Sustainable Living • Farming • DIY • Gardening • Home Improvement


The Art of the Snowflake

Capturing the Beauty of Snow Crystals

Autumn's colorful days and crisp nights are here, and with them comes a chill in the air, reminding us that winter isn't far behind. Whether you love the "deep mid-winter" or prefer a more tropical climate, there's incredible beauty to be found in snow, as author and photographer Kenneth Libbrecht reveals in his stunning photographic album The Art of the Snowflake. Continue Reading »


How To Build A DIY Solar Oven

As a kid in the 1970s I read a lot of really cool magazines that my parents subscribed to. Lots of organic gardening, science, and environmental issues were covered. One of the subjects that I thought was coolest (or hottest) was solar energy. At that time, due to costs, most of the use of solar focused on passive use and heating hot water, as opposed to today's greater focus on generating electricity. Interestingly, the house I grew up in was a passive solar house--I don't know if the high school art teacher who built it knew what he was doing or not, but the entire south wall of the house was windows. In the winter it was delightful to sit in the warming sunshine. In the summer, deciduous trees shaded the south side so it wasn't blazing hot. Continue Reading »


Housing Your Pigs

Providing Shelter for Pig Farms

If you're interested in raising pigs, author Philip Hasheider will guide you step-by-step through the process of planning for, purchasing, and caring for your herd. In his book How to Raise Pigs, Hasheider offers sage insight into various housing options for different types of pig farms, from indoor pens to outdoor pastures. Continue Reading »


Let Us Grow Lettuce - All Year Round!

Greens for Your Indoor Kitchen Garden

You don't need vast acreage to grow your own garden, and as author Elizabeth Millard explains in her book Indoor Kitchen Gardening, you don't even need a yard at all: you can grow a smorgasbord of veggies right there in your very own kitchen. Yes! You can grow your own salad inside, year-round! (Take that, winter.) Continue Reading »

Calibrachoa feat

The Best Plants for a Stunning October Garden in Illinois

There are a lot of plants to choose from in any nursery. Fortunately, author Shawna Coronado is here to help. For you Illinois beginner gardeners, her new book, the Illinois Getting Started Garden Guide, is invaluable.  I'm just going to go out on a limb here and say that planning for a fall garden matters A LOT in a part of the world with such a short summer season. So, here 5 of her favorite cool-weather showstoppers. Continue Reading »

Country Skills

Installing Fence Posts Using a Tractor and Post Pounder

Before installing any horizontal parts of a fence, such as wire or boards, the fence's vertical posts need to be set firmly in place. Continue Reading »

Sustainable Living

straw bale

Straw in the Spotlight

Getting Started with Straw Bale Gardens

Sometimes it's easy to view our plants and crops as the main attraction of our gardens. Continue Reading »

Home How-to

Compost Bin 2

Build An Attractive Compost Bin

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In the Garden


Build A Pebbled Stepping Stone Path

Fall is a great time to take a moment to evaluate your landscape and prepare for the next growing season. Continue Reading »

In the Kitchen

freezing vegetables

Freezing Vegetables

A Step-by-Step Guide to Blanching and Freezing Your Garden's Bounty

As a harvest hits its bountiful peak, it can be a scramble to preserve all of the vegetables coming in from the garden. Continue Reading »


Swans Throughout History

From the Iron Age's supernatural legend and ancient Greek mythology to the Swan Knight of King Arthur's court and the Swan maiden of Russian folklore, the swan moves through human history in myriad forms, often garnering reverence for its beauty and power. Continue Reading »