be when deciding just which cover crop to plant where. Think through your garden plan for next year to make the best choices.

Cuban-Style Sofrito Recipe

Not to be confused with Italian sofrito, which is a mix of sautéed vegetables used as a sauce base, this Cuban version is a pungent mix of raw herbs and vegetables. Cuban sofrito is used to add freshness, herbal notes and zing to many Cuban dishes.

10 Reasons You Need Tasslerue in Your Garden

There are probably over 100 reasons that you should be growing shade-loving and native ‘Tasslerue’ Trautvetteria caroliniensis, but the main reason that you aren't growing it is because you've probably never heard of it, let alone had someone offer to share some with you. All that's about to change.

Waste Not, Want Not with This Watermelon Rind Pickles Recipe

The white part of watermelon rind makes a delicious pickle! Be sure to take a little time to make some for a garnish on sandwiches or as a key ingredient in Red Pepper Relish. The recipe below has won several ribbons in State Fairs over the years.

Cooling Herbal Recipes for Your Canine Companion

Dogs may have had nothing to do with the naming of the season, but they, like us, will most likely desire some respite from the heat. Here are several cooling herbal recipes for your furry friends to try at home!

Eat Close to Home with Garden-Fresh Salsa

Tomatoes and peppers are plentiful in backyard gardens and at the farmers markets right now. Preserve this bounty in the form of salsa with your water bath canner and you can enjoy the goodness the whole year.

Putting Up Corn Relish

Making corn relish and canning it in a water bath canner is an easy and delicious way to preserve end-of-the-season corn. Open these colorful jars for a taste of summer in the middle of winter.

Southwest Hatch Chili Pesto Dressing Recipe

If you are lucky enough to come across some Hatch chili peppers and favorite variety of basil, here is a pesto recipe with a friendly amount of spice. Try it atop a Southwest chicken salad and transport yourself to New Mexico. (If you can’t make the festival, you can still make the pesto and dressing.)

How to Clean, Melt and Store Beeswax

Here, I share this very simple method for rendering beeswax that will take you from sticky mess to wonderfully fragrant disks of clean beeswax ready for your crafts and beauty products while costing very little of your time and precious energy. Your bees will actually benefit from it!

The Wise Grid Series, Part 2: The Hudson Valley ‘Energy Highway’ Transmission Project — An Idea Whose Time Has Passed?

A 150-mile transmission line project proposed in 2012 costing up to $1.3 billon is a “dinosaur” that is still haunting the Hudson Valley. But rooftop solar energy, battery storage, and community microgrids can replace the ancient, costly, and vulnerable centralized generation and transmission electricity system that has dominated New York and the entire nation — and advanced little technologically — for over a century.

Pesto Three Ways

Every summer, I make sure that I get plenty of pesto made and put up in little tubs in the freezer — enough to get me through the winter. There are three different kinds I like to have on hand for use in various dishes: Italian Pesto, French Pistou, and Hatch Pesto. They’re easy to make, freeze well, and make an ordinary meal into something special.

Quick Barbecue Sauce Recipe for Canning

If your tomato crop is like mine, right now you have just enough ripe fruit for salads and sandwiches with none left over for canning. Here’s a homemade barbecue recipe sauce you can make without waiting for the end-of-season tomato tsunami.

Minto Island Growers Seek Balance As Their Farm Expands, Part 2

Elizabeth Miller and Chris Jenkins have turned Minto Island Growers into a multifaceted farm that features a tea plantation, vegetable CSA, u-pick berries, food cart, farm stand, and more. Now they’re finding that growth brings many new challenges.

Selling Honey at Fairs and Festivals, Part 1: Planning Ahead

Have you thought about selling your extra honey and beeswax products at a fair or festival? In Part 1 of a three-part series, Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary will discuss how to get started in selling your products of the hive.

Drying Herbs to Savor the Flavor

There are so many ways to dry herbs: in an oven on low heat, in a dehydrator, in the sun. However, overr time under well ventilated conditions, herbs will dry all by themselves with no additional encouragement.

Preserving Cherry Tomatoes as Tomato Confit

An abundant harvest of cherry tomatoes can be roasted to make a tomato preserve called tomato confit. The recipe is simple, and the tomato confit can be used to make tomato tarts and tomato bruschetta.

Time to Mow Down Your Kale

Is your kale patch infested with insects? It may be time to mow it down and start a fresh patch for fall. But, don't worry: Here’s a chard variety to get you by in the meantime while you wait for your fall kale to come up.

Minto Island Growers Seek Balance As Their Farm Expands, Part 1

Elizabeth Miller and Chris Jenkins have turned Minto Island Growers into a multifaceted farm that features a tea plantation, vegetable CSA, u-pick berries, food cart, farm stand, and more. Now they’re finding that growth brings many new challenges.

Onion Harvest

Once your onions are harvested you need to store them so they will last as long as possible. Here are some tips for hanging your onions to dry and for braiding for storage. Also, learn about some of the health benefits of eating onions. They should be an important part of everyone's diet.

Super-Simple Limoncello Recipe and Other Summer-Infused Spirits

I've had limoncello that was thick and tasted of lemon candy. The recipe shared here is lighter and has a more pure lemon flavor. No stovetop or heating is involved making for a quick-hit summer spirit that you can enjoy with steeping alone.

Why Off-Gridders Love Home Wind Turbines

The advantages of combining wind and solar go beyond system performance and floating batteries – it’s an enhancement to the off-grid lifestyle as a whole.

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.

Do I Need to Use Iodized Salt?

Iodine is an essential nutrient for thyroid function, and iodine deficiency can lead to some serious health complications. Learn where this nutrient comes from and whether you need to use iodized salt to get enough of it.

A Texas Rancher Shares Homestead Inspiration

Everyone has a dream, and although we are lucky enough to have had ours come true, our homestead lifestyle required time and work to make a reality. I invite you to follow us in our dream through this blog to learn DIY projects, gardening, water and energy conservation, a few clever “Homestead Hacks,” and how to use what you already have to fill a need.

Hang Your Laundry to Dry

Using the sun to dry our clothes naturally is part of a permaculture lifestyle. Learn tips for drying your clothes both outside and inside your house, allowing you to get rid of your clothes dryer and opening up space for other things, such as crocks for fermenting.

How to Pick the Perfect Pectin for Homemade Jam

Before commercial pectins, our grandmothers made jam by cooking down fruit, slowly, slowly to keep it from scorching. Pectin is what makes a jam or jelly gel. A little known fact: Which brand of commercial pectin you buy matters in terms of taste, texture, and how fast you are likely to get in and out of the kitchen.

'Kickstarting' the K15 Bamboo and Recycled Aluminum E-Bike

Assembled in China from native bamboo and recycled 6160 aluminum tubing gussets, this bike frame seemed the perfect complement to the ZeHus motor. I not only ended up with one of the most beautiful e-bikes Iʼve ever seen, but it also turned out to be one of the lightest. Learn how you can reserve a future production version of the e-bike.

5 Summer Herbs to Preserve Fresh

While many herbs can be dried and stored for later use in teas and remedies, these five summer herbs are best preserved fresh!

Uses for Over-Sized Zucchini

Did you wait too long to pick your zucchini and now you grew baseball bats? Here are some ideas for making use of your oversized zucchini.

Late Summer and Fall Intercropping of Cover Crops in Vegetable Crops, aka Undersowing

The principles of intercropping apply also to undersowing cover crops in existing vegetable crops. This article lists the advantages of undersowing cover crops, gives some examples that work for late summer and fall vegetable crops, distinguishes suitable and unsuitable situations, and provides links to several useful resources.

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.

Rescue Old Pillows

Some experts recommend replacing pillows every two years. That would have cost me more than $1,000 over the past 10 years! Don't throw out old pillows in order to opt for expensive new ones. Instead, this post will teach you how to effectively hand-wash old pillows to remove stains and kill bacteria.

Managing Garden Paths

If your garden is becoming a bit overwhelming this summer it might be because your paths have become overgrown with weeds. Getting (and keeping) your paths under control will make less work for you overall, and a more enjoyable experience in your garden. Here are some ideas for working with your paths.

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.

Put Your Children To Work

Summer with children can be exciting. It is an opportunity to spend time with your children like never before. Here are some ideas for putting your children to work in meaningful ways that will benefit everyone.

Homegrown, Handspun Cotton Vest

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to make an article of clothing from seed to finished product? I have. Check out my homegrown, handspun, handwoven, naturally-colored cotton vest.

Making Your Own Tools

Forging metal means a lot of time standing over the fire, holding the metal – with tongs, obviously – in just the right place to get the proper amount of heat, and withdrawing it at just the right moment. Too much heat and it sparks and disintegrates, too little and no amount of hammering can budge it. Movie blacksmiths look like bodybuilders slamming white-hot metal with sledgehammers; the reality involves a lot more frantic and often delicate tapping, as the smith has only a few seconds to make the right changes before it cools again.

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.

Become a Caretaker of Your Environment: Lessons from a Lipan Apache Shaman

The information and ideas presented in this post are from teachings and skills Tom Brown, Jr., learned from the Lipan Apache Shaman and elder Stalking Wolf, who mentored Tom a decade. We can learn to develop a relationship with the Earth that becomes an ongoing communication and a form of mutual healing. The lessons and skills of nature awareness, wilderness survival and a philosophy of living with the Earth focus on how to cultivate a caretaker approach.

4 Calendula Uses for Your Health

The many calendula uses for health include treating diaper rash, healing wounds, and helping with side effects of radiation therapy.

How a Small Wind Turbine Works, Part 3: Turbine Terminology

The previous installment focused on the benefits of small wind turbines for homeowners who are grid-tied, off-grid, or have battery backup systems. In this short episode, we’ll go over the main terminology associated with small wind turbines.

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.

International Seed Library Forum

Seed libraries are coming together to face the challenges and opportunities ahead. Learn about their recent gathering in Tucson, Arizona.

Parsnips as a Staple Crop

Though they are less popular than potatoes, carrots and turnips, parsnips are a fantastic storage veggie.

5 Steps to Our New Orchard

Here's 5 of the basic steps to how we created our small organic home orchard/edible landscape. It's a permaculture designed area that has been created with a natural landscape as inspiration, with the least amount of human input. It will host not only heritage apples but several other fruits and berries, herbs and medicinal plants.

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.

Using Tonic Herbs for Health and Vitality

Many of us are familiar with Echinacea and yarrow as antimicrobials, wild cherry bark for a cough, ginger for nausea, and a host of other herbs used in acute situations to restore health. Herbs can be very effective used in this manner, but herbs also shine when used as daily building and strengthening tonics!

Attract Beneficials to Your Garden

Attracting beneficial insects to your garden is easy once you follow some basic guidelines. With a few management techniques, you will have the good bugs flying into your garden to help you out.

Poetry of the Land

Language is born of experience -- so enrich your vocabulary! Go outside! Learn how to address "the sparkle of morning sunlight through hoar-frost." And don't let the world die in the dictionary.

People Are Messy

How we deal with each other’s emotional messiness.

How to Regrow Lettuce

Purchase romaine lettuce once, regrow it again and again! Use this simple tutorial to slash your salad bill while enjoying tasty, healthful greens.

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.

Evaluating Rabbit Body Condition

Keeping animals in good condition is important for the health of your homestead. Here's how to get past the fluff and make sure your rabbits are in top shape.

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!

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.

The Art and Meaning of Good Husbandry

Practicing good husbandry skills is extremely important to ensure healthy and happy animals on your homestead. But it doesn't just mean making sure everything is "clean and tidy." Here are a few more things that you might not realize help pull together the "art" of good husbandry.

Planning for Seed Saving

When you save your own seeds,you choose what characteristics you want to preserve by your careful selections. Seed saving is an adventure waiting to happen in your own garden.

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.

Ways To Increase Our Self-Sufficiency

Homesteading is to me to live in self-reliance, simplicity and mindfulness. To be able to do that in a way that feels true to what we believe in, I've found that it demands a narrow definition of what I put in the word enough.

Leaking Ponds, Pigs, and Sheep Feet

A leaky pond can be frustrating, and while good construction is the best way to avoid this problem, there are some solutions for fixing your pond when it does spring a leak.

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.

How to Keep a Critical Valve from Freezing

I used this tried and true method of preventing a valve from freezing. There was no electricity as a back-up crutch for this mission critical valve and I kept it open through the coldest February on record.

Raising Meat Rabbits on Pasture: Intensive Grazing with Bunnies

Rabbits are a fabulously healthful, economical and ecologically sound source of meat, and they don’t have to be kept in hanging cages. Rabbits can be raised on pasture to produce food for your family while improving the quality of your land.

How to Make Your Own Mayo

A recipe for whisking up a batch of homemade mayonnaise and a full serving of DIY empowerment.

Compost Piles in Your Garden Rotation

Compost piles don't have to be relegated to an out of the way bin. If your compost-making materials are being produced in your garden, as they are following biointensive methods, the best place for the compost piles are in rotation right on your garden beds.

Unplugging to Reconnect, A Journey Toward Full-Time Homesteading: Location, Design, Infrastructure

This entry departs from our treatise on purely financial considerations of people who decide to move toward a full-time homesteading or farming lifestyle to explore issues that can be leveraged to reduce other "costs," such as time, labor and maintenance requirements. Up for discussion this installment are homestead location and layout, equipment, and free natural raw materials.

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.

Animal Handling

How big of a priority are good animal handling facilities?

Homesteading Chores in March

Any other year in March, the homesteading chores are back in full swing after the winter break. This year, winter lasted longer than ever and it wasn't until the end I could even conceive of getting any of the usual stuff done. Here's the list of what I normally do.

Fierce Farming Women, Part 2

The second in this month's two-part series of excerpts from the "Fierce Farming Women" chapter of "The Color of Food" book - honoring Women's Month.

Haywire: Devices Break Down

Mechanical and electrical devices break down sometimes. Can you fix them or will you pay to have them replaced or fixed? My take on how to tackle the problem.

How Important Is Soil Temperature?

Just as people are more comfortable and productive at certain temperatures, so are your seeds. Consider the soil temperature before you plant.

‘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.

A Greenhouse, Chicken Coop Combo

These two structures for creating a sustainable homestead are not often associated, but with the right planning they can be integrated into a single multi-use structure that enhances both environments. A greenhouse/chicken coop becomes a year-round food-producing machine, giving you a bounty of fruits, vegetables and protein all in one.