Home & Health Blogs

April 24, 2017

What do you know about the mint family, Lamiaceae, the sixth- or seventh-largest of the flowering plant families? There’s a lot to admire about the family of plants that provides most of our common culinary herbs (e.g., basil, oregano, marjoram, rosemary, sage, thyme, summer and winter savories), many of our favorite tea herbs, and dozens (perhaps hundreds) of traditional medicinal herbs, not to mention many aromatics for use in flavorings, perfumes, and cosmetics. You’ll also find some of them... more

April 19, 2017

Learn how to build a chicken coop for your backyard. Here’s a beginner’s guide to building a DIY chicken coop! (This is the third post in our Raising Chickens 101 series.) How to Build a Backyard Chicken Coop The housing for your chickens can be as simple or fancy as your imagination and budget permit. The basic criteria will be dictated by the birds. DIY Chicken Coop Plans and Designs First, decide on the size. You will need 2 square feet of floor space per chicken, and one nest box for every... more

April 19, 2017

As with life, years of gardening experience yield knowledge—so remember that there’ll be mistakes and learning along the way! Here are three crops that have always been winners for me. The more you grow, the more you know. An old-time once shared this adage, after I’d recounted a series of crop failures in my early gardening days. Back then, I simply followed the directions on the backs of seed packets and queried other gardeners when things didn’t go as I’d hoped. The old gardener had given... more

April 10, 2017

Lack of motivation can be a pervasive and debilitating problem, but do not despair—there are ways to get yourself motivated! Read on for a few tips on improving self-motivation. Forever — is composed of Nows —Emily Dickinson Spring has arrived. The days stretch longer, you’ve (probably) put away the snow shovels, seen the first leaves unfurl, and the first crocus pop up. But what refuses to pop up? Your self-motivation. Your get-up-and-go. You have a lot to get up for: a stalled work... more

April 2, 2017

If you burn firewood, you have wood ashes. There are many surprising uses for those ashes around the garden and home. Each cord of firewood that you burn leaves you with 20 pounds of ashes or more, depending on your fuel source, heating appliance, and wood-burning skill. Safety First As with all aspects of wood heating, use vigilance and common sense in handling and managing your ashes. Store them in a covered metal container set on dirt or concrete a few feet in all directions from any... more

March 22, 2017

Along with the plip-plip-plip of sap in the maple buckets, another sound brings the walker to a halt. Bluebird! Henry David Thoreau, who heard it all before us, called it a song that “melts the ear, as the snow melts in the valleys around.” He’s right—it’s a sound with big distances in it.  Even at close range it seems far off, like a teakettle softly on the boil in somebody else’s house, a hoarse, burbling phrase I hear as So-you-have-the-key? I-have-the-key?  Click here for to hear a... more

March 21, 2017

I love rocks! Do you? Just like the early Americans, I put them to good use, too. In my state of New Hampshire, the Granite State, you see evidence everywhere of the boulders our forefathers and their sturdy beasts dug up and hauled away to make room for pastures and row crops. It’s a hardscrabble landscape, where the soil’s freeze-thaw cycles break up and thrust rocks deposited by the last glacier to the surface every spring. Highways and secondary roads bulge with “frost heaves,” boulders... more

March 18, 2017

Looking for advice on a healthful eating plan? There are so many diets that it can set your head to spinning. It reminded me to get back to basics. Diet Confusion You have a lot of diet choices. To name a few: fruitarian, pescetarian, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, vegan, flexitarian,  omnivorian, macrobiotic, ketogenic, Mediterranean, low-FODMAP, Pritikin, Atkins, Zone, Paleo, South Beach. Low-carb, high-carb, low-fat, high-fat, high-protein, low-protein. Raw-food diet, fully-raw diet, blood-type... more

March 15, 2017

Are high-heeled shoes good for you—or harmful to your bodies? Why do people wear high heels, anyway? My daughter Molly came home from elementary school one day and announced they’d had a substitute teacher, because (let’s call her) “Miss Robertson was in the hospital with a kidney infection she got from wearing high heels.” It’s true, every time I’d seen Miss Robertson, she’d been wearing high heels. But had they caused a kidney infection? Maybe … but probably not. High Heels and Health... more

March 6, 2017

My mother dosed her family with generous amounts of dandelion greens as soon as she discovered their bright leaves poking up through the thatch of the back lawn. One of nine children growing up during the Depression on a Vermont dairy farm, Mom regaled us with many stories of the wild-food foraging that supplemented the self-reliant family diet. Dandelions, the first fresh greens of spring, ranked high on her list of important foraged foods. I inherited my mother’s dandelion fork, a simple... more

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