Salvaging Campus Trees for Education

Indiana University of Pennsylvania's groundbreaking "Harvest to Use" program uses a portable sawmill to salvage campus trees for education and community projects.

Unplugging to Reconnect: Homesteading and the Kids' Higher Education, Part 4

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.

The Exciting Herbal Resurgence

Herbalism has a rich, beautiful history and is once again finding a place in many modern homes. Now is a vibrant, exciting time to be an herbalist!

A Royal Compost Adventure Report

Stan Slaughter gave a speech in England this April at the invitation of HRH Prince Charles. The speech described the many synergies available when we enlist the magical powers of the microbial friends around us. A section of the speech is exerpted in the blog post.

10 Simple Ways to Keep You Safe on Your Farm

Farm life has its risks and we don't need to add to them by acting in unsafe ways. Read more for 10 Simple Ways we follow here on Serenity Acres Farm to keep us safe.

Working with Nature to Build Organic Soil, Part 5: Sustainable Grazing

Ruminants have been maligned for causing desertification and worsening climate change, but when we emulate the way nature designed herds to graze, the result is a rapid improvement in soil, forage and animal health. Our planet's health is also improved because rotational and mob-grazing takes atmospheric carbon and stores it as organic topsoil.

Off-Grid Water Preparedness

Water is the liquid-gold standard for off-grid sustainability. However, how does a new off-grid homesteader prepare for their water needs? Here are some simple tips from seasoned veterans on how to successfully have a backup plan for water.

Off-Grid and Free: Living With Wolves and Remote Communications

They're back. The wolves. During breakfast one morning this past week, we heard a chorus of howling. Racing down to the shoreline, we saw 3 wolves in the center of the lake about a mile away. The wolves are a symbol of our wilderness location. Learn how we live with them and stay in touch with civilization.

Raising and Slaughtering Livestock: Legal and Practical Considerations

For the uninitiated, slaughtering animals is a repulsive thought. Our forebears thought nothing of it — and neither would people today if we were not so alienated from our own food production. But this is not to say that we should be unfeeling about our animals. Humane treatment is a moral imperative, and also ensures meat quality: Stressing animals at slaughter time compromises the meat in numerous ways — even making it inedible.

Why We Fence-Line Wean Our Calves and Why You Should, Too

Spring is a common time to wean calves, but as any animal caregiver knows there's more to weaning than just separating the calf from its dam. When we wean calves, our preparation tasks must start several weeks earlier. We fence line wean to lower their stress and give calves a healthy start.

Starting a Garden From Seeds

Each year at the start of planting season, I come to my senses and order only a few packets of things that I know will actually grow in my garden. This begins my annual process of starting a complete garden from little dry specks called seeds. Although seed catalogs can be pretty exciting and I want to grow everything I see, I need to be practical. Here are my personal priorities for buying and starting vegetable seedlings.

The Sludging of Rural Communities

Agricultural use of sludge is not only detrimental to human health, but it also damages the social fabric of rural communities all across the country. Federal and state regulations are ill prepared to address medical, social and environmental consequences of this disastrous practice.

Inspiring Eco-Consciousness in Kids Without a Load of Eco-Guilt

How do you talk to young children about caring for the environment without loading them with guilt? Here are five environmental education suggestions that create natural opportunities for kids to learn about what they can do to be immersed in nature and help our planet.

Unplugging to Reconnect: Homesteading and the Kids' Higher Education, Part 3

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.

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!

Unplugging to Reconnect: Homesteading and the Kids' Higher Education, Part 2

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.

Home Economics

Learning to do things for yourself at home is empowering. You don’t need a degree in home economics, although it helped Cindy, to get started. She even makes her own blue jeans! Just as important to her are projects such as making a bench grinder stand, which you can learn more about here.

Creating Catnip Mousies with Dried Herbs

Learn how to create a simple catnip mouse toy for your cats. This project is a great one for children and other beginning sewers, or someone with a lot of cats on their gift list.

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.

How We Became Caretakers of a Historic Appalachian Homestead

As part of their Americorps positions at Big Laurel in West Virginia, for the next 11 months, the author and her husband will be living in and maintaining an historic homestead, working in the local schools as teacher aids, and doing whatever they can on the premises of Big Laurel to help further its mission as an Appalachian ecological learning and retreat center.

Gentle Heritage-Livestock Breeds for New Homesteaders

Starting with gentle livestock breeds is key to success for new homesteaders. Scottish Highland cattle and Dorper/Katahdin cross sheep proved easy-to-handle and good producers for a retired Missouri couple.

Cows Without Legs, Part 2: Forage Management

Here is the second half of my strangely-titled discourse on grass cattle management. I have come to the conclusion that on a correctly managed enterprise, cattle should appear not to have legs (hidden within tall grasses). In Part 1, I discussed the animal side of this philosophy. Now I’ll continue with the forage aspect of it.

Mountain Hunting

A short story about how deer and deer hunting have changed in both the Catskill Mountains and Hudson Valley of New York State.

A Texas Rancher Shares Homestead Inspiration

Everyone has a dream, and although we are lucky enough to have had ours come true, our homestead lifestyle required time and work to make a reality. I invite you to follow us in our dream through this blog to learn DIY projects, gardening, water and energy conservation, a few clever “Homestead Hacks,” and how to use what you already have to fill a need.

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.

Deerculture

Deer impact our lives, whether you're a farmer, permaculturalist, forester, hunter, vegetarian, or landscaper. According to The Nature Conservancy, "No other threat (upon forests) is greater at this point in time." So what to do?

People Are Messy

How we deal with each other’s emotional messiness.

Help Your Trees By Burning Firewood

Those who garden know that weeding is often essential to growing good vegetables or fruits. In a forest, sunlight too is a limiting factor. By knowing which tree to cut and which to leave, forest health can be improved. Cutting for firewood can serve as an incentive to "weed" on the ultra-perennial scale.

Gardening with Chickens in the High Desert

My garden started out as just a need for feeding my family in the summer months. Over time, it not only needed to feed my family, but needed protection from various critters—including backyard chickens—that inhabit my yard. Learn how to construct raised beds, install shade cloth and build a fence to protect your plants.

Planning a Baby Food Garden

HOMEGROWN Life blogger and pregnant Pennsylvania mama Michelle (Congrats, Michelle!) shares her plans for planting a baby food garden, including her entire seed order.

Beautiful Creeping Cattails

Cattails are a common, native plant on the margins of ponds. Take time to manage them to keep them enjoyable.

Water Catchment on the Suburban Frontier

Catching and storing rainwater is one of the most important tasks on the suburban frontier for "green preparedness." It's a great way to build "home economics" and connect more closely with taking care of basic needs.

Deciding Which Seeds to Order

Homegrown.org blogger and Bay Area homesteader Rachel of Dog Island Farm shares tips for deciding which seeds to order — in other words, which vegetable varieties to grow.

How to Join the Seed-Sharing Movement

Seed sharing has come under attack and seed libraries across the country are being threatened with extinction. Here are nine ways to join the movement to keep seed sharing legal and free.

Seed Catalogs

Four questions I ask of new varieties, before ordering seeds.

Cows Without Legs, Part 1: Choosing Genetics and Management for Pastured Beef Production

All the principles of sustainable grazing management can be summarized in one rather strange statement: your cattle should appear not to have legs! Their short legs should be hidden in tall grass. Both animal genetics and pasture management contribute to this philosophy. In this article, I’ll start with cattle selection and care protocols. In Part 2, I will cover forage considerations.

Self-Directed Gardening Education

Winter is the best time to step back from your garden and learn something new. Do some research, participate in learning programs, and work on your garden notebook. When the opportunity arises next year, visit the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR.

Why I Raise Cattle

HOMEGROWN Life blogger Bryce Oates considers the burden of beef and explains why his Missouri family farm chooses to raise cattle.

Catching Colds and Flying on Planes

Catching a cold after flying is common. Find out why plane travelers get sick after flying, and learn how to boost your immunity to avoid post-flight colds and flu.

Every Cow Poops: The Value of Cow Manure on the Farm

Cow manure is a key indicator of bovine health and well being. After milk, it is the most valuable thing your cows will produce. Micro-dairy expert Steve Judge explains why it pays to get comfortable with cow manure.

Under the Covers with a Flashlight

The quiet low of January has broken, the promise of spring and its seedy optimism is evident in the pile of seed catalogs at my bedside.

All About Irish Dexter Cattle

With the increase in small-scale farming activities, people are looking not only at backyard poultry but also into raising backyard livestock. This post is about Mary Jane Phifer’s experience with Irish Dexter cattle, a small-sized dual-purpose.

Understanding Seed Catalogs: 15 Features to Look For

Reading between the lines of the seed catalog variety descriptions is a science and an art. How not to get carried away by all the positive exclamations and miss some basic fact that would tell you this variety is not for your farm? This post provides tips.

Team Austria Wins Solar Decathlon 2013

Team Austria wins the Solar Decathlon 2013 for building the most energy-efficient, cost-effective and most attractive solar-powered house.

Top 5 Things to Consider Before Moving to the Country

Unprepared for their first foray into country living, Kristy Athens takes what she learned and focuses on 5 areas to be considered before moving to the country: Land, buildings, animals, food and community.

Maple Field Milk: Full-Tilt Farming

Dairyman Nick Snelgar reflects on the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health certification process and bagging hay for winter on his UK dairy farm.

HOMEGROWN Life: On the Road (Again)

HOMEGROWN blogger and homesteading mama Michelle explains why road trips are worth packing 3 kids, 2 adults, and 2 dogs in a camper for weeks on end.

Reader Delights in Miniature Cows

Miniature cows may be half the size of standard cattle, but as MOTHER EARTH NEWS reader Corinne Talkin writes, these diminutive breeds have big personalities.

Find a Portable Sawmill Service Near You

Knowing where lumber sawyers exist locally opens the door to all kinds of DIY projects. For example, storm-damaged trees can be turned into useable lumber instead of heading to a chipper or landfill. But you can take advantage of milling lumber at local sawmills only if you know where to find them. There are online resources to help you find a sawmill near you. Search by state or Zip code using the sawmill locators below and you will be on your way to turning raw wood into quality-cut lumber for DIY projects without the need to purchase any equipment yourself.

Cooking at home…on vacation

Cooking meals on a vacation can be easy. Bring some essential items with you and enjoy homecooking, on vacation.

Making Marmalade

Making delicious homemade marmalade from Seville oranges.

8,000 Square Feet in a Box

It wasn't many months ago the seed catalog for this year showed up, but at that point I had just, just, managed to finish off the garden season, slightly traumatized from all the work. To receive a catalog then seemed mostly like an ill-conceived joke, a way to rub it in; don't think you can relax too much.

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.

Dehorning Cows and Trimming Cows' Feet

We had a dehorning and RE-castrating day at the farm today. We had to make the very difficult decision to dehorn three heifers that had not been properly dehorned as babies, which is when this should be done.

Seed Catalogs: Waiting for Winter to End

Sorting through seed catalogs is one of the most entertaining tasks we have here at MOTHER EARTH NEWS. These garden seed catalogs come in handy when searching for just the right variety of heirloom veggies to grow, and they're fun to look at too!

The Benefits of Highland Cattle Genetics

The American Highland Cattle Association is funding a Highland beef research study on fatty acid profiles, tenderness of cooked steaks and sensory characteristics of Highland beef.

Climate Crisis: Is the Climate Reaching a Tipping Point?

In this posting we will ask the question if the climate is reaching a tipping point. We will define climate tipping points and use the paat to determine if we are reaching tipping points. We will also discuss climate feedback amplification.

What’s Wrong With Predators Nowadays?

One thing we can all agree on is that is time for things to change. So perhaps we need to look at the world more like prey and less like predators.

September Ahoy!

Looking ahead to September, it gives us all an opportunity to expand our horizons with furthering our knowledge and skill sets, baking and otherwise.

ECHO Bear Cat Achieves Certification

ECHO Bear Cat is excited to announce that is has met the required guidelines to attain certification on the manufacture of its outdoor power equipment by the National Association of Trailer Manufactures (NATM).

Making Hay With Wood Gas

Hay season on the Keith farm means lots of work for the wood-powered truck! Check out these videos of Wayne's farming operation.

New: Bobcat 3-Point Tillers

Bobcat Company introduces 3-point tiller implements for the Toolcat 5610 utility work machine and the full line of compact tractors.

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.

Farming With Wood Gas

Gasification guru Wayne Keith shows us some of his daily farm operations.

Ogden Publications Case Study: Is It Contagious? Part 2

Most of the things we do to conserve resources and protect the environment are subtle. We remain acutely conscious that all this, combined, still doesn’t make us a truly sustainable business. We have a long way to go. But we’re trying to get there.

Ogden Publications Case Study: Is It Contagious?

One of the best-proven characteristics of our system of business is its contagiousness. The system has proven itself repeatable and contagious across both time and space, across centuries of time and every continent.

A Beautiful Green Backyard Burial

This is a true account of an end of life journey. A beautiful backyard Burial and all the steps that were taken in order to do it. This story is written in two parts, part two will be posted next week.

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.

Ogden Publications Case Study: Is It Fair?

Our writers sometimes criticize the system, but everyone understands that the system makes our existence possible. And the more successful our company is within the system, the more influential our work becomes. That's fair, I think.

Honey Bees and Easter Eggs

We had a once in a lifetime opportunity over Easter this year to talk to more than 30,000 people about honey bees, pollination, honey and beekeeping. And the place we got to do this in was one of a kind.

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.

Ogden Publications Case Study: Does It Create Abundance?

We try to help people create abundance by both possible methods: by conserving existing resources and by propagating new resources. In other words, the two basic tools at our disposal are conservation and innovation.

Ogden Publications Case Study: Is It Beautiful?

Yes, we aspire to beauty. And we create some beautiful things, judging with our own eyes and the eyes of our audiences. But of course it’s only through the ongoing daily aspiration to beauty that beauty is achieved. So, we keep it up.

Goats: Just Kidding! Part 4

The babies have arrived, now is the time to take care of all of the other parts of caring for the newborns!

HOMEGROWN Life: The Scary Side of Sustainability

The morning started off with a decent lecture on poultry operation, production, and marketing. After a midday break, lectures resumed, this time being led by a different fellow, on the subject of free-range, humane certified broiler production. I won

Winter Winners This Year

Winter wasn't very hard this year, well at least so far, and even if it gets more normal winter like, there's not much time left. Our bees have done well, and it looks like it might be a great summer ahead.

HOMEGROWN Life: Utility or Useless?

Clearly the NACE considers “useless” degrees to be ones in which pay is low and availability of jobs is scarce. However, shouldn’t measuring the usefulness of an education take into account the actual benefits bestowed upon the person doing the study

Organic Farming Conference Returns to Wisconsin

The Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) hosts its 23rd annual Organic Farming Conference, February 23-25, 2012, at the La Crosse Center in La Crosse, Wis.

Permaculture 2012

Permaculture is a holistic, integrative design for a sustainable future: registrations now open for D Acres' 2012 Permaculture Design Course!

Why I'm Going Back to the Farm

Robert White is remaking himself as a farmer, and will return to his family's land to start a market garden. Here's why.

Wood Heat

Wood is our source of heat for the winter, as are sweaters and hats!

Composting Humanure

Humanure management for maximum nutrient secuestration and minimum resource loss.

End-of-Season in the Greenhouse

As winter descends a three-season hoop house is weeded, compost spread, and a straw mulch applied. Next spring will be here soon.

Fall Care of Perennials

Fall sheet mulching of perennial plantings assists in fertility and weed suppression.

Mulching with Leaves

Leaves are a valuable source of mulch and fertility within the permaculture garden.

Desertification

Many farms of the 21st Century are, comparatively speaking, biological wastelands. Plowed, fertilized and cultivated from property-line to property-line, much of the world’s most productive land has been stripped of its wildlife.

Local Economics

D Acres offers alternative economics. We are the 99&: join us.

Coffee-Powered Car Goes 66.5 MPH

Across the pond, engineer Martin Bacon and a team of volunteers have created a coffee-powered car that averaged 66.5 mph over two speed runs.

How to Choose Less-Toxic, Low-VOC Paints and Coatings

Most conventional paints and coatings emit Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which can contribute to poor indoor air quality as well as to smog. This overview includes a link to a product listing of healthier low-VOC, zero-VOC, and natural paints.

Homegrown Carrots

Homegrown vegetables are a lesson for kids in where food comes from.

Men in Black

Keeping the project going is my goal.

I Went 84 MPH in a Wood Gas Truck

Every day, Wayne Keith proves that wood gas can be a practical, renewable and sustainable transportation solution. Certainly not for everybody, but certainly for anyone with moderate welding skills, a sustainable source of wood or other type of biomass, and a sawmill or access to a sawmill. I think there are many, many MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers who fit the previous description, just for starters.

Third-Party Certification - A Tool to Ensure Sustainability

As a third-party certifier, the Rainforest Alliance ensures that farms and forests are sustainable environmentally, socially and economically. The green frog seal and the FSC logo have become widely recognized, credible symbols of sustainability.

How to Make Your Summer Vacation Sustainable!

With the summer fast approaching, it’s time to make those last minute vacation plans! Plan your trip using SustainableTrip.org to find tourism businesses that conservce the environment and support local communities!

Wind Energy Blog No. 3: A Wind Energy Degree Program

To learn more about large wind energy degrees, Brittney Tyler-Milholland and Brenna Long talk with educators at Iowa Lakes Community College about the wind energy degree program in this Wind Energy blog. Iowa Lakes had the first wind energy program in Iowa.

Bobcat Receives Premiere AE50 Award

Bobcat’s M-Series skid-steer loaders and compact track loaders are versatile, compact tool carriers that deliver performance in smaller packages.

Environmental Education: Green Curricula and Learning Activities

Whether you’re a teacher, parent, school administrator, or homeschooler, you might be interested in some of these online resources related to environmental education and green curricula. Most of these websites are related to K-12 education.

March Madness

Brief description of our journey back onto the National Mall, our Flex Space design, and our Solar Thermal Skylight.

Welcome to Wood Gas Adventures!

Yes, you can power a car or truck on wood. Chip Beam thinks it won’t be long before we encounter a gas shortage and/or significantly more expensive gas. So what can be an alternative source of energy to power our vehicles? How about wood chips or pellets of plant matter? It may sound bizarre, but it really works. Here’s the first post in a new blog devoted to wood gasification for transportation.

Moving Into the Construction Phase

This is a summary of our attendance at the IBS show in Jan. Also a re-cap of Jan events and our transistion into the construction phase of the project. We also talk about the decision for the competiton to be moved off the Nationa Mall in DC

Fostering Community

Farm life is not always predictable, and some of the surprises turn out to be the most valuable lessons. This story from the ranch about some strong winter-born goats, a protective cow with motherly instincts, and a calf that’s making it against all odds will not only inspire you, but it may teach you something about the wonderful spirit of community support.  

The Solar Homestead Project

The Appalachian State University team will be blogging about their progress on the solar home they are building for the 2011 Solar Decathlon.

New online videos help contractors compare

Bobcat is a global brand with more than 600 dealer locations in North America and the leader in compact equipment—industry's original innovator, beginning more than 50 years ago with the first compact machine and predecessor to the skid-steer loader.

A Recycled T-Shirt that Prevents Green Washing

ECO360 Trust produces sustainable T-shirts made from 100% recycled PET plastic water bottles. ECO360 Trust is a campaign of the non-profit Institute for Sustainable Communication.

Photo of the Week: Paws on the Farm

Take a minute to sit and relax with a cat in this week’s Photo of the Week. Remember to submit your own pictures, and you could be the next Photo of the Week!

Goldie: A True Cat Tale

A heart warming story about a feral cat that traveled many miles across harsh terrain to be back to familiar ground.

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.

Career Opportunities in Renewable Energy: Becoming an Educator

Renewable energy expert Dan Chiras shares details about The Evergreen Institute's new Renewable Energy Educator Certificate program, designed to prepare teachers to train a new generation of renewable energy professionals to meet the needs of a growing industry.

Landing a Job in Renewable Energy

More and more people are looking for jobs in the renewable energy field. If you're interested in this type of career, here's how you can get started.

It’s Almost Time for the 2009 Solar Decathlon

Student teams prepare to compete in the U.S. Department of Energy hosted, fourth biyearly Solar Decathlon, where they will be judged on the overall quality of their solar-powered homes.

What Do You Think About the Proposed Paid Vacation Act?

In May 2009, the Paid Vacation Act was presented to the U.S. House of Representatives. If passed, the bill will require that companies offer paid vacation time for their employees working 25 hours a week or more. What do you think of a paid vacation law?

10 Common Medical Pitfalls

Not feeling so hot? Time magazine offers 10 things to consider before your next visit to the doctor.

Find the Best Seeds and Tools for Your Garden

We have developed two customized search engines that make it easier to locate companies that offer specific varieties of seeds and plants, as well as organic garden products and tools.

San Frantastic

After a five month struggle, the San Francisco board of supervisors approved a program called GoSolarSF, making solar installations more affordable for its citizens.

Help a Small Organic Gardening Company Grow

An interview with the founder of a small organic gardening business that focuses on education and helping gardeners go organic. Learn more about this company and vote for it to win funding from a small business competition.