A Dignified Look at Chicken Butchering Day

Everyone likes a tasty chicken, but how about what happens during the time between the clucking, feathered bird and the freezer? Here’s a dignified look at a poultry processing day on our farm, feathers and all.

Women Farmers Connect, Share and Grow

The strength of the sustainable and organic agriculture movement deepens and widens through the support of fellow women farmers. Create a local women farmer or homesteader network in your community to build a more vibrant local economy.

An Ecotourism Escape to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin

Come early or linger for a few days after the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR and cool off at Elkhart Lake. Explore some of the spectacular natural areas, savor farm-to-table meals, or relax at an eco-spa at the Osthoff Resort.

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!

Managing Chickens in Mobile Coops on Pasture

Spring has sprung - time to get the hens into their summer mobile chicken coops. A nice afternoon project, right? Well, you know how those "5-minute jobs" go — they always seem to multiply. Learn how we manage chickens in mobile coops on pasture.

Sheep Shearing Day

The sheep are puffy balls of wool, but spring is coming, and with it one of the "rights of passage" to a new season - shearing!

Soil Sisters: 3 Ways Women Cultivate Food Change

Women make up one of the fastest growing groups of new farmers today, increasing over twenty percent in the last ten years alone. More than mounting numbers, these women rock fresh ideas when it comes to agriculture, farming and – ultimately – what’s on America’s plates. Here’s a sneak peak summary of what I’ll be speaking on at the FAIRS: Three ways women today are cultivating food system change.

Bottling Great Elderberry Flavor

Most great ideas start small. That’s how Katie and Ben Reneker, founders of the Carmel Berry Company, started out handcrafting small batches of syrups and cordials with elderberries or elderflowers wild-harvested or grown on their small farm.

Cordwood Chicken Coops

Cordwood chicken coops are the ideal method of protecting your birds and providing warmth and security. Enjoy these pictures of unique cordwood chicken coops throughout North America.

Securing or Expanding Your State Cottage Food Law

Democracy is essential for the expanding cottage food laws in the US. There are many steps you can take to be able to sell homemade food products in your state. First, get the cottage food law passed that allows you the freedom to earn.

ArkV Adventures, Part 2

So, the gals are on their way to New Hampshire to pick up heritage cows, and so far, it's going smoothly — but there are bumps in the road ahead, so hang on! (Spoiler alert: They all made it home fine: two cows, two pigs, and two galls.)

ArkV Adventures, Part 1: Transporting Livestock in Winter

The farm hasn't had cows in 50 years — but Kara wanted cows. Not any old cows; no, a special heritage kind. nd where were these cows? In the mountains of New Hampshire, half a continent away! Time for a road trip to pick up and transport livestock in winter!

Farm Trucks

They may be rusty, they may be dusty, they may even be falling apart — but you just can't run a homestead without a good old farm truck.

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.

The Buzz on Honeybees

Honeybees have a complex social system - who does what is clearly defined and intricately divvied up. But where does the beekeeper fit into the story? Let's find out.

For Sale: Homemade Products from the Homestead

Finally, the freedom to earn from our home kitchens. In 42 states (and counting), home cooks can now sell to their neighbors and community certain "non-hazardous" food products made in their home kitchen, often with very few regulations or governmental entanglements.

Small But Mighty Chicks

It's baby animals season on the farm, especially for chicks! They're pretty sweet, but they're also a lot of work. Oh, and there's incubators involved too.

The Waiting Game

Springtime on the homestead is all about timing--getting those colorful eggs into the incubator, sneaking in a crop of spinach in the high tunnel, but also being on-the-ready for lambing season!

Maple Syrup Memories

When the sap gets drippin', it's time to get itchin' for tapping the maple trees and making syrup!

Chickens Got Cabin Fever

The sun is shining, the breeze is starting to warm, but there's still three feet of snow outside. It's driving you crazy — why can't spring get here now? Well, you're not the only one because those chickens have cabin fever too!

Wintering Pigs on Pasture

Wintering pigs outside is both fun and rewarding, if you plan accordingly. The most important aspect for pigs wintering outside is that they have adequate shelter and protection from the weather and cold. Water and proper forage, even during cold months, are also important.

How to Build a Guitar from a Wood Pallet, Part 3: Sound Chambers

Ah, the fun begins for building a wood pallet guitar. In this post, we apply the following building steps: planning material, matching the right tools to the wood, shielding cavities, and basic electric guitar electronics assembly and testing.

Old Time Farm Talk: A Homesteader's Narrative

Farmers sure have their own way of talking — from the cadre of names for animals to the meaning of "shit," we'll explore and unravel some of the greater and lesser known sayings in Old Time Farm Talk.

How to Build a Guitar from a Wood Pallet, Part 1: Materials List

This post is an overview of my wood pallet guitar. It explains the material sources, how they were obtained and preparation involved with little or no budget, along with the story of my life. Also, you’ll learn the benefits of recycling, repurposing, and reclaiming.

Holes: A Homesteader's Narrative

Just when you’ve got something broken in on a farm, the holes begin to appear. There’s a hole in the bucket, a hole in my muck boots — and of course there are holes in the fence! But it’s not all bad, so here’s a homesteader’s narrative that provides a good chuckle about life on the homestead with all its wrinkles…and holes.

Greener Options for Recreational Boating

When self-propelled boats or surf boards are not an option in the water, there are several boating choices and technologies now available along the continuum of sustainability.

How to Sell a Cordwood Home

The best time for selling your cordwood home. Tips, websites, suggestions, and what to do BEFORE you build.

Cordwood Construction Basics

The fundamental building blocks, descriptions, diagrams and pictures of best practices cordwood buildings.

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.

All-Electric Snow Removal That’s a Breeze

Clearing away snow has just gotten a charge from Snow Joe, the leading US supplier of over 140 products for snow removal and other seasonal needs. I got my hands on their latest innovation, a cordless snow blower powered by a 40-volt lithium ion battery, and compared it to their top-selling cord-based electric snow thrower.

Natural Toys and Games for a Green Holiday

There’s no reason not to “go green” when picking up a game for a young loved one. Despite the abundance of “Made in China” plastic toys and games that line the aisles, some companies have made it their business to create amazingly fun toys and games for children in ways that protect, preserve or restore the planet.

Epilogue: The Wisconsin Farm

Robert Zwald finishes his short memoir with a record of his Wisconsin farm in the 1960s and the growth of his family. This is the eighth part of his stories, as compiled by his daughter, Ruth.