Chicken Rotation: Optimizing For Year-Round Laying From The Backyard Flock


Disclaimer: if you think of your chickens as pets, if you let them live out their full, natural lives regardless of economics of laying productivity vs. feed, then this may not be the post for you. While there is nothing graphic in this post, it assumes the reader is comfortable with the concept of slaughtering livestock. This [Continue Reading…]

Better Homemade Vanilla Extract


With all that holiday baking and homemade gift giving I’ll bet you ran through a fair bit of vanilla extract. Good news! If you start a new batch now it will be absolutely perfect for the 2015 holiday season. Homemade vanilla extract is about as simple a DIY as you could hope for, and the [Continue Reading…]

The Jasmine Tea-tini


Oscar Wilde is credited with perhaps the world’s best quip about manners: “A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone’s feelings unintentionally.” Yeah, just take a minute and let it sink in. I feel the same way about cocktails: “A good cocktail will never get you drunk unintentionally.” My preference is for drinks that leave no room [Continue Reading…]

{Reader Question} Can You Homestead with Kids?


I received a question the other day from reader Andrea about how to keep up with a “homesteader” type lifestyle when you have kids. I would love to know where you were in this journey when you had babies and how you were able to keep up with it. We currently live a similar life (gardens, chickens, [Continue Reading…]

Sand Litter Bed In The Chicken Coop: An Experiment

Trying something new.

We’ve been managing our chicken coop through a hybrid sand and deep litter system. This hybrid system has worked extremely well in our particular coop. Briefly, how that system works is, the chickens roost over the sand, which acts like kitty litter to dry out their overnight poop, and in the morning the poop is raked to the [Continue Reading…]

The Rosemary Gin Gimlet


On New Year’s Eve I went to one of my favorite restaurants with my favorite people and drank a Gin Gimlet. (Okay, okay, three Gin Gimlets. You know me so well.) It was nice to get reacquainted with the Gimlet – it’s an old friend I haven’t quaffed in a long while. The Gimlet is [Continue Reading…]

Is Cheap Seed Hurting Your Garden? Germination Rate, Vigor, and Why You Should Care

Seed Germination

Sometimes, cheap seeds just cost too much. I’m going to explain why in a second, but first I want you to imagine for a minute that you are pulling up to a gas station to fuel your car. There are two pumps, and each will dispense different fuels. Pump A sells fuel that costs $7 [Continue Reading…]

Mache Salad with Pickled Beets and Goat Cheese


Pickings are mighty slim in the garden right now, but I do have mache. This freely self-sowing (not to say weedy) tender salad green is the most green thing I’ve picked in months. While I was looking the other way, it’s filled an entire bed with these little, nutty rosettes. I like mache, I really [Continue Reading…]

That Time They Let Me On TV (Modern Homesteading on Growing a Greener World)


You may remember that back in September I had the amazing experience of hosting the Growing a Greener World TV crew so they could film my garden and we could talk about modern homesteading and family. In case you missed it, here’s the TL;DR: super talented TV people came to my house to put me [Continue Reading…]

Grandpa’s Cold Cure Cocktail


At this time of year, no one would blame you if you were a bit partied out. From Thanksgiving to New Years tends to be a glutton-fest of rich food, sweets and frequent libation. I’m eager to revive the ol’ Friday Cocktail Tradition around here, but sympathetic to folks who may be feeling like a [Continue Reading…]

How To Make Canadian Bacon At Home


One thing above all others makes my kids happy: Canadian Bacon and Pineapple Pizza. (I’ll admit, I’m fond of it, too.) So, confident in my general bacon-making abilities I embarked on a Canadian Bacon making experiment. I’m happy to report that homemade Canadian Bacon is, if anything, even easier than belly bacon and tastes great in [Continue Reading…]

Updated! Seeds For Beginners: Saving, Storing and Organizing Your Vegetable Seeds


This post was originally published January 23, 2012. I’ve slightly updated my own seed storage method (below), and we’ve welcomed a ton of new gardeners to the fold in the last three years, so I thought it was time to revisit seed storage basics.   I am getting a lot of questions about seeds right [Continue Reading…]