Healthy and Safe Grilling Tips for the Summer

Summertime is for grilling. However, to grill safely, there’s a lot to consider. After all, you do not want to ruin a backyard barbecue with a bad tummy ache or a burn! To avoid this, I always recommend the following tips for a safe grilling season.

How to Install a Top-Locking Chimney Damper (with Video)

Installing a Lock Top Chimney Damper is a common project among do-it-yourself homeowners. Many times the fireplace throat damper rusts apart and is non-functional, allowing heat and air from your home to escape through the chimney and vice versa. In today's chimney industry, we have top-locking chimney dampers that are easy to install, made of stainless steel, and completely seal a chimney flue when not in use.

The Airborne Bestiary

When we think of the atmosphere, we might assume it is mostly a lifeless place. Boy, are we wrong.

How to Install a Chimney Chase Cover (with Video)

Installing a chimney chase cover is a common project among do-it-yourself homeowners. Many homes were built with galvanized chase covers which rust after a few years – causing leaks and rust stains. Homes that were built with a masonry chimney eventually end up with a cracked and weathered mortar crown, also causing leaks and damage to the home.

A Murmuration of Starlings

An examination of flocking behavior in starlings and the beauty and mystery we see when those flocks, or “murmurations” are extraordinarily large and active. Also an inquiry into the 500-year-old history of collective nouns for groups of animals.

How to Set Up a Bathroom Recycling Station

Recycling in the home shouldn't be confined to the kitchen. The bathroom can be a haven for recyclable items too. This post shares some ideas on setting up a recycling system for the household bathroom.

Puppy Talk and How it Relates to Livestock-Guardian Dogs

Pups who are taken from their mom and littermates too soon face many potentially serious behavior issues. Equally important when we are looking to raise a good working livestock guardian dog, the older pup learns invaluable lessons from its mother on how to live and work with stock.

6 Low-Maintenance Gardening Ideas

Gardening is often hard work and often costly, but it doesn't always have to be. Here are some low maintenance techniques to help you garden smarter, not harder.

How to Recycle Your Used Motor Oil

Changing your motor oil is important to the health of your car. But recycling that used oil in the proper way is crucial to keeping the earth clean. Here are the easy and proper ways to recycle motor oil.

Before You Buy a Livestock Guardian Dog or Puppy

With the increasing use of livestock guardian dogs, we are seeing more inappropriate breeds or crossbred dogs being offered for sale as LGDs. Keeping these guidelines in mind will help you avoid the pitfalls or potential problems of LGD shopping, and will greatly increase your chances of success.

Is Your Water Heater an Energy Hog?

One of the largest energy expenses in a typical home is its water heater. Here are some ways to assess the efficiency of your water heater and decide whether a replacement is needed and if so, what type it should be.

How to Clean Outdoor Rugs the Naturally Effective Way

The outdoor rugs that line my garage and mud room get filthy and need a good cleaning every now and again, a cleaning that usually goes beyond just vacuuming. But this cleaning can be done in an eco-friendly way, without the use of harsh chemicals.

A Roundup of 24 Eco-Friendly Patio-Decor Ideas

It's never too early to think spring. And it's a good time now to plan for an eco-friendly patio by thinking about how household items can be smartly repurposed and upcycled into useful patio décor.

Icicles: How We Stopped Them and the Heat Loss that Caused Them, Part 2

Most ice build up on roofs in the winter time are caused by specific circumstances. This project that we just completed had ice build up from the day it was built. Although the builder did a good job of insulating, he missed one key element, which you will read about here.

Owl Hunting!

During a quiet, pre-dawn moment, an owl hoots softly. Is this connected with the bounty of mice and a big harvest?

Weighing the Switch to LED Lighting

When choosing light bulbs for the home, a close look shows that the most eco-friendly choice - LED light bulbs - can also result in the greatest long-term cost savings.

A DIY Natural Cleaner for Stainless Steel Appliances

I wanted a DIY natural cleaner for stainless steel appliances, because I don't use all those terrible chemical-filled products that I was tricked into buying 10 years ago. How do I clean without the name brand products that promise to make life easy and clean your stainless steel products? Let me tell you my secret.

Cherry Crostata Recipe

This Cherry Crostata Recipe is a simple, delicious way to use summer’s rubies.

Myths, Misconceptions and Misinformation About Livestock Guard Dogs

Experienced LGD owners can easily come up with a list of myths, misconceptions, and misinformation about their dogs. A quick glance at various LGD forums, email lists, or Facebook pages will reveal that these misconceptions are not only widespread but they are also responsible for the majority of problems new LGD owners find themselves in.

Selecting a Guard Donkey

In previous posts, we have looked at how guard donkeys work and we’ve examined the pros and cons of using a donkey as a livestock guardian. If you are contemplating using a donkey, let’s look now at how to select a good candidate and how to integrate him or her into your stock.

Selecting a Guard Llama

Selecting a good potential guardian llama, bringing him home, and introducing him to your stock.

Selecting a Working Livestock Guard Dog Puppy

You’ve done your homework – examining your needs, situation, and breed preferences – and now you are ready to select your LGD. This is an expensive, long- term commitment of time and energy. This LGD will be protecting your farm and stock. Please take your time to choose your pup carefully.

Baking Cinnamon Rolls

Baking and sharing cinnamon rolls can create happiness. Cinnamon and honey will make your baked goods irresistible.

More Questions To Ask Yourself Before Selecting a Livestock Guard Dog

In our last few posts, we’ve been looking at the various breeds of livestock guard dogs. But before you start looking at advertisements or litters of puppies, there are a few more questions for you to ask yourself. They are centered on two broad issues – your predator problems and your farm or homestead.

Pumpernickel Bread Love

Love of family, love of tradition, love of pumpernickel bread — need I say more?

Choosing a Livestock Guard Dog Breed, Part Three

In Part One of this post, Jan Dohner explained how the different Livestock Guard Dog breeds were developed and introduces us to their differences in style of work, temperament and other behaviors. In Parts Two and Three, we take a brief look at some of the more common LGD breeds available in North America.

Bread-baking as Therapy

One way that I work through problems is by baking bread. It is my therapy, and it works for me. Getting lost in the recipe and wondering how you might make some changes to make it better is always good for the mind.

Choosing a Livestock Guard Dog Breed, Part Two

In Part One of this post, Jan Dohner explained how the different livestock guard dog breeds were developed and introduces us to their differences in style of work, temperament and other behaviors. In parts two and three, we take a brief look at some of the more common LGD breeds available in North America.

Mackinac Island Hospitality: Eco-Tourism in Michigan

John D. Ivanko discovered that those in the hospitality business on Mackinac Island showcase the best of the past, blending it perfectly with modern sensibilities and, by default of it being an island, an ecological awareness to protect and preserve exactly what the millions of visitors come to see and experience every year.

Choosing a Livestock Guard Dog Breed: Part One

Jan Dohner explains how the different Livestock Guard Dog breeds were developed and introduces us to their differences in style of work, temperament and other behaviors.

Where Cars Are Illegal: Eco-Tourism on Mackinac Island, Michigan

As soon as my wife, son and I stepped off the Shepler’s Ferry, one of only three ferry services to Mackinac Island, our connection to motorized transport ceased to exist. Since 1898, cars and nearly every other form of motorized, gas-guzzling transportation are illegal on this Michigan island.

How to Make Your Own Kefir

Kefir is very rich in probiotic nutrition and quite simple to make at home. This blog will help you learn how to do so.

How Livestock Guard Dogs Work: the Question of Genetic Behaviors

In a previous post, “What is a Livestock Guard Dog?,” I described what livestock guard dogs do but it is also exceptionally important to know how they do this job. Understanding how not only helps us work with our LGDs but also explains why other breeds or crosses with non-LGD breeds are not likely to perform this same outstanding job.

Guardian Llamas: Pros and Cons

If using a livestock guard dog is not the right decision for you or your farm, Jan Dohner takes an honest look at another option – the guard llama.

Choosing a Livestock Guardian Dog

Livestock guard dogs are an attractive choice for predator control on the farm. Jan Dohner gives us an honest look at the pros and cons of choosing a Livestock guard dog versus a guard donkey or llama.

What is a Livestock Guard Dog?

Livestock guard dogs were found in a sweep of cultures from southern Europe through Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and central Asia. They worked in the company of shepherds who often spent weeks on high summer pasture or on long migratory routes.

Exploring Regional Food Systems

When Rachel Zegerius, camp program manager, set out to overhaul the food purchasing system at our small camp in Southwest Michigan five growing seasons ago, I began building relationships with the local farming community from the soil up.