Cook for a Night and Eat for a Week with a Wood-Fired Oven

We built our own clay oven for backyard pizza and bread-baking. One of our favorite things to do is fire up the oven for a weekend afternoon/evening and prepare a variety of meals that will last all week. A bit of work on the weekend provides meals for a week with the unique wood-fired flavor of the outdoor oven.

Nevermind the Politics, Forests Can Help Cool the Planet

Forestry and climate change are complex and emotionally charged issues. In this post, we focus on the forests themselves and how they can contribute to global cooling when forest management practices are adjusted through the incentives in the multi-billion dollar carbon credit programs being launched.

Better Wood Heat: Rocket Mass Heater FAQs Answered

Wood is one of the oldest forms of heat, and throughout the millennia, has been used to keep mankind toasty and defrosted. However, now that we’re an older and (presumably) wiser race, we’re seeing how inefficient and unsustainable this form of heat can be. Rocket mass heaters and rocket stove technology offers the solution, and puts affordable, efficient heat within reach of us all.

5 Easy Ways to Recycle Wooden Pallets

Not only is recycling your used wooden pallets helpful for the planet, but it can help you stay young in brain and body by encouraging you to learn new skills. You can also have great fun as a family working on wooden pallet recycling ideas.

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.

Forestry, Global Warming, and the Multi-Billion-Dollar Carbon-Credit Grab

Most forests are working forests. They are cut regularly for lumber production and other uses. Only 12.7% of the earth's forests are protected. Wood is carbon. Carbon volumes sequestered in the woods need to multiply to significantly contribute to global cooling. Without this, the carbon credit market is mostly wasted as a tool for significant global cooling. We still have time to save our forests.

Woodworking Arborist Salvages Urban Trees

Working as an arborist in Colorado, Ryan Baldwin saw an opportunity to salvage city trees destined for the dump into usable lumber for woodworking projects.

Herbalist and Artist Create Everyday Guides for Healthy Living

The ‘Everyday Living Series’ by Thyme Herbal offers a supportive guide for healthy living. The series is created by herbalist Brittany Wood Nickerson, who shares her experiences and advice concerning herbal practices and homesteading.

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.

Homesteading as a Senior Citizen

Seniors like myself are coping today on many levels of homesteading and life is good for us even if a little more difficult. Learn how homesteading and self-sufficiency have become more difficult as we grow older but is far from being over.

Oregon Company Salvages Urban Timber

After seeing beautiful trees in Oregon going to waste, Seth Filippo realized the Pacific Northwest had a huge underutilized resource in urban wood.

The Growing Economy of Salvaged Urban Wood

Megan Offner of New York Heartwoods is salvaging downed and damaged city trees to redirect material from our waste stream, decrease greenhouse emissions, and fuel the demand for local wood products.

Cordwood Chicken Coops

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

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 Successful, Sustainable Forest

By managing his family's forestland with natural and environmentally friendly practices, Jim Birkemeier has created a sustainable forest model that is being taught and implemented all over the world.

10 Tips for Heating With Wood

Learn to choose the right-sized wood stove, manage your firewood and light, and maintain quality fires to heat your home with wood.

Butchering Biomass: How to Use Every Part of a Cedar Tree

Most homesteads have trees that need to be cut down, but how can you ensure minimal waste and maximum benefit from every part of the tree? Trunks, saplings, green branches, dead branches, and more can all be used in multiple ways to save money and add value to your homestead, while capturing some of the carbon and nutrients in the tree. Here’s a look at how we break down an especially abundant and useful tree: the Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana).

Repurposing Scrap Wood

From decorative signs to nest boxes, there are many ways you can repurpose pallets, lumber, or even logs around your home. Learn about some of the ways you can turn scrap wood into something useful!

Building a Cabin with a Portable Sawmill

By sawing his own lumber from fallen trees, Billy Reeder not only built his cabin debt-free on family land, he also built a new life — a deliberate life. A good life.

Technological Challenges of Off-Grid Homestead Living, Part 5: Heat

This is the final article in a series on how I made the transition to off grid homestead living by combining appropriate modern technology and reliable techniques practiced for thousands of years of human history. Currently I’m entering the first winter of full-time off grid living at my mountain homestead after completing the construction of my small house.

Making Your Own Herbal Medicine: Tinctures and Infusions

To make potent extractions of the medicinal properties from plants growing nearby, you can easily learn to make your own tinctures and infusions. Alcohol-based tinctures are often used for acute or specific concerns, while water-based infusions are strong, medicinal teas which gently strengthen the body over time.

Woody Tasch: The State of the Soil

In February, the Slow Money founder gave a "State of the Soil" address. Here are his thoughts on the quality of American soil, economics and general discourse.

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.

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.

Firewood in the Winter

Cutting firewood in the winter opens time for other activities during the short summer and fall seasons.

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

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

Woodstove Safety

Putting a safety fence around a woodstove keeps small children and pets safer.

6 Incredible Facts About Kinetic Log Splitters

Kinetic log splitters have taken the log-splitter market by storm. But how much do you know about these lightning-fast, hyper-efficient machines? Check out these surprising facts about kinetic log splitters.

How to Sell a Cordwood Home

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

Find Sustainably Harvested Wood

If you’re getting ready to build a home or begin a woodworking project, consider building with sustainable wood products. With help from the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the Forest Stewardship Council databases, you can locate sustainably harvested wood.

'Cooking With Fire' by Paula Marcoux

From roasting on a split to baking in a tannur, you'll find rediscovered techniques and recipes that capture the flavors of wood-fired cooking in "Cooking With Fire" by Paula Marcoux.

Log Splitters: Electric vs. Gas-Powered

If you’re considering buying a new log splitter, you may have begun to debate whether you want an electric log splitter or a gas-powered model. What’s the difference? DR Power Equipment has some useful insight for you.

A Winter Bath

Taking a bath in the winter takes a little more planning at our off-grid, no-plumbing home.

Cordwood Construction Basics

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

Build a Log Deck for Splitting Firewood

Use materials at hand—stumps, logs, railroad ties, and sawmill slabs—to build a firewood log deck that takes the effort out of lifting the logs, and holds them at a convenient height for splitting.

How to Swap Fruit Tree Scionwood

You can get twigs to graft onto your rootstock for the price of shipping a padded envelope, allowing you to grow rare fruit-tree varieties for nearly nothing.

Cordwood Home Construction Best Practices

Glimpse a view into the world of cordwood construction. This old-fashioned, natural building technique can inspire you to build an energy-efficient, mortgage-free house of your own.

January on the Homestead

While the snow's flying, this is a good time to plan your garden rotation, order seeds, preheat early spring garden areas, and more.

A Report on Warmth

With winter beginning, these homesteaders are starting winter off cozy in their cabin.

Rewriting Holiday Traditions

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

Woodstove Sweepstakes Winner Enjoys New Bun Baker

Woodstove sweepstakes winner Ken Newman plans to use his new Vermont Bun Baker to heat both his home and his meals. The Bake, Crackle and Broil Giveaway, sponsored by MOTHER EARTH NEWS, awarded the $3,400 woodstove to Newman earlier this summer.

Honeybees and Robbing

Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary explains how to prevent, identify and stop robbing in the beeyard.

Strawberry Bliss

Springtime happiness can be measured by the sweetness of your strawberry patch.

Tree-Planting Season

It is a busy time for planting here. Not tomatoes, peppers, or squash, though. We got in our order of trees from the Missouri Conservation Dept. last week. In the past, we had planted mostly walnut, but we have a good enough supply of our own walnut seedlings that we are focusing on native trees that could use a boost to restore the forest to what it once was. So we are planting pecan on the bottom areas, shortleaf pine on ridge tops where the soil is poor, and burr oak on the better upland areas.

How to Dispose of Treated Wood

Your deck or other outdoor structures may be made of wood treated with chromated copper arsenate (CCA). Learn more about CCA-treated wood and how to dispose of it.

Safer Exterior Wood Finishes

Many wood finishes contain toxic solvents or heavy-metal drying agents. Learn which nontoxic wood finishes are best to use on decks, fences and unfinished, wood-sided homes.

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.

Using Wood Ash in the Garden

Using wood ash in the garden can be beneficial for raising the soil pH of your garden soil. These tips will help you know when to use wood ash in the garden. 

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 Clementine Candles

How to make candles you can really light from the peel of Clementine oranges. A wintertime craft...just oil and an orange peel!

Dipping Beeswax Candles

We dipped candles from our hive's beeswax to celebrate winter. Candlemaking is a nice seasonal craft. Here’s how we did it, plus some tips to get you started.

Protecting Fig Trees from Cold and Best Wood Chopping Tool

Protecting the fig tree for the winter felt like putting it to bed for a long sleep. Chopping wood with the Chopper 1 is a thing of joy and beauty and that's no joke. Do it yourself corn bin helped our neighbor keep the racoons out.

Weighing a Bee Hive and Improving Dielectric Hygiene

Orchard soil health is a topic that gets covered as well as the new asparagus beetle management system and how it seems to be working better than we could have hoped for. Dielectric grease to prevent rust and corrosion on the golf cart battery post.

Forty Years of Splitting Firewood

Splitting firewood has changed over the lsst 40 years. A sharp chain and hydraulic splitter make all the difference in the world.

The Wedding

A break from usual blogs to share the celebration of my daughter's wedding.

How Much Wood is Need to Run a Wood-Burning Truck?

Wood is a wonderful motor fuel! But how much do we need? Wayne tells us how efficient his truck really is on wood gas, and we take a look at how much we'd use if everyone decided to drive on wood.

Wood Gas Speeding Ticket

Wayne you'd better slow down! The master of vehicle gasification is hard pressed to stay within the speed limit.

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.

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.

Pushing limits

With an understanding of your limitations, you can operate more safely and efficiently. Training in timber cutting techniques can greatly expand your capabilities

Wood Gas Meetup in Argos, Indiana

What happens when you gather 100+ wood gassers in one place? They have a convention! The wood gas meetup in Argos Indiana was a blast, check out the photos!

Farming With Wood Gas

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

Salvaging Timber

Salvaging logs is always a challenge-- but finding buried treasure in it always makes it worthwhile. This salvage job came after the land had been cleared by the owner, and the best lumber pick over buy a logger.

Restoring a magical woodworking machine

The challenge of refurbishing an ingeniously designed 30-year-old combination woodworking machine was just to intriguing to resist. I found my Zinken MIA 6 on Craigslist, then proceeded to make all 5 functions work like new again.

Wood Gas With Wayne Keith

Wayne Keith and Chris Saenz have been making woodgas history. Follow their achievements via the Wood Gas Adventures blog!

A Lookout Tower-Home

A lookout tower home, which features reclaimed materials, connects its homeowner with her past, present and future.

Pruning Logs for Lumber

Here is a description of some of the pruning tools and techniques for pruning trees for future sawlogs.

Compost: The Other Prize from the Business End of a Chicken

Eggs aren't the only things that come from the business end of a chicken. But with a little time and materials, and even less ingenuity, the rest can set you up with a free and steady supply of valuable organic fertilizer.

An Unintended Death

The unintended death of a charming little creature raises the realities of life on a farm homestead.

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.

Wood Heat

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

A Smart Way to Stay Sharp

Diamond sharpening stones make the work of sharpening chisels, plane blades and other edge tools go quickly and easily.

Sawmill on the Homestead

A first blog by sawmiller & long-time homesteader Dave Boyt. A little of my past history, and how I'm using my sawmill.

I AM the King of Kindling

Cam hates to see good scrap wood go to waste and so he cuts it into kindling and has even started selling it!

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.

STIHL Wood Boss Chain Saw

Built tough for storm cleanup, tree felling, and firewood cutting, the MS 271 STIHL WOOD BOSS chain saw is designed with improved ergonomics and equipped with a low-emission, fuel-efficient engine.

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.

Firewood Splitting Tips

Steve Maxwell, Canada’s Handiest Man, provides tips on splitting firewood for home heating via woodstoves or fireplaces.

Parallel Chord Pallet Trusses

If you have access to small diameter trees and wood pallets, and live in an area not restricted by building codes, then this truss design is one good low cost roof option. If you do all the work yourself, these trusses are virtually free.

Double Pole Roofs

This article describes an alternative roof design for those building in areas without building codes. A little extra effort working with poles will reward you with a stunningly beautiful wood ceiling and superinsulated roof at very reasonable cost.

2400 EcoAire Pellet Stove

The EcoAire is designed to be installed in much the same fashion as a window air conditioner and just as easily.

Firewood Processors

You can cut and trim trees with a chain saw, then load long lengths of trunk or major limbs onto a firewood processor, and operate the controls while the machine cuts firewood into uniform lengths and splits it.

What's Lurking in Your Cabinet?

Simran Sethi discusses the "wood" that makes up our kitchen cabinets, as well as more eco-friendly (and people-friendly) alternatives.

Small Diameter Roundwood Trusses

The roundwood truss system described here enables DIYers to build their own trusses at very low cost. You can gather truckloads of poles from national forests, enough for several small houses, for the cost of one $25 firewood permit.

Good Wood

Simran Sethi looks into the furniture and logging industries.

Woodstove Air Supply

Woodstoves can have indoor or outdoor air supplies depending on factors and requirements for the building.

Wood Gas Car at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

MOTHER EARTH NEWS Managing Editor John Rockhold catches up with Chip Beam of Beaver Energy to hear about Beam's latest exploits with wood gasification to power vehicles.

Oxo Biodegradable Bag Test

When Woods End Labs recently tested biodegradable plastics and found that most aren't compostable under home compost conditions, one reader (known as Eco-Oxo) wrote that Oxo biodegradable bags aren't designed to biodegrade under compost conditions. Woods End Labs is following up, taking the reader's suggestion and testing Oxo under the conditions Eco-Oxo recommends. This is Part 1 of the new test, where you can follow along and see how Oxo fares under different conditions. 

Photo of the Day: Rustic Bench

Photo of the Day features a rustic wooden bench handcrafted by a reader. Be sure to submit your own photos to share your favorite moments with us and other readers. Maybe the next Photo of the Day will feature it!

Photo of the Day: Rustic Bench

Photo of the Day features a rustic wooden bench handcrafted by a reader. Be sure to submit your own photos to share your favorite moments with us and other readers. Maybe the next Photo of the Day will feature it!

Share Your Thoughts on Woodstoves

Do you have a woodstove or pellet stove at home? We’d like to hear more about your experiences with woodstoves and any tips you may have for heating with wood.

The Beauty of Cordwood Building

A cordwood building consists of short, round pieces of wood (think firewood) held together with mortar, and there are many advantages to choosing this type of construction.

Homecoming

Walking among the stately hardwoods of the Eastern forests was a homecoming for this displaced New Yorker.

Woodworking Basics

Learn the basics of woodworking with this book — or buy it for a young friend or family member with an interest in the hobby.

This Truck Runs on Wood Chips!

You can run a truck on wood chips! No joke. Mother Earth News reported on this idea more than 25 years ago and the idea lives on. Using recycled water heaters, you can burn wood chips to power a truck, with little or no engine modifications required.

Tips for Heating with Wood

When it's cold outside, who doesn't love a cozy fireplace or woodstove? Wood heat is a comfortable way to warm your home, and there are many reasons it's a practical choice, too.