How Cows Make Milk

We take it for granted that cows and other mammals make milk for their babies and for us. The process is truly a miracle of nature. What follows is a brief explanation of exactly how cows make milk.

Cook for a Night and Eat for a Week with a Wood-Fired Oven

We built our own clay oven for backyard pizza and bread-baking. One of our favorite things to do is fire up the oven for a weekend afternoon/evening and prepare a variety of meals that will last all week. A bit of work on the weekend provides meals for a week with the unique wood-fired flavor of the outdoor oven.

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.

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.

Considerations For 'Going Green' at Home

Making the commitment to going fully green at home is huge, however there are certain things you should know first, such as what it truly means to go green, your home's energy expenditure, and your carbon footprint.

Encounters with Coyotes in the Past and Present

Coyotes live among us just as they have with our Native Peoples in the past. But unlike our Native Peoples understanding and respect of coyotes, our present day culture has little knowledge, and this greatly takes away from all the positive experiences we can have with America’s wild canine.

Canine Homeopathic Treatments for Natural Pet Care

We live in the mountains with our four German shepherd dogs. Our nearest veterinarian is approximately 45 miles one way and so we often treat our furry family members with homeopathic remedies. These have worked for us in the past, and although I am unable to say that the natural remedies always work, these are worth giving a try.

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.

Healthier Zucchini Bread

Zucchini bread is a great way to use this veggie when it is in abundance. I wanted a recipe that was a bit healthier than the traditional version, but still as moist and delicious.

The ABCs of Homesteading: G is for 'Goats'

This is the fifth blog post in an alphabetically organized introduction to homesteading. It covers considerations for how to raise goats on your homestead, including research strategies, space planning, herd management, the fundamentals of milking goats, pasture development, and making cheese and yogurt.

You Can't 'Beet' This Root Crop for Versatility

If you have a small amount of garden space and need a crop that is versatile, beets should be your crop of choice. Here are ideas for market use of beets and a Pickled Beets recipe for homestead use.

Starting a Rotational-Grazing Goat-Rental Service, Part 2: When Things Go 'Baahd'

When starting a farm business, make sure you know your states rules and regulations. You can contact your states Department of Agriculture and/or your county Cooperative Extension Agency for info. Make sure you know what you need to know about the basic safety and maintenance of goats to begin with: What are their needs when it comes to health, shelter, food, etc., and what are concerns such as plant toxins and predators?

Botanical Wonders Abound in West Virginia’s ‘Cranberry Glades’

The Cranberry Glades are situated within the Monongahela National Forest, which comprises almost 1 million acres of land, making it the third largest national forest east of the Rocky Mountains. Within The Glades are many natural areas and attractions such as the “Cranberry Glades Botanical Area.” This 750-acre preserve is home to many unusual plants, and this is where you’ll find “the bogs.”

How to Choose the Greenest Outdoor Grill

Summertime is prime grilling time. But there are ways to make your barbecue greener and cleaner. This article compares the eco-friendly attributes of various grill options: gas, electric, charcoal, and pellet.

Starting a Rotational Grazing Goat-Rental Service, Part 1

Goat rentals are a good way to "value-add" your goat herd, as well as provide additional rotational-grazing space. But, sometimes you run into problems. This blog series about how we started our rotational-grazing goat-rental service wil outline what some of those problems are and how to deal with them.

5 Tips for Homesteading with Kids

One of the primary reasons we purchased our homestead was to create a place that would be better for our kids — a place where we could provide for them and also help them to develop a sense of connection to the play where they are growing up. These strategies are helping us to find that balance, all while realizing that we have the rest of our lives to build our homestead but only a few precious years when our children are young.

7 Easy Ways to Protect Your Skin Without Sunblock

Sun protection is important, and although sunblock is marketed as safe and effective, I'd rather not slather chemicals on my skin every day. Although sunblock has its place in my skin-protection arsenal, here are seven easy ways I'm able to protect my skin from the sun's harmful rays without resorting to sunblock.

Turn Unreturnable Bulk Bags into Potato Planters

When I first started building my garden and raised beds, I ordered several bulk bags of garden loam and bark mulch. The bags are made of a sturdy, heavy-duty fabric, and I didn’t want to just throw them away, so I had to give some thought as to how I could use them. I decided to recycle the bulk bags into flexible raised beds in which I could grow potatoes and carrots. What this gave me were three extra raised beds with very little effort.

'Berkie' Babies: Raising Berkshire Heritage-Breed Pigs

We just love everything about the Berkshire pig — so we decided we would raise a breeding pair and produce heritage-breed piglets. Berkshire pigs are gentle enough to pasture with other animals and can be trained to harness/lead.

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!

Convert Your Lawn to a No-Till Permaculture Garden

When we bought our homestead, the only gardening area was at the bottom of a fairly steep hill. Though fine for growing a winter’s worth of potatoes and squash, it’s less convenient for greens, which we prefer to grow close to the house. Having read about a method called "lasagna gardening" (named for its layers; learn the basics here), we decided to try it. Egged on by its success, we extended the garden the following year only this time incorporating hugelkultur techniques. Here’s how we did it.

Homesteading Checklist for June: Wild Food Foraging, Berry Preservation, and More

Both tart and sweet, June is infused with the tangy taste of wild cherries, the sweetness of plump raspberries, and the succulence of wineberries. Though feasting, harvesting and preserving this sweetness is a priority, there is much more to do to make the most of this month. Below is a guide to homesteading and wild-food foraging in this juicy season.

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.

Fun Facts About Chickens

Chickens have always been a trademark of farm life and recently have gained popularity with backyard farmers looking to take out the middleman between themselves and fresh eggs. They’re funny looking feathered friends with distinct personalities and some unusual antics you might not know about if you are just getting into poultry. Their quirky behavior can have some interesting origins.

Stories from a Goat Farm and Micro-Dairy (with Video)

You've heard of a one-horse town? Well, we are a one-goat micro-dairy! That doesn't mean we only have one goat to milk, but that our milking parlor is set up to take only one goat in at a time for feeding and milking. Here is a story about a little goat kid who wouldn't give up so, how could we?

Cougars Return to Their Homeland

Cougars, our American lion, historically have been the most widespread large carnivore of both North and South America. After being almost systematically annihilated from our continent by those who came before us, our big cat is making heroic attempts to return to their lost homeland. Will we let them?

Common and Rare Types of Tomato Foliage

The more tomato varieties you grow – especially if you delve into the wonderful world of heirlooms – the more you realize that not all tomato plants look alike. Look closely at the leaves and you will find lots of variations; once you become familiar with a particularly favorite variety, you may even be able to distinguish it early on just by its leaves. Pictures tell the story and take the mystery away from the commonly used tomato foliage terms "regular leaf" and "potato leaf."

Cover Crops for Spring, Summer, and Fall

If your cover crop was successful, and crowded out all of the weeds, you can go ahead and plant your new crop right into the cut cover crop. If your timing is right (with your cover crop in flower, cut very low to the ground, and is one of the crops listed) you can plant right into the undisturbed roots of your cover crop.

Dirty Jobs: Cleaning Chicken Coops

Ok, the hens are off, but now it's time to clean the coop. Yup...my favorite. Get on your grubbies and join the dust bowl!

The Dramatic Drop in Solar-Energy Prices

The price of solar energy is at an all-time low, according to a recent report. The average installed price of photovoltaic (PV) devices has fallen by more than 50 percent since 2009, making the initial investment cost of system installations feasible for a much wider range of homeowners and businesses.

Keeping Dairy Goats on Rotational Pasture 24/7 to Reduce Internal Parasites

Rotational grazing can reduce the parasite load of goats, but this is difficult to accomplish with a dairy herd which needs to return to the same location every day for milking. On our homestead, we developed a rotational shelter and management system that allowed us to keep the herd on pasture 24/7 during the warm season. This significantly reduced our reliance on chemical de-wormers and helped us feel better about the quality of our milk and our soils.

Working with Nature to Build Organic Soil, Part 5: Sustainable Grazing

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.

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.

Install a Solar Gate Opener to Save Energy and Money

An automatic gate opener is a great example of how simple and convenient it can be to use solar panels to power all of its tools and equipment. You can also get a 30% federal residential tax credit toward the cost of a new solar powered gate opener, accessories and installation, as long as you do it before December of this year.

Homesteading and Wild Food Foraging Under the Poplar Moon: May To-Do List

As the days stretch closer to their full summer length, we are welcomed to sow directly into the warming ground. We are invited to harvest from the woods, which are coming to life with new abundance. Now, we step into the light of the growing season, and we plant beneath the poplar moon! Learn how to prepare your garden and what to harvest in the month of May.

Hopping in the Backyard: Grow Your Own Small-Scale Specialty Hops Crop

Hops have not been recognized for their full potential! I often ask people, "do you know what hops are?" I always get the same response: "It's what people use to make beer, isn't it?" Well, yes, but they are much more than that. Read about how to grow hops in your backyard and the many uses beyond brewing for this specialty crop.

Concerning Dehorning Mature Goats

Goat packers who have goats with horns that have become an issue around the home or farm is that, depending on age and sexual hormone levels, there may be options less dire than surgical complete dehorning or banding at the base of the horn, which compromises your pack goat’s defensive capability and confidence on the trail. Certainly talk to at least two vets before committing to any plan of action regarding full removal of horns from goats over the age of 6 months old.

Homemade Coffee-Lemon Body Scrub

Eager to make some yummy, detoxifying scrubs for my arms and legs, I mixed some simple ingredients to my trusty epsom salts to achieve clarity, exfoliation, and moisture using coffee grounds, lemon zest, and coconut oil. Brilliant? Yes! Simple? You bet. Here are DIY instructions on how to make a homemade coffee-lemon body scrub!

How to Choose Eco-Friendly Decking

Building an eco-friendly deck involves many considerations. Choosing the right material is certainly one of them, but other factors are also involved, including climate, location, and budget. This post reviews the important factors.

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.

Working with Nature to Build Organic Soil, Part 3: Compost

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.

Flower Essence Jellies

I combined my love of jelly making and my love of flowers. Using flowers in some sweet form is not something new. Mountain people have always known that there are plants that have the ability to cleanse, uplift, heal and so on. I start my process with the first early (Native) flowers of Spring. Red Bud bloom (from tree) which is high in Vitamin C, Violet (we call them Johnny Jump Up), Dandelion and Forsythia.

Tomatoes from Seed: My 10 Most Important Seed-Starting Success Factors

I start a lot of seedlings each spring – far more than I can fit in my garden. We don’t have much room – this is our home, after all, not a nursery. Yet, with a sunny south facing window, some inexpensive heat mats, a garage with suspended shop lights and sunny driveway, I start hundreds (in some years, thousands) of seedlings successfully. Here are what I consider to be a list of the most important details to pay close attention to.

All About ‘Bloody Butcher’ Corn, Part 3: Storing, Packaging, and Selling (with Recipes)

If you are growing your corn to sell, you can sell it fresh (to eat) without any additional license or permit. When you change the corn in any way such as drying, grinding, etc., this is considered value-added. If you are selling your corn product at market or other outlet, make sure you have looked at all the legal aspects. Read on to learn about all aspects of packaging and selling homegrown corn, including recipes.

Introducing the Farming With Carnivores Network

This blog post introduces you to the new educational website www.FarmingwithCarnivoresNetwork.com. It is a collaborative effort of leading farmers, experts on guardian animals and fencing, and biologists whose work focuses on carnivores. Its purpose is to help create a farming of the future by sharing knowledge and experience with each other.

Create a Wildlife Condominium in Your Own Backyard

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.

Coping with Animal Deaths on the Farm

Last year was the year from hell. Literally. We lost 7 baby goats, 4 llamas, 2 dogs, and 1 cat due to different causes. But I did have victories. I'll be talking about what I learned here and in my next blogs.

All About ‘Bloody Butcher’ Corn, Part 1: Planting and Pest Control

We were looking for an organic product we could grow on the farm and provide food for chickens, goats and pigs. We wanted something that was heirloom and not hybrid so we could save our own seeds to plant and not have to buy seeds each year. We found just the product: ‘Bloody Butcher’ corn.

Working With Nature to Build Organic Soil

Understanding a bit of the chemistry and biology behind building healthy soil allows us to work in harmony with nature to contribute to the health of our soil, plants, food and planet.

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.

The ABCs of Homesteading: D is for Ducks

This is the second blog post in an alphabetically organized introduction to homesteading. It covers how and why to raise Pekin ducks for a quick and easy introduction to home butchery, food preservation, egg production, and soil improvement.

Rodenticides and Your Relationship with Carnivores

This blog post explains how the use of rodent poisons is having a serious effect on the health of carnivores. The very species that have the ability to control rodent populations are being negatively affected by the human use of poisons.

A Sweet Season Flows: How to Tap Maple Trees and Make Syrup on a Wood-Burning Stove

Though sap flow occurs in a wide variety of trees, there is one variety that produces a sap sweeter than them all: The Sugar Maple. For a six-week window of time before the break of spring, the sugar maple flows. The sap can be tapped, and then boiled down on a wood burning stove at home to make golden, luscious homemade maple syrup.

The ABCs of Homesteading

This is the first post in an alphabetically organized introduction to homesteading. It will start with simple preparation ideas (Asceticism, Borrowing, Creativity) and move into more hard-hitting how-to advice (Ducks, Edible landscaping, Fodder, Goats, Horticulture, etc.).

5 Steps to Turn Your House into a Smart, Energy-Saving Home

There are many ways to save energy in the home and one of the most efficient is the right use of home automation. Here are the top five ways you can use home automation to turn your house into a smart, energy-saving abode.

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.

5 Survival Foods to Consider for Your Emergency Supplies

Five foods have been used throughout history to sustain people during winter months, for long-distance travel, or in times of famine: coconuts, flatbread, pemmican, butter tea, and dried plums. Find out how to prepare and store these foods for your emergency or travel needs.

Let's All Start 2016 Right: 5 Resolutions for Tomato Lovers

This is a perfect time for reflection and planning, because the 2016 gardening season is peeking around the corner. Seed catalogs are arriving. I am sure that all of us are really missing freshly picked tomatoes. Here are 5 ideas to use in planning your 2016 tomato garden.

Coyote: A Keystone Carnivore

Every member of an ecosystem community needs to be present in order to keep your land healthy and vibrant. That includes the carnivores - both terrestrial and avian. But one carnivore affects that ecosystem community more than the others: the keystone carnivore. And Coyotes play the role of the keystone carnivore in many of the landscapes of North America.

Winter for the Tomato Grower, Part 1: Your-End-of-Season Questions Answered

For much of the country, the tomatoes we are eating now are not the prized specimens plucked from our gardens. They are emerging from our cupboards (dried, canned) or freezers – certainly wonderful enhancements to our cooking endeavors, but not elucidating the summer time level of excitement. But the end of the growing season doesn’t equate to a long, tomato thoughts-free sabbatical. This post outlines how to be planning for next tomato-growing season.

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.

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.

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.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe for Canning or Freezing

Cranberry sauce (or cranberry relish) is very easy make and preserve by freezing or canning. Use it through the holidays and beyond; it makes a great yogurt topping or spread for toast, as well as an accompaniment for Thanksgiving turkey dinners and the day-after sandwiches.

7 Aloe Vera Plant Uses

Aloe may be best known for its use as a natural treatment for sunburns, but the benefits of aloe extend far beyond helping your skin heal. Learn how aloe can help keep your heart, teeth, digestive tract, and more healthy.

How to Make Applesauce and Preserve it Three Ways

To get the most from a crop of apples, pears, or quince, make applesauce using all apples, or a combination of these pome fruits. Then preserve your applesauce by freezing, canning, or making fruit leather for delicious homemade snacks.

How to Determine the Quality of Essential Oils, Part 3: Honing Your Senses

Finding authentic, plant-derived, high quality essential oils and knowing what to look for is a challenge, particularly given the power of marketing. What do we mean by the terms genuine, authentic, plant-derived and unadulterated anyway? This post explains how to hone your senses and find the best suppliers of top-quality essential oils.

How To (Safely) Make Home-Canned Pumpkin or Winter Squash

Learn the correct method for safely making home canned pumpkin and winter squash. A few jars of ready-to-use canned pumpkin on your pantry shelf can save time when you want to bake a pumpkin pie, simmer a squash soup, or make any other favorite recipe calling for pumpkin puree.

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.

Is Breastfeeding Better for Your Baby?: 5 Benefits of Breastfeeding

The choice to breastfeed or formula feed is a highly personal one, and new mothers will need to take many factors into consideration when making the decision. Experts suggest that new mothers breastfeed exclusively for at least the first six months, if possible. Besides providing you and your baby with time to bond, studies show that breastfeeding can protect your child from a variety of illnesses and conditions.

How to Determine the Quality of Essential Oils, Part 1

Discover how to expand your olfactory palate to be able to determine qualitative differences between essential oils and learn what all the terms used in the marketing of essential oils mean. Feel more empowered in choosing a supplier and learn key elements to look for when making that decision.

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!

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!

5 Best Food Preservation Methods for Green Beans and Shelling Beans

Food preservation methods for green beans include freezing, drying, pressure canning, pickling, and dry salting. Shell beans may be enjoyed fresh, if harvested when immature. Immature shelling beans are best preserved by freezing. Fully matured beans are usually dried, and may also be pressure canned. This article contains instructions for preparing and preserving green beans and shelling beans by using all of these food preservation methods.

How to Choose an Eco-Friendly Outdoor Rug

Eco-friendly rugs can be found both indoors and outside but it's important to know the differences and the attributes that make outdoor rugs "green". Here are some of the best options for eco-friendly outdoor rugs.

6 Saffron Benefits for Your Health

Saffron contains more than 150 compounds, many of which have medicinal properties like carotenoids (beta-carotene, lycopene, zeaxanthin, and more).

Making Your Own Herbal Medicine: Tinctures and Infusions

To make potent extractions of the medicinal properties from plants growing nearby, you can easily learn to make your own tinctures and infusions. Alcohol-based tinctures are often used for acute or specific concerns, while water-based infusions are strong, medicinal teas which gently strengthen the body over time.

First Day WWOOFing on a French Farm

Follow my first day on a French organic farm as I meet my WWOOF hosts, see the farm, and experience an incredible meal of escargot harvested from the wild!

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.

Caretaking in Paradise

Caretaking wild places is a great way to homestead in paradise without having to afford land.

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.

Driving Green at the FAIR

MOTHER EARTH NEWS fairgoers could choose a vehicle from a fleet of Ford hybrid cars to test-drive on the rolling countryside outside Asheville, N.C.

5 Tips for a Greener Kitchen Remodel

In order to be environmentally friendly, a kitchen remodel should reduce energy use, reuse or recycle materials, and minimize the carbon footprint of the remodeling project. Here are five tips to keep in mind in order to achieve a greener, cleaner kitchen.

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.

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.

5 Fire Pit Safety Tips from A Former Wildland Firefighter

Fire pits can be great things. They are attractive, inexpensive to use and help to extend the use of your yard through the fall and winter. But they must be used safely. Here are some guidelines for fire pit safety.

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.

How to Choose an Eco-Friendly Rug

Indoor air pollution can be even worse than outdoor. For this reason, choosing eco-friendly floor coverings is essential to a healthy home.

How to Clean Outdoor Rugs the Naturally Effective Way

The outdoor rugs that line my garage and mud room get filthy and need a good cleaning every now and again, a cleaning that usually goes beyond just vacuuming. But this cleaning can be done in an eco-friendly way, without the use of harsh chemicals.

How We Engaged the Community in Our Homestead

One of my best pieces of advice to those wishing to establish a homestead is to reach out to the community. Happy neighbors are a big part of a happy homestead and for us it was not only a way to drum up support and engagement for our project, but it was also transformative for our experience and for our business.

Maine Herbalist Taps Local Plants and Trees

Natalia Bragg of Wade, Maine, is a sixth-generation herbalist who is gaining well-deserved recognition for her work with the rich variety of plants and trees on her remote farm.

Back to Basics for Improved Health

Many aspects of my homesteading life lie close to what we as humans have evolved for: the outdoors, physical activity, whole food and days and years that follows the rhythm of the seasons and the sun. But there are other, less obvious biological aspects for why I believe homesteading can improve health and well being.

Carpet-Sample Rug

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.

What We Do Around the Homestead in February

February can be a hit or miss for us here at Deer Isle Hostel - snow and cold demands more creativity to stay busy, but also provides a great chance not to do much. Planting onions from seed, shoveling snow and planning for the Hostel season 2015 are some things I do to keep the cabin fever under control.

Why a Farmer Stars in My Response to Fifty Shades of Grey with Recipe

A forty-something woman stumbles into a booth at a farmer's market, looks up, and sees a handsome farmer. You may know that the blockbuster Fifty Shades of Grey also begins with a tumble and winds up with love. It's no coincidence: my book Fifty Weeks of Green is a comic response to Fifty Shades that celebrates sustainable living.

Is the Future of the Fridge a Connected One?

New Energy Star standards not only raise the bar for energy efficiency in refrigeration, but they also introduce, for the first time, the idea that putting Wi-Fi into a fridge can help with energy savings.

Tips for Staying Healthy Through the Winter

Even with the daylight hours lately, we still have quite a bit of winter left. Good health – both physically and mentally – might require a little bit more effort than in the summer but can still be achieved and maintained though this homestretch before spring.

Invest in Regular Family Dinners (With Recipe)

Gather your extended family around the table to share home-cooked, healthy meals on a regular basis. Reap the rewards of laughter, pleasure, and deepening relationships for very little money. Get started with my recipe for Beans with Caramelized Onions and Carrots. Ten servings cost about ten dollars using organic, heirloom beans and about seven dollars using pinto beans.

Homesteading Community

What if I find land where I can homestead but it's at a location where no one does the same thing? The lack of a homesteading community can be a discouraging factor when looking for land, but over time, if one is patient, it is very likely you'll find others that are drawn to the basic, sustaining, diverse and positive actions of homesteading.

5 Things a New Fridge Can Do for the Good of the Planet

The decision to replace an old refrigerator should not always be made based only on how well it is functioning. New Energy Star models have many energy-saving and cost-saving advantages that can make that decision much easier.

Homesteading Simplicity

That something is easy doesn't always mean it's simple – many of the modern conveniences so much of the western world relies on, the thermostat in most conventional houses, for example, is but the end of a long and complex chain reaction with consequences far beyond our reach. Homesteading simplicity can be described as a way to limit those chain reactions, to be more in control over the effect of our actions and, to alter those effects to have a positive impact.

What We Do Around the Homestead in January

The short period of time each year where homesteaders and summer-business owners like us get to freely bask in open-ended unscheduled time is as short as it is sweet, and it reaches its peak right now in January.

The Story of Seed, Part 1: An Introduction to Seed Saving

The first of 12 posts, seed saving begins with an introduction to the stories behind seeds and why they are so important. From preserving our shared botanical heritage to protecting a diverse and decentralized food supply, the story of seed is as varied as the people who plant them.

Changing the World One Decision at a Time

Up against China, the tar sand extraction, dysfunctional global summits and the endless cry for economic growth, any individual's actions to halt global warming might seem insignificant. But conscious decisions that bring us closer to nature can make a difference and might be the best we can do.

Spoon Carving from Green Wood

Spoon carving is good practice for hatchet and knife skills, and a spoon is a beautiful sculpture that feeds more than one hunger!

How to Store Carrots Under Straw for Winter

Not being a fan of frozen or canned carrots, I began to wonder how to store carrots under straw for winter to enjoy organic carrots throughout the winter. Living in Central Oregon where beach sand is not at the hand, I gathered garden straw from a local farmer. It is important that you know that straw for the garden has not come from crops treated with herbicides to control broad-leafed weeds.

Natural Conditions Beyond Our Control

Being a homesteader and living off the land often means being subjected to natural conditions beyond our control, sometimes predictable changes of seasons and temperatures, other times curve balls such as unseen pest pressure, hard frosts in late May or heavy snow in early November. A lifestyle where these natural circumstances is the main determining factor for what gets done when is getting increasingly rarer – humans have gained what some consider an advantage by manipulating the world into a state where we, in many ways, can remain unaffected from the forces of nature.

Guidelines for Establishing an Orchard

The new apple orchard we're planning for our homestead won't be the classical lawn-layout most people are accustomed to. Our edible landscape will mimic a natural landscape with the goal to reduce interference such as spraying while providing organic fruit, berries and herbs for many months of many years.

Ford Brings a Charge to the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Ford Motor Company’s electrifying presence at the 2014 Pennsylvania MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR included sponsoring the event, giving test drives, and updating fairgoers about the latest news on electric and hybrid vehicle technology.

MAX Car 109: Reducing Rolling Resistance

MAX isn't just streamlined - MAX has its rolling resistance down to a minimum too, thanks to low-drag tires and lubricants. Here's a video to show how much it matters.

Facing the Homesteading Rewards

As homesteaders, all the homesteading rewards are directly ours to keep and our work provides most of our necessities but the multiple returns we get from our homestead also give us what money couldn't buy, such as the self reliance, sense of security, dignity, the beautiful place where we spend our days and the choice to set our own schedule.

Environment and Society: Where is the Disconnect?

K.C. Compton takes a glance at more than two dozen trends that are shaping our future, which are documented in the Worldwatch Institute’s latest publication, "Vital Signs, Volume 21."

Great Ways to Increase Your Harvest

The actual footprint of a garden is only one of many factors for how much food that can be produced there. With succession planting, good soil and some planning the same garden area can produce substantially more food.

Induction Cooking On the Cheap

Considering induction cooking as an eco-friendly alternative to cooking with electricity? Can’t begin to contemplate spending $3,000 on a stove? This article will run down how you can integrate the hottest new tech in cooking into your kitchen without winning the lottery.

Reducing Transportation Emissions

Transportation in the U.S. is responsible for high levels of carbon emissions. Simply by changing habits and adopting more eco-friendly methods of getting from A to B will help both the environment and overall health.

Ecotourism in Asheville, Day 3

Asheville has a long history of attracting people searching for a tranquil place for personal retreats and wellness. For Day 3, it’s time to chill, revitalize ourselves and do some rebalancing of our mind, body and spirit on a health and wellness tour.

A Homesteader's 5 Favorite Gardening Tools

A good gardening tool is lightweight, ergonomically correct and has a positive impact on the soil. We only use hand tools (non-powered) in our gardens since we find that we can get the job done easier and more efficiently with a more correct impact on the soil and less impact on our bodies than we would with any machines.

Health Benefits of Honey

Raw honey isn’t just delicious — read on to learn some of the medicinal uses for it.

Phil's Dancing Carrots

If you are challenged by growing carrots, you might consider transplanting them and growing some dancing carrots.

Why U.S. Homes Should Be Greener

Homes in the United States a responsible for one fifth of all carbon dioxide emissions. Simply taking steps to reduce these on a domestic level will help positively impact carbon outputs, decreasing environmental damage.

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.

Urban Beekeeping

Keeping bees with neighbors in the city or the burbs.

Heat Loss in Your Home: Long-Term Solutions Reduce Carbon Emissions

With carbon emissions in the US higher than most other countries in the world, more should be done to minimize unnecessary carbon waste. Around one third of the overall carbon consumed by the average US citizen comes from the home, if every home took a few simple steps to reduce waste, the world could a greener place.

Welcome to Drink the Harvest

Introducing a revolutionary new book about the "drinkable landscape" and how you can use organic gardening to produce a huge array of beverages.

How We Grow Tomatoes at Deer Isle Hostel

Few other vegetables represent summer as a sun-ripe, homegrown tomato does.This is how we raise and plant tomatoes at the Deer Isle Hostel and Homestead.

The Versatile Onion Family

Discover how to grow various members of the onion family: bulb onions and scallions, leeks, garlic, ramps, shallots, and chives. Each one has different requirements and habits, yet all are rewarding for organic gardeners.

Ecotourism in Asheville, North Carolina: Day One

Surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Pisgah National Forest, with the Great Smoky Mountains to the southwest, Asheville, North Carolina, is the perfect basecamp for an ecotour, cultural trip and culinary adventure. Experiencing the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Fair held here this past April was just the start for my wife and me.

Composting Toilets: From Waste Stream to Resource River

Making our own compost is not only a way to meet our need of fertilizer, it's also a way to redirect the garden scraps, chicken manure, leaves and grass cuttings from the waste stream to the resource river. Another area where this applies around our homestead, is our use of a composting toilet. For us, the difference between what goes down a flushing toilet and what accumulates in the buckets in the outhouse is the difference between waste and resource.

Citrus Fruits Are for Everyone

Gardeners don't have to live in a semi-tropical zone to grow organic lemons, limes, oranges, and other citrus fruits. Proper technique with potted plants can yield a bounty of delicately flavored, vitamin-rich citrus.

Sustainable Happiness, Sustainable Homestead

A homestead is about so much more than just mindful ways of producing one's needs; the health of the land and landscape is nothing if the health of the homesteader isn't there. The most sustainable homestead is one where the homesteaders like what they're doing and therefore will keep doing it. The self-fulfilling prophecy that we're all too busy is a highly unsustainable way to attempt sustainability, whether it's for a homestead or a summer business.

Leave It Better Than You Found It

In many communal kitchens, may it be a hostel or a student dorm, postings are usually to be found; “Leave it nicer than when you came”, they read. That can be said to humans on earth too, to leave it better than it was. By living and working in nature, with nature, I believe that our surroundings here at the homestead are ecologically healthier, more diverse and vibrant than should we as humans not have been here.

Me vs. The Bees

Overcoming my personal fears and welcoming the newest addition to our homestead - honeybees

Raising Your First Chicks

Getting your very first chicks is an exciting experience and a very big step for most first-time homesteaders. Here is some advice for enjoying your new additions and avoiding any potential problems.

Practical Passive Solar Examples

Some examples of passive solar design applied to homes in the southeast, where cooling, as well as heating, is a concern.

Compost: The End and the New Beginning

Growing an organic garden with compost I made using natural material from our surroundings is to comply with nature's way of taking care of itself – it's to remain humble for a true and tried life cycle and acknowledge our inevitable part in and connection to life on earth.

How to Avoid Unsafe Chemicals in Plastic

Learn about Bisphenol A (BPA) and its prevalence in plastic manufacturing, and get tips on how to limit your exposure to BPA, phthalates, and other unsafe chemicals in plastic.

Mascarpone Recipe

Italy’s traditional cream cheese, mascarpone, is easy to make with either tartaric acid or lemon juice.

Six and a Half Money-Saving Tips

Inspired by the recent Mother Earth News article, "65 Money Saving Tips", this piece shares how we at the Be the Change Product spend little and live better.

Baking Cinnamon Rolls

Baking and sharing cinnamon rolls can create happiness. Cinnamon and honey will make your baked goods irresistible.

Safer Flea Control for Your Pets

Fleas and ticks can bring severe itching, allergic reactions, discomfort, and even serious diseases (such as lyme disease) to your pets, so it’s important to protect your pets from them. However, studies have found that many common flea and tick control/treatment products aren’t just toxic to those bugs; they can actually poison your pets, as well. Find out which ingredients and products to avoid, and some safer alternatives to use.

The Importance of Beekeeping

Colony Collapse Disorder is threatening the future of bee pollination. Here's what we can do about it.

Pumpernickel Bread Love

Love of family, love of tradition, love of pumpernickel bread — need I say more?

A Homesteader's Winter

A homesteader's year is over for this time. Nothing cleans the yard up as a foot of snow, and I think it's here to stay. winter on Deer Isle is great, so great I consider it something we deserve after getting through the summer, both for us as homesteaders and for us as a part of this community.

Bread-baking as Therapy

One way that I work through problems is by baking bread. It is my therapy, and it works for me. Getting lost in the recipe and wondering how you might make some changes to make it better is always good for the mind.

Old Ways of Processing Pork at Home

We use some old and tried techniques for how to process the meat, like curing and smoking the big cuts so they'll keep without being put in a freezer. We're constantly striving to learn new, mostly old ways of utilizing and preserving more of the pigs for our own consumption, by making headcheese, confit and lard.

Welcome to the World of Beekeeping

North Carolinian Master Beekeeper, Tia Douglass, offers an introduction to chemical-free, natural beekeeping, bees and approach to raising pollinators.

Compare Alternative Fuel Vehicles

Step on the gas with a clear conscience: Use Clean Cities' vehicle comparison site to find the right light-duty model among alternative fuel vehicles, and green up your life in the fast lane.

Off the Grid With Solar Power

Renewable energy is often seen as a way to have it all and still feel “green” and it is indeed at a glance more environment friendly than conventional power, but no power has as low footprint as the power not used.

The Love of Local Food

One thing that gardening has done to me, as to so many others probably, is that I've started to pay attention to where the food on my plate comes from, and usually the answer is “from our garden."

Apple Abundance as a Part of Our History

There used to be, from Maine to Georgia and west to the Mississippi river, 20.000 grafted apple varieties. Today, when commercialism is king and the most known apple varieties are the 5 kinds offered in the supermarket those old varieties are worth paying attention to. As with all things around us, diversity is interesting and sustainable.

Get Smart About 'Green' Businesses

Here are a few ways to know if a business is supporting green practices or not. Green practices are increasingly more and more important as companies increase and continue to have a large impact on the environment.

Fresh Storage of Produce

For the past few years, we've experimented with different ways of storing food fresh and now we're eating garlic, onions, squash, carrots and beets in June.

I Love Lovage!

The little used herb lovage makes an attractive addition to the edible landscape and provides a smoky flavor to soups and stews.

Succession Planting for Space Saving and Season Extension

Even as far north as Maine I can harvest produce from March to December with parsnips to dig from under the frost in February without the use of row covers or a greenhouse. In some beds I do two or more succession plantings that together with the root cellar keeps me with fresh produce all year.

Get Going With Garlic

Growing garlic is easy if you just know the right time to plant it: in fall, not spring or summer!

How to Harvest and Prepare Sunflower Seeds

As fall nears, sunflowers are beginning to die off and it's time to harvest their seeds! In this post I bring you through the steps to harvest and prepare your sunflower seeds for eating!

National Plug In Day is Coming

Celebrate the third annual National Plug In day on Sept. 29, 2013, and see what electric cars are all about.

Gardening for Biodiversity

We have a saying around our house: When the pest control truck is at the neighbor’s house, all the spiders come over to our place because they know it is safe. Biodiversity is a top priority in my Northern California rural/suburban garden, and I work hard to have many plants, animals, insects, and, yes, arachnids represented.

Eat These Birds to Keep Them Alive!: Developing Sustainable Poultry Flocks

So, what makes a flock of poultry sustainable? What is standard-bred poultry? If you purchase chicks from a hatchery, are they true to the breed? Why does every hatchery sell Rhode Island Reds and they all look different? Why do the Cornish Cross meat chickens have so many problems? Raising standard poultry is the only true way to improve the sustainability of quality local food while preserving the strength of Heritage poultry.

Why We Raise Our Own Meat

There are many benefits with raising pigs for meat, and also some common sense ways of doing so in a sustainable way.

My Four Biggest Gardening Mistakes

Over the past year, I have made countless mistakes on my garden. In this post, I share four of my most frustrating gardening mistakes and how to avoid them.

Hosteling At Home

Having a hostel of your own, gives you the best of both worlds; the comfort of home with the vibration of travelers.

Kitchen Pantry Cure-Alls: Natural Homemade Deodorant

Store-bought deoderants contain aluminum and other harmful substances that find their way into your bloodstream. Try this recipe for natural homemade deodorant that uses baking soda with coconut oil and essential oil to create a effective and safe alternative.

Coffee Granita Recipe

Instead of coffee and cake after dinner, end an evening in style with this Coffee Granita Recipe.

Peach Sherbet Recipe

This Peach Sherbet Recipe is reminiscent of biting into a fresh peach, but with a cool, creamy consistency.

Tall-Tale Vintage Postcards

The tall-tale vintage postcard collection consists of turn of the century photomontages depicting the utopian dream of agricultural America.

Find a Fuel-Efficient Car

Whether you’re looking for a sporty two-seater, a large family vehicle, or a heavy-duty farm or work truck, here's how to find the best options for vehicles that use less fuel and save you money.

The Strength From Being Little

Over the years, we’ve had many experiences with injured and sick chickens. Sometimes the birds have pulled through, sometimes they have not.Such is truly the way of life.

Growing the Garden Footprint

This year is the first season I had the whole garden dug and ready and boy, it's easy to plant a garden when the garden is already there.