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  • water plants

    9 Beautiful Water Plants For Your Aquatic Garden Or Pond

    Spring has come. For the winter-weary gardener, the chance to finally get back out into the wonderful world of soil and sprouts is exhilarating. Within a few short weeks, garden beds are awake and planted, pots are filled and placed back on the porch, and flower beds are tenderly mulched. And then … all that […] More

  • free firewood

    Free Firewood: 8 Places to Find It Near You

    When summer rolls around our part of the Ozarks, the rivers and parks teem with weekend adventurers. And like the Echinacea plants that dot the roadsides, signs start to spring up selling firewood for campers — at prices that make my head spin. When you only need a picturesque campfire to roast some hot dogs […] More

  • growing swiss chard

    Growing Swiss Chard

    If a garden was a high school movie drama, tomatoes would be the prom queen cheerleader, corn would be the basketball star jock, fennel would be the weird kid who dislocates his fingers and thinks it’s entertaining, and Swiss chard would be the really nice, helpful girl who just isn’t popular. And I think that’s […] More

  • chicken waterers

    The Best Chicken Waterers For Your Flock

    It’s early morning, and I’m out around the homestead, quietly doing my normal chores. If you listen closely through the birdsong, you’ll hear the sound of a metal bucket clunking against my boots, transporting something precious. I filled it slowly from the rain barrel, listening to my small flock of chickens clamoring in their coop. […] More

  • types of moss

    10 Types Of Moss For Your Garden

    There’s something mysterious and intriguing about moss. Maybe it’s because of the way it drapes over trees and rocks in places like the Hoh Rain Forest of Washington state. It looks like a land outside time. Or maybe it’s a bit of residual childlike wonder from the days we were small enough to crouch on […] More

  • fainting goat

    Raising Tennessee Fainting Goats

    My first interaction with fainting goats was unintentional. I was jogging along a park trail, watching the trees go by while enjoying the quiet rhythm of my pounding feet. That reverie was jostled into confusion, however, by the sound of something screaming. It wasn’t human, and as I looked for the source, a goat blundered […] More

  • boer goats

    Raising Boer Goats

    My husband and I like to look through our local farm listings to find tools or animals for the homestead. It gives us the chance to make friends, learn information about our area, and acquire stock that is more acclimated to our Ozark home. The last time we were scrolling through the pages of tractors, […] More

  • powdery mildew

    Powdery Mildew: What It Is, How To Identify It, And Treatment Methods

    You walk into the garden, wiping sweat from your forehead in the summer’s boggy heat. The peppers are dangling like hidden jewels beneath their glossy leaves. The okra is dazzling with its tropical, hollyhock-like blooms. And the tomatoes are looking fine — even though you flicked a hornworm to your chickens as a treat. But […] More

  • homemade yogurt

    How To Make Yogurt (And Why You Should)

    Yogurt is an ancient food that in recent years, has seemed to become an entity unto itself. Walking down the yogurt aisle at any grocery store (yes, it has its own aisle) is an adventure in persuasive marketing. Every plastic tub begs for your attention because it is more protein-rich, probiotic, or healthier than the […] More

  • brown hens

    Marek’s Disease: What It Is & How To Prevent It

    If you are new to keeping chickens, you will eventually have to do some reading on the diseases that can befall your flock. In the lists of common ailments, you’ll encounter plenty of problems to keep in the back of your mind as you observe your birds. Some are serious but easily understood. Problems like […] More

  • grinding flour

    How To Make Flour

    One of my favorite college coffeehouses was across the street from a milling company. I spent many hours sketching and sipping their various brews, the mood-lit ambiance of the cafe constantly underscored by the low hum of unseen machines turning grain into flour. Anyone who parked more than an hour on the that street would […] More

  • soil thermometer

    Soil Temperature: What It Is And Why It Matters

    On any given day, normal people are concerned with the temperature of the air. If you have to walk a few blocks to the subway, or you want to plan a barbecue, the ambient air temperature can affect whether you go out in a t-shirt or hunker down inside. But us gardening folk are a […] More

  • chickens foraging

    Chicken Molting: What It Is And What To Expect

    It’s a beautiful day with the first fall feelings. Maybe the asters and goldenrod have begun to bloom, and you noticed monarch butterflies headed south. There’s a good, crisp smell to the air — but as you near the chicken coop, your heart drops! There are feathers everywhere. A panicked headcount soon reveals that all […] More

  • sourdough bread

    How To Capture And Use Wild Yeast

    I have a secret weapon in my kitchen. It makes my daily bread taste amazing (and far more digestible than anything store-bought). As long as I take care of the starter, this weapon is an endless material. And the best part of all? It’s free for the taking. I’m talking about wild yeast — a […] More

  • fence and sunset

    16 Cheap Fence Ideas For The Suburbs And The Country

    When buying a new property — whether in the city, suburbs, or country — you may also inherit broken-down, ugly, or absent fences. With a small patch of land, this may lead to privacy concerns. On a larger acreage homestead, bad or nonexistent fencing can lead to problems like your sheep escaping and eating the neighbor’s […] More

  • person holding peas

    Growing Peas

    Every vegetable that bursts out of the ground is a gift to me. The wispy little feathers of emerging carrots, the blink-and-they’re-there sprouts of lightning-quick radishes, and the first true leaves of a tomato plant — heralding the impatient wait for it to grow and produce the fresh tomatoes of summer. Peas, however, are extra-special. […] More

  • radishes

    Growing Radishes

    Every garden has its challenges: Florence fennel that refuses to make a sizeable bulb, spinach that bolts immediately, corn that’s full of tunneling, or kernel-wrecking worms. But every once in awhile, there comes a plant that gives and gives and doesn’t ask much more than a space to give it. Like radishes. I see these […] More

  • blue eggs

    Jazz Up Your Flock With Chickens That Lay Blue Eggs

    Before I got into caring for my own flock as a homesteader, my understanding of chicken eggs was pretty much unchanged from childhood. There were the white ones that I could buy in a Styrofoam package at the Mega-Mart, and the brown ones that my dad sometimes brought home from his friend “in the country.” Now […] More

  • wyandotte chickens

    Chicken Wormers: A Helpful Guide For How To Identify & Treat Chicken Worms

    New animals are an exciting addition to the homestead, but there’s always a risk when outsiders come into the fold. You never know what extra parasites may accompany them, and potentially damage your healthy herd or flock. This was the case with our new Brahma hen. We loved her beetle-green feathers and quirky feathered feet, […] More

  • vegetable garden beds

    What Size Is Best For A Vegetable Garden?

    So you’ve taken a long, hard look at the sunny space in the back yard, and you’ve decided it’s time to grow more than useless grass. Maybe you’ve just moved to a new property that is full of potential and devoid of a garden, and your green thumb’s itching something fierce. Or, perhaps, you are […] More

  • fennel plant

    How To Grow, Harvest, And Use The Humble Fennel Plant

    We didn’t go to farmers’ markets often when I was a kid. When we did, my dad always purchased a fennel bulb with the huge spray of feathery leaves that make it so attractive. I think he liked how it looked sticking out of the bag he carried. He would rip off a few leaves, […] More

  • rhubarb plants

    Growing Rhubarb

    Rhubarb pie does eternal battle with apple in my heart — each of them vying to reign as favorite. But I have to admit, there’s something about the tart-sweet of rhubarb that demands attention, and piques longing when it’s not there. I can’t be alone in this appreciation for rhubarb dessert. It wasn’t called “pie […] More

  • composting toilet

    5 DIY Composting Toilet Ideas And Details To Consider

    Most of us were raised on flush toilets. You go in the bathroom, do what you’ve got to do, and then the press of a shiny lever flushes all your unpleasantries into oblivion, never to be thought of again. But that modern luxury — and it is a luxury — is something that many of […] More

  • eggplant in field

    Growing Eggplant

    “What’s in your sandwich? It looks gross.” It’s a weird moment realizing you are THAT KID at school lunch. Surrounded by bologna, pb&j, and ham and cheese, the shiny, black skin poking out of my eggplant parmesan sandwich did look a bit unusual, I guess. With my Sicilian father often puttering at the stove, eggplant had been […] More

  • Growing Gourds

    To those unfamiliar, there may not seem to be much difference between a gourd and squash. Fruit-wise, they share a lot of similar attributes — cool shapes, hard rind, seeds hidden inside, and beautiful colors. But once you try to grow one, you will quickly notice the enormously long, trailing vines, the beautiful, night-blooming flowers, […] More

  • harvesting squash

    Growing Squash

    Take a glance at anyone’s backyard garden. No matter where you go, you’ll likely find a squash plant growing. There’s something about these easy-to-grow and generous plants that demand a place in your garden bed — wherever you can manage to fit it in. So whether you grow succulent zucchinis and crookneck varieties for summer […] More

  • pepper plant

    Growing Peppers

    Peter Piper may have picked an inexplicably pickled peck of peppers (were they fermenting on the plants or something?) but in order to pick a peck, they first needed to be planted. Thankfully, the process of cultivating and harvesting peppers is a good deal simpler than the tongue-twisters they inspire! Considering that store-bought peppers of […] More

  • carton of duck eggs

    Why Duck Eggs Are The Best Thing You’ve Never Eaten (Yet!)

    Everyone always talks about the proverbial first appearance of the chicken and her egg, but where are the philosophical wonderings about duck eggs? Indeed, these wonderful waterfowl have been a part of farms and homesteads as long as chickens, but their eggs are yet to break into popular culture and everyday cuisine. Truly, this is […] More

  • water

    Getting Started With Off-Grid Water Systems For A More Self-Reliant Homestead

    In my experience, it seems that discussions about off-grid water systems only take place in niche communities of homesteaders or preppers. If you were to bring it up in “normal” workplace conversation, I guarantee you’d get at least one set of raised “what a weirdo” eyebrows. But considering just how crucial water is to life […] More

  • frosted purple kale

    8 Winter Vegetables You Should Plant In Your Garden

    August rolls around, and lots of us start looking at the garden with a sad sigh. The cucumbers are petering out. The tomatoes are still going strong, but the first frost (is it really looming already?) will wipe them (and the okra) from the plot until next year. The summer squash is gangly and tired, and […] More

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