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  • 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 Guide

    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 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

  • ground cover around flagstone

    9 Ground Cover Plants to Replace Your Grass Lawn

    Lawns. They started out as a status symbol, and they’ve been holding that dubiously positive rank since they were first carved out of the fields around castles. Back then, there was at least some strategic advantage. It’s pretty hard to have your army sneak up on an enemy stronghold when it’s surrounded by acres of carefully-trimmed […] More

  • flowers

    Getting Started With Self-Sufficient Living (And Why It IS Possible)

    Self-sufficiency. What other term in the homesteading sphere carries such a weight of history, responsibility, and hope? Visions of lush, productive gardens, cozy wood stoves crackling with hand-split hardwood, provisions lining the pantry shelves, and healthy animals moving through the fields; all dance in our heads backed by the resounding questions: Is it actually possible? […] More

  • duck coop

    10 Considerations For Your Backyard Duck Coop

    When it comes to barnyard livestock, ducks are probably the easiest-going of the bunch. When there is a slight drizzle, the goats complain and run in the barn. When the north wind blows ice crystals across the fields, your chickens are floofed-up and hiding in the coop. Meanwhile, the ducks are blithely waddling across slush […] More

  • rocks piled at base of big coop

    7 Chicken Predators And How To Protect Your Flock

    When I still lived in the city, I dreamed of chickens. I browsed breed lists like a bride-to-be looks through wedding catalogs. I anticipated morning egg gathering, rooster crows, egg-laying cackles, and lots of free fertilizer! But for all my research, I had no idea what it would feel like to face what I grimly call “predator […] More

  • goat fence

    5 Goat Fencing Options And Details To Consider

    Among goat owners, there’s a well-known saying: “A fence that won’t hold water won’t hold a goat.” And though that hyperbole may seem extreme … it’s certainly proven true by the generations of goat-escapees that have tested the patience of their fence-builders. I think it’s also safe to say there is no one perfect solution for comfortably containing […] More

  • male and female muscovy duck

    Raising Muscovy Ducks And Why You Probably Want Them

    With their clawed feet, bizarre-looking caruncles, mohawk-like crest, and lack of quack, Muscovy ducks don’t quite fit the “bill” (if you pardon the pun) for what you might consider a “normal” duck. But on our homestead, these are the only ducks we want to keep because they have won our hearts with both their utility […] More

  • okra

    How To Grow, Maintain, And Harvest The Okra Plant

    Okra seems to be one of the foods synonymous with the south — alongside fried chicken, collard greens, and cast-iron cornbread. And indeed, the warm-weather crop does best in places where the temperatures are sizzling! This delicious, nutritious, and versatile vegetable need not be constrained below the Mason-Dixon Line, however. Growers all over the country […] More

  • drought tolerant landscape

    8 Beautiful, Drought-Tolerant Plants For Dry Landscapes

    You’ve heard the rain. All that free water falling from the sky, keeping the hills and valleys green. But if you live in a drought-prone area that cooling summer rain may seem more like a fever dream than reality, and all the lush, beautiful vegetation associated with rain — as far away as the clouds that […] More

  • deers in the garden

    Deer-Resistant Plants

    Deer are graceful, nearly ethereal creatures. Their silent forest ways and magnificent appearance may inspire paintings and poetry, novels and songs. But for the hard-working gardener, they may more likely inspire enraged streams of cursing, because deer are also opportunistic jerks who readily translate the hard work invested in a garden into a free, all-night […] More

  • daisies in mortar

    How to Make a Bruise Poultice

    On the homestead, getting dinged-up by daily activities is just a part of life. You’d be hard-pressed to ever find me without some sort of cut or bruise somewhere! Sometimes, those minor wounds can be surprisingly incapacitating. Just ask someone with a paper cut or hangnail that’s in the exact wrong spot! And even though […] More

  • nigerian dwarf goat

    Raising Nigerian Dwarf Goats

    Before I really knew the term “homesteading,” and before I knew that I’d be working on 12 beautiful acres in the Ozarks, I knew one thing: I wanted goats. And when I finally did move to those Ozark hills, it wasn’t long before two beautiful little Nigerian Dwarf goats were housed in our barn. Deciding […] More

  • chestnut tree farm

    Planting, Growing, and Maintaining Chestnut Trees

    “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire …” is a phrase most Americans can sing along to without even thinking, but there is so much more to these amazing trees than Christmas lyrics. Much more than a seasonal treat, the chestnut tree has a fascinating history, a tragic past, and a deserving place on the homestead. […] More

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