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.

The Chicken Cabana Room

At Sunflower Farm we strive to provide our chickens with the best accommodations!

Goose Breeds for Your Farm

Temperament and abilities vary widely between goose breeds. Know the types so you can get the best goose for your farm.

Scaling Up Our Pastured Poultry from Backyard to Commercial

Over the winter, we managed to secure a contract with an up-and-coming company in Massachusetts to raise pastured chickens for them. This company ended up pre-ordering a significant amount of chickens per month from us, which necessitated the building of six new coops. Here I outline how to scale up a poultry operation.

How to Change Chicken Ordinances

Some communities have laws that ban keeping backyard chickens. Learn how to approach your city council to revise the rules with these tips from our readers.

5 Steps to Our New Orchard

Here's 5 of the basic steps to how we created our small organic home orchard/edible landscape. It's a permaculture designed area that has been created with a natural landscape as inspiration, with the least amount of human input. It will host not only heritage apples but several other fruits and berries, herbs and medicinal plants.

Citizen Scientists Monitor and Map

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has several Citizen-Science Projects to engage individuals and communities in actively participating in conservation efforts. Learn more about these programs and how to become involved.

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.

A Greenhouse, Chicken Coop Combo

These two structures for creating a sustainable homestead are not often associated, but with the right planning they can be integrated into a single multi-use structure that enhances both environments. A greenhouse/chicken coop becomes a year-round food-producing machine, giving you a bounty of fruits, vegetables and protein all in one.

The Birds Are Coming. Are You Ready?

Spring bird migration is underway! Backyard gardeners play a valuable role in supporting birds during this vulnerable time. Learn what you can do in your own yard to help migrants.

The Good and the Bad of Raising Backyard Chickens

Backyard chickens have become the new thing for country folk and the urban folk - but as with anything, there's the good, the bad, and the ugly. Here are a few things to consider before diving head first into your new chicken keeper adventure.

What Is All the Buzzzz?

Native bees are a necessary component of maintaining native habitats. Their role is increasingly important as honeybee populations struggle with Colony Collapse Disorder. Learn what you can do to support your local pollinators this spring.

Winter Bird Survival

Birds are survivors. Learn about different adaptations birds have to thrive during the dark, cold winter days. And, what you can do to support winter bird survival in your backyard.

Comparing Commercial and Locally Produced Raw Honey

What could be lurking in the commercial honey you buy? Maybe it’s not honey at all, and would you think honey is healthy if you knew it contained corn syrup? Let’s talk about how commercial honey is produced and why you might want to find a local source for raw honey.

Urban Community Green Spaces

Urban community green spaces are an essential component of our built environment. Their significance is becoming more and more apparent to city planners and urban residences all over the United States.

The Resurgence of School Gardens

School gardens play a vital role in our nations educational systems. Though the concept dates back to the 1800s, their role has gained popularity in the last 20 years, and for good reasons.

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.

The Chickens Have a Sleepover

Homesteader Cam Mather describes integrating new backyard chickens into his existing flock and the wonderful life his "ladies" lead.

Legal Front Yard Gardens Go Beyond Containers

St. Paul, Minnesota, not only allows front yard gardens and promotes growing vegetables in containers, but encourages residents to beautify the boulevard with plants, including edibles.

Permaculture In a Midwest Garden and Yard

Permaculture is about a self sustaining system that provides the food, nutrients and water in one yard. It is easy to adopt many of these approaches in your own yard and garden in the Midwest.

Chicken Stimulus Package at the 2014 Richmond Home and Garden Show

Richmond, Virginia, legalized chickens in 2013. Since then, cities and towns have joined in legalizing family flock. The organizers of the Richmond Home and Garden Show (one of the largest on the East Coast) wanted to feature chickens and offered us free booth space.

5 Tools For Clearing Overgrown Land

Clearing overgrown land can be a daunting task. Choose the right tool for the job and it can be a breeze! Here are 5 of my favorites that make clearing overgrown land satisfying and fun!

Black-Capped Chickadee's Secret Diet

The Blacked-capped Chickadee, a frequent visitor to backyard bird feeders, loses a surprising amount of weight each night. Don't try this diet!

How to Get Started With Chicks

Raising chicks is easy as long as you pay attention to their needs for food, water, and housing. It also helps to learn their language.

Spring Homestead Projects

Homestead spring projects include honey bees, Dorking chickens, Ancona ducks, Narragansett turkeys, Dutch Belted calf, Red-Wattle hogs, the incubator, pruning fruit trees,starting seeds, and heirloom plants so we can eat healthful and delicious food all year.

How to Build a Chicken Tractor

To create a chicken tractor that will keep both you and your hens happy, you'll want to focus on weight, shelter, doors, handles, and more.

Ten Tips for Getting Started With Chickens

Are you new to backyard chickens? Raising chickens is easy once you get the hang of it, but a little knowledge will help you skip these beginner mistakes.

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.

Our First Chicken Harvest

In preparation for a large chicken harvest later in the season, a few homesteaders perform a trial run to test their chicken harvesting capabilities.

Step-by-Step Chicken Processing (Video)

Butchering can be intimidating. Learn how to process a chicken in this video that covers equipment, humane killing methods, plucking, eviscerating and more.

Having Guests Visit Your Beeyard

Having guests visit your beeyard takes a lot of planning and preparation. Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary shares her experience having visitors in the beeyard, along with some tricks and tips to make the visit go more smoothly for everyone.

Eat These Birds to Keep Them Alive!: Developing Sustainable Poultry Flocks

So, what makes a flock of poultry sustainable? What is standard-bred poultry? If you purchase chicks from a hatchery, are they true to the breed? Why does every hatchery sell Rhode Island Reds and they all look different? Why do the Cornish Cross meat chickens have so many problems? Raising standard poultry is the only true way to improve the sustainability of quality local food while preserving the strength of Heritage poultry.

Backyard Homestead

There are a lot of things you can do right now to experience the homestead lifestyle right in your backyard.

Make Your Own Fire Pit Using Concrete Tree Rings

This low-cost, easy-to-assemble fire pit from Instructables is made with concrete tree rings and rocks. Just add a grill and you've got the perfect backyard hangout, all for around $50.

The Strength From Being Little

Over the years, we’ve had many experiences with injured and sick chickens. Sometimes the birds have pulled through, sometimes they have not.Such is truly the way of life.

Quail Meat Comeback (With Recipes)

Quail meat is making its comeback as there has been more of a demand due to the composition of the meat and exotic taste. Restaurants and grocery stores are supplying more quail meat to feed their consumers. There is a lack of producers, therefore education and encouragement is needed to increase the popularity further and meet the demands.

Magnificent Birds: Free-Ranging Chickens, the Threat of Hawks and Choosing Freedom Anyway

One week after moving our chickens, there now stands a chicken “duck and cover” shelter for them to dive under in the event of a hawk attack. It’s not perfect as a strategy, and the hawk may still get a chicken or two. But these magnificent birds crave a greater measure of freedom than they have in their chicken tractors, and I aim to see that they get it.

Chicken House Tips

Suggestions for the interior of your chicken house, including; feed storage, access to nest boxes, dividing the chicken-living area, and making a loft for storing bedding material.

Illegal Front Yard Vegetable Gardens: Des Moines Considers Home Garden Ban

Des Moines, Iowa, gardeners may soon find themselves in hot water with their City. A local resident recently took front yard veggie growers to task for what the resident feels to be unsightly lawn growth. Beets and berries, it seems, do not have the same aesthetic appeal as a green, freshly-mowed front lawn.

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.

Teaching Homesteading--in a Nutshell

Growing Local Food is a new book that encompasses all the needed basics to grow plants, keep heritage breed animals and bees. The author is a homesteader and physician who gives the readers the basic information to grow or find nutritious, local food

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.

Too Many Garden Veggies! What to Do?

YIKES! What to do when you've planted too many veggies? Is your garden producing more than one family can eat? Sure, you can give it away. But wait! Try pickling those garden gems. This way, you'll be able to enjoy them through the winter and beyond!

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.

Chicago Hardy Figs and Attracting Native Pollinators

Using oil seed radishes to add organic matter to the ground and attracting native pollinators with a nest site. Harvesting sweet potato seeds if we're lucky and admiring the parasitic wasp's ability to lay white egg sacs into the body of a horn worm

Think Cool: Winter Worm Composting

Describes a method of keeping red wiggler worms active and productive outside throughout the winter. Describes a method of sheltering and heating the worms using an active compost pile for heat and clear plastic glazing for shelter.

New Stay-Clean Chicken Waterer

The Chicken Kooler keeps the water away from the chicken’s feet, where is can get filled with straw and dirt.

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.

Three New Hand Pruners

Fiskars' new hand pruners combine form and function to make every cut easier.

How to Pick the Right Chicken Coop

How do you find the best chicken coop design for your new flock? We'll help you walk through the evaluation process AND get a free analysis spreadsheet to help you decide.

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.

The Lazy Urban Gardener's Safety Net

So, what do you do if you neglected to start your veggies way back in January or February? You had good intentions but there always seemed to be something that stole your attention. Now it’s the planting season and you have nothing to plant...

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.

Rethinking Dogs as Flock Tenders

Boy! Did I learn my lesson when I left our young pullets out back with our trusted dogs. I'll never do that again.

My First Time: A Garden Connection With My Grandpa

My first blog for MOTHER EARTH NEWS takes me back to a time when I didn't know I had a love of gardening. One of my first gardening experiences came during an unlikely encounter with my curmudgeon grandfather.

Cheesemaking: Simple and Fun

Sue Weaver provides her expertise on making homemade cheeses and yogurt and how to raise a happy, healthy, and highly productive backyard cow.

The New Recharge Mower ULTRALITE

As spring approaches the lawn surrounding your home will certainly begin to grow. With the New Lithium Powered Cordless Recharge Mower ULTRALITE, from Driven By Solar Inc., achieve beautiful manicured results without nasty fumes.

Uncle Sam Wants You to Raise Chickens

During World War I, the federal government ordered people to keep a backyard flock of chickens. What happened? Why is it so hard today?

Backyard Vegetable Gardeners: Go Get a Hoop House for Winter!

It is not difficult to set up a backyard hoop house to extend your growing season. The result is abundant, delicious greens and extra months with your hands in the soil. Share information here on backyard hoop house gardening and cuisine.

New Chick on the Block

The Front Yard Coop Supplies Innovative and Elegant Chicken Coops to Meet Rapidly Growing Interest in Raising Hens.

New Backpack Blower Makes Garden Cleanup a Breeze

Designed with professional features and priced to be affordable, the new fuel-efficient STIHL BR 200 backpack blower helps clear leaves, grass clippings or other debris from the yard.

Backyard Chicken Facts - 5 Things No One Told Us

We've had a few surprises as we travel the road of backyard chicken raising - some of them pleasant, some not so much. Here are a few things we've learned that might help you as you decide whether or not to get chickens for your backyard.

Backyard Beekeeping by Beginners at MOTHER EARTH NEWS

Two Ogden Publications employees turned beekeeping beginners seperate the honey from the comb in the MOTHER EARTH NEWS parking lot. Thier backyard hives are only four miles away for making sweet, local honey.

New Product from Hoelscher(2)

Hoelscher Commercial Products announces a new product for pulling out trees, posts, shrubs and vines.

New Product from Hoelscher

Hoelscher Commercial Products announces a new product for pulling out trees, posts, shrubs and vines.

Everyday Families Growing Their Own Vegetables

Everyday families can now provide much of their fresh vegetables using Aquaponics. Aquaponics is the production of edible fish and vegetables growing in a drought proof, no weed, back saving growing system.

Are You Ready for Chickens? Chickens 101

Chickens - how do you know if you’re the ‘chicken type’? If you’re pondering a backyard flock, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself.

Chicken Manure Fertilizer: Let Your Chickens Make Mulch

What’s your idea of a delicious and wholesome breakfast? A fluffy, organic egg omelet made with fresh vegetables? Perhaps scrambled eggs and roasted garden veggies? No matter what your preference, it may surprise you to learn the link between the

Re-Greening My Thumb

Simran Sethi starts dreaming of spring gardening, with the goal of renewing her efforts to grow real food.

Underneath Bird Feeder

Duncraft introduces a new concept in bird feeding - the patented Underneath Bird Feeder

Processing Your Backyard Chickens

To benefit from the meat of backyard chickens, one must learn to process them. This includes how to kill, scald, pluck, and eviscerate, and then get them into the freezer. This article describes how we are learning to improving this process.

Playhouse Dreams ’n Doin’

A playhouse can be a physical structure or a place to escape to in your imagination. Tell us about your favorite playhouse.

Share the Yard

Simran Sethi teams up with two neighbors to "grow food, not lawns."

The Thrill of Gardening

The experience of growing one's first garden is a thrill one will never forget.

Statement on Chicken Ordinances

We strongly support keeping a few chickens (hens only) within city limits. Feel free to use this statement if you're working to get an ordinance passed to allow chickens in your city.

12 Rules of Raking

Save time and avoid blisters and burnout by following these common-sense guidelines this leaf season.