The Chicken Cabana Room

At Sunflower Farm we strive to provide our chickens with the best accommodations!

Sane and Sustainable Homesteading, Part 1

Many people in the world long for a life in the country, lived on their own terms, close to nature, honest and hands-on. But too many of these people find that homesteading is harder, less fulfilling and more painful than they imagined. Learn how to thrive on the land without burnout, despair and failure.

How Self-Reliance and Voluntary Simplicity Equals Power

Don't buy into the hype telling you that you aren't capable of doing it yourself! Learn the simple things you can start right now and build on it as you gain confidence. You may find, like me, that the difference you make in your life can be game changing!

Farming at Every Scale

Did you know you can grow potatoes in an apartment? Whether you live in an apartment or on a hundred acre farm, you can take steps towards self reliance and lifestyle independence. Living with limited space doesn't have to be a setback towards homesteading, and there are many creative ways you can take advantage of your space to get the most out of it.

The Prepared Homestead Kitchen: Top Appliances, Part 1 (with Sandwich Bread Recipe)

I’ve always enjoyed cooking — it’s something I’ve considered a serious hobby. One of the first goals I made when I moved here last year was to start baking all my own bread and other baked goods. Because we got through so many loaves a week (about eight) every day I am very grateful for my Bosch Universal Plus mixer. I would consider this one of the top five most-used appliances in my kitchen.

Preparing for Power Outages on the Homestead, Part 1

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, beginning with fuel storage, gas cooking and wood heat.

Unplugging to Reconnect: Homesteading and the Kids' Higher Education, Part 1

Less common, but proven, strategies for securing a child's college education can keep the child involved in the building and running of the homestead through their years of higher education while producing a more well rounded, responsible, mature, and competitive graduate, all at a fraction of the cost of more typical approaches.

Life and Death on the Farm

Death on a farm is unavoidable as life itself. These stories share lessons learned, words of wisdom and how a farmer can prepare for the inevitable when raising livestock.

Could Using an Air Compressor Reduce Your Carbon Footprint?

Air compressors can be used for just about anything on your homestead but they don’t have the best reputation for going green. Here’s what you need to know. These valuable machines are used in many factories, small businesses and even in homes, and making sure yours is efficient can cut down on emissions and your energy bills at the same time.

A Kansas Family’s Journey to Self-Sufficiency Begins

Even though our goal is to be completely self-sufficient, one thing that I stress is that you don't have to be completely self-sufficient — just make it your goal to become more self-sufficient than you are right now. This blog will help people become more self-sufficient by leading by example, right or wrong. Here is your official invitation: Please come and join us!

We Bought Land! Now What?

Join two modern homesteaders as they begin down the road toward building their small home and self-reliant farmstead on their new piece of raw land in northeastern Kansas.

Always Have a Backup Plan

The journey to a self-sufficient life is a bumpy ride. Having a backup plan — or two — can make all the difference in your progress.

Turn Your Farm Venture Into a Business

Have you ever dreamed of taking your part-time homestead to a full-time salary? What's holding you back? Business books say most people are more afraid of success than failure.

Relearning to Sew On Treadle Sewing Machine

On our journey to self-reliance, my husband, Darren, and I have been gathering human-powered tools when we can find them. It’s surprising and sad how quickly hand- and foot-powered tools were junked when electricity became available. From 1850 to 1890, more than 100 apple-pealing devices were patented. Then none, except those running on electric power. And so it goes with thousands of other nifty human-powered appliances.

The 80/20 Rule of Homesteading

This current situation is a perfect example of the 80/20 rule of homesteading: 80 percent of your time, energy and effort is spent on maintenance; 20 percent on progress towards the dream. A majority of your time homesteading is spent covered in chicken poop, squashing potato bugs, figuring out why gas isn’t getting to the carburetor in the ATV and shoveling snow after dark by headlamp.

A Father's Legacy of Natural Living

One of my earliest vivid childhood memories is sitting on my father’s lap as a young girl reading the magazine together in the 1980s and all throughout my childhood. He would read aloud while I studied the pictures of passive solar building, vegetable gardening, sheep shearing, building your own sugar shack and the beautiful array of topics which he read to me frequently. Those images, along with the camping trips in the mountains, the whitewater and canoeing excursions, and our family trip to Alaska, have been etched in the catacombs of my childhood memories and have sculpted the person I have grown to become.

Farmers in Training: A City Dweller Gets Lessons in Harvesting, Milking and the Meaning of Life

The place I call home these days is The FarmSchool, a fertile 180-acre strip of ridge top in Athol, where 15 student-farmers are spending a year learning the ins and outs of growing food, managing forests, and raising animals for meat. I arrived at the farm in October, just as the leaves were reaching their peak brilliance. The Farm School — which offers three-day programs for schoolchildren, a summer camp, a full-time middle school, and the apprenticeship program I’m in — takes us through all seasons of farming, weaving together class work and on-farm training.

We Are What We Read

My husband Alan’s first gift to me was Helen and Scott Nearing’s Living the Good Life. The books we turn to regularly have changed, although some we go back to again and again, year after year. A list of our top 10 favorite books follows.

Avoiding Urban Beekeeping Problems

OK, you’ve got a start: where to get equipment, groups to join, classes to take, and mentors to hook up with. Now’s the time, before you have bees, to take a long hard look at some of the rest of the things you need to be thinking about.

How We Transitioned from City to Country (And Why We Did So)

Many years ago, years before I moved to the country, I was what would be considered "a prepper." I saw disaster every time I turned on the TV, or read the news on the internet, or visited forums that talked about stockpiling beans and bullets. I panicked, thinking I could never have enough control for the sake of my family, never be "prepped" enough.

My Exotic Daily Life

While many of those visiting our Hostel are farmers and homesteaders themselves, some come from that “city culture” and seem to take their first hesitant steps outside of a flatly paved driveway when they arrive at our place. Wide eyes, a sense of adventure.

A New Blogger's Homesteading Journey Begins

Since her first house move, MOTHER EARTH NEWS blogger Cathie Ackroyd, has become so very conscious of the impact we humans have had and are having on our planet’s environment and hoped to find a place to settle that would allow us to gain an element of self-sufficiency in a relatively car-free community.

Walking Home

Making the most of a winter walk to home.

What is ‘Modern Homesteading,' Anyway?

What exactly is ‘modern homesteading"? There are as many definitions as there are people doing it. What does the term ‘modern homesteading’ mean to you?

Walking Water

We haul our water from the river - walking water!

Our Little House

The thrill continues living in our handmade house.

Ode to a Hand Saw

Ode to our hand saw...why we choose to live without power, and what we've accomplished by hand.

Sorghum Revival: From Family Tradition to Family Business

Susan Abernethy shares this story of helping her husband turn a longstanding tradition of family sorghum harvesting into a small business. Since their marriage in 2004, Susan has enjoyed unraveling the stories of her husband’s sorghum legacy and has inherited a powerful adoration for the hard work it takes to yield the sweet crop.


I grew up with bobolinks. All my life they have nested on our farm, but the bobolinks are in serious trouble, especially in the Northeast, largely on account of changes in agricultural practices.

How to Pick the Right Chicken Coop

How do you find the best chicken coop design for your new flock? We'll help you walk through the evaluation process AND get a free analysis spreadsheet to help you decide.

Sorghum Revival: Making Better Sorghum Syrup

I recently spent the weekend in Tennessee to attend the NSSPPA Conference and yearly meeting to meet other sorghum makers and learn more about the process. I came away with new techniques, different seed varieties and a feeling of camaraderie with the other producers.

Sorghum Revival: You Can Do This!

There is a coming resurgence of the appreciation of the hearty homespun sorghum syrup. Something is special about being part of making this “home-made” sugar that speaks to the self-reliant nature inside all of us. You can be part of the Sorghum Revival!

Modern Homesteading - Reality Check

I love rural life and modern homesteading, but there are days when the comfort of a city condo would be welcome indeed. And honestly? A relief.

Wanted: Homesteaders of the Year Nominations

Do you know any modern homesteaders living a self-sufficient lifestyle? We want to know about them! Nominate a family, someone you know or even yourself to become one of our Homesteaders of the Year in 2012.  

How to Pick a Chicken Breed

Did attending the Fair make you want to go out back and start building a chicken coop? If you've gotten far enough in your chicken-keeping research to look at specific breeds, look no further than the Mother Earth News Pickin' Chicken app.

Beautiful, Rustic Dog Fence

This rustic, resourcefully sustainable dog fence fits right into the landscape. Before you install a fence, look around your place first to see what's already available.

STIHL Wood Boss Chain Saw

Built tough for storm cleanup, tree felling, and firewood cutting, the MS 271 STIHL WOOD BOSS chain saw is designed with improved ergonomics and equipped with a low-emission, fuel-efficient engine.

A Modern Homesteader's Shame

How can someone who claims to be a 'modern homesteader' not have planted her garden by the end of June, you ask? Well, let me tell you...

Prepping for Minor Emergencies

Prepping for major emergencies - earthquakes, floods, tornadoes - is important, but so is emergency planning for less dramatic events. Find out what you can do to reduce the potential for stress.

Puyallup Speaker Spotlight: Kiko Denzer, Mud Builder

Kiko Denzer of Hand Print Press will present a workshop and demonstration on modern homesteading, do-it-yourself building with mud at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.

Are You Ready for Chickens? Chickens 101

Chickens - how do you know if you’re the ‘chicken type’? If you’re pondering a backyard flock, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself.

What Is Your Small Farm?

If you are growing vegetables, making a few homemade wares here and there ... you are practicing good, old-fashioned homesteading techniques.

My Journey to a Cabin in the Woods

Welcome to by blog “City to Country, One Step at a Time.” Here’s how I ended up as a modern homesteader on a little acreage in the Canadian West Coast bush.

A Useful Space for Pigs, Chickens and Rabbits

Jenna Woginrich writes about the beauty of Cold Antler Farm, a small homestead that she shares with Pig, her rabbits Benjamin and Doe and several chickens. Taking care of her animals on cold winter nights is a challenge for Woginrich, but one she gladly accepts armed with a water bottle and affection. Woginrich's modest barn provides shelter for her animals and a useful space to feel at home.

Rural Broadband Internet Programs Gain Funding

The Obama administration announced additional funding for rural broadband Internet programs that will increase the speed of rural Internet access. The funding is part of 2009's Recovery Act.

Free Land: Build Your Homestead Without the Debt

Small towns across the country in need of a population boost are literally giving away free land to attract new residents and boost their populations. Seekers of the quiet (and low-cost) small town lifestyle can now grab some free land to build their homes.

Modern Homesteading Treasures

For inspiration and education, take some time to peruse the hundreds of Modern Homesteading articles.