Them That’s Doin’: Sketching on a Solo Hike

In this edition, editors are sketching, learning primitive skills, barring birds from eating their berries, and more.

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by Jessica Mitchell

MOTHER’s 50th anniversary is on the horizon, so we’re harkening back to our roots. Longtime readers will recall our Report From Them That’s Doin’, a department featuring homesteaders living their best lives. We’re reviving this column to mark our upcoming anniversary with news on what we’re learning, who’s inspiring us, and much more.

We want to know what’s captured your interest too. Have you discovered a handy tool or built a project for your property? Read a great book or tried a new app? Attended an interesting event or experimented with an innovative gardening technique? Tell us at In the meantime, here’s what we’ve been doin’.

Observational Sketches

Whether the weather’s hot or cold, I find time to solo hike in my area. My favorite thing is to bring along my notebook and practice observational sketching and journaling while outside. I love how solo hiking has been teaching me about solitude, confidence, the local environment, and finding joy in nature. –Jessica Mitchell, editor

Primitive Skills

I just got back from the Roots School and a week’s immersion in the world of primitive skills enthusiasts — people who are interested in the technologies and knowledge of Stone Age cultures, and in connecting with and supporting indigenous peoples’ understanding of the environment. Much of this information is maintained and passed down orally rather than being written down. I focused on how each task and tool felt in my hands to understand information that’s mostly tactile. –Caitlin Wilson, editor

Bird Barriers for Berries

Birds decimate my blackberry and strawberry crops if I don’t cover them, so I’m happy to have discovered bird netting by Berry Hill Drip Irrigation. Berry Hill’s high-density polyethylene net rolls and unrolls easily, and I’ve been using mine for years. Now, I don’t have to share a bumper crop of berries with the birds. –Rebecca Martin, editor

Plying Plies

I’ve been spinning yarn for a long time, but I’m currently working to master a specific technique of plying yarn (twisting together several single threads). Chain plying lets you start with a single-spun thread and end up with a three-ply yarn. The spinning technique uses a manual version of a crochet chain stitch. I’m enjoying the heck out of playing with this! –Carla Tilghman, editor


Birth Training

I recently attended a course to become a trained birth doula, someone who offers support for women and families during pregnancy, labor, and the postpartum period. To learn more about doulas, visit the Doulas of North America website. –Jordan Carley, editorial intern

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!