Them That’s Doin’: Satisfied Sweepstakes Winner

Check out what MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors and readers have been enjoying lately, from apps and classes to tools and techniques.

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by Theresa Hamm

Welcome to Them That’s Doin’, a department featuring homesteaders discussing what they’ve been up to. We want to know what’s caught your eye, and how you’ve been spending your time. Have you joined a new online community, or added to your herbal apothecary? Welcomed a flock of chickens, or found a unique way to store seeds? Tell us at

Satisfied Sweepstakes Winner

We entered the MOTHER EARTH NEWS BigToolRack Giveaway hoping to win a useful piece of equipment for our family farm. When we found out we won the BigToolRack Ultimate Rack Package, we were over the moon! Tim, the president of BigToolRack, even called to congratulate us and set up an effortless delivery.

The Ultimate Rack Package has helped us get more done on our farm than a UTV. It’s rugged and well-made. It holds so many tools and supplies because of all the tool holders it has. When we’re done using it, we leave the tools on it for mobile tool storage in the barn! It’s such a versatile piece of equipment, whether we’re putting up fence posts or planting crops. I don’t know how we lived without it. A heartfelt thank-you to Mother Earth News and BigToolRack! –Theresa Hamm, reader

plastic containers lined up with labels containing seeds

Seed Storage Hack

My daughter was excitedly digging through my unorganized seed box one day, and it made me aware of several issues. First, I had purchased multiples of the same plants, year after year, not realizing I had open packages already. And second, the packages were all precariously tossed into one location, each one in danger of spilling. This photo storage box was the perfect solution. I bagged any open packs, sorted them among the 4-by-6-inch individual containers, and applied labels. Now, they can be stored indoors — away from high temperatures and pests — and used for years. –Christine Stoner, editor

four solar panels and a solar bank sitting on the windshield of a black car

Portable Solar Power Bank

Portable solar batteries have come a long way in the past decade. They’re handy in a variety of situations, including power failures, living off-grid, or backpacking in the wilderness. Energizer sent me the PowerKeep 36 solar battery charging system to try a couple of years ago. The system includes a 10,000-milliamp-hour lithium polymer power bank that’s charged by a four-panel solar panel. The $100 power bank has two USB output ports and will charge a smartphone quickly. My favorite thing about the solar panel, aside from its effectiveness, is that it folds into a light, thin profile that easily fits inside a backpack. I’ve used this solar battery charger on and off for a couple of years now. It’s been rained on, stepped on, and hauled overseas more than once, and it still works great. –Rebecca Martin, editor

What Have You Been Doin’?

Tell us what you’ve been up to at, and include “Them That’s Doin'” in the subject line. You may end up in the magazine!