5 Things You Can Repurpose Into Homestead 'Mojo'

Repurposing building materials is at the heart of sustainability and mojo is what you build with. I’ve tried many ideas at my homestead and here’s the tips I’ve found are the most affordable, brings that homestead mojo to work for you, and instead of filling up the landfill you’re helping save the planet.

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.

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

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

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.

DIY Outdoor Patios: What You Need to Know

Why pay for someone to come and install an outdoor patio when you could do it yourself? Outdoor patios are perfect for people who love to entertain. They don’t require a lot of maintenance and they can be completed within a single weekend. This post covers sizing, siting, and building materials.

The Growing Economy of Salvaged Urban Wood

Megan Offner of New York Heartwoods is salvaging downed and damaged city trees to redirect material from our waste stream, decrease greenhouse emissions, and fuel the demand for local wood products.

Rebuilding a New England Barn

Turning an old barn into something useable is a challenge, and it is a valuable skill to have when you are starting a farm.

Build A Simple ATV Sled

Learn how to build a simple sled in less than 30 minutes from scrap lumber and logs!

This Stuff is for the Birds

Creating a friendly environment for wild birds on your property can help them and provide for hours of viewing opportunities for you.

Stand Up and Sign Up: Community Farms Need You Now

With forces and circumstances intensifying all around, this is the optimum time to take positive action for your family, your community, and your planet. CSA Signup Day on Feb. 26 gives everyone an opportunity for intelligent action by joining and supporting a community farm (CSA).

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.

Community Farmers Convene in America's Heartland

For dozens of reasons, it’s time to convene in America’s heartland a conference of farmers involved in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Here’s a sampler of the key topics that will arise.

Music for Climate Change (with Video)

We recently attended a concert for Climate Change at the Uptown Arts Bar in Kansas City organized by Craig Wolfe and Randy Deutch of the band Soular. The concert premiered a song by Winston Apple that brought tears to some eyes in the audience. There is no way to know for sure if we’re past the point of no return.

Plant Your Margins to Increase Harvests

Making your home garden productive is an in-depth and gradual process. Though you can work with a design professional to hash out a use plan and plant list early on, it still takes several phases and periods of acclimation for a garden to begin to really thrive. Start utilizing the margins in your garden and beginning yielding more for your community.

Weather, Climate Change and Where to Go To Escape

Recent studies show that the jet-stream patterns have changed significantly during the last decade. The oscillations that bring the jet stream down to lower latitudes have increased in frequency and amplitude.

Green Building Materials, Part 1: Shopping at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore

Not all green building materials are fancy, engineered products. One couple explores the saved-from-the-landfill options at local Habitat for Humanity ReStores. Hard to beat preventing waste, supporting Habitat for Humanity’s mission, and finding great deals on materials for a new-home construction in one fell swoop.

Tea Straws

A bombilla is a Latin American tea straw used to drink yerba mate. Why not use it to enjoy all kinds of loose herbal teas? Ilene White Freedman shares a story, a tea recipe and links to others recipes.

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.

Laying Salvaged Tiles

A simple technique for using salvaged tiles to make beautiful floors.

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.

Seed Saving and Line Breeding: Preparing for Climate Change

Climate change is a sign of the end of the industrial age. If humans are going to survive the end of the industrial age it will be because individuals and groups of neighbors take these matters into their own hands. It cannot happen any other way.

Movie Review: The Seeds of Time

Modern, industrial agriculture as we know it today is running out of time, and it's much later than we think.

New Garden in the High Desert

Moving to a different climate and gardening zone can be a challenge, especially in the high desert. The best approach is to start small and add plenty of organic material.

The Recycled Log Cabin

I love my two-story log cabin, which combines recycled and an array of green building materials.

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.

Smart Agriculture in Cameroon Minimizes Greenhouse Gases

At a time when greenhouse gas emissions from cars and electricity generation around the world are at an all-time high, Heifer International in Cameroon is leading initiatives and programming to help reduce such emissions from livestock production there.

Moving Toward an Ecology-Based Economy

As the planetary ecology falters, and finite resources are depleted, communities everywhere will be challenged to create vibrant local economies that function within and help to renew local ecosystems.

'Grass, Soil, Hope' by Courtney White

"Grass, Soil, Hope" by Courtney White is a new book from Chelsea Green Publishing that discusses combating climate change through land-based carbon sequestration efforts such as composting and increasing biodiversity.

Creating Your Own Micro-Climate

Creating a micro-climate is an essential tool for your survival and homesteading skills. Making the right micro-climate for your plants specific needs will not only help them survive, but thrive as well.

Watching The Snow Melt

Everywhere is full of micro-climates. Discover the places in your garden where the soil warms first, or last, by watching the snow melt and taking pictures.

Cordwood Home Construction Best Practices

Glimpse a view into the world of cordwood construction. This old-fashioned, natural building technique can inspire you to build an energy-efficient, mortgage-free house of your own.

Why Life Exists on Earth: A New Perspective on Carbon Emissions

Mankind’s use of fossil fuels during the last 200 years has dumped millions of years of sequestered carbon into the atmosphere in the form of Carbon Dioxide. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, 315 gigatons of carbon have been added to the atmosphere, leaving the carbon cycle 315 gigatons out of balance.

Building a Chicken Coop

Chickens rock. One way to make the chicken experience even more rewarding is to build your own coop. Here's a description of one coop and some ideas for you.

Organic Materials Review Institute

At the Mother Earth News Fair, I always enjoy speaking with fellow farmers and gardeners about inputs, organic standards and sound practices in the field. At the OMRI booth, we always provide free OMRI Products Lists of approved input materials, to help you find the right fertilizer or livestock feed additive and keep your farm or garden truly organic .

Biochar: Not All it's Ground Up to Be?

Incorporating charcoal into the soil helped Amazonian farmers grow better crops, and its new industrial version is promoted as a panacea for both agriculture and the global climate. Those claims are not realistic.

Personal Wildfire Mitigation

Taking personal responsibility for private-property protection in light of ongoing climate change and the hazards associated with same.

Climbing Sequoias for Climate Change

For almost two decades, the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive group has done what the experts said was impossible. Namely, they have taken DNA from over 70 of the most magnificent trees on the planet; have cloned thousands of individuals from this original DNA and are actively re-planting/re-foresting these champion trees.

Resilience: Disaster Resistance, Adaptation and Restoration

As the costs and consequences of climatological and ecological instability become impossible to ignore, people are recognizing the need to be more prepared for the challenges we could face in the short-term and the long-term. A variety of initiatives are arising to share ways of becoming more resilient—i.e., able to survive and thrive in the face of dangers and even disasters.

It keeps getting scarier

A new report from the World Bank warns of what a 4-degree global warming world will look like.

Do the Math Tour 2012

Bill McKibben is doing a national tour to raise awareness about climate change and to build a movement around changing the way we use energy.

Rotational Chicken Pasture Update

A brief summary of the vast amount of data we've compiled over the last few years on experimenting with rotational chicken pastures on our homestead.

The Dirty Weather Report

This is an announcement inviting you to participate in a global web cast discussion on climate crisis on November 14, 2012. This is hosted by the Climate Reality Project and Al Gore.

Climate Crisis: Is the Climate Reaching a Tipping Point?

In this posting we will ask the question if the climate is reaching a tipping point. We will define climate tipping points and use the paat to determine if we are reaching tipping points. We will also discuss climate feedback amplification.

HOMEGROWN Life: The Gift of a Good Rain

After months of waiting, worrying and hoping, the clouds finally arrived here at Yellabird Farm last week and brought us the long-sought gift of good rain. It was a great two days of slow and soaking moisture that the cracked soil guzzled up...

Developing a Consensus on Human Induced Climate Change

This posting present comments by leading scientific organizations, individual scientists and government leaders pertaining to human induced climate changes. All agree that climate change is anthropogenic and that it has become a serious problem.

HOMEGROWN Life: More on the Drought

All of us farmers,large and small, are a big part of the engine that drives the economy of rural communities, rural counties and rural states.This year, we are learning a lot about what happens when that engine sputters.

HOMEGROWN Life: I Quit

Worrying about keeping up with Justin's chores while trying to maintain my 8-5 day job was a losing battle.

Food in the New Climate

In an era of increasing volatility of the weather and climate, we need new coping skills. Preparedness is an important factor in dealing with bad weather events.

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.

Gardening for Climate Change

Climate change is here to stay, with violent and unpredictable weather. This presents challenges to home gardeners, so is there a way to storm proof our gardens?

HOMEGROWN Life: An Ode To The Elusive Asparagus

We wanted to write up a post about asparagus to explain how farmers look at the crop, but also as a sort of apology to our customers. We have spent many hours in the field and on the phone seeking farmers with an existing asparagus supply. We had man

The Organic Materials Review Institute

The Organic Materials Review Institute was formed by organic certifiers back in 1997 to focus exclusively on the products and materials used by farmers.

A Lookout Tower-Home

A lookout tower home, which features reclaimed materials, connects its homeowner with her past, present and future.

Green Homes and Green Building Information: An Index

This index links to some recent and popular posts related to green building, design, remodeling, and home improvement. The posts cover a broad range of topics, from green products to projects to practices, as well as sustainable communities.

Crossing the Gardening Rubicon

Every fall Cam is tired of gardening and vows to make his vegetable garden smaller. Every spring he is excited about getting back in the garden and ends up making it bigger!

The Role of Natural and Anthropogenic Forces in Climate Change

The role of natural cycles and anthropogenic forces on the climate are explained. We also demonstrate that the current global warming trend is happening at a faster rate than earlier periods and humans are responsible for the current warming trend.

The Future of Forests

A bark beetle outbreak is causing widespread damage in Western forests, but we have every reason to believe the forest will recover.

Energy Star Program Launches New Initiative

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program launched its 2011 Change the World, Start with Energy Star Campaign. This campaign encourages and inspires Americans to commit to energy efficiency by highlighting grassroots efforts of individuals all over the United States.

Coffee and Climate Change

Farms which have earned Rainforest Alliance certification go beyond conserving the environment and improving the lives and livelihoods of farm workers; they also help to curb climate change.

Home Energy Performance: Acting for the Future

We know that heating, cooling and operating our buildings is responsible for 40 percent of total energy expenditures in this country. That’s a huge percentage. But we also know how to test, evaluate and improve buildings so that energy use can be cut dramatically.

The Arctic Feedback Factor and Climate Change

In this posting we discuss the role of the positive Arctic Feedback Factor in amplfying climate change. We also discuss how this feedback factor triggers the release of methane from the floor of the Arctic Ocean and from the permafrost.

Lester Brown's Plan B: Mobilizing to Save Civilization

A new episode in the PBS series Journey to Planet Earth, hosted by Matt Damon, will feature Mother Earth News contributing editor and visionary Lester Brown’s “Plan B” on how we can save civilization in the face of global climate change.

"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.

Plant it Forward

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

The Case for Using Sustainable Building Materials

Recently, I had an epiphany in a building supply center. Even though I’ve been in the building trades for over 35 years and made countless trips to purchase building supplies, this trip was different.

Reusable Food Covers to Help Lower Plastics in Waste

Every year, Americans use enough plastic wrap to cover the entire state of Texas (EPA). Plastic wrap and other food covers are almost impossible to recycle and contain harmful chemicals that can seep into our food. CoverMate™ Food Covers provide a simple, cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution.

The Habitat for Humanity ReStore

Your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore is a great place to find inexpensive building supplies and appliances, and you can even donate your leftover supplies when your project is complete. Proceeds from your purchases support Habitat for Humanity and future housing projects.

Senate Climate Legislation: Raise Your Voice Today!

Four proposed climate bills on the Senate's table for July, and they will probably form one combined bill. Learn about the proposed laws that could affect you and your children for years to come, and voice your concerns to your Senators.

MOTHER’s Ultimate Garden Giveaway

Enter to to win MOTHER’s garden prize package that is valued at $10,000 and includes 13 items that will complete your garden.

Speak Up for the Conservation of U.S. National Forests

The U.S. Forest Service began hosting roundtable discussions on March 29 (continuing until May 12) to give citizens the opportunity to voice their opinions on the future management of national forests.

Earth Day Network Announces Climate Rally and Exciting New Website

The environmental advocacy group, Earth Day Network, is rallying environmental activism through a climate rally and a new site where the environmental community can learn about issues and events. Learn more about their efforts and how you can get involved.

The Potential of Green Charcoal

Pro-Natura International is changing how the world fuels itself by turning renewable biomass and other waste products into green charcoal.

Warmer Winters and Heavy Snowfall: Brought to You by Global Warming

The National Wildlife Federation has released a report that explains the effects of climate change on winter weather. Warmer winters and heavy snow are causing problems for agriculture, wildlife, communities and even the skiing industry — and the NWF is calling for policy reforms to reduce emissions to slow the effects of global warming. Read on to learn more.

Checking in on the Climate Bill Debate

Hold onto your hats, Congress is debating climate change. Right now the U.S. House is considering the Waxman-Markey climate bill. Here's where you can find more information about what is, and isn't, in the bill.

For or Against Global Warming?

Believe it or not, the global warming debate still exists. The Inhofe EPW Press Blog now has 650 scientists that speak out against the fact that global warming is real and manmade. But are these sources credible?

Another Greenhouse Gas to Watch

The word is that nitrogen trifluoride is more of a problem than previously thought, and it's used to manufacture all kinds of high-tech equipment, including thin-film solar panels.

Obama's Changing Climate Change

The Union of Concerned Scientists is ready for Obama to take over and find a solution to our energy, environmental and economic problems through a clean energy economy.

A Warmer Antarctica?

New studies show that Antarctica is, in fact, becoming warmer, despite what the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says.

We Need a New Vision

Humanity needs a new spiritual vision to cope with its shrinking habitat.

Three Mountains to Climb

We have three big challenges confronting us: preserving our habitat, controlling our population and reforming our economic systems.

Is Natural Stone Safe?

Are your granite countertops safe? Have you noticed a strange glow about them? Could they power a nuclear energy plant? Some granite has been found to be radioactive.

Concern for the Golden Toad

We’re here to confront our own biology, the essential nature that tells us to keep reproducing and expanding. If you could view the entirety of human experience from the dawn of our evolution to the present, if you could pick the human century you’d like to witness first-hand, you might choose this one.

Latte to mate

This ancient beverage has provided a nutritious, naturally-caffeinated boost for centuries and a new carbon-subtracting brand benefits the earth and consumers alike.

The decreasing-circumference curve

 We are focusing our attentions in the wrong place. Motorcyclists, mountain-bikers, skiers and steeplechasers all learn the same lesson: When you have a lot of forward momentum you have to train your attention beyond the short-term challenges. You need to be thinking ahead. You need to form a picture of yourself successfully negotiating the coming obstacles. You have to visualize the successful outcome. Your reflexes and, hopefully, some previous visualization are taking care of the ruts under the tires of your bicycle. Your attention should be trained on the area where you will arrive in the next few seconds. Your mind visualizes the best route and your body begins making adjustments in your approach. If you focus on the intermediate obstacle, you’re likely to hit that obstacle. It’s recently occurred to me that I don’t hear anyone describing the world in which we want to live 20 years from now. Almost no one, it seems, is visualizing the successful outcome. We’re too busy arguing about where to drill for oil.

Carbon Counting Cheat Sheet

It's surprisingly easy to figure out how many carbon dioxide emissions come from producing the electricity for your home, or burning a full tank of gas. Check out this carbon calculator, or find out how to do a quick ballpark estimate.