In the How-To Guide to Building With Straw Bales (Load Bearing) DVD, you'll discover how this form of construction uses the bales themselves as the structural element of the home. The roof sits directly on the bale walls and the straw itself is load-bearing. Nearly two hours of instruction takes you through the entire process of building a load-bearing straw bale home in a day-by-day teaching format.
The DVD shows in detail everything from creating a pad and pier raised floor foundation to installing toe-ups, baling the walls square and plumb, using the best strapping to pre-compress your walls, installing the rafters, attaching the roof sheathing, installing windows and doors, dealing with cabinetry installations, and much more.
Looking over the vast open plains of eastern Colorado, western Kansas and southwestern Nebraska, where one can travel miles without seeing a town or even a house, it is hard to imagine the crowded landscape of the last decades of the 19th century. In those days farmers, speculators, and town builders flooded the region, believing that rain would follow the plow and that the "Rainbelt" would become their agricultural Eden. It took a mere decade for drought and economic turmoil to drive these dreaming thousands from the land, turning farmland back to rangeland and reducing settlements to ghost towns.
David J. Wishart's The Last Days of the Rainbelt is the sobering tale of the rapid rise and decline of the settlement of the western Great Plains. History finds its voice in interviews with elderly residents of the region by Civil Works Administration employees in 1933 and 1934. Evidence similarly emerges from land records, climate reports, census records and diaries, as Wishart deftly tracks the expansion of westward settlement across the central plains and into the Rainbelt. Through an examination of migration patterns, land laws, town-building, and agricultural practices, Wishart re-creates the often-difficult life of settlers in a semiarid region who undertook the daunting task of adapting to a new environment. His book brings this era of American settlement and failure on the western Great Plains fully into the scope of historical memory.
The Meaty Truth is an eye-opening look at the massive problems caused by the American population’s food supply. Water, meat, and milk and other dairy products are filled with toxins, antibiotics, untested growth hormones, ammonia, and animal pus and manure. The current conditions of the food production industry must drastically improve, and until they do, it is absolutely vital to monitor what you eat. Authors Shushana Castle and Amy-Lee Goodman take a hard-hitting look at what America is putting into its food, the negative effects this has on the world, and the best ways to make healthy, informed decisions about eating.
As the antibiotic age ends, the rise of pandemic diseases is approaching. Approximately half of the illnesses that claim American lives today are related to what we eat, and our health care system is focused on treating the sick, not preventing illnesses from occurring. To fix our health problems, to continue feeding the world’s ever-growing population, and to save our planet from ecological destruction, we can no longer avoid making changes to how American meat and dairy are produced. This guide is easy to read, applicable to anyone’s lifestyle, and impossible to put down.
If you are raising chickens, turkeys or other poultry for meat and lack easy access to a humane, local slaughterhouse, this guide shows you how to put together a slaughtering and processing unit that will accommodate any type of poultry and can be moved from farm to farm. These units can be funded, built and used by a community of small farmers, or you can develop one by yourself and use it as part of a business. The Mobile Poultry Slaughterhouse covers the mechanics of constructing the unit, government regulations, the permitting process, sanitation, safety, and much more.
The New Farmer’s Almanac, Volume 3 contains 360 pages of original agrarian content, essays, cartoons, imagery, and historical snippets, ?harnessed from more than 120 contributors to the Greenhorns (a nontraditional grassroots organization made up of young farmers and ranchers). Farmers hold space in many interwoven commons, and possibilities for our shared future rests on how these intersecting commons are governed?particularly at the juncture of humanity and ecology, where farmers make their workplace. In re-visiting the almanac format, this volume asserts a version of Americana and addresses how to equip ourselves for the challenges of rebuilding the food system and restoring a more democratic, more diverse, and more resilient foundation for society. In the face of a dystopian future where the weather is unpredictable, the fossil fuel economy is on the point of collapse, monopolies are endlessly consolidating, and the country is, for the first time in our history, majority urban, this publication provides a utopian voice. It reminds today’s farmers about the foundational concepts of an agrarian democracy?concepts that are themselves utopian. This almanac also rejects the self-propelling logic of techno-utopia?dependent upon extraction economies and enclosure of common resources. Instead, the book orients itself toward the words of Ursula Le Guin, who reminds us that the intent in utopian thinking should not be “reactionary, nor even conservative, but simply subversive. It seems that the utopian imagination is trapped, like capitalism and industrialism and the human population, in a one-way future consisting only of growth.” This tidy volume holds a civil, lived testimony from people whose work, lifeworld, and behavior patterns beamingly subvert the normative values of the macro economy called America.
The Nourishing Homestead tells the story of how we can create truly satisfying and permanent relationships with the land, nature and one another.
Ben and Penny Hewitt offer practical ways to grow nutrient-dense food on a small plot of land, and think about a farm, homestead or home as an ecosystem. Much of what the Hewitts have come to understand and embrace about their lives of deep nourishment is informed by their particular piece of land and local community in northern Vermont, but what they have gleaned is readily transferable to any place—whether you live on 4 acres, 40 acres or in a 400-square-foot studio apartment.
The Hewitts (including their two sons) maintain copious gardens, dozens of fruit and nut trees, and other perennial plantings, as well as a pick-your-own blueberry patch. In addition to these cultivated food crops, they also forage for wild edibles, process their own meat, make their own butter, and ferment, dry and can their own vegetables. Their focus is to produce nutrient-dense foods from vibrant, mineralized soils for themselves and their immediate community. They are also committed to sharing the traditional skills that support their family, helping them be self-sufficient and thrive in these uncertain times.
Much of what the Hewitts are attempting on their homestead is to close the gaps that economic separation has created in our health, spirit and skills. They use the term “practiculture” to describe the family’s work with the land—a term that encompasses the many practical life skills and philosophies they embody to create a thriving homestead, including raw-milk production, soil remediation, wildcrafting, Weston A. Price principles, bionutrient-dense farming, permaculture, agroforestry, traditional Vermont hill farming, and more. The Nourishing Homestead also includes information on deep nutrition, the importance of good fats and integrating children into the work of a homestead.
The Hewitts’ story is reminiscent of The Good Life, by Helen and Scott Nearing, and is sure to inspire a new generation of homesteaders, or anyone seeking a simpler way of life and a deeper connection to the world.
The book covers nearly every strategy Falk and his team have been testing at the Whole Systems Research Farm over the past decade, as well as experiments from other sites Falk has designed through his off-farm consulting business. The book includes detailed information on earthworks; gravity-fed water systems; species composition; the site-design process; site management; fuelwood hedge production and processing; human health and nutrient-dense production strategies; rapid topsoil formation and remineralization; agroforestry/silvopasture/grazing; ecosystem services, especially regarding flood mitigation; fertility management; human labor and social-systems aspects; tools/equipment/appropriate technology; and much more.
There has never been a better time to be making and selling great cheese. People worldwide are consuming more high-quality, handmade cheese than ever before. The number of artisan cheesemakers has doubled in recent years, and many of the industry's newcomers are "farmstead" producers-those who work only with the milk of their own animals. Today, more than ever before, the people who choose to become farmer- cheesemakers need access to the knowledge of established cheese artisans who can help them build their dream.
Few career choices lead to such extremes of labor, emotion and monetary challenge. In The Small-Scale Cheese Business (originally published as The Farmstead Creamery Advisor in 2010), respected cheesemaker, instructor and speaker Gianaclis Caldwell walks would-be producers through the many, and often confusing, steps and decisions they will face when considering a career in this burgeoning cottage industry. This book fills the gap that exists between the pasture and cheese plate. It goes far beyond issues of caring for livestock and basic cheesemaking, explaining business issues such as:
Drawing from her own and other cheesemakers' experiences, Caldwell brings to life the story of creating a successful cheesemaking business in a practical, organized manner. Absolutely essential for anyone interested in becoming a licensed artisan cheesemaker, The Small-Scale Cheese Business will also appeal to the many small- and hobby-farm owners who already have milking animals and who wish to improve their home dairy practices and facilities.
Written by Kristina Mercedes Urquhart, The Suburban Chicken shares the author’s knowledge on general chicken husbandry, profiles of 20 suitable breeds for suburban living, how to provide your birds with optimal accommodations, and the health care needs of chickens (among other important topics about which prospective chicken owners should be familiar).
The Sun-Inspired House evolved from the questions about passive solar, passive cooling, energy efficiency and green building that home owners, builders, engineers and architects asked author Debra Rucker Coleman over the last 25 years. Although the book includes more than 50 house plans, its primary benefit comes from its in-depth coverage of passive solar home design, green building, energy-efficient construction, working with architects and many other resources.
Author Abigail Gehring provides advice, tips and step-by-step instructions for hundreds of projects, offering the entire family the tools they need to make the shift toward self-sufficient living.
Are you looking for ways to save water -- or money? This accessible guide by Laura Allen, founder of Greywater Action, explains how to use water smartly and efficiently, increasing supply, saving money, reducing wear on your septic system, and fulfilling your home and garden needs. She describes proven conservation techniques, explains how to create a water-wise landscape, and provides illustrated, step-by-step instructions for setting up a waterless composting toilet as well as systems to reuse greywater, harvest rainwater, and more.