The Urban Homesteader Food Pyramid

urban homesteaders food pyramid

I’ve been thinking about self-sufficiency: what that means, and what is truly achievable in a small space, such as our 1/3-acre property. The key to eating more food from your own backyard, it strikes me, is to have a diet that focuses more on foods that can be grown in your backyard. Even though we [Continue Reading...]

Giveaway: Lard: The Lost Art of Cooking with Your Grandmother’s Secret Ingredient

Lard: The Lost Art of Cooking with your Grandmother's Secret Ingredient

Update: This Giveaway is now closed. Congrats to Jill! Jill, please check your email for information on how to claim your prize. Just a warning, friends: expect a lot of giveaways in the next several weeks. I spent last weekend at the Mother Earth News Fair in Puyallup and was more than happy to bring [Continue Reading...]

Would You Rub Pork Fat On Your Face?

Lard as Moisturizer

Do you love lard? Then this is the week for you. Make sure you come back tomorrow – I’ll be reviewing and giving away a copy of Lard: The Lost Art of Cooking with Your Grandmother’s Secret Ingredient and a one-year subscription to GRIT Magazine: Rural American Know-How, both courtesy of GRIT Magazine, the fabulous country-living focused [Continue Reading...]

Giveaway: ReCAP Mason Jar Pour-Spout Lids

I freaking love my reCAP lids. I have 10, a thank-you gift for supporting the initial Kickstarter fund-raising campaign that helped turn reCAPs from a really great idea into a really great reality. The BPA-free plastic, pour-spout lids transform any regular mouth mason jar into a leak-proof, easy-to-use pourable container. I have my Mason Jar Stir-Fry [Continue Reading...]

Urban Farm Magazine Seed Starting Challenge Winners

Urban Farm Magazine

Big Congrats to Marie, the winner of our seed starting challenge! Marie is growing strawberries and artichokes from seed for the first time. Great job! Check your email for info on how to get your certificate for a year’s subscription to Urban Farm Magazine. Also congrats to At Home On Paradise Cove, who is the [Continue Reading...]

Don’t Buy These 5 Williams-Sonoma Agrarian Products

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Last week Williams-Sonoma branched out from French dishwear, excellent knives and seasonal high-end cocoa mix into urban homesteading gear. With the launch of their Agrarian line, Williams-Sonoma now sells gardening gear, chicken and bee keeping supplies, seeds, edible plants, fruit trees and preserving supplies. Some people in the hardcore DIY community (you know who you [Continue Reading...]

Wall Mounted Clothes Drying Rack, Perfected

Drying Rack Remodel (2)

Last week I talked about building my wall-mounted DIY clothes drying rack from a Freecycled baby play pen. Several readers expressed their concern that my rack as-built wouldn’t allow quite enough airflow to ensure prompt drying. I addressed those concerns temporarily by propping the rack when in-use away from the wall using a fruit tree branch spreader. [Continue Reading...]

Giveaway: Free Range Chicken Gardens and The Fresh Egg Cookbook

Free Range Chicken Gardens - Jessi Bloom

Edible gardeners want to eat what they grow. Chicken owners want happy egg-laying helpers. But happy, free-ranging chickens will mess up a veggie patch faster than you can say cotyledon. And that is the conflict garden-growing chicken-owners face. Thankfully, Free-Range Chicken Gardens, the new book by landscape designer and chicken expert Jessi Bloom, tells you how [Continue Reading...]

The Simple Decisions of a Complex Life

Eggs

Want to know why I really keep backyard hens? The eggs are great, the chicken TV is a blast, and the deep-litter compost might actually make our hens a financially reasonable investment. But that’s not really why I have the girls. I keep laying hens because the sum total of the work involved in feeding, [Continue Reading...]

DIY Wall-Mounted Clothes Drying Rack

DIY Wall Mounted Clothes Drying Rack (5)

The ad on Freecycle said, Wooden Baby Pen, and described some sort of a freestanding baby jail made from dozens of dowels. With visions of a garden cucumber support in my head, I said I would love to have it, and could promise reliable pick up. Before I could worry about trellising cukes, laundry room inspiration hit [Continue Reading...]

Battle Coffee Pot vs. Microwave: An Energy Cost Analysis

In this corner: the coffee pot's keep-warm function!

For Christmas this year I got a new coffee pot. Among the wonders it offered over and above our old coffee pot (in addition to working) was a fabulous keep-warm feature that holds a pot of coffee at steaming hot perfection for four hours! Amazing, what will they think of next? While I love the [Continue Reading...]

The 7 Best Strength Exercises For Gardeners

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Gardening can be remarkably physical. Over President’s Day Weekend I converted some lawn area into a wide swath of planting beds. In the process I shoveled, raked, pushed 200 pound filled wheelbarrows around the yard, bent over to grab building materials, squatted down to grab rocks, swung a mattock, split logs, flung weeds, lifted and [Continue Reading...]