Mother Earth Living






5/31/2011
When a fire destroyed their home and office near San Luis Obispo, Ken Haggard and Polly Cooper seized the opportunity to build the off-the-grid straw bale home of their dreams. Their comfortable compound now houses two other families as well.
5/31/2011
With no building experiment and only the information they found online as their guide, Kyle and Jeannie built a sweet little home on wheels. In this video, they share what they learned in the process and invite you inside.
5/27/2011
A proper tea house is a luxury I believe in.
5/27/2011
Cut old milk jugs into the shape of your choice, rough them up with sandpaper and string them together to make surprisingly pretty window shades that offer privacy while letting the sun shine in.
5/27/2011
Since they built their solar- and wind-powered cordwood home in Desboro, Ontario, Lisa and Ray Racicot have never looked back. The only thing they'll do differently next time is install the renewable energy systems first, to power the construction.
5/26/2011
These three homes--in Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina--use passive cooling techniques to eliminate the need for mechanical air conditioning. Check them out and learn a few tricks for reducing--or eliminating--your AC bills this summer.
5/26/2011
After a tree crushed the back of their shotgun home (while 40 Hurricane Katrina refugees were camped out there), a Baton Rouge couple rebuilt a green, energy-efficient house that encourages connection with their neighborhood's 'front porch' culture.
5/26/2011
Ever wonder what, exactly, you're getting when you pay a little extra for Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood and paper products? This video offers a comprehensive look at the FSC's roots and branches.
5/25/2011
The Reincarnated McMansion Project aims to tear down one inefficient, climate-insensitive suburban house and replace it with two small, green, handcrafted homes.
5/25/2011
This 19th-century Creole cottage was disassembled, moved and meticulously reassembled and restored on a new site in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. Built for its climate, the welcoming home is an excellent example of passive cooling and material reuse.
5/25/2011
Gardening can make a difference! Across the country, people are building rain gardens to filter contaminants and ease overburdened stormwater systems. Here's how to build a rain garden in 10 easy steps.
5/25/2011
A flea market basket that called to me, my grandmother's hand-embroidered linens and a quilt made by a circle of women in Minnesota are among the wabi-sabi items that I wouldn't want to be without.
5/25/2011
Learn to let go of associations with price, value, age and prestige and just appreciate beauty without judgment. Nature is the best muse for cultivating wabi-sabi.
5/23/2011
The $300 House Project challenges student and professional designers to create housing that shelters the poorest of the poor with safety and dignity. Winners will receive cash prizes and the opportunity to see their $300 houses built and reproduced.
5/23/2011
Sauteed spring greens and mushrooms dress up polenta in this nutritious, satisfying main dish.
5/23/2011
A good layer of environmentally friendly mulch such as eucalyptus, pine bark or cocoa hulls will discourage weeds, keep soil up to 10 degrees cooler and help prevent plant disease. What's your favorite green mulch?
5/23/2011
'Green' cleaning products are awash with misleading labels and false claims. Always look for a third-party certification to assure you're buying the healthiest, most environmentally friendly cleaners.
5/20/2011
Turn terra cotta planter pots into candle holders. This super simple project is an inexpensive way to bring a little romance to your garden.
5/20/2011
MIT students have developed an outdoor rocking lounge chair that doubles as a solar charging station, recasting power generation as an integrated and distributed public activity.
5/20/2011
The Burning House website asks people to post lists and photos of everything they would take if their house were on fire. It's an interesting glimpse into what really matters--and a bittersweet reminder to love what we have.
5/20/2011
NXP's wifi light bulb would allow homeowners to turn LED and compact fluorescent lights on and off from anywhere, using any Internet-enabled device. Some say it's the first step toward building 'smart' computer-controlled homes. Do we need this?
5/19/2011
Take a lesson from Southerners, who know a thing or two about keeping cool naturally. These homes take advantage of old-fashioned and cutting-edge passive cooling techniques to stay temperate even during hot Southern summers.
5/19/2011
Here's the dirt: Natural and nontoxic earthen floors are rich, buttery and luxurious--and they last a lifetime. With Claylin's new ready-made earthen floor in a bag, you can have the ancient beauty of earthen floors with modern convenience.
5/19/2011
Air conditioning accounts for as much as 20 percent of the average homeowner's utility bill. These simple tips can help you reduce your mechanical cooling needs, meaning more money for you and better-quality air for the world.
5/19/2011
Simone Swan built her off-the-grid domed and vaulted home in Presidio, Texas, as a model of how financially and thermally efficient adobe can be. For $50 a square foot, she built a masterpiece. She says you can, too.
5/18/2011
If we use high-quality items in our everyday lives, our lives become a sort of training. By using each item with care and careful consideration, the way we live becomes a tradition.
5/18/2011
In the first study of its kind, Duke University researchers found multiple toxic chemical flame retardants in car seats, breast-feeding pillows, changing pads, crib wedges and bassinet mattresses. Ask about flammability standards before you buy.
5/18/2011
Inspired by back-to-the-landers Scott and Helen Nearing, Kate NaDeau grows her own food and enjoys the simple pleasures of seasonal living in her handbuilt stone cottage in Maine. She is the epitome of good wabi-sabi living.
5/18/2011
In her new book, Micro-Green: Tiny Houses in Nature, Mimi Zeiger profiles 36 creative, innovative small dwellings that represent a 'new, rich architectural typology.' Here are eight great examples to start fueling your fantasies.
5/17/2011
Jessica invites readers to visit her at the upcoming Green Festival in Seattle and the Mother Earth News Fair in Puyallup, Washington.
5/17/2011
Bird-X's new Bed Bug Alert is a business card-size device that can be slipped under a mattress or into any tight spot to attract and trap bed bugs--alerting you to a problem before it's too late.
5/17/2011
The original weeHouse prefabricated kit house is 435 efficiently designed square feet and comes with everything you need to live well. Need more space? You can snap together two or more of the modules to satisfy your needs.
5/17/2011
Crazy, vigilant moms who scrub their toilets with baking soda are a threat to the chemical industry. Laugh out loud at the industry's twisted logic in this video from Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families--and pass it on.
5/16/2011
Is your patio short on space? Check out the Hot Pot BBQ, a grill that doubles as an herb planter.
5/16/2011
Every good home needs a porch. From fireside chats to sleeping—and even hanging laundry—porches can accommodate every aspect of our lives. Here are five inspiring examples to put a fire under your porch-sitting fantasies.
5/16/2011
Just as libraries transformed society by giving everyone access to books, the Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library is providing all citizens the opportunity to borrow seeds and grow their own food. Start a seed-lending library in your town!
5/16/2011
Celebrate Meatless Monday with this sweet, tangy spring risotto.
5/12/2011
The Joy of Green Cleaning is a fantastic resource with recipes to clean everything from grout to sheepskins.
5/12/2011
Deb and Tommy have spent just $7,500 to set up their off-the-grid homestead in Oklahoma's Kiamichi Mountains, which relies on one 80-watt solar panel for power. As they learn more, they will continue to build their systems.
5/12/2011
Floods are our nation's most common natural disaster, and they're threatening many areas right now. Take these prudent steps now to make sure you don't get caught off guard if floods threaten your home.
5/11/2011
Building homes using dangerous and impactful industrial chemicals--in the name of energy efficiency--is not sustainable or ecological, a green building veteran says. His Health-Based Building model is an important step forward for green design.
5/11/2011
Gary Chang's brilliant solution to making a 330-square-foot apartment work for his family was to create a sliding wall system that can be configured into 24 different rooms. You have to see this one to believe it.
5/11/2011
Every once in a while we need to rebel against the machines. Hand a towel to your significant other and ask him to dry while you rinse. Sweep the floor with a real broomcorn broom. Have a real conversation. Enjoy things happening slowly.
5/11/2011
A San Francisco architect brings wabi-sabi to his work through craftsmanship, employing natural materials to create a holistic environment that’s not cookie-cutter or slick, and eschewing ornamentation for what is needed and meaningful.
5/10/2011
In Arizona, an intrepid desert gardener harvests rainwater to grow his own food. A Missouri garden writer feeds his soil to feed himself. In Texas, a garden wall encourages community. These are a few of my favorite gardens.
5/10/2011
In my quest for the most energy efficient ceiling fan, one model blows the rest away. Now is the time to install ceiling fans for lower electricity bills this summer—here's how.
5/10/2011
Put your kitchen on an energy diet without spending money on new appliances. Use these simple tricks to use less energy while cooking, freezing and refrigerating--even drinking your morning coffee.
5/9/2011
Does the huge task of cleaning windows leave you feeling overwhelmed? Follow these six simple steps—using inexpensive materials you already have around the house—to get your windows sparkling and streak-free.
5/9/2011
Skip the steaks if you're firing up the barbecue tonight. Marinated and grilled veggies and tofu, served up with wasabi mayo on grilled bread, is a hearty, delicious way to celebrate Meatless Monday.
5/9/2011
When a group of graduation students began designing a home on the Navajo reservation in southeast Utah, they knew keeping it cool in the desert would be an issue. Their innovative solution—a Windcatcher—is the first of its kind in the area.
5/9/2011
Cities such as Seattle and Portland, Oregon, are accommodating swelling populations by allowing backyard cottages in existing neighborhoods. The units accommodate renters, elderly relatives and even ex-spouses. Could they make a difference?
5/6/2011
In my hometown of Boulder, Colorado, kids are leaving town and dumping a lot of really good, useable stuff. If you have a college in your town, it's a great weekend to go Dumpster diving near campus.
5/6/2011
Patty Bouillon started a Facebook group to connect tornado victims with photos after she found an ultrasound photo among the debris swept in by last month's tornadoes. Her account is heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time
5/6/2011
Cap off your Hemp History Week celebrations by making hemp soap. Hemp oil contains essential fatty acids and poly-unsaturated fatty acids known for their excellent emollient and lubricating properties.
5/6/2011
A 30-acre organic and biodynamic farm is the beating heart of the thriving 1,000-acre Serenbe community near Atlanta. As more developers integrate agriculture into suburbia, the joys and benefits of farming are becoming available to everyone.
5/6/2011
Michael Funk's 6,000-square-foot off-the-grid home and retreat center on 1,200 acres in the Sierra Nevadas is an heirloom, handbuilt with reverence for the spectacle that surrounds it. He hopes it will inspire every visitor to preserve the paradise.
5/5/2011
So maybe you can't afford the pricey furniture and decor on display at the design shows in Milan and Vegas. Just take a look at these ideas and start riffing.
5/5/2011
If the DEA can't tell the difference between hemp and marijuana plants, says a former Kentucky governor, how can it distinguish between powdered sugar and cocaine? Hempsters: Plant the Seed is a must-see movie that gives pro-hemp activists a voice.
5/5/2011
You could spend a fortune on flowers from faraway for Mom—but why? This sweet bouquet made from fresh-picked flowers and flea market finds is cuter than anything FTD could deliver. This one's great for weddings and graduation parties, too.
5/4/2011
Here are three great reasons that hemp cultivation should be legal in the United States: food, health and shelter.
5/4/2011
Mother readers weigh in on the wabi-sabi objects that give them joy and solace--from old books to heirloom quilts (and a few surprises). This community of kindred spirits embodies the art of appreciation. Enjoy!
5/4/2011
Cyndee and Tony love being in control of their own power and never having to worry about rate increases and outages in south-central Colorado. Solar panels, a wind turbine and a wood-fired boiler keep them plenty warm and happy.
5/3/2011
Put those big pieces of cardboard to work by turning them into furniture. This entertaining tutorial shows you how.
5/3/2011
Adding solar panels can increase a home's resale value by as much as $17,000, a new Lawrence Berkeley Lab report finds.
5/3/2011
The DEA spends more than $10 million to eradicate 'ditchweed'--the remaining stalks of heirloom hemp that were protected by the military and considered a national treasure during World War II.
5/3/2011
Reconnecting with family photos and important papers may seem like small change in the wake of the tornadoes' massive devastation in the Southeast last week. But what if it were the last surviving photo of your mother?
5/2/2011
These seasoned off-the-grid veterans have found that hefty batteries make for a happy home.
5/2/2011
If fiddlehead ferns are popping up in your local market or local woods, grab them while you can. Incorporate this fabulous, fleeting spring treat into a fresh, slightly tangy pasta dish for Meatless Monday.
5/2/2011
Celebrate hemp, one of Mother Nature's most useful plants, during Hemp History Week. This versatile, multi-purpose plant has a rich history in the United States. Unfortunately, it's now illegal to grow it here.
5/2/2011
Give Mom a gift that offers fair wages and opportunity to people and communities in developing countries. There are now more Fair Trade products available than ever.






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