Inventory Your Food Preservation

Keep an inventory of your jars, freezer packs and dehydrated foods to help prioritize your food preservation efforts.

The ABCs of Homesteading: H is for 'Horticulture'

This is the sixth blog post in an alphabetically organized introduction to homesteading. It covers an understanding of what horticulture is and why it is important to homesteading. You'll find reading recommendations, information on plant selection, garden planning, plant propagation, seed saving, and food security.

Natural Landscaping and Harsh Municipal Code Realities

Our travails continue with the head-on collision of our aesthetics and the Village Council. Read this blog post to discover more about how personal opinion tries to trump Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms.

How My Husband and I Went From Corporate Drones to Tropical Organic Farmers in Puerto Rico

Learn what the catalyst was behind the huge leap from corporate drones to becoming organic farmers in Puerto Rico — despite knowing nothing about farming, not speaking the language and knowing only a handful of people. Although family and friends thought we were crazy, it was the sanest decision we ever made, and we couldn’t be happier with the way our life has turned out. Amid animals being dropped off to us, frequent power and water outages, and being separated from our family, we are truly happy for the first time in our lives.

A Pickling Story

Canning is a humbling production. I scribble a note onto my recipe page: Do not quadruple batch. It is easy to get overzealous, lured by the harvest and the jar count at the end of the day. I get excited about bounty and forget about endurance, every year.

The Elusive DIY Reuben Sandwich and Family Secrets Revealed

The pieces have all come together. Proper restraint has been shown and I managed to put together a pretty darn good homemade (all but the cheese) Reuben sandwich. However, it is not without some consequences and revelations of a none too proud family tradition.

Sauteed String Beans Recipe

Here's a recipe for sautéed green beans and guidelines for blanching and freezing green beans for garden food preservation.

Make Gazpacho Soup with Heirloom Tomatoes

I never much cared for gazpacho, and that’s probably because I lived in Colorado and Alaska most of my adult life. You must have great tomatoes to make great Gazpacho. After I tasted gazpacho made with heirloom tomatoes like 'Cherokee Purple', 'Brandywine', 'Marmonde' and others from my garden, I realized what I had been missing.

The Grasses are Alive and Teeming with Wildlife

Meet some of our outdoor family members as I work to comply with the lawn ordinances being forced upon us. Hopefully, more of them are still alive and are adapting to something more akin to cave dwelling than open-forested lands.

Natural Landscaping and City Codes (with Edible Weeds Fish Tacos Recipe)

There is a growing, sometimes contentious movement afoot: traditional lawns vs natural landscaping. Two years ago, we came up against Ohio’s laws regarding lawns and weeds and were heartbroken to have to mow our luscious long grasses. Last year, we enjoyed a reprieve and the serenity of our natural garden. This year, the grasses back!

The Beauty of Imperfect Fruits and Vegetables

What needs to happen is a change in attitudes. Such a change is not coming soon enough to your favorite grocery store. If more of us buy imperfect-looking produce, grocery stores will be able to change our dependence on harsh chemicals used to grow perfect-looking fruits and veggies. It’s up to all of us to support the imperfect produce movement and bring back taste, nutrition and a healthier planet. How will you vote?

The ABCs of Homesteading: E is for 'Edible Landscaping'

This is the third blog post in an alphabetically organized introduction to homesteading. It covers ideas for starting an edible landscape on your homestead including: soil improvement, cover crops, perennials, attracting beneficial insects, and home-based food production.

A Primer on Specialty Mushrooms (with Royal Trumpet Mushroom Soba Salad Recipe)

Here is a primer on specialty mushrooms. Exotic mushroom varieties are daunting to most consumers. They ought not be intimidated by these strange but tasty morsels. There are several sources for recipes including the Mushroom Council, my website, or by using search engines. Mushrooms deserve a place at your table due to taste, availability, and purported health benefits.

Fast and Easy Homemade Salad Dressings

If people knew how easy and delicious homemade salad dressings can be, store-bought dressing sales would plummet. You, too, can make your own salad dressings without having a culinary school degree or cooking experience. Learn to make Oil and Vinegar with Tarragon and Homemade Ranch with Roasted Garlic here.

First Lettuce Crop and a Sandwich, Too

After you grow your own organic greens, it’s hard to go back to grocery store crap. The good news is that greens are easy to grow in a multitude of environments. If you are short on space, try building a salad tray and grow your own greens on a patios or balcony. If you have a small patch of ground, do what I did and install a raised bed.

How to Render Oil from Beef Fat

My freezer is full of beef fat and I finally rendered tallow for cooking oil. We raise some pastured beef for our family, and while we enjoy the grass-fed beef, we have been slower to learn the art of cooking with homemade oil. That's changing. Read how and why I learned to render oil from beef fat to make homemade cooking oil (tallow).

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.

Stalking the Wild Fruit: Foraging Local Fruit by State

There is wild fruit nearly everywhere, free for the picking. This spring, as soon as leaf buds swell in your area, go looking for blooms. Take a ride, get somebody to drive for you, so you can search roadsides and fields, along railroad tracks, in power line right of ways, and maybe even an abandoned homesite, looking for brushy shrubs, brambles, vines and trees with white flowers.


The first year fair in Belton, Texas was a huge event and by all accounts, a success. I was super busy at the DIY Showcase the entire fair and had over 300 people attend my presentation on the GRIT Stage.

Using Phenology to Better Know Your Land

Observing and documenting the seasonal phenomena that happen on your land can be a fascinating and important way to get an understanding of how it changes through the year. And it can be fun, too!

Real Food for Your Skin

Feed your skin real food with homemade skin-care recipes by Rosemary Gladstar.

Honoring the Seasons Through Land-Based Living

At Wild Abundance, reconnecting with the land means living and working in sync with the cycles and seasons as they unfold. Here is a guide to the very beginnings of the East, when the earth is waking up, and moving from the slowness of winter into the flurry of action of spring: Harnessing the Maple Moon of February and the New Growth Moon of March on your homestead.

Freezing Whole Tomatoes

Yes, you can freeze whole tomatoes! Preserve the harvest in a flash and save the saucing for later.

How to Make Great Kale Chips

Kale chips are the rage and they cook up quickly, but they can be tricky to make. Here are some tips to making great kale chips.

Hunting for Food

Hunting isn’t for everyone, but what I would like to do is share with interested readers, hunters included, how hunting and fishing helps me provide my own food and move a step closer to a sustainable life here on my farm.

Make Raised Garden Beds with Logs

With hardwood logs and a tractor, House in the Woods Farm set up these easy raised garden beds. Here's how to make raised beds for your herb garden or vegetable plot.

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.

Food Fermentation at the FAIR

Fermentation is the rage at the Pennsylvania MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR. Here's a peak at Sandor Katz' presentation and some of the cool new vendors who have joined the fermentation revitalization.

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.

Test Acidity for Canning Education

Test the acidity of your batch for water bath canning to ensure that you are meeting requirements for a high acid food. Testing acidity is a great way to understand the role it plays in canning safety. This is an educational tool and not a license to change lab-tested recipes.

Cooling Herbal Recipes for Your Canine Companion

Dogs may have had nothing to do with the naming of the season, but they, like us, will most likely desire some respite from the heat. Here are several cooling herbal recipes for your furry friends to try at home!

Minto Island Growers Seek Balance As Their Farm Expands, Part 2

Elizabeth Miller and Chris Jenkins have turned Minto Island Growers into a multifaceted farm that features a tea plantation, vegetable CSA, u-pick berries, food cart, farm stand, and more. Now they’re finding that growth brings many new challenges.

Time to Mow Down Your Kale

Is your kale patch infested with insects? It may be time to mow it down and start a fresh patch for fall. But, don't worry: Here’s a chard variety to get you by in the meantime while you wait for your fall kale to come up.

Minto Island Growers Seek Balance As Their Farm Expands, Part 1

Elizabeth Miller and Chris Jenkins have turned Minto Island Growers into a multifaceted farm that features a tea plantation, vegetable CSA, u-pick berries, food cart, farm stand, and more. Now they’re finding that growth brings many new challenges.

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.

5 Summer Herbs to Preserve Fresh

While many herbs can be dried and stored for later use in teas and remedies, these five summer herbs are best preserved fresh!

Uses for Over-Sized Zucchini

Did you wait too long to pick your zucchini and now you grew baseball bats? Here are some ideas for making use of your oversized zucchini.

Making Your Own Tools

Forging metal means a lot of time standing over the fire, holding the metal – with tongs, obviously – in just the right place to get the proper amount of heat, and withdrawing it at just the right moment. Too much heat and it sparks and disintegrates, too little and no amount of hammering can budge it. Movie blacksmiths look like bodybuilders slamming white-hot metal with sledgehammers; the reality involves a lot more frantic and often delicate tapping, as the smith has only a few seconds to make the right changes before it cools again.

What Kind of Home Construction Insurance Do We Need?

When building a new home, be sure to check into what home construction insurance coverage you need. For this homesteading couple, not having liability insurance would leave them feeling as unprotected as not having sandbags to prevent downhill ditch runoff and sedimentation.

Using Tonic Herbs for Health and Vitality

Many of us are familiar with Echinacea and yarrow as antimicrobials, wild cherry bark for a cough, ginger for nausea, and a host of other herbs used in acute situations to restore health. Herbs can be very effective used in this manner, but herbs also shine when used as daily building and strengthening tonics!

Poetry of the Land

Language is born of experience -- so enrich your vocabulary! Go outside! Learn how to address "the sparkle of morning sunlight through hoar-frost." And don't let the world die in the dictionary.

Basement Construction: Choosing a Concrete Foundation

Concrete is not a green or natural building material, but one home-building Kansas couple decides the built-in storm shelter, root cellar and custom greywater system they intend to include in their concrete basement will make using the material worthwhile.

We Have Our Home-Construction Loan! How Do We Use It?

For many, home construction requires financing from a bank. So how does it work after signing and finalizing home construction loan papers? Here’s the standard process for accessing the funds within the loan account. Just one more step in the process of building a dream house and homestead!

Homestead Planning with Bonus Morel Mushroom Hunting

As one couple plans their homestead-to-be, they spend time learning the lay of their land. One happy fringe benefit: They used this time as an excuse to go morel mushroom hunting. The results of their efforts were delicious.

How to Get a Building Permit to Build a New Home

The steps involved in receiving a building permit require some advance planning and paperwork. If you’re hoping to build in the future you’ll want to review the building permit requirements in your area several months before your planned construction start date.

How to Make Your Own Mayo

A recipe for whisking up a batch of homemade mayonnaise and a full serving of DIY empowerment.

Unplugging to Reconnect, A Journey Toward Full-Time Homesteading: Location, Design, Infrastructure

This entry departs from our treatise on purely financial considerations of people who decide to move toward a full-time homesteading or farming lifestyle to explore issues that can be leveraged to reduce other "costs," such as time, labor and maintenance requirements. Up for discussion this installment are homestead location and layout, equipment, and free natural raw materials.

Green Building Materials, Part 1: Shopping at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore

Not all green building materials are fancy, engineered products. One couple explores the saved-from-the-landfill options at local Habitat for Humanity ReStores. Hard to beat preventing waste, supporting Habitat for Humanity’s mission, and finding great deals on materials for a new-home construction in one fell swoop.

Fierce Farming Women, Part 2

The second in this month's two-part series of excerpts from the "Fierce Farming Women" chapter of "The Color of Food" book - honoring Women's Month.

Haywire: Devices Break Down

Mechanical and electrical devices break down sometimes. Can you fix them or will you pay to have them replaced or fixed? My take on how to tackle the problem.

‘Perc’ Test: What It Is and How It’s Done

In order to secure a building permit to construct a new home, many counties require a septic system inspection and approval. Here’s how one couple had a successful “perc” test done at their future home site, along with a quick explanation of what a perc test is.

Fierce Farming Women, Part 1

The first in this month's series of excerpts from the "Fierce Farming Women" chapter of "The Color of Food" book — honoring Women's Month in March.

Pickled Apples Will Be Your New Favorite Food

Most of us grew up with pickled cucumbers, and possibly with beets or onions – but in other eras or parts of the world, humans pickled a much greater variety of foods, including mushrooms, meats, and fruits. Some cookbooks from the 1800s carried recipes for pickling apples, and old radio programs from the Depression promoted it as a cheap and delicious way to get vitamins all year.

How Do We Finalize Our Home Construction Loan?

Bank loans, especially new home construction loans, require some legwork on the part of the future homeowner. One couple explains how they got a loan to build their new house.

From Nomadic Marine Corps Family to Rooted Modern Homesteaders

This is the story of my family’s transition from a nomadic military lifestyle to one of rural homesteading. I talk about our preparation leading up to leaving the service and some of our current goals and projects for the property and our lives. I also talk about using permaculture as the design science methodology for our businesses and the development of the property.

Cheesemaking Trials

Ilene White Freedman starts her cheesemaking trials with an aged pressed cheddar cheese with goat's milk from the farm.

Transforming a Suburban Property: Removing a Driveway

Taking out a driveway and reclaiming automobile space can be one of the most rewarding projects on the suburban frontier. Replacing it with a walnut tree, blackberries and a storage shed with edible landscaping over the roof is even better.

Fire Takes a Homestead

After fire took her friends’ award-winning historic, renovated home only a year after its completion, Ilene White Freedman asks “Who will rebuild their spirits?” A follow-up to her post about the home's renovation.

Transforming A Suburban Property: Early Projects

Transforming this suburban property has been one of the most satisfying and creative adventures in my life. No need to go anywhere. Making big changes was the plan from the beginning, 15 years ago, when I bought this quarter-acre property with a modest 1,100-square-foot mid-fifties suburban house. If I reincarnated as a house and suburban property, this would be it.

Tea Straws

A bombilla is a Latin American tea straw used to drink yerba mate. Why not use it to enjoy all kinds of loose herbal teas? Ilene White Freedman shares a story, a tea recipe and links to others recipes.

Oregano for Flavor, Nutrition and Healing

Oregano is well known as a culinary herb with warming and aromatic flavor. The oil of oregano has shown great promise in treating many illnesses, including colds, flu, muscle pain, GI problems, respiratory illnesses, skin conditions and urinary-tract infections.

How Do We Get an Entrance Permit for Our Driveway?

In order to access our land and put in a driveway, we need to secure an entrance permit. If you're planning to buy land and build a home, check what your entrance permit requirements are before you purchase the property.

DIY Spice Mixes

Making your own spice mix is a quick, easy DIY project. Ilene White Freedman shares her chili powder DIY project woes. Learn from her discoveries before you start your batch.

We Bought Land! Now What?

Join two modern homesteaders as they begin down the road toward building their small home and self-reliant farmstead on their new piece of raw land in northeastern Kansas.

Planning Yard Projects for Next Year? Begin With a YardMap

The YardMap Network is a citizen science project designed to cultivate a richer understanding of bird habitat, for both people concerned with their local environments and professional scientists. The program is housed at the Lab of Ornithology, in Ithaca, New York. We collect data by asking individuals across the country to draw maps of their backyards, parks, farms, favorite birding locations, schools, and gardens.

Guidelines for Establishing an Orchard

The new apple orchard we're planning for our homestead won't be the classical lawn-layout most people are accustomed to. Our edible landscape will mimic a natural landscape with the goal to reduce interference such as spraying while providing organic fruit, berries and herbs for many months of many years.

Late-Season Garden Vegetables

Keep those vegetable plants growing for a second harvest late in the year. Organically-grown, heirloom varieties will survive with a little help.

How To Make Ancho-Chili Powder

It took a year for Ilene White Freedman to make homegrown, homemade Ancho-Chili Powder. Find out how she did it.

Dirty It Up With Herb-Seasoned Condiments

Don’t eat the plain, clean, boring stuff! Dirty it up with earth’s goodness in the form of herbs. There are many ways to use herbs in health and healing, and here we will share some of our favorite herb condiments to spice up any meal.

John Michael Greer's 'Star's Reach' Portrays Back-to-Basics Future

If you were a teenager in the 1990s, you remember the flying cars and giant holograms of Back to the Future II, set in the impossibly distant 2015. If you were a kid in the 1960s, you probably remember the talking robots and interstellar travel of Lost in Space, set in the faraway 1990s. John Michael Greer's new novel 'Star's Reach' depicts a different, back-to-basics future world.

Going, Going, Gone...Off-Grid

How to go from buying everything at Wally World to growing organic vegetables, raising livestock, building an efficient home, and a Do-It-Yourself, self-sufficient lifestyle.

Getting to the Root of Maca

Highly nutritious, maca has been used as a staple food source by the people of Central Peru for thousands of years, as well as a ceremonial offering in traditional sacred rites, as currency, and as medicine to improve overall health in both animals and people.

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.

The Medicinal Properties of Neem

Neem (Azadirachta indica) is used in so many ways in herbal medicine, which is why it has been tagged the "village pharmacy." Neem is used to combat tiredness, cough, fever, loss of appetite, worm infestations and so much more.

A Granola Recipe to Feed the Masses

Going camping, hiking, or canoeing this summer? HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Bay Area homesteader Rachel shares a big-batch granola recipe that will feed your entire group—or one hungry teen.

Why Homestead

A stack of cast-iron pans and a chainsaw helmet sum up why these homesteaders do what they do.

A Short History of Woven Boats

Cultures around the world wove boats: Tibetans floated in Ku-Drus of woven wood and yak skin, Eskimos lashed sealskin around their long umiaks, Arabs traversed the Tigris and Euphrates in quffahs, and the Celts of the British Isles — Irish, Scots and Welsh — had an amazing variety of coracles for fresh waters and curraghs for the sea.

Phil's Dancing Carrots

If you are challenged by growing carrots, you might consider transplanting them and growing some dancing carrots.

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.

Swimming Hole Season

The beauty and refreshment of our swimming hole are a swell compliment to work and sun of our homestead.

Homemade Wind Generator

Build your own wind generator for use with 12-Volt systems. Charge up batteries for lighting, fans, tools and more.

Growing Corn Early

Growing corn early by transplanting may be unconventional, but its a great way to beat the challenges corn in July!

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.

Films on 'Green' Topics

This is a listing of some of the green-themed films that came out between 2012-2014. These films are on a variety of topics, including food/agriculture, health, energy sources, water, climate change, animals, etc.

Goat Midwifery

Ilene White Freedman’s goat is in labor, reminding Ilene of her own natural childbirth experiences.

9 Things to Do With Dandelions

Unlike many wild foods that take a long search, dandelions are found in almost every wood and meadow. And while many wild plants require special training to identify and discriminate from similar-looking poisonous plants, dandelions can be readily identified by every schoolchild.

Hoop House Transformation

The hoophouse on our farm is filled with greens all winter long. It’s almost hard to switch gears for summer tomatoes.

Making Echinacea Tincture

Echinacea tincture is easy to make. Getting through the psychological inertia might be the hard part of the process.

Build Structures Cheaply Using This Ancient Method

Houses take a lifetime to pay off these days, and even a prosaic shed, barn or coop requires a heavy investment of money, time, skilled labour and imported materials. For thousands of years, though, people around the world used an ancient technique to build homes and other structures quickly, using nothing but local material and simple, easily learned skills.

Moving Tips for Homesteaders-to-Be

Pennsylvania mama Michelle has finally found a homestead! Get her moving tips on take-back programs, packing mason jars, buying cheap appliances, and more.

Egyptian Walking Onions

Egyptian walking onions are one of my favorite crops because they produce food for my family from early spring until late fall.

Garlic as Medicine

Learn how to take garlic as medicine — garlic is a potent natural antibiotic and immune-booster.

Not Just for Easter: Homestead Basketry

Many traditional crafts require substantial training, infrastructure, and investment of money and time. Basketry, however, requires only a few days of training to learn basic techniques, and can use materials that be harvested naturally from almost every biome on Earth. It can be practiced around a modern working schedule, and can beautiful, durable and sustainable tools and furnishings, including animal traps, armor, beehives, boats, cages, chairs, chicken coops, coffins, fences, hand tools, hats, huts, sheds, stables, wagons, walls, and weirs.

What Makes Wetlands Stink?

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

Safer Flea Control for Your Pets

Fleas and ticks can bring severe itching, allergic reactions, discomfort, and even serious diseases (such as lyme disease) to your pets, so it’s important to protect your pets from them. However, studies have found that many common flea and tick control/treatment products aren’t just toxic to those bugs; they can actually poison your pets, as well. Find out which ingredients and products to avoid, and some safer alternatives to use.

Large Pond Management Tips

From our last post learning about the difference between large and small ponds let’s jump into the large (below ground) ponds to discover what happens to them and what makes each pond unique. We’ll see that the watershed has a great effect on the pond water quality and the pond inhabitants have an effect on each pond even the wildlife that visits our ponds pose some challenges.

Candlemas: A Midwinter Homesteader's Holiday

Candlemas is an ancient midwinter holiday, when people would take inventory on their stock of candles, pantry food storage and hay in the barn to get the homestead through the second half of winter.

Genetic Engineering and Cell Fusion CMS

Cell Fusion genetic engineering is emerging as a hot topic in the Certified Organic seed and food industry. We can expect the resolution of this issue to impact both small-scale and large-scale growers.

Grow Indoor Winter Crops

It is possible to grow fresh crops through the dark months even without a greenhouse, and even where we live, a thousand miles from the Arctic Circle, where the winter sun brings only brief and meager light.

Sheep Come to the Homestead-Warming Party

Ilene White Freedman celebrates with her friends at their homestead-warming, after over two years of living in a trailer while renovating a dilapidated house. Their restoration includes the original logs and stone kitchen of a historic cabin. Some uninvited guests from the farm’s livestock take a house tour too.

Preserving Vitamins Through the Lean Months

People have found many techniques for preserving vitamins in winter, which still work today. One of the most basic involves fooling plants, as it were, into thinking they are not dead yet.

Survival Seed Banks, Part 3: Seed Storage Common Problems

A landrace market farmer’s perspective on survival seed banks. Part 3: Storing the seeds. With careful forethought, it is possible to store seeds in a manner that will allow them to avoid or survive common seed destroying events.

Sarah's 'Farm Chi' Kimchi Recipe

Sarah is a friend to the farm who taught Ilene Freedman how to make "Farm Chi." Farm Chi is Sarah’s version of kimchi, fermented mixed vegetables from the seasonal farm harvest.

How Not to Keep Chickens (Know What You’re Getting Into)

A growing number of homeowners are realizing how useful chickens can be in the backyard: They offer pest control, fertilizer, comedy relief, and their business end doles out concentrated protein like a Pez dispenser. Unfortunately, novice chicken-owners can encounter problems when they expect more than chickens can deliver, either in food, companionship or general co-operation.

Rewriting Holiday Traditions

Ilene Freedman and her family reshaped their Chanukah tradition to feature family activities instead of presents.

Landrace Gardening: Seed Swaps

Grow enough seed for yourself and a little extra for seed swaps and you may never have to pay for seeds again.

So You Got Your Dream Homestead, Now What?

You have read every garden, homestead and back to the land book in your library system. Your dreams of coffee at sunrise set to the chatter of fowl made real. With hoe in hand and 914,760 square feet rolling out from your feet like a magic carpet; where do you start?

Landrace Gardening: Sunroots

Sunroots are a typically-cloned crop with great potential as a locally-adapted survival-of-the-fittest landrace

Landrace Gardening for the Casual Grower

Exploring my hopes and dreams for the landrace seed movement with suggestions about how farmers, merchants, and gardeners could cooperate to create a more robust, secure, and locally adapted food system.

Landrace Gardening: Foreign Imports

A photo essay documenting imported landraces that I started incorporating into my existing landraces during the current growing season.

Farming Is Hard Work

It takes a few good rationalizations to get through the busiest part of the growing season.

Wetland Water Sources

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

Save Your Seeds

Want to grow and save your own vegetable seeds? Meet Fruition Seeds. They produce regionally-adapted, organically-grown seeds. And they can show you how to do it too.

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.

Biochar: Not All it's Ground Up to Be?

Incorporating charcoal into the soil helped Amazonian farmers grow better crops, and its new industrial version is promoted as a panacea for both agriculture and the global climate. Those claims are not realistic.

Mulching Systems: Our Story

After a long trial-and-error process, Ilene White Freedman finally found a sustainable, weed-suppressing mulching system for her farm.

Simple Gifts

A western Massachusetts community rallies to save a generations old farm.

Landrace Gardening: Survival of the Fittest

A photo essay showing off the stunning success of landrace gardening on my farm. This success was achieved because I changed my growing methods to embrace one of the key elements of landrace growing; “survival of the fittest."

Resilience: Disaster Resistance, Adaptation and Restoration

As the costs and consequences of climatological and ecological instability become impossible to ignore, people are recognizing the need to be more prepared for the challenges we could face in the short-term and the long-term. A variety of initiatives are arising to share ways of becoming more resilient—i.e., able to survive and thrive in the face of dangers and even disasters.

Landrace Gardening: Localize Your Garden For a Better Harvest

Joseph Lofthouse, seedsman from Paradise Utah, is now blogging about “Landrace Gardening” on Mother Earth News. The blog is a practical hands-on manual about how to improve crop production by localizing your plants to your unique garden.

Veteran's Park In Southern Colorado

Ours is a great country and I don't think defined by politics but by people like the ones from our small county who served and are little known.

Putting a Price on the Environment

Will assigning monetary value to the environment help to create an ethic of land stewardship or cause further detachment from nature?

Thoughts of Spring Begin to Stir

A winter thaw inspires starting the first seeds of the season - indoors, of course: kale, chard, and spinach to start.

The Urban Food Forest: A Groundbreaking Trend in Urban Agriculture

Urban food forests and public gardens provide communities with an edible landscape for everyone to share. These public fruit forests are the new trend in urban agriculture and play an important role as sustainable local food systems in their communities.  

Selected Quotations: An Index of Recent Posts

A selection of Words of the Wise. This index links to 5 different sets of great quotations, for your edification and entertainment. Witty quotations. Eco quotations. Quotations for gardeners and farmers. And more.

Green Goods: Useful Products and Gifts

An index of previous posts that have referenced green products. These posts have covered building- and home-related products, as well as chocolates, books, and other types of goods. Many of the products mentioned in these posts would make good gifts.

Five Easy-to-Grow Gourmet Vegetables

Growing some of the most delicious and sometimes expensive gourmet vegetables doesn't have to be hard. Artichoke, bronze fennel, kohlrabi, leek, and savoy cabbage are among the vegetables that grow well from seed.

Fruit for the Future

Looking ahead to spring, we're using these long days to plan a rootstock order of perennial trees, shrubs, and herbs.

Solar Generators: Clean, Portable Power

Conventional generators require gasoline or diesel fuel, which can be expensive -- especially during emergencies. Also, the emissions from gas-powered generators contribute to air pollution. Solar generators are a smart alternative to consider.

Parks Get Big Support from Conservation Voters

Across the U.S., voters of all political leanings gave overwhelming approval in the 2012 presidential election to taxing themselves and spending money for new parks in their communities, The Trust for Public Land announced. Of the 57 measures on local and statewide ballots, 46 passed, an approval rate of 81%.

Visitors and Company

Ed and Laurie struggle with making time for visitors while dealing with all of the daily business and homesteading tasks.

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.

Disease-Resistant Apple Varieties and Bamboo Chicken Carriers

Comparing different home made do it yourself chicken carriers for the Tractor Supply animal swap this past Saturday. Reporting on edible mushroom cultivation harvest and what it takes to pick the right disease resistant apple variety.

Add Roses to Your Edible Landscape

Roses are easy to grow successfully if you follow a few guidelines: provide good air circulation around the canes and keep the plants clean and not too damp. Roses come in many forms, including bush or shrub, climbing, and miniature.

Voting for the Environment

If you would like to be represented by more elected officials who support environmental safeguards for our air, water, and land, take a look at these resources, including the League of Conservation Voters' National Environmental Scorecard.

Vegetable Art by Lynn Karlin

Calling all gardeners — If you want to view a remarkable series of photographs of vegetables as art, check out Lynn Karlin’s exhibit, Taking a Stand: the Pedestal Series.  You can view the series here or at the Maine Farmland Trust in Belfast, Maine from September 28 to November 14th.

Fruit Juice from Fall's Harvest

When autumn brings a glut of orchard fruits, capture the goodness as juice by cooking extraction or cold pressing. Juices can be used alone or mixed to produce sweet or hard ciders, wines, syrups, and more.

Ways to Conserve Water in Your Home and Garden

More than 15 tips for saving water inside your home and outside in your yard and garden. Reducing your water use will not only lower your water bills and help prevent water shortages during drought periods in your area. It also...

Collaborative Advocacy in Action in Portland

Portland is the nation's most bike-friendly city, yet this Oregon community has had to deal with cycling disparities among its population. One nonprofit organization addressed this issue by developing new programs targeting low-income immigrant communities.

Edamame Soybean Plants Are Tough

Edamame soybeans are tough,fast-maturing plants that can withstand extreme garden conditions. They have few problems with disease or insect pests. The green pods are delicious and high in protein, and make a good addition to an edible landscape.

A Midsummer Garden Haircut

Giving your ornamental and vegetable garden a thorough cleaning in midsummer not only leaves the landscape looking better, but can help prevent damage from diseases and pests by removing the conditions in which they thrive.

Modular, Prefab, and Compact Green Homes and Structures

A listing of companies that offer green dwellings in the form of modular, prefab, manufactured, compact, or mobile structures. These days, many such options are available that are not only green, but also beautiful, well-made, and often low-cost.

Growing Grapes Is Easy

Grapes can grow anywhere, thriving in a variety of climates and soil types. Growing grapes is rewarding, because after a few years they produce abundant fruit and quickly provide architectural interest in the edible landscape.

Birdbaths Are Good for the Garden

A birdbath in the garden does much more than a birdfeeder. Attract birds to the garden with water, and they will help with pest control, soil aeration, and much more as they get the water they need for drinking and grooming. Wasps love a drink too.

Time to Plant Popcorn!

Popcorn is easy to grow and makes an attractive and delicious alternative to sweet corn, especially in a small garden. Kids will love the cute little ears, and adults will treasure the superior flavor of homegrown popcorn. Plant in late spring.

The Amazing Serviceberry

Introducing the serviceberry, a beautiful landscape tree or shrub suitable in much of North America, to the edible landscape. Serviceberry -- or sarvis -- comes in many regional forms and produces edible berries.

Eco-Quotations: Words of the Wise (Part IV)

Great Quotations: the 4th installment in a series. This post features 14 fabulous eco-quotations, from thinkers such as Wendell Berry, Rachel Carson, Thoreau, Edison, and others.

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.

Global Grassroots Leaders: 2012 Goldman Prize Winners

The Goldman Environmental Prize is the world’s largest and most prestigious award for grassroots activists. This year’s six inspiring and courageous prize winners (one from each of the six inhabited continental regions of the world) are...

Green Homes and Green Building Information: An Index

This index links to some recent and popular posts related to green building, design, remodeling, and home improvement. The posts cover a broad range of topics, from green products to projects to practices, as well as sustainable communities.

What’s new at New Holland Agriculture?

New Holland Agriculture is unveiling a number of new tractors as well as new haytools and other equipment at the 2012 World Ag Expo in Tulare, California and the 2012 National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Kentucky.

Fostering From Fat to Fit

Fostering can help overcome an unexpected side effect of life in a rescue kennel---obesity.

Plan a doggie spa date and change a life

Adult dogs need a little help to compete with pups in the adoption game. A spa date with a groomer or in your own back yard can give that older shelter dog more than a shiny coat. It can open the door to a new life.

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.

Starting a Pet Food Pantry

Compassionate people without a county animal shelter organize a non-profit group to help low-income families keep their pets during hard times and to support Good Samaritans who take in abandoned pets

Photo of the Week: Winter Beauty

It's winter time.  Take a break from the holiday madness to enjoy a little of what nature has to offer this season.

Great Quotations: Graphics to Share

Fun graphics of great quotations! Quotations by Buckminster Fuller, Mary Oliver, Martin Luther King Jr., and others, available as free graphics that can be shared like e-cards.

Cover Crops: Add Some Oomph to Your Soil

Cover crops are grown between planting seasons as a way to give back to the soil what cultivation takes from it. And cover crops aren’t just for large-scale growers—they can help you get the most out of your backyard vegetable garden too!

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.

A New England Homestead

Growing up on a New England homestead, a woman imparts heartfelt lessons about making do with what you have and cherishing those memories.

More Great Quotations: Wise Words, Part II

10 more great quotations and aphorisms that are relevant to environmental sustainability. Quotations by Buckminster Fuller, Teddy Roosevelt, Wendell Berry, and others.

History - Who Needs History?

Our area is abundant with history. We have a limber pine tree nearby that I estimate is over 2,100 years old and still very much alive. History - we have an abundance of it.

Land Pride Introduces New Rotary Tillers

The RTA12 & RTR12 Series Rotary Tillers from Land Pride till soil for seedbed and planting preparation with uses and applications in landscaping, gardens, and residential areas.

Australia to Texas - The Land

Our process of buying the land for our homestead had little to do with logic and a lot to do with emotion. For me, it was a chance to return to the plains where I grew up and be close to family.

Australia to Texas - The First Step

Jim and Julie are starting their homestead in Texas while still living in Australia. Managing the project by remote control is the challenge, and they are learning as they go. This is an adventure of faith and confidence.

Money Does Grow On Trees

The 2011 report focuses on the Garden Effect and Payback-if-sold. The Garden Effect is the estimated increase in a property’s market value as a result of having beautiful landscaping.

Finding a Place to Put Your Dream Homestead

Our Rural Property for Sale site helps you search for a sweet spot to put your future homestead, with handy filters to help you find just what you're looking for more easily.

Goldman Environmental Prize 2011: This Year's Winners

The Goldman Environmental Prize is the world’s largest and most prestigious award for grassroots environmentalists. This year’s six inspiring prize winners (one from each of the six inhabited continental regions of the world) are...

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.

What Is Your Small Farm?

If you are growing vegetables, making a few homemade wares here and there ... you are practicing good, old-fashioned homesteading techniques.

My Journey to a Cabin in the Woods

Welcome to by blog “City to Country, One Step at a Time.” Here’s how I ended up as a modern homesteader on a little acreage in the Canadian West Coast bush.

St. Patrick's Day Wholemeal Irish Bread

This bread hearkens back to a time when Irish soda bread was a more rustic, country affair — not all gussied up with mostly white flour. We're talking about a somewhat large, delicious, nutty tasting loaf made with wholemeal flour and yes, a little bit of white flour to lighten up the texture. Get your St. Patrick's Day celebration off to a great start with this authentic, Irish Wholemeal Bread.