Home & Health Blogs

March 19, 2018

When it comes to spring-cleaning or any kind of housecleaning, I use an array of six admirably versatile natural cleaning products: vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, salt, borax, wood ash. I started using these products many years ago, mostly because so many commercial cleaning products gave me headaches and irritated my eyes and nasal passages. The headaches stopped, the natural products worked well, and they’ve saved a lot of money over the years. Also, let me admit that I count myself among... more

March 13, 2018

If you grow (at least some of) your own food, prefer scratch cooking at home to dining out/ordering in, and aim to eat for optimal health, you’re already in sync with many of the major food and food gardening trends for 2018. You may even be part of the driving force that’s been moving these trends forward for years. Let’s focus on a few: Edible Flowers Edible flowers and flower extracts made everybody’s trend list this year. They come in such a wide array of flavors and colors that chefs (... more

March 5, 2018

If you haven’t eaten cabbage in a while, we urge you to look again at this healthy, unsung hero of the vegetable world. Want beautiful skin, to lose weight, a great immune system? See five great reasons to eat (and grow) cabbage! Before we had the little greenhouse that enables us to grow salad and cooking greens all winter, we grew between 50 and 100 green and red cabbages each year—and ate them all. I loved looking at them as they grew like giant flowers in the garden, then as they rested... more

February 23, 2018

So, you’d like to get started raising chickens? Be sure you’re ready to commit! Here’s the first post of a six-part beginner’s guide to raising chickens. Let’s “start from scratch,” so to speak. There’s a lot to like about raising chickens in your own backyard. The eggs are a real temptation—tastier and fresher than any store eggs and better for baking, too. The shells, along with the chicken poop, can be tossed right into the compost pile. Much of the day, the birds entertain themselves,... more

February 22, 2018

Every rural, suburban, or urban household runs into various problems with pests or—to use the broadest possible term—nature.  Indoor and outdoor insect invasions, creatures running around inside the walls, droppings in the cupboards, tunnels in the sills or foundation beams, worms in the broccoli, bats in the attic, chirping in the chimney, mold growing on the moldings, lawn grass turning yellow and slimy, something chewing the bark off trees and shrubs, beavers felling trees and damming a ... more

February 15, 2018

All natural! High-fiber! Multigrain! Only 2 grams of fat per serving! Contains real fruit! Do you know what food labels really mean? Here’s a handy guide to decoding food labels. Food marketers have taken full advantage of Americans’ growing interest in the connection between good nutrition and good health. To make food seem healthy, they pile on words chosen for their emotional appeal. But some of the most common food descriptors don’t carry any real meaning. Others falsely imply health... more

February 12, 2018

Ready for a mind-expanding adventure? From testing the water quality of your local lake to participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count (which takes place February 16 to 19), there’s a citizen science project that fits with any hobby, interest, or curiosity that you may have. Take a look! Science is one important way of exploring and understanding the world we live in through observation, data collection, and various forms of experimentation. What is Citizen Science? With citizen science... more

February 2, 2018

When you feed winter birds, consider bird food that is normally available to birds in winter. Here are some the favorites foods of winter birds across North America. “The little grain of wheat, tritucum, is the noblest food of man. The lesser grains of grasses are the food of passerine birds at present. Their diet is like man’s”.   –Henry David Thoreau, Walden At garden stores, pet shops, and numerous other stores, you can purchase seed mixes in bags from 10 to 50 pounds. Seeds will typically... more

January 31, 2018

There’s a surprising amount of practical, household uses for old, stale bread! Here are a few of our favorites. I’ve baked my own whole-grain bread for more than 40 years (the kind food writers call “rustic”). I don’t think I’ve ever bought a loaf of bread Yet store-bought white bread somehow occasionally puts in an appearance here, and I will say it serves a number of surprising household uses that don’t involve consuming it. Almost worth keeping a  loaf on hand in the freezer. Household Uses... more

January 29, 2018

Thinking of raising honeybees? Here are the pros and cons of keeping an apiary in your backyard. Starting an apiary is relatively easy. However, as with caring for any new animal, you should learn all that you can about their husbandry before diving in. Here are some things to consider about keeping bees: Pros There are many reasons why you might want to raise honeybees, including: Honey is probably the obvious answer. Who wouldn’t love their own fresh batch of honey to use in recipes? A single... more

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