State Fair Strawberry Jam Recipe

Nothing is more delicious than jam made from fresh, sweet strawberries. This easy recipe uses strawberries and sugar. That's all!

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.

What to Do with Sludge

Sewage and industrial sludge is being managed as a liability. Current outdated regulations and technologies focus on the least-expensive means of the sludge disposal. Sludge management needs to be redirected toward the recovery of energy and chemicals embedded in the sludge and guided by the principals based on the current scientific findings and technology. Environmental and demographic considerations need to play an important role in this new approach geared toward sustainable and energy-efficient waste management practices.

Watering: Not too Much, Not too Little

When and how to water a garden can be challenging especially for beginner gardeners. Read the tips that will make you feel like an expert on garden watering.

Off-Grid Water Preparedness

Water is the liquid-gold standard for off-grid sustainability. However, how does a new off-grid homesteader prepare for their water needs? Here are some simple tips from seasoned veterans on how to successfully have a backup plan for water.

DIY Off-Grid Chicken-Watering System

For the same cost as one more indoor waterer, we built an outdoor system with 10 times the capacity that won’t require much extra work from us to keep up.

DIY Ceramic Water Filter Kits, Revisited

DIY water filter kits allow just about anyone to create potable water from natural, fresh water sources such as ponds and streams. Simple, off-grid water systems using these kits can negate the expense and effort of packing in water and having lots of plastic bottles to recycle or dispose of.

Water Strategies for the Homestead

This post covers the importance of having a comprehensive water plan for your property. Most homesteaders are simply dependent on their wells, which are predicated on cheap and reliable energy. Don’t misunderstand me: I love being able to flip a switch and get light and turn on a faucet and get water — it’s wonderful! However, we need to develop a resilient water plan that accounts for potential disruption in that system but also to develop other systems to increase the fertility of the land.

The Prepared Homestead Kitchen: Top Appliances, Part 2

Over this last year my water bath canner has grown into a frequently used item. This time of year, it makes itself useful by simmering gallons of bone broth on our stove due to its generous size. In the summer and early fall, however, it is kept busy canning all the jams, jellies, and sauces I preserve for the coming winter months.

Preparing for Power Outages on the Homestead, Part 2

Losing power is a reality that homesteaders must prepare for. It is not a matter of if, but when, and for how long. As a homesteader/farmsteader we have a responsibility to keep the home running regardless of “power.” This series of blog posts discusses homestead preparedness for power outages, part 2 covers generator usage, communications, water strategies and dry-composting toilets.

Technological Challenges of Off-Grid Homestead Living, Part 3: Water

This is part three in a series of articles on how I made the transition to off grid homestead living by combining appropriate modern technology and reliable techniques practiced for thousands of years. Currently I’m entering the first winter of full-time off grid living at my mountain homestead after completing the construction of my small house.

Food Preservation Through Water Bath and Pressure Canning

In a time where everything you could possibly want comes pre-packaged, pre-canned, filled with preservatives and is processed to last, why should we learn to can? Why should we use our valuable time and resources to learn a skill that has almost become obsolete? I think I can answer these questions in three simple words: to be prepared.

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.

6 Low-Maintenance Gardening Ideas

Gardening is often hard work and often costly, but it doesn't always have to be. Here are some low maintenance techniques to help you garden smarter, not harder.

Canning for Home Food Preservation: Is it for You?

Canning your own foods can be a rewarding, economical and healthier way to preserve a garden’s bounty — but it’s not for everyone. Here is a bit of the lowdown on what is involved in the process for canning food so you can decide for yourself what will be best to preserve your garden bounty.

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.

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.

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.

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.

5 Unique Ways to Use Solar Power

Solar power is taking the world by storm. People are not only using solar power to produce energy by placing solar panels on their roofs, but they are starting to use the technology in new ways. This post highlights ways solar power can provide homeowner benefits but are less often discussed.

Permaculture Companion Planting on Steroids

Permaculture premise is creating a self-sustaining garden that has a nurturing relationship with your yard’s environment and symbiotic relationship among the plantings.

Golden Plums Preserves Recipe

What could be better than these luscious preserves made from golden plums? Capture the taste of summer with this easy recipe.

Boiling Water Bath vs. Pressure Canning

Which foods are safe to process in a boiling water bath and which must be canned in a pressure canner? The answer is the single most important thing you need to know if you want to safely preserve food in canning jars.

5 Tips for Homestead Water Conservation

I’ve done what I can to reduce our household water usage; I am not sure how I could cut down any further and still keep my vegetable garden alive. These are the steps I have taken over the years. Use these five simple techniques to conserve water (and save money) on your homestead.

Is Your Water Heater an Energy Hog?

One of the largest energy expenses in a typical home is its water heater. Here are some ways to assess the efficiency of your water heater and decide whether a replacement is needed and if so, what type it should be.

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.

Gardening in Containers

Gardening in containers can address a number of gardening situations such as adding color to a patio, controlling soil pH, allowing sensitive plants to be portable, and water conservation.

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.

Water Catchment on the Suburban Frontier

Catching and storing rainwater is one of the most important tasks on the suburban frontier for "green preparedness." It's a great way to build "home economics" and connect more closely with taking care of basic needs.

What's in Our Water?

Your drinking water might not be as spring fresh as you'd like to think.

Annie’s Green Tomato Salsa Recipe for Water Bath Canning

This year I took several liberties in developing a new version of salsa verde. I don't grow tomatillos so I use green tomatoes. I won't call it salsa verde (except on the lids of my jars), because it isn't authentic. But let me tell you, it is GOOD. Here is Annie’s Green Tomato Salsa Recipe good for use when water bath canning.

Delicious, Nutritious, Ice-Cold Watermelon Cooler

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

Compost-Heated Outdoor Shower

Here at Deer Isle Hostel, Maine, we use a compost pile built with local, natural materials and a 100-foot water pipe to create a steaming hot shower.

Homesteading on the Cheap, Part 1: Finding Land

Many of us are seeking to discover a lifestyle in which not all of our needs are provided through the medium of monetary exchange. Don’t let misconceptions about what is necessary to a family-size farmstead discourage you in the search for that small rural acreage, reasonably priced, where you can begin to realize your dreams.

Water-Smart Gardening

Planting a water-smart garden with native plants can help you save water when temperatures heat up.

Managing Pond Weeds: Your Pond Toolbox

There are weeds in the pond, what to do and what to use. A description of what to do with pond weeds and how to manage them with the various pond weed tools available on the market and a description on how they work. In this article we do not discuss chemical treatments and stick to natural methods.

How Big is Your Water Footprint?

Explore ways to reduce both your direct and indirect water footprint. Reducing your water footprint could make a huge different to both the environment and finances.

Fix a Leak

Chase down household leaks and fix them to save water and money during the Earth Gauge #FixALeak Week.

Guard Your Groundwater

Protect our water supplies during National Groundwater Awareness Week by saving water at home.

Two Effective Tools for Pond Management and a Healthy Pond

Keeping your pond healthy and its inhabitant healthy can be a challenge, but knowing the basic steps to a healthy ecosystem can keep the pond alive for years, even reverse the aging process. Let’s look at two highly recommended tools for pond maintenance, aeration and beneficial pond bacteria.

Large Pond Management Tips

From our last post learning about the difference between large and small ponds let’s jump into the large (below ground) ponds to discover what happens to them and what makes each pond unique. We’ll see that the watershed has a great effect on the pond water quality and the pond inhabitants have an effect on each pond even the wildlife that visits our ponds pose some challenges.

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.

Aboveground vs. Belowground Ponds Overview

Learn the parts of a pond’s watershed and the differences between aboveground and belowground ponds to determine which pond type is the best for your property.

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.

What Are Headwater Streams?

Headwater streams are small streams or tributaries that carry water from the upper reaches of a watershed to a river.

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.

From the Trees to the Seas

Plant life along small streams starts a food chain that stretches all the way to the ocean.

Build a Rainwater Collection System

Save the rain for a sunny day with this homemade rainwater collection system. Using recycled water containers and storing up to 275 gallons, this setup is five times bigger than the typical rain barrel.

Watermelon Rind Pie

Watermelon rind is this frugal pie's summery secret ingredient. Think of it as summer mincemeat.

Lemonade Watermelon Sorbet Recipe

Fragrant and round with a tart lemony bite, this Lemonade Watermelon Sorbet Recipe has the flavor and texture of ripe watermelon.

The Sacred Headwaters: Goliath Defeated by 1,000 Davids

People took a stand against one of the largest multi-national oil companies in the world and resolved to fight back against Shell’s plans to annihilate the Sacred Headwaters. And we were successful. After 5 years of incredible campaigning, community organizing, hard-hitting ads, protests and a storm of media coverage, Shell agreed to forfeit its tenures in the Sacred Headwaters and public pressure catalyzed the government of British Columbia to ban all further oil and gas development in the region.

Rainwater Hub Offers Efficient Rainwater Harvesting

The Rainwater Hub is an entirely new answer to the limits of traditional downspout diverters and rain barrel systems. The Rainwater Hub distributes rainwater up to 150 feet through regular garden hoses.

Walking Home

Making the most of a winter walk to home.

The Ozarks Natural Beauty

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

Goats: It's Cold Out There

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

Walking Water

We haul our water from the river - walking water!

Plumbing Fixtures That Conserve

We have slowly replaced out dated fixtures and the Rialto toilet was the final step in getting more environmentally compliant.

U.S. Government Approves 450 MW Offshore Wind Energy Lease

As part of the Obama Administration’s all-of-the-above strategy to expand safe and responsible domestic energy production, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced Nov. 7, 2012, a lease for commercial wind energy development 11 nautical miles off the coast of Delaware.

6 Common Mistakes Solar PV Installers Make

Comly Wilson, Associate with CleanEdison, a solar installation training provider, offers her tips to remedy 6 common mistakes solar PV installers make when setting up new photovoltaic systems.

Fig Obsessions and a Chicken Photo Contest

describing the upcoming fun photo contest with the theme being chickens and the fun they either have or give. Figs and more figs are at the heart of the obsession.

Rising Ocean Water Temperatures

In this posting we discussing how both the surface and bottom water ocean temperatures are rising along the East Coast of the United States. We also discuss the consequences to this rising water temperature.

Composting Toilet Construction and No-Till Gardening Details

talking about building a composting toilet and how well the Seed Swap went on Saturday. Hauling capacity of a golf cart compared to an ATV generated some useful and helpful comments regarding electricity vs internal combustion engines. No till works!

Mobile Home Roofing and Par-cel Cutting Celery

Putting a new roof on a mobile home and harvesting the worlds biggest sweet potato while growing for the first time Par-cel cutting celery and hauling horse manure from our parking area back to the garden.

Ways to Conserve Water in Your Home and Garden

More than 15 tips for saving water inside your home and outside in your yard and garden. Reducing your water use will not only lower your water bills and help prevent water shortages during drought periods in your area. It also...

The Windmill on Our Homestead

Homesteads are attempting to provide longer grazing times by dividing pasture into paddocks. The difficulty of getting water to each paddock can be solved by a windmill with underground pipes. No electric is needed--just wind!

Birth Story of Nathalia Christine Part 2

Expecting our third child any day, I went into labor the afternoon of July 27th. Almost 12 hours of labor later, the contractions stopped. I was starting to lose all trust I had in my body and the birthing process. This is Part 2 of Nathalia's story.

Birth Story of Nathalia Christine Part 1

Our third child arrived the night of July 30, 2012. After many weeks of waiting and 12 hours of labor that stalled, we welcomed our daughter Nathalia Christine earthside. This is Part One of our birth story.

Countertop Water Filtration Growing In Popularity

Try to get clean water and wanting simple bottling options with the purity. Most of the experts in water say you need a countertop water filtration system. Which one is the way to go? This story shows you one option but seems to be kicking it up.

Bath house project

Experiences building a water-saving bath house out of salvaged logs.

Sunflower Cover Crop

Sensor Plug update along with a report on Sunflowers being used as a cover crop and when to properly harvest onions.

Drill Powered Plucking Onion Harvest

Describing how to look up tax maps, cutting carrots, and deleting problem tomato plants that only produce insipid fruit. The main attraction this week is our Power Plucker review and how awesome this new product is at saving time when plucking.

Preparing for a Home Birth

As my birthing day draws near, I am settling in and nesting and preparing our home for the upcoming birth by gathering birth supplies, essentials and creating my birth space.

New Stay-Clean Chicken Waterer

The Chicken Kooler keeps the water away from the chicken’s feet, where is can get filled with straw and dirt.

Panting Like Lizards

We're lucky to be able to live the way we do, even when we feel like we're melting

My Birth Altar

A Birth Altar is a space that will become a power symbol of one's birth. I have begun creating my birth space and bringing together objects that will become my collection of strength during my home birth.

DIY Home Birth

This week's post is a guest submission by Kaitlin Rose from Bring Birth Home. She writes about preparing for a home birth, and why it's truly DIY.

Learning About Mold in Your House

Broadening your understanding of mold and mildew in the house will help you to eliminate this hazard to health and home value.

Aquaponic Trout and Golf Cart Jousting

Summing up the last week of activity by hitting on a few key stories that might prove note worthy to a few of the homesteading folks out there complete with photo montage of golf cart jousting and aquaponic trout.

Eating Cicadas and Building a Porch

Eating cicadas, building a porch, and hauling lumber for said porch all in the same week with several images of the action as well as some bee installation pictures.

7 Months and Counting

An introduction to my current pregnancy with Baby #3 and plans for a second homebirth. Details of my seventh month and thoughts on the gender of our baby.

Turkey Traps and Top Bar Hive Modifications

Top bar hive modifications, turkey traps, and gourmet potatoes are just a few of the topics covered in the past week of blogging we've been up to. Homesteading healthcare and a new virtual book club round off the week with several reader comments.

Top Bar Hive Experiment

Breaking down the last week of homesteading we've done over at, and the Top Bar project we started as well as talk on Brix, biodynamics, and Plant Secondary Metabolites. Also have details on an external frame backpack modification.

Vinegar: A Controversial Subject?

Learn about advertising-induced fear of an innocuous, food-grade substance, vinegar. Plus, get interesting information about vinegar being used for bioremediation of extremely dangerous chemicals.

Living Off-Grid: Water Cisterns

This post is about our water cisterns and what we use them for. It also contains a caution that many local governments would like to tell you what you can and can't do with rainwater.

Weed & Water Wednesday: A Favorite Desert Garden

Although winter is setting in, that doesn't mean an end to the garden season in desert climates! Get inspired by this beautiful rainwater-harvesting, food-producing desert landscape!

Basic Needs Of A Honey Bee Colony...A Start

Four of the requirements honey bees need to thrive, no matter where they live, or what type of shelter they have, or what kind of management they have, or don't have.

Australia to Texas - Drilling the Well

One of the first steps to building our homestead in Texas was to get water and electricity on the property so we had the basics from which we could build. This blog discusses how we implemented the first phase of our utilities.

Sales Triple For Modern Hand Water Pump

Sales for Simple Pump, a hand-operated well pump, have tripled compared to the same time last year, as word about its versatility, reliability and durability have spread.

Australia to Texas - The Land

Our process of buying the land for our homestead had little to do with logic and a lot to do with emotion. For me, it was a chance to return to the plains where I grew up and be close to family.

Drinking From Garden Hoses

While garden hoses may leach some chemicals into the water flowing through them, there’s little reason to think it’s a serious health issue.

Keep Summer Bees Cool

Cool bees are more productive than bees that have to work at keeping cool. Here's several ways to help your bees keep cool this summer.

Growing the Giants

Have some fun in your garden this year and grow something giant!

Easy Ways to Save Money

Do easy ways to save money exist? Absolutely! Blissful saving is only a trip to the bulk section away! When you get home from the store, keep track of your finances on; then look for Groupon's daily deal. Search the house for unused items and sell them on eBay. Use these tips to start saving today!

Sustainability, One Step At a Time

Once our bodies and our imaginations are engaged, the incremental change begins. Then it gets easier and easier to envision humanity occupying this planet–this beautiful, abundant planet–far into the future.

Dole Recognized at World Water Week in Sweden

Dole, with 2009 net revenues of $6.8 billion, is the world's largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit and fresh vegetables, and is the leading producer of organic bananas and producer/shipper of organic pineapples.

The Effect of Deforestation on the Climate and Environment

This posting discusses how deforestation increases global warming and ocean acidification. It also discusses the role of deforestation in triggering severe flooding,aquifer depletion, soil degradation and animal and plant extinction.

The New Loo

Simran Sethi explains her bathroom-remodel goals to conserve water.

Climate Change: The Role of Water

This posting discusses how the oceans stores heat and transports the heat to warm colder parts of the planet. The posting uses El Nino as an example on how warm ocean water can have a diverse effect on the climate in different regions of the planet.

"Plant it Forward"(2)

This is a fun story about planting seeds for future generations and not recognizing a gift when it is blooming right in your face.

Our Water Footprint

Simran Sethi interviews Tom Kostigen about water waste and conservation.

Blog Action Day: Water Around the World

This year's Blog Action Day topic is water, and thousands of bloggers around the world are joining together to provide valuable information, increase awareness and help readers learn more about the state of water, why they should care, and what they can do to help.

Win a 25-Gallon, Solar Livestock Waterer!

Most stock tanks aren’t designed to prevent the water from freezing. The tanks have no insulation, and the large area of water exposed to air doesn’t help either. Livestock owners frequently us a floating electric tank heater. But there’s a better (and less expensive) solution — solar livestock water tanks.

Organic Gardening and Rainwater Harvesting: Sustainable Living by Example

Engineer Venkappa Gani leads by example when it comes to sustainable living. His entire backyard is an organic garden, an edible landscape that borders his rainwater harvesting tank collectors overlooked by solar panels that power his home (and more!). Gani is dedicated to sustainability, a word he lives by everyday at his suburban home in Austin, Texas. 

Go Ahead … Use My Home Urinal

Home urinals are catching on. First found in high-end homes, many people are installing them when building or retrofitting all types of homes.

Photo of the Week: Waterfall Escape

CU user Shelby captures the beauty of the water falling on the rocks in this week's Photo of the Week. Remember to submit your photos every week at our CU photo-sharing website, and you could be the next Photo of the Week.

Explore the Waters During Blue August

Don't miss Blue August, a month-long event with special programming from Planet Green that will motivate you to become more aware of the world's oceans.

Find the Best Reusable Water Bottle for You: Ditch Bottled Water

Find the best reusable water bottle for you. Whether it is plastic, steel, aluminum or glass, using a reusable water bottle helps the environment. The $11 billion bottled water industry takes a toll on our environment. Here is a list of reusable bottles that could end your bottled water habits. 

How Do You Conserve Water at Home?

Water conservation can help you save big on money and energy. Here are a few ways to help you conserve water at home by simply using water-efficient appliances. 

Gulf Oil Spill Update

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill has been in the news constantly for the past two months, and all the new developments can be a bit overwhelming. Here's a comprehensive update to help you keep everything straight.

Emancipate Yourself from the Utility

Three-day workshop announcement on net zero energy homes by leading authority on energy efficiency and renewable energy, Dan Chiras. Learn how to reduce your utility bill through conservation, effriciency, & clean, affordable, renewable energy.

The State of the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

An explosion at a British Petroleum oil rig has caused a massive and growing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico just off the Lousiana coast. Here is an account of where the spill stands at the moment.

Can Solar Power the World?

Dan Chiras and other energy experts envision a future powered by a combination of renewable energy resources, including wind and solar.

Building SIPsmart: Considering Concrete and Solar Hot Water

Michael Morley will post regular updates about his progress building a unique green home with structural insulated panels (SIPs). Here, he discusses options for installing a colored concrete floor, and considering whether to install a solar hot water system.

The World Wastes Half Its Food!

A new report released at World Water Week in Stockholm last Thursday states that nearly half the world's food (and therefore large quantities of water) is mindlessly wasted.

Clean Energy, Clean Water

This simple, low-tech method of disinfecting water with solar energy can be a lifesaver when safe drinking water isn't available. 

Water Wisely

Wise sprinkler usage will conserve water while maintaining your attractive lawn.

Aloha, Solar Power

Heating water with the sun is no longer an option on the Hawaiian islands. A bill was passed in Hawaii that requires all new homes to install a solar water heater in order to receive a building permit.

All Kinds of Solar: Understanding the Options

There are many different ways to bring solar power into your home. Here's a quick overview of the different ways people use solar energy, with links to related articles and plans.

Ice, Propane, Magma and Money

Publisher Bryan Welch doesn't make his living on the farm, which he says is a good thing. He writes about his steps and missteps in his first year using an automatic waterer for his cattle, and the first winter test.