Build a Mini Root Cellar that Actually Works

Got a basement “cold room” that doesn’t keep your fruits and veggies properly? You can make things better. A few simple modifications can turn that disappointing space into a reliable spot to store food without electricity and boost self reliance.

Solar Backyard Chicken-Coop Building Plans

A community of smaller portable chicken coops are better than one, big, stationary one. Download building plans for a solar heated design that’s also great in hot climates.

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.

Why I Really Love My Rural Life

Almost 30 years ago I made one of the best decisions ever when I began my homesteading adventure. It's no "Little House on the Prarie" but you can see it from there.

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.

Stain Your Deck So It Lasts

Download Steve Maxwell’s free list of tested and approved deck stains that have worked well in field tests.

A Lesson of Hope

How a hopelessly damaged apple tree has delivered lessons of hope since 2007.

MAX Update No. 103: The Metro Miata “Cold Rod”

If MAX is a bit too Spartan for your tastes, here's a homebuilt high mileage sports car that's a bit more plush - a Mazda Miata with a Geo Metro engine - and it's coming to the Mother Earth News Fairs.

MAX100 The Shows Must Go On

A big crowd likes MAXine better than MAX, and I’ll see you soon, at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR in Puyallup, Wash.

Choose The Right Fasteners To Make Your Roofing Last

When I designed my wilderness cabin back in 2009, I knew I wanted to go the extra mile to achieve beauty, and that included an attractive roof. If you’re interested in creating a roof structure that’s well insulated, pleasing to

MAX Update No. 97: Deer Prudence

MAX finally got a deer deflector, after three years of writing about how much it needs one. It'll give a bit of extra rollover protection, too.

MAX Update No. 96: Jevons' Paradox and Gore's Dilemma

Does 100 mpg fuel economy justify cross-country recreational travel? Maybe so and maybe not, but I need to be careful—increasing fuel efficiency can increase fuel consumption if you increase your driving, too.

MAX Update No. 94: FrankenMAX

MAX gets a temporary mash-up of old and new style body parts (the new nose is at the fiberglassers' having a mold made so we can make more of them) to get road-legal for a trip to Canada.

MAX Update No. 93: Plugging Away

Jack has dismantled MAX's body and is making molds from the body parts, so other MAX-like car builders won't have to duplicate his work.

Refinishing Wood Stairs

Steve explains the basics of refinishing wooden stairs, including an easily renewable finishing strategy.

Homestead-Based Income Key to Success

There are many more ways than ever to earn income without ever leaving the homestead. As energy prices rise, earning the money you need without traveling is key to success. It just might not come from the place you expect.

MAX Update No. 91: The Light Underbelly

The tail end of MAX's bellypan (diffuser) gets tuft tested, and the attached video shows the results. This was the finishing touch that got MAX its 100 miles per gallon on the highway.

School’s Not Always the Way

Robert Maxwell discusses why he chose self-directed education over formal college, and how this option might work for others, too.

The Cabin Dream

Young homesteader Robert Maxwell  explores his discoveries as he moves toward self-sufficiency and homesteading.

MAX Update No. 89: Good Work Car

To improve MAX's versatility, the passenger seat is removable, which converts MAX from a couple carrier to a cargo carrier.

MAX Update No. 80: Cooling Tests and Travels

On a summertime cross country trip from Oregon to Ohio, I restricted MAX's radiator inlet air a little at a time, demonstrating that very little inlet area (28 square inches) provides sufficient air for cooling.

Growing the Giants

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

Keep Carbide Saw Blades Sharp

Carbide saw blades last a long time and typically perform very well. Learn about two ways to keep them sharp and effective.

MAX Update No. 69: Two Tired to Test

MAX got a new set of high efficiency Goodyear tires, and a second set of wheels so we can do comparison testing. Will the difference be detectable to our low budget testing technology?

MAX Update No. 68: Idle Speculation

Hybrid cars save fuel by shutting the engine off at idle (among other things). Does MAX burn enough fuel at idle to be worth the effort? Our honey bear can tell us.

MAX Update No. 66: Go With the Flo

Technology marches on. It comes at a price, but a FloScan fuel consumption and mileage meter could give me instant feedback on MAX's fuel efficiency.

Firewood Splitting Tips

Steve Maxwell, Canada’s Handiest Man, provides tips on splitting firewood for home heating via woodstoves or fireplaces.

MAX Update No. 62: Throttle Management

A treatise on the difference between a gasoline engine throttle and a diesel "throttle," what that means for MAX, and how the difference was overcome.

Why MAX Didn't Make the 2010 MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Jack McCornack tells the story of how he got lost in the Oregon outback and how MAX was damaged such that the DIY-, super-fuel-efficient car couldn't make it to the 2010 MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR in Seven Springs, Pa.

MAX Update No. 60: An Unplanned Body Modification

So here you have it: MAX with a crumpled rear fender, crumpled trunk section, a turn signal bashed out, a door knocked loose, and a flat tire. It's fully reparable, but not today, and not in time to drive to the MEN Fair.

MAX Update No. 51: The Rally Green Route

The Rally Green starting flag drops in Knoxville Iowa, Sunday August 15, beginning a cross country fuel economy rally ending in San Francisco the folowing Saturday. MAX will be there and going for the gold.

MAX Update No. 46: Working With the Fiberglass Body

We're modifying the Lola race car's nose to fit MAX's chassis. The first step is cutting the nose down the middle so we can move the fenders apart a few more inches, which will let us steer enough for parking and other normal street activities.

MAX Update No. 41: New, Safer Seats

In which Jack departs a little from his fashion sense and MAX gets new racing seats. But not just any racing seats: safer seats with real head restraints.

MAX Update No. 33: Your Roof Ideas Wanted

MAX needs an aerodynamic and easy-to-assemble roof. Plus it needs to look cool, be cheap, cost little, have a simple design and be reliable. No problem, right? So, do you have any ideas?

MAX Update No. 27: The 5,000 Mile Inspection

One would think a car wouldn't need a mechanical inspection at 5,000 miles. But when you're building a 100-mpg car from scratch, and the builder is meticulous, it's wise to look for problems even when there are no signs of problems.  

MAX Update No. 8: Fuels Rush In

MAX version 2.0 is about to start moving. This may come as a surprise, but Jack is going to try it with biodiesel.

MAX Update No. 1: Half a Glass

Is the glass half empty? Half full? Or is there just too much glass? I'm designing MAX to be just the right amount of "glass" for the vast majority of our driving. Here's to efficiency.

Enter MAX: 100 mpg or Bust

We're at work on a 100-mpg DIY car! Come meet MAX and take a seat for what will be a long, but fun, journey.