Sustainable Living • Farming • DIY • Gardening • Home Improvement

Black & Decker Complete Guide to Patios

Sandset Brick Patio, Part One

I love having a patio. Here in Minnesota the mosquitoes are deadly in the yard amidst the shrubs and grass and plants. On the patio, however, I get about half the number of landing biters. If I light my citronella tiki torches I can actually sit outside for a while. (And I live in a "Mosquito Control District." Can't imagine what it is like outside "The District.") Continue Reading »

Plant Nutrients 1

What's Wrong With This Plant?

It's very frustrating to nurture a plant, sometimes from seed, and see it start to wilt away or turn strange colors! Fortunately, Diana Maranhao, author of Rocky Mountain Fruit & Vegetable Gardening shares her guide to diagnosing the problem. It turns out that you're not the only one that could benefit from some extra nutrients every once in a while! Continue Reading »

Hog History

From 16th-Century Spain to the Creation of Wall Street, Pigs Paved the Way

Author Philip Hasheider knows a thing or two about raising pigs*. In his book How to Raise Pigs, Hasheider guides readers through everything we need to know about raising pigs for pleasure or profit, from figuring out which breed to buy to properly housing, fencing, feeding, breeding, showing, marketing, and butchering animals. He also shines an interesting light on the history of pigs, from ancient paintings to the development of America's "Hog Belt." Continue Reading »

Deep South Gardening

Super-Hot Weather? Time to Plan your Garden and Prep for Fall Vegetables

August starts at the end of next week! It can be hard to talk yourself into going into the garden when the REAL heat hits in August, especially in the languidly humid states of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi. Nellie Neal, author of Deep South Month-by-Month Gardening, shares a few tips and tricks that anyone can use during the dog days of summer. Continue Reading »

Making (and Choosing) the Best Indoor Gardening Soil

Here's a little tidbit of reality that gets me every single year: while tenacious weeds will gladly thrive (and I mean THRIVE) in seemingly any old patch of dirt, it takes intentional planning and a fair dose of effort to nurture the flora that you want to grow. Those lovely seeds you plant on purpose, I mean. They need balanced care at every turn, and at the beginning of it all, they need good soil. Continue Reading »

Country Skills

Farm Fences and Gates Post 3

Organic Alternatives to Conventional Fence Post Treatments

Pressure-treated boards and posts can leak poisonous arsenic into the soil. Continue Reading »

Sustainable Living

Square Foot Gardening With Kids Cuttings 1

Teach Your Kids About Garden Cuttings

And Get "Free" Plants, To Boot!

L Continue Reading »

Home How-to

Black & Decker The Book of Home How-To Fan feat

Ceiling Fan-tastic

How to Install a Ceiling Fan

We try to use the air conditioning as little as possible. Continue Reading »

In the Garden

Grow More With Less Groundcover 1

5 Tips for More Sustainable Lawn Care

Do Less and Still Enjoy a Beautiful Yard

According to the EPA, the average American household uses 320 gallons of water per day, about 30 percent of which is devoted to outdoor uses. Continue Reading »

In the Kitchen

Elizabeth Tichenor/ The Bay Area Homegrown Cookbook

A Perfect Summer Recipe As Simple As A Haiku

I hope I'm not the only one who just wants something simple once in a while. Continue Reading »


North American Songbirds Red-Winged Blackbird 1

The Red-Winged Blackbird, At A Glance

(Agelaius phoeniceus)

Noble Proctor, author of North American Songbirds, gives us the skinny on one of the few birds that looks like its name and almost anyone can identify: The Red-Winged Blackbird. Continue Reading »