Botanical Wonders Abound in West Virginia’s ‘Cranberry Glades’

The Cranberry Glades are situated within the Monongahela National Forest, which comprises almost 1 million acres of land, making it the third largest national forest east of the Rocky Mountains. Within The Glades are many natural areas and attractions such as the “Cranberry Glades Botanical Area.” This 750-acre preserve is home to many unusual plants, and this is where you’ll find “the bogs.”

‘Goldenseal’ Charms and Heals in the Garden

“Golden” will be the first word to enter your mind when you see the roots, rhizomes and dormant buds of Hydrastis canadensis. You’ll understand immediately why the common name is “Goldenseal.” This very useful native woodland plant will not only charm and entertain you spring, summer, and autumn — it can even heal you.

Installing Bees in a Top-Bar Hive

Top bar hives are becoming increasingly popular with beekeepers as they help encourage bees to colonize in a more natural way than Langstroth beehives. Installing bees in a top-bar hive can be surprisingly easy if you take a few steps to ensure that your new colony is happy.

DIY Off-Grid Chicken-Watering System

For the same cost as one more indoor waterer, we built an outdoor system with 10 times the capacity that won’t require much extra work from us to keep up.

Rock Polypody: One Helluva Tough Fern

Polypodium virginianum aka the "Rock Polypody" is native to just about every state east of the Mississippi, Alaska, almost every province in Canada and all the way north up to Greenland and Iceland. To grow it requires no master's degree in gardening or landscape architecture or any particularly colored thumb. It's really quite simple! This is the perfect fern for any shade garden or along the path of any shade border.

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.

Partridge Berry as a Non-Aggressive, Pest-Resistant Groundcover

Native to 35 states and 3 provinces of Canada east of the Mississippi, Partridge Berry is rarely seen in the trade. I fail to see why, as it's very easy to propagate by rooting cuttings or from seed. In fact, it forms adventitious roots as it gently winds its way around the garden. It could never, by any stretch of the imagination, be considered aggressive or invasive.

Building a Wood-Fired Pizza Oven for Full-Barn Farms

Have you ever thought about building your own Wood Fired Pizza Oven? Tim Rohrer with Full Barn Farms, shares how they went about building a Wood Fired Pizza oven for personal and agritourism use.

The History of Barns in America

The iconic structures that shape our countryside have changed over the years to reflect the needs of agriculture.

Harvest Honey from a Top-Bar Hive

In traditional Langstroth beehives, the honey is extracted via a centrifuge that spins the golden liquid out of the comb and allows it to run into your pot. In a top-bar hive, honey collection is quite different, as isthe rest of the top-bar hive beekeeping process.

5 Tips for a Greener Christmas

Take notice of your environmental footprint over the festive period and follow our guide for a greener Christmas.

Types of Beehives

For a long time, the only beehive you tended to see would be the traditional Langstroth hive. In recent years, new styles have become popular including the Warre hive, and the top bar hive design. It is important to be familiar with the various styles of beehive in order to choose what is most appropriate for your colony.

Grow Native, Shade-Loving, Large-Flowered Bellwort in the Garden

The emergence of the long-lasting flowers of 'Uvularia grandiflora' is something I really anticipate every spring. And every spring, my robust stand of ‘Large-Flowered Bellwort’ slowly opens their large, pendulous, bright golden yellow flowers that resemble inverted flowing candle flames. Learn how to grow and where to find this ornamental native flower.

Ramps: Grow and Cook This Edible, Wild ‘Weed’

Ramps, aka Allium tricoccum, are really wild leeks. They combine the taste of garlic with the taste of onion, although that's really somewhat of an oversimplification as the taste of ramps is bursting with other — so many other — flavors and nuances that they leave their actual essence difficult to verbalize.

10 Reasons You Need Tasslerue in Your Garden

There are probably over 100 reasons that you should be growing shade-loving and native ‘Tasslerue’ Trautvetteria caroliniensis, but the main reason that you aren't growing it is because you've probably never heard of it, let alone had someone offer to share some with you. All that's about to change.

Plant Pest-Proof, Perennial Bloodroot in Your Garden

The commonly used name for our beloved early-spring, native wildflower Sanguinaria canadensis is "bloodroot." Bloodroot was once used as a dye and as an herbal remedy by early Native Americans. Sanguinaria canadensis is native to every state in the US and to every Canadian province east of the Rockies. Consequently, it's considered hardy down to Zone 3.

Basic Goat Shelters for Your Homestead Dairy Herd

Homestead dairy goats need proper shelters. Ideally these would be easy to set up and move, while providing all the animals’ needs. A variety of basic shelters can be based on simple, reusable pieces like cattle panels, pop-up tents, and chain-link panels. These structures make pasture-based goat management easier on a budget.

Is Steam Canning Safe?

New research shows that steam canning can be just as safe as water bath canning if performed properly to preserve acidic foods. Here are guidelines for operating a steam canner.

Plant Long-Lived Trillium in Your Perennial Garden

Trilliums just have to be the most beloved wildflower of any native or non-native plant. Trilliums are very easy to grow and are a long-lived perennial plant whose size can double every year when taken proper care of. And I know from experience, as I've spent the last 30-plus years building production stock beds of well over 100,000 trillium plants.

Perfect Rhubarb Pie from Garden to Table

Rhubarb, a once-neglected fruit (or vegetable) that was hard to find, is making a comeback as a result of the real food movement among gardeners and cooks. Based on decades of self-reliant living, I give the reader all the information that is needed to produce a perfect rhubarb pie from garden to table, from planting, growing, and harvesting, to producing a pie with a never-fail pie crust.

An Educational Visit to Four Season Farm

While building their own home and farm, one couple decides to learn from other talented and experienced market farmers about how to set up year-round gardening production. Here are some tips and photos from a trip to Four Season Farm, home of Eliot Coleman and Barbara Damrosch, in Maine.

Unplugging to Reconnect: A Journey Toward Full-Time Homesteading - Finances, Part 3

This entry continues our lightning-speed survey of key financial considerations of people who decide to move toward a full-time homesteading or farming lifestyle based on the accounts of those who have gone before us and as personally experienced in my family's ongoing transition. Up for discussion in this installment is the power of barter.

How To Form a Successful Cooperative

A small food producers' cooperative in Missouri wins a national award and will share with others how to form a successful co-op that focuses on bartering, sustainability and the economy of neighborliness.

Reducing Transportation Emissions

Transportation in the U.S. is responsible for high levels of carbon emissions. Simply by changing habits and adopting more eco-friendly methods of getting from A to B will help both the environment and overall health.

Malabar Spinach

Malabar spinach is an easy-to-grow green that loves the heat of summer. Make it part of your garden plan for tasty summer meals.

Best Mosquito Traps for Your Yard

Discover the best mosquito traps to use in your yard. Improving your mosquito control will ensure that you can enjoy your summer evenings outdoors.

Finishing the 'Barndominium': Final Stages of a 3-Year Project

We started our adventure of building a barndominium on our Texas property while still in Australia. The past year has been spent finishing and enjoying the house. As we've learned, finishing the house is only the first step in developing the homestead.

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.

For The Love of Pole Barns, Part 2: Siting a New Barn

You decide you want a pole barn, what is next? Site preparation can yield some surprising findings. Flexibility when planning a pole barn is key to success and making adjustments to your plans early will be most beneficial; saving time, money and perhaps even improving on your original ideas!

Homesteading on the Cheap, Part 1: Finding Land

Many of us are seeking to discover a lifestyle in which not all of our needs are provided through the medium of monetary exchange. Don’t let misconceptions about what is necessary to a family-size farmstead discourage you in the search for that small rural acreage, reasonably priced, where you can begin to realize your dreams.

No-Bake Cherry-Vanilla Snack Bars Recipe

With six simple ingredients, these easy, no-bake, cherry-vanilla bars are a wholesome alternative to over-processed and over-packaged supermarket snacks.

Heat Loss in Your Home: Long-Term Solutions Reduce Carbon Emissions

With carbon emissions in the US higher than most other countries in the world, more should be done to minimize unnecessary carbon waste. Around one third of the overall carbon consumed by the average US citizen comes from the home, if every home took a few simple steps to reduce waste, the world could a greener place.

For the Love of Pole Barns

The old goat barn must go! Follow the progress as we choose how to best replace an aging (and dangerous) structure for livestock housing. Pole barns are an economical alternative to traditional framed barns, are long lasting and multipurpose. You can even live in one!

How Big is Your Water Footprint?

Explore ways to reduce both your direct and indirect water footprint. Reducing your water footprint could make a huge different to both the environment and finances.

What’s Wrong With 2,4-D Herbicide?

The release of new genetically modified crops resistant to 2,4-D herbicide will mean a huge increase of potent, dangerous chemicals on American farmland and a serious threat of herbicide drift problems for other growers.

Finishing the Barndominium: Almost Ready to Move In

After three years of trying to build the barndominium in three-week-per-year spurts, Jim has relocated back to Texas to complete the build while Julie remains in Australia to finish her work there and transfer to the United States.

DIY Whiskey Barrel Chairs

You can make these outdoor chairs for less than $80 by recycling a whiskey barrel and using a few other supplies from your workshop.

An Incredible Pest: Any Good Suggestions?

After three years of trying to build the barndominium in three week per year spurts, Jim and Julie have relocated from Australia to Texas and are building out the barndominium. However in growing gardens and potential fruit plants for use in future years, we’ve encountered a horrible pest and want to share it in hopes of ideas from the Mother Earth News community.

Finishing the Barndominium: The First Steps

After three years of trying to build the barndominium in three week per year spurts, Jim has relocated back to Texas to complete the build while Julie remains in Australia to finish her work there and transfer to the US.

Soda Consumption Raises Cancer Risk

You may want to think twice the next time you reach for that cola. A recent study has found that one can of soda a day can increase chances of prostate cancer by 40 percent.

When Eating Greens Is Not Good For You

Leafy greens are among the most nutritious foods you can eat, but what if they contain systemic pesticides like imidacloprid? New pesticides that are taken up by plants mean there may be pesticides in food crops like collards and kale, not just on the surface.

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.

Delicious, Nutritious Barley Risotto

A healthier version of the classic rice risotto, delicious barley risotto is easy to make and can be modified with whatever ingredients you have in your kitchen.

Australia to Texas - Our Last Learning Experience in Australia

We're getting very close now to our relocation to Texas. After years of planning and developing, it's time to go home to our sustainable lifestyle. We leave with some sadness but a great deal of enthusiasm and excitement for our new life.

Australia to Texas - Framing the Exterior of the Barndominium

We have few opportunities during our stay in Australia to fly home and do work ourselves on the property. This blog features a set of planned activities that we wanted to be personally and directly involved with. When we left, we were very happy.

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.

How to Start & Manage a Micro Dairy in 26 Steps: Step 1

Bob-White Systems is bringing the cows back home by providing supplies, equipment and support for Micro Dairies, Home & Farmstead cheesemakers and small-scale producers of local and farm fresh dairy products.

Best Sun Protection for Sun Loving Gardeners

Dog days of summer? Yes, but there is still a lot of the grwoing season left. Protect yourself from the late summer sun with these tried 'n true items ... tested by a gardener who knows more than she'd like to about skin cancer.

Porch Building and Deer Pressure

Porch building tips along with deer pressure notes and golf cart pickup bed instructions.Throw in a 5 foot high chicken wire fence and a rare appearance from a normally camera shy cat named Strider and you've got an idea of what we've been up to.

Turkey Traps and Top Bar Hive Modifications

Top bar hive modifications, turkey traps, and gourmet potatoes are just a few of the topics covered in the past week of blogging we've been up to. Homesteading healthcare and a new virtual book club round off the week with several reader comments.

Top Bar Hive Experiment

Breaking down the last week of homesteading we've done over at WaldenEffect.org, and the Top Bar project we started as well as talk on Brix, biodynamics, and Plant Secondary Metabolites. Also have details on an external frame backpack modification.

A Resurrected Crabapple Tree

A sapling Centennial crabapple tree survives a series of mishaps and teaches new orchardists a thing or two.

Alternative Currency

Building a vibrant local community through local economics and rural culture.

Trade and Barter

Sharing can become a network of trading and bartering within your community.

Back to the future

A little background on how Ric and Vicki moved from Detroit to a Tennessee homestead, and starting to get up to date on what they've done since.

About Honeybees and January… and April…

Ordering bees in January doesn't seem to make sense, until you understand that April is the cruelest month. Plus, if you order bees in January, and then you don't need them - that's just a reason to celebrate! Order early!

Winterizing Tips for Top Bar Hives

This post offers tips for winterizing a top bar hive - insulating, mouse guards, wrapping, closing entrances, protecting from wind. All things you can do to help get them through!

Winter In A Top Bar Hive

One way to overwinter a top bar hive in a northern climate is to provide good ventilation and some insulation. Enough food is needed, and good protection from the wind is too. We'll see how it works.

Getting A Top Bar Hive Ready For Winter

When getting a top bar hive ready for winter, you need to know how much honey there is...and measureing these frames is different than measuring rectangular frames.

Kaptain Mike's Truck Bar

A creative use of an old Ford truck.KimAnna tells the tale of how her husband Mike took an old 1964 ford and turned it into a useful Bar at their Cafe in Del Norte, Co. With a few added embellishments it is not only functional but a piece of art!

4th of July Message to Top Bar Beekeepers...

By the 4th of July, there's a palpable shift in the feel of the beekeeping season. New beekeepers wish for more guidance, and may even be wondering why they started this project! Here's a little reassurance that you are not alone in your endeavor.

The Comfort of “Why”

It helps us feel better to know "why" things happen, but we don't always get to know that answer...

DIY Top Bar Hive

Thinking about bees? Check out this DIY top bar hive!

MOTHER EARTH NEWS Starts Beekeeping

Our office was abuzz with bee activity this morning! We received four packages of bees today before they were delivered to their final garden homes.

Shifting the Paradigm Toward More Natural Beekeeping

This blog post started life as an article in The Natural Farmer,published by the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA). It could be said to herald the birth of that entity we have come to call The Cynical Optimist.

Barn Cats Transform Barns into Houses

Saving the Barn’s Barn Cats is proud to announce it’s branching out with a new line of structures constructed of historic recycled materials.

Win a Broadfork!

Here is your chance to win a brand new broadfork/U-bar digger. Enter to win this piece of equipment that retails at $119, and can help aerate your soil without hurting the beneficial worms and fungi in your garden beds.

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.

How Bad Is Monsanto?

Corporations continue to purchase interests in seed industries, and Monsanto — the 800-lb. gorilla in the world of genetically modified seeds — is leading the way. Find out what this means for the future of crops and for you.    

How Did We Get Here? Tribal Identity and Accepting President Barack Obama

For centuries social and international conflicts have been spurred by contrasts in one group's sense of tribal identity (whether cultural, ethnic or geographic) versus another's. This same conflict plays out today in the United States for those members of American society who, thus far, have been unable to recognize President Obama as part of their tribe. Bryan Welch argues that Obama, in fact, epitomizes the  key characteristics of the modern American tribe.

Obama Asks EPA to Reconsider Auto Emissions Position

President Barack Obama signed an executive order to help reduce automobile gas emissions in the United States. This is the first of many steps that the Obama administration plans to make to improve global warming.

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.

Build a Houseboat

Here is a plan for how to build your own floating cabin, "The Live Aboard Houseboat."

A Call for Border Order

The Department of Homeland Security continues to build a 670-mile-long wall to create a barrier along the US-Mexico border. Although the wall will never completely stop illegal immigrants from coming into the country, it will risk the survival of animals and wildlife in the area.