Hybrid Home Energy Systems Offer Both Off-Grid and Grid-Tied Benefits

For residential electricity users who want to control and master their electrical consumption, as well as business owners and agricultural users, a hybrid approach offers the best of both worlds: reduced or even eliminated utility charges and backup during critical times, without the need to stay totally off the grid with a system that can draw from the grid when necessary to make up the difference.

What To Do With Overcooked Jam

Is your homemade jam thick and almost Is your homemade jam too thick and almost like candy? Here's how to fix it.candy? Here's how to fix it.

5 Ways Hiring an HVAC Professional Can Save You Money

Have you wandered the aisles of your local home improvement store trying to determine what you need for your home’s air conditioning or furnace? If you are unsure about what is wrong with your equipment, get a professional’s opinion or you could be spending money unnecessarily.

How to Relocate Spiders

Spiders are beneficial arachnids, meaning they have eight legs. They can be found in or near a home. Relocating spiders to a more appropriate place is a much wiser idea than killing them when they're in our way.

How to Grow Amazing Salad Microgreens at Your Campsite

Take your next camping or hiking trip to a new level by growing microgreens while you are enjoying the great outdoors. Microgreens are a power-packed specialty food increasing in popularity across the globe.

Low-Cost Garden Fertilizer from Sardines (with Recipe)

Garden fertilizer comes in all shapes, sizes, and formulas. Books and magazines maintain you can make your own by mixing this and that, and you’re flowers and veggies will amaze you. You can, however, follow our simple, sardine-based recipe for homemade garden fertilizer and not have to spend any extra money.

How to Stretch a Hat using an Inflatable Ball

Hats are useful to keep damaging UV rays away from sensitive head and neck areas. They protect kids from the sun and wind as they play. But what if your favorite hat is just too small? Here is useful hack for stretching a hat using an inflatable ball.

Keep Track of Your Preserving Projects with a Canning Journal

Have you ever made a truly superb batch of jam – and then forgotten which recipe you used? Just like a personal journal can help you keep track of your life events, a canning journal is a valuable resource for those of us who can and preserve fresh food.

Growing Asparagus from Seed

It’s a common misconception in the home gardening arena that asparagus is a crop that should never be started from seed. I am not sure when this became the standard dogma, but it is far from the actual truth. Asparagus is a crop that thrives when started from seed and those plants that are derived from home-grown stock tend to be larger and more robust than store-bought crowns. Growing asparagus from seed is a rewarding experience that is easier than you think.

Sourdough Vegetable Stromboli

Stromboli, like its cousin the calzone, is a flexible way to combine favorite toppings and bread. Leaving out the meat and adding veggies makes this Stromboli lunchbox-friendly.

Why and How to Test Soil in Your Garden

Wondering how to test your soil? Get the scoop on proper garden soil testing, evaluating soil pH, and home soil testing kits before you plant this season.

Gingerbread Muffins Recipe

Gingerbread isn’t just for dessert. It’s also a great way to start off the day – after all, molasses is full of healthy iron, calcium, and B vitamins – and makes a filling after-school snack.

Signs of Spoiled Meat

If you’re questioning, from a food safety standpoint, whether the meat you have is safe to eat or truly rotten meat, you need to understand the proper cooking temperatures for meat and how they work to eliminate most meat spoilage bacteria.

Cheesy Pepper Sourdough Bread

Dark winter days seem to call out for bread, and while straight dough breads are lovely, nothing can compare to a tangy sourdough loaf.

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.

How to Green Clean Your Shower Head

Many people assume that a shower head doesn’t need to be cleaned. However, it's not uncommon for lime scale and mineral deposits from the water to clog your shower head and reduce the flow of water. Cleaning the shower head is important but it must be done correctly and in an eco-friendly way.

Natural Burial Options

Stay green beyond the grave by planning a natural burial, or choosing a biodegradable coffin or urn.

Taking Care of Turkeys in Winter

Winter weather presents challenges for anyone raising poultry in northern climates. Here are a few tips for getting your turkeys through the winter.

Cranberry-Orange Relish

Homemade cranberry-orange relish adds a bright, tart flavor to the Thanksgiving table.

Getting Ready for Winter on Our Urban Farm

The Old Farmer's Almanac predicts for our area “Winter will be cooler and rainier than normal, with above-normal snowfall." To quote a popular television show “Winter is coming." Prepare for winter with this checklist and weatherization ideas.

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.

Natural Wound Care: How to Heal a Cut Fast

With minor, common injuries, you’ll likely be able to care for the wound yourself. These simple guidelines will help you to be better prepared next time you or someone around you gets a cut.

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.

Freckled, Pumpkin Yeast Bread

Pumpkin bread doesn’t have to be sweet. Here moist pumpkin and chopped pecans combine to make a satisfying and unusual yeast bread.

3 Health Benefits of Beets

These beautiful root vegetables make for nutritious additions to any meal. The many health benefits of beets include lowering blood pressure and boosting your physical performance when you exercise.

Boiled Apple-Pear Syrup

But it doesn’t have the cloying sweetness of sugar-added syrups, plus the pears give the syrup an earthy flavor base. Combine autumn’s apples and pears to make a versatile natural sweetener, with no sugar added. Find out what apple-pear syrup tastes like, where to find it and how to make your own at home.

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.

Orange-Oatmeal Zucchini Bread

Last year my zucchini patch threatened to take over the neighborhood. I made lots of bread, but concentrated on using zucchini in non-traditional yeast breads. Turn too much zucchini plus tangy citrus into a delectable quick bread.

Community Education through Farm Tours

The residents of Leavenworth, Wash., decided that they wanted to showcase how their community is working to create a more sustainable future, so they created the second annual Sustainable Living and Farm Tour. We invite you to join us this coming September 12-13th, 2015.

Reaching My Goal

After writing weekly blogs for MOTHER EARTH NEWS and reaching my goal, my writing will switch to a monthly blog.

Pickled Brussels Sprouts Recipe

Pickling Brussels sprouts is an easy, cost-effective canning project. If you like pickled asparagus or pickled green beans, you’re sure to love pickled Brussels sprouts.

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.

Meditation Prayer Walking

How my practices of meditation, praying and walking centers my soul, days and my life.

6 Top Home Remedies for Toenail Fungus

Don’t let a toenail infection get the best of you; try these easy and effective home remedies for toenail fungus that will help you get your nails back to normal.

Fermented Peach Vinegar

Making fermented fruit vinegars at home is a simple, fun, and delicious project.

Hopelessly Lost

Why studying a map before traveling is a good idea.

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).

Unconditional Love

The gifts we are able to share in a long and respectful relationship.

Farming on a Tenth of an Acre in Town

You do not have to have “land” to farm. You can farm where ever you are. A 10th of an acre is enough and, on some days, more than you would want to can handle. Make the best use of your space, care for your soil, be thrifty with water and enjoy the garden and the fruits of your labor.

Organizing a Neighborhood Permaculture Convergence, Part 1

The 2015 Northwest Permaculture Convergence will be held in a suburban neighborhood for the first time. Also for the first time, outreach to the general public is a core part of this convergence with site tours and educational Expo, free and open to the public.

If a Chicken Never ...

If a chicken never sees the sun, never gets to hunt for food in thick grass, never gets to take a dirt bath with her friends, never gets to flirt with a rooster, can she lay an egg? She’ll lay something, but can you call it an egg?

Gardening Is Biology not Chemistry

Gardening is a biological process, not a chemical one. For a healthy, productive garden, help your plants cultivate the biology in the soil that will feed them.

Context Shapes Our View

How we look at the world stems from our context how we were raised and many other variables.

Rescue Old Pillows

Some experts recommend replacing pillows every two years. That would have cost me more than $1,000 over the past 10 years! Don't throw out old pillows in order to opt for expensive new ones. Instead, this post will teach you how to effectively hand-wash old pillows to remove stains and kill bacteria.

Live Political Debate

Why I think live debates are important way to educate voters in our country.

A Lifetime of Accumulation

How I helped a woman friend of mine to sort and find places for her life-long collections.

Nettle Tea Benefits

Infusing a large amount of dried stinging nettle leaves in water for a long period of time is one of the easiest and most traditional ways to obtain nettle tea benefits.

Cherry Mostarda Recipe

Make your 4th-of-July cook-out extra special with this spicy, sweet relish.

Turn Wood into Free Motor Fuel with a Wood Gasifier

Imagine being able to turn dead tree branches from your own property into motor fuel. Make power just about anywhere, at any time...for free. Sounds futuristic, right? Fuel your back-up electrical generator with wood gas and save a trip to town. Learn build tricks from a pro for a reliable system on a DIY budget.

Grilled Sourdough Flatbread

It may be too hot to bake, but it’s not too hot to enjoy sourdough bread. The answer – grilled sourdough flatbread.

Forward Focus For Good

I find hope when I meet people like Pat Holm and learn about organizations like Democracy Collaborative.

Traveling By Train

How I slowed down my internal clock on a train trip from Seattle to Portland.

Is Coffee Healthy?

Most people think they should ditch their coffee habit or at least cut back on it significantly. So is coffee healthy or not?

6 Steps to Creating a Community Farmers Market

If you have ever thought of starting up a farmers market in your community, this article offers some advice on a few things to consider. Read on to learn 6 lessons learned from a Washington farmers market, including how to build strong leadership and community buy-in.

Maximizing Happiness with Hen-Raised Chicks

The author’s thoughts about raising chicks changed when he returned home from a vacation and couldn’t find one of his hens. He discovered her the next morning, sitting on a clutch of eggs under a porch. When her chicks hatched and he saw how much she cared for them, and how much her chicks adored her, he knew then that every chick deserves a good mother hen.

4 Calendula Uses for Your Health

The many calendula uses for health include treating diaper rash, healing wounds, and helping with side effects of radiation therapy.

Healing 101

How I encouraged a swift healing for my body.

People Are Messy

How we deal with each other’s emotional messiness.

6 Tea Tree Oil Uses

What can freshen breath, fight infection, and clear up acne all at once? Tea tree oil, from the Australian plant, Melaleuca alternifolia, has widespread medicinal qualities, making it an effective home remedy for many different conditions. Try these tea tree oil uses for yourself.

Are Oats Good for You?

Oats are rich in protein, vitamins (like vitamin E), antioxidants, and fiber, making them a good food to start off your day.

Preparing for the World

Make sure to listen for wisdom and jewels while listening to lectures and speeches.

7 Surprising Benefits of Chia Seeds

While some proclaimed benefits of chia seeds may be a bit exaggerated, these seeds are packed full of vital nutrients like fiber and omega-3 fatty acids and should not be overlooked as a healthy addition to your diet.

Evergreen Transportation

How we need to rethink our transportation in order to keep Washington the evergreen state.

Easter Babka Bread

Babka is traditionally made in Poland, Russia and other Eastern European countries. Apparently babka is a popular Christian Easter bread, but is also made in the Jewish tradition.

5 Reasons Why Your Bread Dough Doesn't Rise

Despite our best efforts, sometimes flour plus water plus yeast doesn’t equal a tantalizing loaf of bread, but is just a large lump of dough. Here's how to fix it.

Valerian Root for Sleep Improvement

Valerian is known for its sedative qualities, which can help to increase sleepiness, as well as to decrease nervousness and restlessness.

Visions of Seed Packets

With spring on its way, I am thinking about gardening, home grown food and what it takes to grow plants from seed.

"Kinfolk" Magazine

Some great insights on building community thanks to "Kinfolk," a quarterly publication.

My Tee Shirts

Do well-behaved people seldom or rarely make history?

How to Make Sprouts

Spice up your winter diet with the toothsome crunch of sprouts.

How to Render Beef Tallow at Home

To ensure you have quality fat in the kitchen from pastured animals, learn how to render beef tallow at home. I’ve rendered beef fat into quart jars of tallow two years in a row and consider myself seasoned in the art of avoiding too much of a mess in making it. The fat lends a flavor to dishes that is particularly desirable for Mexican foods, fried potatoes and savory pie crusts. This fat keeps for three months in a refrigerator.

Is Asthma a Vitamin Deficiency: Vitamin-D Uses You Didn't Expect

There are numerous vitamin D uses, but did you know that this vitamin might play a role in preventing asthma attacks? Studies show that people who are vitamin D deficient tend to have more asthma attacks. Correcting a vitamin D deficiency could help you breathe easier.

BPA Dangers Include Elevated Blood Pressure

High levels of BPA exposure have been previously associated with cardiovascular disease. One reason for this is likely that BPA can lead to elevated blood pressure.

A Transparency Movement

Can we and should we be transparent with each other? Who should be transparent with whom?

Wealth of Wisdom

Who shares with you a wealth of wisdom that enriches your life?

DIY Solar Power Is a Wise Choice

With photovoltaic (PV) panel technology you can tap into the amazing world of free totally renewable energy from the sun. You generally cannot find a better more reliable source of power on the planet that solar. In our book you will find that a DIY on grid/off grid system is very affordable and a wise choice for almost everyone.

Home Remedies for Toothaches, Gingivitis and More

If you have recurrent dental problems or are currently suffering from pain in a tooth, give these home remedies for toothaches, gingivitis and bad breath a try. Herbal treatments like turmeric, sage and peppermint are natural and effective ways to ease pain, fight bacteria and prevent inflammation.

A Heavy Heart

How this last year of discrimination and profiling in the news has impacted me.

The Growth of Goals

The accomplishment and goal that I achieved with a "little" help from my friends and family.

Hoarding: Greed, Part 2

What is the difference between hoarding stuff and money? Is there any difference?

Consumption Greed: Part 1

Part one of a three part series on greed, consumption and economic oppression. Exploring how we may have gotten here and what we can do about improving our lives and the lives of others.

Well Read

What does well read mean to you? Does the material you read and your personality traits determine how you view the world? This blog explores what well read means to me.

The Hidden Risks of Nightlights for Children

While many kids (and adults, too) might prefer to sleep with a light on, research shows that exposure to artificial light after the sun goes down can disrupt healthy body function and is associated with an increased risk for cancer. So turn off your computers, TVs, and nightlights for kids, and learn to embrace the nighttime darkness.

Herbal Tea Recipes for Colds

Sipping on medicinal herbal tea is one of the best steps you can take to shorten the duration of illness when the symptoms of a cold, sore throat, or other upper respiratory infection begin.

Who Am I?

Exploring our misconceptions of who we are when we are defined by our online presence.

Man's Best Friend

The benefits of adopting a pet. And the sadness that occurs when they die.

DIY Photovoltaic Power

Doug and Jennie Ostgaard designed and built a photovoltaic system for their home, a project they was completed in six months. DIY photovoltaic solar has many benefits, and they outline a few of them here.

500-Square-Foot House

Living in a 500-square-foot house (or smaller) affects our consumption and relationships.

How to Prevent Alzheimer's With Diet

Learn how to prevent Alzheimer's with diet. There is plenty of time for people to make brain-healthy lifestyle and dietary choices to potentially delay the onset of this dreaded and devastating disease.

Lessons from the Mother Earth News Fair

At the Mother Earth News Fair in Puyallup, Wash, I listened to lecturers cover topics from re-newable energy, small-scale farming, green building, organic gardening, simple living, and citizen solidarity building. While I listened, I pondered ways to weave these powerful themes into our children's lives.

Intentional Legacy: Writing Your Own Parenting Book

In this blog post, parenting mentor Shawn Hosford introduces herself, along with some of her background and beliefs. Her hope is that this post provides the necessary foundation for continued conversations about intentional parenting.

All About Fresh Fruit Butters

Fruit butters are easy to make, in fact – they are almost foolproof. They allow for a little more creativity than many soft spread recipes and are perfect for using up odds and ends of fresh fruit.

Weather and Farmers Market Foods

August 3 to 9 is National Farmers Market Week! How does weather impact growth and harvest of fruits and vegetables? www.earthgauge.net/?p=36863

Summer Berry Coffee Cake Recipe

Coffee cake seems to be the forgotten step-child of breakfast breads. Although once very popular coffee cake has been eclipsed over the year by the proliferation of bagels, large, gooey muffins, and egg and sausage breakfast sandwiches.

4 Reasons to Avoid Food Preservatives

Processed foods contain a variety of chemical preservatives that have been linked to serious medical conditions. Here’s what to look for and how to avoid food preservatives.

Chickweed and Lavender Insect Bite Salve

With our chickweed and lavender salve, the bites I typically get that are swollen and painful were nothing more than a minor annoyance. All came from ingredients that we made ourselves.

Wild Berry Jam Recipes

The fresh berry season is so fleeting, that it almost calls out for preserving, especially in the form of jam.

Thomas Jefferson's Favorite Crop is Back in American Soil

One of the favorite events among attendees to the Puyallup MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR was investigative author Doug Fine’s Hemp Bound talk. Here are his thoughts on why hemp matters so much, a belief that was translated into a passionate and funny workshop.

Protect the Beach

Whether you live on the beach or 1000s of miles away, there are easy ways you can protect coastal water quality.

Pickled Asparagus Recipe

Pickled vegetables are a great way to jazz up your meals, especially in the late winter, early spring time when the grocery store vegetables are looking a little worse for the wear.

Gardening With Mushrooms

Fungi breakdown organic material and make it available to plants. Encouraging fungi to grow naturally, or inocculating your soil can have tremendous benefits for your garden.

Seeded Sourdough Oatmeal Baguettes

Sourdough bread doesn’t just come in large loaves and rounds. Sourdough also works up wonderfully into buns, rolls, grissini and my personal favorite, mini-baguettes.

Air Conditioning Check-Up

Spring is the perfect time to give your home cooling equipment a check-up before hot weather arrives.

Zaatar Bread

Zaatar bread is a soft, Arabic-style bread topped with olive oil and the tangy spice mixture called zaatar.

A Pollen Explosion

A cold winter and late-season snow in some parts of the U.S. could mean a rough spring allergy season.

Sourdough Hot-Cross Buns

Hot-cross buns, full of warm spices and sweet fruit, are a tasty springtime treat.

Creating Your Own Mycorrhiza

The symbiotic relationship between plants and fungi are showing more than ever how life depends on life. Learn how to encourage what beneficial microbes you have in your soil for a powerful ally in your garden and fields.

Hello From Raintree Nursery

Sam Benowitz and Tara Bittler are joining the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Blog Squad, and they break down the types of gardening and fruit-growing information they will share with you each week.

Fix a Leak

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

Making Sourdough Biscuits

Sourdough biscuits is one of those perfect recipes that uses up plenty of ripe starter, but doesn’t take all day to rise.

Guard Your Groundwater

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

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.

What Makes Wetlands Stink?

One of the most recognizable features of wetlands is their smell. What makes these areas so pungent?

Soft Sourdough Pretzels Recipe

Once you have eaten a soft, sourdough pretzel, all other pretzels will pale in comparison. Luckily they are simple to make yourself.

Greek Country Bread Recipe

This heavy artisan bread is full of flavor, and will be ready by dinnertime if you start right now! The unexpected flavor comes from good quality honey olive oil and barley flour.

Creating a Homestead: Where to Start

Tips to help you get started planning your very own homestead. With proper planning you don't have to be experienced to do it right.

Homemade Woodchip Mulch

Woodchip mulch has great benefits for gardening and landscaping. Instead of buying woodchips, we can use what resources we already have and make our own.

What We Gave Up To Go Off-Grid

Providing your own sewer, water and power can be more expensive and is certainly less convenient but that's not all there is to consider. This article takes a look at some of the other differences between public and private services.

What Are Headwater Streams?

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

Holiday Breads: How to Make Potica

Potica is a light and delicate Slovakian holiday bread stuffed with a brown sugar and nut filling. This recipe makes two loaves, one to eat now and one to save for Christmas morning brunch.

Audubon Christmas Bird Count

Participate in Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count to help scientists study winter bird populations: www.earthgauge.net/?p=33409

Best Gifts for Bread Bakers

Are there any bread bakers on your holiday list? Now you know what to to give them. Delight them with these helpful gifts.

The Compost Bandit

Compost and mulch material are in abundance in our backyard and our communities. What is ones man's yard waste is this man's treasure.

America Recycles Day

Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to power a laptop for 5 hours! America Recycles Day is Nov 15.

Lighten Up (and Save)

Fall is a great time to replace traditional light bulbs with energy-efficient bulbs. Save up to $50 per year.

Paleo Diet Benefits: Is It Worth the Switch?

Claims for the Paleo diet benefits are substantial – improved cholesterol, improved blood pressure, improved blood sugar control, improved appetite control. How legit are these claims and do they make it worth a switch to this type diet?

Living Off Grid: Lessons Learned

Each year we learn more and more about living off grid and homesteading. These are just a few of the third-year experiences we wanted to share.

Back to School

Headed back to school? Protect air quality, save energy and recycle for a healthier, greener school year.

Restoring and Seasoning Rusty Cast Iron

Taking the guesswork out of rescuing a piece of rusty cast iron cookware, Sarah provides easy to follow step by step instructions on how to take cast iron from unusable to gleaming.

Wetland Water Sources

What makes a piece of land a wet-land? Not all wetlands are wet for the same reason.

From the Trees to the Seas

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

Backyard Homestead

There are a lot of things you can do right now to experience the homestead lifestyle right in your backyard.

Summer’s Sting

Buzz…sting…ouch! Why are yellow jackets more aggressive at this time of year?

Seed Starting Video and Tips

Have you started your tomatoes and peppers yet? 'Tis the season to start seeding long season crops indoors. If you normally buy organic starts from your local nursery, try your hand at seed starting.