Homesteading Expert Lloyd Kahn Reviews His Favorite Tools From the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Reader Contribution by Lloyd Kahn
1 / 3
2 / 3
3 / 3

Lloyd Kahn’s post below features the tools that caught his eye at the recent MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR. Lloyd was at the fair to give a slideshow presentation of 100 tools he uses on his half-acre homestead.  This guy knows and appreciates great tools when he sees them. 

Lloyd has been helping to lead the natural building and owner-built housing movements for more than 40 years. He’s the Editor-in-Chief of Shelter Publications, and the author of several classic books about owner-builders, including one of our favorites, Tiny Homes, Simple Shelter.  In recognition of Lloyd’s exceptional contributions to wiser living, MOTHER EARTH NEWS presented him and Shelter Publications with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.

If you like his post about tools, you might also enjoy this one, about the evolution of his homesteading lifestyle:

This fair is a good-vibes event with many useful tools for homesteaders. This isn’t a comprehensive report; there lots of things I just don’t have time to cover, but here are some items that caught my eye in two days wandering around at the fair. Note: there will be two more Mother Earth News Fairs this year: Sept. 20-22 in Seven Springs, PA, and October 12-13 in Lawrence, Kansas.

Yurts made in Mongolia: Unlike any of the U.S.-manufactured yurts I’ve seen, this one has a hand-crafted look when you step inside. “The hand-painted rafters and natural wood latticed walls covered with a clean white wool felt create a cozy, comfortable atmosphere. The thick felt dampens outside noise, holds heat in the coldest of winters and keeps heat out in the hottest of summers.

Bamboo Clothing: Beautiful fabric, soft as silk, some 100 percent bamboo, other items bamboo/organic cotton combo. I bought two T-shirts and a pair of shorts. Wayi Bamboo Apparel, click here.

JapaneseTripod Ladders: Never seen ladders this sturdy or sensible, and I have lots of ladders around my place (like maybe10). I don’t know about the logistics of getting one of these shipped, but they’
re a notch above (sic) any ladders I’ve seen.

Olive Oil From Greece: Unique organic olive oil and olives from a family estate in Sparta, Greece.

Chicken Butchering Tools: The stainless cones make for a neater way of offing chickens than chopping heads off and having them thrash around like, well, like chickens with their heads cut off. The other tools, like the rotating tubs with rubber fingers and the scalders are for larger-than-homestead size chicken operations and are a whiz bang way of plucking feathers.

Rototillers: In the ’70s, I had a Troybuilt rototiller. It was a much-beloved serious gardener’s tool that came with a brilliant manual that told you how to do just about anything with it and how to fix just about anything that went wrong. Like a Model A Ford. These days it looks to me like the BCS tillers (formerly Mainline) are the next generation. All gear drive, automotive style clutch, a lot of possible attachments.

Scythes: These guys from British Columbia offer a collection of beautiful scythe blades. Some of them are shorter than scythe blades I’ve seen. European
scythe blades, ergonomic snaths and sharpening accessories.

Composting Drum: Sun Mar makes two sizes of these drums and they look sturdy and animal-proof. Being able to turn the compost is a big advantage over stationary piles. These would work well in cities as well as country.

Water Pump: This is a different principle than the ram pumps I’ve seen. They say it will put 200 to 1,500 gallons a day in your tank with no fuel or electricity and “pumps from 100 to 1,000 feet high depending on your water source.” Click here.