The Wisdom of Helen and Scott Nearing

Helen and Scott Nearing offer their advice on sewing, woodburning stoves, aluminum sheet roofing, and more.

| March/April 1980

  • 061 Scott Nearing
    Scott Nearing having breakfast with a visitor.

  • 061 Scott Nearing

As we've noted several times in these pages, Helen and Scott Nearing are light years ahead of most of us when it comes to getting back to the land and living a life of voluntary simplicity. As well they should be, since they originally homesteaded a run-down farm in Vermont's Green Mountains away back in the autumn of 1932.  

Life was good for the Nearings on that mini-farm . . . until the slopes around them exploded into ski resorts in the early 50's, forcing Helen and Scott to move on to a rocky inlet on the coast of Maine and start all over again.  

And that's where you'll find the Nearings today: still clearing brush, still building honest stone houses (Helen and Scott are famous for their stone houses), and still raising most of their vegetarian diet themselves in unbelievably productive wholistic gardens . . . just as they've been doing for nearly 50 years.  

Naturally (in more ways than one), the Nearings have learned a few things about homesteading and getting back to basics over the years. And, lucky for all of us, they've agreed to share some of that knowledge with MOTHER EARTH NEWS' readers in a regular question and answer column.   

Q: Would you please tell me what you use to wash your hair, and whether you know of any herbs that will serve that purpose? Also, have you ever had trouble with hard well water, and — if so — what was your solution?  

A: We use liquid green soap (a vegetable tincture sold in any drugstore) as our shampoo, and we sometimes use chamomile in the rinse. Fortunately, the water from the springs on our property in both Vermont and Maine has been soft, so we've never had to deal with hard water.

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