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.
The harvest begins. Whatever happened to those wild and crazily overgrown potatoes (written about in a previous post)? Check out the bushels of newly dug potatoes that resulted from that botanical experiment started this spring.
A day full of learning and fun created the perfect respite to my recent turmoil about lawn ordinances and greater world tragedies. There are so many friends and animal family that I have yet to discover—I will hold onto this day as a lovely treasure of proof that there are people who understand and walk similar paths.
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.
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!
Selective weeding can result in finding delightfully surprising volunteers in your garden. I’m sure most of you have heard some version of the old adage, “A weed is simply any plant growing in an unwanted place.” When combined with “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” you can sometimes have eye-opening conversations (especially with neighbors).
Enemy forces seemed to converge over my indoor green thumbs this year, resulting in a near complete seedling failure. What happens when undetermined circumstances produce "lemons?" You make lemonade, of course. Blythe shares how her failed seedling crop may just have changed how she manages her springtimes from here on out.
Ruminants have been maligned for causing desertification and worsening climate change, but when we emulate the way nature designed herds to graze, the result is a rapid improvement in soil, forage and animal health. Our planet's health is also improved because rotational and mob-grazing takes atmospheric carbon and stores it as organic topsoil.
When the performing of regular garden chores presents you with ethical or moral dilemmas, what is your normal course of action? Do you think about the wildlife surrounding you? Read here to find out who was hiding in Blythe’s carrot bed and what she decided to do.
What do you do when you don’t have a root cellar and the potatoes you store in the basement have decided to volunteer for planting? This post will show you the beginning of one of my botanical adventures growing potatoes in abundance.
Compost tea allows you to take a small amount of compost and give your plants the microbes and nutrition they need to resist disease and give you nutritious food. Making and using compost tea is both economical and easy.
You can turn kitchen and farm "wastes" into compost, which is full of microbes and nutrition for your crops. In return, you will be able to grow disease-resistant plants that produce highly nutritious food with fantastic flavors.
Building your own wildlife habitat in the style of a brush pile can be fun and easy. It can also help with several problems at once—where to dispose of clippings and branches, how to provide shelter for wildlife, and how to lower our carbon footprint are all solved in this one simple addition to your garden.
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.
A hybrid is simply two different plant varieties crossed for specific reasons. You can save the seeds produced by these, contrary to what you may have heard. It’s just more complicated than saving heirloom or open-pollinated seeds.
Composting is a great way to lessen our carbon footprint and it doesn’t have to be expensive, time-consuming, or difficult. Read this article to learn about Blythe’s relaxed, easy going approach of turning scraps into treasure.
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.
When our neighbors might not think we're gardening because the snow is flying and we're not as visible outdoors, there can be plenty of fun happening indoors. Dreaming, planning, plotting, and nurturing seedlings are all part of a gardener's life as well.
Growing your own gourds can provide for years of creative endeavors. If you haven’t grown gourds and have the space (remember, they can go vertical — my luffas actually climbed a nearby tree), I urge you to try them. There are several varieties of shapes and sizes available. Just imagine what fun you could have when you’re gourdening — before, during and after the harvest!
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.
Bees have nested in your home. How do you get rid of them humanely? There are no easy answers to this situation. The editor of Bee Culture magazine outlines your options for safe, non-lethal bee removal options that are available to you.
The seeds you save from your favorite or best producing plants will with each season become even more adapted to your garden, growing more robust for your specific conditions with each passing year. It is super simple to do and a great cost saver, too.
My grandfather emigrated from Sicily and loved to cook. A recent trip back to the island by my mom, sister and cousin triggered a desire for me to learn what would be in a typical kitchen Sicilian garden. Much research later, this is what a heirloom "l’orto biologico" you would see growing in Sicily at the time my grandfather left his homeland for America in the early 1900s and is being brought back to life through efforts like the Slow Foods organization today.
So, what to do when you are eating tomatoes at every meal and still have them coming? It is time to preserve them! There are 3 easy ways to preserve the tomato harvest for fresh from the garden taste year round: freezing, water bath canning, and drying.
Old trophies and medals are special reminders of triumphs in our past, but they can quickly pile up and become a large collection. Instead of discarding old medals, why not turn them into a keepsake that is both functional and practical?
You’re invited to the 2015 Sustainable Poultry Network–USA National Conference! This conference will be the most complete, comprehensive conference for sustainable poultry production in North America. This conference features some of the very best instructors to teach on the current critical subjects of sustainable poultry production.
Turn a collection of carpet-sample pieces into an eclectic rug for your kitchen or bathroom! This resourceful DIY project can be made with just four materials - some of which may already be in your home.
This framed floral arrangement made with dried flowers and corsages is a lovely and sentimental art piece. It can be made with flowers saved and preserved from many occasions, or from this year’s Valentine’s Day flowers.
It's important to keep indoor cats occupied to help them live long, healthy and happy lives. These homemade toys will do just the trick! The supplies are low cost and/or can be made by re-purposing items you already have at home.
This simple DIY project is a great way to display this seasons' holiday greetings, or to keep your mail organized. The materials are free or low-cost, depending on what’s in your recycling bin and craft or junk drawer!
This simple DIY project is a quick and easy way to repurpose a metal tray into a pretty place to display photos, notes, even holiday cards. The supplies needed may be found in your home or bought inexpensively at a local craft/home improvement store or found at a thrift shop.
Whether you choose renewable energy for ecological or financial reasons, this article will help you see how solar panels and a solar hot water heating system can be financed and get you closer to being a sustainable household.
Your veggies contain the nutritional content that the soil can provide the plant. Saying a plant only needs NPK is like saying all humans need is carbs, fat and protein. It is much more complicated than that.
Composting toilets add sustainability to a homestead because they use zero water to flush. The waste from compost toilets are safe to add to compost piles. Additionally, it is handy that they don't require connecting to a septic system. This article describes two brands of composting toilets.
A homemade smokehouse can be built to give you a new way to preserve and flavor your meat and cheese. By building the firebox at a distance from the smokehouse, you will have a cold smoker that can preserve meat and flavor cheese.
Herbs have so many healthful properties. It just makes great sense to take advantage of their benefits and taste in warming teas. The only limits to homemade tea from homegrown ingredients is your imagination!
If you are confused about what type of onion to grow in your garden, this blog will give you the info you need. Onions are perennials, easy to grow, and have little to no pest problems. A must have addition to every garden!
Though summer vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, basil and cucumbers grow at a reduced pace in the fall, cool season crops like lettuce, carrots, radishes, peas, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower are coming into maturity throughout October and into November.
A gravity watering system can consist of a cistern to save roof top rain water and elevated tanks to gravity feed this water to your garden. As climate change makes rain less predictable, you can both water your garden and help save ground water.
Chard is a wonderful green, chock full of vitamins. It can be eaten when small in salads. The large leaves can be harvested for steamed/cooked greens. It is a perennial that with cover can be harvested all winter.
Canning is a great way to preserve your own harvest. When canning acidic foods like fruit or tomatoes or anything using vinegar or sugar, you can likely use only a water bath. There are many chemical free canning jars available today for low tox canning.
Tips for keeping your summer garden producing at top output. This is the time of year that warm season crops are at their peak. These 7 tips will give you continued bountiful harvests through the heat.
Time management tools can help a homestead run smoothly as well as make the work more enjoyable. By focusing on different tasks in different seasons, assigning different tasks to different days and by sharing tasks, the work becomes both manageable and fun.
This is the time of year for harvesting the heat lovers like tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, cucumbers, fava beans, green beans, all types of peppers, garlic, basil, along with other Mediterranean herbs.
Propolis is becoming a very popular “bee product” in the natural health arena. The fact that it is produced in nature does not make a product sustainable. We must always be aware of the toll that the harvest of that product makes on the organism that creates it.
We can all help to save rare breed genetics for future homesteaders by raising and using these animals ourselves. Furthermore, we can help preserve the animals by sharing their valuable genetics with others.
Your homestead is complete when you get your own cow for milking. But problems such as a cow who holds her milk or who kicks can make milking difficult and even dangerous. Here are some helpful hints so that you can enjoy your cow and enjoy milking her.
Starting seeds with children indoors is a project that extends into outdoor planting of the seedlings in spring and harvesting produce in the summer. It allows you to share success and satisfaction with children and makes it more likely they'll eat their vegetables!
Homestead spring projects include honey bees, Dorking chickens, Ancona ducks, Narragansett turkeys, Dutch Belted calf, Red-Wattle hogs, the incubator, pruning fruit trees,starting seeds, and heirloom plants so we can eat healthful and delicious food all year.
Feeding chickens sustainably means keeping them healthy by using a combination of free-range, good-quality commercial food, supplementing their diet with garden produce and perhaps even mixing your own poultry food.
Fenugreek has been indicated in some historical texts as being used for inflammation of the stomach and digestive tract, too. It is said to be the oldest recorded herb found so far. When you couple this flower with another common flower, Thyme, there isn’t a swollen sinus passage that stands a chance!
Day 2 has a haphazard start with no hot water for a proper cup of tea, and people are arriving early for a day of consulting. What's the solution to keeping water hot overnight on top of a wood stove so there's plenty for hot tea, doing dishes and a shower?
With a small space, how do you choose what to grow? You can grow an amazing variety and amount of vegetables and herbs in a very small space, integrate veggies and herbs into your flowers, and maximize the use of pots.
The December garden is still full of life, both in the beds and under cover, providing fresh ingredients for home cooked meals. Winter farmers markets and CSA's are a great way to learn what grows well in your zone.
The diva of re-use, Annie Warmke, talks about simple steps to take in the barn yard for re-purposing and reducing waste. After reading this article you won’t be able to think about things like llama poo or beer bottles in the same way again.
Homesteaders become similar to the self-sustaining people in the Arctic as they spend each season preparing to have food, warmth and shelter for the entire year. It is gratifying to eat well and be comfortable because of our year-round efforts.