But will she lay? Review of Keeping Chickens

A Rhode Island Red Chicken

For the past two years gardening has been my great obsession. I've planted fruit trees, vegetables, and flowers, with great hopes for how beautiful and nourishing they'll be both now and in the years to come. I've even taken on beekeeping and have one beehive near my back porch. The only things missing are chickens. I yearn for a few hens to provide me with fresh eggs as well as manure for … [Read more...]

Yes, you can bake bread

Fresh Bread

My husband and I are on one heck of a family resilience bender. When we first got married almost three years ago, we focused on insulating our place from attic to basement, shaving 20% off of our heating and cooling expenses. This really adds up. But in the past six months our efforts have turned more to homemaker re-skilling. We've added a rain barrel and composter. He's learned to brew beer. … [Read more...]

Back in the day, urban gardens everywhere

Village of Catskill, NY

Have you ever walked through your neighborhood, noticed a vacant lot, and wondered why nobody had bothered to plant a garden there, instead of just letting the land sit around empty? Now, of course, plant and insect people will tell you that no land is empty. Even the humblest weedlot plays a role in urban ecology. But I'd wager that few vacant lots are under the control of a wildlife … [Read more...]

Top 10 peak oil books of 2011

open book on stack of books

Welcome to our second annual list of the top ten peak oil books. Most of them are explicitly about peak oil, while others deal with energy depletion as a significant factor in the economy or the environment. A couple titles focus on responses to the myriad conundrums that Richard Heinberg has dubbed "peak everything" and that are now converging to create a perfect storm for global industrial … [Read more...]

The Greenhorns: No fear of farming


In US culture, where food is denatured, communication is #txtd, and the majority of us spend most of our time indoors behind computer screens, going back to the land holds an undeniable charm. Many therapists and advocates for a more holisitic life, such as peak oil writer Carolyn Baker, argue that such a draw is healing, and essential to mitigate the most alienating aspects of industrial … [Read more...]

Urban homesteaders offer reskilling

Urban Homesteading

Just as urban and suburban dwellers can fit a lot of projects and production into their modest spaces, Urban Homesteading: Heirloom Skills for Sustainable Living packs many ideas and examples into a modest and accessible book. As long time social activists, artists, urban homesteaders, and friends, authors Rachel Kaplan and K. Ruby Blume present in their book the example of a diverse group of … [Read more...]

Profiles in urban homesteading

Sundari Kraft and Company

Across the Web yesterday, citified farmers united en masse to stake their claims to the age old art of urban homesteading. After reacting with horror and dismay over a move by the well-known Dervaes family of Pasadena, California, who issued an informational letter on their website—and to individual outlets—announcing that they had secured trademarks for the terms "urban homestead" and … [Read more...]

Urban homesteeds, war horses with mulch


Take our poll: Should "urban homestead" be trademarked? The war horses are out and snorting a dust-up in the world of, uh...how shall I say this?...of, er, city-dwelling folks who garden and stuff. The brouhaha pits long-time (and apparently official) urban homesteaders the Dervaes family of Pasadena, California against...well, just about everybody else who would lay claim to the term "urban … [Read more...]

Homesteading for the rest of us

The Urban Homestead

BOOK REVIEW The Urban Homestead (Expanded & Revised Edition): Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City (Process Self-reliance Series) By Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen Process Press, 2010, $17.95 I read gardening and back-to-the-land books like many people read romances or the sports pages, and lots of books just don’t cut it for me.  But this book was a very … [Read more...]